Air-launched missile attacks on ships

by Frederic S. Nyland

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Presents a method of analysing missile attacks on surface ships, and illustrates battle outcomes when uncertainty is taken into account. This analysis assumes that the identity of each ship is uncertain, and addresses the effects of the resulting confusion quantitatively. The results indicate that modern air-to-surface weapon capabilities for sinking ships are limited more by confusion than by the ability of defenses to ward off attacks by sea skimming missiles. However, if the abilities of terminal defenses used for illustrative purposes in this analysis seem realistic, then an attacker is faced with serious difficulty. He must have the antiship missiles arrive together to overwhelm the terminal defenses. If several aircraft fire missiles at a single ship, their coordination in timing could be critical. The JOSS program to compute each phase of attacks on ships is appended.

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