2024/07/19

Free Europe's security challenge if America turns full fascist (Part III)

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previous parts:

/2024/07/free-europes-security-challenge-if.html

/2024/07/free-europes-security-challenge-if_8.html

 

So what could be done for defence of Europe against American airpower?

Defending against aircraft & missiles

We would need to timely detect threats to intercept them. More AEW aircraft and a redundant coverage with long wavelength (metric) air search radars & passive radars would be needed. Distributed sky-scanning imaging infrared and ultraviolet cameras as well as distributed acoustic sensors would complement that. Standoff jammers would need to be detected & triangulated by passive EW.

The American Way of Air War involves intricately-planned strike packages. Stealth aircraft didn't change this much - they merely made the strike packages a bit smaller and more focused on fewer guided munitions. An important part of these strike packages is the anti-radar warfare - "SEAD" (suppression of enemy air defences, albeit they actually aspire to "DEAD" - destruction ...). This means that the defender's radar emitters are at great risk. A way to reduce this risk is to use a large quantity of very cheap emitters in a multi-static radar network. Such very cheap emitters could be nothing but emitters. No receiving of echoes, no processing, no demanding communications. Just cheap emitters with their own electrical power generator. Ten thousands of such cheap emitters could be dispersed throughout free Europe, though with greatest densities in particularly relevant or threatened areas. The passive radars would receive the echoes, process the echo data and communicate using landlines or directional radios. These passive radars would be near-impossible to target for the attackers, as they wouldn't need to emit in the radio frequency spectrum, and what little radio comms they'd have could be done with antennas hundreds of metres away from the actual passive radar trailer.

Active electronic warfare would be required to counter communications and navigation of the attackers. This includes jamming and possibly disabling of communications satellites (including civilian ones used by the attackers) and jamming the satellite navigation signals (GPS, Europe's own Galileo, Russian Glonass, Chinese Beidou) in the areas where there are attacking missiles. The jamming of satellite signals needs to come from above for good effectiveness, ideally by low orbit satellites or numerous low cost very high altitude aircraft. Incoming cruise missiles could also exploit civilian emissions for navigation, so mobile phone networks might need to be temporarily deactivated where the cruise missiles are as well. This degradation of cheap navigation technologies would force the attackers to use more expensive forms of guidance, especially pattern recognition and terrain referencing sensors. It might not yield a large or even decisive advantage, though. A consumer-grade thermal camera is available for less than 1,000 € in wholesale and a minicomputer with pattern recognition software and sufficient data storage would cost less than 100 € in wholesale. Shaheed-style cheap cruise missiles of 1,000+ km range are thus still feasible at very low costs (much less than 100,000 € per missile). Annual mass production of such missiles would be feasible by the millions. Ordinary "Tomahawk" cruise missiles cost more than a million $ for more range and much bigger warheads.

Hard kill defences need to take these missile costs into account. We cannot protect all of Europe with SAMP/T style missiles, for they are too expensive (and of limited promise against very low observable aircraft). 

Free Europe needs

  • low density and redundancy of defences for defeating very low observable aircraft (B-21) up to more than 60,000 ft altitude
  • low density and redundancy of defences for defeating aeroballistic/quasiballistic missiles (at first only PrSM) with densified defences for priority areas (such as Greater Paris region)
  • low density and redundancy of defences for defeating low observable aircraft (F-35) up to more than 60,000 ft altitude
  • anti-saturation defences for defeating massed (~300 against a country in one wave) 'normal type' (Tomahawk, stealthier JASSM) cruise missile waves
  • anti-saturation defences for defeating massed (~3,000 against a country in one wave) 'cheap type' (Shaheed-136 class, Shaheed-238 class) cruise missile waves

Surviving the hits by aircraft & missiles

WW2 in Europe and again the current Russo-Ukrainian War have shown that enormous damage can be repaired away or compensated by long-distance grids for energy until the supporting economic base collapses (early 1945 collapse of German railway transportation). A thousand cruise missile hits may have a very unconvincing effect on the European continent unless they are targeted very well with this repair-ability in mind. Much less than a hundred key factories would absolutely have to stay in production to maintain this ability to repair damage.

Some things cannot be produced in great quantities within a year or two, though. A thousand cruise missiles  hits at electrical grid transformer stations and maybe a dozen related factories could leave free Europe unable to resist much longer. Cruise missiles of the 'normal type' render all but the most extreme bunkers ineffective, so we should consider dispersion of such installations over much larger areas to increase how many cruise missile hits are required for decisive effect. We should also do R&D and hardware upgrades to minimise secondary effects (secondary fires, electrical overload damage et cetera).

Base denial

The obvious launchers for attacks on free Europe would be carrier aviation, destroyers and submarines. It's impractical to keep submarines beyond cruise missile range, so it appears unreasonable to pursue an anti-launcher strategy against cruise missiles.

Carrier aviation is different. The Americans make the mistake of producing many F-35 in an air force version that could not be used on aircraft carriers. The sum of existing and planned B-2, F-35B/C and F-18E/F/G in U.S. armed forces is about 1,500. That's a much more manageable threat than if the USAF F-35 fleet was added. Keep in mind the Americans also have to keep an eye on East Asia and could not risk to exhaust their entire inventory without scrapping their war plans contingency plans regarding PR China.

Still, it appears that taking out about a dozen supercarriers is easier than to take out 1,500 1st and 2nd rate combat aircraft. It's clearly feasible if French SLBMs were used. This would leave the Americans with only their amphibious carriers with F-35B (and no real AEW), unlikely to strike at the industrial cores of free Europe.

This leaves mostly the existing map of land bases as a huge (USAF-sized) issue:


Greenland would be difficult to garrison sufficiently in peacetime.

Morocco, Israel (and possibly Egypt) are sovereign non-allied countries and could rather not be garrisoned.

Iceland, Faroers, Ireland, Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands could be defended, but fortifying these with missile-based defences and artillery-strong garrisons (though largely just pre-positioned hardware for such) would require much local real estate, budgeting for more than € 100 bn initial costs, consent by the respective sovereign European country and most of all politicians who actually understand that we may need to deter & defend towards the West. They were raised into a world where this sounds like mirror universe concerns. Additionally, the Eastern European countries are obsessed with the threat posed by Russia for understandable reasons.

What does it take to defend an island base against a dozen supercarriers and the USN's amphibious fleet?  The easiest approach would be detection + area bombing with SLBMs.* This should be an option, for this option would force the attacker to disperse. Dispersed forces are easier to keep out (though not easier to defend against air strikes). Moreover, a "Marianas" base for bombing Europe would probably need to be annihilated by SLBM anyway. This means an evacuation of civilians from the smaller islands at the beginning of armed hostilities would be advisable (at the very least from the Azores). Such an evacuation might be decisive at deterring an invasion; who would execute a risky invasion knowing that it won't give a usable base?

Another important ability would be to enter the fight over Faroers, Madeira and maybe Moroccan Coast in the air. This is similar to the need to fight a conventional air war against carriers. We should have hundreds of sets for turning airliners into tankers and platforms for (anti-ship capable) cruise missiles. Moreover, we should have diverse (in case one technological approach proves a failure) anti-ship-capable cruise missiles and similarly-ranged anti-radar missiles in stocks. These munitions would also be relevant for deterrence & defence in the East (in land attack roles), so the expense may be justified rather easily.

A conventional approach against bases is to attack them via air strikes or to blockade them. A close  blockade might be a job for non-nuclear submarines, while a far blockade could be executed using armed merchantman commerce raiders. Air strikes on bases would be quite similar to air strikes on carriers; a standoff launch of missiles would be preferable. Converted airliners could serve as launch platforms for attack and decoy munitions while military aircraft provide the strike package's escorts (fighters, standoff jammers, passive electronic warfare).

Free Europe might have a good case for cooperating with unfree China to develop such strike package capabilities during the 2030's - all out of necessity.


Finally (for part III), a general statement:

It's foolish to buy any air forces or navy equipment from the U.S. that has a radio frequency antenna or anything that could technically serve as such. All such equipment might have a backdoor command embedded that permits the Americans to sabotage its employment up to exploding while carried by its platform. Such systems often stay in service for decades and take yeas to replace, so it's unacceptable to buy American NOW, not only once America turned full Fascist.

This includes that all F-35 purchases by European countries are foolish, and less obviously so, al Americans-dependent aircraft systems (such as the Korean F-35 equivalent) are off limits as well.


Part III got quite long, so the deterrence topic will be covered in part IV.



S O

defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

*: I'm sure that a first use of nuclear munitions against population centres is unacceptable, but a first use against naval forces of an aggressor is IMO neither unethical nor too risky. It depends on what alternatives are available, of course.

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2024/07/08

Free Europe's security challenge if America turns full fascist (Part II)

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The political consequences.

I wrote in 2016 that one shouldn't quit NATO ASAP when America turns fascist, despite the summer of 1914 experience with Austria-Hungary

We should quit eventually (there's a 12 month period between quitting and actually leaving the treaty, see article 13), though. The time should be used to build up deterrence & defence against the United States of America (that would be part III of the series).

 

The lessons learned about Putin's fifth columns in Hungary, Slovakia and kind of (more complicated) Poland point strongly at the EU not being fit for acting as a multinational defence organisation for Europe.

The European unification fanatics, EU politicians and EU bureaucrats would oppose it, but we would have to create a separate and functional European Defence initiative. It doesn't need to be a real alliance; the Lisbon Treaty can serve that purpose. We'd need a coordinating and meetings agency because we'd need to keep Americans, Canadians, Russia's 5th column, America's 5th column and unstable partners who might fall into such a category out of the core consultations and core preparations.

I mentioned the Lisbon Treaty. We really should raise awareness about it now that the "neutral" Swedes have shed their neutrality. Disregard Austrian sensitivities about them wanting to pretend to remain neutral! They signed the Lisbon Treaty as well. The public needs to understand that the Lisbon Treaty is at least as much an alliance as is the North Atlantic Treaty. Perception makes treaties powerful. Just look at Article I of the North Atlantic Treaty, which hardly anyone knows and thus almost nobody complaints about its violations. How many comments in newspapers or on television would point out our EU collective defence obligation if Vienna was hit by a Russian missile? They would probably manage to notice -with Wikipedia's help- that Austria is not NATO member, that's all.

We need to change that! A Turkish attack on a Greek island means the EU members go to war with Turkey. A Russian missile on Vienna means the EU members go to war with Russia. An American missile on Paris means the EU members go to war with America. This should be self-evident to the majority of adults in all middle-sized and large EU countries.

Finally, we need to stockpile strategic raw materials more and develop alternative routes of transportation with enough capacity for very high value but small volume and mass exports and imports. We could not make do with only services & air freight as objects of trade beyond Europe and its periphery. The stockpiling in particular would be difficult (and capital-intensive), but also useful in case of a Pacific War.



The problem with all this is that the current generation of politicians in the larger European countries is utterly worthless. They would rather misgovern so badly that their own country falls to extremists than to get their act together for European security in less than a generation.

Part III will be more about development, procurement and force design.

S O

defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

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2024/07/07

Free Europe's security challenge if America turns full fascist (Part I)

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The risk of the United States of America turning full Fascist has entered more mainstream media. I wrote about it years ago, but there's no reward for being early.

What would it mean threat-wise to Europe?

The threat ranking would change, and not just because of Americans: The Russians turn into Italians with nukes. They consume their Soviet arms arsenal inheritance in Ukraine. The addition of the Finnish army to NATO and the ruin of the VDV render Russia impotent versus free Europe, even if Turks and Hungarians would side with Russia.

So the threat ranking would change from 

  1. Russian Federation
  2. United States of America
  3. People's Republic of China
  4. India
  5. Israel 

to

  1. United States of America
  2. People's Republic of China
  3. Russian Federation
  4. India
  5. Israel 

The PRC being mostly of concern regarding a possible reinforcement of Russia if we (Europeans) are stupid enough to get involved too much in the Far East. (I believe that embargo & arms sales are the way to go in case of a Chinese assault on Taiwan main island, Philippines, ROK or Vietnam.)


So, what could the United States of America do to free Europe?

For starters, they could switch off our economy because our governments are stupid.

It could also subject free Europe to air attacks. This would mostly be cruise missile attacks (that damage would be repairable, though key repair industries require protection or redundancy). "Stealth" bombers could be a problem because we didn't face them so far and haven't built up the necessary long wavelength search radar network to detect them at useful distances. Those "stealth" bombers would mostly drop just some more cruise missiles, though.

Then there's the threat of naval aviation and worst of all, the USAF could set up bases in striking range, and striking range is thousands of km to them.

So let's look at the map:


Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Ireland, UK, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Morocco and Israel are plausible bases for air attack. I omitted Egypt because that seems too much trouble for Americans and too much at risk nuclear-wise. Only UK and Israel might be voluntary bases, the rest would be invaded.

The parallels between U.S. vs. free Europe and U.S. vs. PRC are evident now. The U.S. needs in both cases

  • not really fear attacks on its own territory
  • attack primarily by air power
  • especially by cruise missiles
  • use nearby bases that need no great land force for their defence
  • the ability to take said bases by amphibious/triphibious invasion
  • cut off oceanic trade
  • produce (ten) thousands of guided missiles during wartime

This means it's near-impossible to enhance European security vs. Americans by pushing for arms limitations on the American side. They wouldn't agree to those because they need those arms for the conflict with China that's on their minds.


A Fascist America in conflict with free Europe could actually lead to a Sino-European alliance instead of a Sino-Russian alliance. The Americans may have what it takes to defeat the Chinese, but they cannot afford what it takes to defeat both China and free Europe at the same time - not even if Taiwan, South Korea, Japan & Philippines aid them out of self-preservation motives.

On the other hand, a quasi (Hindu-)Fascist India could ally with the U.S. due to its issues with Pakistan and China and then we've got about the same mess as if China allies with Russia, for India will become a huge industrial powerhouse especially so with the war economy-relevant 'old' industries soon.


Part II will cover what European defence policy (basically, force design) needs to include to tackle the 'hostile Fascist America' contingency.



S O

defence_and_freedom@gmx.de

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