LRASM sensor production 2017

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blain

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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 02:40

marauder2048 wrote:
element1loop wrote:
Which is consistent with reducing exposure of all ships plus passing strike effort burden from ship VLS to naval aviation pylon, which makes a lot of sense. And the (multirole) anti-ship missiles the surface fleet do have are more suited to choke-point and littoral self-defense (and NSM to complement those in future).



They are acquiring 1300 Maritime Strike Tomahawks (IOC FY2022). I don't think those are all destined for submarines.


This is a definite need. But do they need something more low observable? I would think the Chinese would have a capability similar to AEGIS.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 04:04

Any ideas how stealthy the current Tomahawk is? The visible changes made to enhance its RCS compared to older Tomahawks include modification of the air intake to a flushed designed and the pinched nose that is stated to reduce the RCS. Any recent inclusion of composite structures and RAM application to reduce the RCS further.

The Tomahawk has the benefits of very long range allowing arrival from a completely unexpected direction, very low altitude sea skimming due to its subsonic speed and a completely passive seeker forcing the enemy to radiate aggressively to detect, thereby making the target itself very much more vulnerable.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 04:41

element1loop wrote:
swiss wrote:You are right. The reason why i ask was this article.

http://www.deagel.com/news/First-LRASM- ... 11916.aspx


Yeah, don't see it coming about though, appears to be a validated option but doesn't fit the need. LRASM from P-8A (I have my doubts that would go ahead) or a LO naval drone weapon bay (MQ-25 or land based Predator-C for instance) would be faster with less at stake compared to a DDG. A far higher strike and reload tempo and a bigger threat which is much harder to deal with due to their range and speed. No doubt simulation shows the many advantages of having these missiles on medium and long-range naval air power, rather than VLS in a near-peer fight.

I'd speculate this accounts for western surface fleets persisting with Harpoon and replacing those with NSM, as strike from ships at the high-end will empty magazines and weaken defenses. Cells need to be refilled in a port (leave the fight to reload with strike weapons?) and duking it out with another fleet ship-to-ship is too random, a bit like relying on IR missiles for 4th-gen WVR where mutual attrition for little advantage becomes likely.

So Harpoon for close-in lower-end threats, like a container-ship firing Yakhont, where fast SM2 may not put an end to the firing and it's not such a great idea to expend 5 to 6 SM2 on a container ship to suppress it (or for land targets in choke points). Longer range ESSM-2 provides four times the number of missiles. Plus NSM is a better support for killing all manner of targets with unannounced hits.

As I see this VLS has always been primarily about AEGIS defense, plus a secondary limited strike option bonus on Cruisers that had more VLS. Mission creep and lower threat era post cold war and Desert Storm led to DDG cells being utilised for a supplemental strike. But now VLS needs to refocus on the air threats, and for suppressing a sub fast. While LRASM has always been about killing the most high-end fleet units, and hitting the most defended naval targets at the earliest time to limit the damage those could do. Making it easier to pick off the remainder of the surface fleet with cheaper more numerous weapons. Hard to sneak up on a surface fleet to fire VLS weapons at them and not get fired at first.

This frees up more cells for a predominantly ESSM-2-based air defense on DDG, making more room for SM3, SM6 needs, and a few VL-ASROC for sub suppression.

Seems clear USAF bomber and SH are the best delivery option from here. B-1B takes out items like carriers and cruisers, SH plink DDGs with LRASM. JASSM-ER on both fleet bases and ships in port, with F-35C delivered JSOW-C1 against DDG, FFG and lower.

marauder2048 wrote:They are acquiring 1300 Maritime Strike Tomahawks (IOC FY2022). I don't think those are all destined for submarines.


Subs and cruiser VLS (prompt limited-strike missions) and reserve war-stocks could account for it though.


I think your points are valid. The key weakness of VLS is that you must go to a port to reload. Surface combatants are not the ideal platform to fight it out at sea with a peer SAG or CSG, especially if you consider the American CSGs are going to operating out a range from the Chinese mainland, conducting forays within the second island chain as needed to support US war objectives.

One B-2 can carry 16 LRASM sized weapons, if you consider the ability to conduct several sorties over a 24 hour period a squadron of bombers can bring to bear a lot of firepower, especially if it can be paired with a reliable ISR asset. Even if Chinese surface combatants are able to shoot down a number of the missiles, they will also have to confront the issue of reloading missile cells. Unless Chinese are able to neutralize Taiwan with a vertical envelopment, they will not be able to defeat the ROC until they able to insure the safety of amphibious vessels and merchant ships. The LRASM/stealth bomber combination gives the US an asymmetrical advantage. The main limitation will be the size of the LRASM stockpile.

Even without air refueling, the bomber's range complicates the PLARF's ability to target potential bomber bases. Here is where dispersal gives the US a big advantage.
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element1loop

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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 10:52

blain wrote:I think your points are valid. The key weakness of VLS is that you must go to a port to reload. Surface combatants are not the ideal platform to fight it out at sea with a peer SAG or CSG, especially if you consider the American CSGs are going to operating out a range from the Chinese mainland, conducting forays within the second island chain as needed to support US war objectives.

One B-2 can carry 16 LRASM sized weapons, if you consider the ability to conduct several sorties over a 24 hour period a squadron of bombers can bring to bear a lot of firepower, especially if it can be paired with a reliable ISR asset. Even if Chinese surface combatants are able to shoot down a number of the missiles, they will also have to confront the issue of reloading missile cells. Unless Chinese are able to neutralize Taiwan with a vertical envelopment, they will not be able to defeat the ROC until they able to insure the safety of amphibious vessels and merchant ships. The LRASM/stealth bomber combination gives the US an asymmetrical advantage. The main limitation will be the size of the LRASM stockpile.

Even without air refueling, the bomber's range complicates the PLARF's ability to target potential bomber bases. Here is where dispersal gives the US a big advantage.


The other significant benefit would be obvious to anyone who's spent time at sea steaming from point A to point B. It takes a loooong time to get where you're going at ~15 knots, the Pacific is huge, it takes weeks to get anywhere between quadrants. The advantage of the bombers and LRASM mix is they can very quickly limit how much damage an enemy's navy can do, plus how far they can get to, as it preps for the arrival of USN air power, which will now have all the advantages.

With tactical LEO satellite coverage, MQ-4, B-1B + LRASM, PLAN are going to be suppressed early and will want to stay nearer to air cover. Can you imagine being 1 week steaming time away from the Chinese mainland's air-cover with western aircraft and weapons like those hunting for you? It's just a matter of time until you get hit. Then even as you approach the mainland you're also approaching the second, then first Island chains ...

IMO, PLAN are likely to be deterred by these first MQ-4s being deployed plus new a IR satellite constellation in the works, B1-B being heavily upgraded and now JASSM-ER and LRASM numbers rising (on top of everything else that's occurring in the region). The PLA have done a lot with their systems and new weapons for sure, but are they really any more likely to gain and hold the initiative in a fight? Not for very long.

Combine that mix with GLCM types and much better SAM data and SA from F-35's real-time data feed and a large number of better defended MOB, plus well-developed FARP option. If Australia does similar with C-17A and F-35A plus growler from forward rough bases while Japan does same with Kawasaki C-2 and F-35B ... then USN approaches and sustains a steady well-defended standoff attack ...

That's a dicey mix for China to take-on from multiple directions at once, diplomacy would seem the best option.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 11:08

'element1loop' said: "The other significant benefit would be obvious to anyone who's spent time at sea steaming from point A to point B. It takes a loooong time to get where you're going at ~15 knots, the Pacific is huge, it takes weeks to get anywhere between quadrants...." Bin Dere Dun Dat - GOT the T-shirt. However in the USN of today a CVN goes much faster all day all night. Did you forget? Also it is likely that the Japan Based CVN will 'be there' soonish rather than lateish with a complete carrier air wing etc.

ASLO (yes virginny): "...If Australia does similar with C-17A and F-35A plus growler from forward rough bases...." Where are these 'forward rough bases' please.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:08

spazsinbad wrote:'element1loop' said: "The other significant benefit would be obvious to anyone who's spent time at sea steaming from point A to point B. It takes a loooong time to get where you're going at ~15 knots, the Pacific is huge, it takes weeks to get anywhere between quadrants...." Bin Dere Dun Dat - GOT the T-shirt. However in the USN of today a CVN goes much faster all day all night. Did you forget? Also it is likely that the Japan Based CVN will 'be there' soonish rather than lateish with a complete carrier air wing etc.

ASLO (yes virginny): "...If Australia does similar with C-17A and F-35A plus growler from forward rough bases...." Where are these 'forward rough bases' please.


A CVN may be fast in peace time but can its escorts match it, for a week?

For example, great circle distance is 4,130 nm from Honolulu to Tokyo. Suppose escorts could maintain 25kts in a noisy inefficient sprint in the prevailing sea-state(s) which they encounter over the course of the transit, in an ocean increasingly likely to have submarines present, as they approach East Asia, or anywhere along the route really - would it be a good idea to do that?

Arguable, presumably you think that's doable and survivable. Maybe it is.

So let's say they did achieve that and it was a good tactical plan to transit that way and maintain replenishment.

4,130/25 = 165.2 hr = 6.9 days.

1-week for transit from Hawaii, or 2-weeks (very optimistic minimum) from a US mainland port to reach a useful combat range to East Asian targets. Bombers and anti-ship cruise missiles could sink the most important parts of the PLAN fleet within that time-frame, as a major USN force sprints to arrive with backup and replacements cycling in then out. i.e. maintaining a steady fighting effort, as referred to.

I presume local naval forces will have an effect - of course. Having B-1B thinning-out PLAN surface ships around the clock will enable them to be increasingly effective and survivable. But Chinese ISR drones represent a danger to those ships and are likely to be used early as expendables to prosecute targeting. It may be that the ships are pulled back until platforms, weapons, tactics and the threat have been better characterized and understood and the targeting capabilities degraded.

"Forward rough bases" would be wherever forces are permitted to operate a FARP. If you look at the linked document it discusses sealed runways that are no narrower than 75ft and ~8,000 feet long with potential for runways no shorter than 6,000 ft (just able to allow C-17A short-field takeoff and over-run buffer). It specifically excludes runways within Australia or PNG but suggests these also may be utilized in such a fight, i.e. for short-term tactical FARP launch points with the fighter's landing-points being elsewhere after the mission within an allied territory. The next day a different transient FARP site is used as launching point, etc. The C-17s carry fuel, ground equipment, munitions etc., reload and return to OZ or some other main operating base after fighters launch to attack, i.e. this is not just pertaining to F-35B, the document is a pre-F-35B IOC, and cites F-22A as the fighter utilizing such FARPs, so the concept naturally lends itself to F-35A and B as well. This is done with Intel's monitoring of available windows of opportunity for a FARP airstrip to be used, outside satellite observation windows, that could otherwise lead to attack before the fighters launched or C-17A pack up and leave.

EDIT from the other thread's link:
https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portal ... -Davis.pdf
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:22

Did you mention the Japan based CVN? Yes otherwise distances from the West Coast of the USA are large indeed. However the CVN (probably with the nuke sub) will go fast if needed to get there fast - the rest will straggle along - by the time 'the rest' are needed they'll be there. As for the enemy submarine threat the CVN has ROMEO ASW helos which will be very effective along with the nuke sub. ASW is a whole other concept not for this forum I suspect & that is an interesting PDF.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:35

The west coast CVNs will be sailing into land based air cover e.g in Japan.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:38

spazsinbad wrote:Did you mention the Japan based CVN? I presume local naval forces will have an effect - of course.


Not specifically.

... I presume local naval forces will have an effect - of course. ...


I disagree with you, the idea PLAN/PLAAF concept is to use ballistic and cruise weapons against vulnerable carriers and leaving escorts behind is a bad idea.

Fair enough ASW is for elsewhere, but it's a major factor, passive sonar is not going to work at transit speed of a CVN, and active gives the game away, so the sub becomes as much a target as the CVN in that case rather than an effective escort. Perhaps active-dipping or a P-8As (or drone) will have the capacity can stay ahead of it and listen, then communicate with the sub re a contact and location. But Aegis is going to be elsewhere if it fires antiship missiles, or is detected by a PLA LO drone relaying location and vector data. You could send DDGs the other way to cover its approach and perform ASW along the path as well I suppose.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:46

weasel1962 wrote:The west coast CVNs will be sailing into land based air cover e.g in Japan.


They have their own air cover so that's not the problem. The problem is if a sub fires a volley of anti-ship missiles and Aegis is >300 nm away. No head's-up and no other layers. It has its own CIWS, but that's not what's supposed to be defending it, let alone solely relying on it doing the job.

The other is that of drone detection and tracking (even by a network of LO small surface vessels) followed by a volley of BMs. Maybe THAAD or SM-3 gets these in boost, maybe they don't, but the Aegis escorts should be with the carrier for very obvious reasons, it's their raison-detre, and this is high-end.
Last edited by element1loop on 08 Oct 2019, 15:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:48

Bigger issue will be targeting. One of the first things the Chinese could do is switch off the ais. That adds a few thousand commercial vessels that needs to be id-ed otherwise any lrasm is just wasted on a useless merch.
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Unread post08 Oct 2019, 15:51

weasel1962 wrote:Bigger issue will be targeting. One of the first things the Chinese could do is switch off the ais. That adds a few thousand commercial vessels that needs to be id-ed otherwise any lrasm is just wasted on a useless merch.


I'd say the best thing to do is degrade the Chinese targeting ASAP, then the whole thing becomes much simpler, less frenetic and naval air and bomber power can be poured on to PLAN and its naval bases plus airbases with much less difficulty. *IF* you could do that, you win the info war, then the air war, then the naval war.
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Unread post09 Oct 2019, 02:08

marauder2048 wrote:
element1loop wrote:
Which is consistent with reducing exposure of all ships plus passing strike effort burden from ship VLS to naval aviation pylon, which makes a lot of sense. And the (multirole) anti-ship missiles the surface fleet do have are more suited to choke-point and littoral self-defense (and NSM to complement those in future).



They are acquiring 1300 Maritime Strike Tomahawks (IOC FY2022). I don't think those are all destined for submarines.


Looks like this is what's soaking them up, apparently considered good enough in that role. Sub-launched LRASM a long way off, if ever.

New Virginia-Class Submarines to Hold More Missiles
Connie Lee, National Defense Magazine October 5, 2019

“It allows the Virginia-class to increase from 12 Tomahawks per submarine to 40,” Warnke said. “It increases the strike capabilities significantly.”

https://www.realcleardefense.com/2019/1 ... 10201.html
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Unread post09 Oct 2019, 02:41

weasel1962 wrote:Bigger issue will be targeting. One of the first things the Chinese could do is switch off the ais. That adds a few thousand commercial vessels that needs to be id-ed otherwise any lrasm is just wasted on a useless merch.


I should have mentioned last night that LRASM uses ESM and an improved IR seeker (compared to JASSM-ER) to PID and prioritize ships, then to also select a specific aim-point on any targeted class, for maximum disruption/degradation.

Plus it is a rare expensive missile and would not be launched-blind against high-end units. The missile will have a search-box of where the target was known to be at time of launch. It has a two-way DL and SATCOM transmission also, that would update on target in flight, until either jamming drops the link or LOS is lost.

It also has the means to locate and PID the assigned target and hit only it, in a chosen location. Likewise, it has the means to recognize and reject any other ship so no hitting of civil shipping within congested areas or lanes.

LRASM's got ~$2 mil per invested into sensors, comms, autopilot, tactical maneuvers, target location and PID smart-bits. Turning off the area beacon data emissions is not going to confuse or waste a LRASM nor spare its target. Hard-kill to stop.

Turning off beacons would create a civil safety issue as well as make IDing and sorting out what's really out there a bigger information and targeting issue for the PLA to deal with as well. My guess is it's better for them to leave AIS on at first unless civil-shipping's being systematically targeted (not likely). Given the Chinese clear desire to deploy small low-observable surface craft drones for ISR they might prefer to keep the civil contact 'noise' in the mix as much as possible plus to maintain trade as long as possible during the first days. LRASM has the right tools for coping with that, either way.
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Unread post09 Oct 2019, 17:40

I'll interpret "0" LRASM for USAF past lot 3 in FYDP implies(in ways 48 for USN) that it is uncertain how many it will(or can afford to?) procure, rather than leaving its inventory at an almost undeployable 50 after all the testing and integration work. The set of traits USAF bombers possess made them impossible to ignore for high end ASuW, especially consider the rapidly improving PLAN surface force. I'll further speculate that B-21 will have a significant ASuW role, more so than B-52 during late cold war. It's simply unnatural for US to not make rather modests investment to adapt these systems for major gain in maritime strike capability and capacity.

Though I don't see in the short term PLAN will find itself hypothetically duking it out in a fleet battle in the middle of Pacific against USN. One needs to recognize their surface force are more meant as power projection tool against less power, in a sense emulating how USN utilized those same tools,than something to deny US power projection. That's for their more specialized A2/AD complex to carry out. But on the other hand one shouldn't expect them operating far from the mainland away from supports in a major conflict, nor do any of the potential contingencies require them to, unless its on the secondary peripheral theater.

LRASM's gone a long way to become a better Harpoon, still I don't expect it to operate totally independent of real time ISR, which is a short fall here, as far as systems known in the public domain are concerned. Penetrating, Persistent ISR supporting long haul bomber delivered LRASM is not known to exist. The ability for forward deployed surface ships to deliver on shorter notice, with more transient track has value in this case. SSNs, while capable of delivering cruise missiles, are still more expensive per launch cell even after VPM upgrade, inherently less able to communicate, and are probably more commonly occupied with other competing priorities. I could see a good number of MST goes onto surface ships, the capacity you can potentially get is quite significant to say the least. And its probably the weapon to make 3 ship Zumwalt class deployable assets, which IMO a hull with great potential but probably misconfigured, and horribly neglected.
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