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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Men With Guns

What did our Popular and Competent Prime Minister have going through her head when she was forced to review Polish troops during her visit to Europe? (Poland contributes troops to Iraq)

Bad Men With Guns

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 4/23/2005 01:07:00 am


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her look of disgust is priceless. Those European models she so fancies do come with accessories she could never bring herself to use.

4/23/2005 10:15:00 am  
Blogger Gooner said...

She always looks like that, a kind of sour, angry, smarmy, emotional grumpybum. Did she examine Poland's flat tax system too?

4/23/2005 11:52:00 am  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Maybe she'd just had her hand kissed prior to inspecting the armed forces? They still do that over there, apparently.

4/23/2005 12:33:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Gooner, NZ & Poland have signed a joint tax agreement, so maybe flat tax might come on the agenda here?

4/23/2005 01:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Mike Readman said...

We're getting a flat tax (well, very close to it)! Slowly, but surely everybody will be earning more than $60,000 per year and paying the top rate. Eventually, $60,000 will be hardly anything and we'll basically have a flat tax.

4/23/2005 01:46:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

LOL Mike! I suppose I shouldn't be laughing ...

4/23/2005 01:56:00 pm  
Blogger Greg Stephens said...

Can I point out that it is standard procedure at all official visits for a Guard of Honour to be inspected.
I have seen numerous ones at Government House where the foreign dignatary looked very scarred at the Haka!

4/23/2005 03:57:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

It is scary, men standing silent with old rifles is not scary.

We're just having a little fun with this one. Oh, and the Shrek photo. Bahahahahahahaha.

4/23/2005 03:59:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Better to scare a visiting dignitary with the Haka, than make them laugh with a display of our Military.

At least Poland have being buying up new equipment from the USA. In fact, since they joined NATO they have really pissed the French off. The French thought they had the sale of some Mirage 2000s in the bag, but it all fell through when Poland purchased F-16's instead. Oops, sorry to bring up France again. Don't mention the war.

4/23/2005 05:10:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Oh WW2? the one the French forgot to fight for themselves? ;-)

4/23/2005 05:23:00 pm  
Blogger STC said...

You have to realise of course that this is one expression she is making in a several minutes long walk? I defy you to travel to Poland in winter, jetlagged, travelling to see such places as Aushwitz, and not make an expression that some bullshit hacks back in NZ couldn't construe as "disgust".

Helen Clark has done a lot ot recognise veterans issues in the two Labour terms.

Under Labour, the armed forces are more deployed than at any time since the Korean war.

Buying strike fighters which just aren't used or useful is on an intellectual par with an Ostrich.

Labour is investing in the Armed forces in several ways, the LAV III's (I think they are a bad purchase, but it has to be acknowledged there is that investment) state of the art Radio equipment, new Helicopters with greater capacities than the vuanted Iroqoius, and a few others besides.

There needs to be more work, but the reasonable role of our armed forces is international intervention, which focuses on lighter power (frigates, transport for the navy, APC's and superior field equipment towards peacekeeping for the army, and transport, SAR and Reconissence capabilities for the Air Force) Rather than the ability to blow stuff up fast.

National and ACT are daft if they want to buy a useless fixed wing strike aircraft Squadron, to appease our erstwhile "very very very close friend".

4/23/2005 10:49:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

What is wrong with the LAVs? They seem a reasonable armoured vehicle to me. Similar to an earlier version that Australia has used for years.

The alternative is having infrantry walking places or in unarmoured vehicles. Which is an OK strategy if you're a WW1 Field Marshall, but looking a bit dated otherwise.

4/24/2005 01:54:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...


There are many problems with the LAV's, the US 1st Cav commander outlined a few tactical problems (don't drive them around an urban combat area), and a recent report outlined the technical problems.

Some of the problems have been known since the 90's - that heavy wheeled armoured vehicles aren't so useful in wet agricultural countries, nor in snow (they tested them in Europe for NATO purposes).

The Israeli's were close to finalising a deal to buy something close to the LAV-III variant, until all the problems came out during the Iraq war.

The NZ model has extra untested components, such as the turret made in Australia. The US Army models have a remote-controlled .50cal heavy machine gun.

The Aussies do use the much cheaper Auslav (early 90's?). They decided to upgrade their tracked M113's rather than buy LAV-III's or some other armoured vehicle. NZ could have gone down the same path, for a much cheaper price then the LAV-III's.

Stephen Cooper should peruse the two Auditor-General reports (which say the Army bought far too many units, but neglected to but spare parts or cost depreciation correctly....) and browse the NZ Herald for Dodgy Dodson, the Army general who used a PR firm to convince sucker Labour Cabinet Ministers to sell the combat squadrons and transfer all the cash to the Army. Then he shredded the documents to prevent it from being found out....

Just another of Labour's Excellent Adventures.

4/24/2005 12:16:00 pm  
Blogger David said...

The aluminium armour is about the same thickness as that on a M113 or a Bradley. So if you're not going to take a LAV on an M113 or a Bradley in to an urban area, then that leaves only tanks. And tanks unsupported by infantry are toast in an urban area as well. Urban areas are risky, and there is no perfect solution.

Wheels versus tracks is all about cost per mile, with tracks being much more maintenance intensive. Armour has to stay fairly close to supplies which will be in trucks, so if trucks can't handle the conditions then there isn't much point in the armour being able to charge off on their own. So wheels should be OK, almost all the time.

Untested is only a problem if a component does not work, cannot be made to work, and cannot be returned to the manufacturer. I haven't heard of any problems in this area.

I think upgrading M113s is a crap idea. They're 40 year old vehicles. And most of the price is in the turret which is full of electronics and optics. The M113s like vintage cars... stick them in a museum. LAVs of various models are good enough for the US Marines, US Army, and Australian Army. They look like a good buy to me... certainly better than upgrading obsolete vehicles to squeeze an extra 5 or 10 years out of them. And cheaper than buying a modern tracked armoured vehicle, which is likely double the price to buy and to maintain.

4/25/2005 03:12:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

1. The LAV-III can have real armour fitted, but neither the engine nor the suspension was designed to power a vehicle with actual armour attached over long time periods. See American experience in Iraq.

2. Our soldiers don't have the choice - they will get sent in without proper armour support. In reality the whole goal of this re-equipment exercise is to turn the NZ military into a mostly passive patrolling force. Tanks are not considered passive, but armoured cars are. By controlling the equipment of the military, Labour hopes to dictate how they are used in the future. If we don't have the equipment, then we can't reasonably be asked to contribute to real military campaigns. The SAS is ok because the media don't print anything about them anyway.

3. Wheels versus tracks is about military capability, not cost per mile. Commonly your enemy doesn't allow you to drive around on roads like you're off on a Sunday drive (being smartarse here). Tracked vehicles can cross far more types of terrain than wheeled vehicles. This is a concept from WW1, when tracked armoured vehicles broke the stalemate of trench warfare. You're not going to drive a LAV through mud or over trenches, nor are you going to drive it through a substantial house. The LAV's were tested in Germany and found to have inadequate cross-country performance.

The wheels of the US Army LAV's catch fire after near-misses from RPG's. US Army LAV's will all be modified with extra fire extinguishers around each wheel (no doubt at great expense, aside from the suspension modifications already planned). You can bet this won't be done for NZ LAV's.

4. You test to find whether components and claimed features don't work. For example, upon finding a RNZAF Hercules can only fly half-way across the Tasman with a LAV onboard, then a rational person would think the Army's requirement that the LAV's be Hercules-transportable was not fulfilled.

5. The M113's are remanufactured, not upgraded. Basically most parts including the engine and drivetrain are replaced, as the Australians are doing, and as many NATO countries have done. Normally turrets are installed. In the Australian case I think they are getting remote-controlled .50 cal heavy machine guns. Strategy Page has a good thread where problems with the M113's are discussed.

6. The commander of the 1st Cav Division, just returned from Baghdad, believes heavily armoured tanks and combat helicopters are necessary equipment for modern urban warfare. Infantry and lightly armoured lightly gunned vehicles have no real edge against RPG and sniper rifle-armed insurgents with home-ground advantage.

7. The whole point about this LAV thing is the sequence of events which led to expensive wheeled vehicles being purchased at the expense of our entire air combat history, a result in my opinion of a confluence of Labour's pacifist mentality and Major-General Dodgy Shredder Dobsons ambitions to re-equip the Army at the expense of his competitors in the Air Force. If you check out Labour Scandals, I have a link somewhere on the right-hand panel to the Auditor Generals two reports.

4/26/2005 12:52:00 am  

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