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CAS (mis)representation


Euri

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2 hours ago, Erwin said:

"Tibet is about the only part of the planet that we can't hit."

If you look at a map Tibet is not that far from an Ocean.  There are landlocked places far further.   This all seems hyperbole.  Are certain folks hoping the Russians are reading these forums to get RW info on US capabilities.  (They will be a real walkover if that's the case lol.)

And if Tibet were that safe, one would imagine all Chinese bases would be relocated there.  After all, we're more likely to get into a war with China.

To back up Raptor the Tibet thing was as panzer put it "bar math" from my source but looking at the more widely circulated and easily doable number of 1500nm from non-official sources the only part unaccessible by Tomahawk is eastern Kazakhstan/NW China.  Of which there are RUS/Chinese bases in those areas. (All doesn't really work because you then have the issues of range limitations from their own assets.)

The point is if it's 1000 miles or 1500 miles (or more), all of Ukraine is accessible by the missile from the Eastern to Central Med.  This still leaves plenty of room for circuitious or terrain following routes to reduce detection.  Tomahawks are deployed (in large number too) on every SSN, SSGN, DDG, and CG deployed and are designed for exactly the scenario I outlined above.  If we will fire 800 at Iraq in 2003 you bet we will launch thousands on Day 1 of the Air war in Ukraine and still have a healthy reserve.  Besides, the Navy is looking at stealthier replacements now so they are reaching the end of their useful lives.  And as before every missile Russia uses to shoot one down makes it that much safer and easier for planes, and many will still get through.

Edit: One source I saw said we have almost 4000 stockpiled.  Not *quite* as many as I said hyperbolically earlier, but I'd bet that's more than all of the S-400 missiles Russia owns, and it's definitely more than the amount of Kalibr they own.

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The only people firing cruise missiles these days is Putin that one time in an ostentatious display of strength in Syria. The US learned a dozen years ago that cruise missiles are *expensive*, not entirely reliable, and not that simple to restock. The cost works out to about 1 million+ dollars for the equivalent of a single artillery shell. I have a vague memory from ages ago of the US swapping out nuclear warheads for conventional in some of their strategic deterrence cruise missiles because they had depleted their conventional stocks and the assembly line wasn't churning out new ones quick enough. Now they're content with fighters dropping GPS-steered dumb bombs from 20,000 feet. Sometimes these GPS bombs are inert, just concrete ballast. Tomahawks wouldn't be used for CAS, they'd be used for deep strike. Going for primary radar installations and stuff, not an infantry squad holed-up in an apt block on the street you want to drive down.

 

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2 hours ago, MikeyD said:

The only people firing cruise missiles these days is Putin that one time in an ostentatious display of strength in Syria. The US learned a dozen years ago that cruise missiles are *expensive*, not entirely reliable, and not that simple to restock. The cost works out to about 1 million+ dollars for the equivalent of a single artillery shell. I have a vague memory from ages ago of the US swapping out nuclear warheads for conventional in some of their strategic deterrence cruise missiles because they had depleted their conventional stocks and the assembly line wasn't churning out new ones quick enough. Now they're content with fighters dropping GPS-steered dumb bombs from 20,000 feet. Sometimes these GPS bombs are inert, just concrete ballast. Tomahawks wouldn't be used for CAS, they'd be used for deep strike. Going for primary radar installations and stuff, not an infantry squad holed-up in an apt block on the street you want to drive down.

 

This is getting off topic, sort of, but I will try and bring it back I promise:

Again, I'm not a Tomahawk officer so I can't speak on exact employment anything past how I would use them and my own messing about with CMANO, but...  A lot of these numbers for simplicity come from wikipedia but they pass the snuff test of more reliable sources I have read and checked out in citations on wikipedia.

"The only people firing cruise missiles these days is Putin that one time in an ostentatious display of strength in Syria."
Not true.  First, Putin has used them multiple times and the general consensus has fallen somewhere between "saber rattling/showing off" and "they don't have any other precision munitions in theater".

The US and UK have fired 264 Tomahawks since 2008 against targets in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria.  That  doesn't count air launched cruise missiles like the CALCM, SLAM, or JASSM from just the US arsenal, all of which have been used.  Anyway if it was such an ineffective weapon we wouldn't routinely use it.

The US learned a dozen years ago that cruise missiles are *expensive*, not entirely reliable, and not that simple to restock. The cost works out to about 1 million+ dollars for the equivalent of a single artillery shell.
If you divide the stated approximate worth of the arsenal of 3500 missiles against the $2.6B quoted value that works out to around $750,000 per missile which is just so very capable.  Even if you compare that to the appropriate price of the recent orders of $1.4m you're still getting a hell of a deal for a low flying ultra long range missile with the ability to be retargeted and also the capability to put a 1000lb warhead through a particular window.  Compare that to the cost of operating an F/A-18E, it's carrier, it's tankers, and the JDAMs it drops and there are absolutely situations where it's the most economical.

Reliability: The recent strike against Syria saw 59 missiles launched with 58 impacts according to the US military (you can believe RT if you want but if so just let me know and I'll stop responding to this thread).  Independent sources noted 44 targets hit, several multiple times.  Some random syrians tweeted pictures of a single Tomahawk warhead sitting in a field somewhere so 58 is certainly believable.  The problem with this strike is it's simply not a great runway cratering weapon leading to calls that it wasn't the best weapon for the job, but as seen in the above picture it will mess up a bunker or hangar just fine.

Resupply:  This is actually beginning to be an issue in that orders have been curtailed, with funding going to upgrading the Tomahawks that exist.  That said, the US Gov't is beginning to put out feelers for a lower observability replacement, countering really the only flaw the weapon has.  As for the single artillery shell business, the unitary warhead is 1000lb and the cluster warhead is like 300 submunitions so that's a very very impressive artillery shell.

I have a vague memory from ages ago of the US swapping out nuclear warheads for conventional in some of their strategic deterrence cruise missiles because they had depleted their conventional stocks and the assembly line wasn't churning out new ones quick enough.

The Nuclear Tomahawk was officially taken off US weapons lists in the early 2010s, although most people suspect the actual denuclearization occurred much earlier.  I think the need for more conventional missiles played a part of it, but really it was just the fact the Cold War ended and treaty business.  As stated above, replacement rates are still generally lagging our historic usage rates but we still have several thousand in reserve.


Now they're content with fighters dropping GPS-steered dumb bombs from 20,000 feet. Sometimes these GPS bombs are inert, just concrete ballast.
Higher than that, but this is generally a true statement.  Again, it's using the right tool for the right job.  B-2 bombers were used last year to take out an ISIS camp in Libya even though there was no air defense network for them to sneak through.  But those planes were able to drop something like 100+ JDAMs between the two of them on 100+ different targets.  Hence the insane flight cost was justified and tomahawks weren't used.  You wouldn't need to use Tomahawks against ISIS or what have you because the advantages of tomahawk don't justify the cost most of the time because you're right a fighter or bomber overhead loaded with a half dozen (or more) JDAMs is a lot more flexible for approximately the same cost.  You also often don't want a 1000lb warhead going off in a dense urban environment (hence the concrete bombs).  Russia uses cruise missiles because either saber rattling or it's really their most viable option for precision weapons in the theater (something discussed on here many times).

Tomahawks wouldn't be used for CAS, they'd be used for deep strike. Going for primary radar installations and stuff, not an infantry squad holed-up in an apt block on the street you want to drive down.
Like I said, this was speculative on my part and you're most likely correct (although I can dream).  The point is, the vast majority of Tomahawks are going to be going downtown against air defenses and logistical and C2 nodes, absolutely.  But if there is troops in contact on day 1 that absolutely requires close support then it's possible but unlikely that they could see a Tomahawk due to recent added abilities to loiter and hit moving targets with a 2 way datalink combined with imaging sensor.  The point was that you're more likely to see a Tomahawk used in this role on Day 1 of fighting than you would an F-15 or F-16 which would be busy elsewhere like I previously discussed for the same reasons that you wouldn't see those same aircraft 100 miles behind the front lines bombing SAM sites.

In conclusion: Day 1 of the fighting would absolutely see hundreds of Tomahawks heading towards anything that could threaten US aircraft so that they could be used against RUS ground forces.  Remember that every Russian SAM or air to air missile fired against a Tomahawk likely costs on the absolute cheap end $500,000 (and likely much more especially for the most advanced stuff) against an already smaller arsenal and it's not an unfavorable exchange for the US.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In regards to US CAS and F16 in particular from what I know, read (and how you operate said plane in that anal Falcon BMS thingie) going into SHORAD range is a very bad idea so bombs get dropped above 12000 feet (about 4km) - thus spotting anything visually is hard, especially if it's stationary. So it's either a pre-planned target with GPS coordinates punched in, a specially illuminated target or an area search using ground radar / camera pod - and a stationary object is essentially invisible to the latter ones due to ground clutter.

 I'd say CMBS does a rather good job at simulating (shortcomings of) at least this CAS case.

A-10C is an entirely different topic however, especially since it's a flying tank that can survive a .50cal shot to its face

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"You also often don't want a 1000lb warhead going off in a dense urban environment (hence the concrete bombs)."

Interesting...  I always thought they were only for target practice.  What sort of "blast" does a concrete bomb cause?

Also, wuz chatting to an AF guy and had the impression that the A-10 could withstand 20mm.

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Codename Duchess,

As usual when you weigh in, great stuff!  The figure of 100,000 Tomahawks (which I didn't know when I read it was hyperbolic) stopped me dead on the line of text and bated my breath. The discussion of Tomahawk range was also of interest, but here's what really stood out. 
 

On 9/16/2017 at 5:00 PM, Codename Duchess said:

but they pass the snuff test of more reliable sources

Are you sure it's a good idea to make such a criminal admission on a highly visited international BBS?

Returning to more serious matters, I remain of the firm belief the A-10 would have substantial survivability and would be viable in a CAS role. Nothing else can get down there in the weeds, carry enormous loads of ordnance, hang around for prolonged periods, maneuver as hard and, if hit,  sustain terrible damage yet get back to base. A-10s have many times sustained hits which would've blown an F-15/16/18 out of the sky. Your point about making the Russians burn expensive SAMs to kill relatively cheap Tomahawks is well taken. Also, while we're on ordnance, have you heard any rumblings regarding the return of CBUs to the Tomahawks?  Was under the impression that, like the submunition warheads for the MLRS, they'd been withdrawn. Would hope our new fearless leader has wisely decided to return such munitions to the active inventory. While I certainly understand the humanitarian issues of UXO and mines, the first priority should be winning the war. For sure, the Russians won't be bothered with such concerns, and we can't afford to play nice at the direct and significant expense of hitting power. One of the first things I learned at Hughes Missile Systems Group from our weaponeer in the Operations Analysis Department was that, for a given quantity of explosive vs an area target, it was better to deliver it in a bunch of smaller warheads than in one big one, yet our PC mentality has sent us in exactly the opposite direction!

Erwin,

The A-10 was designed to survive vs a 23 mm cannon threat (much nastier than the US 20 mm), and the cockpit armored bathtub was designed to take a massive 57 mm hit.

Regards,

John Kettler

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7 hours ago, Erwin said:

"You also often don't want a 1000lb warhead going off in a dense urban environment (hence the concrete bombs)."

Interesting...  I always thought they were only for target practice.  What sort of "blast" does a concrete bomb cause?

Also, wuz chatting to an AF guy and had the impression that the A-10 could withstand 20mm.

It's no blast, just a few hundred pounds of concrete falling at terminal velocity has interesting effects on things.  It'll compromise building structural integrity in lots of places in the world, most vehicles will not handle it especially well, etc.  

As to aircraft armor, or any vehicle armor, it's not something you really want to test.  Like the A-10 has a much higher chance of returning after getting hit by a burst of 23 MM than say, an F-16.  But it'll still likely be not mission capable upon return.

Armor is basically "if this doesn't work right" mitigation vs something you plan around using.  While I was a tanker, we never sat down and considered letting the enemy get a shot in at us as really desirable, as much as the risks if our plan wasn't totally successful at suppressing/killing the enemy and they were able to engage, the odds of it being a mission stopper were a lot lower than on a lighter vehicle.  

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To tag on to PzSKrWfr

main-qimg-8b64ce22dbdf55182cb10ede57483c

Combat aircraft design traditionally focused very much on the don't be hit portion of the onion.  I have my own doubts about the A-10's survivability in a region saturated with MANPADs, SHORAD, and AAA.  The A-10 flies low and slow - great for targeting tanks, but also exactly what all these mobile AD systems are designed to engage.  An A-10 might be able to survive a 23mm shell, but can it survive 100?  How about three or four Strelas?

Perhaps this is a very Cold Warrior mindset of mine - but if you want to be survivable on the modern battlefield in your aircraft you want to be low, fast and low-observability.  The latter protects you from air observation and the former from ground interception.  This focuses more on the don't be seen and don't be hit aspects compared to the don't be killed category the A-10 focuses on.  Is this as effective at engaging ground targets?  Hell no.  Is it less likely to be shot down?  Yep.  All in all (surprise!) it depends on your mission!

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I thought a focus is rather on a high standoff range for modern weapons - since trying to hide a loud plane in Ukrainian flatlands is somewhat utterly pointless. Even Mavericks will put A-10C out of harm's way (not to mention something like JSOW, which can be launched from as far as a cozy friendly airspace) for any Tunguska let alone MANPADS... which makes me wonder why they take a shot anyway unless a plane goes into a brrrrrrrt range - for the sake of making a plane not break the game's fun perhaps?

And I take it the game considers a radar guided SAM threat to be already dealt with (which is realistic at this point in a ground war so it's alright)

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10 hours ago, Erwin said:

"You also often don't want a 1000lb warhead going off in a dense urban environment (hence the concrete bombs)."

Interesting...  I always thought they were only for target practice.  What sort of "blast" does a concrete bomb cause?

Also, wuz chatting to an AF guy and had the impression that the A-10 could withstand 20mm.

The RAF were using practice rockets with concrete heads on unruly natives in the 1960s in Aden:

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=QwhtBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT163&lpg=PT163&dq=RAF+Hunter+practice+rockets+aden&source=bl&ots=bQU8U8815u&sig=tKymZbUG3EqA2yWEYEPuQoYrMH0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwibz_jS6sTWAhWJa7wKHWbzCy8Q6AEIRzAH#v=onepage&q=RAF Hunter practice rockets aden&f=false

More about RAF operations in that campaign here:

http://www.radfanhunters.co.uk/

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Concrete bombs are not something which are really effective compared to HE filled bombs. Sure, the concrete bombs limit collateral damage...from the media, but then so would NOT dropping a bomb. The CEP of modern US weaponry is admirable. However, using an inert bomb to plink a truck is betting that the CEP is <.5m. That's a tight target. And, if it DOES hit, the odds of survivors is pretty good.

Is it good at demoing a building? Sure. Not AS good as an HE bomb. So, the question is, why demo a building? Oh...because there are bad guys inside it. The objective is to kill them, not necessarily knock down the building. (May be a nice benefit to prevent future use.) If there's no enemy in/near the building, get a bulldozer or have some engineers emplace some explosives. No, the only reason an aircraft gets called to drop ordnance on a building is because of who is in the building. A 2000lb bomb (filled with HE) with a delay fuse will do far more reliable damage than any concrete filled bomb.

A-10: great aircraft. However, the current USAF mindset is that fast beats low. A-10 at treetop height (and lower) is great, but a 600 knot run-in is better...for survivability. Target-wise, the A-10 is more effective. Hence the push for data-links, precision munitions, off-board cuing, etc. These are all needed to allow a fast-mover to have a reasonable chance at getting a hit. After being spotted, an aircraft survives by using its maneuverability. The best maneuverability occurs at the highest g-load at the slowest speed. A 9g turn is better than a 3g turn...at the same speed. Is it sustainable? Does a 9g/450knot turn give tighter radius than a 3g/250knot turn? Keep working those numbers and compare an A-10 envelope to an F16/18. Then, toss in the low-observable (and low bomb-load) of an F35. Shrug. That, at least, is the USAF outlook and why they keep trying to kill the A10.

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On 9/28/2017 at 4:49 AM, c3k said:

Concrete bombs are not something which are really effective compared to HE filled bombs. Sure, the concrete bombs limit collateral damage...from the media, but then so would NOT dropping a bomb. The CEP of modern US weaponry is admirable. However, using an inert bomb to plink a truck is betting that the CEP is <.5m. That's a tight target. And, if it DOES hit, the odds of survivors is pretty good.

Is it good at demoing a building? Sure. Not AS good as an HE bomb. So, the question is, why demo a building? Oh...because there are bad guys inside it. The objective is to kill them, not necessarily knock down the building. (May be a nice benefit to prevent future use.) If there's no enemy in/near the building, get a bulldozer or have some engineers emplace some explosives. No, the only reason an aircraft gets called to drop ordnance on a building is because of who is in the building. A 2000lb bomb (filled with HE) with a delay fuse will do far more reliable damage than any concrete filled bomb.

A-10: great aircraft. However, the current USAF mindset is that fast beats low. A-10 at treetop height (and lower) is great, but a 600 knot run-in is better...for survivability. Target-wise, the A-10 is more effective. Hence the push for data-links, precision munitions, off-board cuing, etc. These are all needed to allow a fast-mover to have a reasonable chance at getting a hit. After being spotted, an aircraft survives by using its maneuverability. The best maneuverability occurs at the highest g-load at the slowest speed. A 9g turn is better than a 3g turn...at the same speed. Is it sustainable? Does a 9g/450knot turn give tighter radius than a 3g/250knot turn? Keep working those numbers and compare an A-10 envelope to an F16/18. Then, toss in the low-observable (and low bomb-load) of an F35. Shrug. That, at least, is the USAF outlook and why they keep trying to kill the A10.

Missing the point.  We're dealing with enemies who consider damage to civilian infrastructure/dead civilians to be valuable for propaganda purposes, or know that we are reluctant to engage high value targets if they're in proximity to sensitive locations.  The concrete bombs started off as a way to literally smash Iraqi anti-aircraft weapons that were being put near schools or hospitals.  Using the concrete bomb is also useful for suppressive effects in fighting in an urban environment.  Sure, it didn't kill everyone in the target building, but they're not really fighting so well trying to dig themselves out/deal with the roof falling in on them, and the lack of blast radius allows such weapons to be fired supremely danger close.

So yeah, if you have to kill it, MK84 to your door.  But kill/don't kill isn't the only consideration in modern warfare.  

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2 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Missing the point.  We're dealing with enemies who consider damage to civilian infrastructure/dead civilians to be valuable for propaganda purposes, or know that we are reluctant to engage high value targets if they're in proximity to sensitive locations.  The concrete bombs started off as a way to literally smash Iraqi anti-aircraft weapons that were being put near schools or hospitals.  Using the concrete bomb is also useful for suppressive effects in fighting in an urban environment.  Sure, it didn't kill everyone in the target building, but they're not really fighting so well trying to dig themselves out/deal with the roof falling in on them, and the lack of blast radius allows such weapons to be fired supremely danger close.

So yeah, if you have to kill it, MK84 to your door.  But kill/don't kill isn't the only consideration in modern warfare.  

My point was more focused on the CMBS assumption of a peer-peer conflict. C.f. the talk about A10 survivability, etc.

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MikeyD,

Please explain how a 1000 pound warhead on a Tomahawk magically becomes the equivalent of a (90 pound or so) presumptive 155 mm artillery shell? Now, if he can get 1000 pound bomb effects from a 155 mm shell, that would be a true ordnance breakthrough.

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=2200&tid=1300&ct=2

The Tomahawk Block III Conventional variant (TLAM-C) contains a 1,000-lb class blast/fragmentary unitary warhead while the Submunition variant (TLAM-D) includes a submunitions dispenser with combined effect bomblets. The Tomahawk Block IV (Tactical Tomahawk, TLAM-E), conventional variant, which entered the Fleet in 2004, adds the capability to reprogram the missile while in-flight via two-way satellite communications to strike any of 15 pre-programmed alternate targets or redirect the missile to any Global Positioning System (GPS) target coordinates.
 

Regards,

John Kettler

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On ‎05‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 11:23 PM, John Kettler said:

MikeyD,

Please explain.....

On ‎16‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 11:00 PM, Codename Duchess said:

The US learned a dozen years ago that cruise missiles are *expensive*, not entirely reliable, and not that simple to restock. The cost works out to about 1 million+ dollars for the equivalent of a single artillery shell.

Wrong dude JK.....I'd suspect perhaps in as much as it kills one target?  Or maybe think HIMARS rather than Paladin/M177?  :unsure:

On ‎27‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 5:40 AM, HerrTom said:

Combat aircraft design traditionally focused very much on the don't be hit portion of the onion.  I have my own doubts about the A-10's survivability in a region saturated with MANPADs, SHORAD, and AAA.  The A-10 flies low and slow - great for targeting tanks, but also exactly what all these mobile AD systems are designed to engage.  An A-10 might be able to survive a 23mm shell, but can it survive 100?  How about three or four Strelas?

I agree with your point entirely in regard to a peer to peer fight, but that isn't where the A-10 finds itself.....Syria & Russia are doing fine against ZPU technicals with aircraft that are similar or inferior, so I'm sure the A-10 does an equally good job.  So long as nobody supplies any of the desert-yahoos with sophisticated MANPADS (or starts a peer to peer conflict) I'd think these aircraft have a significant role in the years ahead.  I'm not a Warthog fan in particular BTW, but I do see the sense in keeping them around when you are primarily fighting desert-yahoos.

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It has been 70 years since the US has been in a near peer conflict.  What we have been in since is conflicts with countries that are nowhere close, but for various political issues have us fighting in environments where the AA threat is considerably higher than those countries alone would normally represent (N Korea, Vietnam, Serbia).  Our aircraft can't be assumed to be operating in a low intensity environment even if we don't go toe to toe with China or Russia.  What we need to be looking at is what kind of air defenses are potentially available to any adversary we face and then develop our armed forces accordingly.  If the A 10 can only be expected to operate in a low intensity conflict then dollar wise it probably isn't a good spend in the long run.

If you are fighting desert yahoos, the Apache seems to be a pretty good alternative.  Not to mention a few drones loitering over the area.  The limitations the A 10 has seem to be more an argument to figure out where can it be utilized and why can't one of our other weapons systems accomplish that same mission.  If they can......

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On 10/7/2017 at 3:18 PM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Wrong dude JK.....I'd suspect perhaps in as much as it kills one target?  Or maybe think HIMARS rather than Paladin/M177?  :unsure:

 

On 10/11/2017 at 10:11 PM, John Kettler said:

Codename Duchess,

My question still stands. How can you equate the 1000 pound payload of a Tomahawk with an artillery shell, presumably of the 155 mm sort?

Regards,

John Kettler

 

I *never* said the single artillery thing, I refuted it.  The original quote was from MikeyD, in this post.  The following italicized portion was my line by line response to the very same post in which I italicized his quotes to respond to (multiquoting from the same quote is annoying).  I apologize if that wasn't clear but the entire post followed that style and I assumed that the readers would note the [exact] similarity to the previous post in italicized bits, as well as my framing and my general disagreement across the board between the italicized and non-italicized portions.

On 9/16/2017 at 5:00 PM, Codename Duchess said:


The US learned a dozen years ago that cruise missiles are *expensive*, not entirely reliable, and not that simple to restock. The cost works out to about 1 million+ dollars for the equivalent of a single artillery shell.  [MikeyD quote]

[...]
 Even if you compare that to the appropriate price of the recent orders of $1.4m you're still getting a hell of a deal for a low flying ultra long range missile with the ability to be retargeted and also the capability to put a 1000lb warhead through a particular window.

[...]

As for the single artillery shell business, the unitary warhead is 1000lb and the cluster warhead is like 300 submunitions so that's a very very impressive artillery shell.  [Emphasis added in this quote of my own quote refuting that quote].

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