Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) 2.0

OPSSG

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Setting the A2/AD 2.0 scene — Part 1

1. Anti-access and area denial, commonly known as A2/AD, is more than another buzzword. A2/AD has become a deeply rooted way of talking about the military capabilities to prevent the South China Sea or the Sea of Japan from becoming a Chinese lake, with the US Marines and JSDF actively changing their force structure to address the massive amount of naval tonnage built by the PLA(N) from 2035 onwards.

2. Even the US Army intends to make significant changes to become a Multi-Domain Army. By 2035, the US Army will enable the Joint Force to maneuver and prevail from competition through conflict with a calibrated force posture of multi-domain capabilities that provide overmatch through speed and range at the point of need. Dynamic employment and posture of US Army forces during competition will provide range in depth to penetrate complex A2/AD systems and achieve cross-domain effects—creating opportunities and providing options to deter, deescalate, or promptly transition to win the first battle.

3. Washington estimates that Beijing has added 3,200 acres of land on 7 features in the South China Sea, building runways, ports, aircraft hangars, and communications equipment, thereby aggravating Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In the East China Sea, a territorial row over a group of islands (“Senkaku” in Japan; “Diaoyu” in China) has heightened tensions in a region already on edge from nuclear threats from North Korea. Under the prior Trump American security guarantees as seen as less reliable.

4. As Luis Simon has observed, the A2/AD term began among the China-watcher community and has since been applied to in a reverse manner by Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Japanese or Pinoy watchers and discussion threads related to disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

4. In the 1990s, China was a continental land power, and with a tradition of military thought distinct from sea power advocates for US Navy or US Marine Corps. The A2/AD concept admittedly has utility when looking at a maritime theater involving ASEAN, Taiwan, Japan or China. Therefore, I see MPAs flown in the Indo-Pacific, by India (P-8I), Vietnam (DHC-6), Taiwan (P-3C) and Japan (Kawasaki P-1), as potent anti-surface warfare and ASW weapons that can also cue other mature A2/AD weapons, like the VCM-01 (a Vietnamese version of the Russian-made Kh-35UE), the Japanese Type 88, the Taiwanese Hsiung Feng II block 2B, and the Israeli Gabriel Mk. 5. Up coming missile developments include supersonic anti-ship missiles like the ASM-3A, Hsiung Feng III and so on.

5. Since Operation Desert Storm, China and Russia have studied the American conduct of war, and have designed concepts and capabilities to exploit American weaknesses, particularly in force projection.
(a) The US Military can no longer assume that the homeland is a sanctuary, or consider the ‘global commons’ uncontested. Force deployment will be contested from fort to port to foxhole, eroding American ability to project power. The 7th Fleet and the US Army must consider how to mobilize, project, and sustain combat power to provide its Combatant Commander with required forces and equipment.​
(b) The US Army has reduced its Future Attack and Reconnaissance (FARA) competition to two contenders. New flight automation technologies will enable these rotorcraft to fly faster and closer to the surface of the ocean than ever before, it says. New missiles and loitering munitions will increase Bell's 360 Invictus and Sikorsky Aircraft's Raider X, lethal reach.​
(c) TTPs to match will create a new dimension to joint warfare within the US Indo-Pacific Command; including novel air-launched effects, a sort of multi-purpose drone launched from FARA, will act as reconnaissance platforms, decoys, radar jammers and even loitering munitions many miles in advance of FARA. For example, in Aug and Sept 2020, during its Project Convergence exercises, the US Army practiced using the Area-I Altius-600 air-launched effect, which has a range of 440km or 238nm.

(d) In addition to launching from FARA, General Atomics has shown renderings of its MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range variant carrying 20 air-launched effects in pods below its centreline and wings.​

6. In 2021, PLA(N)’s blue water capabilities are integrated via complementary offensive and defensive operational concepts. The defining elements include resilience to U.S. attack by absorbing and deflecting American, Taiwanese, and/or Japanese strikes with precision guided weapons, attrition of high-value assets through defensive and offensive operations, destruction of critical military or economic targets necessary to sustain the fight, and disorganization of the campaign by targeting command, control, and communications.

7. In the 2035s and beyond, PLA(N)’s strategic operations encompass the Chinese vision for warfighting in a regional or large-scale war, along with concepts for managing escalation and war termination. Operations are meant to pulse military power into the theater in a manner different from simple warfighting, and inflict consequences that are strategic on Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan or India.

Note: There is a separate thread on Hypersonic Developments; and any discussions on that topic should be posted there instead.
 
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OPSSG

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Setting the A2/AD 2.0 scene — Part 2

8. As doubts about the reliability of American alliance commitments grow — efforts at developing new sea denial weapons will accelerate. This thread is a catch-all on Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan or India weapon purchases or developments for sea denial relevant for a naval battle viz a viz the PLA(N), and includes news on MPAs, Special Missions aircraft, ISR aircraft or UAVs, rockets, missiles, naval mines and so on.

9. In Jan 2021, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced plans to begin mass production of an extended-range version of the domestically developed ASM-3 supersonic air-launched, anti-ship missile (ASM). The ASM-3, which has an estimated top speed of Mach 3 and a maximum range of 200 km, was jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the MoD as a successor to Japan’s Type 93 series of missiles.

10. Let me continue by sharing Elbit’s new video for its Shore Protection Missile System (SPMS), which is a limited and low cost solution when compared to the much more capable K-300P Bastion-P used by Vietnam (a Russian mobile coastal defence missile system) or the supersonic Indian Brahmos missile proposed for the Philippines.

11. The Elbit SPMS system is designed to defeat naval vessels. Although Elbit designated it as a missile system, the main component is actually a rocket that has been fitted with a communication component that receives updates from a data relay station. The position of the enemy vessel is constantly updated by a Hermes 900 Kochav UAV (a system operated or to be operated by the Philippines and Singapore), which sends the data to the data relay station. Without a terminal seeker, the rocket uses a blast fragmentation warhead to inflict damage on its target.

12. On 2 Mar 2021, the Philippines and India signed a government-to-government agreement on defense equipment procurement, paving the way for a possible future sale of a Brahmos missile battery to the Philippines. But this proposed Indian supersonic anti-ship missile sale seems to lack targeting data for its shore based anti-ship missile battery.

13. Taiwan’s indigenous submarine (IDS) project is progressing; with the 1st of class boat scheduled to be launched in 2024. IDS construction started in Nov 2020 and its delivery to the ROC Navy is expected for 2025. The programme received a boost following a 16 Mar 2021 U.S. approval to transfer a number of key technologies including periscopes. Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), spoke in the parliament and confirmed the US’ approval of export licenses for all “red zone” military technologies used in IDS program. But he also said that there is no timetable for the delivery of these systems, the schedule shall follow the procedure, the military has put a great emphasis on it, and will complete it step by step following laws and procedures.
 
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OPSSG

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Setting the A2/AD 2.0 scene — Part 3

14. In July 2020, Singapore’s ST Engineering entered into a new joint venture with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), to market and sell advanced naval missile systems that is as advanced as the Gabriel Mk. 5, which is also called the ‘Advanced Surface Attack Missile’ (ASAM). The joint venture, is called Proteus Advanced Systems, with ST Engineering’s land systems arm and IAI each having a 50% share. According to the news release announcing the joint venture, the new entity will “market and sell advanced naval missile systems, including a next generation anti-ship missile system.”

15. According to sources associated with the new JV, Blue Spear (5G SSM) introduces an advanced and novel approach that addresses the challenges of the modern naval arena for years to come. The Blue Spear anti-ship missile is co-developed by ST Engineering and IAI under a development agreement signed between the two countries a few years ago; it is designed to prevail in contested, congested and confusing situations characterised by large numbers of decoys, disrupted reality and heavy electronic interference, as well as clutter from land and false returns. In fast-moving situations, Blue Spear incorporates mid-course updates and the ability to re-task in flight. Based on this work-sharing agreement ST Engineering’s role includes design, development, and production of major sub-systems like the booster motor and warhead.

(a) As early as 1966, Singapore began developing an armament industry with the establishment of the Chartered Industries of Singapore (CIS). Its first products were manufacturing 5.56 mm ammunition. In 1989, the Singapore Technologies (ST) group was formed as the holding company for local defence companies including CIS. By 1997, Singapore was building solid-propellant rocket motors locally (but in very limited production). The main components of the SPIKE anti-tank missile system — rocket motors and warheads are also being produced locally.​
(b) This means components of the new 5.5 metre long Gabriel Mk. 5 anti-ship missile (that weights around 1,250 kg) will be built in Singapore, namely, the booster motor and warhead. The Gabriel Mk. 5 is to be fitted aboard the existing Hamina-class fast attack craft (as part of the Finnish mid-life update). Deliveries to Finland will start in 2019 and continue through 2025. The Finnish Navy is expected to maintain the new Gabriel Mk. 5 missile in service for a period of 30 years.​
 
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Feanor

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I think its really important to look at not only the kinetic but the ISTAR aspect of A2/AD. You can bulk purchase AShMs and long range SAMs all you want but without MPAs to find enemy warships for you, your range and effectiveness will be severely limited. Coastal AShMs have to be tied in with warships and especially aircraft. There has been some impressive growth in areas of AEW for smaller airforces, and at this point AEW systems can be used not only in conjunction with combat aircraft but with ground-based missile systems as well. This reveals one of the crucial weak spots of the A2/AD bubbles Russia has attempted to build around Kaliningrad, Crimea, and the southern Kurils. It also shows that in Syria, where they are facing regular hostile action (UAV and rocket strikes against Khmeimeem) they routinely deploy A-50s and even Tu-214Rs in support of their umbrella. It should be noted however that both of those are very large and very expensive which drastically limits their availability. What I find very interesting is that similar-ish (though on a somewhat smaller scale) capabilities can be obtained with significantly smaller and less expensive platforms, providing greater presence of AEW and RTR in multiple locations.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
An interesting take on the issue from a couple of years ago:
America’s strategy community has a problem that it likes to call “A2/AD,” and while the symptoms are very real, in the case of Russia strategists and planners have largely misdiagnosed the nature of the challenge. Anti-access and area denial, commonly known as A2/AD, is more than another defense community buzzword: It has become a deeply rooted way of talking about the military capabilities of adversaries that the United States considers to be relative peers. The term has enjoyed great utility as short-hand for a select grouping of adversary capabilities that pose major problems to America’s preferred way of conducting combat operations (unrestricted and uncontested). But when applied to Russia, the “A2/AD” frame has become dangerously misleading. Over time, anti-access and area denial has evolved from a vehicle for useful conversations about Russian conventional capabilities to a vision of a Russian doctrine or strategy for warfighting that frankly does not exist. The result is a general misreading of the Russian military’s operational concepts and strategy for large scale combat operations.
Very tempting to think of A2/AD as a fortress of long range weapons that the owners simply sit behind and unleash on any trespassers. The author argues that this does not, however, adequately reflect Russian or Chinese doctrine.
 

OPSSG

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Setting the A2/AD 2.0 scene — Part 4

16. Interesting to see that Lockheed Martin and Thales Australia have in Apr 2021 finalised a teaming agreement to cooperate in the design, development and production of a surface-launched variant of Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), designated LRASM-SL.

(a) I am hoping to see a truck mounted version of the LRASM-SL; which will see this surface-launched missile put a serious dent in sales of the 200km plus Israeli Gabriel Mk. 5 (to compete on price in a different missile market segment) and the 650 km range BrahMos, designated PJ-10 (to compete on speed in closing the sensor shooter loop).​
(b) The AGM-158C is derived from the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM ER). The AGM-158C has an anti-jam GPS guidance system, a radio frequency sensor (RFS), and an infrared sensor for support guidance and targeting. Once launched, LRASM guides to an initial point and employs onboard sensors to locate, identify, and provide terminal guidance to the target. Armed with a 1,000 Lbs (454 kg) penetrating blast fragmentation warhead, LRASM-SL is also low observable to penetrate advanced air defences. To use a car analogy, the LRASM-SL is like a Lexus ES 350 of anti-ship missiles, and the Israeli Gabriel Mk. 5 is hoping to be a Toyota Altis of anti-ship missiles — a market segment where size of warhead matters, to ensure a mission kill of the enemy ship when hit. While the BrahMos is like the Mitsubishi Evo of anti-ship missiles — fast, modded but still within a sedan car category (instead of being seen as an exotic technology). And the tiny Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile is like the Toyota Atlas, an ultra-compact 2 door car.​
(c) Any sale of the above surface-launched missiles in Asia will also increase the pressure to upgrade MPA fleets in the region, giving the P-8A and Kawasaki P-1, a second wind in their sales campaigns. It’s no use investing in intermediate range anti-ship missiles without the ISR capability to rapidly search large tracks of the ocean.​

17. While Lockheed Martin and Thales Australia did not disclose further detail about the LRASM-SL rocket motor and booster design, or detail the development, production and initial trials programme timelines associated with the LRASM-SL initiative, this move will give the Australians a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing to enable the ADF to strike at an intermediate range, in a low risk developmental effort that will find interest.

An interesting take on the issue from a couple of years ago:

Very tempting to think of A2/AD as a fortress of long range weapons that the owners simply sit behind and unleash on any trespassers. The author argues that this does not, however, adequately reflect Russian or Chinese doctrine.
18. Agreed. For intermediate range ISR support, the US Navy needs to invest in more AN/APS-154 Advanced Airborne Sensors (AAS). AAS is a multifunction radar installed on the P-8A, but only in service with the US Navy, for broad area search from a stand-off range — AAS is known to be an AESA radar with synthetic aperture functionality. What this means is that the system is capable of tracking moving targets below at sea and on land, as well as taking high-quality radar imagery and mapping of objects of interest for further analysis.
 
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ngatimozart

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The USN has just ordered the integration of the LRASM into the the P-8A Poseidon so that adds to your A2/AD discussion.

 
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