HUDSON: Sharpening the Spear

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tritonprime

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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 23:27

Sharpening the Spear: The Carrier, the Joint Force, and High-End Conflict
by Seth Cropsey , Bryan McGrath & Timothy A. Walton

Sharpening the Spear addresses the question of whether it is worthwhile to continue to build large, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVN), given their considerable cost and mounting Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) threats to sea-based operations. The report concludes that the emerging threat environment increases the need for aircraft carriers, and that none of the alternatives to the CVN offer an equal or better capability and capacity across the range of military options from peacetime presence through major power war.

The following report surveys the history of the carrier and its embarked air wing, a history marked by wide swings in public and defense elite opinions as to the utility of the carrier. The authors note the consistency of the criticisms against the carrier over time, and the operational imperatives that consistently overcame them. The study continues with a discussion of the role of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the Joint Force, which evaluates how CSGs support U.S. strategy and how they might be employed in key scenarios. The section concludes with a detailed effects chain analysis designed to examine the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the CSG.

These vulnerabilities track closely with many of the criticisms levied against the CVN, and serve as the basis for a series of recommendations on how to improve the CSG as a system to mitigate the mounting risks while ensuring CSG support for future warfighting needs. The study concludes with an analysis of some of the alternatives to the CVN and an assessment of the number of carriers necessary to support national strategy.


http://www.hudson.org/research/11731-sh ... d-conflict
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Unread post08 Oct 2015, 23:28

Last edited by tritonprime on 09 Oct 2015, 05:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 01:24

Yeah Yeah this will they / won't they build / use more carriers has been going on even before it was realised that carriers were mo' betta than battleships. This argument will continue into the future for sure and yes it needs to because CVNs are damn expensive and yet they last for now fifty years and change and change and change their air wings again and again both mix 'n match for the mission and new aircraft types. Amazin'. Go here for the recent frothy beer pullin':

http://hrana.org/articles/2015/09/the-p ... nnot-make/
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http://hrana.org/articles/2015/10/shoul ... -carriers/
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 19:23

The paper recommends a new air superiority fighter for the United States Navy:

Another type of new aircraft required is an air superiority fighter. Given the projection of the Joint Force’s increased demand for carrier-based fighter support, this capability is critical. However, both F/A-18E/Fs and F-35Cs will face significant deficiencies against supercruising, long-range, high-altitude, stealthy, large missile capacity adversary aircraft, such as the T-50, J-20, and follow-on aircraft. These aircraft will be capable of effectively engaging current and projected U.S. carrier aircraft and penetrating defenses to engage high value units, such as AEW aircraft, ASW aircraft, and tankers. Already, the F/A-18E/F faces a severe speed disadvantage against Chinese J-11 aircraft, which can fire longer range missiles at a higher kinematic advantage outside of the range of U.S. AIM-120 missiles. Similarly, the F-35C is optimized as an attack fighter, resulting in a medium-altitude flight profile, and its current ability to only carry two AIM-120 missiles internally limits its capability under complex electromagnetic conditions. As an interim measure, the Navy and Air Force should significantly accelerate the F-35C’s Block 5 upgrade to enable the aircraft to carry 6 AIM-120 missiles internally.

If the nascent F/A-XX program determinedly focuses on fighter requirements, it has the opportunity to address this major gap. Such an aircraft could feature large passive and active sensor arrays, relatively high cruising speed (albeit not necessarily acceleration), could hold a large internal weapons bay capable of launching numerous missiles, and could have space to adopt future technologies, such as HPM and lasers. This air superiority asset would contribute to Outer
Air Battle integrated air and missile defense requirements and would be capable of countering enemy weapons, aircraft, and sensor and targeting nodes at a distance. The danger in its development is that it suboptimizes the fighter role in the quest for a hybrid fighter/attack jet. This would leave the Joint Force without a carrier-based sixth generation air superiority fighter.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 19:31

A new ASW aircraft:

Carrier Strike Group ASW capability must also improve, again, as the carrier’s utility as a mobile air base will increase in the event landbases (from which Navy P-8’s would fly) are targeted. The retirement of the S-3 relegated the air wing to rely on short-range helicopters for ASW, and given the projected increase in threat of large AIP SSKs and SSNs and SSGNs, the Navy must proactively consider aircraft options for providing organic broad-area ASW. This could either be a dedicated or multi-role aircraft, such as a UAS used for strike or surveillance. Additionally, the Navy should pursue improvement of the ASW capability of its surface combatants, both those operating as part of the CSG and independently.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 19:43

New LRAAM:

In terms of air warfare, carrier fighters need a long-range air-to-air missile, preferably with a hybrid seeker. The United States AIM-120C/D missiles are either comparable to or outranged by Chinese and Russian multi-seeker missiles, placing U.S. fighters at a disadvantage. This disadvantage is compounded by the aerodynamic inferiority of U.S. carrier aircraft compared to the best Chinese and Russian fighters, which grants enemy missiles a longer lofted range.Overall, a situation exists in which enemy fighters are likely to have a qualitative advantage over many U.S. naval fighter aircraft. An LRAAM would work to offset that situation for both U.S. existing and projected fighter aircraft. Similarly, the introduction of aerial search Infra-Red Search and Tracking systems to F-18 aircraft could improve their performance by reducing their reliance on active sensor operation.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 19:55

Swarming masses:

The Navy should also consider options to employ swarming mass in its attacks. This includes increased procurement of MALD-J decoys that can be used to jam and decoy enemy defenses. MALD-J could also be modified to provide a lethal attack capability as well. Another weapon concept could be a carrier catapult-launched flight body that dispenses large numbers of swarming lethal drones. Such a capability would contribute to a “tunneling” concept in which swarming low-cost weapons and decoys would complement sophisticated weapons, such as LRASM, JASSM-ER, and AARGM, by stimulating air defenses and either blinding them or forcing an expenditure of defensive weapons capacity, while sophisticated weapons penetrate.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 20:18

If it's got a deep magazine, it's not stealthy.

I think developing new aircraft is not the best & quickest solution.

IMHO working on better shipboard SAMs with multi-mode seekers and longer ranges combined with NFCA-CA means the interceptors will have virtually an unlimited magazine.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 22:54

A sixteen carrier force required for a three-hub Navy:

The simple answer to how many CVN’s are required to continuously and indefinitely maintain three combat hubs is 16, which would describe a carrier fleet 45% larger than that which is currently mandated by the Congress. Using the analytical framework suggested earlier in this section, this breaksdown to three hubs, each of which must have four CVN’s to maintain coverage, with an additional CVN in each hub in some kind of routine maintenance period and one CVN in mid-life refueling and upgrade.

A 16 carrier force would be capable of maintaining continuous coverage of three hubs indefinitely, with little or no risk of gap. In such a force laydown, if Iran beg[a]n to threaten the stability of the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean carrier could steam to the region and provide extra combat power. Of course, this then opens a hole in the Mediterranean. This “shell game” is unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception, irrespective of how many hubs or how many carriers the nation maintains. And if such a two-carrier requirement in CENTCOM occurred at the same time as instability arose in Egypt, the “surge carrier” (one most recently returned from deployment but which has not yet entered its routine maintenance phase) could be sent to the Mediterranean to fill a temporary gap, which would mean that four carriers were deployed to three hubs, a situation that would begin to create the exact same “gap” situation we see today with our ten carrier/two hub force.

As currently allocated, DoD resources do not support a 16 carrier force. The purpose of this discussion was not to describe the carrier force that can be afforded, but the carrier force necessary to continuously and indefinitely maintain coverage in three geographically dispersed hubs. And while many military requirements are funded at levels below the desired amount in the quest to balance risk across a broad portfolio, the foregoing discussion attempts to lay out two broad points. The first, is that a two-hub Navy is insufficient to the requirements of world leadership to which it appears that the United States continues to aspire. Second, that the current 11 carrier force (and 308 ship Navy that supports it) is insufficient to support the requirements of a three hub Navy, and while a Navy built around 16 carrier strike groups may be unaffordable, the current Navy is misaligned with our national security requirements.
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Unread post09 Oct 2015, 23:57

Is having sufficient missiles an issue for the CSG to pursue at-sea VLS reload?

Perhaps the most important area of improvement for surface combatants is the ability to reload VLS cells underway or in advanced or intermediate-staging bases. The inability of cruisers and destroyers to reload VLS cells while at sea or outside of fleet bases dramatically decreases the staying power of the CSG. Consequently, even though the carrier may have large munitions magazines that enable it to fly numerous sorties, and its magazines can be replenished via UNREP, surface combatants would need to return to major bases for reload, thus weakening the defensive capacity of a CSG. In cases in which other surface combatants could not substitute for the retiring surface combatant, this could force the retrograde of the entire CSG. In addition to improving CSG performance, VLS reload at sea would significantly improve the striking power of other elements of the Joint Force, such as SAGs.

The Navy should rapidly develop, test, and deploy a VLS reload capability. The ability to reload the Navy’s surface primary magazine is a telling metric of whether the Navy is actually prepared to fight against a major threat like China or Russia. Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme has proposed a concept “for replenishing 15 VLS per hour in Sea State 5 that centers around a transportable VLS rearming device that is stowed and maintained on a CLF ship.” Concepts such as these for UNREP reload from CLF ships should be swiftly investigated. Additionally, concepts for reloading surface combatants and submarines from distributed small ports or sheltered anchorages (using dedicated supply ships or tenders, or only using local cranes) should be investigated and implemented even more quickly.
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Unread post10 Oct 2015, 21:18

tritonprime wrote:Is having sufficient missiles an issue for the CSG to pursue at-sea VLS reload?


The author appears to be a bit out of touch. The Mk41 VLS system was designed from the get-go for at-sea reloading. That's why the Ticos and Burkes have the odd number of cells. 3 cells in each group are for the reloading cranes. Reloading at sea was dubious with heavy missiles like Tomahawks though so the cranes have generally been given the heave-ho in recent builds.

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Unread post11 Oct 2015, 02:48

sferrin wrote:
tritonprime wrote:Is having sufficient missiles an issue for the CSG to pursue at-sea VLS reload?


The author appears to be a bit out of touch. The Mk41 VLS system was designed from the get-go for at-sea reloading. That's why the Ticos and Burkes have the odd number of cells. 3 cells in each group are for the reloading cranes. Reloading at sea was dubious with heavy missiles like Tomahawks though so the cranes have generally been given the heave-ho in recent builds.


That coincides with what I have read about the idea behind the arsenal ship concept. Perhaps if VLS missiles are an issue for the CSG, perhaps its time to build the arsenal ship or a missile-carrying LPD 17 Flight II similar to BMD.
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Unread post11 Oct 2015, 03:13

Does the Navy even have enough missiles in inventory to fill all the VLS tubes in it's ships and subs? In any case, for AMD it's a losing proposition to fire a mulltimillion dollar SMs to take out swarms of cruise missiles each costing a fraction as much. The investments being made in EW, DEW, railguns, if realized, should resullt in a more attractive calculus. More VLS tubes could be dedicated to offense.
Last edited by popcorn on 11 Oct 2015, 16:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post11 Oct 2015, 16:11

popcorn wrote:Does the Navy even have enough missiles in inventory to fill all the VLS tubes in it's shops and subs?


Very doubtful. IIRC they swap munitions. When a ship comes into port they remove the muntions and put them on a ship going out. If they ever had to sortie a significant portion of the fleet I think there would be a lot of empty cells out there.

popcorn wrote: In any case, for AMD it's a losing proposition to fire a mulltimillion dollar SMs to take out swarms of cruise missiles each costing a fraction as much.


ESSM / RAM are somewhat cost efficient in that regard. Plus 4 per cell for ESSM. They need to come up with a concept like TOR where the missile is stone stupid and the brains are on the launcher.

popcorn wrote:The investments being made in EW, DEW, railguns, if realizdd, should resullt in a more attractive calculus. More VLS tubes could be dedicated to offense.


They also need to take another look at ARC Light. (Small boost-glide vehicle with an SM-3 stack.)
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Unread post12 Oct 2015, 05:33

popcorn wrote:Does the Navy even have enough missiles in inventory to fill all the VLS tubes in it's ships and subs? In any case, for AMD it's a losing proposition to fire a multimillion dollar SMs to take out swarms of cruise missiles each costing a fraction as much. The investments being made in EW, DEW, railguns, if realized, should result in a more attractive calculus. More VLS tubes could be dedicated to offense.


Yes the Navy has more than enough ordinance to fill every VLS launcher they have. However they do not have the exact stores they would want. TLAM's and SM-3 are going to be in very short supply.

Personally wish we had more Seasparrow quad packs loads. Cost less and you have 4 shots per launcher. They also provide an additional chance to stop the Tom Clancy attack you describe. With these you have 3 layers of defence Standard SM-2/6, Seasparrow, and lastly CIWS/RAM systems.

Rumsfeld said: “You go to war with the Army you have” same with the Navy....
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