I don't want to focus on the political circumstances in Syria, but rather look at the purely military lessons that can be extracted from a low intensity combat between a few attack planes and reduced numbers of AD assets.
I appreciate that, but you can't ignore that one is a nuclear power with the US at her beck and call that will raise the self defence card even when they are pummelling the hell out of a neighbour that might have done nothing wrong as such, I mean a normal response to being attacked from long range with standoff weapons would be to launch an attack against the airbases these aircraft are operating from... which is exactly what, say, India might do against attacks from Pakistan or China, but which Syria cannot do because we are talking about Israel... who gets a free pass to attack anyone they please, or indeed the EU and US who are punishing Syria for a chem attack nobody believes took place in the first place and even if it did it was terrorists those EU and US countries are supporting that did it in the first place.
I think it is fairly clear to see that air power, due to intrinsic advantages in tridimensional mobility / field of regard and range of sensors / kinematics of weapons has every chance to set up attack vectors against comparably static air defences that can surprise / overwhelm them or exploit any other weaknesses while remaining relatively safe.
Is that a feature of air power in general or the fact that the air power is owned and directed by Israel, the EU, or the US?
If the standoff attacks were coming from Jordan or Lebenon would Syria be unable to respond by attacking airfields or aircraft in their airspace?
Of course there are dozens of ways of altering this balance and I think the performance of the few AD resources available to Syria is more than acceptable but still for Israel this is a low risk game they can continue to play for as long as they wish, while Syria periodically suffers material and human loses.
I appreciate your points because no tiny country should ever think if they buy one or two batteries of Pantsir vehicles and then split them up to cover a dozen different sites with a single vehicle each that they could possibly withstand an attack by Israel or the EU or the US or for that matter Russia or China.
I do object to the idea that you might be suggesting that air defence vehicles might be over all a waste of money because they are holding back some of the worlds most powerful countries and are not smashing them to bits... there is no magic bullet... no single system to make you safe... Russia supplying the Serbs with an S-300 battery while they were being brutally attacked by the full force of HATO would not have helped them in the slightest... it probably would have led to a concerted effort to level Serbia for every aircraft they lost... a single battery cannot defend from an entire alliance of colonial war mongers for long.
What you can say, which actually holds for most Russian equipment actually, if it is used as designed by people who are properly trained and know what they are doing (the serbs showed excellent skills with the old outdated stuff they had and honestly made HATO look silly) it can do what it is designed to do... Pantsir is not supposed to wipe out the enemy airforce in a single stroke, and nor is a single S-300 or S-400 battery either.
Together however and also including all the hidden and not often talked about vehicles and bits of equipment that link it all together as an IADS, it can be a very formidable defence system and with each component you add like an AA gun or radar or optical sensor or missile battery it become much more and more powerful.
Air power can much faster react to a tactical situation due to having a level of mobility which is orders of magnitude apart from naval or land assets.
Air power on its own in Kosovo led to a stalemate... air power can be very potent and effective on its own but also fragile too.
Used together with ground or surface forces however it becomes vastly more useful...
It wasn't the German army that created blitzkrieg... their tanks were well designed but didn't have the best armour and they had pretty ordinary guns to start with... it was their mobility and speed and the direct support of air power that created shock in their enemies.
Air power today means even more because it detects threats and attacks early so you could actually detect an attack coming and flank it and crush an attack before it is properly formed and turn it into a rout...
They can redeploy faster and saturate defences, even when sustaining loses, and still win, because they could faster and more effectively exploit the evolving situation. I don't see Russia cancelling the VKS even when they have the best SAMs in the world, and doubt VMF would like to be left without the Kuznetsov and abandon the naval aviation altogether. Hell, in fact they are saying day and night they will build carriers and still the discussion persists...
What they are not saying is that aircraft are everything and our ships and subs will only carry SAMs with purpose of keeping our new aircraft carriers safe... our new aircraft carriers will do all the bombing so we really don't need attack and anti ship missiles any more...
Their long range land attack cruise missiles launched from ships and subs will be their strike capacity, their air power might be able to contribute, but will spend most of its time protecting ships and subs from enemy air attack.
I am not advocating for Russia to abandon its navy, I am saying the weird kind of logic used against carriers in general applies to the whole navy as well, because force projection far from Russia is ultimately not necessary for bare survival.
And what I am saying is that bare survival will leave you weak and the neighbours will attack... it makes more sense to look to grow and expand... not to invade and steal territory, to grow and develop and share technology and buy technology and products from others.
Only the very arrogant think everything is invented in the west... just look at the innovation and technology thread on this forum to see that is not true... all people are clever and different problems create different solutions... some of which solve problems in an unexpected way that is far better than other planned or expected solutions.
If you notice it, the arguments against carriers revolve not around anybody questioning the usefulness of air power at sea, but rather its cost being too much for Russia and them better settling for other ways of projecting force or not projecting it at all.
And to support their arguments they use figures based on the Ford class ships, but not over a decade that it would take to build.... but all at once.
Russia is going to be challenged at sea in the future... it is not a guess, it is a fact... and if she can't send some force there to resolve it then she is basically saying spank my ass... spank me again I like it...
Potential traders with Russia will look at that and say well... Russia is not in charge we need to ask in London or Washington or Paris and they will say... don't buy Russian stuff... buy this...
Asia & Russia, which may never rise above China in terms of trade & influence.
My assertion that Russia needs carriers is not to bully or damage or contain China... I wish China all the best because a strong healthy China is a good thing, and hopefully they think the same about Russia. Russia doesn't have to crush or destroy anyone... not even the west or the US to grow and develop.... but the west and specifically the US is making it so... they are using their power and their influence to try to damage both Russia and China and they are weakening themselves in the process.
Russia and China have no reason to hurt or fight the US and the west, but the way the US and the west are acting now they have no reason to save them from their own actions either.
The west is paranoid and think Russia and China want to steal their crown, but it was a crown the west gave to itself... it doesn't mean anything to anyone else and to be honest nobody wants it.... Russia doesn't want to rule the world and neither does China... they just want a free and fair international system that will stop picking on them and the reason it is currently picking on both of them is because it is controlled by the US and the US are
w/o at least some of those bases the USAF B-29s wouldn't have been able to strike the USSR either.
They wouldn't have had the numbers to destroy every runway the US had access to... the numbers of Tu-4s they would have lost to Meteors and Sabres and even F-80 Shooting Stars would render them a bit pointless and ineffectual... the red army marching and invading Turkey for instance, and the complete occupation of all of Germany for a start would have been easier to achieve, and of course in the far east the complete occupation of Korea as a start...
not long ago, 2 USN SSGNs visited ports in the W. Pac & Indian Ocean as a show of force to NK & China; the VMF can do the same in Africa & L. America.
Did it work?
Did China renounce all ownership claims to the islands they built, and is NK destroying all its nuclear weapons and weapon making material?
not if they r later converted to other uses, saving $Bs & becoming huge force multipliers. 4 Ohio SSGNs r worth 3 SSNs each in their firepower. Also, they need security forces only at bases, while ICBMs need them 24/7.
ICBM fields are normally in the middle of nowhere and relatively easy to defend... just put up signs... if you can read this you are probably already dead...
a CVN isn't a magic wand to give access to all areas- the VMF can already sail anywhere with its long range SA/AShMs & supported by strategic bombers.
You are quite right a CVN wont make a Russian surface group invincible, but it will make it much much harder to take on because it will be much harder to surprise and the depths at which it can shoot down a variety of different anti ship weapons expands enormously meaning hundreds of Harpoons are no longer going to work... they need Tomahawks and they need thousands of them... which, for most navies means just avoid them because you can't defeat them... even for the US Navy it means arming ships with lots of vertical launch tubes with expensive tomahawk missiles which reduces the number of SAMs they can take to defend themselves... which actually makes them vulnerable to a sneaky Russian SSGN attack...
And ships are never ever supported by strategic bombers... a strategic bomber flying with a group of ships is not a strategic bomber... it is a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) which is a totally different thing and nothing like as useful to that group of ships compared to a few dozen fighter jets in terms of defence or attack.
even the USN CBGs were vulnerable to VMF SSN/GNs & Tu-22/95/142 swarms, despite their SSNs & F-14s. Naval ops r not w/o risk for any1.
That is right but the Russian formidable attack structure and weapons were created because the US Navys AEGIS cruisers and aircraft carrier combination needed something more than a tack hammer to deal with it... don't you think the Russian surface ships deserve the same level of protection?
They already have the AEGIS protection.... down to corvette level actually, and a satellite network the Americans never had, but they lack the fighter planes and AWACS aircraft.
that's what insurance is for, & they need to have a large volume of trade & merchant fleet to justify following in the PLAN's wake.
What are you talking about? The Russian Navy is their insurance policy, but a Russian Navy without destroyers and cruisers and carriers is a 50c policy, a policy that is only good if nothing bad happens.
trade continued with China, Japan & USA during the Cold War even when relations were at all time low.
Not really. When the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl melted down and the Soviets asked for help from US universities who specialised in robotics to try to deal with the problem without putting people in danger the universities said yes, but the US government said no.
There was only trade in areas that suited the US and there were strings attached too.
again, no need for CVNs to do that.
And when the US finds out that Russia is building a nuclear power station in Venezuela to provide stable clean energy for economic growth and they impose a naval blockade to stop Maduro getting nuclear weapon technology what is Russia going to do?
Russia needs CVs to be able to trade with anyone they please.
The US has a long history of not just attacking with carriers groups and naval power but also blockading countries to force them to do what the US was telling them. Japan was under British and US blockade before WWII started and it was getting materials the west was blocking was part of the reason for their military expansion.
Not an excuse, but certainly a factor in their decisions.
don't worry, the ships will switch to civ. frequencies to warn them; if ignored, they can become another KAL 007. Besides, their own airlines & NORAD/other mil. commands should/will warn them.
Maybe Russia cares about peoples lives and doesn't think murdering them because the pilots of the aircraft they are flying in don't listen to military frequencies.
Shooting down civilian airliners is a crime you know. Flying in open areas, they have no reason to constantly listen to the radio.
it will have other defensive armaments, & there'll be at least 1 sub &/ surface ship nearby; they can also form a convoy for better protection.
Well there you go... if some old container ship can defeat the entire US Navy then why are they screwing around with Corvettes and Frigates... cargo ships are much cheaper and when they are not patrolling you can use them to move cargo too...
true; FFGs r not that much more expensive to build.
Frigates have more armament but are still not built for endurance or operating far from base for long periods.... Destroyers and Cruisers on the other hand would be excellent for the job...
but they r a lot harder to find, target & sink than surface ships.
But there are so many basic things a ship does that a sub cannot...
And they are eye wateringly more expensive than corvettes or Frigates or even destroyers.
they used Cuban & Vietnamese bases for armed Tu-95/142 patrols along the US E. Coast & in the SC Sea; the bases that Tu-160s visited could be used for future real ops.
Making them vastly more vulnerable to enemy action, while providing nothing in return... with its flight range and teh range of its missiles the Tu-160 can hit any target in the US.... from Cuba it would arrive in US airspace before the ICBMs and SLBMs had hit so it would encounter F-22s and fully undamaged airfields and air defence systems... which is a bad thing...
- a stronger navy comes after economic success, not before.
the other way around.... a strong naval power grows their economy and brings in resources and ideas from other places to feed their development and growth... working the other way innovation and development creating wealth to then build a powerful navy so it can then... what spread the wealth? I don't think so...
a missile boat in the Black/White/Caspian Sea can hit enemy ships in the Med./Barentz/Arabian sea. No need to send Tu-95/142/22s as before.
That is right... during a war a small vessel armed with long range missiles can have an enormous impact, but during peace time a small boat with long range cruise missiles sitting in the Black or Caspian sea means nothing at all... why would they care about it?
In comparison a destroyer going to Africa for a visit might have a delegation of companies wanting to buy or sell stuff... military or civilian... their military will have a look at the destroyer at some of the weapons on board and say... hey... these missiles in that UKSK system are the same as the ones in your Corvettes... which we like the look of... can we buy some...
[quote[The US bombed the Talibs with B-1B/52s & F-14/18s off CV/Ns, but Russia can bomb Islamists there & elsewhere in C. Asia from the Caspian & her land bases, w/o any CVNs in the Indian Ocean.[/quote]
They did, and Russia could build destroyers and cruisers and not bother making any more carriers, but those destroyers and cruisers will just be less safe from attack and more vulnerable to being surprised. The Russian forces in Syria could be operating without aircraft too.... why are they not? Is it because air power provides capabilities that they want and need perhaps? Does having airpower there make them safer at all?
But who gives a shit about saving Russian sailors or ships or subs... you might save them a little bit of money...
they can have a mix of LHDs & LHAs, if 1 UDK class isn't good enough.
So you think they should spend a little money on a half arsed solution but not more money on a proper solution... interesting.
these can't be compared with absolute terms. Russia is primarily a continental power on 2 continents- she has less of a priority for the costly blue water ops involving CBGs.
But she will largely be land locked and trading with her land border neighbours so she will be perfectly safe and not need an air force.
Iceland, Finland & Costa Rica have only coast guards/small coastal navy- there r exceptions to any rule.
And where do you think they fit in the world system... cause I wouldn't put them above 3rd world to be honest.... in terms of influence and power...
the Ford saga isn't over yet, & as I said many times before, using a CVN in the Arctic is a good way to waste $, damage equipment & aircraft, & decommission it early.
You are talking about a screwed up American programme to build a ship and make max profit from it, with a ship Russia is going to build themselves from the outset planning to use it in arctic conditions... in fact it will likely be based in the northern fleet. Can you not see that these are different things and that a Russian designed carrier designed to be based in the Arctic might not be damaged by such conditions and would have equipment and aircraft designed to operate in such conditions as normal?
Or so you think they are greedy idiots trying to milk the system like American Patriots are?
they could have done it w/o surface escorts, just a few extra icebreakers; CVNs have strong hulls to last decades in rough seas while doing rapid transits.
That is the North West Passage... through Canada... they can't go via the North Sea Route because it goes through Russian territorial waters... they would need Russian permission... which they might give to civilian ships but unlikely to give to US Navy ships wanting to prove a point and be ass holes as usual.
I mean along the NSR built by the Russians.
I know and I am telling you it goes through Russian territorial waters so they can't.
[I do not know what "doctrinal articles" has triggered this debate about the profitability of aircraft carriers in today and future naval warfare situations and that truly absurd about the utility of a Navy ....... but i heavily suspect that those articles was either amateurish or very outdated.
The west doesn't want Russia to develop and grow and have a global presence... for all the same reasons they don't like Russias expansion into the Far East and building airfields and roads and rail links connecting areas that were previously hard to get too, because it means they can better exploit their own resources on their own without western help and western companies taking a cut of the profits.
The utility of aircraft carriers and in particular very big displacement aircraft carrier is instead a topic much more interesting and widely debated around the world.
Not often we disagree, but I have to say on this we do. And that is fine.
The US herself is realising their carriers will not be safe... but to be clear they mean not safe against the Russians and perhaps China and that is in a WWIII situation where nukes can be used.
I would argue that no naval vessel would have more than a minor percentage effect on the outcome of WWIII no matter how wonderful it was.
My argument for Russian carriers to support surface action groups and subs is during peace time and low intensity conflicts like in Syria... if the enemy terrorists had been more successful and had better access to more powerful weaponry that made land based airfields too risky, having sea based air power would be the only real alternative because basing in neighbouring countries would not be possible and isn't.
Being able to use standard fighters with dumb bombs would remain affordable from a carrier...
SAM interceptors are going to improve, as will DEW and other defences based in new physical principles (you in fact hinted about some of them in the past).
When looking at directed energy weapons of all types an aircraft carrier is an excellent base for such technology.... weight and space are not really an issue and power supply on a CVN isn't a problem either and any carrier and carrier group would benefit from having an air defence weapon that operates at the speed of light... even hypersonic threats become manageable.
Besides, from a Russian perspective the anti ship capability of the west is still centred around subsonic cruise missiles used in overwhelming numbers.
The land based SAMs are getting smaller and lighter and more accurate and able to engage tiny targets from greater and greater ranges.... all these things make a naval equivalent a good idea to increase production numbers and reduce costs and increase protection and performance.
BTW neither GarryB nor me are talking about such absurd amounts of carriers, but 2-3 in addition to Kuznetsov, which according to the estimated costs provided by designers would amount to roughly a 2-3% of the yearly defence budget for ten years, even less if the construction would take longer.
Russia can't afford a huge navy... they can use Corvettes and Frigates for home defence and operations in near waters.... with regard to destroyers and cruisers they wont need huge numbers of those either... with three or four aircraft carriers in total... including the Kuznetsov... that would be 2 cruisers each, and probably 4 destroyers each to support them in an actual battle surface action group... so with four carriers they might build 8-12 cruisers and 24-36 destroyers at most and realistically we are probably talking the lower numbers... so one CV and two CVNs, with probably 8-12 cruisers... maybe split into two types... one smaller and less ambitious like they did with the Slava and Kirov classes, and 24-36 Destroyers of a unified design so they are fully multipurpose and well armed for anything... that would mean the Kuznetsov might be based in the Pacific, while the two CVNs would be based in the Northern Fleet, so four cruisers in the Northern fleet and two more in the Pacific fleet would be part of any surface action group so you might have two more in each and another in the Black Sea to operate in the Med... it would be a capital ship so getting in and out of the black sea should not be a problem.
In terms of destroyers that would be 8 in the northern fleet for carrier escort duties and 4 more in the Pacific Fleet, but you would also want more there for other duties of course and the Baltic and Black Sea fleets too. The Caspian sea doesn't need anything bigger than a Frigate.