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C3 Howitzer Replacement

Oldgateboatdriver

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Ammunition is one of the items I have always thought should be kept in strategic reserve: If you are serious about defending yourself, you should have a a war stock of ammunition calculated on the (rough) basis of (How much will the Armed Forces use in all out combat per time unit X How many such time units required for industry to ramp up production to this consumption level = War stock).

Then, you look at shelf life of such ammunition in long term storage and every year you replace the yearly percentage that is expiring by buying that quantity on the one hand, and using up the amount about to expire for live shooting ex, on the other. For example if you have a 20 years shelf life, then every year, you can fire 5% of your real ammo from war stocks.

I always thought this was how it was done until I read things like what you are saying above, or looked at the figures for our Naval ammo stocks versus how much of it we expanded in training. I realized that for some reason Canada prefers not to use real ammo in training. Don't know why because nothing trains you better than the real thing.
 

KevinB

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Ammo is something the CF hoards - at least used to.

War Stock items in the CF I found, especially explosive type ones (and some of the Ammotech's can verify it that still happens) are often kept in case of rainy day - until they are past the expiry date - and then BiP'd.
 

MJP

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Ammunition is one of the items I have always thought should be kept in strategic reserve: If you are serious about defending yourself, you should have a a war stock of ammunition calculated on the (rough) basis of (How much will the Armed Forces use in all out combat per time unit X How many such time units required for industry to ramp up production to this consumption level = War stock).

Then, you look at shelf life of such ammunition in long term storage and every year you replace the yearly percentage that is expiring by buying that quantity on the one hand, and using up the amount about to expire for live shooting ex, on the other. For example if you have a 20 years shelf life, then every year, you can fire 5% of your real ammo from war stocks.

I always thought this was how it was done until I read things like what you are saying above, or looked at the figures for our Naval ammo stocks versus how much of it we expanded in training. I realized that for some reason Canada prefers not to use real ammo in training. Don't know why because nothing trains you better than the real thing.
That is essentially how our ammo works. I think we can't get caught up in thinking of our ammunition holdings based on someone's PRes range experiences. There's a difference between allocation of ammunition and actual stocks. Ideally there is enough ammo for people to get the training they need, however if the CA feels that a certain subset of their people don't need that training then there is no allocation.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I was not thinking in terms of 5.56 cal ammunition shot by the Pres on the Naval side, but in terms of the amount of actual ammo we were shooting (reg and res) from our ship's systems when I was in. Perhaps things have changed but in my days the proportion of actual ammunition expended to stocks was pretty low, as to be almost insignificant, and live shootings were few and far between as compared to the Brits or the Americans..
 

FJAG

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Then, you look at shelf life of such ammunition in long term storage and every year you replace the yearly percentage that is expiring by buying that quantity on the one hand, and using up the amount about to expire for live shooting ex, on the other. For example if you have a 20 years shelf life, then every year, you can fire 5% of your real ammo from war stocks.
We did that in the '70s. For a number of years the three Reg F arty regiments in Canada were putting close to 10,000 rds of 105mm downrange each as we were firing off accumulated war stocks that were timing out. I remember one mission at the end of the exercise in Shilo where my troop fired 400 rds of WP in one mission (two of my L5s crapped out - one went out of battery and stayed there, the other had a mashed trunnion bushing on one side so that with every round the barrel would smack into the shield) Gunners always get a bit nervous when the call comes down to "prepare all ammo on the position". Repacking ammo when someone changes their mind isn't fun.

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dapaterson

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I was not thinking in terms of 5.56 cal ammunition shot by the Pres on the Naval side, but in terms of the amount of actual ammo we were shooting (reg and res) from our ship's systems when I was in. Perhaps things have changed but in my days the proportion of actual ammunition expended to stocks was pretty low, as to be almost insignificant, and live shootings were few and far between as compared to the Brits or the Americans..
The number of ships is also so low as to be almost insignificant.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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In my days, DP, that was 26 warships capable of shooting things. Granted it was mostly 3 inch and 5 inch shells, but the 280's and IRE's got to do very little if any shoots of their missiles. The live torps not being used, I can understand since they could be maintained in usable condition just about forever, but we did very little to no actual shooting of the limbo mortars.
 

SeaKingTacco

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We did that in the '70s. For a number of years the three Reg F arty regiments in Canada were putting close to 10,000 rds of 105mm downrange each as we were firing off accumulated war stocks that were timing out. I remember one mission at the end of the exercise in Shilo where my troop fired 400 rds of WP in one mission (two of my L5s crapped out - one went out of battery and stayed there, the other had a mashed trunnion bushing on one side so that with every round the barrel would smack into the shield) Gunners always get a bit nervous when the call comes down to "prepare all ammo on the position". Repacking ammo when someone changes their mind isn't fun.

🍻
I recall an illumination mission that was the result of the Ammo depot finding several pallets (200 rds, approx) worth of Korean war (ish) vintage 105mm illumination rounds that were timing out, so it was either fire them or BIP them.

We did 6 guns, continuous illumination one zero seconds.

I counted over 50 candles in the air over Lawfield Impact, at one point. Night literally turned to day. It was glorious.
 

daftandbarmy

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I recall an illumination mission that was the result of the Ammo depot finding several pallets (200 rds, approx) worth of Korean war (ish) vintage 105mm illumination rounds that were timing out, so it was either fire them or BIP them.

We did 6 guns, continuous illumination one zero seconds.

I counted over 50 candles in the air over Lawfield Impact, at one point. Night literally turned to day. It was glorious.

But did the Phase III course find the FN they lost? ;)
 

Petard

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I believe the amount of 105mm howitzer ammunition still in stock is probably going to be a significant factor in what might end up replacing the C3 (that is what this thread's about right?)

Back in 2004 and 2005 when all the M109's were binned, a significant amount of 105mm howitzer ammunition was procured, especially the long range C132 round (in the tens of thousands) as that was supposed to be the RCA's main combat round. The C132 could only be fired from the LG1 though, and was so caustic it could chew through barrels at an alarming rate. Not surprisingly its use was very limited, but a considerable "war stock" of them resided in depots

While workup training during the Afghanistan era put a good dent in the older M1 stock levels, not so much for the C132.
Post Afghanistan, with the M777 as the in service Reg Force gun, the 105 consumption rates dropped even more (and don't get me started on a dense training system that still, as KevB rightly puts it, tends to hoard ammo)

Recently a hybrid version of the C132 was introduced into service, the C182, which uses the same M67 propellant as the M1 family of ammunition. The C182 has some serious drawbacks though, not the least of which are the safety measures related to its base bleed unit, so my guess is the rate of consumption is still quite low

Getting rid of such a massive stock of ammo would not be cheap, and selling it is highly unlikely. So despite the fascinating suggestions that have come out over these many pages, the enormous cost of dealing with that pile of remaining 105 rds is going to be a consideration in any plan (assuming at some point there will be a plan)
 

Kirkhill

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I believe the amount of 105mm howitzer ammunition still in stock is probably going to be a significant factor in what might end up replacing the C3 (that is what this thread's about right?)

Back in 2004 and 2005 when all the M109's were binned, a significant amount of 105mm howitzer ammunition was procured, especially the long range C132 round (in the tens of thousands) as that was supposed to be the RCA's main combat round. The C132 could only be fired from the LG1 though, and was so caustic it could chew through barrels at an alarming rate. Not surprisingly its use was very limited, but a considerable "war stock" of them resided in depots

While workup training during the Afghanistan era put a good dent in the older M1 stock levels, not so much for the C132.
Post Afghanistan, with the M777 as the in service Reg Force gun, the 105 consumption rates dropped even more (and don't get me started on a dense training system that still, as KevB rightly puts it, tends to hoard ammo)

Recently a hybrid version of the C132 was introduced into service, the C182, which uses the same M67 propellant as the M1 family of ammunition. The C182 has some serious drawbacks though, not the least of which are the safety measures related to its base bleed unit, so my guess is the rate of consumption is still quite low

Getting rid of such a massive stock of ammo would not be cheap, and selling it is highly unlikely. So despite the fascinating suggestions that have come out over these many pages, the enormous cost of dealing with that pile of remaining 105 rds is going to be a consideration in any plan (assuming at some point there will be a plan)

How about organizing a Trans-Canada expedition with the LG-1s and just shoot the lands out of them? It seems you have guns nobody wants or needs and ammo nobody wants or needs. I fail to see the problem.
 

KevinB

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(assuming at some point there will be a plan)
Given your understanding of the issue from multiple sides of the house here - what would your preferred solution be?
I'm curious - as given your experience across the gamut (Para Bty, Rss, AIG, DLR etc) I suspect you have a much better handle on the optimal system than folks like me who just like to rant ;)

I'm not trying to box you in - just an honest question from the SME standpoint on what do you think would fit best.
 

Weinie

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I recall an illumination mission that was the result of the Ammo depot finding several pallets (200 rds, approx) worth of Korean war (ish) vintage 105mm illumination rounds that were timing out, so it was either fire them or BIP them.

We did 6 guns, continuous illumination one zero seconds.

I counted over 50 candles in the air over Lawfield Impact, at one point. Night literally turned to day. It was glorious.
Love it
 

AmmoTech90

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One problem now is that modern ammo doesn't time expire as quickly. Most of our 105/155 ammo is from the 90s or later. Small arms we churn through fairly regularly but you still run into 90s era stuff being issued. With good storage most modern ammo should be serviceable for 30 to more than 50 years. Regarding getting rid of time expired stuff because it's not working, I've disposed of some badly packed 7.62 blank, and some .50 AP-T that started to fail performance testing. The 7.62 was made in the 70s and we got disposed of it in 1990. The .50 was manufactured in the 50s and 60s and we disposed of it in the 00s or 10s, can't quite remember. The only tx ammo I've regularly gotten rid of is aircraft and marine safety material, occasional lots of pyro/safety fuse that fail proofs, and stuff returned from operations that are in a terrible state.

I have gotten rid of obsolete stuff in vast quantities, cluster bombs, 76mm Armd C, AS Projectiles, etc. But there was no one around that could fire it by that point.

Oh, and once MACS was introduced you could have as much White Bag as you wanted.

Even guided weapons regularly get life extensions. I believe we only bought ADATS missiles once with a 10 year shelf life and they went from 89 to 11, one extension adding 10 years and then no one cared.

Because of the reliability and long life we can now buy ammo infrequently. I was talking to a friend in J4 Ammo and if you want an increased allocation of ammo in five years, request it now or get someone else's reduced.
 

FJAG

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I was trying to find some ref material I have on the subject but no luck.

As I understand it other systems (like MOBAT) can also fire the C132 HEER - but my guess is it would have the same caustic wear issues as the LG-1.

Quite frankly I do not think that buying a particular gun because we still have a pile of ammo for it is a good criteria for choosing a replacement. Find and buy your replacement based on operational requirements. Once that's underway you can fire off the C132 with existing LG1s because barrel wear is no longer a concern (assuming that can be done safely) if its being disposed of. I know getting LG-1 barrel replacements is not a viable solution.

As for other 105mm stocks. There is no shortage of users out there to sell off to if we end up eliminating the calibre.

I'm a bit torn on the issue because I'm generally against towed guns unless there's a need for light airmobile ones and the M777 fits the bill for that. It wasn't originally called an Ultra-light howitzer for nothing. Even the US IBCTs have a battery of M777 supporting two batteries of M119. We currently have 37 which is enough for five six gun batteries and a training/spare stock of 7. We could therefore easily equip a light brigade with an 18 gun regiment and distribute two batteries worth with reservists to train on as augmentees.

For heavy and medium forces I see an armoured 155mm SP (wheeled or tracked). So quite frankly I do not see a burning need to buy in another 105 mm gun. What we critically need is a subcalibre device or a training projectile to allow for cheaper training ammunition.

🍻
 

Petard

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I was trying to find some ref material I have on the subject but no luck.

As I understand it other systems (like MOBAT) can also fire the C132 HEER - but my guess is it would have the same caustic wear issues as the LG-1.

Quite frankly I do not think that buying a particular gun because we still have a pile of ammo for it is a good criteria for choosing a replacement. Find and buy your replacement based on operational requirements. Once that's underway you can fire off the C132 with existing LG1s because barrel wear is no longer a concern (assuming that can be done safely) if its being disposed of. I know getting LG-1 barrel replacements is not a viable solution.

As for other 105mm stocks. There is no shortage of users out there to sell off to if we end up eliminating the calibre.

I'm a bit torn on the issue because I'm generally against towed guns unless there's a need for light airmobile ones and the M777 fits the bill for that. It wasn't originally called an Ultra-light howitzer for nothing. Even the US IBCTs have a battery of M777 supporting two batteries of M119. We currently have 37 which is enough for five six gun batteries and a training/spare stock of 7. We could therefore easily equip a light brigade with an 18 gun regiment and distribute two batteries worth with reservists to train on as augmentees.

For heavy and medium forces I see an armoured 155mm SP (wheeled or tracked). So quite frankly I do not see a burning need to buy in another 105 mm gun. What we critically need is a subcalibre device or a training projectile to allow for cheaper training ammunition.

🍻

There aren't enough LG1 barrels to fire off even the C182 rds, nevermind the unconverted C132 ones remaining. There were no takers when the idea of selling off that massive war stock was floated; why would were there be? Which is why DAEME went the direction it did, in creating the C182, to minimize the cost of eliminating the C132 stock. I'm not saying this ammunition stock would be the deciding factor for a C3 replacement, but considering the enormous costs involved it is an unavoidable one for the mid term. The question is: how much time have they got?

The minimum needed right now are new barrels. The LG1 is starting to have problems with barrel cracking again, and although it is rare to see it within the C3 fleet it is starting there too, this does not get better left alone. Nexter had their chance more than 15 yrs ago to sort this problem out and they blew it, and there are no Canadian manufacturers even remotely interested in developing such a limited capacity. The RCA's best bet is to buy a few of the spare barrels for the L119 or M119 (the US version of Brit light gun) out there, and fit them to the LG1 and C3. Getting the firing data for using this barrel is not technically demanding, and would allow the current level of training to continue. This potential had been explored a few years ago, and it is possible, but was put on pause to see if Cdn industry could respond first. They haven't. Meanwhile the 105 fleet erodes, it's debatable at what rate that erosion is happening, but it is happening.

By fitting new barrels it will buy more time for a very tired fleet, and given the fiscal climate the cheapest solution is going to get latched onto, and that includes using already existing ammunition stocks
Given your understanding of the issue from multiple sides of the house here - what would your preferred solution be?
I'm curious - as given your experience across the gamut (Para Bty, Rss, AIG, DLR etc) I suspect you have a much better handle on the optimal system than folks like me who just like to rant ;)

I'm not trying to box you in - just an honest question from the SME standpoint on what do you think would fit best.
I don't know what the long term solution looks like, but I do have a sense of the current situation, and since you asked..

The RCA needs to buy time while the Army sorts out what it really wants to do, and we get into a fiscal climate where some of the suggestions being tossed about here might actually have a chance.

The RCA has enormous holes in it following the gutting that happened in 2005, and they're still not filled by any deliberate plan I know of (it's recognized by the RCA in its campaign plan, but no where else it seems in terms of programming). Meanwhile the main training tool is eliminating itself

So, as above, I'd suggest re-barreling a few of the C3s and all of the LG1s. to the M119's ordnance. The P Res RCA Regt's that are at saluting bases keep their 105's, but the others get re-rolled. 1 RCHA keeps their C3s for Op Palaci (avalanche control). Those guns from re-rolled units become the spares to sustain what remains in use. Those re-rolled units should train to STA and Air Defence (especially counter UAV) tasks, so they can FG Tps not just individuals. Some of that capability can come from COTS, limited buy and try, until a capitol project can deal with the enormous capability deficiencies that exist. Mortars should remain with the infantry.

Recently the P Res Arty units in 4 Div have shown enormous capacity to change direction. The pandemic conditions forced them to work out a Regimental School IT approach which, as it turns out, worked far better than the RST approach of concentrating everything in Meaford. In one example, 56 Fd went from being barely able to field two guns just a few yrs ago, to now deploying six with main and alt CP dets. Recently they deployed a M777 Gun Tp with 2 RCHA for CT, and the Recce Det for Latvia. With such innovation, and leadership, I think they have the ability to re-orient and take on the re-rolling. Other than the limited STA and AD training, I see any drastic change (say in the order of the USMC change) as being a long way off. I'm very skeptical of even some of the 2025 concepts as being achievable, not until the gov't starts digging itself out of debt. But the P Res tasks to FG to fill those Reg Force holes exist right now, they need something to deal with the sucking chest wound the 105 fleet is so they can at least do that. They also need to begin considering how to restructure themselves to take on the coming STA and AD tasks.
 

SeaKingTacco

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There is another option and that is to approach South Korea about buying some of their stored M101s and converting back to the short barrel, legacy, configuration. Especially for saluting and avcon tasks. It would likely not cost us much.

As you say- the firing tables are readily available (although I wonder about the firing data for the C182 rounds).

Thoughts?
 

Petard

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I vaguely recall there was something problematic about getting old M101's to sustain our C1 fleet, before we binned it, but my old man brain can't seem to recall it exactly; maybe to do with the recoil mech? Not sure

Anyway, the C182 data fired from the M119 barrel would be a lot closer to the LG1's than the M101, and the M119 could fire the C132. If they were to buy a whole gun then they should buy a few M119 and replace the LG1s as a minimum. But buying just the M119 barrels for both LG1 and C3, and firing test rds to verify data, is the cheapest though. This fixing the barrel problem should be looked at as only a short term (10yrs-ish) solution anyway, and not as the 20+ yr "way ahead" IMO
 

FJAG

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...The RCA's best bet is to buy a few of the spare barrels for the L119 or M119 (the US version of Brit light gun) out there, and fit them to the LG1 and C3. Getting the firing data for using this barrel is not technically demanding, and would allow the current level of training to continue. This potential had been explored a few years ago, and it is possible, but was put on pause to see if Cdn industry could respond first. They haven't. Meanwhile the 105 fleet erodes, it's debatable at what rate that erosion is happening, but it is happening.
I'd never heard that this was possible but it raises the question: how much more expensive would it be to get complete M119s rather than just the barrel? It strikes me that the cost of the barrel and the conversion cost could be a wash if the few guns that we need are available in the US.
The RCA needs to buy time while the Army sorts out what it really wants to do, and we get into a fiscal climate where some of the suggestions being tossed about here might actually have a chance.

The RCA has enormous holes in it following the gutting that happened in 2005, and they're still not filled by any deliberate plan I know of (it's recognized by the RCA in its campaign plan, but no where else it seems in terms of programming). Meanwhile the main training tool is eliminating itself
It's very strange indeed that what was a ten year capability gap predicted in 2005 became a non-issue with the acquisition of the stop-gap M777 which became a Reg F standard. But even with it, there never seemed to be a serious contender for filling out the Reg F (much less the Res F) regiments - maybe our flirting with HIMARS for a bit.
Those re-rolled units should train to STA and Air Defence (especially counter UAV) tasks, so they can FG Tps not just individuals. Some of that capability can come from COTS, limited buy and try, until a capitol project can deal with the enormous capability deficiencies that exist. Mortars should remain with the infantry.
That makes eminent sense. We haven't been in an active fight for ten years now and there is very little need to keep three Reg F batteries. Keep one by all means for a future Roto 0 and to keep skills alive but convert the other two batteries could equip up to four Res F regiments adequately. That would allow pouring the spare PYs into something more useful like relearning the AD field and becoming the regiments SMEs. Converting the other 2 Res F former AD Regts and 58 BAA back to AD could follow.

I think it would also make sense to start cornering the market on having Res F arty units earmarked for forming loitering munition units.
Recently the P Res Arty units in 4 Div have shown enormous capacity to change direction. The pandemic conditions forced them to work out a Regimental School IT approach which, as it turns out, worked far better than the RST approach of concentrating everything in Meaford. In one example, 56 Fd went from being barely able to field two guns just a few yrs ago, to now deploying six with main and alt CP dets. Recently they deployed a M777 Gun Tp with 2 RCHA for CT, and the Recce Det for Latvia. With such innovation, and leadership, I think they have the ability to re-orient and take on the re-rolling. Other than the limited STA and AD training, I see any drastic change (say in the order of the USMC change) as being a long way off. I'm very skeptical of even some of the 2025 concepts as being achievable, not until the gov't starts digging itself out of debt. But the P Res tasks to FG to fill those Reg Force holes exist right now, they need something to deal with the sucking chest wound the 105 fleet is so they can at least do that. They also need to begin considering how to restructure themselves to take on the coming STA and AD tasks.
You're quite right. The fact of the matter is that we do not have enough guns within the Reg F units to require much augmentation in an emergency and we have no ability to expand the regiments anyway other than through internal reshuffling of Reg F resources or additional acquisitions of M777. The only real project coming down the pipe is GBAD.

The key organizational point, however, is the lack of a suitable gun to support mechanized operations in higher intensity operations than Afghanistan was. With the latest LAV purchases we have clearly created 6 fully mechanized infantry battalions, have one capable armoured regiment and really no artillery to support them other than the M777s which are limited for those types of operations. The US Army is actively looking to replace their M777s in Stryker BCTs with an armoured wheeled system. We actually explored that option with the Future Indirect Fire Capability in 2005 (along with HIMARS) but that seemed to die off once we started bringing the M777 on line as an interim operational need and then converted that into a larger, but by no means large, purchase.

If we spin off a good part of STA and some of GBAD to the Res F; consider forming a few loitering munitions batteries; plan on some augmentation on M777s and wheeled SPs; and earmark a battery or two for a future precision rocket capability then we have probably used up most of the existing Res F regiments. The very positive aspect of this is that if Res F units are put into the planning cycle from the very beginning, then the annual sustainment costs of these units will go down significantly making the overall project costs more reasonable. If the Army on the other hand insists of putting everything new into the hands of the Reg F, as it is wont to do, then the project costs will rise substantially and will look less attractive to the Army, the CF and the Government.

The conclusion is that we should plan long term for a greater Res F artillery involvement in manning the varying specialties across the entire range of arty equipment and not spend a great deal of time, effort or money, on finding a "training gun" for them to use for the next half century. By all means find an inexpensive short term solution but do not let that become a de facto long term one.

🍻
 

OldSolduer

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I recall an illumination mission that was the result of the Ammo depot finding several pallets (200 rds, approx) worth of Korean war (ish) vintage 105mm illumination rounds that were timing out, so it was either fire them or BIP them.

We did 6 guns, continuous illumination one zero seconds.

I counted over 50 candles in the air over Lawfield Impact, at one point. Night literally turned to day. It was glorious.
On my basic mortar course we fired a WP mission. Out of 15 rounds two failed to launch from the tube. I was number 1 on the mortar and the drill to get the round out of the tube wasn't fun. It was American WP dated from the late 60s early 70s.
 
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