By Steve Russell

Tactical Tomahawk launch 2007

Here at BreakingDefense, we get a lot of op-ed submissions arguing for more spending on new weapons. Today, we present an argument on why new technology can sometimes be a trap. The author, Steve Russell, is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, and — though he’s too modest to mention this — a recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor for his actions in Iraq.

Using national resources for national defense is always difficult. Programs, policies and politics play pivotal and competing roles. The challenge for lawmakers, security advisors and department secretaries is to get it right.

Even during times of intense budgetary pressure, America has an obligation to invest in next-generation weaponry. But newer isn’t necessarily better.

In America’s culture of optimism and innovation, there is always the desire for the better mouse trap. Sometimes, traps are needed to catch rats and not mice, so the mouse traps must be replaced. Sometimes, the existing traps can be modified to more than do the job against the actual threat they face. But we must be intellectually honest and ask, “Can what we have already get it done?”

Such is the case with the Tomahawk missile. Designed in the 1970s and improved since, Tomahawks provide vital American strategic projection. Over 2,000 missiles have been launched in combat from 1991 to present. America has defeated threats in Desert Storm, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Sudan, at clandestine terrorist locations, and most recently in Libya. Over that time, they have proven uniquely reliable and versatile.

With current Tomahawks, known as “Block IV,” missions can be planned in an hour. Once the missile is launched, controllers can alter its trajectory, change its target, or even direct the missile to loiter in the air for hours at a time. Tomahawks can strike across land, water and any environment over 900 miles from their launch points –that’s more than the distance from Washington, DC to Atlanta. The US can conduct strikes in heavily guarded airspace without directly endangering American military personnel. They are also used by our closest allies.


  • Taylor

    Well said!

  • Torgo

    This article is a bit mystifying, as LRASM is not intended to replace TLAM, and has as a primary mission targeting ships, not land targets.

    TLAM currently has no ability to target ships (there was an anti-ship version decades ago that worked poorly and was retired). There are efforts to add anti-ship capability to TLAM in the next few years, as an interim before LRASM is operational, but the air defenses of ships have been rapidly improving and there are questions whether the relatively unstealthy and slow TLAM would be able to make it through as an anti-ship weapon.

    And to be frank, there are increasing doubts that the current TLAM can make it to some land targets if you’re up against air defenses better than the Somalis and Libyans have.

    LRASM is intended to replace the Harpoon missile, not TLAM, and an articler arguing we should just keep and upgrade Harpoon instead of wasting money on an umproven LRASM would have at least made some sense as a topic, even though the conclusion may have been wrong.

    • Preston

      I have to say that I agree with you. I’m all for making the best of current technologies and systems, but the LRASM is a needed missile.

      • Charles Haas

        Agreed, also, LRASM will have an air launched capability I believe. Also, it should be decidedly more stealthy that the TLAM.

    • Alaric Quema

      Because it’s Putin’s money paying for the article.
      Just like the propaganda against the F-35 and ABM program.

    • Alaric Quema

      Maybe, block IV can be made to target ships.
      Although, I think we need the Tomahawk for long range and a faster medium range anti-ship missile.

      • Charles Haas

        They are working on a new guidance system for the Tomahawk to target ships, but it is only part of the answer. LRASM will fit another niche.

  • Lop_Eared_Galoot

    TASM failed because it wasn’t able to be reliably targeted, even over a much reduced, 250-vice-400nm effective range.

    The Russians could do it with Shipwreck and Sunburn and Granit but we couldn’t, ironically because our air uber alles doctrinal power pyramid prevented netcentric warfare with missile swarm selt-targeting or remote-offboard handing via the P-7 (before BAMS and P-8).

    If things have changed for the littoral mission (i.e. China’s half-built coastal navy now somehow deserves a maximum effort VLO penetrator but not a supersonic strike capability ala ANS/ANF to saturate defensive time windows with) then what about the targeting?

    Are the heavy offboard shooters not equally at risk, even or especially at their limited A2AD fixed entry airbases?

    Is the silly RQ-8-as-Bell-407 targeting platform not at risk from smaller ships? Would the MH-60B be any better?

    I do question the utility of stealthy subsonic weapons when we cannot seem to retire AGM-129 fast enough and the JASSM-ER isn’t even here yet as a viable means to replace deep-strike in an air delivered, overland, role.

    You need only look at the 2,500nm depth of country between Beijing and Canton and the 3,500nm width from Shanghai to Chengdu to see that something is _seriously_ wrong with our ‘hostage the deep industry’ interdiction strategy. Something which can only really be solved by aeroballistic hypersonics as both cruise and direct delivery systems.

    In this, I must admit that I assume that LRASM is in fact a shrunken, LO, land attack missile looking to find a home in a Mk.48 (tactical = short) vs. a Mk.41 (strike = deep) configured VLS.

    This so that the idiot brigade driving the LCS up the abattoir chute of the last-war white water battlespace can have /something/ useful to contribute. Once the USN is driven back into the deep blue by Chinese DF-21 ASBM and/or Klub clones.

    Of course, this will still likely require the USN to man up and ditch the 40 knot capability for another 10m hull extension and proper multirole capacity vs. empty ‘modular’ mission space that never had it’s associated weapons packages paid for.

    And being an ignorant, back woods, redneck type, I would call that hull an ‘Arleigh Burke Flt.III’ but that’s another story…

    Standardizing around JASSM/LRASM to avoid a repeat of ALCM/TLAM may make sense in some bizarre acquisition world of procurement economics.
    But tactically, the question remains: does it do the mission in a world which is fast transitioning to hunting weapons (interceptors with advanced optical seekers and their own, OTH, turbine loiter for half the cost of an AIM-120D) and DEW based LAWS close in weapons?

    My intuitive answer is _no_. The threat will use systems similar to this-

    Rafael Sea Spotter

    In combination with topdown UAV coverage to pull the LO shape from the sea clutter without giveaway emissions of their own.

    And they will combine that cuing system with stolen and copied or indigenously developed equivalents to our LAWS system-

    Laser Vs. Drone
    So that the only way to get close, even with numbered saturation of a multiaxis gate, will be with supersonic compression of the engagement window. Like Sizzler does.
    Keep in mind people, that Boeing is doing relay pointing experiments to take the laser up 2km and out 20+ away from the spray. There have also been tests which ‘stacked’ multiple laser emitters on multiple targets to increase functional thermal kill efficiencies in fast-switch sort to morte.
    Subsonic AShM cannot get by on just size alone. ZTOF will beat them down. And in the outer air battle, so will missiles that look and function like MALI. Missiles which also make a game effort to tackle the ASST platforms.

    • Desertrat

      Still waiting for some evidence that they will pull a rabbit out of the hat on the F-35. I am skeptical to say the least.

      • alfredschrader

        Don’t be skeptical.

    • Araya

      You made some really good points especially what means the early retire AGM-129. But what means the AGM-129 so I’m sure what the motive to retire and destroy this wonderful weapon is not is bad performance but exactly the contrary. The AGM-129 was designed only to deliver Nuclear Warheads (W-80) to mother Russia or Red China and the Communist bastards really feared this weapon so for example in the first start treaty the Russian insisted to ban the AGM-129 from use on the B2 so the AGM-129 was only allowed to be used in the non-stealthy B52. So to scrap the AGM-129 was at first a political/ideological decision taken by idiots from the global are zero Church. The other reason to scrap the AGM-129 was also the love number (only 400),the high operational coast of this only Nuclear Capable Missile how also lost is main advantage as she was restricted to be used one Non-stealth Units.

      The JASSM is different because why it is a non-nuclear capable missile with non-strategic range and so she was never part of stupid disarmament negotiations. So I would not go so far as to claim that the technology is not working against the enemy Air-Defense and the JASSM-ER is with a range of over 900 Kilometer capable enough to surpass the High Range Air-defense System like S300 and S400 easy and to hit targets how are not protected by short range Systems like Pansir 25 or TOR M2. With other Words them you will destroy a bridge or a Power Plant deep in the enemy territory the JASSM will work well because why the enemy cannot be everywhere with their High End Short Range Defense Systems how look to be as only capable to detect and shot a JASSM down.The JASSM like the AGM-129 simply reduce the effective range of the Long Range Air Defense System like S300PMU2 or S400 how can shot down an AGM 86 or a Tomahawk Missile by 200 to 300 kilometer and protect an entire City or the entire Air Space over the battlefield. Stealth didn’t mean what you are invisible it just mean what you are harder to be detected. So you can avoid the enemy air defense and hit targets what non-stealth weapons cannot reach.

      But hear begins my problem with the JASSM-ER as base design for the LRASM because why every enemy ship is equipped with short range Air Defense system how can easily shot a JASSM down. Them you seek to kill an enemy Ship you need speed or mass for example a SS-N-26 still deadly even them the RAM or CIWS has already hit the Missile because of is speed and mass and the high speed (mach 2,6) of the Missile also reduce the time to engage the target dramatically so only a small group of SS-N-26 should be able to penetrate the defense of an enemy ship. A JASSM-ER is in compare to a SS-N-26 simply to slow and have also a to high structural vulnerability to be effective.

      • Lop_Eared_Galoot




        You made some really good points especially what means the early retire AGM-129. But what means the AGM-129 so I’m sure what the motive to retire and destroy this wonderful weapon is not is bad performance but exactly the contrary.



        All radar:target interations have Optical and Rayleigh mode effects. It stands to reason that a small missile with small features is going to load lower and backscatter less in the direct return condition. But by the same notion can’t make a missile’s body thick enough with deep channel RAM to attenuate the base signal enough to avoid a dipole return. Especially at lower bands like the Nebo and Vostock produce, in 3D so well now, the whole missile is going to become a dipole and as the radar charges it up, the traveling waves are going to behave like Coanda flow of water off the back of your hand under a faucet.

        If it’s at altitude, the missile will show up a LONG ways out and then it’s just a matter of having the equivalent of a BOMARC (or a MALI) to go get it. Forget the manned interceptor, why limit your bus vehicle to an airfield that was on someone’s SIOP list for a MIRV?

        Why, when you have a country the size of Russia, have an inherent coverage limitation inherent to airfields vs. northern Geography _period_?

        So, you send the missile in low. Except now every sensor from ADADS to the AHM-200 (probably in a layered belt around every high-contrast inlet or mountain pass) does the same thing with acoustics, optics and simple UHV. It’s the equivalent of an electronic eye sounding claymore ‘dinger’ when you walk into a store. No real way to avoid it, except to go back up and be seen by long range EWR installations again.


        Now add to this the reality that hmmmm, Fogelman? No, McPeak, went to Russia and came home ‘a true believer’ in the PVOs ability to track the batwing and there is no real excuse for the dumping not only the long range effect of the CMs (scattering every which way like sycamore seeds and forcing the defense to chase all of them) but also for dumping the AGM-131 SRAM II.

        I mean _what idiot was it_ that thought it would be ubercool to allow the Russians to field the AS-16 Kickback -and- the AS-15 Kelt while we went the other way, back to ballistic delivery weapons? Ehhh?

        I’d like to hear their explanation for that joke. I’m certain that whatever elements of JDAM are nuke-safe for operating in a post strategic exchange environment have likely been added to the B61 and B83. But even from 50,000ft, that’s a fifteen mile toss and if the S-300V don’t kill the launch platform, the Tors will likely shoot down the bomb itself.

        Durakt doesn’t even come close.



        The AGM-129 was designed only to deliver Nuclear Warheads (W-80) to mother Russia or Red China and the Communist bastards really feared this weapon so for example in the first start treaty the Russian insisted to ban the AGM-129 from use on the B2 so the AGM-129 was only allowed to be used in the non-stealthy B52.



        So now the offensive tools of controlled escalation are gone and the Russians maintain a 3:1 advantage in their SS-18 warhead counts while Bozha Oopasie! they forbid us to install BMD in Eastern Europe, even as they supply Iran with the key industrial tools to make the Al Shahab V/VI into true ICBMs?

        Frankly, sir, good weapons make good neighbors. Everyone was vastly more polite in the 19th century when they didn’t know whether their conversation partner was reaching for a cigar or a derringer and the same applies now, not least because we face nations that, if they attacked snuck a bunch of suitcase weapons in, would lose nothing compared to what we would, though we nuked every city in their country.

        OTOH, if we use sub kiloton weapons to stratacouple and collapse R&D bunkers like those at Natanz, then those nukes never come our way. And the certainty that we -have- that ability to put a Mach 5 rocket 100ft down before triggering the nuclear equivalent of a shaped charge is something that also cause our global neighbors to respect us, even if they don’t like us.




        So to scrap the AGM-129 was at first a political/ideological decision taken by idiots from the global are zero Church. The other reason to scrap the AGM-129 was also the love number (only 400),the high operational coast of this only Nuclear Capable Missile how also lost is main advantage as she was restricted to be used one Non-stealth Units.



        The AGM-86C CALCM is a converted AGM-86B. The latest model supposedly has a 3,000lb equivalent warhead. Each AGM-129 cost 4 million bucks. Now they are throwing them out the window and -keeping- the AGM-86B like it was nothin’. And this with START not even fully implemented.

        Someone needs to be stood up against a wall and given a last smoke on this one.



        The JASSM is different because why it is a non-nuclear capable missile with non-strategic range and so she was never part of stupid disarmament negotiations.



        JASSM is a fools weapon looking to get a B-2 killed trying to act as a pacifier in a Pak-India confrontation or as a doorkicker in Iran. 200nm for a cruise is not enough standoff to generate the kind of random ‘where could it be’ total volume search.

        Even the ER version is likely to only take this up to about 500nm and while that shatters the MTCR, it still requires hostile territorial overflight if you are (for instance) trying to backdoor Iran from Pakistan.

        The fact is that MTCR and HCOC have not worked and _will not_ so long as the U.S. retains such an experience base as institutional wealth of knowledge and systems that the only way threats can compete is with one shot wonders that don’t have to go through layers of convenation AD but can top’em all with a ballistic or LO cruise ingress.

        If those are the kinds of weapons the world wants, those are the kinds of weapons which nations like Russian, Korea and China _will_ supply and they are so relatively simple to make that we will not be able to stop them with any realistic kind of embargo or economic penalties.

        I mean, what, are we going to buy 1,500 IPods from China next year?

        OTOH, you only need look at the playout of the SS-20 and Pershing/Gryphon gaming in NATO to understand that, compressed theater considerations aside, they cancelled each other.

        Since there is no real way ‘to be sure’ that a rated 400km weapons system isn’t really 800km capable (the JASSM does it by switching components around and going with sleeve tanks, other missiles will simply hide increased length within already oversized transport containers), and there is equally no way that conventional weapon assembly will not be able to be nuclearized with the kinds of miniature warhead technology we now have, it’s _time to grow up_.

        Because better bullets are cheaper to build and easier to upgrade and most importantly, they can serve as family-of-weapons enablers. CM technology has major applications to drones and hunting weapons for instance. Not least because (as War Breaker) it can scatter minimissiles and thus help roll back IADS or TBM threats in an FNOW condition which would otherwise not be practical, for cost. (throw out multiple shots, throw out multiple MALD-J decoys and have the latter light up in the coverage zone provided by the former).



        So I would not go so far as to claim that the technology is not working against the enemy Air-Defense and the JASSM-ER is with a range of over 900 Kilometer capable enough to surpass the High Range Air-defense System like S300 and S400 easy and to hit targets how are not protected by short range Systems like Pansir 25 or TOR M2.



        Errrrm, not sure I said this. I think what I did say was that it was stupid to send subsonic weapons against layered naval defenses where you are facing literally hundreds of intercept engagements and increasingly ZTOF DEWS weapons which will take the engagement window out past the 1,500ft range you can expect with cannon based CIWS.

        If you want to defend ashore, you have to either kill the archer as he crosses the beach. Or kill the shot as it transits to the target area. Either are easy with even a 900km ranged weapon. Because the carrier is predictable. Not so much with a 3,000km weapons system.

        That said, IMO, the ability to utterly degrade the cruise weapon is based on the ability to track it, as I said above. With the added modifier that interceptor cost must remain low. So that you don’t put a million dollar 48N6 round into the air when you can shoot a 200,000 dollar 9M330 (and yes, these are order of magnitude figures).

        The problem with looking at the defensive solution this way is that Tor is something like a 12km/7.5 mile ranging system and even most of the ‘sophisticated’ weapons like MICA/Adder/SLAMRAAM are little better in their total coverage footprint so end up either buying shots you won’t use, just to gapfill. Or you retract your coverage to local point defense protection of high value assets you know the threat will be coming for.


        What if the threat does this-


        While the above is towards the high end of hard with a hypersonic bus and LOCAAS, we were looking at this as long ago as the mid-late 80s as ‘War Breaker’ (SS-20/21 killer) followon to ‘Assault Breaker’ with cheap groundlaunch CMs and a LO targeter to cue them.

        Largely because Saber was a lot longer ranging than was commonly given credit and we were afraid we going to have to hunting it half way to Urals. The targeter always proved to be the stumbling block and so we took a hit on INF to make SS-20 go away.

        The point being that, with modern, cheap, QWIP and MVM sensors, the CM can in fact -be- that targeter agency and the weapons cabinet all in one. And thus the longer the range and the bigger the payload bay, the better because you are going to want to uplink what you find to someone, even if you do all your classification onboard, for submunition release.

        THIS is where subsonics tend to win out. Because they can play porpoise games from lolo with any area defenses and loiter about while you squeeze the Charmin whereas aeroballistics are a one way ticket: target-or-bust.


        With other Words them you will destroy a bridge or a Power Plant deep in the enemy territory the JASSM will work well because why the enemy cannot be everywhere with their High End Short Range Defense Systems how look to be as only capable to detect and shot a JASSM down.


        My short view of the JASSM is that it’s another profit seeking venture because we don’t want to pay for the really effective (fast onset, 800-1,000nm in >

        The JASSM like the AGM-129 simply reduce the effective range of the Long Range Air Defense System like S300PMU2 or S400 how can shot down an AGM 86 or a Tomahawk Missile by 200 to 300 kilometer and protect an entire City or the entire Air Space over the battlefield. Stealth didn’t mean what you are invisible it just mean what you are harder to be detected. So you can avoid the enemy air defense and hit targets what non-stealth weapons cannot reach.



        I think you vastly overrate the stealthiness of any CM squire. VLO is one of those games where size inverts with planform alignment and type of LO scheme you go with. Bigger is better because it allows you to do more wiht planform and stealth ribbon as deep channel workarounds to the dipole effect by which every small thing resonates at some harmonic of the main lobe wavelength.

        In any case, the missile is just the super/hypersonic bus to put the warhead into proximity before the little flash you get from your layered, blinking, radar network or the ‘ghost image’ on your lowband EWR, vanishes back into the clutter. With ARH and occasionally ARH+IR now commonplace, it is relatively simple to put the interceptor into a seeker cube where it _will see_ the missile. Just because that seeker is putting a huge shout-out of high PRF ERPs onto the target as it provides it’s own bearing-rate change across the clutter.

        Yes, we have missiles which are good enough to shadow track from the top of a ballistic arc now. I assume the other guys do too.

        The key limitation of this approach to defense is that you are ALWAYS ‘terminal’ to the launch box. Which means that if you only have a few launch boxes, you can saturate or blow a hole right through.

        Which is why you want to shift away from the notion of rocket intercept and more towards hunting weapons because the hunter lets you push your cheap sensor net a long ways out. And send the missile to the target before it can hit BRL with glide weapons or (as a missile itself) bus out mini-cruise.

        The S-300PMU2 is going to be defending that power plant, because that’s it’s job. The Tor or Pantsyr is going to be goalkeeping the S-300 because ultimately the S-300 is more important to maintaining the warfighter capability than the power plant is, in the short term (everybody who knows anything is off the grid with independent power these days).

        Which means that while you may use all manner of T3/DRADM or various cruise systems to attack the S-300, you are NOT likely going to be attacking the power plant itself with one. Because the subsonic CM is readily killable, to quite some density of saturation, by the Perfekt.

        While any old JDAM will do to put the turbine hall or the power lines out of action, once the S-300 is gone.



        But hear begins my problem with the JASSM-ER as base design for the LRASM because why every enemy ship is equipped with short range Air Defense system how can easily shot a JASSM down. Them you seek to kill an enemy Ship you need speed or mass for example a SS-N-26 still deadly even them the RAM or CIWS has already hit the Missile because of is speed and mass and the high speed (mach 2,6) of the Missile also reduce the time to engage the target dramatically so only a small group of SS-N-26 should be able to penetrate the defense of an enemy ship. A JASSM-ER is in compare to a SS-N-26 simply to slow and have also a to high structural vulnerability to be effective.


        Exactly so.

        And this is why I believe that the LRASM is looking for scalar economics to justify a weapon which I would not equip the B-2 or B-1B with to fight a P2 war because it doesn’t have the range to keep them at least 300nm offshore with another 500nm reach inland.

        And it’s relatively small size, while likely compatible with all but the SD Mk.56, will not allow it to change out to swarm attack systems which are how you penetrate a high terminal threat IADS, whether on land or at sea.

        _Notice_ (in the video link above) when that seeker blinks ‘DMPI’ (Designated Mean Point Of Impact) several times? What a real intelligent seeker would be doing would be assigning multiple target drift rate as scan precesses so that maybe 10-12 LOCAAS type minimissiles could put the target apertures and easy-kill (minimal armoring) turreted weapons clusters out of action, hoping for sympathetic detonations to further mission kill the platform.

        THEN you send in the big unitary and blow out the bowels of the ship.

        I don’t believe JASSM will suffice to penetrate a high threat inner air battle zone on a SAG. I think the video as tactics must have been based on old cold war scenarios because those are ancient Slava class cruisers with only the cheapo AK-630 defenses opening up on the LRASM.

        What a joke.

        OTOH, ‘oldie but goodie’ does apply as well. Coyote is just a bastardization of the MA-31 which Zvezda foolishly put up for grabs as the MA-31. Krypton in turn owes a lot to the French work done for ANS/ANF and of course ASMP.

        While SLAT (which is undoubtedly what LRASM-B is based on) was a 1980s makeover of ASALM which was half real/half testbed for a followon to SRAM-I with added anti-SUAWACS ‘pursuit’ capabilities off the B-1A.

        And as I said, if we don’t have the techbase sorted on scrams yet, there is always reverting from Mach 8 to Mach 5 with the better part of a 700nm rangepoint still available by using a Mk.31 ER booster from the Standard to kick a naval TACMs up there.

        It’s all what you want to pay for. Vs. who is signing the checks. And as long as manned airpower rules the roost come budget time, they will not allow the missile crowd to ‘go independent’.

        Whether that is a good idea or no.

        And again, there is a reasonable justification to believe that it may not be.

        If you keep your forces clustered up in a gaggle, you have multiples of VLS worth of weaponeering choice as salvo overlap on AAW and TMD. If you send out a SAG, with roughly overlapping missile capabilities (and LRASM-A assures this) then everyone clubs each other and the threat with the better Brahmos or Sizzler penetrators vs. the layered defense wins the last man standing fight.

        Which is again where the video I showed you is artificial. Because no CVBG would -ever- let a surface threat get so close that a surface launched AShM was in ‘equal firing opportunity’ with an air launch equivalent.

        That was put there _solely_ as a political indicator of combined purchase numbers boosting the affordability of the solution.

        Bluntly, if you have to divide the TMD force between a forward deployed SAG intending to take out the Chinese Sovremenny groups or Coastal Defenses then either the CVSF have to stay -well back- (indicating this is a preemptive engagement, ‘with intent’) or you have to double up the escorts from another group to make up the losses in defensive capabilities as DF-21D intercept. While sending these 1.5-2.5 billion dollar DDG/CG hulls in on their own.

        Either way, the forward deployed SAG then becomes a target in it’s own right and you have the Okinawa condition where ‘the pickets’ get hammered because they are carrying CM or Aeroballistics that will take out the DF-21s/Klubs if they get close enough.

        Which brings us back to SSN/SSGNs as Virginia Class, doing the inner zone approach and suppression while you try and work out the targeting from a long oblique overhead slant or possible VLO UAV insert. I frankly don’t think there will be time or ethnic compatibility for SOF to go tooling about looking for threat TELs.
        The Chinese response to this (in my shoes) would be mass deployment of autonomous shark UUCVs along with CAPTORs and loitering UAVs with NDB.

        • Araya

          Hi Lop_Eared_Galoot first tanks for your impressive replay.

          I see what they have many commonalities one a large spectrum of topics like the insanity and idiotism of Nuclear disarmament moves of the USA.

          The AGM-86C CALCM is a converted AGM-86B. The latest model supposedly has a 3,000lb equivalent warhead. Each AGM-129 cost 4 million bucks. Now they are throwing them out the window and -keeping- the AGM-86B like it was nothin’. And this with START not even fully implemented. Someone needs to be stood up against a wall and given a last smoke on this one.

          You have my complete approval one this matter, I believe that everyone who believes in global zero and disarmament treaties is mentally ill/insane. Unfortunately, there is just this gang of lunatics like Mr. “Global Zero, unilateral disarmament“ Obamas in power. God help us with this Administration to survive the next four years!

          I don’t believe JASSM will suffice to penetrate a high threat inner air battle zone on a SAG. I think the video as tactics must have been based on old cold war scenarios because those are ancient Slava class cruisers with only the cheapo AK-630 defenses opening up on the LRASM.

          First I didn’t believe what a JASSM can overcome even the AK-630 CIW and the Slava class is the second strongest Russian Surface combat ship armed with 6X 6 AK630 CIWS and 64X S300PMU Missiles. But let’s talk a bit about the LRSAM-A promotional video from Lockheed Martin because why I think what you give this video to much important. The reality looks always different from a promotional videos from Defense Companies form all country’s how seek to sell their crap to the costumer. In a realistic scenario probably all fired LRSAM-A their shout don by the S-300PMU how is also installed one the Slava class like the AK-630 so to kill a single Slava you will need a lot more them just one or seven LRSAM or even a Supersonic Missile like the SS-N-26 but even them you need to fire 60X LRSAM to kill a Slava this still a good Cost-benefit ratio and them the LRSAM-A can be fired from a MK41 you can equip every DDG51 with enough missiles of this missiles to saturate the defense systems of any surface combatant and even them this defense systems work so well as in there Glossy brochures. So the Point is what even with LRSAM-A, you have at least a chance to kill an enemy surface ship like a Slava or a more realistic and important a Chinese Cruiser, frigate or an missile boat, so didn’t forget the actual situation what in the moment you have only the small Harpoon how cannot be started from VLS to meet all the hundreds of enemy surface ships around the world how are all able to fire 4 to 16 Anti-ship Missiles on your surface ships. So even them the LRASM-A efficiency is questionable it is better to have this weapons as to have nothing right now this is my point of view one the matter. And as I said before personally I prefer a Weapon based one the LRASM-B / Arc light design with over Words a heavy weapon like a Russian SS-N-26 in combination with the lighter Joint Strike Missile for the F35 them the LRASM/JSSAM-ER solution from Lockheed Martin. But even the LRASM-A is better them the actual situation without any ASUW Weapons in the Navy Arsenal how are able to be started from is VLS Launchers.

          Bluntly, if you have to divide the TMD force between a forward deployed SAG intending to take out the Chinese Sovremenny groups or Coastal Defenses then either the CVSF have to stay -well back- (indicating this is a preemptive engagement, ‘with intent’) or you have to double up the escorts from another group to make up the losses in defensive capabilities as DF-21D intercept. While sending these 1.5-2.5 billion dollar DDG/CG hulls in on their own.

          Either way, the forward deployed SAG then becomes a target in it’s own right and you have the Okinawa condition where ‘the pickets’ get hammered because they are carrying CM or Aeroballistics that will take out the DF-21s/Klubs if they get close enough.

          The good News for the US Navy is what they can afford to split there DDG Fleet in forward deployed groups or let them operating alone. A Carrier group normally need just two DDG51 and one Ticonderoga-Cruiser to surge the number of the DDG51 around the Carrier in order to shout incoming DF21 ASBM down make less sense. To kill the DF-21 launcher is also nearly impossible the Chinese Air Defense is to strong and they have also there 3000 Kilometer of Tunnels and bunkers how they can hide their DF21 Missiles. So in a conflict with Red China the priority of the Navy must be the following:

          1. Too beat the Chinese Navy in Blue Water expectedly there future Carrier fleet and to kill every Chinese ship how seek to move beyond Yellow Sea the Taiwan Street or behind Japans South coast.

          2. Second to make as difficult/costly as possible for them to secure the Taiwan Street and to invade and conquer Taiwan as to operate near South Korea and Japan. It is already unrealistic to beat the Chinese Fleet so near on their own coast so the first priority must be to let them bleed and to disrupt their supply for their Landing Operation one Taiwan. You can do this by mining Chinese ports (with the Mark 60 CAPTORs) using submarines and the small fleet of B2 Bombers and also by massive Strikes against their landing Zones and there Ships in the Taiwan Street. In this situation the Tomahawks, JSSAM-ER and the LRASM fired from Bomber and forward deployed Submarines and DDGs can be decisive because why to go with Tactical Tighter, Drones or Bombers would be suicide in face of the massive Chinese Air Defense and the presence of a large part of the Chinese Air force and Navy. So your forward deployed Ships must operate from the east side of Taiwan in the Philippine Sea for carrier to risky but for Submarines and ASUW capable Ships like a LRASM armed Ship liable.

          3. To prevent a landing of Chinese force from the Philippine Sea one Taiwan this was long time not a really realistic scenario but the Chinese Navy looks now strong enough another reason for the LRASM and a ASUW capable Surfaces Fleet.

          4. To destroy the Chinese Communication, Navigation
          and targeting Satellites the Chinese look to do this with the US Satellite’s so it is only logical to do the same with their Satellite’s with other Words the USA need a new Administration and ASAT skills comparable or better them the Chinese have. Them you kill the Chinese communication satellites and there maritime surveillance you eliminate also the DF21 threat for your Carriers.

          5. Cut the Chinese oil Supply this should be the simplest
          part of the War.

          The Chinese response to this (in my shoes) would be mass deployment of autonomous shark UUCVs along with CAPTORs and loitering UAVs with NDB.

          UUCVs and UAVs are overrate they are easy to jam, they need also an expensive Satellite System and secure communication and all actual Chinese Models are also non-stealthy and what means future UAVs so the communication problem remains. To clean the sky from this crap should be the smallest Problem them you have the right tools for what and this are ASAT Weapons, strong ECM Systems and long range Air defense systems.

          • Marc

            Lol are you a retard araya or just born retard ? DF-21 is non interceptable . Moreover chinese oil dont go through malacs straits they have by passed it already and they holds the capability of shooting down your sats too . And usa military is a bunch of fuckin toadie when they are out of gps. Get a brain and start using it douche. Not to mention nuke hitting over your heads.

  • Araya

    To compare a Tomahawk with a M2 Browning is ridiculously. The M2 still effectively
    because why since 1919 no one has developed countermeasures against
    it. In compare the Tomahawk is already incapable to penetrate defended Air
    Space and I speak not about primitive Air defense Systems like SA2 how there
    used by Iraq, no I speak about highly mobile modern Air Defense Systems like TOR
    M2, Pansir 25 or HQ12 and heavier Air defense Systems like S300, S400 or HQ9.
    And nearly all enemy chips are also equipped with Air Defense Systems how can easily shut down a mass off Tomahawks how are slow, non-stealth and with a two high flight profile to be used as see skimmer. With other Word’s a Maritime Version of the Tomahawk is unable to penetrate effectively even simple defense systems like
    CIWS. And they also didn’t speak about a Tomahawk replacement how is needed but this is another matter they speak about a replace for the old Harpoon Missiles
    how can also no longer be considered as capable to penetrate the Defense of
    actual enemy Warships.

    The LRSAM must be able to be fired form a MK41 or dropped by a Bomber or
    a Jet and she must be able to penetrate the enemy ship defense. And you have
    only two options to do this the first is a stealthy see-skimmer like the LRASM-A or a more sophisticated super or better hypersonic Concept like Arc light . Personally
    I prefer the more risky hypersonic Concept because why it has far more potential
    to overbear even the strongest enemy ship Air Defense Systems. The biggest
    Problem of the US Navy is what they depend completely on there just 10 Carriers
    for nearly all offensive actions against enemy Surface Ships. So for example
    even the most DDG51 have no Anti-ship Missiles to combat other Surface Ships they

    depend completely one Submarines and the Fighter of the Carriers for this missions
    and this is extremely dangerous. Because why an enemy just need to kill one or
    two Carriers to eliminate the entire offensive Force of the US Navy. And all potential
    enemies prepare to do exactly this so for example even Chinese Speed Boats like
    the Houbei-class are armed with 8XC-802 Anti-ship missiles. With other Words
    even a Chinese Missile boats have far better Surface Combat skills them a 2
    Billion Dollar US Navy destroyer (DDG51) or comparable firepower to a Ticonderoga-class Cruiser and LRASM is exactly what the US Navy need to fix this scandalous gap in there offensive capability’s !

    • Lop_Eared_Galoot

      The M2HB is actually a fairly ineffective weapons system.

      Being a heavy, linear-action, gun it is both difficult to point-control on most mounts and subject to severe recoil displacement in the most common engagement zones. Where it’s larger caliber would otherwise be ballistically more useful, it is sighting restricted.

      It can be considered an area of effect weapon, simply because the rounds tend to frangeate and create severe shrapnel hazards on impact but cannot be employed at any greater -effective- distance than the much smaller M134 which, being a (powered breach) rotary gun with a variable muzzle clamp and a much higher ROF, tends to put between ten and fifteen times the target strikes downrange, all the way out to 1km or more, where target size and sight capabilities matter more to being able to acquire as much as score hits.

      The M2HB is best used with a CROWS or similar remote power-pintle system and even then is rarely worth the weight and ammunition loadout caliber differential penalties it brings.

      Depending on the target class (APS beats MG in the AA role) a new weapon, like the OCSW with a lower MV and a higher loft compensated for by a larger caliber explosive capability in the 25-30mm, intelligent proximity round, class would be vastly more effective, particularly in MOUT for the simple fact that it is a topattack capability with controlled SDZ range safing and much fewer rounds per engagement requirement.

      M134 vs. M2

      Now, to comment to your concerns with the LRASM-

      LRASM Overview

      First off, it is a fool’s errand to commit to huge numbers of narrow missioned, high dollar value munitions systems which have a target set numbering in the low dozens in comparison with overland targets numbering in the high hundreds of required DMPIs.

      Even accounting for the density of naval platforms defensive overlaps the total target differentials are too large to justify single-use investment. Because monkeys don’t live in the sea and we are all monkeys.

      Therefore, assuming the USN really wants the capability, LRASM _will be_ a landattack weapons system, predominantly, even if it is solely a GPS+INS driven one because the target classification seeker is non-functional against anything but naval units. Just as Harpoon is today.

      This poses an extreme problem, as the opening shot of the F/A-18E/F with LRASM suggests: With a 200-500nm (depending on whether it’s based on JASSM-A or ER) capability, the LRASM is not making a comparison with the 700,000 dollar Blk.IV Tactical Tomahawk. Nor the 1.1 million Konigsberg JSM/NSM. Nor even with a 200,000 dollar JDAM-ER with a DAMASK seeker.

      It’s competing directly with the 83 million dollar F-35A/B/C. As even a 1.5 million dollar LRASM, whether surface or air launched (using existing platforms), can now be had at an exchange rate of almost 55:1 with every JSF. Dump the F-35C entirely and take away 1/3rd of the 900 billion dollar ‘lifetime warranty’ as service and spares package and you are now talking about a 200,000:1 munitions inventory. Enough that full on arsenal ship packaging becomes a real possibility as the MRSM (Multirole Surface To Surface Missile) can largely be treated as a wooden round in it’s VLS shipping container.

      For this reason _alone_, Navair and USAF will cancel AGM-158 as the parent system, outright, because with a large fleet stock of MRSM, the USN would become the premier fires delivery service, overnight. And the airpower services are labor unions, first, foremost and always.

      While I personally do not believe in the stories we hear about ‘the difficulties of hypersonic airbreathers’ (See Talos/Navajo through SLAT/ASALM which looks surprisingly like the LRASM-B concept, today) as we have too long a technologies history with them, ramjets pose an even greater threat to conventional manned systems and the strategic reasoning behind them.

      First, they pose low targeting difficulties as moving or time critical targets don’t have time to disperse and hardened targets are much more vulnerable to ballistic overmatch as detonation within their own protected volume.

      Second, with reactivity heightened, the prolonged exposure of manned systems to target defenses becomes unjustifiable as even a loss rate of 50% in a 100 missile strike of 1 million dollar weapons is less expensive than the loss of a single manned airframe and the notification team showing up on some families doorstep.

      Third, Defensive Saturation becomes a given. Such that you cannot gain enough shoot-look-shoot time to take out decisive numbers of particularly maneuvering threats unless you absolutely flood the skies with interceptors and this becomes expensive itself. The counter to which is laser and HPM as DEWS. And this effectively takes manned airpower off the board completely.

      Strategically, condition one is the most important because it means any ‘hybrid’ threat can employ a system without years of training to gain competency in multitasked bus-delivery of the kill mechanism through air and surface defenses. This ‘Ace Level’ Situational Awareness has an inverse however in that it is heavily dependent on the availability of Theater Wide targeting as rapid CEC. Which is to say that if a carrier steams through the Straits of Hormuz, ‘any idiot’ can kill it, by proximity. But if a USN force wants to hit fleeting targets like DF-21D TELs, deep inland, it is vulnerable to the loss of it’s satellites and networks (to both hard and softkill measures).

      It is because of this that the emphasis upon the LRASM as an ASUW munition is laughable because it is like a child promising that he won’t shoot out his eye if you give him that BB gun he’s been wanting for Christmas.

      The other thing I would like to point out is the nature of the endgame that the above video shows. While the use of datalink steering to provide target/neutral traffic updates and Picture handoffs as a function of what the seeker sees, does cut off as soon as the missiles enter a given detection zone, what isn’t accurately depicted (IMO) is how the weapons navigate a target battlespace with ‘sudden illumination’ detection of threat radars. This would tend to imply a fairly capable (LPI and blink tolerant) RWR as onboard mission planning software package for the route around. Even as it implies that all missiles are coming from a common direction rather than having ships be widely spaced to compound enemy initial detection and saturation of the friendly ships.

      With separate formation elements generating launch bearings off by tens of degrees, you create what is called a ‘gate problem’ wherein, unless you have an ASST targeter in the immediate area (in which case, it had indeed better be an no-landbased topcover SAG), the missiles would tend to arrive haphazardly due to their individual threat reroute responses within the no-comms zone.

      They might all have a common TOT increment they needed to make but would still be unlikely to coordinate that well enough to saturate, using solely subsonic terminals. And subsonics means that any -optical- threat, like the Rafael Sea Spotter, instantly redeems the inner zone (TOR, Barak, ESSM, Sea Wolf etc.) SARH/RFCG systems into sufficiently early cueing to tackle the threat based on picket-detection of missiles in RQ condition.

      A smart TACO on a P-3 could create work arounds for this so that everybody’s shot came through a gate with sufficient lane saturation that each missile group could acquire late and still make defensive saturation thresholds in a manner that prevented the SAG from cosupporting their engaged ships with ARH based saturation return fire (i.e. LOAL as a lane flood of interceptors).

      As the conditions show however: the LRASM instead arrive high to give their QWIP IIR seekers a broad enough LOS horizon to sweep and classify all targets for separating sheep from goats. But they then lack the intelligence as ranged comms to coordinate a proper pack attack as surround sound approach. And only go-low when swept by radar, at which point they are generating planform signatures and tip vortices in their **reaction** to the threat.

      All of which is wrong, wrong, wrong.

      LRASM is a fools game because it doesn’t acknowledge the ‘primary threat’ hostility of the USAF/USN/USMC manned air communities to fielding a useful (large scalar economics) inventory of multirole capable missiles _instead of_ rather than in compliment to, equivalent numbers of strike aircraft.

      That the Grey Navy then create such feeble ‘this is how it will work’ operating scenarios to justify an ASUW only tactical condition is really pathetic.

      • Araya

        First I didn’t said what the M2HB is the best weapon of is class and
        said only what it works. One the other hand the M134 is also not a
        perfect weapon both have their Pros and Cons for example the Cal 50 of
        the M2 is strong enough to penetrate light armored vehicles and also to
        kill enemies beyond Walls in compare to the wake 7,62 × 51 of the M134.
        One the other hand the massive fire rate of the M134 make this weapon
        far better them you seek to suppress the enemy infantry. Because of this
        it is ideal to have both Weapons in the battle instead of to choose
        between one of them or better said to compare the M2HB with the M134 is
        like an Apples and Pears comparison.

        And what means the LRASM-A
        Variant so I’m not convinced them this weapon will be able to penetrate
        Enemy Air Defense like in the promotional video from LM. The LRASM-A is
        at last just an improved JASSM with all is advantages and disadvantages.
        So is have the advantage what it is a relatively small, stealthy and
        also proved weapon what make is a low-risk concept to feel the surface
        offensive gap of the US Navy but also the disadvantage what it is a slow
        and also not revolutionary weapon like the canceled LRASM-B/ArcLight
        Concept. Nonetheless the Navy need a replacement for is more them 35
        Year old Harpoon Missiles and more important it needs an Anti–Ship
        Missile what can be fired form is VLS Ships. Because why the actual
        situation is the fallow what the Navy has just 10 active Aircraft
        Carrier and 53 SSNs how can be effectively used against other surface
        ships and in a realistic War Scenario only 3 to 6 Carrier (better said
        there Fighter Units) will have to fulfill all Anti surface Operations
        against an Enemy Fleet like the Chinese or the Russian Navy. Dual-use
        Weapons are preferable but sometimes you need a specialized Weapon or an
        entire femalely of specialized Weapons to fulfill a Mission and to
        combat enemy Surface Ships is one of this situations. So in compare to
        the US-Navy Fleet nearly all Chinese and Russians Surface Ships starting
        from smallest Missile Boat to the Heaviest Cruiser are already equipped
        with sophisticated Anti-Ship Missiles how each can sunk a carrier. So
        for example the Chinese alone have more when 200 Surface Vessels how are
        armed with Anti-Ship Missiles how can be used against the US Surface
        Ship Fleet without to fear a counter attack from them. So the US Navy
        has around 90 Destroyer and Cruiser but only 43 of them (21 DDG51 Flight
        1 and 22 Ticos) are equipped with anti-ship missiles (Harpoon) and are
        able to attack other surface ships. The Navy simply needs a lot more
        Firepower against the growing number of well-armed enemy’s surface ships
        because why the time as the Navy was in a position to put all is eggs
        in one basket (the Carrier with their fighters) is long over. And to
        make it clear this is not a question about a cost-benefit ratio because
        why them you have to fight a war against the Chinese Navy with the
        actual Weapon’s and the actual Carrier-centric tactic you risk to be
        exterminated because of a scandalous lack of Anti-Ship and also
        Anti-Submarine Abilities. And nothing is more costly them a lost war so
        it is better to choose the worse cost-benefit ratio them a good
        cost-benefit ratio.

        • Lop_Eared_Galoot


          You make some good arguments but base them on some mistaken perceptions.

          First off, the M2 -does- have countermeasures developed against it. In the form of the RPG and various other LAWS whose explosive prox-kill warheads make up for general, single shot, inaccuracies at typical engagement ranges.

          While ATGW from the Sagger on up now form the dominant portion of the ‘air threat’ for which the M2’s assignment to vehicles was originally role justified (not it’s weight).

          In relation to this last, it is important to note that the M2, as an offensive system, _over typical engagement ranges_ is only as valuable as it is automounted with superior stabilization and remote, magnified, single shot, targeting. As long as the targeting is manual, a lower recoil M240 or M134 are superior solutions because the shooter is far less likely to miss.

          As a defensive system, the M2 is only as valuable as the moment it is targeting-error saturated by threats and the vehicle to which it is mounted destroyed.

          In this, the low engagement density of the M2 (ammunition count) in comparison with an APS is simply not compareable because the M2 is not able to outrange any modern ATGW and not able to outshoot (kill the archer) any saturation attack by LAW.

          Because it is less effective, both offensively against general purpose threats and defensively against the specific ‘air’ threat, the .50 cal is indeed _ineffective_ because there are better ways (intelligently fused single shot grenade launcher or high rate revolver/rotary systems) to solve the same heavy-fires problem in an offensive solution.

          While even with the best automount available, it will never be functional as an APS, defensively.

          You must never conflate the ability of the weapon to kill an opponent ‘adequately’ with the ability of the mount to survive the counterfire.

          And this is indeed a cost:benefit (i.e. risk) analysis because it implies the need to maintain maximum contempt of engagement as standoff beyond the /enemy/ ability to target and fire his weapons. Not yours.

          Now throw in the self-defense as -targeting- variables:

          APS doesn’t work well with exposed crew in the case of a vehicle and so the ‘cheapness’ of manually targeted guns is lost.

          While ERAM/ESSM/LAWS require early cueing to achieve maximum layered effect in the case of the carrier.

          As a further functional modifier to the basic formulaic measure vs. counter ranged fight condition.

          And you have to recognize that the functional ‘shoot on sight’ utility of the heavy machine gun as the carrier defensive mechanism is indeed compromised at all levels: targeting, mechanical and effects.

          You are correct in postulating that the carrier cannot be risked as a limited availability capital center.

          However; the notion must be that it also cannot targeting/EA cover (from standoff) all threats in a distributed SAG attack in time to prevent engagement of individual USN assets sent to block-force prevent their approach.

          Which is to say that the E-2 and P-3/8 are likely to be even bigger HDLD (High Demand, Low Density) asset bottlenecks than the carrier itself is, as a function of base-in and transit period intervals of established coverage.

          If you cannot see the threat on a continual basis, you cannot maneuver against it nor target it’s inbound shots, early. Specifically, you cannot use ARH defense weapons to kill the arrows as the archer, from over the horizon.

          Do you see where I’m going with this?

          The threat which would require the USN to range disperse it’s assets to prevent saturation and determine intent is not the big-hull naval one whose assets are counted in the low dozens, at worst.

          Rather, it is the microhull FAC-M or Boghammar fleet with potentially hundreds of C702/802 light AShM.

          However; just as destroyers guarded battlecruisers which guarded battle ships in an old fashioned line at Jutland. Only to discover that, in Deep-Blue operations, there was no ‘torpedo boat chaser’ mission set, so too, is the nominal risk of a big-hull Sovremenny much easier to counter if you hold yourself at a strike radius limit whereby perhaps 10 PGM shooters on a 1,000nm radius can exclusively use 4 strike tankers to push them up and continued closure on a retrograding own-force is the only justification you need for violated-COEA engagement.

          Even if all’s you are using are GBU-53 or AGM-154 from a 50nm standoff, it then becomes the PLAN’s problem to provide air cover to engage the Hornets or JSF or UCLASS before their BRL which is apt to be 20nm beyond the 20nm effectives of the SA/N-7 or 12.

          If you are using 100nm AGM-84H, then you are treating the flight group itself as a separate (ly targeted and approached) threat group and it becomes it’s own find-it-to-kill-it tactical problem with it’s own closure-solution to ROE.

          Expending all that effort to protect a 300km SS/N-22 shooter is pointless.

          When you have a 1,500nm ASBM and a 300nm coast AShM as alternatives.

          Indeed, it may prove to be that, in declustering the DDG/CG away from the capital pairing, while you reduce it’s defenses, you cripple theirs and thus ‘sink the pickets!’ becomes the most dominant means of sending political messages as tactical triumphs.

          Where you consider any non-nuclear (= single shot kill) AShM as the equivalent of single-salvo modeled battle ship guns, it will always be a case of simply using AAR to move the engagement zone out from under the reach of the threat ‘to the limits of airpower’ (as tanking).

          Because the value of the naval platform as a collection of systems point-target in a blue water void of easy clutter rejection is such a limited total hull count system that the sortie lag between individual attacks on individual hulls is acceptable. It doesn’t help the PLAN to cluster up because you can send more single-pulsed missile shooters on a common bearing to threat lane than the time lag of split-force engagement as a multi-bearing distributed force model would syphon away. But if they do separate, then you can kill one axis while running from the other and they still cannot close the noose before the RTB recock.

          Right now, the Klub challenges airpower because airpower is looking to go another 500nm inland and so we are forced to come inshore where the Klub gives them options.

          But only the DF-21D really exceeds our ability to do this time-for-battlepulse range trade in saturating single (naval) threat elements by threatening the carrier itself as the base collocation of munitions and targeting.

          And LRASM (either A or B) will _not_ help in the latter condition. Because it has no more ability to reach far enough inland to detooth the DF-21 than a conventional air strike does, if it is surface launched.

          Even if they use the AGM-158B as the LRASM-A basis, which will almost certainly require the Strike configured VLS as opposed to the Tactical because of the big booster required to loft the heavier weapon, the reverse condition applies: shoot so many missiles at individual ingressing surface combatants that the political cost of continued approach to a 500nm launch point is too great for limited cruise strike achievement.

          The only way to kill the DF-21D with subsonic strike weapons is to penetrate a VLO UAV to find the TELs and then fire JASSM from very close in using B-2s launched from Alaska or Hawaii (i.e. completely outside the theater boundaries). To risk the strategic asset value of a B-2 on a repeat of the RQ-170 condition ‘it could be an ambush’ is highly unwise in a non-nuclear condition, if only for the false message it potentially sends about a willingness to escalate out of tactical boundaries.

          Sans the ASBM as theater-wide capability, the fact remains that the only time you will really see a need for individual shooters with autonomous AShM capability is when the SAGs are operating alone in a low value (= low threat) area.

          Or when they are operating in places where the terminal kill mechanism threat is -so- high (Iran, with nuclear PCI, mines and short range ballistics, trying to prevent the ingress of a carrier group to the PG as direct threat to their petroleum production infrasturcture). Such that Carriers literally cannot come within the targeting restrictions by which short range ballistic threats especially could be launched in such numbers as to mask a nuclear shot among the herd.

          In this mix of hi-lo conditions, I would suggest that you have 1 basic requirement and three options:

          1. Provide a VTOL, 300 knot, 300nm radius, 5-6hr loiter, highly LO capable targeting platform. Small enough to operate from helo decks while taking the radar horizon up to at least 20,000ft. This is not avoidable anymore. Targeting must disperse away from the big decks, even if strike does not. Without this, you cannot provide SAGs with the autonomy they need to be effective in local inshore operations, anywhere.

          2. Compare SLAM-H with JSM. If the F-35 needs a standoff AGM with 200nm range capability, then ride that option into a VLS with a weapon that is short and light enough to be used in a Tactical or even Self Defense tube. Intuitively, I am going to say that SLAM is less all-round stealthy than the Norwegian option but that NIH will be determinative.

          3. Compare a weaponized GQM-163 Coyote with the SM6 ERAM. With a little bit of trajectory profiling, either will do 100nm, easily, with the difference being that ERAM with an anti-boat mode retains it’s primary S2A role while Coyote comes in lower, most likely with a multispectral seeker such as the JCM and so can be used against a wider variety of white water surface targets (IIR being passive, it may also prove to be harder to saturation-attack shoot down from a sea-skimmer approach than a high diver ballistic ERAM, once optically directed, multi-emitter, DEWS come online).

          4. Take THE BIG STEP. And create an entirely new family of weapons, similar to the Klub, which are aeroballistic capable. Either through pure rocket (naval TACMS) to Mach 5 in a short case. Or through scram propulsion to around Mach 8 in a longcase, RATTLRS, equivalent. These weapons to be first mounted, secretly, on SSGNs of the Virginia class with the specific intent of using long-slant satellite observation of DF-21 attacks against massed conventional SAGs penetrating the 1,500nm WEZ with the ‘stated’ intent of putting Tomahawks ashore under the cover of SM3IIa/b umbrella.

          The DF-21Ds fire, the satellites grab the LOROP geolocation, the SSGNs shoot back with their own hypersonic weapons from much closer inshore than a nominal forward-positioned SAG would indicate is reactively possible and so beat the 5 minute TEL displacement window.

          Or. They preemptively attack the BMC3 centers and targeting apertures (ROTHR is an enormous field of fence-pole planted emitter dipoles).

          All this while the CVBG hovers just outside the 1,500nm fenceline and the Chinese continue to shoot at the SAG in dire terror of what they perceive as the launchpoint source of their own ASBM losses to a ‘better ballistic’ equivalent.

          Maybe you shoot an empty launcher, maybe it gets out from under the targeting footprint altogether, but with a small force of aeroballistics, you leverage the penetration of the SAG which is indeed a lower value, graceful degradation, asset that is heavily defensively biased.

          As each TMD capable ship has the ability to defend itself against the ASBM threat and each TEL which is destroyed is a morale effector against the ‘steadily, they sail in’ moment when the standing inventory of TLAMs or followon LRASM multiroles gain the range to start doing serious infrastructure damage to the Chinese residual (air and ground) defenses.

          At which point, the carrier advances and the 700nm X 16 shot F-35Cs do the deep OPP mission as they begin direct attacks on the Chinese industrial base with cheapo GBU-53s which can be scattered like dandelion seeds across entire factory complexes.

          Where once we would have done all of these things as well as investing heavily in DEWS, American now probably only has the resources to do 1-2 and so will have to choose the kind of war it wants to fight.

          The Coyote-mod will likely never have more than about a 100lb warhead which, given a supersonic impact and fragmented deflagration of the remaining propellant fuel would still be more than enough for most CG and below targets, especially with multiple launch saturation.

          For all this, it is probably the most useful of counter-PCI weapons because it is can be rapid response salvo’d at any range down to five miles and given a multispec seeker which is more likely to rapidly acquire a smaller target. It may also be a better top-attack flyover weapon (easier fuzing).

          The SM6 as a micro-ballistic, lofted, AShM is similar but with likely a bigger RMin and superior, long range performance (faster). It will likely come cheaper to field as part of a larger AAW replacement purchase.

          Both would again be dependent on rapid fielding of a high speed VTOL ASST capability to leverage SAGs into true OTH autonomy, away from the MQ-9, P-8 and E-2 which are all basing mode vulnerable and coverage (away from S2A protection) restricted in the face of particularly J-11 and J-20 threats.

          The larger aeroballistics are more appropriately used as specifically target-roled, high value, weapons (I.e. they can be bought in limited numbers) with discretionary as preemptive targeting to smash the ASBM, prelaunch.

          As such, they would also be best associated with the limited slant or vertical launch capabilities of submarines which are traditionally the least of the USNs children in terms of getting decent weapon upgrades. But also the best of her Silent Service secret keepers (the Chinese could do a lot with random movement and decoy schemes to protect their TELs ‘if only they knew they should’).

          The employment of the F-35 in a useful fashion requires rapid development and service introduction as doctrine build of both T3 type multirole suppression weapons, NGJ as a penetration escort jammer. And EWP pods to maximize delivery of boosted GBU-53 from a low density force at long standoff.

          It’s not an automatic PnP fit and thus is heavily dependent on further targeted strikes against Chinese S-300 clones and assorted other air defenses for each increment of non-existent defense suppression not funded and trained up.


          In all of this, the AF loses because it’s time-domain sortie pulse interval is too long. And yet as gate keepers to the JASSM->LRASM tech base and possibly overhead targeting options, their political influence cannot be ignored.

          The Marines and Army are not even really players because to fix oneself to a ‘second chain’ island basing mode when the mobility of fleet action doesn’t require it is ludicrous and becoming involved with ground actions in a Taiwan or Korean war with a high probability of nuclear attrition mode escalation makes their presence in-theater politically unwise.

          The Air Navy and Grey Navy are always torpedoing each other but the fact remains that, _provided_ it is a pro not reactive engagement condition, air always wins the battle-at-radius fight with AShM as we now know them.

          It is only in the MRBM category of ballistics that single strike missilery has finally outranged the F2T2EA tempo as much as kinetics system that is carrier air.

          In this, the question becomes whether you are drawing the fight, inshore, in a low intensity condition or committed to _winning it_, at peak threat level, from a preemptive and proactive (offensive from the start = stood off) position.

          Because the Air Navy cannot break into a defended bastion protected by either nuclear systems, ASBM or both. Not without prior suppression that can only come from Grey Navy missile carriers, much closer in.

          But the Grey Navy cannot rely on the Air Navy to always be around if things go hot in a littoral zone like the PG or Pak-India. Where the presence of BMC3, ISR and EA as VTOL air horizon pushers must now move towards autonomy away from the Big Decks.

          • Araya

            At first thank you for your detailed reply what means the M2 vs. M134 question you have made also really good arguments and I believe that you are right and also what you have a lot more experience one this matter. Personally I simply low the Cal.50 because why I saw is effect one light Armor and Walls of this high power round what have a big psychological effect one the enemy in compare to the smaller love powered rounds like the 7,62 × 51 mm of the M134 but to make it clear both a are really scary weapons. One the other Hand in combat the logic or ideal solution to a problem is sometimes irrelevant because why the most firefights particularly in urban setting are chaotic and untargeted for the regular infantry so a high powered rounds like the Cal.50 can be sometimes better because why it penetrate even Walls and wound or kill the enemy behind them or at least it scares them off. Generally what means infantry weapon it exist a lot of better solution for every situation them the weapons what are used by the troops for example the Infantry has also generally a lack of firepower because why really game changer weapons like the XM25 have never reached the troops. So the standard tacit is to hold the enemy down until air support arrives, I thank what this is a stupid tactic but it works against poorly armed and poorly trained enemies like insurgent’s troops for example in Afghanistan.

            But let’s continuing with the main theme the LRASM. At first let’s look at the actual situation (2013) they have in the moment a Navy how has a large Fleet of multibillion Destroyer and Cruiser with advance Air–Defense and some of them also with Missile Defense Ability’s but them you take a closer look one there Weapon configuration you see what this ships how makes the largest part of the US Surface fleet are incapable to combat other surface combatants because why they didn’t have the weapons to do it. Them you look around the world you will see what nearly all other Navy’s have even one there smallest ships specialized Anti-ship weapons. The main reason for this capability gap is the circumstance what the US Navy has the largest Fleet of carriers in the World and so the missions to counteract enemy surface fleets weigh on this ships or better one there fighters, the other is mismanagement so the Navy didn’t install Harpoon starter one later DDG51 (after Flight 1) to lower the price peer hull, the use the same idiotic budgetary tactic as they also didn’t install even CIWs one some DDG51 better said with the DDG85 (later they partially fix this gap). To give the Arleigh Burke and Ticonderoga-class anti-surface options is just a move to come to the same level of nearly every other Navy in the World. It is debatable how they should do it but it is something what must happen and what it will give the US-Navy a lot more Firepower and flexibility in combat. So for example a DDG51 with LRASM will be able to be deployed far away from a Carrier Group and still able to combat any enemy starting from enemy fighter over enemy Surface Ships to enemy submarines and this is something what an actual DDG51 Flight 2 or later didn’t can because why it can be easy sunk by a missile boat. Let’s also look how other Western and Eastern Ships are armed in compare to the US DDGs how are mostly larger and far more expensive but less capable because of this ridiculous lack of an anti-ship weapon.

            First the Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA


            96 cell Mk 41 VLS with SM2 or SM6, ESSM, ASROC plus 1-2X SH-60 Seahawk for AAW and ASW Missions additionally also the non-stealthy BGM-109 Tomahawk for Land attack (how is incapable to hit targets on Sea and also to penetrate modern Air defense Systems and most be also replaced).


            1, 1 to 1, 2 Billion US Dollar without the Weapons


            The Arleigh Burke-class is a well-armed but because of the lack of ASUW Abilities incapable to operate independently from a carrier Group.

            Operational Range:

            Around 4,400 nautical miles

            Now let’s take a look one the configuration of the Royal Danish Navy Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate


            4 x Mk 41 with 32 SM-2 IIIA Missiles, 2X Mk 56 VLS with 24 ESSM Missiles, 1X Oerlikon Millennium Gun CIW for AAW and self-defense plus 2 × dual MU90 ASW torpedo launchers and 1 to 2 ASW Helicopter and 8 to 16 Harpoon SSMs for ASUW Missions.

            Operational Range:

            4,000 nautical miles (like the same as a DDG51)

            Coast: Less them 0, 5 Billion US-dollar or better said cheaper them an unarmed US LCS


            The Iver Huitfeldt-class is a cheaper version of the Absalon-class support ship and designed to fight against Air, See and Underwater treats the Absalon-Class is also capable for Mine-warfare and for the landing of Marine Troops and 55 Vehicles including 7 MBTs. With other words even the small and underfunded Danish navy was able to field a ship how can operate alone and combat the entire spectrum of enemy treats one sea.

            At last let’s look how a typical Adversary are armed like the new Chinese Type 052D destroyer how is like the DDG51 equipped with an ASEA Radar and a combat System comparable to the US Aegis and also armed with 64 VLS Cells how are comparable to the MK41 VLS of the Navy System (but with 1 to 4 Missiles peer tube). And the biggest different to the DDG51 is what this ship will be able to lunch cruise missiles, anti-submarine missiles and anti-ship missiles. With other Words the Chinese produce their own LRASM Missile. The predecessor of the Type 052D class the Type 052C class is better know this ship has 48X HHQ-9/S300V Air Defense Missiles and C-805 anti-ship missile with an range of 300 to 500 Kilometer. And this both ships are only examples for enemy ships of the same class the Russian build frigates and destroyer are much better armed with long range Anti-ship Missiles like the P800 Super-Sonic Missile (SS-N-26).


            The Chinese and Russian’s like nearly all other Navy’s in the World have already fielded massive Anti-Ship firepower one there Surface Ships what give him the flexibility to operate alone and independent from Carrier Groups and also to put much larger and more expensive ships like US Carrier at risk. The US Navy didn’t have this flexibility because of is lack of ASUW Abilities and is so completely dependent one a small group of carriers how became more and more vulnerable. So to make it clear to give the US DDGs ASUW Abilities is just the correction of an anomaly because why ASUW Abilities are a must have for a destroyer or even a smaller Frigate. And it give you the Option to operate independent from Carrier and to take far more risk because why to lose a 1, 2 Billion DDG51 is not the same think like to lose a 25 Billion Carrier with 5000 Sailors.

            For example it is already too dangerous to move close to the Chinese coast because of the massive ASUW firepower and the larger Chinese Submarine fleet of the Chinese Navy (and I didn’t speak about the ASBM Problem) to attack land target or even Coast near surface ships for example in the Taiwan Street with cruise missiles or Tactical fighter. But a small group of smaller Surface Ships like a DDG51 with ASUW Abilities can take the risk and go near to the coast to attack the enemy Fleet and fire Cruise Missiles on land targets because why there are expendable in compare to a Carrier or even a SSN how coast more them the twice.

            And what means the DF21 ASBM Missile so I didn’t fear this weapon so much as I fear the large Chinese Bomber, Fighter and Submarine and Surface fleet how already can beat the carrier centric US-Navy in the Western Pacific (Taiwan Street, Yellow See and likely beyond Japan) to face the Chinese treat the Navy need to change is carrier centric tactic and to allocate there firepower to as many ships as possible and also to filed new weapons like a stealthy longer range Cruise Missile how can be fired form MK41 VLS and Submarines VLS like the OHIO SSGNs and Virginia SSNs and he needs also a Anti ships missile what can kill the large Chinese Surface fleet. The ASBM treat can be also be eliminated them you change the tactic the best way to eliminate the DF21 is not to kill the launchers because why the Chinese have already 3000 Kilometer of tunnels and bunker how they can hide hundreds of missiles so the easiest way is to kill the DF21 is to kill and jam there satellite system with other word’s the USA needs their own ASAT abilities because why even the DF21 cannot kill what it didn’t see.

          • sap

            Arclight is a deadbeat cunt. Didnt you get the memo ?

  • JimBobJoe

    The Tomahawk is too slow and it doesn’t have stealth. Same with the Harpoon. Not the hardest to shoot down.

    Maybe they’re great for taking out cargo ships and oil tankers. And, they can change way-points… yay.
    I’ve always been puzzled why America’s navy has such relatively mediocre anti-ship missiles.

    It’s time for a big extremely fast scary evil looking anti-ship missile.

    • SS BdM Fuhress ‘Savannah

      It’s time for a Force Field. We go shooting any evil looking anti-ship missile’s at the Chinese or Russians I do imagine the same will be coming our way. This isn’t Saddam’s boys sitting in a tank 25 miles from an Apache thinking Allah is taking them off to see the Virgins.

  • LtSam

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the US Navy has a serious, serious problem because of a complete failure of invest in or even maintain the fleet’s Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) capabilities over the past 20 years.

    Excepting the carrier air wing, of which no more than 3 are usually deployed at any time, the vast majority of the fleet is stuck with antiquated ASuW capabilities. Our most capable ASuW weapon is the Harpoon, which was developed in the early 1970s and is only still in use of a subset of surface combatants. The best chance for ASuW and sea control on most of our surface ships is the “limited ASuW capability” of the SM-2.

    Ideally, you’d want to not only develop the subsonic LRASM-A, but you’d also want to develop the supersonic LRASM-B, which is now canceled. Given the projected shortfalls for both surface combatants AND attack submarines over the next 15 years, we can’t take chances on only having one functional ASuW missile on our surface combatants.

    As Torgo pointed out, the anti-ship version of the Tomahawk was removed from service years ago because it didn’t wasn’t going to be successful in that role. Even with modern targeting technology, any version of the Tomahawk could be easily defended given against by even the most basic close-in weapons systems. Hopefully, the low observable characteristics of the LRASM-A will allow it to be a more successful weapon, but given the horribly antiquated ASuW capabilities of the Navy’s surface fleet, we need to develop multiple ASuW weapons now.

    While I pray that the LRASM will be effective, I fear that we have no back-up in place should the program prove to be anything less than completely successful.

    While LTC Russell’s desire to save money on weapons programs is laudable, the LRASM is one program that we should be expanding, not cutting.

    • Rexford L

      the best ASuW weapon the US has, and has ever had.. the submarine, with the Los Angeles, Seawolf and follow on Virginia classes of SSN’s, I’m not really that worried about enemy warships, and with those SSN’s in our navy, unless they go rogue, I’m also not that worried about enemy submarines either.

  • ziggy1988

    Firstly, I’d like to thank LTCOL Russell for his distinguished services to the Nation.

    Secondly, he’s dead wrong. His biggest mistake is that he’s confusing the Tomahawk with the LRASM. They are totally different missiles.

    The Tomahawk is a land-attack cruise missile. It is not, and never was, designed to attack ships. As others have mentioned, an anti-ship version was once designed, but was cancelled.

    The only anti-ship cruise missile the US Navy now has – and only some USN surface combatants can launch it – is the Harpoon, an obsolete, 1970s technology SUBSONIC short-ranged missile. A replacement is urgently needed.

    Besides, the Tomahawk is not nearly as good as LTCOL Russell claims. Its range is only 1,700 kms – way too little to strike deep into China or Iran – it is subsonic, and it’s very easy for enemy air defense systems to intercept – both for short-range point-area systems (e.g. the Tor-M1, the Pantsir-S1, the KS-1, the HQ-2, the HQ-12, the SA-3, and the SA-6) and for long-range air defense systems like the S-300, S-400, HQ-9, HQ-16, and S-500.

    Moreover, the Tomahawk is very expensive: it costs $1.45 mn per copy. At that cost, it is way too expensive for any kind of sustained operations. Indeed, all cruise missiles are. They’re expensive and expendable, and thus too costly for sustained strike operations. Cost was the reason why, in 1991, the US had to stop firing them after launching 100. For $1.45 mn, one bomber could deliver dozens, if not hundreds, of bombs to different targets.

    • The Navy’s Grade 36 Bureaucrat

      The older Tomahawks (Block III) cost about 1.3-1.45 million. The newer (Block IV) Tomahawks cost 700K, mainly because they use a jet engine instead of a turbofan. I do agree that we need an anti-ship missile, however, there is a push to bring back TASM in an improved form, the advantage being that the launchers are already on Navy ships. Perhaps a combination where TASM covers in the short term until LRASM fully matures would be better.

    • ted

      Tomahawk is SURGICAL and used for pin point accuracy of a designated target site with minimal collateral damage to civilians in the target zone. And it works damn good for that. So what’s the price you put on civilian lives?.And yes bombers can deliver hundreds of bombs to a target but who and how many people do we kill doing it?. If you are talking going to a full scale war then I agree use the biggest hammer you have to win.But that is and was not why the tomahawk was used in most situations.

  • felipe

    The thing that the author forgot to mention is that america does not possess any antiship missile whatsoever. Both harpoon and tasm were retired long ago, and to upgrade them to todays standards, would mean developing a whole new system to fit yesterdays package. It doesnt make any sense, specially when you notice that yesterdays package cant match todays maritime anti air defense systems, upgraded for the task of defeating yesterdays antiship missiles.

    Tho yesterday it didnt make sense to invest on a new antiship missile, for there were no real maritime threat to counter, today the scenario has changed, with new players and capabilities to challenge.

    • Timo

      AGM/RGM-84 Block II Harpoon is still in service by both USN and USAF. UGM-84 Harpoon and RGM/UGM-109B TASM has been (AFAIK) retired by U.S. forces.

  • Marco_Rubio_Owns

    Thanks for your service sir, but I am glad you aren’t making the decision. This missile is highly needed and it will enter service by 2020.

  • Mike

    Sometimes we would do a lot better to not spend millions on a new weapon and just copy and improve an existing weapon that the enemy has developed…. The exercet missile is the best anti-ship missile in the world. Why not make it better?

    We make the same mistake by developing the pee shooter M-16 and M-4 when the AK-47 has always been a superior combat weapon. Whether it was the jungles of Vietnam or the mud huts of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have been outgunned with our pee shooter .223 that won’t go through the jungle foliage or the mud hut walls and corners while the AK will….

    I can not think of a better example of this more economical and militarily superior thinking than the Israelis. Everything we have sold them or gave them was improved by them and later adopted by us, whether it was the F-4 or the F-16 or many other weapons systems….

    • Araya

      Sorry but an AK-47 or AK74 is not a superior combat weapon to the M16A3/4 or M4A1 both have their advantages and disadvantages. For example the AK47 is in compare to the M16 or M4 inaccurate because of is simple design and is moving parts with large tolerance, so it is much easier to hit a target on long range with an M16 them with an AK47 or an AK74 and them you have the bad luck and the AK is an original Russian made/product so it becomes a lot harder because of the poor production quality itself. So them you are well trained you chose the M16 over the AK47 them you are an amateur without any or less experience you chose the AK47 because why the real advantage of the AK is the simple maintenance and high tolerance under extreme conditions.

  • Desertrat

    Interesting discussion. No doubt we need functional, reliable replacements for both the Tomahawk and the Harpoon. The key words are “functional” and “reliable”. Unfortunately, LM is the contractor for LRASM, JASSM……….and the F-35. Need I say more?

    • Charles Haas

      Actually, LockMart has done a good job with the JASSM. While some problems existed, they are doing fine now, and updates like the JASSM-ER and LRASM are doing well also.

    • ted

      YES Please do. What in pray tell do you have against these systems and/or the company building them?. You obviously work for the competitor or got laid off from them.Every new weapon system built has its failures during tests and/or in the field sometimes. But they are soon resolved. LM happens to be one of the finest companies in our country maybe not perfect but close in my opinion and you can take that to the bank.

      • Desertrat

        Both the Tomahawk and the Harpoon are functional and reliable systems. But they need to be supplemented and then supplanted with faster more capable weapons which are likewise functional and reliable. IMHO LM does not have a good track record for delivering such systems on any kind of predictable schedule and within any kind of reasonable budget. Yes, they eventually do deliver something that the customer has to continue paying for the evolution into a specification compliant system. The F-35 is just the most recent example of a system with a totally blown schedule and a budget with no stops.

  • bring_it_on

    It would have been wise on the part of the editors to point out to the honorable lt colonel, that the LRASM is not a competitor to the tomohawk, or meant to replace it.

  • trojanbomber52

    Wow, did the author and/or editor research anything before publishing this article? The TLAM’s closest weapon system counterpart system is the CALCM, both land attack cruise missiles with poor LO capes. To compare those with the JASSM or LRASM mission sets is silly at best. I highly doubt the author has ever planned or launched a JASSM, so I fail to see how he has any credibility to judge how effective they are? The JASSM and its follow-on JASSM-ER both have extremely good testing records. I am assuming the author is simply selectively remembering the one lot of JASSM missiles that had a few problems in 2008 around the Nunn-McCurdy review, but every lot since has performed well above spec but that fact was simply ignored to make his failed argument.

    The LRASM leverages the successful platform of the JASSM-ER and adds a moving target strike cape, as well as a few other tactical advances, and it has done it with using as much common technology as possible. I also expect some of the OFP updates made for LRASM to also flow back to JASSM-ER to benefit the baseline missile as well.

    What I think the author fails to understand is that not every future conflict that we have to prepare as a nation will be a Army led ground battle like the last 8+ years of OEF/OIF have been. I’m guessing he also feels left out in the Air Sea Battle CONOPS that the DOD is shifting to. A better article for this Army LTC to write would be to discuss the tactical & strategic value of the ATACM and if that system has a place in future funding. During my time on the ground in AFG I can’t think of a weapon system that caused more hassle for its minimal benefit than that Army system.

  • SDR

    While I am well aware that the two systems are not a one for one trade off, the point that needs to come across is that the Tomahawk is the bill payer for the LRASM. That is the issue. In my view, a depleted inventory of Tomahawks leaves us in great danger in the short term budget arena than the costly experiments to develop the new missile capability.

    This is the issue. Tomahawks are needed and used and could be replenished in the short term. Our budgeteers should take pause on the costly tests for a cycle or two and use the funds better to replenish capabilities we need and use currently. That is the point. SDR – Author

  • ycplum

    First, thank you for your service.

    Second, I think one of the main problems is that Congress tend to support and fund what they feel is “best”. Unfortunately, their criteria for “best” often include non-military and non-technical considerations, like how much of the budget goes their state or community.


    The US has not fielded a ship in 15 years with a beyond the horizon anti-ship capability. This system is needed to rectify that. Furthermore, it is needed along with a ballistic model to provide a combined arms dilemma.


  • G Alexander Crowther

    I must say I do not agree with LTC Russell. In my recent opinion editorial at the Strategic Studies Institute (the US Army’s think tank) at, I propose that, not only should the US be buying JASSM-ER, but we should ensure that there is a truck-mounted version (much like HIMARS, the truck-mounted version of MLRS) so that the US Army could participate in A2AD, as could the armies of our allies such as the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Bahrain and Kuwait as well as our friends like Vietnam or the remaining members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Our opponents are designing their forces to apply against our weaknesses, we should do the same.

  • Guest

    “For example, the .50 caliber Machine Gun was designed in 1919. That’s right, just after the First World War. It has been successfully upgraded and is still used today by all the armed services. It is efficient, deadly and respected by all of us who have used it in battle to defeat America’s enemies. Why? It simply works. America has protected thousands of lives and saved billions of dollars by resisting the calls for a potentially better mouse trap.”

    You’re right about the weapon, but the fact is, they DID spend tons on fielding weapons to replace it, only to withdraw those for being more complex and expensive, as well as less reliable. So the call for the potentially better mouse trap was not resisted…it’s just that in this case, no one’s really built a mousetrap that’s better overall. Hard to beat Browning.

  • Tim Gould

    The comparison between a strike weapon like the Tomahawk and the navy’s quest for a VLS replacement for the Harpoon is a little like comparing apples and oranges. Tomahawks were originally intended to strike land targets while Harpoons were intended to be a air launched anti-ship weapon.
    The navy has a habit of ignoring one of it’s primary capabilities in favor of submarine and aircraft carriers. Which is ignoring one of the lessons of naval warfare and power projection. I have seen the navy lose the war in a war game because the OPFOR commander was smart enough to realize that even a nuclear powered carrier still needs tankers full of fuel to power those aircraft and if you can use your warships to deny them that fuel then the carrier and it’s aircraft are a mission kill.

  • Ted

    I just want to say AMEN to Steve on his comments and thank you for your service to our country. And you are right about everything you said about the Tomahawk. BUT
    we must strive to stay ahead of our enemies in all weapon systems.Make improvements but keep our good old ones that have been proven to work good in combat. It is unfortunately the necessary evil man has created to stay the survivor since the beginning of time.And Tim below makes a good point about fuel. Thats how we beat the Germans in WW2 on the ground (Rommel’s tanks)?. The sea is no different. I say learn from the past and build for the future.But question every step along the way.

  • Gagarin

    This is so wrong it’s sad and funny. I’m so, so, sorry. “Mystifying” is a great word.

  • Chris

    Still waiting to hear about that country with a surface navy worth worrying about.