Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Perils Of Mosquito--III

The existence of the missile boats as a class of ships, in Soviet/Russian case, was predetermined not just by their relatively low costs but because of the operational concept, which later became known as Gorshkov's Line. Or, in other words, the farthest edge (kromka) of the area from which the enemy attack on Soviet coast could be launched. The idea was to deny the enemy operational freedom on this line. Surely, capital ships of the Russian Navy theoretically could deal with this threat but, the thinking went, they were far more effective in meeting the enemy beyond the limits of 800-1000 mile ranges, on the high seas, way beyond the ranges of enemy's weapon systems. 

In 1992 US Navy produced its famous operational concept From The Sea, which later, in 1994, was updated to Forward From The Sea.  

Forward From The Sea 

In this document US Navy clearly stated its purpose, which since then changed very little. The United States would attack anyone who has access to sea if it thinks it is necessary: 

How the Navy Operates

Forward...From the Sea provides the basis for a simple, yet powerful, operational concept of how we will operate to carry out expeditionary operations. We conduct forward naval operations both to ensure unimpeded use of the seas and to project American influence and power into the littoral areas of the world. Expeditionary operations achieve U.S. objectives across the spectrum of the National Military Strategy. They are a potent and cost-effective alternative to power projection from the continental United States and are suited ideally for the many contingencies that can be deterred or quickly handled by forward-deployed forces. Expeditionary operations complement, enable and dramatically enhance the effectiveness of continental power-projection forces when a larger military response is needed.
  Our attention and efforts will continue to be focused on operating in and from the littorals. The landward side of the littoral can be supported and defended directly from the sea. It encompasses areas of strategic importance to the United States. Seventy-five percent of the Earth's population and a similar proportion of national capitals and major commercial centers lie in the littorals. These are the places where American influence and power have the greatest impact and are needed most often. For forward-deployed naval forces, the littorals are a starting point as well as a destination. Tactically, the distance we reach inland from the sea depends on terrain and weather, the contributions of joint and coalition forces, the potential adversary's capabilities, and the nature of our mission. The mission may require us to exercise our considerable reach and operate far inland.(C)
For any, even removed from naval realities, observer the language and the spirit of this concept is obvious. It is global, it is aggressive and it is, well, good only against the third rate navies. The collapse of the Soviet Union and, with it, disappearance of US Navy's only rival on the high seas played a very bad trick with US naval doctrinal thinking. Conventionally US Navy could easily defeat the remnants of the Soviet, now Russian, Navy but there was a slight "problem"--Russian Navy didn't want to fight on the high seas. In fact, in 1990s, it could barely deploy there. But things changed since. The change was in electronics and computers and, well, in the way Russia was governed. While the army of US "analysts" and "Russia experts" was busy compiling, yet again (what's new), a picture of rusty, drunk, incompetent Russia, Russian Navy was thinking in the framework which was diametrically opposite to From The Sea concept--it can only be described as From The Shore. Indeed, Russia has no business of "Force Projection" globally. In fact, even if Russia wanted to get herself into this business of blowing shit up on the remote shores, where would she "project" it, against whom? As of today, Russian naval assets either have or are on the way to the full blown conventional stand-off capability against any shore, including against targets in North America, and even these capabilities are deployed in purely  defensive posture.                          
Thus, the defense of the nation's shores  from the sea, which is known today as fancy abbreviation A2/AD (anti-access/access-denial) becomes the foundation of Russia's naval thinking as it should and for a very simple reason--Russia does not want to fight with the US near its coast line, the United States, on the other hand, sleeps and dreams about dominating coast lines of the states it considers hostile to the US national interests (whatever those may be between Monday and Friday of the same week) and Russia fits the bill here perfectly. President Obama, after all, compared Russia to E-bola and ISIS. Recent developments in the Black Sea (Sea Breeze, anyone) obviously have a flavor of good ole' Cold War and the statements coming from high positioned US military people testify to the fact that many in Pentagon and its neocon political handlers are barely fighting urges to get Russia into some sort of the confrontation with the "West". Russia does not want to fight, so, as the old saying goes, if the mountain doesn't walk to Mohamed, Mohamed walks to the mountain. USS Donald Cook was playing Mohamed, together with other NATO ships, for quite some time. 

USS Donald Cook and Ukrainian ship Hetman Sagaydachnyi maneuver near Crimean shores.  

Unlike demonstration of flag in the littorals of Arab countries, operations near Russia's littoral can, but hopefully will not, present any NATO's navy, or combination of those, with the number of problems they never encountered before. Unlike previous encounters with, mostly Arab, navies and greatly talked up (a favorite term of media pundits is "integrated", e.g. "Saddam has integrated air defense") military capabilities or, rather, lack thereof, the encounter, as an example, in the Black Sea, in case of the hypothetical hostilities "from the sea" will have a very different profile, because Russia, unlike previously crushed "military powers", DOES posses genuinely integrated defenses. Every single element of Russia's A2/AD is truly integrated into the very complex system of national Command and Control which:

1. Is already partially capable of providing what Admiral Cebrowski (or Garstka, or Alberts) would call a GIG (Global Informational Grid)  aka Virtual Battle Space. Yes, Russian littoral defenses start at the bottom of the sea and go up, way up, in fact to the places Russians opened the door to others--space. Including this very important targeting system known today as Liana. Last rumors I heard is that it is already on-line, but what do I know. This is the system which provides targeting data to anti-ship missiles. For those who do not know what targeting data is I would say that it is a pretty simple thing: it is either bearing (azimuth) and distance (range) to the surface target or add here the elevation (or angle of elevation) for aerial ones. This data could also be, which is just fine for ASMs, such as Yakhont, geographic coordinates, aka lambda and phi, known as geographic altitude and longitude. That's targeting in the real time. 

2. Apart from space means, including the only other global positioning system--GLONASS, Russia has, on every theater, what NO other nation crushed by NATO ever had--Russia has actual, combat-capable Air Force. Including the planes which are known as AWACS and we are talking about arguably the best airborne radar in the world. We are talking A-50 Airborne Early Warning System.

Inside A-50

3. Russia's Black Sea Fleet, quite urgently, recreated the separate brigade of SSKs, with first hull arriving to Novorossiisk (via Sevastopol, I am sure) shortly, if not already. NATO DID NOT encounter a competent and state of the art submarine force...ever. 

4. And then, of course, came Mosquitoes, which I predicted were inevitable on the Black Sea Fleet even before return of Crimea home. Russia needs salvo on the Black Sea--that is, the number of the missiles which will reach and overcome saturation threshold of the NATO's naval missile defenses, that is, as we all understand, SPY-1D and Aegis. What is saturation threshold, that it is the number of missiles at which AD system implodes and allows the "leaker" through, remains the matter of speculations. However, judging by the late 1990s scandal with US Navy trying to obtain Russian target drones based on  AS-17 Kryptons remade into SSST (Supersonic Sea Skimming Target) for training--the issue is really serious. Since then M=3 ASMs with the active radar homing (Yakhont, for example, sees targets from 70 kilometers) and EECM package became mainstay of Russian Navy and not only that. Suddenly, fairly indefensible from the air, unless external air defense cover is used, project 21631 Buyan (you see, no Osas or Komars anymore) missile ships began to appear on the Black Sea. 

Here they are at Novorossiisk Naval Base getting ready to be included in the Fleet's order of battle
The thing with these ships is that with the displacement of about one ninth of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the price tag of about the same proportions, that is about nine times less expensive, they can provide the coverage for the whole Black Sea. One, of course, has to consider three points above that. The brigade of such ships can also provide a salvo to the strategic depth of land theater of operations or, speaking plain language, such ships can strike any city in Europe or, can strike land targets in the Persian Gulf while themselves being in the Caspian Sea. 

Suddenly getting small is becoming fashionable, after all, 1-2 Klubs will take out any large surface combatant. And single Yakhont, certainly, will have no problem destroying the target of LCS-1 or LCS-2 caliber, which, as we all remember, were designed to fight in littorals. Russia has it for small missile ships, the new project 22800 Karakurt, which will carry a navalized version of famous Pantsyr Air Defense Complex. 

Project 22800 Karakurt
And all that is just the start of what many already are calling a silent revolution in the naval warfare. 19th Century proponents of Jeune E'Cole would have been ecstatic today should they have lived to see the coming age of missile as a main striking weapon of the fleet. This and, well, this electronic mambo-jumbo with all those beyond horizon radar, multi static sonar, massive jamming capabilities (I should have put point 5 for that, I will), Net Centric Warfare and other things which moved navies away from pure platform-centric posture towards networks and integration with other forces. After all, it takes, under some conditions, 8 missile salvo by150-million dollar ship to destroy about 5-6 billion dollars of the hardware. And the numbers matter, as legendary Arleigh Burke told Elmo Zumwalt:"We need numbers"(c).

To be continued.........

No comments:

Post a Comment