Russian A2/AD Bubble not as inpenetrable as thought

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gc

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 08:31

Interesting and detailed report on Russian A2/AD capabilities and why it is not as inpenetrable as claimed.

https://www.foi.se/rapportsammanfattnin ... --4651--SE
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weasel1962

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 09:29

It would be useful to discern what is the intent of the report?

The rationale for Russia agreeing to allow the baltic states to join nato was that the states are too small to provide a potential threat, having a combined population of ~6 million and GDP of US$120b. The western military district ground forces, even without air cover is sufficient to steam roll over the 3 states practically overnight even with the efp brigade (https://kariuomene.kam.lt/en/e_f_p.html). The moscow region will always be well-armed and the proximity to the region doesn't help. The states forces are small, will remain small with no air cover.

The geography makes it worse when Kaliningrad completes a de-facto surround of the states, making any static defence untenable.

Any defence can be penetrated but not sure how an A2/AD scenario will occur. With the current state of Russian forces, we are not going to see a repeat of the days of a potential Soviet invasion , not sure what is the driver for producing this report?
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gc

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 10:55

To educate the public who seem to increasingly believe that the world has no counter to Russian systems. Changing the erroneous public perception is key in reducing the aura of Russian power that Putin and his fake news army is trying to create. This aura is contributing to NATOs apprehension in countering Russian moves.
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linkomart

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 11:07

weasel1962 wrote:It would be useful to discern what is the intent of the report?

...

Any defence can be penetrated but not sure how an A2/AD scenario will occur. With the current state of Russian forces, we are not going to see a repeat of the days of a potential Soviet invasion , not sure what is the driver for producing this report?


The reason is to evaluate the russian defences, FOI is a reseach institute that works on behalf of the swedish defence administration.
Since the report (this part of the report?) is unclassified it does not contain any revolutionary or secret data, the only calculations are of the radar horizon, wich is pretty easy to caclulate....
Even though some reasoning occur around the baltic states, the main focus for the report is on Sweden and Swedish defence. The claimed 400 km range on the defence boubble would easy cut of the south of Sweden from Kalliningrad, but as noted the S400 comes with a lot of limitations at those ranges. And even though the Swedish defence is hampered by the budget cuts, it will still have a few tricks up it's sleeve to counter the threat if needed.

my 5 cent
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linkomart

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 11:09

.. and what gc says is also true about the report, to educate the public.
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weasel1962

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 11:50

gc wrote:To educate the public who seem to increasingly believe that the world has no counter to Russian systems.


Välkommen to the forum then, the consensus here is there is a simple counter to the Russian systems. Its called the F-35. Decades of research in various threads.
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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 15:32

weasel1962 wrote:
gc wrote:To educate the public who seem to increasingly believe that the world has no counter to Russian systems.


Välkommen to the forum then, the consensus here is there is a simple counter to the Russian systems. Its called the F-35. Decades of research in various threads.


Yep. The only people that don't understand this are the Turks. Or more precisely, the Turkish PM who apparently believes the brochure stats for S-400. It's a great weapons system, but it's not invincible. Apparently, some people think so. How Turkey can't know about how vulnerable it is is beyond me. That precise matchup (F-35 and lesser aircraft vs S-400) is going on right next door in Syria.

Do the Turks not perform ISR, or realize what a wealth of information Syria really is?
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zaltys

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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 15:49

You really believe Russia had some kind of veto for Baltic States to join NATO?

weasel1962 wrote:It would be useful to discern what is the intent of the report?

The rationale for Russia agreeing to allow the baltic states to join nato was that the states are too small to provide a potential threat, having a combined population of ~6 million and GDP of US$120b. The western military district ground forces, even without air cover is sufficient to steam roll over the 3 states practically overnight even with the efp brigade (https://kariuomene.kam.lt/en/e_f_p.html). The moscow region will always be well-armed and the proximity to the region doesn't help. The states forces are small, will remain small with no air cover.

The geography makes it worse when Kaliningrad completes a de-facto surround of the states, making any static defence untenable.

Any defence can be penetrated but not sure how an A2/AD scenario will occur. With the current state of Russian forces, we are not going to see a repeat of the days of a potential Soviet invasion , not sure what is the driver for producing this report?
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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 20:19

News reports today say Turkey has interest in purchasing the s-500 next. Will this be the final straw that will officially boot Turkey from NATO?
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Unread post07 Mar 2019, 22:36

fidgetspinner wrote:News reports today say Turkey has interest in purchasing the s-500 next. Will this be the final straw that will officially boot Turkey from NATO?


They should buy S-600 instead, twice the performance at a fraction of the cost :wink: . If you listen to Russians then 3/4 of the world has expressed interest in their weapons. Algeria Navy is so excited about Russian weapons that they anxiously wait for the 8th year in a row to received Project 20852 corvettes they bought in 2011.

mixelflick wrote:the Turkish PM who apparently believes the brochure stats for S-400.


Turkey isn't buying S-400 for the specs, it's a bargaining chip in the bigger scheme of things, although I have to admit I am not entirely sure what the Father of Turks 2.0 has in mind as an end-game.

Turkey is also not easy to kick out of NATO because they sit on the Bosphorus. Ask CNO ADM Richardson what he thinks about losing care-free access to the Southern maritime flank of NATO and potentially hostile 12 SSKs in the Western Med. But we are getting off-topic, there's a Turkish thread for that discussion.

Back on topic.

Great report, I have only skimmed through the "anti-A2/AD" part, but the reasoning is solid and in line with my own thought about it. Here's what I consider the most important part:
Importantly, the geography of the Baltic Sea region favours the use of ground forces against A2/AD assets, as all of the Kaliningrad exclave is within range of rocket artillery or special forces based in Poland or Lithuania. While supposedly a Russian bastion and a thorn in NATO’s side, when viewed through this kind of lens, Kaliningrad and the high-value forces placed there look very vulnerable.


It's not only about rocket artillery. Historically, Russians have traded territory for time. Some people make fun of the French because Paris fell in four weeks, but forget that Paris is less than a hundred miles from the border. Meanwhile Operation Barbarossa saw Nazi troops approaching Kiev in the same time frame (look up the extent of the territory Soviets lost compared to a portion of France in June 1940 vs 1 month of Eastern Front ops) and had lost about a million troops as POWs alone - in Kiev cauldron only. That's probably the equivalent of the entire third republic's armed forces ORBAT, lost just in one operation. Unfortunately for the Russians, there usn't a whole lot of territory in Kaliningrad to trade time for.

Anyone who talks about "steamrolling" the Baltic states in a matter of days should also remember that a couple of NATO ABCTs could thrust into both Kaliningrad (and Belarus staging areas, optionally) threatening not only Russia's very expensive A2/AD missile systems, but also their major naval base (and Yantar shipyard, ever more important after the loss of Mykolaev), as well as other juicy assets in the Western Military District. There are, of course, many other courses of action and other considerations covered in the report.

I live in the Baltics, and I am not afraid of Kaliningrad A2/AD. The real threat is that NATO is too clumsy and slow to respond and Russians will have sufficient time to broker favorable deals. Germany will surely stall and sue for peace, because violence never solved anything, amirite. Being in NATO is a good safeguard, having allied troops is even better for many reasons, not least non-military.

Now to address the question "why was this report released"? First, Russian behavior required some sort of action, and rightfully so. So the the A2/AD bubble entered the narrative to justify forward troop presence in the Baltics, not safely in the mainland Europe. Then, at some point A2/AD bubble "grew" so powerful in the description, that some doubts were raised: "what's the point of eFP, if they are so few and can't be reinforced anyway?". So an amendment had to be made - "well, bubbles are great, but they burst easily when punctured with sharp objects". The Swedish angle would be - "Russians are not invincible, so investing into Defense is not pointless, because we, even alone, can and should counteract" (see sections 6.2.1 and 6.2.2)
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weasel1962

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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 01:57

hythelday wrote:Anyone who talks about "steamrolling" the Baltic states in a matter of days should also remember that a couple of NATO ABCTs could thrust into both Kaliningrad (and Belarus staging areas, optionally) threatening not only Russia's very expensive A2/AD missile systems, but also their major naval base (and Yantar shipyard, ever more important after the loss of Mykolaev), as well as other juicy assets in the Western Military District. There are, of course, many other courses of action and other considerations covered in the report.


Not so simple. The link below has a nice orbat.
http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/d ... 0CTP_0.pdf

Since the FOI report in 2016 on Kaliningrad and research done by the Warsaw institute, Russia has been steadily reinforcing Kaliningrad's defences. It also discounts the likelihood that the already substantial defences can be reinforced at short notice. Russia has more than enough assets to steamroll the Baltic states.

However the occupation of the baltic states by itself would serve no strategic purpose. It would just trigger a bigger NATO response. Any invasion will need to go further west and for that, Russia does not have the capability.

Institutes like Carnegie have already done analysis (which would take too long to post) that it would require many times the current NATO deployment to be a tactical deterrence i.e. possibility of no steamroll. What NATO would want to avoid is to put too much forces east, risking a decapitation strike. Its also a fine balance of diplomacy to avoid triggering a new arms race that would drive higher defence expenditures etc. Something that Trump is pushing for. Even the US is facing funding difficulties for its 2 front war capability (and both fronts being China and Russia is not ideal).

Imho, I think the real reasons for this is really to drive higher NATO deployment into the region. That's not really a Swedish thing but it does offer a bit of cover. In the wider context, its really to lessen Russian pressure on Ukraine. I think its counter-productive because that's driving Russian defence recapitalisation on a greater scale. Some may argue its going to happen anyway. However, poking a sleeping bear is not usually a wise idea.
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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 08:11

I remembered Rand did this analysis...
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/p ... RR2402.pdf
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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 10:35

gc wrote:To educate the public who seem to increasingly believe that the world has no counter to Russian systems. Changing the erroneous public perception is key in reducing the aura of Russian power that Putin and his fake news army is trying to create. This aura is contributing to NATOs apprehension in countering Russian moves.


Page 15 & 16 ...

" ... While the term is rather new [A2AD], and some of the instruments used are modern and hi-tech in nature, the idea of using long-range weapons to keep an adversary’s naval and air forces away from vital or vulnerable areas is far from new. ... // ... Nonetheless, after Crimea both the news media and professional journals soon overflowed with claims regarding the capabilities of new Russian systems, including maps of “A2/AD bubbles” creating no-go zones reaching 400 km from Kaliningrad or from islands in the Baltic Sea, and thus shutting off the region to Western aircraft and ships.16 If true – or just believed to be true – this could have major consequences not only militarily, but also politically, as NATO might be unable to protect its weakest and most exposed members from Russian provocations, meddling or aggression. Such a perception would have consequences even in peacetime, which would imply that Russia has an interest in portraying its capabilities in the most formidable light possible as an end in and of itself. ... // ... However, many of the sensationalist claims about Russia’s A2/AD capabilities – of bubbles as no-go zones, and on their ripple effects – are clearly overblown and do not stand up to closer or professional scrutiny.20 ...


They've been doing a little bit of that.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 11:00

weasel1962 wrote: ... I think its counter-productive because that's driving Russian defence recapitalisation on a greater scale. Some may argue its going to happen anyway. However, poking a sleeping bear is not usually a wise idea.


You could say the same thing about poking NATO, except it's an even less wise thing to do.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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weasel1962

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Unread post08 Mar 2019, 20:02

NATO is not a sleeping bear. It is an alliance of countries where a majority is trying to save money on defence, with a trend towards less foreign deployments. Just see how many US MBTs and F-22/35s are based on the continent today...
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