Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pondering the Arctic

After fighting with a friend about arctic security/sovereignty (a semi-big issue up here in Canada), I had an epiphany:  why not learn from the Russians and especially the Chinese.  Much has been written about the Chinese strategy to deny the US Navy/Air Force access to the South China Sea, and now the US is concerned about Russian A2-AD weapons in Kaliningrad and elsewhere.

Canada has been focused on building ships and a port while pondering which CF-18 replacement might be handy way up north.  But if the big challenges are ships (research/whatever) and planes, then invest in stuff that thwarts such stuff.  While subs are super-handy for denying access in large bodies of water and especially under the water threats, they are also super-expensive and will always be scarce (Canada will never buy enough, sorry).

But missile batteries that aim to knock down planes and sink ships?  That can be done at a fraction of the cost.  Staffing them?  That is harder, but perhaps remote controlled?  Or just rapidly deployable?  Given how long it takes to get to the Arctic from anywhere by ship (also through straits controlled/monitored by the Americans), one would have plenty of time to move a battery of anti-ship missiles to key spots in the high north.  Where?  Check out this pic:
Thanks to Steve Daly,
Of course, missiles (and mines dropped by planes) are not the kind of things that get generals and admirals nor politicians seeking big projects excited.  One would still need ships and planes for a variety of uses, but if one wants "effective control" of vast hunks of territory, either predeployed A2-AD systems or easily deployed ones make a great deal of sense to this armchair amateur strategist.

Of course, for land based ops, there is always this.  H/T to  Chris Zeitz @PrivateSnuffy

1 comment:

KevinFitzakerley said...

Area Denial seems like the easiest way to control territories like the Canadian Arctic as you mentioned.

Its a really interesting topic given how barren the Arctic is, when you look at the actual threats and the fact that it may be a only a handful of those threats, and they may be spread over vast geographic areas, that makes area denial a much more complicated problem.

Namely the fact that a lot of fixed locations would be needed to cover the area, and mobile ground based Aerial Denial assets will take quite awhile to move where is needed in the Arctic, the lack of infrastructure in the region make this a difficult option.

From my perspective the thought shouldn't be focused on area denial assets and the like, but infrastructure expansion.

More Paved runways and up to date infrastructure means easier means of transit in general, which obviously benefits more than just the need to be able to control the area from unwanted visitors, SAR & Sovereignty patrols come to mind.

With the Runways and the like providing greater freedom of movement for the Fighter Aircraft and UAV's (King of Area Denial)tasked with arctic missions, all that would be needed is weapons e.g. the Joint Strike Missile for Uavs & Fighters and the Meteor Bvraam for just the fighters, youd get the same benefit of control via Area Denial, but with added benefits long term.