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Letter to Sen McCain RE CBRN use in Syria

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
That might be a defensive plan against a missile attack, but an Iowa class holds 1,200 projectiles. How much are those missiles each anyway? However, if you are a Raytheon stockholder, it makes a lot of sense.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
Not questioning proficiency, but I would seriously love to know how effective shoot and scoot of towed arty like M777 is supposed to be against modern counter-battery systems, ie REDFOR MLRS. Probably not an answer for here, but also probably not great.
....If we’re at the point of our fire support assets being targeted by counter battery fire, I suspect we have a shit ton of other problems.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Iowa class holds 1,200 projectiles
An Iowa class holds zero projectiles. You're simultaneously touting, as an alternative to the recent TLAM/JASSM strike, a weapon system that is no longer in service, and several that have yet to IOC. Why not just employ photon torpedoes against Syrian CW facilities?

It would seem as though your imagination runs just as wild regarding weapon systems as it does with geo-political conspiracy theories.
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
That might be a defensive plan against a missile attack, but an Iowa class holds 1,200 projectiles. How much are those missiles each anyway? However, if you are a Raytheon stockholder, it makes a lot of sense.
The BB vs air attack argument might have made sense in 1968 but I’d proffer that many of the assumptions that supported that argument are different now that there are PGMs available that can be delivered in a variety of different ways none of which involves even considering re-activating 80yr old warships so they can sit within range of ASCMs all to make the BB fan boys happy.

Yes, BBs are cool. Yes, pictures of BBs shooting their main guns are awesome. No, they are no longer relevant unless you’re interested in writing some alternative reality books where BBs are still relevant. 12yr old me would totally buy that book.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
BBs are cool. Yes, pictures of BBs shooting their main guns are awesome. No, they are no longer relevant unless you’re interested in writing some alternative reality books where BBs are still relevant. 12yr old me would totally buy that book.
... annnnd that’s not what this technology is talking about. It’s talking about a rail gun that can launch projectiles in excess of +100nm and at a velocity and volume that makes it difficult for interceptors to hit. Feasible or not, It’s worth looking into it.

Don’t be so quick to write off artillery. If a Battalion CO had a choice between an artillery battery or section of aircraft, He would almost always take the battery. Artillery doesn’t get weathered out and can’t be degraded with EW. Recent events in the last 2 years in Syria is a good example of effective Arty use. Watching an effective battery in combat or evening training is a humbling experience.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
That might be a defensive plan against a missile attack, but an Iowa class holds 1,200 projectiles. How much are those missiles each anyway? However, if you are a Raytheon stockholder, it makes a lot of sense.
At a maximum rate of fire of 18 rounds a minute, which couldn't be sustained for very long at all, and a max range of ~30 miles an Iowa-class battleship is not a very viable weapon for many of the targets we now face. Plus, after the first few salvos downrange against an adversary that has the ability to intercept 16-inch rounds the battleship would likely be facing a significant and effective response. Finally, as Brett points out, they are all museums now and really aren't an option.

As a note, the reactivated Iowa class ships were outfitted to carry 32 TLAMs.
A wide variety of platforms we now have in service can carry far more and then some.

... annnnd that’s not what this technology is talking about. It’s talking about a rail gun that can launch projectiles in excess of +100nm and at a velocity and volume that makes it difficult for interceptors to hit. Feasible or not, It’s worth looking into it.
When did we start talking about rail guns? Until they start showing up in the fleet, and that would be dependent on developing a working gun and then funding and fielding it, they are about as useful as a battleship is today.

Don’t be so quick to write off artillery. If a Battalion CO had a choice between an artillery battery or section of aircraft, He would almost always take the battery. Artillery doesn’t get weathered out and can’t be degraded with EW. Recent events in the last 2 years in Syria is a good example of effective Arty use. Watching an effective battery in combat or evening training is a humbling experience.
That is because we have been operating in a very permissive envirement for that sort of support for the last 15 years, if we faced a competent adversary equipped with effective artillery, both the 'tube' and missile kind, and air power the story would likely be completely different. No matter how fast a battery moves it can't outrun missiles.
 
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Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
... annnnd that’s not what this technology is talking about. It’s talking about a rail gun that can launch projectiles in excess of +100nm and at a velocity and volume that makes it difficult for interceptors to hit. Feasible or not, It’s worth looking into it.

Don’t be so quick to write off artillery. If a Battalion CO had a choice between an artillery battery or section of aircraft, He would almost always take the battery. Artillery doesn’t get weathered out and can’t be degraded with EW. Recent events in the last 2 years in Syria is a good example of effective Arty use. Watching an effective battery in combat or evening training is a humbling experience.
Q: a rail gun round, a 16” round from a BB, a zumwalt advanced gun round, and a TLAM are all launched at a target; which one gets their first and with the best effects?
A: the TLAM, because the rest of them are make believe .
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
That is because we have been operating in a very permissive envirement for that sort of support for the last 15 years, if we faced a competent adversary equipped with effective artillery, both the 'tube' and missile kind, and air power the story would likely be completely different. No matter how fast a battery moves it can't outrun missiles.
I think we’re on the same page here. Lots of things are going to happen before we get to that stage. Counterbattery fire and guided missiles are a real thing, and there are ways to mitigate it. One of them is making them go away, staying out of range, and then finally moving.

As far as railguns, it’s a concept and yes until it becomes a real thing, it’s all fairy tales. In my opinion there are lots of people quick to dismiss it without really thinking it through. It’d be nice to have a battery afloat and not have to insert or retrograde a fire support asset from a beach head or landing zone. Even if it’s only ranging 200 miles.

Q: a rail gun round, a 16” round from a BB, a zumwalt advanced gun round, and a TLAM are all launched at a target; which one gets their first and with the best effects?
A: the TLAM, because the rest of them are make believe .
Sweet! Two can place this game.

*Circa 1910

Q: An armored plated vehicle with internal breach loading turret, an aero plane with hand held explosive devices, and a train with a 370mm artillery tube on a train are all launched to destroy a target behind German lines....Which will have the best effects?

A: See how stupid you sound?
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
I think we’re on the same page here. Lots of things are going to happen before we get to that stage. Counterbattery fire and guided missiles are a real thing, and there are ways to mitigate it. One of them is making them go away, staying out of range, and then finally moving.

As far as railguns, it’s a concept and yes until it becomes a real thing, it’s all fairy tales. In my opinion there are lots of people quick to dismiss it without really thinking it through. It’d be nice to have a battery afloat and not have to insert or retrograde a fire support asset from a beach head or landing zone. Even if it’s only ranging 200 miles.



Sweet! Two can place this game.

*Circa 1910

Q: An armored plated vehicle with internal breach loading turret, an aero plane with hand held explosive devices, and a train with a 370mm artillery tube on a train are all launched to destroy a target behind German lines....Which will have the best effects?

A: See how stupid you sound?
In 1910 none of those technologies would be relevant for another 6-8yrs so they’d be just as much make believe as my examples are today. In most of your examples it took the forcing function of an enormous war to move those ideas to reality.

Should TLAM today stop us from looking to the next thing? Absolutely not. But let's not kid ourselves in to thinking that rail guns will somehow be revolutionary and without limitations. For instance, I don't imagine we'd see rail guns being used to shoot targets over the horizon any time soon. The whole point of a rail gun is to have a small projectile that goes really fast which basically limits you to line of sight. Sure, you can shoot it ballistically but now you're giving up your velocity advantage and you're left with a small projectile with limited velocity and limited capability to do any damage . Additionally, the small projectile size and high initial velocity really limits your ability to steer the projectile thus impacting accuracy.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Should TLAM today stop us from looking to the next thing? Absolutely not. But let's not kid ourselves in to thinking that rail guns will somehow be revolutionary and without limitations. For instance, I don't imagine we'd see rail guns being used to shoot targets over the horizon any time soon. The whole point of a rail gun is to have a small projectile that goes really fast which basically limits you to line of sight. Sure, you can shoot it ballistically but now you're giving up your velocity advantage and you're left with a small projectile with limited velocity and limited capability to do any damage . Additionally, the small projectile size and high initial velocity really limits your ability to steer the projectile thus impacting accuracy.
Current railgun R&D is definitely focused on pushing out beyond the horizon, and guidance packages are definitely being looked at.
Not to undersell the remaining challenges, but the point is, if railgun ever makes it to operational use, that community has a pretty good idea what they need to be able to deliver to justify the effort to get there.

If you can ever make it across the river to the lab gun setup in Dahlgren, I highly recommend it.
Even more so if you can get an opportunity to learn about the projectile...in my opinion it's more interesting than the gun itself...the gun just delivers the payload after all.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
The BB vs air attack argument might have made sense in 1968 but I’d proffer that many of the assumptions that supported that argument are different now that there are PGMs available that can be delivered in a variety of different ways none of which involves even considering re-activating 80yr old warships so they can sit within range of ASCMs all to make the BB fan boys happy.

Yes, BBs are cool. Yes, pictures of BBs shooting their main guns are awesome. No, they are no longer relevant unless you’re interested in writing some alternative reality books where BBs are still relevant. 12yr old me would totally buy that book.
The original query was how well the Zumwalt's touted 6" Long Range Land Attack Projectile could have handled the mission. I then referenced the Iowa class and the experimental sabot 11" submunition that had a similar 100+ nm range - making the case that if the Iowas could have performed the same naval gunfire function - with more powerful shells and larger magazines (had they not been relegated to museums.) As the spare barrels have been scrapped and the 15,000 spare shells disposed of, a return is highly unlikely. As Hotdogs mentioned, the 24/7 capability of naval artillery is an important capability.

For those who referenced the missile loadout of the 90's, a hull that big and strong is a platform for a lot of possibilities. Like the ageless B-52 is still going strong, similarly the Iowas could have been refitted for a fraction of the $22 billion spent on 3 Zumwalts. (The National Defense Act of 1996 mandated the Navy maintain the battleships for gunfire support; it was the Secretary of the Navy certifying in 2006 that the 32 Zumwalts would satisfy the Naval Gunfire Support requirement.)

It would seem as though your imagination runs just as wild regarding weapon systems as it does with geo-political conspiracy theories.
Conspiracies, uh no. Do I analyze and reach different conclusions than you, yes.
 
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