Showing posts from March, 2018

Missile Loadouts: Japanese Helicopter Destroyers (1973-2018)

While aviation-heavy escort vessels were employed by several navies in the 20th century, the JMSDF stuck with them the longest. Intended to operate as the centerpiece of units that included guided missile ships and general purpose escorts, the Japanese helicopter destroyers were primarily valued for their airgroup. However, they carried a substantial armament of their own and remained fully capable of engaging enemy forces directly. The Haruna-class The two ship  Haruna -class were the first such vessels. Commissioned in 1973 and 1974, their original missile armament was an eight cell ASROC box launcher with eight reloads stored in the superstructure. While this may not seem like much, Haruna  was the first Japanese ship to carry ASROC reloads, which meant that her missile armament was actually second heaviest in the JMSDF (after its lone Tartar ship, Amatsukaze ). Haruna in 1973: 16x ASROC Beginning with Hiei in 1984 and followed by Haruna herself in 1988, these two destroyers

WWII Submarine Forces (1939-1945)

The German Type VIID submarine U-218 Submarine warfare is an iconic aspect of WWII. However, attention has long been focused on the U-Boats of the Kriegsmarine while the undersea arms of the other navies were largely neglected. Recently, there has been growing appreciation for the effectiveness of the American submarines, but the Japanese are still widely disparaged for not using their submarines correctly and little is heard about the British or Italians at all. This post is intended to provide basic overview of the size and composition of the submarine arms of the five great navies of WWII, in order to lay the foundation for a later analysis of their wartime effectiveness. Force Size The following chart include all submarines that served during the war, excluding dedicated training submarines, transports, minisubs, and manned torpedoes. What immediately leaps out is that the German submarine force was 40% larger than those of the other four navies combined - easily

Missile Loadouts: Japanese Air Warfare Ships (1965-2018)

Since the end of World War II, Japan has been one of America's closest allies and the recipient of some of the most advanced weapons the United States could offer. Naval forces have been no exception, and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force has a rich history of guided missile ships. As the title says, this post will only cover the air warfare ships of the JMSDF, while the armaments of its other warships will be detailed at a later date. Amatsukaze Japan's first guided missile ship was the destroyer Amatsukaze in 1965. She was armed with a single rail Mk 13 launcher for Tartar, and carried a total of 40 missiles. This was the same armament as the American Farragut -class that had commissioned 1959, and Amatsukaze  was the first foreign vessel built with Tartar. While she was considered highly successful, her high cost meant that she was the only ship of her class. Amatsukaze in 1965: 40x Tartar As Japan's sole guided missile ship for over a decade, Amatsukaze

Missile Threat - USSR vs China (1988 & 2018)

One of the best uses of history is to gain perspective on the present. Today, there is much talk in naval circles about A2/AD environments and the antiship missile threat in a potential war with China. However, there is surprisingly little reference to the very similar threat the Soviet Navy posed not so long ago. This comparison is particularly apt as the maritime strategies of the USSR of 1988 and the PRC of 2018 have much in common. Both were primarily land powers that had developed a defensive navy with significant blue water reach. In 1988, the Soviet Navy fielded a force of 64 submarines, 85 surface ships, and roughly 365 bombers equipped with some 1798 antiship missiles. In comparison, the Chinese Navy of 2018 has 48 submarines, 112 surface ships, and roughly 180 bombers and fighters that carry around 1590 missiles. While both navies also fielded missile craft and shore launchers, platforms of this nature cannot seriously contesting sea control and will be excluded from this