Low-cost coastal defenses

Discussion in 'Land Forces' started by Kunal Biswas, May 29, 2014.

  1. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Low-cost coastal defenses

    The time of D-Day-like massive amphibious invasions may be over, but now more and more nations are buying amphibious assault vessels. The threat of an enemy landing forces on a nation's shore for an armed raid or even an invasion has probably increased for smaller nations due to this proliferation. That raises the question of how a poorer nation might defend its beaches from an amphibious assault.


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    - Aircraft. The best defense is of course to keep enemy ships far away from your coastline. Attack aircraft are the most potent anti-shipping weapon in modern arsenals. Many poorer nations have no air force to speak of. Also, if your enemy can afford amphibious vessels, they can probably afford a better air force than a poor nation's even if the latter has one. However, if the enemy's airbases are far enough away that they cannot support their amphibious assault with fixed-wing aircraft, that is a situation where just a couple inexpensive MPAs or helos with AShMs may be an adequate area-denial defense strategy. Armed helos, especially helo gunships, can not only attack an approaching amphibious attack group with AShMs, they are also among the best weapons to hunt and destroy smaller landing craft.

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    - Submarines. Subs are an effective way to keep enemy amphibious forces away from your shores. They are clearly one of the most potent threats to ships. Unfortunately they tend to be extremely expensive to purchase and operate, require a technically sophisticated equipment and personnel to maintain, have an extremely steep learning curve before they can be used safely and effectively, and they represent a whole lot of resources tied up in each platform. This makes subs impractical for most poorer nations (though many have purchased them anyways). But now smaller, cheaper coastal defense and minisubs have appeared (reappeared?) on the market, making them a viable option once again for poorer nations. The presence of small subs greatly complicates planning even for the most sophisticated navies.

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    - Mines. Sea mines are probably one of the best inexpensive naval defense weapons. In the past floating sea mines were completely indiscriminate and even your defensive fields of tethered mines could be a serious threat to your own ships. Nowdays the Chinese and others are selling extremely sophisticated rocket-powered seafloor 'rising mines'. These smart mines have pattern recognition software that can identify specific vessels by their sound signature, and will only attack the vessels it is programmed to. Many other nations offer seafloor mines that are simply encapsulated lightweight homing torpedos that are automatically launched when the sound signature of an enemy vessel is detected. Laying fields of these mines in strategic sea approaches and off of beaches suitable for amphibious landings is a great and more affordable deterrent. Clearing such fields is a difficult task in perfect conditions, much less when minesweepers are trying to do that right offshore while their enemy is shooting at them. Just as a minefield protected by machineguns and mortars is an extremely difficult land defense to penetrate, a field of sea mines protected by coastal weaponry is an extremely difficult naval defense to penetrate.


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    - AShMs. Antiship missiles are the standard naval attack and defense weapon today. They are expensive, but offer a lot of capability for the price. They capable of being launched from ships, attack or patrol aircraft, helos, submarines, trucks and fixed ground launch rails. They come in size ranging from the tiny 240 pound TL-10 and 300 pound Sea Skua up to the giant supersonic 'carrier killers' weighing 3000+ kg.

    AShMs have many advantages. These systems generally do not require a lot of expensive maintenance, and they do not require a huge amount of training to operate. Their kill rate is usually quite high, making them a potent deterrent. They also, unlike aircraft, can be launched in almost any weather and are available for instant use 24/7. They are difficult to defend against. Long-range AShMs are widely available on the market, enabling the defense of a very large area with just a few launch platforms and missiles. Poorer countries can afford or already has many of the possible launch platform options.

    There are a few disadvantages. Before one may launch an AShM, if you expect to hit anything you need targeting data. If the enemy is vigorously jamming your RADAR and putting up a strong air defense screen you may not be able to even detect enemy ships until they are already far too close to your shores. And the AShM's RADAR and nav correction radio uplink can be jammed as well, and chaff and IR decoys fired by the targeted vessel may successfully confuse the AShM's terminal guidance, resulting in a miss.

    New AShM designs have overcome some of these issues. The two main strategies to overcome warship defenses seem to be stealth and supersonic terminal speed. The former is embodied in NSM/JSW. The missile is a subsonic low-observable design with GPS navigation and a passive IIR seeker. Since the missile is stealthy and emits no RF it is quite difficult for warship defenses to detect, lock onto and engage in time. The supersonic missiles rely upon sheer terminal velocity cutting the response time of warship defensive systems dramatically, combined with a huge armored warhead that will, once on the correct supersonic terminal ballistic path, continue on to penetrate the target even after the entire body of the missile is destroyed.

    Poorer nations may already have armed trainer aircraft, helos or MPAs capable of launching AShMs. Another option is inexpensive missile boats, which can be as small as the 45-ton Israel Dvora-class fast patrol boat used by Taiwan as a light FAC carrying two of their Hsiung Feng I anti-ship missiles. And for shore-launched options we have Exocet, NSM, RBS-15, BRAHMOS and too many Russian systems and their Chinese/Iranian/North Korean knockoff clones to list. Lot of other nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and Indonesia are now domestically producing their own AShMs, with more shore-launched options in that pack. Iran uses fixed shore launch ramps for a number of AShMs, and there is a lot of talk about literally hundreds of fixed AShM rails in hardened hidden revetments installed all along Taiwan's western coast.

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    - Ballistic missiles and heavy artillery rockets. This is a fairly new naval ordnance sector. With the advent of precision guidance for surface-to-surface tactical missiles and arty rockets they have become quite viable coastal defense systems. The U.S. Navy is adapting the TACMS tactical ballistic missile fired from the Army's MRLS box launcher into a VLS land attack missile for Mk.41 cells. There is a facet of that program investigating the feasibility of using the TACMS as an antiship weapon. If that comes to pass I imagine that antiship capability might be made available for the M270 and M142 MLRS systems. nations are also developing a ballistic missile capability for their large MRL systems, so more tactical ballistic missile options should appear on the market in coming years. Heavy multiple rocket launchers with precision guided rockets can also be used for coastal defense, especially when coupled with drones or other platforms acting as target designators.

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    - Artillery. Coastal artillery was the time-honored workhorse of coastal defenses right up until the recent appearance of AShMs. Thereafter it was generally considered obsolete. This is curious because Nassar used 180mm RADAR-directed guns to bottle up the port of Eliat for years back in the day, and that capability has in no way disappeared. Now new technical developments in extending the range of artillery and in precision guided shells has once again made coastal artillery a quite viable defensive tool.

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  3. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    - ATGMs. These are going to be one of the most useful weapons to attack landing craft and 'amtraks' (amphibious armored landing vehicles like the AAV). Norway uses a ground-fired Hellfire ATGM launcher for coastal defense in their tight fjords, even against larger vessels. Finland does the same with Spike-ER (which is really a lot more than just an ATGM).

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    - Mortars . These are emplaced crew-served weapons. In the past mortars were only really useful against landing craft when they stopped on the beach and could be accurately targeted, but by then they had already delivered their troops. That has changed with precision-guided mortar bombs. For such moving targets, LASER- or IIR-guided bombs would be the best choice. The Spaniards also make a 120mm submunition-carrying mortar bomb designed to take out both troops and light armored vehicles that would be cheaper than PGMs but more effective than unitary bombs.

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    - Beach obstacles. I need not go into much detail here as we are all familiar with the best example of this, Hitler's Atlantic Wall. I suspect many Taiwanese western beaches have some similar defenses. Again, if you have a few strategic beaches to protect these kinds of fixed defenses can be a useful adjunct to a proper fluid defense.

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    - Air defenses. If you allow your enemy unfettered air operations the chances of their amphibious assault on your shores succeeding go up dramatically and the survivability of your own forces plummets. Effective SAM systems are a must. Without them you are doomed. Shoulder-fired SAMs have gotten really good, but so have attack aircraft and PGMs. Modern aircraft weapons can strike with deadly accuracy from beyond the range of MANPADS, so you need an effective medium-range SAM system at the very least if you are facing fixed-wing attack aircraft. If all the enemy has is helos, then MANPADS and AA guns may be adequate. Having air superiority yourself is optimum, of course, but if you did the enemy would never attempt a landing anyways.


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    Note : Your beach defenses need to be survivable in the face of naval gunfire and attack from the air. Cheap systems usually mean no armor, making them extremely vulnerable to the inevitable preparatory beach bombardment. For a poor man's army, that means you must dig in. To alleviate the problem of the inflexibility of static defenses, it is best to prepare a lot of fortified positions connected with a system of tunnels, concealed trails and/or covered trenches that allow your forces to fire from cover yet still move unimpeded when required. Mobile forces must hide, preferably in a protected location very close to the defended beach. You will also need to have your logistics already in place as the enemy is not going to allow you to freely move large quantities of war materials around. Preposition of materials in critical strategic areas is vital. The supply dumps should be secure, as dispersed as is practical, and very well concealed.

    Shared By @Ought Six at MP.net ..
     
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  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    This thread is about Military fortification, You don`t seem to understand the context here ..

     
  5. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    MBDA presents the MARTE COASTAL DEFENCE SYSTEM

     
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  6. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Club-M Coastal Missile System

     
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  7. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    130 mm coastal defense gun A-222

     
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