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Storm In A Teacup, Or Rn Vs. Iran


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The effect of a complete Iranian loss of face and excessive Iranian loss of life at sea in a lopsided naval engagement with a superior enemy would have repercussions on the Iranian government's popularity.

 

The loss of an Astute against an outclassed enemy would have the same.

 

There will probably be multiple opportunities for diplomacy, as the benefits of escalation do not outweigh these potential outcomes.

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We are more likely to lose an Astute to being run over by a Supertanker than we are to the Iranian Navy. I know you shouldnt denigrate your opponent, but for all their undoubted skill in plinking tankers, they have yet to show any aptitude for ASW. Other than minelaying anyway.

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I would tend to agree that losing an Astute to the Iranians is unlikely, but the confined nature of the gulf, the Iranian Air Force's proximity to it, the Iranian Navy's close familiarity with it, and a fairly serious submarine capability that appears to be designed for it make losing an Astute to the Iranians more likely in the gulf than in any other body of water in the world.

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Ouch! Still, its one more demonstration of what a solid boat the 688's were.

 

https://news.sky.com/story/hms-duncan-arrives-in-gulf-to-protect-commercial-ships-from-iran-11772261

Britain will send a small number of additional military personnel to Bahrain this week to help boost maritime protection for ships, Sky News has learnt.

The handful of extra forces will be part of the UK Maritime Component Command. The move comes after the arrival of a second major British warship in the Gulf as the crisis over Iran's seizure of a UK-flagged tanker stretches well into its second week.

The Royal Navy's HMS Duncan will support the safe passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, where the Stena Impero was detained by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard earlier this month.

Iran targeted Britain after Royal Marines helped to seize an Iranian super tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in early July on suspicion it was carrying oil bound for Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

The Ministry of Defence said HMS Duncan would work alongside HMS Montrose to "ensure the continuous availability of ships to accompany merchant vessels".

 

"Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world. I'm pleased that HMS Duncan will continue HMS Montrose's fine work in helping to secure this essential route.

"While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality."

About a fifth of the world's oil travelled through the strait between Iran and Oman in 2018.

Last week the government said the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the strait to try and provide reassurance to the shipping industry.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies.

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Realistically, you're on a bit of a losing wicket trying to defend a missile magnet from even Silkworm era AShMs. IMHO it would make sense to make it clear that such an attack, whether successful or not, would invoke a suitably punitive response.

 

If they sink your warship, that opens the door to you sinking all of theirs. The only reason they can do what they do is plausible deniability and pseudo non warfare. Putting an AShM into someone's FOB is an overt act of war that would demand a fairly simple and easy response, even from the RN.

 

 

And what would the regime in Iran care if all ships are sunk?

 

However how would the public in a Western nation care if one of your warships is sunk close to Iranian waters in a pointless conflict.

 

 

Any Iranian Silkworms have probably had their electronics upgraded and will most likely be used only in the deterrence role rather than as an act of aggression to provoke a conflict that must cause Iran extreme pain.

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We are more likely to lose an Astute to being run over by a Supertanker than we are to the Iranian Navy. I know you shouldnt denigrate your opponent, but for all their undoubted skill in plinking tankers, they have yet to show any aptitude for ASW. Other than minelaying anyway.

 

The last part. The only scenario to worry about would be a mine. Since it'll be there to hunt Iranian submarines and for cruise missile attacks, I would guess its deployment zone is well at sea, nowhere near the Gulf where the mining scenario is most dangerous.

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The Gulf is periscope depth only. It is a horrible place for a nuke boat (even though the USN must put them there at least sometimes - see the accident between the SSN and the LSD). It isn't even a particularly good environment for those three Iranian Kilos. At that depth, any full sized boat could easily turn up visually - hence the Iranians painting their boats aqua blue. I don't think anything useful is gained by deploying a nuke boat there, but on the other hand just saying you're going to deploy a boat there adds pressure. There's no reason the boat will actually be in the Gulf, or necessarily even be in theater. It could easily be ordered anywhere after the public announcement was made and no one would know. One of the advantages of nuke boats.

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Wow! Which RFAs have three?

No RFAs have three. Those fitted or FTR all have two.

 

 

Sorry, you said "at least two Phalanx" which I took to imply that some had three.

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Realistically, you're on a bit of a losing wicket trying to defend a missile magnet from even Silkworm era AShMs. IMHO it would make sense to make it clear that such an attack, whether successful or not, would invoke a suitably punitive response.

 

If they sink your warship, that opens the door to you sinking all of theirs. The only reason they can do what they do is plausible deniability and pseudo non warfare. Putting an AShM into someone's FOB is an overt act of war that would demand a fairly simple and easy response, even from the RN.

 

 

And what would the regime in Iran care if all ships are sunk?

 

However how would the public in a Western nation care if one of your warships is sunk close to Iranian waters in a pointless conflict.

 

 

 

They might when they realize they have nothing left to support the war in Yemen.

 

I think it far more likely Iran would push Hamas to launch an attack in the UK, than sink a warship off the coast of Iran. Thankfully they would have to demonstrate a degree of competence to do the latter.

 

 

They have plenty of fishing boats and small merchantman. Much less suspicious than a warship entering a foreign port.

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Sorry, you said "at least two Phalanx" which I took to imply that some had three.

I was probably thinking in broader terms than RFA but still limited to UK. Ark Royal had three. No UK ship that I can think of had less than two other than the first installation on HMS Edinburgh.

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I wouldn't want to be relying on Phalanx to stop a heavy AShM. Its effective range is likely to be marginal in real world condition. I think it's far more likely to be useful against boat swarms, provided anyone allows them to be used.

 

Which isn't going to happen. The Iranians could play kiss-chase with warships and claim there was no hostile intent if they were smoked for it. They'd have to caught live on CNN hijacking a cruise ship in the Bay of Biscay before their lies would be disregarded.

 

ETA: Given the Martlet mount shown earlier, I wonder about turning it on its head and using that mount for Starstreak as well, It's more or less the same thing under the skin.

Edited by DB
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I wouldn't want to be relying on Phalanx to stop a heavy AShM. Its effective range is likely to be marginal in real world condition. I think it's far more likely to be useful against boat swarms, provided anyone allows them to be used.

Typical Iranian AShMs should be within its capabilities. However, CIWS should only ever be the last layer of defence, after strikes against launch platforms, area air defence, close escort air defence and softkill.

 

I wouldn't want to empty my Phalanx magazines on boats if I had other options and there was an extant AShM threat. You'd feel pretty stupid being hit by a C-802 clone after firing off your CIWS against boats armed with MGs and RPGs.

Edited by Anixtu
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Russian embassy diplomats visiting Rus sailors onboard Iran-detained British "Stena Impero" tanker. Guy on the right looks like typical young FSB officer (not necessarily he actually is, but general style is very similar)

Have Russian media said what their role is onboard? Are they navigation officers or engineers (or a mix)?

 

I don't see any colour between the stripes in their rank slides, which would imply deck/navigation officers, but that would put them on the hook against the Iranian charges of colliding with a fishing boat.

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Realistically, you're on a bit of a losing wicket trying to defend a missile magnet from even Silkworm era AShMs. IMHO it would make sense to make it clear that such an attack, whether successful or not, would invoke a suitably punitive response.

 

If they sink your warship, that opens the door to you sinking all of theirs. The only reason they can do what they do is plausible deniability and pseudo non warfare. Putting an AShM into someone's FOB is an overt act of war that would demand a fairly simple and easy response, even from the RN.

 

 

And what would the regime in Iran care if all ships are sunk?

 

However how would the public in a Western nation care if one of your warships is sunk close to Iranian waters in a pointless conflict.

 

 

 

They might when they realize they have nothing left to support the war in Yemen.

 

I think it far more likely Iran would push Hamas to launch an attack in the UK, than sink a warship off the coast of Iran. Thankfully they would have to demonstrate a degree of competence to do the latter.

 

 

They have plenty of fishing boats and small merchantman. Much less suspicious than a warship entering a foreign port.

 

 

 

How are they going to move Scud Missiles to Yemen with those? The US (and Britain for that matter) are perfectly able to track even minor vessels if they are acting suspiciously. For example, during the conflict in Northern Ireland, RN submarines on at least one occasion tracked a gunrunning fishing boat.

 

 

 

 

 

Russian embassy diplomats visiting Rus sailors onboard Iran-detained British "Stena Impero" tanker. Guy on the right looks like typical young FSB officer (not necessarily he actually is, but general style is very similar)

Have Russian media said what their role is onboard? Are they navigation officers or engineers (or a mix)?

 

I don't see any colour between the stripes in their rank slides, which would imply deck/navigation officers, but that would put them on the hook against the Iranian charges of colliding with a fishing boat.

 

Perhaps they are just innocent tourists :)

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Russian embassy diplomats visiting Rus sailors onboard Iran-detained British "Stena Impero" tanker. Guy on the right looks like typical young FSB officer (not necessarily he actually is, but general style is very similar)

Have Russian media said what their role is onboard? Are they navigation officers or engineers (or a mix)?

No information, just "Russian Embassy is in close contacts with Iran authorities regarding the timing of sailors return to Russia"

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Realistically, you're on a bit of a losing wicket trying to defend a missile magnet from even Silkworm era AShMs. IMHO it would make sense to make it clear that such an attack, whether successful or not, would invoke a suitably punitive response.

 

If they sink your warship, that opens the door to you sinking all of theirs. The only reason they can do what they do is plausible deniability and pseudo non warfare. Putting an AShM into someone's FOB is an overt act of war that would demand a fairly simple and easy response, even from the RN.

 

 

And what would the regime in Iran care if all ships are sunk?

 

However how would the public in a Western nation care if one of your warships is sunk close to Iranian waters in a pointless conflict.

 

 

 

They might when they realize they have nothing left to support the war in Yemen.

 

I think it far more likely Iran would push Hamas to launch an attack in the UK, than sink a warship off the coast of Iran. Thankfully they would have to demonstrate a degree of competence to do the latter.

 

 

They have plenty of fishing boats and small merchantman. Much less suspicious than a warship entering a foreign port.

 

 

 

How are they going to move Scud Missiles to Yemen with those? The US (and Britain for that matter) are perfectly able to track even minor vessels if they are acting suspiciously. For example, during the conflict in Northern Ireland, RN submarines on at least one occasion tracked a gunrunning fishing boat.

 

 

Why should Yemen need SCUDs? They should have plenty of stocks and the missile force went over to the Houthis on a large scale and was really good.

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Getting off the point a bit with the Scud argument - Iran would definitely care if its regular navy was sunk. The IRGC itself might see that as win-win, but few others in the government would. Plus the IRGC does operate at least one large, valuable ship in addition to its boghammers: the cargo ship saviz, which has been based in the Red Sea and is apparently a Quds SOF support ship supporting the Houthi effort. It would be a prime target for retribution specifically against the IRGC as opposed to regular Iranian naval vessels which AFAIK have never taken part in any of these harassment operations. Its position make it rather vulnerable to any variety of attacks.

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I wouldn't want to be relying on Phalanx to stop a heavy AShM. Its effective range is likely to be marginal in real world condition. I think it's far more likely to be useful against boat swarms, provided anyone allows them to be used.

Typical Iranian AShMs should be within its capabilities. However, CIWS should only ever be the last layer of defence, after strikes against launch platforms, area air defence, close escort air defence and softkill.

 

I wouldn't want to empty my Phalanx magazines on boats if I had other options and there was an extant AShM threat. You'd feel pretty stupid being hit by a C-802 clone after firing off your CIWS against boats armed with MGs and RPGs.

 

 

I think CAMM has great scope as it's cold launch enables it to be bolted on relatively easily. As you know it has both anti air and anti surface capabilities. An expensive way to take out a small boat, but Brimstone or MMW HELLFIRE would be too. They don't have the anti fast jet/AShM capability of CAMM and aren't cold launch.

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The "Sea Spear" Brimstone option certainly has the advantage over misusing CAMM :D

 

It's likely far easier to package due to its smaller size, for instance, and would be a candidate for containerisation for "hasty" fits or conversions. I'm sure MBDA would be quite happy to put say 16 missiles per side in box launchers for hammering Stuart's favourite Boghammars.

 

Nevertheless, it's not the capability that's lacking. Even if fitted, under what circumstances would a local commander be given the freedom to use them? If an engagement was conducted early enough to be effective, the Iranians would claim that it was innocent fishermen who were sunk, or that the IRGC were simply exercising their right to free passage, etc.

 

In other news, it seems that Iran has asked the Chinese for support to fend off the big British bully (timed to coincide with the arrival of HMS Duncan).

 

How many combat aircraft does the Iranian air force have?

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