When you deal with high-level politicians, we call them turds in my books (they float in what they talk and are by nature smelly), you ought to wonder what is behind the facade. You seldom hear or read the real reasons which are always classified Top Secret, especially where “National Security” issues are involved. So, why is the US breaking yet another treaty? And why is China involved in something that they were not officially a party to? It is interesting, I have a theory and it has to do with naval power. I warn in Code Name Rebecca 65 and many other GMJ Books, “Do you know, and research this and wake up, that Beijing wants to create a $150bn Artificial Intelligence Industry by 2030? If they do this and every indication is that they will, the US will be left far behind. What was the result of all the Chinese supercomputers besides the missiles and codebreaking? They now deploy what analysts describe as high-end reconnaissance-strike unmanned aerial system (UAS) drones. Yes, and those drones can hit 5 targets one after the other using 5 different types of missiles in a single sortie, controlled by a single operator. A 100% hit rate, and at fast moving targets. Now this may not sound to you like much, we know that the US and other countries used drones for decades, we also know that they have a 96.5% failure rate in hitting the intended target, the most pathetic record on counterinsurgency / counter-terrorism in the world. To put the new Chinese UAS in perspective, the US counterpart had not one hit reported in 8 years of development. The way the Chinese use their drones is also unique, they are also cargo lifters able to get in close and drop much needed supplies quicker – on average 90 minutes quicker - and safer than what any fixed wing or helicopter can do. The operating costs of a drone is very much cheaper as well and no human lives are risked – it costs time and money to train pilots. But that is not all, the drones, like their counterparts elsewhere, have advanced electronics to jam radar and fight back (see Code Name Blue Tang how the South African Air Force uses theirs as force-multipliers and AEW).
In Code Name Unbutton, we discussed the US drone ships, still not operational but still: “And that is her problem.” I observed, “When she actively searches electronically by way of sonar or radar, her position will immediately be betrayed. The threat receivers will pick her up and the missiles will home in.”
“She does not have a CIWS system. Therefore she can only defend herself by jamming, chaff and flares. A major problem. The Yanks probably think that they will have air superiority everywhere. It is insane thinking.”
CIWS (Close-In Weapons Systems) are those fast-firing automated cannon you find on warships and at times on land, designed to splash incoming missiles and even mortar rounds. As I warned in Code Name Lucy, the Chinese Navy is currently the leader of the pack with their H/PJ-11 CIWS, an eleven-barrelled 30mm CIWS system shooting 10,000 shells per minute. It has an unbelievably good 96% success rate in downing missiles coming at them at Mach 4. There is nothing in the West able to compete. The Dutch Goalkeeper CIWS also is in the 30mm caliber but only with 7 barrels, that limits it to 4,200 rounds per minute. The USS Navy Phalanx system sadly still is in the old 20mm caliber which limits range. Which means that the latest Russian and Chinese missiles, able to dodge CIWS, will get through. It seems to us that the Chinese thought long and hard on what they wanted and then started building at a rate which will make the Chinese Navy larger and more powerful than the US & Royal Navies combined and with modern vessels within the next two decades (the Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle again, Angelique). What is particularly impressive is that they are doing so in a very planned and systematic way. Let us analyse the patterns here, first came the smaller escort vessels in large numbers combined with advanced submarines using the best technology from anywhere (Russia, South Africa, Israel and home grown). Then only the large aircraft carriers, experimenting to see what works for them in a combination of size and quality, the age-old Chinese outlook of more is better. What we see right now is smart, really smart, thinking, they are setting up the groundwork very methodologically. We also note that the same CIWS is to be found on their carriers and other vessels, meaning a standardisation of parts and ammunition, again, smart thinking. What is odd though is that the main deck gun on their surface vessels is upgraded to 130mm, most Western ships have a 76mm deck gun. This means gunnery support to their Marines to me, trying to get a multi-role functionality going and Marines are not defensive troops, they attack first and talk later. (Let us also then contrast this with current American thinking, the new $4 billion USS Zumwalt destroyer fires a 100-pound shell further than anything else, yet, at $800,000 per shell even the US Navy is scratching their heads at the costs – beyond stupid and in no way smart thinking, it is impractical.) I do get the feeling that the Western Navies do not seriously expect to be attacked. They are not used to that idea for many decades now. There is nothing impressive about Phalanx CIWS anymore, obsolete is the word that comes to mind.
Few in the NATO countries know this but the Soviets had the first dedicated CIWS operational in the 1960s, called the AK-630. Today they replaced that with the Kashtan, known as Chestnut. This system is considered to be the best all-round CIWS by which we mean not only a gun system but also short-range missiles. As we saw in Code Name GSSP-40, they have the best MANPAD missile in the world, yes, acknowledged by many, the 9K333 Verba. The range has different names depending on upgrades, Willow, etc. What makes it outstanding is that it has a multispectral optical seeker using three sensors - ultraviolet, near infrared, and mid-infrared. They say that by switching from one to the other and cross-checking all the time to its memory banks, it will defeat chaff and decoy flares, the standard defence measures since Korea. What is worse, it will defeat all attempts to blind it via defensive lasers and the Chinese copied it in their FN-6 MANPAD (see Code Name Anika where we used them operationally, Angelique). And so they combined their 30mm cannon with the MANPAD missiles, specifically programmed and upgraded to hunt missiles down. They pack up to eight such CIWS on ships, all working together, and all backed by world-class radar and fire-control ballistic computers. I heard senior US Navy officers bitterly state that this is the “The mother of all CIWS systems.” They are convinced that nothing will get through, there are simply too many layers of defence as long as the ammunition and MANPAD missiles last. And They will not run out, it reloads the MANPAD missiles in magazines of 32, reloading automatically. It is simply brilliant operationally and you should recall that sea-hugging missiles even if fast are soft targets. Unless they can dodge the stream of shells meeting them and the Chinese / Russian versions do exactly that - it is extremely simply ballistic calculations to “walk” the shells into them, extremely simple, destroying them at a safe distance. These are the facts. Yet, if we ask the average citizen today about Kashtan he has no idea, nothing. He may say it is an Indian State and yes, the Indian Navy is going the Kashtan route too, BRICS. Sadly, most would not know about the Chinese H/PJ-11 CIWS either, they are too “exceptional” to care since the US Merchants of Death assured them that their boys and girls have the best in the world. Really, it is frustrating to hear the outright lies. The lack of respect and knowledge is disheartening to me but we must persevere. I say again, do you realise what will happen if the US Navy goes down, yes, is sunk, and the enemy carrier groups are approaching US shores? Only a nuclear umbrella can save you since a militia will never stop armour or professional soldiers. Do you know who said that? Winston Churchill in 1940 when he had nothing. The British Army ran so fast from Dunkirk and other places that they left their heavy weapons behind. A pathetic effort in every sense of the word. But let me get specific, do you know the difference in Chinese outlook versus American? Let me explain again, it is important: The Chinese safeguarded the homeland and are now moving out, leaving the place secured and they have new weapon systems. The US did not safeguard the homeland in any meaningful way and has moved out to fight foreign wars where they are defeated all the time, losing credibility at an unsustainable rate. Most now see the US as a rogue state. They also broke their weapon systems and best men, Special Forces, by overuse. They have an economy running on enormous debts held by their enemy, China. There is nothing back home to defend against an attack, nothing, and they lost the technological war hands down already. Words cannot describe how stupid and short-sighted this policy might turn out but we hope for the best. It is what I first described in Code Name Lucy as the Roosevelt-Dreadnought Principle on an unimaginable scale. Yet, no one is listening in the “bubble of exceptionalism” and the above, by the way, is exactly what senior Chinese generals and spymasters think.
Code Name Ndebele 14, “The new way is to change the way the missile operates to make it more effective. Russia, we know has a very low-flying missile that is quite slow when cruising and it can cruise a long way but once in close range it goes supersonic and has the ability to jam and skid (he meant manoeuvre) its way through. The US Navy admitted in public that this missile, the SS-N-27 Sizzler, may very well penetrate their CIWS and other systems. But that is not the worst, no, the Chinese have the largest and most expensive missile program in the world. They are using ballistic missiles as anti-ship weapons and that cannot be defeated with any usual defensive systems in use today. The so-called US AirSea Battle doctrine is useless against this threat and a rethink desperately needed.”
“Yes, a new arms race and one that China with her supercomputers and unlimited money, with technical BRICS assistance, cannot lose.” Angelique said quietly. “Their two-stage DF-16 missile is very manoeuvrable, it can change its flight trajectory to get slow moving targets which is exactly what a ship is. That missile will defeat anti-missile defences such as the US Patriot and Israeli Iron Dome systems never mind CIWS like Phalanx and Goal Keeper. The missile has the capability to carry three warheads, each independently targeted, either conventional high explosives or nuclear tipped. They are accurate to a 16-feet hit radius over a distance admitted of 990 miles and they see the US as their prime enemy.”
“The warhead too, it is much larger at 2,200 to 3,300 pounds of high explosives against the Tomahawk missile 1,000-pound warhead. We discussed this previously (Code Name Ghost), because the DF-16 has such a large and independently programmed warhead, practically speaking, to achieve the same results, twice to thrice as many Tomahawks must be launched. Further, the Dongfeng-16 (DF) warhead is bi-conic, so it will grow in firepower and will have deep penetrating capabilities like the French Durandal anti-runway penetration bomb. This means they are multi-capable, able to destroy runways and bunkers – or a carrier, going deep inside before exploding where the maximum damage is caused. They will not come in low and fast but high, straight from the top like a ballistic missile out of space and from very far away. All our defensive systems are designed for low threats, not ballistic. It is a mathematical certainty that they will evade the current CIWS defences...”
“Okay, but how close must they get to be dangerous?” Angelique asked again, wanting to pin the man down.
“Well, Mrs Dawson, you boast some knowledge on explosives (she is an artist, Foxtrot). Let us look at the warheads. Between 364-pounds for the Exocet warhead, and the US made Harpoon warhead of 488 pounds. I said that if they are further than 500 yards away when splashed, we should be good and we are talking conventional explosives now, not nuclear. With the Chinese DF-16, well, the warhead can be anything between 2,200 to 3,300 pounds of high explosives, substantially more than the usual ship-to-ship missiles. Therefore, they must be splashed as far away as possible. I would say at the same distances, eh, let us say they run into the CIWS which is what you are getting at, I think, at 1,000 yards the shrapnel will reach us exposing those in the open. Say 500 yards and the splinters will penetrate the ship but not sink or seriously damage her. If closer or inside the ship... fires will break out, the immediate death toll will be high and chances are good that the ship may founder or burn enough to be sunk. But the thing is this, at such times, you flood your magazines so that they cannot explode and there goes your defensive and offensive capabilities. We don’t exist to keep afloat, we exist to fight wars and to do that, we shoot at you. You deny us ammunition and we are reduced to a very poorly designed merchant ship. And aircraft carrier, she is vulnerable, if the deck is damaged or the catapults, she has no further function really. That is why Winston Churchill wanted all aircraft carrier decks armoured. That last happened during World War Two and will not work anyhow today against something like the DF-16. No, the answer is to splash them at a safe distance.”
Right, simplified, the reason is that the Chinese missiles will keep the US carriers away from China and sink them, most probably, if launched since the US CIWS is old and not even close to modern standards. The problem with that is it is only the US Navy standing between a rising Chinese Fleet and the US mainland, the Chinese are not building carriers to protect their homeland, carriers are offensive weapons – read the intelligence briefing in every GMJ Book for much more detailed reasoning and link the dots. The belief is, and this was tested many times in artificial simulations using supercomputers, that a US carrier group can be sunk by the intermediate missiles. Once that happens, the counter attacks will come. There is much reason behind Mr Trump’s concerns and it has very little to do with Western Europe.