New Threats, New Weapons

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Yokel, Mar 12, 2013.

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  1. For over a decade, the media has constantly tried to portray the small boat threat as the primary threat to both naval forces and merchant shipping. Funnily enough Western Navies have responded with things such as enhanced force protection, better close range weapons (eg helicopter mounted heavy machine guns, Minguns, the upgraded version of Phalanx with surface modes, and the new DS30M Mk2 cannon, and other measures Additionally FIAC threats are built into FOST training serials and exercises such as JOINT WARRIOR.

    The limited FIAC threat from Saddam Husseins's forces in March 2003 was dealt with without difficulty. Similarly the employment of naval forces on counter narcotics and counter piracy operations has proved (amongst other things) that shipborne helicopters can very effectively detect and track small surface craft. Attempted small boat attacks during operations in Libya were either defeated by 30mm cannon fire from Apaches based aboard HMS Ocean, or by naval gunfire (including from HMS Liverpool).

    Considerable intellectual effort has been put into dealing with this threat, including these papers:

    Operational Art Can Neutralize the Asymmetric Small Boat Threat in Major Operations (2002)

    Net Centric Maritime Warfare – Countering a ‘Swarm’ of Fast Inshore Attack Craft (2005)

    This paper explains the nature of the threat and the issues involved in countering it.

    Yet the media still like to claim that this threat presents an insolvable problem. Consider this story from the Telegraph: Little boat, big danger: how a British-made speedboat has become a weapon in Iran's standoff with the US - Telegraph

    How much of this is for political reasons, and how much due to misunderstand (remember that 2002 exercise in which Von Ripper's Iranians won?) Also people seem to forget that whilst a small boat going fast is going to be hard to hit, it is unlikely to provide a decent platform for weapons launch. Also larger FIACs may fire missiles or torpedos, which can be counted by decoys and other defence systems.

    Whether or not the small boat/swarm threat is new, they are new weapons that exist now or are in the pipeline to counter this threat.

    The LCITS rocket: Can naval helicopters be modified to carry rocket pods? If so then the Merlin/Lynx/Wildcat/Seahawk tracking small craft using radar and EO sensors can also inflict significant attrition. I believe the Sea Skua replacement is being developed with FIACs in mind.

    The Griffin missile from Raytheon: I am not sure whether it was designed with naval applications in mind, but it is being fitted to LCS and Cyclone class patrol craft. Could it be fitted to MCMVs for self defence?

    Before Christmas, I was looking for something or other on the web and noted the CENTURION launcher on the Chemring website. At the time I wondered if it could be used to counter asymmetric threats. Well, apparently yes. Raytheon and Chemring are now working together to develop a launcher. Not entirely sure what it will launch - Griffin?

    So despite what the pant wetters in the media would have us the threat can be dealt with using things familiar to navies, defence in depth, weapons, sensors, communications, tactics, training, procedures. The FIAC is nowhere near as much of a game changer us some like to think.
  2. Want to bet?
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  3. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Is the threat exactly new, E-boats, and the British counterparts during WW2 got up to all sorts of shenannigans. For example:

    E-boat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    TBH, what has occured is a loss of institutional knowledge with regard to FACs their, operation, and how to counteract them. It reminds of me of all the talk of 4th Generation and 5th Generation warfare as if they've have moved into a new paradigm of war - balls, old realities dressed up in newspeak.
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  4. Not betting, but if it floats it can be sunk - somehow.

    But writing the problem off as one that cannot be solved will not solve it. Whilst it will change the game, is it really the undefeatable menance that some think.
  5. The problem is never about all out war, it's about a Maritime equivalent to COIN (in mindset shift if not actual TTP). Of course I can win if I get to blow up anything that moves. The hard day at the office is when we're facing a 'hot' Cold War in the Gulf.
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  6. Nice theory, and would hold true in open international waters were you can define the threat as a threat and engage it at distance with plenty of sea room

    Alas, in the Gulf, some of the major sea lanes and choke points are across national waters and you can't keep they potential bad guys at arms length.

    And life gets 'interesting'
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  7. Isn't the concern that if a little ship sinks a big ship, it's very embarrassing?

    If a ship of 46,000 tons and 1300 crew is sunk by a ship of 42,000 tons and 2,000 crew, there's no dishonour to the loser.

    If a ship of 46,000 tons and 1300 crew were to sink a ship of 80 tons and a crew of 30, the skipper of the little ship would described as brave.

    If a ship of 80 tons with 30 crew were to sink a ship of 46,000 tons, there'd be some questions asked and a lobby begun to stop building big ships and concentrate on small ones.
  8. Surely the clever people wrote those papers thought about the restricted waters in which FIACs would be a threat? The issue of short range engagements is why improving the destructive power of close range weapons and improving sensors and communications is a good idea - a least the USN think so and have upgraded the close range capabilities of ships in the Gulf.

  9. the fact they now have quite a few of these.....

    Ghadir-class submarine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    armed with thier copy of this.....

    VA-111 Shkval - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    makes the mix very interesting indeed....
  10. As ATG notes, if it all goes kinetic, no probs, you can slaughter everything that floats and moves, the huge problem is a hot cold war. Is that IRGC boat just willy waving again, or is it for real this time?

    Shoot? No shoot?

    Get it right, you get a medal, get it wrong and you start a real war.
  11. This is not new, been going on for awhile...

    Attached Files:

  12. Guns

    Guns LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. The Royal Navy

    Good luck to the first PWO who orders "ENGAGE" and gets it "wrong". But of course we are just thick Warfare Officers and it is fine to have a PWO as a Lt and the Loggie as a Lt Cdr cos they have stores and money to look after. Bitch feast over.

    ATG is right about the levels of tension. Come the big shooty war we can just carpet bomb the Straits of Hormas (SOH) and see how the FIAC get through with that. But as has been pointed out the fast moving IRPG boat with the two nutters running towards you who have Allah (PBUH) to guide them will as quickly start WWIII as any submarine. In fact the submarines are pretty easy to deal with - they are a known unknown and on the whole submarine drivers tend to be sensible, Dawinisim makes for a good teacher. You do not tend to get hot head irrational submarine captains.

    I am surprised that we have not had more incidents in the SOH but that is testament to the skill of the heroic and devilishly good looking PWO's that guide our ships with flair.

    Me personally, I believe we should have twice as many miniguns and get our medium range guns upgraded to 5inch with a selection of ammunition (something like 20ft fuzes with shrapnel effect or the wizzer buck shot round tested by the US that has a nice 100m kill zone) to get that nice wall of lead effect.
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  13. image.jpg

    The Yanks have the right idea.
  14. Really, I'd prefer not to let them get close enough to have to use the .50 cal, least not on a FF/DD. Heavily armed FAC/FIAC of our own would be much more use. Fight them a way away.

    As for the SoH thing - the Iranians are crazy, not stupid. They know exactly where the lines are, in every sense.
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  15. o_O I don't know - one PWO does a guns engagement in a Bond movie, and they all think they're God's gift...o_O
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