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How long to re-stock munitions?

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The UK (and I guess others) seem to have handed over the bulk of certain types of weapons to Ukraine.  What is the timeframe for re-supply?  I'd quite like to be defended myself, and also to continue support Ukraine.  Can manufacture be ramped up rapidly?

6
In reply to MG:

I'm not sure who you think will be invading us (with tanks) Russia seems to be fully occupied in Ukraine. I'd be happy to send everything.

4
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I agree - I wasn't suggesting we shouldn't help Ukraine.  Just wondering how long before things are replaced.  I would think the experience of Ukraine highlights the need for robust defences against unexpected events, and more widely NATO clearly is at risk itself in certain locations.

 ExiledScot 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

It's OK, just looked out the window, no tanks on the horizon, stand down. 

3
 Yanis Nayu 24 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

Shit - they’ve got stealth tanks!

1
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Its that camo paint they put on it!

1
 jkarran 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

> I agree - I wasn't suggesting we shouldn't help Ukraine.  Just wondering how long before things are replaced.  I would think the experience of Ukraine highlights the need for robust defences against unexpected events, and more widely NATO clearly is at risk itself in certain locations.

I doubt it's a simple picture, some of it, particularly things with finite shelf life or consumed in normal operations will be in serial or scheduled batch production so fairly easy to make the batches bigger or more frequent. Some of it probably won't be replaced where it was already approaching obsolescence, was poor value or can no longer be straightforwardly re-made for one reason or another. There are also a lot of component shortages, the electronics market is still completely broken by covid and only likely to get worse if the conflict and or pandemic expands in the east. Throwing money at that problem only gets you so far, the shortages are real and beyond our reach to fix. Depending exactly what we've sent and the complexity of it I'd guess between 6 months (hats, ration packs etc) and 5 years (complex systems) under what are badly disrupted but basically peacetime conditions.

jk

1
 Barrington 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

In a word - no.

 jimtitt 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jkarran:

Stinger production is long gone and Javelin production massively reduced as everyone had plenty in stock and a new version being developed. Not things you can knock up in a garden shed!

 wintertree 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jkarran:

> under what are badly disrupted but basically peacetime conditions.

Supply chain for making even moderately complicated devices with electronics is bonkers.  I’m ordering parts now I think I’ll need in mid 2023, and the supply chain for even some microchip-free electronics parts has way more lead time (and rising) in unexpected places in part down to loss of a lot of capacity in Ukraine.  

A lof of thermal imaging stuff used to be highly supply constrained; orders for astronomy NIR sensors got shunted back a year or so by the second gulf war as capacity was suddenly needed to - I assume - replace a lot of cruise missiles.   I don’t know what it’s like now funky sensors used to rely on a very few out of the way fabs run by a clutch of niche firms with a lot of in-house process experience, not something you can just parallelise by throwing money at it.  I imagine my little insight in to one bit of the supply chain isn’t unique and this sort of thing happens all over.

 dread-i 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

The west can provide anti tank weapons, quicker than the Russians can supply tanks. At some point they will realise that. Their options will be to make more tanks, which is slow and expensive, or to switch to a different tactic.

Any threat to the UK from Russia will likely come from something attached to a hypersonic missile. That may be the reason they were keen to show them off.

3
 mutt 24 Mar 2022
In reply to dread-i:

And I assume we have restocked all the air launched missiles fired off at isis . Apparently they have a 10 year fire-by date so there will be an ongoing procurement. Just like any other army we will run out of smart weapons in time but HE can be produced very rapidly. 

2
 David Riley 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

I think it's impossible to know, since one missing part could stop it.  But as a life long electronics manufacturer I would not be pessimistic.  Even with the lowest priority going,  I've never suffered serious delays with anything.  Things made once can be made again if the money is there.

1
 jkarran 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

> Stinger production is long gone and Javelin production massively reduced as everyone had plenty in stock and a new version being developed. Not things you can knock up in a garden shed!

Exactly, some of it needs the factories/lines to be re-made before the parts. In peacetime that takes years, in the current mess add more years.

Even on a war footing we're so reliant on asian high tech manufacturing (currently a right mess) there's simply no way we'd be able to onshore and scale up fabrication like we did in the 40s.

jk

1
In reply to jkarran:

> Even on a war footing we're so reliant on asian high tech manufacturing (currently a right mess) there's simply no way we'd be able to onshore and scale up fabrication like we did in the 40s.

Which is itself interesting/worrying.  Are we saying that if there was serious war in say Taiwan and electronics manufacture was seriously disrupted, we basically couldn't resupply weapons?

 jkarran 24 Mar 2022
In reply to David Riley:

> I think it's impossible to know, since one missing part could stop it.  But as a life long electronics manufacturer I would not be pessimistic.  Even with the lowest priority going,  I've never suffered serious delays with anything.  Things made once can be made again if the money is there.

Not at scale without redesign unless you hold the stock or it's designed completely around generic parts. So many modern ASICs are single source and sufficiently complex they can't be designed out without very significant knock on consequences elsewhere.

jk

 The Lemming 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

Don't worry.

I'm sure all sides have sufficient stock of nuclear weapons to use when the conventional stuff runs out.

No need to panic.

1
In reply to The Lemming:

Thanks Lemming, my mind's at rest.

 jkarran 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

For my work we're basically at the point where it's quicker to redesign around what can still be bought from stock than to wait for the right chips to go back into production. It happened in 2008 too, that disruption lasted 2-3 years from memory.

Weapons thankfully isn't my world so I don't know what kind of stock is held for future production. Given the cost implications I'd expect there are gaps but I might be surprised.

jk

 David Riley 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jkarran:

I don't agree at all.  We are talking about important weapons. They will certainly be designed for belt and braces manufacturing resilience.

5
In reply to MG

Thankfully we're on an island with a fairly robust Navy. The fisherman can be pretty savage as well I've heard.

Down with facism etc etc, bring back the homeguard

 Barrington 24 Mar 2022
In reply to David Riley:

I'm afraid they're not. Generally a lifetime buy to pre-determined "needs" for complex weapons.  

 jkarran 24 Mar 2022
In reply to dread-i:

> Any threat to the UK from Russia will likely come from something attached to a hypersonic missile. That may be the reason they were keen to show them off.

Ballistic missiles have been hypersonic since the 50s (the V2 was close!), what Russia is trumpeting as its 'hypersonic missile' is a totally different class of thing to what the US and China have in development. I suspect Russia is trumpeting it's air launched hypersonic missile (a development of a decades old ground launched missile) in part sabre rattling but mostly to drum up sales.

jk

1
 jimtitt 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jkarran:

There was an interesting analysis of hypersonic weapons in the German equivalent of New Scientist recently and exactly why the USA have been failing to get them up and  running after 70 years of trying, the heat problems and actually getting them to steer are enormous, a cornering radius of 400km isn't exactly precision!

1
 wercat 24 Mar 2022
In reply to Barrington:

indeed, there was a fire, iirc in the 1980s that destroyed the Army's stock of semiconductor spares for the Clansman radio system.  By then a lot of the Plessey SL600 series of ICs had gone out of production. (Specifically developed in the 1960s for that equipment range and some were without commercial equivalents).  Hence the Army was cannibalising in the later years of this 1960s designed set of radios.

(There was some very expensive remanufacturing of updated modules in the early 2000s, just in time for it to go out of service)

The Americans had a very different approach - you could open a 1960s designed radio 20 or more years later and it would look identical - except that the modules internally had been re-engineered using more modern circuitry to avoid obsolescence) - Building the equipment was just the start of a long programme of refinement and re-engineering to give a very long and reliable service life

Post edited at 11:34
 wercat 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jkarran:

I believe I'm right in saying that Russia is the only nation with neutron bomb capability (admitted at least)

imagine that with hypersonic delivery

Post edited at 11:36
 David Riley 24 Mar 2022
In reply to wercat:

>  By then a lot of the Plessey SL600 series of ICs had gone out of production.

I still have a few tubes.

 jimtitt 24 Mar 2022
In reply to wercat:

> I believe I'm right in saying that Russia is the only nation with neutron bomb capability (admitted at least)

> imagine that with hypersonic delivery

They may still have some ABM's with neutron warheads, everyone else gave them up as ineffective. 

 wercat 24 Mar 2022
In reply to David Riley:

that'll be your pension all right then!

 wercat 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

yes, but they would be effective against troop concentrations but unacceptable as the ultimate "capitalist weapon" back then.  "Kill people but preserve property" I seem to recall.

 DerwentDiluted 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

I'm not worried. This Government will be giving all their mates lucrative contracts to stop making PPE and start making complicated ordnance.

1
 elsewhere 24 Mar 2022
In reply to dread-i:

I think the threat to the UK would be for NATO anti-aircraft (maybe anti-tank) missiles captured by Russia to end up in the hands of terrorists with leakage by Ukrainian forces getting the blame. Also stir up trouble in Bosnia to provide a distraction in NATO's backyard.

Overt acts of war such as hypersonic missiles seem less likely.

 elsewhere 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

>the heat problems

Are they "anti-stealth" and visible* to the naked eye?

*red or white hot, and if not, very visible to IR sensors?

 jimtitt 24 Mar 2022
In reply to elsewhere:

> >the heat problems

> Are they "anti-stealth" and visible* to the naked eye?

> *red or white hot, and if not, very visible to IR sensors?

Exactly, in rocket mode obviously and in "glide" they leave an enormous heat signature, glide is a bit of a misnomer as they manage a slope of maybe 1:3 and when they start to steer 1:2 would apparently be good. A lot of projects but exactly how they will change things we shall see.

In reply to David Riley:

> They will certainly be designed for belt and braces manufacturing resilience.

In the UK? Resilience?

If we're lucky some bloke will have some parts bins kicking about in a shed.

 mondite 24 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> In the UK? Resilience?

I am sure it was contracted out to both Capita and Serco.

What could be more resilient than that?

In reply to wercat:

> yes, but they would be effective against troop concentrations but unacceptable as the ultimate "capitalist weapon" back then.  "Kill people but preserve property" I seem to recall.

CND tag line. They still obliterate everything for a few hundred metres. Plus no one's investing in a flat where all the steel items are giving off gamma rays due to neutron irradiation.

 wintertree 24 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

I think a cobalt bomb would better suit the scorched earth approach we’re seeing from Putin. 

In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> I'm not worried. This Government will be giving all their mates lucrative contracts to stop making PPE and start making complicated ordnance.

Dido Harding likes horses, Cavalry regiments have horses but also have tanks. That's armour sorted. I'm sure some MP has kids with an entertainments business that does the odd fireworks display so ammunition could be sourced, another probably has a social media influencer in the family who could handle thermal imaging, as it's all cameras and filters and stuff.

Trebles all round.

Post edited at 14:40
1
 Maggot 24 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

"Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward, ..."

 AukWalk 24 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

Reminds me of some stories about railway telecoms equipment I've heard about. Eg A specific computer system is required for a certain telecoms system, and obviously the components are no longer manufactured anywhere so have to be salvaged. Years ago a recently retired member of staff started buying up all the second hand systems of this kind which occasionally came up on ebay or whatever other sources from factory refurbishments etc, and hoarding them at home. Fast forward to now, and they come on the market exceptionally rarely, meaning that this retired guy operating out of his garage is is sole supply for vital components required to keep the systems running, and can charge essentially whatever he wants :p

 jimtitt 24 Mar 2022
In reply to AukWalk:

In my local (German) town the barriers for a level crossing failed so for two months a guy sat in a car and jumped out to operate them. The crossing is now closed for three months for the system to be replaced as no spares are available for the 30 year old electronics.

 wercat 24 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

funny you should say that - I know a chap in darkest Norfolk who operates out of a shed

I've seen lorryloads of stuff delivered in army lorries and unladed to sheds in Norfolk by serving troops!

Middle of a field with a deserted comms tower nearby.  Rapier, Cymbeline all rotting nearby

I think units were disappearing so quickly in the mid 2000s that paperwork was unfinished, stuff partly repaired by suddenly gone workshops all mixed up

Post edited at 17:13
 wercat 24 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

I visited a BBC World Service transmitter station near here in the early 2000s that still had a wall rack of Z80 BBC specials controlling aerial switching for short wave programming.  The engineers were used to repairing below component level (eg repairing relays which were unobtainable).  There was still an early 1980s BBC microcomputer in a test rig for some equipment.

In reply to MG:

> Which is itself interesting/worrying.  Are we saying that if there was serious war in say Taiwan and electronics manufacture was seriously disrupted, we basically couldn't resupply weapons?

If there was a serious war in Taiwan then fairly rapidly we couldn't make anything at all.  Not cars, not medical equipment, not household equipment not even LED lightbulbs.

Just about everything has electronics in it and pretty much any circuit board will have at least one component made in Taiwan.  It just takes one component on the board you can't get and you can't make the board.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Sounds like we should do something about that.  

 mondite 24 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

> Sounds like we should do something about that.  

Both the EU and USA are starting to try but its horrendously expensive to set a fab up and the Taiwanese companies dont really have the motivation to really help out since it does act as a line of defence in itself.

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> I'm not sure who you think will be invading us (with tanks) Russia seems to be fully occupied in Ukraine. I'd be happy to send everything.

Tom in Edinburgh might see an opportunity and march on Carlisle!

 colinakmc 25 Mar 2022
In reply to The New NickB:

> Tom in Edinburgh might see an opportunity and march on Carlisle!

I think that was tried a few years ago and Carlisle wasn’t really the problem…..


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