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Subject: HOW WILL THE US NAVY DEFEAT THE SUNBURN MISSILES??
LJ813    7/6/2005 9:20:57 AM
read this guys.. http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3905551929fb.htm enjoy!!
 
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EricUS    Already accounted for   12/16/2006 10:46:00 AM
I wondered why no one mentioned this yet, but the U.S. navy identified this as a risk to the Aegis system in the 90s. The most glaring problem was that the SARH homing SM-2 Block I-III had difficulty intercepting supersonic sea skimmers. The solution was the SM-2 block IIIB. It has an improved SARH seeker slaved with a side-looking infrared seeker. It uses the IR seeker to help out in the homing stage to improve accuracy against supersonic missiles. So far, it has been very successful in testing against KH-31s and Vandals.
 
In addition to that, the navy also has fielded the ESSM (which is lethal against supersonic ASCMs) and the RAM (that has a 98% kill record).
 
As for the Phalanx, it would not be optimal against the sunburn because at the range of intercept, the intercepted missile would still have enough inertia to cause damage to the ship.
 
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Nichevo       12/16/2006 10:59:43 PM
DJ, you sound upset.  Iran is alleged to have some Sunburn missiles, and, I have read recently, a few Yakhonts.  No Shipwrecks apparently.  (I doubt they have very many; I have no idea in  fact.)  It does seem they recently tested some hi-speed sea-skimmers at a recent Iran wargame/fleetex.  I doubt they have hundreds as with Exocets or such older-gen missiles (I suppose they may have some Chinese C-801, -802s and Silkworms as well.)
 
But if you understand that they have none such, you know something I don't.

I'm not saying they can keep us out of the Persian (Arabian if you like) Gulf.  I am prepared to believe that Aegis, the proper flavor of Standard missile, the new Rolling Airframe Missile system (which I believe is not combat-tested), and ESSM, can defend against this threat.

What really concerns me is this.  In any potential conflict, the difference between oil coming out of the Straits of Hormuz and no oil coming out of the Straits of Hormuz is a big fat deal.  Pressure on the economies of many significant nations, corresponding pressure from them on us, and of course the fungible price of oil, will be a blow greater than any munition in Iran's arsenal. 

So what if Iran's estimate is that they can win - turn out the lights in Paris and Tokyo and Ankara and Beijing, drive up the world price to $200 or $300 a barrel, force UN action, oblige us to withdraw, and so forth - if they can only close the Straits, a) morally or b) physically.  To do which, they need only:

a)  Sink or gravely damage some symbolic quantity of shipping to make people afraid, to influence neighbors, the media, and most important, to blow Lloyd's of London's mind;

b)  Sink a VLCC or two, or perhaps any large craft, in crucial chokepoints in the Straits which will circumscribe VLCC transits and the transit of US naval forces, especially submarines, to impact trade and our capacity to wage war beyond the symbolic.


If they BELIEVE they can do this, their calculus for war must seemingly be different than if they believe they can't.  With Sunburn in their pocket, they may believe they can.

Now, as I think I was saying above, they might be able to sink some little old USN craft too small to have its own missile defense (Phalanx seems marginal against this threat; Goalkeeper might do better but we have not devised CWIS with the 30mm GAU-8 as have the Dutch; MetalStorm is AFAIK not in use with the USN) and which is outside an Aegis umbrella.  However, this would not stop the Navy.  And barring the golden BB or a saturation attack or sophisticated, multi-axis attack, they will not kill a carrier, cruiser, destroyer, frigate.

But what level of protection can we afford to merchant shipping?  We can defend ourselves, but can we defend the supertankers?  Can we defend that poor bastard bringing in the sheep from Australia?  The car carriers, the bulk freighters, the container ships?

The threat in the 1980s was mines.  There seems to be a wide range of views on our ability to deal with the threat now; whether our technology and our number of minesweeping craft have kept up with advances in mine warfare.  But this is a threat that seems to go beyond those parameters.  We are also not going to be able to defend those so-critical rigs and pumping stations with the Ma Deuce anymore.  And can the minesweepers themselves defend against the missile threat?

I imagine that action in the Gulf is as imminent as we have the sense to make it - IOW the sooner the better. 

Assuming that we do not pursue a policy of some form or other of subversion - coup, revolution, whack-a-mullah, honeytraps, bribes, destabilization, whatever - but go hi-diddle-diddle-straight-up-the-middle, we face this potential threat.  DA expresses high confidence (is that the proper term?  very high?  absolute? ;>)  that we will not only be able to SCUD-hunt these TELs, but to do so while or before they fire. 

Well, IANAMP (I am not a military professional), but I see risk.  Even DA's guerilla-missile notion suggests that in fact they could get lucky.  And if my idea of Iran's plan is accurate, they only need to get lucky once. 

I would laugh if they planned to win a war by shooting down our fighters.  I would laugh less to imagine them shooting down a heliborne or C-130-borne assault, or to have some measure of success against TLAM attacks.

In the same sense, I doubt they can sink a carrier - but can they get their golden BB and sink Lloyd's confidence on CNN?  In this sense, it is as with that thread on China where some Frenchy asks if we can bear to lose a carrier.  How does
 
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DarthAmerica    Nichevo Reply   12/16/2006 11:41:20 PM

Well, IANAMP (I am not a military professional), but I see risk.  Even
DA's guerilla-missile notion suggests that in fact they could get
lucky.  And if my idea of Iran's plan is accurate, they only need to
get lucky once. 



I would laugh if they planned to win a war by shooting down our
fighters.  I would laugh less to imagine them shooting down a heliborne
or C-130-borne assault, or to have some measure of success against TLAM
attacks.



In the same sense, I doubt they can sink a carrier - but can they get
their golden BB and sink Lloyd's confidence on CNN?  In this sense, it
is as with that thread on China where some Frenchy asks if we can bear
to lose a carrier.  How does the match change if they morally or
physically close the Straits?



And what is to be done?  Can every VLCC have an Aegis escort?  Will
that suffice?  Can AWACS, JSTARS or other C4ISR manage a missile
defense through CAP, remote controlled VLS packs on every escorted
ship, or what?  Will we do better to preemptively pound the Iranian
coastline into rubble?  And how much might this cost?



I'm not answering the questions, I'm asking them.  Can we keep the Straits open, and how?



Thanks, EricUS, for the refined data on SM-2-IIIB.  I do wonder if ESSM and RAM will handle the threat, but at least it's clear that Phalanx won't.


The short answer is yes...


...We have developed so many layers of persistent overlapping capabilities that the Iranians getting this missile or that missile is not going to change the game. Its not just the performance of the missile either. You have to be able to competently employ strategy and tactics and that means having a survivable C4ISR. Also, getting lucky once and a while isn't necessarily going to cripple the oil market. If a shooting war breaks out, this is to be expected. Whatever damage they do short of using some sort of WMD(nuclear) would be very short lived. Their C4ISR in the area around the strait wouldn't be likely to survive more that a few hours to days and after that its business as usual. I mean seriously, whats their sensor to shooter cycle going to be like after the JDAMs, SOF and EW start degrading/destroying their capabilities?

Iran is a typically run top down dictatorship/mullacracy. I doubt their ability to operate effectively under the kinds of challenges they are going to face. Operation Praying Mantis may have been ~20 years ago but I don't see how the Iranians would have any better luck.
 
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displacedjim       12/17/2006 3:15:39 AM

DJ, you sound upset.  Iran is alleged to have some Sunburn missiles,
and, I have read recently, a few Yakhonts.  No Shipwrecks apparently. 
(I doubt they have very many; I have no idea in  fact.)  It does seem
they recently tested some hi-speed sea-skimmers at a recent Iran
wargame/fleetex.  I doubt they have hundreds as with Exocets or such
older-gen missiles (I suppose they may have some Chinese C-801, -802s
and Silkworms as well.)

But if you understand that they have none such, you know something I don't.

Nichevo, I think it's safe to say that you know some things I don't, and that I know some things you don't.  Re:  SS-N-22/SS-N-26/etc. in Iranian hands, or the ability of the USN to protect itself against the anti-ship missile threat from the likes of Iran, sleep easy tonight.  However, given that one of those Iranian C-802 fired by Hizballah at that Israeli frigate last July missed it and went on to strike and sink a merchant ship, I'll grant that the missiles Iran does possess certainly are a potential threat to merchant shipping, a threat that would require a serious commitment from us to defeat in detail.  That's not really my area, so I'll refrain from offering any detailed opinion about that.
 
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Rasputin    Remember TopGun   12/17/2006 11:00:13 AM
The Taiwanesse navy  method of countering this threat of sunburn missiles from the People's Republic of China was to design their own version of a sunburn missile that has a longer range than the Soviet/China missile. So the Taiwanese have some
sort of headway in launching their missile first, don't know if this is enough to gurrantee their safety, but definately gives them a better chance of wacking their target first as compared to sub-sonic Harpoons and Tomahawks.

But for the US, do it like TOPGUN with all her resources

Don't let the missile get within the launch range radius of the carrier?
It really involves the entire USN never getting caught once with their pants down. And destroying those launchers and radar sites before they can launch even one. It would be a significant threat if the bad guys ever do get to launch a salvo of sunburns.

 
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Herald1234    Onions, the problem of comparing fruit and the question of doctrine.   12/17/2006 11:54:08 AM
Naval warfare comes down to range advantage, logistics and mobility.

On one side there is the party that suggests that the Sunburn /Yakhont/ Brahmos threat  is significant to cause the USN  to recoil in fear.

The stated case is that land based TEL supersonic ASMs will close the Strait of Hormuz and strangle Western civilization by shutting off the flow of oil.

Aside from the TEMPORARY economic dislocation we suffer while the EU, the US, Japan and Russia reroute some overland gas and oil supply lines (probably over the futile armed objections of the various failed states that we will collectively run those pipelines through.) shall we consider just what the threat actually is and how much trouble it can really cause?

First of all, it has been noted that these supersonic missiles have an (understated) range limit. Most of the launchers have to be within 500 kilometers or much less of their intended victims.

Second of all, it has been mentioned that unlike the popular misconception, many of these supersonic missiles in order to be supersonic have to climb to altitude. Supersonic at sea level is murder on an airframe not to mention at sea it is doubly murderous because it is so easy to nose into a swell at MACH 2 and go off on impact. the autopilot might notr be good enough to keep the robot out of the water.

Third of all, the target of choice is an onion.
a. It isn't alone. It has lots of buddies bobbing around loaded with chaff, decoys, SAMs, DEWs (yes those radars can burn out a Yakhont's seeker.).
b. It has aircover, which the other side won't have. So it has launch warning which the other side does not.
c. Plus the onion has two legged buddies scurrying around among the other side's countryside  hunting TELS with laser designators, GPS navigation aids and radios. Hide the TEL in a cave? For what are all those lovely thermobaric JDAMs  purchased? Who has the actual RANGE advantage?

How many missiles do the badguys have; dozens, a few hundred? How long will they last; a couple of weeks? LOGISTICS. Who outlasts whom?

And with the onion sitting outside of reach, and the Strait of Hormuz blockaded, if it can be blockaded at all, in the face of all that airpower, who starves? LOGISTICS.

The people of the region CANNOT FEED THEMSELVES. They import food. (Sheep from Australia , rice from southern Asia; all of it arrives by sea.) LOGISTICS.

Who truly has reason to fear?

Herald


         
 
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french stratege       12/17/2006 12:31:39 PM
To defeat SUBURN missiles? Easy: to stay out of range!
A F18 E with harpoon or AMRAAM or air to ground weapon can sink any SUNBURN carrier or destroy a land base site much before it is able to launch its attack.
BTW it is false to think that a SM2+aegis ship is efficient to counter completely a saturating attack.Only ASTER has an high kill probability vs this kind of weapon has it is the only medium range missile designated to counter it.
US need really to uprgade its air defense with a more potent missile than SM2 or even ESSM.With an active autodirector and high manoeuvering missile with vector thrust.
 
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EricUS       12/17/2006 1:52:01 PM


I'm not answering the questions, I'm asking them.  Can we keep the Straits open, and how?


Thanks, EricUS, for the refined data on SM-2-IIIB.  I do wonder if ESSM and RAM will handle the threat, but at least it's clear that Phalanx won't.

Thanks. Personally, I think that the strait can be kept open, but it would come at a pretty large cost. For example, you could place SeaRam and decoy launchers on merchant vessels passing through the strait. That, of course, would be in addition to patrols of crusiers, destroyers, and frigates.
 
My guess is that if Iran started trying to close the strait by employing ASCMs, then we would have to launch airstrikes against their missile batteries.
 

 
 
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andyf    closing the strait   12/17/2006 4:10:12 PM
if I was the mullah-commander, < i wonder if they have ranks?> what i'd be fielding, along the coastline and in the shallows would be torpedoes. wake homers preferably, perhaps a version of a captor mine.
with processing power being so cheap now, i should think a special suite of software for a PS2 and some other additional off-the-shelf hardware could make cheap and capable weapons possible.
it depends of course on the iranians- and if theyre technically astute enough to have a go at this sort of thing, rather than lots of praying and a mad charge waving a rifle
 
I tend to think theyll go for option B
 
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french stratege       12/17/2006 5:03:12 PM
It is exactly what they are doing, Andy.
COTS components are easily available today for every body.What is difficult to get is captors, analog devices (high speed and high precision, MMIC, optoelectronic like Bragg cells etc...).Plus some materials and processes.And time to develop software who you can acquire easily and on a cheap way the tools to develop .And moreover spying is very efficient for software as you get the whole product on a unlimited number.
Iranian are our ennemies but they have understood you have no independance and power policy without full modern weapon industry.And for that I respect them.
And they have correctly targeted their effort on missile and smart ammuntions first, rather than platforms.
 
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