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Occasionally, to stimulate the thinking of their officers, the Soviet Defense Press publishes open literature and official reviews of selected Western systems and tactics. A recent publication titled “Winged Rockets in Naval Combat” described Soviet perceptions of modem winged rockets technology, tactics, ship’s defense against winged rockets, and the Soviet conclusions, in four sections. The third section contained a chapter “Ship Defenses Organization”, describing the U.S. fleet AAW and ASW organization improvements between 1975 and 1985.

Apparently, the integration of LOS ANGELES class submarines with the surface fleet impressed them. They compared the 1975 “weak” organization of the U.S. carrier groups, and the 1985 improved organization in Figure 1. The Soviet description of these organizations follows. In this translation and review, “let the Soviets speak for themselves,” with the reviewer’s comments in brackets to clarify Soviet jargon and context.

Against a severe threat of long-range winged missiles, they (the U.S.) placed at great ranges from the aviation-carriers early detection special ‘dangerous’ (armed or supported by armed platforms) anti-submarine defenses and long-range radar detection — warning aircraft, and ships with powerful sonar and radars. Some gain in effectiveness was expected with the addition of surface based aircraft, particularly with long-range warning and control aircraft systems — AWACS — used as patrol aviation, and substantial oceanic and continental systems of air and antisubmarine defense.

In the thinking of foreign specialists, air and antisubmarine defenses of aviation carrier multipurpose groups had to be organized in four zones: self defense, near, middle, and far. The zone of self defense (at distances 3 to 6 km from the defended central objects –carriers) used surface to air missile complexes, artillery or guns, and ship based radio-electronic combat equipment.

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Escort ships and helicopters acted in the near zone to 37 km. Inside the escorts, the central ships formed a circular screen at distances of 7 to 9 km from the carrier, where they could about equally well detect distant torpedo firing submarines, bombers, and low flying antiship missiles. Helicopters were stationed ahead on the course of the carrier at 18 to 28 km. In the middle zone (to 140 km), the fighters, anti-submarine aircraft and anti-submarine shock group ships were stationed. In the far zone (to 330 km), the antisubmarine defense was guaranteed by ship groups of radiolocation {radar-ESM) cruisers, aircraft patrols of long-range aircraft and fighter patrols.

In the improved organization of defense against anti-ship missiles and their platforms (Figure 1, 1985), the far zone of anti-submarine defenses extended to more than 460 km. The far zone was larger because multi-mission submarines (independently and cooperating with surface ships) could launch attacks at very large distances from the center of the battle order.

Even if there was a reliable zone of defense {experience in the second world and local wars showed exceptions to the complexity of the improved organization) self defense by the ships was still valuable. {Comment: Na”ow waters such as fiords, straits, or the Baltic may lack room for the full deployment of the 1985 style organization’s near, middle and far zones.]

Reviewer’s comments: The Soviet depiction of a submarine detection satellite was puzzling, since the satellite class was not identified by the Soviets. Clearly the 1985 USN battle groups with the LOS ANGELES class submarines was seen as an improvement by the Soviet Ministry of Defense.

A Soviet officer’s training teaches the importance of weapons deployed in depth (both vertically and horizontally), with dense cover on the main axes. The USN fleet organization of 1985 gave deep active protection supported by sensors found in space and down to the seabed.

From discussions in other Soviet publications, Soviet planners want to kill the USN submarines, carriers and other cruise missile platforms before the U.S. missiles are launched. Soviet staff planning doctrine for attack on a defended, distributed complex requires avoiding the strong points by maneuver, and penetration along weaker axes. The strong points of Figure 1 are the LOS ANGELES class submarines and the F-14, TOMCATs, working with the E-2C, HAWKEYE. A Soviet fondness for maneuver tactics would suggest preferential attack against the ORION P-3s, and LAMPs helicopters as the keys for the Soviet submarines to penetrate to weapon-launch range. Soviet radio-electronic combat doctrine to degrade target data collection and delay data transfer would call for attack on the SOSUS and satellite systems links to the USN battle control center.

As a humorous aside, when the Soviet text and figures were directly translated, they were still nearly unreadable, with 32 acronyms of their own plus the acronyms SOSUS, A WACS and other U.S. nomenclature. The burden of Soviet and U.S. acronyms in the official ponderous prose was too much even for them in this book. As an aid to the readers, they put two pages of Soviet acronyms in the front of the book. The readers were left to struggle with the USN acronyms and nomenclature.

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