We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, January 22. 2011
It is time to discuss the developments in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy and its urgent drive toward sea control in Asian waters. I believe that it is only a matter of time before the People's Republic of China invokes a duplicate of the Monroe Doctrine for all of Asia. [For those educated in the past couple of decades, the 1823 Monroe Doctrine stated that efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention].
The media is focusing on the new J-20 Stealth fighter, and appear to have forgotten that "the Chinese have built, tested and are on schedule to deploy next year a missile designed to kill an American carrier. The Dong Feng 21D, according to published reports based on Chinese sources, could penetrate the carrier's existing antimissile defenses from 900 miles away
with a nonnuclear precision warhead. A version of this missile was seen publicly for the first time in a Chinese military parade last year. American defense analysts acknowledge that this missile could be a game-changer, immediately affecting American naval operations within 1,000
miles of the Chinese coast." .
In fact, the government is not paying attention either. "On Feb. 11, 2010, the ... U.S. Missile Defense Agency airborne laser in a Boeing 747-400F successfully shot down a sea-launched liquid-fueled ballistic missile in ignition stage (within two minutes of launch) and, within one hour later, shot down a solid-state land-launched rocket. . . .
"Once in office, Obama cut the program's budget, eliminated a second airborne laser 747 and scaled back the ground-based antimissile weapons scheduled to be built in Europe to defend against Iranian threats, and in Alaska to counter North Korean missiles aimed at Los Angeles and Seattle. After the successful February 2010 test, no further tests were scheduled or
conducted by the administration. Obama's proposed 2011 federal budget eliminates all funding for laser-based antimissile weapons systems." 
Completely forgotten now are the 81 (in 2009) Australian designed (thanks, mates) high-speed wave piercing 140 ft. catamaran missile boats which carry 8 anti-ship missiles each - that's 480 missiles, which can be fired from a distance of 100 miles .
The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, is composed of the carrier plus two guided missile cruisers (CG), seven guided missile destroyers (DDG), an attack sub (SSN) and an oiler ; that makes eleven surface targets. Each combatant ship is equipped with two Phalanx 20mm radar-aimed guns (Close In Weapons System) able to fire off
their full magazine of 1,550 rounds in 20 seconds for last ditch defense, plus a variety of missile launchers firing 500-1,500 pound missiles with ranges of 5 to 15 miles.
The argument could be made that 480 incoming missiles could overwhelm the strike group's defenses!
"Well, one might certainly say, "the Chinese certainly aren't going to go to war with a country that owes them over one trillion dollars." Agreed - they aren't going to go to war! But there's a lot of conflict that falls short of war. Remember when the Israelis deliberately sank the USS Liberty?
"[Chinese] PLA planners are focused on targeting surface ships at long ranges. US DOD analyses of current and projected force structure improvements suggested as of 2007 that in the near term, China was seeking the capacity to hold surface ships at risk through a layered defense that reaches out to the "second island chain" (i.e., the islands extending south
and east from Japan, to and beyond Guam in the western Pacific Ocean).
The Chinese were offended at the US Navy's proposed exercises in the East China Sea off the western coast of South Korea in November, 2010, and so the US moved it to the east side of Korea. If the US hadn't cooperated, or if conflict arose in Korea or Taiwan, one can imagine the Chinese saying that those countries are in China's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and that
although they sincerely wish to retain trading and financial relationships with the United States, any intrusion of US forces into those territorial waters would be an aggression which could and would repulsed by what will shortly be credible force, even as our countries remained at peace.
I believe that the current government of the United States would capitulate and remain outside whatever EEZ China declared, and that our influence in Asia will be at an end unless measures are taken today to restore and expand our missile defense capabilities.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
"our influence in Asia will be at an end unless measures are taken today"
What benefit does our current "influence" provide?
Hey, Sher, didja ever hear of North Korea? Or wonder why it hasn't invaded South Korea with its million-plus army? American influence? Ever wonder why there's still a Taiwan? Ever buy a product made in South Korea or Taiwan? How about Japan not needing (so far) a major military? All three of those states live in freedom under the umbrella of American influence.
I guess Chamberlain asked the same question of Hitler at Munich.
I wonder if our response should be a number of mid sized subs with capability to launch and recover survllance and attack drones along with crusie missles to replace those expensive carriers ?
"Remember when the Israelis deliberately sank the USS Liberty?"
The Israelis deliberately attacked what they thought was an Egyptian ship. And the Liberty was not sunk, it was damaged and made its way back to Norfolk.
Procurement spending goes into GDP dollar-for-dollar, it's capitalized rather than expensed. So we get hit a lot of different ways when we dump programs needed to insure national security. The F22 of course had all R&D costs already 'sunk' --we were just buying the copies when Obama halted the procurement (and killed all those good machinist and engineering jobs). Of course we don't know if we will need them in combat --but we DO know that the fewer we have of them, the more likely we are to need them in combat.
And the same with every other military item --our policy of staying too strong to attack was just that --"policy" --as in, 'insurance policy'.
I'm all for cutting waste everywhere including DoD --but our ''edge'' weapons --the area where we traditionally substitute quality for quantity --to dump them is a mighty grave adventure.
These lines have no 'on-off' switch --they depend on an exquisitely-evolved set of intellectual inputs, gathered for the purpose. Scatter these systems and almost surely bring down hell --now as ever.
"Remember when the Israelis deliberately sank the USS Liberty?"
One innacurate statement can sink an entire column.
Apologies to Sgt. Bob, and in part to Mike. I should have written "attacked & disabled killing American sailors". Memory was hazy there & I should have checked the facts. Don't buy the Egyptian part though.
At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over 'Liberty,' which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship's electronic antennas and dishes. The 'Liberty' was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.
At 1424 hrs, three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning 'Liberty' with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the 'Liberty' midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.
Israeli gunboats circled the wounded 'Liberty,' firing at crewmen trying to fight the fires. At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. The Israeli warships closed and poured machine gun fire into the crowded life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred in cold blood, a rescue mission by US Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was mysteriously aborted on orders from the White House.
An hour after the attack, Israeli warships and planes returned. Commander McGonagle gave the order. 'prepare to repel borders.' But the Israelis, probably fearful of intervention by the US Sixth Fleet, departed. 'Liberty' was left shattered but still defiant, her flag flying.
The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.
Less than an hour after the attack, Israel told Washington its forces had committed a 'tragic error.' Later, Israel claimed it had mistaken 'Liberty' for an ancient Egyptian horse transport. US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Thomas Moorer, insisted the Israeli attack was deliberate and designed to sink 'Liberty.' So did three CIA reports; one asserted Israel's Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan, had personally ordered the attack.
In contrast to American outrage over North Korea's assault on the intelligence ship 'Pueblo,' Iraq's mistaken missile strike on the USS 'Stark,' last fall's bombing of the USS 'Cole' in Aden, and the recent US-China air incident, the savaging of 'Liberty' was quickly hushed up by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.
The White House and Congress immediately accepted Israel's explanation and let the matter drop. Israel later paid a token reparation of US $6 million.
Surviving 'Liberty' crew members would not be silenced. They kept demanding an open inquiry and tried to tell their story of deliberate attack to the media. Israel's government worked behind the scenes to thwart these efforts, going so far as having American pro-Israel groups accuse 'Liberty's' survivors of being 'anti-Semites' and 'Israel-haters.' Major TV networks cancelled interviews with the crew. A book about the 'Liberty' by crewman James Ennes' was dropped from distribution. The Israel lobby branded him 'an Arab propagandist.'
The attack on 'Liberty' was fading into obscurity until intelligence expert James Bamford came out with Body of Secrets, his book about the National Security Agency. In a stunning revelation, Bamford writes that unknown to Israel, a US Navy EC-121 intelligence aircraft was flying high overhead the 'Liberty,' electronically recorded the attack. The US aircraft crew provides evidence that the Israeli pilots knew full well that they were attacking a US Navy ship flying the American flag.
Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.
Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.
The pilot's protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery.
It helps to know what we're talking about with respect to these "high speed" fast attack boats.
These are called SWATH hulls - Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull. The concept has been around since the early '40s - the idea first proposed by a Canadian Fred Creed who was also an early pioneer in telecommunications.
The way it works is the twin pontoons are constantly under water below the wave action. Think of the stability of a submarine at periscope depth in a storm - the sub is fairly stable because it is below the surface wave effect. The SWATH technology takes advantage of this by keeping two hulls below the surface waves giving it its stability.
SWATH hulls have some inherent problems. While they are very stable in beam seas, to gain some kind of true "wave piercing" effect, you need a long LOA (Length Overall) and LWL (Length at Waterline) - longer than 140'. The reason is the low COG - you can't over come gravity. Straight line attack in a heavy head or following sea will result in unstable pitch characteristics (bow to stern stability) making the ship more of a submarine than a surface ship. Its inherent in the design - if you design a hull to do a straight line, then that's what they do. In heavy seas, that characteristic doesn't change. They are also not very maneuverable ships. At speed, most ships, in particular fast ones, use extra throttle to maintain speed and turn radius. These boats actually have to slow down to do the same.
They are also inherently noisy in that the hull movement through the water and the jet wash, not to mention the vibrations from 6,000 hp diesels, make a lot of acoustic noise that can be heard from a long way away not to mention the slap of the waves against the standing hull. You will know when these beasties are coming and take appropriate action.
With respect to "speed" it depends on what your concept of speed is. On a flat dead calm sea, their reported top speed are is 38 knots - roughly 45 mph. Our Perry class frigates are a tad slower at 30 +/- knots. So they aren't all that inherently fast. In a heavy sea state, the Perry class frigate is actually faster. And to tell the truth, 38 knots ain't all that "fast". Once detected, they can be attacked with stand off weapons from anti-sub helicopters. While certainly a "threat, these boats aren't that much of a threat even throwing those Exocet variants the YJ-83 cruise missile.
The Chinese have, as you indicated, developed the "swarm and overwhelm" approach to attacking US Naval assets, but can they pull it off? The command and control systems needed to make this type of attack successful just isn't in place at this time and most military analysts don't think the Chinese are capable of any type of centralized command and control - at least not to the level necessary as their military is as politically motivated as it is militarily motivated.
Interesting none the less.
Is this the same organization that didn't think the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor?
Well, it is my understanding that it wasn't a case of "they won't attack Pearl" as it was a true sneak attack by the Japanese.
Anyway, no. Chinese command and control has been shown to be deficient in a number of area during exercises and our own eavesdropping on their commo during same. Its evident that the political arm of the PLA and the more practical military arm are at odds.
With respect to the Fast Attack Boats, J-20 and One Hung Low ICBM, don't believe everything you read. There are very real problems with these delivery platforms that haven't been solved yet and might not be for the foreseeable future. The J-20 has the radar cross section of a 747, the FABs can be dealt with current CAP and OTH reach of the support groups and the ICBM is nothing more than a revamped SCUD. They are still using radar altimeters for pete's sake.
Carrier strike groups include missile systems with ranges far greater than "5 to 15 miles". But an ICBM-size threat coming straight down on a carrier is the big nightmare. That and a rumored 200 mph torpedo.
It used to be kind of restful being a black-shoe sailor; not any more.
Google Sea Based Terminal. This may help:
...and we enter the Start II treaty, between the nuclear arsenals of USA and Russia, as if the Chinese strategic force does not even exist.
The YAL-1/ABL would be useless against the DF21D, it simply lacks the range to engage the weapon in boost phase (the only way it can engage, in terminal phase the target is too small and fast) without entering into the ChiCom air defence network, where it'd be a sitting duck (1 Boeing 747 vs 20 Su-33 + 100 SAMs anyone?).
The laser defense systems for ships sound nice, but are no short term solution either (mind, I'm against dropping R&D into them, but they won't be ready for deployment in anything approaching operational capability for at least a decade, more likely 20 years).
With the F-22 and NATF and A-12 all cancelled and the F-35 years behind schedule and I think next on the chopping block (and STOVL version already appears to be cancelled or close to), that leaves no way to defend against Chinese aircraft either (certainly not with the USAF's F-15 severely limited in their flight envelope due to metal fatigue, any serious G and they fall apart in mid air).
So effectively, even without the J-20, the US are out of Asia as soon as the DF21D enters service, for at least 20 years (the fielding time I estimate for practical laser based ABM/AAA systems) even if the 2011 defence cuts are reversed and budgets increased.
With the J20 produced in numbers (which will probably happen before those 20 years are up) the US would need a replacement for the F-22 entering R&D in the next 5 years, and series production of 500 or so of them for deployment to Okinawa, Taiwan (through sales), and Korea (both sales and US deployment), plus more for US continental air defence, especially of Hawaii and the Alaska/Aleuthan region for I'm pretty sure the ChiComs will find a way to deploy something of the kind on those carriers they're building too.
If Obama and the Dems were correct, that the Russian and Chinese and 'rogue state' militaries have been building up as a response to USA's weapons modernization, then we have already over the last two years had the test of that proposition, via USA program cancellations and cutbacks.
By now we would have already seen --if Obama had been correct --strong affirmations from the rivals and adversaries (not to say 'enemies') that their own growth and modernization programs had been, as Obama said, strictly defensive and strictly due to American belligerence.
JR Nyquist has a good essay series --recommend four of these 5-minute reads, the December 2010 entries of the 10th, 17th, and 30th, plus the January 2011 entry of the 7th:
Breakthrough Laser Could Revolutionize Navy's Weaponry
The Navy has passed a major milestone in its quest to build an incredibly powerful new anti-aircraft gun.
Scientists with the Navy's Office of Naval Research have demonstrated a prototype system capable of producing from thin air the electrons needed to generate ultrapowerful, "megawatt-class" laser beams for the agency's next-generation system. ...
Navy ships have become vulnerable in modern times to supersonic missiles because of their slower defense systems, the agency worries. "The FEL is expected to provide future U.S. Naval forces with a near-instantaneous laser ship defense in any maritime environment throughout the world,” Saulter said.