@Mindstorm: I was also busy these days to touch this issue, since it demands a significant research and documentation effort from me in order to try being minimally serious, but I will post the last part of my answer to your previous posts before addressing the new ones, even when I am not linking all the sources right now due to lack of time. Now, allow me to say the following: I am probably one of your fondest followers here and happy to admit you are much more knowledgeable than myself in all sorts of military issues, but sincerely, making the case for the use of air power in the naval domain is simply too easy (literally there are layers upon layers of conclusive arguments in their favour) for me to admit that in the future surface-only fleets have the upper hand against the ones that count on airborne assets. This is not going to happen, on the contrary, lighter and more abundant aircraft of all kinds will be used, both as defensive and offensive means, actually I prove below that smaller surface units like FFGX also plan using them.
Without Space and Submarine based third party surveillance the discovery of enemy ship units would happen by pure chance ,likely by very long endurance UAVs and also in this instance the chance of discovery of the Nimitz calss carrier and of 22 dispersed frigates would be worlds a part in terms of probability of happening.
This touches one of the most crucial differences between a fleet with or without availability of air power in the naval warfare, which is the difference in radar horizon and range of available ISR and even the possibility of keeping RF emissions silent. I am going along with not restricting space based assets, which may or may not be the case in a concrete scenario, but it is obvious that without them and in an oceanic deployment the fleet without air ISR assets would be rendered essentially blind and defenceless, an eventuality a military planer will certainly not want to be unprepared for. In fact this is such an obvious shortcoming that the FFGX expects to carry a UH-60 + the MQ-8C helicopter type UAV. No question the range and capabilities of such assets are a far cry of those available to a carrier, and their vulnerability against the carrier's airwing, complete.
The very document you refer and that I was also checking while writing this reply explains in detail plans and proposals to integrate more capable ISR assets in the carrier's airwing. They mention some undefined U(C)AV to take care of such missions, but being more concrete, the RQ-9 was proposed in a naval ISR version for the BAMS program called Mariner, with almost 50 h persistence
and for which carrier-compatible versions (w/ folding wings) were proposed. Therefore the technological availability of long range, long persistence ISR assets is given and it will very probably be the answer to distributed threats like the ones you propose, in the case that they actually have the offensive potential to threaten a CSG. That means a very different breed of AShM to those available to the USN now and used in our scenario.
BTW, do you have some reliable source about the actual integration of the LRASM in the Mk 41 VLS? I know Lockheed has done the necessary technical work, but until now the only officially approved integration I have seen is for bombers, fighters and patrol aircraft of the USN. Plus the FFGX is using the NSM, so it is not clear to me if the LRASM is finally going to be adopted for sea launch from the VLS. Not that I think it would be very crucial for our analysis, but for the sake of correctness.
Following with the ISR means: in the latest days we have seen an interesting Russian example of UAV that could be ideal for long range naval surveillance, namely the Helios from Kronshtadt. A catapult equipped carrier can use and importantly defend such assets, obviously a frigate can not. With the range announced, it may stay on station for practically one day at 400-500 nmi of the carrier... not counting on eventual tanker support, which could make it an asset capable of being almost permanently on station for the confrontation applicable period of time! So this is a race (distributed vs. centralized fleet composition) the on-board air power is in condition to win even before it starts.
The range i have proposed in mine scenario take into account space based and sea bed based sensor network providing to the carrier the capability to attack enemy frigates at safe distance (and obviously discover and follow a single flat top behemoth such as a Nimitz is for radar satellites orders of magnitude easier than discover and maintain contact with 22 reduced signature low tonnage ships).
This relates also to part of your last post, regarding the difficulty of E-2D to detect low speed targets against ground sea clutter. This capacity is explicitly mentioned by US military sources but actual technical parameters of the radar are kept under seven locks, so proving or refuting this may be difficult. As you may imagine I would need figures or sources to accept that an E-2D cannot detect a frigate in the open sea, not even considering that the frigate or frigate group cannot keep their radars off in order to have a minimum defensive capability.
So, on the one hand, the frigates need to keep their radars on not to be simply defenceless to any sort of attack; on the other, and accepting that some of the ships may be silent and use the radar information of other ships or could emit just intermittently as part of some tactics, it would be relevant to know what is the actual RCS of a modern frigate in the frequencies of interest. Being a 150 m metal structure and their hull having angles optimized against level radars but not airborne ones, I struggle to think they have actually low RCS in absolute terms for a naval ISR airborne radar, but I might be wrong, I have not researched this in depth yet. In principle it would seem their best defence is their low speed that complicates Doppler detection, but this being a very sensitive technique and given the stochastic parameters that can be used to characterize the sea clutter it is not obvious that a big vessel could escape detection even in the highly unlikely event of keeping its radars silent.
Why so long stand-off range ? Because allowing some groups of enemy ships to come closer ( let put at 800-900 km) to the carrier would expose it to the deadly risk that one or more groups not previosuly discovered would come near delivery range and the carrier at this point would confront several groups contemporaneously.
Even when I have built my case with that very big distance in mind, we would need to accept that a frigates can:
1) Outrun the carrier, which is not realistic on pure speed and range metrics.
2) Close 400 km gap with the carrier in a short enough time to avoid detection. For that to happen in 24 h, the frigate would need to be almost 10 kts faster than the carrier over that period of time. The carrier would need to stay practically static over that period, which would not be an acceptable wartime behavior at all.
3) Threaten the carrier's AD, even if no fighters are considered. Ignoring the 3 x Phalanx CIWS, a Nimitz can carry currently above 50 interceptors. So, not even considering CIWS or EW effects, the Mk 41 loadout of 5 frigates would be needed to overcome the amount of interceptors available to the carrier. In the simply never intended and therefore mostly absurd case of using the carrier without the support of several AEGIS DDGs or CGs (!)
In fact we should include them in the analysis, compensating their cost with an increased number of frigates, to avoid this exercise being simply unrealistic.
Arleigh Burkes cost ca. $1.8B per vessel (not to confuse with the shipyard cost, which is half of that but does not consider weapons and systems. The same applies to FFGX, BTW. With current figures, the AB cost between 50 and 100% more than the FFGX (no complete FFGX yet so no way of knowing for sure where the usual US cost overruns wil take the program). So let us add the DDGs to the carrier (3x) and add 6 frigates to the distributed fleet. Chances to threaten the carrier evaporate (if we are to consider a FFGX can deflect 35 AShMs, what can a massively more capable AB do, with early radar detection of the inbound missiles hundreds of km away and 96 VLS cells that translate into almost 400 x ESSM per ship? No surprise this is the way carriers are used in reality.
LMFS you are too intelligent and long time versed in military related matters to ignore that aircraft and theirs A-A missiles (unless purposely conceived and built for the mission) are almost useless in missile defense roles, the chances even only few interceptions are so incredibly low that US Navy ,in theirs models of carrier’s defense from anti ship missiles, discard it entirely and compute instead only the performances of the complex AEGIS AD systems on board the numerous ships parts of the carrier battle group that are present with almost the only role to provide cover to the otherwise totally defensless aircraft carrier.
Therfore i will consider all that that story on the 14 AAM missiles on the F/-18 and the 220 LRASM as a funny boutade…..
I thank you, but if what I said is wrong, then I am guilty of being wrong with a conviction. AMRAAM was designed with look-down, shoot-down capabilities explicitly, its ability to down CMs and the role of fighters to do this as a fundamental part of the US territory defence strategy is well known. Also the role of fighters in thinning CM salvos with their AAMs is amply discussed in naval domain... I would appreciate evidence from your side. Of course the carrier, having an escort so capable as AEGIS vessels, rely mainly on them for anti-missile defence, since using fighters against very fast AShMs is not really viable and modern SAMs are cheap, readily usable and capable enough to be the weapon of choice.
In any case, both SM and ESSM-ER actually use the AMRAAM seeker and yet it is assumed they will be more than enough to down the AShMs, even in their most challenging terminal approach, with strongly reduced altitude and high-g manoeuvring. A CM in mid-course does not manoeuvrer vigorously and flies higher, and should be no big challenge to today's Doppler radars, AAM seekers and actuators. Where is the catch?
I will answer your replies of today later, and also touch the ARM use in naval domain, since I found interesting evidence in the meantime. If I find the time I would like to create a scenario with Russian assets too, since the situation changes significantly due to the completely different missile technology available both to the frigates and to the strike fighters. In fact things could go more in favour of the frigate fleet, which considering weapons like Tsirkon becomes a real danger, unlike the poorly armed FFGX.