U.S. WEAPON SYSTEMS FACTBOOK 2017
Russia's New 'Stealth' Submarines Have a Big Problem
By Sebastien Roblin, The National Interest: “Russian media has been trumpeting plans to launch two additional Lada-class diesel-electric submarines, two decades after the hull of the lead boat, the St. Petersburg, was laid down. Left delicately unstated in some of the press releases is that these new boats will lack the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems that were intended to be the class’s defining feature.”
THE F35 VS. CHINA'S J20
The U.S. F-35 versus the PRC J-20
By Mark B. Schneider, Proceedings Magazine: “The J-20 should have long range, particularly when its current engines are replaced. Former head of the Russian Air Force Colonel General Alexander Zelin, says its combat radius is approximately 1,250 miles. Photographs of the J-20 show it carrying four large external fuel tanks and dropping them and their pylons, giving it the potential to increase range or loiter time substantially and allowing it to reconvert to stealth mode in flight.”
REVIEW OF ARMY'S ACQUISITION REFORM
A Near-Term Test of the Army’s Acquisition Reform
By Daniel Gouré, RealClearDefense: “While the proposed organizational changes are focused on the important objective of providing soldiers and formations with critical new capabilities, what do they mean for the vast majority of platforms and systems currently in the inventory that will be there for years to come?”
How to Repair and Rebuild America's Military
By Mackenzie Eaglen, The National Interest: “At his 1993 Confirmation as Director of the CIA, James Woolsey observed that “we have slain a large [Soviet] dragon, but we live now in a jungle with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes.” His predictions have borne out across the three theaters most pivotal to America's interests.”
Army Worried That Communications Could Become Its 'Achilles' Heel'
By Vivienne Machi, National Defense Magazine: “"Absent institutional change, our communications will become … an Achilles' heel to the tactical force."”
STAYING POWER: The Missing Element of National Military Power
By William Adler, RealClearDefense: “The U.S. Military possesses considerable conventional power and reach, but it currently lacks the endurance to prevail in a protracted war against a near-peer opponent. The destructiveness of modern unlimited conventional warfare will rapidly exhaust the existing base force leaving few military options for the nation.”
Army R&D Spending Geared Toward a ‘Big War’
By Jon Harper, National Defense Magazine: “The Army’s future research-and-development spending will be focused on technologies needed to fight a large-scale conflict against advanced adversaries such as Russia, according to defense budget experts.
URBAN WAR AS SIEGECRAFT
How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War
By David Fitzgerald, Strategy Bridge: “In a recent interview reflecting on his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus recalled an incident that took place during the invasion of Iraq. Petraeus, then commanding the 101st Airborne, recounted that after a tough fight to take the city of Najaf, he called the V Corps Commander, General William Wallace to say, “Hey boss, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we own Najaf...The bad news is the same as the good news: we own Najaf. What do you want us to do with it?””
Street Sense: The Urban Battlefields of the Future
By Levi Maxey, The Cipher Brief: “As ISIS’s hold of its capital of Raqqa disintegrates, and the rubble of a razed Aleppo settles, a trend is beginning to emerge – war is becoming increasingly urbanized.”
STEPHEN BRYEN ON STEALTH
US defense planning: It was a really good bet in the 1980s and a pretty good bet in the 1990s, but is stealth – a means of making an aircraft significantly less visible to radar – the way to go in the 2020s? Stealth has two primary uses in fighter aircraft. It allows aircraft to get around air defense radars and enemy fighters because the radars can’t see the stealth aircraft, Stephen Bryen writes. And it makes it easier for a stealth aircraft to detect and kill a non-stealth aircraft because it can strike before the other one knows it is even “there.” If the US goes ahead and buys the full, planned fleet of F-35s, the program will be the costliest in modern aviation history, with a lifespan cost of around US$1.5 trillion and counting. Stealth design information is a collection of closely guarded secrets, but even with special measures in place, it is becoming apparent that much of that guarded information has been leaked. READ THE STORY HERE
The concept goes on to describe four other reasons the Army cannot successfully fight wars the way it has in the past:
PART I. The exponential speed of information technology. U.S. forces can’t assume that they will have the best phones, drones, or computer hardware on the battlefield. As computers get smaller, cheaper, and more widely available, U.S. tech advantages will disintegrate.
1 Here’s What Concerns the General in Charge of Recruiting America’s Future Army
2 Armed Ground Robots Could Join the Ukrainian Conflict Next Year
3 The Real Lessons of Vietnam — and Afghanistan
PART 2. Warfare will be much more urban. Some 60 percent (conservatively) of the Earth’s population will live in cities in 2030, many in megacities with populations of more than 10 million. This is where adversaries will try to engage U.S. forces, not in open fields or deserts where today’s Army and it senormous battle vehicles have the advantage.
PART 3. The internet will be a key aspect of the battlefield, not just in terms of trading cyber attacks with enemy hackers but in the need to constantly and expertly shape global opinion about the conflict. Troll armies spreading fake news and disinformation, coupled with enough social-media traffic to overwhelm open-source analysts, could “complicate the [Army’s] ability to gain and maintain an accurate, up-to-date, intelligence-driven understanding of the situation, as well as control of the information environment,” the document says.
PART 4. Every bad guy becomes The Joker. The Army sees a rise of “Super-empowered individuals and small groups” who can “use access to cyberspace, space, and nuclear, biological, radiological, and chemical weapons of mass effects to change the battlespace calculus and redefine the conditions of conflict resolution.” Read that to mean: lone wolves and minescule teams with the power to rival many of today’s nation-states.
RUSSIA'S BATTLECRUISER VS. AMERICA'S IOWA CLASS BATTLESHIP & RUSSIA'S TACTICAL NUCLEAR ARSENAL
WEAKNESS IN U.S ARMY & ANOTHER Q.D.R?
12 Keys to Successful National Defense Strategy Planning // Mark Cancian
As the Pentagon preps this year's version of the report formerly known as the QDR, a new study gleans practical advice from past efforts.
FORCE PLANNING DURING AGE OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION; THE ARMY'S VIEW OF MODERNIZATION & THE NAVY'S IDEA OF COMPETING
Force Planning for the Era of Great Power Competition
From Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments: “ ... a “more of the same” planning approach will not create a future force that is capable of projecting power effectively into threat environments where “every operating domain— outer space, air, sea, undersea, land and cyberspace—is contested.”
How the U.S. Navy Plans to Win the Wars of the Future
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “While the United States Navy will likely require a larger fleet to counter growing threats from around the world, the service is taking its time to ensure that it can deliver a realistic and executable force structure plan.”
THE PROBLEM OF CONCURRENCY IN ACQUISITION REFORM, HISTORY OF ARMOR & CHINA'S J2- VS. U.S. F35
The Success of the F-35's Concurrency
By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “Concurrency is defined as the overlap in the development and production phases of the acquisition program. Concurrency introduces the risk that aircraft built in early production lots will require modification due to discoveries made during qualification, flight and ground tests, or as a result of engineering analysis.”
F-22 Raptor vs China's J-20
By Dave Majumdar, The National Interest: “Perhaps the most compelling evidence that would point to the J-20 being optimized for the strike role is the fact that the airframe is enormous but has relatively small wings. It’s also seems to have huge weapons bays. While such a configuration works well for a fast supersonic strike aircraft, it’s not ideal for an air superiority fighter that needs be able to sustain high rates of turn.”
The History of Body Armor, From Medieval Times to Today
By Sam Bocetta, Small Wars Journal: “The invention of true “body armor” directly followed the development of ranged weapons. As soon as muskets became widely used in the 16th Century, soldiers sought some form of protection against projectiles.”
Navy, Marine Corps Unveil New Strategy to Turn Tables on A2/AD
By Steven Stashwick, The Diplomat: “The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have released a new strategy to integrate their capabilities to address the challenges posed by archipelagic and coastal geography, and the proliferation of advanced sensors and mobile, long-range missile systems that can threaten naval forces from ashore.”
DOD ACQUISITION REFORM