April 13, 2017

US & Japanese ABM - BMD forces slowly approaching North Korea

The Carl Vinson Group's display of military hardware is hopefully increasing the pressure on China to be more creative in restraining North Korea's nuclear and missile test march toward nuclear blackmail of:
-  South Korea
-  Japan
-  US forces in the region, and 
-  (I hope not) other regional country targets. 

Military Hardware

Near North Korea (NK) the Carl Vinson carrier group, to which Japanese destroyers have been added, is an interesting power-projection development which prompts many questions.

The Carl Vinson Group probably/currently consists of Arleigh Burke Destroyer Squadron 1 (USS Stockdale, USS Sterett, USS Gridley, USS Higgins, USS Benfold and USS Russell.) It also may consist of destroyers USS USS Michael Murphy, USS Wayne E. Meyer and missile cruiser USS Lake ChamplainThe US cruisers and destroyers in the Carl Vinson Group are Aegis SM-3 equipped.

Submarine-wise one SSN or two (with Tomahawk land attack missiles) would normally accompany the Carl Vinson Group. To enhance the option of a first or second strike of Tomahawk SLCMs onto NK targets a US Ohio SSGN might also be on hand in the region. Submarine fired Tomahawks all have the advantage of a greater element of surprise because they can emerge from unexpected undersea launch points.

The aircraft on Carl Vinson itself and destroyer launching Tomahawks would be better suited as air defense and follow-on strike platforms for a wide range of targets that no longer are defended by radar and SAMs.

The Japanese destroyers deployed to cooperate with the Carl Vinson Group are:

-  JS Ashigara (DDG-178) an Atago Aegis class destroyer. It can fire SM-3s to shoot down
   threating NK missiles, and

-  JS Samidare (DD-106) which is a Murasame class general purpose (anti-air, ASW and anti-surface
   warfare) destroyer .

How China and NK react are crucial issues.

1.  Even though China may see NK as a problem child does China still think NK is valuable as a
     buffer zone preventing SK and US ground forces advancing north to the Chinese border?

2.  If so how might China react to the current US and Japanese naval actions?

3.  If NK fires even test missiles could South Korea (SK), the US or Japan shooting them down
     indicate to NK that NKs nuclear missiles might be useless in future. 

4.  Might such percieved NK missile ineffectivenes tempt NK use nuclear tipped missiles first (on
     less provocation) while they are still effective?

5.  Alternatively iff US, SK and Japan fail to shoot down an NK test missile/missiles might this signal
     to NK that NK nuclear tipped missiles probably would get through and be effective?

6.  Might an NK approach of destroying ABM defences in SK using NK artillery or NK cruise 
     missiles decapitate SK/US ABMs including THAAD? and

7.  Does NK have a chance that one of its ballistic missile submarines could move close enough to
     the continental (48 States) US to fire an SLBM (say at San Francisco, LA or San Diego?).

Even North Korea's long tested Rodong (or Nodong) missiles have sufficient 1,500km range to reach all of Japan.

Highly relevant Youtube (dated 8-9 April 2017) about the Carl Vinson carrier group slowly approaching the Koreas.



Anonymous said...

China has repositioned 150K troops across the Yalu. There are quite a few DF-21/DF-16 bases not that far from NK. China is against a re-unification of the Korean peninsula, especially one that is under US influence. They view NK as a buffer zone.

During the Gulf wars, US track records to eliminate Saddam's Scud launchers were abysmal even with special forces teams inserted. Saddam only got 100 Scuds. The mad dictator in NK has 1000+ launchers heavily camouflaged (they learned the lessons in Serbia) and they are likely hidden in deep caves. Chances of special forces teams surviving in NK for more than a few days are not that high, if we look back at such experiences during the Vietnam war.

I wonder how ROK and Japan may feel if war is to break out on NK? I do not see the US going alone without having ROK and Japan agreeing. There are 25M South Koreans living in and around Seoul within artillery range. And even Tokyo greater area will likely be hit.

Military options on NK are only bad. None is remotely good in my view.

Peter Coates said...


"China has repositioned 150K troops across the Yalu." certainly supported by "China: Those Troublesome Koreans" April 12, 2017 at https://www.strategypage.com/qnd/china/20170412.aspx

"China has recently sent 150,000 additional troops to the North Korean border to emphasize Chinese concern. While many of these troops are there for training (which the Chinese Army is doing a lot more of), other are to reinforce border security and most of those additional troops are showing up at the border so North Koreans can see them and draw their own conclusions. The latest escalation is accompanied by blunt suggestions in Chinese state controlled media that perhaps some Chinese military action inside North Korea might be more persuasive."

In terms of North Korean missile mounted nuclear weapons https://www.strategypage.com/qnd/china/20170412.aspx continues that NKs nukes are even a negative for China:
"At the moment the Chinese are concentrating on persuading North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons program, which is seen as aimed at China as well as South Korea, Japan and the United States. The Chinese don't mind if the North Koreans extract a high price from South Korea, Japan and America for this, as long as the nukes are gone, and stay gone. Again, failure to comply may lead to more energetic action against Kim dynasty rule."

Destroying all of NKs possible nuclear weapons (from SCUDs upwards would indeed by a large job - dangerous for all.



Anonymous said...

The greater concern for ROK and Japan will be NK's progress with solid state rockets like Pukguksong-1 (SLBM) and -2 (IRBM). Unlike liquid fueled rockets, there is no need to fuel at the last minute when the rockets are vertical. Solid state rockets do not have the issues of long term storage and they shorten considerably detection times since they can go live within minutes of reaching their stations.

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 18/4/17 9:31 PM ]

Yes solid fuel is certinly on the technology path toward missile/rocket weaponisation.

It is significant Japan also decided to develop solid fuel for its Epsilon satellite booster http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/trumps-moderation-and-japans-nuclear.html . Japan's solid fuel decision seems odd for a civilian rocket.

Also see at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epsilon_(rocket)



Anonymous said...

The NYT reports today that the Carl Vinson was no where near NK, it was sailing to India. It was just a bluff at least for the CVN. As to SSGN, we would not know where they are.