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One wonders if the Iranians read War Nerd:

The War Nerd: This Is How the Carriers Will Die (Updated Version) - By Gary Brecher - The eXiled

The Chinese military has developed a ballistic missile, Dong Feng 21, specifically designed to kill US aircraft carriers: "Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes." That's the US Naval Institute talking, remember. They're understating the case when they say that, with speed, satellite guidance and maneuverability like that, "the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased."

You know why that's an understatement? Because of a short little sentence I found farther on in the article--and before you read that sentence, I want all you trusting Pentagon groupies to promise me that you'll think hard about what it implies. Here's the sentence: "Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack."

That's right: no defense at all. The truth is that they have very feeble defenses against any attack with anything more modern than cannon. I've argued before no carrier group would survive a saturation attack by huge numbers of low-value attackers, whether they're Persians in Cessnas and cigar boats or mass-produced Chinese cruise missiles. But at least you could look at the missile tubes and Phalanx gatlings and pretend that you were safe. But there is no defense, none at all, against something as obvious as a ballistic missile.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 08:44:21 AM EST
Yes, but that only works in battles between matched actors ie US vs china or asymmetric war between small stateless terrorist unit vs state actor.

for a small state to take out a capital ship of a large armed-to-the-teeth-and-spoiling-for-a-fight nation would be pretty suicidal. If Iran sank the Kitty Hawk or similar carrier, Tehran would be replaced by a smoking hole in the ground. However vulnerable, Iran has to leave capital ships alone.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 08:50:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The object is political and economic, not military.

The West is extremely vulnerable to an oil price hike, and all Iran has to do is blow some shit up to create that price hike.

It doesn't matter if Iran sinks a carrier, or if Iran has crappy pilots. Rest of World has around a week to prove that Iranian action - whatever it is - is ineffective and that the oil flows as normal.

If it takes more than a week, the West is in serious trouble.

It's impossible to imagine action taking less than a week. The only successful outcome for the West would be total regime change in Iran - and it's unlikely China or Russia would allow that, because China particularly needs access to Iranian oil.

See e.g. this from Bloomberg.

This is not primarily a military problem. It's an economic one. And when Iran has something the rest of the world needs, bombing the country back to the Stone Age makes no sense as a response.

Given that Iraq is still ramping up production and the Saudis are struggling, there's very little elasticity in the oil supply. So turning Tehran into a smoking crater would be a very, very bad idea - even if led to regime change instead of an extended Iraq-style civil war, which I think is the more likely outcome of any attempt to invade or destroy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that it would be insane to do something does not reliably discourage the American government from doing it anyway (see, e.g., Iraq).

Iran needs to have a reasonable chance of winning for it to want to start a war. Just making the other guy lose is not sufficient.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:46:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That it would be insane is no surety the Iranians won't do anything either. Sometimes, people just do crazy things.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:56:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Iranians, however, have had a demonstration of the destructive power of modern warfare within living memory. One hopes it was convincing, given the scale of human and industrial destruction it entailed.

The Americans have not had such a demonstration since 1865.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 02:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Iran have any of these missiles? He doesn't say.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 09:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that Moskit sounds roughly comparable.

Or just sufficiently redundant low-tech would probably do the trick.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 12:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well  one thing that has to be said, is that the performance figures are possibly from US arms manufacturers who wish to exagerate the performance so the latest whiz-bang defence technology can be sold in reverse. I'm not saying that that is the case, but both sides during the cold war had a consistent strategy of emphasizing the others military capabilities to  sell thing so their own sides and populace.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 10:30:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the US saying that it has no defence against China's weapons.

Unless it's a version of the legendary "missile gap" between the US and the USSR that the US had to close.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 03:12:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well with government finances being the way they are, it's getting dangerously close to lots of big boys toys being cut.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 04:58:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iranians, no idea.  

But when the Chinese debuted their new anti-ship ballastic missiles, the chief of the US pacific fleet has a minor breakdown.

That said, I'm not sure that Iran has any domestic capacity to produce these things, and I don't think that they would be able to buy them from China.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 03:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry I missed this, but indeed Iran produces its own anti-ship ballistic missile. It has a range of 300 km, carries a warhead of 650 kg and cruises at Mach 3. Pretty impressive, it is called Persian Gulf.

luis_de_sousa@mastodon.social
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 03:27:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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