Monday, February 5, 2018

Anti-Ship Cruise Missile Characteristics - Follow Up

You undoubtedly recall the recent discussion about anti-ship cruise missile characteristics and how they impacted likely defensive engagement scenarios (see, "Cruise Missile Characteristics Related To Detection And Engagement Range")?  The conclusion was that intercept engagements were likely to occur much closer to the ship (radar horizon) than the Navy believes and that what is needed is an optimized medium/short range radar paired with ESSM.  Some people struggled to understand how demanding the engagement scenario would be due to the short engagement window, the need to immediately flood the skies with ESSM missiles, and the resultant need to be able to deal with the immense amount of targets, both incoming, outgoing, and engagement debris.  Well, here’s some bits of information from the recent DOT&E 2017 Annual Report that illustrate and support the conclusions from the post.

“Investigate means to mitigate the chances of an ESSM pre-detonating on debris before approaching its intended target.” (p. 213)

This is exactly what I described.  With a very short engagement window, we won’t be able to leisurely fire off one or two ESSM and then wait for the radar picture to clear to see what the result was.  We’re going to have to launch many missiles and the radars are going to have to be able to function in a debris-filled sky.

Correct the SSDS scheduling function to preclude interference with the RAM infrared guidance stemming from prior intercepts and warhead detonations.  (p. 213)

Again, this is the ability to distinguish valid targets from debris in a chaotic sky.

Investigate and correct the combat system time synchronization problem that prevented the launch of a full salvo of ESSMs.  (p. 213)

This acknowledges the need to be able to launch many missiles as nearly instantaneously as possible.

Improve SSDS MK 2 integration with the MK 9 Track Illuminators to better support ESSM engagements.  (p. 212)

This demonstrates that it’s not enough to just have a radar that is capable of the required resolution.  We need to be able to take that resolution and actually distinguish valid targets among large debris fields and outgoing missiles and do a much better job of integrating the radar with the combat fire control software.

As I stated in the post, an engagement that begins at the radar horizon will be over in 120 seconds for even a relatively slow 600 mph, high subsonic, incoming missile.  A 1200 mph, supersonic, incoming missile will have an engagement window of just 60 seconds.  Actually, that’s not true.  Those engagement windows are vastly overstated.  We can’t engage when the incoming missile is one second from impact.  The engagement window closes when the either the minimum safe arming distance of the defensive missile is reached or the defensive sequence can’t react in the flight time remaining for the incoming missile.  Thus, the engagement window is more likely from the radar horizon to about 10 miles (I’m purely speculating about these values).  Thus, the engagement window for ESSM against the 600 mph incoming missile is just 60 seconds and the 1200 mph engagement window is just 30 seconds.

Of course, the engagement windows assume that the threat is instantaneously identified and the defensive reaction also occurs instantaneously.  If there is any hesitation, like waiting for human command and control, the engagement window essentially is non-existent.  This mandates a purely automatic defensive mode.  This, in turn, raises some questions.

  • Have we developed fleet doctrine to safely operate our ships and aircraft in the vicinity of ships whose defensive systems are in full auto mode?

  • Can our full auto systems reliably distinguish incoming targets from our own decoys, flares, and countermeasures?  CIWS had this problem in the past.

  • Can our systems operate in full auto mode without hazarding our own ships to friendly fire?  The corollary to this is, do we know how to position and operate our ships so as not to interfere with our own defensive fires?  With engagement windows of 60 seconds or less, there won’t be time to reposition ships.

  • Do we know how to coordinate our countermeasures with our defensive sensors so as not to inadvertently confuse our own defensive fires?  Is it more effective to use countermeasures and risk disrupting our own active defenses or is it more effective to forego countermeasures in favor of a cleaner radar picture?

To summarize this post and its predecessor, there is every reason to expect that anti-ship cruise missile defensive engagements are generally going to start at the radar horizon (say, 20 miles or so) and will have a correspondingly very short window of opportunity.  The traditional shoot-shoot-look engagement sequence is not going to be feasible or effective.  We need to modify and upgrade our systems for the medium/short range, short time frame engagement scenario.  We need radars, both ship and missile, that can discriminate targets amid a debris filled sky and we need the ability to salvo lots of missiles in an incredibly short time frame.  To the best of my knowledge, we currently have little or none of this capability, as indicated by DOT&E test results and recommendations.  We also need a comprehensive set of operational and tactical procedures to enable full auto defensive modes.

Now is the time we should be testing and developing these capabilities, not when actual combat occurs.  We need to largely pull back from the many peacetime, worthless missions (partnership, show the flag, forward presence, deterrence, anti-piracy, etc.) and concentrate on bringing our ships and crews up to combat readiness and developing the capabilities well need to fight the next war.

51 comments:

  1. Greetings CNO,

    When considering russian Anti ship missiles you have to keep in mind that they generally have either a conventional or a nuclear warhead. When talking about high intensity warfare,
    be sure that the nuclear version will be used. For Example, the warhead on the deep diving super sonic P700-Granit anti Ship missile is stated to be either 750kg HE or 500kt nuclear.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-700_Granit
    The warhead on the air launched kh-22 is stated to be in the 350kt to 1000 kt range. The improved mach 5 kh-32 also has a nuclear warhead,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kh-22
    For comparison, the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki was 21kt.

    The interesting question is, at what range a nuclear payload of lets say 500kt disables/destroys a ship/a battle group.
    Test concerning the effects of nuclear explosions in the vicinity of ships have been conducted by all sides in the 50s and 60s, do you know of any unclassified information concerning them?
    I think we can safely assume, that if 500kt explode 2 miles from a Warship, it will be disabled at least, but that is just a guess. That means the time to intercept the missiles is even lower.

    I know that wikipedia is not a good source, but Russia does have a vast arsenal of tactical nukes, its regularily in the media and acknowledged by all sides. The real inaccuracy in the wikipedia articles
    will be concerning the exact yields, they could be more or less.

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    1. There is absolutely no evidence or logic to assume that Russia will resort to nuclear war. Any use of nuclear weapons would result in the total destruction of their country. Why would they choose to bring that on themselves?

      Setting that aside, the only open source nuclear effects data that I know about is the Bikini tests and they show quite a bit less effect than expected. Of course, the yields today are different so who knows how useful that information is?

      All the data I've seen suggests that both physical and radiological effects are less than expected. That's not to say that the effects are trivial - far from it - just that they are not as pronounced as generally expected.

      For example, the residual radiation effects from the Bikini tests were less intense and shorter lasting than expected. The Chernobyl radiation effects were less severe than anticipated. The Japanese WWII radiation effects were less severe than anticipated. The Bikini physical effects were less severe than anticipated. And so on.

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  2. The LM MHTK, miniature hit to kill missile under development for Army to counter RAM, rocket, artillery and mortar fire, which Russians have used to deadly effect in Ukriane.

    The missile is 2 1/2 feet / 5 pounds with semi-active/active radar homing head and uses a 15 round launcher with 360 degree rotation and 0-90 degree elevation. Has been under continuous testing since 2012. Reminds me of the Israeli Iron Dome.

    Its short range, small, could fit largish numbers, could it be made automatic as short range would not hit other ships in group, not too expensive?, would it be effective in stopping large AShMs, effectiveness as alternative to limited Phalanx?

    Yet to receive production contract from Army, problems?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANgdiqqb3q0

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    1. This sounds like a nice but limited technology. For a single incoming missile or shell, it would be fine. For an artillery barrage with dozens of shells raining down per second, it seems next to useless due to very limited numbers and the need for semi-active guidance.

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    2. Expect you are correct and reason why Army yet to award contract for MHTK even though Army urgently need a counter to Russian rockets and artillery with their thermobaric and new generation of blast and fragmenting warheads, C-RAM.

      Though Navy ships unlikely face attack from such a high number of warheads as Army, so maybe MHTK still a possibility to replace Phalanx as it looks a major improvement, especially in scenario you paint of several or more AShM attacking ship simultaneously. Perhaps with AI software controlling the radar/cms to differentiate between debris and live missiles, would need realistic testing which appears lacking by Navy.

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    3. The next question, then, is whether a small missile, sized to kill an artillery shell, be big enough to stop a large anti-ship missile?

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    4. MHTK would be the last ditch limited defense in a layered system with ESSM and/or RAM that would need the necessary AI software plus real time operation operating system with extremely low latency and microsecond event response (RedHawk Linux) that Navy incorporating into Aegis, hopefully in future with SSDS and COMBATASS- 21 CMS, not simple and need thorough testing.

      As you point warning time may be as short as 60 seconds and why an advocate of ship tethered UAV for 24/7 with IR and ESM at height ~1,500 feet to extend that time and prime radar with its limited range of surface horizon of only ~ 15/20 miles to establish track of attacking sea skimming missile at height of 5 to 7 meters.

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    5. "ship tethered UAV"

      I know you like that concept but it has enormous drawbacks that you haven't addressed. The blimp becomes a giant beacon saying, "here's my ship, come sink it". You'd be doing the enemy's difficult targeting for them!

      IR and ESM is good but cannot normally provide firing solution quality data. You need radar for that and continuous radar emission is, again, a giant beacon for the enemy.

      Also, an elevated radar can provide detection and targeting but not guidance. I don't think the guidance radar (illuminators) can provide over the horizon guidance even if the blimp radar can see the target. The guidance radar/illuminator needs to be line of sight. I'm wandering out of my area, here, so I could be wrong about this.

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    6. My thinking is that the blimp would be a smallish plastic quadcopter, no battery as power supplied via tethered cable from ship, very small RCS, with passive IR and ESM sensors. Understand sensors cannot provide firing solution but acting as a trip wire to activate radar so ship could operate in EMCON mode to that point.

      A trade off of ship tethered UAV RCS acting as a beacon or with continuously operating surface X band radar blasting out EM emissions to give the very limited maximum of 60 second warning of enemy anti-ship missiles with their ESM homing in on the ship radar acting as beacon?

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    7. Okay. Now how powerful an IR/ESM can you mount on a "smallish plastic quadcopter"? A smallish quadcopter just can't carry much weight so the sensor would be very small. Small sensors equal short ranges. Helicopters with IR, for example, are limited to several miles depending on the strength of the source. So, say 1500 ft altitude, that still only reaches out to around the radar horizon of 20 miles. We don't really gain much.

      Also, have you considered the weight of the cable that the quadcopter would be asked to lift? I kind of suspect that it can't be done. Do the math. Assume a weight of X lbs per foot of cable (0.25 lb per foot, maybe???) and multiply that by the 1500 ft length of cable (we'll assume it's straight up rather than at an angle which would further increase the length/weight. Oh heck, I'm this far, I'll finish the calc.

      0.25 lb/ft x 1500 ft = 375 lb

      That's an enormous load for a "smallish plastic quadcopter"! Add in 30-70 mph winds at higher altitudes and you've got a quadcopter that has no chance of working, I'm afraid.

      What do you think? Maybe look around and see if you can find a quadcopter of the size you envision that has an advertised payload of 300-400 lbs. Maybe I'm wrong and there is one.

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    8. Sensor weight/size

      Tether would have fiber high bandwidth data cable included so as the backend electronics on board ship, weight not on UAV so just carrying front end sensor. An indication of what may be possible, Brits experimenting with three Airbus Zephyr 8s, ~65 kg solar powered UAV to cruise at 65 to 70,000 feet for months?, interesting point is max. payload for sensor is only 5 kg/11 pounds. HD Optical/IR Video proposed claimed to be able to achieve NIIRS 6 imagery, with their 2020 larger 145 kg Zephyr, payload weight would be higher, claiming NIIRS 8, (National Imagery Interpretability Rating scale, developed for Visible; Radar; Infrared & Multispectral from worst 0 to 9 best quality).

      The Oniks/Brahmos ~ 7,000 pound supersonic anti-ship missiles require massive power from their rockets/ramjets to achieve Mach 2.5, power=heat=infrared emissions, so 'think' ability to develop a IR sensor would have no problem picking it up at four to five times range of the ship surface radar with indication of bearing in azimuth, the old generation IR sensor used in F-35 tracked large rocket at ~ 800 mile range though must be said in optimal conditions. If so would enable ship to launch ESSM Block II earlier, question mark over ability of it to lock on when outside range of ships radar, active radar homing head basket is limited, it has no alternative IR head. Russians with their missiles have shown enormous creativity in missile design over the last 25 years, with a range of different seekers sharing common airframes, or common seeker designs integrated into different airframes.

      Major questions remain as you have highlighted with weight of tether, 30-70 mph winds, flexibility of tether to cope with the winds and winch, can only point to the French R&D with their tethered quadcopter for both ships and land based on small truck. The prospect of enlarging that 60 second window to missile impact on ship with its 550 pound warhead is worth the necessary R&D, expect the updated anti-ship missiles to have the computing power to make soft kill more problematic in future. In general more optimistic than you the technology is there to make a tethered UAV possible.

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    9. Fair enough! The concept would be well worth some developmental effort.

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    10. "expect the updated anti-ship missiles to have the computing power to make soft kill more problematic in future."

      You've got to keep a perspective on this. Wouldn't it be equally fair to say, expect the updated soft kill defenses to have the computing power to make anti-ship missile success more problematic in future? After all, our electronic countermeasures, decoy sophistication, jamming, etc. are all constantly improving! The point is that neither side of the equation ever gains much of an advantage for very long and yet proponents of both sides seem to feel that only their side will improve into the future.

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  3. The CIWS Phalanx system has had it's share of friendly fire or collateral damage incidents. But this Wikki information is dated. Not sure if improvements have been made to the system.
    The earlier blocks did not have a IFF system in place.
    So now we have C-Ram and a Improved Phalanx CIWS....
    "Can our systems operate in full auto mode without hazarding our own ships to friendly fire? The corollary to this is, do we know how to position and operate our ships so as not to interfere with our own defensive fires? With engagement windows of 60 seconds or less, there won’t be time to
    re-position ships." You ask a valid question that should apply to all defensive missiles and CIWS.
    Paul

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    1. Wikki reference..
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS
      Paul

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  4. Has the USN ever even fired 2 or more ASMs at a ship at same time? I remember seeing pics of a Harpoon hitting a target but never heard of USN firing a salvo and seeing if AEGIS or Phalanx still works....

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    1. I know they've done a simultaneous dual firing of standards at a ballistic missile surrogate and a low level anti-ship cruise missile surrogate. Of course, two targets, separated by hundreds of miles, hardly constitutes a swarm of targets!

      I've seen videos on YouTube of three Standards(?) launching nearly simultaneously but I don't know what the targets were or, indeed, whether they were launched at targets or if it was just a launch test.

      In short, I've never heard of even a slightly realistic test.

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    2. That's kind of what I remember, usually high flying ABM shots, can't think of USN ever firing 2 Harpoons at a ship before and seeing what happens?

      I'll have to dig around and see if it has ever been done by any other navy....funny, you think with the proliferation of ASMs and growing sophistication and speed, somebody would try it out, at least fire 2 old,time expired Harpoons or EXOCETS or those fancy speedy Russian ones and see what happens!

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  5. I've had an idea for an ASM for awhile now that takes advantage of problems you point out. Basically something the size of a tomahawk with what stealthy characteristics can be added. The key though is to make it as cheap as humanly possible, ~$300k per missile would be ideal but the way these thing go it would likely end up $1 million apiece. Either way you take the savings compared to a more expensive system to buy greater numbers of missiles. When you have a target you fire them in 20/80 high/low mix saturation attack. The target can't afford to ignore any single missile so it wastes it's limited air defense resources shooting down the cheap missiles down while some of the more advanced ones sneak through.

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    1. What would be the capability differences between your hi and lo missiles?

      Regarding cost, the current Tomahawk is what I would consider a pretty basic cruise missile compared to many that are out there and it still costs a million plus dollars. How would you create a sub-million dollar missile? What capabilities would you delete to achieve that cost goal?

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  6. The most cost effective measure to increase ESSM lethality is to integrate a multi-spectrum seeker on that missile.

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    1. How would that improve the ability to increase the ESSM's target discrimination in a metal, missile, and debris filled sky?

      Not arguing or disagreeing - just want to hear how such a seeker would function in that environment? Do you have any data to suggest/support the belief that such a seeker would have better target discrimination capabilities?

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    2. Look at the history of the Stunner missile , and especially what makes it unique the seeker of that missile. Yes it is designed to counter different targets compared to ESSM but if you adjust the software mods a similar dual seeker can be adapted to anti ASM mode

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    3. My vague understanding of Stunner is that its multi-sensors give it flexibility but not necessarily target discrimination capability in a crowded sky filled with shrapnel, debris, incoming weapons, and outgoing weapons. In other words, in a limited scenario, it ought to work quite well. In the chaotic scenario that will be a naval engagement, I don't see its capabilities giving it the ability to discriminate targets in a target filled sky.

      What do you think?

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    4. lets think realistically here, a multi spectrum seeker is always a plus.
      Second of all, those modern supersonic anti-ship missiles aren't made by the thousands like cheap rockets, they are complex and expensive missiles , so a opponent can have a limited amount of them.

      I mean a modern Aegis destroyer or Aegis like ship has between 40 or 90 VLS cells how many supersonic ASM's do you need before you deplete those VLS cells out of missiles.
      In the case of the USN we are always talking about a layered defence, right ?

      Think from the mindset of a Chinese general who has to plan a strike and has
      X amount of H-6 bomers, X amount of Flankers and X amount of missiles , they're gonna suffer serious looses for sure, so those targets better be wort.

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    5. "a multi spectrum seeker is always a plus."

      I'll grant that a qualified yes. I say qualified because more information is not always a good thing. More information can often just increase confusion. The seeker sees a target in radar mode but not in IR mode - is it valid or not? If we can develop software sufficiently sophisticated to take that wealth of sensor information and make good assessments from it then multi-mode is good. If not, it's probably better to have a single mode.

      "those targets better be wort[h it]."

      The Russians in the Cold War deemed the US carriers sufficiently worthy to be worth dedicated entire regiments of bombers to their destruction and would have deemed the loss of an entire regiment worth it to achieve the destruction of a carrier. Remove the nine or ten carriers from the US Navy and our war capability grinds to a halt. I'm sure the Chinese recognize this and will procure as many missiles as needed to achieve this and be willing to suffer as many losses as needed.

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    6. One thing i forgot to mention above, a multi spectral seeker is a Huge plus in a heavy RF jamming environment, especially in the terminal phase of the ASM missile attack, if they jam you're radars you're missiles still have a passive seeker mode witch is better than nothing.

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    7. "Huge plus in a heavy RF jamming environment"

      Quite right, IN AN ISOLATED SCENARIO. If there's only one target in the vicinity then, yes, having the option to use IR or some such is great. In the kind of scenario we're talking about, there would be blazing hot shrapnel and debris all over the sky from other explosions. Smoke and debris would obscure optical sensors. And so on.

      I'm not arguing against a multi-mode seeker, just pointing out that it's not a magical solution. The kind of scenario we're discussing will be chaotic. We need to study that scenario and learn how to best operate in it. We need to develop sensors and software that have the best chance of finding legitimate targets in a chaotic sky with incoming and outgoing missiles all over and debris and flares/decoys everywhere. No easy task! We need to start testing in this environment - that's the point to this discussion.

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  7. It seems the simplest solution is to go with a "dumb" rocket of considerable blast radius, with a high initial speed. Targeting could be localized to the ship with the rocket going off the ship's targeting. No need to pick out a valid target amongst debris if the blast radius encompasses both. Should, in theory, be considerably cheaper since the rocket doesn't need range (beyond that need for stand-off, ie tops 3 miles.) and the launcher can be the primary guidance system.

    The system could even be programed to "burst" fire multiple rockets with a delay between firing each individual rocket so they don't destroy each other. It would also, I believe, confuse enemy targeting systems on the anti-missiles.

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    1. So, the "wall of lead" defense? Valid and effective.

      However, after the first several shots the sky would be full of radar obscuring metal. How would we see the follow on incoming missiles? Wouldn't the sky full of shrapnel damage our subsequent, outgoing rockets.

      You've got the basis for an effective defense but the target discrimination would be a challenge, to say the least.

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  8. If you make the rocket warheads base initiated-base detonated, that would direct the explosion mostly forward, thus reducing backward projection of shrapnel.

    No defense is perfect, but it would increase the cost of the attack at the least. Do you have any solutions to the "wall of lead" deficiencies?

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    1. I can come up with conceptual solutions but nothing that actually exists today. Target discrimination is always the challenge in any defensive scenario.

      Recall the incident in which a US Burke class destroyer was supposedly attacked by one or two anti-ship missiles off Yemen? Supposedly they shot them down although the Navy couldn't definitively say they did. In fact, when you read the story closely, it's not even certain that the ship was attacked. If we can't even achieve reliable target discrimination in that easy scenario, how will we function in an all out attack?

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    2. Now that you bring that Yemen incident up, just thinking about past incidents, like inside Persian Gulf, Vietnam,etc...just a few times when it would appear they might have been multiple targets (missiles, ships, small boats,etc...) plus fog of war, USN ships seem to have struggled with acquiring a good grasp of the situation....

      When you bring Yemen, I wondered if that might be a more stressful situation than we think, if you are a bunch of rebels with 3 ASMs and you see a USN DDG sailing by, compared to Russian or Chinese with multiple ASMs, what would the commanders do?

      Russian/Chinese commander might "nurse" his ASM and wait for better targeting or better situation to develop, the rebel commander on the other hand, has a different set of problems, he's on the run, no air superiority, little targeting and it's a once in a lifetime fleeting opportunity, he probably is FAR more likely to unleash all 3 ASMs to secure a hit compared to the Russian/Chinese commander that might just fire a shot here or there and come back to fight tomorrow, the mindset is very different of traditional naval officers to a rebel on the run leader.....we might face multiple ASMs launches facing Africa coast or Middle East like Yemen just patrolling in a dangerous zone BUT not quite a war zone. Just my 2 cents...

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  9. CNO,

    Your article makes two points- that engagement of missiles will be much closer to your ship than many expect, and the amount of debris.

    I can't speak about the debris, but since your last article, I came across two videos which help illustrate some of the points you make- how difficult it is to actually find enemy ships, and that the defence of your ship will likely be within visual range. Ignore the sock puppet - it's not a kids video.

    - Attack on aegis:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcwDfaY4OW4

    - Kirov Battlecruiser vs Burke Destroyer

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1Jdc7yq2hc

    To me, these videos helped me understand your point of view CNO. Probably too pimplictic for the more knowledgable people here, but useful for me.

    Andrew

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    1. The videos are a useful basic primer on naval AAW but nothing more than that. Love the sock puppet!

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  10. This is more of a comment on the original post but thought I'd put it here to keep current:

    I might be wrong but I seem to recall that VLS systems have a longer minimum range and a slower engagement time due to the missile having to maneuver to horizontal.
    Given the limited engagement time you've mentioned, would a return to trainable (and re-loadable) launchers be viable? At least for short/medium range anti-air. Long range anti-air/cruise/anti-ship/anti-sub missiles could remain in VLS.

    Could a dedicated radar picket help with this? A smallish ship, filled to the brim with short/medium range anti-air weapons.
    Stick them close to the radar horizon of the main fleet and the enemy needs to either expend missiles on the pickets or risk missiles/aircraft being shot down further out. The extended radar range could also make the use of longer range missiles from the main fleet more practical.

    Lofty.

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    1. "would a return to trainable (and re-loadable) launchers be viable?"

      An excellent question. I have no definitive answer and you clearly grasp the pluses and minuses of each approach. In the short time frame scenario, the trainable launcher might well provide a better response. I don't know but it's a great question that the Navy ought to investigate.

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    2. "dedicated radar picket"

      Another great question and concept. It seems potentially viable and effective but, again, I don't know and the Navy would have to test the concept. This kind of tactical testing is exactly what the Navy should be doing every day but they aren't.

      Great comment. Keep thinking creatively!

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  11. Has one of you guys ever heard or read of a war game during the Cold War ( cuz they played all kinds of war games during that time ) where for example USAF try to attack a carrier battle group ?

    The results of this would be referential and very interesting non the less.

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    1. I've heard of direct aircraft attack exercises but nothing that replicated missile (wavetop, high Mach, small targets) attacks.

      Recently, the Navy brought three carriers together in the Pacific for a photo op and supposedly conducted some combined air op exercises where some planes attacked as aggressors and attacked the carriers but, again, that's a world different from a missile attack.

      Maybe someone else knows about relevant exercises that have been conducted.

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  12. Do you think there might be a role for old fashion AA guns, perhaps with some sort of optics to aid the gunner.

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    1. Kamikazes functionally were the same as AShM. It is my understanding the smaller caliber guns did not stop them well. Certainly some 76mm AA guns would be more cost effective than ESSMs.

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    2. We use old fashioned guns - they're called CIWS! So, yes. The drawback is that they're very short ranged. That said, I'd have around 4 (or more!)per ship versus our current 0-2. There are going to be many more leakers in real combat than we think and 4+ would allow for some damage and losses of CIWS in combat.

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    3. Well, if there is some kind of EO sight system that aids the gunner is some way why not. But would be for 20mm or 25mm guns.

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    4. "Certainly some 76mm AA guns would be more cost effective than ESSMs."

      Cost effective, perhaps, but certainly not combat effective. I've never even heard of a 76 mm gun shooting down a missile even in an exercise designed to "prove" how good the gun is. Have you ever heard of such an exercise?

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    5. I doubt there's an EO system that's more effective than the closed loop radar system of the Phalanx CIWS and trying to manually aim a gun from a rolling, pitching ship at a high subsonic or Mach+ missile just seems impossible other than blind, dumb luck. Gyrostabilization can only do so much.

      We've already seen that the LCS Mk 110 gun is inaccurate. The Vincennes incident proved the inherent inaccuracy of 5" guns. Even the F-35 guns are non-functionally inaccurate!

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    6. I know you will love this answer, but OTO Melara advertises the 76mm has being able to shoot down subsonic missiles. I do know we used up to 5 inch guns in WW2 for AA. I could not in a cursory look find an excercise result. I do know this capabilty has been touted for a while. Maybe its hype and not reality. I'll have to dig and see. Maybe I fell for BS.

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    7. "OTO Melara advertises the 76mm has being able to shoot down subsonic missiles."

      And the US Navy claims the LCS is a one-ship, unbeatable, fighting machine that will utterly dominate the littorals. Claims are easy!

      Any gun has a theoretical chance of shooting down a missile but the odds are so poor that there is no practical chance. Unless a manufacturer can demonstrate, repeatedly, and in semi-realistic testing, that the gun can reliably shoot down missiles, I'm not going to give the claim any credibility.

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  13. I just read an article about a future LSTs that suggests new missile defenses.

    1. Strapping pontoons along the rails to absorb missile blasts.

    2. Numerous simple 50 cal gatling guns, each firing 2000 rounds a minute. Aimed by eyeballs firing tracers, several of these firing at an incoming missile should hit it.

    3. Missile nets (like the old torpedo nets).

    The article has several related pictures.

    http://www.g2mil.com/Landing%20Ship%20Assault.htm


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    1. This article has lots of shaky assumptions. For example, the thought that a flimsy pontoon is going to largely absorb anti-ship cruise missile impacts when most people say that real armor will totally ineffective is just hilarious.

      Similarly, the CIWS is criticized because even if it does hit its target, the oncoming debris will still hit and sink the ship. Despite this, the article suggests that the even shorter range 0.50 cal MG will stop an incoming missile? Let me know how many volunteers you get to stand out on an open deck during a missile attack, by the way! If the CIWS with its closed loop radar system is viewed as being suspect in its ability to hit an incoming supersonic or high subsonic missile, why do we think that a manually operated MG, even several at once, will be more effective?

      Missile net???? A supersonic missile is going to be stopped by a net?

      The article is wishful thinking taken to a ridiculous level.

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  14. Leonardo which contains the Oto Melara division, offers it's STRALES system comprising an on mount tracking and guidance radar to control it's DART command guided AA 76mm saboted subcaliber projectiles that have a claimed effective range of over 8km and are fired in five round bursts. YouTube has videos of tests against atationary and slow moving aeriel targets which show successes. I don't know if Italian Navy has tested system against high subsonic or supersonic targets. Would appear more capable then 76mm SR firing conventional unguided rounds and system has multi feeding 89 round ready magazine and fires at 120 rpm.
    MAD-FIRES is DARPA program to give existing guns of 20-76mm? guided projectiles, possibly with seekers for fire and forget use.
    HVP has been advertised as being fired from MK 45 five inch guns with some form of guidance with greater range than unguided five inch rounds and supposed to cost $86,000 per shot while RAM costs $900,000 per shot and ESSM $1,400,000 per shot.

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