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Brumby

Major
Against multiple, maneuvering, super-sonic missile raids. That was the specific test and what Block-2 proved successful against.

Jeff,
I understand that point perfectly i.e. the test was successful. What I was pointing out from the wording of that statement seems to imply that the other ship based systems (the SM's of the world) had not been entirely successful in doing the same. Do you agree with that implication or you have another view?
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Well, on first read I took it to mean that Raytheon and US systems had not done it before. But the exact wording does imply that it has never happened before at all...anywhere...which of course would mean that other systems have not done it either.

I do not know however, for example, if the UK has ever tried to down (and succeeded) two supersonic maneuvering targets with the Sampson/Aster system.
 
...

I do not know however, for example, if the UK has ever tried to down (and succeeded) two supersonic maneuvering targets with the Sampson/Aster system.

I enjoyed the recent play of words here :) I wonder about test-targets, as in the past (in the thread called: Syrian Crisis...2013) I posted about the Russian X-31 AShM and in the process became aware of:
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now I found Jeff's comments on it (dated Sep 6, 2013):

...
3rd: In the 1990s the US bought a bunch of MH-31 drones and worked extensively with them to ensure that the AEGIS system could handle the Kh-31. So, if they do get some of them launched, I would expect the combined strength of five AEGIS vessels and their Standard Missiles, ESSMs and finally the CIWS to be very effective against them.

Remember too, the French sent an Horizon DDG to operate with the five US AEGIS destroyers for additional AAW defense. That Horizon is probably going to be effective against these threats as well.
 

strehl

Junior Member
Registered Member
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If I understand correctly the last paragraph of this article, it would suggest to me that up and until this block-2, the other ship based systems had not been entirely successful in stopping supersonic maneuvering missiles (in testing).

This was a test of the RAM missile and I think the statement (poorly defined in the news release) is referring just to this particular missile. The ESSM missile has been proven successful against Vandals and Coyotes at supersonic speed. The SM series (2 and 6) are also able to handle this class of target. SM 3 is optimized for ballistic missiles so it doesn't go after this threat.

The RAM is significantly smaller/lighter (and cheaper) than the ESSM. Historical derivation is AIM9 vs Sparrow. If the RAM can now reliably go after supersonic AShM missiles, that would greatly improve the range of vessels that can protect themselves.
 

Brumby

Major
This was a test of the RAM missile and I think the statement (poorly defined in the news release) is referring just to this particular missile. The ESSM missile has been proven successful against Vandals and Coyotes at supersonic speed. The SM series (2 and 6) are also able to handle this class of target. SM 3 is optimized for ballistic missiles so it doesn't go after this threat.

The RAM is significantly smaller/lighter (and cheaper) than the ESSM. Historical derivation is AIM9 vs Sparrow. If the RAM can now reliably go after supersonic AShM missiles, that would greatly improve the range of vessels that can protect themselves.

It may be as you said the news release statement poorly defined the situation. Specifically the news reported it was first for "a" ship based system rather than specific to the RAM missile which would be "the" ship based system. The former suggest the entire family.
 
deep-strike considerations etc.:
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, the Navy’s 10
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remain unequalled icons of American might. But the ugly truth is they’re not as mighty as they might be.

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as eroded over the last quarter century.Even the Navy’s future fighter, the
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, will have an unrefueled range of about 600 nautical miles: That’s one-third the range of the old
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, which entered service in 1956. Navy
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striking targets in Afghanistan had to
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repeatedly from lumbering aerial tankers — but that option is not available in airspace contested by enemy fighters or anti-aircraft missiles.

Senate Armed Services chairman
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and the outspoken chairman of the House subcommittee on seapower,
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, want to solve this problem with a long-range drone: the UCLASS, short for Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance & Strike. An unmanned aircraft can fly longer, take greater risks, and boast a smaller radar profile than one burdened with a human pilot. But the Navy has proposed a UCLASS that’s
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, with limited capability to penetrate so-called anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) defenses and to strike a well-defended target.

“If my priority is it’s got to get through an A2/AD defense, and I’m building something that couldn’t possibly get through an A2/AD defense, I know from the beginning I’m wrong,” Forbes said this afternoon at the Army and Navy Club here in DC.

“What do we want this thing to do?” Forbes said. “I want it to drop some pretty heavy stuff on some pretty bad people.”

“The thing that bothers me most is that we’ve taken a lot of thoughts off the table,” the congressman continued. The Navy’s proposed requirements insist on at least 14 hours of unrefueled endurance, which is ideal for long reconnaissance patrols. But 14 hours forces trade-offs favoring fuel load at the expense of bomb load and fuel-efficient flight at the expense of stealth. We need to relook those requirements, Forbes said.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense agrees, at least enough for the UCLASS requirements to be repeatedly delayed by reviews led by the powerful Deputy Secretary, Bob Work.

“We’ve had an RFP (Request for Proposals) ready to go for a year and a half, two years now, and it’s been held up because of a look at overall ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] systems,” Navy Secretary
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said
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at the American Enterprise Institute. “One of the reasons we’d like to go ahead and get the RFP out is that we’d like to find out what’s available out there in industry.”

The Navy staff’s director of air warfare, Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, put it more bluntly to reporters
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: “We have lost this time to put that technology to work. That’s where my frustration is.”

Forbes, of course, thinks OSD is just taking the time to get this right. Many dissidents inside the Navy Department agree with him, he said. “The Navy’s very divided on this,” Forbes said, “and there are many people in the Navy that concur with us and think the questions we’re asking are appropriate questions.”

Mabus argues that the technology (and the budget) probably aren’t ready to build a UCLASS that can do the deep-strike mission. “The way I’ve always seen UCLASS is as a bridge between where we are today and a full-up … autonomous strike UAV in contested areas,” he said at AEI.

Forbes has no patience for the “bridge” analogy. . “If you don’t know what that [future] platform’s going to look like, then you basically have a bridge to nowhere,” he said today. “When you ask them, ‘well, where’s the bridge leading? What is that platform going to look like?’…. then all of a sudden the mike goes quiet.”

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argue the current carrier air wing is too short-ranged, potentially requiring the valuable flagships to sail so close to their targets that they become vulnerable to shore-landed anti-ship missiles. The irony here is the Navy used to have a long-ranged carrier strike capability. But it gave it away in the 1990s, when it retired the
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A-6 Intruder and cancelled its troubled replacement, the A-12.

“The A-3 came online in the early to mid 1950s, and for most of the next fifty years the Navy was able to do long-range deep strike,” said retired Navy captain
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, who moderated today’s discussion with Rep. Forbes. Most of those old strike aircraft had an unrefueled range of 1,000 to 1,2000 miles, he told me after the event, but the A-3 itself “had a range of 1,800 nautical miles — unrefueled — and could carry a 12,000-pound atomic bomb.”

“If you look at the A-3 Sky Warrior….that plane was the reason why we developed the Forrestal-class, the first super-carrier, [in the first place],” said Hendrix, who’s writing a study of carrier air wing evolution at the Center for a New American Security. The
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of a modern carrier was originally designed to give large, long-ranged jet aircraft room to take off. Its massive maintenance spaces and ordnance storage were originally intended to support heavy bombers, not just strike fighters. As
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, it may be time to use the super-carrier for its original purpose again.
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Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
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US-Navy-to-Christen-Future-USS-Gabrielle-Giffords-1024x682.jpg

Naval Today said:
The US Navy will christen its tenth littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), during a midday ceremony June 13 at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. LCS 10 is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

During the event, Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor, will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow thereby christening the ship in a time-honored Navy tradition.

The LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and Independence variant, each designed and built by different industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for odd-numbered hulls, e.g., LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4) and Austal USA (for the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

Purchased under the innovative block-buy acquisition strategy, there are 12 ships currently under construction.

While capable of open-ocean tasking, LCS is intended to operate in the littorals — shallow, coastal waters. As such, the ships can operate in water as shallow as 20 feet deep and can travel at speeds in excess of 40 knots. USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) recently demonstrated these critical capabilities as part of their operational deployments to U.S. 7th Fleet in the Asia-Pacific region.

So far, the US Navy has christened the following vessels this year:

USS Gabrielle Gifford, LCS-10, June 13, 2015
USS John Finn, DDG-113, May 2, 2015
USS John Murtha, LPD-26, March 21, 2015
USNS Lewis B. Puller, MLP 3 AFSB, February 2, 2015
USNS Trenton, JHSV-5, January 10, 2015

The following vessels are currently planned for christening later in the year:

USS Little Rock, LCS-9, Summer
USS Illionis, SSN-786, Summer
USNS Brunswick, JHSV-6, Fall
USS Washington, SSN-787, Fall
USS Portland, LPD-27, Fall
 
deciding about 100 billions for the boomers ...
Congressmen: Ohio Replacement Might Now Have Much-Needed Stability in Funding
The Navy needs about $100 billion to buy its upcoming class of ballistic missile submarines. And it needs a lot of support from Congress to secure that funding.

In the world of politics, where change is the only constant – where support for various departments goes in and out of style – finding long-term stability for something as big as the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) submarines is vital to its success.

This week, the House may have achieved that stability.

The House Appropriations Committee tried to cancel a National Sea Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF) the House Armed Services Committee had set up to provide stable, advanced funding for ORP. Several HASC subcommittee chairs and ranking members pushed for an amendment that would save the piggy bank fund, and the House overwhelmingly agreed to keep the fund,
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.

“I think that’s a pretty overwhelming message that this is the direction Congress wants to be heading in,” HASC seapower and projection forces subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) told USNI News Thursday afternoon. He said the fight isn’t over yet, as the House has to wait to see what the Senate will do, but he’s optimistic that the fund will be preserved.

“I think, first of all, members of Congress are just realizing how vitally important this Ohio-class replacement is going to be for the national defense of our country,” he said.
“I think the second thing is, I think it just makes really good sense from a business model and people can fundamentally realize you shouldn’t wait until the night before you need $100 billion and then step up and say, okay, now how are we going to get it? It makes sense to have a longer lead time – I mean, in four years we’re going to start procuring these ships and in six years we’ll be starting to build them, so we don’t want to wait until the last minute. But I think the third thing is, from the beginning of this, our subcommittee is a very bipartisan subcommittee, as is actually our full committee, and this was not a fund that was just my fund. This was a fund created on a bipartisan basis once we all sat down and said what’s the best thing for us to do to build these ships. I think that kind of bipartisan support showed in the vote we had.”

The floor debate that led up to Wednesday night’s vote was the second full House debate on the NSBDF in two months. HASC seapower and projection forces subcommittee ranking member Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) told USNI News on Thursday he’s glad the topic was openly debated twice because non-HASC members now have a clear understanding of the importance of a defense issue they otherwise wouldn’t have much visibility into.

“One really healthy thing about this process of having two full-blown debates on the floor is that I really think the member awareness now on sea-based deterrence – and the fact that this is really going to be a very important issue obviously not just this year but for many years ahead – has, I think, really penetrated the mindset here, which is not easy because there’s so many competing issues.”

While debating the defense appropriations bill, all votes on amendments were saved until the end of the day Wednesday. Courtney said the congressmen had cheat sheets explaining what each amendment was and how the Republican or Democratic party wanted members to vote. He said he worked the floor leading up to the vote to save the NSBDF, and the lawmakers seemed to really understand the submarine issue and didn’t need the cheat sheets’ help on that amendment.

Courtney said a lot of the success can be attributed to support from outside groups – the Navy League, AFL-CIO’s Metal Trades Department, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Teamsters and more – who spent the last few weeks “peppering member offices with their input.”

“Their input really elevated the issue to a point where it wasn’t just perceived as just a parochial one-platform debate, as opposed to a broader question…which is that, if we don’t do this right, the industrial base for surface ships and American warships is really going to be damaged,” Courtney said.
“And again, that really obviously is what motivated the Metal Trades to ramp up, they wrote great letters and framed it precisely that way.”

Since the Budget Control Act hit and spending caps were imposed on the defense and non-defense discretionary budgets, HASC members have said they’ve struggled to help their colleagues understand the complexities of defense budgeting. Whereas everyone understands funding for schools and infrastructure, the relationship between the Pentagon’s needs and the industrial base’s needs isn’t so intuitive. Forbes said in this particular case, he and his HASC colleagues successfully conveyed the importance of ORP and the need for a special fund.

“I think what we have been trying to do is to paint the pictures of what the challenges are that lie ahead for us as a country, and then try to come up with creative solutions of how to meet those challenges, and thirdly lay the choice to the American people and to members of Congress,” he said.
“I think when you do those things, the American people always respond that they want a strong national defense. I think members of Congress do that, so I think [Wednesday] night was kind of the culmination for this program of doing that.”

There are other challenges HASC will face that will require broader support from outside the committee, but he said the ORP issue is interconnected with other shipbuilding challenges and that perhaps the rest of the House understands a bit better now.

“If we don’t do this fund – or something like this fund, it doesn’t have to be this fund, there’s no magic that this is perfect and it’s the best – but if we don’t do something like this, if we just do it the way we always do it, wait until we need the money and pull it out, [the Congressional Research Service] has said that we could lose as many as 32 other ships,” Forbes explained.
“Now that would be eight Virginia-class attack submarines, eight destroyers and 16 other combatant ships. So if we don’t keep this funding going, it will decimate the rest of the shipbuilding plan in a time where every bit of the data we’re getting and every bit of the data we’re able to disseminate to you is going to be showing that we need significantly more surface combatants, not less.

“And then when you look at these particular submarines, this nuclear deterrent has kept us from a major world war for a lot of decades now,” he continued.
“And I don’t think very many reasonable people would want to lose 70 percent of our nuclear deterrent, which is what would happen if we don’t replace these submarines.”

Courtney said the support for ORP and its NSBDF today is impressive – he analyzed Wednesday night’s vote and found that 74 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats supported it. But for him, the big win is not having to re-fight this battle next decade.

The House appropriators said they strongly support ORP but want to fund it in the traditional manner, just one year at a time. But Courtney said that “really begs the question, that the appropriators – who I respect highly – didn’t really answer, which is the notion that if we’re going to do this in a year-by-year budget process, it’s basically is asking members of Congress in the 2020s to do the near-impossible, which is to stretch the size of that [Navy shipbuilding] account in some magical way.”
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