Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Chinese can credibly go after our carriers now.

We've been talking about the lack of a true Fleet Defense Fighter for the US Navy lately and it brings up the issue.  What would an all quadrant attack on a US carrier look like?  Or for the scope of a blog post (quick and dirty)...what weapon systems will be hunting or Carrier Battle Groups and gunning down our ships doing independent deployments.

Chinese Maritime Sat..
The Chinese like the Russians don't take a shit without a plan.

Thanks to social media and the family friendly DoD giving updates to dependents, threat forces will know where our ships are or at least a general location...this is before they start playing any hacking games or playing eye spy with the photos that the Sailors post to Facebook.  They'll have targeting information and thanks to us, it'll be easy.

You're starting to see the big Chinese UAVs running circuits over the Pacific and that activity will intensify.  Coupled with real time intel due to space sats and social media we can expect our ships to be shadowed.

Eventually it might get to a point where they're simply ignored because its so frequent.

Next up will be the diesel subs.  They won't be rushing into position.  They will be guided to predicted routes of our carrier and lie in wait.  If the Chinese get it right then they will pop up in the middle of our battle group undetected.

Type 22 Fast Missile Boats.  These are the little demons that worry me the most.  They carry 8 anti-ship missiles.  They're fast and can move out at 41 miles per hour.  The missiles they carry can hit at around 500 km....meaning one missile boat is enough to sink a single LPD with its 500 Marines, vehicles and one salvo and then it can sneak back into port before we could even respond to it.  An attack against a battle group to divert attention by say 10 of them would put 80 missiles in the sky and if the Chinese got lucky they would have their subs pop up and launch even more missiles close up.

I still believe the J-20 is a long range striker designed to go after our high value ships.  I also think that its stealth is designed to allow it to fly high and fast and launch outside our defense bubble.  Imagine an attack initiated by the Type 22's, joined by Chinese attack subs and then furthered by a regiment of J-20s!

What did I leave out?  How about the H-6 Bomber.  How about the DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile?  I also didn't include the multi-role fighters that the Chinese have or add issues with them using radar on islands to provide an even clearer image of where we are and what we're doing.

Of course independent ship operations just set us up so that we can have numerous Pearl Harbors on one bad day.  A fleet of ships is a difficult tactical problem.  Individual ship operations mean that we've made the enemies job easier by isolating our ships by choice to allow them to be destroyed piecemeal (another reason why I think the idea is so send a fast missile boat against one LPD and its an easy kill, you send it against an Amphibious Ready Group and suddenly something simple becomes hard).

But the main takeaway is stark.  The Chinese can blot out the sun with anti-ship missiles and current concepts to increase forward presence and/or provide cover for a fleet that's too small coupled with procurement malpractice of the past means that taking out one of our aircraft carriers in this day and age is waaay too simple.  Halsey must be doing backflips in his grave.

Sidenote: Has anyone considered a disturbing fact about our next war against a peer opponent? If we lose a high value ship it could take us years to replace it. Same applies to aircraft now. If we ever got into a high tech conventional war that lasted more than a few days then by design it MUST go nuclear...we simply don't have the gear to engage for long.  Is that the biggest threat we face with a war against China?  If we get into high tech combat and sustain what many would consider moderate losses, we would have to win quick, lose quick, or decide whether or not to go nuclear....we just don't have a force that can be rebuilt quickly.

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