Top critical review
Modestly successful description of a Russian war to take the Ukraine, but seriously flawed in describing Navy and Air Force ops.
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2018
* * Book premise is good overall.
* * Book FAILS in several aspects: total lack of knowledge of naval doctrines, operational and tactical aspects of naval warfare; as well as some misplaced ideas about air warfare and operations.
* * Book FAILS in several detailed sections regarding weapon systems, for example:
- - HARM (AGM-88) anti-radiation missile: F-16s & Eurofighter's in early scenario would be fitted with HARM Targeting System (HTS) pod, allowing aircraft to detect & target radar automatically, and are not required to maintain 'designation' on target once missile is launched (essentially, a "fire and forget" missile). Small size, Mach 2.0+ speed, etc. would not have allowed Russian SAM interception -
AND, sectional flight of F-16s and Eurofighter's in book would have immediately initiated evasive maneuvers to avoid Russian SAMs (hence, not been easy shoot-down targets).
- - Tu-160 (Blackjack) supersonic bomber is not a "Su-160", implying built by Sukhoi OKB, but a Tupolev designed and manufactured bomber.
- - RQ-4 reference: they don't fly at 10,000-ft., as one text say's - they replace U-2's and are at 70-80,000-ft.
- - A page reference to a "B1" should always be "B-1B" (Lancer), as with B-2 bomber.
* * All that pilot/co-pilot chatter on a B-2 mission to Moscow is unrealistic, showing a lack of cockpit OpSec and Air Force procedures, as well as several other attributes associated with Russian (in particular) air operations.
* * Best part of the book: Army operations and descriptions of small unit actions, befitting the primary author's Army National Guard background.
He should stick with this, and get a co-author who knows something about the Navy, naval operations, and maybe an Air Force background (or at least both air and naval aviation operations). This concern me with regard to new "BATTLEFIELD TAIWAN", which should have high-levels of both naval surface, sub-surface, and naval air operation components involved; if it is as bad as this volume, it is not worth buying!).
Reasonable questions to ask regarding the book's scenarios:
* Where were the US/NATO P-3 and P-8 ASW aircraft operations to clear the Black Sea of Russian subs, before the USS H.W. Bush CVN battlegroup entered the Black Sea.....all those described Russian subs off the Bosporus would have been sitting ducks to P-8s out of Sigonella Air Base (Sicily) or detached to Varna (Bulgaria, a NATO ally).
Second, USN naval ops doctrine would never have included sending a CVN battlegroup into the Black Sea, as described; such a group could easily operate in the Aegean Sea (in Greek or international waters) and conducted air ops over the Black Sea with aid of KC-135R tanker & E-2C/D Hawkeye AWACS (even Air Force E-3 AWACS out of Bari or Aviano AB).....just not a credible scenario as written in the book.
LASTLY, there seems a predetermined intent of the author to show how "unprepared" US Army and Air Force are in Western Europe, which carries over to the scenarios, and a similar predetermined intent to show how GREAT are Russian armed forces - in particular the Air Force. This carries over to the op descriptions of some of the Russian aircraft, including over-rating the new Sukhoi Su-57 as a "stealthy" aircraft (not nearly the case when you start hanging ordnance (AAMs, etc.) under-wing, etc. Russian air force aircraft are largely presented as available in their total inventory numbers - just very unrealistic (there are always aircraft in depot maintenance, etc.) and there are simply not that many Su-57 multi-role fighters available as would be suggested for any real world 2018-20 scenario.
I rate this only a modestly successful book, which ends not with a military solution to a potential conflict over the Ukraine.