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Subject: Discussion: the folly of the naval missile age
thruster    11/22/2010 11:51:44 PM
gday. im by no means an expert, but still a self appointed armchair admiral. back in the vietnam war the USAF thought air-air gunnery was a thing of the past. they deployed early model F4s without guns, only to retrofit and add them to later models when they realised that a missile just couldnt guarantee a kill or wasnt even appropriate for the engagement. i think that contemporary naval thinking has fallen into the same trap. i doubt they even practice ship-ship gunnery anymore? as i see it, the naval missile system is a system where its effectiveness is utterly reliant on the adversary. the only thing the missile manufacturer can actually guarantee is that the thing will fly as programed and the warhead will act as advertised. you can never actually guarantee an actual hit, even if your targeting is spot on. to my mind if your ship has been hit by a missile, youve either: 1] been asleep at the wheel 2] been cheap with your countermeasures 3] picked a fight with an enemy with the very latest kit and countermeasures havnt caught up yet 4] youve been overwhelmed by large numbers of simultaneously arriving missiles. considering a typical missile magazine on a frigate, cost of rounds, availability and numbers of strike aircraft for the task and simultaneous fire capability im uncertain the ability to overwhelm any opponent, especially after the first barrage? its a challenging task. as tempting as it is to want to hit a target over the horizon, dedicating your doctrine on a system where your adversary has so much influence on countering it, to my mind isnt too wise? now, gunnery is a different matter. able to carry a very large magazine and fire large volumes of rounds onto a target, even a single gun can easily land multiple hits to devastating effect. and the enemy cannot interfere with a or all round[s] inflight. so, should we get HMAS Vampire outa darling harbour, load it full of latest missile countermeasures, under that umbrella sail up into range and decimate anything that gets in the way? - what do you reckon? cheers.
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