David Axe is an idiot. I speak about this non-stop. As a person who is known for drawing comic books and once shown how events unfold on the ground in Afghanistan, where he got injured, his claim to military expertise is about the same as my claim to Hollywood fame, but that is American for ya. He goes under the title of "military journalist" and, as is characteristic for most journalists, has zero background in the subject he writes about. He is also very butt-hurt, because while he may be making decent living by selling military porn to teenage circle masturbators on shiny military toys, Axe doesn't know the difference between shit and shinola when it comes to military, not to mention Russian military, not to speak of Russian Navy, of which he has as much expertise as I have in quantum physics.
So, this boy decides not only to pollute tabloids such as The National Interest with his (lack) of any expertise, he ejaculated a truck load of his BS onto Forbes' pages. As a journalist and a professional ignoramus, David Axe loves shiny big things. So, he unloads.
I don't know what Axe counts as "main rival" but I assume that he means the US Navy. But here comes a fact he, as a professional BSer, doesn't know. I know, the kid never had access to serious classified documents in his life (for that one has to have a very good level clearance, I did) but even in the Soviet times Soviet Navy wasn't trying to "outgun" the US Navy in a traditional sense. Soviet Navy, as well as current Russian Navy has its main objective as sinking US Navy once it gets close to Russia's shores. And in there, the US Navy is not just "outgunned" by Russians, it has no means of defending any of its assets because the United States as a whole lost the arms race in modern strike systems. But the kid doesn't know the difference. Then he produces, butt-hurt, BS again:
Of course, Russia’s dilapidated shipyards aren’t actually capable anymore of building new ships on the scale of the Kirovs.
I can feel his pain. But let's see. Just recently, the wharf which has built nuclear cruiser Peter the Great, that is Baltic Shipyard, is actually quite proficient in building large displacement platforms, while producing nuclear powered ships, such as nuclear ice-breakers, which are larger still in terms of displacement than project 1144 cruisers. I don't know under what stone this moron slept for the last 10 or so years, but here is a video of backward 33 000 ton displacement nuclear ice-breaker (a series, mind you, one) Arktika being tugged from "dilapidated" Baltic Shipyard, to start her trials.
Here is the report on the start of construction of the Lider-class nuclear ice-breaker, whose displacement is around 70,000 tons, which is, just to give some perspective, exactly a displacement of the Royal Navy's newest aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and is about the same as a standard displacement of decommissioned in 2007 USS John Kennedy aircraft carrier.
But David Axe, being a product of American education doesn't know numbers and has issues with basic arithmetic. Of course, he never heard about Zvezda shipyard at Russia's Far East. Yes, also "dilapidated", even before being fully operational after effectively being rebuilt into a new mammoth wharf. But Axe should know that Russia has already launched first of 12+ Aframax-class tankers (4 additional are already in works) and the dead-weight of these ships is 114, 000 tons.
But, I guess, our "expert" here is not following the news. But, unlike arithmetic, David Axe has no issues with naval tactics and operations because he simply doesn't know any of them but that doesn't prevent his from writing a teenager level crap like this:
The U.S. fleet can carry around 12,000 offensive missiles. Russia’s fleet packs no more than 3,300 similar missiles. And that number could fall as more large, old warships decommission and smaller ships take their place. Admiral Nakhimov’s return only delays that contraction.
Obviously, Axe doesn't understand the issue of "leaker" (that requires a serious background in math and operational research) and that to deploy 12,000 US subsonic, slow missiles requires a bit more than launching them simultaneously from wherever those carriers of those missiles will be deployed. But Axe's basic operations' knowledge and experience, as I already stated, is non-existent, so we cannot really blame him--ignorance is a bliss. And, of course, them comes this issue of comparison, again, and if Axe thinks that M=0.85 Harpoon or same for LRASM or Norwegian NSM is the same as M=2.8 by P-800 Oniks, let alone M=4.9 by X-32, not to speak of M=9 for Zircon or Kinzhal, then I have a bridge to sell him.
In general, US media long ago became a joke, as did their "expert community" which is only good for discussing Beltway rumors or, in case of Axe, pretend that they know something while drawing comic books and inventing self-medicating BS for the consumption of the similar ignoramuses as themselves. And that is why, I think, the US today tries to "extend" START (hint--it will not extend it) by including in it Russia's hypersonic weapons, including of operational-tactical variety, like Kinzhal. And why, one asks, the United States wants those weapons to be included into START negotiations?
Russia is uninterested in broadening the New START treaty to cover new weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States said Monday. That’s a blow to the last remaining major arms control agreement between the two original nuclear powers. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires in 2021, governs specific nuclear weapons belonging to the United States and Russia — essentially, the ones that existed when the agreement went into effect eight years ago. But Russia has been developing new nuclear weapons and delivery systems such as the Poseidon nuclear-armed submarine drone, the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, and new hypersonic missiles. “I want, ideally, all nuclear weapons to be part of New START, not just the ones that are in the Treaty now,” Gen. John Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March.
Well, I have the answer for this Axe-dude, because US "outguns" Russian Navy so much, that it takes a single Poseidon, even with conventional warhead, or 2-4 Kinzhals or 3M22 Zircons to guarantee a Pkill=0.99 for any US Navy's CVN and I mean not a soft kill, but a complete destruction and sinking. Whole CBG might take more missiles, but for that the arsenal of high supersonic missiles is more than enough. Now, can you imagine what it takes to explain to Mr. Axe what "outgunning" means, what math goes into it, and how this whole thing is calculated. Ah, yes, one should attend serious officer schools to get that right and, surprise-surprise, that requires a lot more effort and talent than drawing comic books and being "military journalist". How this Axe-dude whose military ignorance is startling, wormed himself into the US MSM "military" sphere is one of a complete mystery, unlike it was the rise of a insurance agent with B.A. in literature, whose mediocre, at best, writing and wet fantasies were dragged to the top of US Cold War "literature" by the efforts of then Secretary of the Navy John Lehman (and whatever agencies were behind him) to justify his 600-ship Navy. I, of course, am talking about late Tom Clancy. But then again, we all know that the Top Gun movies are documentaries.