“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, November 13, 2006

What Is Going On With The US Navy Carrier Fleet?

This is a picture of A Chinese Song Class diesel powered submarine. You think of diesel powered subs as being low tech, but below the outtake on the Bill Kurtz story is a description of this class of Chinese submarine. It is obviously up to its mission and a combination of European supplied components and "borrowed" design technology.

Yesterday it was reported that the Iranians were routinely tracking US carriers with drones. Naval history is replete with example after example of unsinkable and invulnerable ships and fleets being reduced to being both sinkable and vulnerable. Virginia is going to be represented by a Senator James Webb, Jr, a Marine Corps veteran, former member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet, A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Marine Corps infantry officer until 1972, and a Vietnam War combat veteran. During his four years with the Reagan administration, Webb served as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, then as Secretary of the Navy. It would be very interesting to know what the Senator has to say about these two stories. I will send him a copy of this post and ask him.

The Washington Times is reporting this story:
China sub secretly stalked U.S. fleet
A Chinese submarine stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in the Pacific last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected, The Washington Times has learned.
The surprise encounter highlights China's continuing efforts to prepare for a future conflict with the U.S., despite Pentagon efforts to try to boost relations with Beijing's communist-ruled military.
The submarine encounter with the USS Kitty Hawk and its accompanying warships also is an embarrassment to the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. William J. Fallon, who is engaged in an ambitious military exchange program with China aimed at improving relations between the two nations' militaries.
Disclosure of the incident comes as Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet, is making his first visit to China. The four-star admiral was scheduled to meet senior Chinese military leaders during the weeklong visit, which began over the weekend.
According to the defense officials, the Chinese Song-class diesel-powered attack submarine shadowed the Kitty Hawk undetected and surfaced within five miles of the carrier Oct. 26.
The first of this new class of SSG (Type 039, 2,250t dived) was launched in May 1994 but not commissioned until 1998. Although it still retains the stepped conning tower similar to the old Ming/Romeo class, the overall design represents a major step forward compared with the obsolete Ming class. The improvement includes a hydrodynamically sleek profile, new cylindrical bow mounted sonars (H/SQG-04?) and German MTU 12V 493 diesel engine. With a large asymmetrical seven-blade skewed propeller, the Song class is much quieter than its predecessor. This class is also the first Chinese submarine capable of launching YJ-82 AShMs as well as new wire-guided torpedos (Yu-4G & Yu-6/Mk-48?) from its 533mm torpedo tubes. However, the construction of Type 039 ended after only a single hull (320) was built due to some design flaws. As the result, all boats following 320 are the improved Type 039G, the first of which (321) entered the PLAN service at the end of 2001. The 2nd 039G (322) was believed to be undergoing sea trial in late 2002. Since then at least three new hulls were launched at Wuhan Shipyard and two more at Jiangnan Shipyard, a clear indication that Type 039G has finally evolved into a mature design and entered series production. This version has the stepped conning tower removed making it similar to French Agosta-90B in external appearance. A new coat of anechoic tile is believed to have been applied to further reduce the noise. In additon it might be fitted in the future with an AIP system believed to have been tested onboard a Ming class SS. So far 6 more 039As (314-316, 318, 323-324) have been identified.


  1. The question that bugs me is this:

    "How many toy airplanes or robot drones does it take to sufficiently overwhelm disable any given ship in the USN?"

    China can churn out tons of junk, but this junk may still be functional. What can we do in response to the sheer scale facing us in this hypothetical?

  2. sufficiently overwhelm AND disable

  3. Of course you can eventually go after the factories, but the idea could be to use the dumb drone swarm conservatively and decisively.

    What if the ratio is 50 drones at once per carrier? That's just 50 lil boxes that a given group has to keep track of. You can hit the factories, but that seems to miss the point of what is fielded.

    I'm probably missing something here, but it seems like there could be a severe economic handicap that's written on the wall -

  4. Whit, I think your assessment is sensible and to go to war with China is insane. The best way to insure that the Chinese understand that is to always present them with a bridge too far.

  5. Iranian helos almost land on the deck of US carriers, Chinese Subs get "inside the red zone". Aerial footage of US carriers shown on enemy TV.

    Swarm with 50 drones? how about 500 or 5,000.
    That is closer to the Chicom doctrines of the past.
    Bet it could work in the Persian Gulf, as well.

    The idea that the US could maintain world wide military supremecy, without the possibility of either enemy or US casualties, so post modern.
    That the US tech edge would remain so great that no one else could even compete. Historicly impossible.
    That Force Protection would be a successful doctrine that would win a "Long War". Beyond precedent.
    Defense does not win.

    Destroy the Chinese factories, preemptively, you've got to be kidding, right? We cannot even clear Ramadi or secure Bagdad, three and a half years into the latest "War".

    If the Chicom had not surfaced, would the public even know they'd been there, more importantly, would the Navy?

  6. duece threw down the gauntlet, doubt that it is picked up, but we'll all get to see if it is.

  7. "... Rep. Mike Pence, the current chairman of the RSC and a leader of reform, is an underdog candidate opposing Boehner. Rep. John Shadegg, Pence's predecessor at the RSC who finished third in the race for leader last February, is running uphill against Blunt for whip on a reform platform. The conventional wisdom on the Hill is that, at best, only one of them can win because the Republicans would not dare elect two conservatives to the two top House leadership positions.

    In fact, the voting records of Boehner and Blunt are nearly identical to Pence's and Shadegg's. The difference between them was demonstrated last Thursday when Blunt went to the Heritage Foundation to campaign for his retention as whip. He delivered a defense of earmarking, echoing the House appropriators' claim that the elimination of earmarks would do "nothing but shift funding decisions from one side of Pennsylvania Ave. to the other."

    That is the view that led Republicans to earmark a "bridge to nowhere" and hundreds of other projects in competitive districts, hoping it would save them on Election Day. The House has been a place where Rep. Don Young (a notorious Alaska porker) was setting national transportation policy, where the "Cardinals" on the Appropriations Committee established earmarking records, where the pharmaceutical industry had a pipeline to party policy and where even Speaker Hastert was making personal profits on an earmark. Maybe that's what Republicans want to retain, even in the minority."

    Robert Novak @ RCP

  8. DR,

    Believe me, I hear your point regarding another order of magnitude or two. Those are the numbers that would also make an F-22 an expensive trinket, interesting to afficiandos of technology but disfunctional in 21st century warfare.

    It's pretty startling how this seems to be the writing on the wall - its not the end game for the US necessarily, but we have to recognize the new rules.

    I suppose if missile defense got cheap enough, we could turn that into an anti-swarm weapon - not sure when missile defense was planning on getting cheap though.

    Is there any hope for getting our LMT and Northrop to fight the junkyard wars that are coming?

  9. we still have the guy in jail who sold the super-quiet screw secrets. We could respond by waterboarding him, a few times everyday.

  10. The rest of the USA Today has caught up. Wow! No talk of "Master Plan" other than rope-a-dope and hope by ole' mat.

    I have my opinion of what the "Master Plan" really is, confirmed in part by the come back of Mr Baker and the rest of Team 41.
    redacktor does not even wish to admit the possibility that the US would scarifice Israel. Does not want to feel like a pawn, but that is what is it is, in the Great Game.
    In any case, back to the point.

    By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
    BAGHDAD — Muqtada al-Sadr, the anti-American cleric President Bush once dismissed as the head of a "band of thugs," has emerged as one of the most powerful forces in Iraq, commanding a large militia and a growing political organization.

    U.S. and Iraqi forces passed on a chance to arrest al-Sadr two years ago. Instead, Iraq's Shiite leaders encouraged him to enter the political process. The idea was to co-opt a threat to the Iraqi government. Critics say the plan backfired, placing Iraq's future in the hands of a firebrand whose Mahdi Army militia has intensified religious warfare and threatened the country's stability.

    "I believe that the Mahdi Army continues to pose a threat," Sen. John McCain said in Arizona last week. "I believe al-Sadr has to be taken out."

    That may not be realistic. "There are no good options in dealing with al-Sadr," says Wayne White, who formerly headed the State Department's Iraq intelligence team and is now at the Middle East Institute. "He has grown too powerful to be addressed in any reasonable way."

    As President Bush and the Democrats in charge of a new Congress plot a new direction in Iraq, al-Sadr remains a huge obstacle unless the Iraqi government does what it has been unwilling or unable to do so far: neutralize him through political negotiations or a military confrontation.

    His political group, for example, controls the Health Ministry and has used it to harbor death squads, infiltrate hospitals and punish al-Sadr's enemies, says Ayad al-Samarrai, the deputy chairman of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group.
    The Bush administration has urged the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to confront Shiite militias, including al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Al-Maliki, who relies on al-Sadr for political support, has been slow to act, saying it may not be until next year before militias are disarmed. Al-Sadr's support was instrumental in putting al-Maliki in power.

    Because of al-Sadr, "Al-Maliki was able to become prime minister despite the fact that other political parties had gained more seats in parliament," says Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival. "He is al-Sadr's prime minister."

    Democracy as a weapon in War Fighting Doctrine, unprecedented genius or military blunder of all time.

  11. 2164th wrote:

    Whit, I think your assessment is sensible and to go to war with China is insane. The best way to insure that the Chinese understand that is to always present them with a bridge too far.

    The US Navy has been doing carrier ops at a high tempo, in both peacetime and war, since the days the the battle of Coral Sea, including one major fire on the Forrestal. This has created an unbroken reservoir of skills and lessons-learned and muscle memory that can't be learned by cribbing it from the internet. China can try to keep up, but the laws of compound interest apply here.

  12. DR,

    Doesnt that "democratic" situation you allude to also convey that there are other parties who do not have an interest in Sadr's ascendancy?

    If Iraq does not go into civil war, does this same situation not convey the "checks" that come with balancing your agenda amongst a pluralist majority?

    What dark horses exist in Iraq? Al Sadr is one, no doubt, but he can't be the only fountain of power.

  13. After last week, I'm inclined to agree, re 'democracy'.

    The Sandinistas are back, and this time legitimately. Mr. Carter was in Managua--just in case Ortega had trouble--but wasn't even needed.

    Meanwhile, PRC is vastly upgrading plant & equipment in its two Canal port concessions, Atlantic & Pacific.

    Ortega, Hugo, PRC, Panama.

    And Pelosi has decided to back Murtha for Majority Leader.

    Hmm. Democracy. May need another system. Let's mull that awhile.

  14. really hard to know what to believe, ain't it, catherine?

  15. You can quickly catch the other end of the hula hoop @ Gateway:

    "Despite Global Oil Crisis, Dems Will Block Drilling & Exploration"

  16. rufus said:

    Guys, calm down; the Kitty Hawk is a relic that's been relegated to "Brown Water Navy." She's a troop carrier/helicopter carrier/landing craft.

    The Kitty Hawk was the last non-nuclear fleet carrier for a long time, stationed in Japan because a nukie one would, understandably, ruffle some feathers there.

  17. Trish,
    I believe someone attempted to answer for you on the the questions you put forth in the last thread.
    They did a feeble job, misread my reponses to you , and sudstituted tartuffery fro fact. If it was you then I take it you were not up to the task of responding.
    If it wasn't you, well that's the internet where you can be or not be.
    If it wasn't you, go ahead and give it a try, if it was you, well you get an F and you don't get to go to the prom.

  18. I NEVER substitute tartuffery for fact.

  19. Let's rephrase Soro's staement:

    "Since elected officials are irresponsible fools, we must let the winners of the actual game rule. That'd be, among others, me, of course"

  20. Rufus,
    I went to the commissioning of the Kitty Hawk in '61're correct in that she's ready to become a reef or a floating museum by now.
    However all these nano-China-flying-around-thingys are a problem
    Is time getting short? For which challenge? Israel and the Iranian challenge ..anytime..confronting China .. March 17, 2017. That will give us enough time to raise the current crop of grade schoolers into proper corpulent adults and it will coincide with the last engineering graduate churned out by a US university.
    Rufus, the only thing that can save us now is Go-Bog Juice. So start buying up all the old car radiators you can and this winter(when the smakes aren't as active we'll get into the bog and pick the choices bogberry bushes and get them propagating. We might have to cut it 50-50 with Everclear, you know ,for what ailes ya.

  21. One of the very few salutary effects of the election--alt fuels should get a hypo. I'm still dancing with ADM & BTU, tho I wish I'd done a few in & outs with the latter. GE up smartly today, I note.

    I can tolerate the elections better when the markets are open, and I can mainline a direct intervention of non-disaster feedback.

    Weekends and evenings, I can barely stand it, staying pretty well prostate with apprehension.

  22. Working from my son's computer, habu. That was definitely me.

    An F?

    I'll take it. Hell, I'll frame it.

  23. Christ, now there's smakes in the bog. I don't even know what the hell they look like, either.

  24. Cardinal rule..don't mess with the smakes.

    Also try some delicious tartuffery on your haggis and wash it down with some buttermilk.
    You'll wish you'd been bitten by a smake.

  25. ah, biters, eh. No such luck they'd be mere consecrators. Them you can knife your way clear of.

  26. You're not someone to be taken seriously, habu. By anyone.

  27. Copper inventories bulding up worldwide. maybe we gon' get us some o that ree-cession?

  28. Our beloveds Mark Twain and Will Rogers both had this tradition of framing the most serious topics inside their jocular josheries.

  29. THAAD pretty much alone, will save Israel, too, if she ain't too far behind the curve.

  30. catherine, thank you. being prostate with grief is a bummer--must erect a defense somehow.

  31. Bubba the rubber smake and his l'il wife Hill the Pill.

  32. Lee Wen Ho
    Janet Reno,
    stole the show
    at Los Alamo

  33. the story was took to Mister Tenet

    He said "Hey, I don't want init".

  34. There seems to be some confusion by a few over what the objective of their new phrase "cleansing flame I've stated it in a number of previous posts but here it is again.
    That will hopefully help explain the target of the "cleansing flame"
    Now whip it
    Into shape
    Shape it up
    Get straight
    Go forward
    Move ahead
    Try to detect it
    Its not too late
    To whip it
    Whip it good

  35. story died on the press-room floor,

    the public wanted OJ some more.

  36. Trish, you're such a hoot..but what happened to the blue "trish" that's used when it's really the person...I smell a smake in the grass.

    Also my banker takes me very seriously and my fellow nano-ninja-crypto-bloggers..
    Now Trish come out ,come out where ever you are and answer the questions .... well send Rufus an envelope with $25US and well get you some fresh Go-Bog Juice
    AND have a nice day.
    One more teenie tiny thing..if you had any concept of how much I don't care about who likes me and doesn't like me you'd just flatulate til it stained.

  37. Trish, Ok I'll accept it's you..why so evasive about the lessons of history and the bombing of cities?

    Or do your generals order the taking of cow pastures?
    Seems you're the one with the angst and out of ammo.
    Do me a favor.(that's likely). Next time you get all mouthy, please just back it with some fact and not hormonal rage....naw forget'er now on the skip over list given that nothing is to be learned from you other than how to waste time ...Have a nice day and I'm happy you're satisfied with the failing grade, it was well earned. I know you did your best..(gaffaw) Oh, one more thing, we still have a large pile of tartuffery you unloaded. Can we donate it to the Sierra Club in your name or the Save the Whales Foundation?

  38. sudstituted tartuffery fro fact.....and don't you folks ever forget it either

  39. whit said:

    Saw your comments about the EB over at the BC. Sorry you feel that way. Re: the cligue. Yeah, it was the same core group that kept up the witty repartee at Belmont but as 2164th has written numerous times, all are welcome as long the comments are civil. Also, if EB had the thousands of readers that BC does there would be more diversity of thought. The fact is, though, the EB is a conservative forum and the regulars do have strong personalities so if you want to stir the hornets' nest from time to time prepare to be stung.

    I want to stick around on the Elephant Bar because these topics interest me, and when people disagree with me or call "bull" on something I spit out (which can happen a lot because I often write what first comes to mind without doing a fact check or making sure it jives with an earlier comment) that is fair game. What is not fair are the personal attacks (which I never reciprocate), and I find that being equated to other nicks is unforgivable.

  40. Rufus,
    Your 11:51 ..hey I thought it was just a nice "head" shot ..but then I happened to scroll down, well I never, I mean what would Aunt Pitty Pat say..
    I do know what Uncle Peter Pat would out for those smakes!

  41. got grit where so many others don't, so they stay away.

  42. Rufus,
    I know for sure over at the BC I'm a dirty low down war mongering smake...actually they have me pegged pretty well on those items.

    I have them pegged as all former:
    1. Hall patrol monitors
    2. Student Council Reps
    3. Teacher aids
    4. National Honor Society members
    5. Editors of the yearbook

  43. Catherine,
    Amen. Now I just said she had grit but if that grit gets stck in you bathing suit it causes all sorts of trouble.
    I've also said, and believe she's got issues, deep issue, worse than acid reflux even.
    She has indeed gone from blog to blog merrily misstating other words or purposefully being obtuse but hell she could be AQ for all we know, or a porno theater operator....I do surmise this..if she is a government employee and doing all this blogging we're not gett'in our tax dollars worth of work out of her.

  44. LOL--yes, rufus, happens to me too--try to poke a fun and just have it dangle there forever, suspended over white space that functions as a formal dinner conversation just brought to an embarrassed silence by one of the diners impulsively jumping up on the table and droppin his britches.

    I couldn't help, I was over on BC singing "O Israel" to C4.

  45. I do proclaim that I did put up the picture that Rufus reposted today.

    All I can say in my defense is OMG she is one very very.

  46. Out along the edges
    Always where I burn to be
    The further on the edge
    The hotter the intensity

    Highway to the Danger Zone
    Gonna take you
    Right into the Danger Zone

    Highway to the Danger Zone

  47. Labias and Genitalmen, I must insist you restrain yourselves!

  48. Now just a cotton pick'n minute folks...we got troubles to talk about.
    Levity will have to wait until after we've all beeen nuked.
    I mean like right here in the USA we've got dangerous people willing to stand up for the Bill of Rights and all those other antiquated documents. i think Don Henley said it best.

    I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
    But my will gets weak
    And my thoughts seem to scatter
    But I think it's about forgiveness
    Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

    I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
    Because the flesh will get weak
    And the ashes will scatter
    So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
    Even if, even if you don't love me anymore.

  49. trish said...

    You're not someone to be taken seriously, habu. By anyone.

    I'd like to second that.

  50. rufus said:

    We have the technology to shoot down hundreds of small flying thingys, right now. It involves a chemical laser, and X-Band Radar. It's still pretty expensive, and the Navy doesn't see a threat, yet.

    The Army has been taking the food out of the Navy's mouth lately, on account of OIF, but sooner or later that will wrap up, and the Powers That Be will look around and see Red China's blue water ambitions.

  51. I'll third it.

    motion passed!

  52. rufus said:

    BTW, Soros is presently investing in Brazilian Ethanol.

    I don't blame him, he already got a payoff on his investment in lawmakers who will stop us from drilling ANWR.

  53. I dunno, Tess--it's the difference between reading a novel and reading the phone book. Both are concerned with the human condition, but different aspects.

  54. ash, why should the world be safe for the caribou but not for the habu?

  55. tess, ace on soros. the fraudulent prick proselytizes endlessly for higher usa taxation, while he runs his fund from a freaking caribbean tax-haven.

  56. well buddy, the caribou don't want to hurt anyone whereas habu's out to kill whole cities at a time.

  57. well, Ash, enough people advocating same might raise our deterrance level off absolute zero.

    *That's* what really saves lives--caribou lives included.

    Bluffs don't work, tho, unless both sides believe they may not be bluffs.

    But then there's always the alternative strategy, to try not to bleed too much from your thousand cuts, in order to test how long you can prolong your own agony.

  58. Wiping out a few cities really isn't a viable option at this point given what little would be gained by such an action and the ensuing blowback. The current course isn't working either which leaves....

    coming soon to a screen near you!

  59. oh, right--I'd forgotten about that option! Yes, let's!

    Needs a name--how bout "Houdini"?

  60. By watching the History Channel the other day, I learned that in the olden days of railroading, upward projecting rail splinters (from inferior metallurgy) were know as "smake heads".