U.S. Navy Acknowledges Russian Weapon Superiority

Adding to the tenor of yesterday’s piece

What Russia Says About Its Not-An-Ultimatum Demands To The U.S. And NATO

is a sign that the U.S. finally recognizes and acknowledges the overwhelming superiority of new Russian weapons like the hypersonic Tsirkon (Zircon) missiles.

Russia has several Corvette/Frigate sized warships in the Admiral Gorshov class with about 5,000 long tons each. They are designated Project 22350. More are these on order. They cost about $120 to $150 $500* million each.

Next to excellent air and missile defenses and electronic warfare capabilities each of these ships has 16 to 32 Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells from which they can fire hypersonic anti-ship and/or land attack missiles.

The U.S. standard navy vessels are the Arleigh Burke class destroyers with about 9,000 long tons. There are currently 69 of them in service with each costing about $1.8 billion.

The Burkes have 96 VLS cells each from which they can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles against land or sea targets. The U.S. has no hypersonic missiles. (Ballistic missiles are supersonic but usually not used for such purposes.) Tomahawks fly at subsonic speed and are no longer up to date. When the U.S. attacked Syria in 2018 with a launch of a total of 103 cruise missiles against 8 targets 71 of those missiles were shot down by air and missile defenses or diverted by electronic means. Only 32 missiles, less than a third, reached their targets.

Hypersonic missiles allow the attacker to overcome the missile defenses any target can currently come up with. That leads to, as Andrei Martyanov teaches in his books, to an overwhelming salvo superiority for the side that has hypersonics:

The result of such calculations is well expressed in a quote from Admiral Turner who Martyanov cites: “It isn’t the number of keels, or size of ships that count. It is the capacity to do what might be decisive in some particular situation.”

Finally some folks at the  U.S. Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey have also done the appropriate math. Here are their results (pg 57):

The literature review section describes the manner in which [Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM)] cruise missiles must be launched in salvos as large as 16 missiles to defeat a target with active defense. Due to its exceptional speed, maneuverability, and low flight path, a single hypersonic glide body missile is likely to be able to overcome an active defensive system that could defeat even a salvo attack of TLAMs.An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is equipped with 96 TLAMs, or six salvo attacks of 16 missiles each. This means that a vessel equipped with 12 hypersonic missiles can attack as many actively defended targets as two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers firing 16-missile salvos. 12 [All-Up-Rounds (AURs)] was chosen as the highest rating for this attribute because it represents the offensive equivalent of two entire vessels in the scenario where an actively defended target is being attacked.

One Russian Admiral Gorshov class corvette of some 5,000 tons with 16 hypersonic missiles and costing some $150 $500 million has MORE firepower than two U.S. Arleigh Burke class destroyers with 9,000 tons each, 192 missiles and costing a total of some $3.2 billions.

Its not just me, Andrei Martyanov or Russian diplomats claiming that but postgraduate folks paid by the U.S. Navy.

The results of hypersonic missiles against enemies with no hypersonic capabilities are truly impressive. That quite obvious fact is only now sinking in with U.S. subject experts:

Steve Trimble @TheDEWLine – 19:04 UTC · Dec 22, 2021

Fascinating study. A Navy fleet planner posits how 1 ship with 12 CPS hypersonic missiles may have the same striking power as 2 Arleigh Burke destroyers with 192 Tomahawks.

Patrick Armstrong, a former military analyst in service with the Canadian diplomatic corps, recently listed a number of measures Russia could take to press for a U.S. sign-off of its Not-An-Utimatum draft treaties. I would like to draw your attention to this one:

I believe (suspect/guess) that the Russian Armed Forces have the capability to blind Aegis-equipped ships. Moscow could do so in public in a way that cannot be denied. Without Aegis, the US surface navy is just targets. Objection: this is a war-winning secret and should not be lightly used. Unless, of course, the Russian Armed Forces have something even more effective.

Burke class destroyers are equipped with the Aegis integrated naval weapons system. If Russia can disable it by blinding its sensors, which I have also reason to believe to be true, Russia does not even need hypersonics to kill those ships. In a conflict with Russia or its allies the premier U.S. Navy ships are just useless metal-hulls destined to sink to the ground of the ocean the happen to float on.

By the way – Russia does not depend on just a handful of Gorshov class corvettes. Its Yasen class submarines can also fire Tsirkons. It also has supersonic Onyx anti-ship missiles that can be fired from various surface ship classes, submarines or from land based launchers as well as the hypersonic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal anti-ship missiles that can be launched from fighter jets or bombers.

When the U.S. or Britain send ships into the Baltic or Black Sea it is solely for propaganda purpose. If a real conflict with Russia breaks out those will be killed within minutes.

And its not just the U.S. Navy that can not take on Russia. Scott Ritter is a former Marines intelligence officer and UN inspector:

Scott Ritter @RealScottRitter – 18:09 UTC · 22 Dec 2021An open challenge to the US Army—on a moments notice (not of your choosing) deploy two heavy brigades to the NTC within one week, ready on arrival to conduct intense combined arms exercises lasting a month. Not going to happen. What makes anyone think we matter in Europe?

My point is the US is but a shadow of its former strength when it comes to projecting ground combat power in Europe. The one Armor BCT we have on rotation isn’t enough. Neither is the second Armored BCT we’ve prepositioned equipment for in Poland.

Sending a handful of U.S. bombers to Romania is also propaganda targeting the ‘western’ public and not a real challenge to Russia’s air defenses. In a real conflict they would hardly be able to take off before being hit.

Russia has achieved military supremacy over U.S. and NATO forces and not only in Europe. That is why it can make demands and why it can have expect that these will be fulfilled. The ‘or else’ behind these not-an-ultimatum demands is too obvious for those in the known.

Now is the time for the pundits and the public they preach to to recognize that.


*The $150m was my mistake. It was for a different ship. $500 million (Rs4,000 crore) was the sales price mentioned in some Indian paper about the possible purchase of  a Admiral Gorshov class frigate. Russia will likely pay much less than that.

Via https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/12/us-navy-acknowledges-russian-weapon-superiority.html#more