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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Gamechangers

US global military supremacy has proven short-lived, as any military historian could have predicted. The Saker has again been proven correct about Russia's advanced military capabilities:
There are two myths which are deeply imprinted in the minds of most US Americans which are extremely dangerous and which can result in a war with Russia.

The first myth is the myth of US military superiority.

The second myth is the myth of US invulnerability.

I believe that it is therefore crucial to debunk these myths before they end up costing us millions of lives and untold suffering.

Introducing the Zircon 3M22 hypersonic missile

First, some basic data about this missile (from English and Russian Wikipedia):

Low level range: 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311mi; 250 to 500km).
High level range: 400nmi (460mi; 740km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory.
Max range: 540nmi (620mi; 1,000km)
Max altitude: 40km (130,000 feet)
Average range is around 400km (250mi; 220nmi)/450 km.
Speed: Mach 5–Mach 6 (3,806–4,567mph; 6,125–7,350km/h; 1.7015–2.0417km/s).
Max speed: Mach 8 (6,090mph; 9,800km/h; 2.7223km/s) during a test.
Warhead: 300-400kg (high explosive or nuclear)
Shape: low-RCS with radar absorbing coating.
Cost per missile: 1-2 million dollars (depending on configuration)

All this is already very impressive, but here comes the single most important fact about this missile: it can be launched from pretty much *any* platform: cruisers, of course, but also frigates and even small corvettes. It can be launched by nuclear and diesel-electric attack submarines. It can also be launched from long range bombers (Tu-160), medium-range bombers (Tu-22m3), medium-range fighter-bomber/strike aircraft (SU-34) and even, according to some reports, from a multi-role air superiority fighter (SU-35). Finally, this missile can also be shore-based. In fact, this missile can be launched from any platform capable of launching the now famous Kalibr cruise missile and that means that even a merchant marine or fishing ship could carry a container with the Zircon missile hidden inside. In plain English what this means is the following:

Russia has a missile which cannot be stopped or spoofed by any of the current and foreseeable USN anti-missile weapons systems. This missile can be deployed *anywhere* in the world on *any* platform.
Let me repeat this again: pretty much any Russian ship and pretty much any Russian aircraft from now on will have the potential capability of sinking a US aircraft carrier. In the past, such capabilities were limited to specific ships (Slava class), submarines (Oscar class) or aircraft (Backfires). The Soviets had a large but limited supply of such platforms and they were limited on where they could deploy them. This era is now over. From now on a swarm of Zircon 3M22 could appear anywhere on the planet at any moment and with no warning time (5000 miles per hour incoming speed does not leave the target anything remotely comparable to even a short reaction time). In fact, the attack could be so rapid that it might not even leave the target the time needed to indicate that it is under attack.

Introducing the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

Though officially very little is know about the Sarmat and the Yu-71, the reality is that the Internet has been full of educated guesses which give us a pretty clear idea of what kind of systems we are dealing here.

You can think of the RS-28 Sarmat as a successor of the already formidable RS-36 Voevoda (SS-18 Satan in US classification) missile: it is a heavy, very powerful, intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (warheads):

Weight: 100 tons
Payload: 10 tons
Warheads: 10 to 15
Hypersonic glide vehicles: 3-24 (that’s the Yu-71 we will discuss below)
Range: 10,000km
Guidance: Inertial , satellite, astrocelestial
Trajectory: FOBS-capable

That last line, about being FOBS-capable, is crucial as it means that, unlike most Soviet/Russian ICMBs, the Sarmat does not have to fly over the North Pole to strike at the United States. In fact, the Sarmat could fly over the South Pole or, for that matter, in any direction and still reach any target in the US. Right there this capability is, by itself, is more than enough to defeat any current and foreseeable US anti-ballistic missile technology. But it gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective: the Sarmat’s reentry vehicles/warhards are capable of flying in low orbit, maneuver, and then suddenly plunge towards their targets. The only way to defeat such an attack would be to protect the US by a 3600 coverage capable ABM system, something which the US is decades away from deploying.
Although it upsets most Americans to be confronted with the facts, the truth is that the USA badly misplayed its dominant hand after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Instead of modernizing its military and maintaining its technological superiority, it elected to play global policeman at the behest of the neocons. And, as anyone who knows anything about military history can tell you, policemen make terrible soldiers. All the hundreds of bases scattered now around the world have been transformed at a stroke from tools for force projection into indefensible vulnerabilities, and with the development of hypersonic missiles - which probably explain the recent sightings of high-speed UFOs - the USA's ability to project force via its naval dominance is now subject to a Russian veto.

As we've seen in Syria, this new ability of the Russians to rein in the lunatic neocons is probably a good thing. Although the US military is still superior, it is no longer supreme, and one hopes that the God-Emperor's more intelligent military advisers will help him understand the new rules of the game. But the US will have to significantly adjust its strategy if it is not going to find itself being technologically passed up by China as well as Russia.

Once more, we are seeing that the Open Society approach championed by George Soros and the European Union is not merely foolish, but significantly disadvantageous. These new developments bring some dangers, but on the whole, the coming end of NATO and the neoliberal world order is almost certainly a good thing for the people of the West.

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121 Comments:

Blogger R Doom March 11, 2018 8:26 PM  

It's more fair to say soldiers make terrible policemen. Russia's new capabilities wouldn't be so scary except that the US only has allies due to force. Our "policing" has been so terrible that most of the planet absolutely hates the US.

Blogger Pax_Romana March 11, 2018 8:45 PM  

I'd imagine if Hillary had won, the Russians would have already nuked us.

Blogger Jack Sweater March 11, 2018 8:50 PM  

One important thing I’d like to know.

Is Trump doing anything to go in the OPPOSITE direction of the lunatic neocons?

That’s one of the main reasons I voted for him.

Blogger Looking Glass March 11, 2018 8:51 PM  

I know everyone thinks this is important, but it really isn't? A fleet of Exocets (or equivalent) has more than likely always been effective against US Carrier groups for on about 40 years. The ability to take out a carrier group isn't too important when the resulting response is going to be impressive. (This is also why the Carrier groups have mostly been staying out of the Persian Gulf.)

A new class of Russian ICBMs is a bit of "whatever". There is no feasible way for the USA to build enough interceptors against a full Russian ICBM volley anyway, at least since giving up the SDI approach of interceptors in space. First Strike with nukes is mostly Sub-launched anyway. That's the real deterrent for both sides.

The real issues are in the Electronic Warfare realm, and the loss of far too much technology to China. We've entered an era where blinding your enemy is just as important as attacking them, so it's also a realm where everything is classified and nothing is yet public. Thus, the really interesting & potentially more damaging issues aren't public from any side, at least at this point.

And what the hell was up with all of those collisions last year?

As for that NYPost story & video, the USA started a new hyper-sonic testing platform somewhere between 2013-2014. It is likely the 4th generation of the Aurora/Dark Star project, and more than likely unmanned.

Blogger VD March 11, 2018 8:52 PM  

It's more fair to say soldiers make terrible policemen.

You would have to be almost completely ignorant of military history to say that. Police are even worse at soldiering than soldiers are at policing. They won't even take on a single school shooter when they have a 10-1 advantage, forget standing up to trained opposition that actually targets them.

Blogger VD March 11, 2018 8:54 PM  

I know everyone thinks this is important, but it really isn't?

You're totally wrong. It is absolutely vital, which is why Putin released the information now. Syria indicated that the game was changing. That change is now confirmed and we are entering a new balance-of-power stage where the US can no longer act with near-complete impunity as it has since 1990 or so.

Blogger VD March 11, 2018 8:54 PM  

I'd imagine if Hillary had won, the Russians would have already nuked us.

I doubt it, but they would occupy the entire Ukraine.

Blogger Looking Glass March 11, 2018 8:56 PM  

@3 Jack Sweater

The Trump Doctrine: Limited engagement, destruction of launch platforms, no regime change.

This was the response to the Syrian False Flag. The Western Press spent 3 days advocating for WW3, and Trump made a new golf course over dessert with the Chinese Premier.

Trump also assigns issues and offers support to regional actors. The USA has been doing the "train & support" crap for decades, yet in about a year ISIS collapsed? What changed? Quite a lot, but one of them was having the locals actually be responsible for the results. Trump is a great friend, with no desire to be the local policeman.

Blogger Patrick Wilson March 11, 2018 8:57 PM  

Smacks of the old U.S. always behind, deficient, whatever. I am hoping that DJT is able to get good advice from nk regards running a more cost effective nuclear weapons program, the ability of a country of 25 million starving people with no electricity to move so far forward with so little is astounding.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 11, 2018 8:58 PM  

Cue Stephen Davenport to tell us all that it's pure hype, and nothing could ever challenge US military superiorty.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 11, 2018 9:02 PM  

I'm not dismissing it as a threat but I'm not taking sputniknews.com's data points at face value either. Mach 6 is fast for a cruise missile but it's not anywhere near as fast as basaltic missile.

The big question is how well does it maneuver?


Blogger Ingot9455 March 11, 2018 9:05 PM  

This is one of many reasons that the GE is big into delegating use of force and supporting our allies with intelligence and means instead of doing it ourselves.

Blogger Lazarus March 11, 2018 9:07 PM  

So, Russia has this and the You Ess does not?

Who are the new Rosenbergs?

Blogger Looking Glass March 11, 2018 9:13 PM  

@6 VD

I think our disagreement might be due to the public facing era of Force Projection actually having ended by the mid-2000s. The Iraq Invasion caused a large-scale spending into the EW realm, which meant that small period from 1991 to ~2005 of the US just floating wherever was over.

This was always the direction things would go since the advent of the JDAM and the ability to attack, with accuracy, from significant range, at all levels of combat. The only thing that's changed is the Russians have a cheaper option to layer in damage from a large set of platforms. So that's good for their defense & deterrence, but it's not a great offense platform without a nuke on board.

Blogger Robert What? March 11, 2018 9:14 PM  

I still don't get why we are supposed to consider Russia our enemy? It seems like Russia is just reacting to US NeoCon sabre rattling. What do we want Russia to do or stop doing?

Blogger Skyler the Weird March 11, 2018 9:16 PM  

The New Rosenbergs own a foundation with their name on it selling U.S. technology since the 1990s.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 11, 2018 9:17 PM  

"Once more, we are seeing that the Open Society approach championed by George Soros and the European Union is not merely foolish, but significantly disadvantageous."

Does anyone believe for a moment that these creatures ever thought otherwise?
The string pulling scum have been playing a very long game indeed while living among us.
And the demolition of the West, and the Anglosphere in particular, has always been the end game.
And here we are.

Blogger Lazarus March 11, 2018 9:19 PM  

@ 15
We want Russia to stop trying to Make Russia Great Again.

Just like how Europe does not want protective tariffs on their products so that they can keep protective tariffs on US products.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 11, 2018 9:21 PM  

Regardless, the sun is setting on the Aircraft Carrier.

At 300 million plus per aircraft the Navy's version of the F-35 has crossed the line from tactical to strategic investment. I don't see new aircraft getting any cheaper with time.

So what will be the new capital ships?

The people who insist on it being the submarine are flat out wrong. A capital ship's primary strategic purpose isn't to engage in combat, it is to intimidate by it's very presence. Subs can't do that since no one ever knows if they are actually there or not.

The tactical and strategic technological shifts appears to be favoring (of all things) something very close to the armored battleship.

Blogger VD March 11, 2018 9:22 PM  

I think our disagreement might be due to the public facing era of Force Projection actually having ended by the mid-2000s.

Except it didn't. The US is still trying to play that game even today in Syria. The Russian strategy is almost entirely defensive, as is historically traditional for Russia.

Blogger cheddarman March 11, 2018 9:23 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 11, 2018 9:24 PM  

"I'm not dismissing it as a threat but I'm not taking sputniknews.com's data points at face value either. Mach 6 is fast for a cruise missile but it's not anywhere near as fast as basaltic missile."

Ever since I was a teenager, and that's quite a few decades ago now, I realised that high-speed missile technology (and by that I mean any kind of destructive projection rendered relatively invulnerable by either speed, technology, form, or sheer weight of numbers) was going to make warfare, certainly as I then knew it, obsolete.
We live in interesting times.

Blogger cheddarman March 11, 2018 9:27 PM  

This is a blessing in reality. The sooner the empire dies, the better for what is left of America...and the Neocons should slither off to Israel while they can.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 11, 2018 9:27 PM  

Airfields don't move and aircraft carriers do 35+/- knots, IMO missile bait.

Blogger Schaden Freudean March 11, 2018 9:35 PM  

Bah!
These primitive weapons are nothing to what the U.S. will have, once Detroit reaches 100% diversity and begins producing our super-high-tech flying pyramids.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 11, 2018 9:39 PM  

"This is a blessing in reality."

And amusing to think of the billions China is even now tipping into this increasingly obsolete military model.

Blogger Harry Spitz March 11, 2018 9:42 PM  

Why do I get the feeling that we are approaching the same condition Spain was in when Dewey sailed into Manila harbor?

Blogger Shamgar March 11, 2018 9:54 PM  

There is also the perception (at least from outside the military) that the military is converged as well. Don't know anyone serving so I have no idea but that West Point story a while back about the academic shenanigans seemed to lend credibility.
To a true and honest warrior, the morale must be very difficult to keep up.

OpenID Sidehill Dodger March 11, 2018 10:09 PM  

Trump started out his term by saying some very sensible things about U.S. foreign policy. For example, he questioned the need for NATO--an organization that has been a joke for at least 20 years. This made the brains of European heads of state explode with such ferocity that the G.E. never said another word about it.

He has also continued the Bush-Obama legacy wars in Afghanistan and Syria, for which I can divine no rational reason whatever. There are U.S. combat operations in Yemen, and multiple African countries. There are plenty of crazy reasons for these policies, like "to piss of Russia", or "to make Israel like us more", but I'm really looking for a rationale that points to the best interests of the United States--which is the only reason that should ever guide our foreign policy.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid that even the G.E. can't drain the State Department and Pentagon swamps.

Blogger Looking Glass March 11, 2018 10:13 PM  

@22 Tanjil Bren

You still need targeting data and the ability to either eliminate the enemy or survive the reprisals. This is why the really big technological gap was from the time of the first JDAMs until everyone started rolling out the first gen of anti-EW tech.

Nuclear & ICBM tech is over 70 years old at this point. The ability to reach out and obliterate an enemy is still there, it's just the reprisal cost that's the issue.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 11, 2018 10:18 PM  

Consider that the neocons have their roots in Trotsky, who was so way out even Stalin had to kill him. And the Russians have pretty much given up that communism. Neocons are their enemy, as ours.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 11, 2018 10:20 PM  

Gee, it's almost like hypersonic missiles, perhaps even ones launched by aircraft, could be very credible threats against laser batteries for the same reason they'd be dangerous to any other target.

Blogger kurt9 March 11, 2018 10:22 PM  

Instead of modernizing its military and maintaining its technological superiority, it elected to play global policeman at the behest of the neocons.

We spent between 3 to 5 Trillion, depending on who's calculating, in the interventionist foreign policy between 2001 and now in pursuit of the foolish dreams of the neo-cons. A much smaller amount of this money could have been spent on technological innovation and hemispheric defense and we would be in a far better position; militarily, diplomatically, and economically, than we are now.

Even "Spengler" has said the same thing about this. I don't know why anyone still listens to those idiot neo-cons anymore.

Blogger Dave March 11, 2018 10:28 PM  

I was doing Mach 6 down I-95 today; troopers didn't even bother to glance my way.

OT Brittany & Martin released; sitting down in Vienna with Tommy Robinson: https://twitter.com/TRobinsonNewEra/status/972952568073777152

Blogger Lazarus March 11, 2018 10:30 PM  

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid that even the G.E. can't drain the State Department and Pentagon swamps.

Take heart. The Night of the Long Knives did not occur until after the SA outlived their usefulness. The survivors were employed in a new organization, the SS.

Extrapolate this scenario into a benign, rather than malignant, situation.

It is called "Reorganization".

Blogger justaguy March 11, 2018 10:33 PM  

The US has never been militarily supreme against all other except for a brief time from late 1940s until 1955. We have been able to defeat third world stupid foes such as Iraq, and not defeat smart third world foes such as the Taliban. We may be strong with conventional military but have never been able to do much with it after WWII. Look at Korea and Vietnam. Iraq was a very stupid combatant and even there our military wasn’t able to hold that one third world country—even the Brits did better than we did with conventional occupation of a backwards country. So maybe the TV talking heads finally realize that there are limits to power—but the military have known about them for many many decades. I think even Bush II finally realized that maybe his COS Army Shinseki when he tried to tell SECDEF that the Army wasn’t big enough to hold Iraq.

The US has not been invulnerable to nuclear attack since the early 1950s. The Gaither Report (1956) documented vulnerability and MAD acknowledged soon afterwards. SDI or Star Wars or Missile Defense hasn’t been developed to any extent other than small deployments and has no chance of stopping MAD with today’s technology or small deployment. Currently a large expense in missile defense is easily countered by a much smaller change in missile deployment—so except for small attacks aka North Korea—missile defense merely helps prevent a knock out of our retaliation.

So Putin jumping up and down about some missiles—that themselves aren’t as great as he portrays- it is just posturing. MAD is still there, we still have a small triad and a large SSBN complement.

Now on the carrier and missile side—the vulnerability of surface ships has been growing and will continue as technology overcomes possible missile counters. Is the CBG obsolete yet—certainly not… Too many third rate enemies or possible enemies. Only one or two who can take them out—and then only if we are stupid and get too close. (That is why SSNs launch cruise missiles.) Surface fleet has had vulnerability problem for awhile and it gets worse with time… We aren’t ready or type of country to trade lots of ships. So maybe more SSNs instead?

OpenID aslr March 11, 2018 10:35 PM  

I can't say I'm too impressed by the Zircon to be honest. It's basically a smaller Kh-22. Given that it flies at Mach 5 at high altitudes and has a scramjet engine, it's going to show up on every radar set within 1000 miles. The Standard 2/6 and ESSM missiles were all designed to intercept high-mach high divers, which is what the Zircon is, so I doubt they'll have too much difficulty intercepting it compared to intercepting the targets they're tested against.

OpenID vfmshadow0342 March 11, 2018 10:37 PM  

they would occupy the entire Ukraine.

I'd disagree with that for several reasons (between my personal experience in Ukraine and several Russian news sources, and the election map of Ukraine pre-Pres. Porky):

The gist of some of the Russian press is that "Why take over areas that hate Russians with a passion and you will have rebuild?", due to the brain-washing of the Ukrainian school system and US State Dept.

Western Ukraine (basically, everything west of Kyiv) is filled with the ultranationalist/neo-Nazi/Banderite set that hate Russia with the passion of the Fremen (or so I have heard from others in central / northern Ukraine). Ditto for Sumy Oblast, although I'm not certain about the extent of Banderite sentiment there. (not certain about Chernigov). Kiev Oblast is somewhat indifferent.

Russia would most likely occupy

1) the Black Coast line
2) everything south and east of Kharkov oblast
3) maybe Poltava oblast

this would pretty much deprive the remainder of Ukraine of access to the sea and most of the natural resources (W. Ukraine is not as gifted as E. Ukraine, or so I have heard).

I am not certain about Cherkassy or Kirovograd, as I have never been there.

Does someone here have a better ground perspective, or know of someone? I've only visited most of the north / central Ukraine (basically Sumy, Poltava, Kharkov and Kyiv), and news source only go so far. :/

OpenID Sidehill Dodger March 11, 2018 10:37 PM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:The people who insist on it being the submarine are flat out wrong. A capital ship's primary strategic purpose isn't to engage in combat, it is to intimidate by it's very presence. Subs can't do that since no one ever knows if they are actually there or not.

The tactical and strategic technological shifts appears to be favoring (of all things) something very close to the armored battleship.


I can't agree with that. Who do "capital" warships intimidate? Maybe third world countries with no anti-ship missile capability. To a serious power--even a middling power--a capital ship says "target". Sure, warships can bombard far-off places, but bombardment is a blunt tool, and can be done far more cheaply.

There was an Allied fleet in the Harbor of Smyrna in September of 1922. It could do nothing to prevent the Turks from burning down the Christian--Greek, Armenian, and Nestorian--quarters of the city, and massacring the population. Firepower has its limits when it comes to influencing events.

As to armored surface ships being the future...um...that strait has been navigated before. The culmination of this trend was a ship that was simply too expensive to risk in battle--you could not afford to lose a dreadnought. So, except for one timid and inconclusive encounter, the mighty dreadnoughts sat in their respective harbors while the Great War went on. Do you really think that an armored ship could be constructed today which could survive a missile attack? Even if there are no anti-ship missiles now which could pierce heavy armor--something I doubt, I'm sure they would be deployed before the second new dreadnought is launched.

The fundamental tactical principle of the contemporary battlefield is "to be seen is to die". Submarines have an advantage there. No, they're not undetectable, but at least they can move in three dimensions and not only two. Our surface ships should be relatively small, heavy on electronic counteremeasures, and as fast as possible. Not to mention so affordable that we can actually build a fleet of them.

Blogger Nate73 March 11, 2018 10:38 PM  

Did this happen just now or has the tech been deployed for years?

OpenID vfmshadow0342 March 11, 2018 10:44 PM  

The first myth is the myth of US military superiority. The second myth is the myth of US invulnerability.

The similarity in the arrogance of the current US military attitude (which includes right-liberal sites such as Breitbart, PJ Media, etc.) towards other nations and the attitude of the British towards the colonials during the French-Indian War and the Revolutionary War is rather frightening

As a wise man once said: "Pride goeth before a fall."

Blogger justaguy March 11, 2018 10:50 PM  

As a former SSN Commanding Officer, I have to pile on with Sidehill against Cataline:

The SSN is the capital ship of the US fleet-- in that it can go anywhere and kill the ships of the enemy fleet--the very definition of a capital ship. Now an SSN is slightly limited in power projection-- having a smaller number of cruise missiles than a carrier has fighter bombers-- but it is undetectable and the undisputed king of the seas in ship to ship battle. For cruise missiles-- it can get much closer than the carrier or any surface ship, so its cruise missile can be the ones taking out the hostile anti-air assets.

Remember a British SSN arriving in the area sent the Argentine fleet into port during the Falklands, likewise hostile US SSNs arriving in an area would likely send most enemy nation's fleets into port or very close to friendly coasts. The US SSN force is one area where the US has kept pace updating and spending funds since the early 1990s.

Blogger Johnny March 11, 2018 10:54 PM  

A capital ship's primary strategic purpose isn't to engage in combat, it is to intimidate by it's very presence.

They are good for projecting power against countries that can not fight back. But otherwise, often for show. That is what the British battleships became back when Britain was an imperial power.

The culmination of this trend was a ship that was simply too expensive to risk in battle--you could not afford to lose a dreadnought. Do you really think that an armored ship could be constructed today which could survive a missile attack?

In the lead up to WWII, a Zero fighter sunk a British battleship. Then another Zero sunk another capital ship and the whole British Navy had to pull out of the Far East. Two capable but light weight fighters out muscled the entire British Navy.

OpenID widlast March 11, 2018 11:19 PM  

At this point, large naval vessels are just large targets. They no longer are the threats they once were. Personally. I'm glad the Russkies have upped the game, The US has been behaving like the big bully on the block for far too long. If left to their own desires, the neocons would have the world at perpetual low level warfare.

Blogger Oliver Cromwell March 11, 2018 11:31 PM  

These weapons don't mean very much because they can't be targeted without air superiority and the US is far ahead of anyone in that game at sea. It's also nothing new because although these weapons don't really work as advertised, the nuclear submarine always did and the Soviets and then the Russians always had quite a lot of them. The US carrier groups are not especially vulnerable today, but equally they were never invulnerable before.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 11, 2018 11:37 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Chesapean March 11, 2018 11:38 PM  

We have weapons that travel at the speed of light. Is that insufficient?

You never know how things are going to work in battle until you go to war. I wouldn't count us out.

Blogger Avalanche March 11, 2018 11:51 PM  

@25 "once Detroit reaches 100% diversity and begins producing our super-high-tech flying pyramids."

And fueled by Wakandadumb

Blogger Wynn Lloyd March 11, 2018 11:53 PM  

A new ABM called the MS-13 Wakandan?

Blogger Stephen Davenport March 11, 2018 11:55 PM  

lol..sure Vox sure

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 12, 2018 12:16 AM  

These weapons don't mean very much because they can't be targeted without air superiority and the US is far ahead of anyone in that game at sea.

You could always have terminal guidance provided by ROV submersibles or drones.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 12, 2018 12:22 AM  

Also, regarding that air superiority... the F35 delivery rate is still dismal, and only half of F35s that have been delivered are operational. Meanwhile the Russians and Chinese have taken the 80/20 approach and are deploying mostly-stealthy aircraft at a fraction of the cost of ours.

Blogger pyrrhus March 12, 2018 12:25 AM  

@45 Total nonsense. Targeting ICBMs can be done by satellite if necessary. The US has a huge fleet of enormously expensive carriers which were sitting ducks already to cheap wave skimming missiles, long range torpedoes, energy weapons, and soon kinetic weapons. The hypersonic cruise missile, which can engage in evasive maneuvers, and the drone subs merely put frosting on the cake.
As to land forces, where US readiness is highly questionable (female officers and bad fitness reports), they aren't relevant to combat against nations armed with the aforesaid technology. And as to the vaunted and ridiculously overpriced USAF, it would soon be contending with 5th Gen SAM systems and radar. Meanwhile our expensive stealth aircraft are no longer stealthy, and can safely be retired.

Blogger pyrrhus March 12, 2018 12:29 AM  

The BIG problem for the US strategy is that technology in the fields of radar, energy weapons, missiles, and drones is advancing far too rapidly for our sluggish procurement process to keep up with it.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 12, 2018 12:41 AM  

"...they can't be targeted without air superiority"

You're not thinking about this.
A drone I can buy in my local Office Works can deliver a situational brief encompassing kilometers in a matter of minutes; my mobile phone can deliver GPS coordinates within meters and a similar time frame.
The landscape of battle has dramatically changed and will continue to do so.
It's not really a question of 'what we know' any more, but what we can imagine.

Blogger Thucydides March 12, 2018 12:42 AM  

The much larger question is how many can the Russians actually afford to build? Their economy is roughly the size of Spain's and further warped by the kleptocracy of the upper echelons.

Potential game changers like the T-14 Armata or PAK-FA can only be procured in very limited numbers (if at all; Russia can afford 100 T-14's, which is just enough for two battalions, and 12 PAK-FA's including the prototypes, a single squadron and acknowledged to be incapable due to underpowered engines). So can Russia truly afford to procure anti-ship missiles or ICBM's in the large quantities required? And if they choose to, what are they choosing to give up in exchange?

The US military may not be all that it could be, and a *lot* of bureaucratic fat could be stripped away. The primary problem is the Grand Strategy of the United States has not been clearly articulated, nor the means of achieving it derived from a clear understanding of the Grand Strategy. This means clinging to old, tried and true methods which may or may not be suitable or adaptable to the situation at hand.

There are actually a great many different ways to approach the problem and a multitude of possible solutions, but the sticking point is US domestic politics ("the swamp") which drives things towards a very limited set of solutions to the problem space at hand.

Blogger Ken Prescott March 12, 2018 12:46 AM  

The Zircon description violates some very basic laws of physics. Stealth coatings do not like the temperatures found in hypersonic flight regime, and low RCS shapes don't have the sort of Reynolds and Froude numbers associated with hypersonic aerothermodynamics...

Blogger Kirby March 12, 2018 12:51 AM  

The really important fact is that the tech is filtering downwards. Yes, Russia has hypersonic missiles. So do the Indians(Brahmos) and soon the Pakis. In the near future every 3rd world shithole will have a battery or ten of hypersonic AShMs defending their coasts against American CVNs. Plus SA-600 equivalent SAM batteries, and thousands of cheap ATGMs capable of turning Abrams tanks into flaming coffins. Don't forget all the RPG-7 launchers with all kinds of new and impressive warheads coming out.

We spent all our money on platforms. Our missiles, bombs, and bullets are got the short end of the budgetary stick. Its not the rifle (or tank, or airplane, or launcher) that kills.... its the missile (or bomb, or bullet.) Our enemies spent their money on munitions. We have fancy new planes and tanks ships firing old ass ordinance with modest updates. Weapons like Harpoon, tomahawk, Standard, Sidewinder, and Patriot really haven't gotten the kind of love that went into Raptor, Zumwalt, and stryker.

Blogger Unknown March 12, 2018 1:03 AM  

I have seen the myth of Russian super weapons before. The T-72 was supposed to be a terror on wheels, but in fact, even the older M-1s could out shoot them from so far away they were dead before they even saw who killed them.
I served on four carriers, and they are not easy to sink. We tried to, with the decommissioned USS America, and we eventually had to put a demo team on board to blow out the bottom. Nothing else was working. This was a bare hull, no one on board to do damage control.
Now, this is not to say that the US should be sitting on its ass, like it has been since 1989. DE and Kinetic weapons need to be hashed out with a quickness, because the ultra-high velocity missile will produce a mission kill, if one gets through to hit in the right spot. We are on the verge of being able to kill anything that comes over the horizon if we can see it, if we only have the will to finish developing practical rail guns.

Blogger Bogey March 12, 2018 1:09 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 12, 2018 1:18 AM  

"
I have seen the myth of Russian super weapons before. The T-72 was supposed to be a terror on wheels..."

Agreed.
But the technology has significantly advanced.
Being a 'super' weapon isn't quite as hard as it used to be.

OpenID aslr March 12, 2018 1:20 AM  

pyrrhus wrote:Targeting ICBMs can be done by satellite if necessary
Imaging satellites need to be slewed to a very specific area using previously acquired targeting information, and their sensors tend to be very poor in resolution compared to the data you'd get from terrestrial sensors. Target discrimination is also very poor due to extreme power and thermal constraints on the sensors they use. The only satellites capable of scanning large areas for a target are SIGINT sats, which don't work if the target is capable of basic EMCON.

pyrrhus wrote:wave skimming missiles
Good thing the E-2D and NIFC-CA exist.

pyrrhus wrote:long range torpedoes
If by "long range" you mean ~50km, sure. The problem is that the navy the U.S. will most likely have to face, the PLAN, only possesses decent electric submarines, which are limited to extremely slow operating speeds compared to modern nuclear boats like the Virginias. Unless they're guarding a chokepoint the ships have to pass through, or just so happen to detect the ships while they're inside a very narrow cone directly in front of them, those 50km torpedoes aren't going to cut it.

pyrrhus wrote:energy weapons
Show me an energy weapon that can disable a carrier and I'll eat my hat. Better yet, show me an energy weapon that can do so from more than 10km (i.e. can be mounted on an aircraft, not a ship or ground based station), and can do so in the presence of significant moisture.

pyrrhus wrote:kinetic weapons
Given that very fast (~Mach 5) anti-ship missiles have existed since the 1960s and that the current main navy surface to air missiles are specifically tested against targets capable of flying at Mach 2.6 at 15ft above sea level and performing 12g maneuvers, high-altitude missiles flying at Mach 4, and high-divers incoming at ballistic missile speeds, I highly doubt any of the new Russian missiles are major game changers. As I said before, they're basically smaller Kh-22s.

pyrrhus wrote:drone subs
Drone subs using passive sonar could only ever provide (very inaccurate) azimuth data. Drone subs using active sonar could provide range data, but drone subs using active sonar would be blown out of the water far before they got anywhere near a carrier.

Blogger Timmy3 March 12, 2018 1:38 AM  

We may not have the missle shield to prevent an attack so we must come up a comparable similar missle. Maybe we already have one. A $1 to 2 million missle is attainable, but American companies will charge more.

Blogger Tanjil Bren March 12, 2018 1:53 AM  

"...We must come up a comparable similar missle [sic]"

That's a deterrent (possibly) not an active counter measure.
The US nuclear capability serves just as well, but for the scale of the counter attack, which negates its immediate tactical use.
(And 'After me, nothing' is only so good as the credibility underpinning the threat.)

Blogger Jeff March 12, 2018 2:08 AM  

We need to institute Pournelle's CoDominium.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 12, 2018 2:17 AM  

There is also the perception (at least from outside the military) that the military is converged as well. Don't know anyone serving so I have no idea

Yes, it's converging. It's only maybe 1/3 of the way though.

"We are on the verge of being able to kill anything that comes over the horizon if we can see it"

Been there, done that, decades old tech does that. The horizon is not far.

Railgun tech isn't about the horizon, unless you're talking about the horizon as seen from a hundred miles altitude.

"If by "long range" you mean ~50km, sure. The problem is that the navy the U.S. will most likely have to face, the PLAN, only possesses decent electric submarines, which are limited to extremely slow operating speeds compared to modern nuclear boats like the Virginias."

Have served on board a Virginia class. You don't know what you're talking about, in any aspect. Stop talking.

"Unless they're guarding a chokepoint the ships have to pass through"

I don't think you realize just how much time submarines spend doing exactly that.

"Show me an energy weapon that can disable a carrier and I'll eat my hat."

This is a vastly superior argument to your prior one.

"Drone subs using passive sonar could only ever provide (very inaccurate) azimuth data."

And then you go right back to being a riot of blithe ignorance...


TL;DR: American military and tech are entirely vulnerable, just as they always have been. The key question here is whether or not the enemy has the logistic capability to sufficiently exploit those vulnerabilities with the perfectly good tools they already have.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 12, 2018 2:19 AM  

As for military tactical capabilities, if it's not classified, and it's somewhere the public is likely to look, it's at least slightly exaggerated. Best-case-scenario stuff all the way down, from all sides, from every nation, always.

Blogger AdognamedOp March 12, 2018 3:42 AM  

Would be interesting to see how this Ruskie rocket fairs against US naval power. A little conventional war every now and then does good for the developement of weapon systems. Unless you're the Brits and do sht like send the Queens fleet into a lagoon to get shot up by Argies in Mirage jets then decommission half the fleet two decades later.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 12, 2018 4:17 AM  

42. justaguy

I'm genuinely curious as to your opinion on this question.

Where do you see submarine technology being at in 2050?

Blogger Andrea Daley March 12, 2018 4:38 AM  

Russian economy is smaller than that of South Korea. It can't sustain a big military.

Blogger Unknown March 12, 2018 5:05 AM  

One noteworthy point: the unit cost per missile is 1-2 $million. That is probably less expensive than the medical cost for one tranny reassignment surgery for a Pfc, corpsman or ensign. We're *ucked.

Blogger AdognamedOp March 12, 2018 5:07 AM  

Given the advances in nanotech, we should be able to create schools of micro subs capable of enveloping enemy ship hulls like so many barnacles to render them inoperative, within the next decade.

Blogger Stephen March 12, 2018 5:35 AM  

Nuclear armed ICBMs made comparison of major powers military strength in non nuclear forces and how they would fare against each other a rather academic exercise 60 years ago. There is no defense against an ICBMs which will destroy all major bases and assets, who remains should be too busy surviving to care much about attacking a country on the other side of the world.

Blogger One Deplorable DT March 12, 2018 5:49 AM  

* Never take Russian super weapon claims at face value.

* Carriers are not as easy to sink as many believe. And this new missile would not nullify existing carrier defenses even if all the claims are true. That said, Russia has had the ability to sink a U.S. carrier for decades. China likely has the capability today as well, at least within a certain distance of their home. It's a numbers game. If you are willing to commit the resources and accept the loses you can do it. This missile at best changes the numbers a bit.

The problem is that sinking a U.S. carrier is literally asking for it. And neither our bombers nor our submarines need a carrier to glass Russian or Chinese bases in response. You won't see Russia or China directly attack a CBG short of World War III because they know exactly what the U.S. response would be. And in the case of Russia, what it would escalate to.

* The U.S. has never tried to field an ABM system capable of stopping a massive Russian attack. Reagan talked about it but we never did more than R&D. A new Russian ICBM changes nothing. Flying an ICBM over the south pole to strike the U.S. is a guaranteed way of turning Russia into a Bethesda game. It's also proof that Russia is more terrified of our ABM capabilities than they should be. Which is fine. Let them burn money solving a solved problem. Our ABM systems have always been targeted at rogue states.

* U.S. vs. Russian military action in proxy wars like Syria is not governed by tech, nor has it ever been in the nuclear age. It's governed by politics and a desire to achieve objectives without pushing the other side into a direct conflict which could quickly escalate to nukes. We wouldn't directly engage Russia in Afghanistan long before Putin's new toys. That's because his new toys don't matter. Thermonuclear war matters, and neither side wants it.

Russia is going to "win" in Syria because the U.S. squandered it's influence in the middle east on neocon fantasies. Not because of new missiles. (I put "win" in quotes because Syria has nothing to do with MAGA. And Putin hammering radical Islamists is fine with me. I don't know why we care even if he gases them except that it makes Ivanka cry.)

Blogger Bob Loblaw March 12, 2018 5:49 AM  

Russian economy is smaller than that of South Korea. It can't sustain a big military.

Yep. The Russians can't maintain spending at current levels. They can't develop modern systems without selling them to anyone with cash, and quality is low. You can look at the problems India is having if there's any doubt.

Also, I'd be careful taking anything the Saker says at face value. He's no ASW expert.

OpenID zhukovg March 12, 2018 7:18 AM  

There are no super-weapons. But there are adequate weapons. That is more than enough. In the current 'Great Game', the Russians have likely already won. Some of you understand this. The rest cling to tactical fantasies in the face of strategic defeat.

--ZhukovG

Blogger wreckage March 12, 2018 7:24 AM  

Russia has the GDP of... Italy? I think? Shiny new toys in Russian hands are not especially relevant, but they have more strategic reach than anyone but the USA thanks to their old, boring, nuclear-effing-weapons.

Still and all, the notion that US assets are invulnerable might have been a useful bit of propaganda during the terror of the Cold War, but it's a terrible bit of legacy memetics now; with every US citizen reacting to the faintest whiff of the price of actual warfare as though it were the end of the world.

The biggest threat to the USA is other powers entertaining the idea they can act with impunity due to a lack of US will. As far as that goes, GWB's knee-jerk over-reaction actually serves the US strategic interest. Even the total collapse of the Middle East since, does so.

The message: if attacked, the USA will react massively disproportionately, commit to wars that make little if any rational sense, smash stuff at random and then fund and foment rebellion, strife, and terror, for no real reason other than to watch the region burn.

It is better to be feared than loved. That ineptitude, stupidity and over-reach, rather than steely-eyed resolve, are what led to the USA looking like a rabid dog? That's not necessarily relevant.

Blogger VD March 12, 2018 7:25 AM  

The problem is that sinking a U.S. carrier is literally asking for it.

Congratulations on completely missing the point. None of you guys babbling about how this changes nothing seem to grasp that Russia's strategy is DEFENSIVE.

They will sink carriers and destroy US bases with these missiles IN RESPONSE to continued provocations. This means the US no longer has the ability to project force the way it has been doing in an unrestrained manner since 1990 or so.

That is a major change. FFS, why do you think the neocons have been frothing at the mouth over Russia for the last 18 months? It's because they know Russia has just put an end to their global ambitions.

Blogger Resident Moron™ March 12, 2018 7:33 AM  

Russia doesn’t need s big military. Not on US terms, anyway. Russia isn’t trying to muscle the whole world.

What she gives up, on order to fund a decent defensive posture, is an offensive capability that she doesn’t need or want and would only invite US aggression if she built it.

For those of you whose argument rests on this “compromise” while pretending the IS has unlimited funds and doesn’t have to make such choices... well, that’s just stupid crap. It’s incapable of explaining, for example, the F35; about the most singularly compromised aircraft in history, one that none of the services actually want.

Davison and Rees-Mogg’s discussion of the varying historical ratio of the costs of offensive versus defensive weapons would help a lot in this discussion.

Blogger wreckage March 12, 2018 8:18 AM  

@78 I guess we hope that Russian capabilities cool the US's schizophrenic spasms of imperialism rather than setting off a "last chance" conquest spree. As far as that goes, people might be underestimating Trump's impact; he's unlikely to be distracted by the whispers of warmongers.

How do you see that? Just if you have the time to speculate?

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 12, 2018 8:19 AM  

"Given the advances in nanotech"

That's a joke, right?

We're about as close to neumann-probe or otherwise mass production of nanomachines as we are to teleportation.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 12, 2018 8:20 AM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:Mach 6 is fast for a cruise missile but it's not anywhere near as fast as basaltic missile.

Basaltic missiles are from the stone age.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 12, 2018 8:27 AM  

Vox is right, USA capability to project overwhelming power "bullying" has been going for a couple of decades. We're at the point where all it would take to make that obvious to absolutely everyone is about two inopportune minutes of push-comes-to-shove.

The next question of interest is, what happens to the world's leading empty bubble economy when it's no longer capable of making and breaking (read: manipulating for financiers' benefit) other economies? It gets implosion-pillaged as soon as the financier-rats decide they have a better ship to jump to.

Blogger Nate March 12, 2018 8:30 AM  

and how many of these fancy missiles can russia actually afford to build?

Look I know I know I know... dumb american is dumb. Except this dumb american was alive in 1984. I remember well how the USSR was supposedly far better at conventional warfare than America was. Their tanks were supposedly way better.. and they had so many more of them. Their subs were better... their jets were better... every book on the subject said the same thing.

Then Desert Storm happened.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 12, 2018 8:45 AM  

Mr.MantraMan wrote:Airfields don't move and aircraft carriers do 35+/- knots, IMO missile bait.

The square root of a 1,000 foot waterline implies 31 knots hull speed. The waterline beam is around a tenth of that 1,000 feet, so they can probably go close to twice that speed before the wake climbs onto the flight deck. I'm told that a US carrier has been observed moving at 70 knots.

35, 70 - might as well be standing still if there are Mach 6 missiles incoming, let alone Flintstones era basaltic missiles.

Blogger Mike Wallens March 12, 2018 8:49 AM  

Funny, I don't remember the US fighting Russians in Desert Storm. I remember the US with air supremacy, fighting a rag tag Iraqi army worn out from fighting Iran for 8 years, equipped with ancient hand me down Soviet weaponry.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 12, 2018 8:49 AM  

Nate wrote:Then Desert Storm happened.

With Iraqi command and control, it really didn't matter how bad the Russian export models were.

Nate, these weapons don't have to be good, they just have to be good enough, and cheap.

Blogger wreckage March 12, 2018 8:55 AM  

No chances all the shouting about Russia's new toys is in any way similar to massively inflated estimates of Soviet nuclear capability back in the day?

Blogger Nate March 12, 2018 8:56 AM  

"With Iraqi command and control, it really didn't matter how bad the Russian export models were."

that wasn't the point. The point was.. the USSR admitted they could do what we did. They couldn't handle the logistics of it... the speed of it.

As for the weapons... look the american public thinks Aircraft Carriers are invinsible. The US miliary on the other hand knows they aren't and have never been. Diesel-Electric subs have been sinking US carriers in war games since forever. And the nickname "Missile Magnet" predates the existence of these new fancy missiles by oh... 20 years.

The US has all kinds of toys that the public has never seen. That was one of the big lessons of Desert Storm. you just never know what Uncle Sam can roll out when the time comes.

We have a ton of work to do. Our military is in bad shape. But its nothing that a couple years under Mattis won't fix.

OpenID Mike Jackson March 12, 2018 8:58 AM  

It is better to be feared than loved. That ineptitude, stupidity and over-reach, rather than steely-eyed resolve, are what led to the USA looking like a rabid dog? That's not necessarily relevant.

You can only do that if you have a common national resolve to be feared. But destroying a region to watch it burn, only to open your own door to the people whose homes you destroyed, is not a good idea. If you're not going to go all the way, then don't go there at all.

Blogger Some Guy March 12, 2018 9:00 AM  

@VD

"They will sink carriers and destroy US bases with these missiles IN RESPONSE to continued provocations. This means the US no longer has the ability to project force the way it has been doing in an unrestrained manner since 1990 or so."


This is the best news we could possibly ask for. The moment we can no longer play world police, the better it will be for everyone. The sad part is that it takes an extreme crisis for politicians to understand that it is not business as usual. Luckily, we have mad dog and he knows the score.

OpenID Mike Jackson March 12, 2018 9:03 AM  

Russian economy is smaller than that of South Korea. It can't sustain a big military.

North Korea's is a lot smaller, and look how they have the world eating out of their hand, even if they are starving themselves. All you need is that one thing to make the mouse roar.

Blogger Some Guy March 12, 2018 9:04 AM  

@88

"No chances all the shouting about Russia's new toys is in any way similar to massively inflated estimates of Soviet nuclear capability back in the day?"

Pretty slim actually. The Russians have a military that has been spending it's money on new weapons instead of foreign wars. The hard to imagine part is that it took them this long to overcome our defensive capabilities in this one critical area.

Blogger One Deplorable DT March 12, 2018 9:15 AM  

@78 - Congratulations on completely missing the point. None of you guys babbling about how this changes nothing seem to grasp that Russia's strategy is DEFENSIVE. They will sink carriers and destroy US bases with these missiles IN RESPONSE to continued provocations.

There is no way in hell we are going to push Russia into a direct conflict where they feel the need to attack a CBG to save their troops. (Which they could do long before this missile.) The stakes are just too high. Cuba was the last time either side was truly willing to step up to that line.

This means the US no longer has the ability to project force the way it has been doing in an unrestrained manner since 1990 or so.

The U.S. has never had this ability against a target that the Russians A) truly cared about, and B) had some legal standing to defend. Not even in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. There just hasn't been a situation where A and B were true since before that collapse.

FFS, why do you think the neocons have been frothing at the mouth over Russia for the last 18 months? It's because they know Russia has just put an end to their global ambitions.

I agree with this statement. But it's not true because of a new missile or any drastic changes in the capabilities of the U.S. or Russia. It's true simply because Russia decided to act. We've enjoyed two and half decades of unrestrained force projection because the one power that can kill us never really cared to oppose us any where we projected force. Until now.

The board was open in Ukraine and Syria and Russia set their chess pieces down. Their chess pieces could consist of high school boys with BB guns and the effect would be the same. Why? Because they are the other nuclear super power. Neocon politicians can cry and pout all they want. Doesn't change the fact that by simply showing up Russia wins these proxy conflicts.

That doesn't mean they can win any proxy conflict or stop our force projection any where. Who cares more and has some legal foundation (or excuse) to put their pieces down first sets the stage. As it has since the 60's.

Blogger Looking Glass March 12, 2018 9:17 AM  

@88 wreckage

A little, though the main point of contention is if this is a drastically improved Opening Salvo weapon compared to Russia's current capabilities. Some of us are of the opinion it's a nice improvement for the Russians, but it doesn't change the strategic playing field at the moment. Though it should be cheaper and more adapted to Russia's launch platforms.

It's a bit like the Tomahawk is for the US military. They adapted practically everything to be able to use the weapon platform because of its utility. (Same ballpark of Cost per Missile as well.) This will fit into Russia's current platforms much better, with much easier deployment, it seems like. So it's a pretty sizable upgrade, and does bring anti-carrier tech more easily to the battlespace.

Probably the main thing is sell the Russians using it and more the danger of it for an export market. Which probably means we'll see the near-term deployment of laser-based defense systems for carrier groups. Though the platform is going to need real-time guidance information to hit a carrier group, so I don't think we'll see it ever actually attempt to hit one.

To my mind, the more important development is the Chinese testing of their first nuclear submarine. We've only gotten the vaguest hint of its existence, so it'll be a few years. Considering the South China Sea is the land of submarines, that's actually a really big development.

Blogger Looking Glass March 12, 2018 9:22 AM  

@94 One Deplorable DT

The US & EU have ignored the agreement not to encroach on the Russian sphere of influence. You can thank Obama's State Department and the "Rent-a-Coup" outfits for the currently terrible state of affairs.

Blogger Nate March 12, 2018 9:23 AM  

also its hard not to note that this comes along right at a time when the US is looking to dump a bunch of money into military spending.

Just the good ol' scare tactic the public needs. The same one they used in the 80s I should add.

Blogger Bobiojimbo March 12, 2018 9:25 AM  

It's always been an arms race, and beating US technology has always been the goal. If you can beat is, then you can most likely beat anyone else.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 12, 2018 9:30 AM  

Conservatives will positively absolutely never leave the year 1945, they will forever steam carriers up to the evil doers' shores and unleash the timeless 8th Airforce from those secure stationary airbases upon those evil doers and that is that because 'Murka.

As was written by that Russian hack over at Unz it's about standoff distance.

As for targeting every target worth a damn radiates a certain amount of electronic signals, AWACs, refueling (no airborne semiphore) and carriers (why do those funny looking fast tug boats follow carriers you might ask?).

Take America's Mini Me Israel and how the Hezbollah strategically nullified them with at best 1960s tech, now imagine they had missiles that could reach the Negev desert where those stationary airbases are located.

Blogger One Deplorable DT March 12, 2018 9:33 AM  

@96 - Agreed. We completely mismanaged the collapse of the Soviet Union. Not only in the manner Vox points out, but also in the way we 'spiked the ball' by trying to run NATO and our influence right up to Russia's border. I don't blame Russia for their recent posture or new weapons development.

To be clear I agree with much of what Vox says in this blog post. I simply disagree that these new weapons are Russia's "veto." Russia has had a veto on our force projection, in some spheres at least, since the day they detonated their first nuke. The neocons just forgot about this while the bear slept.

Blogger VD March 12, 2018 10:00 AM  

and how many of these fancy missiles can russia actually afford to build?

As many as they want. The missiles cost less than 2 million per and they have at least 166 planes capable of carrying them. They can also be fired from land or shipping containers.

Blogger Peter Gent March 12, 2018 10:01 AM  

Johnny wrote:In the lead up to WWII, a Zero fighter sunk a British battleship. Then another Zero sunk another capital ship and the whole British Navy had to pull out of the Far East. Two capable but light weight fighters out muscled the entire British Navy.
Sorry, but that is not correct. The ships in question, HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk by the efforts of a massive Type 96 "Nell" bomber attack using a combination of bombs and torpedoes. The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a long range fighter aircraft which was only outfitted with bombs later in WWII when used as a kamikaze weapon.

The British capital ships were sunk by the application of massive carrier air power, which was a brand new tactic at the time and the world's navies were unprepared to deal with. Without carriers to act as an air shield, capital ships had no defense against a massive carrier-based attack.

If you want more information, read the excellent book, Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 12, 2018 10:23 AM  

@102 Peter Gent

Can confirm. It's an excellent book.

Blogger Matamoros March 12, 2018 10:42 AM  

From Paul Goble:

Putin’s Militaristic Threats aren’t Even Close to the Real Possibilities He Claims, Solonin Says

http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/03/putins-militaristic-threats-arent-even.html

Blogger Brick Hardslab March 12, 2018 10:51 AM  

This reminds me of the breathless stuff we used to read forty years ago. How the Soviets were beating us at this or that do we better look out for the bogeyman.

Except we don't have the manufacturing base to compete like we used to. I suppose we could buy our new whiz bang counter measures from China.

The rhetoric on both sides seems the same but the changes are too big to ignore. Except by the punditry.

Blogger Hammerli280 March 12, 2018 11:03 AM  

Personally, I think the Russians are selling marketing brochures. Functional hardware they have a much harder time with, as the Indians will confirm.

Nevertheless, Vox's basic premise is correct. The Cold War ended in 1990. The American Monopolar world is ending now. Russia is trying to play the Great Power game (and Putin is playing a poor hand with exquisite skill), China is playing it as well.

It's an Emerging Multipolar World. And we don't have it all to ourselves.

But only a fool would have thought we would.

Blogger Dire Badger March 12, 2018 11:18 AM  

Add to that Hillary blabbed our Nuclear response times, which people seem to forget, and we could be effectively crippled before we even got a single missile off.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 12, 2018 12:19 PM  

"The US has all kinds of toys that the public has never seen."

I don't entirely disagree, but even that sort of tech development has hit somewhat of a stall from what I can see. I expect them to pull out unexpected things, but I don't expect them to be extremely unexpected.

"We have a ton of work to do. Our military is in bad shape. But its nothing that a couple years under Mattis won't fix."

On the one hand, I love and agree with your positive attitude. On the other, I very much doubt two years is going to do the trick. We're talking more like a decade to get to a very firm footing... that we probably don't need as much if we can extricate the higher-up troublemakers.

One of the major problems is that there are now "career" women in the military. I'm not saying that 70%+ of them won't be drummed out or run away (because they will), but that remaining few percent, however small, is guaranteed to screw us for at LEAST a decade in certain places. To be precise, that's even if we, as a civilization, turn the ongoing shit test inside out and blow it out of the water, otherwise we'll still be going downhill.

"There is no way in hell we are going to push Russia into a direct conflict where they feel the need to attack a CBG to save their troops. (Which they could do long before this missile.) The stakes are just too high."

I wish I shared your optimism. All it takes is for the useful idiots to be numerous and stupid enough, and they can be coaxed to make the sacrifice for elites hiding in safe locations in other countries. I'd like to think we aren't there, but recent history doesn't look so hot. All it would take is one little trip to cascade into that real fast.

"To my mind, the more important development is the Chinese testing of their first nuclear submarine. We've only gotten the vaguest hint of its existence"

*cough* No. And before you ask, no I can't.

As opposed to the Russians, the only thing we have to fear with the Chinese on that front is fear itself (read: our own incompetence).

"Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway" Heck yes.

"Personally, I think the Russians are selling marketing brochures. Functional hardware they have a much harder time with, as the Indians will confirm."

Effectively anecdotal evidence aside, the Russians have successfully marketed functional hardware to a whole mess of different nations, most of whom are repeat customers. If you're saying, on the other hand, that their hardware won't match the specs... it'll be pretty darn close.

Blogger John Q Public March 12, 2018 12:57 PM  

"with the development of hypersonic missiles - which probably explain the recent sightings of high-speed UFOs"

People have been seeing UFOs for a very long time. It has nothing to do with Russian missiles.

Blogger VD March 12, 2018 1:21 PM  

Personally, I think the Russians are selling marketing brochures. Functional hardware they have a much harder time with, as the Indians will confirm.

Wait and see. If the US gets hysterical about Russia selling these missiles to Iran, you'll know Putin was telling the truth.

Blogger Peter Gent March 12, 2018 2:29 PM  

VD wrote: Wait and see. If the US gets hysterical about Russia selling these missiles to Iran, you'll know Putin was telling the truth.

If they can really be bought for less than $2 million per, then why wouldn't they sell like hotcakes to a number of nations.

Blogger Jackson Peds March 12, 2018 4:03 PM  

@109

John Q Public?

The same on from the 10'-11'? Or just a coincedence?

If the former. Missed your opinions in here, mate.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 12, 2018 5:06 PM  

Peter Gent wrote:If they can really be bought for less than $2 million per, then why wouldn't they sell like hotcakes to a number of nations.

Why do you think they won't be sold to a number of nations? Give the Russians a little time to make sales calls and take orders.

Blogger Bob Loblaw March 12, 2018 7:10 PM  

Mike Wallens wrote:Funny, I don't remember the US fighting Russians in Desert Storm. I remember the US with air supremacy, fighting a rag tag Iraqi army worn out from fighting Iran for 8 years, equipped with ancient hand me down Soviet weaponry.

The Republican Guard units were relatively well trained and equipped, but I agree with your basic point. Cut off from resupply, blind and being constantly attacked from the air isn't a good setup for victory against an attacker who knows exactly where you are, outranges you, and has superior fire control.

Blogger Bob Loblaw March 12, 2018 7:19 PM  

Looking Glass wrote:@88
To my mind, the more important development is the Chinese testing of their first nuclear submarine. We've only gotten the vaguest hint of its existence, so it'll be a few years. Considering the South China Sea is the land of submarines, that's actually a really big development.


The Chinese are doing extensive sea trials with their subs, so we know quite a bit about them. They're noisy as hell; completely unsuited for combat.

But that was never the point. The Chinese are taking the long view, and just as with their aircraft carrier and halting attempts at reliable jet engines, you can consider the current generation of nuclear submarines to be "x project" like platforms that they're using to train crews and develop the skills to produce the next generation.

If war were to start today, presumably it would be in the South China Sea where the latest Chinese conventional and AIP diesel subs, which are quite capable, would be in play. Nuclear submarines are for projecting power, not defending the home waters.

Blogger Oliver Cromwell March 12, 2018 8:16 PM  

@53

Yes, missiles can be targeted by satellites, and the Soviet Union was building an enormously expensive satellite targeting system designed to let it do that. The system never worked properly and was abandoned in 1990. Russia does not have such a system. It is not clear Russia is capable of financing or building such a system. It's arguably more complex than the aircraft carrier fleets it supposedly counters; it's at the very least comparable, certainly not some asymmetric threat.

The US itself has had hypersonic missiles since the 1950s. There is nothing new about this technology. The reason the US hasn't pursued surface-to-surface missiles in general for warships is that air-to-ship missiles are enormously more effective. The main reason - although perhaps not the only reason - the US doesn't have high supersonic air-to-ship missiles is that they are heavy, short ranged, or both.

Possession of heavy ground-based missiles for attacking ships isn't a sign of strength or effectiveness. Ground based systems are not very effective at attacking ships, and their weaknesses are due to the laws of physics and not at all easy to mitigate. Possession of lots of aircraft is a sign of strength. The ability to base those aircraft in large numbers anywhere at sea a greater one.

@55

No one doubts the vulnerability of an aircraft carrier if it were to get within a few kilometers, let alone metres, of a concentration of enemy force. The problem the enemy has is that the carrier is effective against him from up to 1,000km away. It has no need to get so close, and isn't really vulnerable to doing so unless caught by surprise in peacetime. That's a real threat, but hardly a decisive one.

Blogger Oliver Cromwell March 12, 2018 8:19 PM  

To add to my comment about this being possible in the 1950s. In the 1950s both sides in the Cold War already started putting nuclear warheads on everything. It has been the case for a long time - actually it was more the case in the past than now, when everyone is pretending harder to be nice - that if you can see something you can kill it. The problem being that people have put a lot of thought into how not to be seen and got very good at it. How many times did the Argentines sink HMS Invincible in 1982? They had sea skimming anti-ship missiles - better ones than the US had at the time - and the British Royal Navy's air defence and carrier arm at that time were woeful compared to the US's air defence and carrier arm of today.

Blogger Oliver Cromwell March 12, 2018 8:22 PM  

@78

That is more sensible position than that of the "carriers are obsolete !!" crowd. But the truth is the US never had complete freedom of action against Russia. Even aside from the nuclear weapons, which never went away, Russia always had a powerful submarine arm that would have made operating a US aircraft carrier against the Russian coast very dangerous. Today, that submarine arm is still a much greater threat to the USN than these missiles.

OpenID paulmurray March 13, 2018 5:10 AM  

"Police are even worse at soldiering than soldiers are at policing."

The basic job of the police is not to catch criminals, but to maintain public order. Always has been, from the time police forces were invented.

Furthermore, they do it in an environment where people in general are supposed to support and aid them. When people stop doing this (eg: ethnic enclaves), they have enormous difficulty carrying out their function.

Why do police wear blue? Because soldiers, back in the day, wore red. The whole point of police is that they are not soldiers. Not trained for it. Different sort of thing entirely.

Blogger Cluebat Vanexodar March 13, 2018 8:34 AM  

Lasers. If we drop the ball in development of point defense and airborne ABM lasers, we are dead. If we are successful, we will have rendered all of these expensive new systems irrelevant. Except for that fat torpedo nuke drone. But ASW has needed strong improvements for a long time as well. Any country detected trying to deploy a city killer deserves what it gets.

Blogger justaguy March 13, 2018 11:36 AM  

69 Caline: think underwater drones linked with fiber to a mother sub. Tech in 25 years hasn't really moved much-- a few things like smaller computers, better metals and composites and nano- nothing Star Trek. It takers years of engineering and repeatedly making mistake and learning from them to develop forward, and any short gap in funding or not transferring the specialize knowledge to the next generation--it all gets lost and we have to start over. Most people do not understand the level of complexity in things like a car or a plane, much less a submarine, nuclear reactor, or an advanced missile/drone.

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