In the second article in the series "The effectiveness of the air defense of the naval strike group" the topic of group air defense of the KUG was considered and the functioning of the main defense means - air defense systems and electronic countermeasures (KREP) complexes was described. In connection with the comments of readers, this article is presented as simply as possible, only the case aviation AUG attacks.
1. Introduction. What does an aircraft carrier give Russia?
The question of the fate of the unhappy "Admiral Kuznetsov" has been debated for several years, but no consensus has been worked out. The main thing is not even whether the endless repair will ever end, but what its combat value will be after the repair, especially if you apply the cost / efficiency criterion. The repair will cost at least $ 1 billion. For that kind of money, you can build a full-fledged destroyer, which we do not have even in the project. In the previous article, the author insisted that without destroyers or reinforced frigates, it would not be possible to build full-fledged KUGs, and without them, our ships would only have to protect their shores, and even then with air support. What can an obsolete aircraft carrier do? In peacetime, at low speed to Syria and lose 2 planes there? What will be the value of an air wing of 12 aircraft, which, moreover, can only take off with half the combat load? ..
As part of the US AUG should be present 2 destroyers URO "Arleigh Burke", carrying the main load to support the aircraft carrier's air defense. Instead of destroyers, we will have to use frigates 22350 "Admiral Gorshkov", which have a smaller ammunition load, and there are only 2 of them in Russia. The previous article showed that both frigate radars and their KREPs are inferior to destroyers. With the confrontation between AUG and AUG, the balance of forces is clearly not in our favor. What if we use Kuznetsov to support ground operations? Where then? Norway is the closest, but conventional aviation is enough for it. Entering the Atlantic in wartime past NATO is unrealistic. You can take part in regional conflicts, for example, in Syria. While we are negotiating with the Turks, everything is calm, but what if we don't share something? It is dangerous for Kuznetsov to stand in Tartus: he is seen too far through optics or infrared. You can't get out to sea either: the Inzhirlik airbase is not far away!
According to American data, the actual operation of one AUG costs $ 4 billion a year. If we spend at least 1 billion on the Kuznetsov AUG, we will be left without new ships at all. Of course, we cannot compete with the United States and China in terms of aircraft carriers, but we want to have a symbol of a world power - we are no worse than France! It remains to find out which is more pleasant to have: pride in a country or a destroyer?
Therefore, we will not waste further time discussing the Kuznetsov air defense concept, we will better deal with the possibilities of breaking through the US air defense system.
2. Scheme of building air defense AUG
In the areas of duty, the aircraft carrier operates as part of the AUG. Only in special circumstances, such as ocean crossings, is solo voyage permitted. The AUG includes up to 10 ships and one Virginia class nuclear submarine. We will only be interested in a pair of URO destroyers "Arleigh Burke" located to the left and right of the aircraft carrier at a distance of 1-2 km. The total size of the AUG can reach 10 km.
The AUG air defense is echeloned, the long-range echelon is not circular, an attack-hazardous sector is highlighted in it, for viewing which 1-2 AWACS E2S Hawkeye aircraft are allocated. The "Hokai" watch zone is moved to 250-350 km. "Hawkeye" can fly alone, but during the threatened period, a pair of fighter-bombers (IB) on duty can fly in front of it. If necessary, another pair of information security is carried out to the line of 500 km. The third pair is on deck with hot engines. The range of detection by the Hokai of Russian information security is estimated at 300-350 km, and for DA and SA aircraft at 550-700 km. Consequently, the distant border of the first echelon of defense reaches 700-1000 km.
The second line of defense is circular and is provided with information by the Aegis air defense system radar or surveillance radars of ships. The far border of the zone is 350-400 km, and the interception in this zone is carried out by the IS on duty, who rise from the deck in a forced mode and at an altitude of about 10 km, attack the target in supersonic manner. The third line with a radius of 250 km is provided by SM6 Aegis air defense missile systems or IS officers on duty. Medium or short-range missiles can also be launched by other ships, and target designation (TS) is given to them by the Aegis air defense system.
3. The problem of obtaining a CU by AUG
In the previous article, it was substantiated that the possibilities of receiving control centers from external sources (satellites, over-the-horizon radars) are very small, for example, the control center from satellites arrives every few hours, and it becomes obsolete in 10-15 minutes. Of all types of homing heads (GOS), the greatest detection range is provided by radar (RGSN): more than 20 km along a corvette and 40 km along an aircraft carrier, even for small anti-ship missiles. However, for the RGSN, the ship is just a brilliant point, it does not distinguish between its type. Even in the absence of interference, the WGSN will see the AUG as a few shiny dots. The brightness of the points depends on the effective reflective surface (EOC) of the ship. But the image intensifier of the target at different angles varies greatly. Therefore, without the control center, the RGSN selects a target according to one of the simplest algorithms: the brightest, the most left / right, etc. It is especially bad when, instead of target marks, the RGSN receives several interference. Then the choice is generally random. Consequently, having an accurate target control significantly improves the choice of the main target.
The Tu-142 reconnaissance aircraft is not very suitable for opening the AUG, since it can detect the AUG only after it leaves the horizon, that is, from a distance of 400 km. But such a noticeable and slow-moving IS aircraft AUG will not be allowed to reach such a range.
The Tu-160 has slightly more capabilities. It can fly around the Hawkeye in an arc with a radius of 700 km, that is, actually approach the AUG from the rear. However, even reaching a distance of 400 km, the Tu-160 will receive a powerful interference from the Arlie Burks. Consequently, he can report to the command post that a source of interference has been found in such and such an area, but whether it is an AUG will remain unknown. Then the Tu-160 must urgently go back on supersonic. The obvious disadvantage of this method of reconnaissance is the lengthening of the route (there and back) to 2000 km.
As a result, we come to the conclusion that the problem of neutralizing the Hawaiian is becoming central.
4. Methods for neutralizing the Hawkeye aircraft
Special point for those interested.
4.1. The method of suppressing the radar of the airborne AWACS Hawkeye
IS can be much more successful than scouts to open the composition of the AUG, but for this they need to break through to a distance of about 100 km, and "Hawkeye" is the main guard here. To avoid detection by its radar, it is necessary to fly at a distance of at least 400 km from it, but lengthening the route may lead to a lack of fuel.
The Hokaya radar operates in the decimeter range - 70 cm. There is no jamming equipment in this range in the standard CREDs of most IS in the world. Therefore, it is necessary to suspend a special KREP container of this range under the IB. We still do not have such a KREP, although it is not complicated.
To receive a directed beam, the container antenna must be located on its lateral surface and have a length of at least 4 m.If such a KREP is developed, then a pair of IS with KREP - jammers (PP) will be required to create a wide jamming sector. The distance between the BCPs along the front should be 50-80 km, and the safe distance from the Hokai to the BCP, where they will not be immediately attacked by IS AUG, is estimated at 300 km. As a result, under the cover of such powerful interference, the IS reconnaissance pair will be able to bypass 2Hokai in an arc with a radius of 200 km and at low altitude reach the line of 100 km from the AUG.
4.2. The defeat of the plane "Hawkeye" by a special rocket
To organize an attack on the Hawkeye, it is necessary to determine its exact coordinates. IS radars are of little use for this. If in the area of "Hokai" there is his IS on duty, then he will turn on the interference, and our IS will determine the direction to the IS on duty instead of directing to the "Hokai".
Having 2 PPs, it is possible to determine the coordinates of the "Hokai", for which PPs must be separated by at least 50 km. Then, by bearing the radiation of the Hokaya radar with two PPs from a range of 400 km, you can get a control center error along the front of only 0,2 km, but at a range of 10-15 km.
It is possible to increase the likelihood of the Hokai's defeat if an aircraft missile with a launch range of at least 500 km is developed. You can, for example, use a guided missile (UR) "Dagger". Its disadvantage is that its nose cone is narrow and the RGSN cannot be placed in it, but the IR seeker, having the indicated control unit, will provide guidance.
4.3. Direct attack of information security on "Hawkeye"
If the IS attack tactics does not allow to fly around the Hawkeye, and the mentioned variant of the Dagger missile defense system is not developed, then the Hawkeye will have to be attacked directly. The attack group should consist of three pairs of IS with air-to-air missile defense (in-in). The launch range of UR AMRAAM is 150 km, and 180 km are expected. Our analogue of AMRAAM, RVV-AE, cannot boast of such ranges. Therefore, our information security should have a numerical advantage.
They should reach the 400 km line from the Hokai, having a separation along the front between pairs of 100 km and, gradually approaching, attack the Hokai. These pairs should be covered by two single PPs separated by 100 km, which should suppress the Hokaya radar. Having detected jamming, "Hawkeye" sends out a pair of IS on duty for reconnaissance, and 2 pairs of our ISs must engage with it in a counter battle, and the third pair, under cover of interference, will continue to attack the Hawkeye. Since our 2 pairs will use interference, the Hokaya's IB will not detect the third pair, which is far away. Consequently, the Hawkeye will have no reason to retreat back, and the third pair will be able to intercept him. Of course, this interception method is less reliable than the previous one.
5. Tactics of IS exit to the anti-ship missile launch line
Further, suppose that most of the attacking group of IS carries anti-ship missiles, and the smaller part carries UR in-in. Therefore, the attackers cannot engage in air combat with the entire IS of the aircraft carrier, but they are quite capable of intercepting the IS pairs on duty.
A single hit of an anti-ship missile system on an aircraft carrier almost does not disable it. Partial damage occurs with 3-5 hits, and complete damage occurs with 10 or more. The probability of hitting a target depends on the type of anti-ship missiles: sub-, super- or hypersonic (DPKR, SPKR, GPKR). The accuracy of the control center, and the ability to carry out radio correction of the anti-ship missile system in flight, and even meteorological conditions are also important: in good weather, the capabilities of the short-range air defense missile system (MD) to hit the anti-ship missile system increase. In any case, a volley of more than 20 anti-ship missiles will be required.
The IS detachment required to defeat an aircraft carrier is determined by the distance from the airfield to the launch line and the mass of anti-ship missiles used, but even more important is the question of the need to hide from detection by the Hokai or IS.
5.1. Exit to the launch line of anti-ship missiles in the absence of "Hokai"
The wing includes 4 Hawkeye aircraft. Of these, 1-2 are in the air. If 2 are on duty, then their zones will be separated by 300-400 km. Therefore, the defeat of one of them will open up a whole zone beyond the detection radius of the second "Hokai", through which IS can approach the AUG. It will be much more difficult for SA aircraft to pass into this zone, since the enemy's detection range is 1,7-2 times greater than that of IS.
AUG, having found a hole in the defense, will begin to raise all IS on the deck. The detection range of the IS radar is 1,5-2 times less than that of the "Hokai", but if the IS group distributes scanning sectors among themselves, they will receive a sufficient range. Moreover, the Aegis radar will take over detection in the high-altitude zone.
This situation shows that it will not be possible to use light DPKR of the Kh-35 type, since without a counter battle, the IS strike group will not be able to reach the line of their launch of 200-250 km even at low altitudes. Therefore, you will have to use anti-ship missiles or launch them from ranges of the order of 500 km.
5.2. Going to the launch line of anti-ship missiles in the presence of "Hokai"
"Hawkeye", detecting an attack on its own or with the help of a pair on duty, IS will retreat under the protection of "Aegis" to the line of 200 km. This departure will take 10 minutes, during which most of the IS will rise from the deck, but they will not have time to reach the 300 km line in 10 minutes.
Suppose that our IS can reach the 800 km line unnoticed and without interfering. After turning on the Hokai jamming, the IS duty pair will need about 5 more minutes to reach the attack detection zone. They will not be able to open the group due to interference, but they will determine the approximate range. Therefore, in order to reach the launch line of 500-550 km, our IS only need to overcome one pair of IS.
6. RCC attack
Russia has cruise missiles of the required ranges, but there are no ready-made aviation anti-ship missiles. For example, the 3M14 "Caliber" could be suspended under the IB, but this modification is not available. Apparently, work is needed to alter the RGSN and tests for vibration resistance of the case. SPKR "Onyx" is too heavy for conventional information security, but the MiG-31 could lift it instead of the "Dagger" if the aviation version turns out to be lighter than the ship one. GPKR "Zircon" is still a mystery and it is impossible to discuss it. Further, we will assume that the necessary anti-ship missiles will appear in the foreseeable future.
A special feature of the Hokaya radar is that it uses a wavelength range of 70 cm. Radar-absorbing materials used to reduce the visibility of the DPKR in this range become ineffective and the visibility of the DPKR with coatings approaches the ASR without coatings. Let's estimate the visibility of the DPKR - image intensifier = 0,5 sq. m. Then the detection range of the Hokayem anti-ship missile system will not exceed 200 km, and the tracking range will not exceed 150 km. Then the IS, having received the control center, will be able to intercept the DPKR already at a distance of 250-300 km from the AUG, and the SPKR - at 200 km. For IS, these anti-ship missiles are quite standard targets, which, moreover, do not maneuver at such ranges. The probability of intercepting such targets must be at least 0,8, and not only the AMRAAM missile system, but also the Sidewinder MD MD can be used. The DPKR IB can shoot even from a cannon - it is enough to line up the DPKR in the tail. Therefore, it is extremely important for the DPKR to avoid detection by the Hokai. To do this, the DPKR must fly around the Hokai in an arc with a radius of 250 km, which will lengthen the route by 250 km and require a correction of the control system from the strike group already during the DPKR flight. Therefore, it is important to suppress the Hokaya radar with interference and fly around it with a radius of 100 km.
For SPKR, the breakthrough will be no less difficult, since, in addition to the Hokai, it can also be detected on the marching sector by the Aegis radar, which cannot be suppressed by interference. To hide from this radar, the SPKR must fly below the horizon of this radar, for example, at a distance of 200 km, the SPKR should drop below 3 km. Such a flight threatens to significantly reduce the launch range.
The possibility of intercepting the PCR is estimated very roughly. Suppose that the Aegis missile launcher SM3 will not be able to intercept the Zircon at a cruising altitude of 40 km, since the SM3 is designed to intercept ballistic targets, and the Zircon can, albeit weakly, maneuver on the cruising phase of the flight. AUG will intercept the Zircon in the descent section at altitudes of 20-30 km. Let the image intensifier "Zircon" be equal to 1 sq. m, then the detection range of "Zircon" radar "Aegis" will reach 500 km. It will take 50 seconds to reach the point where the descent starts at a distance of 200 km. During this time, a decision must be made about who will intercept the Zircon, Aegis or IB. If the stock of SM6 missiles at the Aegis is sufficient, then it is the Aegis that fires at the target. If IB are in the air next to the AUG, then interception can be assigned to them. To do this, the ISs rise to the maximum available height and launch the AMRAAM UR at the moment when the Zircon clearly began to descend. If the launch is made from an altitude of more than 12 km, then the missile launcher will accelerate to a speed of 1,4 km / s. This speed, although less than that of the "Zircon", but taking into account the greater maneuverability of AMRAAM, will allow you to intercept the target. In case the "Zircon" is able to intensively maneuver at altitudes of more than 20 km, the IS will have to launch a salvo from 4 missiles in 4 directions. Due to the high temperature of the "Zircon", it can be intercepted even by the UR "Sidewinder" from the IR seeker. The Sidewinder's maneuverability is even higher than the AMRAAM.
Successful testing of the Zircon this week did nothing to clarify its characteristics. Hitting a target with known coordinates does not allow judging whether it is possible to hit even in the absence of a control center. The launch range was not the declared 1000 km, but 450, and the flight altitude was 28 km, not 40. All this suggests that the tests are at an early stage. The list of shortcomings of the GPCR is given in the first article of the series. The statement of foreign experts that it will take 20 missiles to defeat one Zircon is astonishing. How, without knowing the characteristics, can you make any estimates? Maybe they know better about Zircon than we do?
At the final stage of the anti-ship missile attack, they will be intercepted by air defense missile systems and KREP, as described in the previous article about air defense KUG. Moreover, the task of the destroyers "Arleigh Burke" is to lure the anti-ship missiles on themselves and on false targets in order to prevent the anti-ship missiles from entering the aircraft carrier. The radar of the Hawkeye aircraft can track low-altitude targets below the detection horizon of the Aegis radar and direct missiles at them. This capability provides an additional echelon of defense in comparison with the KUG. Thus, we find that it will not be possible to break through the air defense without suppressing the Hokai with powerful interference. On the last 10 km of the flight, the MD RAM air defense missile system is firing, and on the last km the Vulcan-Phalanx air defense complex is also firing.
Opportunities to launch anti-ship missiles at AUG from ships are very ghostly, it is not known how far an enemy ship will allow an aircraft carrier. The radius of the attack on ships by aircraft carrier IS is not less than 1000 km. Even the KUG cannot withstand repeated massive raids. The KUG will be able to approach the launch range of the Onyx SPKR (600 km) only under the powerful cover of its own aviation. Then the question arises: if aviation is capable of defending the KUG all day long, then wouldn't it be better for them to instruct them to strike at the AUG instead of ships?
The effectiveness of the air defense AUG is qualitatively superior to that of the air defense KUG. General considerations about the likelihood of hitting a ship by some super-missile are inapplicable here.
For a successful launch of an anti-ship missile system using AUG, it is necessary to receive a control center immediately before launch.
The Tu-142 scout will not be able to provide the control center. The reconnaissance should be conducted by a pair of information security.
It will not be possible to launch anti-ship missiles on AUG from ranges less than 500 km.
Currently, Russia does not have an anti-ship missile of the required range, or a KREP, which would make it possible to hide anti-ship missiles during flight.
Air defense AUG multi-echeloned. Of the dozens of anti-ship missiles launched, only a few will reach the AUG ships, and perhaps not a single one will reach the aircraft carrier.
Striking the KUG is even less effective due to the difficulty of reaching the KUG at the launch line and the difficulties associated with preventing a preemptive strike by the AUG.
The information basis of the AUG air defense system is the Hokai AWACS aircraft. To combat it, it is necessary to develop a powerful KREP or special missile.
It is impossible to call any ship or anti-ship missile "aircraft carrier killer". Let's leave this term to the sofa experts.
Only the development of a new concept of group use of information security and anti-ship missiles with mutual exchange of information will allow solving the problem of a breakthrough.
In the next article, the author intends to consider his own version of the naval air defense concept.