Daily Archives: March 15, 2017

America keeps building $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier That’s Easy Targets

America Insists On A $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier That’s Easy To Sink

Terrell Jermaine Starr and Michael Ballaban

Today 12:38pmFiled to: AIRCRAFT CARRIERS

President Donald Trump stood aboard the $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford on March 2 to boast about his plans to increase military spending. Trump told the audience of sailors that more of them were coming and that they have no peers. One important note he forgot to add is that aircraft carriers, as bold and intimidating as they appear, are very susceptible to attack.

The problem with how the Pentagon spends money, and its outlook in general, is that it fails to build hardware for wars of today. The need for a massive number of carriers is hangover line of thinking from the World War II days, when the U.S. had considerable access to the world’s major waters and our adversaries could not defend themselves against the Navy’s superior nautical presence.

American aircraft carriers are extremely expensive, but they are also incredible vulnerable to a wide range of enemy fire. China and Russia, America’s most powerful adversaries, have been building precise and sophisticated anti-ship weapons for decades, such as the P-700 Granit supersonic cruise missile, which is specifically designed to break through American carrier group countermeasures.

Though in service since the 1980s, the P-700 consists more a system of multiple missiles rather than just one missile, fired one at a time. If P-700s are fired in a group of four to eight, they form a network that decide amongst themselves which missile will prioritize the main target (like a carrier).

The missile that designates the target flies at a higher altitude, guiding the others skimming the sea surface to their eventual endpoint. A missile flying at a higher altitude is easier to shoot down, however, and the P-700 system was designed with this fact in mind. So if the lead missile, flying high above the others, is knocked out of the sky, another one of the group immediately pops upwards to replace it.

Knocking out a group of eight missiles that conveniently offer themselves up for sacrifice one at a time sounds easy enough, until you realize that these things are moving at speeds of at least Mach 1.6, or 1,227 miles per hour at sea level. And the P-700s pack a big enough punch to do real damage, as defense reporter and occasional Foxtrot Alpha contributor Kyle Mizokami once pointed out at The National Interest:

The P-700 was a large missile designed to kill large ships. The P-700 was thirty-three feet long and nearly three feet wide. Each weighed 15,400 pounds each, most of which was fuel for the ramjet-powered engine which propelled the missile at speeds of Mach 1.6 to a range of 388 miles.

The missile packed either a 1,653-pound conventional high explosive warhead, enough to damage an aircraft carrier, or a five-hundred-kiloton nuclear warhead, enough to vaporize a carrier. The missiles would be fed targeting data from the Legenda space surveillance system, which would hunt fast-moving carrier battle groups from orbit.

And that’s just one missile system that the Russian Navy has been using for decades. Newer missile systems, like the BrahMos, move at double the speed with even more lethality.

But let’s assume for a second that the P-700, or even the BrahMos, wouldn’t be able to get past an American carrier battle group’s complex mix of countermeasures, such as RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missilesRIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles, decoys, and—if all else fails—Phalanx close-in weapons systems.

What you would really need to get through that tenacious net would be a torpedo, preferably fired by a submarine. But the U.S. Navy has made steady cuts to its anti-submarine capabilities for years now.

In October of 2015, a Project 636-class submarine managed to stalk the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan off the coast of Japan without getting caught “for at least half a day.” And a submarine doesn’t need that long to fire off its lethal package.

The Project 636 was likely following the Reagan to protest Freedom of Navigation exercises taking place at the time to challenge Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. As Foxtrot Alpha has reported, China has been asserting its power in the region by building artificial islands in the body of water that have violated other nation’s maritime borders. In any case, the move was a clear sign Beijing doesn’t fear the Navy’s mighty carrier fleet.

To be sure, any kind of carrier is vulnerable to attack because of its size and visibility.

America is the only country in the world that bases its naval strategy based on its carrier fleet. The Navy stands by the approach, despite its well-known vulnerabilities. Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in an interview with Reuters last year that he would deploy aircraft carriers into close battle in a heartbeat, though he also admitted that the advancement of anti-ship weapons have made carriers less valuable than they were 15 years ago.

At a 2010 U.S. Navy symposium, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said “a Ford-class carrier plus its full complement of the latest aircraft would represent potentially $15 billion to $20 billion worth of hardware at risk.” Gates has never cared for expanding America’s already burgeoning fleet and made that clear to the audience:

“To be sure, the need to project power across the oceans will never go away,” he said. “But, consider the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys. Consider, too, the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries. Do we really need eleven carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one? Any future plans must address these realities.”

The answer to whether we need eleven carriers—Trump wants 12—is clearly no.

But that hasn’t stopped the Navy and the Congress that backs them from spending billions of dollars on ships that stand a very high chance of being sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain and Defense Department official, told Reuters that a major anti-ship missile offensive could pose grave dangers for a carrier.

For the cost of a single carrier, he calculates, a rival can deploy 1,227 anti-carrier missiles.

“The enemy can build a lot more missiles than we can carriers for equivalent investments,” Hendrix said, “and hence overwhelm our defensive capabilities.”

Take China, for example. The South China Sea is becoming a heavily contested body of water where Beijing’s expansionism is threatening security in the region. As we’ve noted previously, Steve Bannon, Trump’s top aide, has ranted on his Breitbart radio show of an eventual conflict between Washington and Beijing.

The Chinese would be more than prepared on several fronts. China’s Dong Feng-21 anti-ship ballistic missile reportedly has a range of 1,000 miles and can travel at 10 times the speed of sound, and may be nearly impossible to stop. And China’s Type 032 diesel sub can reportedly fire “ballistic missiles with the capacity to send a nuclear warhead across the ocean,” posing a possible danger to a carrier, especially if multiple missiles are fired.

The Navy has expressed confidence that the new Ford Class’s radar system can track the DF-21 and that its chain of defenses would stop the missile before it hits the carrier. While it is not clear whether the Ford can actually withstand such an attack, a combat exercise near Florida in 2015 revealed how vulnerable a top U.S. carrier is.

A small French nuclear sub, Saphir, snuck past several points of defense and sunk the U.S. carrier Theodore Roosevelt and half of its escort ships. News of the exercise results were not widely publicized but, as The National Interest notes, the Chinese were well aware of the Rubis-class submarine’s success against the U.S. carrier. The publication cited an interview in which Chinese Submarine Academy professor Chi Guocang was asked why the French sub was able to perform so well:

He observes that the Rubis-class submarine is the world’s smallest nuclear submarine (2,670 tons submerged) and that could make it more difficult to detect. According to this Chinese expert’s analysis, the Los Angeles-class submarines protecting the aircraft carrier have about three times the displacement—placing them at a disadvantage, especially in a circumstance where both crews have a similar level of training proficiency. This is not the first time that Chinese submarine experts have admired France’s small displacement nuclear submarines, which they seem to think could be particularly well suited for the shallow waters of the Western Pacific. It is argued in this Chinese analysis, moreover, that the French submarine’s comparatively slow maximum speed (25 knots) seems hardly to be a major deficiency.

And we haven’t even touched upon non-nuclear Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) subs, like the Chinese Type 039 or the Russian Project 677, which are generally regarded as nearly impossible to detect. Nor do you necessarily even need fancy missiles or fancy submarines if you’ve got enough tiny boats for a saturation attack.

Thing is, the USS Gerald Ford will go along as planned, despite its very real vulnerabilities. The carrier will undergo a battery of certification tests in the summer and is expected to be commissioned in the fall. Trump will get one step closer to the 12 carriers that he wants.

Whether they will sink or swim against a more powerful China or Russia in a possible conflict no one hopes will happen remains to be seen.

Correction: Obviously, aircraft carriers have been used in battle since World War II, and their use has continued from from the Korean War to Vietnam all the way up to and including the present conflict with the Islamic State Group. We meant to say direct action. Our apologies for the error. – M. B.

Original post foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com




In 1969, work began on a successor to the P-500, which would emerge as the “P-700 Granit” (NATO “SS-N-19 Shipwreck”). The concept was that the P-700 would be guided to its target directly from the satellite network after a mass underwater launch from a group of OSCAR I and OSCAR II submarines, each with 24 missiles, working in conjunction with Tu-22M antiship bombers. The submarines would receive initial targeting coordinates from a longwave communications link to ground bases, launch from a range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles) at a depth of about 30 meters (100 feet), and then depart at high speed. Five submarines launching together could fire 120 missiles, overwhelming carrier group defenses and giving a high probability of “kills” even with conventional warheads.

The guidance and attack scheme used by the P-700 is very similar to that used by the P-500: one missile in the salvo of 24 goes to high altitude and “leads” the rest using active radar seeker mode, while the others stay at low altitude and remain in passive guidance mode. The active seeker is only used in short “peeks” to reduce the chance of interception. High altitude speed is Mach 2.5, while low-altitude speed is Mach 1.5. The missile carries a deception jammer system to enhance penetration of enemy defenses; has a maneuvering guidance system that can follow one of a set of different preprogrammed courses to make its attack less predictable, and can receive guidance updates in flight; and has armor over its vital systems to help thwart carrier-group close-in defenses.


As with the P-500, no images of the P-700 were released until well after the fall of the USSR, and the general belief in the West was that it was an evolutionary descendant of the P-5 / P-35 / P-6. When images were finally released, it turned out to be almost completely unrelated in configuration, with a fuselage like a fat cigar, a jet inlet in the nose, twin delta wings, and cruciform tail surfaces. The P-700 can carry a 750 kilogram (1,650 pound) conventional warhead or a nuclear warhead with a yield of hundreds of kilotonnes. It is of course much more sophisticated, in particular featuring a digital processor with three CPUs.


Spec Metric English
Wingspan                2.6 meters          8 feet 6 inches
Length  10 meters           32 feet 10 inches
Body diameter           85 centimeters      33.5 inches
Launch weight           7,000 kilograms     15,435 pounds
Speed Mach 1.6
Range 550 kilometers      340 MI / 300 NMI

Material source craymond.no-ip.info

Related post:

China fears Trump ramps up naval abilities

China may be preparing for a crippling missile strike on the US in the Pacific – businessinsider.com.au

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Navy) Plan a 500 Ship Navy

Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, Commander, US Naval Forces says Chinese ships ‘couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag’

List of ships inducted to Chinese Navy in 2016 a total of 150,000 tons

South China Sea a powder keg of war, says US navy top brass

Chinese Missile Expert Believes War with the US is Inevitable

Warning Of ‘Intense’ War As China’s Military Might Approaches US

China to have ‘world’s largest navy’ by 2020, says report

Russian-Built Kilo Submarine ‘Kills’ American Nuclear Sub


Saab has offered to re-start production of its Gripen C/D production for Bulgaria

Saab offers to restart Gripen C/D production for Bulgaria

Gareth Jennings, London – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

14 March 2017

Saab has offered to re-start production of its Gripen C/D combat aircraft in its proposal to replace Bulgaria’s ageing Warsaw Pact-era MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighters, the company confirmed to Jane’s on 14 March.

Production of the Gripen C/D, which was ceased in early 2015 with the completion of Sweden’s order and the company’ transition over to the latest E variant, could be resumed for Bulgaria with deliveries following shortly after.

“Sweden has submitted a highly competitive offer for new fully NATO-interoperable Gripen C/D fighter aircraft,” the company told Jane’s in a statement, adding, “A new fleet of Gripen aircraft can be delivered to the Bulgarian Air Force within a short time of contract signature.”

Saab has sold or leased 167 Gripen C and 25 Gripen D aircraft to Sweden and five export customers – the Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom’s Empire Test Pilots School. The company is in the final stages of discussions for the type with Slovakia, and has offered it to Croatia also. Although resources have now been directed to building the 60 Gripen Es for the Swedish Air Force (SwAF) and 28 Gripen E and eight Gripen Fs for the Brazilian Air Force, Saab has been at pains to stress that it remains committed to the Gripen C/D.

“There is no real cut-off point [for Saab] on when to stop marketing the C/D in favour of the E/F,” Jerker Ahlqvist, head of Saab’s Gripen business unit, previously told reporters. “The C/D is still a very capable aircraft and not all countries will require the extended range or the improved sensor suite of the E/F. There will be a continuous development programme for the C/D, so it doesn’t become an old aircraft just because the E/F is around, and buying a C/D doesn’t mean you have to stay with that aircraft.

Original post janes.com


Related post:

Bulgaria to choose between new Gripen jets, secondhand U.S. F-16 equipped with U.S. weaponry and secondhand Eurofighter Typhoon

Bulgaria issues RFP for new fighter

Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry may change criteria for jet fighter acquisition favoring F-16

Bulgaria Is Ready with Tender Requirements for New Type of Fighter for Its Air Force

Bulgaria requests surplus F-16s from Portugal

Bulgarian Parliament Approves Plan to Buy Fighter Jets, Warships

Bulgaria Launches Public Tender for Purchase of Ten MiG-29 Engines

Eurofighter Typhoon: Details

Gripen C/D: Details

F-16C/D: Details


Eurofighter Typhoon to begin Brimstone firing trials

BAE Systems set to begin Brimstone firing trials with Typhoon

14 March 2017

Key Points

  • Nine Brimstone separation trials are currently scheduled, beginning June 2017
  • There were 40 carriage trials conducted towards the end of 2016

BAE Systems is set to begin initial firing trials of the MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface precision attack weapon with the Eurofighter Typhoon swing role combat aircraft in June, following the conclusion of vibration testing and a series of carriage trials at the company’s site in Warton, Lancashire.

BAE Systems is set to commence firing trials of the MBDA Brimstone precision air-to-surface weapon with the Eurofighter Typhoon platform in June 2017. (BAE Systems)BAE Systems is set to commence firing trials of the MBDA Brimstone precision air-to-surface weapon with the Eurofighter Typhoon platform in June 2017. (BAE Systems)

A BAE Systems spokesperson told Jane’s that a total of 40 carriage trials of Brimstone with the UK Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6 were conducted towards the end of 2016 to evaluate integration of the weapon with the platform.

Original post janes.com



Brimstone provides a combat proven, low collateral, close air support weapon offering to the fast jet operator the unique capability of engaging a wide range of target types, including fast moving vehicles / vessels in both land and naval environments and in both direct and indirect modes.

The latest generation Brimstone builds upon the successful Brimstone Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) which deployed the weapon into front line operations with the RAF.

Operationally deployed in the Afghanistan,Libya conflicts, Brimstone has proved to be the weapon of choice with its ability to perform surgical strikes in time critical missions with a true day / night capability.

Brimstone is fully integrated onto Tornado GR4 and is intended for integration on Typhoon and Future Attack Helicopter. The weapon system is also suitable for deployment on a wide range of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, land and surface platforms.

Combat aircraft armed with the Brimstone weapon offer reach, speed, flexibility, precision and the ability to engage multiple targets with a single mission load. When used from a fixed wing platform, Brimstone provides a rapid response for Close Air Support and Counter Insurgency that is not possible from helicopters alone.

Brimstones’s wide range of target types includes:

  • fast moving and manoeuvring vehicles,
  • tanks and armoured cars, bunkers,
  • naval vessels including swarming and individual Fast In-shore Attack Craft (FIAC).

Source mbda-systems.com

Brimstone Flight Profile


Eurofighter Typhoon: Details