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Phoenix_jz

How do modern Western Anti-Ship Missiles Compare?

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Pretty much as it sounds. We often hear people going on about how obsolete missiles like the Harpoon are compared Eastern hypersonic missiles and the like, but I'm curious... how do the missiles used by western countries compare to each other? And how capable are they of breaking through the defenses of Western ships?

We've got;

  • Harpoon (US)
  • Exocet (France)
  • Otomat/Teseo (Italy)
  • NSM (Norway)
  • Gabriel (Israel)
  • RBS-15 (Sweden)

At least, those are the ones I know of off the top of my head. I don't want to stray into missiles currently being developed at the moment like the LRASM.

So, how do they compare? What are their chances of breaking through modern ships (Burke Flight II or III, Type 45, FREMM, Horizon, Sachsen, etc)?

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Ever since the 1980s when it's been a question of peer to peer naval actions it was already a situation of saturation attacks being a requirement to deal any serious blows to the opposing battlefleet. So you're asking the wrong question, the right question to ask is, "How well can the firing force carry and fire sufficient salvos to accomplish the mission?"

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Your question is:  How well can Western Missiles destroy Western Warships ??

I don't see any of these nations being a threat to the US.

Question is, Chinese, North Korean, Iranian, and Syrian (Russian) missiles against said US ships.

Another is how well the US missiles can penetrate through the enemy defenses.

To Find out:

Step 1:  Join the Military

Step 2:  Pass a Security Clearance

Step 3:  Go into training and learn to operate and maintain these systems.

Step 4:  Keep your mouth shut.

... That's how you find out.

 

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You're missing LRASM and Tomahawk Block IV. Overall I'd say it's LRASM->NSM->Exocet->Otomat->Tomahawk IV->Gabriel->RBS-15->Harpoon.

 

As for how well missiles like this can penetrate defenses, the answer is that it varies depending on the situation of the defender. Attacker situation isn't important to defense penetration but acquisition, so that's out for the moment. Generally though slow subsonic missiles are easier to make low-observable(NSM and LRASM have a big advantage because of this), and come in larger numbers than supersonic missiles. If the defender has OTH targeting support and can datalink with it, missiles like SM-6 or Aster 30 can beat down strikes over time. You can only really answer that by running them out of missiles. Otherwise it's down to an engagement at short ranges once the missile clears the horizon, mostly within the range of short-range SAM systems. Expect that dozens of missiles will be required to overwhelm a Tico/Burke like opponent in this field, probably less against a Eurofrigate with their smaller magazines.

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2 hours ago, Aetreus said:

You're missing LRASM and Tomahawk Block IV. Overall I'd say it's LRASM->NSM->Exocet->Otomat->Tomahawk IV->Gabriel->RBS-15->Harpoon.

 

As for how well missiles like this can penetrate defenses, the answer is that it varies depending on the situation of the defender. Attacker situation isn't important to defense penetration but acquisition, so that's out for the moment. Generally though slow subsonic missiles are easier to make low-observable(NSM and LRASM have a big advantage because of this), and come in larger numbers than supersonic missiles. If the defender has OTH targeting support and can datalink with it, missiles like SM-6 or Aster 30 can beat down strikes over time. You can only really answer that by running them out of missiles. Otherwise it's down to an engagement at short ranges once the missile clears the horizon, mostly within the range of short-range SAM systems. Expect that dozens of missiles will be required to overwhelm a Tico/Burke like opponent in this field, probably less against a Eurofrigate with their smaller magazines.

 

Better to just call it Maritime Strike Tomahawk.

 

The thing is the future of the MST and LRASM are still not certain.  They are competing with each other, along with the NSM, for a Navy contract.   The Navy will decide one winner.   The NSM is currently the front runner for winning the LCS contract.   The bigger contract is for the other ships like the Burke.  Raytheon is backing the Tomahawk and the NSM; Lockheed Martin for the LRASM.

 

Edited by Eisennagel

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5 hours ago, Phoenix_jz said:

Pretty much as it sounds. We often hear people going on about how obsolete missiles like the Harpoon are compared Eastern hypersonic missiles and the like, but I'm curious... how do the missiles used by western countries compare to each other? And how capable are they of breaking through the defenses of Western ships?

We've got;

  • Harpoon (US)
  • Exocet (France)
  • Otomat/Teseo (Italy)
  • NSM (Norway)
  • Gabriel (Israel)
  • RBS-15 (Sweden)

At least, those are the ones I know of off the top of my head. I don't want to stray into missiles currently being developed at the moment like the LRASM.

So, how do they compare? What are their chances of breaking through modern ships (Burke Flight II or III, Type 45, FREMM, Horizon, Sachsen, etc)?

 

The latest block of Harpoon is competitive with the rest but no one except the Finns have purchased it.  

 

You forgot the Koreans have the Haesong, the Japanese the Type 90, and the Taiwanese, the Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III.

 

The HF III is a true supersonic missile.   It can be carried from stealth corvettes to a Lafayette class frigate.  

 

Japan now has the ASM-3 supersonic missile but currently its only carried by F-2 fighters.

 

Germany has inked a large contract for NSM missiles.  That means eventually the Harpoons on all their ships are going to be replaced by NSMs.  

 

The general advantage of subsonic missiles over supersonic ones are in saturation, but many Europeans frigates only carry 8 ASMs when they have the space on board to carry 16.   Thus they don't have the ability to saturate their opponents.  To truly saturate, you need to launch the ASMs from VLSs.  That's leaves you with the Maritime Strike Tomahawk and the LRASM, both of which are still in development and won't be deployed till somewhere in the 2020s.  The Navy will pick one over the other.  

 

The move of the Zumwalt 's role from supporting land warfare to antiship warfare is to load its 80 Mark 57 launchers with as VLS capable ASMs. 

 

The reason why the West does not have supersonic VLS launched antiship missiles is because none of the Western VLS systems --- namely Mk. 41 and the Sylvers, can carry one.  They are limited in depth and diameter.    If you have to use a smaller supersonic missile, it won't have the range.

 

I mentioned saturation.  So far supersonic missiles like the Klub, Kalibr, Onix, Yakhont and Brahmos can be carried like in large VLS launchers.  The Russians have the UKSK VLS launcher, which is huge, at least .8 to .9m in diameter and up to 9m deep at least.  The Indians have their own version.  A Mk. 41 is .65m  in diameter and 7.7m in depth.   The ships that carry them tend to divide their VLS however, 8 of the large VLS dedicated to such missiles, and a different system and set of VLS for SAMs like Shtils, 9M96s, Baraks, etc, to be used for air defense.  This limits their saturation ability though eight missiles is also where many Western ships also have.

 

The Chinese are the ones that have the most interesting possibilities.  The Type 052D and Type 055 carry a VLS called the U-VLS or Universal VLS, which is capable of both cold and hot launches.  Each cell is huge, .85m in diameter with 7m to 9m in depth.   Each cell can carry a YJ-12 or YJ-18 supersonic missile, or  a YJ-100 (derived from DH-10 cruise missile) antiship missile that is very long range, equivalent to a Tomahawk.  They can also carry DH-10s.  But normally a good part of the VLS will be used to carry HQ-9s (S-300 analog) SAMs.  But potentially a Type 052D can host all 64 of its VLS with offensive possibilities, and the Type 055 can do all 112.   A YJ-12 is an analog to the Onix, and the YJ-18 to the Klubs and Kalibrs.   Compared to the Indians and Russians, the Chinese can do both supersonic and saturate.

 

The closest Western equivalent to the U-VLS is the Mk 57, which is on the Zumwalt.  This is .75m in diameter and up to 7m in depth, and is capable of cold and hot launches.  This is probably why the USN is moving the Zumwalt to antiship function, the VLS is capable for missiles with greater potential.  

 

In any case, the SM-6 SAM also has surface ship target capability beyond the horizon.  SAMs can generally target ships, unless like CAMMs you leave this out as an option.  But they require the ships to be in light of sight of each other, so they can light the ships with their fire control radars and guide the SAMs directly.  The SM-6 has an active seeker so it can go fire and forget like true ASMs.

Edited by Eisennagel

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19 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

Your question is:  How well can Western Missiles destroy Western Warships ??

I don't see any of these nations being a threat to the US.

Question is, Chinese, North Korean, Iranian, and Syrian (Russian) missiles against said US ships.

Another is how well the US missiles can penetrate through the enemy defenses.

To Find out:

Step 1:  Join the Military

Step 2:  Pass a Security Clearance

Step 3:  Go into training and learn to operate and maintain these systems.

Step 4:  Keep your mouth shut.

... That's how you find out.

 

Did you miss the point of the mental exercise that much or are you just trying to be smug and get a gold star from teacher?

 

try actually reading the post that specifically said LRASM wasn’t being considered...

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7 minutes ago, JohnPJones said:

Did you miss the point of the mental exercise that much or are you just trying to be smug and get a gold star from teacher?

 

try actually reading the post that specifically said LRASM wasn’t being considered...

Just a 'cold water in your face' true fact that the folks who have the real answers can get tossed in prison if they talk.

There is a lot going on with all these systems that won't make the press until after they are retired.

But feel free to hypothesize all you want.  After all, this game is a mental exercise in 'what if'.

I found some literature on the US Battleships released during WW2.  It's rather bogus and fluffy vague.  Iowa Class Armor models:  TOP SECRET (downgraded to Secret after Korean War), then declassified entirely when set up as a museum.  Internal access to these ships when they were mothballed was very restricted.  Hatches were tack welded shut for the most part.

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1 hour ago, AVR_Project said:

Just a 'cold water in your face' true fact that the folks who have the real answers can get tossed in prison if they talk.

There is a lot going on with all these systems that won't make the press until after they are retired.

But feel free to hypothesize all you want.  After all, this game is a mental exercise in 'what if'.

I found some literature on the US Battleships released during WW2.  It's rather bogus and fluffy vague.  Iowa Class Armor models:  TOP SECRET (downgraded to Secret after Korean War), then declassified entirely when set up as a museum.  Internal access to these ships when they were mothballed was very restricted.  Hatches were tack welded shut for the most part.

So trying to be smug and get a gold star from teacher got it.

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On 2/19/2018 at 12:39 PM, Phoenix_jz said:

Pretty much as it sounds. We often hear people going on about how obsolete missiles like the Harpoon are compared Eastern hypersonic missiles and the like, but I'm curious... how do the missiles used by western countries compare to each other? And how capable are they of breaking through the defenses of Western ships?

So, how do they compare? What are their chances of breaking through modern ships (Burke Flight II or III, Type 45, FREMM, Horizon, Sachsen, etc)?

I realize that you're doing an academic exercise as to which missile is better over the others.   But that's not how anti-ship missile defense works.  Any of the missiles you've listed are capable of making it all the way through defenses.  If you don't start doing defense until after the missile is in the air and inbound, you are way behind.

A lot of preparation for defense against anti-ship missiles is done before hand - much like preparing for a game of WoWS - knowing gun ranges, detection ranges, know who has smoke, who has radar, etc.  Knowledge is power  - knowing the characteristics of the missiles you are potentially facing, how it's targeted. knowing what platforms carry it. and knowing where they are, so you can set up your threat axis, preplan your chaff employment and all of the other things you need to do.

A lot of time and effort is expended on establishing something called the RMP/RAP - relevant maritime picture / relevant air picture, i.e. looking at your minimap, except my mini-map is a huge blue screen that takes up the entire wall on the side of CIC. - it's mostly monotonous and boring - it's hard to stay focused on the task when there isn't an obvious threat. It's what you do 99.95% of the time when you're out there - building RMP/RAP.   You obviously start with your own ship's organic sensors, but then you supplement with datalink from ships in the task force and assigned MPA, using the red, white, and blue force OTH track database, and you have an intelligence feed gathered from multiple sources.

Based on the RMP/RAP,  you establish and set your weapons and force posture and set the appropriate ship's readiness in terms of material condition, readiness, and weapons posture.  You decide your preplanned responses based on available NWP/Tacmemo guidance,  task force guidance and internal ship's combat doctrine. 

All of this is done before missiles start flying - hopefully.  Once missiles start flying if you know what's out there, hopefully you know what is inbound, so that you can employ the appropriate response.  If the first time you become aware of an attack is when it shows up crossing your radar horizon, then you're already lost.  The tactics used to defeat one missile, doesn't work against another missile if you misidentify the inbound missile.  Defense against missiles is not just trying to hard-kill the missile.  For very few missiles, killing the missile is the only defense, but for most missiles out there you only need to cause it to miss - and that is just as good.

The same goes for planning an attack on a target, you start with a RMP/RAP.  It's not just a sterile exercise between you and the target.  You're interested in achieving weapons effects on target.  Do you want to destroy (hard), neutralize (easier) suppress, harrass, distract (even easier relatively)?     So not just using your own ship's weapons, but using all assets available to you.  You're also interested in what other third-party neutral shipping is around the target and how they can affect the effects you're trying to achieve.   Just like defending against missiles, you don't always have to kill the target. Sometimes you can achieve the effects you want without killing it or employing missiles.   But if you need to use missiles, you already know your missile's capabilities and limitations - or should anyway.  You plan your missile attack to work against your target's capabilities and limitations (which hopefully you know) and hope that he's been lazy in building up his RMP/RAP.  At least that's the theory anyway.

Anyways, my info is about over 15 years out of date (I guess it's ancient history) since I've sat in a TAO chair, so it's a look at how things used to be done, when we aren't busy colliding with merchant shipping.

Edited by wtfovr
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For those of you who enjoy this type of stuff ready Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy if you have not already done so. It is amazing and deals with these issues.

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1 hour ago, wtfovr said:

I realize that you're doing an academic exercise as to which missile is better over the others.   But that's not how anti-ship missile defense works.  Any of the missiles you've listed are capable of making it all the way through defenses.  If you don't start doing defense until after the missile is in the air and inbound, you are way behind.

A lot of preparation for defense against anti-ship missiles is done before hand - much like preparing for a game of WoWS - knowing gun ranges, detection ranges, know who has smoke, who has radar, etc.  Knowledge is power  - knowing the characteristics of the missiles you are potentially facing, how it's targeted. knowing what platforms carry it. and knowing where they are, so you can set up your threat axis, preplan your chaff employment and all of the other things you need to do.

A lot of time and effort is expended on establishing something called the RMP/RAP - relevant maritime picture / relevant air picture, i.e. looking at your minimap, except my mini-map is a huge blue screen that takes up the entire wall on the side of CIC. - it's mostly monotonous and boring - it's hard to stay focused on the task when there isn't an obvious threat. It's what you do 99.95% of the time when you're out there - building RMP/RAP.   You obviously start with your own ship's organic sensors, but then you supplement with datalink from ships in the task force and assigned MPA, using the red, white, and blue force OTH track database, and you have an intelligence feed gathered from multiple sources.

Based on the RMP/RAP,  you establish and set your weapons and force posture and set the appropriate ship's readiness in terms of material condition, readiness, and weapons posture.  You decide your preplanned responses based on available NWP/Tacmemo guidance,  task force guidance and internal ship's combat doctrine. 

All of this is done before missiles start flying - hopefully.  Once missiles start flying if you know what's out there, hopefully you know what is inbound, so that you can employ the appropriate response.  If the first time you become aware of an attack is when it shows up crossing your radar horizon, then you're already lost.  The tactics used to defeat one missile, doesn't work against another missile if you misidentify the inbound missile.  Defense against missiles is not just trying to hard-kill the missile.  For very few missiles, killing the missile is the only defense, but for most missiles out there you only need to cause it to miss - and that is just as good.

The same goes for planning an attack on a target, you start with a RMP/RAP.  It's not just a sterile exercise between you and the target.  You're interested in achieving weapons effects on target.  Do you want to destroy (hard), neutralize (easier) suppress, harrass, distract (even easier relatively)?     So not just using your own ship's weapons, but using all assets available to you.  You're also interested in what other third-party neutral shipping is around the target and how they can affect the effects you're trying to achieve.   Just like defending against missiles, you don't always have to kill the target. Sometimes you can achieve the effects you want without killing it or employing missiles.   But if you need to use missiles, you already know your missile's capabilities and limitations - or should anyway.  You plan your missile attack to work against your target's capabilities and limitations (which hopefully you know) and hope that he's been lazy in building up his RMP/RAP.  At least that's the theory anyway.

Anyways, my info is about over 15 years out of date (I guess it's ancient history) since I've sat in a TAO chair, so it's a look at how things used to be done, when we aren't busy colliding with merchant shipping.

TL;DR : Keep your sensors hot, your tubes loaded and your head on a swivel.

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On 2/19/2018 at 4:30 PM, Eisennagel said:

In any case, the SM-6 SAM also has surface ship target capability beyond the horizon.  SAMs can generally target ships, unless like CAMMs you leave this out as an option.  But they require the ships to be in light of sight of each other, so they can light the ships with their fire control radars and guide the SAMs directly.  The SM-6 has an active seeker so it can go fire and forget like true ASMs.

The SM-6's Anti-ship mode is really an annoyance mode more than anything else. That 140 lb warhead lacks both the explosive power and any provision to penetrate anything. Sure, you can damage something with it and it is a Mach 3.5 weapon (probably a tad faster in a dive). but it'll be like throwing a hand grenade onto the deck of a ship. It's not going to sink or seriously hurt anything. At $4 million a pop, it is also a very expensive annoyance to hurl at the enemy.

In anycase, there is a reason the US Navy had been neglecting AShMs. They don't feel they need anything new to bully Rocketman's motley flotilla or Iran's pathetic speed boats. For near peer adversaries like China and (to a much lesser extent) Russia or India, they prefer decimating the enemy with the Mk48 torpedo and the 50+ SSNs.

Edited by dwightlooi

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51 minutes ago, dwightlooi said:

The SM-6's Anti-ship mode is really an annoyance mode more than anything else. That 140 lb warhead lacks both the explosive power and any provision to penetrate anything. Sure, you can damage something with it and it is a Mach 3.5 weapon (probably a tad faster in a dive). but it'll be like throwing a hand grenade onto the deck of a ship. It's not going to sink or seriously hurt anything. At $4 million a pop, it is also a very expensive annoyance to hurl at the enemy.

In anycase, there is a reason the US Navy had been neglecting AShMs. They don't feel they need anything new to bully Rocketman's motley flotilla or Iran's pathetic speed boats. For near peer adversaries like China and (to a much lesser extent) Russia or India, they prefer decimating the enemy with the Mk48 torpedo and the 50+ SSNs.

I’d have to disagree with your last bit...the USN neglected ASMs because after 1991 there wasn’t a hostile naval power that posed significant threat and the gap only widened into the early 2000s

china and Russia both started to get their acts together in the mid 2000s and by 2010 it became a bit of an ‘uh oh’ moment where realized eternal naval dominance wasn’t guaranteed if they kept resting on their laurels.

the rise of the PLAN is a major factor in the USN trying to get a modern ASM

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3 hours ago, dwightlooi said:

The SM-6's Anti-ship mode is really an annoyance mode more than anything else. That 140 lb warhead lacks both the explosive power and any provision to penetrate anything. Sure, you can damage something with it and it is a Mach 3.5 weapon (probably a tad faster in a dive). but it'll be like throwing a hand grenade onto the deck of a ship. It's not going to sink or seriously hurt anything. At $4 million a pop, it is also a very expensive annoyance to hurl at the enemy.

Well, thank god that all military ships these days have less armor then the old tin cans of WW2 or you'd actually have a point! :cap_popcorn:

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1 hour ago, TornadoADV said:

Well, thank god that all military ships these days have less armor then the old tin cans of WW2 or you'd actually have a point! :cap_popcorn:

Armor or not, a thin skinned 140 lbs SAM warhead set off on the surface of a big warship is not going to do much. One 5" round will probably hurt more and you are not going to sink anything with that. Go throw a hand grenade at Pentagon and see if you'll bring it down. Same idea.

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When did they pull the first Tomahawk AShMs from service? Early '90s?

I wish I could shout "LRASM-B" at the Navy until they got the right idea and picked up that project again. Should be good until hypersonic designs are ready.

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2 hours ago, dwightlooi said:

Armor or not, a thin skinned 140 lbs SAM warhead set off on the surface of a big warship is not going to do much. One 5" round will probably hurt more and you are not going to sink anything with that. Go throw a hand grenade at Pentagon and see if you'll bring it down. Same idea.

Thank God that the SAMs in Anti-Ship mode don't detonate and instead are used as really fast telephone poles or you might actually have a point! :cap_popcorn:

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1 hour ago, Lampshade_M1A2 said:

When did they pull the first Tomahawk AShMs from service? Early '90s?

I wish I could shout "LRASM-B" at the Navy until they got the right idea and picked up that project again. Should be good until hypersonic designs are ready.

The TASM was just a Tomahawk with Gen 1 Harpoon sensors and were withdrawn because they didn't do too well outside of blue water engagments. The USN has ready made designs such as FASTHAWK and the target missile Coyote if they wanted to do so.

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A supersonic AShM is not significantly harder to shoot down than a Subsonic AShM. Their only advantage is reducing the response and engagement time available between when the missile breaks the radar horizon and when they impact the target. At Mach 3 it takes about 30~40 seconds vs about a minute and a half. And, this really only applies to "frigate" navy adversaries. Once you have a carrier on the other side and an E-2D Hawkeye (or its equivalent) overhead the radar horizon is ~400km and the missile is going to be seen long before it breaks the horizon of the ship itself. In that case, you can kiss the surprise and response time nonsense goodbye.

Western Navies currently favor stealthy missiles for this reason. Their detection advantages hold AWACS or no AWACS. Stealthy and slow missiles also have the advantage of having monstrous warheads -- 1,000 lbs on the LRASM vs 440 lbs on a Brahmos despite the latter being twice as large and twice as heavy. Punching a hole in a ship doesn't do much. Punching a hole very quickly doesn't do much either. It is that big explosion within the bowels of a ship that sink stuff. Since, you can always "see" an enemy radar before it sees you -- because only a fraction of the signals hitting you actually gets reflected back and that further dissipates on the return leg -- smart missiles like the LRASM constantly monitors hostile emissions and steer around the detection thresholds of the enemy radars when possible.

Obviously, there is an argument to be made for fast and stealthy missiles. And, that is currently being looked at.

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1 hour ago, dwightlooi said:

A supersonic AShM is not significantly harder to shoot down than a Subsonic AShM. Their only advantage is reducing the response and engagement time available between when the missile breaks the radar horizon and when they impact the target. At Mach 3 it takes about 30~40 seconds vs about a minute and a half. And, this really only applies to "frigate" navy adversaries. Once you have a carrier on the other side and an E-2D Hawkeye (or its equivalent) overhead the radar horizon is ~400km and the missile is going to be seen long before it breaks the horizon of the ship itself. In that case, you can kiss the surprise and response time nonsense goodbye.

Western Navies currently favor stealthy missiles for this reason. Their detection advantages hold AWACS or no AWACS. Stealthy and slow missiles also have the advantage of having monstrous warheads -- 1,000 lbs on the LRASM vs 440 lbs on a Brahmos despite the latter being twice as large and twice as heavy. Punching a hole in a ship doesn't do much. Punching a hole very quickly doesn't do much either. It is that big explosion within the bowels of a ship that sink stuff. Since, you can always "see" an enemy radar before it sees you -- because only a fraction of the signals hitting you actually gets reflected back and that further dissipates on the return leg -- smart missiles like the LRASM constantly monitors hostile emissions and steer around the detection thresholds of the enemy radars when possible.

Obviously, there is an argument to be made for fast and stealthy missiles. And, that is currently being looked at.

 

Neither LRASM, and virtually none of the "stealthy" Western missiles you speak of, are all aspect stealthy, nor are they stealthy against all radar bands.  Which means they can be detected by surveillance aircraft from a more vertical aspect, or by the use of longer frequency bands.

 

When you consider the sonic wave compression and kinetic impact brought about by supersonic warheads --- they are mainly semi-AP --- they not only achieve greater penetration, but the kinetic energy and the compression brought about makes that 440lbs of warhead feel more like 1000 lbs. Which by the way means even 140lbs of the warhead on the SM-6 feels more like 300lbs.   The supersonic missile also has more energy for use in evasive maneuvering.  It should be said that the SAM might be carrying HE-FRAG, while the antiship missile maybe carrying shaped charges (Russians call them penetration charges).  

 

So called Western "stealthy" missiles rely on low altitude skimming to be stealthy, and besides all cruise missile radar cross sections are all under 1m2 anyway, more likely in the range of 0.5m2 to 0.1m2.  This is from the frontal aspect.  Not to mention that the Russians have their own versions of these missiles, like the Switchblades and the Chinese YJ-83.  The supersonic missile might be less stealthy since they can't skim as low as the slower missile as they have to fly higher in order to keep themselves from smashing into the water surface.  That is until missiles like the Brahmos, Oniks and YJ-12 appear to be using adaptive sea skimming which they use their radar to scan the surface and make rapid changes in altitude.  Adaptive sea skimming is also used on 'sprinters' like the Kalibers and the YJ-18s, where the missile flies much of its flight path as a sea skimming subsonic missile, then once it pops out of the horizon, drops the cruise missile first stage, and the second stage is a rocket propelled missile that goes up to Mach 3 just above the water.  

 

Edited by Eisennagel

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2 hours ago, Eisennagel said:

Neither LRASM, and virtually none of the "stealthy" Western missiles you speak of, are all aspect stealthy, nor are they stealthy against all radar bands.  Which means they can be detected by surveillance aircraft from a more vertical aspect, or by the use of longer frequency bands.

When you consider the sonic wave compression and kinetic impact brought about by supersonic warheads --- they are mainly semi-AP --- they not only achieve greater penetration, but the kinetic energy and the compression brought about makes that 440lbs of warhead feel more like 1000 lbs. Which by the way means even 140lbs of the warhead on the SM-6 feels more like 300lbs.   The supersonic missile also has more energy for use in evasive maneuvering.  It should be said that the SAM might be carrying HE-FRAG, while the antiship missile maybe carrying shaped charges (Russians call them penetration charges). 

Actually, the kind of stealthy airframes you find on modern stealthy aircraft and missiles are effective against all the practical wavelengths used by ships -- namely X, C, S and L. These are all microwave bands. Yes, they may be a bit more so for X-band than L band, but not terribly more or less effective. To truly degrade shaping and RAM used on these platforms, you need to be at UHF or VHF. Even then a non-stealthy airframe is still more detectable than a stealthy one. Your local airport's SPS-48 radar will easily see a B-2 on landing approach. But, that is not the point. The point is that it is supposed to see it at high altitudes 300~400km away, but it doesn't actually see it until it is 30~40km away. That puts all kinds of holes in your air defense network and renders it ineffective.

A SAM warhead will not stay together and explode inside a ship, period. It doesn't matter how fast they are going. These things have casings as filmsy as coke cans and they will disintegrate on impact. Basically, if the proximity fuse does not detonate the warhead in a near miss, the warhead will detonate when the nose cone impacts the target. If this does not happen and the warhead actually crushes against the air frame or hull you may end up with a dud. To penetrate anything, the warhead must be structured like an artillery shell. These things are more metallic casing than they are explosive. Something like 60~90% of the mass is the casing depending on how though you want it to be.

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1 hour ago, dwightlooi said:

Actually, the kind of stealthy airframes you find on modern stealthy aircraft and missiles are effective against all the practical wavelengths used by ships -- namely X, C, S and L. These are all microwave bands. Yes, they may be a bit more so for X-band than L band, but not terribly more or less effective. To truly degrade shaping and RAM used on these platforms, you need to be at UHF or VHF. Even then a non-stealthy airframe is still more detectable than a stealthy one. Your local airport's SPS-48 radar will easily see a B-2 on landing approach. But, that is not the point. The point is that it is supposed to see it at high altitudes 300~400km away, but it doesn't actually see it until it is 30~40km away. That puts all kinds of holes in your air defense network and renders it ineffective.

A SAM warhead will not stay together and explode inside a ship, period. It doesn't matter how fast they are going. These things have casings as filmsy as coke cans and they will disintegrate on impact. Basically, if the proximity fuse does not detonate the warhead in a near miss, the warhead will detonate when the nose cone impacts the target. If this does not happen and the warhead actually crushes against the air frame or hull you may end up with a dud. To penetrate anything, the warhead must be structured like an artillery shell. These things are more metallic casing than they are explosive. Something like 60~90% of the mass is the casing depending on how though you want it to be.

 

There are enormous differences of wavelength from X to L, and the geometry that works for X, starts to work increasingly less as you go further away from it and by then you are practically detectable from S and L.    Aircraft has more room to allow for a stealth shape than a missile, and stealthy missiles aren't really that stealthy at all other than an angled nose that can only create weird aerodynamic effects like a rhythmic pitching up movement that has to be continually corrected by flight control system.   Missiles have radar cross sections small enough --- just talking typical Harpoons, Tomahawks, Exocets, C-802s, your typical antiship and cruise missile --- that they don't get detected anyway until they are under 50km from a frontal aspect.    Plus another thing, advances in radar technology itself is closing the gap and window for "stealth" as you may call it, these advancements are simultaneous, in power, antenna gain and sensitivity, signal to noise ratio, complex scanning techniques, etc,.  Which is a good thing, given that potential near peer opponents can also work on slower, stealthier missiles as well.  The Chinese have yet to deploy one but they already have stealthy target missile drones to fine tune their radar systems and SAMs.  

 

Anything that needs to fly at supersonic speeds don't have skins as thin as coke cans because at the speeds they fly, they generate heat and pressure that would deform the nose and cause it to explode prematurely  The faster the object goes, the harder its going to get.  By the way, supersonic missiles are the ones that have heads shaped like artillery shells.  Subsonic missiles do not.  Their rounded heads are more prone to radar reflection, but on a supersonic missile, the head is already pointed anyway.  

 

RAM needs to be half as thick as the wavelength you need to absorb.  Thin layers of RAM will work against X band, but by the time  you need it  for S-band, they are going to be so thick and heavy that it would weigh down an aircraft enormously.  Missiles don't have the space for such and need to be as light and efficient as possible for flight range. 

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35 minutes ago, Eisennagel said:

 

There are enormous differences of wavelength from X to L, and the geometry that works for X, starts to work increasingly less as you go further away from it and by then you are practically detectable from S and L.    Aircraft has more room to allow for a stealth shape than a missile, and stealthy missiles aren't really that stealthy at all other than an angled nose that can only create weird aerodynamic effects like a rhythmic pitching up movement that has to be continually corrected by flight control system.   Missiles have radar cross sections small enough --- just talking typical Harpoons, Tomahawks, Exocets, C-802s, your typical antiship and cruise missile --- that they don't get detected anyway until they are under 50km from a frontal aspect.    Plus another thing, advances in radar technology itself is closing the gap and window for "stealth" as you may call it, these advancements are simultaneous, in power, antenna gain and sensitivity, signal to noise ratio, complex scanning techniques, etc,.  Which is a good thing, given that potential near peer opponents can also work on slower, stealthier missiles as well.  The Chinese have yet to deploy one but they already have stealthy target missile drones to fine tune their radar systems and SAMs.  

 

Anything that needs to fly at supersonic speeds don't have skins as thin as coke cans because at the speeds they fly, they generate heat and pressure that would deform the nose and cause it to explode prematurely  The faster the object goes, the harder its going to get.  By the way, supersonic missiles are the ones that have heads shaped like artillery shells.  Subsonic missiles do not.  Their rounded heads are more prone to radar reflection, but on a supersonic missile, the head is already pointed anyway.  

 

RAM needs to be half as thick as the wavelength you need to absorb.  Thin layers of RAM will work against X band, but by the time  you need it  for S-band, they are going to be so thick and heavy that it would weigh down an aircraft enormously.  Missiles don't have the space for such and need to be as light and efficient as possible for flight range. 

So many misconceptions I don;t even know where to start...

(1) RAM thickness have nothing to do with wavelength. I think you are confused with chaff. If you are trying to create maximum reflectivity you'll cut strips of metal to about half the wavelength of the transmission you are trying to create an opaque cloud for. RAM coatings really are have two functions -- creating a continuously and evenly conducting surface to eliminate any electrical discontinuity (which will act like an antenna) and trapping edge scatter. The rest are taken care of by shaping.

(2) Aerodynamic shaping has ZERO effects on penetration unless you are penetrating air. The nose cone of a supersonic missile is usually a very fragile, non-metallic material chosen for its thermal properties and its porous nature to the seeker. It's pretty fragile stuff you can damage with your fist if you are not careful.

(3) Any stealthy design that have no effect or minimal effect in the S and L bands, will be completely USELESS not just today, but in the 70s, the 80s or at any time. MOST search radars -- especially those of cold war vintage -- are S-band or L-band. This includes the SPS-48E, the SPS-49, the SPY-1, APY-1/2 (AWACS), APS-125/139/APY-9 (Hawkeye) and all the Russian stuff on land or at sea. It is only very recently, with the explosion in transmitter power and AESA technology that it becomes feasible to use X-band for long range search. Big X-band arrays are very inefficient power wise, but they are very high resolution. That is why they are used for designs like the TPY-2 and SBX-1 -- to tell ballistic warheads apart from decoys and spent stages next to them at great distances. BTW, don't bet on the UHF or VHF nonsense either. The F-117 that was shot down was shot down because the mission planners were idiots! You don't fly the same route and especially not at around the same time! If you do, anyone can put a radar in your path, keep it turned off and turn it on when they actually hear you or think you are nearby. Any radar that comes on within a few tens of kilometers will see you. And, by surprising you they will shoot you down. Stupidity kills and no amount of technology can save you from moronism.

Edited by dwightlooi

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