Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Discussion on future tech and society - Monday Musing - Future weapon tech!
sunseeker25 at 4:43PM, Nov. 5, 2018
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Here's the topic for today - please share your thoughts in a comment!



I have read reports that the American and Chinese military are both working on railgun tech, and I know that drone warfare is becoming an increasing factor as well. It seems to me that by 2118 a lot of warfare will be done via automated drones, or at least ones controlled remotely by humans. I think that both air and ground drones will be a big deal, replacing human fighters, their vehicles and fighter aircraft, and that if railgun tech is in fact made viable it will mean a lot of fire exchanges will be done over very long ranges. This is not necessarily good, as it will probably encourage more fighting due to the lower troop cost of doing warfare, which might result in as many or more people getting killed overall.
Ozoneocean at 11:49PM, Nov. 5, 2018
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Drones are the main thing- on land, in the air, on the sea and under it.

Rail guns are fancy but not that great. The projectiles can't carry a payload so they're crap as anti-ship weapons.
They could be good as anti-air weapons if the tech is perfected though… Much better than the current CWS that ships have now because the range is so much longer. Lasers have that potential too.

If really effective anti-aircraft weaponry is perfected it'd change the paradigm of war a LOT, not just at sea but on land too.
 
bravo1102 at 1:29AM, Nov. 6, 2018
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Rail guns are artillery and drones are force multipliers not the actual force. Warfare is about taking and holding real estate and resources. Shooting over the horizon only supports the man with a weapon who takes that hill/city/etc.
You will probably see wars all fought with offensive and defensive drones probably using all kinds of pellet throwers, explosives and beam weapons.
Think about warfare in 1918 and what we have now that could have been unimaginable to a Tommy or Doughboy. Autonomous weapon platforms? (Drone) Fine a weapon without a crew.
Mobile warfare. Helicopters and fast armored vehicles, warfare in three dimensions all happening at once . A mobile and fluid warzone. Except when all that is done it still comes down to something defending a slice of territory from an attacker.
Fortress drones and attacker drones? Mobile carriers for a multitude of specialized drones or a basic unit with lots of accessories.
Or will it revert to a man with a gun?
Genejoke at 2:18AM, Nov. 6, 2018
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Swords and spears, maybe simple guns. The end will come before then and it'll be a post apocalyptic wasteland.
A_H_Amin at 2:13AM, Nov. 9, 2018
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the thing is with these weapon techs is that the one who will be at the receiving end are the little guys and the weak countries. Because no matter how fancy your weapon will get, it will mean nothing if you fight against a country with Nukes. I mean look at the North Korea Trump thing. It was a joke to me. Once they proved that they have strong nuke technologies that can hit anywhere in the world everything changed, they even started to post pictures of North Korean leader with him smiling and laughing in it instead of the grumpy ones they made the world look at mostly. So… future wars is the same as today's wars… the little guy gets to taste it, while nuke nations get to supply it.
last edited on Nov. 9, 2018 2:14AM
Ozoneocean at 7:30AM, Nov. 9, 2018
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A_H_Amin wrote:
So… future wars is the same as today's wars… the little guy gets to taste it, while nuke nations get to supply it.
Good point
 
sunseeker25 at 5:07PM, Nov. 12, 2018
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I definitely think combined arms will continue to be a thing, with artillery and drone warfare being highlights.

I want to say though, that railguns shouldn't be underestimated. You shouldn't look at them through the lens of what they're capable of today: in the future, with better superconducting materials and stronger power supplies, the force they're going to be able to exert will rival small nuclear weapons. Consider what satellite-based “gravity bombs” can do with only minimal propulsion, if any - sheer kinetic force is never something to ignore.
bravo1102 at 1:12AM, Nov. 14, 2018
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The military has traditionally been very conservative when accepting new technologies. It has to offer significant advantages over existing systems. We have seen a few really problematic programs work through their bugs and become very impressive items. And far more that did not live up to expectations and were pieces of garbage left in inventory for lack of anything else.
A fancy satellite bomb may offer the same capabilities as a MOAB but delivery may just be too much and too slow (getting the satellite up there and then making sure it doesn't get shot down and then reloading?)
And then anti satellite and anti missile weapons may make the whole thing superfluous. You have this great fancy weapons platform that anyone can counter with the simplest anti missile technology? Modern warfare has been either notoriously one sided with technology or basic grunt stuff from World War One and Two.

And there's the increasing problem of overkill. In modern urban warfare there is a tendency to flatten a city block to kill s couple of snipers because explosives have are the weapons of choice and point weapons like tear gas and flame throwers are banned.

Well we used the satellite kinetic bomb and captured the city–
But there's no city left to occupy and the satellite got taken out the moment it went live and were down to our last four combat drones without hope of resupply–
Right, I'll issue rifles to the drone operators and have them go in–
All these toys and we always come back to the poor bloody infantry.

And you haven't mentioned electromagnetic pulse generators whose only purpose is to fry all the electronics so you're forced to rely on grunt combined arms. I trained with degraded tank gunnery where everything is gone and you're back to World War II tank operations. Manual everything and range estimation using old fashioned graded sights. A lot of that has been going on in Syria as resupply and spares get scarce. But what if you manufacture the need to suddenly have to replace every electronic bit in a weapons system? Just what are you left with? Sure some systems can be hardened but not everything.

And it's always been a great tactic to take out the logistics and repair so there is no resupply of the fancy stuff so it does boil down to men with guns.
last edited on Nov. 14, 2018 1:23AM
Ozoneocean at 2:54AM, Nov. 14, 2018
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sunseeker25 wrote:
I want to say though, that railguns shouldn't be underestimated. You shouldn't look at them through the lens of what they're capable of today: in the future, with better superconducting materials and stronger power supplies, the force they're going to be able to exert will rival small nuclear weapons.
They're limited.
They need to be improved a LOT. A massive amount, the tech is no where near ready yet.
But even when it is they're just hurling solid projectiles. They'll never be anything like a nuclear weapon in power. Maybe in space where they can accelerate something to hyper speeds without the worry of gravity and air resistance, then they can produce amazing force! But on earth they're just another type of artillery that can fire at a flatter trajectory and at a faster speed and a longer distance… but with zero explosive payload possible so the destructive effect is limited to short and medium range where the compressive effects of the high speed projectile come into play.

bravo1102 wrote:
so it does boil down to men with guns.
You can have a tendency to be too reductive at times I feel.
Being reductive is good, but there are issues… Guns are still high technology, WW2 weapons systems are still high tech. Are current weapons systems bad because they're partly electronic rather than mechanical? That seems to be your unintended gist.

I AGREE with much of what you say but I think that modern weapons systems can be made just as reliable as older weapons when the technology is properly bedded in.

Remember, there was a time when the M-16 was a terrible weapons system, now it's one of the best. There was a time when machine guns and self loading rifles were new and untested garbage… even rifles, muskets, hand cannons, crossbows.

Maybe one day there' was a Bravo saying “It all comes down to men in good old bronze armour, with a shield and a spear! None of these unreliable horses or bows and arrows.” ^_^
 
last edited on Nov. 14, 2018 2:55AM
bravo1102 at 5:25AM, Nov. 14, 2018
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The saying is actually after all is said and done it always comes down to the infantry whatever he is armed with.

Tanks and helicopters and artillery do not hold ground. They can channel an advance and deny access but can't hold ground against a determined enemy. That's the infantry. Armor is to prone to infiltration so you still need crunchies on the ground. Infantry.

Having operated a complex weapons system, when it goes down it's a pain. And the repair of advanced systems is very time consuming and technical and sometimes it can't be made to work without recalibrating everything. And maintenance time increases. At least double, triple the time the piece of equipment is in operation.

The more advanced something gets the more time it takes to maintain and repair it. Read American Rifle: A biography. Most of the solution to the problem with the M16 was solved by TRAINING not technology.

All the precision machine technology to make rifles was invented for making rifles. Complex metallurgy from bronze to iron and steel was for weapons. So war has always inspired technological advances.

And remember a beautiful weapons system is only as good as the training a soldier received in its use. A longbow was superior to any single shot gun but it took a lifetime of training to make soldiers competent as opposed to a few weeks with a gun.

Reductionist? Yes because of having Keep it short and simple drummed into my head because of my experience training. Some things just aren't soldier proof because when you make something idiot proof, they will develop a better idiot. Been there, done that and tons of story swapping with military folks who made it happen.

It may not be rocket science but at times the learning curve is nearly as steep. Ooo-rah ! Forge the thunderbolt and all that hoo-uh hoo-uh stuff. 😆😆🙄
Ozoneocean at 8:54PM, Nov. 16, 2018
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I'm only going to address the gun thing Bravo
The “training” statement is inaccurate. You could apply that to thousands of problematic weapons that did poorly in the field.
The original M-16s had a number of issues… Not being supplied with cleaning kits, being supplied with bad ammunition etc, as well as various teething troubles with the weapons themselves that were ironed out over time, as it is with all weapons systems.
 
bravo1102 at 3:46AM, Nov. 17, 2018
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You just made my point. All the techie toys are only as good as the slobs using them. I experienced all the problems with the M16 firsthand and it was my training that kept me cool and still able to function and get the weapon to work. Unlike the first troops it was issued to I really got to know that SPORTS acronym.
I also built a full size fully functional plastic model of one so I am fairly intimate with how one works or doesn't work.

Sometimes you can have a war winning weapon and no one knows how to use it and it ends up forgotten and neglected. Look at the CDL project from World War II. Or something that is just too complex and advanced in concept for what the current technology allows like the MBT70. M60A2 and M551 tanks. And then there's all those cool Luftwaffe ‘46 aircraft that couldn’t have been fly able without modern fly by wire technology.
Let the toy mature and have the technology catch up to the concept and then train the force properly in all its foibles.

But at the same time never lose sight that it's still only a force multiplier for the poor bloody infantry.
last edited on Nov. 17, 2018 3:55AM
sunseeker25 at 5:08PM, Nov. 19, 2018
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bravo1102 wrote:
You just made my point. All the techie toys are only as good as the slobs using them. I experienced all the problems with the M16 firsthand and it was my training that kept me cool and still able to function and get the weapon to work. Unlike the first troops it was issued to I really got to know that SPORTS acronym.
I also built a full size fully functional plastic model of one so I am fairly intimate with how one works or doesn't work.

Sometimes you can have a war winning weapon and no one knows how to use it and it ends up forgotten and neglected. Look at the CDL project from World War II. Or something that is just too complex and advanced in concept for what the current technology allows like the MBT70. M60A2 and M551 tanks. And then there's all those cool Luftwaffe ‘46 aircraft that couldn’t have been fly able without modern fly by wire technology.
Let the toy mature and have the technology catch up to the concept and then train the force properly in all its foibles.

But at the same time never lose sight that it's still only a force multiplier for the poor bloody infantry.

I do wonder however how this will fare once the infantry are remote-avatar controlled bipedal robots. The shape is needed for mobility, but not the inherent nature. We can leave off the idea of fully AI drones as that has its own development problems, but once infantry don't die in the field anymore, I think the rules are going to change somewhat in a variety of ways.
bravo1102 at 1:03AM, Nov. 22, 2018
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Jam the interface and they're just a bunch of fancy statues. It'll be an ECM war and you'll still need degraded mode live infantry.
Or don't kill the fancy robot– kill the avatar user. Target them directly. This is war, not video games.
Remember the saying “ amateurs think tactics, professionals think logistics ” Destroy the ability (or will) to fight and you've won the war.

You can win a war with never having won a battle, but still destroying the enemy.
last edited on Nov. 22, 2018 1:06AM

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