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Old 05-04-2012, 11:03 PM
Raptor Buddha Raptor Buddha is offline
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Power Projection and Navies

Sorry all, this thread began like many of my threads often do : ZUer Person Who is Not Tabby—“Raptor Buddha, make a thread on naval things in SD.” And so I did. If this topic completely bores you, I apologize—it is rather a niche market innit? Nonetheless, feel free to participate regardless of how many ❤❤❤❤s you give.

For Gamzee


This is a thread to address and discuss the merits and demerits of contemporary naval defense policy and expenditures from a military perspective. This is not intended to be a discussion in the ethics or efficacy of such funding. While these are salient issues, they aren’t what I really want to focus on.

Naval warfare has evolved considerably throughout history—beginning on primitive wooden rafts and eventually growing into the massive multi-turreted Dreadnoughts and Fleet Carriers of the 20th and 21st centuries. However, no matter what the existent technology, the strategic balance, and the military culture was, navies across the world have been chiefly concerned with the issue of how to effectively project power beyond national shores.

As noted earlier, the form that such power projection assumes has varied significantly, from primitive wooden ships designed to move soldiers along shores and rivers to massive naval engagements fought over distances of thousands of miles. Technology is a variable that has constantly altered how navies project their power, and it is on this point that I want to anchor (hurr hurr see what I did there?) our discussion.

Since the end of the Second World War, the debut of the aircraft carrier has altered the strategic balance of naval warfare. For the United States especially, the aircraft carrier has been the cornerstone in the US military’s ability to project power across the globe at short notice. Indeed, a single aircraft carrier has a compliment of aircraft that dwarf the entire air forces of some (admittedly) small countries.
However, technological developments might well be overtaking the utility of the aircraft carrier.

The first technological development is a Chinese development: the DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile. Unlike other anti-ship missiles like the exocet which skirts slowly along the waterline, these anti-ballistic missiles would travel at hypersonic speeds and potentially destroy a carrier in a single hit. A 4.5 billion dollar aircraft carrier potentially eliminated in a single blow by a missile a mere fraction of that cost.

However, possibly more significant are naval developments occurring in the United States and UK. The most significant is this:



A 33 Mega joule railgun that fires a projectile with a range of approximately 220 miles, and travels that distance at around 10-20 km/s.

Additionally, other technological developments in the field of military lasers might provide solutions and new problems for navies that want to project power as discussed here. While the power problems and logistical issues of military lasers have always been problematic, I think headway is slowly being made to create a workable weapon. Obviously, the issues of an invisible beam of light cutting into the hull of a multi-billion dollar warship are problematic to say the least.

Finally, the amount of power that aircraft carriers can actually project seems to be diminishing—especially in NATO countries that are adopting the Joint Strike Fighter. While historically, carrier air groups were composed of powerful air interceptors like the famed F-14 Tomcat, the Joint Strike Fighter appears to be a jack of all trades, and master of none—with particularly disappointing air-to-air capabilities as demonstrated in recent exercises. Worse for the JSF, it’s lack of capability as a dogfighter or air-to-air fighter means that at best it would only be able to defend an aircraft carrier if the carrier is alerted to the possibility of a mass air attack so squadrons could scramble, and even then in a contest between modern Su-35 Flankers the contest might only be, at best, a 1:1 exchange.

What this all suggests is that the efficiency of cheap offensive weapons might bring into question the relevance of large, multi-billion dollar warships. In some ways, it simply represents the ongoing evolution of technology in warfare—the expensive armored knight is eventually outclassed by the cheap musketeer.

Tl;dr So, the question becomes, in this kind of environment with incredibly destructive, precision weapons, how can navies continue to project power? Furthermore, where do you see the future of naval warfare heading?

Alternatively, discuss why Will Smith is such a badass mother❤❤❤❤er in Indepedence Day as an F/A-18 Hornet Pilot.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:21 AM
Tabby Tabby is a male European Union Tabby is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

I see a few problems with the ballistic anti carrier missiles the Chinese are producing:

1. What difference does it's trajectory have with that of a nuclear ICBM? I would imagine seeing a missile (or more likely, several missiles) launching on a ballistic trajectory our of Chinese airspace from some secret base under a mountain in the Midwest of America would certainly cause a bit of panic. I doubt the Chinese would want to start a nuclear war, so using them would be a bit problematic.

2. Aegis equipped ships have an anti-ballistic missile capacity. It is US policy to keep a Tico cruiser (not gonna even try to spell the full word) accompanying a carrier at all times, and a full battlegroup would have loads of Aleigh Burke destroyers too. So unless the Chinese launch enough to overwhelm the defences, I doubt they will be much use.

3. Ballistic launches can be detected pretty quickly. Unlike regular ASMs, which have a relatively short range, the fleet would have a lot of forewarning of the launch of these ballistic missiles. While avoiding them would be difficult, it would give the escorts time to prepare.

And this is all discounting the fact that a war with China might not happen. In today's climate, being able to move a mini air force anywhere on the globe is a massive advantage to those who operate carriers. The Falklands war is a great example, as without carriers retaking them would have been impossible. Wars between superpowers are very unlikely, but another Falklands or First Gulf war are likely. And carriers are needed to win these wars.

China, for example, cant project it's power beyond it's land borders for the simple reason it has no carriers. The US is the world's sole superpower right now simply because it can strike anywhere on the globe, just how Britain could in the late 19th century. China is not a power of the level of the US, because it simply cannot enforce it's power except on it's immediate neighbours. Aircraft Carriers are what makes the US so powerful.

As for the future? The US may keep the edge in numbers of carriers, but other countries are developing their own. China and India are both developing carriers, although I do not see these as being a threat to US dominance. Rather, my professor at uni speculated that they will be used to fight each other some time in the near future. The US would not even be involved.
Would have the interesting scenario of Russian derived aircraft fighting each other. This would be a very equal playing field, with both nations starting at the same point experience wise. And with the fighting most likely being in the Indian Ocean, these Chinese missiles might not play such a big part- and like I said, I doubt the Chinese would be willing to use them due to the threat of starting a general nuclear exchange.

Technology wise, I imagine the carrier will stay dominant, unless railgun technology progresses far enough. Who knows, in 30 years we may see the return of Dreadnaught types, bristling with railguns. While they would become the core of the fleet, carriers will stay but in a much diminished role. While they may stay on as helicopter carriers for ASW, as well as being a platform for AWACs aircraft to fly from, I also see Drone carriers as having a lot of potential. A lot of UCAVs can be carried due to their small size, and the ship would retain a hybrid role of also having guns and missiles. This would be very useful for low intensity conflicts- the UXV combatant would be very useful for another situation like Libya, having both the aircraft and the shore bombardment capacity with the gun and missiles. While it does not have the interception ability of a traditional carrier, they would be a very useful addition to a fleet.

And as I have discussed with you, Wes, the F-35 is not an ideal aircraft at all. Just we have no other alternative really, unless we can get someone to join us in navalising the Eurofighter. Hell, if we could switch the engine or something out of the Rafale, that would be preferable.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:55 AM
Raptor Buddha Raptor Buddha is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Well, regarding the issue of the high risk of confusion between ASBMs and nuclear ICBMs, you’re absolutely right, and I embarrassingly forgot to put this point in my OP (or maybe it was because I was already hitting two pages and decided to call it quits, I can’t remember ), and that point is that for practical purposes these weapons are identical to nuclear missiles with the only practical distinction being that one has an anti-ship high explosive warhead and the other has a nuclear warhead. I suppose a user of an anti-ship ballistic missile could call up its intended recipient and be like: “btdubs, this missile Imma send out your ways is not nuclear. Like, we swear and ❤❤❤❤.” Kinda defeats the point dunnit?

To your more tactical point as to whether US missile interception warships could successfully interdict them, I’m honestly not sure. The capability exists, but then again these aren’t slow moving cruise missiles or anti-ship missiles that glide along the water. These suckers are hypersonic. What that means is that the margin for error is significantly reduced, and it would certainly be easier to overwhelm missile defense systems than it would be if conventional anti-ship missiles were fired.

Honestly, I don’t really know if such a missile strike would really be necessary given that the old Soviet Cold War anti-carrier strategy seems just as—if not more effective—now. In other words, launch huge numbers of aircraft to fire missiles at the battlegroup. While the CAG will scramble, there certainly won’t be enough time to scramble and intercept the entire attacking force before the missiles are fired. I think with the lack of a dedicated carrier based air-to-air interceptor like the F-14, this problem is even more pronounced now than it was in the last half century.

Regarding power projection, I do think we have to be fair to China and note that it has more of a strategic dilemma than the US has or probably ever will. China will always need to devote more resources to its army simply because it’s juxtaposed between its ambivalent ally, Russia, an India that’s also growing in military might and Sino-skepticism, and other rather suspicious East Asian nations like Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea—not to mention their SEATO allies. Whereas the only fathomable US continental threat is a laughable invasion by Mexico, China exists in one of the toughest neighborhoods on the block. The US and UK are uniquely positioned in that they can devote significantly more of their military capability towards projecting power rather than towards, say, garrisoning the Sino—Indian border, or the Sino-Russian border, etc. I do think the Chinese military has impressively reinvented itself in the years after the Gulf War when the Politburo effectively shat themselves at how easily US and Coalition forces smashed Saddam Hussein’s Soviet and Chinese inspired forces.

Regarding the future, I don’t think the US Navy and its partners need to seriously be concerned about losing naval supremacy, and I don’t think China currently has the resources or the capability to get into a “Dreadnought” race involving aircraft carriers. The cost is too great and the benefits or too minor. Rather, what the US Navy has to be concerned about is greater fleet denial capability that will render its naval power moot. I honestly do believe that drone carriers will become the future of surface naval warfare, but I think at present they have the same strategic value as, for example, helicopter carriers. I don’t think they will become the preeminent capital ship until the development of an unmanned Sixth Generation (or possibly Seventh Gen) fighter with sufficient air-to-air capabilities. Once that happens, I think naval warfare changes significantly, and the shift will be for ships to become smaller and more numerous.

And this reason is why I find the, admittedly attractive, idea of a Railgun neo-Dreadnought unlikely. Perhaps the first dedicated railgun ship will be large in order to absorb the enormous power demands that such a weapon would have, but I think as the technology proliferates the idea of having large warships with multiple railgun batteries seems excessive—especially since, ultimately, any kind of feasible armor or defense of such projectiles is probably a long way off. Rather, I think you would probably find Railgun “Gunboats” to be more the norm; a railgun on as fast and small a hull as you can find.

Now regarding a subject we don’t ever talk about, the F-35 and it’s addition to the fleet, I’m honestly to the point where I say any fighter but the F-35. I would be all for the USN adopting the Rafale or the Typhoon for its air-to-air missions rather than the F-35. Certainly, a contingent of F-35s will get a few “free-shots” at an attacking force due to its bvr capability and stealth, but once its position is identified, it has no real ability to evade missiles—and its electronic countermeasures are too few and inferior to even most other Russian fighters. Additionally, while it does have a modest stealth package, its uncovered engines make it visible to infra-red. While a navalized Typhoon and the Rafale certainly don’t have a similar stealth packaging, they can dogfight and they can evade missiles. They also could go toe-to-toe with the Su-30 and 35 if need be. I think navies, frankly, deserve a better air-to-air fighter that won’t get the fleet sunk.

When the Tomcat was recalled, nobody really cared because at the time carrier fighters were used to bomb $10 tents in Afghanistan and the US Navy’s biggest priority was to develop better methods of operating in shallow waters. Now that the T-50 and the J-20 have come out, and these fighters appear to have a decisive edge* over the JSF, I think this certainly needs to be addressed. In some respects it already is being addressed with this program, although this is still about thirteen years away. More interestingly, I would hope that the USN might consider something like this, a hybridization of the F-22 and the F-14—essentially, a navalized F-22 Raptor. These don’t have to replace the JSF completely because the Raptor doesn’t really have any capability as an air-to-ground strike fighter. However, a small complement of them would certainly go a long way.

However, all this nonsense aside, at the end of the day, I think this is probably the future of naval combat:

Spoiler:  



*Although the article is titled F-22 vs. T-50, it does have a similar comparison of the F-35 vs. the T-50, one just has to dig for it.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:02 AM
Tabby Tabby is a male European Union Tabby is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Multiquite cos why the ❤❤❤❤ not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor Buddha View Post
Well, regarding the issue of the high risk of confusion between ASBMs and nuclear ICBMs, you’re absolutely right, and I embarrassingly forgot to put this point in my OP (or maybe it was because I was already hitting two pages and decided to call it quits, I can’t remember ), and that point is that for practical purposes these weapons are identical to nuclear missiles with the only practical distinction being that one has an anti-ship high explosive warhead and the other has a nuclear warhead. I suppose a user of an anti-ship ballistic missile could call up its intended recipient and be like: “btdubs, this missile Imma send out your ways is not nuclear. Like, we swear and ❤❤❤❤.” Kinda defeats the point dunnit?
Exactly. The Chinese leadership are not stupid (and actually seem to be one of the cleverest governments on the planet), and their system means they don't need to care about public opinion as much as western governments do. I think the ballistic ASMs will be used as more of a deterrent than anything else; a warning to the US not to move their carriers nearby. But if push came to shove, I think the Chinese government would be reluctant to use them. They don't have anywhere near the amount of nuclear missiles as the Americans do, and very few of those are in subs. It makes a lot of sense that the Chinese government would want to avoid a nuclear war.


Quote:
To your more tactical point as to whether US missile interception warships could successfully interdict them, I’m honestly not sure. The capability exists, but then again these aren’t slow moving cruise missiles or anti-ship missiles that glide along the water. These suckers are hypersonic. What that means is that the margin for error is significantly reduced, and it would certainly be easier to overwhelm missile defense systems than it would be if conventional anti-ship missiles were fired.
Obviously regular SAMs, even launched from an Aegis ship, will not be of much use. But, there are specialised systems for shooting down ballistic missiles that the USN is using right now.

Quote:
Honestly, I don’t really know if such a missile strike would really be necessary given that the old Soviet Cold War anti-carrier strategy seems just as—if not more effective—now. In other words, launch huge numbers of aircraft to fire missiles at the battlegroup. While the CAG will scramble, there certainly won’t be enough time to scramble and intercept the entire attacking force before the missiles are fired. I think with the lack of a dedicated carrier based air-to-air interceptor like the F-14, this problem is even more pronounced now than it was in the last half century.
Though on the other hand, ship based anti air and missile technology has improved leaps and bounds since the end of the Cold War too. How far has missile technology advanced? It isn't something I am familiar with.

Quote:
Regarding power projection, I do think we have to be fair to China and note that it has more of a strategic dilemma than the US has or probably ever will. China will always need to devote more resources to its army simply because it’s juxtaposed between its ambivalent ally, Russia, an India that’s also growing in military might and Sino-skepticism, and other rather suspicious East Asian nations like Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea—not to mention their SEATO allies. Whereas the only fathomable US continental threat is a laughable invasion by Mexico, China exists in one of the toughest neighborhoods on the block. The US and UK are uniquely positioned in that they can devote significantly more of their military capability towards projecting power rather than towards, say, garrisoning the Sino—Indian border, or the Sino-Russian border, etc. I do think the Chinese military has impressively reinvented itself in the years after the Gulf War when the Politburo effectively shat themselves at how easily US and Coalition forces smashed Saddam Hussein’s Soviet and Chinese inspired forces.
That is true. However, even with borders with India, they are basically on the Himalayas. Hardly good ground for sweeping tank battles. if China wants to be able to beat India, they will need a navy. Controlling the Indian ocean will be key for Chinese survival, considering how much of their trade passes through the region. It will be a VERY interesting war (if it happens, and I think this is far more likely than a Sino-US conflict), and we may see Midway style carrier battles in the Indian Ocean.
If the Chinese are able to neutralise the Indian Navy, India will have lost. Would be very difficult to stop an amphibious landing on the East coast of the subcontinent. The Indians will be very much on the defensive, and I doubt anything other than submarines will operate past Indonesia.

Quote:
Regarding the future, I don’t think the US Navy and its partners need to seriously be concerned about losing naval supremacy, and I don’t think China currently has the resources or the capability to get into a “Dreadnought” race involving aircraft carriers. The cost is too great and the benefits or too minor. Rather, what the US Navy has to be concerned about is greater fleet denial capability that will render its naval power moot. I honestly do believe that drone carriers will become the future of surface naval warfare, but I think at present they have the same strategic value as, for example, helicopter carriers. I don’t think they will become the preeminent capital ship until the development of an unmanned Sixth Generation (or possibly Seventh Gen) fighter with sufficient air-to-air capabilities. Once that happens, I think naval warfare changes significantly, and the shift will be for ships to become smaller and more numerous.
Yeah, exactly. The Chinese will never be able to compete with the USN, and so I don't think they will even try. A war between the two is very unlikely.
And I agree with the drones part. Until we can find a way to make flight simulators control real aircraft and not just pixels on the screen, they will be limited to carrying strike packages or other tasks rather than CAP. But when they do, we may see the most important warships of the fleet being not much bigger than a destroyer and having a crew of 150 or less.

Quote:
And this reason is why I find the, admittedly attractive, idea of a Railgun neo-Dreadnought unlikely. Perhaps the first dedicated railgun ship will be large in order to absorb the enormous power demands that such a weapon would have, but I think as the technology proliferates the idea of having large warships with multiple railgun batteries seems excessive—especially since, ultimately, any kind of feasible armor or defense of such projectiles is probably a long way off. Rather, I think you would probably find Railgun “Gunboats” to be more the norm; a railgun on as fast and small a hull as you can find.
But, in the eternal race of firepower versus protection, one will always catch up to the other. We may develop some new and fancy alloy to be able to defend against these projectiles. Then the armament is upgraded to defeat the armour. Then the armour is upgraded. Then the firepower. And then we get Dreadnoughts again.
It is similar to what happened in the 19th century with the advent of ironclad ships. Slapping some wrought iron on a ship will protect it from round shot, but as soon as shell technology, gun size, and rapid reloading techniques (breech loading) improved, it was near useless. Improved methods of making steel (Bessemer process anyone?) where spearheaded by the need to protect ships from the new types of armament.
Who knows? As railgun technology is developed, armour to defend against them will progress at basically the same speed.

Quote:
Now regarding a subject we don’t ever talk about, the F-35 and it’s addition to the fleet, I’m honestly to the point where I say any fighter but the F-35. I would be all for the USN adopting the Rafale or the Typhoon for its air-to-air missions rather than the F-35. Certainly, a contingent of F-35s will get a few “free-shots” at an attacking force due to its bvr capability and stealth, but once its position is identified, it has no real ability to evade missiles—and its electronic countermeasures are too few and inferior to even most other Russian fighters. Additionally, while it does have a modest stealth package, its uncovered engines make it visible to infra-red. While a navalized Typhoon and the Rafale certainly don’t have a similar stealth packaging, they can dogfight and they can evade missiles. They also could go toe-to-toe with the Su-30 and 35 if need be. I think navies, frankly, deserve a better air-to-air fighter that won’t get the fleet sunk.
We have already discussed this and I do agree. Buying the Rafale outright is unthinkable for the Royal Navy, but I think swapping the engine would be acceptable.
Navalising the Eurofighter would be impossible. Not with BAE doing it. They would probably find a way to make it as expensive as the F-35.

Quote:
When the Tomcat was recalled, nobody really cared because at the time carrier fighters were used to bomb $10 tents in Afghanistan and the US Navy’s biggest priority was to develop better methods of operating in shallow waters. Now that the T-50 and the J-20 have come out, and these fighters appear to have a decisive edge* over the JSF, I think this certainly needs to be addressed. In some respects it already is being addressed with this program, although this is still about thirteen years away. More interestingly, I would hope that the USN might consider something like this, a hybridization of the F-22 and the F-14—essentially, a navalized F-22 Raptor. These don’t have to replace the JSF completely because the Raptor doesn’t really have any capability as an air-to-ground strike fighter. However, a small complement of them would certainly go a long way.
Or just pray there will not be a major war in the next 30 years. The F-35 will work perfectly well against second rate nations and below- Iran, for example, does not at present have anything up to the standard of the T-50. Since a major war between the US and Russia or China is VERY unlikely, and since both countries would not be willing to sell their top of the line aircraft to anyone (Russia has never really been fond of selling top rate equipment to anyone- the T-72s fought in Iraq, for example, where certainly not up to the standard as those in the Russian army), then the F-35 will be very capable in wars against lesser powers, and it's deficiencies are less important.

But since most of this discussion is related to a Sino-US or Russian-US conflict, I actually don't think it is that relevant. I don't think either conflict is very likely at all, and the carrier is THE most important weapon when conducting smaller wars far from friendly bases. If Italy did not cooperate, then the lack of British carriers would have made the intervention in Libya impossible. The Initial strikes in Afghanistan where made by carrier aircraft, and as my professor said, Afghanistan, while not having a coastline, was subjected to an amphibious invasion. Flying everything over Pakistan was basically us strongarming them into supporting us. It would have been difficult for the Pakistanis to say no when we had the capacity to strike anywhere in the region even without a friendly base.




Quote:
However, all this nonsense aside, at the end of the day, I think this is probably the future of naval combat:

Spoiler:  
Singers fighting Aliens. It's the future.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:56 AM
Great White North Great White North is a male Prussia Great White North is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Overall, I can agree with most of the sentiments here.

The F-35 right now is a complete mess. We're sinking billions and billions of dollars into its development and eventual purchase, and when it rolls off the assembly line it won't have the ability to compete with its contemporaries. This is extremely concerning. While the F-35 will likely be able to dominate the lesser developed militaries of poorer countries, it doesn't have the capability to dogfight the main competitors: Russia and China.

It's a bit bewildering as to how the F-35 can be so terrible when its costing so much. I don't know how well the F-22 would do against the fighters the Russians and Chinese are developing, but if its performance is better than the F-35, I'd rather field it than the JSF. Even if it's more expensive. And even if it needs to be navalized.

Admittedly, most of this flies over the heads of the itty-bitty bite-sized Canadian military. The government and the people aren't willing to sink a lot of money into the military, which makes the F-35 purchase rather historic. However, since without massive immigration and a rethink of the public mind we will never be able to compete with Russia or China, I'd rather see our resources spent on acquiring a fourth generation fighter that would do well in defending the homeland and projecting power over smaller countries. The money we're spending on the F-35 will only buy us 65 units, which isn't enough. At least by downgrading the purchase, we'd be able to buy more fighters.

Now, of course this is all hypothetical. I don't believe we would ever go to war with either Russia or China. The doctrine of MAD between the nuclear states kind of assures this. But the ability to militarily dominate is important in negotiations, especially when autocratic states are concerned.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:36 AM
Valhelm Valhelm is a male United States Valhelm is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Honestly, I don't know much about naval power. Until this year, I thought any boat with guns on it was a battleship.

However, I think that the United States should demobilize its navy somewhat. A huge fraction of our military spending (already the highest in the world) goes to the upkeep of old ships still in commission. Why not sell several dozen older, smaller ships to friendly, weaker nations (for example, Jordan, Panama, or Ireland), helping both parties? I doubt many ships made before 1980 that are still in service get much use.

Also, although this is off topic, do any very large carriers have gyrocopters on board, for maintenance of hard-to-reach places? Because that would be really cool, and pretty logical.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:55 AM
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Ships are kept in commission for as long as they are useful. The Nimitz class supercarriers where built during the '70s (well, started), and they are still the most powerful in the world. The Ticonderoga class cruisers were built during the '80s too.

It is also much cheaper to maintain older ships than to build new ones.


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Also, although this is off topic, do any very large carriers have gyrocopters on board, for maintenance of hard-to-reach places? Because that would be really cool, and pretty logical.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:04 PM
Avalanchemike Avalanchemike is a male The Byzantine Empire Avalanchemike is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Naval Air Station Sigonella - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 05-06-2012, 12:20 PM
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Oh, I didn't mean it as a THEY COULD JUST USE THIS more just answering your point about whether there was a base within the region. It was useful also to subscribe *lazy*
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:31 PM
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Just a quick reply to a few points before I get back to being responsible and doing work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Great White Cock
I don't know how well the F-22 would do against the fighters the Russians and Chinese are developing, but if its performance is better than the F-35, I'd rather field it than the JSF.
Admittedly, nobody truly knows how such air combat would work, but from what I understand the F-22 has a substantial advantage in beyond visual range engagement over the T-50 and J-20, and is probably just as fast. The problem is that while the F-22 can kill from very long ranges, the T-50 has a highly sophisticated electronic countermeasure system that probably mitigates that advantage in range. The T-50 is unable to see the Raptor, and the Raptor has a slight advantage in speed that would prevent the T-50 from bringing its superior maneuverability to bear. I think at the very least, however, the T-50 is unable to destroy the Raptor--the only real question is whether the Raptor is able to destroy the T-50. The F-35 certainly would be unable to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bravo
Additionally, as I understand it, carriers aren't MEANT to be used in naval warfare as such (what I mean by this is that they're not really used against maritime targets as much as they are against land-based ones).
Well, based on the Second World War, the only real case study where two large carrier based battle fleets engaged in direct naval combat, carriers were rather decisive in destroying enemy fleets and establishing naval supremacy--even if technically this was accomplished by the carrier's air assets. However, even with this said, carriers are very much meant to be used in modern naval warfare because fleets have to be able to provide some form of airspace denial in order for surface warships to operate freely. While anti-air ships can perform this role, they cannot intercept enemy air assets 1,000 miles away from the battlegroup like, for example a carrier air group can. While you're correct in pointing out that submarines are probably a more direct weapon against enemy surface ships (see, e.g. the General Belgrano), the most potent weapon against said submarine is a dedicated carrier based anti-submarine flight group. Thus, I think that while the aircraft carrier is an extremely effective way of projecting power, it's first and most important mission is still in its fleet support role.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bravo
Railguns and anti-carrier missiles could not have enforced the no-fly zone, so it's not possible for them to replace carriers in this regard.
Sure, and I didn't mean to imply that these weapons would replace carriers, merely that their introduction would pose such risks for carriers that the benefit to projecting that kind of power would be substantially outweighed by its cost.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabby
Or just pray there will not be a major war in the next 30 years. The F-35 will work perfectly well against second rate nations and below- Iran, for example, does not at present have anything up to the standard of the T-50. Since a major war between the US and Russia or China is VERY unlikely, and since both countries would not be willing to sell their top of the line aircraft to anyone (Russia has never really been fond of selling top rate equipment to anyone- the T-72s fought in Iraq, for example, where certainly not up to the standard as those in the Russian army), then the F-35 will be very capable in wars against lesser powers, and it's deficiencies are less important.

Well, I think the export variant is primarily what I was thinking about. However, there is certainly a market that Russia is willing to cater to. The question is how up to snuff these export models will be. This is a good question, and probably won't be answered until the T-50 is finally sold on the export market.

You and Great White Cock are both correct in mentioning that MAD makes disparities in air-to-air capability against Russia and China seem like minor problems compared to nuclear war. However, again I think the issue is whether or not other 5th generation fighters are exported to other markets. Furthermore, we do know through the Sino-Soviet Border War and the Kargil War that non-nuclear wars can occur between nuclear powers. Admittedly, both wars ended soon after their inauguration, but that does not mean that an advantage achieved in such a conflict wouldn't be significant after the fact.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:08 PM
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Regarding Libya, carriers would have made things a hell of a lot easier for British forces at least. Instead of Tornados flying ALL THE WAY FROM ENGLAND, Harriers flying from carriers would have made the job much easier.


❤❤❤❤ you Coalition government. ❤❤❤❤ you strategic defence review.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:43 PM
Notsil Notsil is a male United States Notsil is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

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Originally Posted by Tavros View Post
I doubt many ships made before 1980 that are still in service get much use.
Can't speak from a Navy point of view, but as far as the Coast Guard goes (shut up we're real people too), our fleet is outrageously outdated.

While our 270's are from the '80s, our 210's and 378's were all launched in the 1960s. The smaller patrol boats (110' and 87') were all commissioned in the last twenty years, and we are beginning construction on two new classes of ship, its still pretty clear that our ❤❤❤❤ is old as ❤❤❤❤.

And, honestly, preforming pretty well regardless of age. I serve on a vessel that was launched in 1965, and aside from the fact that she's old as hell, we can still carry out our mission pretty damn effectively.

...not really sure where I'm going with this.

So I'll just say the Navy is dumb.

cause they are

---------- Post added at 02:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:36 PM ----------

Also Raptor Buddha, the weapons you alluded to in your OP scare the absolute hell out of me.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:30 AM
Great White North Great White North is a male Prussia Great White North is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

I don't see anything wrong with those goals
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:07 PM
Raptor Buddha Raptor Buddha is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bravo & PNAC
21st Century:
Security System: Unipolar
Strategic Goal: Preserve "Pax Americana"
Main Military Mission(s): Secure and expand zones of democratic peace; deter rise of new great-power competitor; defend key regions; exploit transformation of war
Main Military Threat(s): Potential theater wars spread across the globe
Focus of strategic competition: East Asia
Actually, I think when you look at the recent defense policy shift of realigning forces to East Asia and investing more revenue into the Navy, Air Force, and Marines at the expense of the Army, I tend to this that the Obama administration has accepted the basic factual conclusions and goals of PNAC while rejecting its underlying philosophical basis. Of course, when President Clinton shrugged off PNAC, he was doing so at the tail end of tremendous American economic expansion and China’s military couldn’t even gain air superiority in the Straits of Taiwan. Not so anymore.

It’s interesting you should querry what the US military’s worldview is post 9/11 because I think there’s been a sort of internal tug of war in the Department of Defense as to what the military’s world view should be. After the dust settled from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the military’s deficiencies in counterinsurgency doctrine were traumatically exposed, there was a great deal of criticism heaped on the brass that the military was still preparing to fight Soviet motorized rifle divisions rather than an asymmetrical threat--what Robert Gates called “Nextwaritis.” I think for a little under a decade you saw the US Military making pretty radical shifts towards counterinsurgency at the expense of its conventional capacity. You started seeing sophisticated weapons and vehicle programs like Future Warrior and the F-22 terminated, and other projects like the F-35 severely cut back in favor of growing the size of the Army and creating more sophisticated ground combat vehicles (like the MRAP and the Styker--both designed primarily with asymmetrical conflict in mind). Additionally, the most famous and most decorated military commanders of the last decade, Petraeus and McChrystal were famous counterinsurgency theorists (the latter’s indiscretion with Rolling Stone should not be detract from his reputation as an incredibly capable leader). Even more conventional branches like the Navy and Air Force were not immune to this shift. Best example of this attitude was probably the replacement of the super quiet Seawolf-class hunter killer submarine designed to be a Russian submarine serial killer with the Virginia-class sub, the latter basically being a boat designed for commando raids. Even the Navy’s next generation capital ship is designed primarily as a ground support assault ship rather than a dedicated fleet destroyer. The Air Force also began pouring money into unmanned “predator” drones and remotely operated aircraft oriented around ground support and aerial reconnaissance--platforms that would have no real hope of evading a conventional opponent’s modern air defense networks.

My impression, however, is that with Obama’s shift back to the Pacific that the doctrinal emphasis towards a military oriented towards counterterrorism and counterinsurgency has abated somewhat. I think some evidence of that can be found in that the next generation bomber program, long thought dead in the water announced, mere weeks after Obama announced the “shift East,” that it would begin accepting design proposals.

As a point I thought I’d bring up for discussion, in the book the Price of Admiralty, military historian John Keegan noted that with the increased risk of modern weaponry that nearly all major naval ships will eventually become submarines or at least have submarine counterparts. I thought this was relevant in discussing the increasing vulnerability of surface vessels. After checking, there have also been some submarine aircraft carriers (admittedly only large enough to hold a handful of small aircraft). Admittedly, the size of these ships and the power necessary to move them would make them highly detectable to sonar, but such problems may at some point be remedied. I think at the very least, a submersible drone carrier is not out of the question, and there are some submarines that are drone capable now. Personally, I don’t think every ship will eventually be replaced by a submersible ship, but it is an interesting idea, and would furthermore give ships some degree of protection from the monster weapons we’ve been discussing.


Oh, and since we're talkin 'bout boats and ❤❤❤❤, I totally had this playing in my head when I was typing this post.



Might as well export if from my head to my speakers--as well as all of yours.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:24 AM
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron Man View Post
That's actually very interesting. They don't actually need to be able to avoid sonar detection, since as you say the ocean's surface acts as a natural barrier against all the superweapons you mentioned. They would only need to be able to deal with conventional means of destroying submarines/submersibles, which I imagine is trivial by comparison. Then once naval supremacy is established, they merely need to position themselves correctly (at their leisure) and THEN emerge and quickly launch strikes against the aforementioned superweapons through a combination of submarine missile launches covered by air support from the submersible carriers.

Of course I haven't actually seen anything on these technologies so there could be some holes in this strategy I can't see, but either way it sort of changes the game (yet again).
Let me start by posting this in response to Wes' video.



ALL submarines need to avoid detection. A large size submarine is even more vulnerable- unlike surface warships, submarines cannot carry any armour, for obvious reasons. Even machine gun bullets can disable a submarine if found on the surface, as if the pressure hull gets even slightly damaged, submerging can be deadly for the crew.

Being easily detectable on SONAR is just asking for a Mark 46 slamming into your hull, no matter how big you are. A huge aircraft carrying sub would just present a huge target, and would require a heavy escort of surface warships, meaning the whole idea is just a waste. Might as well use regular carriers with a battleground of escorts to do the same job to a much greater efficiency.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:48 PM
Raptor Buddha Raptor Buddha is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bravo
Especially interesting considering that Taiwan seems to have half a mind to re-integrate with China.
Quite. Regardless of what your thoughts are of the cross-strait relationship is with the two countries (er, between the government of China and its rogue province) Taiwan has a rather bad deal. Sure, Chiang-Kai-Chek and the Nationalists weren't saints. However, I don't see why a modern, generally pluralistic society should be responsible for said ❤❤❤❤ ups. While most of us would like to think that we'd stand up to the school yard bully the reality is that if we subjected to threats day after day many of us might cave--especially if this "bully" is some fifty-six times our size (the disparity between the populations of China and Taiwan). Given the cycle of Chinese threats along with Taiwanese political brinkmanship, I can certainly empathize if the Taiwanese want, at some point, for that cycle to be broken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bravo
The PRIMARY troubling nature of this is obvious, but it also shows a certain relaxation of America's guard against nations like Russia and China, and the world isn't yet at a stage where you can really expect Russia and China to be de-fanged. As you mentioned, China now wins the air war for Taiwan if it comes to that.
At the very least one has to keep abreast of both nations military developments because there are pretty large international markets to export their weapons and systems. Even though Russia 's economic improvement means that it doesn't have to be world’s military consignment store, it still is usually the largest or second largest arms exporter in the world on a year by year basis. These exports can include highly sophisticated aircraft, ships, vehicles, etc. Given the potentially large customer base, it would certainly be prudent to at least keep tabs on such weapons even if the purpose is not explicitly to contain powers like Russia.

Quote:
TBH I'm not smart enough to be able to divine what that actually means. Though I wonder how much of this is Obama's idea and how much is Hillary's...
It’s pretty tough to say on the last point. Hillary Clinton and her State Department has been much more autonomous than say, Colin Powell, who was used more as almost a diplomatic troubleshooter than an architect of American diplomacy. However, she ain’t exactly Henry Kissinger or James Baker either, both of whom were given great confidence and considerable latitude in sculpting American diplomacy (however amoral, in the case of Kissinger, that diplomacy was). The last decade or so has meant that the Defense Department and the intelligence communities all play a much more significant role in shaping American diplomacy than they did in the past. This is not to say that they didn’t play a large role before hand, but I think at the very least their influence--especially in areas like the Middle East and--have become more overt.

To be honest I don’t know for sure whose idea it really is, but personally I think it’s more or less a rare aligning of interests. I think the State Department is for it because realistically East Asia has been a disproportionate focus of attention for the Obama administration; attempts at strengthening ties with India, near war on the Korean Peninsular (well, as close to was as it has been in a while), the PRC, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines all attempting to detain, destroy, of ram one another’s shipping near the Spratly Islands, Burma cracking the door open to the rest of the world, a new leader in North Korea, a near diplomatic debacle with China over the fate of dissident Chen Guangcheng, and etc. From the State Department’s point of view, if a disproportionate amount of effort is being devoted to a single geographic region, it makes sense to have military assets there. Rightly or wrongly, behaviors and attitudes begin to change once parties begin to realize that there are marines at their door and carriers in their pond.

I think the military likes it because it’s a way to keep the services alive and fed during an era of pretty significant budget cuts. The Navy especially likes it because, as it stands now, the Navy has been called on to essentially maintain the same type of coverage it had during the Cold War with a fleet that became much smaller during the Clinton and Bush administrations. Also, I think the military likes it because it’s a mission they’re all familiar with: deterrence. It’s like stepping into your favorite pair of loafers--sure they’re worn and smelly, but it’s damned comfortable. Besides, if you’re a member of the services, would you rather have to be at Kabul shouting at some poor sod because he had a suspiciously high amount of fertilizer that could be used to make a bomb, or training on the beaches of Guam? Yeah…

It also helps that it’s the path of least resistance. You could probably make a pretty decent argument that Russian assertiveness in Eastern and Central Europe warrants containment, but I think there’s a general feeling that in Europe there’s an attitude of either ambivalence or fatalism concerning Russia--and indeed, it also helps that Russia controls the valves on much of Europe’s natural gas imports. Additionally, this is occurring during an era where budgetary crises coupled with ambivalence has forced most of Europe to cut defense budgets to significant lows--making any task of deterrence more-or-less an American responsibility. Finally, there’s considerable (and merited) talk in most European capitals as to whether NATO is still relevant or desirable as an institution--and such talk has exfiltrated past the usual cadre of leftist intellectuals and into public discourse; especially since many in Europe feel that NATO is simply a goon squad for US foreign policy interests. Contrast that situation with that in East Asia where there’s no such ambivalence or strategic angst. There at least appears to be a consensus among most of the nations in the region that rising Chinese military power and bellicosity is something worthy of being deterred and that furthermore, such deterrence would be much more effective with assistance from partner nations--especially the United States. Additionally, the fact that Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines’ historical enmities and territorial disputes with one another make coordination highly difficult, US leadership becomes highly invaluable as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dovahkiin View Post
ALL submarines need to avoid detection. A large size submarine is even more vulnerable- unlike surface warships, submarines cannot carry any armour, for obvious reasons. Even machine gun bullets can disable a submarine if found on the surface, as if the pressure hull gets even slightly damaged, submerging can be deadly for the crew.
And this is a good point. If an aircraft carrier gets hit by a torpedo then you man the pumps. Furthermore, let's say the damage control team comes in from shore leave drunk and ailing from newly acquired sexually transmitted diseases. Even then, the double hulled designed on most of the Nimitz and Ford class carriers means that you'll need many more hits before you can really knock a carrier out of action (at least by torpedo or conventional anti-shipping missile). On a submarine sitting at a depth of 500 feet, a direct hit means that water rushes in and implodes the ship before a damage control team has time to even react.

However, there are submarines with some degree of extra protection which would be instructive to look at. Russia's Alfa class submarines had fully titanium hulls--making them rather hard to completely knock out. Additionally, Russia's Typhoons were double hulled--meaning that you'd need a pretty good torpedo hit to kill the sub. Now, this is all conjecture because most sane governments aren't going to buy a six pack, go out on the docks, and shoot various torpedoes and missiles at multi-billion dollar warships just to see what happens. That's only for when ship become old, silly.



As I've said, I think the engineering and practical difficulties mean that submarine fleet carriers are, to put it generously, a ways off. However, I definitely see a roll in dedicated submarine drone carriers--especially as unmanned aircraft continue to grow in versatility. If, for example, we begin to see a drone based aircraft that could replace manned aircraft (increasingly likely considering pilots have biological limits as to how many G-forces they can take), then a submarine would probably be a desirable platform to launch these aircraft--especially if you can make the drones small. I think the biggest single obstacle to creating submersible warships is creating a sub with sufficient anti-air capacity--an AEGIS submarine. I don't know if that's possible. Obviously, you can launch missiles underwater, but that means taking on a lot of water that would have to be quickly expelled each time you fire. You'd also need enough missiles to provide the kind of air-cover that an anti-air surface ship could--in other words a lot.

However, you are right in that all submarines need to avoid detection since stealth and their immunity to certain surface weapons is really their only advantage. However, (as hopefully this thread demonstrates) technologies change, and developments might make submersible warships more or less likely over the coming years.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:00 AM
Ysionris The Byzantine Empire Ysionris is offline
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Re: Power Projection and Navies

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Originally Posted by Iron Man View Post
Especially interesting considering that Taiwan seems to have half a mind to re-integrate with China.
I don't want to derail the topic too much, but I'd like to point out that this really, really isn't the case.

The article you linked doesn't seem to indicate that Taiwan has "half a mind to re-integrate with China". It is true that that the Pan-Blue Coalition - led by the KMT, the successors to Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists - favor improved relations with China, as opposed to the DPP-led Pan-Green Coalition, which favors de facto sovereignty. However, they are, at best, representatives of the most extreme of ideologies in Taiwan, tempered largely by the general sentiment of the citizenry to keep the status quo as it is. Part of it is a resistance to change. "Sino-Asians have not had much to be optimistic or happy about over the last three centuries" is what one colleague has told me in regards to the mentality, and, in general, the Taiwanese feel that things can only get worse: Independence, while somewhat desirable (depending on who you ask), is impossible because of the great military discrepancy between China and Taiwan, and it would only cause a backlash resulting in a Chinese military invasion that the U.S. would not have the stomach to contest. Naturally, conceding that they are part of China will likely also gut their self-determination; the Taiwanese share the same concerns with Hong Kong, that the "one country, two systems" policy - allowing for democracy to remain in Hong Kong despite being part of socialist China - is a promise honored only as an incentive to bring Taiwan back into the fold, and that once Taiwan is Chinese territory once more, Beijing will no longer have any incentive or reason to honor such promises any longer.

Therefore, the vast majority of the Taiwanese citizenry are of the opinion that it's just better to stay in limbo right now. Sure, it's not a perfect solution, given that Taiwan is being alienated at every turn with China denying them access to almost every international forum or gathering possible. But the people are generally of the belief that "perfect solutions are the privilege of those with power", and, even if their self-determination is being threatened, it's still - at the moment - around. If the only option for change is for things to get worse, they'd rather just remain where they are.

That said, plenty of Sino-Asians believe - to a certain extent - in a pan-Sino-Asian ideology, a bond of blood and heritage and culture. Cries of independence are only a little more common than cries for reintegration, but rather than view the entire affair as an us-versus-them situation, plenty of Taiwanese may compare the situation instead to a bit of an unfortunate family feud with an undetermined conclusion. To them, the idea of reunification would be a lot more favorable if it were not form Beijing's government and politics and policies. Regardless, however, re-integration with China is probably the least held views on the island, even when standing next to full independence.

Source: I work in Taiwan. Questions? XD
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