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Japan tells U.S. of plan to build ships solely for missile defense

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Yea, but what about submarine attacks?

Any country wishing to strike Japan would first take out this floating Aegis Ashore base before launching its ballistic missile barrage toward Japan.

Another problem is that like any vessel, this floating Aegis Ashore base must return to home port for service, opening an window of attack by Japan's adversaries.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Samit Basu:

Yea, but what about submarine attacks?

Any country wishing to strike Japan would first take out this floating Aegis Ashore base before launching its ballistic missile barrage toward Japan.

That's a job for Aegis Destroyers.

Aegis-equipped destroyers capable of responding to attacks from fighter jets and submarines as well, the sources said.

Aegis Ashore/Offshore is intended to respond to ballistic missile attacks.

Aegis Ashore, whose functions are only limited to countering ballistic missiles

And it is supposed to reduce burden of Aegis Destroyers.

The use of the land-based missile defense system was also intended to reduce the burden of Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel on its Aegis-equipped destroyers

So it appears according to this article that Aegis Destroyers and Aegis Ashore/Offshore are to complement each other.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@socrateos

That's a job for Aegis Destroyers.

That's not the job of Aegis Destroyers.

Current heavy torpedoes have a range in excess of 50 km, long beyond the range of JMSDF's antisub warfare capability.

SDF appears to assume that the enemy won't know/can't strike the Aegis Offshore floating base. Japan's three enemies(China, Korea, and Russia) have satellite/maritime surveillance capability to track its location in near-real time and dispatch submarines to sink the Aegis Offshore.

North Korea doesn't have real-time surveillance, but could be tipped off by China.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

The plans to scrap deploying to Yamaguchi and Akita was not based on cost. Since when has the government been concerned about cost? Just look at how much the asinine abenomasks cost taxpayers. Abe is from Yamaguchi and Suga is from Akita, that's the real reason.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Samit Basu

Current heavy torpedoes have a range in excess of 50 km, long beyond the range of JMSDF's antisub warfare capability.

Isn't it one of the reasons why they are discussing, at the same time, having capabilities to strike enemy positions as this article also points out.

Debate over Japan's acquisition of a strike capability was revived...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The use of the land-based missile defense system was also intended to reduce the burden of Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel on its Aegis-equipped destroyers, but it met with strong opposition from people in the candidate sites.

Strong opposition my arse! If they call that "strong" I wonder what adjective they would use for the opposition down here in Okinawa?

This is just a weak attempt at giving some excuse for not buying the system from the US.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Current heavy torpedoes have a range in excess of 50 km, long beyond the range of JMSDF's antisub warfare capability.

Ahem, without giving anything away the JMSDF is probably the best ASW navy in the world. They are that good. In blue water if the JMSDF can't find and sink that sub, nobody can. Two helicopters with dipping sonar are a submarine's worst enemy aside from another high quality sub. JMSDF has dipping sonar helicopters and they can go a lot farther than 50 km from their ship. In any event 50 km is not a realistic range from which to shoot a torpedo. Torpedos make a lot of noise and the ship is going to hear it coming for tens of minutes and do things to defeat it.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So the Japanese government is going to waste money after all. However sophisticated, no missile defense system can protect Japan from enemy ballistic missiles. The only effective deterrent against nuclear weapons is the capability to strike back in kind.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Good idea. But also build many, many more submarines, if japan is to be safe. The ONLY safe and undetectable vessels. Today for Japan surrounded by water and most of its natural resources known to be under the oceans, "protect" them with more ships and more submarines.

China, Russia and even S Korea is "mapping" Japans under sea resources.

Wake up Japan!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Any country wishing to strike Japan would first take out this floating Aegis Ashore base before launching its ballistic missile barrage toward Japan.

I suppose if you are not worried too much about these ships being fast or multi-purpose you could build them with multiple hulls and so many watertight compartments sinking one would be like sinking a sheet of bubble wrap. Armor doesn't stop much any, there are cruise missiles that can pop open buried steel reinforced concrete bunkers, more but enough compartments can confine any damage to a small area and limit the overall effect of hits.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

SDF appears to assume that the enemy won't know/can't strike the Aegis Offshore floating base. Japan's three enemies(China, Korea, and Russia) have satellite/maritime surveillance capability to track its location in near-real time and dispatch submarines to sink the Aegis Offshore.

Put it in shallow coastal waters with a hydrophone array well offshore so there is plenty of warning of prowling subs. Maybe even put them in the bay outside the JMSDF base at Maizuru for example. They don't need to be far offshore, just far enough that boosters won't fall on populated areas.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Do the taxpayers get a say?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

@expat Yes they do. In fact, every election they do, when they choose whether not to vote these guys into office, or choose someone else.

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Building specialized vessels equipped with radar & missile launch system destined to counter ballistic missiles seems to be the most viable alternative for Japan to replace scrapped plan of US-developed land-based systems. So, Tokyo wants to strengthen its navy further apart from expanding it. What would US and Japan's neighbors think?

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

More difficult for an enemy to target than a land based missile defense system. Sounds like a good idea.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Do the taxpayers get a say?

If they are Japanese citizens, then yes they get a say.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Japan should build more Aegis Destroyers and get the ability to attack enemy bases.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Whatever plan the JSDF & Japanese companies come up with, the FIRST thing they should do is to beef up their CyberSecurity.

There's no point in building these ships if the enemy's cyber thieves steal all the plans and come up with counter-tactics.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

venzeToday  12:14 pm JST

So, Tokyo wants to strengthen its navy further apart from expanding it. What would US and Japan's neighbors think?

The US, UK, Australia, India, Canada. EU, ASEAN nations, Taiwan are all supportive.

China (PRC) and North Korea are against it because they are the adversary. Same with Russia but they don't come out and say it.

South Korea is against it because they are against anything involving Japan and a rational reason is not required.

Hope that answers your question.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Illegal under Article 9.

we need helicopters and helicopter carriers to protect our islands and fisherman and react to Japan’s imminent severe natural disasters.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

By the 2030's, basic ABM strategy will be direct energy weapons(1Mw+ laser weapons) that can shoot any incoming weapons regardless of trajectory making ballistic (HSCM) missiles obsolete.

US Navy have tested 150Kw laser weapon this year and says there are no technological barriers to develop a 1Mw class laser.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The plans to scrap deploying to Yamaguchi and Akita was not based on cost.

Correct, it was about shoddy planning in the land procurement process.

Abe is from Yamaguchi and Suga is from Akita, that's the real reason.

If local politics cronyism is what you’re suggesting, shouldn’t the outcome be the opposite? Aso and Abe swing their local weight and get their land at several times the market price as a favor for their high school buddies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Suga, not Aso.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another useless piece of hardware that is vulnerable to attack and incapable of giving protection that they advertise. This is only about keeping Trump administration happy. So that Japan can sell their cars in US without tarifs...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I think Japan is probably more under threat from natural disasters than a foreign foe.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Japan had a rocket defence systems for a long time. How many rocket did North Korea fire over japan in that time? How many of those rockets did Japan shoot down? NONE!!! What makes you think that this system will be any different? It is just a show for the stupid people to feel safe. Japan is too afraid of the consequences of shooting down even a single one. Like I said: This is only about keeping Trump administration happy. So that Japan can sell their cars in US without tarifs...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think you're right @paul

Back hand deal to defence contractors?

Japan should prepare for natural disasters and sort out population decline. Too difficult?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan had a rocket defence systems for a long time. How many rocket did North Korea fire over japan in that time? How many of those rockets did Japan shoot down? NONE!!! What makes you think that this system will be any different? 

The mechanical systems worked fine. The political systems however, are several fish barrels of problems.

The defense charter has since been revised to allow the Defense Minister to order a “preparation order for the destruction of ballistic missiles.” During the duration this prep-order is effective, AD ABM crews are basically manning stations 24/7, “finger on the trigger” ready, and may intercept a confirmed threat without higher authorization.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

By the 2030's, basic ABM strategy will be direct energy weapons(1Mw+ laser weapons) that can shoot any incoming weapons regardless of trajectory making ballistic (HSCM) missiles obsolete.

Lasers may not be the silver bullet you imagine. Dwell time is one major drawback, it takes time for the laser to do enough damage to render an incoming missile inert junk or detonate it. Second, lasers can only engage one target at a time. They cannot engage multiple targets simultaneously. It also takes precious time after one missile is destroyed to aim it accurately at the next. One laser trying to intercept incoming missiles could run out of time to kill all the incoming missiles. The missiles it ran out of time to engage all hit their targets. Not good. That means you need a bunch of lasers to do the job and that gets really expensive really quickly. It also requires vast amounts of energy and cooling. Modern missile systems with the best guidance systems have the virtue of being fire and forget. You can salvo many dozen such missiles in a very short period of time, literally a missile per second per VLS system, and they each missile will find their own target. With AEGIS it is possible to have literally hundreds of intercepts going on at the same time. You would need hundreds of lasers to accomplish the same feat with lasers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan had a rocket defence systems for a long time. How many rocket did North Korea fire over japan in that time? How many of those rockets did Japan shoot down? NONE!!!

The political and foreign policy ramifications of Japan shooting down a North Korean missile are such that Japan made a choice not to shoot them down. The US Navy could have engaged them with their own AEGIS equipped ships and likewise chose not to. Japan plays Bambi pretty well. But I have seen the JMSDF up close and personal. If real ordnance starts to fly the outcomes would look very different. Btw, Japan's existing land based systems are not designed to hit a ballistic missile arcing over Japan. Patriot is short range terminal defense designed to hit the missile on it's way in to the target. It can't reach very high. The other system Japan had was Nike, a late 1940s to early 1960s system that had no chance if hitting a missile. The US version would lob a nuclear warhead into a Soviet bomber formation and hope the blast took them all out. The system was retired in the early 1970s from the US as ICBMs replaced bombers and made Nike obsolete. Only SM-3 can hit missiles in space at really long ranges. THAAD doesn't come close to the performance of SM-3, especially Block 2.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think it's a good idea. Basically you would have to build a boat similar in size to the Izumo. And install the Aegis Ashore on the ship itself. As it is a floating system it can be taken to port for maintenance when appropriate. 

Also, since it will be inside the sea, it will avoid possible impacts on densely populated urban areas. Both from an attacking missile and possible debris from the interceptor missile itself, from Aegis itself. Not to mention that the sea is all public property of the state. And there would not be the problem of carrying out forced expropriations of privately owned land.

Now then. Anchorage structures would have to be built to enable these ships. As well as breakwaters, and an armored access door. Something similar to a dry dock of a shipyard, but with the moat full of water. In order to prevent the wobbling of the boat itself. And to optimize the Aegis Ashore 100%. To make it equal, as if it were built on land.

That's for sure. This alternative will not come cheap either. But it will cause fewer bureaucratic problems when it comes to implementation. Especially in construction licenses, jurisdictional issues and local authorities. Because as the sea is the exclusive property of the central government in Tokyo. No local or prefectural authority may oppose its installation. As they have no legal competence to do so.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Desert Tortoise

multiple hulls and so many watertight compartments sinking one would be like sinking a sheet of bubble wrap.

These torpedoes are powerful enough to break a hull in half.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3381sgh5sUE

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These torpedoes are powerful enough to break a hull in half.

Not always. There are older Sink-ex videos where old WWII vintage oilers that had been stretched by adding new sections amidships ("Jumboized") took multiple missile, bomb and torpedo hits without sinking. I recall the officers of the USS Sacramento telling me the several features in that class that made them able to absorb torpedo hits. Having multiple hulls and bottom voids to absorb damage are important. I recently saw a video of an FFG-7 that took a Mk-48 and didn't break in half. Mangled bow below the Mk-13 launcher but didn't sink it. The US Navy pays a lot of attention to the ability to absorb battle damage. HMS Sheffield (which contrary to urban legend is all steel, I've stuck a magnet to the superstructures of her sisters Birmingham and Southampton to prove it) sank after a single hit by an Exocet the warhead of which did not explode. The rocket motor set the fires that crippled the ship. Exceedingly poor design choices and lousy damage control equipment sealed her fate. USS Stark, another FFG-7 took two identical Exocets, one of which was a dud but the other warhead exploded and it sailed home under it's own power. FFG-7s have aluminum main decks and superstructures but are built tough. Too many fanbois assume one hit by a missile or a torpedo will sink a ship. Not true. And from what i have seen of Japanese warships they are every bit as tough as those of the US Navy.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think it's a good idea. Basically you would have to build a boat similar in size to the Izumo. And install the Aegis Ashore on the ship itself. As it is a floating system it can be taken to port for maintenance when appropriate. 

I am thinking something more along the lines of a very big barge, but self propelled. Or maybe something like an oil rig with submersible legs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Can this newly conceived anti-missile system cope with missiles coming in at a low altitude which Russia is said to have developed or simultaneously launched multiple missiles which North Korea ostentatiously demonstrated in their latest test launchings?

If it can’t, the system is already obsolete even before it’s deployed. Stop repeating nonsense after another.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

On the subject of torpedoes, the Russian type 65 torpedo has a range of 100 km. The shkval torpedoes have a stated range of only 15 km, but can obtain a speed in excess of 300 kmh, thus are very difficult to defend against. Both China and Iran have variants of the Russian shkval torpedoes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To condemn the idea of ship based anti-missile systems because the ships can potentially be attacked misses the point. A ship is a mobile platform. An enemy must constantly try to track and target the ship, as opposed to a stationary land-based system, which an enemy does not have to track. There could and should also be mobile land based anti-missile systems, but no one system is perfect. A combination of different types of anti-missile systems makes it more difficult for an enemy to knock out all of them, and increases the chance that some of them will be available to do the job for which they are designed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When you live next to North Korea shooting ballistic missiles over Japan ,threatening with nuclear destruction...Yes this is necessary and long overdue. Let's not forget about the advancements of Russia and China which far exceeds that of poor North Korea.

Japan should work on EMP technology as well, it will be a huge advantage to turn off all the computers, missiles an enemy plans to use against Japan.

Laser technology is another area that can be used for defense to shoot down incoming missiles, UAV.

Japan Submarine force should be increased to at least 50 Submarines, the current force is not enough to defend all the water around Japan against China, Russia and North Korea.

A second strike Nuclear option should always be on the table to defend Japan against the worst case scenario which happened in Japan's past.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can this newly conceived anti-missile system cope with missiles coming in at a low altitude which Russia is said to have developed or simultaneously launched multiple missiles which North Korea ostentatiously demonstrated in their latest test launchings?

If it can’t, the system is already obsolete even before it’s deployed. Stop repeating nonsense after another.

Newly formed? The AEGIS system has been at sea on Ticonderoga class cruisers since the early 1980s (and many other classes since including many big Japanese destroyers), but was being prototyped and tested as far back as the 1970s aboard USS Norton Sound and at a land site on land at Port Hueneme. The BMD version, SM-3 (more precisely RIM-161) has been operational with the US Navy and JMSDF since 2014. It is probably the most highly tested BMD system in the world. The USN has over 160 AEGIS equipped ships plus they equip the navies of Japan (7 ships plus one more building), South Korea, Australia, Spain, Norway and soon Canada. The only thing novel maybe is placing them on shore stations. But there are two such shore stations built, one in Poland and one in Romania. The new SPY-6 radars are going on the Flight III Burke class destroyers now and are to be back fitted to some earlier versions of the Burke class.

AEGIS is very good at tracking low level targets. in fact that is one of the things it was designed for, defeating stream raids of low level cruise missiles. It can track artillery shells too (proven off Lebanon during their civil war, permitting counter battery fire at the artillery sites). It can handle hundreds of intercepts simultaneously. There isn't anything better anywhere in the world at this point. But the target set is not low level cruise missiles. There isn't a sea skimmer made with enough range to reach Japan from mainland China or North Korea. Japan is worried about ballistic missiles and the missile that would be carried is designed for defeating ballistic missiles. For sea skimmers you would use SM-6, which happily fits the same launcher as SM-3 and interfaces with the same AEGIS system SM-3 uses. All of these go to sea and more on US Navy and JMSDF destroyers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan Submarine force should be increased to at least 50 Submarines, the current force is not enough to defend all the water around Japan against China, Russia and North Korea.

Fifty submarines? Who's paying for all this? They would absorb the entire JMSDF budget. A little realism please.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On the subject of torpedoes, the Russian type 65 torpedo has a range of 100 km. The shkval torpedoes have a stated range of only 15 km, but can obtain a speed in excess of 300 kmh, thus are very difficult to defend against. Both China and Iran have variants of the Russian shkval torpedoes.

A 65 notional 65 km range, if you believe Russian claims (I don't, I have seen their kludge and held some of it in my hands) implies a run time of pretty close to half an hour. Torpedoes are not quiet like the subs that launch them. A ship is going to hear these torpedoes coming at them for half and hour and do things to defeat them. Shkval is unguided. The sub aims it in the general direction of the enemy and hope it hits, kind of an underwater RPG but less accurate. It is an underwater weapon, not something to shoot at a surface ship.

You have never apparently done any real ASW, have you? The JMSDF is as good as it gets in terms of ASW. Subs are not silent, especially diesel boats running their diesels, which they are going to have to do to get close enough to Japan to be a threat. AIP doesn't allow any kind of speed. Even nuclear boats are tracked routinely. Surface ships (sometimes called skimmers or targets, lol) drag noise makers and sonars behind them. They have pretty good situational awareness and a few tricks available to them. With a long range shot like you propose an Atago or Burke is fast enough to simply point it's stern at the torpedo and out run it. The torpedo is faster but only slightly so and would run out of propellant before getting close to the ship. You haven't lived until you have seen a Ticonderoga or a Sprucan at flank speed. No sub can run with one and diesel boats especially so. Not even close. A Burke or Atago would be equally fast.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

On the subject of torpedoes, the Russian type 65 torpedo has a range of 100 km.

Such long distance shots are probably only meant to hit ships in harbor or harass civilian ships. A warship with ASW capabilities that is expecting a fight will hear that torpedo coming for several dozen minutes and take necessary countermeasures. By launching, the sub also gave away its position, and is about to be in a world of hurt if the torpedo misses. (Hint: at 100km it will)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Desert Tortoise,

I assume the U.S. has a set goal of its weapons development policy, and that is to always run at least 10 years ahead of other countries, especially antagonistic ones. But it seems to me the distance is shortening year by year and in some cases U.S. technology is being caught up or even surpassed.

One must know this is the end result of an arms buildup or development race anytime, anywhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This idea is a good compromise solution but not superior to a land based system. There is a lot of opposition to anti missile sites in local communities because let’s face it, it would be a prime target for the Chinese. But a ship is much more expensive and easier to take out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I assume the U.S. has a set goal of its weapons development policy, and that is to always run at least 10 years ahead of other countries, especially antagonistic ones. But it seems to me the distance is shortening year by year and in some cases U.S. technology is being caught up or even surpassed.

The aim is battlespace dominance. If it is a fair fight we did a lot of things very wrong!

I would not say US tech is being surpassed. If you look at what the US has that is public knowledge it has tech that no other nation has. Tiltrotors, the new Sikorsky S-97 Raider which draws on decades of NASA testing of what they called the "Advancing Blade Concept" in the form of the Sikorsky S-69. Nobody has anything like the F-22 and F-35 (the Russian SU-57 still leaves part of the compressor exposed to radar and has no L-O at the rear aspect) the electronics of which are highly classified and probably as much responsible for its stealth as its physical form and any coatings used. The Russians are not replacing their engineers as they age and die off. The pay and living conditions in Russia are terrible. Their young engineers come to the west instead. Russia is two decades behind the US in aviation and getting further behind each year. No other nation has an air breathing hypersonic engine of any kind and the US now has several such engines in testing with at least one air breathing hypersonic weapon to be prototyped next year. This is vastly harder to do than a simple hypersonic glide vehicle, but air breathers do not need to use a ballistic trajectory and will be much harder to find and shoot down. Neither the Chinese nor the Russians can build a reliable high bypass turbofan engine and their tactical jet engines are not as powerful as the best western designs and do not last even 500 hours of use where western tactical jet engines last 1500-3000 hours reliably. Their airframes last a fraction of the hours of western aircraft. They either limit flight time (Russian pilots get very little flight time which affects tactical proficiency) or you have to replace worn out aircraft frequently to maintain force levels. Jets with their engines removed for overhaul or hitting their airframe limits either do not fly sorties against their enemy or break down if they try. China and Russia need a lot more aircraft and pilots to generate the same sortie rates as the west because their equipment is less reliable and require overhauls and replacement more often.

And then there is just the mundane stuff you see, like Chinese warships dolled up for a ceremony where the crew painted over parts of the gun that should be bare metal to bare metal and greased such as the recoil sleeve and the elevation ring. A radar antenna is painted over! They painted over the access cover gasket too, ruining it. You see un-seamanlike stuff like this and roll your eyes. Then you see interior shots of their warships and they have paneling, drop ceilings and roll around office chairs. Paneling and drop ceilings are a firefighting nightmare you never see on a US or JMSDF warship. All that stuff has to be chopped away to get at a fire or locate and plug leaks. Roll around chairs in a two or three meter mid Pacific swell? Better bungee those suckers to the desk or console or you'll be rolling around the workspace! Better yet bolt them to the deck like the US Navy does. Even chairs with four fixed legs will screech around in those conditions. You also don't see all the damage control equipment you see on US and Japanese warships, the fire fighting gear, low light cameras, breathing apparatus for surviving in smoke filled spaces, battle lanterns, de-watering pumps, heavy shoring to prop up damaged bulkheads or wooden wedges to plug leaks, etc. On Japanese and American warships the passageways are filled with this equipment, the hard lessons of WWII. There is a lot more to prevailing in battle than eye watering tech.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Desert Tortoise,

It's obvious you know your stuff. Hat's off to you, sir.

Allow me to pick your brain. What do you think would be an effective weapon against hundreds of "fishing trawlers" that a certain communist dictatorship uses to swarm into other people's waters?

Assuming that these "fishing boats" also carry radar as well as lasers ( as some reports seem to indicate). Also assume that these boats also have military escort ships painted white to disguise themselves (pathetically) as "civilian coast guards". They might also have a submarine backing them up.

What, in your opinion would be an effective way to take them out? I'm thinking cluster bombs by the dozens to immobilize the fishing trawlers. Maybe dropped from a couple of Harriers from a makeshift pad on Senkaku. If each AV-8B can carry about 16 to 18 cluster bombs, they might be able to take out several dozens of the intruders, fly back to Senkaku and re-arm. No need for drop tanks because of the short range from base to targets. I know the JASDF doesn't have Harriers but what if--hypothetically-- they lease them from the USMC?

What do you think? Just a mind-exercise. I like to think about such things during long train rides :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I didn't mention F-35 because of the limited ordnance, esp since you need to take out DOZENS of those ships.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I didn't mention F-35 because of the limited ordnance, esp since you need to take out DOZENS of those ships.

F-35 payload depends on what you are trying to do. If you are attacking a country like China the only way to do so is with all aspect L-O. That means internal weapons only which does limit payload. First day of war the only things flying will have all-aspect L-O; F-22, F-35, B-2 and B-21. If you think an F-15E can get past Chinese ground based air defenses and their air force to deliver its notionally larger payload you are delusional. 4th gen aircraft have no mission to fly in the early days of a war with a peer enemy with the best ground based air defenses. It's not air to air that limits 4th gen aircraft but rather advanced ground based air defenses that will force all 4th gen aircraft to sit out the early days of a war with a peer enemy. That includes the A-10, F/A-18, F-16, F-15, Tornado, Typhoon and Rafale. None of these are even remotely survivable in the early days of a war against China or Russia and would have to wait until the enemies air defenses are degraded enough to be survivable to be used. At that point the F-35 can carry external ordnance too and it's maximum payload with full internal and external stores is 8200 kg, same as the old A-6 Intruder and surpassed only by the F-15E and dedicated heavy bombers. It has a heavier payload than the Warthog (7260 kg) if you are using external stores and it can carry 18 air to air missiles in a non stealthy air defense mode. That is just one aspect of the value of the F-35. Most of what it can do is classified. The Chinese might make an airplane that superficially looks like an F-35 but it won't work like one. Obtw, the US Marines have at least one duplicate of the J-20 they made for evaluation and training purposes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Allow me to pick your brain. What do you think would be an effective weapon against hundreds of "fishing trawlers" that a certain communist dictatorship uses to swarm into other people's waters?

Swarming robots. No, I'm serious and the tech is maturing rapidly. Swarming robots could do huge damage to their nets and maybe poke holes in their boats.

I have also said here that Japan and perhaps South Korea should come up with a robust fishing boat design that can protect the crew from small arms fire and handle ramming, then train up a maritime militia along the lines of China's. They could be some sort of organized reserve force that fishes and carries firearms that are able to push and shove like the Chinese do and be able to repel attempted boarding. The boats and crews could have a military mission like mine warfare if a hot war broke out, otherwise they fish and keep the Chinese out of Japanese or South Korean waters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Desert Tortoise,

The Imperial Japanese Navy built allegedly unsinkable super battle ships like Musashi (72,809t/263m/launched 1940) and Yamato (69,000 t/263 meters/launched 1940). After all, though, the two battle ships sank into the bottom of the sea without showing their stuff, for the days of Great Warships, Big Guns had been over when they were commissioned and engaged in actual battle scenes toward the end of WW II.

One country's supremacy over military technology may change when new cutting-edge technology is introduced. So, who knows, the technology you are talking about may become obsolete and a thing of the past tomorrow. An arms build-up is an endless game, you know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Once a country, any country, is messed up with this endelss game, it may be very difficult to free itself from the quagmire.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Imperial Japanese Navy built allegedly unsinkable super battle ships like Musashi (72,809t/263m/launched 1940) and Yamato (69,000 t/263 meters/launched 1940)

The Yamato and Musashi sacrificed speed for armor thickness, and had blind spots in their AD systems.

Although they had a longer shooting range than US battleships, the US Navy had superior radar and fire control.

The Yamato and Musashi has to rely on observation planes for accurate fire, and once air superiority was lost, their long range was meaningless as they were literally shooting in the dark.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Swarming robots. No, I'm serious and the tech is maturing rapidly. Swarming robots could do huge damage to their nets and maybe poke holes in their boats

Good point about the robots. What worries me though is the range.

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The Imperial Japanese Navy built allegedly unsinkable super battle ships like Musashi (72,809t/263m/launched 1940) and Yamato (69,000 t/263 meters/launched 1940). After all, though, the two battle ships sank into the bottom of the sea without showing their stuff, for the days of Great Warships, Big Guns had been over when they were commissioned and engaged in actual battle scenes toward the end of WW II.

Do a little reading on what it took to sink those two ships. For one thing the US owned the skies over both ships. The Japanese didn't bring any air cover with them to fight off the attacking US aircraft. Second, both ships required most of a day to sink. They both absorbed something like ten or eleven heavy weight torpedos and countless armor piercing bombs before succumbing to their wounds. Yamato was still making some speed when one of her magazines blew in a truly epic detonation that vaporized her. Musashi was equally hard to sink. But also note that even the Yamato's thick armor could not stop even the old fashioned armor piercing bombs of that era. Today's best penetrator warheads would cut through a Yamato's or Iowa class' armor like a hot knife through butter.

Yamato and Musashi are perhaps the poster children for the value of having lots and lots of water tight compartments in a fighting ship. If the US didn't have complete air dominance and the ability to send wave after wave of heavily armed aircraft to attack these ships over the course of a day, it's doubtful they could have been sunk. The damage the US could achieve in a single attack on either if the Japanese had some air cover and were able to make it dangerous for the US to attack was not enough to sink her. This is a good lesson for modern naval warfare. One or two hits, even a couple of torpedo hits, aren't going to sink a ship that big if it is designed right. You can bet the USN took this to heart when designing their post WWII super carriers, especially the Nimitz class. The fanbois and some members of the press who like to tout "carrier killer missiles" ought to review how much heavy ordnance detonated on the deck of the Forrestal in 1967 and on Enterprise in 1969 without threatening to sink either ship. In fact without even affecting their propulsion. Forrestal had thousand pounders going off on her flight deck. Big fire and big holes in the flight deck and damage to after third of the hanger and aft gun sponsons but her engineering spaces remained unaffected.

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The Yamato and Musashi has to rely on observation planes for accurate fire, and once air superiority was lost, their long range was meaningless as they were literally shooting in the dark.

Read some accounts of the actual battles to sink them. Both ships had excellent radar directed anti-aircraft fire and it was effective. That it required most of a day to sink them with multiple waves of bombers and torpedo planes and no opposing Japanese fighters to contend with speaks volumes of the effectiveness of their anti-aircraft fire. It was in fact voluminous and factor in the attacks.

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One country's supremacy over military technology may change when new cutting-edge technology is introduced. So, who knows, the technology you are talking about may become obsolete and a thing of the past tomorrow. An arms build-up is an endless game, you know.

It's emphatically not a game if the survival of your nation depends on it ! The US learned harsh lesson on December 7th 1941 and does not want to get attacked by surprise again. The US military is well aware that technologies become stale and obsolete over time. The US has labs in places with names like Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, NAS Patuxent River, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Redstone Arsenal, Eglin AFB, China Lake, Edwards AFB, the USAF Research Lab at Wright Patterson AFB, Dugway Proving Grounds and others that are always pushing the boundaries of science to stay ahead of Americas enemies so they do not ever gain an advantage that could threaten the nation's survival. Their work is seldom revealed until decades later but if history is a guide their work is fruitful.

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Desert Tortoise, you obviously are an expert on naval warfare, and I’m not contesting that the Yamato and Musashi could take a beating and fight back. Just that it was foolish to continue fighting when air dominance was lost.

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A modernized Yamato or Missouri with nuclear propulsion would be something awesome to see though.

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Desert Tortoise,

Back to the Aegis Ashore issue, do you think the two systems Japan is considering installing either on land or at sea can cope with a dozen multiple missiles incoming simultaneously?

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voiceofokinawaToday 10:50 am JST

Desert Tortoise,

Back to the Aegis Ashore issue, do you think the two systems Japan is considering installing either on land or at sea can cope with a dozen multiple missiles incoming simultaneously?

One must not reveal too much on a public forum.

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Maybe, the answer is No. If so, why should Japan buy such white elephants with price tags assumedly to amount to 450 billion yen ($4.1 billion)? 

Is it because they are still effective of shooting down ICBMs flying over Japan’s skies and heading to the U.S. mainland whereby the U.S. is very eager for Japan to install them on its shore?

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Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1961, warned against the rise of the military industrial complex. President Donald Trump is more frank and outspoken, saying the higher echelon of the U.S. military is working for the military industry to prepare wars.

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There's no doubt that the upper echelon of the U.S. military is firmly connected to the defense industry by dint of a revolving door. Lockheed Martin, for example, has 37 former brass on its executive staff. Surprisingly, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is also on the list.

So, probably, Trump is right when he criticizes the top echelon of the U.S. Forces, saying they are all part of the industry and military complex. .When the U.S. government tries to sell Aegis Ashore systems (manufacturers: Lockheed Martin) to Japan, one must take that fact in mind.

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