Main Battle Tanks: East vs West

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boogieman

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 03:45

michaelemouse wrote:
boogieman wrote:Bit of a random question here that is mildly OT but I couldn't find a better thread for it:

I remember reading about Javelin (FGM-148) in years past and hearing that it had a time-to-lock of somewhere around 30s-1min (if memory serves). Is this correct? If so I find it kind of surprising since the FPA IIR seeker on the AIM9X, for example, is supposed to lock its targets more or less instantly. Would be quite a nuisance needing 30+ seconds to lock a target that keeps popping in and out of cover in a high intensity land battle...



I'm really not sure but maybe the 30 seconds figure means time-from-turning-on-to-firing. The AIM9X is more expensive/fancier, bigger and aimed at a hotter target against a sparser background than the Javelin.

Yeah it would be handy to get the input of someone who has fired the thing, because I understand the CLU and missile seeker need to be cooled prior to firing (at least in early Javelin variants) but the time-to-lock struck me as a PITA. Any ATGM is going to have some built-in set up time, but you really want to be able to fire it as soon as a target comes into view, or at targets that are darting in and out of cover.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 08:23

michaelemouse wrote:
boogieman wrote:Bit of a random question here that is mildly OT but I couldn't find a better thread for it:

I remember reading about Javelin (FGM-148) in years past and hearing that it had a time-to-lock of somewhere around 30s-1min (if memory serves). Is this correct? If so I find it kind of surprising since the FPA IIR seeker on the AIM9X, for example, is supposed to lock its targets more or less instantly. Would be quite a nuisance needing 30+ seconds to lock a target that keeps popping in and out of cover in a high intensity land battle...



I'm really not sure but maybe the 30 seconds figure means time-from-turning-on-to-firing. The AIM9X is more expensive/fancier, bigger and aimed at a hotter target against a sparser background than the Javelin.


I bet that's where the 30 seconds come from. Javelin became operational about 25 years ago and uses early 1990s technology. Then it was necessary to cool down the IIR seekers to get good enough performance and 30 seconds sounds about right.

Here it's stated that Javelins will receive uncooled seekers which would erase the time needed for cooling. https://www.dote.osd.mil/Portals/97/pub ... 155807-307

The Spiral 3 eff ort develops a new launch tube assembly and battery unit, and will replace the current gas-cooled
seeker with an uncooled seeker in the guidance section of the missile. Production missiles will be designated FGM-148G.
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boogieman

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 08:54

hornetfinn wrote:
michaelemouse wrote:
boogieman wrote:Bit of a random question here that is mildly OT but I couldn't find a better thread for it:

I remember reading about Javelin (FGM-148) in years past and hearing that it had a time-to-lock of somewhere around 30s-1min (if memory serves). Is this correct? If so I find it kind of surprising since the FPA IIR seeker on the AIM9X, for example, is supposed to lock its targets more or less instantly. Would be quite a nuisance needing 30+ seconds to lock a target that keeps popping in and out of cover in a high intensity land battle...



I'm really not sure but maybe the 30 seconds figure means time-from-turning-on-to-firing. The AIM9X is more expensive/fancier, bigger and aimed at a hotter target against a sparser background than the Javelin.


I bet that's where the 30 seconds come from. Javelin became operational about 25 years ago and uses early 1990s technology. Then it was necessary to cool down the IIR seekers to get good enough performance and 30 seconds sounds about right.

Here it's stated that Javelins will receive uncooled seekers which would erase the time needed for cooling. https://www.dote.osd.mil/Portals/97/pub ... 155807-307

The Spiral 3 eff ort develops a new launch tube assembly and battery unit, and will replace the current gas-cooled
seeker with an uncooled seeker in the guidance section of the missile. Production missiles will be designated FGM-148G.


Totally plausible. I thought they were moving to an uncooled CLU too. Now all the Jav needs is some form of man-in-loop guidance to bring it in line with the competition.
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gideonic

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 09:31

hornetfinn wrote: I bet that's where the 30 seconds come from. Javelin became operational about 25 years ago and uses early 1990s technology. Then it was necessary to cool down the IIR seekers to get good enough performance and 30 seconds sounds about right.

Here it's stated that Javelins will receive uncooled seekers which would erase the time needed for cooling. https://www.dote.osd.mil/Portals/97/pub ... 155807-307

The Spiral 3 eff ort develops a new launch tube assembly and battery unit, and will replace the current gas-cooled
seeker with an uncooled seeker in the guidance section of the missile. Production missiles will be designated FGM-148G.

Overall you're correct. I'll just add a few details as we alos operate Javelin in the Estonian Defence League and therefore I have a bit of experience with it (40-ish hours it the simulator and dozens of outdoor exercises with actual Command Launch Units. I've also spectated multiple live shots, though haven't had the honor to live-fire it myself).

As this is rather old tech, most of the info is directly on wikipedia and there are even full FGM-148 manuals available on the "interwebs", it probably isn't such a secret to share the basics (as these are listed in the manuals and have nothing to do with the way we operate around them anyhow).

The Javelin consists of 2 parts. the CLU (Command Launch Unit) and the round (missile) Both have separate seekers that operate a bit differently though both are actively cooled. The CLU is cooled by a battery operated DDC (Detector Dewar Cooler) that indeed might take 30s or even minutes (with very hot weather) to enable NVS (Thermal Sight) on the CLU, but then again also allows the CLU to be used for hours on a single battery, which is easily replacable/chargeable.

The missile is powered and cooled by its own BCU (Battery Coolant Unit) that only last a couple of minutes, but can cool the missile in the matter of seconds (with compressed gas). You do not need to use the night-sights on the CLU to be able to fire the missile, as it's done via the missile seeker anyway. Therefore, if necessary, it can be done quite rapidly (considerably quicker than 30 seconds, provided you have the round already attached).

The uncooled seeker is indeed a much anticipated upgrade that is being developed (as it simplifies the logistics and operating greatly), though I'ts unclear whether we'll see this in our parts any time soon or at all.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 09:36

boogieman wrote:Totally plausible. I thought they were moving to an uncooled CLU too. Now all the Jav needs is some form of man-in-loop guidance to bring it in line with the competition.


Yeah, uncooled sensors are really taking over as their imaging performance is getting close enough to cooled sensors for many applications while having many advantages (cost, weight, maintenance requirements, power requirements, no cooling time). For ATGMs and their CLUs modern uncooled sensors are definitely the best option. For aircraft targeting pods nothing beats cooled MWIR sensors in performance and they will keep using those as the disadvantages are not a problem.

Man-in-the-loop guidance for Javelin would be very interesting but I'm not sure how much benefits it would offer due to relatively short range of the missile and not being designed for such from the beginning. Maybe develop a new one or just buy the Spike LR2 missiles.
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gideonic

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 10:10

hornetfinn wrote:Man-in-the-loop guidance for Javelin would be very interesting but I'm not sure how much benefits it would offer due to relatively short range of the missile and not being designed for such from the beginning. Maybe develop a new one or just buy the Spike LR2 missiles.

Agreed. This looks like a big-enough redesign that a new missile would be more appropriate (let's not forget that an optic cable would also be highly-desirable in that case). For instance Estonia did exactly that - bought Spike LR despite already operating Javelin (which theoretically could have similar range, if it weren't limited by the seeker).

Man-in-the-loop would have it's benefits but Javelin wasn't really been built for that.
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boogieman

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 10:51

gideonic wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Man-in-the-loop guidance for Javelin would be very interesting but I'm not sure how much benefits it would offer due to relatively short range of the missile and not being designed for such from the beginning. Maybe develop a new one or just buy the Spike LR2 missiles.

Agreed. This looks like a big-enough redesign that a new missile would be more appropriate (let's not forget that an optic cable would also be highly-desirable in that case). For instance Estonia did exactly that - bought Spike LR despite already operating Javelin (which theoretically could have similar range, if it weren't limited by the seeker).

Man-in-the-loop would have it's benefits but Javelin wasn't really been built for that.

Perfect, thanks for the info. Yes we are heading down the Spike LR2 path now in Australia as well - both for our IFVs and infantry. I take it Spike will totally replace Javelin in Australian service.
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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 11:47

Spike LR2 has some very interesting capabilities for ATGM and would definitely make any enemy tanker sweat.
https://www.rafael.co.il/wp-content/upl ... ke-LR2.pdf

It has uncooled seeker which means very quick reaction times. The missile also has color visible light sensor which definitely enhances daytime capabiltiies with higher resolution and seeing colors and shadows. Another interesting feature is has "fire to coordinates" capability along with "fire and forget" and "fire and observe" modes. This allows effective third party targeting. It also has two different warhead options with regular tandem HEAT and multipurpose warhead. Multipurpose warhead is likely better for many situations against enemies with little to no modern MBTs. Of course it also has very nice range, at least twice the Javelin range. It does all this while being only very slightly larger and heavier than current Javelin system. I can definitely see why it has become so popular.
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michaelemouse

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 12:04

hornetfinn wrote:Spike LR2 has some very interesting capabilities for ATGM and would definitely make any enemy tanker sweat.
https://www.rafael.co.il/wp-content/upl ... ke-LR2.pdf

It has uncooled seeker which means very quick reaction times. The missile also has color visible light sensor which definitely enhances daytime capabiltiies with higher resolution and seeing colors and shadows. Another interesting feature is has "fire to coordinates" capability along with "fire and forget" and "fire and observe" modes. This allows effective third party targeting. It also has two different warhead options with regular tandem HEAT and multipurpose warhead. Multipurpose warhead is likely better for many situations against enemies with little to no modern MBTs. Of course it also has very nice range, at least twice the Javelin range. It does all this while being only very slightly larger and heavier than current Javelin system. I can definitely see why it has become so popular.


What is fire and observe? How is it different from lock-on after launch?
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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 12:30

michaelemouse wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:Spike LR2 has some very interesting capabilities for ATGM and would definitely make any enemy tanker sweat.
https://www.rafael.co.il/wp-content/upl ... ke-LR2.pdf

It has uncooled seeker which means very quick reaction times. The missile also has color visible light sensor which definitely enhances daytime capabiltiies with higher resolution and seeing colors and shadows. Another interesting feature is has "fire to coordinates" capability along with "fire and forget" and "fire and observe" modes. This allows effective third party targeting. It also has two different warhead options with regular tandem HEAT and multipurpose warhead. Multipurpose warhead is likely better for many situations against enemies with little to no modern MBTs. Of course it also has very nice range, at least twice the Javelin range. It does all this while being only very slightly larger and heavier than current Javelin system. I can definitely see why it has become so popular.


What is fire and observe? How is it different from lock-on after launch?


It's the man-in-the-loop mode. Basically the gunner shoots the missile and observes from launch unit display what the missile seeker sees and what it thas locked on to. The gunner can then choose to do nothing or he can refine the hit-point (especially against buildings) or he can lock on another target within the seeker FoV or he can abort the mission and not engage anything with the missile self-destructing. In that mode he can lock-on before or after the launch. So this mode is more extensive than just LOAL.
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Unread post26 Mar 2020, 23:15

Full disclaimer, I haven't shot one. However it was part of a 3 day heavy weapons and crew serve weapon familiarization and training course.

The CLU (command launch unit) and the launch unit aka The Tube can be set up and synched in under 2 minutes (user experience and proficiency a factor of course, took me i think under 4 with instructions).

This is going off memory and its been years... this IS NOT verbatim

The Javelin is a man portable advanced anti-tank guided missile system with fire and forget capability. it is carried by a two man team, one has the CLU and the other has the tube. It has a two stage launch cycle; soft launch and active. Soft launch reduces thermal signature of the shooting the position allowing the firing team to move and relocate shortly after launch. Active launch cycle activates the rocket motor propelling the missile upward toward the target.

Upon arming, a solid box will appear. Place the box over the intended target and switch to acquisition mode. A 4 corner box will appear inplace of the solid box along with a crosshair. Hold acquisition keeping the crosshairs over the target allowing the 4 corners to enclose on the crosshair. Upon full acquisition a solid box will appear enclosing the target along with the crosshair automatically tracking. The shooter must keep the target in their field of view. Inform back blast area clear before releasing final safeties to fire. I most likely got a few things backwards or a little off but you get the jest.

Depending on the target an experienced operator can engage an identified stationary target in 5 seconds and a moving (depending on size distance and speed) target in 20.

The Javelin has also successfully been tested to engage at extended range
https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2015-06 ... ring-Tests

https://www.army-technology.com/news/ne ... y-4924678/
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Unread post27 Mar 2020, 02:05

^Great info, thanks. So ~20sec to lock up a moving target once the Jav is set up? Still seems like quite a while :|
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Unread post01 Apr 2020, 17:16

boogieman wrote:^Great info, thanks. So ~20sec to lock up a moving target once the Jav is set up? Still seems like quite a while :|


It seems like a long time but it really isnt especially from a concealed position. There are many factors that can makes things worse like weather and terrain. A tank rolling up and over mounds and dunes or going through a built up structures can make it very difficult. Then there is the FoV setting the operator is using. Unlike something like a Sidewinder, there are more factors the IR seeker on a Javelin has to contend with.
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Unread post01 Apr 2020, 21:17

No doubt - the Javelin has to stare into heavy clutter practically every time it is fired. Perhaps that is the beauty of Spike's design - the gunner can manually refine the target while the missile is in flight, giving the seeker time to adjust in mid-air. If he needs to stop his input to move at any point he can still do so though.
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Unread post02 Apr 2020, 00:05

I'm curious if you couldn't utilize robotics to make tanks obsolete in urban environments. You can probably look less like a tank and more like a variety of mobile camera systems to search and destroy targets from a distance. The command structure can sit out of sight or perhaps could coordinate miles away in safety, calling in the most cost-effective means to prosecute targets. Tanks are blunt force trauma when you really wanted surgical repair. Spend the money on processing the environment to uproot the combatants rather than just going in and wholesale chopping it to pieces. Warfare is moving away from non-personal total war concepts to a less visible yet probably much nastier up close and personal signature effort in the modern era. Facial recognition of everyone in the environment, identifying threats, journal-building a catalog of connections, indirect influences of individuals, and killing as a last resort is the future. Killing to kill is a waste of potential ally building. It really has been the predominant strategy in use for thousands of years but we tend to glorify the toys over diplomacy these days. The most effective armies are the ones that win without having to resort to killing their opponents, but rather turning them into tools to deliver the spoils over and over and over. If we aren't careful, the Chicoms will beat us to the punch.
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