Future motivation for Anti-ship warfare / ASuW


The Russians were the dominant experts on anti-ship warfare in the 1970's to 1990's. The Soviet -era arsenal developed to defeat Western (mostly American) naval surface forces was built-up with carrier-killing in mind. The U.S. Navy developed a multi-layered defence with E-2 AEW, F-14 fighters (complemented by F/A-18) and AEGIS shipborne air defences. The Soviet approach was to use relatively large missiles with active radar and preferably supersonic speed, and they usually cruised high with a terminal dive attack. AEGIS was tailored against this (and as a consequence almost entirely useless against sea skimmer missiles, which the Soviets introduced later than the West).

Meanwhile, NATO countries had so little adversary naval surface power that their anti-ship equipment was sophisticated, but low priority. The peak was a low level attack with a synchronised anti-radar missile and anti-ship missile strike, followed up with dumb 'iron' bombs to sink the missile-damaged ship.

The Western approach would not work all that well against the USN's own defences; AEW and high-flying fighters would be able to engage low-flying aircraft at an advantage.

Western anti-ship missile ranges were typically unimpressive compared to Russian ones, save for one Tomahawk cruise missile derivative. They weren't designed under the assumption that the attack would face many capable fighters.

Nowadays we place more emphasis on missile stealth, aircraft stealth to radar may play a bigger (undisclosed) role in the tactics and at least the USN tries to gain anti-ship missile range, which leaves the shorter-ranged anti-radar missiles behind and indicates that anti-ship missile stealth may be considered a substitute to synchronisation with anti-radar missiles.

The Russians and also the Chinese (and Indians) kept developing not necessarily stealthy, but quite advanced anti-ship missiles; terminal phase supersonic sea skimmer missiles, smaller supersonic missiles, the very fast and good-ranged Yakhont and even medium range ballistic missiles with anti-ship guidance and purpose.

The West Taiwanese navy out-builds the American USN, as the latter has deteriorated to the point of having only stupid and excessively expensive combat ship designs ready for construction. The Americans will soon (2030's) be compelled to pay much more attention to engaging carrier strike fleets, and they would be ill-advised if they fully trusted their submarines with this.

Meanwhile, the Europeans might face a Fascist America even in this decade, with a then resulting need to find a way to absorb the  damage that could be done through financial economy, widespread use of auto-updating American software (which de facto has a backdoor for American "cyber" warfare) and thousands of cruise missiles. It also needs to find ways to deal with American carrier strike groups, up to a dozen carriers with then approx. 600...800 1st and 2nd rate combat aircraft on board.

This situation may overall lead to significant leaps ahead in doctrines and technology for the detection, identification and destruction of naval surface forces in the 2020's and 2030's.





  1. The rise of fascism is a problem, because it happens in India and the US, the two biggest democracies. Would AUKUS survive another Trump presidency?

    I wonder with whom Europe can cooperate when they disentangle from a fascist and presumably hostile US. Would we take in American refugees to build up our own structures?

    Fascism is susceptible to conspiracy narratives, which often turn into persecution of Jews. What would Germany do if American Jews get persecuted under a fascist US?
    Sounds unlikely at first, but German nationalism and the early Soviets both took a development from an ideology where Jews were welcome to one where they weren't.

    1. The hate on Jewish people is not universal in Fascism. American Asylum seekers would likely prefer Canada and UK.
      The Englishmen's confusion about whether they are Europeans or Americans is one of the top 10 issues in the scenario. The USAF in England would not be beaten by European airpower.

    2. If the US turns fascist and AUKUS holds, Europe has a potentially hostile UK sitting on our SLOC. How much navy would Germany as a member of the EU need if we have to protect our trade against a potentially hostile US? With UK sitting in the way, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Hamburg likely see less traffic. I do think much of a European naval build up will be French and German.

      In a larger context, the fascist tendencies are in a number of European countries, Brazil, India and the US, so we can see a major swing where most of the world's population and military power is in fascist hands. The current development from communism to nationalistic communism in China creates a totalitarianism similar to fascism from the other end of the political spectrum. As democracies we could be an isolated corner of the world. Would this imply that in such an event Europe reorients its alliances, maybe getting together with Russia?

    3. I don't think India is going Fascist. They're going towards a majority religion-fuelled nationalism, that's more akin to what Turkey has.

    4. Hindutva is more like classical fascism than a religious fuelled nationalism. Especially vigilantism and paramilitary militia movements are very common today. Hindu Rashtra will be a true fascist state and will come sooner imo than most in the west understand.

  2. I'm still trying to wrap my head around a fascist US. A friend suggested that this is more difficult than it seems, because the governors hold a lot of power, including the national guard units.
    We currently live under the Pax Americana, where the US navy allows or doesn't allow other nations to trade with the furthest flung corners of the world. A fascist US can enforce a lot more sanctions on trade, which can hit democratic countries, because to a former democracy we do pose a systemic challenge and could be considered more hostile than China, Russia, a Hindutva ruled India and so forth. Such a shift would present a threat to our sea lines of communication.
    We are on the biggest world island and if we don't get into a conflict with Russia in addition to one with a fascist US, rail can help with much of our bulk transport, while most traffic by value is thru the air. It would probably disrupt the world's most intense digital information transfer across the Atlantic and what effect this would have is an unknown, but this is the central global communication link that creates cyberspace.
    So Europe is in a comfortable position with the naval means it has. But, if Europe tries to reach out in global trade to South and South East Asia, South America and Black Africa, we will probably have to revert to the pre-Pax Americana protection of our trade, which traditionally did require global naval bases, such as the French have, to escort our trade. Would Europe's overseas connections be mainly guarded by the French or can a case be made that this is a German interest worth major investments into naval armaments?

    1. AFAIK the president holds the true control of the NG units, hence their employment on the president's behalf during the civil rights conflicts of the 1960's. Governors only control NG units that are funded by the state AFAIK. And most of the governors are with the Fascist party anyway.

      I suppose the Europeans should be able to dominate the European waters and thus North Africa, but the poor yet resource-rich countries might be in a hellscape of a three- to five-sided Cold War 2.0 during the 2030's and 2040's.

      The U.S. has become insensitive to allies and is ruthlessly damaging even allies at will already. Just look at the sanctions against European companies doing trade with Iran and the Nord Stream 2 sanctions against European companies.

    2. Incorrect. Posse Comitatus restricts the use of the Armed Services (military) within the 50 U.S. States (does not apply to U.S. territories) – we do not have gendarmes or similar forces. The President can call up the national guard for active federal military service to address a war or national emergency, but this must be approved by Congress. State governors can call up the national guard at their discretion and use them in a law enforcement capacity.

      - The Militia Acts of 1792
      - Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1385: The Posse Comitatus Act of June 18, 1878
      - The Militia Act of 1903
      - The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 Pub.L. 110–181
      The national guard


    3. So basically, a Fascist president would merely need to lie the nation into a war, then deploy the blue state NG abroad, recall the army and maintain enough of a facade (and some self-restraint) to keep the army officer corps obedient.

      Laws don't protect a republic; people do. And we've seen an accelerating erosion of actual Republicanism, and those who call themselves "Republicans" look more like fascists than republicans.

      Then again, the lying moron looks increasingly not radical enough to the fascist base. Someone a little not spectacularly inept may lead them soon, and that would be really bad.

  3. The political separation of Europe with the USA would be the biggest geopolitical event since WW2, surpassing the collapse of the USSR. And if China manages to gain the upper hand in Asia-Pacific (it probably will), it would spell the end of Anglo-Saxon primacy after centuries.

    1. This event won't sink the US navy and much of US influence is due to the international sale of bonds. It means a diminished US influence, because Europe doesn't tag along, but I would still count the US as the dominant global power after such a split. During the alliance, Europe has been losing in importance relative to the US, in part due to a growing population in the States and a stagnating one in Europe.

  4. (Our Belgian navy frigates are both too large for what they are, yet will be delivered undergunned & underequipped for their size & role; we have little need for 6 anti-mining ships... so I am a bit biased)

    Range is the one aspect of anti-ship missiles, that I don't hold in very high regard: the EU situation is one of limited aircraft carriers. In a real, open war conflict, we risk losing satellites.
    So what is going to provide very long range target info for these very long range missiles?

    1. Aircraft flying at 65,000 ft like Typhoons have a line of sight horizon of 500 km, and even 1950's aircraft were able to zoom almost to 80,000 ft.
      The difficulty is in identifying which radar contact is a carrier (hard unless it's moving faster than 28 kts), not in getting into contact.

      Also, keep in mind that long missile range means that the launch platforms don't need to get close. At 500 km range we could use cargo aircraft as launch platforms. Only one single fighter would need to be able to dash into ID range and transmit a tiny radio message to enable a saturation attack of hundreds of missiles targeting carriers only.

      Alternatively, the missiles could cooperate and relay information about target ID (by imaging radar and imaging infrared) among themselves. Then they would not need to receive ID info from the platforms.

    2. related: see parts AAW and ASuW here