Gun Fire

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: CBS Mystery Theater "Ninety Lives"

On Midrats 13 June 2021 - Episode 594: Small Island in Great Power Competition, with Alexander Gray

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 13 June 2021 for Midrats Episode 594: Small Island in Great Power Competition, with Alexander Gray

China is interested in a lot more than just the first or second island chain. In the vast reaches of the Pacific Ocean, the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia are critical to the sea lines of communication for the economic powerhouses on both sides.

From the Age of Discovery to today, their importance rises to the top of any power who wished to influence the area.

To look at this area of returning importance with us for the full hour will be Alexander B. Gray.

The starting point for our conversation will be the issues he raised in two recent articles: How the US Can Protect the Sovereignty of the Smallest Pacific Island in The Diplomat, and Why a crisis in the Pacific islands matters for Washington and Beijing in The Hill.

Alex is a Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, served as Director for Oceania & Indo-Pacific Security at the White House National Security Council from 2018-2019.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Monday, June 07, 2021

If True, It's a Mistake: "It May Be the End of the Line for the Navy's Hypervelocity Projectile"

Reported at by Hope Hodge Seck It May Be the End of the Line for the Navy's Hypervelocity Projectile

The hypervelocity projectile, however, seemed to gain its own momentum after officials realized it could be paired not only with the railgun, but also with existing ship deck guns to provide high-speed, low-cost firepower.

The projectile's most recent public outing came in 2018, when the guided-missile destroyer Dewey fired 20 of the rounds from an Mk 45 deck gun during the massive Rim of the Pacific exercise.

"You can get 15 rounds a minute for an air defense mission, as well as a surface-to-surface mission," Bryan Clark, then of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told USNI News in 2019. "That adds significant missile defense capacity when you think that each of those might be replacing a [Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile] or a [Rolling Airframe Missile]. They're a lot less expensive."

The story also noted that the gun-launched guided projectile, or GLGP, was being considered as a round for ground-based Army and Marine Corps 155mm howitzers.

But while GLGP might be less expensive than some missile systems, which can cost $1 million to $2 million per round, it was still far from cheap. A 2020 Congressional Research Service report noted that each of the rounds cost about $85,000 in 2018 dollars.

And despite the promise GLGP seemed to hold for a range of multi-service uses, the CRS report noted that fielding to ships would involve integrating the round with existing combat systems, and additional tests and war-gaming. After five years in development, these follow-on steps have yet to take place.

So, for $1,000,000, you could buy 11 of these rounds (@$90,000 each) and 22 for $2 million? And you can keep them in the ammo locker and reload at sea?

More here.

Way back in 2014, RADM Klunder, then Chief of Naval Research, spoke of the "rail gun" ammo cost here:

"This {the projectile} costs right here about $25,000," Klunder said.

Both the cost and size -- it weighs 23 pounds -- mean they can be bought and stored aboard ships by the hundreds.

"Someone may be sending a multimillion-dollar missile at us, and I'm going to take it out with a $25,000 projectile round," Klunder said. "I'll take that trade every single day."

Well, according to Ms. Seck's report, killing this projectile will save "$5.9 million." Wonder what the cost in ships and sailors might be?

See the 2018 CRS Report, Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress. here (emphasis added)

This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three new ship-based weapons being developed by the Navy—solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG),1and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP), also known as the hypervelocity projectile (HVP)—that could substantially improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against surface craft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and eventually anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).

Any one of these three new weapons, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a “game changer” for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles and UAVs. If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution. Rarely has the Navy had so many potential new types of surface-ship air-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 5 May - 2 June 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: D-Day - The Allies Invade France (1944)

On Midrats 6 June 2021- Episode 593: More Patrol Craft, Not Fewer with LCDR Jordan Bradford, USN

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 6 June 2021 for Midrats Episode 593: More Patrol Craft, Not Fewer with LCDR Jordan Bradford, USN

In a sharp departure from the ideas that brought them to the fleet, the Navy, "...appears poised to sunset the MK VI and Cyclone-class patrol craft programs in rapid succession, with no replacements on the horizon."

Why are these small craft in our Navy today, what missions are they doing, and what risk are we accepting if we let this capability go? What follow on craft could even do the job better?

To discuss these and related issues will be LCDR Jordan Bradford, USN.

The starting point
for our conversation will be his article from the May 2021 Proceedings, "The MK-VI id Dead - Long Live the MK VII."

Lieutenant Commander Bradford is the commanding officer of USS Typhoon (PC-5). He is a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has formerly served as strike officer on board the USS Vicksburg (CG-69), navigator on board the De Wert (FFG-45), and combat systems and operations officer on board the Detroit (LCS-7). His opinions are his own and do not reflect any endorsement by the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the United States government.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Battle of Midway 3 - 7 June 1942

Good summary of the Battle of Midway from Naval History and Heritage Command

On 3 June, in the preliminary moves of the Battle of Midway, American land-based aircraft from Midway located and attacked Japanese transports about 600 miles west of Midway Island. U.S. Army Air Forces Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses inflicted no damage, however, and four Consolidated PBY Catalina patrol bombers were sent out from Midway for a night attack on the approaching landing forces. As part of the overall Japanese plan, planes from light carriers Ryujo and Junyo bombed Dutch Harbor.

Just after midnight on 4 June, Admiral Nimitz, based on patrol plane reports, advised Task Forces 16 and 17 of the course and speed of the Japanese "main body," also noting their distance of 574 miles from Midway. Shortly after dawn, a patrol plane spotted two Japanese carriers and their escorts, reporting "Many planes heading Midway from 320 degrees distant 150 miles!"

The first engagement on 4 June, however, took place when the four night-flying PBYs attacked the Japanese transports northwest of Midway, with one PBY torpedoing a fleet tanker. Later that morning, at roughly 0630, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Midway installations. Although defending U.S. Marine Corps fighters suffered disastrous losses, the Japanese only inflicted slight damage to the island’s facilities on Midway.

Over the next two hours, Japanese fighter aircraft on combat air patrol (CAP) and antiaircraft fire from the Japanese fleet annihilated the repeated attacks by Midway-based Marine Corps scout bombers and Navy torpedo bombers. Army Air Forces heavy bombers and torpedo-carrying medium bombers likewise bombed the Japanese carrier force without success, although without losses to themselves.

Between 0930 and 1030, Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers from the three American carriers attacked the Japanese carriers. Although nearly wiped out by the defending Japanese fighters and antiaircraft fire, they drew off enemy aircraft, leaving the skies open for dive bombers from Enterprise and Yorktown. Douglas SBD Dauntlesses from Enterprise bombed and fatally damaged carriers Kaga and Akagi, while SBDs from Yorktown bombed and wrecked carrier Soryu.

Great history, great battle.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Future Wars - Complexity and the Price of Complacency

I tweeted yesterday about a interview by Kevin D. Wlliamson at National Review Dispatches from the Future Front. The interview is well worth reading for gems like this:

When President Biden said in his first phone call with President Putin that Ukrainian sovereignty is a priority for the United States, I thought: “All right! That’s a hell of a policy statement!” Of course, we have no strategy that underpins it, and you can’t have a strategy for

the Black Sea region if you haven’t figured out a strategy for how you’re going to deal with Russia. And now there’s a feeling that we’re going down the same path of thinking we can deal with these guys, negotiate with them — forget it, that’s not who they are and have been for hundreds of years. I don’t know why we allow ourselves to continue to be surprised.

Last night I was re-reading Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising and this morning I started reading Future War and the Defence of Europe by John R. Allen, Frederick Ben Hodges, and Julian Lindley-French Ben Hodges is the author interviewed by Mr. Williamson

Both books posit war with Russia, though the Clancy book refers to the Soviet Union, and Future War is more global, involving fighting Russia and China and more. Both challenge the complacency of the U.S. and the Europeans with respect to Russia and China -  there seems to be be a belief negotiations will work, or that the U.S. will somehow pull Europe's bacon out of the fire, or that they will be "eaten last" - the newer book, being much more up to date on the current state of affairs, of course, including the shortfalls of the U.S. merchant fleet, U.S. Navy combatant warships, and more.

As a review here puts it:

Future War and the Defence of Europe offers a major new analysis of how peace and security can be maintained in Europe: a continent that has suffered two cataclysmic conflicts since 1914. Taking as its starting point the COVID-19 pandemic and way it will inevitably accelerate some key global dynamics already in play, the book goes on to weave history, strategy, policy, and technology into a compelling analytical narrative. *** Europeans should be under no illusion: unless they do far more for their own defence, and very differently, all that they now take for granted could be lost in the maze of hybrid war, cyber war, and hyper war they must face.

I highly recommend this book, which is available for a reasonable price in its Kindle form at Amazon.