Thursday, January 31, 2019

MAGA All The Way.

As was expected: 
Obviously Russia is not in violation of that treaty, she simply has better missiles and because of that this whole thing, the INF Treaty that is, is dead. But not only that--the US needs similar weapons around China. So, all pretense of abiding by treaties and international law is thrown out, but we knew and anticipated this anyway. What is most fascinating, however, is how Trump's Administration became one of the most neocon-infested admins in recent history with even W having his doubts on such specimens as Bolton, not to mention a crooked psychopath such as Elliott Abrams. And here is how Daniel Larison assesses Trump:

I have to agree with Larison here--it is not just bellicose rhetoric, Trump completely out of his own volition turned his MAGA into MAAA--Make America Aggressive Again. Not that it was very difficult to do to start with. In fact, he succeeded greatly by laying down the foundation for further American decline and loss of any respect. I have no reasons to like Maduro and all those South American "lefties" but if the regime change in Venezuela does occur (with Trump recognizing some young globalist stooge as legitimate president of the sovereign nation), one has to seriously think about American elites being completely unhinged. Trump is turning into proverbial American war-monger (narcissism was always with him as a malt) and one has to admit--he turned out to be no contest for the cabal of even moronic neocon shysters any person with even rudimentary knowledge of international system and geopolitics would have no problem figuring out. But not Trump--a NYC real estate hustler and TV personality. In general, he betrayed MAGA the same way he gave up on General Flynn, not understanding that if one wanted to change America's (and possibly world's) course away from oblivion one had to learn slightly more than how to built casinos and upscale (and grossly overpriced) condos. But in the end, one has to ask now the question--are there any normal and competent people left in D.C.? Call it a hunch, but I don't think there are any, anymore. And Trump comes across today as defeated and totally corralled by people he thought he was smarter than them. Boy, was he wrong and that is bad news for what remains of American Republic.   

Monday, January 28, 2019

Commercial Shipbuilding in Russia.

No, it is not about monster Zvezda shipyard whose portfolio now is more than impressive:
The news is actually about Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard which in 1960s-80s was known for building project 670 SSNs (NATO Charlie-class). The shipyard for all intents and purposes was dead by the end of 1990s--courtesy of young "effective managers" (euphemism for thieves and criminals) who apart from being greedy are, for some reason, incapable to produce anything of value. Yet, the shipyard endured somehow and after recovery started to build ships again. Here is the economy of scale kicking in:
Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard, a unit of Russia's largest shipbuilding company United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), has been awarded a contract to build dry cargo ships under Project RSD59 for State Transport Leasing Company (STLC). Three vessels from the batch are set to be delivered by December 2019, another four are to join the fleet by the end of 2020, while the remaining four units would be delivered by the end of 2021. According to a press release, Krasnoye Sormovo has won an open competition for construction of 11 ships over a period of three years, by the end of 2021.  Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard was the only participant of the competition announced by STLC. The tender is valued at approximately 10.67 rubles (US$161 million). This is the third series of RSD59 ships ordered by STLC to Krasnoye Sormovo. The first series of five ships was completed in October 2018, the second one numbering four units is under construction.
These 141 meter long, 8,093 tons of DWT (for sea), vessels are nothing to sneeze at--these are very respectable dry and general cargo transports capable to navigate Russian rivers and coastal sea areas. 
And here is the question--what's the deal with this "economy growth" thingy, which, supposedly, barely grows? Russian "opposition", especially its so called liberal part is in constant agony of this backward "Russhka", yet this "backward" country seems to be doing pretty well in restoring once mighty shipbuilding industry. The first one, medium tanker for Russian Navy, Academic Pashin is on trials now. 
Really fascinating how things pick up speed in Russia. Which merely confirms some of my suspicions on what really drives Russia's economic policies. For people who fanatically believe in monetarism and post-industrial myth it will be very difficult to comprehend how, somehow, Russian industry is not only increasing the number of enclosed technological cycles, but is getting ready for space arms race. There were some other, non shipbuilding related news--about MC-21. Borisov today stated that MC-21 by 2022 will be localized 97%. That means that 97% of parts for MC-21 will be manufactured in Russia. What are the remaining 3%? Who knows, some electronic parts, maybe some other few trinkets. Judging by the way MC-21 will be introduced into service through Aeroflot, which is main MC-21 customer (wink, wink), one has to ask--what does this remind me of?        

Friday, January 25, 2019

It Was A Bad Week.

A genius who created and held a greatest Russian forum of military professionals (and not) died, after sustaining a horrible stroke, before almost recovering this week... It is hard to take when someone younger (much younger) than you dies. You drink and you think that you may not be the last in the line...And then this comes to mind...What do you do? Ah, yes, there is always Status Quo--that is how we faced it. 
It is always, down and down. Oh, maybe....
Yes, it is Friday........ 

And then there are Neuro-monks like Pheophan... 


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

After Media Amateurs Had Their Time, Some Insiders Begin To Talk.

Despite being very busy, I couldn't miss this one, since Dr. Mark Schneider is a Pentagon and State Department insider and he presented his views through US Naval Institute Proceedings, one of few remaining more or less competent forums on some key defense issues. He writes on the issue of venerable TU-22M3 upgrade to TU-22M3M version which, for all intents and purposes, is a completely new aircraft within old fuselage. Schneider starts with sacramental phrase. 
He proceeds to assess new TU-22M3M capabilities:
The Backfire weapon upgrade is quite impressive, enhancing the bomber’s capabilities against both land targets and surface ships. In addition to the new land-attack missiles (the Kh-101 and Kh-555, according to Russian press), there reportedly will be at least two long-range ultrahigh-speed dual-capable (nuclear and conventional) missiles with land-attack and antiship capability. This is important because the Department of Defense has said the United States currently has no defense against hypersonic missiles. Backfire’s manufacturer, Tupolev, claims the improved Backfire bomber will be operational in 2021. 
But while admitting a current vulnerable state of US Navy's surface fleet, he, predictably, settles back into the good ol' tactical and operational ambiguity of aircraft carriers: 
The Kh-32 makes it more difficult to intercept the Backfire before weapons-release range. The Soviet-era Kh-22 (still reportedly operational) has half the range of the new weapon. While post–Cold War U.S. Navy fighters have much better radars and avionics than the F-14, they lack its long-range (and even the F-14 range would not be adequate against a Kh-32-armed aircraft). The longer range of the Tu-22M3M complicates a carrier strike group’s ability to set up a barrier defense. The extreme speed of the missile reduces flight time by a factor of four compared to a subsonic antiship missile, reducing the defensive value of locational uncertainty between launch and impact time. 
It really is fascinating how outdated concepts and technologies continue to dominate thinking since:

1. Issue of locational uncertainty is resolved by number of means such as configuration of salvo, ability for refined (finishing) search (Dorazvedka) by active warheads of modern highly evolved anti-shipping missiles (ASMs), plus other tactical and technological means which make modern ASMs fully shoot-and-forget weapons, which are often launched not at fixed position of target but at an area accounting for the rate of obsolescence of the intelligence (last datum) on target's position. In this case, as I stated before, it is a salvo at the area with the radius R= Vcarrier*tfrom detection to impact.

2. By far the most terrifying weapon in TU22M3M is not even X-32, however deadly, it is fully hyper-sonic Kinzhal, which makes any defensive solution useless on arrival for a simple reason--modern Russian ASMs have ranges greater than ranges of carrier aviation and their air-to-air weapons. But there are other, no less complex, issues with the intercept of very to hyper high speed maneuvering missiles which cannot be resolved by creating another, intercepting missiles--solutions to that lie in a completely different field and physics.

3. Appearance of 3M22 Zircon on submarines, especially SSGNs, will make not only near-littoral operations of CBGs, which are already, impossible--it may complicate greatly even blue-water, that is ocean deployments of any assets. And that brings this ever sensitive issue of CBGs forth. 

I repeat myself, US Navy's super-carriers are magnificent ships but they are way pass their prime as US Navy's main striking force. Against peer they are not only a secondary, if not tertiary, asset, they are, in actuality, a liability--one has to ask Elmo Zumwalt's question time and again: what happens, God forbid, with escalation if the United States loses one of its CBGs during conflict, what will be the psychological impact of such a massive loss? The era of magnificent American CVNs as strike and deterrent force against even near peer, forget peer, is over. In fact, in the same issue of Proceedings, Captain Barber calls on:
Is such a redesign even possible? I don't know--institutional inertia, Status Quo culture, as called by Roger Thompson, and, in the end, colossal expenditures required for such a gigantic overhaul, may doom US Navy to a status of still beautiful visually but hollow force good only for demonstration of the flag and serving as high value prestigious targets in what shapes to be global very high threat environment. Again, don't tell me that I didn't warn:  
My next book is exactly a deliberation on these ramifications which are, indeed, historic. The signs of this understanding dawning on American professionals are unmistakable and these are good signs...for peace.   
He foresaw it all in 1970s

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


1. A sort of an announcement. Since I signed a contract for the next book and am under contractual obligations to meet a deadline, I may change the pattern of my posting in the blog due to being busy with laying my profundities on paper (MS Word, what have you) for impending publication. In general, the posting should become somewhat limited but it will continue, of course. But don't expect me to react to every international event, plus, thankfully, we all have people such as Andrei Raevsky (The Saker) who does a very good job on many current military-political issues, such as his elaboration on resent Israeli provocations. 

Why is Putin “allowing” Israel to bomb Syria?

So, this is settled. 

2. In the news on real saturation. Izvestia confirms what one may have guessed already that Russia is not going to limit herself just to a heavy 3M22 Zircon anti-shipping missiles on large combatants and submarines, but is going to deploy a smaller, yet still deadly, version of Zircon on each of numerous classes of small missile ships such as pr. 22800 Karakurts and pr. 21631 Buyans (in Russian). Sources in MoD confirmed to Izvestia that it is still same Zircon only in slightly tighter (compact) dimensions to fit UKSK VLS on any ship and that it does have the range of 500+ kilometers with elements of artificial intellect which allow the target distribution and other swarm behavior between missiles in the salvo. Izvestia gives this illustration to the article:

Considering that Russia already deploys or has under construction around 30 of these ships, add here 3 pr. 11356 frigates and already two afloat and more under construction pr. 22350 Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates, one can imagine the weight of the salvo with UKSK VLS having 50% capacity load of Zircons--this is not the contingency any navy in the world is ready for. I am not sure about fairly numerous class of corvettes of pr. 20380. Will they be rearmed with a container version of Zircon? Once submarines are added it becomes patently clear that Russian littoral is a complete exclusion zone by Russian Navy's means only, without shore based aviation that is. Saturation works, especially when it is done by such means as M=8 anti-shipping missiles. I do not foresee any viable defense measure against such a tactical and operational reality any time soon. What are then probabilities of any aggressor's meeting its objectives around Russia's shores? A wild guess--0.05 or 0.005--makes no difference. Those who need to know--they know.    

Friday, January 18, 2019

World Cup 2018.

I promised that I will be posting on this event. It was the best World Cup ever and the drama between Russians and Croatians in one of the most magnificent games ever played (yes, I remember semi-final between West Germany and France in 1982 and divine Scuadra Azzura (Juventus, wink, wink) and Enzo Bearzott from the same year, I also remember US national team of Bruce Arena robbed of semi-finals in 2002), but when you see Berlin (some of it Russian) going berserk from Russian national team, after Mario Fernandes' (the greatest Russian Brazilian who ever played the game) goal after Alan Dzagoev's serve, you have to adjust your bearings. 

I remember this 7 months ago and what happened to any Russian then:

And then Berlin going like this. Football is more important than politics, it is more important than war--it is life itself. Here is Berlin that day. 
Madness, that is how we like it. 

Ah, it is Friday, I forgot, let Natalia Oreiro take it from here:
I will, at some point of time, write about incredible US national team at WC 2002.  

We Have Been Through This Before, Haven't We?

Last time, the US got lucky that Soviet Union had a person at its helm who was hell bent on destroying the country and, as a consequence, shut down any serious expertise in the issue of what came to be known as SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative), aka Star Wars. Serious experts in USSR (military and scientists) desperately tried to inform Gorbachev that this SDI thing was mostly bluff and cartoons. They were ignored, Gorbachev needed an excuse, as Yakov Kedmi termed it, for meeting American "partners" in a doggy-style manner. We all know what happened next and, as usual, the United States learned all the wrong lessons from this. 

American idea of keeping a homeland completely defended from any kind of attack is understandable, it is also utterly utopian. Yet, acting both on wrong geopolitical (and historic, I may add) assumptions and out of interests of powerful military-industrial complex lobby and totally corrupt political system, US tries to repeat what she perceives her greatest triumph in the Cold War 1.0, facts and real history be damned.  So, the United States decided to: 
As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. While some are afraid of the arms race between the US and Russia (and China), truth is--this race never stopped. American political and intellectual top has become so sterile in terms of its, well, intellect, that the only thing it is capable of is to remain an old dog incapable of learning new tricks. This, plus a desperate desire to bury INF Treaty, which comes down to "intercepting" Iranian (LOL) missiles at Russian borders. But Deja Vu doesn't stop here. As ever confused German diplomacy starts its so familiar from 1980s, in slightly more modern arrangements, tune:
Maas sings here from the American music sheet and it is totally expected from Germany. As I wrote some time ago, it is all about a generational lag in weapon systems between US and Russia. People in Pentagon are not idiots, at least some of them, they can calculate probabilities, required forces (missiles), math expectations etc. So, they know the score:

1. No system, unless it is based on a dramatically radical new technology, based on some bizarre physical principles (no, not lasers) can intercept any of Russia's newest weapons. This is decades away. Putting something ABM in Alaska against the background of RS-28 Sarmat or Avangard which can attack from any direction (how about through Mexico), is akin to treating 4th stage aggressive cancer with aspirin. But:

2. Pouring money into some systems, which are immensely expensive, will be good for US military-industrial complex which will greatly improve employment statistics and the fountain of desirable fat bonuses and new sinecures for retiring Pentagon people will erupt with a renewed force. 

Probably, the first indication that 1980s SDI trick will not work as desired is Russian rather nonchalant reaction to all this. Obviously, Lavrov expressed regret that INF Treaty is all but over (Russians know that START will follow) and all that chit-chat, but Russian military solution is already in place and what is left is to observe in amusement how the United States will continue to bankrupt itself by "investing" into something totally useless. There is another hypothesis here too: those people in the US who, actually, tried to study Russia, they couldn't fail to notice that Russia's recent (since mid-2000s) economic breakthrough was achieved by means of revitalizing Russian military-industrial complex (MIC), which was used as locomotive of hi-tech development. This will not work in US since Russian and American MICs are genetically different and have different effect on respective economies. For starters, incidents of Russian MIC producing enormously expensive dubious systems are dramatically lower than is the case in the US. 

As per actual weapons--the reason this whole thing is utopian and wasteful is because Russia (and reportedly China) is far ahead in developing anti-satellite weapons, which will act as interceptors for any space-based weapon systems thus degrading greatly any possible response. Here is 2017 report of the Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coates to Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
We need to be very clear on what is going on, especially after March 1, 2018 public arrival of a new paradigm in warfare--the US was put in a position which she thought she would never be in--a necessity to respond and to catch up. Destruction of Arms Control regime and attempts to replay Cold War 1.0 are such responses. Many observers, me included, noted already in 2014 that the United States was put into zugzwang, when each next move deteriorates position. Why it is so, my next book looks into these issues. In the end, nobody forced the United States to unilaterally abandon ABM Treaty in 2002, she did it completely on own volition and, may I add, wrong assumptions. And that was worse than a crime, it was a blunder. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Some Thoughts On Russian "Opposition".

I deliberately used "opposition" term, instead of more traditional "liberals", for a reason--at this stage I see less and less difference between most of the politico-ideological fringes in Russia be that "liberals", self-proclaimed "nationalists" or, even, some "communists" from, what Alexander Rogers astutely termed as CPRF (Commercial Party of Russian Federation--you know, "communists"). There is very little difference between these people and media which serve them. Practically all of them are hysterical and, as was noted not for once (this relates to any media), are populated by office plankton which fancies themselves "journalists". This is an eclectic public which is badly educated and has no serious professional or human skills but, because they have degrees in "journalism", "economics", sociology, what have you, they think that they know things. They don't in regards to any field which actually requires serious expertise, forget serious system analysis.

As I stated not for once--modern world became so complex that ability to use iPhone or, even, write some app counts for nothing where systematic education and ability to grasp complex reality is required. Person with degree in the so called "journalism" does not have cognitive apparatus for passing judgements on even basic technological and industrial topics, forget military ones--that is a wowser. Such a person surely will not be able to write Manufacturing Plan (say for leading edge of the wing of aircraft), nor will.... nah...whom am I kidding here--most of them don't know shit from shinola. Add here, usually, egos larger than cathedrals, arrogance and organic disagreement with policies (usually from liberal, that is libertarian, perspective--that is, it is all about me, me, me) no matter how good or bad those policies are and you get this BS from known mouth-piece of Western "business circles" rag Kommersant which drops the "news" (5 days ago) about Russian MC-21 narrow body aircraft being under threat because the West stopped providing composite materials for MC-21's "black", that is fully composite carbon fiber, wing (in Russian).  

The fact that trio of losers who wrote (or were ordered to) this piece forgot to mention that such a "threat" was realized already in 2015 and that there was a reason that UAC (United Aircraft Corporation) responded to publication and to Kommersant's "sources" which were used for writing this load of crap, as totally contrived, seemed not to bother them. Of course, they know better, because they are...journalists. But, as you may have guessed already, in the world of liberal (and so called "patriotic") hamsters this publication created yet another shitstorm about "Putin Vse Slil" (Putin Flushed Everything Down). And here we come to the key issue--it is not surprising that it is very difficult to find bio (or basic CVs) info on all those liberal (and "patriotic") journos. Who would want to flaunt their incompetence. But hear me out. It was this same Kommersant which 8 month ago, in April 2018, started spreading not only fake (I called it immediately, in Russian) but deliberately provocative info about allegedly 7 Russian aircraft destroyed at air-base Khmeimim in Syria. Well, Kommersant was spreading this BS based, yet again, on its "sources" in MoD. Boy, was there a revelation when their "source" turned out to be nothing more than amateur Roman Saponkov who decided to become a freelance "hero-reporter" and who, most likely himself was BSed by his Syrian "sources" of the level of janitor in the convenience store near Khmeimim most likely. 

Inevitably the BS was utterly debunked with a single SU-24 having its empennage slightly damaged by a shrapnel--damaged parts were replaced within 24 hours and the aircraft continued to fly combat missions. Saponkov doubled down on his BS and, basically, should be treated as a pathological liar and a man with zero military experiences. But Kommersant really DOES know what it is doing and for WHOSE benefit it is constantly spreading all kinds of BS. After shistorm created by this rag subsided somewhat and, as usual, all premise of this shitstorm turned out to be mostly a disinformation, specialists started talking. For starters they reminded these panic-mongers that already in 2015 things were rolling:
Russia aims to regain its leadership in the carbon fiber sector and the production of strong, lightweight composite materials used in construction and industry.   
So, basically for people who spread such a BS it is beyond their grasp that after Match 1, 2018 Putin's speech to Federal Assembly they should have made a note to themselves that they know very little. But significance of that speech was not in new weapons, by now even Russian "opposition", while cringing, already knows inside that they are fools. No, the significance of Kinzhals, Zircons, Avangards, what have you is in the fact that such missiles use large percentage of carbon fiber and other composite materials in their assembly. So, one is forced to ask then--can the nation which develops such breakthrough materials which allow weapon systems to remain under control and functional while flying in the cloud of a hot plasma, develop a carbon fiber material for a wing of a commercial aircraft? Well, for people with even an iota of common sense the answer seems obvious. This is not to speak of the fact that Kommersnat's BS was already debunked. But now recall this, recent "vbros" (throw in of fake info). Another BS spread, gleefully by Russian "opposition" media.

Of  course, this too was debunked, but couple days ago, Russia, as if taunting this bunch of Russian urban know-it-all office plankton, announced that Concern Tehnodynamica completed trials of fire protection and oxygen systems for both SSJ-100 and MC-21 (in Russian) thus continuing to increase the share of the domestic parts in both aircraft to such a degree that no "sanctions" will matter. But my issue is not with Russian industry, which continues to produce state-of-the-art technology, both military and civilian, totally out of own resources but with this extremely narrow circle of pretentious "market analysts", merchandisers, marketing specialists and holders of other degrees in recognition of a good Scotch from the bad one and Ph.Ds in the brands of smartphones, designer clothing and jewelry. Do they even feel (I don't think they have brains to grasp) this sense of own uselessness other than in the fields no serious person cares about? I give them this, though, they are useful tools (and many of them subsist on foreign grants and stipends) and idiots in a titanic war combined West, under American guidance, unleashed on Russia and Russian people. But that is the point--these are precisely the people who can produce nothing of value, beneficial to either own nation, or humanity and who can only sell ignorance and disinformation in the world in which their "reporting" is nothing more than trash thrown out daily on a dumpster where it truly belongs.    

UPDATE: Ah, lovely. Today 01/16/19 (or 16/01/19 for Europeans) the General Director of Aerocomposit company, Anatoly Gaidansy, in his interview to popular weekly Arguments and Facts (AiF) humiliates and wipes the floor with incompetent BSers from Kommersant (in Russian), while assessing their BS as: 

                      Это полнейшая техническая безграмотность

Translation: this is a complete technical illiteracy. 

My question is to Gaidansky: Anatoly, what did you expect from those losers from this liberal cabal in Moscow, the knowledge of composite structures and how their specifications are formed and applied? I am sure those advanced girls and boys from Kommersant and other "market" publications can tell us all a lot about AS9100, ah..well. In late Soviet times, during Gorbachev's disaster, the only use their newspapers would be good for as a toilet paper only. In Stalin's times they would be...well, they wouldn't be. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Wowser.

If you haven't heard, you better hear it now. 
I think by now you might have guessed who this initiative originated from. I am also smiling sarcastically when reading about State Department having "concern". US so called "diplomacy" is the most aggressive mindless incompetent war-mongering institution without equals in the world, this is not to mention the fact that in terms of military-strategic realities most American so called "diplomats" don't know shit from shinola. I do, however, conceive, as I stated not for once, that actual professionals in Pentagon do have better idea about consequences of war and as such could be (yes, I know--sounds bizarre) one of those few checks which MAY work in impeding somewhat lunatic ideas emanating from the very political top. 

In related news,  as Der Spiegel reports.
Since arriving in Berlin as U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell has flouted diplomatic conventions and attempted to interfere in domestic politics. He has since become politically isolated in the German capital.
Spiegel, of course, being nothing more than globalist mouth-piece, still notes:
These days, the spotlight on Grenell seems to have grown dimmer, though not necessarily by choice. He still tweets assiduously and he never seems to say no when Fox News calls, but in Berlin, he has largely become isolated. The powerful avoid him. Doors have been shut. Few politicians to the left of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AFD) and the populist-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), want to be seen with him.  
Why so? Well, because US "diplomat" just sent out a truck load of letters to German companies warning them that they better quit Nord Stream-2 or else (in Russian). Grenell, however, far from being an exception is a rule of contemporary American "elites" who are utterly illiterate, narcissistic and arrogant--needless to say, until this pool of utterly unqualified dimwits is removed from power and new competent and realist (not in American "realist" sense) crop of people is grown and elected into power, the United States will continue its decline, hopefully without unleashing a global war. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

I Didn't Do Fridays Really In A Long Time.

One of the most underrated bands who were drown in the lack of any talent of grange in 1990s. 

Them rocking in1989 in Moscow...

Meanwhile, let Woodstock smoke nervously aside watching 1.6 million people really rock in 1991 in Moscow. 


They Say It Is A Set Up. Sure.

But last time I checked all presidents have TV crews follow them. How many presidents have people taking photos with them? 

It is a crying  out loud shame that he still has to drive Mercedes in St.Pete but Aurus is coming up nicely and is basically sold out already. Plus, we all know, Vladimir (no, it is not Vlad) is a Germanophile, of sorts. So it is OK for now. In the same time--I hate to be his FSO. Will they take a bullet for him? I would, but then again--I am not FSO (thank God!).

Trash Talk, Pop-Corn, That's The Entertainment!

Boy, it is a shitstorm in media since one of PLAN's Admirals, Admiral Lou, started chest-thumping a week or so ago:
I agree, this statement, which may or may not be true, comes across as rather rude and in many respects as a simple bravado. There are number of reasons, including purely ethical ones, that these kinds of statements should be made in a professional manner and not without accounting for the history of the issue. But Lou's statement didn't go unanswered and James Holmes today, in The National Interest (where else) returned the trash talk in a very emotional piece. Holmes exclaims:
But, while I totally get where Holmes is coming from, one is inevitably forced to remind him that the United States didn't encounter peer or even near peer military power in ages, namely since 1945. But realities of modern warfare, both naval and in other environments are such, that massive military casualties are not only possible--they are most likely. I don't know if former naval officer Dr. Holmes recalls it but other, US Army officer, Colonel Douglas Macgregor had no inhibitions in looking reality into the face in 2011:
“In 110 days of fighting the German army in France during 1918, the U.S. Army Expeditionary Force sustained 318,000 casualties, including 110,000 killed in action. That’s the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a future war with real armies, air forces, air defenses and naval power. Ignoring this reality is the road to future defeats and American decline. It’s time to look beyond the stirring images of infantrymen storming machine-gun nests created by Hollywood and to see war for what it is and will be in the future: the ruthless extermination of the enemy with accurate, devastating firepower from the sea, from the air, from space and from mobile, armored firepower on land.
And Macgregor is absolutely correct in stating the case in, granted very approximate, numbers of casualties. I don't think Macgregor is well versed in Soviet/Russian military but he is correct in giving order of magnitude of losses when meeting a near peer or peer. 

Holmes, after some general political talk and rebuttal of Lou, goes on emotional defense, and you already guessed it, of US Navy's Aircraft Carriers. Some points Holmes makes are valid:
Whether the PLA could sink two carriers thus depends on its ability to detect, track, and engage vessels operating from opposite sides of the Pacific, and it depends on how U.S. carrier-group commanders handle fleet operations at sea. It remains to be seen (except perhaps in the spooky realm of classified intelligence) whether China’s array of satellites, sensors and other surveillance assets can find and track moving task forces in the vast emptiness that is the Pacific Ocean with any real precision.
True, nobody realistically knows how good Chinese reconnaissance and targeting systems are and if they are survivable in case of a conflict at all. In the end, how accurate realistically is Chinese DF-21, said to be the first ballistic anti-shipping missile in the world, nobody knows. And here is the deal, Chinese do tend to overstate own capability and the first proof of that is steady, continuous purchase of Russian military technology, including a rather substantial number of Russian-made anti-shipping missiles. So, how credible is Chinese anti-carrier threat? It is certainly not just a bluster, China does have at least some capability to inflict the damage or achieve at least mission kill--in case of the fairly short (granted it stays conventional) conflict in theater that is as good as sinking. One also cannot discount gigantic energies hyper-sonic missiles, even in the inert, that is without explosives, release upon the hit on a target. After all Rods from God was RAND's idea--it is as American as baseball (sorry, Canada) and apple pie (sorry, Germany), as is even more terrifying weapon such as a Gay Bomb or even a Fart Bomb--what an evil twisted mind would come up with such a weapon of mass fartification and well, the other one, you get the idea.    

I don't think Holmes' bringing up USS America's SINKEX applies here because if any CVN's ammo storage detonates or its nuclear reactor is damaged we may indeed talk about a complete kill of the ship with horrendous casualties to boot--a scenario which must be avoided. But Holmes still tries to make operational and tactical case for CBGs. 
Task forces can also operate in congested waters, mingling with other traffic to clutter an enemy’s tactical picture. They can operate near shore, using coastal terrain to mask their whereabouts. They can make foul weather their friend. And so on. Creative options exist for forestalling an America scenario and have for many years. U.S. naval commanders should harness familiar standards from World War II and the Cold War while devising new methods of operational concealment, guile and deception.  
I disagree with the argument of congested waters and traffic--this is precisely the environment which will provide good intelligence and targeting precisely for reasons Holmes invokes in his argumentation--other people also learn their lessons and any fishing vessel with basic radar and Beidou, GPS or GLONASS receiver can provide very good real time coordinates of CVN. James Holmes teaches in US Naval War College--he MUST know that salvos of ANY anti-shipping missiles are done, depending on type, as the tangents of a circle with the radius of, roughly, Vcarrier*tfrom detection, or with account of the obsolescence of the targeting data when the datum is a single identification. It is precisely in the cluttered waters where CBG and its heart--CVN are identified easiest and intelligence is provided. Here is the scheme of the salvo by anti-shipping missiles by three SSGNs with the coverage of the area of probable CBG location. 
A big arrow is a general course of CBG when intelligence is verified. That large circle is an area of the launch of ASMs by SSGNs, small one--is CBG's location probable at the launch time. And that brings us to a funny situation, with my piece at Colonel Lang's site few days ago stating, and I quote myself:
While diesel-electric or non-nuclear submarines of PLAN can play crucial role in defense of China's littoral, operations in the open ocean require nuclear-powered submarines. China has problems with this particular type. While PLAN's program of building surface combatants is extremely impressive, nuclear submarines remain its Achilles heel. As one Russian naval analyst observed in July 2018, citing also US Office of Naval Intelligence Report, modern Chinese nuclear powered submarines lag seriously even behind American and Russian third generation nuclear submarines, such as project 671 RTM (NATO Victor III-class)  in terms of quieting—a key, albeit not the only one, tactical and technical characteristic of a submarine.[4] Nobody can predict when and if China will be able to match its nuclear submarines' capability, and a surface force required for support of their operations, with that of the US Navy's but it is obvious that this issue must be high on a priority list of Chinese strategists. Lesson from Admiral Gorshkov can help. The lesson is simple—there is no modern powerful and balanced navy without powerful nuclear submarine component armed with modern weapon systems. 
And here is the news, PLAN, for now, doesn't have submarine force which is even remotely competitive both in numbers and quality with the US Navy's submarine force. All bravado on both sides apart, US submarines in the Pacific are overwhelmingly superior to PLAN's nuclear subs (SSKs are a separate issue). Currently the US Navy operates 32 Los Angeles-class + 3 Sea Wolf-class + 15 Virginia-class SSNs = 50 SSNs ALL of whom, including older L.A. class SSNs are superior to anything PLAN can deploy in terms of nukes, which is roughly 9 nuclear subs, only 6 of which could be considered relatively modern (Type 093). Period. Yes, PLAN does deploy a substantial number of conventional SSKs, but again, this fleet of subs is good only for a relatively short distance deployments in defense of own littoral. 

We are talking here about overwhelming advantage US Navy enjoys over any PLAN's surface or nuclear power submarine force beyond the First Island Chain. I am not even talking here about remote segments of SLOCs. Yes, Chinese are improving, yes, they are gaining both capability (such as destroying US aircraft carriers) and some operational experience, but it takes much more than that to command the seas. I will also avoid describing some info (very reliable one), I just mention it, that testifies against Chinese tactical and operational maturity, for now--I underscore that, for now. But namely for now PLAN, for all US Navy's huge institutional problems, is not a real competitor in one domain, which today defines command of the seas--underwater. US submarine force is simply better, much better and that's the reality, which Admiral Lou should have considered and James Holmes remembered when trying to respond to Chinese naval officer. As per carriers--you all know my attitude to these ships as being in the process of removal into the niche of pure power projection against weak powers, and at this stage one has to ask the question I raised several days ago while talking to Arctic Fox:


Something tells me that not only it can but it will be. Once this happens, we might as well forget about surface fleet as we know it today. That will be the entertainment.   

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures, Or Should I Say Fantasies?

OK, I already stated a number of times that, bar some very few exceptions, The National Interest magazine is primarily a teenager-oriented publication and its military "experts" (apart from few real ones who contribute once in a while) are mostly products of "humanities" education who, for some unknown reason, think that they have faculties and backgrounds to comment on military "stuff". Such "experts" as Michael Peck (who is no expert) continue to "deliver". Here is the latest (cough...face-palm) from Peck based on some fantasy from DOD:
He (Peck) bases his upbeat piece on this:
Obviously Peck lacks understanding of what is this all about and makes this hilarious statement: 
Sea-skimming missiles have been the nemesis of surface warships since the 1970s. Weapons such as France’s legendary Exocet, America’s Harpoon or Russia’s Zircon threaten even the most powerful warships with destruction.  
I would have called upon either Sir Patrick Stewart or Sergei Lavrov's "Fail" meme but I'll spend some time explaining (I doubt he will learn or even will be aware of my futile effort) to him why this statement of his (above) is preposterous.

1. Placing subsonic and fairly easy targets for advanced air defense such as Exocet or Harpoon in the same sentence with 3M22 Zircon, which is completing its trials and already reached speed in excess of M=8 is akin to putting 1960-s Volkswagen Beetle on the speed track of Formula-1 and asking to compete with team Ferrari or McLaren. And here is some basic physics, see below:

2. Since the times of high supersonic (M=3) SS-N-22 Sunburn (aka P-270 Moskit) anti-shipping missile, which is designed to conduct violent maneuvers on terminal, some teeny-weeny problem appeared with anti-missile defense of the fleet, any fleet. If my Alzheimer doesn't fail me, the ratio in terms of dynamic loads (aka g-forces) required for air-defense missile to intercept ANY anti-shipping missile are supposed to be 3 (three) to 1 (one), that is three times larger than that of the anti-shipping missile. Thus the issue was and is not just in early detection of an attacker (I am talking only about SINGLE missile now, for the clarity of picture, reality is--those fly in salvos), however crucially important in terms of time for developing firing solution this is, it is also about ability of air-defense missiles to guide themselves to the point of intercept of the ASM. 

3. If we are talking specifically about Moskit, the rumor has it that this missile can withstand sustained g-forces well in excess of 30g. Under this scenario, very-very roughly speaking, the intercepting missile must have the ability to maneuver with 30x3=90g loads sustained. Good luck doing this with short-burning AD missiles. As an example, superb Russian Tor air-defense complex' missile can maneuver with loads of up to 30g and take out targets flying with up to M=2. M=3 Onyx or M=2.9 3M54 Kalibr also maneuver violently at terminal. In general, the higher the speed is, the more g-loads maneuvering missile experiences.

4. Now comes this M=8+ maneuvering (look at air-ballistic Kinzhal which also maneuvers at M=10) Zircon and, if to omit a funny scenario when someone will try to shoot at it from behind Zircon's traverse course angles (+90 degrees from perpendicular to the missile, roughly speaking--a catch up mode) trying to catch it, which is impossible, even in the impossible scenario of literally shooting straight-ahead at approaching Zircon, one has to ask a question what are g-loads in this situation? Mind you, I am talking about grossly primitive, bordering on vulgar scenarios.

5. Of course, they in TNI do not know that AD missile do not fly in straight line and even in the case of straight flying M=8 target while shooting in a front sector of the approaching ASM the trajectory of the AD missile(s) will represent a curve towards point of intercept. Again, I underscore that these are vulgar scenarios, in real life, however, things will look very different because g-loads and approach trajectories of modern very high supersonic or hyper-sonic anti-shipping missiles are enormously complex and impose practically insurmountable limitation on existing Air Defense systems. 

Recall what numbers (I tend to support at least the order of magnitude of those numbers) circulate about key characteristic for 3M22. I quote myself:
While early detection is important, under present and foreseeable level of intercept means it becomes an absolute impossibility to intercept modern true hyper-sonic weapons. I'll explain it with the numbers in hand. Let us assume that modern and best US Naval air defense system's single missile has a probability of intercept of a single 3M22 Zircon 10 times (10!!! I deliberately change the actual order of magnitude) better than it is known to really be. Let this probability of intercept of single missile Ps=0.3. How many air-defense missiles then will be needed to intercept a single (again, unrealistic scenario)  3M22 with reliable probability of kill (defeat) Pdefeat=0.95. Let's write formula:
Now we plug our numbers:

                            0.95= 1- (1- 0.3)^n


                            0.05 = 0.7^n
We logarithmize both sides:


Using calculator's ln function we get simplest linear equation:

                 -2.995732= n*(-0.356675)

                   n= -2.995732/-0.356675=8.4

So, it takes roughly 8 missiles to defeat a single 3M22 under the ideal imaginary conditions and with capability of an air defense complex increased 10 fold--way in excess what even the most advanced (and non-existent, I may add) means may provide. Considering even this fantastically ludicrous scenario it comes as no surprise that the salvo of say 10 hyper-sonic missiles on CBG will require pretty much a whole Arleigh Burke-class Flight III DDG having nothing but AD missiles in its MK-41 90 cells, granted that this too is impossible scenario since all ships, other than CVN, in CBG carry other means, such as TLAM, in their MK-41s. Plus, no one puts AD missiles (you may check times required for their salvo on you own) on a single platform--those are distributed between escort ships and that in itself imposes other limitations. But, as I stated from the beginning--these calculations were done based on simply ludicrously favorable for defending side scenario. 

Let us now try way more realistic numbers for Ps=0.05 and see where this whole thing takes us in first approximation. 
 0.95= 1- (1- 0.05)^n


                            0.05 = 0.95^n
We logarithmize both sides:


Using calculator's ln function we get simplest linear equation:

                 -2.995732= n*(-0.051293)
                  n= -2.995732/-0.051293=58.4

So, as you can see it would take (again, under ideal conditions) roughly 58 AD missiles to defeat a single Zircon. Judging by a huge wave of alarmist pieces in US mass-media about hyper-sonic weapons, the level which I never encountered in my long years in the US, the message is definitely sinking in. This is not to mention that one is really pressed hard trying to imagine simultaneous launch of even 25 AD missiles from all escort ships in CBG, let alone 58 or even more (in hundreds) required to defeat a salvo of hyper-sonic attackers on CBG. It is all simple fantasy having no relation to actual real life and combat.

Even in this simplest model (distributed salvo is calculated with a more complex formula--not the point here) it is clear that even under the most favorable conditions, Michael Peck's grasping for the last exceptionalist straw:         
But radar robot boats would give their targets a little more time to prepare.  
Is nothing more than hack's delusion in a desperate attempt (a feeble one) to put a lipstick on a pig of a new warfare paradigm and now very real Revolution in Military Affairs which is sweeping the globe, changing with it the whole balance of geopolitical power. But I wrote one book about it and am writing another one (should be done by Summer, otherwise my publisher will strangle me) precisely on this topic. Let's hope that this Revolution will serve as a starting point for new, much calmer and much saner world without bullies and where great powers can find a new equilibrium, a peaceful one.