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US Army Forced To Buy Tanks It Doesn't Want- Now A Discussion on " What If.."

Further to the machinery/innovation aspect of this drifting thread*

Head Forming Press (attached 16 minute video)

A little bit more google-digging turned up these machines.

Noteworthy points:

Machines manufactured by Germans (explains Germans prominence in the EU debate - lots of foreign exchange rolling in)
Most examples described are in India (lots of foreign exchange rolling in to Germany - India has latest technology)
Very few bodies shown in any of the shots - and not a dhoti to be seen anywhere (reduces the supposed advantage of cheap labour)
With respect to the Head Forming Press - biggest issues - raw materials and energy (India - and China don't have them - Canada does)

With labour not being an issue and energy and materials being plentiful in Canada why can't Canada be competitive in this type of field?

As well, why can't Canada be doing more of the German stuff? 

One thing that I have noticed over the last few decades is that while North American kids have been distracted by law degrees and MBAs, and Dot Com Bubbles and Real Estate the Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians have maintained a solid corps of mechanical engineers.  And that shows in the MBT/CCV/Bv206/GCV/Helo debates.  North Americans are well behind the curve in applying new ideas to old problems. 

It seems to me that the Yanks spend billions of dollars trying to figure out how they can steal a march on the rest of the world, exploring edge of the envelope ideas and never quite being able to put the pieces together in a timely fashion.  Meanwhile the rest of the world plods along, watching what they Yanks and everybody else is doing and incorporating what they can, when they can, as they need it.

They don't require that every programme is a multi-unit programme, thought out over the next half-century.  They are quite willing to just keep slowly advancing.


About the time that Canada started looking at the JLSS concept the Netherlands put the AMSTERDAM in the water (1995).  Concurrently the Spanish built and launched the PATINO - a sister ship. 
Since then the Spanish have launched a modified PATINO - the CANTABRIA.
Meanwhile the Dutch have moved forward with ROTTERDAM - an LPD - the JOHAN DE WITT - a larger sister of the ROTTERDAM but still and LPD and are building the KAREL DOORMAN - another sister of the ROTTERDAM that also does the functions of the AMSTERDAM.

The Dutch call the KAREL DOORMAN a JLSS - the original Canadian concept that was derided as ridiculous and expensive in 1995.  The Dutch will be retiring the AMSTERDAM when KAREL DOORMAN is commissioned and will build no more AORs.

In the time Canada has been thinking about the JLSS, the Dutch have built 5 ships (including the Patino) and have made the JLSS concept a reality.

In the same time the Spanish have moved from the PATINO, to the CANTABRIA, to the LPDs and LPHs of which they just sold 2 hulls to Australia for outfitting in Australia for use by the RAN.

And Canada still has nothing afloat - and apparently are still waiting for yards that can build such ships to be developed.

By the way the Danes went from ordering Absolon in 2001, to laying her down in 2003, launching her in 2007 and commissioning her in 2007 to completing the fifth ship in the class Niels Juel as and AAD ship in November 2011.  The three AAD variants were all launched in 2011 with the total build time of all three being three years with much of the work being done concurrently.

I could go on with odious comparisons to the CSC and the AOPS as well as the BHS, or to the LCS in the States. 

These are the reasons that I prefer the Euro model over the Yankee (or even the MOD) model.  They are also the reason why I strongly disagree with the PBO on pricing ships as I believe that they study on which the PBO relied was far too heavily weighted towards the American model.

I also think that the involvement of Lockheed Martin in the AOPS project has the possibility of dragging the project under in the same way that it took the LCS project off track.

If LockMart then Milspec
If Milspec then high priced.

The LCS started as a cheap Aussie car ferry with a Danish Stanflex style weaponry suite.  Lockmart wasn't even in the hunt.  They found their way into the project by arguing that they could build a "proper" ship with a single hull built to traditional USN standards. The price ballooned, the timeline expanded, the capabilities decreased. I believe it is arguable that it is in LockMart's interest to "sink" novel ideas because they are so heavily invested in "traditional" capabilities - at least when it comes to ships and tanks.  Aircraft?  Not so sure - America still seems to maintain a lead in that field.

*(PS mods: please allow this one to drift - the subtext here is all about what is possible, what are others doing, how are they managing innovation and what can we learn from them:  Its not about pieces of equipment per se, or technology, or organization, although it could just as easily be about the difficulties in getting from an existing organization to a new organization.  Its about managing change - real change - not PER change)
Frankly leasing a replacement might set a fire under our industry to sort out their sh*t. I do like your heavy industry suggestion. I hear the sobs that labour is to much, economics of scale, shipping distances, etc. But we did have such industry before http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Locomotive_Works. it played a significant role in our tank production in WWII. I suspect the real issue is lack of capital and lack of leadership, project management skills to keep it working. Between the inept management and short sighted union management, they effectively killed such ventures and the desire to pursue them.
People cry out to produce our military equipment domestically in order to create jobs for Canadians.  However, are those same people willing to let us export the weapons that these companies now produce in order to maintain those industries?  If the political will isn't there to allow domestic arms industries to succeed then I'd suggest that it's better to buy offshore and instead invest that money in industries where we do have the political will to compete internationally.
Don't worry.  The Irvings will do their utmost to ensure that whatever they make in profits is quickly moved offshore.  They learned at their daddy's knee, after all...

On the other hand if the money is invested not with "weapons" manufacturers but with manufacturers more broadly then we don't have to sell just weapons.  We can make weapons if necessary but equally we can make components for many other applications.

The same press that presses domes could press a bulbous bow, a high pressure reactor or a heavy tank (water for the holding of, not machine guns for the carrying of).

The same milling or broaching equipment necessary for cutting the lands / grooves in large caliber guns can also be used in cutting grooves in decanters (centrifuges for separating solids and liquids) or for similar machines.

The same applies to the high pressure water cutters and the multi-axis lathes.

Those machines - perhaps they shouldn't be bought by Irving or Seaspan.  Perhaps the government would be better subsidizing the purchase of those machines by the steel companies and the smaller machine shops across the country through tax incentives.

Once Canadian industry had those machines then they would be better placed to compete more broadly - and not just for Canadian military contracts.
dapaterson said:
Don't worry.  The Irvings will do their utmost to ensure that whatever they make in profits is quickly moved offshore.  They learned at their daddy's knee, after all...

In fairness to them they are personally great supporters of the CF especially The RCR.
...First Nigel Lawson argued that Britain would be better off outside the EU. Then Michael Portillo agreed. Now we learn that Margaret Thatcher reached the same view after leaving Downing Street. Hannan's First Law, it seems, is as robust as ever: no party is ever Eurosceptic while in office.
Why not? Mainly because of what Milton Friedman called 'the tyranny of the status quo'. An immense apparat has grown up around the Brussels system. Disbanding it would mean taking on the Foreign Office, the Home Civil Service, the big multinationals, the mega-charities and NGOs (most of which receive EU subsidies) as well, of course, as the Brussels machine itself. It would consume all the energies of an administration for at least a year. Small wonder most ministers, while grumbling at their powerlessness, prefer to leave things as they stand.

per Daniel Hanan

Mr Hanan, a Eurosceptic MEP, is referring to politicians being Eurosceptic after they leave power.  The commentary could just as easily refer to GOFOs of any nation being "braver" out of uniform than in.  Or it could refer to the Tank supply system, or the Ship supply system, or the industrial complex.....

The tyranny of the status quo.
People don't change unless they have to.
Hope and change.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

This Friedman chappy sounds rather interesting. Understand he has written a book or two.  Might have to read them.

This thinking would seem to suggest that the carrot and stick method of moving donkeys is flawed.  Carrots only lead to fat donkeys.  Donkeys don't move without liberal applications of the stick.  (Alternative solution: dangle carrot on stick and keep it in front of donkey - donkey never gets carrot - eventually donkey ignores carrot completely).


Is this really the only option?

A bit of advice that I was given as a kid was how to go to the track and have a bit of fun betting the horses.  It seems to be applicable.
If you didn't know the horses place two bets - one on the favourite and one on the longshot.  You might get lucky and make a killing but equally you were likely to at least cover the cost of the bets.

The same principle works for retirement planning I have found - and for designing systems.  Figure out how much you can afford to fix when failure happens and experiment within that envelope.

The C(A)F needs to leave space in the system for experimentation at all levels - and that space requires RAB (Responsibilty-Authority-Budget). 

It used to be that the commander was advised to maintain a reserve of 10% of his forces to his own personal use.  Perhaps the 10% number could be applied to other resources (like budget).  I am sure that this would give some accountants fits -"what do you mean: a personal fund for innovation and experimentation?" - and some managers - "what do you mean: share my budget?"

But the same thing that others, prominently on this site Thucydides, have argued pertaining to decentralized government in Canada and the States (64 independent laboratories - somebody is bound to get it right eventually and everybody can learn from the idiots without the whole lot being lost) is equally valid for any organization.

Move the level of trust downwards and expect to be pleasantly surprised.