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EFSS - The Artillery of Tommorow?

Infanteer

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Been reading around lately on artillery - in the spirit of Mountie's suggestion of the 120mm mortar here, perhaps a discussion on the USMC's Expeditionary Fire Support System is worth the time.   Here is the official USMC explanation on the system in the 2005 Concepts and Programs Guide.

Now, what got me thinking about this was a comment I saw on the thread about the M777 Lightweight 155mm howitzer.

STA Gunner said:
Further, the FIFC has determined that a mounted capability is the future for indirect fire in Canada.   The M777 is the exception, for operational reasons.

Would the EFSS not fit this bill?   The 120mm mortar seems to have an array of munitions being designed for it (as a gunner here said, the key to the future is in the round).   The USMC program looks to develop both a towed version and a LAV-based version for a more mobile and protected variant.

The towed-version is intended as the artillery piece for the "vertical envelopment".   It can be transported by a helicopter and would make the ideal Artillery support for Light Forces (while the 81mm should remain in the unit's hip-pocket).

There are already 120mm versions on the LAV-chassis.   A matching system on a LAV would be ideal in support of our medium forces.   Breach-loaded and supplied with a wide-array of ammunition, this system would meet the FIFC requirement noted above.

The 81mm would be kept for deployment with units while the 155mm howitzer is maintained (and hopefully expanded) as the gun of the Artillery - the 105mm would be retired.   Of course, HIMARS is on the wishlist, but is at the bottom of things we need.

Here is some more info on the EFSS:

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/marineweapons/a/efss.htm

What do you gunners think?

Infanteer


 

Craig B

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Seems like a good system to me if the 120mm mortar part can meet the objective requirement ( 14km range). HIMARS for deep attack , M777 for med/long range and the 120mm mortar for closer in work.

Another thing to consider is that the USMC has its own intergal airpower , both fixed wing and attack helo's . This makes them less dependant on organic artillery.

If we bought HIMARS and attack helo's this would work for us but I don't see Canada buying HIMARS or helo's anytime soon.

Of course the next question is what piece of this puzzle would be given to the Militia.

Craig
 
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Rocket assisted ammo for 120 mm mortars have a range of 17 km.

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/44fuze/rockets.pdf

The trade-off is that they have to replace some explosive by propellant.
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horsegunner353

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This looks like a very good piece of kit, but it has to be taken in context.  It is only a part of the triad of fires that the USMC wants to equip their MAGTFs with, indicating there are roles that the other sytems, namely the LW 155 and HIMARS, are better oriented towards.  I think this system would work best as part of a system of systems, and may not actually meet the requirment that a Canadian TF have.  If you think of it as three spheres of capability, each of which has one system that is ideal for it (EFSS, LW 155, HIMARS) we would be better served to find which of the three has the greatest overlap into the other spheres, since we don't really have the budget to have a smattering of each.

That being said, maybe the EFSS actually does cover all three adequately!
 

Mountie

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This is what I was getting at with my thread "Whither the Artillery".  The 120mm mortar gives the best "bang for your buck" so to speak.  The majority of Canadian operations are light to medium intensity operations (Bosnia-UN, Somalia, Bosnia-IFOR/SFOR, Kosovo, Afghanistan warfighting & peace support).  The 120mm mortar could cover all aspects of indirect fire support in these operations.  The General Dynamics Armoured Mortar System is a self-propelled system with a breach-loading mortar in a turret mounted on a LAV-III with a range of 10 kms.  Nobody would argue that this equals the M777 or the HIMARS.  But are these systems really needed.  If there was an unlimited budget, you bet they are.  But with a limited budget there are other systems that are higher on the requirement list. 

The regular force artillery regiments would be equipped with the AMS and maintain the 81mm mortar for light infantry operations and the Miliitia regiments would have medium mortar batteries with the 81mm mortars.
 

Craig B

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The current CF vision is "general purpose combat forces" , so the 120mm mortar by itself cannot replace the mortar/gun combination ( and I really think we need HIMARS too) we currently have.

A LAVIII mounted 120mm mtr. is a system for a mech. battalion, not a brigade arty asset.

A _towed_ 120mm mortar platoon might be something worth attaching to a light inf. battalion to give it a little more punch , its easier to airlift and cheaper to buy too.

My idea for the Regular Artillery Batteries would be 3 light(105mm L119) Btys , 3 Medium (M777 155mm) Btys, 2 Hvy. Mortar (120mm towed, 8 per bty) Btys, 1 Heavy (HIMARS, 8 Launcher Veh.) Bty.

The Militia would keep the C3's plus do frequent cross training/conversion training on the system used by their supporting Reg. Force unit (L119, M777 or 120mm towed) .

The 81mm mortars would be returned to the infantry where they belong , or removed from service completely. The light infantry company could get 2 or 3 M224 60mm mortars (3490m range) instead of the single M19 in each platoon.

This would give Canada a good mix of systems for all potential operations.

When the " Air Force Transformation" takes place and the AF has a good mix of air superiority fighters, fighter/bombers and attack helicopters then , and only then , can we start to think of removing organic artillery from the army...... but that would be a mistake  ;D

Craig
 
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