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40 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Except, Kennedy admitted afterwards that it was a made-up scare claim during the election campaign to discredit Eisenhower's VP, now presidential nominee Nixon, and that he knew that no such gap existed.

There is a book by Daniel Ellsburg revealing that even Rand was surprised about it. I seem to recall the newly installed Kennedy administration were finally informed about it (This was im near certain after the inauguration) and promptly decided to be quiet about it. Ain't that just like a Kennedy. :)

 

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5 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Perhaps im missing something. How do we know they actually have a lead in hypersonic technology? Has anyone observed any of the tests and concluded this is a definative fact?

I keep having the 'rockets like sausages' comment by Khrushchev flip through my mind.

The have a lead in boost-glide in that they definitely have a deployed system in the DF-17. They also for the moment have several pieces of testing infrastructure that are larger/more capable than the US for testing; I believe they have the largest, fastest wind tunnel in the world for instance. But I don't think they have any lead at all in 3-5 years.

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2 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

Avoid 2034, I had to go back to check if Stavridis was actually the author because it pegged at 11 on the idiocy scale. Ghost Fleet is equally bad, but one keeps hoping it would improve. 

Weird thing is that Ghost Fleet got some very, very good reviews from The Economist et al (I read it and agree that it sucked).

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I read the premise of it and an excert involving one of the carriers being engaged and either one of those experiences would have made me not read it.

Edited by Josh
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Just now, Josh said:

The have a lead in boost-glide in that they definitely have a deployed system in the DF-17. They also for the moment have several pieces of testing infrastructure that are larger/more capable than the US for testing; I believe they have the largest, fastest wind tunnel in the world for instance. But I don't think they have any lead at all in 3-5 years.

Americans have been testing hypersonic vehicles for well over 10 years, including one mounted on a minuteman missile, as part of Prompt Global Strike. Yes, they are taking their time over it getting into service, hence I'm suspicious the Chinese have blitzed through it. 

It's not that I don't think the Chinese can't be innovative. I just struggle to think of a recent epoch when they have been. 

 

Have you seen any test reports on this thing Josh?

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This is from 2013, I've not seen anything else since to suggest things have changed.

https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/chinapolicyinstitute/2013/09/29/no-game-changer-but-a-great-complicator-chinas-df-21d-asbm/

Considering all this, obvious questions are conjured up: If such a weapon has been mass-produced, is functional, and can evade western defenses, are American aircraft carriers now obsolete?

To answer to such a question we first need to address the most important point of all, does the DF-21D actually work? There is considerable debate on this point. U.S. officials have already dubbed the system has having an initial operational capacity (IOC) several years ago. While there have been at least two reports that note the DF-21D has been deployed in some capacity, there has never been a fully documented test (in nonclassified sources, at least) of the weapon challenging an uncooperative, ocean-going vessel on the high seas. While there would be obvious risks in such a test — such as exacerbating regional tensions, or a technical glitch causing a failure of the system that would negate its deterrent capabilities — doubts will remain without some sort of successful testing being conducted.

 

 

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No, I'm not aware it has been tested. I would point out the Chinese did get around to finally using DF-21 on a barge target at sea a year and change ago; I always had the same argument against that system: it had never even been tested in the environment it was intended to be used. I think the Chinese have issues testing long range systems, especially over water, because given their geography and the US presence in the WestPAC, they might tell the US about as much about their weapons as they tell themselves.

As for who has the lead: the US invented hypersonic weapons* and aircraft**. In the early 80's it developed weapon called ASALM that not only was to have a sustained speed over Mach 4, but also had a test article break Mach 6 when it suffered a run away throttle. That was ultimately cancelled as part of the SALT disarmament effort, not for technical reasons. Post cold war, the US largely ignored the technology as not being cost effective for the conflicts it was in.

The US is now playing catch up to some extent, but it benefits from having done a lot of hypersonic research in the past. The SWERVE glider is a good example of something literally developed in the 80's, dusted off, and being put into service. The RATTLRS demostrator seems to have gone black or amounted to nothing, but it was basically a modernized D21 from the 60's. The US space and military industry has a vast variety of boosters to choose from to boot strap a high speed scramjet or glider.

Since hypersonics is a broad category involving numerous technologies (I personally like to separate out air breathing and gliders since they have nothing to do with each other), and since most of the developments are now classified, it is hard to judge who is making the most progress. Add to that the fact that countries have a knack for explicitly overstating their progress to varying degrees. But I think broadly the US has an advantage in research data and equipment that it can pull off the shelf to incorporate into its projects to jump start them, be it gliders, boosters, launchers, etc. I would say for the moment the PRC has what seems to be an operational weapon (though no one I believe has seen one fly in open source) and that something is better than nothing - so I consider that a 'lead', at the moment. But I think inside several years the floodgates of US high speed projects are going to open for all of the services, that the US will be prolific in their deployment, and that the US will deploy them on mobile platforms with much more strategic range than what the Chinese will be able to (with the caveat that in their own region, the PRC can simply have mobile land based launchers as they do now).



*

Atlas 119F


**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_X-15

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14 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Thanks Josh, that's really interesting.

Could this system be viable for mounting on an SSBN? Might be an option for old Ohio's I was thinking.

I'm all but positive I've read of the US testing kits that were bolted on to W76 surogate RVs that could adjust their aim point. These would still be largely ballistic in nature, this was just to improve accuracy. The W76 was choosen because it is a much smaller (and narrower) warhead compared to W88, so it still fit inside the shroud even with the guidance tacked on.

But as for a truly maneuvering hypersonic missile on an Ohio: that is exactly what the Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike weapon will be. CPS is the 34.5 " diameter weapon being developed by the USN that will initially equip Ohio class SSGNs and later Virginia Block Vs, using the SWERVE biconic glider. Three missiles per Trident tube. The same all up round, completely unmodified, will be used for the Army's rather unimaginatively named Long Range Hypersonic Weapon. Range is officially stated as 1750 nm, however that clearly is bullshit since a hypersonic glider's absolute range is a function of when it completely stalls. It would however have been subsonic for a long time at that point. The point of the 1750nm range is (IMO) to clearly indicate any ship unloading in Taiwan could be hit from Guam in a half hour, while still falling short of putting the mainland in range (spoiler alert, the mainland would be in range). At least one test with the SWERVE glider crossed 2200 miles in thirty minutes. Interestingly enough, thanks to the army etching full/empty weights onto the side of its dummy LRHW training containers for its initial test battery, we can conclude that the missile is ~16,300lbs (unless they are being deliberately missleading):

 

:

Edited by Josh
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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

That's not an answer. Name one military weapon other than the DF21 that is a real innovation. All their kit has been bought abroad, or influenced with foreign technology. 

Yes, you repeat the narrative. Now explain the source that described it as an actual fact. I'll hazard the likelyhood is the source is what the Chinese are telling you.

I want to see an actual test showing DF21 can do what they claim. Just one. It's not a high bar.

There are several instances of innovations, though we can question their veracity, independence, and usefulness. Notable examples are in the field of LO countering radar, submarine locating technology, hypersonic glide vehicles, and electromagnetic cold launch of rockets. There are other innovations in military related technology such as advanced metallurgy.

DF21 has hit hulks at sea, for example Yuan Wang 4 (which was earlier damaged in a fire).

Advances are not at all surprising, given the impressive talent, sufficient resources, and technological base.

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5 hours ago, Josh said:

China could destroy most of the US fleet in the WestPAC without hypersonics, if it just wanted to mount a surprise attack on the regional bases and any formations that happened to be at sea. But that would hardly make the US go away; in fact specifically singling out the US for attack would almost certainly mean that there was a war that lasted as long is it took for the PLAN to cease to exist. See Pearl Harbor. Not that it would probably take that long: the US can bomb Chinese naval bases from Hawaii practically without refueling a B-52, and its nuke boats would pretty much torpedo and mine to their hearts content.

China also arguably doesn't have that much of a lead in hypersonics outside having one operational system. That lead is going to close in several years, so if leveraging hypersonics as a force multiplier is their plan, they have a limited window of five years before the US probably is producing relatively inexpensive air breathing scramjets launched from stealth bombers.

That makes sense, and I think you are mostly right here. It could be a repetition of Pearl Harbor in the sense that the initial Chinese attack should be unable to destroy all the US carriers, as some will be in the Atlantic or the Indian Oceans.

There could be two differences with the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Chinese naval aviation has not the level of skill and experience the IJN had, and that the industrial capacity to replace losses will be in the Chinese side this time.

I find worrying that a lot could happen during those five years of hypersonic capability gap, and desperate Chinese leadership, desperate because whatever reason, that could appear or could not, might be tempted to attempt a short war. It is fortunate the PLAN has not the logistics needed to do a trans-Pacific invasion of USA, at least not yet.

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There are usually only two carriers at risk in the 7th fleet at any one time - which ever one is at sea (there's usually one on patrol in the region) and the Reagan which is based in Japan. Sometimes there's more of them, and presumably sometimes Reagan itself is the local deployed CV. But most of the time there would only be 2 maybe 3 carriers within DF-21/26 range, and the range of H-6's with YJ-12's is probably even shorter. I think currently there are two on exercises and the Reagan is in port, for example. That would leave seven others in various states of repair or deployment.

Replacing losses isn't realistic unless we are talking about a conflict that takes years, and while I think the US would persue the conflict that long if needed, I think it would be decided in weeks or months at most. The other thing China would have to deal with is that its production facilities would be vulnerable to a strike on Day 1. An SSGN can launch 150 missiles at Dalian or Shanghi and expect some percentage of them to find targets.  If the Chinese opened with such a move tomorrow, carrier 003 would be burnt out in its dry dock.

I don't think China really is going to have a window where war with the US is a winnable thing for them. They lack any strategic depth (see paragraph above) while the US has additional assets - and allies - spread across the world. But that doesn't mean that the Chinese government thinks the way I do, of course. And the Japanese analogy might hold: there simply might be too much at risk *not* to try, given Xi's ambitions. By 2030 I think for a lot of economic, military, and political reasons, China will be at a relative disadvantage vis-a-vis the US.

 

Of course the entire situation could change radically as well in any direction; maybe one of the two countries politically falls apart first. No predicting black swan events.

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I wonder what are the military/political implications of the belt and road initiative in this context. The Chinese have been investing in many ports around the world, like Greece's Piraeus. Perhaps that would allow them to apply political pressure too.

Quite agree otherwise with the main points.

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1 hour ago, Josh said:

There are usually only two carriers at risk in the 7th fleet at any one time - which ever one is at sea (there's usually one on patrol in the region) and the Reagan which is based in Japan. Sometimes there's more of them, and presumably sometimes Reagan itself is the local deployed CV. But most of the time there would only be 2 maybe 3 carriers within DF-21/26 range, and the range of H-6's with YJ-12's is probably even shorter. I think currently there are two on exercises and the Reagan is in port, for example. That would leave seven others in various states of repair or deployment.

Two carriers seems insufficient for a war with China.  Assuming Stuart is correct and the missile threat can be contained, they'd still need practically the entire carrier fleet to transition to offensive operations.  Not only out of caution with Chinese forces, but for the possibility of Russian intervention as well.  Assuming Stuart is not correct, then the US carriers will not approach the combat zones in the SCS, (but may detach their air wings to land bases).

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The other thing China would have to deal with is that its production facilities would be vulnerable to a strike on Day 1. An SSGN can launch 150 missiles at Dalian or Shanghi and expect some percentage of them to find targets.  If the Chinese opened with such a move tomorrow, carrier 003 would be burnt out in its dry dock.

Any well thought out mobilization plan would remove key military production to dispersed sites prior to a war.  As such, I would expect the Chinese to implement an industrial mobilization brilliantly while I doubt the US even has such a plan.  Now, don't get me wrong  - on the transgender integration front -  advantage US!  But for.  You know.  Trivial shit like disbursing industry and implementing a civil defense plan with a  cooperative civilian population?  The US would be dog shit at that compared to China, I think.  Trump is going to impose martial law in New York?  Biden is going to impose martial law in Texas?  

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I don't think China really is going to have a window where war with the US is a winnable thing for them. They lack any strategic depth (see paragraph above) while the US has additional assets - and allies - spread across the world.

Consider the possibility that the Chinese population is so unified and determined that they could absorb hundreds of millions of casualties without giving in, and that the US is so domestically fractured that it could easily blow apart in a war under very little exterior stress.

In terms of US allies, I doubt these will be of much assistance.  

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By 2030 I think for a lot of economic, military, and political reasons, China will be at a relative disadvantage vis-a-vis the US.

I doubt the relative decline of the US is a temporary condition and that China will continue to supplant US influence in Asia in the next decade.  

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8 hours ago, glenn239 said:

Two carriers seems insufficient for a war with China.  Assuming Stuart is correct and the missile threat can be contained, they'd still need practically the entire carrier fleet to transition to offensive operations.  Not only out of caution with Chinese forces, but for the possibility of Russian intervention as well.  Assuming Stuart is not correct, then the US carriers will not approach the combat zones in the SCS, (but may detach their air wings to land bases).

Any well thought out mobilization plan would remove key military production to dispersed sites prior to a war.  As such, I would expect the Chinese to implement an industrial mobilization brilliantly while I doubt the US even has such a plan.  Now, don't get me wrong  - on the transgender integration front -  advantage US!  But for.  You know.  Trivial shit like disbursing industry and implementing a civil defense plan with a  cooperative civilian population?  The US would be dog shit at that compared to China, I think.  Trump is going to impose martial law in New York?  Biden is going to impose martial law in Texas?  

Consider the possibility that the Chinese population is so unified and determined that they could absorb hundreds of millions of casualties without giving in, and that the US is so domestically fractured that it could easily blow apart in a war under very little exterior stress.

In terms of US allies, I doubt these will be of much assistance.  

I doubt the relative decline of the US is a temporary condition and that China will continue to supplant US influence in Asia in the next decade.  

I'm too lazy to quote specific sections.

In reference to the first part: I was referring to the number of aircraft carriers the Chinese could probably easily poach in a quick first strike, not the number needed to prosecute the entire war. Read the thread, and read the room.

Your second paragraph sounds insane. China would relocate it's industry? How? Why? That isn't an achievable goal in this day and age. I don't even know what you are talking about. Are they going to move their dry docks inland? Also how would China even engage US production sites without an ICBM? You either are bonkers or have really stated your position inarticulately.

I'm fine with the Chinese population being motivated. If they want to swim to Taiwan, that solves a lot of problems.

I don't think the US will need allies, but it keeps a lot of ships in allied territory and the UK at least seems willing to go to the other side of the world with us with an aircraft carrier (and possibly nuclear submarines) which is better than the Chinese have to date, so, yes, the US has some worthy allies. Will the Russians show up if China picks a fight? Look Putin in the eye and ask, "you have my back Vlad, yes?".

I definitely think the US is going through a decline. I just think China is about to go through a bigger one. End of the day, the US has had the same government since 1776 with complete continuity and the CCP is a young upstart trying to spread its wings after fucking up the Great Leap and The Cultural Revolution, now compounded by One Child. They are a 70 year old government that claims their system is better. I'm fine with stamping my shoe and saying 'we will outlast you'.

I know you want the US to decline Glenn, but unless you're a lot older than me, I think you're going to have to watch China decline first.

Edited by Josh
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You make some very interesting points at the end there Josh. Could we be watching the death of the superpowers? China seems to only keep a lid on its problems by becoming Maoist again. The US seems on the brink of its second civil war. Russia continues to decline despite Putins glad hand. Is it possible that these states are just too big to control effectively in the internet age? And if they do disappear, what replaces it? New ones, or the arise of middle ranking powers like Indonesia and Turkey?

This would make a good novel. Better than Dragon Strike anyway. :)

 

 

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The US is going to make new radars on Palau. But afterwards, the US falls apart, along with China. Palau uses those former US radar installations as telepathic mind control instruments to instigate all other remaining countries to fight each other for eternity down to the poinr of fragmented tribes. Palau enjoys its private peace on the beach.

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7 hours ago, Josh said:


In reference to the first part: I was referring to the number of aircraft carriers the Chinese could probably easily poach in a quick first strike, not the number needed to prosecute the entire war. Read the thread, and read the room.

Right, but I think it was me that was writing my post?   And what I was talking about the number of carriers that the US would need to actually contemplate moving carriers into or near to the South China Sea against China near the start of the war. 

I realize there was talk of some sort of Pearl Harbor scenario, but I didn't pay much attention to it.  Specifically, because the idea of a PH scenario seems kind of far fetched in terms of China and Russia's limited geographical and political objective scope.  Second, because one would have to be a bit of rank fantasist to suppose but that if our potential enemies really did do a Pearl Harbor scenario, it's possible that they could knock out every carrier in the fleet.  You see Josh, during peacetime it's easy to track the exact location of all aircraft carriers, so it would be child's play to put a submarine, (or H-20, etc) on each ship in peacetime.  Atlantic, Pacific, Indian.  Pretty much anywhere.  

Now, notice I said, "knock out", not "sink".  A carrier is actually a pretty brittle thing.  Rip up its flight deck, catapults, and hangers, and it's pretty much out of the war for a year.

 

 

Edited by glenn239
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5 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

You make some very interesting points at the end there Josh. Could we be watching the death of the superpowers? China seems to only keep a lid on its problems by becoming Maoist again. The US seems on the brink of its second civil war. Russia continues to decline despite Putins glad hand. Is it possible that these states are just too big to control effectively in the internet age? And if they do disappear, what replaces it? New ones, or the arise of middle ranking powers like Indonesia and Turkey?

This would make a good novel. Better than Dragon Strike anyway. :)

 

 

I think we're about to hit a global depression, honestly. But over a longer term, I think we're going to continue to slide towards a more multi polar world without a clear hegemon. Which historically generally makes for more conflict, not less.

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3 minutes ago, glenn239 said:

Right, but I think it was me that was writing my post?   And what I was talking about the number of carriers that the US would need to actually contemplate moving carriers into or near to the South China Sea against China near the start of the war. 

I realize there was talk of some sort of Pearl Harbor scenario, but I didn't pay much attention to it.  Specifically, because the idea of a PH scenario seems kind of far fetched in terms of China and Russia's limited geographical and political objective scope.  Second, because one would have to be a bit of rank fantasist to suppose but that if our potential enemies really did do a Pearl Harbor scenario, that anything short of them hitting every carrier in the fleet would be optimistic for us.  You see Josh, during peacetime it's easy to track the exact location of all aircraft carriers, so it would be child's play to put a submarine, (or H-20, etc) on each ship in peacetime.

 

 

It would be easy for the PLAN to place a submarine on every US CV around the world? Please, do tell. Go into details. Explain which boats would be in which bodies of water. Let the Russians know how it is done!

Edited by Josh
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