Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Knowing and Glowing

So, nuclear weapon and nuclear power. 

Need another pick-me-up topic?

I'm discussing a little dystopia over at USNIBlog. 

Come on by and bring your own flop sweat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

By All Means, Let's Talk About Your Networked Force

Hindsight is a funny thing; it can make a genius look like an idiot, the masses blind, conventional wisdom ossified, a minor character a kingmaker, and obscure players in a side game look like the only ones that knew what was to come.

Hindsight’s handmaiden History is kind for those who pay her enough attention, and their courtier the Future is not as coy as she seems at first glance. She gives hints, sly glances, a little bite of the lip or a flick of the tongue to let you know where she’d like to go. You just need to look for the tells and signs. They are all there. The Future is not opaque or unknown; she is just very good at her game.

If you’d read one article or book, you’ve read a thousand; celestial networks, offsets, leaping technology generations, total domain awareness, unmanned systems – you know the money sponge phylum.

It all rides on just a few brittle but exquisite assumptions; the electromagnetic spectrum can be owned, our satellites are there and have infinite low error rate bandwidth, we cannot be spoofed – we are the smartest player in the room.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. As the British learned the hard way when they moved from decades of fighting colonial wars against primitives barely out of the bronze age in the 19th Century to modern opponents – you can get complacent with your dominance. They had plenty of warnings and started to figure things out with their taste of the change in the Boer War.

We haven’t had our Boer War, yet – but History is trying to nudge us a bit to look at what Future may hold.
China has released footage of its first interception test of a mid-air ballistic missile, destroying a target miles above Earth .

Video shows the land-based rocket blast off into the sky in a blinding white light, before hurtling towards what looks like a small white dot above the planet's atmosphere.

Upon impact, the missile explodes into a huge fireball .

Footage of the experiment, which took place in 2010, has never been made public until now.
The video is over a six years old. What, if anything, have they advanced from then? Who knows, but there is not much of a reach from an ABM system to an ASAT system - if you want to take that step.

Usual Chinese caveats apply: better than even odds that most of this was faked and standard issue propaganda – indeed much of the video is post-production – but intentions are important. We also have our tricks, but you cannot ignore messages and aspirations of a growing power.

On a not totally unrelated note at the end of the article there was this;
In May, China announced it would send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Atlantic Ocean, arguing it had little choice if America continued to advance its weapons systems.
Snort. Readiness points for ALL my friends!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Russian Long Range Strike: Payloads Over Platforms

Range and speed; range and speed.

The "payloads over platforms" push by the previous CNO was just a rebranding of a military concept as old as the slingshot; it doesn't really matter the speed and mobility of a weapons carrier, what really matters is how far he can reach, and how deadly the weapon he carries is.

From the Pope trying to keep the crossbow out of the hands of roughly trained peasants standing against nobility, to the more recent "Two thousand pounds of education: Drops to a ten-rupee jezail." - it is a constant.

With modern weapons being made more deadly as technology, materials, computers and miniaturization advance, David Majumdar over at WarIsBoring outlines the Russian challenge of her big birds. If this is something that had you thinking in the last year as these heavy and medium bombers of Cold War fame put on an extended live fire exercise, then you'll want to read-it-all.
Russia has 16 remaining original model Tu-160 airframes left, of those perhaps 11 are used for operational missions with about half of those available for operational missions. The remainder of the Russian strategic bomber force is based around 63 surviving Tu-95MS Bear bombers of which perhaps 55 are operational.
Though the quad-turboprop Tu-95 is an elderly design, the aircraft has been upgraded many times and carries modern long-range conventional and nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The Russian bomber force showed off its capabilities over Syria — launching long-range Kh-101 cruise missiles while supporting out of area operations.
“It’s really the missiles,” Kofman said. “The Tu-95 is old, but it works, just like the B-52.”
Unlike the U.S. Air Force’s Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit or forthcoming B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber, the Russian bombers are not designed to penetrate enemy airspace to any great extent. The bombers are designed to move into position to launch cruise missiles from stand-off distances.
Even Ole Sal's favorite Russian aircraft, the SU-34 Fulback, makes a cameo;
while a new Tu-160 will likely replace the current Blackjack and Bear fleets, it’s somewhat of a mystery as to what will take the place of the Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire medium bomber force. 
Though the Su-34 Fullback strike version of the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker airframe is often thought of as replacement for the Su-24 Fencer strike aircraft, Kofman said the Fullback is a much more capable aircraft with performance rivaling a medium bomber. 
Indeed, the Su-34 — which has performed extremely well over Syria — might ultimately serve as a replacement for both the Su-24 and the Tu-22M3, Kofman said. There is simply no logical reason to develop a dedicated replacement for the Backfire when the Fullback could fill the role and be much more versatile at the same time.
Remember wargaming defense agains Backfire Regiments at sea? Well ...
...there is no reason a weapon such as the P-800 Oniks supersonic sea-skimmer couldn’t be carried by the Fullback.

He noted that the Indian Su-30MKI will carry the Brahmos variant of the P-800 — which is essentially a slightly less capable version of the same weapon.

The addition of a P-800 would give the Su-34 a long-range anti-ship punch that is arguably more formidable than Kh-22 — granted the Fullback could only carry one Oniks missile at a time.
The next decade will show how successful the Russians are with post-Soviet designs, but the last decade of the Soviet Union did produce some solid aircraft that are lending themselves well to modernization.

We'll see what the Russians can do with a soft economy head wind, but watch closely - the Russians are never as weak or as strong as they seem.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Turkey ,Erdoğan & its Miltary - with Ryan Evans on Midrats

The events of the last week in Turkey brought that critically important nation in to focus, and we are going to do the same thing for this week's episode of Midrats.

Turkey has a history of military coups as a byproduct of an ongoing drive to be a modern secular nation against the current of a deeply Islamic people. This week we are going to look at how Turkey found itself at another coup attempt, the response, and the possible impact for Turkey and its relationship with NATO, Russia, Europe, and its neighbors.

Our guest to discuss this and more for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Ryan Evans, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the web magazine, War on the Rocks.

Ryan Evans is a widely published commentator and recovering academic. He deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan from 2010 – 2011 as a Social Scientist on a U.S. Army Human Terrain Team that was OPCON/TACON to the British-led Task Force Helmand. He has worked as assistant director at the Center for the National Interest, a research fellow at the Center for National Policy, and for the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence in London. He is a Fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society and received his MA from the King's College London War Studies Department.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Great lessons from both sides - but the most important is the results of two naval mindsets; the defensive mindset vs. that offensive mindset.

History shows which usually wins.

New, fast and modern forces with a defensive mindset against old, slower - but aggressive.

The results? OPERATION JUDGEMENT; The Raid on Toranto.

Going to war in your SDBs, what's not to like? What were they looking at?
A last line of early warning was offered by 13 sound-detection devices placed at strategic points around the harbour. These were capable of detecting aircraft out to 25 nautical miles (29 miles or 46km). This was sufficient to bring to alert the searchlight and gun crews, though not enough for an effective air-defence scramble.

Then there were the 22 searchlights strung out around both harbours in the hope of catching attacking ships and aircraft in their beams to provide easier sighting for the array of defending guns.

Defending the base was 21 gun batteries of dual-purpose – though World War I vintage - 4in guns. On the shore were 13 mounts, while the remaining eight were installed on immobile barges anchored along the boundary of the Mar Grande.

Close-range protection was offered 84 20mm Breda anti-aircraft guns and 109 13.2mm Breda machine guns. These were in a mix of single and twin mounts.

Finally, there were the guns and searchlights aboard the warships themselves.
Read the whole thing over at ArmouredCarriers. Just superb.

If you are lazy, wedge out most of an hour for the below videos.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ode to a Frigate

The USS THACH (FFG 43) represented the PERRY Class frigate well. OHP's proved it actually combat conditions with Sammy-B and STARK that they could take a hit. 

Even alone, without her Sailors to help her - at the RIMPAC SINKEX the THACH showed what the class was made of.

Well done.