eNewsletter September 2017

RAA Liaison Letter 2017 – Autumn Edition 17 LONG RANGE ROCKET ARTILLERY – THE SHOOTER TO SENSOR OVERMATCH “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see.” - Muhammad Ali Joint Fires Wing, School of Artillery I NTRODUCTION The 2016 White Paper announced that Army’s firepower will be enhanced in the mid-2020s with a new long-range rocket system (LRRS). This will bring the land domain truly into joint domain with the ability to prosecute targets previously only able to be affected by joint, strategic strike assets. The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery (RAA) has significant challenges that will be faced with this capability upgrade. This will not only challenge our current planning and employment of Offensive Support (OS) assets, but also the Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) assets for target acquisition and battle damage assessment (BDA). The LRRS will be a highly responsive, persistent capability to deliver weapon effects and precision strike capabilities at extended ranges, within a short timeframe, and with a significant element of surprise. For the first time the RAA will have a true General Support (GS) platform that can affect the deep battle. But are we ready for this type of influence in the land domain? This paper will briefly look at potential rocket platforms, and then discuss Command, Control, and Communications (C3) implications, tactics and employment considerations, STA implications, and discussion of the issues facing the RAA employing a LRRS. C OMPARABLE GLOBAL ROCKET ARTILLERY LAUNCH SYSTEMS Before discussing the employment implications of a LRRS, it is first important to look at possible systems that could be selected as a result of the 2016 White Paper. This will mainly be a superficial look at systems based off open- source information, gathered from forums such as Wikipedia, with a professional, educated guess of the likely platform based off current OS infrastructure and ADF C3 networks. Broadly, there are a variety of launch platforms available globally that the ADF could consider for purchase. These are available from coalition partners, former Eastern-Bloc nations and Asian nations. These are outlined in Table 1. Table 1 – Launch platforms System Name Rocket Capacity & Calibre Rocket Range M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) 12 x 277 mm rockets; or 2 x 610 mm missile 45 – 120 km Over 300 km M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) 6 x 277 mm rockets; or 1 x 610 mm missiles 45 km – 120 km Over 300 km BM-30 Smerch 12 x 300 mm rockets 70 – 90 km Weishi 1B (WS-1B) / T-300 Kasigra 10 x 302 mm rockets 100 – 180 km Professional Papers