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:
OBJECTIVE: Develop technologies to detect and track low radar cross section, high speed, low altitude weapons with unmanned surface vehicles over a large area of water.DESCRIPTION: This SBIR topic seeks to identify and demonstrate technologies that can detect and track low radar cross section, high speed, low altitude weapons over a large area of water. Tracking on water ranges is limited by the inability of conventional radars to track over-the-horizon. This SBIR would address that limitation by utilizing unmanned surface vehicles. The system would need to be optimized for an unmanned surface vehicle that is approximately 10 feet long and 2 feet wide. The system must weigh less than 100 pounds and fit within a 6 inch by 12 inch by 12 inch payload box.
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:
If to believe probability of a single Zircon intercept by the latest US-NATO missiles such as SM-6 as P=0.02 through 0.03 (0.012-0.005 for distributed targeting), we get dismal numbers for a defending side. Even if we assume that those numbers are wrong (or do not consider all necessary coefficients) and we increase these numbers by the order of magnitude--we still end up with the death sentence for defending side even with the salvo of 2-3 missiles.
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:
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:
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.