This html article is produced from an uncorrected text file through optical character recognition. Prior to 1940 articles all text has been corrected, but from 1940 to the present most still remain uncorrected. Artifacts of the scans are misspellings, out-of-context footnotes and sidebars, and other inconsistencies. Adjacent to each text file is a PDF of the article, which accurately and fully conveys the content as it appeared in the issue. The uncorrected text files have been included to enhance the searchability of our content, on our site and in search engines, for our membership, the research community and media organizations. We are working now to provide clean text files for the entire collection.
The command ship USS LaSalle (AGF-3), shown at Ash Shuaybah, Kuwait, in March 1991 after Operation Desert Storm, used to be LPD-3—a ‘Gator Navy amphib that was commandeered for duty as a flagship to save money.
The Department of Defense has four numbered naval fleets—two on each coast—to project naval power from the sea. The Navy has five specially equipped vessels that are fully capable of supporting an embarked fleet commander or other joint task force commander, but all are approaching the end of their service lives. They are:
► 2nd Fleet-USS Mount Whitney (LCC- 20), Norfolk, Virginia ► 3rd Fleet-USS Coronado (AGF [ex- LPD]-11), San Diego, California ► 6th Fleet-USS Belknap (CG-26), Gaeta, Italy
► 7th Fleet-USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), Yokosuka, Japan
► Middle East Force-USS LaSalle (AGF [ex-LPD]-3), Bahrain
In addition, the USS Puget Sound (AD-38), currently homeported at Norfolk, served as the 6th Fleet flagship from May 1980 to August 1985 after being modified.
Much of the following information was taken from Norman Polmar’s reference work, The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, published by the Naval Institute.
The four numbered fleets had specially designed and modified cruisers for flagships until the late 1970s. The LaSalle—a former amphibious transport dock—served as the flagship for the Commander, U.S. Middle East Force, beginning in 1972.
The Coronado, modified to serve as a temporary flagship while the LaSalle underwent a long repair period in the United States in 1980, eventually replaced the destroyer tender Puget Sound as Sixth Fleet flagship, and was homeported in
Gaeta, Italy, from October 1985 to July 1986.
The Puget Sound had adequate phys' ical space and communications equipmen* to support the Fleet Commander, but ob' viously lacked any combat capability' Providence—and the availability of the collision-damaged, rebuilt cruiser Bett' nap—released the Puget Sound to W turn to the Atlantic Fleet Service Force- The Belknap then assumed duty as the Sixth Fleet flagship and the Coronad0 shifted to the Pacific and became fla?' ship for Commander, Third Fleet, in Pear Harbor.
Prior to shifting his flag to the Cot°' nado, the Commander, Third Fleet hau flown his flag ashore. The Coronado stu serves as flagship, but she is now home- ported in San Diego, California.
The Blue Ridge relieved the cruisef Oklahoma City (CG-5) as flagship of the Seventh Fleet in October 1979, and the Mount Whitney re' lieved the cruiser Albany (CG-1^1 as the flagship of the Second Fle£l in January 1981. The Mount Whd' ney did continue to share her flap' ship capabilities with the Con1' manding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic (FMFLant), ana Commander Amphibious Group Two until the mid-1980s, when she essentially became a full-time flap' ship for Second Fleet. Commander Amphibious Group Two has since used other amphibious ships a1, flagship, and the CommandinP General, FMFLant, does not go t° sea.
This conversion—some Marine* would say commandeering—oI several amphibious ships as flee1 command ships allowed planner* to save the scarce Ship-ConstruC' tion Navy (SCN) funds that other' wise would have been required t° build a fellow-on ship in the Bv^ Ridge class. Old-timers inside the Washington beltway hint th1* course of action was taken to avow risking congressional staff skep11'
c>sm over the requirement for large, expensive ships to transport admirals to diplomatic events.
Thus, it was easier—politically—to convert large, high-internal volume amphibious vessels to flagships, than to fight it out for the funds to design and huild fleet command ships from scratch.
It was easier—militarily—because the arnphibious Navy has not had a three-star Pr°ponent since the dissolution of the 'hree star Amphibious Type/Force Commanders in 1975.
Gators as flagships: The problem "fith using versatile ships such as the fiTD and LCC as fleet flagships is that hour of the five fleet-level flagships are 'arge amphibious ships taken at the exPense of lift and command-and-control h)r the amphibious force. Over the years, [he use of these ships for non-amphibi- °hs missions has been a contentious issue "tith the Marine Corps and other amphibious warfare advocates. The traditional lift fingerprints of troop bunks, vehicle square, cargo cube, landing craft, Ur'd helicopter deck spots that the ships had previously contributed to the total lift requirement, were lost to the amphibious warfare planners.
Amphibious force levels: As recently as 1990, and after the demise of the Soviet Union, the Department of the Navy amphibious-lift goal called for enough amphibious ships to lift the assault echelons of a Marine Expeditionary Force and a Marine Expeditionary Brigade— 50,000 + Marines and sailors. The Cold War is over and the lift goal has been adjusted downward. As part of the overall reduction in Navy ships, the amphibious force is being reduced: the former goal of 76 ships by fiscal year 1996 is now 50—including the two LCCs. Of course, all of this depends on amphibious ship retirement schedules and new-construc- tion delivery rates.
This number is adequate to meet the revised amphibious-lift goal of supporting an average of three amphibious ready groups forward-deployed and a crisis-response surge capability of 2.5 Marine Expeditionary Brigades. The five existing Tarawa (LHA-l)-class amphibious assault ships and a combination of the remaining Iwo Jima (LPH-2)-class and new Wasp (LFlD-l)-class, pending delivery of seven LFIDs, will provide the appropri-
The amphibious transport dock USS Ogden (LPD-5), here in Hong Kong, is scheduled to be decommissioned. The Navy should reconsider and convert her to a flagship for the Third Fleet, since she already has been removed from the amphibious equation.
ate number of big-deck aviation-capable ships for the Marines to support the unified commanders’ requirements.
Other uses for amphibious ships: Other demands for these versatile ships could affect the number available to meet these requirements:
► Unmanned aerial vehicle platform
► Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) mother ship
► Periodic relief for forward-deployed fleet flagships like the Lasalle and the Blue Ridge, and permanent replacement for the Belknap
All but one of the LPHs are scheduled for decommissioning in the next several years as the LHDs are delivered to the fleet; the Inchon (LPH-12) is scheduled for conversion into a much-needed AMCM flagship for the Mine Warfare Command. In addition, some of the Austin (LPD-4)-class ships will also be placed in the mothball fleet to meet fiscal constraints.
The LPD class is the long pole in the tent for the amphibious ready group equation in forward-deployment calculations. This rugged class carries many troops and vehicles, and in particular, can absorb a large volume of cargo. It has storage for automobile gasoline, a sizable flight deck, and a wet well large enough for any landing craft, including large air-cushion landing craft (LCAC). Any decision to decommission additional numbers of these highly capable ships, before they are replaced by the new LX should be carefully weighed. [For more on the LX, see “Picking the Latest Gator,” Proceedings, October 1992, pages 91-93; and “LX: Key to the Future of the Amphibious Navy,” Proceedings, November 1992, pages 100102.]
Challenges ahead: The five fleet flagships will be approaching the end of their service lives in 10-14 years, and the overweight and heavily modified Belknap will go first. As the Mission Need Statement for a joint mobile command-capability ship percolates through Navy channels at the Pentagon, now is the time to review current fleet flagships and answer the following questions:
> Do the two LCCs have a future in their original amphibious role or should they become the first two Joint Mobile Command Ships?
► Should the Coronado or the Puget Sound return to Gaeta to replace the Belknap'?
y Do the Second and Third Fleets require dedicated flagships? Are the Mount Whitney and the Coronado affordable in their current roles—or should they be deployed as replacement flagships for the LaSalle and the Belknap?
y Will using one of the higher-numbered LPDs (not presently scheduled for decommissioning until replaced by the LX between 2002-2010) affect amphibious lift requirements?
y Would using an LHA or LHD as flagship, reducing a significant lift capability, be an acceptable risk?
Possible solutions to the fleet flagship problem: An adequate case can be made for the continued shipboard embarkation of the four three-star numbered fleet commanders. While maintaining the forward presence and crisis-response capability of the Navy’s amphibious fleet, there are several steps that can be taken in the next three years to provide a near-term solution to the Fleet flagship problem: y Reassign the Coronado to a role she has played in the past—flagship for Commander, Sixth Fleet. Large amounts of money were spent to install specific equipments; even her mooring stations were modified to line up with the pier in Gaeta.
► Bring home the Belknap; if—but only if—funds are available, remove unneeded capabilities, i.e., weight, and assign her as flagship for Commander, Third Fleet. y Convert the West Coast-based Ogden (LPD-5) and the East Coast-based Austin (LPD-4)—both scheduled for decommissioning—into fleet flagships for Commander, Third Fleet, and Commander, Middle East Force. The decommissioning of these two ships already has been considered in the amphibious lift equation and will not affect present Department of the Navy fiscal year 1997 amphibious-lift goals.
► Select additional flagships from six LPHs scheduled for decommissioning. The ship(s) in the best physical condition could be modified to embark a numbered fleet commander, and serve as a flagship until a new-design flagship is available.
► Modify the Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) design. Such a ship would provide sufficient internal volume for a flagship, thus saving lengthy development time and providing a flagship for fleet commanders well ahead of a totally new design effort.
The LX-90 design could be studied to determine its suitability as a Joint Mobile Command Ship for the long-term solution to the flagship problem.
I recognize that the four ex-‘Gator Navy ships currently serving as fleet flag' ships can no longer execute an amphibious mission—even though the LCCs still carry the L-for-landing designation that indicates an amphibious ship. As we look for solutions to downsizing (read money) problems in the next five years, however, we must resist what appears to the easy way out and refuse to use amphibious ships for other missions.
We have a good plan to reduce the fleet to a balanced, adequate number of amphibious ships for the emerging new world order. Replacing flagships with ‘Gators not currently on the drawdown list will add to the amphibious personnel and operational-tempo problems and take away a much-needed capability.
Captain O’Neil commands thq Naval Amphibi°uS Base, Little Creek, Virginia. He is a surface war" fare officer with extensive amphibious experience afloat and ashore in the training command and 011 the CNO staff, and a recent graduate of Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is a frequenl Proceedings contributor.
Watching and Waiting in the Florida Straits
By Captain James E. Smith, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard, and Lieutenant Commander Peter J. DiNicola, U.S. Coast Guard
On a bright, sunny day in the Florida Straits, Seaman Flawkeye Jackson (nicknamed for his eyesight) reports to the captain of the Coast Guard Cutter Shearwater (WSES-3) that he has sighted a tiny floating object in the distance off the port bow. Less than 30 minutes later, two more Cuban migrants have been rescued in what has become routine for the U.S. Coast Guard in the Florida Keys. The migrants were drifting south of Key West in a makeshift raft constructed of truck-tire inner tubes, canvas, a few pieces of wood, and frayed rope. They were lucky.
The Shearwater operates out of Coast Guard Group Key West. Located 90 miles from Havana, Group Key West is home to four other patrol craft: Sea Hawk (WSES-2) and Petrel (WSES-4), as well as the Island-class cutters Padre (WPB- 1328) and Sitkinak (WPB-1329). Stations at Key West, Marathon, and Islamorada in the Florida Keys operate small boats controlled from Key West. Over the past two years all of these units have devoted a significant portion of their operations to recovering Cuban migrants. Navy hydrofoils with Coast Guard law enforcement detachments on board frequently shift tactical control to Group Key West and have also responded to several Cuban rescue cases.
The 1980 Mariel boat lift was the best- known maritime mass migration in recent U.S. history; the 1991 Haitian crisis ranks next. Lost to sight has been the increasing flow of Cuban migrants to the shores of South Florida. During 1991, 1,872 Cuban migrants were rescued within the Group’s area of responsibility. During 1992, Coast Guard and Navy units, commercial ships, and other units recovered 2,147 migrants, with 397 in August and 416 in September—making these the two biggest months of Cuban migrant activity since the Mariel exodus. On 29 August 1992, a record 67 Cuban migrants were recovered by Coast Guard Group Key West units, less than a week after Hurricane Andrew’s rampage through South Florida. Group Key West handles approximately 90% of all Cuban migrants rescued by the Coast Guard. Figure 1 displays annual Cuban migrant activity for Group Key West since 1986. The Coast
Guard is setting a record pace in 1993- Initial contacts stem from various sources: Coast Guard aircraft and surface units, recreational boaters, commercial craft, and Hermanos al Rescale (Brothers to the Rescue), a civilian volunteer organization made up primarily of Cuban- Americans. Some, veterans of the Bay of Pigs, are known among Key West Coast Guard patrol boat captains for their daring aerial maneuvers.
The Hermanos have been in operation for more than two years, and were the initial reporting source to Group Key West on more than 40 Cuban rescue cases in recent months. In May of 1992, one of the group’s aircraft had to ditch in shallow water just six miles from Key West, but all on board were rescued. Migrants with serious medical problems require evacuation by HH-65A helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Miami or Navy SH-3s from Naval Air Station Key West- Units also have encountered apparent Cuban hijacking schemes, alleged alien smuggling, and politically convoluted incidents where Cubans are discovered in Bahamian territory. Although each case
Figure 1: Cuban Migrants Rescued by Group Key West Units
- • • •
- • • •
- • • •
- • • •
- . . .
- . . .
- . . •
24 25 62 i---- l i > 1 i
1986 1987 1988
As of 11/15/92
ls different, alleged hijacking incidents dually involve a group of migrants who Persuade a vessel master to depart a Cuban port, typically under the guise of a leisurely fishing trip. Once offshore, the migrants take over the vessel, and proCeed toward Florida. At least six suspected hijacking incidents have occurred ln the past 18 months.
A few Cuban rafters have arrived in s°und physical condition without a trace °f sunburn or exposure, which arouses Suspicions of smuggling. Recently, on three separate occasions, Cuban migrants, ftinus any raft or boat, were discovered °n Sand Key, a small, sandy spit of land adjacent to the coral reef just six miles Iforn Key West. The U.S. Border Patrol has investigated these incidents and seized a boat and a van involved in smuggling aliens during March 1993.
All Cuban migrants are transported to Group Key West where they are debriefed and then paroled into the United States by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. During their time at Key West, the migrants are treated for minor medical problems such as exposure or dehydration, provided meals and clean clothes, and are under constant supervision from Coast Guard security personnel.
Considered political rather than economic migrants, Cuban defectors are processed by the Immi
gration Service and then quickly released into the South Florida community. Until recently, immigration agents conducted a preliminary debriefing of Cuban migrants in Key West and then transported them to Krome Detention Center southwest of Miami where they were placed into the community via voluntary relief organizations in Miami. After Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc on South Florida operations, however, the Immigration Service began paroling Cuban migrants from the arrival point in Key West. As a result, the migrants, with only the clothes on their backs, were stranded in Key West, 150 miles from any real voluntary relief or support infrastructure in Miami.
Chief Warrant Officer Steve Kabick solved what was turning out to be a major problem for the Coast Guard and the migrants. Group Key West personnel, unwilling to release the migrants to the streets in Key West, began making phone calls to the migrants’ families, friends, and support organizations in Miami to arrange transportation. The migrants were staying at the Group for extended periods of time under constant Coast Guard security watch. Kabick linked a Key West Cuban support group with World Relief, Incorporated, and the Community Relations Service of the Justice Depart-
PHOTOS BY U.S COAST GUARD (SMITH)
The stream of Cuban refugees using makeshift craft to leave Cuba began to increase dramatically in 1991. Cuban vessels like this former Soviet Zhuk- class patrol craft have little fuel to expend chasing them.
ment to establish a facility where the migrants could be taken while awaiting sponsorship.
Within weeks the concept took on a life of its own. Now Cuban migrants are brought to Key West, debriefed by Coast Guard personnel, paroled by the Immi-
Cuban refugees are even using rowboats to flee across the Gulf Stream, potentially hazardous waters when the wind kicks up. The Shearwater (WSES-3) makes a typical rescue.
gration and Naturalization Service, and turned over to a transit center that provides food, clothing, and shelter while placing the migrants more comfortably into the South Florida community.
In rescues made to date, the migrants have come from all walks of life. Everyone from judges to military officers to journalists to engineers to lawyers to entire families—grandmother through grandchild—have been brought to safety in Key West. The rafts used to make the treacherous journey across the Florida Straits and the Gulf Stream, are testimony to both the resourcefulness and the desperation of the Cubans making the risky voyage. One particular raft, designed by a Cuban engineer, had an outboard engine that was a converted weed whacker. Using a household drill as the reduction gear, this remarkable engine powered a group of migrants away from Cuba and into the Florida Straits where they were rescued by a Coast Guard patrol boat. Also amazing are two documented cases of Cuban migrants successfully windsurfing to safety.
Because Group Key West personnel are the first Americans to speak to the migrants, debriefers gain tremendous insight into the situation in Cuba. Information gained during the debriefings is disseminated to the national intelligence-gathering community via detailed intelligence information reports.
Recent protests against the Castro regime fortunately have not provoked any military response. On 18 July 1992, the “Flotilla for Cuba’s Freedom” left Key West headed for a position 13 miles off the coast of Havana, just one mile outside Cuban territorial seas. With an Hermanos aircraft escort, 30 vessels, including everything from luxury yachts to charter boats and sailing vessels, made
the voyage in a loose formation. Arriv ing on station at 1300, the group held ; brief ceremony dedicated to their broth ers and sisters remaining in Cuba as wel as to those who have perished trying tc escape. Although Cuban gun boats were seen in the vicinity, the Flotilla was never challenged and all vessels returnee safely to Key West. Twice in the lasl year Cuban gun boats have come close aboard the Sea Hawk, but there have been no incidents.
Also in July 1992, the Coast Guard sailed into Cuban territorial seas under “Right of Assistance Entry,” to assist a U.S, vessel in distress. The USCGC Maui (WPB-1304) brought the disabled boat to Key West where it was discovered that the operator of the vessel was associated with an anti-Castro organization, and that the vessel had weapons on board. More recently, the USCGC Padre, responding to a distress call near Anguilk Cay in the Bahamas, found weapons and explosives in trenches on the island.
The desperate situation continues to fuel speculation. Castro, now in his mid" 60s, has led the Cuban Revolution f°r more than three decades, but Cuba’s economic infrastructure is appalling, and aid from the former Soviet Union is all but gone. Castro, refusing all reforms, has increased economic hardship and political repression. General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez, executed in 1989 on charges of cocaine smuggling, was an extremely popular leader and a member of Castro’s inner circle. His execution shook the Cuban populace.
Castro’s revolution has come full circle. He seized power by rejecting Ful" gencio Batista’s oppression of the pooF tourist facilities that excluded Cubans, and widespread prostitution. Today, tourists are catered to shamelessly and segregated from Cubans, prostitution flourishes, and poverty is everywhere. Castro has recreated the inequities that hts revolution sought to destroy. His days appear numbered, and U.S. firms are making preparations for a post-Castro Cuba and eagerly awaiting that country’s entry into free markets. Cuba has no deep democratic traditions, however, and the political future may he marked by instability. The exile community may seek power, but they may be regarded as foreigners. Race will be a complicating factor since, over the Castro decades, Cuba has become darker-skinned. Afro- Cubans will not be pushed back into pre-1960 conditions.
When and how will Castro fall? Take your pick. Whatever happens, Coast Guard personnel are aware of the potential threat. One of the lessons learned from the Mariel experience of 1980 was that Castro, who exercises absolute control over the population, undoubtedly wih time a future exodus attempt to come when the attention of U.S. leadership >s distracted, as in the case of the current threat of a second Haitian migration crisis. Something big may be about to happen in Cuba.
In the meantime Hawkeye keeps his eyes peeled for those faint dots of life in the distance.
Captain Smith commands Coast Guard Group Key West. Lieutenant Commander DiNicola is the opef' ations officer at Coast Guard Group Key West.
Halt! Bang! Who Goes There?
By Commander George Cornelius, U.S. Navy (Retired)
At sea, in the air, or on land, friendly fire can kill you if the friend thinks you’re an enemy. If he believes you to e a foe—you are one, and you’ll be just as dead as those six unlucky U.S. Marines lr> their armored vehicle holed by a Mav- ertck from an A-10 on a close air support uussion during Operation Desert Storm’s ^ar'y hours. Those U.S. ground-combat atalities were quickly joined by nine ^0re, this time British, also hit by Jiendly fire from the air. A good identi- ■cation friend or foe (IFF) system might ave saved them.
These are shocking incidents; ironi- Ca"y, IFF for ground combat has consistently been rejected by armored war- r'ors on the grounds that it is complex to Maintain, takes up room better used otherwise, and its emissions can reveal a uuit’s presence. Some pioneer aviators ejected parachutes, too, because they were uncomfortable and cumbersome, and they were only for sissies, anyway.
Aviators and air-defense experts have °ng accepted IFF, but there is still a pervasive, widespread misconception that 11 's only a question-and-answer device analogous to the venerable ship-to-shore V|sual challenge-and-reply identification jnethod of time-related code n°°k signals: three-letter chal- enge, three-letter reply from ae\v letters for verification.
Electronic interrogation and rePly differs from those proCedures only by compressing ^e time required to millisec- °nds or, in a modern system, nanoseconds.
Computers have added a neW dimension to IFF: math- eniatical processing of sensory a°d related identification data, deluding information provided by the question-and-answer c°niponent of the identifica- ll°n system. The output beanies an identity probability, never the perfect number 1.0, but much “etter than other limited means of iden- hfication, such as the human eye and brain.
Beyond visual range (BVR) means "'hat it says. The eye cannot detect, let al°ne identify a target beyond visual range. Rounds cannot wantonly be fired a§ainst unidentified targets beyond visual 'ange, which is why identification must “e performed by a battery of different sensors, active and passive, whose individual outputs are fed into a computerized system integrating all identification information. The man-in-the-loop must recommend whether or not to fire or, if authorized, pull the trigger himself. Electronics, however marvelous, can never relieve humans of the awful responsibility of the final, lethal decision to fire.
That the system cannot be perfect accounts for a certain uneasiness concerning IFF, but reason dictates careful weighing of the alternatives.
For more than 20 years, the U.S. armed forces have participated in the regular meetings of the NATO Project Group that wrote NATO’s IFF Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4162, which sets forth the basic principles governing development of the NATO Identification System. Representatives from 12 nations signed the memorandum of understanding on broad aspects of IFF. Other memoranda involving two or more nations covered specific international cooperative IFF activities.
Interestingly, there is no NATO Identification System (NIS) project in the traditional NATO sense. Until recently there was not even a written requirement, but rather vague pronouncements. The Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, for example, stated that the lack of adequate, interoperable IFF was the “. .. most glaring gap in air defense.” Nevertheless, the group was able to produce a STANAG—no mean feat under NATO’s rigid rule of unanimous accord. Each national effort remained nationally funded; NATO provided only routine administrative services. The NIS Special
Project Office was special in that it had no budget, no authority, and no political clout. Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States each sponsored a representative, France joined later, and Italy was about to send a representative when a dismaying series of events occurred.
The United States decided to develop a new question-and-answer combination, the Mark XV, to replace the inadequate Mark X/XII interrogation-and-reply devices first used during World War II. The United States also proposed the Mark XV system to NATO as its candidate for the NIS question-and-answer function. The U.S. Air Force led the armed forces effort, and by 1990 had succeeded in putting the Mark XV into engineering and manufacturing development.
The most formidable obstacle was the choice of frequency. The United States had initially espoused the 3-gigahertz (GHz) band on technical grounds, while the Europeans vigorously held out for the 1-GHz band. The United States prevailed, but, after years of funding had been sunk into the 3-GHz work, the United States informed its partners that it now backed the 1-GHz system because it would be too expensive to convert several thousand
U.S. platform antenna installations (whose Mark X/XII systems were based on 1-GHz) to the new 3-GHz system.
The Europeans howled, convinced that the United States had sandbagged them in order to sell them yet another made- in-the-U.S.A. military system. Placating our financially and morally wounded allies took a face-to-face meeting between then-German Defense Minister Manfred Woerner (later to become NATO Secre-
at best seen only at close range; colored lights were better, but easily duplicated by the enemy.
Whatever the future of IFF, linked t0 active or passive sensors—or both—them is no substitute for money to carry on tl>e work. It would be the worst possibly waste to scrap the results of 20 years o' international cooperative effort by stop' ping short. The U.S. Navy is best pos'" tioned to salvage and continue to use the irreplaceable store of IFF system kno"'" how assembled by NATO. A strong re' quirement, boosted by a concerned Com gress, could generate extraordinary IF* funding for the Navy’s AFX. It makes sense to field such an expensive aircra'1 without better IFF.
With a year of development behind '*■ the Mark XV horse was almost in the starting gate for the race to become op'
The limited air-to-air threat during Operation Desert Storm meant that almost all aircraft were friendly— which made life easier for U.S. Navy F-14 and RAF F-4 crews like these.
tary-General) and then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger. With Germany consenting, the other European partners reluctantly went along.
The U.S. Navy had kept its own counsel on the frequency question, except to indicate, from time to time at NATO meetings, that it was not enamored of changing its 1-GHz equipment. Ground- oriented Army and Marine Corps delegates at the meetings expressed lukewarm interest in IFF generally. As a Marine officer said, for the record, “We prefer the Mark-I eyeball.” (Laughter around the table.) A German technician agreed: “We don’t want a tank that looks like a deer [with] antenna horns sticking out all over.” The British joined in the amused chuckles. A U.S. participant asked, perhaps impertinently, “Would you rather have a tank that looks like a Swiss cheese . . . big holes all through it?” Neither he nor any of the others there were aware of the simile’s unfortunate prescience.
Now the fratricides of Desert Storm have caused the Army and the Marine Corps to take another look at IFF for fighting vehicles. As for the Air Force, it is hard to understand the attitude of the service most likely to benefit from new and better IFF. Air Force officers at the highest levels recognize the need for a secure IFF system, but when the Defense Department sought voluntary sacrifices for the altar of the post-Cold War stand down, the Air Force offered up the Mark XV.
U.S. politicians pointed out the local domestic economic consequences, and the international repercussions that would result as Europeans, still smarting from the NIS frequency choice reversal, viewed the demise of Mark XV as another trip down the U.S. primrose path. Italy had just added $15 million. The Pentagon subsequently ordered the program to continue through Milestone III in fiscal year 1994, but no one had foreseen the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Budgets collapsed worldwide—a reunified Germany faced complicated refinancing problems, well before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
There were no peace dividends, but rather increases in obligations. Germany, hitherto a fervent, relatively affluent supporter of new IFF, hesitated, as did France and the United Kingdom.
European firms had been moving toward a consortium focusing on IFF production: Plessey, Ferranti, Siemens, Thomson, Italtel/Alenia all expected to begin reaping returns from their investments. But their governments cut funding, and the United States responded by again canceling the Mark XV program.
Today, regardless of what the Europeans do, loss of the Mark XV leaves a huge hole in NATO. It also leaves U.S. forces with no replacement for the vulnerable Mark X/XII. The Air Force justified abandoning the Mark XV because it cannot identify foes—something it was never intended to do. It was designed to be a jam-resistant, spoof-proof, secure, interoperable interrogation-and-reply component of an identification system— although capable of functioning independently to identify friends.
Use of the term target might be viewed by a purist as inexact, since it does not necessarily mean an object to be shot at—only an indication of the presence of an object. An air controller, bound by his rules of engagement, must rely on an identification officer if he is to judge and advise an operational commander whether targets are friends, foes, neutrals, unknowns, suspects, or something else. The nomenclature and terminology is constantly evolving, changing and being refined. The category of unknowns is probably the most vexing. It can mean any target not definitely hostile (hostile being used to denote a target that poses a threat). But what about suspect? And when does an unknown become one?
We need something to ease the mind- boggling burden weighing on those who have to make final decisions—people like the skippers of the USS Stark (FFG-31) and the USS Vincennes (CG-49).
The conspicuous absence of the Iraqi Air Force from Desert Storm aerial combat may have badly obscured the vision of some who should be sponsoring new IFF systems. Aside from surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft artillery, the principal risk to Coalition aircraft was from a midair collision with a friendly. Air control relied on the air tasking order, saft corridors, restricted airspace, discipline flight plans, tough rules of engagerne"1 and well-coordinated command, control- and communications—procedural con' trol, in many cases. The battle experience accumulated has probably not yet been analyzed to determine how modern, se" cure, and interoperable IFF could have 1*' duced the work load on the participant'
Neither land- nor sea-based Coal1' tion aircraft had to worry much abon1 identifying foes. Had Desert Storm proved similar to the'Pacific and Eur°' pean Wars, with massive aerial fleets at' tacking each other, there is little doul” that efforts to field an improved system would have accelerated.
On the ground, though, the fratricide experiences of armored warfare during Desert Storm may tip the financial scale8 in favor of surface IFF. The ground so* lution, if one is sought, will probably 1|C with cost-effective selection of key IFF' carrying vehicles. Emissions will have10 be limited, and directional application8 may emerge. Passive IFF is another mat' ter, involving many strange factors pe" culiar to combatant rolling stock. .
Cheap, simple measures to identify friendly armor have not worked well' Colored panels are invisible at night ana
Rational. The U.S. replacement for the Mark X/XII system would be sure of 'J'orldwide markets, whatever NATO °es. The United States should lead efforts to:
Mobilize the international consortium.
. hey don’t like folding now, after hav- ln8 performed innumerable studies, many at c°tnpany expense. Around the stars on ?tage are clusters of subcontractors, itch- ln8 to act. With strong leadership by one °f the stars—European or American—a Pool of industry funds could be pledged 0 augment government contributions
£hey could at least build a prototype.
freeze a design. The consortium, as Pnncipal contributor, would have little trouble persuading individual nations to ack off parochial positions on relatively Jf'tor details and special requirements.
Establish a NATO IFF fund. Combines the contributions of the consortium and their governments calls for working °ut fair-share monetary formulae to egin, and adjustments with progress atd change. NATO infrastructure experts ave pounded out solutions to far more c°mplex problems—the Atlantic maritime Patrol aircraft, and the NATO air com-
to austerity by economic realities.
eand-and-control system, for example.
Install strong management. Two top- futch individuals—a high-level, competent- respected NATO official, civilian or Pt'Etary, and an experienced, dynamic p°mpany officer from the consortium’s ea<t firm could assemble a staff. The Ptaritime patrol aircraft benefited from l*e genius of French Air Engineer Rear Admiral Rene Bloch; the early success the air control team can be ascribed to *ae brilliant leadership of Air Commodore ^tokla from The Netherlands.
Shorten engineering development to
The Army is developing the battlefield identification system, while the Navy is responsible for the aircraft identification system. A near-term battlefield system will be fielded as soon as possible, and a millimeter-wave system developed by McDonnell Douglas showed the most promise during recent tests at Fort Bliss, Texas, during which attack helicopters, F-16s, and A-6Es evaluated the system while flying over terrain on which M1A1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles were operating. The Army’s request for proposals based on their system was issued in January 1993.
The ground vehicles continuously transmitted an omnidirectional, spread- spectrum encoded, millimeter-wave signal. No interrogation was involved.
Each aircraft carried a receiver boresighted to its guns or longitudinal axis; ground-vehicle receivers were boresighted with the vehicles main armament.
A signal-decoding processor in the receiver illuminated a yellow light to indicate a valid friendly identification. Obviously, a system like this that identifies positively only friends—leaving all others unknown—is far short of the optimum. Nevertheless, it is a vital step toward such a capability and provides a near-term shield against tragic battlefield mistakes.
The Navy's program for aircraft identification has not yet progressed to the hardware stage. Radar expert Merrill Skolnik, Director of Aircraft Identification, heads a team that includes the institute for Defense Analysis, and the Annapolis-based Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center. Operational research studies are due in the fall of 1993. Our NATO allies will demand interoperability, and a Joint IFF Engineering Group that meets bi-monthly is using STANAG 4162 as the basis for proceeding.
Reinventing the wheel takes time, but IFF once again is rolling, however bumpily, into the future.
save time and money. There is an excellent base to build upon, and tough management of a frozen design should permit the process to accelerate. The price tag on a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter is at least $30 million. The cost for a B-2 bomber is approaching $1 billion. Not funding a better IFF system would be irresponsible.
All the armed services, solidly sup
ported by the Congress and industry, would do well to heed the lessons learned, the hard way, by the best armored warfighters in the world and take another look at IFF.
Commander Cornelius, a submariner and naval aviator, served as U.S. Representative to the NATO Identification System Special Project Office, Brussels, Belgium, from 1980 to 1985.
Night VID Tactics
By Lieutenant Seamus McGovern, U.S. Navy
f’Urrent helicopter night VID (Visual ''-'Identification) techniques can be remarkably improved using readily available assets. The Navy’s numerous deployed aircraft can conduct night reconnaissance, VID, ship- and systems- mielligence gathering missions more ef- A'tively by using the combination of the rtvTP'S AN/pVS-5(C) night-vision goggles /TVGs) and a red lens-configured Aldis atllP found in the aircraft’s search-and-
The naked eye is sufficiently effective gainst targets with complete—vice in- er,ruttent—or unusually bright lighting.
NVGs are extremely capable when used to observe vessels with low levels of lighting or navigation lights. Unfortunately the majority of ships do not fall into either of these categories. Whether intentional or not, both merchant and Soviet naval vessels tend to employ the most effective of deceptive lighting— bright, seemingly randomly spaced deck lighting. This provides little or no visual information to the NVGS because of the high contrast—which results in the NVG phosphor screen displaying little more than white dots on a green background. The unaided eye is marginally better at
gleaning information from the target ship’s illuminated areas. Dark areas cannot be seen, again because of the high contrast. Getting usable data from such ships requires numerous fly-bys—to which there are obvious disadvantages.
Flying low and slow past a large, illuminated target for VID and intelligence-collection on a dark night is a high-workload, potentially disorienting way to earn a living. Also, multiple aircraft passes can create the perception that the aircraft is harassing the vessel. A searchlight is not the answer. Besides being unacceptable to fleet commanders
5. NAVY (J. BOLIVIA)
Navy helicopter crews are called upon for many missions. This SH-60B crew from the USS Antietam (CG-54) might use its on-board Aldis lamp—with a red lens—to supplement goggles on night operations.
and easily interpreted as an act of aggression, the amount of candlepower required to generate a perceivable amount of reflected light is tremendous. Use of a bright white searchlight invariably results in ruining the night vision (which requires approximately 30 to 45 minutes under minimal lighting conditions to approach its maximum level) of both the crew of the aircraft and the personnel on the ship.
The PVS-5 NVG’s are responsive across the entire visible-light spectrum, peaking in the red portion and continuing into the near-infrared (IR) spectrum. Their gain, or ratio of light into the in- tensifier tube to light out is 1:10,000. The human eye peaks in the blue-green region and is not responsive to IR wavelengths. Since NVGs are markedly more sensitive than the human eye in the red and infrared spectrum, and require considerably less reflected light, a relatively low-can- dlepower red lamp should be an effective tool in providing illumination.
Because dark-adapted vision is essentially unaffected by red light, targeting with a red lamp would be virtually unobtrusive. This could be diminished even more by using a lamp with directional properties, as opposed to a flood lamp. All of these qualities are incorporated in the interchangeable-lens Aldis signal lamp that is included in aircraft search-and-res- cue bags.
On more than 30 night surface surveillance coordination evaluation flights at sea, the technique worked as advertised. Radiating a target ship’s areas of interest with the red lens configured Aldis lamp while observing with NVGs provided maximum visual information while requiring a minimum number of passes. This procedure was most effective when conducted between 1/2 and 1/4 of a mile from the ship. Within this range, the red light reflecting off the ship is not visible to the naked eye but is tremendously revealing to the red/infrared sensitive NVGs. Within 1/8 of a mile the light from the lamp is too bright; a red reflection becomes visible on the contacts hull. Outside of 1/4 of a mile, the Aldis lamp’s reflection became too weak to provide additional useable illumination to the PVS-5s. Larger standoff distances can be realized when using the third-generation AN/AVS-6(V) NVGs (ANVIS) because of their greater light sensitivity.
If the lamp is inadvertently directed at the target ship’s bridge, the low candlepower combined with the exclusively red light ensures watchstander’s night vision would be preserved. This was corroborated by shipboard personnel who reported the helicopter’s use of the red lens configured Aldis lamp is barely noticeable. This is attributed to the standoff distance from which the lamp is employed (greater than the distance required to effectively make use of a high power, white searchlight), the fact that the naked eye is less sensitive to red light, and the lamp being both dimmer than a typical searchlight and substantially more directional.
This tactic has disadvantages. The Aldis lamp is not designed for long-term use and the lens assembly heats up quickly. Although its use is not conspicuous, in a tactical situation the lamp is
still detectable. Also, ft1' correct use of the lamp (i.e., excessive movement or turning the lamp on and off) could be wrongly interpreted W the subject as a visua signal from the aircraft' Most of these deficieO' cies could be easily overcome by making avail' able an infrared Aldp lamp lens or, ideally-11 dedicated hand- held $ lamp with an adjustabk beam. Replacing the aircraft’s articulated search' light with an IR lamp is another alternative. A purely infrared lamp, whether hand held or integrated into the airfrafl>e- would be significantly more discretebeing invisible to the unaided eye ana counter-detected only with IR sensitive devices. Light transmission should pea^ at the wavelength of 0.2 microns for op' tical use with both the PVS-5s and the newer ANVIS goggles. .
Night-vision goggles’ inherent lack o magnification capability (which factor1, into standoff distance) with no mission recording capability relegates the tactic to augmenting rather than replacing FLIR. The technique does, however- quickly and easily increase the holt- copter's capabilities and improves safety of flight during night SSC tasking while avoiding the added weight and expend of FLIR. Until all helicopters tasked with SSC receive funding to integrate a FLlft system, proper use of the red-configure‘ Aldis lamp in conjunction with NVO* during night VID missions will effec". tively increase the aircraft’s standoi1 range and reduce the number of passes required while simultaneously providing visual information that would otherwise
Lieutenant McGovern is a flight instructor with licopter Training Squadron Eight at Naval Air $ta tion Whiting Field, Florida.
Point Defense Is a Necessary Priority
By Dr. Stephen Sacks
High-speed, low radar-cross-section, sea-skimming missiles are a critical threat to the surface fleet. Surely the losses and near-losses of warships in the Falklands Conflict and Persian Gulf escort operations have confirmed this—and we must address the problem.
Given that a hypothetical antiship missile traveling at Mach 3 is first detected at the horizon—10 miles distant—a target ship would have 16 seconds to react. In this case:
>• The captain would have no time to maneuver the ship to reposition a close-in gun-defense system blocked by sh>P structure.
► A vertical-launch defense weap°n would be short-changed on time to mak6 an intercept since the launch itself consumes precious time—and the sea skin1' mer’s trajectory makes engagement nioC
This 30-mm. Goalkeeper close-in defense system firing on board HMS Invincible is a good example of currently fielded weapons built to combat sea- skimming missiles.
difficult. Using a vertical-launch missile for very close-in defense, e.g., a second shot, would not be possible.
The concept of using one ship to de- iond another becomes less feasible.
Manual control of the combination of hard- or soft-kill ship defenses would be almost impossible.
There are various hypothetical cirCumstances where a first sighting of attacking missile would occur at short range: a surprise launch where the ht'ssile pops over the horizon, or leaks through the outer air battle—or what about a launch from the shore, when Navy ships are engaged in littoral
In a broader sense, however, the likelihood of a short-range first sighting is synonymous with hypothetical low radar Cfoss-section missiles. In any case, 10 ftiles is a nominal number. The time line °f the threat is severe whether the missile is first seen at 20, 40, or 60 miles. Indeed the hypothetical advent of a very- h'gh-speed threat can simply be considered to be a catalyst for one to recognize and address the antiship missile prob- eitl—particularly the sea-skimmer mis- s'Ie of any speed.
The problem. Success in defending a jjhip against a missile threat, where de- ense is layered, is measured as the prodUct of the kill probabilities of the sucCessive defense layers. The assumption °f a layered defense is useful for analy- Sls and is for the most part correct. To be [borough, however, one should note that hypothetical hard- and soft-kill systems can act—and with condensed time scales !®ay have to act—in tandem rather than In sequence, which would change slightly [he model equation. The equation that de- ’’nes ship layered defense is:
P = (l-P])x(l-P2)x(l-P3)x ... (l-pn)
Where capital P is the probability of a fissile hit on the ship and pj . . . pn are lhe probabilities of missile kills by successive layers of defense.
There are several critical points to be n°ted with respect to the equation. First, 'he only acceptable goal number for P, lbe probability of the missile hitting the ship, is a number approaching zero. This yiew is based on consideration of reCent naval incidents and predictions that 11 Would be easier for an attacker to im- Ptove missile warheads than it would be *0r a defender to improve armor, or the homage-control characteristics of a ship—although clearly every effort should be made to maximize these latter characteristics.
The second point to note with respect to the equation is that generally the pj . . . pn’s have large error bands. The success of a defensive system, be it a part of the outer air battle or a close- in, point-defense layer cannot be predicted with the same exactitude with which one might predict the ship’s average cruise fuel consumption—there are simply too many uncertainties and too little historical data. While this may seem to be a trivial statement, there is sometimes a tendency to attempt to develop exact probabilistic predictions.
Finally, it is to be noted that the p’s in the equation are not all the same. Clearly there are advantages to killing the launch platform and missile before missile launch—killing the missile in flight as far from the ship as possible.
There also are advantages to maximizing defense nearer the ship. In a most fundamental sense, however, it does not make a major difference in conventional scenarios whether the missile is killed at 30 miles or 1 mile. The important point is that P approach zero.
With respect to definitions, clearly a ship defending herself is in a point-defense role, no matter what the range of the incoming missile. For this discussion, however, point defense exists when the target is within the order of the distance to the horizon—several miles from the ship constitutes close- in point defense.
Ship point defense. While there are advantages to defense at a distance, there also are significant advantages to close-in defense. First, the target’s location can be known more accurately. The most significant fact, however, is that the targeted ship is the most likely platform to see our hypothetical low radar cross-section missile and the sighting will in all likelihood be at a close range.
That a missile has a low radar cross-section should not be considered in isolation. For radar, the likelihood of seeing a target to first order varies as the inverse fourth power of the distance from the target. (Note that in this first- order analysis, compounding factors such as the relationship with range of clutter, multipath effects, etc. are not considered.) No matter how small missile radar crosssections become in the future, the missile will be seen by the defending ship using radar at some close in range.
The argument is analogous for infrared systems, although the likelihood on a first-order basis of detection varies as the inverse second power of distance between target and detector. (Here again corresponding factors such as glitter, ship- target elevation effects, windows created by the horizon, etc., are not considered.) An infrared system is likely to see the missile at some close-in range, simply because of geometry. Electronic support measures (ESM) are not included as locating or targeting systems in this discussion. While great strides have been made, ESM at this time is considered mainly a cuing technique. Adequacy of sensors of all types is perhaps the critical issue for point defense.
The overall implication is that all reasonable paths must be followed to maximize the pj . . . pn’s for all layers of defense and minimize the probability of a missile hitting the ship. Reasonable implies use of an appropriate fraction of ship resources as well as reasonable in terms of a cost comparison with the value of a ship. Any system that adds a layer of de-
fense with a significant pn contribution must be considered—recognizing that the pn’s will never be known exactly. Another implication is that special emphasis must be given to the point-defense aspect of the overall problem. This is because a ship in its point-defense role may be the only vessel to sight and target the incoming missile.
Ground-launched missiles such as this MM40 Exocet threaten ships engaged near shore. The USS Ingraham (FFG-61), background, like the ill-fated Stark (FFG-31), mounts a single Mk-15 Phalanx.
The question of hard- versus soft- kill often arises with respect to ship point defense and electronic warfare terminal defense. In terms of this discussion, though, the issue is immaterial. What matters is the kill probability itself, regardless of whether it derives from a hard- or soft-kill system. Therefore, to the extent that us every gun, missile, directed-energy weapon hard-kill system is pursued, every reasonable radio frequency, infrared, electronic warfare decoy or countermeasure system also should be pursued.
The role of directed-energy weapons. In the longer term, such weapons have the potential to contribute significantly to close-in ship point defense. Their advantages include almost-instantaneous traverse onto a moving target—provided the pointing and tracking system has the necessary capabilities—and the greatest impact at short range. Instantaneous traverse is a particularly relevant advantage against a highly maneuverable incoming missile. Such systems, however, are not emphasized in the nearer-term architecture to be sketched in the next section because they will require a vigorous research and development program—and there is no guarantee that this will happen any time soon
A possible architecture. A desirable point-defense system hypothetically includes a grouping of integrated gun-missile systems plus a grouping of electronic warfare systems. Under this approach, multiple systems are mounted on the ship superstructure so as to provide 360- degree defense. The defensive missiles would be fired in the direction of the incoming target. It may be desirable to use both radar and infrared sensors and the systems may involve sensors dedicated to point defense. Electronic-support-measure cuing would be used where circumstances permit.
Given the short time available for point defense against incoming supersonic missiles, the combination of hard- and soft- kill systems must be controlled automatically—with, of course, the possibility of manual override. Both hard- and soft- kill systems must be either capable of almost instantaneous launch or—in the case of airborne decoys—sustainable for long periods of time. Based on a nominal 16-second detection, the desired intercept point for a hard-kill defensive missile should be at a point that optimizes acquisition and targeting but is still slightly beyond the close-in gun system range. An intercept point several miles from the ship should thus allow time to determine missile effectiveness before the gun system comes into play.
If the intercept point is only a short distance from the ship, short-range, highl) maneuverable defensive missiles may be the appropriate choice. The smaller the defensive missile, the more that can b£ carried. Note that a combined missile-gun defense system provides the opportunity to engage multiple missile threats simultaneously. The gun and missile, °r even multiple missiles, can be aimed n1 separate targets provided that the targe15 are in the same general orientation relative to the ship.
Should the gun system fail, the system should be capable of launching another missile for an intercept close to the ship- This could be less than one mile, whieh would probably preclude a verticu* launch. This second system would overlap the gun system and terminal electron^ warfare defense systems. As an alternative, a small directed-energy weap011 could be used for a last-ditch shot.
Because the defensive missiles mu5' travel at most several miles, they could, in principle, use fiber-opm guidance. The fiber-optic link would provide assured initial course information from the ship to each defensive missile in the expected dense electromagnetic environment. A reasonable approach would be to use the fiber-optic guidance for initia aiming of the missile with guidance information from shipboard radar of infrared equipment. As the defensive missile closes on the threat missile- on-board guidance could also be used to provide the best possible overall lock on the target.
Since acquisition and targeting 0 the incoming missile is critical to any point-defense system, other shipboard sensing systems not dedicated to point defense might play a role. It is likely, however, particularly with the advent of lower radar cross-section missiles, that dedicated systems wn be necessary.
This architectural sketch resemble5 some other conceptualized point-defense systems, but it also has significant differences. Regardless, it is possible to develop a viable defense against a hyP0'
thetical high-speed, low radar-cross-sec tion, sea-skimming missile. Variations the architecture are, of course, possible- The point is that appropriate point defense for the future—a necessary priority—can be achieved.
Dr. Sacks is the Technology Base Manager at tl>'e Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., where I he oversees electronic warfare and surveillance pr0 1 grams related to point defense.