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    Arleigh Burke class destroyer

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    Russian Patriot
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    The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Jason Dunham.

    Post  Russian Patriot on Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 pm

    The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Jason Dunham, Aug. 1, 2009, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

    Designated DDG 109, the new destroyer honors Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dunham was born in Scio, N.Y., Nov. 10, 1981, sharing the same birthday as the U.S. Marine Corps.

    On April 14, 2004, Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah, Iraq, when his battalion commander’s convoy was ambushed. When Dunham’s squad approached to provide fire support, an Iraqi insurgent leapt out of a vehicle and attacked Dunham. As Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground, he noticed that the enemy fighter had a grenade in his hand and immediately alerted his fellow Marines. When the enemy dropped the live grenade, Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade, and threw himself on top to smother the blast. In an ultimate selfless act of courage, in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of two fellow Marines.

    Retired Gen. Michael W. Hagee, former commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Debra Dunham will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late son. In accordance with Navy tradition, she will break a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow and christen the ship.

    Jason Dunham, the 59th Arleigh Burke class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Jason Dunham will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” the new maritime strategy that postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

    Cmdr. M. Scott Sciretta, born in South Amboy, N.J., is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Jason Dunham is being built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

    Additional information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4.





    http://www.defenselink.mil/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=12854

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    Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  George1 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:13 am

    The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is the United States Navy's first class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multi-function phased array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh "31-Knot" Burke, the most famous American destroyer officer of World War II, and later Chief of Naval Operations. Admiral Burke was alive when the class leader, the USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned.

    The first ship of the class was commissioned on 4 July 1991. With the decommissioning of the last Spruance-class destroyer, USS Cushing, on 21 September 2005, the Arleigh Burke-class ships became the U.S. Navy's only active destroyers and the class has the longest production run for any US Navy surface combatant. After the Fletcher class and Gearing class, the Arleigh Burke class is planned to be the most numerous class of destroyer to ever serve in the US Navy.

    With an overall length of 510 feet (160 m), displacement of 9200 tons, and weaponry including over 90 missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class ships are larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  Viktor on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:29 pm

    Best destroyer in the world and most numerous. US should better opt for more Burks than those few DDG-1000.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  George1 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:15 pm

    It is mainly a surface strike vessel, Harpoon launchers have been removed and 60% of Mk 41 cells are fitted with Tomahawk LACM.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  Viktor on Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:12 pm

    George1 wrote:It is mainly a surface strike vessel, Harpoon launchers have been removed and 60% of Mk 41 cells are fitted with Tomahawk LACM.

    Its all around vessel. Two Mk 41 allowed it to launch variety of missiles for different purposes. Tomahawk is just one of them.

    SM-2 for PGM/fighter/(even civilian ones) Twisted Evil, SM-3 for ASAT/ballistic missiles, ESSM for point defence, ASROC for dealing with subs and offcourse Tomahawk for dealing with inland objectives.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  TR1 on Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:13 pm

    Those ships are basically cruisers, calling them destroyers is funny at this point.


    Their anti ship weaponry is still pretty weak though Wink.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  Viktor on Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:21 pm

    TR1 wrote:Those ships are basically cruisers, calling them destroyers is funny at this point.


    Their anti ship weaponry is still pretty weak though Wink.

    Same as Type45, or Kuznjecov classification as cruiser LOL.

    Yes US Harpoon is subsonic non stealth missile but on the other hand there is not much need of USN to fight other navies up to a point.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  George1 on Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:48 pm

    Raytheon Enters New Phase of Next Generation Radar Development

    Raytheon announced on Wednesday that it has completed a preliminary design review (PDR) for the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) that will be fitted onto the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.

    At the same time, the company announced that it has also completed the Integrated Baseline Review for the system. With the PDR completed, Raytheon will embark on what is called the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the program.

    “With the technology risks retired in the earlier technology development phase and cost reduction initiatives already implemented, we’re now fully focused on the fabrication of the AMDR system and completion of the engineering and manufacturing development phase,” said Kevin Peppe, vice president of Raytheon’s seapower capability systems business area in a release.

    Once development of the AMDR radar is completed, it will be fitted on to the second Burke-class destroyer built in fiscal year 2016. The 14-foot AMDR radar, which will fit into the ship’s deckhouse in much the same ways at the current SPY-1D radar, is expected to be revolutionary in many ways.

    Constructed as an active electronically scanned array radar using Gallium Nitride-based transmit/receive modules, the Navy expects the system to be 30 times more power than the SPY-1 for about twice the electrical power input. It is Gallium Nitride technology that is enabling Raytheon to build the Flight III with the AMDR without straining the power and cooling capacity of the Burke-class hull.

    The AMDR’s active electronically scanned array design will also enable digital beam forming, leading to a much more precise tracking. Further, the system could potentially be used to perform electronic attacks—a capability not found on any current Navy warship.

    One advantage of the AMDR is that it is a scalable design that could be adapted for other vessels. The system is modular and groups of transmit/receive modules can be grouped together to form a radar for whatever application—either a smaller or larger vessel. However, at present, the Navy has no plans to fit the AMDR onto another type of warship.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  George1 on Fri May 01, 2015 9:29 am

    US Navy to Christen New Guided Missile Destroyer

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20150501/1021587162.html#ixzz3YryGD1Ip

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    Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer

    Post  AirCargo on Mon May 11, 2015 1:57 am

    Navy’s Anti-Surface Tomahawk Test ‘Game Changing’

    By: Sam LaGrone

    Updated: February 11, 2015 5:48 PM

    SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - The Pentagon’s number two civilian praised a January test of Raytheon Tomahawk missile that successfully struck a moving maritime target calling it a “game changing capability.”  Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work used the test of the Block IV Tomahawk as an example of quickly adapting existing technology in new ways of an example of the defense innovation in line with the pursuit of the Pentagon’s Third Offset Strategy.
    “A big part of the Third Offset Strategies is to find new and innovative ways to deploy promising technologies,” Work said during a keynote speech at the WEST 2015 conference.  “This is potentially a game changing capability for not a lot of cost. It’s a 1000 mile anti-ship cruise missile.”  The benefits of using the Tomahawk as an anti-ship missile include the ability for the weapon to be used on a variety of U.S. Navy platforms.  “It’s a 1000 mile anti-ship cruise missile,” he said.  It can be used by practically by our entire surface and submarine fleet.”
    In the test, a Block IV fired from USS Kidd (DDG-100) struck a moving maritime target while being guided by a F/A-18 Super Hornet that issued instructions to the missile mid-
    flight.  The Tomahawk test is also in line with U.S. surface forces new, “distributed lethality” concept to put more offensive power on U.S. surface ships.  "Tom Rowden talks about having distributed lethality in the fleet and this is exactly the way we can go about doing it,” Work said.
    In January, U.S. director of surface warfare said modifying existing weapon systems would be a component of the distributed lethality concept.
    “I go take a seeker – if that’s my problem – and I glue it on the front end of an existing missile. If it doesn’t go far enough, I put a new backend on it. If someone around the world is already flying it, I go buy it,” Rear Adm. Peter Fanta said in January.  Work said the addition of a new seeker on the Tomahawk could preclude the need to develop a new high power anti-ship missile (ASM) – considered an urgent need by U.S. forces in U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).  “What happens if we take another step and just make an advanced seeker on the Tomahawk, rather than building a new missile?” Work said “We believe if we make decisions like that that we will be able to out turn potential adversaries and maintain our technological superiority.”
    The Navy is currently testing a next generation ASM, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).  Early iterations of the Tomahawk included an anti-ship variant – the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM). However most of the missiles were taken out of the Navy inventory in the early 1990s  .Currently, the Navy’s ASM is the RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile – a decades old anti-ship missile – has thought to have been eclipsed in range and sophistication by weapons developed internationally, USNI News understands.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Mon May 11, 2015 6:34 am

    Tomahawk is no longer used in US navy . Old news .

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  AirCargo on Tue May 12, 2015 8:59 am

    max steel wrote:Tomahawk is no longer used in US navy  . Old news .

    Apparently is being tested to make a come back.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Tue May 12, 2015 2:06 pm

    LRASM can be countered . Rest we're yet to see tomahawk back in service . Why are they testing it again ? Is it a modified Tomahawk like extended range etc ?

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    Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer

    Post  AirCargo on Wed May 13, 2015 9:27 pm

    max steel wrote:LRASM can be countered . Rest we're yet to see tomahawk back in service . Why are they testing it again ? Is it a modified Tomahawk like extended range etc ?

    Max if you read it you will know, 1000 miles (1600 km)  Laughing

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Wed May 13, 2015 9:33 pm

    Yup got it . My bad .

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Wed May 13, 2015 10:15 pm

    AirCargo wrote:
    max steel wrote:LRASM can be countered . Rest we're yet to see tomahawk back in service . Why are they testing it again ? Is it a modified Tomahawk like extended range etc ?

    Max if you read it you will know, 1000 miles (1600 km)  Laughing

    So the US is going against the IRBM treaty since when? Funny you guys complained about the R-500.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Thu May 14, 2015 12:37 pm

    If they are breaking IRBM treaty then Russia should break INF by testing required equipments .

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Thu May 14, 2015 12:43 pm

    The cat & mouse game has been going for too long to even be relevant.

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 14, 2015 12:58 pm

    As long as it is ship based and not land based then it does not break the INF treaty...

    If it did the Russian versions of Club and Kalibr would easily break it... the mach 3 anti ship version of Club for domestic use is supposed to have a range of 1,500km and of course Kalibr has a range of 2,500km in its land attack version...


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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Thu May 14, 2015 1:10 pm

    Garry do you think US will bring tomahawk ashm back from retirement ? They just tested a 1600 km Tomahawk Ashm from their Naval Platforms . How much range is allowed for naval version ashms accorrding to treaty ?


    and What do you think how russian present BOTH NAVAL AND LAND BASED ashms will fair against SEA RAM , SEA SPARROW & ESSM ?

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Thu May 14, 2015 1:12 pm

    GarryB wrote:As long as it is ship based and not land based then it does not break the INF treaty...

    If it did the Russian versions of Club and Kalibr would easily break it... the mach 3 anti ship version of Club for domestic use is supposed to have a range of 1,500km and of course Kalibr has a range of 2,500km in its land attack version...

    The problem that the Phase 4 has been a thorn in the relationship of both nuclear powers for a while. Testing the Phase 4 needs prior work done ashore. Artjomh provided enough food for thought at MP.net relevant thread.


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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Wed May 20, 2015 12:44 pm

    Raytheon Ramps Up Production of Anti-Ballistic Missiles for US Navy




    US defense contractor Raytheon said that advanced surface-to-air Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) has moved into full-rate production to provide the US Navy with more of the anti-ballistic missiles and anti-aircraft weapons.


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The advanced surface-to-air Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) has moved into full-rate production to provide the US Navy with more of the anti-ballistic missiles and anti-aircraft weapons, US defense contractor Raytheon said in a statement on Wednesday.
    "Full-rate production allows us to significantly ramp up production and deliver to the US Navy the quantities it needs to further increase operational effectiveness," Standard Missile-6 senior program director Mike Campisi said in the statement.

    The SM-6 is a supersonic surface-to-air missile deployed on cruisers and destroyers that defends against manned aircraft and drones, as well as land attacks and anti-ship cruise missiles. The SM-6 will also be used by the US Navy as part of the US anti-ballistic missile defense system, according to Raytheon.

    Raytheon, one of the largest US defense contractors, has delivered more than 180 SM-6 to the US Navy to date.





    http://sputniknews.com/us/20150506/1021789174.html#ixzz3afrq6Bbv



    Can SM-6 neutralize China's anti-aircraft Dong Feng BM ?

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  max steel on Thu May 21, 2015 9:17 pm

    US Aegis Ships Could Pose Threat to Russia


    Russian Embassy to Washington Counselor Alexander Trofimov says that US Navy Aegis ships based in Europe could secretly carry cruise missiles threatening Russia. US Navy Aegis ships based in Europe could secretly carry cruise missiles threatening Russia, Russian Embassy to Washington Counselor Alexander Trofimov told a Congressional roundtable discussion on missile defense in Europe in the US Congress.


    "Aegis can fire [anti-ballistic missile] interceptors and attack [cruise] missiles like the Tomahawk," Trofimov said on Wednesday.


    Trofimov explained the defensive interceptors and offensive Tomahawk cruise missiles would be vertically deployed on the ships, making it difficult for air or space reconnaissance to identify them.
    On May 1, 2015, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter joined two other destroyers, USS Donald Cook and USS Ross, at the Naval Station Rota in Spain as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to ballistic missile defense (BMD).

    A fourth Arleigh Burke-class warship, the USS Carney, will join them later in 2015.


    All four ships have had their Aegis combat systems upgraded to handle BMD threats.
    Trofimov said the deployment was continuing without any US-Russian dialogue to address Moscow's concerns that it was threatening the power balance in Europe.

    http://sputniknews.com/military/20150521/1022394345.html

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    Re: Arleigh Burke class destroyer

    Post  GarryB on Fri May 22, 2015 11:48 am

    Garry do you think US will bring tomahawk ashm back from retirement ? They just tested a 1600 km Tomahawk Ashm from their Naval Platforms . How much range is allowed for naval version ashms accorrding to treaty ?

    Naval systems were not included in the INF treaty.

    And think of this step by the US just as a reaction to the Russian Navy introducing their UKSK launcher which allows their navy for the first time to carry enormous numbers of land attack cruise missiles and potent supersonic anti ship missiles and anti submarine weapons...

    and What do you think how russian present BOTH NAVAL AND LAND BASED ashms will fair against SEA RAM , SEA SPARROW & ESSM ?

    On paper those systems are very potent and should stop every threat directed at US ships.

    On paper the Sea Dart and Sea Wolf were also very potent and should have stopped the Exocet missile dead in its tracks during the Falklands War too... and for various reasons they didn't.

    Attack is easier that defence.

    Think of a tall skyscraper with thousands of windows and doors... in terms of security you have to allow certain people access to certain places, but you also have to keep everyone else out...

    A tricky job at the best of times... if the enemy masses up enough intruders at once your defences... no matter how formidable on paper can and will be overwhelmed...

    No different for sea or land targets.

    The main difference is that most large ships are high concentrations of missile and gun defence with radar and optronic sensors as well as soft kill and decoy systems as well.

    Trofimov said the deployment was continuing without any US-Russian dialogue to address Moscow's concerns that it was threatening the power balance in Europe.

    Of course when Russia starts fielding equivalent vessels with S-500 and hypersonic anti ship missiles (Zircon) and of course any future land attack missiles... perhaps upgraded to Kh-101/102 level range of 5,000km range and there will of course need to be serous talks...


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    Aegis Ashore: Navy Needs Relief From Land

    Post  max steel on Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:54 pm

    Aegis Ashore: Navy Needs Relief From Land



    VIDEO: https://youtu.be/UCt6fq7cvSY

    CAPITOL HILL: Take my mission — please. The armed services are notorious for overselling their capabilities and grabbing turf to justify budgets. But when it comes to ballistic missile defense, the Navy feels so overburdened that it is talking up land-based alternatives as superior to its vaunted Aegis ships.

    [Click here for Part I of this story]
    http://breakingdefense.com/2015/06/aegis-ambivalence-navy-hill-grapple-over-missile-defense-mission/

    “Anything that goes ashore…is the best way to defend ashore,” Rear Adm. Peter Fanta, director of surface warfare, told reporters after a June hearing on the Hill. “It allows more power, more aperture [for sensors], and a permanent presence there to cover that area.”

    An Aegis Ashore site, like those now being built in Romania and, soon, Poland, isn’t limited by the size of a ship’s hull. That means it can accommodate larger radar arrays to detect incoming missiles and larger numbers of interceptors to shoot them down. (Lockheed builds both the ship and shore versions of Aegis, which both fire the Raytheon Standard Missile). What’s more, a land base doesn’t have to sail home periodically for crew rest, training, and repairs.

    “I have to maintain my ships, [so they] may come off the station for a little while,” Fanta said. One Aegis Ashore site provides as many days of coverage as four Aegis ships — but costs less than a single ship.

    “There’s no question about that,” said Rep. Randy Forbes when I asked him to check Fanta’s math. As chairman of the House seapower subcommittee, Forbes is always quick to call for a larger fleet, but he’s a big advocate of land-based missiles as well.

    In fact, Forbes argues, the current strain on the fleet derives in large part from the Obama administration’s decision to delay and downsize land-based missile defenses in Europe while relying heavily on Aegis BMD ships instead. (This is the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach). “If you’re going to place that on the back of the Navy,” he said, “you need to at least give the Navy the resources, and that’s not what is happening.”

    Meanwhile in the Pacific, Japan’s interest in buying Aegis Ashore is mired in the export control bureaucracy. Provisions to accelerate the ponderous process are now in conference between the House and Senate as the two chambers work out the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016.

    “The advantage to Aegis Ashore is it reduces the stress on our over-worked Navy… allowing them to focus on other mission areas,” Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House strategic forces subcommittee and co-author of the legislative language, said in a statement to Breaking Defense. But, he added, “inexplicably, the bureaucracy is slow-rolling the process to sell Aegis Ashore to allies who already have bought Aegis ships from us.”

    “There’s no real objection, it’s just this damn process,” a House Armed Services Committee staffer told me. “You guys [at the Pentagon] have been studying this for over a year.”

    “For the love of God, people, you went through this process [already],” the staffer continued. “We decided it was okay to sell the Japanese Aegis ships.” Those warships can not only do missile defense, they can also hunt submarines, sink hostile vessels, and launch Tomahawk cruise missiles hundreds of miles inland. If we trust a country with the full range of technologies that come with an Aegis ship, the staffer argued, surely we can trust that same country with the limited, purely defensive subset of those technologies that makes up Aegis Ashore.




    Shore-Based vs. Sea-Based

    As much as the Navy likes Aegis Ashore, it still wants Aegis BMD ships at sea. It just wants them for different purposes. A permanent, fixed-site ashore is the most cost-efficient way to protect any given landmass 365 days a year. But only ship-based systems can move with the fleet.

    “We have to defend against ballistic missiles at sea, and we have to defend our expeditionary sites,” Fanta told reporters. “If I’m setting up a runway or a base or anything somewhere, I can now move a ballistic missile capability to defend that.” If the Navy lands Marines to capture a key island, for example, the fleet’s Aegis BMD ships could simultaneously protect both the ships at sea and the troops ashore.

    That’s somewhat of a novel concept. Traditionally, warships didn’t need protection against ballistic missiles, which were too inaccurate to hit a moving target, even one as gigantic as an aircraft carrier. Ballistic missiles like the notorious Scud were for bombarding static targets on land. Cruise missiles were the threat to ships at sea, because they could actually hit them.

    Today, however, you can add precision guidance to ballistic missiles, as with China’s DF-21 “carrier killer.” The actual capabilities of the DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) are much debated, but its significance is clear. “It’s serious enough that you’ve seen it impact behavior, thinking, and investments,” said Tom Karako, head of the missile defense program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Navy is already working on ballistic missile defenses for the fleet.

    But the anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) threat hasn’t gone away: In fact, it’s getting worse. That means an advanced adversary could threaten a Navy task force with a simultaneous salvo of cruise missiles — skimming in low over the water — and ballistic missiles — plummeting down from the upper atmosphere. Such a two-pronged attack is the 21st century equivalent of torpedo bombers (low) and dive bombers (high) converging on carriers at Midway.

    This one-two punch creates a major problem for the Navy: Most Aegis BMD systems in service can defend either against ballistic missiles or cruise missiles at any given time, but not both at once. So while there are 33 Aegis BMD ships now in service, just three have Aegis “Baseline 9,” the software capable of engaging both kinds of missiles simultaneously. For a major war, the Navy says it needs 40.

    “What you really heard [from the Navy] was, I need 40 apples and, by the way, I have 33 oranges,” Rep. Forbes told me scornfully. On the current modernization schedule, the number of ships with Aegis Baseline 9 won’t reach 40 until 2026.

    Now, the 30 ships that lack Baseline 9 are hardly worthless. They’re arguably inadequate for a high-tech, high-intensity war. But they’re adequate against lower-end threats, which might not be able to launch cruise missiles and ballistic missiles in quick succession against the same target. In particular, they can address the need of the theater combatant commanders (COCOMs) for ballistic missile defense of sites ashore.

    But the Navy’s ambivalent about this mission, because it’s insatiable. The COCOMs have identified enough sites needing protection that it would require 77 Aegis BMD ships to protect them. Remember there are only 33 Aegis BMD ships today. (Even if you upgraded every Aegis ship in the fleet to have BMD capability, that’s still only 84). And a ship devoted to ballistic missile defense of a given area of land must stay nearby on patrol, making it unable to maneuver with the fleet.

    “I often hear, although notably never from anyone currently in the Navy, that the Navy doesn’t want to perform ‘picket duty,'” said Hudson Institute scholar Rebeccah Heinrichs. “For dual-purpose ships like Aegis ships equipped with the BMD capability, it is hard to justify taking them away from their current missions in the Pacific and putting them in areas that might need an exclusive BMD mission.”

    The Limits Of Land

    The Navy is pushing Aegis Ashore because it frees up warships to do Navy missions. Each fixed-site, single-purpose BMD site on land can liberate multiple mobile, multi-purpose warships to whatever is required, wherever they’re needed on the water: to fight enemy ships, hunt submarines, strike land targets, or defend the fleet against aircraft and cruise missiles.

    But Aegis Ashore isn’t a universal substitute. Not every country we want to protect will let us build a missile defense site on their soil. There may be some countries we don’t realize we want to protect until the crisis erupts, at which point it’s too late to build anything. In both these cases, the only option may be to send a ship.

    Ships can also evade attack better than a land base. “As our Russian friends are fond of reminding us, any fixed site is also a target,” Karako said. In fact, Rep. Rogers’ subcommittee has called for the European Aegis Ashore sites to have anti-aircraft capabilities for self-defense against Russian airstrikes.

    If the enemy has to fire their missiles across a body of water — as China or North Korea would against Japan, for example — a ship could also provide a first line of defense that intercepts the missile earlier in its flight, potentially in its vulnerable ascent phase. In fact, one of the fathers of the Aegis BMD program, former Strategic Defense Initiative director Amb. Hank Cooper, argues Aegis ships — not a Ground-Based Interceptor site on land — might be the best missile defense for the East Coast.


    Aegis East Coast - Cooper & Williams July-29-2014-IGraphic courtesy of Amb. Hank Cooper & Vice Adm. Hank Williams

    That doesn’t mean tying Aegis BMD ships down on coastal patrols, Cooper emphasized. “I have never bought into the idea that Aegis should be assigned a ‘picket ship’ role, which the Navy would rightly oppose,” he told me, “but the ships normally near our coasts have the inherent capability to shoot down ICBMs from Iran” — or a sneak attack from a ship offshore.

    There are already several Aegis BMD ships off the East Coast at any given time, Cooper told me, either on training exercises or coming and going from overseas deployments. If their crews were trained to keep their BMD systems on alert even in home waters, and if those systems were tied into radars on land, he said, “they should be able to provide a meaningful defense of those of us who live along the East Coast almost immediately, for little additional operations expense.”

    That said, Cooper isn’t averse to building Aegis Ashore sites on the East Coast, either. They’d just cost more than multi-tasking ships we already have.

    In the Navy’s ideal world, Aegis Ashore might take over the entire burden of static missile defense, freeing up Aegis ships for mobile missions. But tactical, strategic, and political realities mean the ships will be doing some of both.

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