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War on the rocks - hypothetical NATO-RUS

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http://warontherocks.com/2015/11/radioactive-in-riga-the-latvian-nuclear-standoff-of-2018-part-i/

Older article. Bit of a break neck and skimpy plot line of escalation. 

What I'm taking issue with is the quick fall of Mariupol. 

Considering the Ukrainian army us now battle hardened,  highly motivated and has steadily entrenched around the city,  2 days seems a little easy. 

Granted,  an amphibious assault could badly outflank the defenders. 

But it's a long,  long logistics tail along the coast... 

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Sure. 

But I'd suspect the Ukrainians are pretty watchful of Russian military activity. An intended drive along the coast would be pretty hard to hide. 

Also,  going by the Donetsk Airport and Debaltsev fights alone the Ukrainians are pretty capable of creating a Stalingrad/Grozny for the Russian advance to stumble over. 

Any heavy delay like that would cluster up attacking units against the coast,  providing insanely attractive targets for US naval missile and air strikes from the Mediterranean (IE Allowing the continental Air assests to stay focussed on the main fight). 

Edited by kinophile

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11 minutes ago, kinophile said:

Sure. 

But I'd suspect the Ukrainians are pretty watchful of Russian military activity. An intended drive along the coast would be pretty hard to hide. 

Also,  going by the Donetsk Airport and Debaltsev fights alone the Ukrainians are pretty capable of creating a Stalingrad/Grozny for the Russian advance to stumble over. 

Any heavy delay like that would cluster up attacking units against the coast,  providing insanely attractive targets for US naval missile and air strikes from the Mediterranean (IE Allowing the continental Air assests to stay focussed on the main fight). 

Yeah they were effective at giving Stalingrad to DPR LPR units, who majorily aren't as equipped as the Russian forces. You can expect Russian cruise missile strikes to hit Ukrainian artillery positions. And let's not forget juicy targets is not a possibility in the black sea so close to Russian borders. It's our backyard and we have defensive systems that can allow Russia to be successful in the initial start of such a conflict. 

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Very Good point re v.  Separatists. When the Russians (with their proper training and equipment)  were brought in the fight ended fairly quickly. 

My point was more about the psychological determination and tenacity of the Ukrainians in a defensive fight,  much as the Russian defenders of Sevastopol,  Leningrad and Stalingrad. These were critical sieges, and recognized as such by the defenders themselves. 

Mariupol is also a critical, front line position,  and known as such by every Ukrainian soldier. It's a full city with a lot of potential for defense. I'd imagine Russian strikes (tube, grad, missile) would quickly level the city. But even then.... 

So,  2 days to fall? I think not. Fall it certainly will,  but I'd suspect a week. 

Re Black Sea - I'd counter that the US has enough naval presence to support from the Mediterranean, just with ship/sub launched missiles launched from just south of the Dardanelles,  without needing to even enter the Black Sea. If those missile strikes focus on Russia's A2AD systems a solid degradation can be achieved. This would eventually weaken the protective cover over a coastal advance,  possibly making the ground commanders more cautious and inherently slowing the pace. 

Russian Fire Support would be devastating in the meanwhile. But once that umbrella weakens.... 

 

Edited by kinophile

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Russian air defenses are layered, they have the long range systems (S-300s, S-400s,) Then they have BUKs as medium range, There is then the shorter range systems to support these larger systems. TORs can engage incoming missiles, Tunguskas can as well, Pantsirs also can. Then we have the Surface ships of the Black Sea with AA capabilities. There are also the submarines which are pretty close to Turkish shores which will make NATO have to do counter sub operations giving Russia time to do what it has too, And set up more defenses. Can NATO achieve break through in Russian AA umbrellas? Sure! Will it be quick? No.

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Interesting. 

So it could be possible that a  sufficient  A2AD umbrella could be in effect until Mariupol falls. 

NATO would degrade it over the course of a week, which is enough time. If Russia keeps a silent reserve of A2AD systems for after the fall of Mariupol then it could, maybe,  hold on to its gains...for a while - by then I suspect NATO will be fully stood up.  

But if enough damage has been done to NATO air assets then Russia elite could start suggesting peace talks, in the usual blankly insincere manner. NATO  will not wish to grind it's forces in an urban fight for a devastated city. Doesn't mean that it won't, or that it won't find a smarter way to win it back, especially as it is the kind of fight tailor-made for the US Marines... 

I would wonder,  how survivable are submarines in the Black Sea? I'd imagine the second they fire off anything that it will give them away, badly. 

Edited by kinophile

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13 hours ago, kinophile said:

Interesting. 

So it could be possible that a  sufficient  A2AD umbrella could be in effect until Mariupol falls. 

NATO would degrade it over the course of a week, which is enough time. If Russia keeps a silent reserve of A2AD systems for after the fall of Mariupol then it could, maybe,  hold on to its gains...for a while - by then I suspect NATO will be fully stood up.  

But if enough damage has been done to NATO air assets then Russia elite could start suggesting peace talks, in the usual blankly insincere manner. NATO  will not wish to grind it's forces in an urban fight for a devastated city. Doesn't mean that it won't, or that it won't find a smarter way to win it back, especially as it is the kind of fight tailor-made for the US Marines... 

I would wonder,  how survivable are submarines in the Black Sea? I'd imagine the second they fire off anything that it will give them away, badly. 

Russia is going to run out of A2/AD assets long before NATO runs out of warplanes. The air power disparity has been beaten to death previously. That said, those assets (assuming a thorough bubble was in place at the start of the conflict) could deny the black Sea for up to a week  in the best case scenario for Russia. It'd be up to them to make the most of that week.

 

As for submarines, the best thing to hunt them with is another submarine followed by aircraft. Of the 6 Kilo class in the Black Sea Fleet not all would get underway (the Russian navy hasn't been kind) but they would still need to be accounted for. Turkey has German made D-E subs of comparable quality, some of which are presumably Black Sea based. There are other NATO countries with very good D-E boats that could be sent in as well to help. I cannot confirm any instance of US SSNs entering the Black Sea, but my gut tells me they might be weary of doing so. There is the Montreux Convention regarding warships but it's really hard to say how any of that would play out in a full blown war. No one on this thread is a Turkish politician as far as I'm aware.

There are also plenty of NATO ASW ships and aircraft that could help hunt them down, although this requires some degradation of the aforementioned A2/AD network.  So bottom line? Those Kilos have maybe a week if they're lucky, although it all depends on how they're used. I'm not a bubblehead, but I'd probably use them defensively guarding potential beach heads and friendly ports rather than offensively where they play into Turkish ASW defenses.

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3 hours ago, Codename Duchess said:

Russia is going to run out of A2/AD assets long before NATO runs out of warplanes. The air power disparity has been beaten to death previously. That said, those assets (assuming a thorough bubble was in place at the start of the conflict) could deny the black Sea for up to a week  in the best case scenario for Russia. It'd be up to them to make the most of that week.

It is not right to assume these things without NATO ever had to fight a near peer power. Sure if Russia does nothing about the bases servicing NATO aircraft it will end badly after 1-2 weeks of heavy SEAD operations overwhelming positions. But the Caspian fleet and black sea fleet as well as the RuAF can launch quite a few very long range missiles onto Injirlik Airbase in Turkey. As well as navy bases of the Turkish Navy. Which if successful for the most part can buy Russia even more time to complete operations. I'd be more worried about the NATO missions flying from Europe, Kaliningrad will probably be lost militarily but Russia might as well launch missiles at the nearest bases from there. It's all about inflicting heavy losses onto NATO forces and completing operations successfully in order to be able to negotiate on Russian terms. NATO obviously can slug it out way longer than Russia can. So the odds on a prolonged war are on NATO's side. I also forgot to mention Stealth Bombers that the US has that can operate from the U.K. which would certainly be able to cause damage to Russian air defenses as long as it isn't seen by radar systems made for Stealth type targets. And if the short range weapon systems aren't able to take out the incoming missiles.

Edited by VladimirTarasov

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I'll be honest,  I'm not entirely convinced by your assertions of Russian ABM capabilities. 

I'm not denying they're there, more about their effectiveness against modern, last ten years missile development. Iron Dome for Israel took some work to get going, ie ABM is not easy,  even with a clear and present threat,  the political will and proper funding,  as well as access to US tech. 

Russian ABM systems exist and are capable,  certainly  -  but could they deal with a determined NATO air and missile assault for long? 

I suspect there will be some shoot downs,  but the umbrella may only be 50%  effective?

Anyone else know more on RUS ABM? 

Edited by kinophile

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2 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

It is not right to assume these things without NATO ever had to fight a near peer power. Sure if Russia does nothing about the bases servicing NATO aircraft it will end badly after 1-2 weeks of heavy SEAD operations overwhelming positions. But the Caspian fleet and black sea fleet as well as the RuAF can launch quite a few very long range missiles onto Injirlik Airbase in Turkey. As well as navy bases of the Turkish Navy. Which if successful for the most part can buy Russia even more time to complete operations. I'd be more worried about the NATO missions flying from Europe, Kaliningrad will probably be lost militarily but Russia might as well launch missiles at the nearest bases from there. It's all about inflicting heavy losses onto NATO forces and completing operations successfully in order to be able to negotiate on Russian terms. NATO obviously can slug it out way longer than Russia can. So the odds on a prolonged war are on NATO's side. I also forgot to mention Stealth Bombers that the US has that can operate from the U.K. which would certainly be able to cause damage to Russian air defenses as long as it isn't seen by radar systems made for Stealth type targets. And if the short range weapon systems aren't able to take out the incoming missiles.

I came up with a week on the assumption that we did Libya's Air Defense network in a day and we anticipate North Koreas lasting three days*.  Those are both archaic systems, yes, but very thorough and expansive.

There absolutely will be long range Russian strike attempts on Deeper NATO bases (although with NATO/USAF/USN disbursement these won't slow much) and runways can be repaired fast.  We also have plenty of tankers and the like that can let us operate further back, and there's no good way for you guys to attack a Carrier Strike Group in the med.  Plus, it's not like these strikes will be in a vacuum.  The USN has a whole lot more experience launching Tomahawks than the Russians do Kalibr.  And the US has a whole lot more assets they can commit than the Russians do.  Backfires/Blackjacks/Bears focusing on the Black Sea are not focusing on the Baltics, and they don't exactly have a fast turn around rate.

So yeah, tell NATO to crack the Black Sea A2/AD network with a dedicated buildup and I'd say give us a week to degrade it enough to where we can start doing other things.  That doesn't mean every single SAM will have been destroyed, but we will definitely have opened up options.  The debate then is can Russia accomplish it's ground objectives in this week.  With a significant buildup and lacking a heavy NATO ground force in place, you'd grab a lot of Ukrainian territory.

*This statement is the humble opinion of discussions among this LT and his JO peers and does not reflect any sort of official assessment from the US Navy.

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So let's say  3-5 days unmolested RUS advance,  days 6+ NATO ground strikes start to get through. 

To achieve the fall of Mariupol in 3-5 days is a tall order. But anything is  doable with enough commitment... 

What would RUS need? 

Spitballing as a dirty civvy:

1. Regional Air control/denial

2. Regional coastal naval sumpremacy

3. Very heavy fire support (everything including BMs). 

4. Minimum 2/1 force disparity 

5. Amphibious units to land behind/outflank UKR defenses

6. Heavy EW efforts 

7. Fifth column/Spetznaz/protests within Mariupol itself and/or in urban areas along UKR MSRs. 

Trap as many civilians inside as possible, use it as a moral trump card to force surrender. 

Spetsnaz troops should target military and civilian command personelle - kidnap/kill. 

The trick is maximum rear area disruption, combined with a sharp coastal attack,  then a massive fire mission and tank heavy ground assault.

Who wants to poke holes in my plan? 

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I'd say around 5-7 days unmolested. Mariupol does not need to fall 100%, Surrounding the city and destroying important military targets are enough. I'd say a joint air force army and navy coordination as well as marine landings is enough to achieve a success in about 2-3 days. Of course this doesn't mean Russia will have cleared all resistance. It would render the Ukrainian army in Mariupol ineffective. 

3 hours ago, Codename Duchess said:

I came up with a week on the assumption that we did Libya's Air Defense network in a day and we anticipate North Koreas lasting three days*.  Those are both archaic systems, yes, but very thorough and expansive.

There absolutely will be long range Russian strike attempts on Deeper NATO bases (although with NATO/USAF/USN disbursement these won't slow much) and runways can be repaired fast.  We also have plenty of tankers and the like that can let us operate further back, and there's no good way for you guys to attack a Carrier Strike Group in the med.  Plus, it's not like these strikes will be in a vacuum.  The USN has a whole lot more experience launching Tomahawks than the Russians do Kalibr.  And the US has a whole lot more assets they can commit than the Russians do.  Backfires/Blackjacks/Bears focusing on the Black Sea are not focusing on the Baltics, and they don't exactly have a fast turn around rate.

So yeah, tell NATO to crack the Black Sea A2/AD network with a dedicated buildup and I'd say give us a week to degrade it enough to where we can start doing other things.  That doesn't mean every single SAM will have been destroyed, but we will definitely have opened up options.  The debate then is can Russia accomplish it's ground objectives in this week.  With a significant buildup and lacking a heavy NATO ground force in place, you'd grab a lot of Ukrainian territory.

*This statement is the humble opinion of discussions among this LT and his JO peers and does not reflect any sort of official assessment from the US Navy.

I'd say this is a fair point. 

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4 hours ago, kinophile said:

So let's say  3-5 days unmolested RUS advance,  days 6+ NATO ground strikes start to get through. 

To achieve the fall of Mariupol in 3-5 days is a tall order. But anything is  doable with enough commitment... 

What would RUS need? 

Spitballing as a dirty civvy:

1. Regional Air control/denial

2. Regional coastal naval sumpremacy

3. Very heavy fire support (everything including BMs). 

4. Minimum 2/1 force disparity 

5. Amphibious units to land behind/outflank UKR defenses

6. Heavy EW efforts 

7. Fifth column/Spetznaz/protests within Mariupol itself and/or in urban areas along UKR MSRs. 

Trap as many civilians inside as possible, use it as a moral trump card to force surrender. 

Spetsnaz troops should target military and civilian command personelle - kidnap/kill. 

The trick is maximum rear area disruption, combined with a sharp coastal attack,  then a massive fire mission and tank heavy ground assault.

Who wants to poke holes in my plan? 

Read up on some urban operations and come back and try again.  A 2:1 force ratio in clearing a city of a half a million is stupidly small, and the complexity of the terrain will limit the effects of most of the fire support, especially in light of the lack of precision in Russian aviation and fires (they're good at hitting targets deployed in a field environment, but in an urban fight, your target acquisition will often be next door vs 1 KM away which requires fires capabilities the Russians lack).  EW will be limited to some degree as the defenders will be able to operate with a variety of low tech options (local land lines, field phones, etc).  

Basically all Mariupol has to do is not fall.  It doesn't have to push out the Russians, break their ground forces, whatever, it just has to be too dangerous to bypass, which leaves Russian forces tied around the urban area and forced to choose compromise positions that make them increasingly exposed to NATO efforts.

Also the civilians play by far more into the hands of the Ukrainians in the strategic picture.  It won't take too many dead Ukrainian babies in the hands of western media to harden resolve and paint the Russians as dogs and murderers ESPECIALLY if it's a policy to keep civilians in a warzone vs an unfortunate event.

Unless Ukrainian forces just folded, a week isn't enough to secure that sort of urban area while opposed.  Simply going in to destroy Ukrainian military assets is also stupid, frankly damage to the enemy forces alone is rarely decisive, you need to achieve national objectives or things that grant some sort of strategic advantage.  The Ukraine supported by NATO can afford to bleed a lot more than the Russians can, and again unless destroying Ukrainian military assets grant a reasonable advantage vs the cost of attacking Mariupol (which they wouldn't), it just becomes Russia's Battle of Khafji.  

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1 hour ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Read up on some urban operations and come back and try again.  A 2:1 force ratio in clearing a city of a half a million is stupidly small, and the complexity of the terrain will limit the effects of most of the fire support, especially in light of the lack of precision in Russian aviation and fires

Not stupid,  there's a rationale.  I'm aware of the usual 3:1 ratio. 

I'm assuming the lack of proper RUS forces, due to attrition and flanks under heavy UKR attack. The aim is to go for a dramatic,  harsh short assault, levering Spetsnaz, massive indiscriminate area fire  and the amphibious flank attack to badly hit UKR morale.

Kettling civilians inside is one option. Leaving a golden bridge is another,  and on second glance better. As you state,  the objective is to neutralize,  wrinkle out UKR forces from the city; no escape and they'll fight to the death. Leave a gap and Command will do its damnedest to pull it's troops out. 

 

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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/17/budget-cuts-leaving-marine-corps-aircraft-grounded.html 

>Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy. >To get one Hornet flying again, Marines at Beaufort stripped a landing gear door off a mothballed museum jet. The door, found on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown, was last manufactured over a decade ago. >The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air. "This last 30 days our average flight time per pilot was just over 4 hours," said Thomas. Ten years ago, Marine Corps pilots averaged between 25 and 30 hours in the air each month, according to one pilot. “This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he added. Another pilot who asked to remain nameless told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more hours each month than Marine Corps pilots.

>To get one Hornet flying again, Marines at Beaufort stripped a landing gear door off a mothballed museum jet. The door, found on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown, was last manufactured over a decade ago.

>The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air. "This last 30 days our average flight time per pilot was just over 4 hours," said Thomas. Ten years ago, Marine Corps pilots averaged between 25 and 30 hours in the air each month, according to one pilot. “This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he added. Another pilot who asked to remain nameless told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more hours each month than Marine Corps pilots.

I wander how the army or the airforce have it. 

Edited by BTR

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Not ready to fly doesn't mean 100%  unable to fly,  or that couldn't be brought quickly (within days) up to airworthiness. 

A less simplistic breakdown would show percentages of fully ready,  ready in twp days,  ready in 5, ready in a week,  ready in two weeks,  etc. 

The real number to worry about is how many days until say,  75% of the fleet is ready. 

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Well speaking as someone who was born into a USAF officers family but doesnt have contact with my father but does have contact with other people from growing up that are still in the USAF all I know is they.re quite sure they re the best in the world and also they fly more than that per month. You have to remember the Marines is like a small branch that is its own seperate military. It basically is made to be able to do everything with Marine units -air armor inf etc.

Funnily too and im gonna @Codename Duchess i was talkjng to a two tour Iraq marine vet who was in phanton fury 2 etc. Great guy. He said when they called in CAS with the USAF they were super technical professional 9 line for target info etc.

He said they got a Navy pilot once amd they started reading it off like it was an USAF pilot. "Whoa whoa shut the fu*k up,calm down and tell me what the target is where it is and lase it when i ask you to" the Marines look at eachother and shrugged. I guess the pilot said something crazy like " ok lase it im 10 miles away ill be there in a few seconds" and camr screaming over very shortly after and 5 seconds later planted 500 lb bomb right through the middle of the roof of a building full of insurgents. The Marine thought the complete lack of formality was funny he said calling in the Navy CAS was like being on the phone with a buddy. Said he never had the pleasure of having Marine CAS he was aware of. Of course thats not saying a lot he wasnt the dedicated RTO or FO just a low level grunt.

Edited by Sublime

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7 hours ago, kinophile said:

Not stupid,  there's a rationale.  I'm aware of the usual 3:1 ratio. 

I'm assuming the lack of proper RUS forces, due to attrition and flanks under heavy UKR attack. The aim is to go for a dramatic,  harsh short assault, levering Spetsnaz, massive indiscriminate area fire  and the amphibious flank attack to badly hit UKR morale.

Kettling civilians inside is one option. Leaving a golden bridge is another,  and on second glance better. As you state,  the objective is to neutralize,  wrinkle out UKR forces from the city; no escape and they'll fight to the death. Leave a gap and Command will do its damnedest to pull it's troops out. 

 

You need a lot more for urban operations.  

Think of it this way:

On fairly open fields how much battlespace can a tank effect?

It's a lot, possibly several square KM, weapons can fire out to maximum effective range.  It also has enough room for other tanks to maneuver and assist it.  

In an urban setting, what sort of lines of sight do you think it has?  How much battlespace can it effect?  How much room is there for other tanks to assist it?

In a narrower, more confined space, the overall effect of things that would otherwise be great combat multipliers becomes muted, and technological edges become quite dull.  Also in urban settings the importance of a methodical clearance becomes central, unless you're securing virtually every house, closing off all the various subterranean access points, securing all parallel routes you're going to be getting RPGed through the back of your tank, or having Ukrainians shooting your HQ communications repairman when he goes into a house to take a leak constantly.  

All of these require a lot more men than normal force proportions, and 2:1 is fairly disastrous*.  For instance, Fallujah was taken by 13,000+ troops with modern aviation, artillery etc against 3,000 or so insurgents with mostly small arms, IEDs, and pretty limited AT assets.  And it took over a month to do.

You might be able to do urban warfare fast with lots of men, or do it very slow with fewer, but you are not going to clear a major urban center against an organized military defending its homeland in a week with only a 2:1 force ratio.

Further you're thinking troop-centric.  Military forces are intended to be expended somewhat when the value of their destruction outweighs their loss.  Forcing Russia into an urban battle that negates most of their advantages, while deploying their forces roughly out in the open to maintain the essential containment on the proverbial anvil to await the hammer is likely a good use of the defenders even if they are "Destroyed" (military destroyed vs "really" destroyed, no longer capable of missions until reconstituted), and not even an especially risky one.  
 

 

6 hours ago, BTR said:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/17/budget-cuts-leaving-marine-corps-aircraft-grounded.html 

>Out of 276 F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters in the Marine Corps inventory, only about 30% are ready to fly, according to statistics provided by the Corps. Similarly, only 42 of 147 heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters are airworthy. >To get one Hornet flying again, Marines at Beaufort stripped a landing gear door off a mothballed museum jet. The door, found on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown, was last manufactured over a decade ago. >The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air. "This last 30 days our average flight time per pilot was just over 4 hours," said Thomas. Ten years ago, Marine Corps pilots averaged between 25 and 30 hours in the air each month, according to one pilot. “This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he added. Another pilot who asked to remain nameless told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more hours each month than Marine Corps pilots.

>To get one Hornet flying again, Marines at Beaufort stripped a landing gear door off a mothballed museum jet. The door, found on the flight deck of the World War II-era USS Yorktown, was last manufactured over a decade ago.

>The aircraft shortage means pilots spend less time in the air. "This last 30 days our average flight time per pilot was just over 4 hours," said Thomas. Ten years ago, Marine Corps pilots averaged between 25 and 30 hours in the air each month, according to one pilot. “This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he added. Another pilot who asked to remain nameless told Fox News that Chinese and Russian pilots fly more hours each month than Marine Corps pilots.

I wander how the army or the airforce have it. 

From the Army end of things, not that bad.  We maintained something like 12/14 tanks at some level of "I am comfortable sending men to fight in this**"  We hit 14/14 fairly often, and especially when getting ready for major readiness events as that's when our budget accommodated surging major repair parts.   I think we dipped to 7/14 once but that was thanks to idiot mechanics*** who did our services wrong so we had to pull some engines.  In wartime this would have been discovered prior to going forward (they really screwed up), and we'd have received tanks from the ORF, or even a push of complete power packs.

What's difficult to gauge is actual readiness, and Fox News is not a good source for that given its sensational bend.  We had times were I honestly could have claimed we had zero tanks ready to fight.  Of course that was because we were doing a month-long overhaul, and we'd been at one platoon in hours, two by the end of the first day, and Company complete ready to kill by sometime the next morning (you do services in stages, with each platoon doing a different kind of services over the course of a week.  The guys working on the ancillary odds and ends were basically upload ammo and gear away from ready, while the guys doing hull services had engines to put back in, and other major equipment to hook back up, then ammo upload etc).  

What's also interesting is that some vehicle fleets are simply not maintained to maximum readiness because of the cost vs training benefit.  My tank company if it was not in Korea likely would have had less operational tanks simply because we did not often maneuver more than 4-6 tanks during our Company run training events (small training areas).  We'd have been brought up to 100% for anything that required all tanks (Gunnery, CALFEX etc), but fixing literally every vehicle if we didn't need to be able to go from "peace" to "war" in hours would be wasteful.

Which is really why I don't put much faith in the Fox News article.  It's also interesting that they're talking about F/A-18 A-D models, all of which are extinct elsewhere and likely the first planes to be replaced by F-35s should they ever work. Basically they're planes the same vintage of your average Russian fighter (maintained on a better budget)  Similarly the CH-53s are also equally old.  A better metric for readiness would be how the USN's F/A-18E/Fs are doing, or even USMC VF-22s.  

It's really missing the picture and only the most hopelessly optimistic Russian would take it as a good gauge of the kind of hurt the US military could lay on them.  Cherry picking at its worst.

*There's a few exceptions, such as the "Thunder Run" but you can generally find a host of reasons why it worked THEN vs being a reasonable course of action or assumption. 

**Able to maneuver, fully functioning weapons, FCS, optics, and communications equipment.  

***No really.  Most Army mechanics were all right.  Just at that point in time was the perfect storm of bad mechanic team leadership, new junior enlisted mechanics, and oddly enough monsoon season.

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3 hours ago, Sublime said:

Funnily too and im gonna @Codename Duchess i was talkjng to a two tour Iraq marine vet who was in phanton fury 2 etc. Great guy. He said when they called in CAS with the USAF they were super technical professional 9 line for target info etc.

He said they got a Navy pilot once amd they started reading it off like it was an USAF pilot. "Whoa whoa shut the fu*k up,calm down and tell me what the target is where it is and lase it when i ask you to" the Marines look at eachother and shrugged. I guess the pilot said something crazy like " ok lase it im 10 miles away ill be there in a few seconds" and camr screaming over very shortly after and 5 seconds later planted 500 lb bomb right through the middle of the roof of a building full of insurgents. The Marine thought the complete lack of formality was funny he said calling in the Navy CAS was like being on the phone with a buddy.

This is entirely believable.  The biggest difference between USAF and USN aviation (besides us having to wear snorkels so we don't drown in women while they [CENSORED FOR THE KIDS]) is that Air Force pilots are told what they can do while Navy pilots are told what we cannot do.  Seriously.  It's great and I think it let's us get a little, uh, creative.  Not recklessly so, but USN aviation is a whole different ballgame.  Credit where it's due, they do have some great aircraft and can handle a dogfight.

As for the Marine readiness level.

Marine hornets are old.  Like, real old.  They fly the A-D models, which are all beat to hell museum pieces anyway.  The USMC is a heavily underfunded branch of the US military (to the point where they basically pride themselves on it) and yet they still earn quite the reputation for making do with what they have.  They are almost entirely focused on the CAS mission too, so those hornets weren't going to go up against the RuAF anyway.  Navy levels are much higher (talking 80%+ region), and I'm sure the Air Force is as well (they don't have to buy ships too). 

Ninja'd by panzer.

We could also absolutely do things like taking ready aircraft from non-deploying squadrons to get ours up to 100% in the event of war.  Our flying hours are also much higher than the Marines, (and Russians and Chinese).  I've broken 100+ hours in a month before, which is the number I saw thrown around for Russian Fighter/Attack pilots yearly amount from multiple sources.  Additionally, over half of RuAF Flanker squadrons are flying the original Soviet era models that don't feature the advanced avionics needed for your fanciest weapons.  You guys make some pretty good missiles and the like, but you don't make very many of them and half your planes can't use them.  I came up with something like ~209 modern Flanker variants in the Russian Air Force vs. 342 Super Hornets in the US Navy alone.  That doesn't include our modernized Legacy Hornets, or the entire USAF.  Our country also isn't under sanctions, and the 90s were not nearly as harsh on us.

So if you want to play the numbers and readiness game...

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I'd imagine these hornets are kept and maintained at NAS stations on the mainland which makes that article not very surprising. Those aren't at the tip of the spear so readiness isn't extremely important.

 

Oh and obligatory "lol fox news".

Edited by Raptorx7

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1 hour ago, Codename Duchess said:

This is entirely believable.  The biggest difference between USAF and USN aviation (besides us having to wear snorkels so we don't drown in women while they [CENSORED FOR THE KIDS]) is that Air Force pilots are told what they can do while Navy pilots are told what we cannot do.  Seriously.  It's great and I think it let's us get a little, uh, creative.  Not recklessly so, but USN aviation is a whole different ballgame.  Credit where it's due, they do have some great aircraft and can handle a dogfight.

As for the Marine readiness level.

Marine hornets are old.  Like, real old.  They fly the A-D models, which are all beat to hell museum pieces anyway.  The USMC is a heavily underfunded branch of the US military (to the point where they basically pride themselves on it) and yet they still earn quite the reputation for making do with what they have.  They are almost entirely focused on the CAS mission too, so those hornets weren't going to go up against the RuAF anyway.  Navy levels are much higher (talking 80%+ region), and I'm sure the Air Force is as well (they don't have to buy ships too). 

Ninja'd by panzer.

We could also absolutely do things like taking ready aircraft from non-deploying squadrons to get ours up to 100% in the event of war.  Our flying hours are also much higher than the Marines, (and Russians and Chinese).  I've broken 100+ hours in a month before, which is the number I saw thrown around for Russian Fighter/Attack pilots yearly amount from multiple sources.  Additionally, over half of RuAF Flanker squadrons are flying the original Soviet era models that don't feature the advanced avionics needed for your fanciest weapons.  You guys make some pretty good missiles and the like, but you don't make very many of them and half your planes can't use them.  I came up with something like ~209 modern Flanker variants in the Russian Air Force vs. 342 Super Hornets in the US Navy alone.  That doesn't include our modernized Legacy Hornets, or the entire USAF.  Our country also isn't under sanctions, and the 90s were not nearly as harsh on us.

So if you want to play the numbers and readiness game...

Back in the day when it was relevant, in terms of CAS/CCA (The US Army refers to in the in-house rotary wing as "Close Combat Attack," everyone else wold just call it CAS), the in-house Army stuff was easiest to talk to because they spoke our language.  Marines were trickier because they really got CAS, but occasionally they'd have issues with communications (I'm not sure on the exacts, I thought they used the same family of radios) or an insistence on having a Marine to do the talking on the radio because we didn't speak jarhead or something.  But once you got them there they did good stuff.

Navy occasionally doesn't really grasp what you're trying to do.  Like intrinsically the concept of a land thing shooting at other land things is daunting and they're not really sure what to make of your strange tracked land boat.  But all you really need to do is let them know where the thing you want to explode the other land boats needs to go and they'll do some crazy aviator juju and it'll happen.  They will occasionally get lost in childlike wonder at even fairly modest tales of doing Army stuff on the ground***.

Air Force needs to be reminded it had a sortie that day and given crew rest* to recover from the bus ride to the flightline**.  It will also insist that the air element be entirely coordinated through some guy you've never seen before that nominally is "attached" to your organization.  He will show up three hours late to the training exercise.  

*Crew rest is something that conceptually I understand as flying a thing is a pretty intensive activity and doing it after 15 hours of operation and two hours of sleep is bad.  It doesn't go over as well when you're doing a training exercise, and the tanker-infantry team is on hour 20 of being awake while the aviators are playing cards and napping at their FARP within LOS of the training area.  

**The USAF can do great things.  And it's a very lethal force that I'm glad is on my side.  Institutionally though it's the least user friendly, and frustratingly least inclined to train with ground forces.  

***As a funny story, I visited London as a fairly new Captain after my second deployment.  A friend of my father's had a cousin who was a military officer working at the US Embassy, and through that round about connection said officer offered to host me for dinner.  Again, since this was grapevine level communication it was mentioned the cousin was a Captain, so I figured he was any number of Army, Marine, or USAF foreign area officers or something.  

Actually I had dinner with a Captain USN (so Colonel equivalent) F/A-18 dude.  Like THE senior USN rep to the United Kingdom.  It was pretty cool, we talked shop, and really nice dude.  But it was a really interesting conversation to talk to someone like six layers removed in rank and role from my little Armored Cavalry/Armor corner of the battlefield.  
It did get weird in that his family went all Von Trapp after dinner and he played guitar.  His wife graciously realized they were scaring the JO and took me aside while the Captain Trapp found his guitar and let me know it was socially acceptable to flee if I didn't want to sing along.  I escaped into the London night to the sounds of "Micheal Row Your Boat Ashore."

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5 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

 Like intrinsically the concept of a land thing shooting at other land things is daunting and they're not really sure what to make of your strange tracked land boat.

f7d.jpg

That's a funny story about the rank thing.  The whole Lieutenant thing can get confusing as well.  On behalf of the US Navy I apologize that you guys do ranks wrong.

Edited by Codename Duchess

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