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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014






Warship Vulnerability

Technical Report APA-TR-2005-0701

by Dr Carlo Kopp, SMAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng
July, 2005
Updated July 2008
Updated November 2010
©  2005 - 2010 Carlo Kopp

Surface warships and transport vessels are highly vulnerable - and susceptible -  to air and missile attacks. This ugly reality has been demonstrated repeatedly since the early 1940s, but the message seems to be forgotten with remarkable regularity.

The advent of modern anti-ship cruise missiles, especially types with sea-skimming trajectories, adds a further dimension to an issue which was well proven during the Second World War. It is worth observing that a large number of Allied vessels were sunk or damaged by German Fritx-X and Hs-293 guided glidebombs during that period [Click for more ...].

The first 'modern' casualty of an antishipping missile attack was the Israeli destroyer Eilat, sunk by four Styx ASCMs launched by Soviet supplied fast missile boats, operated by Egypt.

It is also worth observing that the last major campaign involving sustained aerial and missile attacks on a surface fleet was during the Falklands conflict, 23 years ago. It represents the only genuinely useful case study since the
Second World War.  While AAW and ASMD systems have improved considerably since then, so have the anti-ship cruise missiles in the global market.

British losses in warships and lives would have been considerably greater were it not for the persistent problems experienced by the Argentines with fusing in the Exocet ASCMs and 1,000 lb dumb bombs used in these attacks.

It is of importance that many of the key problems experienced in the Falklands are inherent to the use of warships without protective AEW&C, aerial refuelling tanker and fighter cover, and thus cannot be wished away by putting bigger radars and more defensive systems on warships. In this type of combat, the initiative always lies with the attacker
[Click for more ...].

Suffice to say the lethality of first generation sea-skimmers and 1,000 lb dumb bombs cannot compare against the contemporary weapons being acquired across the Pacific Rim and Indian Ocean regions [Click for more ...].

This webpage will display examples of damage effects inflicted on surface vessels by anti-shipping cruise missiles, and air delivered bombs.


Further Reading:


  1. Air Power Australia - July 2007 - Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire C
  2. Air Power Australia - July 2007 - Soviet Maritime Reconnaissance, Targeting, Strike and Electronic Combat Aircraft
  3. Air Power Australia - January 2007 - Regional Precision Guided Munitions
  4. Air Power Australia - January 2007 - Xian H-6 Badger
  5. Australian Aviation  - June/September 1983 - Antishipping Weapons and Naval Air Defence
  6. Australian Aviation  - March 1988 - MDC AGM-84A Harpoon and AGM-84E SLAM
  7. Australian Aviation  - July 1988 - Maritime Strike - The Soviet Perspective
  8. Australian Aviation  - September 2000 - Sunburns, Yakhonts, Clubs and the Region
  9. Australian Aviation  - July 2004 - Asia's Advanced Precision Guided Munitions
  10. Air Power Australia - July 2005 - Early Tomahawk Variants - BGM/RGM/AGM-109 Tomahawk/GCLM/MRASM
  11. D Day - The British Task Force lands at San Carlos - 21st May 1982 @ MoD
  12. Air Power Australia - July 2006 - Dawn of the Smart Bomb


Editor's Note: If you have material to contribute, especially photographs or information on target damage, please contact the APA Editor-in-Chief.

Contributed Links:


Anti-Shipping Strike Combat Losses - Guided Munitions in World War II

Warship/Vessel
Type/Class
Campaign/Operation
Year
Cause
Damage
Notes
HMS Bideford
Sloop
ASW Patrol - Biscay 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMS Landguard
Sloop ASW Patrol - Biscay 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMS Egret
Corvette
ASW Patrol - Biscay
1943
Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb
Sunk
194 dead
HMCS Athabaskan
Destroyer ASW Patrol - Biscay 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMS Intrepid
Destroyer
Aegean
1943
Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk
-
RHS Vasillisa Olga
Destroyer
Aegean 1943
Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk
-
HMS Dulverton
Destroyer Aegean 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
HMS Rockwood
Destroyer Aegean 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
SS Delius
Transport Atlantic 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMT Rohna
Troopship
KMF-26 Mediterranean
1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk 1152 dead
HMS Inglefield
Destroyer Anzio
1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk
35 dead
SS Elihu Yale
Transport Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk 12 dead
SS Samuel Huntingdon
Transport Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
LCT-35
Landing Craft
Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
USS Herbert C Jones
Destroyer Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMS Jervis
Destroyer Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMHS St David
Hospital Ship Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
HMHS St  Andrew
Hospital Ship Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
USS Prevail
Minesweeper
Anzio 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
HMS Boadicea
Destroyer
Normandy 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk 175 dead
USS Meredith
Destroyer Normandy 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
LST-282 Landing Ship St Raphael, France
1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
LST-312 Landing Ship Salerno 1944 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Damaged -
RN Roma
Battleship
Cape Testa - Sardinia
1943 SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb
Sunk
1352 dead
RN Littorio
Battleship Cape Testa - Sardinia 1943 SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb Damaged
-
USS Philadelphia
Cruiser
Salerno 1943
SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb Damaged
injuries
HMS Warspite
Battleship Salerno 1943 SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb Damaged
9 dead
USS Savannah
Cruiser Salerno 1943 SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb Damaged 200 dead
HMHS Newfoundland
Hospital Ship
Salerno 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
SS Bushrod Washington
Transport Salerno 1943 Hs-293 rocket propelled glidebomb Sunk -
HMS Uganda
Cruiser Salerno 1943 SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb Damaged 16 dead
HMS Spartan
Cruiser Anzio
1944 SD-1400X Fritz-X glidebomb Sunk 46 dead

Refer Francesco Cestra - The Sinking of the Battleship Roma

Anti-Shipping Strike Combat Losses - Post 1966

Warship/Vessel
Type/Class
Campaign/Operation
Year
Cause
Damage
Notes
USS Liberty
AGTR-5 SIGINT
Arab/Israeli Conflict
1967
multiple air attacks (+ torpedo boats)
Damaged
34 dead
Eilat (Israel)
Destroyer
Arab/Israeli Conflict
1967
4 x P-15 Styx ASCM
Sunk
47 dead
PNS Khaibar  Destroyer
India/Pakistan Conflict 1971
P-15 Styx ASCM
Sunk
-
PNS Muhaviz
Minesweeper
India/Pakistan Conflict 1971 P-15 Styx ASCM Sunk
-
PNS Shahjahan  Destroyer
India/Pakistan Conflict 1971 P-15 Styx ASCM Damaged
-
PNS Dacca
Fleet tanker
India/Pakistan Conflict 1971 multiple P-15 Styx ASCM Damaged -
Venus Challenger  Transport
India/Pakistan Conflict 1971 P-15 Styx ASCM Sunk
-
HMS Antelope
Type 21 Frigate
Falklands / Operation Corporate
1982
2 x 1,000 lb dumb bomb
Sunk
2 dead
HMS Antrim County Destroyer
Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 dumb bomb
Damaged
-
HMS Ardent Type 21 Frigate Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 multiple dumb bomb/rocket
Sunk
22 dead
HMS Argonaut
Leander Frigate
Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 2 x 1,000 lb dumb bomb Damaged 2 dead
HMS Broadsword Type 22 Frigate Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 1 x 1,000 lb dumb bomb Damaged
4 injured
HMS Coventry
Type 42 Destroyer
Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 2 x 1,000 lb dumb bomb
Sunk
19 dead
HMS Glamorgan
County Destroyer Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 MM38 Exocet ASCM
Damaged
13 dead
HMS Glasgow
Type 42 Destroyer Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 dumb bomb
Damaged
-
HMS Sheffield
Type 42 Destroyer Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 AM39 Exocet ASCM
Burned/Sunk
20 dead
RFA Sir Galahad
LSL
Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 multiple dumb bombs
Burned/Sunk 48 dead
MV Atlantic Conveyor
RORO Transport
Falklands / Operation Corporate 1982 AM39 Exocet ASCM
Burned/Sunk 12 dead
USS Stark
FFG7 Frigate
Persian Gulf
1987
2 x AM39 Exocet ASCM
Damaged
37 dead
Joshan (Iran)
Combattante-II FPB
Operation Praying Mantis
1988
2 x AGM-84 ASCM
Sunk
-
Sahand (Iran)
Saam Class Frigate
Operation Praying Mantis 1988 multiple AGM-84 ASCM / GBU-10 LGB
Sunk
-
Sabalan (Iran)
Saam Class Frigate
Operation Praying Mantis 1988 multiple GBU-12 LGB
Damaged
-
INS Hanit (Israel)
Sa'ar 5  Missile Boat
Lebanon Blockade
2006
C-802 (CSS-N-8 Saccade) ASCM
Damaged 4  dead


Combat Damage Imagery




The first capital ship to be lost to a guided munition attack was the 45,000 tonne Vittorio Veneto class battleship RN Roma, which burned and sank after being hit by two PC1400X Fritz X radio-controlled glidebombs on the 9th September, 1943. The weapons were delivered by II/KG100 flying Do-217K-2 bombers from Istres in France, with the strike credited to Major Benhard Jopp, Luftwaffe. This attack killed 1352 personnel, including Admiral Carlo Bergamini, Chief of Naval Staff of the RN (RN).






Type 42 Air Defence Destroyer HMS Sheffield burned to the waterline after being hit by a single Aerospatiale AM39 Exocet ASCM launched by an Argentinian Super Etendard strike fighter. Twenty sailors were killed in this attack. The warhead failed to explode but residual propellant ignited an uncontrollable fire (UK MoD image). 
 
HMS Glamorgan

Another Falklands Exocet casualty was the County Class Destroyer HMS Glamorgan, severely damaged with thirteen dead
(Anonymous).





Type 42 Air Defence Destroyer  HMS Coventry, sister ship to the Sheffield, capsized and sank after being hit by two 1,000 lb aerial bombs, with nineteen dead (UK MoD images).



The Atlantic Conveyor burned  out after being hit by a single Aerospatiale AM39 Exocet ASCM launched by an Argentinian Super Etendard strike fighter. Twelve sailors were killed in this attack. It is unclear whether the warhead exploded or the damage was produced wholly by residual propellant igniting the ships flammable stores (UK MoD image).





Type 21 Frigate HMS Ardent burning after being hit by 1,000 lb aerial bombs, delivered by low flying Argentinian A-4 fighters. The Ardent sank. Twenty two sailors died in this attack (unknown source, UK MoD images).





Type 21 Frigate HMS Antelope explodes and later sinks after being hit by 1,000 lb aerial bombs, also delivered by low flying Argentinian fighters. An Army bomb disposal expert and one sailor died in this attack (BBC, UK MoD images).



RFA Sir Galahad burns after being hit by three 1,000 lb bombs, delivered by Argentinian A-4 Skyhawks in dive attacks. This attack killed 48 personnel (UK MoD image).





FFG7 Frigate USS Stark lists after being hit by a pair of Aerospatiale AM39 Exocet ASCMs, launched by an Iraqi Air Force Mirage F.1 strike fighter. Thirty seven sailors were killed in this attack (US DoD images).



The USS Liberty lists after being attacked by Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats in June 1967. Thirty four sailors were killed and many more injured (US Navy image).


Other Damage Imagery



The French oil tanker Limburg burns after a terrorist attack off the coast of Yemen in October, 2002. Oil tankers were frequently targeted during the Iran-Iraq war, repeating the Second World War experience where tankers in convoys were high priority targets for submarines and maritime strike aircraft (unknown image source).


Trials, Exercises and Sinkex Imagery


Pong Su

North Korean 4,000 tonne freighter Pong Su after taking two 2,000 lb Laser Guided Bomb hits, delivered by RAAF F-111C aircraft, 23rd March 2006. The Pong Su was seized by Australian Federal Police in 2003, after a narcotics interdiction operation in Victoria which resulted in the capture of 150 kg of heroin, being smuggled by the North Koreans. The unseaworthy Pong Su was disposed of under Section 185(b) of the Customs Act 1901  (RAAF image).





During the Resultant Fury exercise conducted  late November, 2004, the US Air Force trialed the use of AMSTE-modified 2,000 lb JDAM guided bombs, with datalink updates from an E-8C JSTARS, and laser guided 2,000 lb GBU-10/BLU-109 bombs targeted by a Litening II pod on a B-52H. Upper - former USN LST Schenectady takes a hit by multiple JDAMs; Lower - damage effect produced by JDAM hits on waterline. The vessel sank 1.5 hrs later.



Former LPH-9 USS Guam under attack by the JFK's CVW during an exercise in October, 2001 (USN image).



The former FF-1057 USS Rathburne sank after being hit with two Harpoons launched by a P-3C (USN image).



Harpoon strike on the former  FFG-2 USS Ramsey during RIMPAC 2000 (USN image).



Former Spruance class DD-997 USS Hayler takes a gunfire hit from a 57 mm shipboard gun during a 2004 Sinkex (RCN image).



Former DDG-14 USN Buchanan was used as a target for Hellfire missiles, three Harpoons and a GBU-10 during the RIMPAC 2000 exercise (USN image).



Post strike image of a destroyer target hit by an AGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship cruise missile during trials. The Harpoon, with a larger warhead, is more lethal than the Exocet.


BGM-109B Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) impacting a warship target during trials. Russian equivalents such as the Novator 3M-54E/E1 (SS-N-27) would produce similar damage effects (GD).



Rockwell GBU-15 CWW glidebomb impacts a warship target during trials. Widely exported EO guided weapons such as the Russian KAB-500Kr and KAB-1500Kr/TK would produce similar effects to equivalent US guided bombs (US Air Force image).


Technical Report APA-TR-2005-0701





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