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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘aircraft carrier’

IDF Concern Rising Over Russian Arms, Military Presence in Middle East

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

No one’s admitting it publicly, but in private conversations senior Israeli air force and navy officers are expressing increasing concern over the intensity of the Russian military presence in the Middle East.

“We were surprised by the quantity and quality of the Russian weapons we have seen appearing here,” a source told Israel’s Channel 2 television news in a report that appeared Sunday.

The issue has dramatically affected the way Israeli air and sea forces plan their strategic operations.

Israeli Air Force and Navy forces were accustomed to carrying out their operations in relative freedom from any real threats up to this point, Channel 2 reported.

But foreign sources quoted the IDF as saying Russian forces have been carrying out reconnaissance missions, attacks on arms convoys, building unconventional weapons arsenals and sailing against distant shores – carrying out large-scale operations with many personnel to gather intelligence without interruption.

At this point, the situation has changed. It used to be customary to say, “If you really want to know what the president of the United States is planning, check where his aircraft are going.”

If so, the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, is sailing in the North Sea on its way to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with the IDF closely watching its movements. The vessel is expected to dock off the coast of Syria in the next few weeks.

Hana Levi Julian

Escalation: Russian Aircraft Carrier Headed for the Mediterranean

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, has embarked on a long voyage through the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the fleet’s press service announced on Saturday.

According to the announcement, the force on its way to the Syrian shore “consists of the aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, the Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser, large anti-submarine ships Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov and support vessels.” Once in the Mediterranean, according to the Telegraph, the Kuznetsov will take up position off the coast of Syria for four to five months, possibly using its complement of 20 MIG 29, 12 SU-33, and Kamov helicopters to carry out airstrikes.

The first announcement regarding the combat deployment of the Kuznetsov was made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on September 21. On Oct. 10, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov announced the establishment of a permanent Russian naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus,.

According to the fleet’s statement, the goal of the Kuznetsov’s voyage is “to ensure naval presence in the important areas of the World Oceans. Special focus will be made on safeguarding security of maritime traffic and other types of maritime economic activity of Russia and also on responding to the new kinds of modern threats such as piracy and international terrorism.”

The Admiral Kuznetsov and Pyotr Velikiy’s previous voyage through the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean took place in 2014. This is the Admiral Kuznetsov’s eighth voyage.

A NATO naval source told the Telegraph that the Russian vessels could pass Britain as early as next week, claiming that the Russian move is “not catching us by surprise, we are working up what to do and we are all over it. The most likely thing is that they will go through the North Sea, down the Dover Strait and through the Channel. They might even stop off the North East coast to fly for a bit.”

The Admiral Kuznetsov is the only Russian aircraft carrier. According to world media, this 55,000-ton carrier is no match for the 100,000-ton US Nimitz-class carriers.

Russia has had a naval facility in Tartus since the mid-1980s, and it remained intact despite the collapse of the Soviet Union. “At the time, defense ministers were busy winding down the Russian presence abroad,” retired colonel-general Leonid Ivashov, head of the International Center of Geopolitical Analysis, a Moscow-based think tank, told Russia Beyonf The Headlines. “Over the past 25 years, we have lost bases in Qatar and Yemen, whereas Tartus has miraculously survived.”

According to Ivashov, the Russian naval facility in Syria currently consists of a floating workshop, which can provide only basic maintenance and repairs to ships. “It houses very basic facilities for ships passing through the Mediterranean. In Tartus, crews can replenish their food and ammunition supplies as well as carry out basic repairs of their ships,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Mount Whitney command ship of the US Navy entered the Black Sea on October 11, and the Russian Black Sea fleet and Russian missile complexes have immediately drawn a bead on it. The Command of the US Sixth Fleet is yet to reveal the goals of the Mount Whitney’s journey. According to the US military doctrine, the Black Sea is within the US operational Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility. But international conventions dictate that foreign ships may not remain in the Black Sea for more than 21 days.

JNi.Media

Iranian Rocketfire ‘Close Call’ With US Vessel in Strait of Hormuz

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards fired a rocket close to an American military vessel on Saturday, in the Strait of Hormuz.

The missile was test-fired 1.3 kilometers (barely 3/4 of a mile) from the USS Harry S. Truman.

U.S. Central Command told Reuters the drill was “provocative, unsafe and unprofessional.”

The rockets were directed off the carrier’s starboard side, and were fired just as the U.S. carrier neared the end of the strait, military sources said.

The USS Harry S. Truman and the other vessels were in the “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” at the time, a U.S. military official told NBC News. The USS Buckley, a French frigate and other commercial traffic were also present in the strait.

As the ships were transiting through, the Iranian navy suddenly announced over maritime radio that a live-fire exercise was about to begin. The navy ordered all vessels – which at the time were not in Iranian territorial waters – to clear the area.

Just 23 minutes later, an Iranian Navy fast and short attack craft began firing several unguided rockets “in close proximity,” according to U.S. Central Command spokesperson Navy Commander Kyle Raines.

“These actions were highly provocative, unsafe, and unprofessional and call into question Iran’s commitment to the security of a waterway vital to international commerce,” Raines said.

“While most interactions between Iranian forces and the U.S. Navy are professional, safe, and routine, this event was not and runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons,” Raines added in the unusually irate statement.

On November 16 2015, the USS Harry S. Truman, with assigned Carrier Air Wing Seven, began a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation, the U.S. Navy confirmed. Truman can travel in excess of 30 knots, and has a crew of approximately 3,000. With the embarked air wing and staffs, the number rises to about 5,000.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama on Syria: Low-Quality ‘Jaw-Jaw’

Monday, August 26th, 2013

It being the silly season in Washington, there had to be a rumor of war.  Well, a rumor of a cruise missile strike.  Well, OK, a rumor that U.S. Navy warships were ordered to “close their ranges” with Syria in case Obama gets permission from the UN to mount an attack, if there’s clear evidence that the Syrian regime gassed its people.

That last point is actually an exact characterization of Obama’s posture, which he expressed in the interview with CNN aired on Friday:

“There are rules of international law,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work, and, you know, those are considerations that we have to take into account.”

So cool your jets, people.  All we’re doing right now is talking about naval force.  Suddenly we’re talking about it a lot, but it’s not clear there’s any big point to it.

A few discussion items.  One, the deepest point of Syria is about 380 statute miles (600km) from the coast, but almost everything we might want to attack, to affect the Assad regime’s prosecution of the war, is less than 100 miles (160km) from the coast.  The Tomahawk cruise missile, in the variant likely to be used (TLAM-C Block III), has a range of 1000 statute miles (1,600km).  The less-likely TLAM-D has a range of 800 statute miles (1,250km).  So U.S. Navy warships don’t have to get closer to Syria than the open waters of the central or east-central Mediterranean Sea.

This, in turn, means that no public explanations would ever be necessary – our warships are often in the central Mediterranean – and that the explanations are therefore being given, as verbosely as possible, for a reason.  Presumably, it is to highlight, with fanfare, the fact that Obama is contemplating using cruise missiles against Assad.  And that, presumably, is meant to warn and/or deter Assad.

Assuming Assad has the means to view clips from the CNN interview, or read transcripts like the bit from Politico excerpted above, he will of course be clear that action by Obama is contingent on permission from the UN.  (If his power blinks out, the Iranians or Russians can keep him updated on matters of this kind.)  Assad has good reason to assume Obama won’t get that permission.  Russia and China have blocked UN Security Council resolutions against Syria on multiple occasions, and continue to defang or veto them.

Of course, making transparently worthless threats to long-time despots has been a pattern with Team Obama.

I’m skeptical that we have any intention of taking action against Syria – even punitive action, with no view to an outcome or end-state.  Maybe Team Obama imagines itself to be in a “dialogue” with Assad; i.e., the ball is now in Assad’s court, to send some signal that he’d rather not be hit with cruise missiles, and maybe we can work something out here.

Or perhaps the verbal gambit is intended for Russia, which has way more warships sitting off Syria’s coast than we do.  (Note: from the count at the unofficial Turkish Navy website, Bosphorus Naval News, it appears that there are currently 5-6 Russian navy ships in or near Syria, with one of those being an intelligence collector.)   Hey, Russkiy dudes, we might just think even harder about hitting your boy, if you don’t take some order to him.  Don’t make us escalate this gradually.

That would be the 1960s-era, Robert S. McNamara/Brain Trust frame of reference.  All we need is some evidence-of-our-determination patrols off the coast by intelligence ships – if we still had any – to complete the retro picture.

But there is every possibility I’m overthinking this, and the only thing that’s going on is that the Obama administration is making tough-sounding noises to get the media off its back about Syria.

In other naval notes:

1.  USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75), which finally deployed from Norfolk in July, nearly six months after her originally scheduled departure date, has been in the Central Command area of responsibility since 18 August, when she went through the Suez Canal (video).  So there is no carrier or carrier air wing positioning itself off Syria.  Speculation about using Truman in a strike on Syria is invalid.

J. E. Dyer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/obama-on-syria-low-quality-jaw-jaw/2013/08/26/

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