current declassified ranges are aster 15: 1.7 -30 km's; aster 30: 3 -120 kms
current declassified speeds are aster 15: mach 3; aster 30: mach 4.5
current declassified ceilings are aster 15: 13km; aster 30: 20km
The 15 and 30 have nothing to do with their performance
They did when they were first reported in the U.S. press. I couldn't understand it at the time.
The trials, between 1993 and 1994, were very successful. All flight sequences, altitudes and ranges, were validated. This was also the period during
which the launch sequence of Aster-30 was validated.
IMO, the difference between a successful system test and a 'firepower demo' is that you either accept range constraints necessary to allow for
shipborne handoff and missile tracking/fuzing limits.
Or show a deliberate ability to kill from high perch angles onto sea skimmers using parabolic range lofts.
How far out can either the 3DAS or Sampson FC systems acquire an un-enhanced, modern, AShM? Tracking airliners with amplified SIF/M3a signatures and
'unknown' altitude factors says nothing, even if it was all the way out to Berlin.
Are these systems using tropobounce to any degree to get 'two looks' at the target plan and frontals signature? Is that how they plan to pull
microsignatures out of the background? If so, how does that compare with what the seeker can achieve at X or Ku?
Once you get that question answered, the next one becomes whether you /want/ H2K because while the best way to kill a skimmer may well be to see it
across a flat horizon with effectively (shuntmotor) 'chicken' intercepts, by the time the weapon hit's inner zone, it may have activated evasion
routions that make the 2D mechanic more complex than it seems.
In anycase, in-plane intercepts WILL cost you flyout in terms of absolute range and for work in the littorals or some fleet based goal keeper
OTOH, if you go for extended range (midcourse) engagements, why 'shine the sea' with seeker mirroring, looking for a kinetic kill when you can snap
down into a directionally entrained warhead shower from twice as high?
You get more of the (AShM) missile body that way and while the kinetics are not nearly as great in terms of destroying the weapon outright, it also
makes the best use of the combined missile kinematics and autonomous homing modes relative to smart fuzing, and the limitations of the vessel sensors
in OTH mode.
In May 1996, trials of the Aster-15 active electromagnetical final guidance system against live targets began. All six attempts were successful:
8 April 1997: interception of a C22 target simulating a subsonic antiship missile, flying at 10 metres, at a distance of 7 kilometres.
23 May 1997: Direct impact on an Exocet anti-ship missile of the first generation, at 9 kilometres, to protect a distant ship (7 km). This was the
first "Hit-to-Kill" interception ever against an antiship missile.
13 November 1997: interception of a C22 target in very low flight in a strong countermeasures environment. In this test, the Aster was not armed with
its military warhead so that the distance between the Aster and the target could be recorded. The C22 was recovered bearing two strong cuts due to the
fins of the Aster missile.
30 December 1997: Interception of a live C22 target by an Aster-30 at a distance of 30 kilometres, an altitude of 11,000 metres, and a speed of 900
km/h. The Aster climbed up to 15,000 metres before falling on the target at a speed of 2880 km/h. The closest distance between the Aster and the C22
was four metres.
29 June 2001 : Interception of a Arabel missile in low altitude, in less than 5 seconds.
In 2001 : Interception by the Aster-15 of a target simulating an aircraft flying at Mach-1 at an altitude of 100 metres.
See, none of these scenarios sounds particularly impressive to me. Standard can do these things.
What I don't see is the ability to handle saturation/multibearing attacks from weaving skimmers with modern stealth treatments (the 'latest'
Exocet) and the radar needing to provide at least one pre-handoff and post-kill MCG update to XX numbered intercepts (10 threats = 20 interceptors,
think about it). Nor supersonic threats and high divers as a 'wall of missiles' concept whereby a miss means live retasking of followon shots on
the fly in more than mile per second closure states and quite possibly /into/ a clouded wardet cell of fragments and gas.
Nor even attacks on mixed profile weapons over the horizon, with intercept mechanics (snap when) adjusted on a before-during-after basis of changed
target profiles relative to supersonic staging.
There is evidence, from our own trials, that modern AShM have both chaff and imbedded repeater options as sacrificial as much as self protect gaming
on followon shots and that some can react to illumination with specific evasion patterns designed to mess with centroid tracking monopulse algorithms
(materials on fins that cause roll scintillance when steered into a given illumination angle). Can Aster handle these?
I don't see /any/ particular relevance to the manned threat, not least because their is no 'background' EW support threat or what I would call real
ability to reach into the overland areas where not only direct clutter but standoff masking conditions put the threat into 40-60nm TOF constraints
that allow simple notching and retrograde changes to drastically change intercept trajectory mechanics nd seeker cube expectations. Can you run the
missile in JAT mode or light the seeker off independently to scan the acquisition cell in a TVM maneuver?
And as I stated earlier, if you don't have a dedicated AShM of your own, you NEED to be able to deal with at least small surface combatants via an SS
Everybody assumes that AShM are 'missionized' through warhead weight. Yet the fact of the matter is that the burning motor and/or fuel splash is
about 80% of the incendiary control problem in a post strike casualty assessment, simply because they burn out electrical routings and generate the
most secondary toxic gasses from both the systems and structure (if it's aluminum). Which means a brace of 1,500lb Standard can be a real problem,
even on a large ship. On a small craft, it's more often a case of vaporization by kinetic effect alone.
DOES Aster have this option or was it considered 'to expensive' as a weapons system to be expended this way?
If you don't bring at least some (mix of guided) 'multimission' /protective/ measures onboard, you will find that your ship lacks the flexibility
to be used as even an AAW asset, in confined waters where a PCI threat /might/ exist.
well, 1.7 km min range on the Aster 15 puts it well inside the engagement envelope of even the Mk15, meaning that if equipped with one signifigant
layering of ships defense is accomplished.
Actually, this is deceptive, R2 is a _lot_ less effective than it is commonly given credit for. Both in total onmount engagements, ability of the
radar to pull targets out of the clutter and lethality effects vs. /rate/ of engagements before you get into close-aboard conditions. Most Mk.15's
only have about 1.5 engagements per mount. And most are really only effective (yes, even with the sabot rounds) out to about 500m from a /start/
range of about 1,500-2,000.
I believe there have been some significant improvements in both the way the main ship sensors cue the gun and in the fitting of a TV tracker to enable
faster lockups (though the oft-bragged 'round to round' fire cone tracking is now gone, there are more warhead kills and fewer 'lets see if we can
strip the fins off' thanks to tighter vidicon type tracking correction).
In any case, given as I have _zero_ belief or affection for the notion of a 5-6" caliber deck mount doing /anything/ useful for either NGS or Naval
Surface engagements (compared to missiles). I would prefer to have a decent 2-2.5km engagement capability that didn't rely on which side of the ship
was exposed and where the VLS popout cycle vs. weapon tipover lag was in gettting the interceptor onto bearing and locked up with a close in
If nothing else, it will be a cold day in hell before I willing see 20-30mm manual-pedestal gun duels between major naval assets and PCI with 12.7 or
14.5mm punt gun (or RPG or RCL) on somebody's converted cigarette boat suddenly come a-creeping out from behind his cousin's fishing trawl.
Again, if you REALLY THINK it's a 'great idea' to play in the littorals, you have to acknowledge how much /easier-is-as-cheaper-can-do/ you are
making it for every would be Corsair as much as Revolutionary out there to make a fight of it. And arm yourself accordingly. A decent fast-traverse,
high-mounted, auto cannon _pair_ with smart fuzed rounds will do for the inner zone MD/AAW role what it /also/ gives you as a mid range (2,000-4,000m)
anti boghammer system.
If you really want to be well AAW protected however; you still need a turreted pedestal that can slew to fire weapons directly into bearing, _under
guidance_, as soon as they leave the octuple mount. And keep on firing until the threat has 2-3 separate engagements on it /before/ slewing to the
next inbound to begin it's kill resolution.
Guns typically can't reach that far. Guns can't guide that well. Guns mean weight under deck for the mount and if they are of any size, for the
magazine and loader.
As for not wanting to put 500 Million dollar assets in close to shore, that's the concept of the LCS in the US Navy.
Unfortunately, it's not.
Just as with DD-21 and the ArS, when the navy thinks 'inland power projection from a surface asset' they must immediately bow their heads and say
two hail mary's while making obeissance in the direction of the nearest carrier in port.
MY belief is that the difference between pro-am is that the pro's think how far out they have to be to stay safe before they start slinging rounds
XXnm over the surfzone. And, having added the two distances together, they realize there is no point in playing twin-gun monitor games.
I have my own questions as to the design of a 14,000 ton destroyer without the weapons programs fully matured to let it function as a defacto Arsenal
Ship. But I don't believe in 3,000 ton 'corvettes' as having a role to play inshore, either. The problem then becomes:
16 DDX = defacto CG.
80-100 LCS = ???
These are not destroyers, they are not even frigates. They don't have a bluewater hullform and they only have about a week of fuel in them, even at
a sedate 18-19 knots. This combination of a lack of endurance and a lack of high seas stability will mean NO escort force for conventional carriers
(not that I will cry) and NO standalone force when yipe-yipe our way back out into the deep blue after 'gunboat 21' tactics are proven to be as
hazardous and /unnecessary/ as I think.
Yet DDX is supposedly the systems baseline for LCS. Though, given it's 'modularity' (one big shining gap of mission equipment package) I have a
feeling the latter is more a case of timid-toes vs. one-big-push of a hollow asset into the whitewater as someone realizes 'quick, we have to have
/something/ to protect the inshore dreadnaught!'. Even if it's nought but a manned decoy.
And I blame _all of it_ on the brownshoe navy. For while the LCS, whose airpower motif is undoubtedly modelled on the LPD-17 has 'facilities for ONE
blackhawk, woohoo!' and the DDX is little better, nobody has stepped forward to say "Why not an SCS that takes the littoral war inshore at 400knots
instead of 30-50?".
The difference between hunters and savages being that the former come out of the bush where the latter must live. To clean up and regenerate but also
to preserve asset value by multiplying the sophisticaion of targeting required to be /found/ as much as fired on.
As such, _If I Were Designing For Class_ my leadship would look rather more like the Street Fighter/Jervis Bay concept:
Whereby you use dedicated (non developed = potentially Not Ever developed if not specifically made 'essential' for class functionality) missile
systems for most inshore bombardment (netfires at sea) and mount air-ops off the big flat roof with both V-22 and small VTOL UCAVs, to give yourself
limited airpower flotilla flex along the lines of Ops Earnest Will/Prime Chance/Praying Mantis etc.
For inshore naval ops (no Muktar can't hide his boghammer on the other side of Ali Baba's boat).
While also having the ability to reach FURTHER INSHORE (say 200-400nm), at speeds vastly higher than helicopters can and for /hours/ longer, at
heights where trashfire attrition is not a concern. To support SOCOM teams.
With weapons systems like the JCM and GBU-39, it is simply not necessary or realistic (50,000 dollar Excalibur round vs. 64,000 dollar SDB) to make
'volume vs. precision fire' tradeoffs. Not least because fewer men on the ground can have more fires dedicated to their force protection than a
vast 'encampment' (USMC OEF).
The real difference (in a zero IADS sophisticated threat environment) then being how you target those fires which more or less comes down to the
gods-eye 'clairvoyance' via an overhead sensor package in the drone. Vs. letting the ground force 'call you when they get into trouble' roll over
the threat as a function of calling for gun or other (ship launched = long TOF, low persistence) from-the-sea-forward systems.
Airpower on-call is airpower _overhead_ which makes for faster response times and the _right to choose_ whether to accept the engagement before it
My ideal then being something like this-
Inshore Warrior = PB.3/PC Cyclone.........150-200nm...............LCS=Streetfighter.....................250-500nm..........................DDX= TSV
(mothership to small boat ops)..................................................(FCS/Staging
AS AN INDEPENDENT OPS CLASS.
Separate from both the traditional descriptors of 'what a destroyer does'. And most especially from the notion of _guarding carriers_. In 20
years, main force threats will be able to wipe aircraft from the sky like flies before a hurricane. Thus mega-CVs will cease to have value and Blue
Water will exist solely as TBM/ATBM power 'global strike' 30 minute power projection (infrastructure hostaging) and NMD counterforce. As well as
perhaps open-water anti-piracy/rescue assets.
What good then all the firepower of a dedicated 'destroyer' class for which there is no threat (3-5,000nm AAW when you can send a missile off a
satellite? You gotta be kidding me!). And no mission (huge DEW beam directors and vast VLS loads of both Upper Tier and Conventional CBM does NOT a
7,500 ton vessel fit.).
However, Burkes cost twice that, and DD(X) will be closer to three times that amount. I can't find any info on how much a type 45 should cost.
Towards the bottom. I read from the wrong columns.
There is a good sized school of thought which says "Don't plan, just do!"-
Because it seems that the amount of time spent in the 'R&D as Acquisition Proving Cycle' only ensures block obsolences of the weapons platforms when
they finally reach service compared to what 'modular today' can achieve as a P3I baseline class inventory. My problem is that the weapons systems
baselines in the 'modular' design are so glaringly conservative (ne, anachronistic) that they render vessel classes into little more than bloated
reconstructs of their WWII analogues.
IMO, what this REALLY comes down to is _cowardice_. Refusing to unseat the king of airpower _basing mode_ centric systems as a function of
/inventing/ the missions by which systems are not simply created but proven as new-doctrine, to be more flexible than what the existing paradigm of
'X must do Y' for class size, fires engagement/targeting modes and overall role flex (support of human ops vs. direct interdiction of same at vastly
lower scales of intensity than the big deck navy was planned around).
If you cannot kill carrier air. You cannot broach the notion that airpower is still needed in different (NOT A HELO) ways from much smaller ship
classes in backwater environs. And so you are always going to be left with the notion that the smaller assets are always going to be based around
costs/ISR limited missile fires and guns which have no reach.
And that is dead wrong.
Good luck Britain, I hope Darling does whas you want her and her sisters to. I just hope we don't follow the same, faulted, class-path.
[edit on 18-2-2006 by ch1466]