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Friday, April 25, 2014

Updates April 2014

Author's Note: As a college student, I occasionally am unable to post articles on a regular basis due to an influx of school related work. I will be working on papers and finals for the next two weeks so I don't expect to post too many articles over the next two weeks. Thank you for your continued patience. In the meantime, here are a few interesting articles I recommend:

[UPDATE: I finished finals and have begun work on Part II of the LCS article, I expect it to be done shortly]

Once I finish the LCS series, I plan to write on the DDG-51 Flight III program. The procurement of the DDG-51 Flight III would be a significant mistake that would compromise the ability of the Navy to defend its carrier groups decades from now. Essentially the Flight III is meant to replace the CG-47 Ticonderoga class missile cruisers by providing enhanced fleet defense capabilities with the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). The Flight III is based upon the Flight IIA design but requires significant engineering and technical work to successfully install the AMDR as it requires five times the power and ten times the cooling required when compared to the original SPY-1V(D) array. The issue isn't so much that its impossible to integrate AMDR into the Flight III successfully, its the capability for future growth within the Flight III will be severely constrained as a result of the modifications. Ronald O'Rourke describes many of the issues within the Flight III program in Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress: 

"...the Flight III DDG-51 will not feature a fully restored growth margin, will not be equipped with an integrated electric drive system or other technologies that could provide ample electrical power for supporting future electrically powered weapons, and will not incorporate features for substantially reducing ship crew size or for otherwise reducing ship O&S costs substantially below that of Flight IIA DDG- 51s." - O'Rourke, 2014

The Navy needs to plan for these ships to serve for the next thirty to forty years in heavily contested anti-access environments where future threats will no doubt require the Navy to make significant upgrades to its ships. Solid-state lasers and rail guns may seem far fetched to some but the technology maturity of these systems has progressed to the point at which they will be deployed within this decade. I'll get into specifics in future articles but I would recommend the Navy design a new ship based upon the DDG-1000 design with modifications for cost reduction done in a similar manner as the Seawolf-class was canceled for the more affordable to Virginia-class submarine. An emphasis would be put on maximizing off the shelf technology, leveraging existing systems such as Aegis over the Total Ship Computing Environment on the DDG-1000, and similar power requirements to the DDG-1000 which has 78 Megawatt (MW) capacity to the Flight III's 12 MW. O'Rourke discusses the option of designing a new class of ship on pages 19-20 within the report.

The Real Reason China Wants Aircraft Carriers - By Bryan McGrath & Seth Cropsey, 2014

Bryan McGrath & Seth Cropsey wrote an interesting article highlighting the purpose of China's plans to acquire carriers, to disrupt US allies in the region:

"...the strategic target of the PLAN in building a carrier force is not the U.S. Navy, but the network of alliances that longstanding U.S. economic and security interests in the region aim to preserve.  Creating uncertainty and doubt in the minds of regional governments that the United States can continue to assure their security is at the heart of China’s desire to see the U.S. diminished in the region...The PLAN is on solid strategic ground in pursuing carrier-based power projection, and while their approach is not a direct threat to U.S. forces (or is not likely to be a threat in the foreseeable future), it serves as a long-term, slowly metastasizing threat to the most significant competitive advantage the U.S. enjoys in the region – its network of friendships and alliances." - McGrath & Cropsey, 2014

By Daniel Wasserbly, 2014

Daniel Wasserbly examines some of the least desirable aspects of sequestration in FY 2016 and beyond. The decisions to reduce R&D, initiate an early retirement of the USS George Washington, and cut a Virginia-class submarine in the FY2016 budget is particularly worrisome: 

"Under sequestration the USAF would have to abandon its Adaptive Engine project meant to develop a next-generation military aircraft engine, as the effort's slated USD1.3 billion 'would be eliminated', the Pentagon said....the report also mentioned that the navy would not fund nuclear refuelling and overhaul for USS George Washington (CVN 73), which is scheduled to begin that process in FY 2016, and would retire the carrier and its associated air wing...There would also be insufficient funding to buy a second Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN) in FY 2016. 'Eliminating this submarine from the shipbuilding plan would reduce the submarine force to 40 SSNs in 2029 and extend the period that the SSN force level is below the desired 48 fast attack submarines by four years'" - Wasserbly, 2014

Stealth Vs. Electronic Attack- Dave Majumdar, 2014

Majumdar discusses the merits of dedicated electronic warfare aircraft (e.g. EA-18G) working with stealth aircraft like the F-35C: 

"...officials from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps agreed that while aircraft like the F-35 or F-22 are not solely relying on low observables for survivability—stealth is an absolute requirement to survive in an A2/AD environment even with airborne electronic attack support.  As one Air Force official explained, stealth and electronic attack always have a synergistic relationship because detection is about the signal to noise ratio. Low observables reduce the signal, while electronic attack increases the noise. 'Any big picture plan, looking forward, to deal with emerging A2/AD threats will address both sides of that equation'" -Majumdar, 2014


  1. Personally I would go with a modified DDG-1000 and call it CG-1000
    1. Replace rear 155 with more VL tubes
    2. Replace front 155 with an LO 5 inch mount
    3. Add popup Millennium Guns for added last ditch protection
    4. Maybe add more VL tubes aft of the existing rear ones.

    My reasoning for the CG-1000 over anything else:
    1. It would be the most survivable of all the options
    2. It would have the longest usable service life (due to electrical capability and LO structure)
    3. It would drive down the procurement and O&S costs for the DG-1000
    4. It would be the easiest to upgrade
    5. Most of the hull & systems development work is already done

    1. I certainly think modifying the existing DDG-1000 or a new design based upon the DDG-1000 are the preferred options. Although I haven't been able to find any articles relating to Congressional support for restarting the DDG-1000 program. From the GAO report I've read, the major problem would have been the Total Ship Computing Environment (TSCE) does not have BMD capability.

      Thus, the ship would either have to undergo major software upgrades or Aegis would have to be incorporated. The ship has a 10% growth margin so additional VLS tubes certainly could be incorporated. In the long run, it is necessary the Navy accumulates high-end surface combatants that can credibly defend carrier groups in an A2/AD environment even if it means initial $3.3B+ procurement costs.

    2. That ship would cost roughly 2 billion per ship, minimum.

  2. Hay matt,

    Vid you might want to watch, about Asia

    don't agree with the some analyst of the Gen, very one sided view.

    1. I generally find General Carlile to be pretty informative, thanks for the link. I think US alliances in the Pacific is perhaps the greatest asset the US has relative to China. What concerns me though is that US allies: Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines as do not necessarily operate or are on especially friendly terms with one another. Particularly, South Korea and Japan’s relationship with one another is troubling. The US does not need to create an Asian NATO by any means, but enhanced cooperation between US allies is something that the US should definitely strive for. Carlile did mention the USAF has been working on multi-lateral agreements but I have yet to see any materialize. The Submarine deal between Australia and Japan is potentially an avenue for further Japanese-Australia ties. As an Australian, what do you think?

      I think the latest Vietnamese-Chinese incident over the oil rig might be an opportunity to further US-Vietnam ties. We are limited to how we can provide assistance by US law given the human rights abuses in Vietnam. Personally, I think foreign policy should be guided by realpolitik national interest calculations rather than serving as an opportunity to champion democracy. Another issue is a lot of their equipment is Russian so Interoperability is limited.

    2. I think he is over stating the relationship between, Japan, SK, Australia.

      Individually, the US and Australia have the best relationship within the region and Aus, SK, and Japan have good relationship, but on a Individual basses.

      Just because the USA sells them top equipment, dose not mean that they have the same relationship. Snowden show how close our relationship real is to the world.

      The Indonesia foreign minister stated it the best. "the USA has started an Arm's race within the region" and he is right.

      There are alot of tension between country over territory disputes, just not the big one, like china and Japan. There are issue with Indonesia and Malaysia, and Philippines. Which are big issue, Indonesia, Navy is based is towards those 2.

      Then you Have the 3 way fight, over water between, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam.

      Then there is Japan and SK. I think SK should have there guard up against Japan, even though they are all allies with the USA. Japan still believe that SK, should not have any type of military advantage over Japan. There is the History there.

      Even though he was informative, he very much over sold how everyone gets along, and how every is "against" china. But China is sitting back, and letting things bubble. It only interferes with Japan, Tawain over History. That the USA and Japan are trying to rewrite depending as to who's maps you believe, The Chines, The Old Japan's or The new 1945 USA, which china contested and stated they where not japan's to give or hold.

      With the Sub's God only knows, I wish they would buy from Japan, Germany design off the self. But Our politicians are F*. It will be all about JOB's, Jobs Job's.

      Japan is a good design and Proven, but the only issue is the sonar and fire controls system on board. The USA will only deliver it to Australia and be installed by Australia and USA. If we want the advance stuff. But when it comes to our politicians, common sense gose out the door and stupidity comes in.

      IMO, buy off the shelf Japan, Fully built and delivered combat ready, with the best sonar system, they us will supply us and that its. At least we will have sub's working.

      Japan will enter the arms market soon, there is just to much money to be made, they are also seeing how SK and china are selling billions. Japan make extremely good hardware. Also alot of countries are turning off USA and Russia design's the most common complain is maintenance after purchase and cost.

      part 1 of 2

    3. Part 2 of 2

      To give you an example, Saudi tank deal Germany fell through, because of German's Green Party. So instead of buying the 800 Abrams at $28 billion, they are going to buy Turkey Tank instead which has alot of SK technology in it combined with German Hardware. It's not the only deal the USA and Russia have lost because of these issue.

      With south Korea entering the Arms Market, Japan following with there own Fighter Jets, Tanks and Air Transport. Just look at the specs for the (Japans) Kawasaki K1 and K2 they are very capable transport and extermly cheap to maintain and operate. Japan also have extermly good reputation of customer services. There are a number of Asian countries and middle east countries that will buy these aircraft.

      An Arms race has become, and the 2 new big player are SK and Japan, and there Tech is advance.

      "America has started an Arms Race" His right, what will Japan and SK be building in 15-20 years from know.

      Also one last note: it looks like china have solved there 8-10 helicopter problem.

      They are going to be powered by Rolls-Royce RTM322 engines, that power the Apache, AW101 and the NH90 helicopters.

      How is china getting these engines, well RR sold the RMT322 engine design to Turbomeca, which then signed a deal with China to co develop and improve the RMT322 version 50/50 deal. Long story short, the 1000 + EC175 will be powered with the same engine that is in the Apache, Hay if the USA needs spare part's they can just go to the helicopter they shoot down and get it of the engine.

      Sorry I know this is long. it was 2 parts lol.

      Hope you enjoy the info.


    4. Sorry for the Spelling and Grammar mistakes, It gives me this tiny small box to make comments on, and it keeps freezing up on me when I type to long.

      15-20 years from now.
      and any other I made. :-(

    5. Part I of II

      Many of these countries have had disputes for decades; the variable that has changed is China’s power relative to the East and Southeast Asian countries. Quite clearly, the US has not instigated an “arms race” in the Western Pacific. The US arms are the supply side, and unless you are beholden to Regan supply side economics where supply creates a demand of its own, the new demand behind the arms market is quite clearly a result of China and natural economic modernization within many Southeast Asian countries. Non-Chinese Defense spending has risen by more than 55%:
      "As a group, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand are slated to spend about $1.4 trillion on military programs between 2013 and 2018, an estimated 55% increase over the $919.5 billion the countries spent between 2008 and 2012." - Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN), 2013
      Furthermore, countries like India and Vietnam have heavily expanded their Russian arms imports in recent years so it’s not just the US. The US instigating the arms race also doesn’t account for the numerous polling studies done by Pew Research which indicates China is behind most of the unrest within Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia with respect to territorial disputes. The US can certainly be deemed as taking advantage of the current situation but the majority of scholarly literature and reputable publications I’ve read clearly put China as that catalyst behind the increase in arms with Russia and the US as a benefactors.

    6. II of II

      Japan’s domestic defense industry is both high quality in some respects and severely limited in many respects. Yes the technological maturity of many of Japan’s weapon systems is excellent but Japan’s Achilles heel is its instance on supporting its domestic defense industry over direct purchases from the US increases the cost of its license built production by exorbitant amounts. Two of the most egregious examples include the F-35 which Japanese domestic production will result in 150% price increase over conventional US production and the J-2.

      "Japan is still trying to dig itself out of the financial hole resulting from its last national fighter, the ill-starred F-2. That warplane began development in the late 1980s as a ‘Japanization’ of the Lockheed Martin F-16, adding a bigger wing and better electronics. But the modifications, performed by Mitsubishi, proved difficult. And the limited production run – fewer than 100 copies over 20 years – made it impossible for Mitsubishi to achieve economies of scale. It’s been claimed that an F-2 costs four times as much as an F-16, without providing anywhere near a fourfold increase in capability." - David Axe, 2011

      Similarly, Japan's planned domestic designed 5th generation aircraft will be constrained by the same limits as the J-2. Its possible they get a working tech demonstrator, technology isn't really an issue so much as practical large scale production. South Korea has gained traction in some respects such as shipbuilding and training aircraft but both Japan and SK's arms futures are inherently limited. The underlying variable that has assured US dominance in the global arms export market for decades, across not just one sector of weapons but the entire spectrum of aerospace, electronics, vehicles, sensors, etc, is the diplomatic connections and series of alliances the US maintains. Arms deals are frequently an avenue to demonstrate political solidarity between two countries rather than practical equipment procurement. So long as the US retains strong alliances in both Europe and Asia, its position in the global arms market is secure even if heightened competition does emerge is some sectors (rather than the entire spectrum) of arms deals.

      Finally, I really hope Australia goes through with the Japan submarine purchase because the domestic Australian submarine program would cost $30-40 billion right? That's nuts and it won't even yield a capable submarine if the Collins is any indication. The remaining funds left over as a result of an off the shelf purchase could be used on F-35s, Hobart-class destroyers, UAV & ISR purchases, etc. From what limited info I have read, the prospect of at least Japan-Australia-US defense cooperation is not entirely out of the question. The latest TTP agreement between Japan and Australia might help in that regard to furthering ties.

  3. The US, has light a fire under most of the Asian country in the region to purchase and beef up there arms purchases. China is the Catalyst for it, without a doubt. But the USA is no angle, and it is a clear sign of containment. This back and fourth by all parties will have a breaking point.

    You can not contain, 1.3 billion chines ppl and control there country from Washington. Careful for what you wish for, I say. Chines culture by it's nature is a very conservative country. Just because it is not a democracy, dose not mean the hole country is a threat to the world.

    China has pulled 200 million ppl out of poverty in china in 10 years, the US has put close to 40 million ppl into poverty in the same time.

    We live in an interesting time, so many countries are building up there capability, I just wonder weather they will have a small internal conflict between each other.

    Japan, and Australia, will have a much better relationship, with the TTP, but it's not at the same scale as the US and Japan relationship.

    As for the Sub's, I hope so too. But it is politician's make the call. (god help us)lol

    Also the Navy wants to build the $40 billion project as well. We have the same issue that goes on in the USA. Where they retire and go into work for the contractors that are building the project.

    Don't underestimate the Japanes, they will build there own home built F22, might not be the best, but you have to rember, they are skipping alot of steps, to get there 5th gen fighter or even there 4+++ gen fighter. Over the next 15 yrs, I think japan will be a major Arms dealer in the world.

    AS for Japan's det, yes, that is a concern, but that will not stop japan military ambitions at all.

    1. The Pivot really isn't a contain China strategy similar to Kennan's containment doctrine of the USSR. While it does insult the intelligence of PRC officials when US diplomats say "the military rebalance has absolutely nothing to do with China", the military aspect of the Pivot isn't solely dependent on China either. Increased US economic influence and engagement in the region necessitates a larger US military presence. Haha yeah, I don't have much faith in the politicians either :) I'm just hoping the US Senate does not get more Tea Party isolationists after the 2014 midterms.

      Tom Donilon, former national security adviser and a architect of the Pivot, routinely explains how the strategy is meant to both deter China militarily while engaging China economically. Thus, providing both possible incentives to make conflict less likely. Containment of China would be incredibly shortsighted and that's not what the US is doing. I like to think of the US-China relationship as one of strategic competitors rather than adversarial. The current US-China rivalry is nothing like the US-USSR relationship.

  4. I happy to say In Australia, we have not got a Tea party politicians type party. But what we do have is a Greens Party which is very much to the extreme left. :-(

    I always look as US politicians, and Wonder how the Tea party is so popular and able to take over conservative Republicans seats.

    Also what is the Tea party stance on China? I would gather same as Republicans?

    I know the Tea party is Funded by the Koock Brothers;-) But still Ted Cruse stunt with the Det ceiling nearly caused a Crash. If you thought that the Military Budget cuts where bad now, then they would have been worse under another GFC.

    Any chance of Ted Cruze running for 2016?

    1. Well the Tea Party's fatal flaw is its unable to gain support at the national level vs. regional and state level. The Tea party has done really well in the House but much less so in the Senate despite how outspoken Ted Cruz is. Furthermore, big business in the US is starting to turn against the tea party in republican primaries. God, I hope Ted Cruz does not get the nomination. If he wins I might move to Australia ;) My understanding is neo-isolationism is popular in the tea party or at least among those who support Rand Paul. Reduction in US overseas basing and defense spending not only for isolationism but also for budgetary reasons.

      I don't know how the broader republican party is covered in the news internationally but its a shame a few super vocal extremists can take attention away from the softer spoken Republican moderates like Jon Huntsman.

  5. Ha, don't worry, I have a spare room.

    Russia not selling rocket engines anymore.

    Oh, well Elon Musk to the rescue :-)

    Congress was warned and they did not lisen to the guy who has made 3 billion dollars business from $0