Originally posted by Wodan
btw. in future usa wont anymore use really many MBTs, or need heavy stuff! the better your recon by elite forces, sattelites, drones, recon-planes
get, the less need is for fighters on land for the main battle!
I have to disagree. So called "dumb weapons" fired from ground platforms are far more efficient in terms of cost. Not even America will can expect
to ever afford such a tremendous force of airpower and "smart weapons" that it can hope to project unmatched force without the support of cheaper
and more numerous "dumb weapons" on the ground.
A predator armed costs 20 million, and Abrams costs 4 million.
Predator fires a 40,000 dollar hellfire missile.
Abrams fires an inexpensive 120mm shell (i looked for the cost but apparently it has been neglected, probably because its, well, negligible).
When predator comes in to support your boys on the ground, it brings a hellfire missile.
When Abrams comes to support your boys on the ground, it brings 40 rounds of 120mm, 12,000 rounds of 7.62, 1000 rounds of .50cal, and in some cases
An Abrams brings WELL OVER 10 times the killing power for 20% as much unit cost.
The Abrams of course is only part of the picture. The Abrams works as part of a combined arms team with other highly effective "dumb" weapons to
make for a cheaper, more lethal, but larger force. It is true that this force deploys slower, but it wins faster. As one Iraqi commander put it, "I
started the war with 38 tanks, after 30 days of aerial attack I still had 32. After twenty minutes with the M1A1, I had no tanks." (the numbers might
be slightly off.)
The weapons on the ground may get lighter, faster, and more deployable, but their form will continue to be dictated by economy and effectiveness. The
triumph of Chad, using technicals (trucks) armed with recoilless rifles over Libyan tanks proves that lighter and more manueverable platforms for
firepower employed shrewdly will do the job. This shows why vehicles like Bradley, LAV, and Stryker have a future on the battlefield.
At the same time, heavier forces may remain at least for a little while, because heavily armored vehicles with large main armaments have a
considerable advantage in range which can be exploited on the right terrain to create stunning victories such as Desert Storm (the failure of Iraqi
tanks was largely do to being outmatched in terms of range. Iraqi guns, especially the 100mm and 115mm versions on the T-55s and T-62s respecitively
were helpless against the Abrams unless they could get flank shots at point-blank. (which one smart little Iraqi actually managed to do, claiming two
M1A1s as a result).)
So I believe what we may see is a divergence in tactical emphasis in the near future. Some nations, likely those who believe they rely on constricted
terrain for defense, those who are strapped for cash, and those who must rely on inferior technology, will rely on lighter, faster, quieter vehicles
designed to harass, ambush, and skirmish at close ranges, probably using chain guns to do most of their work.
Most of the candidates for this sort of development don't have the independence to follow such a program on their own. This includes nations like
Iran, North Korea, South Korea, Cuba, etc.
Others will take this because it is economical and meets with the requirements they expect to face. Australia may want to cut back on spending for
armor while creating a force that Island hop in the pacific and even be transported by air without the benefit or airfields. Most of NATO will
probably indulge in this to some degree really because American spending can anchor the program, and America always likes to have it both ways.
Turkey would do well with this because of their geography, providing that they don't have any concern over having to fight a major war in the deserts
to their south.
Other nations will opt for heavier forces, believing that a 50 ton MBT that can take out an enemy at 2 kilometers is the only viable base of fire for
their offensive machine. America and Russia will be on this boat at least to some extent, although America especially will persue the other type of
force as well.
India will certainly be in this camp, considering that their plains in the North are a likely field of battle both against Pakistani tanks and perhaps
even against very large Chinese forces. (although those wars aren't really all that likely considering the nuclear issue).
you can destroy the enemy ships and harbours from your battleships, you can destroy their military bases by cruise missiles, their planes by
your fighters, their heavy vehicles by your fighterbombers, etc.
Destroying bases and land forces is far more efficient when done with land forces. Also, land forces do not need to fight by attrition, which is the
only thing airforces can do. A ground force can chase you, trap you, corner you, outflank you, out pace you, and in a million ways defeat you by
manuever, forcing you to surrender on a much shorter timeline. Also this puts enemy hardware in the hands of the victor instead of senselessly
destroying it. The Israelis are very good at that for example- they're so good at it that Russian tanks come with Hebrew labeling on the instruments.
Israel still employs some of the hardware they took from Egypt in the Six Day Smackdown.
When the land forces join the foreign country, it is at first a fighter against light infantry, and a bit later it will be a peacekeeping
force, the real destruction of heavy enemy forces is done by airforce and cruise missiles!
Besides being a logistical and financial nightmare, it would just take too long. Your light vehicle has to be able to duke it out with the big boys in
a pinch. Suppose that America and all of our allies go over to the light vehicles and airpower force and let our tanks just fade away. But suppose
that other nations think tanks are still OK. One day Egypt invades Israel with an army that includes 5,000 tanks- mostly older soviet designs, but
still a whole bunch of tanks. Israel doesn't have time for an air war. They need something that can stand in the way and trade punches with the enemy
tanks. So if they aren't going to have their own tanks, they have to design their light vehicles to do the job instead and they ahve to develop
tactics that make it possible.
Now suppose that Israel looses and now Egypt is on their way to Saudi Arabia for the oil. America wants to go in. Well by the time our air war has
wiped Egypt's army out, they can be in Saudi and torch the oil wells which could be very bad for our economy. What are we gonna do about that?
Well we already saw that Israel got beat right so we don't just want to throw Stryker in there. We will need at least a small amount of tank forces
to deal with other tank forces it seems.
With tanks being such effective killing machines, they'll always be around on some level. They may become a supporting weapon to IFVs like Stryker,
but they will still be an important part of the combined arms team to any nation which must be prepared to fight on open ground.
(you wont ever fight a first world country, if you do, you will destroy eachother by nukes, so regular forces are unimportant)
This is a dangerous assumption because it leaves you no way of dealing with things except nukes.
Suppose that you and I couldn't play tug of war over something we both wanted, we couldn't push and shove, we couldn't fist fight- all we could do
is shoot eachother. Now suppose that there's only one soda left and I take it. You really want it and you wish you could argue with me over it- but
you can't. You either have to get into a gunfight with me over a stupid soda or you have to just let it go. See what I mean?
What would happen if America threw away most of its military forces and just said nukes were our defense. But then Russia attacks some tiny country
we're friends with- like Georgia. Well if we still had our conventional military we could go stand in their way and bluff them, or we could go kick
their butt and say, "hey, you started it, now are you sure you wanna get crazy over this little thing, or are you gonna back off?"
Vietnam is a perfect example too. Russia's nukes didn't stop America from messing with Vietnam, but Russian rifles, artillery, and surface to air
missiles that they were giving to the Vietnamese eventually did the job.