GMLRS All at Sea

I always like to speculate about the possibility and all round utility of putting a GMLRS on one of her Majesty’s War Canoes

I am not alone either.

A post Libya Janes Defence Weekly reported on a Royal Navy lessons learned document in which the two major shortcomings were a lack of precision land attack capability and organic unmanned ISR.

Janes quoted Colonel Pierson RM, the Deputy Director of NATO Operations in Libya;

It was evident that the Libya campaign showed the need for precision fires, [perhaps the Lockheed Martin] Guided Multiple Rocket Launch System (GMLRS), from the sea base, deep into enemy littoral territory.

We have discussed this many times.

I think this is rather a large deficiency and would enable a reduction in reliance on air power to deliver over the shore attack.

Of course, we are as poor as church mice with a Wonga loan so any development costs of putting GMLRS onto a frigate, destroyer or even amphibious vessel would increase the overall programme cost significantly. Others have pointed to exhaust gas management and corrosion as being significant barriers.

We have also discussed how the Army Fire Shadow Loitering Munition would have a great deal of maritime utility (I think more than in a land environment) and whether the Type 26 and associated programme for a medium calibre gun system with precision munitions could fill the gap.

With these in mind I thought I would just throw in an of off the shelf system for discussion.

IMI TRIGON

The TRIGON is a large system. The rocket has a diameter of 306mm compared to the 227mm of the MLRS/GMLRS although much smaller than the 610mm ATACMS. It must be noted that the ATACMS can use the standard MLRS/GMLRS launch modules

IMI Trigon
IMI Trigon

Trigon uses the Long Range EXTRA rockets from IMI

CEP is not brilliant at 10m but with a large 120kg payload and 150km range, arguably, it doesn’t need sub metre accuracy.

I have also read a number of reports that the Republic of Korea will use the Hanwah Corporation LOGIR seeker on a 130mm MLRS type rocket to be made by Lig Nex 1.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://greenstylo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/south-korea-has-developed-k-mlrs.html”]

So there you go

What is stopping us?

 

 

 

 

 

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Kibbitz Van Ogle
Kibbitz Van Ogle
February 28, 2014 12:40 pm

The simplest thing might be to talk to USMC about the HIMARS which is a half a GMLRS but apparently assembled with shipboard-duty (stowed!) and amphibious-duty in mind i.e. corrosion-resistant.

As a standalone permanently exposed mount, adding an additional ‘hood’ over the big launcher-box does not seem implausible for added protection.

YouTube will show the rapid ‘hands-on’ reloading.

24″ ATACMS makes for a potent 180nm range projectile with nasty sub-munitions, with 2 per GMLRS-box.

And that could make any boat, vessel, ship a “Land-Attack” element.

We’d just order a bucket of paint for afterwards…

Peter Elliott
February 28, 2014 12:47 pm

I would say that becuase VLS has become the main armament of surface ships people are reluctant to invest in bespoke missile launch susytems at sea.

It there anything smaller than a TLAM that could give precsion land attack fires that will quad pack into a standard Sylver or Mk 41 launcher?

TED
TED
February 28, 2014 12:47 pm

What are the launchers everyone wants on any future LPD/H?

I would sooner see anti ship missiles fitted but yes in the long run this looks like an intelligent idea.

COuld you just crane them over the side of the ship before firing to get rid of exhaust gasses?

wf
wf
February 28, 2014 1:04 pm

@TD: yes, we definitely need something that fits in between TLAM and NGS, and GMLRS would seem to fit the bill. What about cold launch from Mk41 to allow for quad packing?

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
February 28, 2014 1:20 pm

In the past, a few (rumored) arguments against GMLRS have stemmed from lack of IM ratings for munitions; difficulty in ammo stowage, handling and reloads; and corrosive rocket exhaust.

IIRC, EXTRA was designed to be fired from the standard MLRS system too.

It would be nice to have a single naval MLRS that could handle a range of munitions, including LAR160, GMLRS, EXTRA and ATACMS. But what ship do you put it on? How much space, weight and volume does it consume? How much will it cost?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 28, 2014 1:36 pm

@TD

I Remember asking this question to a few people years ago. The issues are movement of the Ship and the requirement to have a proper PCS input to the system which would also require to be fully tested for the more complex and compressed EM environment at sea.

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
February 28, 2014 1:52 pm

These folks managed to figure out corrosion and rocket blast issues back in the “olden days.” This ship served as a fire support vessel in Korea and Vietnam with 5 inch rockets. Seems like mounting a exhaust deflector that lifts or drops out of the way to the back of an MLRS pod wouldn’t be beyond the capability of some smart guy out there.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/06/100652518.jpg

TAS
TAS
February 28, 2014 1:53 pm

What’s stopping us? Buy this and the case for precision NFS goes out of the window and puts a dent in the case for renewing TLAM and even the land attack capability of F35. Oh, and no money.

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
February 28, 2014 2:01 pm

SOMEONE figured out how to handle rocket exhaust back in WW2. It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out how to mount an exhaust deflector to an MLR box that would raise or drop out of the way for reloading the MLRS/GMLRS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSKhPMpbQkk
Forty seconds in you can see the LSM(R) going to work.

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

Worst case, park an MLRS launcher or two on the deck of a container ship with some old concrete-filled containers around it/them and a few extra deck plates welded on.

Derek
Derek
February 28, 2014 2:09 pm

If Fireshadow works, and there seems to be a question mark over that, then deep integration of that system with Sylver and CMS-1 seems like the near ideal solution. Especially if someone finds some sense and T26 is built with 32 full size VLS cells rather than 16 and those silly CAMM tubes.

As for organic ISR; stealthy VTOL UAV is requirement.

Ed
Ed
February 28, 2014 2:25 pm

Given the dimensions, it may be possible to make use of the MLRS pods for more roles. Notably, the NSM missile, which is about the right length (slightly shorter than ATACMS including booster), and would potentially make sense as both a shore-based and even ship based system. This would also give us a c.200km+ range missile for land based strike missions. In fact, knowing the love of containerisation here, it also occurs that it would be possible to stick the launcher component from HIMARS onto a PLS pallet, and just use a datalink for the control system. It’s the right length for it, and I doubt it’d be too difficult to do…

Ideally we would be going at this from all angles:

– Replacing the existing Harpoon and go for the NSM, which could be fired from ships, helicopters (EH-101s easily), fighters and ideally MPAs… This gives guided missile strike capability out to c.200km.
– Adopt the OTO Babcock 127mm, ideally retrofit for at least the T45s, and the new build T26s. Then buy the Vulcano guided 127mm shell, giving us guided NGS out to c.80km
– Go for the transport aircraft launched Storm Shadow, as was proposed a number of years ago. Instantly this would give us the ability to project very long range strike pretty much anywhere in the world, without the need for Typhoons having to constantly refuel all the way. A C-17 and A-400M based solution would give us a simultaneous launch capability of at least 100 missiles (figuring on about ten missiles each, over ten or more aircraft)! Obviously the likelihood of needing or being willing to launch hundreds simultaneously is low, but it is more the ability to that counts here.
– Buy some more Tomahawk missiles for the subs, and ideally add them into the Type 45, as had always been the idea. This could either be via adapting the TLAM to use the Sylver A70 (good export boost potential for TLAM, since it would provide an alternative to Scalp Naval), or add in the sixteen cell Mk.41 alongside the existing A50s.

These measures would be relatively sensible, and could be done in stages, e.g. buying the NSMs now, and retrofitting the ships with the OTO 127mm once there’s a chance of funding it. A Type 26 frigate with Vulcano and NSMs would be an excellent boost to the Royal Navy’s gunboat diplomacy!

As for the issue of the ship based UAVs, I was actually quite disappointed that they went for the basic ScanEagle UAV, when it’s bigger brother, the RQ-21 Integrator is just about to enter service, and is a lot more capable. It also operates the same way, and uses the same basic equipment, it is just bigger, and can carry much heavier/better sensors. I would have liked to see the Royal Navy getting both the RQ-21 and ideally the Saab Skeldar or Schiebel CamCopter mini helicopter UAVs. They would have complemented each other really well, with longer range long endurance from the RQ-21, and more localised coverage from the CamCopter (which has even been shown equipped with the LMM missile!)….

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
February 28, 2014 3:41 pm

“Could we have dispensed with the need for at least some of the Storm Shadow and long range RAF strikes or even the sub launched Tomahawks?”

Yes. We could have had a real carrier!

Slightly more seriously, a few years (8-ish?) ago now, one particular bloke in ABW came up with the idea of idea of Project Brian. This was essentially a proposal to build new T23, which would have been dimensionally altered to fit some GMLRS systems. I suspect this may be what Apats was referring to.

It was billed as low-cost, which was unfortunate because it assumed that dimensionally changing the ship would cost nothing, qualifying a land-based rocket system for a complex EM environment would similarly cost nothing, complying with regulatory standards in all sorts of areas on the ship would cost nothing and that matelots twenty years from now would be happy to live in 1990s-style messdecks.

Apart from that, what wasn’t to like? Quite a bit apparently.

People also need to remember that IM refers primarily to the behavour of the explosive material when damaged, hit, heated. There is a entirely different piece regarding how the varous electronic components behave when exposed to high-power RF emissions at close quarters.

kiltedbiggles
kiltedbiggles
February 28, 2014 4:31 pm

Anyone thought about quad-packing SPEAR 3???? From what I remember they are a good bit shorter than Seaceptor and around about the same diameter

Use the shorter length to add some form of booster and cold launch as is done with CAMM

Just an idea likes

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
February 28, 2014 5:01 pm

I like the flatrack idea. Probably means reloads won’t be as fast as a fully-automated mount, but has to be much less expensive and you can put it on inexpensive, NSFS-of-opportunity vessels.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 28, 2014 6:00 pm

I’m a fan of the concept, but purely from a land systems perspective, there’s going to be some integration issues. Others above point knowledgeably to ship integration issues. So it would not be as cheap as chips.

The fire control software of GMLRS is based on the NATO Armaments Ballistics Kernel (NABK), which assumes a static position on launch, even if the munition is terminally guided. Not undo able, but a complex piece of re-engineering, and once done, you couldn’t then trundle the launcher off the ship and start using it on land without a complete software reload.

The thermal trail is awesome. It’s going to be pointing like a big red hot finger back at the boat. Again, not a show stopper.

I don’t know about ship motion. Old style MLRS had a safety feature to prevent firing if the launcher was moving. Again, only software but it leads to my last observation, the safety case. It’s not going to be risk free.

However, Carlos Fandango never worried about that sort of thing . He lashed up an Exocet to a lorry in 1982 and took a potshot at the Andrew (cannot recall at which ship – was it Glamorgan?). So where there’s a will there’s a way.

Jed
Jed
February 28, 2014 6:46 pm

So right now we have 4.5 inch unguided and extended range NGS; and then sub launched Tomahawk.

In the future we will have ?????? 5 inch unguided or maybe guided, maybe range extended NGS ???

Carrier borne F35 with guided bombs, SPEAR 3 (?) etc.

Oh, and sub-launched Tomahawk.

F35C is a very, very expensive bomb truck which might be in high demand if deployed. So something between NGS and Tomahawk, and cheaper than F35 delivedered ordnance (and more widely available) seems a good idea.

We also need to replace Harpoon – so going with the Noggies lovely NSM / JSM would seem to be a good idea. So if we do, then in absolute best case scenario we would have:

1.5 inch / 127 mm NGS fires – 100km max (?) smallish bang – laser guidance from UAV ?
2. NSM / JSM – 200km-ish, bigger bang, no external guidance required
3. F35 with Paveway, SPEAR 3 etc (and NSM ?) 500km (ish) fairly big bang but potentially low availability (carrier can only be in one place at once).
4. Tomahawk – 1000km plus (classified ?) bigish bang, fairly expensive, fairly low availability (how many SSN avail ?)

Do we need anything else ? Right now before we get to this version of the future, could we stick a tracked MLRS launcher on the flight deck of a Bay class and use that if the weather is not too bumpy ? You would need something the size of a Bay, with its cargo decks and lots of space to handle the rocket packs and the reloading. Want a bigger salvo, park two launchers on the deck.

Adding a GMLRS / HIMARS type launcher to an existing warship design is a non starter, the ammo comes in large modular packs, no existing RN design / forcasted design would be able to fitted with such a contraption – unless you ditch the packs and go to loading of single rockets, either automated (think of a Sea Dart launcher) or by hand (the original Sea Wolf launcher).

So if we really need it, then it looks like a quick and dirty botch job to an RFA amphib or a STUFT off shore support vessel as per TD’s links above; but if we get OTO Backcock 127mm WITH Vulcano, I would need to be convinced of the need.

TED
TED
February 28, 2014 7:03 pm

@RT Glamorgan. I’m surprised you had to think M&S bangs on about it all the time. Is there not anything that will fit into the VLs?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 28, 2014 8:34 pm

@TD

I think you more or less hit the nail on the head. The key to me is flexibility, a ship has limited space and systems that can carry out more than 1 task rule.
A GMLRS type system may actually be better than the 127/64 at long range precision HE “application” but the gun can be used for policing type actions, e.g warning shots, shot across the bow or disabling fire, it can also be used against surface threats of a variety of sizes and there are some clever rounds being developed.

Not sure 150KM out ranges too many shore based anti shipping missiles and unless I want to bombard the beach then i have to come closer inshore anyway. Again it is useful but my Typhoon and F35 can provide air defence, recon, vis id of a snooper etc etc. I also quite like the though that F35 with Storm Shadow can put a lovely hole in a target that is over 700 miles away from where we launched it from:)

So I think the reason you are on a loser is not that the system is not very capable but that it is maybe not flexible enough.

as
as
February 28, 2014 8:41 pm

We have 42 M270 MLRS vehicle

Drive one up on to the deck of a Bay class use the standard vehicle (there is a ramp up from the lower deck I thing).
Its not the best option but it would work in good weather.

I can imagine you parking 4 of them on the deck of the QE launching a broadside.

Cheapest option no installation costs.

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
February 28, 2014 10:17 pm

The only real advantage to the MLRS/GMLRS is in the initial throw weight even in a ground launched version. Once your 16 rockets are gone from the launcher, that launcher takes some time to reload, hence is out of action. The real effectiveness of “steel rain” is multiple launchers firing multiple rockets on area or multiple targets. It gives a TEOTWAWKI effect on the enemy, but the launchers need to move and reload before re-engaging to avoid counterbattery fire. The GMLRS, of course, is more accurate and can be more selective, but it doesn’t usually give the “steel rain” effect.

As for software shortcomings, anything can be updated, even on the fly. The Standard 3 missile our navy used to shoot down the failing spy satellite in 2008 was merely (!) reprogrammed.

Obsvr
Obsvr
March 1, 2014 1:42 am

The problem is that to have a meaningful load the ship may need some radical redesign. The pods have to be got from the magazine to the launcher, each pod (6 std rkts or 1 ATACMS) is roughly 4m x 1m x .75m and wt 2200kgs. Just having a couple of launchers deck mounted and permanently loaded would be a bit of a joke, a joke enhanced by increasing ammo options, currently only the two but others on the horizon. Vertical launch would need a missile re-design. Of course the current vehicle mounted launchers were designed for dumb rkts, so they are precision engineered to achieve accuracy, if you are only going to fire guided msls simpler, cheaper more easily navalised lnchrs should be a runner.

martin
Editor
March 1, 2014 3:22 am

@ TD – I can see a use for such a system although I think the precision rocket assisted artillery from the 127mm gun may remove most of the benefits.

There is always the MBDA Hoplite which would be perfect if it actually existed. I’m guessing to develop something new we would be looking at the 500 million to 1 billion range. Not an insurmountable problem if enough nations were interested.

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

It may be the case that if all western navies standardise on a set VLS system that we can in the future seek a wide range of weapons for different niche capabilities. But I think sticking an extra launcher onto the already crowded deck is a non starter.

S O
S O
March 1, 2014 3:27 am

MLRS was created within a specific set of circumstances.

I wish we would discuss the MRL concept for the 2020’s or 2030’s instead of fortifying the technological lock-in in the 1970’s concept of (G)MLRS with ever new expenditures.

M&S
M&S
March 1, 2014 3:58 am

TD,

1. Let’s quantify ‘not cheap’ in a peacetime setting:
12 F-35B Aircraft X 135 million dollars.
1.25 Manning Ratio.
20hrs per mission, per month, flight time to maintain currency (more for squadron/section/flight lead qualification)
31,000 dollars per flight hour
12 months a year.

12(X135,000,000)X 1.25 X 20(X2) X31,000 X 12. By my reckoning, one squadron of JSF just cost you 1.62 billion to own and 18.6 million per month and 223.2 million per year to train.

Cost of a wooden round loadout on a penny per mile oil burner? Say two hundred million to develop, + 200 rounds X2 million dollars per round (Tactical Tomahawk is 800,000) = 600 million dollars. Less than three years of flitting about bombing sea gulls and raising the ire of the RSPB assassinating poor sea gulls up at Garvey.

Now, let’s talk about depth. Average rating of SFC on the F135 runs the gamut between .7 to .886lb/lb/hr.
The F-35B runs on 14,000lbs internal (recent documents point to an ‘operational’ capacity of 13,000lbs due to weight creep and hot’n’hit margins) while also being a fuel-cooled jet in critical areas of flight control (EHAs) and auxiliaries (fueldraulics and AMAD). This atop a typical naval reserve equate to as much as 2,500lb for safety purposes around the boat.

If the maximum military thrust of the F135 is in the range 30,000lbf and you fly at -flight idle- which is the minimum setting possible for a jet engine, around 60% IRT, then you are talking about 18,000lbf of thrust.

18,000 X .7 = 12,600lbs of fuel burn, per hour.

Obviously, there will be compression losses as altitude increases so let’s assume that, by 20,000ft, you are down to 12,000lbf or 8,4000lbs of fuel burn, per hour.

Subtract your 2,500lb margin from the internal gas and you have 11,500lbs which comes to 1.36 hours of flight time.

Say flight idle buys you 320 knots X 1.36hrs = 435.2nm. Divide that in two as a radius and you can ‘search for targets’ all the way out to 217nm. Add 30 minutes for loiter and now you’re down to 137nm.

The very /notion/ that you are doing deep attack, fixed wing, because the F-35 is ‘more flexible’ is thus a total crock.

Which also points up why you want to shift to something off a DDG or LHD like VARIOUS-

Or (if you can ever get your 70,000 ton jeep carrier squared away) the MRE-

The principle reason indirect fires don’t work is that they lack targeting. And they lack targeting because navair (manned) will _never_ allow the development of a high cruise efficiency, loitering, ISR platform. They can’t. Because the very nature of the manned option (4-6hrs endurance, tops, in the NTISR mission) drives it out of that capability region.

And they are too job-security saavy to ever let anything robotic survive to exit R&D.

There is a way to beat this. At least for high value/TCT threats and conditions like UCW where you have SpecWar over the beach and nobody within a 1,000nm able to push conventional airpower to their assistance.

And that is to mount a drone on the front end of ONE missile and use another to release a high altitude SATCOMMS LTA to provide transient (1-2hrs on battery) communication. The key reality here being that you can do updated tracking on things like mobile indirect fire systems so that you don’t get into a shoot’n’scoot exchange of misses.

While I look to the reality of Klub/Uran-

As being likely landlaunch or air launch systems which are encapsulated within a marine containerized system at minimal HERO and IM risk by pressurizing the container as a sealed dry bay.

The driving consideration here then has to be the relative ease with which a threat weapon can pick out a naval target against a nice cool-constant sea backdrop vs. the clutter of land, a missile can find multiple targets and even autonomously thread the needle between threat radar detection zones while accurately classifying individual ship hulls-

Whereas a system coming the other way might not, at least not without adaptive FSCL interface as MITL cueing.

The simplest way to explain this is the old saw: If the enemy is in range, so are you. But you are standing against a backlit billboard of constant clutter harmonic and temperature threshold whereas he is wearing multicam and well down in the bushes. Next to a nunnery.

If you push off to a minimum 25nm radar horizon (1/3rd of your 150km GMLRS range point), you now have less than 60nm of penetration over the beach and that is, ironically, right in the F-35s sweet spot.

Bluntly, naval platforms cannot act as though being afloat puts them in a vacuum of threats simply because they are in a wet operational environment. They have to take into account the value of their hulls and the ease with which their cool-flat location makes it possible for weapons fully 2-3 operational generations earlier to _hunt them down_ and bust their chops.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot resort to guided ballistics, only that you had better be willing to consider RORO applications to low value hulls because smart naval commanders are not going to let you risk their boats inshore, even as a commercial adaptation doesn’t drag you down into the muck of contractor make-a-buck as ‘integrations costs’ within an existing platform. Something to further consider if your primary employment application is the support of unacknowledged/UCW forces who don’t need the conspicuity.

OTOH, let’s look at the alternative to the near-shore CAS. Say with the rescue of the Oil Workers in the deep desert-

>
“We stayed on the runway for two hours because we found out that some other guys were travelling across the desert in vehicles when they heard the plane had arrived.
‘Bloodbath’
“The SAS weren’t prepared to leave without them,” he said.
“They did an absolutely marvellous job and it was great to see them.”
“These guys have guns and knives so, yeah, a little bit scary”
End Quote Peter Dingle Oil worker from Fleetwood
The operation to fly RAF Hercules plans deep into the African state to carry out the rescue mission was kept a close secret.
The rescued Britons were picked up and flown to Malta before being transferred to the UK.
Mr Dingle said that the security situation in Benghazi had deteriorated rapidly with gangs of looters closing in on their compound.
“Obviously, we knew what was going on in Benghazi which, apparently, was a bloodbath,” he said.
“Up to a 1,000 people were dead and right in the area where we were working there were looters and robbers – these guys have guns and knives so, yeah, a little bit scary.”
>

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-12613224

>
The two dozen UK citizens among the workforce of the Sirte Oil Company have been officially warned not to risk taking the 150-mile road to the port of Benghazi, from where they could sail to safety. The only advice they have been given is to stay put.
But yesterday morning Mail photographer Mark Richards and I were able to make the journey in the opposite direction.
>

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1360764/Libya-protests-Mailmen-brave-guns-death-squads-rescue-British-workers.html

It’s 361nm from Tripoli to Benghazi. Another 150nm south of there is a hypotenuse of 390nm, straight line radius.

Which means that if your Carrier is busy providing fleet support and airdefence duties off the Libyan capital, you have an ENORMOUS distance to go to give Rescue Ranger support.

Well beyond what the F-35B can sustain, without massive tanker drag all the way to target.

Equally importantly, once there, having expended ‘both bombs today!’ you are at least 2hrs from being able to RTB and return.

It then being this _intermediate to long range_ distance which you want your rocket based alternatives to fulfill because, when the bad guys are pounding on the doors, and the SAS says “On The Double Quick!”, they aren’t requesting a faster hearse service.

This then is the design point which I would aim for. At least 25 if not 50nm offshore so that a detached DDG/FFG is not itself a targeted vulnerability. And another 200nm inshore to give you middling depths of support with massive repeat fire saturation, at need.

And again, I would consider an electric powered targeter atop every sixth missile, (two per pod) just to make sure that if the comms got fouled _I_ could keep shooting the bad men.

Even if the SAS were ‘busy’. Or dead.

This obviously is the reverse of the perception now. And it principally has to do with the fact that nobody thinks you can target CAS fires without a man in the cockpit ‘right there’ to mark targets.

Which is, seriously, about 3 wars before approach that is based purely on Hollyweird-

There are no lines. There is no time. You deliver preemptively based on what you see because if you wait until the ground force does, it’s too damn late for anything but funerals.

mr.fred
mr.fred
March 1, 2014 7:58 am

Elm Creek Smith,

Could you expand TEOTWAWKI? As far as I can tell it’s either something starting Total Effect On Target or Fozzy bear has crept into the comments.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
March 1, 2014 9:48 am

Mr Fred,

TEOTWAWKI is the end of the world as we know it.

MLRS (not GMLRS) used to be known in the Army as the Grid Square Removal Service. My Squadron called for fire on a massed target on Objective Lead in Gulf One. We had 24 rocket Pod Containers (RPC) assigned, which I think was the largest assignation made during the whole short war. Each RPC is 6 rockets, so a total of 144 rockets concentrated onto an area about 5 Kms by 3 Kms.

A lot of no doubt very good men died in that event, so it is not a matter for levity. But the effects were as ECS describes. It was astonishing, lasted close to 3 minutes, consumed the local oxygen to the extent that the local wind direction changed. That was from one kilometre away from the edge of the box as an observer. Christ knows what the poor Iraqis experienced.

John Hartley
John Hartley
March 1, 2014 10:41 am

Would it not be better to bring back the 8″/55 cal Mark 71 gun? Perhaps a 4 nation programme? (US, UK. France, Italy). My old favourite of a hull toughened for light ice, ought to be able to cope with the recoil of an 8″ gun.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 1, 2014 10:59 am

I haven’t encountered the other end of the combined Smerch and Iskander use reference that TD made, but a std Smerch battery includes the target surveillance , rocket tube launched type of device that M&S was advocating above. By far more primitive and not as long lasting, being older by decades.

Mark
Mark
March 1, 2014 12:34 pm

Would it not be better to further develop camm missile it’s supposed to have a limited surface role as it is.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
March 1, 2014 1:35 pm

@ Mark. CAMM/Sea Cepter only has a range of c. 20km and its warhead would be an order of magnitude smaller than GMLRS. Its surface to surface (active radar + data link) option would be great vs a number of threats if implemented, but the MoD have no requirement, so aren’t willing to pay for it AFAIK.

@ M&S. Do you play Command Modern Air/Naval Operations at all? For that matter, does anyone else here do so?

Brian Black
Brian Black
March 1, 2014 4:53 pm

I expect the Royal Navy’s likely requirement is to be able to hit relatively few, but key targets.

The path of least faffing about would seem to be Fireshadow and Harpoon block II.

Fireshadow has previously been said to have the potential for vertical launch; but even without that, plenty of space within the cavernous shed of a Type26.

The Navy already uses Harpoon, but not the latest missile. Block II Harpoon has the ability to hit seaside targets at range – so you could take out the novelty rock emporium with greater safety from eyeball sited artillery, though not targets further inland.

If there is a need for persistent bombardment from Navy ships, at greater range than a 127mm gun can manage, then perhaps consider the 155mm gun system developed for the USN’s Zumwalt destroyers.

I doubt the big gun would squeeze into the Type26, and I doubt there’s much of a need for it in the Royal Navy – the Americans have greater ambitions when it comes to marine landings; but the system development itself has been paid for, unlike John’s suggested 8inch gun. There’d be no need to go the way of the Zumwalt ships (most advanced warship evar, apparently). A hull large enough and strong enough to mount a couple of 155 guns, and using systems from the Type26 program would be comparatively low risk. The question is whether it would be worthwhile to spend the money to swap three frigates for three big-gun warships, to fill such a niche role.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
March 1, 2014 5:30 pm

@BB

The main advantage of Block II is the littoral engagment capability, in terms of land attack it has a short range and a small warhead. If Fireshadow ever works it is also short ranged and would need to be cleared for use at sea and a means of launching it decided.
We will in all probability keep our Harpoons until a decision is made to replace them with something new. In terms of strike capability we retain the TLAM capability via SSN, then T26 will introduce the 5 inch gun along with strike length launchers which will at the highest level be complimented by the introduction of F35.

S O
S O
March 1, 2014 7:22 pm

“It was astonishing, lasted close to 3 minutes, consumed the local oxygen to the extent that the local wind direction changed.”

Explosives contain their own oxidizer and need no atmospheric oxygen (and chemically bind very little of it). That’s why they are no thermobaric or fuel air explosives.
Explosives add a lot of gas volume to the area when fires, though.

mike wheatley
mike wheatley
March 1, 2014 7:42 pm

The press releases for Soft Vertical Launch made much of how the concept could be applied to lots of missiles, of much larger sizes, and CAMM was just the beginning. Although I’ve not heard anything further to date.

But Soft Vertical Launch seems like a good way to launch MLRS rockets from a ship – build a stack that consists of:

<[army rocket][squib pointing thrusters][soft launch piston]

…so the rocket motor ignites when it is 100' above the ship, and pointing at 45º.

Of course, you would still need loads of work on the guidance software, and getting EM compatibility… and EM compatibility is best done in the initial design, rather than trying to add it later, so a new missile (i.e. hoplite) might be cheaper when all is said and done.
Or perhaps, when the next guided rocket is developed, it is done as a 3-service missile (like CAMM), able to cope with the most severe EM & environmental requirements, but sold to all 3 services for use (= larger production run, so a lower unit cost).

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 1, 2014 8:18 pm

S O,

I’m not a chemist, so let me put it in Cavalry terms. It was a bit breezy from one direction, then bloody windy from the other direction, then it went back to being a bit breezy from the first direction.

David Andersen
March 1, 2014 11:31 pm

Some great discussion here. Follow the link below to a proposal to containerize GMLRS and ESSM into an expandable firepower enhancement system. I will have to look a the numbers for NSM to see if it would fit.

http://www.innovationinmilitaryaffairs.com/latest-articles/2014/2/20/firepower-capacity-building

The idea being to use off the shelf systems to reduce development cost.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 2, 2014 1:39 am

@ David Andersen – A very interesting article. I wrote a post for TD about something similar;

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/03/a-ship-for-all-seasons-or-the-return-of-the-auxiliary-cruiser/

and TD has written a number of times about containerised weapon systems, particularly the Russian developments:

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/08/club-k-container-missile-system-2013/

Obsvr
Obsvr
March 2, 2014 2:19 am

Dumb MLRS rockets with lots of APERS sub-munitions are of course now illegal, although UK and I think France still have stocks of AT-2 anti-tank mine warheads which are legal.

GMLRS delivers an 80 kg warhead to 70 km (officially, in actuality UK has achieved around 90 km). Currently USFA, USMC and RA have all fired around 800 GMLRS each and have developed effective and efficient operating procedures, UK notably has led the way on procedures that can be used with ‘troops in contact’. Of course the issue with precision munitions is the need for precision targeting, which takes us into the wonderful world of mensuration. A rocket warhead also gives lots of scope for clever and optimised weapon design. At the moment they are unitary charges but new designs with a small number of optimised sub-munitions will add flexibility to the effects available.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that precision shells are not particularly good value for money. Their destructive power is relatively small because their HE payload is limited (L15 HE is the benchmark with 11 kg of HE), furthermore the shell is configured for high firing stresses, ballistic effectiveness and target effect, this means compromise and a sub-optimal warhead design in terms of effects and range is limited to about 25-30 km. Add rocket assistance and the HE payload drops even further and the amount of wasted steel increases as the price of increased range. Shells are great for suppression, they are not so good for destruction where having sufficient HE is the key. The need for precision shells will decrease further with the advent of course correcting fuzes which will vastly reduce shell dispersion.

M&S
M&S
March 2, 2014 2:59 am

Mister Andersen,

(Always wanted to say that…)

Some comments on the LINK’d article:

>
Recently Admiral Johnathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), provided his view of the way ahead for systems development in the US Navy. He stated that we must move away from building ‘luxury’ platforms with expensive built-in capabilities and begin looking at developing ‘pickup truck’ platforms capable of morphing into new capabilities based on the payloads they carry. The CNO states that these ‘pickup trucks’ would be able to evolve with technology and mission with the substitution of modular mission packages such as is the intent with the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)[i]. What about the platforms we have today that are not designed for modularity? What if we took the CNOs general idea, jumped it to the front of the line, and didn’t wait for special ships to be developed. Modular, containerized firepower is within reach with “off the shelf” systems available today and they could be useable on virtually any platform.
>

Not unless we move to aero-ballistics as principle strike warfare mechanisms to completely exit the ICD environment, including BASM. Not unless we move to cheap, ELO, potentially VTOL, targeting mechanisms which can either loiter in threat airspace for days, slowly working up the emissions backtrail of the threat, or be pushed forward on low value, high speed, assets. In the latter case, I would argue that the kinds of low signature and high speed required of a midrange JHSV like Spearhead would very much qualify it as a ‘luxury’ vehicle, even if it is built entirely around a modular store delivery system.

>
The advent of advanced anti access weapons has created a capability to capacity mismatch during entry operations for the Joint force. With a little ingenuity, however, the United States could develop a modular and containerized firepower enhancement from “off the shelf” systems to cover that gap.
>

No, it’s a doctrinal one. STOM exists for one reason: to bypass the ICD and secure a beachhead defacto by deep operations which cut out a chunk of the enemy’s coastline and shadow his eyes and ears there-in.

In this, the /capability/ miss-match has absolutes which cannot be exceeded (F-35C = 584nm radius, DF-21D = 1,000nm radius) but the potential exists, through JPADS drop of Army ECTs (Expeditionary Combat Teams) and Marine RAP insertion from Stiletto type vessels carrying CH-53K to get across the moat, quick, do the insert using _internal carry_ mounted forces and then leave, before the Dragon has time to lift and eye and really sniff at those 50knot fishing boats. It is these persistent ground teams that will be able to sit and hunt with short range UAS as masted ELINT sensors to do sufficient damage to nearshore/inshore forces to create the shadow zone you need. You then lee your naval TF in this blindspot and _work laterally_ to ‘expand the bubble’. Using the coast itself as shield.

Interdicting the enemy ability to vector FAC-M and drop mines and release CDCM is all about killing his eyes and brain and that requires persistence and self-sufficient force protection which is simply not present in the naval battle space because we can neither avoid the long-track nor afford the expenditure in TBM-D weapons to transit such a wide moat. Even as our ability to hunt with F/A-18F/F-35Cs (supported by EA-18s, supported by E-2C yadda-de-yadda-yadda) is numerically insufficient to stop massed boat and missile combined arms ops without severe sortie lag overmatch. And, thanks to our stupid overemphasis on manned airpower, we do not have the means to separate our targeting (APY-9 E-2) from our fires (naval SAM bastion) sufficient to shoot what does not immediately have options to kill us back.

>
For many years, the Navy has said that they can create a “Sea Shield” to protect entry forces from attack by enemy aircraft and missiles. The issue with “Sea Shield” is that the shield doesn’t extend very far inland and has less capacity than in the past. As the Navy retires CG-47 Ticonderoga class cruisers and replaces them with fewer DDGs with fewer Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells, the number of missiles declines. On top of that, every missile is not created equal. In a VLS in Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) equipped DDGs, those cells will be split between SM-2 or 6, SM-3, RUM-139 ASROC, and BGM-109. This means that only a fraction of the cells will be able to counter incoming anti-ship missiles and even fewer will be able to deal with threats to the landing force ashore. Further complicating the capacity challenge is the fact that all MK-41 VLS missiles must be reloaded pier-side with special equipment, forcing these ships “off-line” and limiting the duration of the shield. These AEGIS systems will also be further from shore because the most important thing for the “Sea Shield” to protect are the platforms providing that shield. If the DDG is lost, then the rest of the flotilla will have to withdraw because they will only have point defense capability. By standing off further from shore, the DDG has more time to detect and destroy missiles before they get to the DDG or carrier, but those are not the only high value assets in the flotilla. Naval task forces must also be able to introduce forces into enemy territory, so those ships and aircraft involved in the entry operation are equally valuable as part of the bid for success.
>

The Key to inshore AD is network stackable LADS with modular, high power, electrical capacitance. Nothing else is going to be fast enough reacting and able to avoid saturation. Not when a simple C-14 mounting 4 C-701 can be cookie cuttered to the tune of 750-100 hulls in equating to the cost of just the one Frigate/LCS. This ability to stack is a key enabler because it makes your 100KW weapon into a 1MW spot with just ten emitters (three to five per hull). Your absolute range is not going to be any better (3-4nm) but your spot energy will ramp up so massively that what looks like a giant cigarette burn with the Firestrike system as cratering, deformation and thermal peel will instead become .25 second explosive detonations of warhead.

And even this will not be enough. Unless you also _dedicate_ yourself to OTH targeting, at range, with rapid effects delivery from a deep magazine. What this means is that you don’t diddle about with an MQ-8 and a fewer APKWS or Hellfire per chopper. You put a long range mount (127mm/155mm) on deck with 100-200 rounds of CLGP and you use a JET POWERED (higher ceiling, bigger MEP, faster groundspeed = forward tripwire) targeting platform to zoom up and take pictures, even lase, if that’s what you guidance looks like. So that you kill four missiles at a time. On Boat.

>
No more Tarawas! There are those who say the U.S. will never attack a heavily defended beachhead again, and they are right and wrong at the same time. The United States will not voluntarily attack into the teeth of a beach defense, covered by intersecting fields of fire from machine guns, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, rockets and artillery, barbed wire and land or sea mines. Instead it will seek to circumvent those defenses – enveloping them, cutting them off and defeating them. To further this discussion, we must understand what defending a coastline in a modern world really entails. It will mean more than just setting up the kind of defenses described above. A well-constructed coastal defense will include mobile anti-ship and surface to air missile systems stationed tens of miles inland, capable of reaching hundreds of miles out to sea. It will involve mobile guided rockets, artillery, missiles and mortars as well. Each of these threats must be dealt with. Attackers must be able to disperse the force over a broader frontage to make the force more unpredictable and harder to target, and able to exploit a wider choice of entry points. The joint force must also be able to move from a wider variety of platforms. The joint force cannot be constrained to the traditional choices. This array of platforms covering a wide frontage must be able to protect themselves at greater distances than they can today, and protection doesn’t just mean shooting the arrow, it also means killing the archer.
>

No, it means staying away from the cans.

It means learning to think past the white water and fight the war inland.

It means stripping down your warfighters to the absolute minimum necessary to stay mobile, stay independent (organic targeting, no network crap) and stay force protected. Because you are not hunting the threat fires delivery systems you are hunting their sensor apertures. Where both are associated, fine, kill’em all. But don’t think in terms of enabling Le Grande Invazione, think in terms of enabling the freedom of operations that allows the fleet to either move rapidly in-lee, sweeping up and down the coasts. Or standoff, well out to sea, and hostage assets which maybe the other team doesn’t want to lose /in peacetime/ as profitability.

As soon as you become fixated on holding an amphibious anchorage, you solve the enemy targeting problem to the extent that now he can Glamorgan you with garbage truck C-802 and nothing you do in terms of ‘operational art’ matters. Snicker, thought I couldn’t work it in there didn’tcha?! :-\

>
So after we put a bunch of missiles and rockets in a box, how do you provide fire control for them? The Navy already has part of the answer in Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). Ships that are limited in air defense radar capability will link with those DDGs, CGs, E-2s and F-35s; as well as Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) or other land based radars that may be available, to develop an integrated air defense picture.
>

The military equivalent of a LAN in that that it’s all internalized to the extent that you are force protected like a huddled bunch of muskox facing outwards against the wolves and hence you have no real depth of acquisition with which to feed your network outside data from the greater tactical picture.

>
The Air Defense Coordinator (ADC) will validate and prioritize inbound bandits and task the best positioned air defense system to engage the inbound threat. With a limited number of DDGs and CGs providing cueing over a wider area, we don’t want the missiles to rely on semi-active guidance (ships radar illuminates target until end game). It would be preferable to use the ESSM Block II missiles with their semi-active/active guidance so they can guide themselves to the target after acquisition, allowing the DDG/CG to start shifting to new targets as required. Provisions could also be made to allow smaller surface combatants to tie in their Close in Weapons Systems (CIWS) and SeaRAM radars for cueing in the event that a DDG/CG is not available in the area as a stop gap measure.

A tenet of the Chinese martial art Wing Chun Kung Fu says, “the hand which strikes also blocks.”
>

I prefer Mr. Miyagi myself: “Don’t know, never been attacked by tree.”

If you’re in the forest, any and all trees must be treated as falling threats, whether you can hear the chainsaws or not. Value and certainly _signature_ split your forces between sea insert for maybe 200-500nm and air for another 150. And ‘everything else’ which is clustered up around that ginourmous MASINT block which is the battlegroup. The battlegroup exists solely as a logistics base and a means to comfort the enemy that you are respecting his seaspace. Especially as Chinese and Iranian ROTHR technology comes online, you will be a fool to try and move that traveling circus inshore at 20 knots average when you can send a 50 knot JHSV in with the war winning targeters for long range Aeroballistic HCMs.

>
Using this mindset, the same integrated radar pictures can be used to determine the point of origin for CDCM and SAM systems. Once the point of origin is determined, the Supporting Arms Coordinator (SAC) or the Fire Support Coordinator (FSC) (in coordination with Strike Warfare Coordinator when appropriate) could task a suitably equipped ship to launch one of its GMLRS rockets or ATACMS to neutralize the launch platform.
>

Takes too long. Time Of Flight while stood off 25nm over the local radar horizon, to hit a target firing back from 15-20nm inland (the enemy will also want to stay away from the cans of beachhead CAS sorties) is going to be on the order of 80-90 seconds with an average Mach 3 midcourse speed which is more than sufficient for a TEL to retract the tube and trundle off down the lane.

There is simply no getting past the need for independent, persistent, eyes on capabilities.

Having said this, ATACMS was originally designed to be MCG steered by Pave Mover and so the reality is that if you can keep the target under track, you can adjust your weapon trajectory to hit it because the ATACMS also has a complex flyup maneuever to burn speed, followed by a tipover to stabilize range and then a terminal dive to M74 release.

>
Due to the short time of flight and ease of launch, the rocket could be able to arrive on target, even at maximum range, before the CDCM system could be prepared for movement. These systems would predominantly be used in general support, in an on call fire support role or potentially in an automated counter battery role to protect the entry force.
>

See above.

During Desert Storm a SCUD fired from right under an F-15E’s nose and despite this, the crew could not step down fast enough (clouds) to catch the launcher.

Better not to be in the path of the falling tree because both saturation and combined arms effects from other platforms are going to be withering if you don’t take into account the reality of everyone being netcentric to some degree.

Leave the seaspace vacant and ‘nothing to see, move along’ applies. Push ground combat elements inland to track and sterilize threats so that you have a salient into their NCW and can shadow their weapons further up or down the coast, and things get easier.

EIther way, don’t be inshore with a high value, high signature, force; risking the totality of your expeditionary warfighter in one go, without a good reason. Forget Tararwa, replaying Inchon is not necessary to win most wars.

>
For major operations, this modular, containerized firepower could be taken a step further by using ships taken up from trade. If a common feeder size container ship in the under 500 TEU category were to be used, it could potentially hold over 700 missiles in MK48 VLS launchers. This would create a truly inexpensive arsenal ship. Panamax class container ships could carry thousands of missiles, but the dispersion created by using smaller ships reduces risk. If these small container ships were fitted with applique unmanned navigation systems and their empty holds filled with buoyant material, helping them stay afloat in the case of attack, they could be pushed out ahead of a task force, reducing the risk of loss of friendly lives. As with the Club-K, there would obviously be concern about the systems being used in a perfidious nature[vii]. To avoid this, the US would ensure that ships taken up from trade were declared as combatants, marked appropriately and integrated into naval task forces in compliance with the San Remo Manual and Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Convention[viii].
>

Ridiculous.

The enemy will hunt your singleshot battleships, simply to discombobulate your entry plan. A 700 shot loadout of 800K ESSM would run on the order of 560 million, not including the 40 odd VLS containers. More than the insurance value of the boat. You are NOT using these as cheap enablers for the gloryhog manned units, you are REPLACING THEM with the Arsenal Class. Which means you now have to consider the reality of force protection for them as a function of splitting your task force or _alternatively_ going for more than an adhoc, ‘as little as we can get away with’, investment and _optimizing the platform around the capability_ (designing the capability before the platform) so that you have a system of sufficient independence from the main CSG that you don’t need to assign the same degree of force protection to it at all. Everyone knows I like aeroballistic HCM myself, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Tomahawk is a Neanderthal solution. I can give you a 7ft long, 300lb MALD with a warhead (already tested) and datalink (already developed) and take it 500nm from the boat.

>
As part of the MALD-J Increment II study, Raytheon looked at data links that would give the jammer the ability to adjust its activities based on in-flight commands.

Spencer said the company’s work showed that incorporating a data link is technically viable.

But, according to the Air Force’s acquisition office, service officials “determined that pursuing a data link was not cost effective for the resulting gain in operational capability.” Thus, it’s not being pursued further.

The MALD air vehicle roughly resembles Raytheon’s AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile.

Raytheon has already tested a warhead that would give the MALD air vehicle the ability, when coupled with a seeker, to attack a ground target once the MALD air vehicle’s fuel expires and it descends towards the ground.

The potential also exists for the MALD air vehicle to host a payload that disrupts enemy communications, said Spencer. But he said the company does not currently plan to mature this concept or test it on its own dime.

As for the Air Force, the service acquisition officials said there are “no plans at this time” to develop the MALD air vehicle beyond the role of decoy and jammer. In the past, USAF officials have expressed interest in a kinetic option (i.e., warhead).

Spencer said there has been “some interest” in MALD from potential foreign buyers. But IOT&E must be done before the option of foreign sales opens up.

The MALD air vehicle fits on any aircraft that has 14-inch suspension lugs, he said. This “basically means if a US fighter can carry a 500-pound bomb, it can carry the miniature air launched decoy,” he said. It can be integrated either with smart or dumb interfaces, meaning via a 1760 bus or a pulled lanyard, respectively.
>

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/newtech/Pages/Box041910mald.aspx

>
The MALD-J is launched by a fighter, bomber or unmanned aircraft system, flies up to about 925km (500nm) and weighs up to 136kg (300lb).

MALD-J is the air force’s only option to field a “stand-in” jammer against radar threats. It is derived from the baseline MALD, which is designed to spoof radars.
>

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raytheon-moves-mald-j-forward-with-new-contract-341745/

If you want to put an extant landattack capability on a 500 ton fishing trawl, be my guest. But make the _capability_ worth it in leveraging the functional utility of other Operational Elements.

Which is to say, give it the ability to be used in preplanned attacks that support landed, light, mobile forces which use the naval magazine depth to conserve their own force protection loadouts and which further has at least the /option/ of onboard targeting of it’s own.

You play shoot and scoot reactionary games with threat area, guided and precision fires that can displace in a heartbeat, I guarantee you all’s you will do is create bill board effect on which all your 30 knot assets are front-lit trying to support idiots attempting to getting off a beach they never should have been on to begin with.

You will be swarmed and you will be pulled under because targeting naval assets on flat, cool, water is really pretty simple. Even a Silkworm can do it. Whacking snakes in the weeds is not nearly so simple or rewarding.

But if you use mobile inshore forces with supporting relays of smart hunting weapons to both target and attack with, now, from a single ‘vantage point’ (masted datalink directional X/Ka band aperture) you can direct fires which are not minutes out by maybe only 10-20 seconds. Because they are already transited into the target area and simply orbit holding, by sectored grid reference, waiting for the first sign of a missile plume like these-

ATACMS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipr_hPAcR_Q

IRGC Silkworm

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 2, 2014 7:38 am

Good stuff coming up, before reading the “book” after Obsrv’s contribution, let e dwell on that one a bit:

Diehl (German) developed a homing anti-tank munition for GMLRS. It is not strictly speaking unitary as there are two independently working sub-munitions.
– then they converted it for use on the 155 artillery pieces

Now a northern nation in Europe ordered something similar from Nexter. Their normal artillery range is 38-40 km, but the announcement had no details about sacrificing some of the range (which, regardless, is likely) nor whether the munition is unitary, or practIically the same as that developed by Diehl.
– the point here is the same as put forward by Obsrv: precision rounds’ utility may not correspond to the sky-high price, but then again, a homing round compared pricewise to a missile to produce the same effect might still have a strong case.

Observer
Observer
March 2, 2014 8:45 am

GPS 227mm rounds are much more useful in an urban setting where being even slightly off may mean blocking terrain (buildings) between the airburst and the target. Or at least that was the theory. A uni-mate of mine once commented on the difficulty of using artillery in urban terrain, the buildings act as “bullet” proof picket fences where you have to hit exactly between the buildings to hit your target. Using GPS means that you can fire the round high and let it come from above instead of trying to play marksman with 227mm.

Sometimes, you just need the capability. Just in case.

As for M&S’s anti-F-35 rant, I just have to point out 2 things.

1) F-15s cost about 1.5m per. Don’t see him crying about it.
2) They are twin engined. Fuel usage is even more horrifying than a single engine.

F-35 has its’ problems. 1.35M cost isn’t one of them and neither is fuel usage, there are mainstay fighters out there that are worse.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 2, 2014 9:09 am

Observer, exactly the reason why guided 120 mm (US) mortar rounds got top priority (during the Iraq campaign)
“Using GPS means that you can fire the round high and let it come from above instead of trying to play marksman with 227mm.”

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 9:29 am

Does anyone else think that comments should be less than a billion pages?

And who the hell is “Snicker”? Is this just a 20,000 byte copy and paste?

jonesy
jonesy
March 2, 2014 9:56 am

Wonderful vagueries of “Chinese/Iranian ROTHR” and the ease of “picking out surface targets against a cool flat background”.

OTH is massively overhyped…wonderful stories perpetuate about Jindalee detecting C-130’s on approach to airfields hundreds of miles off. All rubbish. OTH detected a high velocity target passing between OTH detection ‘cells’ on a rough bearing…and then drop out. They phoned up the airport and asked if something just landed…and were told a Herk had just set down. Cue hysterical story of JORN’s all encompassing power and the knowing nods of the omnipotence of OTH-R. OTH gives you a non-localised contact with a rough bearing to target, a general heading and generalised rate of advance. A 50knt contact just appearing 300km offshore from out the deep blue sea may be evaluated as a Stiletto on SOW insert but a line of 25knt contacts, at a modest spread, is going to be a regular feature on the display. Going to need a lot of robots to determine that every wolf is actually a sheep.

Detecting a warm target against a cool flat background is brilliant for a targeter….if he knows that the only warm entity is going to be something his RoE lets him shoot Silkworms at. If not then he’s got nothing but a new contact to task his robot eyes to go and study…if he’s lucky to have enough of them…and who’s even close to that?. Then he’s going to have to be thorough…shame for his robot to tell him that there is a pair of 956 DDG’s closing his group and engaging to find that they belong to Russia and not China. OOOPSY izvinitye tovarisch I just sank your battleship!!!.

…anyway. Shore strike. IAI Jumper. Marinised 8 pot self-contained VLS missile packs. Bolt on weather deck frames on Bays for shore popup precision fires. Unbolt and sling under Merlin to go ashore with the landing forces. 50km range GPS or laser illumination – get up S100s with MX-10D payload and plink away at C-701/Boghammars from 30 miles off until you have shore targets to service. Jobs a good ‘un.

M&S
M&S
March 2, 2014 10:34 am
Reply to  Observer

Observer,

>>
GPS 227mm rounds are much more useful in an urban setting where being even slightly off may mean blocking terrain (buildings) between the airburst and the target. Or at least that was the theory.
>>

Most GPS rounds can now steer an offset to clear high buildings. OTOH, the real issue with GMLRS or 155 or anything else ‘large and squattish’ for that matter is why you think you need them in a MOUT condition.

If you are facing a proper armored maneuver force that has gone to ground to avoid Western Airpower dominance, that is one thing (and likely to result in engagements which are seen as ‘cost of war’ based on the risk to Western forces trying to do clean up with a force that can fluidly change positions as lines, street by street).

OTOH, if you are facing mutt forces which use ambushes centered on IEDS and the like, why not a 120mm NEMO or AMOS on a 113 or CVRT? You get all the high angle you need. The shot count advantage is enormous and you don’t even have to leave the FOB gates to cover 2-3-10 patrols out on walkabout doing the meet and greet.

>>
A uni-mate of mine once commented on the difficulty of using artillery in urban terrain, the buildings act as “bullet” proof picket fences where you have to hit exactly between the buildings to hit your target.
>>

Which is doable if you site your FOBs accordingly and call for the right grid patch. Or if you have UAS flying about with Griffins for 30 odd hours waiting for the call.

The real deal here is that you are knotting an empty bag most of the time because the threat is like Mr. Rocketman, driving around, making a few desultory attacks and then didimau’ing on down the road (same with IED and snipers). You start dropping rounds into a vacated threat area and the civilians will reasonably get slightly pissed. WIth you, with the insurgents, with everyone. But their lashout vector is never going to be at the idiots who started it because they have to live there. It’s going to be at the Western Troops giving the hill billies a target set and then acting shocked, horrified and amazed when we get hit.

Which is where you move from MC-12W with 360` FLIR gear to MQ-1/9 with ARGUS-IS/IR equivalent and the ability to store and access historical data streams from keyed orbits. So… Say a truck leaves little farmhouse on the outskirts, makes for the Al-Mustansiriya Central Market and after the BAM, you have ‘no idea’ who dun it because there are pieces of this 5 ton VBIED scattered for a thousand yards in all directions, the largest single one the size of a card table.

Which is just fine because if you know it came from that house and you have tags on that house going back for three weeks (along with everything else happening in that sector because that’s what ARGUS-IS does), you can track, not just the truck but _every other vehicle_ back to that location.

And then start a tag trace on where they go and what they do, in the weeks leading up to the attack.

We are not always going to get them in the act. It may not be safe to try. But nobody should die for nothin’.

Not in that kind of a senseless mazcat.

And that is how, along with high density video cams (armored telephone pole mounts, with a mandatory death penalty offense for sabotage) and gunshot cuers and mandatory National ID presentation at all food, cooking gas or electrical purchases, you keep these mugs from playing the terrorist game until they convince the Joe Blow citizens that they had better fight Us because we aren’t killing off the bad guys faster than they kill off the innocents.

My point being that if you can hold the F2T2EA chain open, you can take these people whenever you want, wherever it’s safe. And then you can either present them on national television with proof of their deeds and an execution the next morning. Or you can at least show the moment when an MTS-B camera capped the same vehicles with the same people, that left the house the morning the truck bomb did.

>>
1) F-15s cost about 1.5m per. Don’t see him crying about it.
>>

That’s because, back in the when (average F-15 fleet age is about 28 years old) the Eagle cost about 35 million each and we were facing the Russians who were a tangible hard-power threat not a bunch of willothewisps running amok through the third world while ‘Near Peer’ states build weapons that kill the basing mode, never mind the jet.

The F-35B is about ten times too much technology for it’s own sake crap for what it actually ‘downloadable apps!’ does in an LIC/OOTW condition. And about 4 times too little to matter in a big scrape with the Real Deal. A condition which will become worse as we move through 2025 and SSLs start to pop up diseased prairie dogs, everywhere we set foot.

>>
2) They are twin engined. Fuel usage is even more horrifying than a single engine.
>>

Rubbish. Carry more, do more, more wing + more thrust = higher cruise and a thousand and one other variables (internal ECM) that all together make a shepherd’s pie out of your cut and dry.

Taking off from the HAS at Etzion AB in southern Israel, the F-15A/Bs that escorted the Operation Babylon attack on the Osiraq reactor complex flew 550nm, with ALQ-131 Long, AIM-9D X4 (they were short on AIM-9L), AIM-7F X4, 610 tanks X2 and Type II CFT. They dropped _nothing_ enroute, performed maximum burner step climbs to cover the H1/2/3 airfield axes and then picked up their F-16A charges which, by that time, had dropped not only their Mk.84 bombs but (half to the reactor) also their 370 gallon tanks. The F-16s were thus all but clean, with full internal fuel and only AIM-9L X2 and the centerline 310 gallon tank when they turned back West, over Jordan, and immediately ran into a headwind at their planned operational height. The F-16s descended from 40K to 20K while the F-15s stayed up high and fought the headwind, all the way back. The F-15s then dropped off their Vipers at Etzion and, still with 6-8,000lbs remaining, flew all the way back to their home base at Tel Nof in Northern Israel. While the F-16s, which had launched so massively overweight that they had to be prestaged and fueled on the runway because their landing gear tires would have burst, turning the corners, came in with fuel states averaging less than 1,000lbs and one so low that it didn’t register on the totalizer and flamed out on the ramp.

The F-15A has an internal fuel load of roughly 11,908lbs, each CFT carries 5,650lbs and the 610 tank carries around 3,965lbs (31,138lbs, ullage allowances apply and some versions of the story have the formation refueling from a KC-707 as they headed down the Red Sea). The early model F100-PW-100 had a bypass ratio of almost .7:1 and so it had ENORMOUS fuel efficiency at mid-cruise settings.

Comparatively, the F135 engine, is derived from the F119 which is stated to have an SFC almost 50% higher than the /late model/ F100 whose massflow went up another 50lbs/sec even as it’s BPR sank to .36. The reason for choosing this massively unsuitable, supercruise optimized, parent engine (and not, say, the heavier F136 with it’s variable cycle geometry) on which to base a longrange, subsonic, attack fighter was that it was the ONLY powerplant that could possibly make STOVL work on what is, functionally, a medium attack bomber in the A-6 weight class.

Speaking of useless junk, the F-35B carries a little over one third the fuel the maxxed out F-15 does and, amazingly enough, less weapons than the F-16.

It’s radial performance will be somewhere between the MiG-21 and the MiG-29 which is to say that it will be in a fuel critical state at launch.

EVERYTHING about the JSF’s performance was compromised to provide for the three different take off and landing modes whose functional purpose was not to bring commonality of systems design but rather the exact opposite as a function of ensuring service roles and missions turf.

The result is an aircraft which is neither fish nor fowl but a triumph of sales as service politics over aeronautical engineering.

>
…there are mainstay fighters out there that are worse.
>

Certainly. The F/A-18E/F which is not a fighter at all. The Eurofighter Typhoon which puts roughly F414 class engines into an airframe with the same internal fuel as an F/A-18A Hornet, and the Rafale which flies around with a pair of dirigibles underwing, masquerading as EFT.

One jet which is not this way is the F-22 which is like the F-104 on steroids: You launch with 12,000lbs of gas on the Zipper and it takes 20 minutes to get it up to 50K and run out to Mach 2 (1.7 if you have tiptanks). In the process you will burn at least 9,000lbs of gas. But then it will go another 500nm down range on 2,000lbs more and still have 1,000lbs at landing.

The F-22 is the same way. Except that it’s going to be at Mach 1.43 and 60K within 10 minutes of launch and it’s carrying 19,800lbs of fuel. You run it in 600nm segments, tapping a tanker just outside The Fence, flying 300nm to target and coming back out again at Mach 1.8, whereupon it takes some more gas and comes home at Mach 1.6. And suddenly you have a 900nm radius airframe _even though_ it looks like it’s nothing but a 1/4 mile muscle car, because the nature of stealth as Contempt Of Engagement is that of doing the mission you have been told to do, ignoring irrelevant threats and launching from such high altitude and air speed that standoff of 60-80nm is a given. And so you end up not having to do that penetrative laydown mission which the F-35, in essence, copies from the F-117.

The F-35 is an obscenity of capability chasing force structure as service politics in an age when THE FIRST THING you do to size a mission force is to look at a 4:1 increase in both numbers and standoff inherent to weapons like the GBU-53. Far from CAIV, cost has proven to be no obstacle to sensible force planning and this is going to end up bankrupting our defense on the very eve of a massive change in the way Strike Warfare is fought.

I know this isn’t your problem, directly, but I am an American and I see 1.45 trillion dollars and 31,000 dollars per flight hour (18.6 million per month in training, 223 million per year, per squadron) as beneath contempt when it is not even going to be survivable or effective in the wartime environments of the mid/late 2020s onwards.

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 10:55 am

M&S,

“EVERYTHING about the JSF’s performance was compromised to provide for the three different take off and landing modes”

No. I think you’ll find much of the compromise was due to stealth – internal weapons, more internal fuel, etc which goes to create a bit of a blimp ;-)

Just a point about fuel loads. You wouldn’t want to dogfight with extra tonnes of fuel so you’ll actually launch an intercept with “just enough” for the job. I guess then it depends on if an aircraft was designed to intercept or simply “strike”. F35 is no interceptor. I’m not sure how many people actually think it is?

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 2, 2014 11:30 am

Jumper interesting. A more realistic copy (?) of the NLOS-LS “rockets in a box” idea; originally the “box” was shipping container shaped, carrying a range of munitions: SAM, AT (fibre optic guided?), anti-personel, etc., which is very similar to @David Andersen’s link. For shorter ranges (25-30km) perhaps a containerised version of Spike NLOS?

mr.fred
mr.fred
March 2, 2014 12:02 pm

Simon,
I’m sure I have been guilty of long, rambling posts and will be again, but once a post on a blog comments list exceeds a screen worth, or 1000 words*, that is surely beyond the pale. At that point, IMHO, you should be considering getting your own blog rather than pirating someone else’s bandwidth for your rants**.
Perhaps M&S should change his handle to tl;dr?
* the latest wall of text was nearly 2000 words
** Yes, I am aware of the degree of hypocrisy inherent here, but I’ve used less than 100 words to say it.

McZ
McZ
March 2, 2014 12:09 pm

@M&S
I don’t read your whole post. I come to the impression, you are one of those “experts” hiding their arguments behind a curtain of techno-babble. Instead, you are like one of the guys arguing solely on the premise, that every American kit in development is crap (is there any exemption? CV-78, LCS, Zumwalt-class, P-8, even the C-17 was fought to the knife). While existing equipment uses pure magic, and while the Chinese and Russians are making world class kit in two years time (a timespan extended every two years).

“Speaking of useless junk, the F-35B carries a little over one third the fuel the maxxed out F-15 does and, amazingly enough, less weapons than the F-16.”

If we accept WP figures to be quite accurate, the F-35A carries 18,250 lb of internal fuel, the B 13,500 lb and C 19,750 lb. The F-15C is stated as having 13,455 lb internal + the optional FAST-pack 16,000 lb. The F-35A actually carries 1000 lb more weapons than a F-16, and it should be noted, that targeting pods are eating into the latters figures. The F-35B is not a replacement to the F-16, but to the AV-8B, which carries 9,200 lb.

The F-35-program deserves criticism, for sure. It is hardly a well managed program. Many things are dependent on software, the choice of C++ over ADA or a managed language has and will continue to bite.

For most countries – and I include most of western Europe – a F-16 incorporating Block 60 CFTs and ECM, a revised intake, F-35-like radome-section and sensors plus maybe a further refined, optimized engine including TVC would have been a more than enough. Maybe, even such an aircraft could have been “harrierfied”.

But, not a single expert I read has given a convincing argument, why the F-35 should not be able to fulfil its intended set of missions. While it is ensured, that both F-15 and F-16 have and will continue to get problems within S300/400-equipped AD-environments.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 2, 2014 12:28 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever read more than a couple of lines of an M&S post. Mostly because the language is impenetrable, also because those who do read them report that they are techno-bollocks.

WiseApe
March 2, 2014 12:29 pm

We all have different sized screens. Perhaps a “skip” button so that tedious comments could be cut off in mid

Rocket Banana
March 2, 2014 1:06 pm

WiseApe,

We also all have different bandwidths and when you’re pushed back to GPRS whilst on the train and you see M&S you simply take the battery out of the phone ‘cos you’re going nowhere :-(

Perhaps we should have a “see more” per comment when they exceed 1000 characters or something. That allows those comments that are of value to say what they need and allows us all to ignore my (and others’) rants ;-)

The annoying thing about M&S’ posts is that they can often be quite interesting (if you can be bothered to read it all) – it’s just a particular slant/take on things from one person’s perspective. I have no problem with the quality, just the quantity.

jonesy
jonesy
March 2, 2014 1:23 pm

I’d be very surprised if M&S wasn’t, in fact, a well known gentleman who used to go by the name of Kurt Plummer. He is very knowledgeable on his subject and has much to say that is worth the read…if you keep up with the acronyms. He does have a certain form for wild extrapolation and an inability to, sometimes, accept that his, invariably doom-laden, prophecies are possible futures not already delivered ones.

Current fixation appears to be that by 2025 SSLs….presumably Solid State Lasers….will have proliferated everywhere. This is perfect illustration of the above.

Last I saw was the one they shot at a toy plane from a few thousand yards. They eventually got the toy to catch fire as well….which was nice….but was somewhere quite distant from zapping a manoeuvring high speed fighter sized air target transferring destructive energy levels instantly so as to not require any beam dwell….sweeping the beam through that damned nuisance stuff we call the air being a bit of a chore from the attenuation standpoint. All that from a longer range than the aircraft can target and engage a fixed/stationary site!.

If you do want to catch up the latest acronyms though the guy is an absolute goldmine!

WiseApe
March 2, 2014 3:46 pm

Kurt Plummer? Sounds like a porn name.

Anyway, back on topic, given that we used to lash hundreds of cannon on deck with nothing more than rope and iron rings, how difficult could this be?

monkey
monkey
March 2, 2014 7:08 pm

SO
The missiles requested by RT do contain just enough oxidizer to consume all the fuel (the explosive combination) , I suspected the change in wind direction was caused by the very hot gases produced by the explosives rising combined with substantial additional heat (sustained) generated by consumption of the local oxygen and the on the ground fuel source i.e. vehicle fuel and the vehicles and occupants there of.

Back on the Thread , the TRIGON looks a winner ,no development costs ,proven in combat (against Gaza and Lebanon) , at150km range delivering 120kg explosive ( 6 times that of 4.5″ at 6 times the range )

Also the BAE Archer 155mm Gun system turret (with the XM982 Excalibur shell reaches 60km with 35kg HE ) , could it be reengineered in a stabilised turret for marine use?

M&S
M&S
March 3, 2014 4:14 am

Simon,

>>
No. I think you’ll find much of the compromise was due to stealth – internal weapons, more internal fuel, etc which goes to create a bit of a blimp ;-)
>>

VLO is necessary to survive in a strike warfare environment where you are a 1,000nm on the wrong side of a radius and you haven’t the munitions or the fuel to be fighting -everyone- on the way too or from the target terminal area. VLO buys you altitude, altitude buys you standoff range as glide munitions.

Any threat which wishes to use BVR equivalents (S2A or A2A) then has to invest in the network ADGE to let the missile transit the midcourse where it sees nothing to arrive a seeker cube in which the tracking aperture can cue the seeker to home, ARH, IRH or other.

This is essential when doing the kinds of missions we do. It is not essential for Europeans who seldom fly more than 150nm to a target.

What wasn’t essential was making two interdictors mate up with a STOVL CAS airframe using a plug’n’play modular approach to essentially three different airfoil/engine/gear combinations.

>>
Just a point about fuel loads. You wouldn’t want to dogfight with extra tonnes of fuel so you’ll actually launch an intercept with “just enough” for the job.
>>

No, I wouldn’t want to dogfight, period. And I would use the fuel to dominate the acquisition and intercept phase of the engagement rather than transit through a merge where I only had 2 MRAAMs (and a fool for holding any back against conventional signature airframes).

Dogfighting is stupid, not least because it required dynamic maneuver on the airframe which flat plates it to All And Sundry, leaving you exposed to surface defenses as well as other fighters under conditions where you are NOT stealthy, going round and round a turn circle without any HOBS SRM to make it worthwhile.

Three basic conditions separate a military from a mob:

1. The ability to mass forces.
2. The ability to maneuver logistically.
3. The ability to focus and distill mission orientation.

If you don’t need to kill threat air because it doesn’t see you, you don’t force a bad fight.

Dogfighting gets you killed by the unseen, outside, shooter, Hawking the Fight. Assuming a HOBS weapon doesn’t blow your lips off at the first pass.

>>
I guess then it depends on if an aircraft was designed to intercept or simply “strike”. F35 is no interceptor. I’m not sure how many people actually think it is?
>>

How many NATO customers will use it as a strike fighter when their nominal needs are more attuned to local AD? How many NATO users even understand that simply having stealth, by itself, is not a guarantee of penetration and thus that the whole gamut of SEAD/DEAD/EA must be choir in chorus along for the trip? Support missions which they don’t have?

How many of these would be ground pounders are pushing hard for Blk.4 and release of SRMs to their fleets, either because they don’t have AMRAAM or because they want to have a more traditional mix of A2A capabilities, even though it totally invalidates VLO?

McZ,

>>
I don’t read your whole post. I come to the impression, you are one of those “experts” hiding their arguments behind a curtain of techno-babble. Instead, you are like one of the guys arguing solely on the premise, that every American kit in development is crap (is there any exemption? CV-78, LCS, Zumwalt-class, P-8, even the C-17 was fought to the knife). While existing equipment uses pure magic, and while the Chinese and Russians are making world class kit in two years time (a timespan extended every two years).
>>

How can I be one thing and ‘instead’ something else? I never claimed to be an SME and so if you are responding to me as such, perhaps you need to ascertain your own intimidation factor as motive for response.
Myself, if I can’t be bothered to read what someone says, I don’t respond at all as soundbyting inevitably leads to an embarrassing “Which is what I just wrote, are you blind, illiterate or just plain stupid?” moment. But hey, that’s me.

>>
If we accept WP figures to be quite accurate, the F-35A carries 18,250 lb of internal fuel, the B 13,500 lb and C 19,750 lb. The F-15C is stated as having 13,455 lb internal + the optional FAST-pack 16,000 lb. The F-35A actually carries 1000 lb more weapons than a F-16, and it should be noted, that targeting pods are eating into the latters figures. The F-35B is not a replacement to the F-16, but to the AV-8B, which carries 9,200 lb.
>>

The problem is that we live in a world where the need for radius is explicit (12-15hr sorties over OEF AfG) and _promised_, as a function of JSF implicit design requirements and the sales speech to Australia in which a JSF PEO stated that even the F-35A was making a 700nm radius. We now know it is not. That indeed, even the longest ranging variant, the F-35C is only pulling down 584nm from a 650nm KPP.
We know that drag is up on all three jets and that weight is within 200lbs of no-acceptance on the F-35B, which is one of the reasons why it’s flying as a CTOL jet while the Marines struggle to push through it’s service acceptance, sans even the appearance of an OPEVAL.
And here’s the catch, that ‘Joint’ part of the acronym? That implies everyone goes deep and everyone contributes equally and the F-35B is not within a 300nm of being able to do this.
As for your other statements, the point is that a large fighter can outrange a smaller one, no matter what may have been said about the F-16 having more legs than an Eagle. And this is also true for the JSF vs. F-15E or the Su-30. Which means that the ‘JSF’ is not Joint. It’s not capable of Strike. And for that it tries to be, it’s not a Fighter.
It’s a kluge.
The AV-8B is a glorified CAS jet and doesn’t need RFLO or the penalties it brings, anymore than it needs supersonic speed or ‘fighter’ level agility. Indeed, the entire operational concept of the AV-8B is flawed from the simple standpoint that no jet of -any- stripe, assigned to a helicopter carrier in Detachments of 6-8 jets, is going to be useful to anyone at any mission. Not FORCAP, not STOM escort, not Amphibious CAS, not conventional CAS. Strip every helo on-deck, essentially ripping the guts out of the GTF portion of the MAGTF and now you have 25 jets on deck. One third of what a real carrier can bring to battle in a ship that is nearly as big as a CVN.
The only reasons the STOVL JSF exist are because the RN has a warped attitude about designing 70,000 ton Jeep Carriers. And the USMC wants to break away from USN control by adapting an aircraft which is completely incompatble with CVN operations.
The Marines have ONE core mission which they dare not fail to do lest they have no operational purpose at all: Sieze a SPOD for followon insert of heavy ground maneuver forces. The F-35B does ZERO to aid that capability which means that you are right back at needing real carriers with real airwings to prosecute that mission.
And the notion that an F-35 carries more munitions than an F-16 is laughable. Because the instant it moves to external stores to enable things like AGM-88 and MALD and full BRU-57 racks (X2, per side) of GBU-38 or GBU-49 or BRU-61 carrying GBU-39/53, it’s just as visible as the F-16. And because it doesn’t have ANY EW gear, external or otherwise, no smart TRD no nothing, while possessing less agility that a cement truck in quicksand, it is, in fact, _More Vulnerable_.

>>
The F-35-program deserves criticism, for sure. It is hardly a well managed program. Many things are dependent on software, the choice of C++ over ADA or a managed language has and will continue to bite.
>>

The F-35 needs to be cancelled sir. It’s a dated paradigm whose operational capabilities are no longer in line with, let alone leading the trends on what the future will look like for strike warfare.
The three services need to lose their independent sovereignty and shift to a 50% UCAV force, 50% common fighter capability within a less than 1,000 airframe total inventory that can go to sea or to landward combat theaters, as needed.
You put one chef in charge and the soup doesn’t get spoiled. Or if it does, you know whom to send to jail for antideficiency act violations and RICO level fraud.
Which means that USAF handles air platforms, USN handles naval architecture and the weapons that go on them. And the USMC and USAr work out the high intensity and expeditionary ground combat arms between them.
We cannot afford a mission force which uses the same effects delivery systems yet has three different and redundant chains of command.

>>
For most countries – and I include most of western Europe – a F-16 incorporating Block 60 CFTs and ECM, a revised intake, F-35-like radome-section and sensors plus maybe a further refined, optimized engine including TVC would have been a more than enough. Maybe, even such an aircraft could have been “harrierfied”.
But, not a single expert I read has given a convincing argument, why the F-35 should not be able to fulfil its intended set of missions. While it is ensured, that both F-15 and F-16 have and will continue to get problems within S300/400-equipped AD-environments.
>>

I can count the number of -threat- states with more than a single S-300 system on one hand. I cannot explain why, when that SA-20 defends a point target and you have no HARM to kill it, rapidly, you would want to close on it with a 12nm GBU-31 laydown capability that is the same as a point target attack with GBU-27 from an F-117 because _at that point_ you’re ‘through or through’ because you cannot turn to break away without flat-plating half the emitters out there to tell them where you are.
If you cannot find an expert that will tell you what is wrong with the F-35, then you should stop reading the marketing brochures, leave the LM cafeteria at lunch, and expanding your reading horizons.
The Canadians, the Norwegians, the Dutch, have all ‘revised their opinions’.
Carlo Kopp, Peter Goon, Winslow Wheeler, Pierre Sprey. All have different opinions. And you may not like them or think that they are ‘privy to the latest sensitive information’ but you have to realize that _they are SMEs_ and, you are not. Or I wouldn’t be having to lecture you.
Myself, the talking points are always going to be tactical:
1. If stealth works the way we think it should, then sending in 10-20 jets per night (and no more because they need an equal number of strike lanes supported by EA), armed with 50nm standoff SDB should open the door within a week or three (we took 60 days to reduce Iraq’s IADS in the runup to OIF) to attacks by all the other jets because all the other jets, with the same weaponry and no fear of longrange saturation attacks by ARH SAM of the class 48N6/40N6/9M96. Which means that for the AFs that don’t want to have the ability to fight their own little wars but do want a credible defensive capability, the cost as well as utility of stealth is questionable. Stealth doesn’t protect against other Stealth. But proliferation of Stealth Technology (because you can bet your last dollar that selling it outside the U.S. will cause ‘samples’ of material repair database or actual airframes to be lost to someone) causes the loss of the Stealth Edge, then the system is debunked by default.
2. SSLs and Hunting Weapons and A2AD Missiles all put the JSF at risk to simple volume denial. Because whereas even the longest ranging radar SAM is essentially point-associated with the target detection threshold of it’s cueing and engagement radars, the best laser and radar and OCA airbase attack weapons are both cheap enough to be ubuitous and apt to _come to you_. Because that’s where you are going to be predictably findable, for upwards of 80% of the operational day. In this the fact is that any airframe is going to become increasingly anachronistic if not obsolescent to the coming age of Directed Energy Weapons Systems but the F-35 promises to make that nadir vastly more expensive than it needs to be for the majority of missions (COIN/LIC) where it’s full capabilities are wasted anyway.
3. The cost of training with VLO systems is greater, inside three years, than the cost of R&D and acquisition of wooden round missile systems which are not only more survivable (much faster = greater saturation effect) against advanced defenses the manned, subsonic airframes. But also have effectively ZERO peacetime costs. Whereas a JSF is going to run around 223 million per 12 aircraft squadron. No war, no training deployments, no Ab Initio graduates qualifying to a tactical level, just day to day maintenance of existing skillsets.

You don’t have to consider me to be an SME, but the fact remains, unless you can counter my arguments, you cannot simply dismiss them either.

Jonesy,

>>
Last I saw was the one they shot at a toy plane from a few thousand yards. They eventually got the toy to catch fire as well….which was nice….but was somewhere quite distant from zapping a manoeuvring high speed fighter sized air target transferring destructive energy levels instantly so as to not require any beam dwell….sweeping the beam through that damned nuisance stuff we call the air being a bit of a chore from the attenuation standpoint. All that from a longer range than the aircraft can target and engage a fixed/stationary site!.
>>

Rheinmetall Laser 15mm Girder at 1km.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E57CqeH6PdE

Northrop Grumman Firestrike 105KW Laser, BQM-74 Skins
http://www.irconnect.com/noc/press/pages/news_releases.html?d=254109

5 mile ranged MTHEL/Nautilus
http://www.falconanalytics.com/beams.pdf

MTHEL, Doubles Up, Through Clouds
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCBwLJjzDJQ

Let me say again that you don’t have to have a 1MW capability, on mount, to kill an aircraft or the munition it drops. Particularly since MTHEL has already demonstrated the ability to destroyed forged-case artillery rounds, zipping along at considerable clip, _through clouds_.
What you need to do is nothing more than what WWII destroyers did to multiply the box size their 4.5″ mounts serviced with variable time delay PF fuzes: Combine them through a single tracking ‘gun’ director. One optics steers the primary beam onto target. The others slew and track the beam’s scintillant return, much the same way a laser guided bomb precision tracks a designated target.
Which is how you get multiple beam directors to zip through shootlists on sort to mort basis of shared targeting through 3-5 laser complexes, per ship.
If you’ve ever seen the LADS shelter on the /Ponce/, it would be obvious how simple this could be to quickly rig.
Total range may not be great but instantaneous power onset would be, because the beams are additive in thermal overlay and electronically beam formed to create stable wavefronts (irrespective of plasma kick from the target surface thermal ablation).
Hence, when a German system using lower power (by half, 20+30KW) lasers than we do can cut a 15mm thick girder in half at a 1,000m, you must surely understand where the power of the MTHEL (150KW) can be matched and even exceeded, with lower capacitance SSLs. Because the SSLs have much finer adaptie beam focus and stable wave fronts.
Finally, since you are already thinking at least 10 years behind the SOA, let me remind you that the F-35 doesn’t even really /begin/ it’s service life until 2022 when Blk.4 software becomes available and some small fraction of it’s potential total stores are cleared.
That’s 8 years from now. By 2025, what I am telling you, today, will be at least a decade out of date.
And yet, at that point, the F-35 will have gone through less than half it’s 40 year service life.
You are betting 1.45 trillion dollars on the notion that nothing will change in a decade when the systems, as posited _right now_, have the /technical/ capability to completely devalidate airwarfare. They are not productionized. But their technology base as telecomms is proliferated. And so anyone who wants to, can, in that 11 year period of time duplicate what we have done with commercially available systems baselines.
And thus, if lasers are, _physics capable_, right now, of completely dethroning airpower.
First through it’s smart bombs. And then through the delivery system itself. Because the skins on a fighter are, at most 2-3mm thick and they cover the better part of 6 TONS of fuel.
They will likely be -materially- capable (produceable in quantity) by 2025.
If you commit this nation to a false path of continued tactical airpower reliance, not dominance, and you are proven wrong, there will not be any money to reverse the mistake.
If we take the smarter path towards HCM aeroballistics, UCAVs and perhaps the first, tentative, steps towards and HSP to keep our strategic strike options open and our carriers ontop of the sea, we split our risks between the readily doable, the slightly challenging and the high risk scenarios, evenly.
I am not the one plotting a course for doom sir. You are.

M&S
M&S
March 3, 2014 5:37 am

Jonesy,

>>
Wonderful vagueries of “Chinese/Iranian ROTHR” and the ease of “picking out surface targets against a cool flat background”.
OTH is massively overhyped…wonderful stories perpetuate about Jindalee detecting C-130′s on approach to airfields hundreds of miles off. All rubbish. OTH detected a high velocity target passing between OTH detection ‘cells’ on a rough bearing…and then drop out. They phoned up the airport and asked if something just landed…and were told a Herk had just set down.
>>

Yeah, and they were so disgusted with the price and performance of the ROTHR in Louisiana than they ordered another for Puerto Rico because, you know, those damn drug dealers and their extended range twins fly just like airliners and ‘any radar’ can spot those…

F-16s intercept P-3 flying smuggler profile after ROTHR handoff within 3-5 miles of position
http://www.mobileradar.org/Documents/ROTHR.pdf

>
A small twin-engine airplane flies low over the water to avoid radar detection. At an undisclosed Caribbean airfield, two men waiting by a truck signal that it is all clear to land. The plane lands and the men quickly begin to offload its cargo. To their surprise, they are met by government agents. All three men are taken into custody; the plane and its cargo, 10 bales of cocaine and a briefcase of money, are seized without incident.
“What happened?” the pilot thought to himself. “Everything was perfect tonight.” Little did he know that from 1000 miles away an advanced early-warning, over-the-horizon radar was watching his entire trip and relaying his position to government agents who were moving to intercept him.
>

http://www.rfdh.com/ez/system/db/lib_jnl/upload/550/%5BMWJ9803%5D_Cold_War_to_Counter_Drug.pdf

>>
Cue hysterical story of JORN’s all encompassing power and the knowing nods of the omnipotence of OTH-R.
>>

Cue a net search to understand that JORN is a copy of ROTHR.

>>
OTH gives you a non-localised contact with a rough bearing to target, a general heading and generalised rate of advance. A 50knt contact just appearing 300km offshore from out the deep blue sea may be evaluated as a Stiletto on SOW insert but a line of 25knt contacts, at a modest spread, is going to be a regular feature on the display. Going to need a lot of robots to determine that every wolf is actually a sheep.
>>

Except that those contacts will be seen, from a site 1,000nm inland, a 1,500nm. And at 1,000nm. And at 500nm. And ‘somewhere in there’ the nature of a constant course, formation bearing and /oh yes/ a halo of FORCAP and E-2 overhead, will twig someone to think that maybe the USN doth wickedly this way come.
Because-
1. All commercial traffic are now network tracked with GPS location.
2. A Operational Exclusion Area has now been created over the Senkakus or Taiwan.
3. Every hull which isn’t 1,000ft long with six ladies in waiting in attendance and her very own
airshow has long since didimau’d.

OTOH, the M80 Stilleto is just big enough to avoid resonant scattering by meter wavelength systems provided it’s all composite hull remains smooth and uncluttered while it’s centimeter wavelength signature is dictated by it’s shaping considerations.
You can’t have it both ways sir.
You can’t hide a carrier with airpower constellation under the ‘but that could be a tanker or a container ship, we just don’t know!’ constraint and expect anyone to believe that the itty-bitty, 45 ton, M-hull Catamaran is going to somehow be a larger signature or one which is more distinguishable than a tramp freighter or fishing trawl. Not when you equally claim that a 300 knot Hercules is ‘indistinguishable’ from the clutter backdrop at more than a vague radar resolution cell of who knows how many miles.
What is different is that it can put a RAP team ashore, fully mounted and under armor and then get back out to sea, faster than the threat can respond. Which seems to be the case you are arguing for a CSG which is, frankly, laughable.
The point of DF-21D is to kill carriers. If you have the first leap into Taiwan or whereever and the USN must respond, the likelihood of ‘inside job’ knowing the -exact- location of the Navy battle group is incredibly high, simply because, as a recent U.S. admiral himself has admitted: “We thought we had it (EMCON) all locked down and a quick sweep showed we did not.”
With this combination of first move initiative and limited opsec as emissions control, all’s the Chinese have to do is make it clear that ANY ship in their OEA will be engaged and it’s lights out for the idiot brigade.
Because the DF-21D can fire from 500nm inland and still engage the carrier from 300nm short of the -posted- (700nm) let alone achieved (584nm) radius of the F-35. Everyone else being another 200nm short of this.
The Chinese doctrinal guide from 1991 is characterized by a single sentence: ‘No Limits’. Which, properly translated is actually _no boundaries_. They have learned the lesson of 50 years of Western Airpower bullying it’s way into the fight and have realized that if they invest, just a little bit (Wu-14 MARV based on PII and ChiCom OTH-B based on ROTHR) they can Burn The Nest and not have to worry about swatting individual Hornets.
And if they did do this, the world would cheer.
That is the 1-2-3 inherent principle behind the DF-21D. It can have no other legitimate function.
I don’t know whether you’re an American or not, but putting our nation at risk to acquire the F-35 solely as an indulgence in political profiteerism and military force structure rent seeking is a beneath contempt.
I would be the first to say we have no business in Chinese hegemonial SOI. I would be the first to say that we were fools for sending our industry to The East, thinking it would be secured by patents and contracts as pieces of paper.
But I would also suggest that we cannot afford to lose a war in our present economic circumstances. It would be the start of a long slide to disintegration which American would not recover from as the United States.
And so there is no purpose in sending good money after bad in pursuing the F-35 for it’s own sake.

monkey
monkey
March 3, 2014 7:52 am

M&S the 1000 piloted air superiority fighter airframes u mention are all to be usable on a CVN ? All of the same design ? The pilots all trained as per present USMC pilots ? The remainder of the budget on another 1000 stealth UCAV for deep strike / long duration loitering weapons platforms ? Sounds like a sensible plan . It would keep long term peace time costs down whilst still having flexibility of sufficent aircraft/pilots to be redeployed anywhere by land or sea if ITSHTF (if the s**t hits the fan) giving time for the reservists pilots/airframes to be brought up to speed for deployment to less critical theaters of operations.

David Andersen
March 3, 2014 8:54 am
Reply to  M&S

I must say, I have truly enjoyed M&S’ bloviating. He does have some great info just poor delivery.
– off thread topic, his general analysis of the F-35 deficiencies are good, but once again poor delivery. I would recommend reading Dr Kopp’s info instead, much more succinct. http://www.ausairpower.net/jsf.html

– back on topic – M&S, read more carefully, I do not suggest CFP as THE solution to the A2AD problem. It is part of the solution. Preemptive targeting is obviously preferred, but it is no where near perfect, there will be systems that escape detection, that is the point of the whole detection discussion in my article. Those systems must be dealt with once they launch. The networked stacked LADS you suggest can also be part of the solution, but it is very short range. I do like your LST/seeker target track synchronization method, it could work even if the network was down as long as the LST could scan the right sector.
To get the rapid peak power you seek though you have a number of challenges, especially if they are spread on several hulls. Emitter alignment, hull blanking, obscuration, ship dispersion as well as atmospheric effects (particularly against sea skimmers) and missile maneuvering will all work to reduce your max range for peak power to under one mile from center vessel. Additionally, these ships will have to be formed in a picket to protect your HVU, eliminating any dispersion you could have had.
More likely will be the use of them in stacked pairs, two pairs per ship. While the burn time will be longer, you will regain your max range (still short though) while eliminating you alignment, blanking and dispersion issues.
Even better is to get a single device with 1MW output power, but that is still a ways off.
Notice in all of the demonstrations that there was not a single salvo or volley fire, all shots were sequential, by time and or range. This allowed the MTHEL better likelihood of success.
The purpose of the CFP is to defeat as many missiles at a distance to reduce the number which the LADS would have to deal with, as well as deal with targets in marginal weather which degrades the LADS (also a reason to have a backup CIWS).

Since you like to write so much, I would like to present you with a challenge. Write a complete operational concept on a topic of your choice. Not why something won’t work, by how to actually solve a problem. You seem to like discussing long range strike, or redesign of the aviation component of the joint force or something along those lines. The key is to be succinct and executable within the sequestration budget in the 2024 (end of sequestration) timeline, no hyperbole. I will post it on my site and see how it goes. We will post a link to it here as well for bloviating purposes, but IMA will only approve constructive criticism on that site.

Better yet, maybe we can have the commentors here suggest the topic.

Oh and one key thing, you have to use your real name. No pseudonyms can be used on IMA, I will delete them.

Obsvr
Obsvr
March 3, 2014 9:18 am

GMLRS is undoubtedly accurate, RA fired two in quick succession into a ‘manhole’ about 2 ft square leading into one of the underground irrigation tunnels being used by the other lot. They’ve also used them to hit a specific room in a house, coming down vertically, there is a lot of trajectory shaping capability. Any thinking they are not going to work in MOUT is a tad under-informed. That said I’m not sure that the nature of the beast is notably suitable for airburst where the need is usually lots of fragmentation. I believe the Soviets liked airburst FAE Scuds but that’s somewhat different to HE – and the need to flatten German villages seems to have passed for the moment.

NLOS (Spike NLOS) is already in service (with RA, Israel and ROK navy I believe). Seems to work well, which is no doubt why RA is taking it into core, it solves the indirect fire against moving targets problem. They also got rid of the clapped out M113s (were giving REME an impossible task) long ago and have had a UK developed mobile launcher trailer carrying several msls for some time, but pics seem a bit like hen’s teeth.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 3, 2014 9:55 am

Observer, I have noticed this too
“have had a UK developed mobile launcher trailer carrying several msls for some time, but pics seem a bit like hen’s teeth”

Maybe the reason is the same why command platforms are normally the same as the ones for more mundane tasks – not easy to pick out , to be eliminated as a priority.

Both the SPA platform and the American one used with GMLRS would be well suited. Only one of those went to Afghanistan, so my money would be on that one. NLOs was kept with RA, right?

jonesy
jonesy
March 3, 2014 10:32 am

M&S

I think I have rarely seen a finer example of someone ‘buying the brochure’ as what is written above re OTH-R. The irony is that an ardent proponent of unmanned air cant accept that no less than 68 Triton drones, as well as how many other BAMS components, are necessary to turn OTH-R low resolution data into an ID’d track.

The advertising even underscores the OTH-myth as it talks continuously about the ‘P-3 detected’ leaving the reader the impression that the P-3 was identified as such by the system. It wasnt!. The only reason they knew what that contact was was because a) they sent it and b) it flew a deliberate “I’m a bad guy” flight profile. Tell me Kurt in your world do bad guys still wear jumpers with little black arrows on them and shifty looking masks?.

The further irony is that the advertising even notes the little deficiency in wolf/sheep recognition as it says the target P-3 had to be retasked to go and have a look at a contact of interest!. OTH-R is a relatively cheap way of putting low-resolution surveillance over a fairly broad area nothing more…nothing less.

As for the ‘everyone else over 1000ft will have cleared off…so the only contacts left will be the carrier group’ it doesnt happen. Merchies push on through regardless…even when the notices are out…happened in the south atlantic, in the gulf and its a cast iron guarantee it will happen in the south china sea just the same. If you’ve been to sea then you know that. If you’ve looked at a radar plot you know that it can be possible to discern some types of warship from the thundering herd. You see fast acceleration and deceleration…you see high bearing rate turns you see station keeping manoeuvres. Anyone who has completed a surface warfare course knows this full well also!!!. Yet, like with the EMCON thing, you expect the operators to be targeting compliant Kurt?.

Deceptive Manoeuvre has been a keystone of naval action for, what, a century now?. Got to be in that ballpark at least. USN are its unchallenged masters. This IS the operational art…this is where the techno-gibberish falls flat…because any system has flaws that can be exploited by a clever operator. Whether thats taking advantage of a sensor horizon or showing an opposing operator ‘a big deck and six ladies in waiting’ in one place while you push the real carrier force in down the sea lanes elsewhere and gain tactical advantage. Whether you use you ‘whoops not perfect EMCON’ to to same effect and have a ruck of simulated ‘chatty TDL’ traffic just where you have your 4 DDG SAM trap sited. The smart operator will always win.

Re SSL your saying nothing new Kurt in lots of words. Sure SSL has deep magazines and good retarget rates. Your 15mm burn is at 1000yds though and I’ve not seen data on what duration of beam dwell was required to accomplish this?. If you have to keep drilling holes through the atmosphere keeping the beam on target…or are requiring 4 emitters harmonised for every engagement sequence you have a somewhat challenging solution. Also you are, with modest range ability, opening up yourself up to saturation fires. Say your SSL is good to burnthrough a 3mm fuselage at 5000yds in 2 seconds dwell it has enough engagement window two hit two or three Hoplite-type M3.5 inbounds. F-35B fires 6 from 70 miles off. Its wingman fires two Storm Shadows with a flight path taking them past your SSL just as the ‘Hoplites’ drop into range. Do the CASOMs get through?. 2/10 Kurt…must do better!.

Edit: Apologies for the off-topic gents. I’ll leave this alone now.

Observer
Observer
March 3, 2014 11:33 am

ArmChair, that wasn’t me. Obsvr and I are two different people.

David, maybe, but he seems to be in love with his own ideas and everyone else’s is doomed to failure in spectacular fireballs due to their stupidity and inability to velcro their own shoes.

I’m still waiting for him to start his own religion. Probably just a matter of time now.

As for over the horizon radar, isn’t that old tech? IIRC Australia had an OTH-R station back in the 70s or so.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 3, 2014 11:46 am

Observer, sorry, I normally pay attention to that slight difference… And the topic was so close to what you often write about.

Brian Black
Brian Black
March 3, 2014 12:30 pm

ArmChairCivvy, a Viking trailer unit would probably be a suitable carrier for Exactor, or even a six-pack of GMLRS.

The Royal Artillery will be using Viking for Watchkeeper. Viking would be a very mobile and portable vehicle for the missile or rocket job; no idea if that’s on the cards though.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 3, 2014 1:03 pm

BB, agreed.

I need to stop apolegising for not having read all the latest, but from half a year back
– Vikings confinedx to training use
– future of the Warthog fleet uncertain.

A good combo: NLOS and 120 mm mortars on the back of either of those. I won’t even go as far as the photo montage of a NEMO installed = adding a direct fire capability out to 1 km.

S O
S O
March 3, 2014 6:53 pm

@jonesy: Imaging radar (SAR) is possible at astonishing ranges, and allows to at least learn about the approximate shape of a ship contact from much more than 100 km away.
The OTH issue with ID is thus rather about fast-moving aircraft than about slow-moving ships which may be ID’d by a daily aerial patrol with SAR radar.

Another OTH issue is the altitude coverage, which is rather poor with some forms of OTH (OTH-SW, IIRC), reducing them to a surface surveillance sensor against a competent OPFOR.

jonesy
jonesy
March 3, 2014 9:12 pm

S.O

Not in the context of the discussion.

ISAR imagery can indeed give you a rough picture…even range profiling can give you an approximate shape and, with the right aspect to the emitter can aid in identification. Moreso some of the new gen IIR imagers in airborne targetting pods, in the right conditions, can give you a pretty decent image of the target upwards of 50km standoff.

The contention that M&S was making was that the prevalence of ROTHR put any conventional surface force at a woeful disadvantage. They’d be seen and tracked from so far off as to make the kind of land-attack weaponry discussed here largely a moot point.

My stance is that ROTHR is but one more tool and one, like most, with exploitable flaws. As witnessed by the total US$19bn thats being spent on the BAMS capability that he dismisses in so cavalier a fashion. The need to cue in assets with the sensors you mention, in order to move through the fire-chain, is one of the most significant issues in the debate. What happens if you end up with more contacts than assets to chase them down and ping them with a surface search set – as you describe?.

What happens if the cued-up platform gets his read incorrect?. In 1982 an RAF Nimrod on radar recon patrol in the South Atlantic, with a then very high-end search set, was screaming blue murder that they had a confirmed radar track on the Argentine aircraft carrier and were demanding the Fleet Air Arm engage. After all the fuss it turned out, if memory serves, to be a middlin size Spanish tanker. Positive ID is a challenging task in a congested maritime environment…throw in some shoals/reefs etc choking traffic into converging and crossing courses and it gets really difficult telling wolf from sheep without an actual image ident on every contact.

I simply find it hard to accept that Chinese/Iranian ROTHR can be considered game-changing and possessed of all these magnificent attributes…when they plainly aren’t and, without the remainder of the $19bn worth of assets to leverage that wide area cueing, they are, in fact, of very limited value?.

Rocket Banana
March 3, 2014 9:43 pm

M&S

Thanks for your response, however, you seem to have failed to acknowledge that the three “modes” of landing are not “EVERYTHING” (your words, not mine) that compromises the F35’s performance. Steering away from the point is a sneaky tactic only those in stealth airframes can afford ;-)

“What wasn’t essential was making two interdictors mate up with a STOVL CAS airframe using a plug’n’play modular approach to essentially three different airfoil/engine/gear combinations.”

I suppose it depends on what you think F35 actually is…

If you start with F35A. It’s not a bad jet. Stealthy, fat, slow, poor agility, good range, good penetration.

Then you trade a wad of fuel and put a lift fan in its place. This allows operation from small deck carriers where small fleet air defence is probably the primary requirement and the ability for smaller scale strike/interdiction. You can also pile on the weapons externally and have one of the most expensive sitting ducks man has ever created.

So a compromise due to the lift-fan over the original which is compromised by stealth.

Go to the F35C and you compromise transonic performance for low-speed maneuverability.

So a compromise due to bigger wings over the original which is compromised by stealth.

Perhaps it’s me being picky but I don’t have much qualm with F35A because I too would trade outright performance for stealth – as long as I still have Typhoon (or F22, etc). Bottom line is that F35 – just like all aircraft – is a compromise.

As for dog-fighting…

When you’re up against me and I’ve foiled your medium range missiles with chaff and/or directed EMP. I’ll remember that I have the energy edge because you’re overfueled for the job. I hate to quote films but… During Korea, we shot down 12 of their jets for every one of ours. During Vietnam, that ratio fell to 3-1 . Our pilots were dependent on missiles.. No idea how accurate the figures are, only that it seems par for the course with missile lovers.

“How many NATO customers will use it as a strike fighter when their nominal needs are more attuned to local AD? How many NATO users even understand that simply having stealth, by itself, is not a guarantee of penetration and thus that the whole gamut of SEAD/DEAD/EA must be choir in chorus along for the trip? Support missions which they don’t have?”

Couldn’t agree more :-)

Observer
Observer
March 4, 2014 1:32 am

It was too long, forgot that the Australian system WAS the JORN. IIRC from the 70s, it could locate in a general location but it could not track, or at least not track well enough to use as a weapon directing radar. Apparently the random fluctuations in the ionosphere causes little shifts in the apparent position. You might be able to use it for ID, more or less, but to guide a weapon in is still questionable. Think of it as a huge arse search radar.

M&S
M&S
March 4, 2014 2:08 am

Jonesy,

>>
I think I have rarely seen a finer example of someone ‘buying the brochure’ as what is written above re OTH-R. The irony is that an ardent proponent of unmanned air cant accept that no less than 68 Triton drones, as well as how many other BAMS components, are necessary to turn OTH-R low resolution data into an ID’d track.
>>

Because it isn’t true. Because ROTHR was designed in the 1970s for early 1980s service doing what dirigibles had done in the 1930s: scout and coordination missions for surface units. And the USN was amazed at the quality tracks generated, even back then.

Point being: Just because it has been done before or will be done in the future doesn’t mean that the same platform or method has to be used.

>>
The advertising even underscores the OTH-myth as it talks continuously about the ‘P-3 detected’ leaving the reader the impression that the P-3 was identified as such by the system. It wasnt!. The only reason they knew what that contact was was because a) they sent it and b) it flew a deliberate “I’m a bad guy” flight profile. Tell me Kurt in your world do bad guys still wear jumpers with little black arrows on them and shifty looking masks?.
>>

Tell me sir, how many deep blue contacts run in formation and have air overhead? You keep using basic COINTELPRO techniques of misdirection and calling into question my expertise everytime I present evidence that is not mine and which affirms exactly what MANY other sources have said which is that not just P-3s but small aircraft with drug payloads have been spotted.

Fly the profile (no beacon, no filed flight plan, low altitude, right airspeed, right point of origin etc.) and you MASINT the condition for someone. It may take a bit of historicity as field forensics telephoning and DMA sat maps to confirm but it’s an inevitable process.

The same is true of running down a carrier.

>>
The further irony is that the advertising even notes the little deficiency in wolf/sheep recognition as it says the target P-3 had to be retasked to go and have a look at a contact of interest!. OTH-R is a relatively cheap way of putting low-resolution surveillance over a fairly broad area nothing more…nothing less.
>>

Nope. It’s an increasingly high resolution capability which has been modified several times to be able to do, essentially, what WAS/SAR patch does on the E-8. Namely, these massive endfire emitters have tuned response zones based on the three pulse system of raster scan. The first pulse measures atmospherics in real time, the second looks at EM interactions from the active RF background and the third does the actual imaging. Which can take a long time to accomplish because the waveforms and PRIs for different traffic can be very different, depending on the ionospheric lens effects you get.

However; as with so many other RF sensors, STAP techniques have been applied which allows stacks of pulsetrains to be integrated across a broadband (high noise gate limiter) multipulse approach which is then post-processed to provide decent look both in segments of coverage and in multi-targeting of both land and air systems.

It’s not your daddy’s Pave Paws.

>>
As for the ‘everyone else over 1000ft will have cleared off…so the only contacts left will be the carrier group’ it doesn’t happen. Merchies push on through regardless…even when the notices are out…happened in the south atlantic, in the gulf and its a cast iron guarantee it will happen in the south china sea just the same.
>>

You don’t know what you’re talking about.

>
In the pages that follow a considerable emphasis will be laid on the use
of maritime prohibited zones for purposes of carrying out, or attempting to
carry out, logistical strategies. But, while there are possibly more striking
examples of this (that is, logistical) use of the zones under review, it must
be stressed that the zones are used for defensive and offensive combat
strategies as well. In this latter (combat) connection they can be useful as
adjuncts, rather like the use of mine fields on land or sea by an attacking
force. Their function, in this last scenario, is that of diverting an adversary
into a “killing ground.”

The British declaration was not really a blockade, as merchant ships and neutral vessels
were not barred from the exclusion zone; it only applied to enemy naval vessels. It
was, therefore, nothing more than a gratuitous warning to Argentine naval forces.75

On April 28, 1982 the British Government announced its Total Exclusion
Zone (TEZ),78 to take effect on April 30, 1982. While occupying the same
area as the MEZ of April 12, this zone also encompassed “any … aircraft,
whether military or civil which is operating in support of the illegal
occupation” of the Falkland Islands.79 It continued with the further warning
that:
Any ship and any aircraft, whether military or civil, which is found within this zone
without due authority from the Ministry of Defence in London will be regarded as
operating in support of the illegal occupation and will therefore be regarded as
hostile …. 80
>

https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/ac93a6c1-825a-4b7e-8088-3e7977179c3e/Maritime-War-Zones—Exclusion-Zones.aspx

Which is to say:

1. The Chinese will not follow Western Moral Precepts. When the stakes are high enough (shame The West, gain absolute hegemony over the PacRim), they will go all out. And they will begin by making it clear, just as the British finally did, that they will kill anything within their TEZ. At which point, Lloyds, as it did in the PG with the Armilla Effort -up to- the point where mines started showing up outside the Gates of Hormuz, will tell every master who want’s his tin bucket to be insured tomorrow to obey the notification and route to an alternate port.

2. Because Americans obey a different code from that which they did in WWII, the use of these TEZ will exclude USN approach axes so that ‘neutral/civilian shipping is not put at risk’ and no/all/any Maru AGI has to have to be blown out of the water to keep them quiet. Which means that they will need to approach on an axis which is NOT heavily transited by coastal shipping which means ‘out of the blue’.

3. The Chinese will not be thinking in terms of international incidents, they will be thinking in terms of Hornet, Saratoga and Yorktown amongst the many, many, other ‘damn the torpedoes!’ USN exercises of the Operational Art has led to their hell-o being caught in a swinging door jam.

>>
If you’ve been to sea then you know that. If you’ve looked at a radar plot you know that it can be possible to discern some types of warship from the thundering herd.
>>

ISAR = Every ship with a masthead trace.
But it won’t matter because the Chinese will be the ones seizing the initiative and they will thus have the approaches controlled, no matter what. As they did when that ancient DE boat surfaced right next to the Battle Cat. Or the Russians flew and Su-24 over her or or or.

Song Class Takes Yet More Periscope Pictures to the embarrassment of the USN
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/nov/13/20061113-121539-3317r/?page=all

Gooznik, It’s Time To Buzz The Tower, KHawk Launches A Prowler In Retaliation, Whoot!
http://www.wnd.com/2000/12/2254/

Oh yeah, you’re too clever by half.
I prefer the old fashioned, dunderheaded Navy where everyone knew that /would try/ to shoot down was the equivalent of Uncle Is Angry -could- shoot down and thus fighting a Super Power over a pint beer bet was foolish because nobody would miss single pilots.

And thus nobody had to prove nothin’.

The modenr Navy lives in a world where appearance of capability means nothing. And so (in the Asian sense) you have egg on your ‘face’ all the time.

I use Fallon’s attempts to integrate Chinese PLAN forces into U.S. RIMPAC at the same time they surface an Type farking VII in the middle of our battlegroup as proof of how ‘operationally artful’ you really aren’t.

We don’t want a war. We don’t need to have an enemy thinking we can be taken. If you have to hide your capabilities so that they cannot figure workarounds and thus -allow- the intrusion, then the capability edge is too narrow for comfort to be exposing high value assets like this anyway.

Stop Pretending.

>>
You see fast acceleration and deceleration…you see high bearing rate turns you see station keeping manoeuvres. Anyone who has completed a surface warfare course knows this full well also!!!. Yet, like with the EMCON thing, you expect the operators to be targeting compliant Kurt?.
>>

I expect the Chinese to fire one 10 million dollar missile which, from 100-200K, will deploy a secondary bus which will follow the principle MARV on it’s trajectory and take snapshots of traffic from the PI to Okinawa and as far as Wake. Because that’s what a pseudolite loft buys you as total basin lookin.

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-28/hires/iss028e009979.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Straalstroom.jpg
http://jhabproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/cropped-Snapshot-2-10-10-2011-12-59-PM-2-1214×683.jpg
http://cryptome.org/eyeball/satspy/pict95.jpg
https://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/mdbda.htm

When the threat lights off as a function of engaging the inbounds, more pictures will be taken and like a remote BIA drogue on a JDAM, the bus-cam will also take pictures of the impact zone. And if there are a bunch of other HVTs in the area, another wave of 20-50 such weapons will follow on.

>>
Deceptive Manoeuvre has been a keystone of naval action for, what, a century now?. Got to be in that ballpark at least. USN are its unchallenged masters. This IS the operational art…this is where the techno-gibberish falls flat…because any system has flaws that can be exploited by a clever operator. Whether that’s taking advantage of a sensor horizon or showing an opposing operator ‘a big deck and six ladies in waiting’ in one place while you push the real carrier force in down the sea lanes elsewhere and gain tactical advantage.
>>

While we’re throwing names around ‘Jonesy’, let me have a guess at yours. Would that be ‘Bomb the civilians and run away laughing Doo-little?’ No?

How about ‘Damn the torpedoes, full stupid ahead!’ Farragut then?

You certainly seem like a man from another century.

Op Art is about having ships spaced so far apart at such depth within the ASST zone that the threat cannot track them all while their own weapons systems can all shoot up the target area which the ASUW provider is protecting, at will.

That might easily be possible if we had aeroballistic HCMs on a mix of nearshore defended SAGs capable of supporting VTOL (VARIOUS UAS) ISR and standoff Arsenal class options.

But as long as we are dependent on 500-550nm, subsonic, air strikes from massively over valued assets which we _cannot hide_ because they set their conspicuity factor by the closeness of their approach and their hugely extended deck operational cycle, that degree of OA will be impossible.

>>
Whether you use you ‘whoops not perfect EMCON’ to to same effect and have a ruck of simulated ‘chatty TDL’ traffic just where you have your 4 DDG SAM trap sited. The smart operator will always win.
>>

See above. The Chinese are not stupid. UUCV technology is getting better and is now cheap enough that an object the size of an oil drum can be dropped like mines, hold position for 30 days and send pretty pictures via satphone connect. Fighting in their own waters, they will also likely have long line trawlers or fastlay SOSUS equivalents or… they can use the ranging shot as it’s own PBY.

>>
Re SSL your saying nothing new Kurt in lots of words.
>>

I cannot help the fact that you people are so deliberate in your assertions of ignorance that you force me to spell it out in large numbers of short words. I assume that you have some ability to reason abstractly and you disappoint. I am explicit in everything I say so that you cannot hymn and haw and suddenly I am now excessively verbose. There is no explaining a concept to you that you have previously decided you will not ascribe to. You are the proverbial horse at the oasis in a desert of ignorance.

>>
Sure SSL has deep magazines and good retarget rates. Your 15mm burn is at 1000yds though and I’ve not seen data on what duration of beam dwell was required to accomplish this?
>>

You saw how long it took to blast through supersonic, forged case, artillery shells and katyushas though, didn’t you?

>>
If you have to keep drilling holes through the atmosphere keeping the beam on target…or are requiring 4 emitters harmonised for every engagement sequence you have a somewhat challenging solution.
>>

What’s the engagement range of a Mk.15? 1,500m? Effective at 500m? Close Aboard at 200m? I remember a study from Proceedings, back in the when that showed a you wouldn’t have time to kill more than one supersonic threat and wouldn’t have on-mount rounds to kill more than two subsonic ones, simply because R2 was and is a piss poor excuse for defending a ship. Along with Goalkeeper, Kashtan and AK-630, simply because you couldn’t get more than one engagement opportunity per shop which means that if the unit dumped track, you were SOL.

Depending on which one of the definitions you use in the .pdf I supplied, Firestrike takes this engagement cube out to 5km or 5miles. Be skeptical. Say it’s two miles. If it takes 4 seconds per engagement, per illuminator, and multiple ships in close formation all support you using a guide laser on the director to back up the main splash effect in tracking the slaves onto the target, you have a 12.5 second engagement window on a 600 knot threat and a 6 second window for a 1,200 knot threat. That’s 3 subsonic and 1.5 supersonic attacks.

Subtract one second per engagement for each illuminator and, with four SSLs on four ships, 2 per side, you have the ability to engage 2 targets with essentially zero dwell time.

But of course, ‘being in the Navy’, you knew all this, I’m sure.

I wish to make it explicit here that this doesn’t remove the option of a mid/outer airbattle option with integral or offboard assets. It simply gives you an inner zone which is has serious overlap on a CAMM or RAM or MICA.

Finally, for truly -terminal- defense, where you figure even blast/shock is better outside the hull than in, you can shift to MASS/ROSY and modified APS rounds, probably launched in multiples.

If you’re lucky, you’ll defuse the weapon at the same time you strip it’s fins and destabilize it, sending it into the water.

>>
Also you are, with modest range ability, opening up yourself up to saturation fires. Say your SSL is good to burnthrough a 3mm fuselage at 5000yds in 2 seconds dwell it has enough engagement window two hit two or three Hoplite-type M3.5 inbounds. F-35B fires 6 from 70 miles off. Its wingman fires two Storm Shadows with a flight path taking them past your SSL just as the ‘Hoplites’ drop into range. Do the CASOMs get through?. 2/10 Kurt…must do better!.
>>

See above.

The problem with mechanical intercept as range extension is three fold:

A. You may not catch the inbound in time to have full engagement from optimum conditions, especially for LOAL defenses for which early handoff is critical. Largely because smaller forces STILL persist in looking across the same wave spray for micro-RCS threats surfing the crests. Rather than investing in serious VTOL UAS to replace the carrier airwing as the principle supplier of defensive AAW as well as offensive ISTAR.

B. You may not have the time to salvo multiple weapons on energetic terminals systems executing evasive endgames. If you are in look-shoot-look mode, you can be hit with residual rounds in the laucher, simply because the AShM zigged and the interceptor zagged.

C. OTOH, shoot-shoot-look mode brings it’s own embarrassment of poverty as you will almost certainly not have the magazine count to defeat a heavy saturation attack, especially by the likes of massed PCI/FAC-M which fire 4X20km ranged weapons like C-704. Because it is not the Gulf of Tonkin either. Throw in robotic bomb boats like the Linse and you now need a weapon which can engage surface threats as well. Which is why there has been serious investigation of the use of dual mount SSL/25mm on the Mk.38 because a lo-caliber naval gun is all but worthless on small craft as well-

Watch The Splashes…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B5GZAoFi9o

>>
Edit: Apologies for the off-topic gents. I’ll leave this alone now.
>>

Hey I don’t mind, I enjoy watching ‘experts’ who have been ‘down to the sea’ swallow their size 9s past the laces. Rock on dude. Rock on.

The reality of this discussion is that at first you wouldn’t believe that the DF-21D could hit the broad side of a state because high Mach numbers would occlude both an IR sensor and a radar one with stagnation plasma from the shock oblates. That one went out the window with the Pershing 2 multi-template stack and the realization that, at Mach 8, a carrier really isn’t going to move enough to make a difference.

Then you assumed that, if the Wu-14 pointed towards the ability to make a hit, nobody could /possibly/ find a 1,000ft hull in the middle of an ocean. ROTHR put the kaibosh on that and did so from a range where even the longest reaching JSF preempt would fall 500nm short of putting the threat’s targeting out.

Since then, we’ve been up and down the bar with issues of terminal defense and ‘operational art’ as the assertion that the USN are the unchallenged masters of maskirovka-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w29S1dsiLP4

But of course, nobody asks just who they are fooling, do they?

Four hundred billion for a 220 billion baseline, shame on them. 1.45 trillion for a rent-seeking union job that is fully a generation behind the way ASUW is -going- to be fought in 2040, shame on us.

This is OA:

Two carriers on widely dispersed radials so that the threat has a time gap between generateable sorties in which you can strike them in the combat turn before they can regenerate their mission force.

This is also OA:

Two carriers, one up, one back, so that one ship strip it’s defenses down to a minimum FORCAP as DLI while tasking the rest of it’s airwing to beefing the screen and whaling the strikes of the one ahead, allowing it to dedicate all it’s resources to OPP strike warfare.

OA _IS NOT_ sending a 500nm /radius/ platform up against a 1,500nm _range_ missile system with a minimum 3hr cyclical evolution, cat to cat, vs. a 20 minute reshoot as time of flight!

The DF-21D runs ten million dollars. The F-35C runs 150. On this factor /alone/ you have created a 15:1 numeric disparity which your VLS do not have the shot counts to make up for.

How now Themistocles when YOU are the ones likely to be asking for a straight up fight, invading ‘Persian’ Waters. Eh?

Observer
Observer
March 4, 2014 7:45 am

tl;dr.

What a lot of speculative hot air.

Be careful what you discuss here gentlemen! M&S is from the PLA!

He must be to get details of the DF-21 that are not released to even Chinese citizens.

M&S! Nihow! Mao Zhe Dong wan shui!

:P

TED
TED
March 4, 2014 7:59 am

It was always going to happen… someone mentioned boats and missiles!

Obsvr
Obsvr
March 4, 2014 8:07 am

Keeping it brief ;-)

I suspect the Exactor trailer launcher was designed to be cheap and light.

MLRS is another matter, once you go all guided (ie no more AT-2) then the precision launcher assembly should be less important but I say that without any knowledge of how accurately you have to launch in the right direction. The issue then becomes the integral MHE for lifting and loading 2+tonne rkt pods into the launcher. The M270 SPLLs seem to be working fine so there’s no rush to replace them.

Re OTHR, long on promise short on delivering anything useful. UK was developing this at Orfordness in the 1970s (if not earlier), they obviously learnt enough to conclude it wasn’t worth the effort.

Lindermyer
Lindermyer
March 4, 2014 8:25 am

@ MS

Send again in clear

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 4, 2014 8:54 am

You get six Spike NLOS for £1m and a range of 25 km, someone closer up designating the target (works even if it is moving).

Don’t know what the per piece price of GMLRS is, but would imagine that the above performance characteristics made it redundant for the needs encountered in A-stan?

wf
wf
March 4, 2014 10:43 am

: the Orford Ness AN/FPS-95 was a US effort rather than UK. It sadly didn’t work too well, having problems with noise. A fascinating place to visit generally, I highly recommend it, but make sure you arrive on a day when it’s open :-)

Observer
Observer
March 4, 2014 11:50 am

ACC, the Spike/Exactor and the GMLRS serve 2 different functions because of the size of their warhead and type of warhead as well. GMLRS flattens an area with a large area effect warhead, the Spike hits ONE single target and blows open either a tank or a single building. Think of it as a sniper rifle vs a canister filled cannon. They each have their own roles.

The NLOS is EO guided, you don’t really need someone at the other end to guide it. You need someone at the other end to tell you that there is a target 20km away though. :)

a
a
March 4, 2014 12:20 pm

The thought occurs that, if rebuilding/reprogramming GMLRS for vertical launch is going to be a drama, one could just use angled launch cells instead?
My general approach would be that Sea GMLRS is a good concept, on the principle that rather than buying more new weapons, we should focus on getting as much as possible out of the ones we already have – and with missiles that means making sure we can launch them from as many platforms as possible. So, ground and sealaunched Storm Shadow. Sealaunched GMLRS. And so on.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 4, 2014 12:40 pm

Observer, thanks, I thought that it always needed lasing.

I was being specific to A-stan, hard to find a grid sq to remove. But the different roles make GMLRS ideally suited to be one of those things you pull up with the reserve force?
– the Dutch put most of kit on wheels, as opposed to the normal all–tracked
– much enhancex mobility to deploy over hundreds of miles, without going for the enhanced strategic mobility, with airtransportability, as planned by the US/UK with national solutions (of course)

Observer
Observer
March 4, 2014 2:52 pm

What’s wrong with just using the Harpoon? Sure, you say that you need to save it vs ships, but chucking in 227mm will end up taking space from the AShMs anyway, so why not just load up the Harpoons instead and you got a dual role missile with a 50% increase in range to boot?

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
March 5, 2014 12:25 am

Someone already invited M&S to post on their site. I would encourage M&S to create his own site for his work and monetize it by selling relevant, qulity military/naval/aviation books on it through affiliate deals with the likes of amazon. I admit that, as an avid futurist and wargamer, I come here largely to read M&S’ posts and the debate that they stimulate.

Observer
Observer
March 5, 2014 6:04 am

I mostly skim it. Most of it is just fantasy fleets brought up to another level sprinkled with a large dose of “grass is greener” and lots of jargon.

Most of it is actually crap. It’s like the Top Trumps card games you played when younger but with US stuff suffering from a markdown.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 5, 2014 7:50 am

Chris Werb,

” …. I come here largely to read M&S’ posts…..”

Good grief. I get RSI purely by fast thumb-scrolling through posts longer than War and Peace on an iThingy device. I didn’t realise they were actually for reading, in which case I’m going to start charging TD for battery recharging and the opportunity costs of my time and TD being smart is going to pass on those costs to M&S with a healthy markup.

Obsvr
Obsvr
March 5, 2014 9:08 am

The likely tricky bit with Exactor is reporting the target location and details such that the Exactor gunner can acquire the target in his/her sight at the launcher in not a lot of time as the msl approaches where the target was. This needs some slick gunnery procedures (which is why some armies I could name will never be able to use it because they are f’ing ponderous), but mensuration isn’t an issue.

GMLRS is fired in far larger quantities than Harpoon is ever likely to be, even if given a ground attack role. There aren’t a lot of ships, they don’t carry lots of msls and they are not quickly replenished, compare this to a M270 troop that has 36 msls ready to launch, and can fire the lot in 60 secs, and can fully reload in 15 minutes (and that salvo cost well under $5M ammo) because that’s how army logistics works. So unit cost is going to be lower. Furthermore I suspect Harpoon warhead is optimised for ships as target, which means they are sub-optimal against others. Ship launched msls need more range because they hide a long way from the land targets.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 5, 2014 9:24 am

Ok, so it is 140k vs 250k per round comparison. But then again, with the UK GMLRS ‘light’ stuck on the drawing board, the comparison is going to be tedious, with the massive logistics that just a single GMLRS launcher needs around it.

M&S
M&S
March 6, 2014 2:18 pm

Simon,

This is what I said-

>>>>>
EVERYTHING about the JSF’s performance was compromised to provide for the three different take off and landing modes whose functional purpose was not to bring commonality of systems design but rather the exact opposite as a function of ensuring service roles and missions turf.
>>>>>

This is what you replied-

>>>>
No. I think you’ll find much of the compromise was due to stealth – internal weapons, more internal fuel, etc which goes to create a bit of a blimp
Just a point about fuel loads. You wouldn’t want to dogfight with extra tonnes of fuel so you’ll actually launch an intercept with “just enough” for the job. I guess then it depends on if an aircraft was designed to intercept or simply “strike”. F35 is no interceptor. I’m not sure how many people actually think it is?
>>>>

This is my response-

>>>
VLO is necessary to survive in a strike warfare environment where you are a 1,000nm on the wrong side of a radius and you haven’t the munitions or the fuel to be fighting -everyone- on the way too or from the target terminal area. VLO buys you altitude, altitude buys you standoff range as glide munitions.
>>>

This is your’s.

>>
Thanks for your response, however, you seem to have failed to acknowledge that the three “modes” of landing are not “EVERYTHING” (your words, not mine) that compromises the F35′s performance. Steering away from the point is a sneaky tactic only those in stealth airframes can afford
>>

STOVL on the F-35B is the weight driver which broke the process (should never have passed PDR as moldline hardening) and whose fixed KPP requirement has caused things like the Quick Mate joints, which would have made modular assembly at high rates possible, to be lost.

When this variant’s 3,900lb weight overage was revealed about the time CDR came up and a change of moldline was impossible, schedule was then blown out with the SWAT effort sending funds to the least capable, least essential, variant for our services. Funds that should have been ‘shrug, what’s a little weight’ concentrated on the capable variants.

And now, instead of a 191-220 billion dollar R&D program for a ‘cheap’ 65-70 million dollar fighter (note that this is still nearly double what Roche stated it would be at SDD award in October 2001) we have a 400 billion and counting, unstoppable, juggernaut of corrupt acquistion practices which no one will shut down on behalf of American taxpayers because Congress has their teeth sunk into the pork as much as the services do in their Rent Seeking Union Jobs.

Part of the defense to which ‘malpractice’ is stated as “If not JSF, then what?” As if the only answer to a fixed wing mission was another fixed wing replacement.

The F-35C was always going to be tug boat in a go fast race because they wanted 125 knot approaches in a 50,000lb airframe. And oh, never mind that the distance from mains to hook is shorter than a Skyhawk and it can’t land on a boat. It’s just money.

CTOL cannot do either of the seabase missions, even though it has the least justification for being an independent design, now that the primary Cold War threat is gone and the F-22 is present for penetrating OCA.

This is because an F-16C penetrates at between .85M and .92M and that’s doable with an F-35C big-wing, provided you understand that NONE of the F-35s have the defense penetration by fire that the F-16 does, in either SEAD or A2A roles. Flight of 4X2 AIM-120 = 8 missiles. Where AMRAAM has a statistical SSPK of .46. That means given median conditions (not JSF advantaged due to low energy but not enemy advantaged due to VLO), 4 kills per flight. F-16C.50 with 4 AMRAAM (the prefered night-load) has 16 shots = 8 kills. With as many as 8 and at least 4 AGM-88 to go with.

Since No See’em Too Good is not true invisibility, F-35s will be _dependent_ on other, shorter ranging/shorter time on station jets to effect penetration, regardless. EA-18s for spot jam and prebrief HARM, fuel guzzling supercruise Raptors to make temporary Lead Sweeps because they cannot hold CAPs. Plus lots of tankers.

And all of this is because the STOVL jet removed the option (as the J-31 has) for a straight-across weapons bay with wide as well as deep munitions.

The Marines have an added hypocrisy to deal with in that they have no reason to have an independent airpower at all. If the USN had had LHA-6 at Guadalcanal they would have left the beachhead just as fast because LHA-6 was essentially an Essex class deck and we only had 2 real carriers in the entire Pacific at that time.

Conversely, if Halsey _had not_ gone running after the decoy force and left only escort decks ‘for beachhead CAS purposes’ at Samar, and further had the Yamato penetrated the amphib anchorage screen, it would not have made a single bit of difference whether the rest of the Carriers were there or not.

The Japanese would have won at Samar simply because the Americans came to a predictable point in space and didn’t ‘CAP The Gap’ that let the Japanese steam up. Which should tell you how I feel about sending 950ft ships into a near-shore environment.

WWII was an action of blind men swinging chainsaws with little or no force networking as protective screening and that is also no longer a practical representation of modern, satellite based, ASST environment.

Lastly, the Marines cannot undertake a SPOD capture without a big deck holding their hands becuase an 8-jet detachment of Harriers or whatever simply doesn’t generate the sorties it needs to. And so the notion that STOVL is somehow more ‘reactive’ is meaningless when you are both crippling your helo spot availability during the critical phases of a beachhead assault and trading there-and-back-again for constant CAS Stack orbits less than a minute from stores release.

The USN are basically cheapskates that will never admit that they are completely compromised by the nature of having to make their airbase and it’s associated SAM/ASUW/ASW defense systems _float_, not to mention the reality of the ongoing F/A-18 program which essentially means that they DON’T have a single ‘fighter’ program. They have two. Even if they stop F/A-18 purchases by 2016 or whatever it is, they will still have to pay for spares on those jets for another 10-15 years. Which is laughable since EA-18s are now ‘escorting’ jets which have half the signature and 200nm more radius.

And it’s all down to the reality that, to sustain their independent service nature, these forces made sure that they were NOT ‘joint’ in the most fundamental manner possible: take off and landing. Even though that portion of the flight evolution takes up less than 1% of the entire sortie duration.

If all you want is a bomb truck, buy one model.

It won’t be more or less helpless against a true fighter because of a common set of landing gear as navalized structure dangling underneath. It will still have to avoid every fight it can and AMRAAM will only be a desperation ‘gun turret’ defense because Air to Air is won or lost by the _energy profile_ it’s flown to. If you cannot fly that profile, by fuel, raw performance or weapons load effects, having a catbar on the nose strut or a razorback vs. bubble canopy behind you will make little difference.

Because it’s a bomb truck first, last and only.

Which is not to say that you can’t do better than the F-35 design achieved to make the airframe survivable. Optimize that single-variant model so that you can carry enough gas to do the radius and have enough -power- (2 engines is a non-negotiable requirement for overwater performance and for combat survivability: see A-4 losses in Vietnam vs the ODS F/A-18 that made it home to with an engine blown off by SAM and was in service again a few days later) to make it perform when it needs to and now the jet is of a size that providing the wing area as control authority to trim it out for landing on a boat is easy.

An F-4 with Stealth is a winning solution for naval or landbased interdiction. A 700nm F-16 with Agile Falcon wings is not. The F-35C is closer to the latter than the former and that was a mistake inherent to the improbability of a two-engine STOVL.

So forget STOVL. STOVL doesn’t buy you the sortie count you need to win and if the Marines are that paranoid, give them their own _real_ carrier with _real_ airwings on it. It would be cheaper than supporting their actual motive to not have to support the USN as a second fiddle service. Becoming an airpower in their own right would get them that budget authority.

Mass numbers of CTOL as absolute performance need for the land based mission set, facing other Gen 4.5 types also have nothing to do with this since we do face a WARPAC level threat and GBU-53 = 4:1 trade in DMPIs over prior IAM/LGB generations, thus devalidating the 1,763 or 2,400 bulk-buy numbers.

Again, the F-4 is living proof that performance can be ‘good enough’ in a naval fighter to accept the heavy-gear weight penalty in absolute performance -if- you are already obeying the Stealth prerequisite for zero-maneuvering combat.

>>
I suppose it depends on what you think F35 actually is…
If you start with F35A. It’s not a bad jet. Stealthy, fat, slow, poor agility, good range, good penetration.
>>

You’re missing the point. If you have NO F-35A/B/C as landing mode variation of functional volume allocations and structural beefing, you can still have stealth. But you can also have **Two Engines**. Stealth requires zero maneuver so that you don’t flash signature from vulnerable aspects when radars are all around you.

Two engines buys you an A/FX style airframe with more internal volume for a better weapons mix and fuel for a higher cruise speed to get to range while superior area rule and T/Wr on the bigger wing gives a higher sprint to make sure you can avoid those fights you don’t need to win and first-Pole those which you do.

It is an F-4 sized Rafale with internal weapons bays.

Even /without/ VLO, modern air combat is characterized by-

>
AAM technology defines the depth of the air battle. “Whoever has the longest reach controls the engagement,” comments fighter analyst Ben Lambeth of the Rand Corporation. Lambeth recalls flying on a mock engagement in 1996, a four-versus-four out of Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. F-15s armed with the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range AAM (AMRAAM) took on four F-15s simulating MiG-29s armed with R-27 Alamo MRAAMs and R-73 Archer SRAAMs. “I never had a tally on any of the bad guys. I rarely saw our wingman. We never put more than 3g on the airplane and we never got inverted. There were missiles and people dying everywhere.”
>

http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/air-force-aviation/fighter-tactics-about-aams-5149/#ixzz2uxwDWY86

Because you don’t want to bleed supersprint energy it just took you 20 seconds to get on the jet. You want to use it to get first Pole and then crank off and draw the threat across the noses of whoever (on your team) is spread out behind or to the side of you as the bad guys turn to chase you and support an MCG update on their own missiles.

The difference is that air combat with a commitment to merge terminals (inherent to deficient shot counts as much absent supersprint) in an S2A defended zone is an exercise in glorious idiocy because the SAM threat will kill everything it sees and still come out ahead, just on the huge disparity in likely force sizes between a Western 300-400 ingressing jet force and a defensive point or area intercept equivalent.

Stealth lets you avoid both assumptions by essentially pre-ingressing a snapup shooter team and shooting as the enemy goes by (something you can still do, at night). And thus a little ‘fatness’ is acceptable because you win back aeros with tactical geometry and internal carriage (missiles come off at NEZ) as limited or no burner use.

SOMs then let you give this pre-sweep force have some working room, away from the terminal defenses, as a dedicated vector axis on which threat PDI will have to come out on to kill you before you BRL.

Which is what I was talking about when I mentioned that being on the wrong end of a 1,000nm radius was not the place to be throwing gas out the back in a contested fight on-approach to a target. It was the place to let VLO buy you altitude so that SOMs could perform the terminal penetration and let the threat come to you.

Through the Raptors.

>>
Then you trade a wad of fuel and put a lift fan in its place. This allows operation from small deck carriers where small fleet air defence is probably the primary requirement and the ability for smaller scale strike/interdiction. You can also pile on the weapons externally and have one of the most expensive sitting ducks man has ever created.
>>

It is not American’s duty to pay tax dollars to supply the needs of the Royal Navy’s fleet air defense requirements. Anymore than it is the responsibility of the British to jump in a war in Syria when all indications point to a U.S. sponsored Saudi prince having supplied the gas which we were using as a ‘WMD on civilians’ (Al Qaeda terrorists and other jumped up Hill Billy rednecks) excuse to intervene.

AfG was a different matter. We were going regardless because we needed to kill a man and squash the Robin Hood Terrorist ideal by which half the world cheered. You stood by our side and I for one am very grateful for that.

Iraq was a coin toss, win the insurgency by refusing to hand over military governancy into the hands of the Balkanized sectarians and you have 120 billion barrels of known reserves and 40+ billion more in unexploiteds as a control rod on OPEC pricing. We let easily befuddled and embarrassed civilians dictate our foreign policy and so the coin came up tails because Iraqi civil courts would not execute the numbers of insurgents we captured to make it clear that Law And Order would rule Iraq.

None of which changes the reality of the F-35B being a bad idea for the USA because USMC do not deserve to be an independent air power service, solely to prop up their no-more-ground-wars budget authority in a time of severe fiscal constraint. And that’s the only thing the F-35B does for them, in terms of ending their existing RAG commitment to deckfill the half-strength USN airwings because the F-35B is completely incompatible with CVTOL carriers.

If the U.S. wants to continue to win expeditionary wars, it needs to be able to haul DMPIs well past the beach.

If anyone is afraid of threats to their naval forces, the first thing they need to do is develop, not a fighter but a VTOL AEW&C capability which is both persistent and high altitude capable of cuing longrang, LOAL, naval SAMs. SM6 can be lofted to almost 400km and will have the same avalanche terminal energy as an AIM-120 fired at 25km.

What prevents naval task forces from becoming air defense independent is simply that, whether SPY-3/AMDR or Artisan all their radar cueing is local, surface mount and thus horizon limited.

_Particularly_ in the coming era of threat stealth, helpless F-35s and BASM as OTH-B driven ICD, if someone would invest in the notion of a small, dedicated, force of targeting platforms whose (IR = 1028X1028, hyperspectral) sensors were optimized to detection of terrain huggers (high alititude stuff we can generally see with DSP and SBIRS), we could forget the notion of ‘head to wall and bang until concussed’ sea-paration of naval force protection and bombardment forces.

They should be mutually supporting.

Even as we cheapened the application of airpower (smaller, lighter, less payload requirements) as they would not have to haul both antiradiation and self defense munitions to a fight which their very presence in can be treated as a tactical mistake-

Air Combat Assessment, By The Numbers
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/notes/2008/N3566.pdf

Because the nature of air warfare is that of detection phase probabilities (your high value targets are here, terrain or geopolitical costraints dictate the threat approaches from over there, where do you place your interception and S2A to ensure the enemy air are serviced as they fly by?) driving all other aspects of the fight for closure and aspect as pole geometry.

And yet the /prosecution/ of that resulting SAMbush or PDI fight is based on proximity and optimization of (air) platforms which, even if they win, contribute nothing to the overall theater opplan by getting caught out (with bombs, not missiles, in an aiframe not optimized to the mission profile) in a fight they don’t need to be in.

At the same time, someone has to be present with full-rez sensors to do air to mud.

Matters of threat rollback timing and friendly/collateral force proximity make defining engagement norms, purely robotically, too uncertain. While air and to a lesser extent, naval targets are usually a lot more readily signature classifiable, network comms and discrete beacon sortable.

There is no reason why you couldn’t hit those types of targets with UAS cued Sea-Launch systems which thereby double-justified their existence in both preserving their innate force protection application as OTH driven early engagement of ASCM shooters (particularly critical inshore, where an AShM may actually be fired _overland_).

And assisted the strike warfare units by essentially acting as replacements to BARCAP/MiGCAP type lead sweep assets and allowing a much smaller Naval manned platform presence as combat controller for dedicated UCAVs.

Cheaper + more environment as role coverage, = more likely to survive budget cuts as a hardened capability that cannot be traded away for ‘More Fighters!’ because it is essential to both the survival of the fleet and the success of Big Picture tactics for OPP.

This-

>
The RN’s Fleet Air Arm has an active inventory of 13 Sea Kings equipped with Thales Searchwater 2000 radars, says Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database. Primarily developed for airborne early warning activities, the sensor has also delivered significant utility as an over-land surveillance asset in Afghanistan, and was employed during last year’s NATO operation to protect Libyan civilians.
>
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-to-launch-crowsnest-aew-assessment-in-2013-379366/

Is silly. Too slow, too low, too short legged to be useful or survivable.

OTOH, This-
http://www.northropgrumman.com/Photos/pgS_HA-12012_001.jpg
http://defense-update.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Hyperspectral-image.jpg

As This-
http://cmsimg.c4isrnetworks.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=M5&Date=20140210&Category=C4ISRNET08&ArtNo=302100040&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&CBP-unmanned-aircraft-flying-again

From This-
http://robotpig.net/_images/posts/various_6.jpg

Might not be. Notice how, with a simple VTOL, 500knot, _non carrier based_ system, you have now multiplied the strike warfare options of every surface unit out there because they don’t have to rely on an E-2 or satellite warning to come in close and launch missiles which effect the landbattle more quickly as much as deeply.

And realize that, because even against hard clutter, you’re not tracking point signatures but rather /signature change/ against the viewed backdrop. This coherent change detection is something computers are great at because it’s often a historical process of pixel:pixel based micro contrast alterations which isn’t contiguous but rather requires a long track file association to build the solution.

Even a cool turbine on an ASCM will leave a thermal shadow as waking footprint disturbance of the surrounding environment beneath/behind it which a computerized surveillance system can gradually (pixel:pixel change) integrate into a hard track indication for presentation to the operators.

While, at 500knots and 20,000ft, the jet has no problems with horizoning, whether it be over water or overland. You can send it to the fight and then fire missiles at what it sees.

BEFORE the bombers arrive.

>>
So a compromise due to the lift-fan over the original which is compromised by stealth.
Go to the F35C and you compromise transonic performance for low-speed maneuverability.
So a compromise due to bigger wings over the original which is compromised by stealth.
>>

A JSF which looked more like a Super Hornet 2000 crossed with an F-22 as a ‘stealth Rafale’ doesn’t have to pay this penalty and has more room for everything while maintaining superior aspect ratio on a wing that will both go supersonic without requiring a calendar to predict fuel burn and come back aboard at relatively benign approach speeds.

ICE or Improved Control Effector technology as both scheduling and surface alternatives has been an active program since the middle 90s. There is no reason the F-35 shouldn’t look like the F/A-XX _right now_.

Except that STOVL is weight and plumbing sensitive to dual turbine installations

Which means you don’t have to pay a signature penalty for a canard delta but can still come aboard, tailless.

>>
Perhaps it’s me being picky but I don’t have much qualm with F35A because I too would trade outright performance for stealth – as long as I still have Typhoon (or F22, etc). Bottom line is that F35 – just like all aircraft – is a compromise.
>>

It’s not the airframe, it’s the effects. As the number of Designated Mean Points of Impact that you can put a given number of miles downrange in a given flying day, divided by the hours it takes to generate them.

Right now, we are living in a world of WWII ‘Target For Tonight’ mindsets. We are loading up with Hammer Class munitions (Mk.84/BLU-116, 2,000lb bombs with IAM/LGB kits) and we are bombing fixed targets that _do not move_ and so have been mapped out since the architect applied for the permit on the bloody building. If you are going to shoot those kinds of targets (which have all been evacuated /weeks/ before) as a lesson in ‘Shock And Awe’ psyops, for pities’ sake, use a missile.

It costs more per shot but less per inventory training costs. By a factor of hundreds to one.

This then means that, while your inventory of warshots may need a year to replenish after an MTW, your fixed wing fleet can be sculpted for both size and capabilities to the CAS/OBAS mission (low threat level) necessary to assist ground units in accomplishing specific objectives with minimal engagement as losses via combined arms coverage of AAs.

While I have a whole separate set of issues with the existing, heavy armor maneuver as MFE, ground forces, the fact remains that supporting ground units in the field, even if they are just SpecWar in technicals, is easier if you can send in singleton jets with enough hours on station to avoid the Takur Gar condition where Naval Carriers are a minimum 6hrs out and the tasking allocation delay averages 11hrs, 17 if you’re not on the day’s frag list.

Here is where you want to have a jet that can do it’s own SCARing and which carries 4-8 bombs for a minimum 4hrs unrefueled in the kill box or overhead the assigned unit (this varies, 10th Mtn wanted airpower right there because it tended to lock down enemy movement and let them call in choppers for evac, Armor doesn’t like it because the sound of jet noise scares off all trade, which later showed a nasty tendency, in Iraq, to do the Fedayin trick of coming back out of their holes to attack the CSS…).

Does that force have to be manned? Can a ground unit not use ROVER off a UAS or even their own eyeballs to designate a threat? If the point of OBAS is to delay or minimize the moments when the ground force reaches into their own magazine to prosecute, while maximizing counter-ambush options (seeing the threat move up) then the notion that the force as a whole has to be massively survivable through support missions (E-2, KA-18, KC-46, EA-18) and the like is defeated.

Stealth is essential for FNOW when the threat is unreduced and there isn’t a good EOB map. But how likely is that condition in a LIC or even an MRC? Do you want to send in the drones to let the enemy shoot at a 3 million dollar plane with a 10 million dollar SHORAD or a 100 million dolar SA-20 battery? Do you want to do close approach with a 12nm JDAM? Push your BRL out to 25-50nm with the SDB? Or do you want to go with a JSM and simply create a small enough bubble that you can release six cruise weapons (2 internal + 4 external) and _save gas_ not having to defeat threats in the target terminal area?

IMO, the key to being everywhere supporting everyone is combat persistence within a limited sortie allocation of gas.

Airpower drops bombs to enable ground power to conserve shells but sea basing can fire missiles to conserve both the type of bomb and the number of support sorties sucking gas that prevents Airpower from being successful because it simply isn’t on station any longer than the sum of all other support mission effects can enable it.

Ultimately, this is a condition where you may want to shift to unmanneds, simply because you cannot sustain sortie counts on a 12-15hr duration and expect your pilots to stay sharp enough to be safe. Maybe not First Night Of War. But sometime thereafter.

It also begs the question of whether you want to have high performance forward platforms, like Typhoon, to provide shoot-through formation escort for F-35. Or whether you want to limit your risk with UAS and standoff munitions, most of which come from the sea.

In Iraq, we had F-14D units burnering up the tanker’s fuel running back and forth between kill box grid sightings like the proverbial one legged man simply because /everything behind them/ was stacked up on a 10-20 minute window with anything up to 200,000 dollars underwing in munitions that would otherwise just raise dust in a kill box, because the aircraft couldn’t afford the drag as tanker gas, on the way out.

>>
As for dog-fighting…
When you’re up against me and I’ve foiled your medium range missiles with chaff and/or directed EMP. I’ll remember that I have the energy edge because you’re overfueled for the job. I hate to quote films but… During Korea, we shot down 12 of their jets for every one of ours. During Vietnam, that ratio fell to 3-1 . Our pilots were dependent on missiles.. No idea how accurate the figures are, only that it seems par for the course with missile lovers.
>>

In Vietnam, the average for missile SSPK was on the order of .08 for radar and .15 for heat. Which is a threshold level capability where being ‘twice as good as totally inferior’ means all of nothing.

This is particularly so for Sparrow which had three deficits of performance that had nothing to do with the effectiveness of the weapon and two which did but were not it’s fault:

1. AIM-9 has no envelope prediction and thus no way to show whether a shot was valid for the target geometry or not. It also has a 2G launch envelope, over which, it cannot be fired. And when fired, assuming you sweet spot the shot on a rapidly opening/closing target between RMin (fuze) and RMax for motor, an aread of often less than 500ft overlap between say 2,000 and 4,000ft, the threat could simply rotate his plane and blind the weapon to the hot metal it needed to guide. Later AIM-9D/G were obviously better than early AIM-9B/E here.

2. AIM-9 was often not carried. Because the USAF didn’t have extended lug carriage bolts which restricted AIM-9 presence. USN did but they were flying as much as 200nm shorter radius and so could afford the drag of mixed carriage under the midwings. Comparitively, the AIM-7 was seldom used from Navy jets because they simply couldn’t keep the weapons systems tweaked high enough to matter in the days of tubes and transistors and flying with less than FMC radar weapons systems was common.

If you don’t have AIM-9s you will take more AIM-7 shots, whether they are the best options or not and usually they were because they had the best chances of hitting a crossing target. Conversely, if you do have AIM-9 and double attack/LD training to reinforce it’s use via section spreads, you will do better than you would with AIM-7 which poses some problems with high spacing combat tactics. Either way, .15 is still unacceptable.

3. The AIM-7 weapons system was constrained by ROE and the need to settle the system in FSL or Full System Lock. When we shot down 5 frats and an Aussie gunboat, that settling time for the lockon became impossible to achieve because VID was mandated and it was not often wise to do a Shooter:Eyeball in RPVI where the majority of the MiGs were encountered (USN flew in RPV and a little bit of RPVI and so fought mostly MiG-17 from Kep, when and if they were present, USAF fought MiG-19 and 21 missile shooters, _all the time_).

When using the alternative ‘dogfight’ mode, the F-4’s APQ-100/109 radar and the CW floods in the midwing were biased in such a manner that they caused the AIM-7 to fly out of tether and this range safed the weapon which functioned -exactly- as it was designed to do, by blowing up. When this mistake was discovered by a tech in the PI, it still took the better part of a year to get a fix.

4. We flew AIM-7s like they were iron bombs instead of delicate pieces of electronics and so they went for mission after mission without adequate maintenance or the test sets and spares to fix them. Even simple things like unsprung weapons trailers added to the heart ache.

5. We had the BVR EID capability, via the Tea Ball comms monitoring and the QRC-249 on the College Eyes, to change the nature of the war, but we refused to end the fight by attacking and constantly suppressing airfields in protected zones and so, like Chaff or centimeter radar on night fighters in WWII, nobody wanted to risk the technology on a day to day basis, since the easiest way to defeat a spoofer is the yank the power cord out of the SRO-2.

Eventually, Nixon said: “JUST WIN.” and this, coupled to Combat Tree APX-80, made it possible for both the vector and the shooter to spoof the same target, which resulted in huge increases in BVR shot counts (see and steer at 60, shoot at 20).

Keeping in mind, that the VERY FIRST USN kill of the Vietnam war was from a pair of APQ-72 equipped F-4B firing AIM-7D, low across the clutter, into a section spread of MiG-17s at something like 12nm. And we bagged one and chased the other halfway across Laos. BVR works. BVR when you’re the only one shooting because you are not being intercepted so much frei jagd visually hunted by a threat that cannot detect you on radar, begins with an intercept phase that is actually a pincer envelopement from a stinger formation and ends with a chainsaw as the trailer provides MCG to the lead elements which are outside the threat radar and IR counter detection cones, even if they are within RCS detection threshold distance.

Having said this, Korea was a war of 4:1 true LER. And something closer to parity when the Honchos started flying. Because chaos effects rule the visual range fight and and the very formation cohesion you need to contain the enemy geometry using tag-team section tactics breaks down when numbers go up and your wingman has to drive off the other guy’s wingman and now you are pushing a fight further from each other as the ’empty sky’ effect doesn’t mean the fight is over but only that a bunch of 1v1s have devolved into personal fights of stick in lap, throttles past detente, “Round and ’round we go…lower.”.

That this is a stupid idea over an enemy IADS is a given.

That it is also irrelevant in an era of imaging threats with IRST cueing, big motors and HOBS seekers is also true.

That the future of IR defeat is TADIRCM also begs the question: What happens when they point their coherent AAM-zapper at the cockpit?

FAA/USAF Laser Hazard Pt.1/2 2001-2011 = 7,000 intervals
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYAgnrfeUpk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9To7P0iXYts

Laser Attacks in London: 232 in 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9To7P0iXYts

These are 1mw (Cat2) or 5mw (Cat3R) systems. A TADIRCM will be on the order of a .5KW _minimum_. That’s 500 watts and up vs. 1 milliwatt.

The way you win dogfights is by not having them because, at the power levels involved, even at a range of 1-2nm and with a system optimized to 3-5u for IR weapons, there is no guarantee of eye protection vs. a high power laser.

And without coherent seeker dazzle, the ability of even the most advanced (MAWS cued, kinematic) expendables to provide realistic protection for aircraft is questionable.

So why go there?

If I blow up enemy airpower and S2A as base infrastructure and caught-on-hop battery sites with 15 minute ballistic weapon, what’s left for the fixed wing air component to do? Support the ground forces. If supporting ground forces comes down to shooting targets that ground forces generate by their presence, then THEY become the targeters and the airpower doesn’t need a manned system presence, with all it’s inherent limitations on persistance as fuel burn, to hold the drone’s hand.

To much of what airpower does has become wrapped up in mirror fighting. Which is to say, defeating DCA attempts to prevent it from bombing. As soon as you start to dedicate more assets to your own force protection as ‘freedom of operations’ than you do to winning the war as a whole, you have to start thinking about alternative ways of doing the same capability which are not air-dependent.

However good an Su-3x might be, it is not really an effective response to an aeroballistic HCM from the sea. It just isn’t. Too few shots, too short an effective range for those shots, too much bus cost as CPFH to loft defensive interceptors which, because of the high energy nature of the threat, are all going to be terminal-associated with specific targets rather than ‘area defense’ capable. Might as well pay a small penalty in a booster and let the interceptors be ground launched.

OTOH, _as an aircraft_ it is itself quite vulnerable to an SM6 on a long loft. Provided you can cue the target with something that isn’t dependent on an E-2 as a carrier (which cannot come close in-shore as a DDG can).

CONCLUSION:
IMO, the key is to mix things up and start cross tagging missions to systems which are platform compatible with cheapness of replacement cost risk and carriage weight persistence (or at least rapid reaction). Rather than just keep pumping value into traditional airpower, we want to start paring back the multitude of missions it -doesn’t- do well. And concentrate on those which it does better than the alternative which is ground power. Optimizing fixed wing tacair to those missions.

Sea basing of interdiction fires off of small surface combatants can be a large part of that as a halfway point between commitment of boots on the ground as blood in the fight. And A2AD permissive arrival of Ye Compleat Circus that is modern day tacair.

mickp
mickp
March 6, 2014 4:19 pm

@M&S – I am in no position to question the accuracy of your posts being only a reasonably well read layman on these matters but one thing I do know about is concise and effective writing. Please self review and edit before posting – my iPad can’t take anymore!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 6, 2014 4:32 pm

I read through the first two, and now rely on my learned colleagues to pick up anything important from amongst the mumbo-jambo
– the nature of these forums is to be able to follow, with not too much effort, and then to contribute if something interesting or plain wrong pops up… i will stick to that on my part.

jonesy
jonesy
March 6, 2014 5:21 pm

ACC

It’d help if there was consistency in what he writes so you could actually keep pace with where he’s heading with his prophecies!.

Case in point, originally, M&S is telling us how naval GMLRS is inadequate as the whole western concept of strike-from-the-sea and massed assembly areas is old hat and invalid. Instead we, actually, need arsenal ships with heavyweight hypersonic aeroballistic monster delivery vehicles to reduce hostile anti-access infrastructure from immense ranges. This is at the same time telling us how solid state lasers will rapidly pop any air target missile, drone or manned striker that gets close?!.

That SSL thing itself starting out with, in his words, ‘diseased prairie dogs’ presumably a reference to pop-up air defence threats appearing on the map hitherto unforseen, but, that then transposes to ships needing two SSLs per beam (ship side…not beam as in light…arrgh!) with the assumption that the power will just be there to drive them….and that you’d be best to have a flotilla of these ships so that one can play choirmaster for it all to work!. This after him being critical of warships steaming in close formation giving themselves away for what they are in advance!. Whatever else is true I have a feeling Prairie Dogs must be somewhat sizeable in M&S’s part of the world.

Then we get the sales pitch for the VARIOUS VTOL drone…a strangely compromised looking little thing that has liftfans where the wing tanks should be…whilst hearing the litany against F-35B STOVL which is a strangely compromised big thing that has a liftfan where the forward fuel tank should be!.

Still following?. If so you actually find that the biggest problem is that its hard to get into the task of actually pointing out all of the fantasies and inconsistencies in a Kurt post without actually having to write an equally long-winded impenetrable rebuttal. So you are safe in the knowledge that your half hour of keyboard battery is utterly pointless as, by this point, everyones so thoroughly fed up with what was said, where and by whom that most have flipped back over to playing Angry Birds and waiting for the Discovery Channel documentary to come out. Brilliant strategy by the redoubtable M&S if you think about it?!

mr.fred
mr.fred
March 6, 2014 6:47 pm

That last tl;dr post was in excess of 6000 words. That’s half the length of my final year dissertation.

John Hartley
John Hartley
March 6, 2014 6:52 pm

The only way I could get through the M&S novel, was to think of “Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy”, where the only survivor at a bad poetry reading chewed his own leg off to cope with the horror of the words.
Though M&S did have one or two things I found interesting. The idea of a modern stealthy F-4. The need for more range & bigger weapons bays.
Got me thinking. I know we are broke, but does anyone have a sensible answer on practicality & cost whether the elephants could be converted to STOBAR & how much Seaphoon would cost to develop? Not suggesting we go for this yet, but it would be nice to have a contingency back up.

Chris
Editor
Chris
March 6, 2014 7:43 pm

Mr Fred,

“That last tl;dr post was in excess of 6000 words. That’s half the length of my final year dissertation.”

Ha! I see your 12,000 words, and raise you 9,000 more. That was the length of my MA dissertation on the international financing aspects of the Spanish Civil War.

To which my Academic Supervisor became increasingly frantic / introduced to the RT way of doing things over 5 months of weekly meetings to check progress. I tipped up to her study each week with a mind map of the dissertation, each week more branches, but still on one sheet of A4. She didn’t know that each branch held text that I was writing up all of the time. She just became very worried that I was going to submit a mind map for my MA, as that is all she ever saw.

One week before deadline, I exported to MS Word, then spent 8 days crammed into 7 try to format the ruddy thing. And the first darling Trouserette wasn’t helping, what with being 8 months old and full of Colic, requiring her father to walk her up and down the upstairs landing for 3 hours a night between 2 am and 5 am crooning the ruddy Skye Boat Song into her ear on auto repeat for 180 minutes. Cut into the formatting time.

Still, passed the MA. :) . And at the final Ball, I had a dance with my academic supervisor. She whispered into my ear a question. Why did I leave it to so late in the day, did I realise that I had chosen a topic that should be explored as a Doctorate, and why didn’t I care more about serious subjects and less about riding?

mr.fred
mr.fred
March 6, 2014 8:00 pm

Red Trousers,

Ha! I see your 12,000 words, and raise you 9,000 more. That was the length of my MA dissertation on the international financing aspects of the Spanish Civil War.

It was an engineering piece and had a lot of pictures in.
But MS word formatting is the work of the devil. All the more so when you have people trying to impose formatting without turning the automatic formatting off.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
March 6, 2014 8:51 pm

Mr Fred,

Go Apple. Pages makes so much more sense to normal people than MS Word.

Or get yourself an efficient PA. Mine goes through my wallet to discover receipts for expenses. Brilliant. I don’t do Administrivia. I haven’t done a time sheet to account for what I was doing for 18 months, but yet they are all filled in and correct. God knows how. ;)

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
March 6, 2014 9:08 pm

Wow! This turned into a “bash the F-35” fest, didn’t it?

Back to the subject at hand, or at least a bit closer than “the F-35 is garbage,” the USS Des Moines-class, the last all-gun heavy cruisers of the United States Navy, mounted nine Mk16 8″/55 semiautomatic guns with a rate of fire of 12 rounds per minute per barrel to a maximum range of 17 miles with 335 pound AP rounds. The range with 260 pound HE rounds was a bit longer. A ship with one or two of these guns could put serious weight ashore. You could put both guns in a twin turret like a monitor and use the rest of the deck space for VLS systems and sling some “Goalkeeper” 30mm CIWS, RIM-162 ESSM, and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles for close-in self-defense.

M&S
M&S
March 6, 2014 11:14 pm

Jonesy,

>>
Case in point, originally, M&S is telling us how naval GMLRS is inadequate as the whole western concept of strike-from-the-sea and massed assembly areas is old hat and invalid.
>>

It doesn’t have the range to beat fixed wing airpower to the kinds of depths where fixed wing airpower can only get to in marginal time, with short time on station and protracted RTB-turn-return windows on sortie generation.
A fact made worse when you consider either the need to remain clutched up with a carrier as part of it’s AAW escort and thus the requirement to remain well over the radar horizon.

If you want to do deep strike on the hurry-quick, you had better either have it overhead in a platform that loiters forever because it’s robotic (instant 5K off each end as ‘no ACM for you R2!’ and ‘no cockpit either Old Andrew…’. Or you had best base it on weapon which can make range on the order of 200-400km, _minimum_.

This will be expensive compared to GMLRS but it need not be -as- expensive as an MRBM class strike weapon based on X-51 technology. It might, for instance, be Meteor based without the ARH guidance and 2way D/L front end. Or it might be MALD based with a given throwaway count of missiles as ‘immediate fires’ inherent to supporting a ground unit from a preemptive ingress and nearby loiter.

>>
Instead we, actually, need arsenal ships with heavyweight hypersonic aeroballistic monster delivery vehicles to reduce hostile anti-access infrastructure from immense ranges. This is at the same time telling us how solid state lasers will rapidly pop any air target missile, drone or manned striker that gets close?!.
>>

100KW SSLs will be useless, even in clustered network numbers, against hypersonic, Wu-14 derived, MARVs. The time window is too short for weapons which have, at most a 5 mile reach. I never said otherwise.

OTOH, if you insist on entering the ICD environment where ASCM are your principle threat, as the videos above suggest, you will get hammered, simply by the nature of the bathtub war you’re asking for. Having ships in close proximity helps here because they cross cover each other with lasers which, at 1MW cumulative target load, even with just a couple miles of range (remember, still 1.5 miles better than most CIWS) due to low altitude water vapor, they can swat anything from a Silkworm to a Sunburn with relative ease.

As the East goes faster and the West goes stealthier, the combination of high saturation thresholds with multiple weapons hitting a surround sound gate at the same time and late acquisition on cooled skin (Adaptiv or Black Fox) RFLO systems will make lasers more and more important.

Particularly as you face combined arms threats such as PCI/FAC-M attacking through mined channels and/or the need to defend (heaven help you, you stupid bastard) an amphibious anchorage.

>>
That SSL thing itself starting out with, in his words, ‘diseased prairie dogs’ presumably a reference to pop-up air defence threats appearing on the map hitherto unforeseen…
>>

No, the nature of a prarie dog colony is where there is one, one week, there are half a dozen mounds a month later. They are well known as carriers of plague and rabies and really make a nuisance of themselves. What, haven’t you seen ‘Caddyshack’? The implication being that once these things start to take off, well before the halfway point on the F-35 service life, the F-35B in particularly will be worthless because it can’t do low level CAS as it’s primary raison detre. At which point, all the investment in making STOVL stealthy will be moot because lasers will be optically laid.

At first, this will only affect target terminal areas. But quickly, it will become and area defense threat as megawatt class weapons and particularly relay mirrors (sounding rocket fired aerostats with dangling prisms actually) will make the laser a deadly menace.

And you cannot stop it. Because the technology base is civilian in nature and massively proliferated as telecoms technology.

>>
…but, that then transposes to ships needing two SSLs per beam (ship side…not beam as in light…arrgh!) with the assumption that the power will just be there to drive them….and that you’d be best to have a flotilla of these ships so that one can play choirmaster for it all to work!
>>

The SSL has the potential to intercept saturation attacks by light AShM fired from boats like the C-704/C-14 combination. Both of which the Iranians now home-produce in Chinese built factories. The Ponce does not have an enormous deck area allocation or electrical generation capability for what is essentially a kiddy pool with storm cover sized shelter.

People can decry the laser all they want but when you look at the YT video of 20KW shelter mounts atop half size shipping containers you are seeing the future of both small boat and light AShM warfare.

If that’s your thing.

It’s not mine which is why I dare to ask the question: If you’re not escorting some higher value asset and you are a part of the land-attack mission set, why are you risking a VLS missile count worth perhaps north of 50 million dollars to get in close?

This doesn’t mean SSLs will go away as a landbased threat because they have the space and the need to defend against overland power projection attacks, regardless of the source.

>>
This after him being critical of warships steaming in close formation giving themselves away for what they are in advance!. Whatever else is true I have a feeling Prairie Dogs must be somewhat sizeable in M&S’s part of the world.
>>

Prairie Dogs are a mass menace everywhere.

Get inside his pelt…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR0sWU1HzTE

The sadness is that you use my attempt at humor to distract the others from two separate concept conditions by implying that they were the same.

SSLs are coming. They will sell like hotcakes to any insurgent threat out there that has grown tired of firing ZPU-2 at jets too far away to hit. And they are going to be the dominant player, first in inner zone and then in outer/area defense battles. The question is whether you have the eyes to see and the mind to comprehend what a 1.45 trillion dollar investment means when the expeditionary diplomacy you endorse is on a 10-20 year death sentence in a 40 year investment, you are making a terrible mistake.

>>
Then we get the sales pitch for the VARIOUS VTOL drone…a strangely compromised looking little thing that has liftfans where the wing tanks should be…whilst hearing the litany against F-35B STOVL which is a strangely compromised big thing that has a liftfan where the forward fuel tank should be!.
>>

The Various is a cruise missile with auxiliary airfoils and landing gear. The airfoils offset the weight of the liftfans in forward flight by both lift and drag reduction (compared to an MQ-8C which is your alternative option).

In this, I made it explicitly clear that the UAS is to be a targeting platform which means that the entire belly of the center fuselage, beneath the turbine and transfer shaft/gas duct, can be a fuel tank, with the forward part of the fuselage dedicated to a sensor system.

I do not assume to do as LM does, by installing an internal weapons bay to make the platform a combat system in it’s own right. That defeats the purpose of keeping fires and targeting separate to control costs and maintain a deep magazine as reengagement capability.

The key thing to remember here being that because the jet is _not_ intended to be combat capable, it doesn’t have to come close to a threat defensive system. EOTS/Sniper can lase from upwards of 25nm away. It can spot from 40nm. Replace this suite with a high density, hyperspectral, IRST and now you can sweep whole areas for AAW threats without having to be dependent on an E-2.

>>
Still following?. If so you actually find that the biggest problem is that its hard to get into the task of actually pointing out all of the fantasies and inconsistencies in a Kurt post without actually having to write an equally long-winded impenetrable rebuttal.
>>

No, the problem is that you have dedicated yourself to writing a sotto voce apologia for why the USN is an Air Force before a Navy and are hoping your audience are dopey enough to play along. I am hoping that someone hauls out their calculator and starts to run the numbers which prove how small naval surface platforms can do a much bigger job in both the high and low intensity fight while putting at risk substantially fewer HVAs.

In this, the ‘Operational Art’ of Doolittle was that of a man who wouldn’t attack Hirohito in his Palace, forever disproving the myth of the God King of a Divinely Destined Japan. And yet he -would- risk two carriers for want of simply painting enough Wildcats in IJN green grey and meatballs to sweep well ahead of the fleet and sink the Japanese fishing which was _known_ as being used to supply an outer picket screen. Nor would they take a page from the Japanese playbook and run the Northern storm route which had brought the IJN to Pearl, unseen.

Instead, they bulled right in, got caught, launched early, dooming 250,000 Chinese to execution in retaliation for a mission that bombed minor targets and achieved nothing. The promulgated excuse for risking two carriers was that America needed a propaganda win as though we were ‘teetering on the brink’ after merely 6 months at war with no serious threat to the mainland.

Or take Farragut’s famous ‘forced entry operation to an A2AD battlespace’ of Mobile Bay. Unable to suppress the guns of Ft. Morgan while engaging the enemy with limited bowchasers, the plan of attack was doomed when the Confederate formation was behind the minefields and to engage them required traversing of same.

Tecumseh’s captain followed orders and was blown up. Farragut issued his famous line and -also- crossed the minefield, abandoning his own plan to use a sacrificial front ship so the Monitors could suppress the Fort’s guns and unable to signal this because of the din of the guns.

Farragut won that day.

But people learn from the cowboy mistakes of Americans rolling the dice and thus the notion that what worked will always work against an existing paradigm doesn’t hold fast when the paradigm changes.

NONE of the existing Air Navy have seen a major naval war. To them, the 7th Fleet is just a bunch of barges from which they sally forth to have a good ol’ time bombing idiot forces that haven’t had decent spares and support for a decade.

Give them their JSF toys and the boys will be happy. But the notion that a carrier remains safe so long as it bombs invisibly from beyond the reach of landbased /airpower/ is ridiculous. Because the Chinese are not going to play that game. They see as well as anyone: Iraq, Balkans, AfG, Iraq2, Libya, that a defensive airwar means loss. They will take out the carrier and thus devalidate stealth by blowing its barge runway out from under it.

>>
So you are safe in the knowledge that your half hour of keyboard battery is utterly pointless as, by this point, everyones so thoroughly fed up with what was said, where and by whom that most have flipped back over to playing Angry Birds and waiting for the Discovery Channel documentary to come out. Brilliant strategy by the redoubtable M&S if you think about it?!
>>

Another example of the COINTELPRO deflector as band leader whipping up the horn section with rhetoric in the hopes of covering the blatant and overwhelming case against particularly the F-35B as a 200nm radius platform in a 1,500nm fight.

Amazing that you show up and start with-

>>
He is very knowledgeable on his subject and has much to say that is worth the read…if you keep up with the acronyms. He does have a certain form for wild extrapolation and an inability to, sometimes, accept that his, invariably doom-laden, prophecies are possible futures not already delivered ones.
>>

And end with the above.

Fortunately for me, I never had any intention of being buffaloed by such banal flattery or guff but for the slow of thought, it makes it easy to ‘speed the process’ of disinformational shift of theme as blame game to have the whole thing packaged and spewed forth by a single speaker.

CONCLUSION:
Stick with the facts as I presented them and it becomes easy to see that the U.S. airpower services are playing a dangerous game with their lives as our money. What makes their position flatly untenable is that they are in a picked-fight condition of Pacific Pivot which will _only_ end with the two biggest bullies on the block trading blows and in such a losers fight, far from home, the USN will cost this nation the reputation as superpower dominance which secures our economy and our freedom.

They are playing with more than Union Jobs at stake and so don’t have the right to choose greed over a balanced force mix, appropriate to a changing world state as technology base.

Some will say that when man no longer fights man, war will no longer have relevance as an artifact of contested destiny. To which I would reply that war hasn’t been that since at least January 1915 and certainly after August 1945.

Yet the converse of having too much force in play to risk the loss of civilian society is not one of having too little force to protect it but rather having too much value associated with that force to sustain and deploy it in a manner that is not ‘all or nothing’ predicated upon major force projection in a fashion that is anything but ‘operationally artful’ in it’s subtlety of stratagem.

We can do better. If we have the guts to say “This supporting mission/system derives from the need to project this platform into the theater battlespace. Remove this questionable platform and the mission simplifies to a direct line from the support unit to the primary mission tasking”. There are many things at which the JSF is a shoddy solution because it is either manned or slow or short of deliverable capabilities in a given hold time. Add to this a high asset value inherent to VLO protecting that inadequate capability and you end up with a system that has more to do with greed and ego than need. And a nation, like China, which comes to the fight without such a preexisting bias and sees this, will exploit our pride to cut our hamstrings.

Every. Time.

No Boundaries for the Chinese warfighter doctrine means more than setting spatial engagement limits outside the expected theater geographic delineators. It means a concept of cutting to the essence of things without regard to hierarchies as ways of doing things. We could learn a thing or three from this.

Oosvr
Oosvr
March 6, 2014 11:43 pm

@acg

Depends what you mean by massive logistics. Historically, ie WW1 and WW2 arty ammo used about 80% of the logistic capability. Weight and volume wise tank and infantry ammo amounted to peanuts.

GMLRS is never going to be in real mass, not least because there are a finite number of targets for precision munitions and secondly cost is a factor. The second factor is that navies are bit players in land operations, not least because war is often conducted some way inland and ships seem to feel safer further from shore. No sensible army is ever going to rely on naval fire support, mainly for C&C reasons and the lack of guaranteed availability (and FI reinforced this in many military minds).

jonesy
jonesy
March 7, 2014 12:58 am

Kurt,

Your issue here principally, to restate the obvious, is what I described when I started. Its one-sided fantasy football. “Oh Lordy look at the Missile Gap”…just this time its the Chinese who are the 11ft ubermenchen.

Sorry but its nonsense. You’ve predicated an entire thesis of expeditionary warfare on the premise that the carrier WILL always be found. A point you are entirely resting on the wilful belief that the good ole boys on the big gwey boats will be targeting compliant….they just have to emit on something recognisable…they must steam in a formation that stands out a mile….they HAVE to run flight ops on every deck all the time. Why?. Likely because the carefully crafted house of cards tumbles down if they dont!. Its rubbish.

Your citing events like the Sukhoi overflight when that triumph of Russian naval recce was the end product of the USN actually putting its carrier locations on the internet at the time!. The PLAN SSK surfacing in Kitty’s wake is just as meaningless as it was in a declared exercise zone…one thats used on a regular basis. Everyone’s SSK’s kill HVU’s all the time under exercise conditions. When you know roughly when and where a ship is going to be ahead of the game it does rather make the whole evolution a bit easier. Very much different a proposition from finding and prosecuting it from scratch.

Youre then compounding your channelised thought process by ignoring the systems that balance the contest. UUV’s for minehunting for example. RN analysis showed Remus UUV backed with SeaFox disposal units cleared mines at a rate 3 times faster than traditional methods….and thats today. Tomorrows UUVs may even be fully self-contained with onboard multishot disposal capabilities. BAE have already tested this off its Talisman platform. Our new escorts are being designed to incorporate mission garages and reconfigurable spaces for on-the-spot deployment of these systems without having to wait for the little hulls to rock up.

In the future how difficult will it be for a merchie to sail past an oparea 5 or 6 days prior to theatre entry and lash an acoustic modem/satcom buoy over the side for comms and then crane a dozen ‘Talismans’ into the water for route survey and timed neutralisation of a defined region or, better still, to split defensive fire several sanitised regions?.

Then we start getting into the realms of your comment “But quickly, it will become and area defense threat as megawatt class weapons and particularly relay mirrors”. Which seems to negate the missile and drone concept you outline with your comment “The key thing to remember here being that because the jet is _not_ intended to be combat capable, it doesn’t have to come close to a threat defensive system. EOTS/Sniper can lase from upwards of 25nm away. It can spot from 40nm” either were facing a nascent self-replicating megawatt class DEW area AD threat or we’re not. If we are what saves your VTOL drones so we can target the supporting power/C3I infrastructure from uber-standoff?.

If you’re not playing a fair game Kurt dont be all hurt if you get questioned?.

M&S
M&S
March 7, 2014 3:21 am
Reply to  jonesy

Jonesy,

>>
Your issue here principally, to restate the obvious, is what I described when I started. Its one-sided fantasy football. “Oh Lordy look at the Missile Gap”…just this time its the Chinese who are the 11ft ubermenchen.
>>

No, it’s a complete look at the problems of naval strike warfare for which the F-35 as deep strike fighter that, using commonly available figures for SFC will have a 137nm radius in the STOVL mode and perhaps a 600nm radius in the C and A models. Which means it’s not all that great an improvement over existing aircraft in the one metric which is determinative for all warfare: Gotta be there to play.

OTOH, this shortfall in radius is going to have enormous deleterious effects on the battlegroup because it’s not going to go as far inshore as A-6s and F-4s could in the 1960s. We’re talking the difference between J52 and J79 technology vs. modern turbofans with external vs. internal weapon loads.

But we’re also talking about things like persistence on station and cost per flying hour and total training costs per squadron year in an environment where radar LO is _not_ the sole justifying answer because optical detection is the next coming (cheaper, harder to engage) thing.

Missiles (ours) could go further. Hit more often (one way trip if nothing else) and have a monumentally lower upfront as continuing cost investment based on how often we fight wars vs. the need to train _all the time_.

OTOH, even if I am completely wrong and 1MW lasers are delayed another fifty instead of fifteen years, the shear cost of the JSF as a one gait pony is such that the merits of an all-stealth airforce are lost _because a small threat in an expeditionary environment will be defeated so rapidly_ that Day-2 or -3 you are going to be able to transition to conventional airframes anyway.

You are the one who is building a towering strawman sir. I am the one pointing out the match in your other hand.

>>
Sorry but its nonsense. You’ve predicated an entire thesis of expeditionary warfare on the premise that the carrier WILL always be found. A point you are entirely resting on the wilful belief that the good ole boys on the big gwey boats will be targeting compliant….they just have to emit on something recognisable…they must steam in a formation that stands out a mile….they HAVE to run flight ops on every deck all the time. Why?. Likely because the carefully crafted house of cards tumbles down if they dont!. Its rubbish.
>>

The question is not if the carrier is found but what they can do about it at a distance-X from the threat. Su-27 and Su-24 aircraft have ‘found’ the Kittyhawk with her FORCAPs down. They should not have been able to reach that far.

A Song class submarine ‘found’ the Kittyhawk again. I don’t care if it was an exercise, putting a threat sub in the middle of a CSG should be the equivalent of flying a Tu-95 past the island with the bomb doors open.

Jimmy Doolittle completely lost all operational initiative because he couldn’t or wouldn’t sweep far enough out to keep a Japanese fishing fleet, _which he knew as there_, from reporting him. Doolittle didn’t have to worry about OTH-B or satellites or LF sonar arrays or even the simple fact that, having been second to the fight, he let the enemy dictate where and when his ARRIVAL would predicate his line of sail.

>>
Your citing events like the Sukhoi overflight when that triumph of Russian naval recce was the end product of the USN actually putting its carrier locations on the internet at the time!. The PLAN SSK surfacing in Kitty’s wake is just as meaningless as it was in a declared exercise zone…one that’s used on a regular basis. Everyone’s SSK’s kill HVU’s all the time under exercise conditions. When you know roughly when and where a ship is going to be ahead of the game it does rather make the whole evolution a bit easier. Very much different a proposition from finding and prosecuting it from scratch.
>>

No. Everyone believes that if it’s just an exercise then men scrambling across the decks don’t matter because ‘We would have shot them with an SM-2 at 10 and an ESSM at 6’. The very fact that these events happened without your knowledge and your reaction was to launch and EA-6B shows that the threat is real, however you choose to spin it.

>>
You’re then compounding your channelized thought process by ignoring the systems that balance the contest. UUV’s for minehunting for example.
>>

UUVs are ultra short ranged systems that move at the speed of drying paint.

Nobody has an answer for a ‘mine’ which is, in fact, a sonobuoy linked to a masted FO pericam sensor and a secondary, one-time use, satcomms capability which in turn sends back an authorization signal to a bunch of other ‘mines’ in a Gertrude or HF/DM linked network to open up with AShM or CAPTOR.

Or not. Because these are the Chinese and they don’t live by our maritime warfare rules about targeting even as a carrier is a pretty easily identified target cluster. As mines are the first iteration of mad dog weapons it would certainly not be breaking any ‘tradition’.

Because Western Naval Thought refuses to think about how MANY little things can be tossed into the fire to nab the one BIG THING that matters, when you know you are committed to Bad Act X which is bound to bring a response, we don’t have the perspective what a realistic trade in kind would be to a Chinese admiral.

And having the initiative to choose the moment as the place where that ambush happens means that _not walking into the fire funnel_ is the sole, certain, option you have to render them inert. Because you will not see them. Not with UUVs. Not with surface search.

>>
RN analysis showed Remus UUV backed with SeaFox disposal units cleared mines at a rate 3 times faster than traditional methods….and thats today. Tomorrows UUVs may even be fully self-contained with onboard multishot disposal capabilities.
>>

Carriers transiting the Pacific at 25 knots to meet an urgent Taiwanese need might find themselves in a sensor linked mine network of one mine every 10nm and 10 in a line for a hundred nm line. Multiply this by ten lines deep, staggered on 20X50nm line intervals as lateralized line overlaps so that total coverage was 500nm across and 200nm deep and now you have a condition where no shooter aperture need ever be more than one half envelope overlap distant from an equivalent AShM container on the row ahead or behind.

A single ship could lay that line, using an internal boat well like the Glomar Explorer and you would never see it emplaced.

>>
BAE have already tested this off its Talisman platform. Our new escorts are being designed to incorporate mission garages and reconfigurable spaces for on-the-spot deployment of these systems without having to wait for the little hulls to rock up.
>>

Which means nothing because the idea that a mine has to collide with you to kill you is a WWII operational paradigm. A mine which has a 5nm optical mast and a 10nm (full horizon LOS) radar can ping you and, in a single sweep, plot everyone well enough to launch a saturation wave of AShM which WILL nail a screen ship. And quite probably several.

Because it’s also going to tell every /other/ mine, within range, where to shoot.

Now you are sailing a 10 billion dollar hull into an ICD environment, stripped of escort defenses, because you forgot the NO BOUNDARIES rule by which the Bad Guys started shooting you from deep blue.

Further to this, you haven’t even fired a shot at the ‘real’ threats of SSNs, USCV and whatever else forms real inner zone as next wave.

Imagine Argentina deploying her subs to intercept TF Corporate, ‘somewhere South of Ascencion’ because the BBC blatantly announced the departure. No imagine that, to avoid Trafalgars, they use as line of CAPTORs. Now imagine that those Captors were Exocets instead. Now imagine that those Exocets are KH-31s.

Everytime you fail to make boundary check, in technologic progress, in operational paradigms of doctrine and in strategic impetus for change as the ability to ‘exercise diplomacy by other means’, you fail to stay in synch with the Operational Art.

No Boundaries doesn’t mean no state checks for crossing them as expectation zones of who you think is going to try and kill you, next.

>>
In the future how difficult will it be for a merchie to sail past an oparea 5 or 6 days prior to theatre entry and lash an acoustic modem/satcom buoy over the side for comms and then crane a dozen ‘Talismans’ into the water for route survey and timed neutralisation of a defined region or, better still, to split defensive fire several sanitised regions?
>>

How much do you want to do another Op Iceberg 80nm across The Black Ditch from a nuclear armed threat state capable of throwing a hundred TBMs per day at you? Because that’s what the threat picture is going to look like if you don’t give a million screamin’ Chinamen on Taiwan some _serious_ fire support in the first 20-30hrs. You will face a PRC festung on the island. You will face DF-15 launchers in dispersal all across the facing coast and you will face ASCM and BASM up and down that littoral line -far- beyond any carrier’s ability to sanitize.

You would be better off going to C-17s with a CABS system for 20 AGM-158 and flying all 200 of them every hour on the hour from Eilsen if not Misawa than investing in short ranged tacair that is weeks out of the operational area in which you would need to conduct independent mine hunting.

At least the Globemaster’s time in the threat arc would be transient, single-axis limited to air threats and able to adjust geometry based on full use of the JASSM-ER’s dynamic range.

Mine Hunting would be USELESS if you have to have a prediction zone on where to dump the robosubs becuae the enemy is _not_ going to fight a terminal defense!

What book about Western Military History of surprise-from-blue naval raiding do you think the Chinese haven’t read? Do you honestly believe they don’t have a permanent book-of-the-month subscription to every title the Naval Institute Press ever cares to print?

SEA CONTROL sir has to happen deep blue.

If you wait until The West gets close, it becomes a Farragut scenario and then even victory brings huge risks. However; if you hit them repeatedly while they still have a chance to think about what going ahead into the firestorm with half their escort hulls viewable only Treiste`, then you have a chance at intimidation.

Which is how the Chinese think.

Remember, WE would be the ones playing Russia to China’s Cuba Blockade. Not the other way around.

>>
Then we start getting into the realms of your comment “But quickly, it will become and area defense threat as megawatt class weapons and particularly relay mirrors”. Which seems to negate the missile and drone concept you outline with your comment “The key thing to remember here being that because the jet is _not_ intended to be combat capable, it doesn’t have to come close to a threat defensive system. EOTS/Sniper can lase from upwards of 25nm away. It can spot from 40nm” either were facing a nascent self-replicating megawatt class DEW area AD threat or we’re not. If we are what saves your VTOL drones so we can target the supporting power/C3I infrastructure from uber-standoff?.
>>

The fact that the non-weaponized, non structurally redundant for high G maneuver and pilot survivability modes robotic airframe doesn’t have to cost but maybe a tenth as much as the JSF in lot production?

The fact that that UAS can have full ELO protection _including_ front quarter IR suppression via electrothermal coatings because it doesn’t have to approach closer than 40nm to EOID naval threats?

Or even the simple fact that the ROCs will be more than happy to supply a plethora of ‘fire on my mark’ target offsets, simply by peeking an eyeball around their door at the PRC tank sitting in their driveway?

Remember, redundancy of versatility.

If you are hitting dispersed point micro targets, whether DF-21D TELs ‘somewhere east of Hainan’ or some scabrous despot’s technical forces under the eyes of Specwar in the deep desert, the likelihood that they have every square inch covered by a megawatt class laser or by an S-300 is low. You don’t care about the 100KW variety, you can beat their ceiling.

If you are hitting fixed coastal transport or military targets with HCMs fired from 1,000nm away, you don’t need to worry about targeting because the weapons have had their coordinates locked in since the architect filed his plans.

If you are blue-water, and your UAS is flying patrol lines looking up and down the coast for outbound ASCM or manned platforms or go fasts, then the threat is likely not even going to have coverage to counter target you.

Finally, if you can loft from a DDG/FFG/LCS helideck, the asset value as signature size (here is where a radar target that looks like a trawler or junk might be of some use) of that platform is such that you -might- be able to risk it, inshore. If being there (with ranged aeroballistics) achieves you something.

Various means that one LCS with ten Various or equivalent (500knot, VTOL, 40,000ft, 5hrs at 500nm, 2hrs at 1,000nm) can now synergize 4-6-8 DDG-51. Or Type 26 GCS.

Spaced out, they don’t form a collective targeting clutch which could be hit as one group. Yet between them, these hulls have maybe 100 land attack shots. While costing a SAG tenth what a CSG does to operate on a yearly basis.

So you can have them everywhere on short call notice.

Throw in a container class vessel with maybe 500 aeroballistic warshots, a little farther back, and now you have a capability to dominate the theater without having to do forced entry drill that comes straight out of vaudeville.

>>
If you’re not playing a fair game Kurt don’t be all hurt if you get questioned?
>>

Stop pretending to a condescension you don’t feel. You wouldn’t be trying so hard in the face of your miserable failure to execute a valid counter argument if you weren’t scared pissless of the truth:

Naval Power doesn’t need Naval Tacair to be functionally useful.

It needs independent targeting. It needs deep reach as implicit virtual presence to avoid lateralization risk across a long coastline. It needs promptness of reaction to TCTs, whether by vehicle speed or long turbine range. If turbine, it needs loiter in the combat area to await targeting. And, perhaps, it needs a followon manned HSP to do strategic hostaging.

But getting those capabilities out to the fleet means first and foremost admitting that the present system is inherently anachronistic and broken. Because airpower can’t do the things that the above require. Doing things the old way that manned tacair does them, means fighting in a manner we have taught our chosen enemy how to defeat.

This is the innate problem of dominant combat power. It’s not what it fails to teach you. It’s what it succeeds in demonstrating, beyond all question or argument, to your opponent.

CheshireCat
CheshireCat
March 7, 2014 8:53 am

Amen to that!!!
In my opinion the thing that sets TD apart from the plethora of similar forums is it open and light hearted feel, and the fact that it is completely inclusive and without any hint of an overbearing agenda.
I for one hope it stays that way . . . as does my right thumb!!