Are LGB a good munition to use during COIN Ops?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Jailorinummqasr, Oct 31, 2005.

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    Leaving aside the details of this attack and other operations mounted in Western IZ. Being merely of a CCS arm, I am baffled by the use of large amounts of HE to conduct COIN Ops.

    Surely, if a building is suspected of being used by insurgents then knock the door down and detain them.... how much Intel is being lost because 'Target A' may have been vaporized with his associates or family. (I am sure that at times in NI the British Army would loved the RAF to drop a Paveway or two down a few chimneys on the Falls Road :eek: ). Bizarrely, Lindsey Hilsum (C4 news Sunday) said the US forces do not even follow up to collect Intel or count bodies. Here is my simple assessment of the Pro & Cons


    1. Limited risk to own troops.
    2. You are likely to kill the target building.


    1. No live detainees to extract Intel from.
    2. No physical evidence left to determine what future ops might have been planned.
    3. No guarantee that the Target was killed/wounded.
    4. Collateral damage is limited provided that:
    a. the correct house is hit.
    b. only bad people were in the house.
    5. Does not help convince the local population that you are a 'cause for good'.

    Are there any warrior types who can explain why this is an effective tactic.

  2. I think you've pretty much answered your own question there mate.
  3. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    As a ex-RAF Armourer, i can say yes,they are. Since Gulf 1,the guidance kits have got more accurate & sophisticated. The Tornad GR-4 with it's TIALD (Built,ironically in a old biscuit factory in Edingburgh!) has enabled self delivery & guidance WITHOUT the need for the Army to laze the target for them. With practice, the weapon can be delivered thru a open sky light.
    The guidance kit can be attatched to a 500lb to a 2000lb bomb.I think that the main reason for these not being used is the cost of the guidance kit,anything from £50,000 to £500,000 depending on type.
  4. Oh dear - a disciple of the "Air Power is the solution to everything" school of thought (although not sure how an ex-RAF armourer counts as a "warrior type"). Accuracy of delivery is not the point - its the size of the warhead that is the issue. Dropping anything in a built-up area (even the US's new 250lb bomb) is going to create collateral damage - even if it does hit the intended target. The key to COIN is winning the battles for hearts and minds. This is not easily done by splattering them all over the place. That is why the weapon of choice is dismounted infantry and good intelligence.
  5. I vaguely recall a lesson on LOAC when a squaddie is aiming his LAW at a building containing a sniper, and his mate persuades him otherwise. As I recall, the lesson was on "proportionate use of force".

    The idea that LGBs are suitable for use during a counterinsurgency campaign that is supposedly "succeeding" is absolutely barking mad and illustrates the deceit that surrounds the continued coalition presence.
  6. during 2003, did the RAF not drop concrete LGBs to minimise collerateral damage ...and then find that they were still getting the same result/problem??

    The newer Paveway is an improvement but a hellishly dangerous weapon if it goes rogue, ie loses lazer spot or even GPS guidance. At this point it is hardly a precision weapon. A tank round or something similar is more precise

    The US use smaller bombs..down to 500 ib, the RAF smallest current size is 1000 ib...Bearing in mind the damage a 155mm HE round can do... its a risky option

    This still smacks of full blown conflict not COIN, very risky

    How many times has this type of munition been used in the British sector.... very little I would guess,( I know for a fact none were dropped during Telic 2)...

    .. shows the difference in approach..

    I wonder were the US using a FAC or TACP, or were they using a UAV???

    As I have said... its risky and hardly winning hearts and minds
  7. Minor nit - the two TIALD prototypes (called Sandra and Tracy, think Viz) were spray-painted beige and rushed off to GRANBY to the sound of engineers in Edinburgh crossing their fingers and sucking their teeth. They worked, to the sound of engineers in Edinburgh giving sighs of relief, and prayers to the God of wire-wrap construction. So, no, not quite "more accurate since"

    Having demonstrated that the kit worked in the field, that it was a massive improvement over Pave Spike on a Buccaneer, that it was years ahead of the US kit, and the customer was gagging for it, of course MoD immediately bought the kit? Did they b*llocks, they kept Ferranti's Electro-Optics Division hanging around for a couple of years while they argued about how many they were going to buy.

    PS as for GR.4, didn't MoD (PE) screw up by not specifying that it be able to employ TIALD?
  8. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    Yup,the MoD also screwed it up as some of the new / American weapons were'nt compatable with the weapon system software! Bit like the ALARM fit,most of that was done in theater!
    At RAF Bruggen where I was based we got orders to box up & ship every JP233 A/D that we had.That took us about a week to do & then we were told they were'nt needed!! We done more JP233 & Special Weapon practice loads per day than we done in six months!!
  9. spike7451

    spike7451 RIP

    I may not have been charging around the battle field or screaming death to the enemy at the top of my lungs like you,but Armourers,even serving or ex-RAF Armourers like me are every bit as profesional & as dedicated as any other serviceman in H.M forces.
    I might not be in the RAF now but one thing i dont do is make assumptions about other peoples service,unlike you who seem to know me so well.I suggest you limit your responses to the post & not the people posting unless you know them.
  10. All a case of 'we bought it, lets see what it can do?'

    Blo*dy overkill IMHO
    No good for intel gathering and highly unlikely to win hearts and minds
    mind you any mop-up op would probably find hearts ,minds,kidneys,lungs etc 8)
  11. The only assumption I made about you is based on the rubbish you came out with.
  12. I guess if you have an isolated target the show of force could be spectacular .But if any chance of colateral damage no
    bloody use at all . Its all minimum force aimed shots hearts &minds intel driven stuff . Unfortunatly dosen't make great tv and
    USAF can't buy multi million dollar jets on the strength of that .
  13. I remember reading a story during Telic no number that the RAF were using training rounds (laser guided, but filled with concrete, rather than explosive) to engage armour. Why not use this in COIN? After all, a paving slab dropped accurately from 20,000 feet should spoil anyones day.
  14. It is yet another unfortunate example of the way the US has ceded victory in the info ops campaign to the insurgents. The technology concerned is fairly irrelevant to be honest, the key point is that the US use airpower to take out targets rather then soldiers.

    What the audience we wish to influence sees is "cowardly US terror fliers" killing civilians. They perceive the Americans to be cowards who flinch from facing their enemies face to face, who use bombs that create unnecessary civilian casualties rather than take on their enemies like men. The US denials of civilian casualties are not believed - it is counter-intuitive to your average civilian that letting off hundreds of pounds of HE in a metal casing in a residential area will kill one man and no-one else. If US forces truly cared about Iraqi civilians, the argument goes, they would go in on foot and accept the extra risk to save Iraqi civilian lives. The corollary is that if they don't clearly Iraqi lives mean nothing to them.

    The US has tried to counter the reports from the affected area that the local hospital has reported tens of dead civilians, but even then they are clueless:

    "Civilian deaths cannot be verified and hospital officials frequently make such claims," a US spokesman, Colonel David Lapan, said. "We believe the targeted terrorist leader was killed."

    (quoted from:,2763,1605966,00.html )

    Your target audience reads that and frankly doesn't believe that the US can't count the casualties if it wanted to (they're a superpower for crying out loud ! - what's so difficult about driving by the hospital to check ?) - so they don't on purpose - why is that ? - clearly they don't care about Iraqi lives.

    So we've taken out one scrote but how many have we recruited ? Damn sight more then one I fear.
  15. At the risk of going off at a tangent, my recollection from JDSC is of a discussion in the differences between the UK and US forces on the use of force in OOW and how they believed in a continuous spectrum of levels of response which you could move up, and more importantly down, depending on the situation. Meanwhile we saw the levels of response as being in discrete steps, and recognised the difficulty of scaling it down once it was escalated. Perhaps someone can put me right? Certainly it would point to why we agree that an LGB might be a mite disproportionate, and while it might achieve the immediate aim ("look - there's the bad guy over there. And over there, and over there.") it completely misses the big picture.

    And while I am at it, how does the UK theory stack up in practice? From a mate of mine just back from Basra, it wasn't unusual to face civil unrest, through snipes and pot shot mortaring all the way up to multiple IED ambushes all in the same day. Can you still stick with the stepped approach?