Sunday, April 17, 2016

More Russian Harassment

The Russian harassment of US assets continues.

“ ‘On April 14, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,’ said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez.

“ ‘More specifically, the SU-27 closed within 50 feet of the wing-tip of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll starting from the left side of the aircraft, going over the top of the aircraft and ended up to the right of the aircraft,’ he said.” (1)

Two comments, here.

1. Clearly, unilateral restraint (appeasement) on our part is accomplishing nothing and, worse, is encouraging the Russians to perform ever more aggressive acts of harassment.  It’s just a matter of time until a Russian pilot misjudges a maneuver and a US ship or plane is damaged or destroyed and US lives are lost.

2. When will the US begin providing escort for high value assets?  We’ve seen the Chinese and Russians repeatedly harass these assets and the Chinese have already forced down and seized an EP-3.  We’re going to lose another high value asset if we don’t start providing protection for them.  This is a failure of leadership.

We need to shoot down the next Russian aircraft that attempts an unsafe act or we need to abandon the Baltic to the Russians.  What we’re doing makes no sense and is accomplishing nothing.


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(1)The Washington Free Beacon website, “Russian Jet Threatened U.S. Recon Aircraft”, Bill Gertz, 16-Apr-2016,


21 comments:

  1. If we abandon the Baltics, then it's mission accomplished for the Russian, so that's a negative. Secondly, the US wins when we continue our patrols while conducting ourselves in a professional manner. Don't forget that the Chinese did not "force down" the EP-3, their incompetent aviator lost control of his aircraft and collided with the EP-3. The EP-3 made an emergency landing at the nearest airfield available, which happened to be on Hainan. Whether that was the proper decision is debatable, but it was one course of action successfully executed, and no American lives were lost.

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    1. How does the US win? I'm failing to see the win for us. Please enlighten me.

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    2. By behaving professionally and not giving in to provocations.

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    3. "By behaving professionally and not giving in to provocations."

      As we've done in the South China Sea? Aside from feeling proud about our behavior, what has that gotten us? China has all but sealed off the Sea and ejected the US military from operating in the area. That seems like a pretty big loss!

      Global geopolitics are generally a nasty business and we're losing badly.

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  2. Escorts would be a good idea, Russia would soon lose interest in aggressive interceptions if the end result was lots of footage of Russian aircraft desperately trying to and failing to remove themselves from the cross hairs.

    However, the 27 is no slouch in the dogfighting department, if you are going to beat them consistently, you are going to have to send up 15Cs or 22s.

    I maintain that the F35 is the right platform for a war, but it couldnt do an escort and interception.

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    1. Unless we're saving our aircraft for something we might as well use them. Plus, the pilots will get some real world practice.

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  3. I don't think we have enough fighters and tankers to support every recce flight. The nearest USAF base to the Baltic Sea is Spangendahlem AFB in the western part of Germany, near Luxembourg.

    I agree we should provide escorts as much as possible, but there will be limitations leading to recce flights unescorted.

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    1. So build airbases where they are needed.
      But an F15 with CFT and 3 drop tanks has a ferocious range

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    2. Detachments to the baltic states by nato fighter squadrons are fairly common if not continuous.

      Shooting confrontations were far more common from 1950-1970
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-to-air_combat_losses_between_the_Soviet_Union_and_the_United_States
      It seems it was 14-3 in favour of the communist block

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    3. So build airbases where they are needed...

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      This is outrageously expensive in terms of money, political capital, and strategic dilution of forces.

      Do not be "surprized" if Congress starts up another round of BRAC to close down some of the 1,000s of needless overseas bases we already have.

      GAB

      GAB

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    4. But they should be closed, the bases in Germany are insane, they offer no value, no one would suggest opening a base in Rammstein today.

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  4. "The U.S. Navy launched four armed fighter jets to intercept two Russian Tu-142 Bear aircraft that were flying near the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean, the Navy said Thursday.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/29/politics/us-aircraft-carrier-russian-plane-encounter/
    That was back Oct 2015

    "The four F/A-18 fighter jets were sent as "standard operating procedure" to escort planes flying near Navy ships, according to a Navy statement."

    Clearly the USN is more professional when it comes to these sort of intercept missions.


    By the numbers: Putin's firepower 00:31
    The Russian aircraft came within one nautical mile and were flying at 500 feet in altitude while the 100,000-ton warship was participating in a bilateral training exercise with South Korea on Tuesday.

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    1. I actually read this one back when it happened and couldn't believe 2 possibly nuclear armed bombers we allowed THAT close to a Nimitz.

      I mean just look at that flight profile, classic anti-shipping attack. It was a test of defences. Very poor.

      This could well be why we had the recent Arleigh-Burke incident, well part of it anyway.

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    2. Its fairly common, they've been "buzzing" carriers since 2009 if not earlier.
      Its not "really" an attack profile because a Bomber would be launching missiles at 100miles not dropping bombs at 100 yards.

      Its quite hard really, because realistically what Russia wants is the US to react, launch counter measures, switch on radar ect, because they can record all of that and use it to plan real attacks.

      Ideally Carriers need to do a better job of hiding themselves.

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    3. Maybe this is where drones could be useful, russian planes on radar, time to do drone launch and recover exercises. that would keep them away

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    4. Maybe. On the other hand, given that the Russians have invaded countries do you think that they would hesitate to shoot down unmanned drones?

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    5. TrT, absolutely its 100 miles + given Russian anti ship missile capability, which generally is well ahead of ours and has been for some time.

      Those Bears should have been picked up by CAP and turned back at considerably further out. I understand they were detected at a significant distance.

      Agreed with CNO drones will have no effect as the political effect of downing a drone is near enough zippo.

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  5. I've been reading the debate here about what to do and there was some great writing on both sides of the issue but I think this latest incident shows that ComNavOps is right, USA needs to show some kind of reaction.

    My thought would be armed escorts for ISR assets and have a DDG lock on with an "accidental" missile firing....if someone gets hurt, too bad. This has to stop and a US reaction needs to be shown.

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    1. Remember these mission for USN and USAF arent jaunts, there are intell gathering. You cant do that if you have an armed escort with all its own electronics going or the DDG all on full radar power blanking out the airwaves .

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    2. That's not even remotely correct.

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  6. For the USN
    "After two international incidents, US doctrine is to conduct ship-based SIGINT missions with warships, which can protect themselves as the Pueblo and Liberty could not."

    "Standardized USN systems go beyond simple direction finding and into COMINT. The AN/SLR-25 is a passive cryptologic exploitation system principally for tactical use, but that can make contributions to higher levels of intelligence. The SLR-25(V)1 Advanced Cryptologic Carry-on Exploitation System (ACCES) is a portable version of the SLR-25(V)2 SSEE (Ship Signal Exploitation Equipment) without dedicated SIGINT spaces. Coupled with an AN/SSQ-120 Transportable Radio Direction-Finding system, the ACCES provides a complete SIGINT collection system. The AN/SSQ-120 has HF, VHF, and UHF antennas and direction-finding logic.
    More capable than the AN/SLR-25 with AN/SSQ-120 is the AN/SSQ-137 Ship Signal Exploitation System, an open-architecture system for command & control as well as intelligence.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signals_intelligence_operational_platforms_by_nation#United_States:_ship_platforms

    Makes sense to me to put the Sigint and Comint collection on a warhip which can protect itself. The lesser size and lower power of modern electronics would help.

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