Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Lesson In Complexity

The Soviet Union was often criticized for having less technologically advanced weapons and systems than the US.  There were various reasons for this including less skilled maintenance personnel, poorer quality control in manufacturing, looser tolerances in design specifications, and, perhaps, a conscious desire to make systems more rugged.  In any event, the result was systems that were less finicky and better able to tolerate the dirty conditions of combat.  It was said that the Soviet aircraft engines didn’t care about foreign object (FOD) ingestion whereas US carriers are constantly conducting FOD walkdowns looking for the tiniest piece of debris that could destroy an entire engine in an instant.  Similarly, the iconic AK-47 is said to be impervious to mud, water, snow, or whatever whereas US rifles have, historically, needed to be meticulously cleaned and cared for.

As a general statement, complex systems are harder to construct, cost more to build, need more maintenance, require better trained personnel to maintain and operate, are more prone to breakdowns, are harder to repair, and less likely to be maintainable in combat.  The other side of the coin is that they offer greater capabilities. 

The trick in system design is to balance capability against maintainability.  It does no good to have the most advanced system in the world if it can’t be kept running.  Conversely, it does no good to have an utterly reliable system that is so lacking in capability that it adds nothing to combat capability.

The US has opted for the far, advanced end of the technology spectrum with systems that are mind bogglingly complex and often have poor reliability.  The Navy’s Aegis system is an example of this.  It offers stunning capability but suffers from fleet-wide degradation.  The F-22 is exceedingly complex and has great theoretical capabilities but the availabilities are around 60% and the goal is only around 70% or so.  Further, the aircraft has oxygen supply/contamination problems that have proven unsolvable, as yet.

So much for a general discussion.  Let’s look at a recent specific example.  The LCS uses a very complex propulsion system that utilizes both gas turbines and diesel engines to power water jets.  The selection and routing of the power source is regulated through a complex set of combining gears and accompanying lube oil system that has proven to be quite prone to breakdowns.  The most recent casualty due to this highly complex system is the USS Fort Worth which destroyed its combining gear in an in-port accident while conducting maintenance.  The ship is returning to the US for several months of repairs.

Is the turbine/diesel combination system with a very complex combining gear worth the gain in cost/performance?  The evidence thus far would suggest not.

If a system can’t operate reliably, can’t be easily maintained, and can’t be easily repaired then it’s not really a good choice for a combat system, is it?

Regardless of the rationale, the Soviets had the foundation of a better system that was based on simpler, more rugged designs that could stand up to the stress of combat. 

Do you recall what happened to the USS Port Royal (Aegis cruiser) when it gently nosed aground?  A WWII ship would have gently reversed engines and continued on its way, no worse for the wear.  Port Royal, in contrast, suffered apparently permanent damage to the radar arrays and VLS cells due misalignment from the gentle rocking of the ship while it was grounded.  Remember that the Navy tried to early retire Port Royal despite it being the newest Aegis cruiser and one of the ballistic missile defense-capable (BMD) ones.  That tells you everything you need to know about the severity of the damage the ship suffered.  Imagine what will happen to an Aegis cruiser that suffers an actual missile, bomb, mine, or torpedo hit and the ship is whipsawed violently.  An Aegis cruiser is a one hit mission kill waiting to happen.  The lesson is simple.  Complex systems can’t be maintained or repaired and certainly not during combat.  Would you rather have an old fashioned rotating radar that is rugged and might be repairable during combat or an Aegis system that is degraded going into combat, can’t tolerate any vibration, and can’t be maintained aboard ship?  Tough choice, huh?

We need to stop choosing the most complex, most delicate systems and start trying to balance capability and complexity.  A system that is simpler than the LCS combining gear would prove far better in the long run.  Who cares about a little fuel efficiency?  In combat, we should care about reliability.  A radar system that offers reasonable performance and rugged reliability would prove far better in the long run. 

The first combat design goal should be ruggedness and ease of maintenance.  Actual performance, oddly, is a secondary, though important, goal.  We need to find the proper balance point and, right now, it’s not where we’re currently designing!

33 comments:

  1. CNO,

    First time posting and have been enjoying the site for months.

    I highly recommend Arthur C. Clarke's 1951 short story, "Superiority" and Chiver's book called The Gun.

    Both nicely illustrate your point and the latter book demonstrates the capitalist approach to designing the AK and the Soviet approach to acquiring the M16.

    Keep up the great commentary.

    Bill Buppert

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    1. Welcome! I'm glad you made the leap into commenting. Please do so regularly.

      I've read Superiority. I'll look for The Gun. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  2. I couldn't agree more. In some ways we've gone so ridiculously overboard on the baroque arsenal.

    If a SuperHornet is there 90% of the time (Theoretically, I have no idea what the up times are) and the Lightning II is there 50% of the time, then the technological advancement of the Lightning II doesn't matter so much, does it?

    Complexity can also threaten logistics. If the Flux Capacitor on the F-22 goes out, and it takes out the entire aircraft, you'd better have a supply of flux capacitors around. And they likely aren't cheap or easily stored.

    And if you're making something that requires pounds of unobtanium and world class programmers to build and configure, how many can you get and how quickly can you make them?

    In my opinion there is a sweet spot for complexity. I think the Russians were a bit too lax with it, but that the Red Army served with the best their industry could make. I think we were a bit too tight with it at first, then went crazy. The LCS is a great example. There we've combined complexity and poor capability.

    Ideally, complex systems do things like aid in reliability and efficiency.

    A mid 90's car has sensors that give you warnings of things about to fail, and devices that make you safer. But for the most part, the car can run independantly of these systems. Your EGR valve not working? Throw the light, but the engine still runs. ABS on the blink? Bummer. Throw the light, but the brakes still work.

    Cars today aren't nearly as robust, even if they are more efficient. One bad sensor can shut down your vehicle or put you into limp home mode.

    That 90's level is the level of complexity we need in the military.

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    1. Your super hornet vs lightning analogy is a good starting point, so lets run with that one.

      Hornet, while being a competent, if short legged strike/fighter aircraft, can field your theoretical 2/5ths more sorties per craft than the more complex, Lightning.
      Capability wise, if the F-35 matches it performance matrices, will have no issues trouncing a far larger numbers of combat aircraft, hence, the lower purchase amount of planes, even with the lower availability, is expected to be able to outperform larger numbers of legacy fighters.
      Stealth F-22's have in training killed every F-15 they've ever flown against, including 1v8 scenarios, without ever suffering a kill.
      These planes cost 4 times as much, have half the availability of an f-15, yet are dozens of times more lethal..
      This is your soviet vs western thought process.

      I can tell you from experience, yes, the AK-47, wont jam, no matter how abused it is. It also wont hit the broadside of a barn at anything over 100 meters, thats because the rear sights on the AK are mounted on a part that separates from the barrel section, and, there is a lot of play between the 2 sections, fore and aft. Always, its not a quality piece of engineering, so, in essence, your sights are never zeroed, and what you really have is a heavy sub machine gun ranged assault rifle.
      My M-16, needed to be cleaned after every use, and you will be relatively frequently ejecting improperly chambered rounds, but well trained soldiers can do this without breaking stride, it becomes second nature, and looking after your equipment is great training for any soldier. So, my M-16 could pick off head shots 10/10 times at 100 meters, and torso hits 9/10 at 300. Every time.
      Does this mean, as a western army, you must spend more on training? Yep. Every trooper costs several hundred thousand dollars per in training costs alone. Your typical rag head gets a few hundred, or maybe couple of thousand dollars worth of training, a koran and an AK-47 and is sent to meet his 72 virgins. Frankly, the koran is the more useful of the 2.

      When it comes to western vs eastern weapons philosophy,
      I know which i'd pick. Every day of the week, and twice on sunday.

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    2. Wow! You are totally ignoring the premise of the post. The F-22, for example, only has a target readiness of around 70% and the actual is around 55-60%. The premise of the post is that if the enemy has more aircraft with higher readiness than you have then you lose. You may shoot down 10 enemy but if they have 20 aircraft, you lose that mission because the remaining 10 aircraft do whatever it is they were tasked to do.

      Continuing with the simplicity theme, you're undoubtedly aware that the entire F-22 fleet has been grounded for significant periods due to some sort of oxygen contamination. This problem has yet to be solved and the F-22 still currently flies under significant restrictions, as far as I know.

      Given that the readiness of the F-22 is barely over 50% in peacetime, with perfect maintenance conditions, what do you think the readiness will be after a few weeks of combat? I'm guessing around 20%!

      How often does a soldier get to take careful, aimed shots 300 m downrange in combat? Somewhere around never. Most rifle fire is either up close or blind fired at a distance.

      Further, the point of the post was not to compare one aircraft or weapon against another but to balance complexity against readiness/maintainability.

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    3. Sorry CNO,
      I disagree with nearly everything you say, but let it slide, but as a combat veteran, you'll pardon me if i chose to completely ignore your views on modern infantry warfare and the ranges at which its fought.
      Onto your F22 criticism, yep, I'm aware of it, seems the same contamination issue which is afflicting the far simpler F18 sighted earlier, only there, they aren't grounding them, merely letting pilots die. F22's, and the F35's with helmet cued targeting, even in limited numbers, are over match for anything eastern opponents can field right now, and in the near future.
      I'm sorry mate, you're wrong.

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    4. And,
      I was sighting anecdotal evidence (never ideal ill grant you) of your very argument of cases where complexity vs simplicity faced off.

      In western war fighting (where historically we've always favoured the complex high maintenance option) we've always won.
      Greeks beat the Persians, with a fraction of the force, Romans beat everyone, with Legions which were nearly always outnumbered, ill stop, wont bore you, but, history speaks for itself on this one.

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    5. Nate; with the caveat that I'm not military....

      I see you're point about increased lethality. That much I get. If its a straight 'our planes are more deadly so we don't need as many, so its okay that we can't afford as many' I'm 100% on board with you.

      But the reliability rates are what I'm really worried about. Add that on top of the 'we can't make as many' and we're screwed.

      If you need a mission flown, and the F-18 will always be there to fly that mission, but you have a 50% that the F-35 won't be there at all, then the increased lethality of the F-35 doesn't matter if its not in the air.

      And we've gone to the absolute realm of aburdity with the LCS.

      A) Its not reliable due to its really complex drivetrain and B) when it is on station its lethality sucks due to poor sensors and weak weapons.

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    6. Nate,

      1. CNO was spot on in his analogy about aircraft: simply stated, you must get sufficient aircraft in the air to defend and to strike your opponent, not just in a single engagement, but 24/, for months, maybe years on end. Mission readiness rates count, replacements count, exchange rates count, morale counts, a lot of things go into the calculus of getting aircraft into the air. Do not forget that historically, most destroyed aircraft were shot-up or bombed on the ground!

      If you have 12 aircraft and they can shoot down 12 aircraft on day one: you lose if the enemy has 148 aircraft (the four surviving enemy shoot up your surviving planes on the ground)!

      You might want to read "Who won the Battle of Britain" written by a very distinguished RAF Squadron Commander H R Allen. Allen’s campaign analysis is excellent (he fought in the Battle of Britain) and it illuminating.

      2. The western allies generally favored mass, admittedly of reliable and effective equipment, over quality.

      3. Larry Vickers (a former Delta team assault team member and armorer) has a pretty good opinion of the AK-47 as do many SOF vets (including me). Larry (in his own tv show) specifically addresses accuracy as he takes the AK-47 through its paces around 1:38: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4b9_1311111666 A Swiss SIG 550/1/2 is basically a westernized AK and accurate to less 1 milliradian, which is more accurate than most people can shoot from the bench.

      GAB

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    7. "Onto your F22 criticism, yep, I'm aware of it, seems the same contamination issue which is afflicting the far simpler F18 ..."

      Nate, you are just not getting the premise, at all. Let me try again. I'm not just talking about overall system complexity (F-22 vs. F-18), I'm talking about each and every component as well as overall systems.

      The oxygen system is a good example. It is apparently too complex to function correctly or to be fixed and that's true whether it's in an F-22, F-35, F-18, or F4F Wildcat. You're trying to turn this into some kind of debate about which aircraft or gun is better. That's not the premise of the post. The point of the post is that complexity invariably equals reduced availability and maintainability and we need to carefully balance complexity against readiness/maintainability. Understand?

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    8. "I'm sorry mate, you're wrong."

      I can lead you to water ...

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    9. Barbra Tuchman postulates that why the west has won is largely because of this right here, the ability to exchange ideas openly, so pardon me if I'm overly abrupt with my points, i do listen to what you have to say.

      Annon, with all due respect to Larry Vickers, I'm not talking about what a delta force vet can achieve with a particular tool, I'm talking about what you can stick in the hand of a 6 month recruit and expect him to use competently, an Ak aint it, else, we'd all be using Galils or SIG's.

      Jim,
      I'm well aware of how important readiness rates and turn around times are,
      IDF trounced the Egyptian air force not on weight of numbers, but on weight of airstrikes, with comparable sized air forces the IDF were able to generate 4 times the sorties per day than their egyptian counterparts, so yes, readiness rates count for a LOT.
      Hence, one of the biggest innovations in the F-35 is its internal sensor suite, coupled with networked supply chain.
      I know, I KNOW! its not currently working at 100%, its a very complicated system. However enough of it is already working to allow the plane to inform the ground controlers of what needs attention. This innovation is purely for the ready rate factor, give it time, its not a finished craft, then again, whatever is?

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    10. Annon, with all due respect to Larry Vickers, "I'm not talking about what a delta force vet can achieve with a particular tool, I'm talking about what you can stick in the hand of a 6 month recruit and expect him to use competently, an Ak aint it, else, we'd all be using Galils or SIG's."

      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Either you did not watch the video clip (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4b9_1311111666), or you are arguing for the sake of argument.

      LAV specifically states at 2:18 that AK inaccuracy legend is "a common misconception" goes on to state that the AK is more sufficiently accurate for its intended role. Larry puts the weapon through its paces.

      If you "could not hit the broadside of a barn" with an AK, then the problem is likely operator error and not the weapon.

      GAB

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  3. Shermans and T-34s beat the Tigers in WW2 - I think this is very similar. Didn't Stalin say "Quantity has a quality all of it's own"?

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  4. Soviets liked to talk about the reliability of their gear, but I'm bollocksed if I can find any data to prove it.

    "Shermans and T-34s beat the Tigers in WW2 "
    And knives beat machine guns if you throw enough stabbers at them.

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    1. The relative combat capability is a good point. But suppose they built all Shermans to firefly standards? And, even as it was, other than the Tigers and Panthers, the Shermans were a good match for everything up to and including the MkIV.

      The M4A3E8 and the T34-76B were similar in many ways. The T-34 had better mobility but worse reliability. And if you armed the Sherman 76 with HVAP, it was comparable with the 85mm on the T-34-85

      The German tanks had great performance (truly amazing balance with the panther)... when they worked. IIRC some of the biggest casualties for the Panther and Tiger weren't enemy action; it was failure of the final drive unit.

      Here though, I won't fault the complexity of the design, per se. Rather the complexity of German manufacturing. Had they settled on the Panther early on, and built no other tanks, it likely would have been scary.

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    2. The German staff was overly complicated, Tigers would often breakdown on the way to the battle, never mind during the fighting.

      Sherman's were an extremely sophisticated design, but not in the way you think. While the Brits were riveting their tanks together, and the soviets and krauts were welding theirs, the US was casting entire body shells, and turrets, in one piece, this was a phenomenal leap in terms of the technological abilities of the day. A Tiger or T-34 required hundreds of highly trained welders and specialist craftsmen in order to build each one (and often not well, t-34's would delaminate their welds on the drive out of the factories, users would frequently describe being able to see the outside world through the cracks that opened in their armour),
      Whereis you ordered a hundred sherman,s and the production line simply pumped them out till they ran out of raw steel.
      This is a generation ahead in terms of technology.
      Its not the tech is bad, you just need to have developed the right one.

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    3. Very valid point, and that's the 'good' complexity I was trying to describe earlier, the sweet spot.

      My family has been in manufacturing for a couple of generations; and if you can get a good process flow from design to manufacture, and you can have those break throughs in manufacturing technology, the multiplication effects on efficiency and quality are massive.

      The Japanese auto industry were magicians at this, especially as they came on in the early 80's.

      The Panther/Tiger I see as a failure of that process. IIRC the engineers had actually designed a more robust final drive for the panther. But that final drive couldn't be manufactured in numbers; so they had to dumb it down to what they could build.

      The engineers who made the Sherman made a great platform that could be easily manufactured by US plants, and it was robust enough to be both reliable and flexible. Think how many drive trains got stuck into the M4: Radials, multibanks, the odd diesels.... and none of this slowed down production.

      I'll have to look it up. But I thought that the Russians kept a group of Shermans around to act as tanks to exploit a breakthrough. The biggest reason was that they knew when the crews jumped into the Shermans they'd start and move.

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    4. Very valid point, and that's the 'good' complexity I was trying to describe earlier, the sweet spot.

      My family has been in manufacturing for a couple of generations; and if you can get a good process flow from design to manufacture, and you can have those break throughs in manufacturing technology, the multiplication effects on efficiency and quality are massive.

      The Japanese auto industry were magicians at this, especially as they came on in the early 80's.

      The Panther/Tiger I see as a failure of that process. IIRC the engineers had actually designed a more robust final drive for the panther. But that final drive couldn't be manufactured in numbers; so they had to dumb it down to what they could build.

      The engineers who made the Sherman made a great platform that could be easily manufactured by US plants, and it was robust enough to be both reliable and flexible. Think how many drive trains got stuck into the M4: Radials, multibanks, the odd diesels.... and none of this slowed down production.

      I'll have to look it up. But I thought that the Russians kept a group of Shermans around to act as tanks to exploit a breakthrough. The biggest reason was that they knew when the crews jumped into the Shermans they'd start and move.

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    5. "... if you can get a good process flow from design to manufacture ..."

      Unless you're choosing to focus only on manufacturing, you're missing the main point of the post. It doesn't matter if we can churn out a thousand Aegis radar systems a day if they can't be operated and maintained by the 20 year old tech on the ship or if the array is so delicate that gently nosing aground a 2 kts results in a permanent disabling of the ship.

      The point of the post was combat reliability, readiness, and maintainability. The point was not manufacturing or one weapon versus another.

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    6. TRT,

      I was a military observer in the MINURSO mission and we had a UN Antonov AN-22 that landed at Agwanit Morrocco (western Sahara) after a week of hard rains (yes, in the Sahara desert) and buried itself almost up to the aircraft belly.

      The Polisario got two BMPs and chained them to the aircraft and yanked it out backwards. The air crew inspected the plane and then flew it off with no issues. I can think of no western aircraft that would have been able to fly immediately after burying its landing gear like that.

      I cannot comment on the new Russian gear, but the Soviets designed pretty robust equipment.

      Soviet air defenses inflicted some pretty heavy losses on the USA in Korea and Vietnam.

      GAB

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    7. "Unless you're choosing to focus only on manufacturing, you're missing the main point of the post."

      Sorry. I went off on a tangent based on the M4 example (the idea that there was alot of sophistication in the M4 due to the way it was manufactured). My point was that complexity in manufacturing (going to an entirely cast hull, epoxy's used in certain areas in addition to bolts) can be okay, *AS OPPOSED* to complexity in the product itself.

      The F-35 and LCS are a hot mess, no matter how good or efficient the manufacturing is.They aren't supportable in the field so far.

      The M4 had alot of new technology in its manufacturing, but the end product itself was extremely serviceable and reliable.

      " if you can get a good process flow from design to manufacture"

      This is key to making a product serviceable and reliable. Some of the things the engineers come up with are nightmares.

      Serviceability and manufacturability have to be in the design.

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    8. "I cannot comment on the new Russian gear, but the Soviets designed pretty robust equipment. "

      See, thats cool, but I've also read that a T72 gearbox had a MTBF of 100 hours.
      But then if it can be swapped out in 20 minutes, is a T72 "robust"?

      It depends where we measure

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    9. TrT, don't equate complexity failures with quality failures. You can build the simplest thing in the world but if you build it poorly, it will fail. The point of the post was that the converse is not true. You can build the most complex thing in the world perfectly and it still won't be ready, available, and maintainable. Complexity = poor readiness and maintainability.

      I have no idea what the case is for the T72 gearbox. Quality failure (would be my guess) or complexity failure? I have no idea and I'm sure you don't either. That it fails does not necessarily mean that it's too complex - it may just be poorly built.

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    10. TRT ,
      Pretty much, yes, 100 hour service interval isn't terrible, especially if that component is a 20 minute job, dont forget, in modern parlance, labours expensive, manufacturing is cheap. So, drop in a gear box after every week of hard use? Sure, it sounds like it takes less time than it would to fuel up the diesels. which you're doing every day.

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  5. The V-22 is 70% composite to improve performance, while helos are just around 10%. The V-22 has composite skin, so it can catch fire and the entire aircraft burns up. And the composite is part of the structure for the flexible fuselage. Only small repairs can be made at the depot level. Any serious damage and they scrap the whole thing. Recall the three CV-22s that were shot up attempting to land in Africa. They flew home, but the skin on 2 of 3 was so messed up they scrapped two new aircraft.

    And the parts are so fragile some must be replaced after a hundred hours, and a complete wash down is required after every (rare) landing on a non-hard surface. And readiness:

    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/08/23/osprey-readiness-challenge-years-after-troubling-report/32002433/

    The report also found that aircraft readiness ranged from 45 percent to 58 percent from fiscal 2009 to 2011, far short of the goal of 82 percent readiness

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    1. Can you qualify your statements?
      One of the joys of working with carbon fibre is that its easily repairable. Its just carbon weave and glue....

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    2. Nate, in the defense of the Ak-47 and tiger, you got just a few things wrong. The sights on the ak are solidly mounted, barrel and receiever. Its the distance between the sights that cause it to be difficult to aim correctly. The Finnish army rectified that by mounting them on the rear of the receiver. To be honest a service ak has a 3-3.5 MOA depending on country of origin. By comparison a Colt M16/ M4 has a MOA of 2/2.5. The tiger tank actually had better reliability then the panther tank, and almost parity to the pz IV tank. It came down to the quality of the crews, being trained not to exceed set standards and a relatively (for German engineering ) simple tranmission compared to the panther. In addition to those two specific, most things russian actually have better performance, particularly aircraft. Where they come short is avionics and less reliable targeting systems. They also design most everything with easy access and easy controls. A solution for the conscripts that are expected to maintain and operate the equipment.

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  6. I think the US pursued that technological exotic because many felt there was the luxury of both time and money. Going back to your AEGIS example, the money does exist to keep the system in working repair, but like most politicians its apparent that ADM's prefer the new and shiny over brooms and maintenance.

    It's clear that the USN is acquiring tech that is exceeding the repair capabilities of sailors at sea and the SIMA's that are supposed to be the resident experts and fleet trainers. That road means the equipment needs to be a highly reliable black box. not something that is CASREP'd if someone sneezes on it. Having to call LockMart, GE and Raytheon for tech assistance reduces the overall capability of the Navy.

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  7. "That road means the equipment needs to be a highly reliable black box. not something that is CASREP'd if someone sneezes on it. Having to call LockMart, GE and Raytheon for tech assistance reduces the overall capability of the Navy."

    I had thought that the Navy used to, in the 80's at least, do some pretty complex technical work on their stuff? Like the radar, etc. on the Tomcat?

    Is that no longer true? Or did they always have vendor reps on board?

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  8. Oooooooooo, Interesting debate.

    The “simplicity” of which you speak, the AK47 being a prime example, is in fact incredibly complex to engineer.

    You have to get an idea and run design after design after design until you have one that circumvents many of the inherent problems caused by the universe, and then you have to refine, ditch, redesign and evolve a design.

    Then more to production engineering and figure out how to change the whole thing again so that it can be made reliable.

    The MAC10 is a nice example of many of the features an AK47 uses to be so good, open tolerances, air cooling, simple design, minimal components, cheap and easily made.

    And it’s a piece of Sh*t. Sorr Mr Mac but it is !

    Quality is designed in. It takes time and a whole bunch of a particular kind of very skilled engineers.
    It has to be high on the list of priorities, and the ethos must permeate every level of the design and construction, and it costs. ( But not necessarily in terms of the dollar net. )

    In Short Simplicity is phenomenally complex.

    It’s got to have NO Ego and NO Agenda and NO PR department, because it involves rework and being prepared to admit your wrong and evolve the design.
    You have to admit your in a research world, making something new and never before seen. Admit you don’t know, what you don’t know, yet! and when you hit that problem you have to adapt.

    Unfortunately we seem to be risk adverse in a research and development environment, and stock holders don’t respond well to anything but good news.

    On the other hand.

    We do still do some good things. AESA is a brilliant invention, highly resilient to the real word; they can suffer 100 of broken components whilst still remaining nearly totally operational. Complex complex waveform engineering but basically consists of sticking a load of “LED’s” on a big board. Amazing.

    I guess you win some you lose some?

    Beno

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  9. There is a lot to be said about reliability and weapons that work under difficult conditions.

    Like it or not, warfare will subject everything to the far from ideal conditions. It is what having a war is all about after all.

    In a military that cared about success, reliability would be a key metric for choosing a system.

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