2007-03-23 22:17:45 UTC
If you can read, you will see that the US Navy has NO defense against
And when the oil stops, the US economy will too.
As for China...want to bet that these missiles could carry tactical
Too bad we can't buy one at Walmart....
Navy Lacks Plan to Defend Against `Carrier-Destroying' Missile Tony
Capaccio Fri Mar 23
March 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Navy, after nearly six years of
warnings from Pentagon testers, still lacks a plan for defending
aircraft carriers against a supersonic Russian-built missile,
according to current and former officials and Defense Department
The missile, known in the West as the ``Sizzler,'' has been deployed
by China and may be purchased by Iran. Deputy Secretary of Defense
Gordon England has given the Navy until April 29 to explain how it
will counter the missile, according to a Pentagon budget document.
The Defense Department's weapons-testing office judges the threat so
serious that its director, Charles McQueary, warned the Pentagon's
chief weapons-buyer in a memo that he would move to stall production
of multibillion-dollar ship and missile programs until the issue was
``This is a carrier-destroying weapon,'' said Orville Hanson, who
evaluated weapons systems for 38 years with the Navy. ``That's its
``Take out the carriers'' and China ``can walk into Taiwan,'' he said.
China bought the missiles in 2002 along with eight diesel submarines
designed to fire it, according to Office of Naval Intelligence
spokesman Robert Althage.
A Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia
also offered the missile to Iran, although there's no evidence a sale
has gone through. In Iranian hands, the Sizzler could challenge the
ability of the U.S. Navy to keep open the Strait of Hormuz, through
which an estimated 25 percent of the world's oil traffic flows.
Fast and Low-Flying
``This is a very low-flying, fast missile,'' said retired Rear Admiral
Eric McVadon, a former U.S. naval attache in Beijing. ``It won't be
visible until it's quite close. By the time you detect it to the time
it hits you is very short. You'd want to know your capabilities to
handle this sort of missile.''
The Navy's ship-borne Aegis system, deployed on cruisers and
destroyers starting in the early 1980s, is designed to protect
aircraft-carrier battle groups from missile attacks. But current and
former officials say the Navy has no assurance Aegis, built by
Lockheed Martin Corp., is capable of detecting, tracking and
intercepting the Sizzler.
``This was an issue when I walked in the door in 2001,'' Thomas
Christie, the Defense Department's top weapons-testing official from
mid-2001 to early 2005, said in an interview.
`A Major Issue'
``The Navy recognized this was a major issue, and over the years, I
had continued promises they were going to fully fund development and
production'' of missiles that could replicate the Sizzler to help
develop a defense against it, Christie said. ``They haven't.''
The effect is that in a conflict, the U.S. ``would send a billion-
dollar platform loaded with equipment and crew into harm's way without
some sort of confidence that we could defeat what is apparently a
threat very near on the horizon,'' Christie said.
The Navy considered developing a program to test against the Sizzler
``but has no plans in the immediate future to initiate such a
developmental effort,'' Naval Air Systems Command spokesman Rob Koon
said in an e-mail.
Lieutenant Bashon Mann, a Navy spokesman, said the service is aware of
the Sizzler's capabilities and is ``researching suitable
alternatives'' to defend against it. ``U.S. naval warships have a
layered defense capability that can defend against various missile
threats,'' Mann said.
McQueary, head of the Pentagon's testing office, raised his concerns
about the absence of Navy test plans for the missile in a Sept. 8,
2006, memo to Ken Krieg, undersecretary of defense for acquisition. He
also voiced concerns to Deputy Secretary England.
In the memo, McQuery said that unless the Sizzler threat was
addressed, his office wouldn't approve test plans necessary for
production to begin on several other projects, including Northrop
Grumman Corp.'s new $35.8 billion CVN-21 aircraft-carrier project; the
$36.5 billion DDG-1000 destroyer project being developed by Northrop
and General Dynamics Corp.; and two Raytheon Corp. projects, the $6
billion Standard Missile-6 and $1.1 billion Ship Self Defense System.
Charts prepared by the Navy for a February 2005 briefing for defense
contractors said the Sizzler, which is also called the SS-N-27B,
starts out flying at subsonic speeds. Within 10 nautical miles of its
target, a rocket-propelled warhead separates and accelerates to three
times the speed of sound, flying no more than 10 meters (33 feet)
above sea level.
On final approach, the missile ``has the potential to perform very
high defensive maneuvers,'' including sharp-angled dodges, the Office
of Naval Intelligence said in a manual on worldwide maritime threats.
The Sizzler is ``unique,'' the Defense Science Board, an independent
agency within the Pentagon that provides assessments of major defense
issues, said in an October 2005 report. Most anti-ship cruise missiles
fly below the speed of sound and on a straight path, making them
easier to track and target.
McQueary, in a March 16 e-mailed statement, said that ``to the best of
our knowledge,'' the Navy hasn't started a test program or responded
to the board's recommendations. ``The Navy may be reluctant to invest
in development of a new target, given their other bills,'' he said.
The Sizzler's Russian maker, state-run Novator Design Bureau in
Yekaterinburg, is ``aggressively marketing'' the weapon at
international arms shows, said Steve Zaloga, a missile analyst with
the Teal Group, a Fairfax, Virginia-based defense research
organization. Among other venues, the missile was pitched at last
month's IDEX 2007, the Middle East's largest weapons exposition, he
Zaloga provided a page from Novator's sales brochure depicting the
Alexander Uzhanov, a spokesman for the Moscow-based Russian arms-
export agency Rosoboronexport, which oversees Novator, declined to
McVadon, who has written about the Chinese navy, called the Sizzler
``right now the most pertinent and pressing threat the U.S. faces in
the case of a Taiwan conflict.'' Jane's, the London-based defense
information group, reported in 2005 in its publication ``Missiles and
Rockets'' that Russia had offered the missile to Iran as part of a
sale in the 1990s of three Kilo- class submarines.
That report was confirmed by the Pentagon official who requested
anonymity. The Office of Naval Intelligence suggested the same thing
in a 2004 report, highlighting in its assessment of maritime threats
Iran's possible acquisition of additional Russian diesel submarines
``with advanced anti-ship cruise missiles.''
The Defense Science Board, in its 2005 report, recommended that the
Navy ``immediately implement'' a plan to produce a surrogate Sizzler
that could be used for testing.
``Time is of the essence here,'' the board said.