Tuesday, December 6, 2016

... And What's Behind It

One of the four major rules of gun safety is to be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

In WWII, we frequently caused friendly fire damage and casualties by firing at attacking aircraft within the task force and hitting friendly ships behind and beyond the target aircraft.  It was almost unavoidable and considered an acceptable and necessary unfortunate consequence of trying to prevent a ship from being hit and sunk.

The same problems and concerns occur during infantry firefights and urban streetfights as well as during tank battles.

The same problem has occurred with Phalanx CIWS.  Here’s an example from Wiki,

“On 11 October 1989USS El Paso was conducting a live-fire exercise off the East Coast of the United States using the Phalanx against a target drone. The drone was successfully engaged, but as the drone fell to the sea, the CIWS re-engaged it as a continued threat to El Paso. Rounds from the Phalanx struck the bridge of USS Iwo Jima, killing one officer and injuring a petty officer.”

And another from Wiki,

“On 25 February 1991, during the first Gulf War, the Phalanx equipped frigate USS Jarrett was a few miles from the US battleship USS Missouri and the British destroyer HMS Exeter. The ships were thought to be under attack by an IraqiSilkworm missile (often referred to as the Seersucker), at which time Missouri fired its SRBOC chaff. The Phalanx system onJarrett, operating in the automatic target-acquisition mode, fixed on Missouri's chaff, releasing a burst of rounds. From this burst, four rounds hit Missouri which was 2–3 miles (3.2–4.8 km) from Jarrett at the time. There were no injuries.”

Note that we’re not discussing the closely related issue of identification/misidentification.  This post is concerned with the issue of stray rounds impacting friendly forces behind and beyond the target.  The distinction is critical for the discussion.  With this issue, identification is not a problem.  The friendly forces are well known and their location is clearly observed.  The problem is rounds that don’t hit the target and continue on to strike a friendly unit. 

Okay, this is a tragic but almost unavoidable consequence of close combat, especially in naval scenarios where friendly ships may be spread out over many miles and enemy aircraft, ships, and missiles can penetrate the force and intermingle with friendly forces but what’s the point?  The point is that with the advent of rail guns, lasers, and hyper velocity projectiles (HVP) that we’re all so excited about, the behind and beyond issue becomes immensely larger and more deadly.  For example, CIWS rounds have a range of couple miles.  A friendly ship that is in the line of fire but five or 10 miles beyond is perfectly safe.  However, with rail guns, lasers, and HVP’s, the behind and beyond range borders on unlimited.  We could miss a target that’s one mile away and inadvertently hit a friendly task force 50 miles beyond!

Consider the case of an enemy missile that has penetrated the perimeter of a naval task force spread out over many miles.  What might have been an adequate safety margin in WWII is now non-existent with lasers, rail guns, and HVPs.  Potentially, this means that far fewer, possible no, ships can fire on the incoming missile out of fear of hitting a friendly unit many miles beyond and behind the target.

Consider the case of a naval task force 50-100 miles from land and trying to defend itself using lasers, rail guns, and HVPs.  Misses in the direction of the land may see the land showered with projectiles and lasers.

Could we be hobbling our defensive fires by moving to lasers, rail guns, and HVPs?  At the very least, our zone of awareness will have to increase from a couple of miles to dozens or hundreds of miles.  In a situation like the Middle East or the first island chain, there may not be a safe direction in which we can fire!
Basic Gun Safety On A Grand Scale

I’m not suggesting that we don’t adopt lasers, rail guns, and HVPs but I do hope that someone is looking very carefully at the implications and impact on our defensive doctrine and tactics rather than just blindly pursuing the technology “just because we can”.  Sadly, like the Navy that forgot to check whether the LCS helo could safely tow the mine countermeasures equipment and then found out the hard way that it couldn’t, I’m fearful that we aren’t looking at the “behind and beyond” issue and won’t recognize it until it’s too late.  I just see a bunch of future laser and rail gun armed escorts paralyzed and unable to fire defensively because of friendly units and land dozens or hundreds of miles away.


  1. Even though these weapons have a greater range, the probability of randomly hitting a target of a given area decreases at a rate directly proportional to distance regardless of the range of the munition. If a ballistic trajectory is used, the volume occupied by the target remains constant compared to the volume of sea that increases exponentially as you get further and further away from the ship. Additionally, a laser would not be able to hit any ship over the horizon. My point is just that this doesn't seem to be a huge concern, since distance significantly reduces the likelihood of friendly fire through a variety of means, many of which are not affected by the effective range of the weapon.

    1. Four things:

      1. Friendly fire incidents in this scenario are not a high probability event and I did not claim that. On the other hand, the consequences of the unlikely event are probably significantly greater than for a conventional gun round. Consider a rail gun projectile moving at multi-Mach speed impacting a friendly/neutral/civilian ship downrange. The likelihood isn't high but the damage would be severe.

      2. You need to widen your scope of imagination a bit. You dismiss the danger from a laser without considering the possibility of friendly aircraft in the out defensive layer. They can be well beyond the surface horizon and still in a direct line of laser fire due to their elevation. The same holds true for civilian aircraft which seem to always be present, even in or near war zones. Similarly, if there is a land mass 50-100+ miles downrange and we're spraying rail gun or HVP projectiles around, we're bound to hit something.

      3. Consider the peacetime scenario. We've fired at targets on multiple occasions in peacetime. If we start building ships with laser/HVP/rail gun AAW defenses do we forbid them from using their weapons because there are always civilians around? How much worse might the Vincennes incident have been if we had started firing rail gun projectiles at the airliner? In places like the crowded Middle East waterways there are always land and civilians not far away. We'd be quite likely to hit something unintended.

      4. While you consider the likelihood of this scenario to be unlikely and I agree with you, to an extent, depending on the location and exact circumstances, consider the US military's treatment of unlikely events. We have demonstrated repeatedly that we'll bend over backwards and risk US deaths to avoid very unlikely possibilities of civilian collateral damage. Thus, "unlikely" is not the same as unworthy of consideration.

      My point is that we need to think this through before we commit to this path.

    2. You bring up some good points. I think that some of these questions might only be answered through testing. (How many rounds of rail gun/HVP ammo is needed to kill an inbound missile? How far do those rounds go if they miss, what is the effect from dispersed, long range projectiles as they come down, etc....)

      To some extent though, I see this as a two phased situation for civilian situations.

      We have a similar situation now if we put Aegis on auto. I'm totally guessing, but I highly doubt its *ever* in auto in the PG for exactly the reasons you mention. So in phase one, 'peacekeeping' missions, we have ships that don't operate in a full war footing because they can't without potential tragedy. We accept the increased risk to the ship and its crew in order to do the mission.

      We keep the capability though for the WWIII type situation where the destroyers have to fight off a full on air raid.

      Now, this still doesn't address friendly fire situations, but again that's where I think the testing has to come in.

      Its similar to the active protection system tanks are starting to adopt. Yes they can be very effective but they are unusable in some situations because they might shred the infantry or even APC next to the tank.

      You have to know what the weapon can do and what its effects are so you can do the cost/benefit analysis and decide when, if ever, it can be used.

      I'm skeptical this is happening though. AFAIK we haven't even tested Aegis in full auto against a full on raid; so we don't know what that really looks like. And its been in the fleet for decades.

      I doubt any realistic testing of new weapons will happen if they have any chance of curtailing deployment of a weapon that is whiz bang and has a good chance of making a crap ton of money for the contractors and alot of pork for the congress critters.

    3. Testing is not the answer - at least, not the full answer. The examples I cited in the post involving CIWS were with a weapon system that was fully known and pretty thoroughly tested and yet disaster still occurred. What could more testing have done? We completely knew the ranges, projectiles, lethality, etc. of the CIWS. What more could testing have done? If we couldn't keep track of ships that were within visual range, how will we keep track of possible friendly/civilian units that are up to 100 miles away?

      Testing is not the problem or the answer.

      The point of the post is that we need to think this through much more than we have instead of just blindly latching on to new tech just because it's new.

    4. Well, I agree its not a full answer, but its definitely part of the answer. I suspect I'm thinking of testing differently.

      Neither you, I, nor anyone else knows what the parameters of an AAW laser is right now, not really. Ditto a rail gun. We've seen them perform very limited tests against very fixed targets.

      Good testing should include your current state analysis, your proposed state, and integration testing between the new system and the platform from which it will be functioning, both locally (the ship its on in this case) and remotely (other ships,etc. in the area).

      So if start testing rail guns or HVR's as an anti air weapons system we'll also test them with other things around them, and see what happens to the projectiles that miss.

      This gives us the data to say 'Whoa! Can't use the HVR's in a shore based landing because they spew so much metal to kill missiles that will end up shredding our troops and nearby vessels. The cost outweighs the benefits.

      How do we know that ships couldn't functionally really be cleaned up by its crew from nuclear near-misses? One of our tests included putting ships close to nuclear explosions. Both above and below water.

      How will we know if HVR's/Lasers/etc. are too dangerous for ships that are close by? We put ships close by and let the weapons system defend against a raid.

  2. The effects of a laser will dissipate over distance due to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, projectiles come down about as fast as they went up.

    Is it possible to solve some of these problems with software to continuously update no-fire zones by taking into account the location of friendly forces and civilian populations? However, this might limit the actions a ship can take to defend itself, possibly leaving it defensless from an attack.

    1. I would remind you about the many instances of absolute certain location of friendly and enemy forces that still went horribly wrong. The downing of two US helos in the no fly zone (with filed flight plans!), comes to mind. The Vincennes shootdown of an airliner in an established civilian flight corridor is another example. And so on. Software is just a way to more precisely be wrong.

    2. I wasn't aware of the incidents with the helicopters. But, there were some extenuating circumstances around the Vincennes shoot down of the Iranian airliner, including mistaking the airliner as an F-14. But, the Vincennes tried multiple times to contact the airliner before firing on them.

      I don't believe software is a perfect fix, but it might prevent a Phalanx from accidentally firing on a nearby ship.

    3. You couldn't have more software than in the Vincennes incident!!!!! The entire Aegis software system is designed to make it impossible to shoot an invalid target and yet it happened.

      Phalanx has all kinds of software safeguards (range gates, speed gates, etc.) to prevent invalid firings and yet it still happens.

      You're buying into the technology/software fantasy world where everything is perfect if only we'll apply enough technology/software. See the reality!

  3. Recall the earth is round, so lasers can't hit surface targets more than 20 miles out. They can't hit a bobbing missile for the needed two second burn through anyway, so forget about them. They are just a fantasy.

    And what about fleet formations? Ships in line is the only safe one, but we use escorts to screen, so friendly fire is a huge problem, and helos and aircraft better get the hell out of the way. And what keeps our systems like Phalanx from gunning down our outbound RAMs and SMs?

    1. C'mon, now, give me a good quality comment.

      Airplanes, computers, and every other technology we now take for granted was once considered a fantasy. Lasers will come. Have you noticed the giant, empty platform on the back end of the Ford? That's for a future laser or rail gun. The Navy is already committed to these things - hence, the post.

      You recall that the curvature of the Earth means nothing to aircraft at altitude. They can be friendly fire victims at distances well beyond 20 miles.

      Think a bit more on this and give me something worthwhile.

    2. Most people do not understand that lasers quickly lose power in the atmosphere. They also need a couple of seconds to burn through, and can't do that with a moving bobbing missile. They might work at point defense, destroying things at less than 100 meters flying toward a ship.

      This is why the airborne laser was cancelled, after billions were wasted, and Air Force Colonel Neil McCasland admitted that a way must be found to "clean" the wavefront to avoid defraction of laser energy in the atmosphere. No one has a clue how to do that. But the laser scam moves forth.

      And as you often note, our Navy's biggest problem is that it commits to things that do not work. Lasers can blind people and optics, but that's it, and they use lots of power. If you want to learn more, find out why the sky is blue.

    3. Yep, unless they can solve this one, lasers are mostly dead in the water.

      In space though ... that's another matter and they could potentially be deadly to satellites.

    4. I guess the only thing you might be able to do is to blind the enemy, but there are war laws against that (for causing permanent blindness).

      The problem is that the atmosphere absorbs too much. That and laser efficiency remains poor.

      Solve those and maybe lasers will be a viable weapon.

  4. > Navy is already committed to these things

    this is a mistake which the Navy made in a rush for "game changer" technologies. Hopefully, it would recognize it before it becomes too costly...

    It's OK to continue R&D on these things, but to start developing platform and designing ships for them is just too early. There are still many unsolved problems (and not just engineering, but PHYSICAL) which prevents lasers and railguns to be used as a weapon, and not just a technology demonstrator.

  5. Here is the best test our navy shows.


    That's a big system, the size of a 5-inch mount.

    It fires for ten seconds at a 300 knot delta drone before it can burn through at one mile out on a clear day, not a tiny 500 knot missile. The drone flies high to allow it a big bottom target too!

    And we don't know how many attempts it took to record this successful test. And that higher flying delta wing drone provided ten times the target are compared to the nose of an incoming missile. And given all this, each system will be lucky to shoot down a single missile in an incoming salvo. Same with CIWS, just a eight second burst and its out of ammo for 30-mins to reload.

    I can't believe anyone talks seriously about navy lasers Yes, keep testing and make improvements, but huge breakthroughs are needed before moving on.

    1. You're completely missing the point of the post. Lasers may not be totally combat ready yet but they will in the not too distant future. That means we need to be thinking about their future capabilities and whether they can safely be used in real world scenarios without undue risk of fratricide.

  6. This is actually a good argument for at least light armor on ships moving forward. Lasers don't have great penetration and if loaded with frangible ammunition for air defense neither would railguns.

    1. Even it was a frangible ammunition, a rail gun projectile will be going some Mach 3 to 4 as it hits a ship. That's a lot of kinetic energy for light armor to stop. With any luck, it'll pass through the ship with little damage.

    2. "frangible ammunition for air defense"

      ??? What is frangible ammo for AAW? Do you mean fragmentation - because that's something entirely different?

    3. Frangible ammunition is designed to breakup on impact, dumping its energy rapidly like a lock breaching shotgun blast. Fine against aluminum skinned planes and missiles, but unable to do significant damage to any serious armor, especially layered or spaced armor.

    4. Yes, we know what frangible ammo is. The commenter, if he didn't simply misspeak, suggested frangible as an AAW and/or anti-ship weapon. I've never heard of frangible ammo as an AAW/anti-ship weapon. That was the question. I suspect he meant fragmentation.

  7. Off topic, but when looking up the 1989 Iwo Jima incident, came across the full story of the 1990 main steam valve failure.


    1. Fascinating story and the Navy (and industry) are still grappling with the same causative problems today.

  8. It’s a good subject. And I think the only reasonable solution lies with the men and women of the USN.

    As with any weapon they have to be used with caution.

    In the two Phalanx incidents with man in the loop capability and a full awareness of the battle space plus some coordination between ships. The Phalanx could and should have been taken off line.

    Fully automatic technology is a double edged sword.

    Now having said that C-RAM the land based version of Phalanx has self detonating ammunition to limit the issues you describe.

    And some missiles with dispose of themselves if they are unable to verify target.



    Its no substitute however for thinking very carefully before “filling the air with lead”


    1. "Its no substitute however for thinking very carefully before “filling the air with lead”

      You're saying that from the comfort of your home, far removed from the fog of war and the threat of imminent death. When a missile appears and you have seconds to react, the luxury of "thinking very carefully" is non-existent. Your solution is not a viable solution in a combat zone. Things happen too quickly.

      The point of the post is that we need to consider these things, now, from the comfort of "home" before we commit to a path that may wind up giving us unacceptable friendly casualties or limiting our ability to defend ourselves.

      Do you see that your solution is not a viable one?

      Perhaps we need software "stops" similar to the firing arc limitation rails on WWII ships. But if we do that then we need to accept that we'll probably take some hits on ships that will be prevented from defending themselves. Do we accept that? Or, do we accept the risk of friendly damage so as to protect the target ship? Or, are long range, high velocity AAW weapons not a viable choice?

      Recall the Vincennes incident. Despite having a relative eternity (compared to an incoming supersonic missile) to contemplate and "think very carefully", the crew came to all the wrong conclusions. That's the reality of war and imminent death.

    2. "The Phalanx could and should have been taken off line."

      Would you do that if you were the Captain of a ship that would then be defenseless itself?

    3. One of the issues we're missing is the danger of war. There are no perfect solutions. War is all about the lesser of evils in choices. In WWII it was recognized AND ACCEPTED that friendly fire AA would hit ships of the task force. This was considered preferable to having a ship hit by a bomb/torpedo/kamikaze. They did what they could to minimize the risk but it could not be eliminated.

      We want to treat every situation as having an absolutely perfect solution. Well, there aren't many of those laying around! And, if there are, you're going to spend a gazillion dollars trying to develop it. Remember, perfect is the enemy of good?

    4. Listen, I am following your thread here. I do understand about the situations. But a Frigate \ destroyer defending a capital ship must be prepared to lower their defences for the good of the mission.

      Sailors by definition are putting themselves in harm’s way for the defence of their country and civilians. Now I don’t think this should be taken lightly, but at the same time many have given their lives and taken the hit for the greater good.

      Friendly fire cannot be eliminating. I am more aware than most about that situation.

      But I certainly don’t think it should just be accepted?


      Your inference that a captain of a warship ever discharges weapons without careful consideration is frankly discourteous. And this is why full auto AEGIS is rarely used.

      From your other comment I'm not sure Stops are not a good idea as in some situations firing with risk to a friendly IS justified. A visable \ audable warning could be useful.

      I am unsure actually why CRAM rounds or self-destructing weapons are not at least helpful?

    5. You contradicted yourself and agreed with me.

      Of course we accept the existence of friendly fire. If we didn't, we couldn't/wouldn't go to war. Yes, we do everything we can to prevent it but we acknowledge that it can't be 100% avoided.

      If the choice is a hit by an incoming anti-ship missile or a hit by a 20mm CIWS round from a friendly unit, of course we accept the friendly fire risk. You even agree with me as evidenced by your own statement, "in some situations firing with risk to a friendly IS justified."

      We're saying the same thing - that friendly fire is an unavoidable and acceptable risk that comes with war. The only sure way to avoid it is to not go to war. You train and do what you can to minimize the risk but it can't be eliminated. "Thinking carefully" at the moment of occurrence is not a possibility - it happens to fast. You're either already prepared or you're not and the "not" means you're in a situation you didn't explicitly train for.

      I am not saying that a Captain fires weapons without due consideration. Really? You really thought I was saying that?

      C-RAM rounds? I don't know why they aren't used either. I know the CIWS uses depleted uranium for the density. The C-RAM uses conventional rounds, I think. Maybe a C-RAM round doesn't have the penetrating power to take down a missile? Just speculating.

    6. OK obviously we are both getting tangled in semantics,

      Particually over what "thinking carefully" means.

      In the case of small arms, which you have used for your title. it means being aware. And this is something best evaluated continuously. as its very difficult to judge what behind a target once the target is in the way.

      No, you cant sit down with your strategy board and do a 10 minute evaluation, risk log, and phone a friend before authorising weapons hot.

      I guess I was saying continuous situational awareness, and no knee jerk reactions.

      I would like to think you couldn't BECOME a captain without these traits. However there have been the odd laps every now and again.

      P.S. interesting point on the CIWS, I hadn't actually considered that.

    7. Oooops missed a bit.

      "in some situations firing with risk to a friendly IS justified."

      My point and I think yours is that there is a world of difference between intentional friendly fire and unintentional fratricide.

      I would say the difference tends to be mission outcome ?

    8. "continuous situational awareness,"

      That's laudable and sensible. It's also not possible. That kind of "on the edge" coiled readiness simply can't be maintained for any length of time. It's too stressful. No one(s) can maintain that hair-trigger readiness and second by second situational awareness for a 9 month deployment or even for much more than an hour. That's not to say that we shouldn't try. I'm just saying it's not physiologically possible and can't and won't be the answer to friendly fire.

      The point of the post is that it's one thing to accept the risk of 20 mm friendly fire but it's another to accept rail gun, laser, or HVP friendly fire. Those are way more destructive. The time to carefully consider this issue is now, before we fully commit to this path. How will we handle AAW when the friendly fire risk now extends from a couple miles to dozens or hundreds of miles. How do you maintain situational awareness of all the planes, ships, and land within a hundred mile radius? Can we effectively conduct AAW with these weapons given the friendly fire risk? And so on. We need to address these questions now, not wait until they happen and it's too late.

  9. Just as in interesting side comment, Its also about choosing the right weapon.

    In the HMS Exeter incident you mentioned all 3 ships involved chose 3 completely different solutions to the incoming missile.

    Each solution had its pro's and Con's, each would have succeded in isolation.

    There was a lack of coordination between all 3 ships.
    Luckly ( and I do mean that ) Exeter got the kill with the Sea-Dart missile operating well outside its operational paramiters.

    1. "There was a lack of coordination between all 3 ships."

      That's correct and it's also utterly nonsensical (I mean that in a detached, analytical way, not personal). How do you coordinate between three ships in the handful of seconds you have to make a decision? It's simply not possible. They couldn't even have established radio contact with each other in the seconds they had to work with.

      As you "work" these kinds of problems and look for solutions, never lose sight of the time frames involved and the confusion and terror of sudden, imminent death. You'll find that most solutions won't work under those conditions.

    2. No, I think this time your off a little bit this time, sorry.

      You train, drill, drill and drill.

      There are examples of captains being situationally aware enough to select course and weapons to counter this kind of very cleverly planned attack.

      A battle group is not just a collection of single ships all doing their own thing. Unaware and unconcerned about the position and duties of all the others.

      Now with the Missouri, we can’t say for sure, but I suspect this was an extremely well planned and executed attack. The missile bypassed Exeter (who was forced to fire on the missile from behind). And as the missile closed on Missouri the angle and speed cut off Jarrett’s line of sight at the last moment, effectively bringing Missouri in-between Jarrett and the Silkworm.

      I’m not attributing blame, on the contrary ALL crews acted spectacularly well to offer a response SO quickly with no warning against an attack designed to be very very difficult to counter.

      Jarrett had already elected WISLEY not to deploy SM missiles. The Phalanx was clearly on automatic, and it was a million to 1 shot that the chaff launch emulated the Phalanx attack profile.

      I understand in the written word however that it’s not always easy to capture the author’s intent. I’m probably not making myself as clear as I could.


    3. "No, I think this time your off a little bit this time, sorry."

      Well, this is what happens when I try to make a point in a limited comment and skip all the background, caveats, and nuances so let me try again.

      Of course you train and drill - as much as you can! You didn't really think I was advocating a lackadaisical, no-training approach, did you? My point was that after you've done all the training you can, there will be an infinite number of scenarios you couldn't anticipate and haven't specifically trained for. Those are the moments that you no longer have time to try to coordinate on the fly because "on the fly" is just a handful of seconds. At that point, you do the best you can and hope.

      Training is inherently limited in what it can accomplish because it can only cover a very few scenarios - THAT DOESN'T MEAN I'M NOT IN FAVOR OF DOING IT. Consider the Vincennes incident. A high trained CIC crew made every mistake possible despite their training. Consider the two USN boat crews captured by the Iranians. They made every mistake possible despite all their training. Consider the F-15 pilots that shot down the friendly helos despite all their training, IFF, and FILED FLIGHT PLANS! I can go on with examples but you get the idea. Training is wonderful but inherently limited and WILL NOT eliminate this kind of problem.

    4. I think we are proberbly on the same page.

      Interestingly Some analysis on Vincennes attributed the issue to "over training" set profiles.

      They saw what they wanted to see.

      I'm not sure how much I believe in that synopsis. However I guess it shows what a difficult issue this is ?

    5. "They saw what they wanted to see."

      That's called scenario fulfillment. You see the scenario you expect to see. They expected to see an attacking aircraft so they saw one regardless of what the data was telling them.

      This is also why I argue so vehemently against those who think simulators are sufficient training. They aren't. They can't reproduce the stress of real combat (or expected combat). You reproduce the stress by making the training as realistic as you can, including as much personal danger as you can justify (yes, some people will get hurt from time to time). Inject smoke into the CIC when you train. Inject false reports and data - make the person in charge sort out the correct from the incorrect. Hey, wire the people up to electric shocks like a dog collar and shock them if they haven't made a critical decision in a timely manner. Increase the stress to the max. Have the ship sail at max speed in tight circles so the personnel have to hang on for dear life. Have [small] drones crash into the ship if they aren't shot down in live fire exercises. Sure, there will be damage to the ship but it may save a ship down the road in combat. And so on. Our tame, set piece training is nearly worthless.

  10. I think that there does need to be a friendly fire recognition system.

    Another problem is that a CIWS system may shoot missiles launched from a friendly ship aimed at the enemy, but heading in the general direction of the ship.

    Finally, the bridge should have at least some armor. We're talking about a 20mm round here; that should not be able to penetrate the bridge. I'm not saying it has to be as armored as say, a Montana class battleship, but protection is clearly needed.

    1. "I think that there does need to be a friendly fire recognition system."

      We have systems! CIWS has all kinds of limiting gates: speed, approach angle, elevation, etc. - but it still fails because we can't anticipate every circumstance. Aegis has all kinds of safeguards but it still failed because people still want to make decisions and won't always make the right ones even with the best data. That's the stress of war at work.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. At some point, you gotta accept some friendly fire casualties. It's just a part of warfare.

    Beyond the training and everything else, it's going to be inevitable. Reduce where possible, but you cannot eliminate. The only question is when the risk of friendly fire exceeds the benefit of firing.

    Hard to say ... and even harder for someone fighting for their life in the heat of combat to make the call.

    Armoring the bridge of the ships would have helped for sure.


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