£800m

So no doubt you have all seen the news today that predicts the MoD will ‘fess up’ to Project CVF costing another £800m.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24801942″]

I think none of this is particularly new or at least unpredicted and much of the reporting is misleading, but underneath the froth are the ongoing negotiations between the MoD and industry about the wider UK shipbuilding industry, influenced no doubt by the potential of a Scottish independence yes vote, serious matters indeed.

Assuming the news stories are correct, there seems little point arguing about why, but a few question spring immediately to mind;

  • Where is the extra money coming from, the back of the sofa has been thoroughly cleaned out and the MoD will not want to be venturing into the black hole of jam tomorrow accounting, so, what is getting cut or not funded from the contingency fund?
  • How will this cost inflation influence decisions on bringing the second carrier into service?
  • Whatever happened to being an intelligent customer and how does this bad news impact on the Defence Reform Bill and outsourcing DE&S?

 

 

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x
x
November 4, 2013 4:15 pm

I am certain B will be cancelled anyway to save A and C.

x
x
November 4, 2013 4:18 pm
Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 4, 2013 4:21 pm

This is the bit that got my attention:

“It said in its report that officials had made basic errors, such as failing to factor in the cost of inflation and VAT.”

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 4, 2013 4:27 pm

Surely they are just making up for the 2 Billion underspend they were criticised for the other week.

On a more serious note, in the grand scheme of things I don’t see this increase having any serious effect on the program, they will find the money to pay for it, even if it means delaying other purchases, and by the time the PoW is completed I very much expect them to produce the money to make it operational rather than mothballing it.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 4, 2013 4:33 pm

Can we start one of those e-petitions to return the offence of High Treason to the statute book, with the traditional punishment of hanging, drawing and quartering…and then get up a Posse Comitatus to go after the clowns responsible for this debacle? Please?

An infuriated and homicidal Gloomy

Rocket Banana
November 4, 2013 4:34 pm

So much for a fixed price contract.

Rocket Banana
November 4, 2013 4:35 pm

I’m with you Gloomy ;-)

Jeremy M H
November 4, 2013 4:35 pm

CVF’s cost were wildly optimistic from the outset IMHO considering the learning curve for building large ships like that, the amount of infrastructure work that would be needed to get them built and the inherent cost of building such large ships. The idea that you could build two ships and the necessary infrastructure for roughly the cost of the last pure Nimitz Class carrier (Reagan) pretty much assumed that everything would go perfectly.

I said when construction started that the figures being pushed were going to be almost impossible to hit unless the builders had developed a new way to build ships or there were a lot of corners cut. The figure of roughly 10 billion USD sounds more realistic when compared to the cost of the USN ships and what CDGE ended up costing. You don’t have the expense of nuclear power to worry about but you do have 2 of everything else you have to have.

Chris
Chris
November 4, 2013 4:40 pm

GNB – funnily enough I suspect there will be no-one to be found ready to put a hand up when the Posse demands who is responsible. Everyone will blame Someone-Else and No-one will be arrested. On the other hand, when in 30 years time its time to hand out medals for a job well done (for medals read pension bonus) there will be hundreds of eager gents proudly proclaiming it was their efforts that made the project happen. Don’t you just love Group Responsibility?

wf
wf
November 4, 2013 4:43 pm

Don’t postpone delivery arbitrarily on large complex programs. If you do, expect large cost overruns….

Jeremy M H
November 4, 2013 4:47 pm

While that might play a role in this the initial cost estimates were pure garbage in my view. No one on earth was going to build two carriers using western labor for the originally quoted price around 3 billion pounds or so.

RCT (V)
RCT (V)
November 4, 2013 4:53 pm

Reference the post above by . . .

“x” on November 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Oh and there is this snippet………
http://www.dw.de/saudi-arabia-plans-to-buy-german-submarines/a-17201201

The link contains this ”gem” that . . .

“The submarines would be constructed by the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and the Nordseewerke Emden, both shipbuilding companies located in the north of Germany, according to the report”.

They are unlikely to be building any sort of ship in Germany – to the south, east or west !!

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 4, 2013 4:54 pm

– More than happy to include a good number of politicians on my wanted poster,,,,

GNB

The Securocrat
November 4, 2013 4:55 pm

To answer “where is the money coming from” it depends on how closely the expected cost was matched to the budget set aside (the two are not the same thing). It could be that what does this is eat up risk money that has been included in the approved spend (“risk inside costs”) – though I doubt that a full £800 million had been set aside for this, and in fact it will probably move towards the upper limit of the budget line, if not go through it.

In that case I would expect this to be wrapped up in a wider discussion between the Government and the shipbuilders, given the (in)famous details of the terms of business arrangement, potentially arguing that spending here is offset by savings in the Type 26 programme or through the promises of future work. The danger is that with work on PoW already started, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of room to negotiate the terms of the contract and so we could see damage done to the Type 26 programme by the need to avoid breaking the equipment programme over the next five years.

Alex
Alex
November 4, 2013 4:55 pm

I don’t understand this thing about VAT. (If you recall, it came up over the Olympics.) The government is both paying the VAT, and also receiving it. There’s a question as to whether you net it out or not, but how on earth does it matter? It’s money that the government is paying to itself. It should either appear in the price, and also in VAT receipts, and we should get used to the notion that 20% of the purchase price is a wash, or else it should be netted out.

martin
Editor
November 4, 2013 5:09 pm

I suppose the money will come from the £8 billion unallocated spend or the £4 billion contingency fund.

oldreem
November 4, 2013 5:31 pm

The VAT thing is a long-standing convention. The Treasury gives MoD a VAT-inclusive budget, the MoD pays its bills VAT-inclusive, the VAT goes from the firms back to the Treasury. For all I know it may be simpler than the MoD getting a VAT-exclusive budget, paying its bills VAT-inclusive then having to reclaim the VAT like a commercial business. But the point is, it’s been like that for so long that every official and serving officer in DE&S ought to know. Contractors usually quote ex VAT, partly in case the rate changes before delivery & payment are complete. A dozy desk officer in my directorate lost me about £3M from my budget in the early 90s; since then, for every price I’m quoted I always double-check or ask.

Chris
Chris
November 4, 2013 5:39 pm

RCT(V) – there’s a place called Nizhniy Novgorod about 200 miles east of Moscow where they build big black submarines: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/industry/krasnoye_sormovo.htm – the vessels need to make their way either to Black Sea or northern ocean via the River Volga. It is perhaps the most inefficient place to build a submarine, but you have to admit its secure…

Bob
Bob
November 4, 2013 5:51 pm

Answers:

1) Where will the money come from? Depends, CVF might already have it’s own contingency in which case that will be used as far as possible. After that it will come from the wider departmental contingency fund trumpeted in 2010.

2) Second carrier? It will have no impact at all- this cost escalation will come from capital funds. The decision on the second ship will be based on available operations funding.

3) No impact on DRB or DE&S at all. This was a legacy project and everyone knew it was riddled with every criticism of MoD procurement: Wildly optimistic cost projections, political meddling, poorly written contracts etc. If anything it will be seen as a justification for DRB and GOCO.

The Securocrat
November 4, 2013 5:56 pm

The VAT thing has been lazily reported. I don’t understand the *why* behind how it works internal to the UK government, but it wasn’t ‘forgotten’: under the original plan, the UK intended to buy it direct from the US, under a system which dosn’t incur VAT. Thus, when the cost comparison was originally made the asusmption was that VAT wasn’t included. However, when the UK approached the US, it became clear the purchase would have to be done as part of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) rules. This does incur VAT, and so the comparison changed. The error was in the original belief that the procurement route wouln’t involve FMS – no one ‘forgot’ VAT. But that doesn’t make as good a newspaper headline.

Rocket Banana
November 4, 2013 5:57 pm

£3.6b inital cost

+£1.56b cost of delays

x1.2 for inflation between 2008 and now.

= £6.2b

No real surprise. I guess the “fixed price contact” was in fixed 2008 GBP :-(

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 4, 2013 5:57 pm

As TD has pointed out, this is more about closing out the contract risks that the PAC/NAO correctly identified in their report, specifically that the contract did not properly penalise the contractor until a significant (some might say ludicrous) level of overrun had been reached. I suspect this is bottoming that bit out rather than the fanciful (deliberately inflammatory) headlines the BBC has chosen to run. The outturn cost of the project has publically been at somewhere between £5.5 and 5.9Bn for over three years (see the NAO MPR 2010 for details!).

As far as the original estimate is concerned, be very careful comparing CVN costs with CVF. The infrastructure costs in total (Rosyth mods and Portsmouth dredge/jetties) are unlikely to have cost more than £200m (Rosyth is about £60m off the top of my head) – in fact I’m not even sure that the dredge costs are included as part of the project.

£3.5Bn or thereabouts on the original schedule should not have been wildly adrift of total cost. Adding two years while maintaining the start date and the size of project team added £1Bn straight away. I suspect quite a lot of the rest may be BAES exploiting the contract T&C to the max extent possible.

You cannot compare the build of QEC to Nimitz or CdeG. The latter was a one off by a country that had never built a kettle-powered surface ship, which has considerably different challenges to a submarine. It was also beset by slipping to fit budget profiles which never does anything but increase costs overall. Nimitz is built in a fairly primitive style by NN. If you look at how it’s stitched together and try to compare that with QE, you will see significant differences in outfit content, protection (not armour – protection from the weather!), size of block etc. It is done in one location, whereas QE has three main sites with a few outliers, but the higher the level of completed and tested outfit at an early stage, the less manpower you have to throw at it. QE is setting a new benchmark for UK and most probably Western European shipbuilding practice.

The size of the ship has an effect on cost, but not really on complexity – economies of scale really do kick in and there are no really tricky bits in the QE design to queer the pitch. I can relatively easily get a figure of between 50 & 75 million manhours total to do both ships, based on the number of people working at the various yards and assuming they’re all charging to the contract. On the original schedule that works out at somewhere between £2 and £3 Bn depending on how long you assume the build period is. The material is (generally) somewhere between 2/3 and equal to labour cost depending on the complexity of systems fitted, so a figure of £3.5Bn on the original contract is not incredible. Funnily enough adding a couple of years to the build programme adds over a billion just on my simple manhours estimate.

What I think we’re seeing in the latest cost increases is the realisation by MoD that they needed to do something with the contract, not because control of the build had been lost – far from it, progress appears to be excellent – but that contract spend was not under control. The latest rise is (I suspect / allegedly) the price BAE are extracting to forego their contract advantages. There will most definitely be an element of the Scottish vote in there. The decision on yard closures was supposed to have been made and redundancies been announced long before now. I wouldn’t expect that for another few months now,m or implementation before Wee Eck has his vote.

x
x
November 4, 2013 6:01 pm

If B gets cancelled and we complete both CVF I think we would struggle to sell them.

Brazil – no because of those islands
India – no because of upsetting China
China – no because of upsetting India, the US, Japan, and so on
Russia – no
US – no because of the CVN lobby

TrT
TrT
November 4, 2013 6:14 pm

GNB may be pushing it a bit, but how many civil servants and military officers have been sacked and forfeited their pensions?
If a single Officer / CS, or identifiable group thereof were in charge of the project, they would be prime candidates for the above.
Instead we have dozens of project teams, all short term, none “in charge”, its amazing we even ended up with a carrier.

Last time they tried to run a project that way we ended up with a large cube, filled with death traps.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2013 6:17 pm

@X

B is fundamental to the ability of the US to conduct ops with less CVN assets. It is also fundamental in giving their Allies the actual ability to take more responsibility as they want us to.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 4, 2013 6:19 pm

The Portsmouth work hasn’t even started yet, and when it does there will be shock at the costs involved, though they are all planned and budgeted correctly, but as I understand seperate to the main carrier budget.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 4, 2013 6:23 pm

It’s a bit rich of the shadow defence secretary to be trying to blame Cameron for all the problems with this project.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 4, 2013 6:24 pm

@ x

India/China are building their own, slowly, they would prob be interested in the design rather than an actual ship.

Brazil doesn’t care about FI when it comes to their military purchases, they are very happy to do business with the UK.

Russia/USA spot on

Topman
Topman
November 4, 2013 6:31 pm

@ x

‘If B gets cancelled and we complete both CVF I think we would struggle to sell them.’

Or not bother selling them and give them the Nimrod treatment. Not that I’m saying that should happen but it’s far from impossible.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 4, 2013 6:33 pm

@TD

And as it sails into Gib it ‘Accidently’ hits a rock, drifts across and proceeds to sink blocking off the entrance to Algeciras harbour, of course as it is loaded with munitions it will be too dangerous to ever raise it.

:D

Mark
Mark
November 4, 2013 6:39 pm

Was it not recently reported South Korea are on the look out for an aircraft carrier a new trade deal perhaps.

As to were the cost overuns come from well its roughly equivalent to operating the second carrier over a 10 year accounting period or the mythical money available for a new mpa c’est la vie

x
x
November 4, 2013 6:40 pm

@ APATS

On the Hill the USMC lag a good way behind the USAF and in the US DoN the USMC comes a good second to USN and their carriers. I know for what B is being purchased but you have to factor in Mv22, Kilo, pressure on CVN numbers, and emergent technologies that eat into the CAS portfolio. Remember the USMC job is land based warfare from the sea, that means boots on the ground, that means assets to move them, and that means Kilo and Mv22. If cancelling B means keeping the CVN numbers up and saving MV22 and Kilo I can see a full USMC squadron flying C from CVN being used to cover USMC support instead of basing 4/6 forward on LHx . If this has occurred to me you can bet it has occurred to somebody to somebody over the Pond.

Jeremy M H
November 4, 2013 6:47 pm

@X

I think you are a bit off base with some of this.

1. MV-22 does not really needs saving. They have kind of passed through the danger phase of the program and are building them without much fanfare at this point. There are 160 of them in service and they just sold the first export ones and appear to be closing in on some additional sales in a few places. I don’t see it as a program that needs saving at this point.

2. The F-35B is not really in danger of being cancelled. There is simply no reason to do so unless it had a sub-type specific problem emerge that was going to cost huge amounts of money to fix. I think you are overwrought about this possibility.

x
x
November 4, 2013 6:48 pm

@ Engineer Tom

Bless. :)

@ TD

Some Germans are urging their government to build a bigger navy. The idea of a Bismarck (or Wilhelm Brandt? :) ) and Frederick the Great taking to the sea built in the UK isn’t amusing to me……….

RCT(V)
RCT(V)
November 4, 2013 6:53 pm

Further to what was said above by Chris November 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm . . .

“RCT(V) – there’s a place called Nizhniy Novgorod about 200 miles east of Moscow where they build big black submarines: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/industry/krasnoye_sormovo.htm – the vessels need to make their way either to Black Sea or northern ocean via the River Volga. It is perhaps the most inefficient place to build a submarine, but you have to admit its secure…”

Chris, I know Nizhniy Novgorod very well. I visited the GAZ factory many times from 1990 to 1996!

After my original post, I remembered from my geography lessons (many years ago), that “2,000 ton barges can reach Basle” . . . but I still don’t know of any significant ship yards on the Rhine – to the south of the well known shipyards/seaports to the north, on the Baltic and North sea coastlines.

(Anyway, we must desist before we “de-rail” this thread :) )

Topman
Topman
November 4, 2013 6:54 pm

@x

On the Hill the USMC lag a good way behind the USAF and in the US DoN the USMC comes a good second to USN and their carriers.

From my knowledge of such politics the USMC carry alot of clout well above their size.

x
x
November 4, 2013 6:56 pm

@ Jeremy M H

In the medium term MV22 doesn’t look wonderful. I expect mechanical attrition to take its toll. I note you say nothing about Kilo?

As for their being no reason to cancel F35b even though I tend to see financial systems as abstract systems the US economy isn’t looking too wonderful or have used missed that? That nobody is sure what state it is in doesn’t sit well with me. Further you should perhaps take a step beyond and consider that actually fielding F35b may be itself may be a mistake? Cancelling it seems quite a sane option. I presented clear chain of reasoning all you are saying is that the thing is flying. I am always overwrought. :)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2013 6:56 pm

@X

The people who signed off on the reduction of CVN numbers were USN and they did so because the increased capability of F35B and the new LHDs allowed a greater flexibility. There will be far less CVN availability given the reduction in numbers and the USN are very aware that losing B will hurt them hugely, not to mention the Political fallout of taking fixed wing maritime capability away from the anyone who does not operate a Conventional Carrier at the same time as you are asking them to step up their commitment.

It was best summed up to me by a USN Captain I worked with who said, imagine telling the President that 22nd MEU even with USS Tripoli present cannot conduct an evacuation of the US Embassy in Windhoek because after the coup we are not sure who is in control of the half dozen operational F-7 fighters and without air cover we cannot send Ospreys inland. That is the level of operational flexibility you lose.

x
x
November 4, 2013 7:09 pm

@ APATS

Yes I was aware of all that, I fear that Obama, more likely his successor, will be a latter day Honorius.

I hope the irony of using an embassy relief mission in your example isn’t lost on you…

We shall see.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2013 7:14 pm

‘x

Not my example so can only work with the material I am given. What I was highlighting is that the USN is squarely behind F35B.

As JMH pointed out and I have illustrated, short of a huge technological failure there is no Military or Political reason to cancel F35B. In fact there are many reasons in both spheres not to.

Jeremy M H
November 4, 2013 7:15 pm

@X

The US economy is really not in that bad of shape compared to the rest of the developed world. I am not sure what you are specifically worried about that would not be of equal worry elsewhere in the developed world.

I don’t see your chain of reasoning as being very sound. You presented some other programs you think are more important to the USMC than the F-35B without presenting any real facts to support that. The F-35B is pretty much at the top of the Marines priority list right now and they have tons of clout of in DC, much to the annoyance of other services at times.

Sir Humphrey
November 4, 2013 7:40 pm

Something I will post on once SofS has gone formal on any announcement, but in the interim I’d say the following.

Firstly, this was trailblazed in the NAO report a few months ago and should not come as a surprise.

Secondly, if you read the NAO report into CVF and not the Daily Mail version, then the VAT story makes perfect sense once you work through the fairly complex assumptions that were reached. It wasn’t silly civil servant forgets VAT, it was actually a bloody complicated situation.

Finally, this is the contingency fund gone now – expect to see no more special fantasy fleets or other new toys for many years to come. Let us hope for no inflation, UORs, wars or other annoyances in the run up to 2020!

Challenger
Challenger
November 4, 2013 7:40 pm

As others have said, barring some catastrophic design fault that costs far too much to correct then the F35B is safe, the USN needs it to beef up it’s amphibious air-defence and close air support capabilities in place of more carriers (who’s to say they will manage to keep 10 or 11 of them in the years ahead) and the U.S generally needs an aircraft that the RN and others allies can operate without cats n traps on a leviathan of a hull as they continue to pivot their attention eastwards.

Just how many F35B do eventually roll off the production line is another matter entirely.

Not surprised that the costs of CVF have gone up again. We have to hope that this 800m will be paid from un-allocated funds, that it’s the last pile of cash the MOD are forced to pay out in getting them into the water and that when the time comes people have short enough memories to fork out a pitiful 70m a year and get both of them into service.

x
x
November 4, 2013 7:53 pm

As all the Gibraltar threads are closed………..

http://www.panorama.gi/localnews/headlines.php?action=view_article&article=11029&offset=0

You may now all go back to worrying or not about CVF or whatever.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 4, 2013 8:07 pm

Let’s hope they (plus F35B plus Crowsnest, because that combination is what makes the capability) are worth it. I sincerely doubt they will be, but I’m only one individual, and I might be wrong.

None of us can see into the future, and the MoD (in which I played a tiny part, once, so perhaps contributed to poor planning) has a shocking record of getting things right, so the current DPAs don’t to me hold the status of anything you’d bet your mortgage upon.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 4, 2013 8:15 pm

@x – I do hope they are planning to seize Ceuta and Melilla by Coup de Main…

An optimistic(?) Gloomy

Rocket Banana
November 4, 2013 8:58 pm

I’ll say it again… if any F35 flavour gets canned it will be C.

You’re more likely to see F18 and F35B operating from CVN decks.

My rationale goes something like this:

V22 is a maintenance nightmare.
LHD hangars are chock full of V22.
F35B maintenance done on CVN.
F35B lillypad through LHD for CAS and local CAP.

Ta-da ;-)

x
x
November 4, 2013 8:59 pm

@ GNB

I thought it poetic.

x
x
November 4, 2013 9:04 pm

@ Simon

I wonder how many MV22 CVF could carry compared to a Wasp or America?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 4, 2013 9:23 pm

Really batshit idea 7834 / 2013.

A very basic merchant type ship with a flat top*** and a really minimal crew. Austere FOB for the Nellies and helicopter component?

What would it need: basic refuelling? Datalink? Minimal ATC? Crash accommodation for 100 troops.

Useful in most scenarios short of high threat?

*** Really basic: width of ship, 70 metres long. Some paint lines to line up. Windsock.

What would it cost? £30M?

HMS Lilypad?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2013 9:23 pm

@x

Could operate more if it was designed to instead of having a ramp and being designed to be a carrier. Like an America or a Wasp could still operate none more than a few miles inshore if the opposition had a couple of cheap Chinese Mig 21 copies and it had no organic fixed wing air.

IXION
November 4, 2013 10:03 pm

Its an Elephant Story.

It could be announcing a doubling of the costs, and the cry ‘Nothing to see here move on ,of course it was going to cost X million, anyone who knew anything about carriers could have told you that…’ goes out.

I wonder where the ‘of course it was going to cost x million’ crowd were when the Elephants program was announced? Classic piece of:-

Give a bullshit price to get the job going, then we are in the standard British jobs for British workers, too big to fail procurement fraud . Beautifully played.

So when the next announcement of

‘Oh you thought the x billion was the full in the water props turning price’!

‘Sorry that was the ex works without the a.b.c.d.e.f.g. widgets, wizzbangs and whistles. oh no it will cost another y squillion before its ready for service’…

I am sure a flood of people will come forward to explain how only a fool could have thought the ships would cost only £6.2 billion………..

It’s also lucky the 800 million won’t come from anywhere important.

Don’t know about feeling gloomy certainly feel very tired by all this Elephant shit…………..

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 4, 2013 10:06 pm

@RT

Didn’t we put a deck on a bog standard ship for the Falklands, maybe we should do some practice from time to time. Just to see what we can ramp up in a hurry.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 4, 2013 10:18 pm

Op3,

I recall talk of it at the time, TD did something on it earlier this year. Took down a load of Harriers. (Scratches head – umm can’t recall the name)

I’m sure there would be downsides and doubt, certainly in high threat situations where it would need its’ own escort, but to my mind those situations occur only every so often, and for less than high threat situations it might add a lot of flexibility.

An austere flat top would be ideal for helicopters, offer an extra hundred miles of reach. Even an emergency landing pad for F35B (if not take off, but think of the alternative and how pricey that could be).

I’m really not thinking of anything expensive. Commercial standard, possibly even used. Turn one out from a bog-standard shipyard in 3 months from a decent lightly used merchant ship. Really good for helicopters and troop deployment. Presumably, the cargo hold as well could be useful for dry stores.

Sounds like an RFA role to me, although I know little of the RFA and what they already can do.

(Note to self: find out about the RFA. I’m sure there’s a really good reason why we have an RFA and not the Logistic Branch of the Andrew, but it doesn’t immediately seem obvious).

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2013 10:24 pm

@RT

The problems would come when you had to operate it alone. As a pure “Lillypad” it is cheap but start to add fuel, magazines etc and the cost rockets, So the question is how much use is it without them and with them is it any cheaper?
As a force multiplier in a crisis like the FI it was useful but surely the idea should be to avoid that.

@ Ixion

You think Scotland is a racist hotbed and we should have 6 OPVs and a glider so of course you think it is a waste of money. As long as we hold the line at the Tweed, traffic through Suez is irrelevant :)

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 4, 2013 11:02 pm

@APATS

Have you presented me with another opportunity to tout the MARS SSS?

Seriously, I can see the benefit of running an exercise once every 15 years say that utilises cheap assets and puts them into operational war planning mode. You can imagine the scenario

1. Can we have our Voyagers back please? ………. You what? You REMOVED THE x!!!! You tulips, right pinking tulips…..

2. Could we build a platform on a commercial ship? How do we defend it? Can those CAMM fit in a container? We need CEC, Oh OK then how would that work? etc.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 4, 2013 11:17 pm

APATS,

you and I could possibly argue until the cows come home about, well all sorts of things. Jolly enjoyable it would be as well. ;)

However, taking your sensible point, perhaps there is still a sensible path of precaution. It won’t be beyond the wit of naval designers to come up with some form of “fitted for but not with” flat top. That could become a new RFA which spends a peacetime life moving containers about, possibly with a one quarter length standard helideck. At pretty short notice, a flat top installed to extend the helideck to something much longer.

I’m really pushing my own engineering here, but a quarter length helideck with 4 layers of deck could hydraulically get cranked section by section to cover the entire back end of a ship. What’s a deck height (of the metal). Six inches? Can’t post an image, but imagine 4 playing cards on top of each other. Slide the top 3 sideways to fit next to the bottom one, then slide the next two, then the top one. Bit of a drop to make all level, could be done. Peacetime, lots of room for ISOs. Wartime (after a 12 hour in-dock exercise) long helideck.

Clearly, I have a great future behind me as a naval architect…. ;)

AND, bloody Brucie bonus. Lashings of XG279, the uber-marvel grease that with enormous happiness I discovered lubricated not only a Rarden cannon but the main gun on Bristol. Epic stuff. Sorted out my garage roller door last winter with my last can of stolen buckshee.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 4, 2013 11:31 pm

@RT
No doubt and over a bottle of something like a 1962 Penfolds, One of the best of the original Aussie wines and I was lucky enough to have a glass of a much later bottle in http://www.punchlane.com.au/ this summer whilst out watching the Lions then maybe a few glasses of 25 year old Dalmore from a Distillery my school Cross Country course use to include :)

Chris
Chris
November 4, 2013 11:40 pm

RT – concepts for decking over containers on modern container ships have been suggested – here’s one I found in Googlespace: http://pixdaus.com/container-ship-conversion-to-aircraft-carrier/items/view/46749/

We explored the seaworthiness of the new monster container ships on a thread about 5 weeks ago – looking at Maersk’s Triple-E vessels I think – they are apparently well designed for rough seas and somewhat damage resistant (not sure if that means double-hulled or the like).

as
as
November 5, 2013 1:13 am
as
as
November 5, 2013 1:34 am

http://pixdaus.com/container-ship-conversion-to-aircraft-carrier/items/view/46749/
Ship Borne Containerised Air Defence System (SCADS)
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,14390.0.html
Merchant Aircraft Carriers for the 21st Century?

as
as
November 5, 2013 1:47 am

as
as
November 5, 2013 1:57 am

http://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/Carmel.pdf
Adaptability in Sea-Base Platform Design

Martin
Editor
November 5, 2013 3:38 am

as far as I am aware EU law dictates what does and does not have VAT On it but its a transfer back to the British tax payer so why does it matter.

If any variant of the F35 is going to be canceld it’s the C, no international allies to worry about and the USN has never really been a lover of it in the way the USMC and USAF are. The navy also has other options which neither of the other two services do. Expect to see the USN offer up the C for cutting to keep its other programs going once the budget battle is decided.

M&S
M&S
November 5, 2013 4:08 am

@X

“On the Hill the USMC lag a good way behind the USAF and in the US DoN the USMC comes a good second to USN and their carriers. I know for what B is being purchased but you have to factor in Mv22, Kilo, pressure on CVN numbers, and emergent technologies that eat into the CAS portfolio. Remember the USMC job is land based warfare from the sea, that means boots on the ground, that means assets to move them, and that means Kilo and Mv22. If cancelling B means keeping the CVN numbers up and saving MV22 and Kilo I can see a full USMC squadron flying C from CVN being used to cover USMC support instead of basing 4/6 forward on LHx . If this has occurred to me you can bet it has occurred to somebody to somebody over the Pond.”

Well said.

Let me add that the F-35 continues to suffer all manner of problems related to having too many loadpaths for too many ‘cousin’ (third, twice removed, on your Neanderthal granddaddy’s mother’s side) parts which have and continue to lead to an unsecurable torsion box whose multiple gaps and openings essentially doom it to twisting itself to pieces.

It also suffers electrical and thermal issues related to fueldraulics, conditioned power and weapons bay. It is not night certified, it is not weather certified. It does not have basic survivability measures that have been standardized since SEA. It has all manner of structural and actuator related failures related to the SDLF well and it is not ‘winning’ against these issues, despite two and three iterations of ‘fix’ (basically the jet is sucking down more mass flow than the actuators and their mounts can handle as load).

It is being cleared with munitions which were dated in the 90s (GBU-12/22 and AMRAAM) and it equipped with the systems which will let it compete against -prototypes- of what is now available, namely CUDA, EWP, GBU-53, NGJ and JASSM/JSM. Because all of these systems are equally adept when fitted to conventional signature fighters and JSF simply cannot afford to acknowledge that the jet which will arrive in 2018 will be less than what existing platforms can achieve without major upgrades on-entry.

@X

“I think you are a bit off base with some of this.

1. MV-22 does not really needs saving. They have kind of passed through the danger phase of the program and are building them without much fanfare at this point. There are 160 of them in service and they just sold the first export ones and appear to be closing in on some additional sales in a few places. I don’t see it as a program that needs saving at this point.

2. The F-35B is not really in danger of being cancelled. There is simply no reason to do so unless it had a sub-type specific problem emerge that was going to cost huge amounts of money to fix. I think you are overwrought about this possibility.”

No he isn’t. The MV-22 remains a death trap with all manner of fuel and hydraulics issues, a fuselage spine that cracks if you run the nose gear over a 10″ vertical barrier at more than 10 knots, has terrible stabilization issues in roll and pitch (to the extent that it is questionable whether it can VL over the sides) because of the high energy thrust posts and assymetic lift. The aircraft has terrible stall margins which tend to couple in low level flight, leading to issues where the fat, tiny, wing separates clean airflow at the same time TF loads push the airframe beyond the accelerative margin and whoops you’re in the trees. Power issues remain a concern, especially after the loss of the CV-22 in AfG under circumstances which don’t support the crash determination of the board, the T406 is an enormously sensitive engine which wears /very badly/ and requires such constant support that you are stripping them out roughly ever 70-100hrs, in-theater.

And then there are the things which the V-22 doesn’t have but needs:

A. AAR, it’s been tested but it’s not been proven. Without it, the F-35 cannot function in even a remotely (550 vs. 350nm radius) ‘similar’ fashion to what the USN gets all the time out of Whale configured F/A-18s.
B. AEW&C, it’s simply not been demo’d. I personally doubt the V-22 has the margins to be useful (altitude and loiter) with the APY-9 fit of the E-2D and with those humongous proprotors, the interference arc is incredible.
C. Pressurization, necessary for all variants but particularly crucial for the COD role which the Marines will badly need if they take the B to sea, they have no frickin’ clue about sustaining a real airwing at sea with their little micro ‘detachments’ of 6-8 jets. The fleet replenishment squadrons fly a near constant chain of resupply sorties to the big decks, to keep a useful percentage of the airwing flying under JIT contract to service companies and it _costs_. Along with the parts comes the skilled personnel to fix them. And the V-22 cannot support the range or the comfort necessary to fly out of the weather without pressurization which is likely going to mean a complete redesign of the cabin.

The F-35B is the victim of CAIV, namely the American Population looks that the entire JSF program with contempt of the grotesque inherent to a ‘gotta have’ military capability in a world at peace condition where _only our politicians_ want to force us into more war. We here constant tales of 1.25 to 1.5 trillion dollar programs at the same time we are told that Social Security may have to be victimized to sustain a new form of indigent welfare for our unending mass immigration as Obamacare provides ‘equal care’ for all and costs the middle class twice what their old policies did. Finally, we here from men like Admiral Greenert that the USN is ‘really behind’ the F-35C program at the same time they are cutting early lot numbers, expanding Super Hornet buys and considering ASH options and delaying simple things like carrier qualification of the /tailhook/.
As though the simple warning that the jets were anywhere from 2G to 40 seconds shy of desired performance levels (and those are short of what the Pak-FA and J-20 offer, off the blocks). All this in a service which has or will have three attack aircraft replacements for the A-6 already: F/A-18F, F-35C, A-45.

It would only take ONE service backing out of the JSF program (my bet is on the Navy C) in preference for a ‘real’ fighter and Americans would rebel at the idea of a 300 million dollar, lightweight, fighter. The Royal Navy would looking at the de-re-skijumping their carriers again.

CONCLUSION:
The truth of the matter is that the DF-21 marks the transition point where range as effective radius of carrier airpower SOI is no longer about effective cover between dissimilar range capabilities platforms or even sortie generation per day in sustaining the Carrier Myth vs. landbasing. Rather it is the acknowledgment that the _generator_ of airpower is now at risk, on a much, much shorter, shoot-reload, cyclative basis of total exposure.

Right now, the Chinese have no way to target the weapon effectively because overhead will be lost immediately and hacking into other constellations is never assured. But in another 10 years they will have systems like ROTHR/JORN which effectively make it possible to engage CVSFs as much as 2,000nm offshore.

And at that point, the question will have to be asked: is the cost of peace time training to retain a given 6-10hr strike capability (as standoff margin from ‘conventional’ threats, like landbased air, subs, mines and coastal AShM) worth the certain risk of complete loss of your regional influence when you have to defend the cruisers and destroyers (who also have the Mk.41 with SM3IIa/b) regardless but whose strike configured VLS can fire-back MRBM equivalent systems with similar 10-15 minute engagement cycles for maybe only 2-4 million each vs. a 150-200 million dollar plane?

In this, it is _critical_ to note that the LHA-6 is about 850ft long vs. the 1,000 or so feet of the Nimitz class. But where examples of the Battle Cat being converted to a special ops platform show the multirole flexibility and single-refueling cost of the latter. The former is characterized by a 25 aircraft limit on it’s embarked airwing which will _never grow_ due to shortfalls in POL storage, weapons magazines and the sheer size of the supporting V-22 assets. i.e. Both are carriers of equal attractiveness as essentially complete vulnerability to ASBM attack. But only a real carrier with a 40-80 aircraft airwing can generate the kinds of close in-shore CAS assets that the Carrier Myth uses to justify it’s competitiveness with landbased airpower.

It’s not just that the F-35 is obsolescent before service entry. It’s that the entire /concept/ of how we do strike warfare as overland power projection from the sea is changing. A VPM firing long range aeroballistics would be vastly more responsive and survivable in a Pacific Pivot encounter with either India or China or North Korea than a carrier class of either type would be in the break-in phase of getting the boats to a point where they could start to generate SDB based total-DMPI count supremacy (and even that is something which could likely e better done with UCAVs).

IXION
November 5, 2013 7:48 am

APATS

No i dont think we want 6 opvs etc. Nor do i suggest mining the tweed.

BTW several articles recently suggesting worrying links between Eastern European neo facist organisations and elements of Scottish Nationalism….

What i do suggest is a healthy realism about our budget and our needs…

In general I am in favour of equiping and training for what we do. Not fantasies of what we think we do.

Rocket Banana
November 5, 2013 7:55 am

As far as I’m concerned a carrier is primarily for air defence both for the fleet and projected over the landed troops.

If the jets are then covered by SAMs then they’re a practically impenetrable umbrella allowing the surface forces to do whatever they wish.

CAS > copters and guided artillery.
Strike > TLAM and guided artillery.

The only other thing you get with jets that is of real military use is interdiction (if the sky is relatively clear).

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 5, 2013 9:02 am

Container ship to aircraft carrier in 8 days, complete with ski jump.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Causeway

Peter Elliott
November 5, 2013 10:32 am

If the “C” variant does get canned then it seems like only a matter of time before the USN and Boeing start work on a successor CATOBAR fast-jet, to finally replace F18 in 10 to 15 years time. With F22 halted the USAF also has a long term strategic need for an air superioirty fighter, although they may not be prepared to admit it yet.

Such a plane would probably be twin engine for power, range, agility and load carrying.

Seems to me that would be a good programme for the UK to join. A buy of 200 mature aircraft delivered around 2040 would fill our need to a Typhoon replacement and being carrier capable would finally enable us to harmonise on a single fast jet fleet for both sea and land. Whether by converting the QEC or by building new ships is impossible to say at this stage. Depends what we would have done about Amphibious aviation capacity in the meantime.

a
a
November 5, 2013 11:02 am

“Some Germans are urging their government to build a bigger navy. The idea of a Bismarck (or Wilhelm Brandt? :) ) and Frederick the Great taking to the sea built in the UK isn’t amusing to me”

A history nerd writes: Oi! No! Bismarck hated the idea of a large German navy – that was one of the reasons that he and the Kaiser didn’t get on, and the Kaiser eventually sacked him. Fred the Great was the same: he thought that building a navy was a stupid idea for Prussia, because they’d never be able to match established naval powers like Britain, and it would only cause tension. If you’re a big nation between France and Russia, what you need is a decent army, not a second-rate navy.

Alex
Alex
November 5, 2013 11:10 am

Peter: that’s F/A XX isn’t it?

RT: I think you’ve described RFA Argus. She is actually a converted merchantman (SS Contender Bezant) originally chartered to take a lot of helicopters to the Falklands, but the Andrew loved her so much they kept her (to be brief). You may remember her from the Balkans, when she was used as a sort-of LPH – this worked so well that we decided to get a real one for next time, HMS Ocean. That said Argus has been a very useful ship over the years, as a floating heli workshop, a spare deck for training, an extra ASW heli platform, a hospital ship, allegedly part of the central government’s nuclear war dispersal plan, an LPH if you’re desperate, looking after distressed British nationals, a base for AEW/ISTAR helis doing spooky things in the Gulf, and we probably ought to think about her replacement – she’s 32 and the conversion was a bit special (1,800 tons of concrete in the old hatch covers to keep her from turning turtle – oy). Planned OSD is 2020.

The whole “quick VSTOL carrier” idea is cool, but has been a disappointment in practice – if you go back through the Atlantic Conveyor threads, you’ll find some discussion of the cousins’ Arapaho project, a containerised aviation support package, which the RN experimented with in the 1980s. Specifically, the containership Astronomer was fitted with it and became RFA Reliant and went to Beirut, but apparently the project was generally a bit wank and she was returned to her owners in 1986.

M&S
M&S
November 5, 2013 12:46 pm

@Simon,

“As far as I’m concerned a carrier is primarily for air defence both for the fleet and projected over the landed troops.”

There is a saying that you never want to fight the enemy the way he fights best but a more modern interpretation of that would likely be: “The way your enemy fights at all.” Helicopters hunt tanks, not because tanks are slow and helos are fast (though that was the the Cold War justification in the face of a certainty of massive Soviet OMG breakouts on the CentFront) but because tanks cannot fire back with nearly the same capabilities to range as that which hunts them. What a lot don’t understand is that It works the other way too. Tunnel under the threat environmental operating norm and the top-dog platform of manned air is as useless as it is expensive.

Fighters providing air defense are all but useless against subs and FAC-M and mines and so the question becomes: “Air Defense against /what air force/?” Because it would be a fool and his village that attacked a layered air battle zone with ARH based weapons and CIWS on every ship. At least using direct attack as in the Falklands days.

“If the jets are then covered by SAMs then they’re a practically impenetrable umbrella allowing the surface forces to do whatever they wish.”

Fighters and SAMs don’t really work well together without clear and firm deconfliction lanes, indeed, it was the inability of the SHAR to work their own OABZ (piss poor Blue Fox) beyond the radar coverage of Coventry and Broadsword that, along with egos, led to their wave off. Some of this may change in future now that missiles with IMUs can be fully trajectory shaped and use datalinks which are not confined to a parent ship but can receive any in-band digital compatible waveform.

In any event, there are missiles which fighter systems really aren’t optimized due to complexities of LDSD geometries which rapidly compress beyond both the physical ability of the aperture to point and the Doppler shift notches, particularly over water.

They -can- do things like hit Klub-M coming out of the water subsonic. But as soon as the second tail lights and they are suddenly Mach 2-3 class targets crossing obliquely, look out, it’s too late to give chase with pathetic AMRAAM class weapons. Here and even more so with ABM roles, the size of the magazine as the length of the VLS tube makes it the multishot engagement from surface units almost a given for superior upper tier and particularly midcourse performance.

Increasingly, these missiles also have the range option (600km loft on SM6) to be quite competent surface to surface weapons on their own, with response times measured in tens of seconds rather than dozens of minutes as with airpower.

The future really does belong to the systems which are most flexible and -rapidly- adaptive to mission needs and increasingly, the wooden-round nature of missiles will outweight their acquisition costs over the entire range of **tactical** missions currently preserved as manned-only. Theater strategic is another idea entirely.

“CAS > copters and guided artillery.”

Choppers never leave the cheapest of the trashfire threat envelope and while they can function as decent, cheap, gun cabinets for standoff PGM like JCM/JAGM, they are truly helpless without the aid of a UAV to spot targets for them.

Guided artillery will make more and more sense but only to the extent that you are willing to put it ashore and let it run about on it’s own. Even with 70km ranging Mk.45 Mod4 firing MS-SGP for another 30km+, there will be a lot of scenarios in which the gun will either be simply outranged or shadowed by terrain or buildings from effective use.

Go with something like AMOS or NEMO on a light track and you get 15km for a similar range of scaled LRLAP projectiles and, -provided- that the vehicle has some range after delivery by Chinook or Stallion class platforms, it can generally drive to the sound of gunfire. The question then being why you want to go with these platform options to a total of perhaps 200km of operational depth. When you can go 400-500km or more with a UCAV that is both eyes-on and weapon delivery platform.

In this, I think that SWA has really poisoned the minds of people against military use of fully sanity checked RPAs on the simple basis of their being so effective. It is the first case of success souring the taste of battle I can think of.

“Strike > TLAM and guided artillery.”

I guess it depends on how you qualify Strike. I see it as the freedom to indulge in multi-theater ‘zonal ops’ without having to maintain effective naval presence everywhere. I also understand it as a being the hard truth behind other folks shooting back at you with guided Mach 10 IRBMs of their own.

The farther out you go, the higher the trajectory loft and the more time in midcourse you have to put interceptors in the 3-5km/sec range under the ground track to hit what may well be early-bussed munitions in a cloud swarm.

The big question for me then becomes -how- I want to deliver my fires. Regional airbases are going to be just as vulnerable as carriers with less effective, armored and layered defenses. ‘Once they get the range…’ Carriers need to have massive amounts of both capital center and forward biased defensive traps to provide truly capable ASBM defense and this gets to be expensive to maintain and vulnerable to it’s own mass-up. Similarly, surface assets which go it alone had better either have very long range weapons systems with which to make oblique attacks or be exceptionally small signatured and _speedy_, along the lines of catamaran delivery ships.

OTOH, a submarine, only needs a reasonable targeting capacity and that can be delivered via strategic air launch drone or via it’s own, organic, capabilities (Sea Ferret ++) as well as prewar metrics if you want to go for industrial attrition.

Big Guns here, unless you are talking about EMLs the size of Bull’s Iraqi Gun are simply outranged on all levels while cruise platforms are competent only if you launch them preemptively under the expectation of finding targets for them to hit (mobile DF-21 and DH-10 TELs for instance), in flight..

“The only other thing you get with jets that is of real military use is interdiction (if the sky is relatively clear).”

I like grey skies. Nobody thinks the drones are flying (when in fact they are flying /over/ the clag) and with systems like Lynx and TESAR it’s really easy to substitute radar for EOpticals. The big issue here is always going to be time on station vs. weapons mix, depending on threat defenses encountered and the big jets pushing through a tanker bottleneck with 4-5,00lbs of ordnance and maybe 10-20 minutes on station are simply no longer the way to look at OBAS and BAI. This is not your granpappy’s road recce.

Rather it’s more akin to having a float force that can rapidly pool assets over previously established areas of interest before threats can hide and /in combined operations with/ ground units that move up to exploit any holes they create. With Libya as a particular example, you want to be able to create a situation where the threat cannot hold against surface technical forces with armor and artillery without exposing themselves to overhead air but at the same time, they don’t have clue one when the front is about to become hot so that they don’t displace early, based on air activity.

With micromunitions in some numbers, SenseCAP matters more than CAS Stacking of max payload throughput here and yet you don’t really have time for SCARing about because it is the certainty of air which leads to abandonment of vehicles in place but that air has to be shown effective to achieve a working psychology which drives the conventional forces off before they tear up the advancing light units.

@Engineer Tom,
CAM Ships By Any Other Name, PDI contrail launch remain…
If the Falkands COEA had been a 1,000nm across with a 2hr time on-station instead of what, 40 minutes?, for the SHAR CAPs over San Carlos Water, the Argies would not have been able to exploit Soviet handed intel to push their SUE shooters through (and once, a flight of A-4s!) to the big decks.
No big deck attack = no threat to the Conveyor but also _no need_ for a ‘backup carrier conversion’ in case Hermes or Invincible went down. Which is essentially what convertible container ships and Skyhook and all that lot was about.
The problem with this is that if you are going to put up a CAP orbit that takes an hour to reach and return from with 120 of hang time, you almost have to have a secondary tanker stack with /it’s/ attendant HAVCAP escorts, ‘somewhere nearby’ so that jets get the best dose of stay-long as go-far, coming onstation and leaving to go home.
At least assuming you are not unmanned.
Now you are talking at least a triplet if not a quad of V-22 or equivalent STOVL + 200 knot tankers which can provide at least route and egress and possibly overhead tanking with one in reserve.
And maybe a pair more acting as AEW&C platforms (with -their- bodyguards).
And suddenly your container ship with a detachment of F-35s looks like a forest of tiltrotors with 2 CAPs forward, 4 jets covering the support enablers and another in maintenance rotation.
This is not a flight sciences as naval engineering experiment to take down Kondo…errrr, Bears enroute to the REFORGER SLOCs, this is a working system designed to protect as much as project a 200 million dollar asset investment in a miniature air wing where you cannot afford the lost sortie gen as attrition.

x
x
November 5, 2013 12:52 pm

@ All re MV22

Just because a piece of kit enters service doesn’t mean it is fit for purpose.

I am surprised I have to say that on a British defence website.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 5, 2013 1:14 pm

@ x

I completely agree MV22 in my eyes is a stepping stone, they should have been ordered in small quantities for SF roles etc. and extensive testing, then a 2nd Gen would come in say 2020-25 and been rolled out across the USMC (pressurised cabin please). Anyone who suggests we should get them for CVF I feel is wrong, as currently their only plus is range and speed (big plus yes), but compared to a Chinook they don’t have the capacity that we need for heavy lift. I would much rather we got the CH-53K.

wf
wf
November 5, 2013 1:34 pm

@M&S: I suspect you will find AMRAAM to be as good a Klub interceptor as SM6 or Aster, and an aircraft has both a far larger horizon and hence the ability to reposition, and at speed. SM6 has a long range, but to exploit it it needs major air based radar. An aircraft engaging has the advantage that it will be able to discriminate whether the track seen from 400km away is really a Klub, or merely a decoy, as well as the option to remove or jam the missiles mid-course guidance.

Personally, I suspect that replacing CAS with guided artillery / RPA / Apache sounds like a great idea

Chris
Chris
November 5, 2013 1:41 pm

x – I thought the modern way was to make sure everything *was* fit for purpose? Not by improving the equipment’s capability but by redefining the purpose. Hence we don’t currently need Naval FJ because our new understanding of the World Order is that we don’t need them. Oh, but as soon as F-35B is half decent we will assess that STOVL naval air power once again is a vital pillar of UK defence. We have determined apparently that light armour is no longer necessary, hence big heavy Scout, but I predict in the foreseeable future the necessity for light agile armour will reappear no doubt due to ’emerging previously unforeseen operational environments’. We have scientifically deduced the right number of Destroyers is the same as the number of aircraft carriers we needed in the 1960s – that decade when we were in constant Naval conflict. We have performed the studies to show the right size of the Regular Army is 3/4 the headcount of the DWP’s Civil Service and just 10% more than the number of Civil Servants in MOD. All of these are rock solid requirements determined by rigorous top-down hard scientific operational analyses – absolutely not fitting the Operational Need to what the stripped out budgets can afford. Oh no. That would never do.

M&S
M&S
November 5, 2013 1:49 pm
Reply to  Peter Elliott

Elliot,

The USN needed supersonic cruise to 1,000nm /yesterday/.

With DEWS being the only real solution for ‘propping up the layers’ of ASBM TMD even that may be a false hope because the system which can deal with Mach 10 mini-MARVs making terminal swarm dives will easily make smoke dots out of Mach 2 airframes.

Yet it is the need to get out from under the 2,000nm footprint that is ROTHR based targeting for ASBM (and force the threat to go to RORSAT equivalents which we can interdict with cyber or DEWS as ‘other means’) which will push the definition of airpower in the near term and IMO, that can only be towards hypersonics.

If you push for Hypersonics as a leg-not-radial strike system, this-

http://www.xphomestation.com/xp-china-map.jpg

Suddenly becomes reachable as a function of deep strike on Chinese military manufacturing and R&D sites out in the west of the country. Even as it also allows you to fully hostage the commercial side as _single event_ mission strikes. Launch from here. Fly to over here. Recover to here. Not the same boat.

Before rinsing and repeating.

And it’s all possible at significantly less investment cost than what Big AF are carrying as Falcon.

You only need an F414 to get off the deck and up to 40K. Two THAAD motors to bypass the SR-71 region of 70-80K up to 100K and Mach 5. Where you light a scram like the X-51 to go waveriding for an hour or so at Mach 8+.

Launched from a boat, this equates to less than a third what Falcon needs to run out from CONUS on in fuel weight alone.

Indeed, Falcon is /stupid/ dangerous. Not least because, assuming we can make it work (XTV-2 does not seem to imply so) we seem to have lost any and all ability to secure our data networks and so it represents the ability to fully nullify The Moats if it is copied.

But using the same technology as is evidenced in Spaceship One and the Ansari X-Prize effort, you can divide the world up into thirds or fifths and get _off the deck_ in a fashion that removes the requirement for all the supporting assets (AEW&C, EA, Tanking, Escort, the lot) and the resultant mismatch of performance as cost and schedule overlaps (aka ‘trainwreck’) that result when something is not present, on time, to justify the other assets in the mission.

Fewer assets means more money for those which remain while renovating the Carrier Ideal of power projection from ‘untouchably deep blue’ just like the Fleet Problems of the 20s and 30s where the key was that there were few watchposts to warn of the imminent launch of airpower from the sea while landbased targets didn’t move.

As America sinks under socialism and debt, the key to it’s remaining militarily effective is going to be making less do more and in such a way as to suppress rather than fan the flames of war. If the Chinese want to play hardball in a P2’d USN presence in SWAPR then you _back off_ rather than be hit by preemplaced warplan ambushes that they have practiced over and over.

You then instead hit them in the wallet of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Dalian, Changsha and Hangzhou. And suddenly nationalist fervor as the reconquest of (say) Taiwan isn’t quite so important.

At Mach 10 and 200,000ft, extracting individual MIRV like weapons out a rear weapons tube (think A-5 Vigilante) means you can skip them like rocks across a timezone or more of distance so that even hyper-SAMs like the S-500 and DEWS are not going to offer sufficient protection while a single train of four weapons would have the equivalent of 20 KEMs which struck like Rods From God.

Utterly flattening factories and C2 bunkers as well as potentially overmatching Silo doors so that a non-nuclear economic decapitation becomes a practical solution with all of maybe 12 HSVs (Hypersonic Strike Vehicles) on-deck, across an arc maybe 4,000nm across, out in the middle of the Pacific.

Do you still have things like UCAVs and fastjets? Yes. For minor (very minor) wars where you don’t need the Last Full Measure so much as constant presence to assure nobody misbehaves when they think you’re not lookin’, the close in options are retained (largely because they are shared with the USAF).

But for most critical missions where you are trying to prevent another Desert Storm precursor, the HSVs are your principle choice, simply because they don’t have to wait for the Carrier to come on-station.

Imagine the savings if you are dropping on fixed targets with prewar surveilled intelligence. No EWS, No APG radar, no EOTS, just a man sitting in a bathtub in a scaled (X-37/38) lifting body shape, straight out of Six Million Dollar Man, his life support pod surrounded by 40,000lbs of JP-8 which acts as a massive cooling mechanism. The SRBs and weapons tunnel are behind him and the only thing to interrupt the clean volume of the lifting body are popup fairings that allow variable geometry wings to extend for takeoff and landing.

It never fails to amaze me how much time and effort we put into the least important parts of the envelope while ignoring the critical ones which _get the job done_. If we could learn to lever our technical investments around those ‘important segments’ of the mission, while minimizing the get-to-the-fun-part time spent in other envelope segments, we could design an entirely new class of strike system which, even if it was copied immediately, would only let the Chinese or Russians threaten our fleets as equals from the mainland.

But which, on their own, would give back value to the carriers and let us dominate (Sea of Okhotsk to South China Sea or Phillipine Sea to Al Udeid…) the entire Asian Continental landmass without having to beg or borrow our way into airbase wet leases as with Kyrghzstan before OEF.

jj
jj
November 5, 2013 2:08 pm

“his life support pod surrounded by 40,000lbs of JP-8 which acts as a massive cooling mechanism.”

I do not think JP-8 will be used but instead fuel made out of liquified coal will be used for such a vehicle,Royal Dutch is building such a production facility in Queensland.Fuel made out of liquified coal can absorb much more heat then oridinay oilbased fuel.

x
x
November 5, 2013 2:17 pm

@ Chris

What always interests me is why the UK didn’t decide to build on STOVL post Falklands, given the success of the technology in that conflict, the lengthy gestation period of defence projects, and what it says about how the British political-military-industrial-state complex viewed our place in the world and indeed where they thought the world was going at the time. All very interesting.

wf
wf
November 5, 2013 2:21 pm

@X: they thought (and still do!) that “Europe” is the answer, whatever the question and whatever the evidence otherwise. I do suspect that is now changing however….

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 5, 2013 2:23 pm

@M&S

I do enjoy reading your posts although they come across as a mix of a sci fi novel and sales pitch.

The issue is of course money, you talk about War with china or India(good god man they play cricket). The threat simply does not justify the investment and in the absence of a major conflict progress will be evolutionary not revolutionary.

There is also the issue that war should be horrible and humans should see it as so, not as a computer game fought by robots controlled by people thousands of miles away. Studies already show drone pilots will engage where a manned aircraft would not simply because they feel detached.

x
x
November 5, 2013 2:32 pm

I thought studies showed drone pilots suffered as much mental stress as real (?) pilots.

Jeremy M H
November 5, 2013 2:36 pm

@APATS

Those post are interesting but I would say they go well beyond a bit outlandish. Frankly I start to tune out anyone who gets really exercised about DF-21D because everyone tends to gloss over every issue with such weapons.

@X

My main point is the Osprey is not in danger as a procurement program. The US has under contract around 350 of them which is the vast majority of the planned buys. The operational issues would be a different discussion but I don’t think anything will have to be sacrificed to protect the Osprey. As a program it is largely done.

x
x
November 5, 2013 3:13 pm

@ Jeremy M H

I know what you are saying. For all its speed and cleverness it is a flawed platform that I see down the road causing the US major headaches. The money to solve those problems will have to come from somewhere. It seems the USMC are heading towards fewer deployed units with more hi-tech equipment when it is true strength lies in its basic equipment levels and its ubiquity. As I said don’t care that it is deployed it is a poor piece of equipment.

The Securocrat
November 5, 2013 3:37 pm

@M&S

I can’t be the only one reading this thread with a mixture of interest in being educated and bafflement – can you explain in English please! Unless I’m the *only* person who doesn’t know what the “complexities of LDSD geometries” are…

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 5, 2013 3:40 pm

@ M&S,

In all seriousness, you need to lay off the crack.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 5, 2013 5:09 pm
Jeremy M H
November 5, 2013 5:19 pm

@TD

I honestly don’t think it has made a huge shift in US posture by itself. The pacific shift was coming regardless of what happened.

The biggest change I see from it is a shift away from a littoral focus to a blue water focus once again and the prioritization of SM-3 development and ships that can use it. But that is something that was already ongoing anyway and in the Pacific makes a lot of sense to help defend island positions anyway. It is a lot simpler to relocate an AEGIS ship than it is to deploy something like THAAD.

As a bonus it should be workable against the DF-21D threat as well. But there are a lot of ways to attack the necessary kill chain for that system to render it not much of a threat. SM-3 is just the most visible terminal end of those options.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 5, 2013 5:30 pm

@Opinion 3 – Smoke and mirrors – nothing happens until after the referendum, and the T26 Contract is still in play – what will happen depends on the outcome of the referendum; if the Scots vote for independence Govan closes once the Carriers are finished and the T26 Contracts go to the English yards…

Quite clever politics for a pro-Union PM trying to avoid the referendum becoming a vote between Wee Eck and an English Tory Toff…it potentially becomes a vote between Wee Eck and the Scottish TUC…

GNB

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 5, 2013 5:35 pm

Is it possible for the other yards in England to take up the build program, as I understand it T26 is bigger than the build hall in Portsmouth, same as T45 was, I’m not sure about the others.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 5, 2013 5:43 pm

@Engineer Tom – There will be no choice – we can place Defence Contracts with our own Yards within EU Rules, but if we open them up to any other EU Contractor, we will have to open them to all of them…an Independent Scotland is then competing with Germany, Spain, Poland Rumania and so on…even if the question arose, which it wouldn’t…

I bet Cameron is spitting feathers that he couldn’t delay the Grangemouth business for about a year and get an alternative investment for Ineos lined up somewhere along the Tyne or Mersey…

GNB

x
x
November 5, 2013 5:46 pm

@ Jeremy M H

The US has been involved in the Pacific for ever there is no shift.

What TD is on about is the DF21 threat pushing US CBG and ARG further off shore hence the supposed need for platforms like MV22.

The trouble is nobody knows if DF21 works given the way ballistic weapons work and the fact that carriers move………….

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 5, 2013 5:53 pm

@ GNB

I am in two minds on Scottish independence, on one hand I think it will damage the UK, but on the other hand I say give them it and in a few years time they will be begging to come back after they fail.

But in reality I don’t believe they will become independent.

Regards the BBC coverage, as a Pompey lad I find it rather one sided talking mostly about Scotland when everyone knows the biggest cuts are going to be in Portsmouth. But the Scottish government has a huge media machine where as we just have a couple of MP’s to speak for us. [Rant Over]

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 5, 2013 6:11 pm

@Engineer Tom – I’m not sure how much difference it will make – we will be about ten percent smaller, but still a comparatively large economy with Nukes, a UNSC Seat, and firmly within the top ten percent of the 200 or so countries in the UN by all measures from GDP to world class Universities; we might even be financially a little better off per capita…and if the Scots become the sort of high-tax anti-enterprise Country that some of them seem to favour we have plenty of regions close by ready to take up the slack…

I do keep musing about starting up a Company to plan and design a high-tech border fence though…Scotland will almost certainly need to join Schengen, which means we will need a secure land frontier for the first time in over five hundred years…and a seventy mile demonstration project might be a great way to pitch to the Cousins to sort the job out along their border with Mexico…or indeed Ivan to secure the Siberian Frontier with China in the face of a much reduced and largely professional army…

GNB

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 5, 2013 6:24 pm
Jeremy M H
November 5, 2013 6:27 pm

@X

That is nonsense in regard to the Osprey. It was in development long before the DF21 ever existed. We can debate the need for the Osprey until the end of time. I am not that interested in that discussion really. But its development and deployment had basically nothing to do with the DF21 as pretty much all those decisions predate any talk of that weapons system. Osprey (and the amphibious vehicle with lots of range and speed that got canned) were driven much more by the shore based cruise missile type threat than anything else.

x
x
November 5, 2013 6:54 pm

@ Jeremy M H

Poorly phrase I admit but not nonsense. The USN/USMC has been concerned for a long time about improving AShM and the vulnerability of task groups. DF21 exchabitated the situation beyond all reason.

Not interested in discussing MV22? Really? I take that to mean you know you are less than firm terrain. Go compare the relatively new Mv22’s already less than stellar safety record with that of the long in service CH46. Go compare how many MV22 a Wasp class can carry compared to CH46. Go compare platform cost.

Jeremy M H
November 5, 2013 7:13 pm

@X

I am not interested from the standpoint that we could spend a month hashing out the whole doctrinal approach of the USMC to the issue and never come to an agreement. I am well aware of the tradeoffs made for the aircraft vs what other helicopters cost (though comparing it to an Ancient CH46 is tough, those have been out of production for quite some time). Those are choices that were made and the USMC will have to live with them. They wanted some of the extra capabilities the MV-22 offers them. I think some of them are not needed and some have the potential to be very useful. Overall I don’t think it is a subject worth getting really worked up about in the grand scheme of defense issues facing the USMC and US.

x
x
November 5, 2013 7:37 pm

Jeremy M H said ” I don’t think it is a subject worth getting really worked up about in the grand scheme of defense issues facing the USMC and US”

Not MV22 itself no but the culture and processes that lead to its procurement are symptomatic of the issues facing the DoN as it lurches from cock-up to cock-up. LCS? EFV? Zumwalt? And that is without even considering the wetware side of the equation.

I will leave it here.

El Sid
El Sid
November 5, 2013 8:31 pm

First contract for the JVX (later V-22) was April 1983 – they were more worried about tactical nukes blasting holes in the line which couldn’t be reinforced quickly enough by helicopter.

It was in the early 90s (Forward From The Sea etc) that the USN really started worrying about anti-access within 100nm or so of the shore. That was driven by the Exocets down south and the Silkworms in GW1, not DF-21. That led to the idea that amphibious ships would be driven beyond that 100nm zone, which led to LCACs and V-22’s etc, the only ships going into that danger zone would be stealthy Zumwalts etc.

You wouldn’t take a Nimitz that close to shore in any case, hence no real change to your CONOPS there. The point of DF-21 (and the Chinese SSK fleet) is that it extends that danger zone from 100nm to 1000nm, which means tactical air is struggling to get their feet dry, and that does mean quite a big rethink on what kit you buy.

I’d agree the Pacific pivot doesn’t amount to much but it was always going to happen as a result of economics, just like we did a North Sea pivot to counter the burgeoning German economy in the late 19th century.

I’d suggest the US are quite well aware of the physics of steerable ballistic missiles, given the various programmes they’ve had in that area – SLIRBM, E2, LETB-2, Conventional Trident Modification, Conventional Strike Missile and so on.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 5, 2013 9:49 pm

At least we can understand why there was that ridiculous article yesterday about the carriers being twice the original budgeted cost and how some “dimwit” forgot to include the VAT expense.

Most of realise it was largely written by a baffoon for the daily mail consumption, and that it was highly misleading. Given MARS SSS needs to be built it is a shame so much energy is expended justifying the contraction of the industry and loss of jobs. Anybody would think the announcement is good news and great for BAE and the country.

M&S
M&S
November 6, 2013 2:56 am

,
“@M&S: I suspect you will find AMRAAM to be as good a Klub interceptor as SM6 or Aster, and an aircraft has both a far larger horizon and hence the ability to reposition, and at speed. SM6 has a long range, but to exploit it it needs major air based radar. An aircraft engaging has the advantage that it will be able to discriminate whether the track seen from 400km away is really a Klub, or merely a decoy, as well as the option to remove or jam the missiles mid-course guidance.
Personally, I suspect that replacing CAS with guided artillery / RPA / Apache sounds like a great idea.”
I suspect that realistically, this will depend on whether it is in turbo or rocket mode. In rocket mode, no missile which has sufficient impulse to defeat a 6G @ 500knots fighter at altitude is going to be able to make the cutoff on a missile doing 1,200 knots at 50ft.
You try to snap down into that and your typical planar seeker is going to white out with wave harmonic, killing the doppler trace while the missile passes through the full scan arc limit in a couple seconds and fuzing is well nigh impossible, even (or especially) with a seeker linked directed blast system. Switch to MEMS and you have a better chance but you run up hard against Maxwell trying to step through multiple PRF as STAP’d microgates.
I see the super/hypersonic problem as being highly akin to the BMD with thermo acoustics and drag replacing weight issues on a shear impulse:impulse basis. NCADE or AHTK might be able to pull cheetah lead but it’s going to be from the back on fleeting shot.
Dunno enough about Aster to comment but the SM6 has the advantage of a much bigger missile coming down from well and truly on-high and the potential of an IIR secondary if you can keep the window cooled.
In the final analysis, no weapon is going to be more than the cueing radar which puts it into play and I would, by far, rather have a Blk.40 GHawk looking into lane rather than an F-22 looking across it. Better volume, better graze, same or better horizon, _vastly_ superior PRF stack and loiter.
CAS perhaps. But not OBAS. And the difference is one of direct engagement with a conventional force vs. a running/hybrid war in which the threat doesn’t stand and fight. Rude bugger that he is. CAS is an exercise in faster ambulances in the modern condition and it’s wiser to put your emphasis on RPA and systems like Sentinel or GHawk which can GMTT track threats moving into hide from extreme offsets and take the SAR snap to put weapons like TACMS or GBU-53 on, depending on the range and available assets.
With the death of LOCAAS, JCM, SMACM and JAGM, the helicopter is simply short a weapon that provides it the response time and standoff to be useful in the OBAS role, to the extent that it becomes hard to know who the hunter is. We suffered a -lot- of losses in Iraq that are not what they are listed as and even including the real CFIT and systems related issues, you’re talking 120+ vs. 30 on fixed wings.

He who follows fastest, better stay high…
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/attack-helos-in-libya-mean-deadly-days-ahead-%E2%80%94-for-everyone/

Can’t go high when Tab and Density says you are beyond power curve…
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/afghanistans-copter-war/2/

@jj,
“I do not think JP-8 will be used but instead fuel made out of liquified coal will be used for such a vehicle,Royal Dutch is building such a production facility in Queensland.Fuel made out of liquified coal can absorb much more heat then oridinay oilbased fuel.”
I chose JP-8 because it’s readily available on deck (compared to say JP-7 or other high-temp fuels) and both turbine and scram will burn it. If coaltar burns better then…I’m interested. LINK please?

@APATS
“I do enjoy reading your posts although they come across as a mix of a sci fi novel and sales pitch.
The issue is of course money, you talk about War with china or India(good god man they play cricket). The threat simply does not justify the investment and in the absence of a major conflict progress will be evolutionary not revolutionary.”

I would say the opposite. A man needs a _minimum_ 20hrs per month in currency training to stayqualified, per mission flown. Where you are talking about at least two mission specialties per wing, and 30,000 dollars per flight hour on the ‘dirt cheap’, F-35, that gets real expense. UCAVs don’t face this problem as they are as much Ace Factored the day they go to war as the day of their last OFP download. Whether the last Flag exercise was six days before deployment or six years.
Now add to this a 2 million per 10,000lbs issue of for other not-really-required weight gains like a 9G, supersonic, structure and multiple load as flight control surface redundancies and even acquisition starts to look easier because the same jet is a minimum 10-15,000lbs lighter for want of abandoning such things as burners and cockpits and empennage and and and…
HSVs are not just ‘nice to haves’ they are _critical_ to the strategic balance because they act as a hard check against threats going all-missile. A DF-21D costs about 10 million dollars which, by all accounts, is cheap compared to the 10-15 billion that a carrier battlegroup represents. It is _not_ cheaper than a 250 million dollar airframe which runs a million dollars per sortie to drop 4X5 KEMs from near orbital loft onto targets as deep as the continent cares to make them.
That’s the difference between being able to hostage a nation’s infrastructure as commercial manufacturing base vs. having to go after single point military targets which, no matter how valuable they are, are sunk costs. You blow up someone’s Ford plant and we’re talking billions of losses for every year it takes to get back into production.
Add to this the standoff value of HSVs in releveraging the safety of the CVN and the much smaller airwing investment costs and Hypersonic Strike becomes the ONLY way to move forward.
Not least, because, as I said, skipping rocks across timezones makes a hash of even megaway class DEWS and virtually all SAMs.

“There is also the issue that war should be horrible and humans should see it as so, not as a computer game fought by robots controlled by people thousands of miles away. Studies already show drone pilots will engage where a manned aircraft would not simply because they feel detached.”

This is a publicity driven conclusion, supported by the manned aviation community and the general publics fear of constant overwatch at home. You solve the former by firing a lot of pilots and returning the air services to the defense of this nation rather than a labor union defending it’s own status quo. You solve the latter by explicitly forbidding all companies and law enforcement groups from using RPAs in friendly airspace because that is where the real corruption is going to come from.
Drone excess is not supported by the nature of the crews who fly Predator and act with surgical precision compared to the clods who drop GBU-12, then switch to rockets, then switch to guns. They stalk their opponents with the aerial equivalent of _The Most Dangerous Game’s_ .22 pistol and if they don’t like the look of the setup, they backdown and wait.
A 30-40hr, silent, loiter is good for that. 10-20 minutes while making all kinds of Jet Noise is not.
The issues is never about ‘how horrible’ war is to the man sitting behind his TV set a thousand miles from the war porn being CNN broadcast via live imbeddeds. Even when that man is POTUS. It’s about how survivable the man on the ground is and here, I can only say, again, that anything which has to wait for enemy fire to shoot back at is an exercise in CAS-as-Ambulance.
UCAVs lock down the rear area maneuver and logistics element of war and they also give you huge insight into who met whom on a dark road at 0D30 in a OOTW condition.
Whether you -win- a war is about how much you think it is necessary to fight it and that is something that, no matter how hard hearted or furious you are going in, can only, in the end, be determined, day to day, by how long you can stand the blood and ichor vs. what you think you are gaining by trying. Certainly, if you want to lose men and increase the number of My Lai or Haditha type reactionary massacres, fight the standup fight which begins when the enemy sticks his garage door opener out of the bushes and blows up another convoy.
If you want to -save the lives of those who are important to you- then put up persistent dwell airframes that can look at the route of march and watch the enemy come up and start burning a tire to soften the asphalt.
/Then/ decide if your men’s lives are worth more than assassins in the dark.
People hate drones because They Work. They take all the ‘fun’ out of war by denying the kinds of meeting or ambush fights that make life interesting as a field problem gone live fire. But from a geo-strategic picture, fighting a war worth winning means using the techniques that win. Especially when they in fact _reduce_ casualties. And A-UAVs do.
@Securocrat
“I can’t be the only one reading this thread with a mixture of interest in being educated and bafflement – can you explain in English please! Unless I’m the *only* person who doesn’t know what the “complexities of LDSD geometries” are…”
LDSD = Look Down Shoot Down.
The longer a missile stays high, the longer it stays fast and the more energy it has to do what a cheetah does when clips the legs out from under a gazelle fawn in the endgame.
However, maintaining a stepdown approach keeps the radar:target graze angle under control and so eases the process of creating viable steering control as a function of multiple interleaves of PRF or Pulse Repetition Frequency which is the compression of the individual pulse trains that respond more or less to background clutter vs. doppler return on highspeed targets.
Where most missiles simply don’t have the oomph to run down a supersonic target at low altitude from anything like useful combat ranges, you end up in a Catch 22 situation where the combination of crossing rates, gate filters and monopulse blind angles all prevent high altitude snap down by the missile into the front quarter and massive drag rise (taking an effective missile range from 30nm+ to 6nm, tops) prevents a nose:nose ‘2D’ intercept across the clutter.
This is before you throw in miniature RWRs and chaff dispensing coupled to 8-10G evasion skids on the part of the dedicated weapon.
Missiles like Aster and SM6 come out of a 20ft deep VLS (Vertical Launch System) well and are anywhere from 13 to 21″ across as 3,500lb munitions with massive boosters and huge motors which take them on aeroballistic lofts upwards of a 100,000ft before plunging back down at screaming speeds of Mach 5 or more, using their IMU or Inertial Measurement Unit (also called a GNU or Guidance Navigation Unit) to shape their trajectory as much as 600km downrange.
With an active radar homing seeker as opposed to previous missiles SARH, they aren’t horizon limited to the guidane radar’s line of sight on the target but someone still has to see the target to put them into a cube of airspace where their seeker will capture the threat.
There are a lot of folks who are very doubtful of the ability of modern radars to pickup LO targets like the Klub which transit as cruise missiles with low doppler and low thermal shock and only separate into a rocket boosted terminal vehicle at the very last (other systems like Brahmos and Moskit are ramjets and thus super/hypersonic all the way while most Western missiles trade absolute range and payload to remain firmly subsonic on approach). By the time the weapon goes into boosted terminal mode, the response time is very short and the use of such large missiles makes minimal sense compared to simply shooting straight across the graze with weapons like CAMM or ESSM or MICA-VL which are, ironically, based on airlaunch weapons and so are much smaller (in the 250-500lb @ 10-12ft X 6-8″ category) and more densely carriageable.
I tend to split the difference. I think that seeing the threat is shooting the threat and that means either a HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAV like Global Hawk with the Blk.40 RTIP radar. Or a pseudolite LTA (Lighter Than Air). I like these for a variety of reasons, not least being their (relative cheap compared to an E-2D or E-3C) ability to remain well and truly away from the protected axis of the battle group, giving cross-lane look into missile firings (even small RCS cruise missiles are much larger from the side).
I’m afraid that the ultimate answer to the problem is going to be: “Who cares what air does?”
Because ballistic weapons have such huge payload fraction and such short (and deep as standoff protected) engagement cycles that we will be forced into a dual mode defense centered around BPI/API destruction of pre bussed weapons and midcourse/terminal engagement of swarms of miniature maneuvering KKV (Kinetic Kill Vehicles) which make mechanical intercept a losing proposition in comparison with the cost and rapid recharge of lasers.
This is not to say that there will not still be opportunities for the odd ‘cavalry charge’ but it will not longer be as a function of high ticket airpower delivered raids like Midway or Coral Sea. Rather, you will see things like stripped down, PEM powered, submarines acting as swimming mine dispensers with a cluster of 5-10 AShM.
The absolute lowest cost, lowest signature, system designed to get a minimum number of shots in close to stress a defense system which is oriented towards space-to-ground engagement.
Under such conditions, it is likely the OABZ or Outer Air Battle Zone will largely be abandoned except for killing targeters. You will see a lot of mid, inner and terminal defensive effort, divided between MR configured SAMs that are good for Mach for to a 10-15nm horizon. SR configured weapons that replace RAM with ground-launch swarm AAM, good to 6-8nm and probably the topend weapon of choice for smaller hulls. With _networked_ (multiple apertures, sharing targets) DEWS replacing all CIWS and APS acting as final hard/softkill mixed load with MASS and similar rapid deployable screening/decoy systems.
Compared to this mass of hardware, AHTK as Air Launch Hit To Kill just doesn’t make a lot of sense. You spend more volume, in-hull for the JP-8 to flit around with than you get back from random placement coincidence, close enough to hit one or two of -waves- of inbound missiles.
Airpower’s real utility is always offensive and more typically short-reaction window biased towards TCTs or Time Critical Target sets.

@ Jeremy M H,
“I am not interested from the standpoint that we could spend a month hashing out the whole doctrinal approach of the USMC to the issue and never come to an agreement. I am well aware of the tradeoffs made for the aircraft vs what other helicopters cost (though comparing it to an Ancient CH46 is tough, those have been out of production for quite some time). Those are choices that were made and the USMC will have to live with them. They wanted some of the extra capabilities the MV-22 offers them. I think some of them are not needed and some have the potential to be very useful. Overall I don’t think it is a subject worth getting really worked up about in the grand scheme of defense issues facing the USMC and US.”

The USMC lost their ‘approach’ when they forgot Boyd’s admonition about not getting hung up in the surf zone transit mission and started thinking of RAP teams as foot mobile off of fast helos rather than patrolling, mounted under their own power, out of heavy lift.
Without the ability to internal-carry a Wiesel or Wolf sized vehicle pair, the MV-22 is, at best, a flying hearse no more useful than the range to which it’s escorts are constrained in accompanying it. Without vehicle mobility, -any- ground force is no more survivable in even a technical based maneuver environment than the _recovery lag by which the helo has to transit, refuel, transit and return_.
And the threat of overrun and capture or annihiliation is why, for all the fantasy of STOM ops, the Marines will never be used as mounted special forces as they could and indeed _need_ to be, as forced entry early arrival prep forces.
See: SAS ‘lost in the desert’ in GWI, getting picked up as they approached Iraqi positions on the Syrian border.
With massive threat overlaps, collaterals risk and now potential for losing whole delivery platforms, enroute, the traditional Marine SPOD capture mission is also now an artifact of history that would only ever by pulled out if ‘the other side did it first’ and we had no other means to stabilize.
See: Tristram and Galahad and introduce C-701/C-802/DF-21D/DH-10 to the scenario rather than assume A-4s flying every 15-17hrs with a pair of Mk.82 each. You folks couldn’t find a garbage truck, on a piece of beach front property less than 5,000m long. You expect the USN to find and suppress everything from DF-15 to DF-21 within a 1,500nm reach of Taiwan in time to effect an ongoing hostile amphib operation?
Laughs evilly…

@El Sid
“First contract for the JVX (later V-22) was April 1983 – they were more worried about tactical nukes blasting holes in the line which couldn’t be reinforced quickly enough by helicopter.”

JVX was the XV-15 on steroids, it wasn’t the all-composite V-22 fat-pig. XV-15 has -some- uses as ASW, AEW&C off of non full-decks and perhaps as VERTREP. V-22 is a bloated whale that doesn’t have the power or the payload margin or the handling to be useful as anything like the ship to shore fast transport it is seen as.

“It was in the early 90s (Forward From The Sea etc) that the USN really started worrying about anti-access within 100nm or so of the shore.”

The USN started worrying about littoral boundaries when Earnest Will showed that we couldn’t contain Boghammars anymore than we did E-Boats and Prime Chance became Praying Mantis as a result. That things /continued to get worse/ with the escalation of the mining campaign essentially making it impossible to insure VLCC, even outside the Gates of Hormuz was telling.
Even before Stark, it is wise to remember that the seamine which took out the Roberts only cost 1,500 dollars and yet did 89 million in damage.
I would suggest that the overactive eagerness of the USN inshore ASUW campaign of ODS was a good indicator of how much they were afraid of the bathtub effect of getting locked, close in ashore.

“That was driven by the Exocets down south and the Silkworms in GW1, not DF-21. That led to the idea that amphibious ships would be driven beyond that 100nm zone, which led to LCACs and V-22′s etc, the only ships going into that danger zone would be stealthy Zumwalts etc.”

Rubbish. If you want to achieve competitive or even /practical/ presence with 150nm radius assets like the SHAR and Hornet, you _will_ be less than 100nm away from whatever dirt you are trying to SOI cover.
‘The Carrier Myth’ flatly states that, for USN carriers to retain leverage vs. landbasing, in terms of daily numbers of sorties generated they have to be in the green water, well and truly. And then they can only sustain for about 2-3 days before they have to offstation, rest the crews and replenish at the fleet trains which /also/ have to be inshore.

“You wouldn’t take a Nimitz that close to shore in any case, hence no real change to your CONOPS there. The point of DF-21 (and the Chinese SSK fleet) is that it extends that danger zone from 100nm to 1000nm, which means tactical air is struggling to get their feet dry, and that does mean quite a big rethink on what kit you buy.”

I would suggest you take a look at the 1999 COEA zones off Serbia. They are not any greater than those off Falklands Sound and that is really disturbing. It is also one of the many reasons why the F/A-18E/F is such a disappointment, even before they drastically adjusted the range spec to less than the 550nm which they ‘promised’ would beat the ASF-14 configured Tomcat (KPP: 393nm. Achieved: 363nm).

The real risk of guided weapons is how much sooner they force you to conclude you are going to war. No longer will there be USN task groups steaming up and down the Formosa Strait to put an end to Chinese ‘missile test exercises’ with DF-15s fired across the bow of a wants-to-secede Taipei.

“I’d agree the Pacific pivot doesn’t amount to much but it was always going to happen as a result of economics, just like we did a North Sea pivot to counter the burgeoning German economy in the late 19th century.”

I would say that economics are everything but the USN is in fact being put out to pasture because Pacific Pivot is such a broad term that we can run from the fights we don’t want to lose or can’t afford to fight. If the U.S. economy collapses in the next three years, our naval presence will have no more function as teeth than it did as a GWF in the 1930s.

“I’d suggest the US are quite well aware of the physics of steerable ballistic missiles, given the various programmes they’ve had in that area – SLIRBM, E2, LETB-2, Conventional Trident Modification, Conventional Strike Missile and so on.”

Aware is not the same as acknowledging. The Brown Shoe and Black Shoe Navy will have t come to terms with the reality of an airpower modality that is no longer functionally effective because it cannot transit it from far enough off to protect the basing mode and it can no longer -hold on station- with sufficient force rotation as AAW cross cover to be useful in places like PakIndi or Taiwan. Pacific Vision proved this, with the vastly more capable F-22 and a fixed = infinite ops cycle island start point.
The future of naval strike warfare is missiles for reasons of rapididity of F2T2EA cycle, survivability of the delivery system in a DEWS and Hunter Killer saturated environment and cheapness of pennies per ton mile inventoried weapons.
All of which means the USN is going to have to stop trying to be the USAF afloat and return to HG&U, big time.
I just don’t think they, as we, can afford the doctrinal as much as theater shift to support it.

mickp
mickp
November 6, 2013 8:58 am

@M&S “All of which means the USN is going to have to stop trying to be the USAF afloat and return to HG&U”

Help me with ‘HG&U’ please

Thanks

IXION
November 6, 2013 10:18 am

HEEELP just put in a two page post that has disappeared in smoke-

TD Is your Spam Filter at it again.

Short version of post ‘ Yea Way to go M&S’

x
x
November 6, 2013 11:01 am

Seeing the size of USN aviation before the USAF came into existence, indeed before the start of WW2 for them, and indeed its long standing importance to US defence in the Pacific, then you can’t really accuse the USN of trying to be like an organisation that wasn’t in existence, and indeed that other organisation was part of another force nearly wholly concerned with defence of CONUS. Remember the USN was the strategic arm of the US forces and the USMC its landforces there was no such thing as a global USAAF before WW2 and indeed no globally deployed US Army (with a couple of tiny exceptions) it was far too small. The US was, is, a naval power . Indeed if you look the USAF today is spread around the globe in quite discernible theatre sized chunks. I do wish some here would try to stop applying our slightly cockeyed tri service model onto the US…..

M&S
M&S
November 6, 2013 11:08 am
Reply to  mickp

HG&U = Haze Grey And Underway.

(As) a modern naval paint color, corresponding to Federal Standard 26270 neutral grey to be applied to all vertical, metallic, surfaces above the waterline of modern vessels not explicitly camouflaged in a multitone scheme.

x
x
November 6, 2013 11:08 am

No doubt somebody will be along soon to question why the USMC does fixed wing FJ aviation.

mickp
mickp
November 6, 2013 11:27 am

@M&S, thanks

a
a
November 6, 2013 11:29 am

I started reading M&S’ posts thinking “he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about” and then came to this:

As America sinks under socialism and debt

…and realised that he could be safely ignored because he’s just another nut.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 6, 2013 11:35 am

“Switch to MEMS and you have a better chance but you run up hard against Maxwell trying to step through multiple PRF as STAP’d micro gates.” (M&S, above)

No, sorry. Any chance of that in English?

x
x
November 6, 2013 11:41 am
Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 6, 2013 11:56 am

X,

am even more confused following your link. Are we really procuring kit based on Star Wars? I suspect you are being mischievous. ;) On the slightest of possibilities that you (or M&S) are being serious, the machine in your link looks pretty good as a recce wagon.

I only ever saw one Star Wars film until last year: the original in 1977 I think. Mother took me to the cinema in Taunton on a school exeat as an 11th birthday present, and then bloody nearly got us thrown out as she asked for a child ticket for me, and the film was a 12… Typical of my mother. Then last year, I accompanied one of the little darlings to see a modern Part 43 or whatever. Quite fun.

M&S
M&S
November 6, 2013 1:04 pm

@RT,

“Switch to MEMS and you have a better chance but you run up hard against Maxwell trying to step through multiple PRF as STAP’d micro gates.”

No, sorry. Any chance of that in English?

As processors became more powerful with much bigger memory in the late 80s and 90s, we were able to break up radar returns into smaller and smaller time segments using hyper range gated pullouts of individual slices of concurrent radar return.

Applying Space Time Adaptive Processing, we can make real time radar clutter maps that are ‘faster than wave action’ and so can look into the dippy bits between the crests without having to average there and gone again returns.

It requires a heckuva lot of processing and (to my knowledge) was first used in airborne tactical applications on the APG-70 as a means to make primitive E-Pulse maps of target shapes whereby, ‘if you remove all the funky stuff’ (which changes between real time STAP segments, in-FOV) what you are left with is a hard series of shape related scattering patterns that can be thought of as amplitude variances by az/el index.

Compare those to a standing set of RCS variables and the Extinction Pulse segment which matches a stored database of mapped targets (made in an anechoic chamber from multiple angles and elevations using ‘scaled’ beams) is that of the likely target class. Not an airframe. Not a serial number but something like ‘twin tailed jet of approximately X meters squared.’

That same technology can be used to track very small targets by looking at the spikes between direct and multipath (clutter bounce or shadowed) return.

MEMS is a Micro Electro Mechanical System. A device created using semiconductor etching technologies but done at a nanno scale of 1-100 microns. In this case, we are talking about the ability to scale DTRM or Digital Transmit Receive Modules of conventional AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Arrays = ‘Phased Array’) radars down to missile sized apertures perhaps 5-8” across.

The problem here, besides the horrid costs of scaling architecture down through multiple levels of electrostatic arcing as wetted area signal-hop on a throwaway piece of ordnance, is that you are essentially shining a penlight at a black snake wriggling away fast through a black glass floor with a moving mirror underneath.

What isn’t absorbed or scattered randomly, tends to create multizonal (depthed) reflection patterns that make it hard to decide where relative target zero is as vertical index line drawn through the center of the missile above an average for sampled Sea State. Now imagine that that snake is wriggling along at 1,200-1,500 knots and you are plowing down at as much as 2,000 and see the problem of holding the cone of light on the wriggler until you can bring your boot down, hard.

It’s not impossible by any means, the radar altimeter the weapon uses, along with it’s thermal signature and certain shadowing effects related to impedance angles and dipole loading on the airframe body can all be used to amplify native cross section and so ease things along but it is a vastly underestimated tactical as engineering problem because the U.S. doesn’t ‘do’ super/hypersonic standoff (if we did, manned air would be out the window in a hurry), we do stealth delivery platforms.

I would say that the difficulties of hitting a defensively agile, self chaffing, supersonic missile on the deck are at least an order of magnitude harder than hitting a ballistic threat against a relatively clear black sky environment.

It’s just that the cost of the ballistic system of any decent range:throw-weight is already so high per flight vehicle that adding another 5-7,000lbs (as another stage) for redundant warheads, decoys and MARV guidance is a relatively small percentage of the overall system price and so you end up with swarming attacks from one bus vs. several dozen discrete weapons which still have to be brought into launch proximity, /somehow/.

It being the latter carriage platform as ships and subs and planes where we are getting rather staid and awfully high ticket.

As I said, when dead reckoning on a PEM cell works underwater with a 10-20hr rise to towed antenna level for a GPS or Beidou fix (even a star tracker), why pay 330 million for a Type 214 when you can pay 6X 50 million for a submersible barge whose lack of crew and sail so drastically reduces frontals as flow noise that you can do a 10-15 knot silent cruise in a composite wound ‘hull’ perhaps 50ft long which would challenge a Sea Wolf to find?

If you can haul 5 Brahmos or Klub missiles to within a 100nm of a DDG-51, that’s probably a picket kill and if you can plug a picket, you can jam a whole of ugly through the screen gap as everyone rushes to do SAR and reconfigure the radar coverage.

What’s more, this can be done, mid ocean, long before anyone is expecting a threat as active war status (which means that satellite targeting and commo are still up) and even against alerted assets, holding beyond the ASBM line, because it’s a one way trip for the barge.

You do whatever is necessary to draw in the bunnies and then you cleave them up with bear traps. If your goal is Taiwan all’s you have to do is create a fait d’accompli against which the doubled risk of forceable entry to an A2AD theater is allied with the reality of heavy ground fighting in a collaterals dense coat closet once there.

If I wanted to kill SS-AShM, I would begin with hunting weapons that could be launched into-lane like MALI and go boost to run down the threat over a flat horizon. I would back these up with either very high capacity medium SAMs or perhaps long range guns with advanced, steerable, HPM, warheads. And again, when they crossed the optical horizon, everyone on the formation would step-steer networked DEWS on any leakers.

This is no Tom Clancy’s _Red Storm Rising_, we are not talking about 40ft long Kelts, Kitchens and Kingfishers. It will be saturatively violent and it will be very short and it will obey the Chinese doctrinal instruction of ‘Without Boundaries’ to make sure any force the Western Navies sends gets hung up for as long as possible, as far as possible, from any Chinese littoral gambit.

x
x
November 6, 2013 1:09 pm

Sad to say I actually knew what M&S was on about………….

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 6, 2013 2:52 pm

@ M&S,

“People hate drones because They Work. They take all the ‘fun’ out of war by denying the kinds of meeting or ambush fights that make life interesting as a field problem gone live fire”
— You surely can’t believe this? If you do, then you’re a cretin.

You really think the reason that soldiers are sent to war, with all the injuries and death that results in, is because its fun?

The reason drones are not popular is not because they work, it’s the opposite. The UK has lost 450 drones since the start of operations in Afghanistan. Over half the Hermes fleet has been written off. The loss rate for “large” drones in US service is running at around 25 per year. And keep in mind that these are slow, stable UAV’s, not even the faster, less stable ones that would be required to live your drone dream.

You also make a big deal about ballistic missile. Has it occured to you at any point the dangers of two nuclear armed nations chucking ballistic missiles at each other?

Jeremy M H
November 6, 2013 6:33 pm

B

Your last point is one no one wants to consider because it really starts to mess with all IRBM’s raining death on every airbase in the pacific doomsday scenario.

I think M&S is a bit nuts at this point. It all looks very impressive but really is kind of nutty.

McZ
McZ
November 6, 2013 9:07 pm

@x
“I am certain B will be cancelled anyway to save A and C.”

There is an existing contingency plan to replace the C, but none replacing the A or the B. I’m pretty sure that – if any – the Charlie will bite the dust.

@M&S
“If you can haul 5 Brahmos or Klub missiles to within a 100nm of a DDG-51, that’s probably a picket kill and if you can plug a picket, you can jam a whole of ugly through the screen gap as everyone rushes to do SAR and reconfigure the radar coverage.”

Sounds easy. But… let me see, 5 AShM against 96 VLS-cells, with well above hundred ESSMs, Standard SM-2/6, a couple of SM-3, not to mention RAM, Phalanx and sophisticated ECM-kit integrated into the most advanced combat management system.

IXION
November 6, 2013 10:24 pm

JMH

‘I think M&S is a bit nuts at this point. It all looks very impressive but really is kind of nutty’.

One of the problems I have as an ‘Outsider’* is that one cannot gain a realistic appraisal of the technical aspects of much of defence issues. For example unless one is involved in the Square Jawed sons of Nelson and has been trained to operate high energy Maritime Radar systems (or design the same), it is difficult to know what they can actually do. This is true of a huge tranche of technical stuff.

Be it artillery Missiles or ships; What is published to the world is often little more than propaganda, both political and commercial. Totally devoid of reference points for things like maximum range/ conditions etc.

Much of course is quite properly ‘Secret govt secrets what are secret dear boy’. And those who know much, are often those who can speak least.

But therein lies the problem. Those who are in a condition to know are often those who have ‘bought into’ the status quo.

They may be very clever, they may be very brave, and honorable but if you have been trained since teenagerdom to see the world a particular way (WASAWPYK). Or RT’s wedded bliss to the idea that certain formally horse powered regiments existence is a god given right. Or that (say)’proper’ navies have airpower, then that does not mean they do, or they do not, it just means that the prevailing view amongst serving professionals is that they should.

Unfortunately we can all point to many examples where the prevailing view of serving professionals have been seriously wide of the mark. Major wars have exposed time and again that the ‘experts’ are ‘behind the curve’ on many things, (often to be fair some are in front, the ones that are often derided and sidelined before real shooting starts – Hobart anyone??).

My anti Elephant views are very well known. They are based on a number of factors which I wont rehash.

But high on the list is the apparent fact that many of the much vaunted and promised capabilities of anti shipping missiles etc, are finally starting to exist in reality. High velocity, semi stealth long range ASM’s are a reality. The Chinese anti carrier ballistic missile might fly only on paper, and to say the least has issues to be worked out, but no one is saying its a non starter. Deep sea mines, and wake homing torpedoes, have seemingly been almost ignored. The US congress had to threaten to take money off the USN because many felt it was not taking the Sunburn threat seriously.

Maybe the professionals are of the opinion that these are overblown threats. BUT Is that the spot on assessment of those ‘in the know’. Or is it rather like the RN’s Views on Submarines pre WW1, or breach loading artillery in the late 1800s, or the worlds navies views on Aircraft carriers in then 30’s. Or the enemy of the tank is another tank armed with a 2pdr view of the army in the 30’s…… In other words bollocks.

I Don’t really know – no one can.

But at least the likes of M&S give technocratic thrust to the arguments….

*
Encyclopedia Ixonius
Outsider. Noun.
Someone who is supposedly defended by the defence establishment and who picks up the bill.

IXION
November 6, 2013 10:44 pm

TD

If you find ANYONE who thinks this is end of us taking it up the chuff via our suits full of bugger all politicians, from BAE, supported by the sons of Nelson. ~

Please let me have their IP address. I have got this bridge I am trying to sell for the govt, £1 billion is all for Tower bridge. My contact the Nigerian prince will need their bank account details………

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 6, 2013 11:34 pm

@ IXION,

The problem with many of the scenarios like those posed by M&S is that they’re based around a theory that often excludes many important factors. So lets take the Chinese submarine firing the AShM for example. Under what circumstances is a Chinese sub lining up a US carrier battle group? Presumably it’s a war, so presumably the US has ASW assets deployed that are keeping an eye out for subs? There’s so much more to it than the sub just rolling up somewhere and firing.

The other issue is how all these hostile nations are supposed to afford all this stuff. If they could afford these capabilities as a part of their run of the mill defence expenditure, then why don’t they have them already? Think about our armed forces. We consider them “small” now, but when you look at the quality (of men and material) they’re actually quite large and expensive. Yet many of these scenarios require nations to go leaps and bounds beyond us in their technical and professional competence, while assuming countries like the US will not monitor developments and consider counter-measures.

As for M&S’s technical flair. On the Eurofighter thread he called Typhoon underpowered for its weight, until Mark stepped in and made the point that Typhoon is actually considered something or a rocket (which it is). At which point drag from external ordnance was brought up as a limiting factor, along with some technical jargon to lend it Kudos. But in that case, how do we explain this;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm1zk_uPT0Y

Seems to be doing alright for power from where I’m sitting.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 6, 2013 11:51 pm

IXION,

not a “god given right” (or more properly, God with a capital G), merely that your argument was so fundamentally flawed at so many levels that it was worthless. Honestly, I don’t have any worthwhile opinion on the operating of the legal profession, so I’m surprised that you thought you did on the operation of the military.

IXION
November 7, 2013 12:10 am

Chris B

I have no idea if M&S is right. I understood most of his points many of which made sense but as I said, I don’t KNOW if he is right.

As for costs good point, but: –

Deep sea mines captor mines and wake homing torpedo’s are priced to go at a former USSR country near you.

Argentina went to great efforts to buy Exocet, in the war for the nameless isles, there are a lot more countries making a lot more types of missiles more available, than back in 1980,s.

Its worth remembering that a 1960’s generation Italian Anti ship missile Otomat caused a 1st gen Arliegh Burke seven kinds of trouble in USN tests in the Caribbean, in the 90’s. Ok so it’s not the 90’s but there are a lot better missiles than the Otomat, now. I don’t know what Brahmos costs, or what the Ruskies will let you a sunburn for?

There is a always the targeting issue, but things have not sat still there either.

I don’t think its easy or cheap to get this stuff or the kit and training you need to use it, BUT

The USN has been accused by many including some of it’s own, of seeking to ignore or minimize inconvenient factors like mines and submarines. We All know a super stealthy western SSK has embarrassed the USN in peacetime exercises – as has a noisy old fashioned Chinese Sub. The USN has been retiring ASW assets, and not exactly bigging up Mine warfare.

There are no published details I can find of real hardware tests of how a western destroyers defences hold up to a brace of mach 2 sea skimmers.

IXION
November 7, 2013 12:32 am

RT

I get to listen to EVERYONES opinion on my job, the standard ‘murderers and rapists’ speech is a given. My job is Law and Order. Do you really have no opinions on that? Why did I think I have a valid opinion on regiments????
It could be because whilst a number of people on this site did not support the idea; a number of others (presumably of equally worthless value) thought it had merit, and more came halfway down the road suggesting big regional regiments.

I obviously touched a nerve, because you have kept sniping at it in a couple of unrelated posts, so I thought ‘what the hell’ I would play too.

However the point in the context of this post stands.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 7, 2013 1:13 am

@ IXION,

I’d appreciate there is openings for things like the ships we lost “down there” in ’82. It’s the concept that because someone has a missile that might sink a US ship, that the US should abandon everything it currently has and recapitalise its fleet with new super weapons etc. Or the general super weapon scenarios that overlook additional factors like the economics of warfare etc.

M&S
M&S
November 7, 2013 3:56 am
Reply to  Chris.B.

.B.,

“You really think the reason that soldiers are sent to war, with all the injuries and death that results in, is because its fun?”

Sent to war? No.

Fight the way they do instead of the way which would be most efficient? Yes.

Keep in mind that the military acts as a finishing school for young males in the peak of their criminal-adventurist phase and so can be seen as a psychology trap by which letting them do what 150,000 years of HG instinct would have them do anyway both thins the herd and provides a service as focused young citizens reenter society. But the system is built around young men who chose to stay in the game and ‘the way they play’ as servicing R&M solutions to given problems is the way their minds suggest is ‘fun’ rather than the manner which is most efficient. The Same Ol’ Way has it’s roots deep in the male psyche as much as it’s fingers far within the national purse.

And the predominant percentage of Youtube Videos from an all-volunteer armed forces supports me. There -would be no war porn- if things like watching an A-10 gunrun was not cool to the private soldiers recording it for their own purposes. And that is the way it should be because if you are not enjoying what you do, even in the act of killing, you are not going to be any good at it nor committed to doing it until it’s too late to back out.

Beyond this however; drones are denial platforms which prevent whole chains of ‘If he does this, we’ll do that’ measure and counter enactment which means budgets get hurt and R&M turf gets lost, simply because drones do the job that a thousand fast ambulances cannot: a roving patrol that preempts engagement.

“The reason drones are not popular is not because they work, it’s the opposite. The UK has lost 450 drones since the start of operations in Afghanistan. Over half the Hermes fleet has been written off. The loss rate for “large” drones in US service is running at around 25 per year.”

In both SWA theaters, MQ-1s are the #1 requested air support out of all possible types, exceeding the AH-64, A-10 and AC-130 to name the next top three. Why? Because they provide persistent and even preemptive cover, 24:7.

Most attacks, whether they be small ambush or roadside bombs or single snipers are seriously ‘put off’ the first time a Hellfire reduces the leadership to hair teeth and eyeballs because it means the higher ground of surprise is lost.

Achieve this before the passage of a big convoy doing resupply or a big operation doing a sweep and clear ‘and word gets around’ as a severe negative disincentive psychology inherent to no-freebie coup warfare which is what these folks are used to desultorily attriting their enemy with.

Comparatively, fast Jets doing NTISR are not successful because they are looking at a 5×5 or an 8X10 sized MFD when in fact they need to be up on a 17″ monitor. And because sitting on an iron-hard ejection seat is hard and boring when you do it for 4-6hrs. Not to mention expensive, even ‘back in the day’, when flying F-16Cs was roughly 5,700 dollars per hour and A-10s about 5,500. MQ-1s at that time were under a 1,000 dollars per flight hour. Which is why you can afford to have upwards of 60 CAPs with drones running two and fro and MCS crews skipping between them, even across theater distances.

“And keep in mind that these are slow, stable UAV’s, not even the faster, less stable ones that would be required to live your drone dream.”

Slow derives from installed power and sailplane VNEs, it is not particularly ‘stable’ because of this, rather quite the opposite. Jet UCAVs which perform like, say, Hawk T.1s will in fact have a much better accident rate, simply because they will have the speed to press through crosswinds and turbulence, particularly in the landing cycle, while also flying rapidly through and above or around most weather.

“You also make a big deal about ballistic missile. Has it occurred to you at any point the dangers of two nuclear armed nations chucking ballistic missiles at each other?”

Has it occurred to you that the reason we have such systems DSP and BSTS and the various PAVE radars amongst others is that nuclear ballistic missiles which cross oceans to hit CONUS based targets are actually rather simple to track and would provoke an entirely different ‘flexible’ response from those which might strike a carrier battlegroup fighting in enemy littoral waters?

The truth of the matter is that blue water forces have always been more vulnerable to nuclear attack /because/ they are not near anything for which fallout and civilian secondary casualty problems would be a problem. Indeed, the entire scenario of REFORGER was predicated upon two logic fallacies:

1. That the first units would arrive from CONUS before it was all over. Couple Hitler’s Highway network, 40 years to plan and a 10:1 standing advantage in armor inside a tiny theater and you get Desert Storm like, 72-100hr, wars.

2. That the Soviet’s, who were already in-theater with a majority of their A-level forces and could arrive in days with more using rail networks far faster than RORO ships, would not choose to trade surface navies using nuclear weapons at sea. Again using the understanding that if you chuck nukes at land targets which might actually hurt the Russian war effort, you will get them back in full measure on -your- land forces which are losing anyway. The Russian navy was designed by a field marshal because the Russians don’t have to deliver their war across a 3,500nm water barrier. We do. And they had the -tactical- (i.e., non-ballistic) systems to make it happen from 650mm torpedo tubes to nuclear varianted AShM.

What they didn’t have was the combined targeting to make it all a certainty of overmatch.

In this, nuclear warfare has -never- been as ‘gasp, unthinkable!’ as most would like to believe. It is about achieving kill densities in sufficient leveraging areas to provide military as political shock effect sufficient to shape a strategic outcome.

Thus it is only the extent to which each side understands the rules of trading in kind that matters.

And this makes having the U.S. as an ally very dangerous because the political pressure to back out of a war where we were reduced to nuclear ‘vengeance’ for uniformed service personnel vs. nuclear -utility- (striking targets that hurt the enemy war effort) would come down to a choice between inviting civilian casualties from massive retaliation for land attacks. Or cutting losses in already dead sailors.

It never fails to amaze me that the Europeans were so willing to let a nation with this kind of strategic vulnerability lead NATO.

Indeed, the reason for systems like Gryphon and Pershing were as much to stiffen ‘independent’ NATO resolve with committed counterforce in the face of conventional land based defeat as to incinerate Europe before a distant America. It would not have worked of course but it shows the flipside of of the Russians sharing the same continent as an ongoing MTW with a nuclear component. This ‘never knowing’ (how far they will go) element is what makes having to plan as though your opponent is a complete maniac and willing to trade cities with a million or more population for big decks with 6,000 men a part of the psychological equation.

NONE of which applies to the current scenario because the ranges are far shorter, on the order of TBM-MRBM 1,500-2,500km rather than 7-10,000km ICBM levels, while ballistic weapons are now sufficiently capable of precision engagement as to be capable of achieving similar disabling kill-densities -without- the commensurate strategic risk of an immediate step to nuclear warfare. Because after all, they were volunteers serving in a foreign theater. And China has made it viciously clear that if attacked with nuclear strategics, her first as only response will be counter value, not counter force, and it will be overwhelmining.

Now the Maniac Boot is on the other foot in that you have to assume the inbound weapon is conventional until proven otherwise or suffer a massive ’embarrassment’ from over reaction to a given escalatory level far below nuclear threshold. But at the same time, the paradigm has changed because even a KKV coming down at Mach 8+ is going to do disabling damage to -any- vessel, if it is capable of a guided hit.

The Russians might have been able to achieve this with SSBN or SSGN equivalent systems using the maneuverable RV of the late SS-28 Sabre 2 but only at the risk of compromising their nuclear deterrent force and only if they could reasonably solve the targeting problem which was hard in the 1980s because they had no easy access to the Atlantic and we had at least two means of ASATing their overhead. We also had no real intention of running REFORGER as far as I can tell (or there would have been 500 C-5Bs instead of 15 carrier groups to begin with).

Yet by coming within 2,000nm of their shores, we solve the modern equivalent problem for the Chinese via simple OTH-B surveillance systems. With a fully mapped ionosphere as antenna model, the Australian JORN system can track targets as small as Cessnas coming into Jakarta, 2,500nm away. The Chinese, with a similar system, could make it impossible for us to mask a CVBGs minimum EMCON air activity as force geometry as the battle group transited en-masse from the blue water void where only the USN operates, thru the littoral boundary to try and hide in coastal traffic.

Until we admit this. Until we ALSO look at what we want to be able to do to China, conventionally, short of nuclear warfare, with hypersonics reaching deep into her industrial areas to hit her in the wallet, we will not have a decent handle on how to keep the carrier relevant in the 21st century.

The two concepts are mutually interlinked in a way that makes Mach 25 Falcon out of CONUS absurd.

It may frankly not be possible or necessary to retain a large carrier fleet which is why I urge a realistic look at the use of missile weapons in a laser defense driven game of Salvo Model attrition since I can buy 2-3 arsenal ships, fully loaded for the price of a single CVN.

One other condition I would point out: the Black Ditch is a minimum 70 miles and averages 110 miles across with shallows on the order of 200ft and tidal flows that make the English Channel in winter look like a slidewalk.

Nobody is going to sealift an invasion force across that. They are going to do what the Russians did in AfG and more particularly, what the Argentinians did with Buzzo Tactico in the Falklands. They will preface that airlanded assault force with massive DF-15 and DH-10 precision attacks which will largely decapitate the ROC government and leave only the ROC military hiding in their underground bases, assuming there are no moles to blow them out with as well.

It will happen within a 6-10 hour operational window and -then- you will see masses of reinforcements FLY in, without a single ship anywhere to be seen in Foochow or Hsiamen harbors as giveaway and thus without the need for a SPOD siezure of Kaohsiung.

To react successfully to that kind of a fleet problem, the USN is going to have to be within a single day’s steaming and they are going to have be lofting sorties from at least 400nm out all the way to ‘beachhead CAS’ levels of 150nm or less. It is the _only way_ that they will be able to generate the kinds of sortie rates necessary with only 40 jets on-deck to be of use to the ROC. See: ‘The Carrier Myth’.

The Chinese know this, they are not stupid.

So they will strike when the nearest Carrier is a week or more out and they will drop Taiwan like a hammered ox before lying in ‘Hyeeear kitty-kitty’ wait for whatever we try to do, likely from 1,500nm or more.

The only thing that keeps them from doing it tomorrow is that Taiwan is an industrial and corporate mega achiever with something like 70-80% of her companies involved in Mainland contracts for everything from construction to medicine to banking and civic management.

This and the fact that every time we react to a threat to ROC sovereignty with theater level investment as massive P2 base-in makes the entire Chinese stalking horse strategy one of using Taiwan to bleed the U.S. pale.

Since that is The Big Threat (as ‘the only war we have’) scenario we face at the moment because nobody cares if PakIndi blow each other up and China’s other sock puppet, Korea, is stabilized so long as everybody dances to the same waltz in keeping the Kims bottled up on the Peninsula, it stands to reason that we might want to have options beyond a paltry few Tomahawk on SSNs sitting off Yankee Station.

Myself, it would save us a whole lot of hassle and some serious megabucks to simply give all three Tigers turnkey nuclear enablement and wash our hands of the Asian mess. It would certainly keep the Dragon busy chasing it’s own tail for once. But I assume that the economics of the situation (i.e. our need for a massive imbalance on consumer goods costs) prevents this.

As such, it’s time to start thinking about how to win a war when we are not the only ones who have a bunch of serious PE as rapid delivery, long range, conventional systems leverages.

M&S
M&S
November 7, 2013 5:35 am

McZ,

@M&S
“Sounds easy. But… let me see, 5 AShM against 96 VLS-cells, with well above hundred ESSMs, Standard SM-2/6, a couple of SM-3, not to mention RAM, Phalanx and sophisticated ECM-kit integrated into the most advanced combat management system.”

First, SARH is a horizon limited which is to say illuminator as aspect limited (how many are masked, whether it’s an X or S band ship etc.) system that relies on a the spray of electrons over a very lumpy set of the-floor-moves scatterers. This vs. a .5 mile per second weapon is a difficult option. Vs. a mile per second weapon, it is likely beyond the ability of even an automated AAW response system to respond to in the 6-7nm window at which you are going to catch the threat.

I don’t think much of SPY-1A/1D as a low level capable system, for much the same reasons as Sea Dart dumped and Coventry got blowed up. I am suspicious of SPY-3.

>
AN/SPY-3 is the first US shipboard Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) system. It operates in the X-band radar frequencies [2]

X-band functionality (8 to 12 GHz frequency range) is optimal for minimizing low-altitude propagation effects, narrow beam width for best tracking accuracy, wide frequency bandwidth for effective target discrimination, and the target illumination for SM-2 and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). The X-band has, in general, favorable low-altitude propagation characteristics, which readily support the horizon search functionality of the AN/SPY-3. A large operating bandwidth is required to mitigate large propagation variations due to meteorological conditions. [3]

The system uses commercial off the shelf (COTS) computers and has reduced manning requirements for operation and maintenance. A number of operation and maintenance functions can be completely automated.[4]

The AN/SPY-3 was originally to be combined with the S-Band AN/SPY-4 under the designator “Dual Band Radar” on both the Zumwalt Class DDG-1000) destroyer and Ford Class (CVN-78) aircraft carrier. On 2 June 2010, Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter announced that they will be removing the SPY-4 S-band Volume Search Radar from the DDG 1000’s dual-band radar to reduce costs as part of the Nunn-McCurdy certification process. Due to the SPY-4 removal, SPY-3 radar is to have software modifications so as to perform a volume search functionality. Shipboard operators will be able to optimize the SPY-3 MFR for either horizon search or volume search. While optimized for volume search, the horizon search capability is limited. Without the VSR, DDG-1000 is still expected to perform local area air defense. The Ford Class aircraft carriers will be the only platforms to have both radars married in one system. [5]
>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/SPY-3

All things being equal, the broader the bandwidth you transmit over, the less effective radiated power in any one channel which equates to less db on the target which means less signal -as- noise from which to gain a useful return on small RCS targets. Volume search systems can help here because they stear the pencil beams of the X-Band system into ‘suspect areas’ where wave or horizon clutter -might- hide a threat while generally putting out a lot more total ERPs to sweep farther and faster.

When I read that an AAW ship radar has been reduced to ‘local air defense’ I see _gapfiller_ in a low altitude defense scheme where the sum of the radar picture is as the nature of the _expendable_ screen asset to see threats going by, intended for ‘greater things’. This does not apply to the missile which can target ships purely on their active radar signature (yes, we have functional RWRs capable of classification that small).

Putting 1-2 billion dollar platforms and 200 men at risk is not an acceptable solution when /targeting/ said vessels buys you into the battle group center.

As for the layering, fine. Depending on what threat level you’re at, it may work. But if the AAW suite isn’t permissively able to blow the SRBOC, pre-slew and authorize the CIWS or RAM mounts and start generating some high level fire control solutions (which will spark off every airborne ESM system for 200nm radius), if the captain doesn’t unmask his ship to bring it’s weapons into lane, NONE of the layered system approach is going to happen.

And that is exactly what occurred with both Sheffield and Stark. The obverse is what happened with Vincennes as a captain with his fingers in the pot of a surface action handed off decisions he should have been making to an AAW officer who relied on system indicated IFF constraints that were not reflective of the actual threat _and that was a medium altitude climbing 747 visible at 80nm_.

The key thing about my barge-as-mobile-mine concept is that it’s all mission dedicated. No where will you find a tactical aircraft costing a similar 50 million dollars (which would have to be something like an AMX or Kfir conversion these days) which will deploy five AShM of even Harpoon/Kh-35 class. They all come with a myriad of separate ‘survival not mission’ aids like a 9G supersonic airframe (because apparently you cannot suck down gas fast enough) and various AAM/ARM/ECM penaids (as admission that AAW suits on surface ships and carriers are really emphasis-oriented around shooting down the archer, not the arrow). But in trade for all this secondary cost garbage, you find that you have a functional operating radius of less than 500nm from a tanker and only 2 or at most 3 weight-rated pylons. The missiles cost the same, between 1 and 2 million each, but the mission concept is so pilot-survivability compromised that, _just to defend itself_, with a similar loadout as the barge, now takes TWO airframes.

You want five AShM, you buy 2.5 fighters. Two point five fighters = 125 million dollars and now I can afford to haul, not one cluster of AShM but two, for my submersible barge. And I am positive that AEGIS cannot beat 10X2 supersonic missiles, inbound from a detection threshold well under that of the radar horizon at 12nm.

.B.,

“As for M&S’s technical flair. On the Eurofighter thread he called Typhoon underpowered for its weight, until Mark stepped in and made the point that Typhoon is actually considered something or a rocket (which it is). At which point drag from external ordnance was brought up as a limiting factor, along with some technical jargon to lend it Kudos. But in that case, how do we explain this;”

It’s an airshow loaded airframe (fuel for ordnance to sustain T/Wr) operating at sea level where maximum thrust is available at a ‘CAPing the Airfield Beacon’ level of mission radius.

While the jet has an impressive 4X CPU-123B LGBs it does not have ALARM or a LITENING pod. The specific condition I was given was a jet operating at 40,000ft over Libya where it’s thrust would have been halved and it’s lack of SEAD weaponry as well as truly capable LDP would have all stood against it being able to function adequately in the face of a major S2A or A2A threat.

You cannot get away from this, it’s a universal condition of physics that applies equally to Typhoons as to Strike Eagles and Falcons.

And as I said originally: Fighter pilots always want a hotter aircraft. This becomes a key sales point on the airshow circuit whereby you can honestly say that the jet has more thrust in compensation for the added multirole capability ‘or’ (wink-wink, nudge, nudge…) that odd bit of kiting about the Mach Loop down in Wales.

“I’d appreciate there is openings for things like the ships we lost “down there” in ’82. It’s the concept that because someone has a missile that might sink a US ship, that the US should abandon everything it currently has and recapitalise its fleet with new super weapons etc. Or the general super weapon scenarios that overlook additional factors like the economics of warfare etc.”

You clearly don’t understand that operational concepts behind the /why/ of ‘what happened down there’ and so invite repetition. The U.S. is a global power that cannot afford such an embarrassment when we are fighting for other people’s lost causes in parts of the world where our population screams at the President we _do not want to be involved_.

As for ‘superweapons’, you make a further mistake in assuming that the USN doesn’t _have to_ recapitalize it’s air assets roughly every ten years compared to the USAFs 20+ because the Air Navy works in a much harsher, more fatigue ridden, operating environment where everything they do is exposed to marine corrosion rather than a nice sealed VLS container.

With this in mind, the F/A-18C is both technically and cyclatively well beyond it’s use-by date and the F/A-18E/F came into the fleet obsolescent as an attack aircraft that wasn’t what anybody wanted but what everyone though the USN had to have because Congress wasn’t paying for the AFX.

The F-35C is what the Super Hornet should have been but it too is not technically outdated by changes in the operational environment. It is also -vastly- overbudget in ways that the A-12 team would laugh at, were it not such a tragedy (they would have completed FSD at 6-7 billion, just 1.2 billion more than the 5 billion or so the contract required).

With no fighter in sight, no supercruise to rapidly generate sorties beyond 1,000nm and an overpriced ‘super weapon’ that nobody wants to acknowledge as a total clunker, NOW IS THE TIME to recapitalize away from an inadequate (260? What a joke…) buy of dated F-117-with-JDAM weapons concept and towards something which both allows the U.S. the strategic reach in to hostage the behavior of the likes of a nationalistically resurgent China. And to draw down the number of carriers to 6-8 in a period of deep Sequestration while maintaining the ability to reach out, on an hourly basis, to 4,000nm or more, and bring the heat to an ally or an enemy in need.

The F-35B is a go-nogo program for two services: The USMC and the Royal Navy. It is a budget eating monster of low threshold capabilities for everyone else.

The value to the two must not exceed the needs of the many.

We forget this, at our doom.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 7, 2013 8:58 am

IXION,

There’s a difference between holding an opinion on something, and actually knowing what on earth you are talking about. You seem to be in the former camp as far as Army structures are concerned. Your post was so laughably wrong in fundamentals that the opinion and subsequent recommendations were just not based on reality (which is not at all perfection), and completely failed to even take note of the human component which is utterly vital to how men fight, for who and for why.

In legal terms, the vision that springs to mind is of a 4 year old making the case for the prosecution in a some complex City trial about commercial law based on an “it’s not fair” argument.

Chris
Chris
November 7, 2013 9:38 am

RT – ref the famed “It’s not fair!” prosecution argument – full of common sense (if a little weak on detail) but as likely as my favourite, the “It was your own bloody stupid fault” judgement, which I suspect would be the common sense ruling for the vast majority of claims for damages were the Judge allowed to proclaim it.

As I understand it the litigation culture goes back to a case in America (who’d have guessed it?) where a woman found she could no longer reach a cupboard above her new gargantuan Frigidaire refrigerator (other brands are available). She looked at this hefty steel monster, and observed the strength of the steel shelving within. So she used the shelves inside the door as a ladder to climb up to the cupboard above. No surprise, when she leant forward to get her pans out of the cupboard, the door swung right round and she fell, breaking bones. She sued the manufacturer for not having a clear warning on the device that it was unsafe to use as a ladder. In a logical and rational world the Judge would have pronounced my preferred “It was your own bloody stupid fault” ruling, but instead she won her case. From that one ruling the idiocy of claiming damages from everybody else to a) cover up the claimant’s own lack of care & responsibility, and b) to get money, has been a sleazy lawyers’ gravy-train. (Excepting IXION of course because he is a fine upstanding pillar of the community.)

Sometimes I wonder if kids at school are taught about personal responsibility any more (or consideration for others, or self-discipline), such irrelevant schooling being replaced by ‘How to claim damages’ and ‘How to claim benefits’ and ‘How to claim discrimination’. There will be cases where damages or benefits are right and justifiable, and where there’s been discrimination that needs sorting out. But people are not all passive victims incapable of making their own decisions; sometimes it seems the individual’s responsibility is ignored by the legal process. In my opinion.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 7, 2013 10:03 am

Chris, re your Frigidaire woman. Was she related to the other American woman who successfully sued McDonalds because the coffee she bought and placed into a upholder in her car scalded her when she nose-ended another car at a red light 2 minutes later?

Coffee is made with extremely hot water (if not 100 degrees celsius, something close). Skin doesn’t react well to being soaked with boiling water. I knew that when I was about 5. I don’t think I should be able to extract $millions from McDonalds if their very recently purchased coffee burns my leg.

(I am tempted to talk about the FUCKING lawyers, but the memory of a divorce case is too searing and it does disservice to the good names of leeches and cockroaches)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 7, 2013 10:29 am

@M&S

The obverse is what happened with Vincennes as a captain with his fingers in the pot of a surface action handed off decisions he should have been making to an AAW officer who relied on system indicated IFF constraints that were not reflective of the actual threat _and that was a medium altitude climbing 747 visible at 80nm_.”

It was actually an AirBus A330 which was descending on approach and following an airlane. Of course warnings on mil guard not much use.

You want five AShM, you buy 2.5 fighters. Two point five fighters = 125 million dollars and now I can afford to haul, not one cluster of AShM but two, for my submersible barge. And I am positive that AEGIS cannot beat 10X2 supersonic missiles, inbound from a detection threshold well under that of the radar horizon at 12nm.”

I am also blasted certain that you are not getting any submersible barge within 12Nm against a decent ASW screen, especially if in active mode with a modern LFAS.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 7, 2013 10:39 am

APATS, M&S,

sod the high speed high G manoeuvring, and taking as an “effect” that you want to put a sizeable, terminal hole into a boat’s hull under the waterline, what’s the thinking on low speed or stationary loitering missiles?

As a concept, something that flies like a missile until relatively local, then stops and splashes down into the sea to act as a torpedo to hunt down the ship using all of the most recent guidance from its own sensors and the last datalink message before it went underwater. Or even waits until a target crosses its’ path, being instructed by a receive only link on a buoyant antenna?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 7, 2013 11:05 am

@RT

Technology and targeting would be the biggest issues. It would have to work above and below the water. It would have to be big enough to carry fuel for both uses and have sufficient range in both environments. It would really have to use a datalink as if it was going active to detect the target and get close enough to drop into the water then it is going to be high enough to be engaged. You could stream a wire when it was underwater but that would give you a low band width. automated engagement via a sensor will give you some interesting ROE issues, the first time you sink a cruise Liner and kill a few hundred civvies.

So I am guessing that the thinking is that it would be very expensive to build, have some tricky tech issues and not offer sufficient advantage. Just my guess though.

Tom
Tom
November 7, 2013 11:32 am

RT – something like a advanced, intelligent, cruise missile version of the Ikara?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikara_(missile)

Chris
Chris
November 7, 2013 11:37 am

I’ve mentioned this before: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikara_(missile)

a
a
November 7, 2013 12:25 pm

“You could stream a wire when it was underwater but that would give you a low band width.”

Not to mention the boggling engineering issue of streaming a very long wire from a ship to a missile (yes, I know wire-guided missiles are a thing, but for ATGM which only have to fly a few km, not for AShM which have to fly tens of nm) and also ensuring the wire stays attached when the missile splashes into the sea and turns into a torpedo… that’s one hell of a wire you have there.

a
a
November 7, 2013 12:31 pm

“‘I think M&S is a bit nuts at this point. It all looks very impressive but really is kind of nutty’.”

The good model here is the “thirteenth stroke of the clock” – ie something that is in itself obviously wrong, but which also casts doubt on all that has gone before.

I’m not an expert on armoured warfare. But if, say, Red Trousers were to post 400 highly technical words on the right sort of main guns for the next generation of armour, and then add something like “I found 20mm was completely inadequate when my regiment was posted in NI, fighting the invisible leprechauns who were always trying to steal our lucky charms” I would know that I could safely ignore everything else he wrote, because he had clearly succumbed to tertiary floppiness of the cerebral cortex.
Similarly people who think that the US is being led into socialism by the Kenyan Muslim usurper are really not worth listening to on any other issue at all.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 7, 2013 12:53 pm

A,

not a wire from the launcher to the weapon. A wire from the underwater weapon to the surface. Might only need to be 20 metres long, depending on running depth.

M&S
M&S
November 7, 2013 1:22 pm

@TD,

“I think you might be wrong, we have had a couple of JTAC’s comment on here that their number 1, allowing for differences in nationality, was the B1 closely followed by various flavours of fast jet then AH. The A10 seems to be to be one of the most over rated aircraft ever made, it is far too slow for a large area of operations like Afghanistan and its speed means it remains in the AA threat zone far longer than comfortable. Their high speed, , responsiveness, large load carrying capacity and varied effects (show of force to big bloody bomb) means that fast jets remain to platform of choice for close air support.
Unmanned systems, when armed, seem great for persistence and targets of opportunity but I also tend to think that manned armed recce with low cost platforms has a real value to compliment fast jets”

B-1s came from Diego I think, I don’t believe they were ever cleared in ‘up north’. That’s a long haul for a few hours on station and everyone knows it. Fast Jets have deep thirsts and even if you break every rule and swing 1 vs. 1 between onstation station and the tanker, they are not typically armed to provide constant CAS. Depending on daytemps and loiter they may have a pair of GBU-12 and a LAU-131 but that’s about it.
I agree with the A-10 comment. You have to remember that AX came out of the failed LARA and feared AAFSS as AH-56 of SEA fame and so started life as an iron bomber with upwards of 20 Mk.82 and rinky dink little M61 nose light. No INS, No smart weapons, no autopilot, no HUDWAC. When it first deployed to BW, it didn’t even have Pave Penny. Comparatively, the A-7D had all of the above plus simultaneous pencil beam TFR and ground map to go along with a 450 knot penetration speed, all of which was important in the North European weather environment.
The Hawg was, until the A+/C, basically just a big SPAD.
The problem with _all_ these systems is that they _just aren’t there_ (aren’t tasked) when the threat comes sneaking in, across the border, in blackest of the OD30 or worse, after a spate of attacks, you’re out chasing them through the bushes where a rabbit wouldn’t go.
An MQ-1 or 9 can give you minimum 2 and as many as 6 guided strikes which is average for tacair and more than most respectively. But more importantly, it sees the threat and orients you on it.
If those fires can’t keep you alive until help cometh, then something is _really_ wrong with your opplan and thus the grunts still prefer the night watchman effect because they like to think they can handle most things and when they can’t they are pretty darn sure they can run faster to get out of the way until tacair shows up to change the odds. But they need to know it’s wickedly their way comething.
That’s what persistent dwell as eyes on gifts you with. The ability to control and shape the engagement so that they either quit early, _really_ sorry that they came. Or they walk into a trap of their own making. And you kill’em all.
In this (in AfG) it’s absolutely critical to understand that, as a small patrol or outpost, you are bait. A waved handkerchief that says “Here we are and as long as we’re here, you can’t intimdate these people into doing what you want because they have a choice.”
And so, during the day, you go about gladhanding the locals to let them know you are present in their neck of the woods and to hopefully get the word out in a way that forces the enemy into maneuver against you.
And yet it is _air_ which finishes the fight because you are often 2-3,000m away from each other downslope/upslope on opposite sides of a valley (or across a farmer’s poppy field or or) with limited lines of approach.
In Iraq, it was different because the threat could and did tend to pop up from nowhere and then drop back down into tunnels or back alleys between buildings where they couldn’t always be tracked. The drone mission was vehicle chase-back and oversight on spook ops was also different, all due to the urban environment and the threat tactics used making it very hard to stay deconflicted with weapons (when they came).
We never fully broke the ratlines through the mosques and that was a big ethnic mistake IMO but we still had some surprisingly good intel on occasion and checking up on that meant the Preds were tasked a lot to do things that took them out of circulation for mere infantry ops.
Then The Surge happened and it was all about keeping the checkpoints safe and so even there, the option to stay present something that was relevant, though helos, CAS and guns were generally closer to hand than in AfG.
Sun Tzu said it best:
Know your own limitations and you win 25%.
Know your enemy’s limitations as your own and you win 50%.
Know your ground as your’s and your enemy’s limitations and you win 75%.
Scare the enemy into refusing to take the battlefield = 100% victory.
RPA are all about the last two.

@APATS

Thanks for the correction RE: the airliners.
“I am also blasted certain that you are not getting any submersible barge within 12Nm against a decent ASW screen, especially if in active mode with a modern LFAS.”

(Time Index 03:38, My Barge)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo_jxJPjKzw

Think something like an oversized version of a Maiale or even an SDV and you’re halfway there.
And as for needless close approach, that’s the whole point isn’t it?
If I was interested in shooting 50-200knot kill effectors I would build something like the Iranian Ghadir, roboticize it, and arm it with a pair of Shkval as a modern day Type XXIII. Might beat the SSN outer screen, probably wouldn’t beat the inner dippers and toweds.
The difference is that while, given convergence zones behaving in my favor, I can ‘see’ a threat a lot further underwater than I can using a periscope or even popup drone sensors (think ‘self extracting’ Canadair CL-227- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxElYsOvu-8), on an optical horizon basis, everything I do is simply adding back both cost and signature to the barge while increasing preengagement risk that the delivery platform will be killed before the weapons are released. Just like an air platform.
That. Is. Dumb.
As little more than a long range swimming mine with detachable kill effectors my barge is already expensive and exposed enough using just the PEM drive and a discrete radio nav system.
If I separate out my targeting to overhead or OTH-B or some form of ‘innocuous Maru fishing trawler’, detecting the threat becomes a function of another platform and I can effectively put the 2,000knot airborne weapons out to the limit of their 60-100nm flyout and _still get hits_.
Indeed, the whole point is likely to cluster these systems (rather than form a skirmish line) and move them in onto the established COEA just as transitional flight operations are beginning and the carrier is switching from just another container ship to something more aggressive. To do this within a fixed sanctuary of sanitized seaspace with fast lay SOSUS and other long line trawls is to fix the platform in space:time.
And that is when you kill it.
But you do it -smart- by stripping it of it’s AEGIS screen and then glugging the capital center with a mass raid of either very long range ASCM, ASBM or conventional AShM shooting platforms.

@RT
“Sod the high speed high G manoeuvring, and taking as an “effect” that you want to put a sizeable, terminal hole into a boat’s hull under the waterline, what’s the thinking on low speed or stationary loitering missiles?
As a concept, something that flies like a missile until relatively local, then stops and splashes down into the sea to act as a torpedo to hunt down the ship using all of the most recent guidance from its own sensors and the last datalink message before it went underwater. Or even waits until a target crosses its’ path, being instructed by a receive only link on a buoyant antenna?”

Anything which flies had better have feathers and be no bigger than a pelican or it will attract attention. Anythign on the water is wake visible from space. Anything under the water theoretically avoids the radar and optical issues altogether.
That said, I have nothing against the low speed swarm attack, provided it is truly dense (200+ LOCAAS, each aiming for a specific intra-target aimpoint like an AEGIS array or a VLS hatch cover or a nav bridge or the uptakes for the turbines or a fueled helo sitting on-deck), it may well be that the easiest way to launch from sufficient standoff to retain safety of the launch platform while maintaing good stealth on approach (Iranian UAV style) is to go small and miniaturize the amount of heat you put out the back end and RAM you put on the front to get a given amount penetration level where you are already losing 2-3 birds per 10nm from wave strikes and the like.
The key issue is time. If you go with a subsonic only system, technologies from the likes of RC Hobbyist industry are available. But you will spend anything up to several minutes closing at 300 knots and that will let the defenses really stack fires against you. Even terminal CIWS systems are not truly compressed at this speed while things like APS can function without worry as to close aboard detonations.
Play up to the MALI with a two stage turbine overspeed option to go up to Mach 1.3 and your range goes down as your costs skyrocket.
Another problem is that such a system requires is acknowledging that the extant methods of system kill via compromised buoyancy are not workable. i.e. Your existing, subsonic biased, AShM aren’t up to the game of beating down serious Russian Kaftan or Tor based defenses. Navy will not swallow that lightly as an excuse for a switch to a death by a thousand cuts alternative.
There may also be ‘group kill’ vulnerabilities of the missiles inherent to counters like HPM attack from the radars. Nothing like a little bug spray to put the mosquito swarm attack out of action.
It also implies a direct competition with air delivered ordnance like the GBU-53 in a similar size:weight class. Never imply that big guns can’t do the job because little defenses shoot them down and never mess with the Air Branch of any service, lest you want to end up having your program killed out from under you in budget conference.
CAPTOR works as a deployable mine that loiters after a fashion but, to my knowledge, it doesn’t have particularly good sea keeping as a simple encapsulate, largely because it is intended to be deployed the surface traffic zone as an ASW killer.
There is also the quesiton of how you seed the mine lines without drawing attention and what you do to maximize their kill effect so that its many payload busses vs. one target instead of just a cluster of five or so cannister missiles from one swimmer.
Where you have 50% overlaps of a 50nm ranged AShM, 4 capsules can create a 100nm wide skirmish line with a minimum of 10 shots per target except at the very ends of the lines. This actually has a fairly good shot at being across the mean course of a CVSF.
Where you are talking about something like am Mu90 or Mk.54 MAKO, you are down to maybe 4-5 miles at maximum speed and double this at half speed. If the target passes at the edge of the engagement envelope for one cannister, it may be completely out of range of the others (or reduce your total coverage to a 20nm wide line).
IMO, there isn’t a lot to be gained by stacking torpedo shots, you just increase the acoustic trace and if they will hear you coming they will either turn away to outleg the inbounds (same bearing = same range) or deploy decoys.
While presumably optimized surface strike weapons will have limited go around and restrike options, their long approach interval also allows counters like towed explosive cables as ‘water wall’ destabilizers and supercav counter torp interceptors (even RBU type ASW mortars) to be developed.
If you are truly serious about dumping a torpedo from an AShM (I may not have read this right) there are precedents. The Otomat was fielded as an ASW system…MILAS I believe, and VL-ASROC could likely be applied. The problem being that you are back to fairly large, complex, weapons which are little more than course+bearing autopilots driving ballistic airframes against a threat AAW defense which is optimized to kill subsonic targets of this very sort.
And again, the fact that these weapons have to close within 5-10nm before dumping lightweight torpedoes disqualifies them, IMO.
Keep it simple, keep it self delivering (much less likely to be historically recorded if it swims out from a beachfront trailer than an ‘official’ naval harbor as from a plane or ship which USN sat coverage sees navigating a pattern commensurate with a mine dispense action) and keep it stood off. And then, when the moment is right, send a firing command which is essentially ‘Search grid X by Y on Z radial, gate at time index A’ so that _as a cast of the dice_ (which is what mine warfare is essentially about) your weapons hopefully come screaming in at Mach 3+ from a sufficiently wide-azimuth, ‘surround sound’ approach that the target cannot defend against all bearing lanes with