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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Flashpoint: Syria

Israel shoots down a drone, Iran shoots down an F-16:
An Israeli fighter has been shot down as the country's air force carried out attacks against Iranian targets in Syria after intercepting a drone. The military said its planes faced massive anti-aircraft fire from Syria that forced two pilots to abandon an F-16 jet that crashed in northern Israel, seriously wounding one and lightly injuring the other.

'This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn't know how it will end,' Israel's chief military spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said in a statement.

Israeli forces identified an 'Iranian UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)' launched from Syria and intercepted it in Israeli airspace with a combat helicopter, a statement said. They then 'targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the UAV into Israeli airspace,' military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus tweeted. 'Massive Syrian anti-air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe.'

The Israeli military then carried out what it called a 'large scale attack' against Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria.
Given the way in which a Russian plane was shot down earlier this week, it is increasingly apparent that the age of air supremacy, although not over, is approaching its end. Once lasers replace missiles and guns, it's all but over for aircraft, manned or not.

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133 Comments:

Blogger Danby February 10, 2018 2:34 PM  

Demonstrates that
1) Iranians have Russian modern AA
2) Modern Russian AA can easily take out American jets
3) Israel has lost their ability to act unimpeded
4) USAF may have also lost that freedom

Blogger RobertT February 10, 2018 2:34 PM  

How about the era of big war ships? They look like sitting ducks to me.

Blogger Gloriam Deo February 10, 2018 2:36 PM  

I personally wonder if rail or coil guns will take the place of missiles. Lasers are limited to line-of-sight, but a rail gun could arc a payload at speeds far faster than a missile and do it from the safety of cover miles away.

A laser AA battery is an interesting concept as well. Any airborn enemy unit could be holed within a few seconds of being spotted. Chaff and flares wouldn't do much and you can't outmaneuver or outrun a laser guided by a Phalanx style radar system. The only way to evade it is to not be able to see it.

Blogger Zimri February 10, 2018 2:37 PM  

This accords with The Saker, that the US aircraft carrier fleet is presently of use only when the Chinese and Russians agree not to hinder them.

This means that air support is a tool of US empire. If Russia and China choose to deny us that tool, we lose the empire.

Blogger Gloriam Deo February 10, 2018 2:38 PM  

@1 F-16's are a few years outdated. (Though still a personal favorite of mine.) So we might be ok. Truthfully though, I doubt it like you. We have been fighting local partisans and have gotten used to the fire superiority we generally enjoy in those scenarios. Were we to engage in a state on state conflict, we should expect to deal with a force equal to our own.

Blogger VD February 10, 2018 2:39 PM  

How about the era of big war ships? They look like sitting ducks to me.

They aren't yet, but they will be very soon. US military power rests upon a) air supremacy and b) naval supremacy. Both are very nearly outmoded, thanks to a) anti-aircraft lasers and b) cavitating nuclear torpedoes fired from land.

You can't nuke a country, but you can nuke a carrier on the high seas.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2018 2:43 PM  

> "This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory."

The attacks took place in Syria. Interesting turn of phrase, isn't it?

Blogger pyrrhus February 10, 2018 2:46 PM  

"This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory."
Israeli territory apparently being...everywhere!?
Maybe Israel's military would like to tell us what is NOT Israeli territory?....Didn't think so...

Blogger VD February 10, 2018 2:47 PM  

The attacks took place in Syria. Interesting turn of phrase, isn't it?

It's referring to the drone, which was shot down over Israel.

Blogger jla February 10, 2018 2:58 PM  

It's referring to the drone, which was shot down over Israel.

That's what they're saying, anyway.

Blogger Gloriam Deo February 10, 2018 3:02 PM  

@6 Never mind that a nuke can be used to devastate a costal region with tidal waves. Why waste manpower and bombs destroying a port and the outlaying support centers when you can flood them into the next century by nuking the water off the coast.

Blogger Peter February 10, 2018 3:02 PM  

F16 are years old and light up on 80s radar technology which is where they are about. An f22 would be invisable. And you dont think planes just fly up to AA like fat gooses... they get one suprise shot like that, next time they will be much more careful...

Blogger E. William Brown February 10, 2018 3:11 PM  

End of air supremacy? No, not until anti-aircraft lasers reach the field, and that's a few years out. What it demonstrates instead is simply that many people have misguided ideas about what air supremacy means.

It does not, and has never, meant that aircraft are utterly immune to all threats. Anti-aircraft weapons have always been capable of inflicting some attrition on an air force, especially in unfavorable situations like Israels. When your airfields are within range of the enemy SAM batteries most of the usual strategies for dealing with ground defenses in relative safety aren't viable.

What air supremacy does mean is that in any battle between aircraft and ground-based efenses, the aircraft have a substantial advantage. Air-to-ground weapons usually hit and destroy their targets, while ground-to-air weapons usually don't, and SAM systems that can match the range of modern ground attack weapons are almost as expensive as the planes they're shooting at. So if the air assets are deployed intelligently they will always be able to destroy the ground assets, after which they can go after other targets with relative impunity.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 10, 2018 3:12 PM  

They have to land somewhere.

Blogger VD February 10, 2018 3:14 PM  

End of air supremacy? No, not until anti-aircraft lasers reach the field, and that's a few years out.

Which is essentially what I said. It hasn't happened yet. But the end game is already in sight.

No one has misguided ideas about what air supremacy means. You just have a reading comprehension problem.

Blogger Simon February 10, 2018 3:24 PM  

Why do the Yids have planes over Syrian airspace? I'd like to know.

Blogger tuberman February 10, 2018 3:33 PM  

All I can suggest here is that the real wars are being fought in stealth mode, as global geopolitics make it that way.

Israel gets one plane shot down and, and, and... are they even involved in this, any more than they have to be, or is this just a geopolitical move to declare victory? Not pro-Israel here just wondering, as I've heard of none of their involvement until now. Have you? Was I missing something? Are the Iran factions losing badly somewhere and need to declare victory?

I believe the actual war is elsewhere, but cannot prove it. In Iran, the popular uprising some say was used by the Kurds and other forces to do recon and get the Secret Police to change sides. Not sure? What if Iran's Mullahs are pulling a final trick to stay alive by getting Jews involved?

We should know in a couple of months. If Iran's Mullahs are deposed, then this was mere distraction, or geopolitics.

Blogger Tamaqua February 10, 2018 3:33 PM  

No fucks given. If the Russians, Iranians, Turks and the Heebs want to shred each other over the carcass of Syria, then by all means, have at it.

And I’m glad the era of the aircraft dominated military is ending, since for 50 years, the temptation to bomb our way to peace with impunity and without taking losses has caused endless intervention. Tying the hands of the Air Force as the preferred method of power projection because it avoids ground commitment initially but inexorably escalates to sending in the Marines is a good thing.

Blogger Akulkis February 10, 2018 3:34 PM  

We never sell our absolute best version of high tech things. Not even to Isreal. They but their own electronic countermeasures on their aircraft. And they would prefer it that way even if we did offer them our best ECM packages.

Blogger S1AL February 10, 2018 3:35 PM  

Traditional air supremacy, sure. The question is now one of stealth.

Blogger Akulkis February 10, 2018 3:36 PM  

Reflective lower surfaces. Like silver sputtering instead of paint.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 10, 2018 3:37 PM  

Or have the Iranians made a strategic mistake by penetrating the airspace of the Hebrew reservation?

I would say yes if they cannot strike the airbases

Blogger John Williams February 10, 2018 3:39 PM  

The premier edition of Riding The Red Horse predicted how lasers will change warfare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNL_Q57Xn28

Blogger Akulkis February 10, 2018 3:40 PM  

Depends on how fast we can disrupt their runways that are within aircraft + missile strike range of our carriers.

If I remember correctly, heavy Sunbeam installations
aren't very portable.

Blogger Akulkis February 10, 2018 3:45 PM  

@4 good point about the torps.
No ship can survive a bubble created underneath its keel.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 10, 2018 3:48 PM  

Drudge has at the top that Hezbollah crowing about a new strategic era. Well maybe, but it looks a bit of a fragile situation in many respects.

Blogger USSHelm February 10, 2018 3:49 PM  

"Once lasers replace missiles and guns, it's all but over for aircraft, manned or not."

Military technology has always been a game of advance and then a countermeasure. Similar things as above were said about tanks with the development of the ATGM, air superiority with the development of SAMs, and conventional forces with the development of nuclear weapons. Air superiority isn't going anywhere.

Blogger DonReynolds February 10, 2018 3:56 PM  

Someone rather important was quoted as saying, he was not sure what weapons would be used to fight World War Three, but World War Four would be fought with sticks and stones.

Blogger Lazarus February 10, 2018 3:58 PM  

Debka is reporting that the plane was downed by Russian controlled fire. If true, Nasrallah is correct.

The Syrian anti-air missiles which hit an Israeli F-16 early Saturday, Feb. 10, are part of a system operated with and commanded by the Russians from their Kheimim air base. The F-16 was shot down during an Israeli air strike against the Iranian facility at the T-4 air base near Palmyra, which launched a UAV into Israeli airspace that morning. The ongoing clash has therefore gone way beyond an Israeli confrontation with Syria and Iran and marks a serious deterioration in the security situation on Israel’s northern border.

Blogger Tallen February 10, 2018 4:00 PM  

Guided missiles were supposed to end air supremacy too. I don't think lasers will fare any better. To efficiently deal damage, the laser beam has to be focused such that it converges on the target, which means accurate range and azimuth to the target must be maintained throughout the firing process. Modern stealth form factors and coatings make this difficult at best. Furthermore, the frequency of the laser limits the materials it can efficiently transfer energy to. It would be inefficient to protect most aircraft with laser-reflective materials, but a companion drone aircraft could be equipped with such a panel. The drone would place itself between the laser weapon and the target aircraft, with the panel exposed to the laser.

A low tech countermeasure might be to vent some sort of fluid or particulate out the nose cone that would scatter enough of the laser's energy to neutralize it.

Are lasers a threat to air power? Absolutely. Will they make it obsolete? I don't think so.

Blogger Positive Dennis February 10, 2018 4:00 PM  

This source says the drone was in Israeli airspace. The one I read this morning said near.

Blogger Robert Browning February 10, 2018 4:05 PM  

...and ground fighting is not a Jewish strength. We need an immigration moratorium now more than ever.

Blogger Bobiojimbo February 10, 2018 4:05 PM  

@RonertT Indeed they are. Swarm attacks, multi-warhead missiles, and super sonic torpedoes are only some of the threats big warships face.

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 10, 2018 4:15 PM  

Golan Heights is in Syria but Israel makes claims over it as an demilitarized zone, or some such thing. So, flying a drone over Golan, Israel makes claim and acts. Also, Israel has flown/invaded over Lebanon and launched A2G missles into Syria. Does the same while flying in Israel airspace.I
Moral hazard.
Israel does stupid things because big buddy uSA will cover Israel's ass.

Blogger NO GOOGLES February 10, 2018 4:28 PM  

I doubt air warfare is coming to an end. There will be a shift to cheaper mass manufactured drones for all but the most complex assignments. Eventually the ex fighter pilot brass in the Air Force will finally be forced to accept that there's not going to be nearly as much human pilot in aircraft action as there was - it will be remote piloted or autonomous swarm drones that do the bulk of the work.

Of course, the ex-fighter pilot brass will resist this - the question is how much will they resist it? Yes, flying a fighter jet is awesome and cool but it isn't going to be worth the risk of experienced pilots and incredibly expensive hardware, especially since the aircraft will be able to do even more impressive speeds and maneuvers without a human being in the cockpit to worry about.

Blogger YIH February 10, 2018 4:53 PM  

Oh great, assuming the drone was in Israeli airspace, I don't have a problem with them shooting down/capturing it.
But the retaliatory F-16 strike into Syria? (and no, just because you claim the Golan as part of Israel, doesn't mean the rest of Syria is as well) That just sounds like (((somebody))) desperately trying to drag the US further into Syria. I'd rather Trump keeps his nose out of this but considering the makeup of his cabinet and staff, that's wishful thinking. (((They're))) probably screaming ''We've got to finish Assad off!!!'' as I write this.

Blogger Dire Badger February 10, 2018 4:58 PM  

Railguns show as much promise of demolishing the concept of air war as Lasers do. cheap ammunition, an almost continuous stream of fire, and with improvements, they could even shoot a satellite out of orbit.

It would change sea warfare in interesting ways. Power armor might go out of style (No armor can stand up to a railgun), but infantry with muscle exoskeletons... hmmm...

Blogger Silly but True February 10, 2018 4:58 PM  

This isn't that complicated:
Iran launched drone from Syria into Israel.
Israel shot Iranian drone down in Israel.
Israel launched attack on Iranian drone base in Syria because Iranians launching drones into Israel is intolerable.
In process, Syria shot down Israel F-16 which crashed back in Israel.
Israel launched massive bombing campaign to eradicate Syrian AAA, because Syria being able to shoot down Israel jets is intolerable because that allows Iran to launch drones into Israel.

Blogger The Kurgan February 10, 2018 5:01 PM  

And he was wrong. He also was a plagiarist and his big idea was not really his.

Blogger Logan February 10, 2018 5:02 PM  

A Turkish T129 was shot down by a MANPADS earlier today as well.

What's unfolding in Syria is fascinating. Turkey's decision to invade Afrin put weight behind all of the statements Erdogan has made that were dismissed as bluffs. He has convinced the people of Turkey that the USA was behind the coup and that we are their enemy. Every time the SDF or YPG uses a weapon to kill Turkish soldiers that was given to the rebels by us, it cements that idea even further.

Turkey is poised to become the major power in the middle east again.

Blogger Lazarus February 10, 2018 5:07 PM  

@40
What's unfolding in Syria is fascinating.

Yes. If the US and Turkey clash, all the other Nato countries, by treaty, will have to back Turkey. But they will also have to back the US. Eventually, all the Nato countries, to retain solidarity, will have to attack themselves.

I eagerly await this scenario.

Blogger Longtime Lurker February 10, 2018 5:10 PM  

The IAF loses an aircraft to hostile fire for the first time in 12 years, and suddenly it's the end of Israeli qualitative miltary superiority? We'll see how the situation develops, but consider me skeptical.

Blogger YIH February 10, 2018 5:17 PM  

I watched the video at the link, they took out the control truck for the ''Predator'' (they got one of ours from Ashcanistan and they did what you'd expect them to, they made copies).
My first thought was ''Drone? As in a surveillance drone, a toy that can be taken out easily with a 12 guage?'' not a toy. I don't have a problem with them taking out the truck either, assuming they did it from Israeli territory (however that's defined). If they crossed into Syria itself (past the Golan) that's where things can get dicey.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 10, 2018 5:20 PM  

Israelis have become casualty averse since their defensive wars have morphed into seemingly unending wars for peace.

The weak point to air power is the landing spot, doubt me ask the Japanese from their experience at Midway.

Blogger NeoNietzsche: February 10, 2018 5:28 PM  

@36 " I'd rather Trump keeps his nose out of this but considering the makeup of his cabinet and staff, that's wishful thinking. (((They're))) probably screaming ''We've got to finish Assad off!!!'' as I write this."

Still, makes an awful useful distraction from getting immigration handled, the treasonous sent to GITMO, and pedo-arrests done... (Ye GODS! I hope Trump is NOT as distracted/distractable as they tell us, trying to upset our faith in him...)

Blogger Stephen February 10, 2018 5:30 PM  

Stealth planes may become useless too. A stealth plane must carefully plan its route so that its the angles of its surfaces dont point back to any radar transmitter. Networked radio antennas combined with modern computing can observe the sky from many angles at the same time on multiple frequencies and pick stealth planes out from the noise. Stealth planes are also delectable on extremely long wave and extremely short wave radar. As at wavelengths the length of the plane it looks like a ball while very small wavelengths pick up the cracks and seams. Stealth planes also contrast with the sky optically and in the infrared so skywards pointing cameras with image recognition can pick them up, also show up on Lidar and networked microphones.

The wages of socialism continue to deepen chaos in Venezuela. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-economy-trucks-widerimage/mad-max-violence-stalks-venezuelas-lawless-roads-idUSKBN1FT1G9

Blogger Longtime Lurker February 10, 2018 5:31 PM  

Attacking the Kurdish YPG in Afrin is one thing, but directly attacking U.S.-backed Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates River is another. Days ago, U.S. forces rocked a Syrian regime ground attack against these forces and made it look easy, reportedly killing 100 at the cost one wounded. Turkish generals are not stupid.

Blogger Hammerli280 February 10, 2018 5:33 PM  

For every technology there is a counter-technology. And a counter-counter technology.

My professional opinion? The Russians have a long history of selling surface-to-air systems that don't work quite as well as advertised. They do work, and the Israelis are by no means invincible.

Lasers? It's worth pointing out that the Navy has systems far enough advanced to be deployed on a trial basis. But there are serious atmospheric limits on effective range...see the Airborne Laser program for details. You get distortion and refraction of the beam. I regard them as more of a close-in weapon.

Blogger Longtime Lurker February 10, 2018 5:38 PM  

On the 2nd, Secretary Mattis publicly warned the Syrian regime against the continued use of chemical weapons. The regime has apparently resumed the use of chlorine bombs in the Idlib province. President Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in April 2017 in response to regime use of chemical weapons and could do so again at any time.

Blogger EasyCompany February 10, 2018 5:45 PM  

Logan:
Turkey is poised to become the major power in the middle east again.

HAHAHA!

Oh!

Your serious.

Ahhh,no. Not gonna happen.

Blogger cheddarman February 10, 2018 6:18 PM  

The American military reminds me of the Spanish Armada about to set sail and invade England

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales February 10, 2018 6:20 PM  

"Once lasers replace missiles and guns, it's all but over for aircraft, manned or not."

Not really. It just means you'll need laser specific defenses system that either safely absorb or deflect the specific wavelength of light we're talking about here (mostly likely infrared) or else come up with BS energy shields.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 6:28 PM  

Broadly speaking, warfare has split into two options. Highly trained commando units (perhaps integrated with air support like is occurring in the Near East), and an unstoppable crushing pulse of power delivered at a strategic location.

Nukes have no real world strategic application for a nation state as their use will bring about the destruction of the user. Drop a nuke on a carrier task force? Your country is gone.

Attacking a carrier battle group is an attack on the USA. Doomed to failure. No one can challenge the American command of the high seas. The last nation to try that bankrupted itself.

Rail gun technology may be a game changer though, a rail gun may be capable of putting up cheap bits of metal over long distances at an incredible rate. And did I mention cheap? Instead of a million dollar cruise missile think a 50 pound piece of aluminum (and less, as needed)impacting at supersonic speed.

Nasty.

Think Phalanx output with battleship firepower over cruise missile range.

Lasers....not so sure. Perhaps, disinfo.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales February 10, 2018 6:37 PM  

"impacting at supersonic speed."

HYPERsonic.

And no, that's not semantics, even though you are technically correct in a broad sense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4W-FDPy0Fg


Blogger Zaklog the Great February 10, 2018 6:38 PM  

Off topic, but this is far too much fun not to share. This is a debate between Tariq Nasheed and Jared Taylor on the idea of white supremacy. I think white people are great, but if you take Nasheed seriously, he apparently thinks we are gods walking upon the earth based on what he claims white supremacists can do. It is hilarious. He makes a far better claims in favor of white supremacy than anything I'd be willing to say.

Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdrrqS6IBnA

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 6:40 PM  

You're correct, of course. I was going to write hypersonic but it seemed so over the top I was sure I was going to get called on it and then I would have to explain it all. I didn't want the bullshit. Who the fuck knew you were here?

Blogger bob kek mando February 10, 2018 6:44 PM  

30. Tallen February 10, 2018 4:00 PM
but a companion drone aircraft could be equipped with such a panel.


that only works if you assume
1 - only a single Laser installation
2 - that a Laser which has such fine control that it can continuously target an area < 1 sqin at ranges out past 10 miles moving at supersonic speeds could not re-acquire targeting on a different portion of the airframe ... and God forbid that it target the pilot's eyes
3 - that a "drone" which can match the performance characteristics of the combat aircraft which it is nominally tasked with protecting will be a trivial expense. not much point in having a supersonic fighter if he has to loiter around waiting for a ~650mph drone.
4 - that the drone will have reaction time necessary to locate the direction of attack AND manuever itself into an interposition between target and ground installation

there are very, VERY few countries on the planet which can field a significant air force even now. you've just suggested adding an extra 30-70% of the expense of air corp operations by requiring Shield Drones for all airborne ops.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 6:45 PM  

@55 Regarding White Supremacy.....what is white? Are Irish White (no, they're Irish). Are Italians White (no), Poles (no) ETC....Whites are ethnics lost spinning in the void. What does degree of skin reflectivity have to do with a pint, a pipe, or, Christianity? *Rant over goes to link*

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction February 10, 2018 6:46 PM  

@41

No, definitely not in practice, and not necessarily even in theory when reading the NATO articles as the way it is written the other countries could just easily construe that Turkey is the aggressor.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 10, 2018 6:49 PM  

Meh, wake me when something important happens.

The only thing coming out of this is going to be more F-35 sales to Isreal.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 6:53 PM  

Jared Taylor is a loser from way back (Guns, Germs, and Steel, and all that). The other guy is set up and being played by Jared. Bahhhh

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 6:55 PM  

@59 You have it!

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 10, 2018 6:55 PM  

"Once lasers replace missiles and guns, it's all but over for aircraft, manned or not."

Tesla's revenge?

Blogger Wynn Lloyd February 10, 2018 6:58 PM  

Nasheed is one of the world's most buffoonish clowns. The idea of him debating Jared Taylor is so embarrassing it's too much to watch.
Tommy Sotomayor has had that idiot obsessed with him for years, now, and had exposed Nasheed completely.

Blogger pyrrhus February 10, 2018 7:01 PM  

"It's referring to the drone, which was shot down over Israel."

Sounds like it was the Golan Heights, which is not Israel...
As to Israel's qualitative military superiority, it's strictly air power...
The Israeli Army has demonstrated that it can't beat lightly armed teenagers, let alone serious ground forces...Israel's AF is good, but not a match for Russia by any means, and has limited numbers..So they are relying on Uncle Sam...

Blogger Zaklog the Great February 10, 2018 7:03 PM  

@Joe Keenan

You seem to have confused Jared Taylor with Jared Diamond. I suspect their views on race do not have a great deal of overlap.

Blogger pyrrhus February 10, 2018 7:06 PM  

Missiles shouldn't be lightly dismissed either. As radar and microwave technology continue to develop, aircraft could find missiles waiting for them when they enter the battle space...

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 7:08 PM  

@63 So, what's the point? The guy is not in the class of Taylor, so why the match up?

The purpose of the matchup is to refute Taylors critics. Refutation of Nasheed is supposed to equal refutation of Taylors critics.

This is absurd.

Taylor is the guy who was at a loss to explain how the Spanish/Portuguese defeated millions.

He put it down to Guns (but never wondered why the Meso-Americans never developed guns.)

Germs (yet never wondered why Mongol germs did not defeat the Europeans).

And Steel (yet never wondered why the Meso-Americans never developed steel weapons).

Stanley Jaki has a better explanation

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 7:09 PM  

@65 Yes I did *Backs out of the room slowly and deletes last post*

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 10, 2018 7:09 PM  

F-35 sales to Israel, now there is some anti-semitism. Them bomb and missile trucks sure are getting expensive, each at about 100 million give or take a few million, which strategically is ok but tactically its like dropping your gold reserves out the bomb bay of a B-17 over Berlin, 1942 or so.

I wonder if the Shiite Alliance is smart enough to spoof up some targets or that they are stuck in the 1960s when they planted shade trees near their positions?

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 7:10 PM  

@66 Why missiles when metal is so cheap?

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 7:12 PM  

Metal can't be jammed. There is no counter measure to a piece of metal coming at you at "hypersonic" speed

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 10, 2018 7:21 PM  

Kind of strange that Israel needs to put up aircraft to deliver either guided rockets or free fall guided bombs when they have the MLRS system. It's like they know the position coordinates to hit so they must not have the GMLRS rockets or that that system really sucks.

Blogger Ken Prescott February 10, 2018 7:46 PM  

Big ocean, tiny target, lousy search rate.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 10, 2018 7:49 PM  

"cavitating nuclear torpedoes fired from land"

As a former submariner, my understanding of those is that they can't be guided effectively, due to not really being "in" the water, in addition to having nozzles in the front where they'd need a sensor suite. 200 knots, sure, but if that carrier maneuvers at all during travel of the torpedo, that torpedo's going to end up somewhere very unpredictable.

That being said, the age of carrier superiority is inextricably interlinked with air superiority. When aircraft stop being viable options, so will carriers.

Blogger James Dixon February 10, 2018 7:52 PM  

> It's referring to the drone, which was shot down over Israel.

Oh, I understand that. But since when is a drone flying over your territory considered an attack? An unarmed drone is no more an attack than any other surveillance mechanism.

> There is no counter measure to a piece of metal coming at you at "hypersonic" speed

Sure there is. Don't be where it hits.

Blogger Ken Prescott February 10, 2018 7:53 PM  

Vox, "nuclear cavitating torpedoes fired from land" and "nuke a carrier on the high seas" do not go together.

If you're firing something akin to Shkval from shore, surface zero is inside your territorial waters.

And that is not going to change any time soon.

Honestly, if the age of airpower is over (and this incident by itself does not indicate anything of the sort, Syria apparently lobbed at least 24 SAMs into Israeli airspace to score this kill), then maritime power becomes everything, because space power will be dead long before airpower is, and surface warfare owns the world ocean.

Blogger Ken Prescott February 10, 2018 7:55 PM  

The Iranians flew into Israeli airspace, and the ensuing Iron Hand engagement saw AT LEAST two dozen SAMs fired into Israeli airspace (Israel was forced to hold incoming air traffic over the Med).

Blogger Koanic February 10, 2018 8:07 PM  

The middle air may grow unsafe, like the surface sea, and the craft therein pull back from the front lines, but air will remain a theater of war, and aircraft.

Blogger bobby February 10, 2018 8:08 PM  

"But the retaliatory F-16 strike into Syria? (and no, just because you claim the Golan as part of Israel, doesn't mean the rest of Syria is as well) That just sounds like (((somebody))) desperately trying to drag the US further into Syria."

If Israel merely strikes back at originating sites, Israel loses. Everything in Israel is within quick strike distance from the outside. Israel must make it too expensive for Iranians or anyone else to mess with them.

Proportional response only works when dealing with polite and chivalrous enemies - the kind who wouldn't attack you anyway.

Blogger Lovekraft February 10, 2018 8:15 PM  

I try to convince myself that there's some glimmer of hope in this never-ending miasma called the Middle East and how its problems means millions of refugees flooding our nations:

We're still naming nations. We're still identifying the refugees based on their country of origin. Which in a way neutralizes GloboJihad which wants to completely eliminate such distinctions.

Being names as such means they belong there, not here, and that these nations should be self-sufficient.

Blogger Hammerli280 February 10, 2018 8:26 PM  

Another thing to remember is that the Conventional Wisdom for air operations since the Gulf War has been to operate at medium altitudes. The very-low-altitude option is still available if the 20kft range becomes too risky.

Blogger JaimeInTexas February 10, 2018 8:30 PM  

@77
Where did you get that info? Or, are referring to retaliatory against Israel barrage?

Blogger Crew February 10, 2018 8:45 PM  

Why does it remind me of Flashpoint Titan?

Blogger VD February 10, 2018 8:54 PM  

As a former submariner, my understanding of those is that they can't be guided effectively, due to not really being "in" the water, in addition to having nozzles in the front where they'd need a sensor suite. 200 knots, sure, but if that carrier maneuvers at all during travel of the torpedo, that torpedo's going to end up somewhere very unpredictable.

Obviously they're not too dangerous yet. But add an effective GPS to it - or the equivalent - and then you've got something.

Blogger Tallen February 10, 2018 9:00 PM  

Metal can't be jammed. There is no counter measure to a piece of metal coming at you at "hypersonic" speed

How well do the US' anti-ballistic missile systems work?

Blogger CynicalMan February 10, 2018 9:01 PM  

The AA systems were only effective because they were not at first targeted. The Israelis went after the drone launch facility, not the AA facilities. If they had gone after the AA first and then the drone facility the conflict would have likely escalated beyond simple retaliation for the drone intrusion.

Blogger Lazarus February 10, 2018 9:15 PM  

research Chinese EMP mines

might explain some of those "accidents".

Blogger Junius Stone February 10, 2018 9:26 PM  

Yeah, combat airpower and ships aren't going anywhere. They will adapt.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 10:26 PM  

@84 I understand that something in motion continues in motion until its acted upon.

How about you?

Do you understand differently? If so, most of modern science is overturned.....please fill us in.

If a piece of metal is travelling at hypersonic speed and it collides with something at supersonic speed the speed of impact will be...

Can you help me with this?

I'm obviously not as smart as you, I think it's going to be a fucking mess.

How about you?

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 10:32 PM  

@87 You are the correct! Adaptation is the correct response to a change in environment....

Blogger LAZ February 10, 2018 10:36 PM  

"How well do the US' anti-ballistic missile systems work?"

About 40% kill rate with short range and around 60% with the long range stuff. Google "GMD (Ground-based Missile Defense)"

Blogger justaguy February 10, 2018 10:39 PM  

#83: Once any war goes tactical nuclear, surface ships including carriers are extremely vulnerable. Targeting uncertainties become minimal because of the large area effect of tactical nukes at sea. Nuclear air launched anti-ship cruise missiles, nuclear torpedoes, nuclear depth bombs-all of the weapons we publicly shelved decades ago-- become even more deadly with modern technology. However, because these now vulnerable ships can launch nuclear cruise missile, they also become extremely deadly. Any nuclear war at sea becomes extremely high casualty.

Strategic thought used to be that there was not a meaningful firewall between nuclear war at sea and nuclear war on land so nuclear war at sea would likely be high casualties for everyone involved.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 10:57 PM  

@86 My mind turned more to "jamming" of electronic systems. Imagine a world where the control of battle group movement was turned over to silicon!

Did ye' ever hear the like?

Can ye imagine the fate of a nation, na, the world, hanging on sand?

Did ye ever dream of such a thing?

I thought not!

What mind would turn the defense of a nation, the world even, over to a mineral after all?!

Be all this as it may, consider this....imagine such a thing (mad as it is) happened.

Imagine further, clever enemies (imagine they're just as smart as us after all, and judging the Bond movies their babes are smoking hot with winsome bosoms...can ya blame a man for failin! Can ya! Eye ask ya!),

Anyway, imagine the commie bastards exploited the virtues of Western Man....the whole winsome bosom thing (it's all through the literature)......this brings us to adaptations of warfare to technology.

Anyway, warfare adapts to technology, usually over decades, the leaders being losers, and thousands of troops dying because.

Just look at the Polk War and the Civil War....you would of thought nothing changed. And it didn't because those in charge said it didn't.

In short, people are stupid and set in the past and they're blinded by winsome bosoms.

This is the history of Western Civilization

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 10:59 PM  

@90 You nuke my battle group, I'll nuke you major population centers.

Capish? (or however the Italians spell it).

You fuckin lose

Blogger Winterborn1337 February 10, 2018 11:00 PM  

Could the increasing capabilities of anti-aircraft weapons (even hypothetical laser air defenses) be countered or mitigated by the use of large swarms of low-cost, low-performance aircraft in place of billion dollar cutting-edge jets?
Example:
Just some quick off the cuff math using dollar values from infogalactic and adjusted for inflation, it appears that for the same cost as ONE F-22 Raptor, one could afford to manufacture roughly 96,000 P-51 Mustangs...
Of course, its not that simple; finding pilots, fuel, spare parts, hanger space, etc. would all be issues, but even still, fielding enough aircraft to saturated and overwhelm even the densest air defenses seems feasible.
Perhaps not for the US of A, but not every nation is quite so casualty averse...

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 11:18 PM  

@93 Is directionally correct.

But if Mustangs may be the solution....so may be rail guns.

Imagine a surface action group moving through space protected by Mustangs. Imagine the cost

Imagine the the same SAG protected by a "close in" weapons system based on rail gun technology.

The same size air wing (or more) could be deployed, and combat air patrol could be reduced because of advancements in in rail gun technology.

In short, combat air control could be reduced and strike capability increased (given any sized platform).

Blogger SciVo February 10, 2018 11:18 PM  

Joe Keenan wrote:You're correct, of course. I was going to write hypersonic but it seemed so over the top I was sure I was going to get called on it and then I would have to explain it all. I didn't want the bullshit.

You are in a safe space for knowledgeable people. Just say what you mean, and be as precise as you like. I still need to sit down and sort through the differences between railguns and coilguns, and between supersonic and hypersonic, but I've encountered the terms and would assume most here have.

Blogger Thucydides February 10, 2018 11:19 PM  

Air power will always be around in some form simply because moving in a 3D fluid medium is so damned useful. We can visualize some ways things may go in the future, the USAF is experimenting with laser weapons mounted on helicopters, fighters and large aircraft, as well as micro drones which can be delivered out of the chaff dispensers on an F-16. China is looking at ultra long range air to air missiles to hold AWACS, tankers and transports at risk. A USMC F-35 conducted one experiment where it detected a target drone, then cued and launched a missile from a nearby USN ship for the intercept. I'm sure there are plenty of other experiments which can be looked at for other ideas on the future of air war.

Large ships are a tougher problem. Ships provide the sort of strategic mobility combined with persistence on station which aircraft or land forces do not, and large ships can carry the stores and equipment needed to remain on station for prolonged periods even after sailing long distances, something aircraft cannot do. If it is technically possible to scale down a lot of the current equipment, it may be possible to have powerful ships or platforms which are a fraction of the size of today's ships. Imagine, for example a package the size of the 3000 ton Skipjack class submarine with the capabilities of the 7000 ton Virginia class SSN.

And railguns will compliment lasers, being relatively immune to the sorts of atmospheric effects which limit lasers, and providing a different mechanism of injury to the target. Having to defend against lasers *and* hyper velocity projectiles will make for some pretty interesting design choices.

Blogger lowell houser February 10, 2018 11:24 PM  

Army is facing a similar reality with the infantry. Their fairly new M855A1 and M80A1 hardened steel tip ammo won't go through a $300 ceramic armor plate. The solution is a new tungsten penetrator, the ADVAP, except doing the math on tungsten quickly reveals that the US doesn't have enough stockpiled to make it through a multiyear war with it as standard issue. The Russians don't seem concerned even slightly. They are issued comparable body armor to ours and are continuing to issue 7N6 with a mild steel penetrator core because they know that wars have not been won by rifles alone since the 19th century.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 11:36 PM  

@96 As a general statement, a large ship is a more capable ship.

More broadly speaking, a large platform is a more capable platform.

However, there are always qualifications

Capability wise. the 18 inch 45 of the Yamato class were either equal to, or less to the 16 in 50 of the Iowa class.

Optics wise, the Yamato class fired on the slow moving Gambier Bay for 90 minutes before scoring a hit.

So things are not as open and shut as they may seem.

Regardless of this, certain principles hold....a Nimitz class carrier is more capable than an Essex class. A Abrams MBT is more capable than a T34.

A large platform combined with modern technology = trouble for adversaries.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 10, 2018 11:51 PM  

@97 Be it military technology, or be it secular technology.... it's always about demand driving adaptation. (Bottom up)

Really clever people know this and try to make demand force adaptation. (Top down)

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 11, 2018 12:28 AM  

"Obviously they're not too dangerous yet. But add an effective GPS to it"

All you'd need is a timer really. The pressure wave and surface turbulence would probably take care of about anything within a few nautical miles. Might not sink a carrier from that range, but its mission would be over for the foreseeable future.

Actually though, those torpedoes are designed to used against ports typically, so dumbfire works just fine. This does raise the question of exactly why they're only designed for ports... I suspect it's because after about one "tactical" nuking at sea, there'd be a lot of "tactical" nuking of naval ports which can't dodge anyway. Dumb weapons can't be drawn away by typical countermeasures either.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine February 11, 2018 12:53 AM  

"Could the increasing capabilities of anti-aircraft weapons (even hypothetical laser air defenses) be countered or mitigated by the use of large swarms of low-cost, low-performance aircraft in place of billion dollar cutting-edge jets?"

No. The aircraft still almost certainly cost more than firing the laser to destroy them. Not every battle can be D-day. Add onto that, how do you intend to get so many P-51s in range? Don't need to use the laser on something that can be reliably taken out by even a cheap, low quality and somewhat antiquated modern-ish SAM system.

On top of that, most nations aren't WWII era Japan, willing to send kamikaze everything and the kitchen sink.

"if Mustangs may be the solution....so may be rail guns."

Here's the thing. Carriers will go out of style. It's just simple logistics. If a cheaper alternative exists that outperforms your tactics, your tactics will only be useful in absolute extremis.

Destroyer mounted railguns on the other hand, those are going to last a while. Despite the naysayers, old fashioned simple projectiles (albeit moving at mach 20+) are pretty darn hard to counter. Trying to take them out with countermeasure rockets or interceptor missiles would be like trying to stop a bullet from a handgun with a thousand dollar remote control drone... it's not only going to fail most of the time, but the bullet costs under a buck and the handgun can be fired repeatedly. In this case, the "bullet" costs maybe a few thousand bucks, and the railgun-destroyers (even the modern prototypes) can fire about ten times a minute.

Believe it or not, even space warfare would be conducted with railguns and missiles. Lasers are fit for point defense, countermeasure, and interception and little more due to pathetic range limits by comparison (on the scale of space, even Earth's moon is way too far for laser weaponry). Sometimes the simple solution (kinetic projectile) is just stupidly efficient and effective.

Blogger Mr. Bee February 11, 2018 1:27 AM  

To paraphrase Scientific American circa (apx) 1980 "Wire guided missiles have rendered the tank obsolete on the battlefield."

Anonymous Anonymous February 11, 2018 1:37 AM  

What I don't get is why the Israelis sent manned aircraft to get the drone controller. Why didn't they just use cruise missiles or armed drones? Maybe they don't have any? I thought we gave them anything they wanted.

It seems dumb to me to risk the lives of expensively trained pilots when you can just send machines.

By the way, I'm not convinced about the viability of military lasers. I'm thinking it's probably some more science fiction that people are believing is real, like quantum computing and human-like AI. I guess I'll believe in military lasers when I see some credible field demos of them shooting down airplanes.

Blogger Michael Buck February 11, 2018 1:57 AM  

Airpower is not in decline simply because an F-16 can be downed by a SAM, anymore than seapower was in decline when battleships became obsolete.

Unmanned aircraft have value, but machines cannot do what pilots can do. The next era of combat aviation will see pilots servings as the "quarterbacks" of cross-domain teams of sensor-effectors; the aircraft that they fly will be extremely hard -and usually impossible- to detect, making most air defenses irrelevant. Their use of a self-establishing, self-repairing "combat cloud" network will give them high, real-time situational awareness that will permit careful and timely coordination of all military capabilities- without reliance on higher headquarters' control. This will allow modern airpower to operate inside the OODA loop of the enemy, disrupting his ability to coordinate his own forces' actions.

So long as a domain exists in which men can operate, war will be waged in that domain by those men who master its demands.

Blogger Ryan G February 11, 2018 5:42 AM  

I think if war breaks out between the US and some other modern power, all the plans and projections for how we fight will fly promptly out the window.

I see all these posts featuring modern wonder-weapons like AI-piloted drones, defensive lasers, etc and they all share in common the same crucial flaws:

1. They all require an extremely controlled, reliable logistics network to be operated, maintained, and replaced.

2. They are all most likely controlled by satellites and/or high frequency comms.

Using these whiz bang weapons against goat herders with AKs is one thing, using them against a modern enemy who is capable of analyzing, adapting, and deploying countermeasures is quite another.

The first problem is sustainability. Suppose the war becomes protracted and bloody. If these weapons need raw resources gathered from across the entire planet and a sophisticated logistical network involving half a dozen facilities, how long could sustained production be maintained given that a sophisticated enemy will almost certainly find a way to target these vulnerabilities and neutralize them?

The second problem is our dependence on satellite communications. I can't speak for the other branches, but I know for a fact that at least the US Navy is extremely reliant on satellite communications. There are backups, but they all have disadvantages - like giving away a ship's position. Suppose we went to war against China. What if the Chinese have a rocket somewhere with a hunter-killer drone on it. All the drone has to do is burn a few holes in the right places and the satellite becomes useless. Repeat that a few dozen times and suddenly we're completely blind over a theater and have to fall back to cold-war era means of gathering intel. Drones are amazing, but unless they're using satcoms to communicate, they're continuously emitting RF that anyone with an ESM suit can detect from dozens of miles away. They don't even need to break encryption on the signal. You can determine a contact's course, speed, probable platform, and approximate position simply from the characteristics of its radar signature.

Blogger Longtime Lurker February 11, 2018 9:27 AM  

Let's not forget Modified Advanced Underwater Weapons. Because when you absolutely, positively have to clear lurking submarines ahead of the surging carrier battle group, tactical nukes are the only way to go!

And yes, I am being facetious, but the U.S. Navy does have such weapons. They are variable yield nuclear depth charges: 15 to 85 kilotons.

Peace!

Blogger Daniel Paul Grech Pereira February 11, 2018 9:44 AM  

Interesting thoughts. Although the age of a weapon system is never really over, because the scale of a conflict can necessitate to usage of all available resources.

Blogger Dire Badger February 11, 2018 10:39 AM  

Homemade Railgun

Like most emergent technologies, vastly more efficient and inexpensive weapons are simply waiting on effective energy storage solutions.

The moment someone comes up with a better battery, the game will change completely. The firearms ammo industry will become nearly irrelevant as railguns replace rifles and tasers/lasers replace handguns, air power will become a thing of the past, and even heavy armor will become an obsolete artifact when a hand-held weapon can send 300 tungsten needles a minute through an M1 tank for less than 500 bucks.

Moore's law is a little underperforming for energy density, but with constantly greater requirements for personal electronics, energy density multiplication and economies of scale means personal laser or railgun weapons become more efficient and economical than modern chemical rounds within the next 18 years.

The only real question we should be asking is, are the anti-second people going to manage to outlaw them before they become ubiquitous?

Blogger James Dixon February 11, 2018 11:04 AM  

> The only real question we should be asking is, are the anti-second people going to manage to outlaw them before they become ubiquitous?

If you can 3d print a handgun, how much easier is it going to be to 3d print one of these?

Blogger Ken Prescott February 11, 2018 11:15 AM  

NUDETs underwater cause "blue out," making sonar useless in the region for up to 12 hours. Blow off a few nukes every now and then in the deep sound channel, and every submarine is blind/deaf for the duration.

Blogger justaguy February 11, 2018 12:13 PM  

#110: You are overstating the case of blue out and ignoring the issue that a NUDET can be located easily . So how do you hide after you set off a nuke when you are trying to hide from other nukes?

Blogger Ken Prescott February 11, 2018 1:18 PM  

"You are overstating the case of blue out and ignoring the issue that a NUDET can be located easily . So how do you hide after you set off a nuke when you are trying to hide from other nukes?"

You don't drop one on your position, silly.

You drop several across a wide area they will hash out everyone's sonar in the region. If they think that you're on a NUDET datum, so much the better (they'll be deaf AND out of position).

Blogger AnvilTiger February 11, 2018 2:07 PM  

Lasers aren't that effective against fighter jets because it is very difficult to aim at the same spot. Fighter defense is to simply roll the plane.
Railguns can take down fighters easily. One hit and the fighter disintegrates. The speed of the projectile is so fast the plane can't evade. However, railguns require massive electrical power and aren't mobile unless they are on a ship. On the ground they are just big targets. Eventually I suspect we will see railgun artillery for long distance shelling.

Blogger Ryan G February 11, 2018 2:07 PM  

@108 James Dixon

On the ship I was on, there was this thing we were armed with for "less than lethal" situations involving charging boats. It was a "laser bedazzler" which was supposed to disorient people and work "just as good as a taser". One night, on watch, we decided to screw around with it. He took it out and said, "try running at me after I turn it on", so I did. I was, indeed, momentarily blinded by the light but it took me all of a second to figure out that if I avoided looking at it directly, I could still run in a straight line and slap the dude on the shoulder. We had a good laugh and I remember him remarking that he'd stick to his M-16 if someone was trying to do a suicide run at the boat.

I mention this story because a recurring pattern I noticed throughout my military career was that the more complicated the thing was, the harder it was to use and the more likely it was to malfunction. Far too often I saw, or actually used, high tech stuff that absolutely did not work as advertised.

The Air Force and Navy combined have spent decades and millions of dollars trying to create a viable laser weapon platform. Last time I checked, the Air Force scrapped their airborne anti-ballistic missile laser and the Navy's laser weapon is still in prototype. Of the Next-Gen weapons systems I've seen demonstrated, only the Navy's railgun shows any promise and that's only because its power requirements are readily met by shipboard generators. In practice, that's unlikely to be a big game changer: the days of high seas combat between capitol ships slugging it out with guns are well behind us. The modern use of big guns aboard destroyers is to essentially fulfill the role of a floating artillery platform. Railguns will simply be an evolution of that.

As far as railguns falling into the hands of soldiers, I have to ask why? Contrary to what you see in the movies, the M-16 is a staggeringly effective infantry weapon when properly used. It's light, has a high rate of fire, and is plenty accurate at typical engagement distances. The current biggest problem with infantry weapons, and equipment in general, is weight. The M16, minus attachments, is 3.4 kg fully loaded. Conductors are typically very heavy, batteries even more so. Even assuming the existence of batteries capable of powering these rifles, how much would they weigh (especially after being made rugged enough for field use)? Then there is the logistics involved. You can make 100,000 bullets, put them in a barrel, and store that in a warehouse for decades without any further care. Batteries, even if unused, have a much shorter lifespan. That means that if you equip 10,000 soldiers with rifles capable of 150 shots each, you'd need some means of storing 1,500,000 firings worth of power and then be able to resupply that amount anywhere in the world, regardless of local infrastructure.

I could conceivably see a railgun as some kind of anti-materiel weapon, but it would have to be an emplacement weapon due to the recoil, require the team to be within LoS of the target, and still be portable enough to quickly pack up and move afterwards. It could also be vehicle mounted, which of all scenarios seem the most feasible, but then the weapon is restricted in use to areas traversable by vehicles.

Lastly, there is the matter of maintenance. A gun jams and anyone with a lick of common sense can figure out what went wrong and correct it. Suppose a railgun malfunctions. What went wrong? Are the coils damaged? Is the battery bad? What if the control board short circuits? In any case, how are soldiers supposed to diagnose and repair these problems in the field, sometimes under combat conditions?

Blogger Akulkis February 11, 2018 7:37 PM  

" Eventually the ex fighter pilot brass in the Air Force will finally be forced to accept that there's not going to be nearly as much human pilot in aircraft action as there was - it will be remote piloted or autonomous swarm drones that do the bulk of the work."

I predicted this in the early 1980's.

A drone pilot doesn't have to worry about ending up on the ground with possible broken bones, deep in enemy territory, and therefore, can press home an attack without fear.

Blogger Thucydides February 11, 2018 8:02 PM  

WRT Railgun power, there may be a way to sidestep the issue. Fuel cells work buy directly converting the electrochemical energy of the fuel in one step, so are much smaller and far more efficient than IC engines or other means of converting the energy of fuel into work.

A particular type of fuel cell called an SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) can use hydrocarbons directly, and some demonstrations have been done with diesel fuel. At the moment, most of the research is done for fixed generators using natural gas, but there is no reason this has to be the only avenue of approach. SOCF's powered by diesel fuel could be the energy source for electrically powered ground vehicles and provide enough energy to drive weapons like railguns or lasers as well. Rifle sized weapons for a soldier might resemble a WWII era flamethrower, with a backpack mounted fuel cell and fuel tank, and the cable leading to the projector the soldier carries.

This also has implications for ships and aircraft; JP-8 fuel for turbines is essentially a highly refined form of diesel fuel (most NATO standard ground vehicles also run on JP-8 as a logistical standard). An on board fuel cell can feed off the ship or airplane's own fuel supply to power a railgun as well.

Blogger Akulkis February 11, 2018 9:49 PM  

"Israelis have become casualty averse since their defensive wars have morphed into seemingly unending wars for peace. "

Kind of like the unednding fornicating for virginity.

Blogger Akulkis February 11, 2018 9:54 PM  

@45 NeoNietzche

"Still, makes an awful useful distraction from getting immigration handled, the treasonous sent to GITMO, and pedo-arrests done... (Ye GODS! I hope Trump is NOT as distracted/distractable as they tell us, trying to upset our faith in him...)"

Trump creates media chaos so that he can get the things done that the things REALLY damaging America (like never-ending and constantly increasing H1-B visa approvals) get shut down, quietly, without the media, and the rapid antifa idiots, ever noticing, because that's just not as "sexy" for the lugenpresse to jabber about.

Blogger Akulkis February 11, 2018 10:00 PM  

@49 Longtime Lurker

" President Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in April 2017 in response to regime use of chemical weapons and could do so again at any time."

You realize that all of the missile hits missed the critical structures at the target sites by distances far larger than the radius of the circular-probability-of-error for those missiles?

Which means that the strike was all for the purpose of fooling the leftist (((press))), not causing actual harm to the Syrians or Russians.

Casualty report was: 1 janitor, who ignored the several-hours advanced warning which we gave them.

Blogger Longtime Lurker February 11, 2018 10:45 PM  

@119: The DOD claimed much greater effects than that, including "damage or destruction of fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities, and 20 percent of Syria's operational aircraft."

Absence of Syrian and Russian casualties was by design and specifically due to the one-hour advance warning we gave the Russians.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd February 11, 2018 10:58 PM  

"Suppose the war becomes protracted and bloody. If these weapons need raw resources gathered from across the entire planet and a sophisticated logistical network involving half a dozen facilities, how long could sustained production be maintained given that a sophisticated enemy will almost certainly find a way to target these vulnerabilities and neutralize them? "

What if the war is with the source of our rare earths and chips? Will China keep on supplying us after we go to war with them?

Blogger justaguy February 11, 2018 11:43 PM  

#112: nuclear war at sea. A CVBG might be able to throw nukes around because strike aircraft can target hundreds of miles from the ship. But an SSN or DDG cannot. The lethal or mission kill range of a nudet isn't large and no one is going to throw them around like smoke grenades giving cover. However, the several mile radius they can give is enough to simplify the targeting dilemma and make most surface ship stay well away from any coast defended by modern aircraft-- think how far away from China surface ships would have to stay to prevent being found by hostile a/c.

SSNs are a different matter, and although there is some sonar noise where there is not anything hostile (nudet)-- there have not been any modern studies of the effect with modern sonars and their advanced and very computer driven capabilities. Additionally, for the SSN, there are many other sensors available to allow targeting if anti-warship is the mission, especially with nukes in the inventory.

All said, any nuclear war at sea would likely be a very high casualty rate war-- absent manned aircraft using cruise missile nukes, the targeting ranges for ship to ship are too small to think that the launching ship will remain undetected for long, SSN or surface ship. Something headed toward you, launch a nuke back in the direction to try to make the kill ratio 1 to 1. With drones it becomes even harder to launch and stay undetected.

Blogger Akulkis February 12, 2018 12:31 AM  

@Joe Keenan

Railguns have been "on the drawing board" for 50 years now.

In all that time, the U.S. navy has constructed and tested ONE. And then conducted less than a dozen test shots.

The fact is, railguns do not rapid fire capability at 1000+ km distances. Why? Railguns rely on electric power... HUGE electric power...

Power = d Energy / dt.

The only way to get REALLY massive high energy dump rates is to either:
1: have HUGE electrical generation capability (there goes ALL your space savings on gun-powder propellants.... and replaced by machinery (the engines and generators) which are even heavier than powdered propellants; or

2) HUGE banks of HUGE capacitors (once again, there goes all of your space-savings on gun-powder propellants), and you've got something like typical WW2 Japanese naval designs -- what would be minor damage to other Navies' ships was catastrophic to Japanese capital ships. It doesn't take much to make an ultra-high voltage system inoperable, due to damage to insulation material. And since these capacitor banks have to be HUGE, they present far bigger targets than a compact gun turret, or the relatively small ammunition magazines of battleships (below the water line to protect from horizontal penetration, needing heavy armor only on the upper surface).

If railguns were everything you say they are (high performance, high rate of fire, low cost, compact), then they would have already been introduced by the US Navy, the British Navy, the French Navy, the Russian Navy, The Indian Navy, The Japanese Self-Defense Force and the emergent Chinese Navy. Not to mention Iranian shore batteries.

Or at least ONE of these.

The fact that NO MILITARY ON THE PLANET has even set up a field prototype of this technology, despite it being popularly known (every war-futurist writer seems to think that the future is tanks with auto-loader railguns), nobody in 5 generations of leadership in militaries around the world has the slightest bit of rabid interest in the technology.

The U.S. Navy built one stationary test rig (i.e. a "lab" model)... made a couple test shots...said "piffle -- not worth the engineering hassle".


So, either every single military R&D organization on the planet is utterly blind, and even DARPA is full of retards, or, these things don't have the capabilities that you believe them to have.

Blogger Akulkis February 12, 2018 12:31 AM  

@Joe Keenan (cont.)

In reality, what we're talking about is the electrical equivalent of Germany's wasteful artillery boondoggles like the Gustav and Dora railway guns.... Requiring over a battalion of manpower to operate ONE TUBE of artillery, and capable of firing only a few rounds per day.

Schwerer Gustav:
By the end of the siege on 4 July the city of Sevastopol lay in ruins, and 30,000 tons of artillery ammunition had been fired. Gustav had fired 48 rounds and worn out its original barrel, which had already fired around 250 rounds during testing and development. The gun was fitted with the spare barrel and the original was sent back to Krupp's factory in Essen for relining.[11]
The gun was then dismantled and moved to the northern part of the eastern front, where an attack was planned on Leningrad. The gun was placed 30 km (18.6 mi) from the city near the railway station of Taizy. The gun was fully operational when the attack was cancelled. The gun then spent the winter of 1942/43 near Leningrad.[12]

Dora[edit]

Maxim Gorky I, a fort knocked out of action by five 800 mm shells on 17 June 1942.

Model of the Dora
Dora was the second gun produced. It was deployed briefly against Stalingrad, where the gun arrived at its emplacement 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the west of the city sometime in mid-August 1942. It was ready to fire on 13 September. It was withdrawn when Soviet encirclement threatened. When the Germans began their long retreat they took Dora with them.

Langer Gustav
The Langer Gustav was a long cannon with 52 centimetre (20.5 in) calibre and a 43-metre barrel. It was intended to fire super-long-range rocket projectiles weighing 680 kilograms to a range of 190 kilometres (118 mi). This gave it the range to hit London from Calais, France. It was never completed after being damaged during construction by one of the many RAF bombing raids on Essen.

Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster Project
Main article: Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster

The Monster was to be a 1,500 tonne mobile, self-propelled platform for an 80-cm K (E) gun, along with two 15 cm sFH 18 heavy howitzers, and multiple MG 151 autocannons normally used on combat aircraft. It was deemed impractical, and in 1943 was canceled by Albert Speer. It never left the drawing board and no progress was made. It would have surpassed the Panzer VIII Maus (heaviest tank ever built) and the Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte (never built) in weight and size.


You aren't, by chance, mostly German, are you?

Germans just LOVE overly complicated shit to accomplish a task, because 98% proficiency just isn't good enough, when you can get 99% efficiency at 10x~1000x the cost.

See: systemd

Blogger Akulkis February 12, 2018 12:49 AM  

@116

" Rifle sized weapons for a soldier might resemble a WWII era flamethrower, with a backpack mounted fuel cell and fuel tank, and the cable leading to the projector the soldier carries."

That's NOT an improvement.

Given the choice between 7 pounds of M-16, or 30 pounds of railgun requiring tanks of hydrocarbon fuel on my back (making me slower, lowering my effective dexterity due to weight and shifted center of gravity, and HAVING GALLONS OF HYDROCARBON FUEL ATTACHED TO MY BODY WAITING TO BE RELEASED AND SET ON FIRE..... I'll stick with my dumb M-16 -- at least it won't kill me.

Blogger Akulkis February 12, 2018 12:56 AM  

@120

"The DOD claimed much greater effects than that, including "damage or destruction of fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities, and 20 percent of Syria's operational aircraft.""

Strange that they didn't publicize any post-strike photos showing all of those destroyed Syrian aircraft.

I saw a lot of hits on the thick (i.e. earthen-wall protected) parts of bunkered hangers, with NO signs that the warheads blew up inside said bunkers (such as, doors blown out, holes in the roof, singe and smoke marks from fires. I've been on airfields (such as the Kuwait Airport in 1991) and I know what these things look like when we set out to damage them. And those photos show no such damage.

The ENTIRE exercise was to fool the leftists into thinking he was doing something "Against Syria" after ISIS's chemical-weapons' self-pwnage, specifically to shut up the "Gotta attack Russia" morons.

Seriously, if you want to take out 20% of a country's airforce, you don't call them up 6 hours in advance and tell them so.

Blogger Longtime Lurker February 12, 2018 5:58 AM  

@126: Did you do BDA in the military? Where did you get that 6 hour advance warning from?

Anonymous Anonymous February 12, 2018 7:07 AM  

Is Israel currently formally at war with Syria? If not, it has no business sending warplanes to make strikes in Syrian territory without first making such a declaration.

Blogger Ken Prescott February 12, 2018 8:57 AM  

"Is Israel currently formally at war with Syria? If not, it has no business sending warplanes to make strikes in Syrian territory without first making such a declaration."

Israel and Syria have been in a state of war since May 14th, 1948.

Blogger Thucydides February 12, 2018 12:00 PM  

@128
The improvement depends on what, exactly a rifle sized railgun could do. If you are thinking of it as a conventional infantry weapon, then you are entirely correct. If it is a support weapon capable of defeating light armoured vehicles, improvised bunkers and suppressing enemy infantry, then you weapon can replace or supplement several other weapons (like AT-4's) in the squad and platoon. And since Diesel fuel (NATO JP-8) is relatively inflammable, having the fuel tank struck by small arms fire or shrapnel will not result in fires or explosions. It will still cripple the system, but it could be potentially repaired and placed back in action by plugging the holes (Gun Tape is your friend in that case).

This was more of a back of the envelope idea to see if personal or fire team portable railgun weapons could actually be possible.

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