Friday, September 28, 2012

Amphibious Connectors

An amphibious assault?  We all have the mental image of hulking amphibious ships lurking on the horizon and Marines storming the beach.  But how did the Marines get from the ship to the beach?  Well, a variety of ways, I guess, from the futuristic (though they’re actually getting quite dated!) looking Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft to the ubiquitous Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) to helos and now MV-22 Ospreys among other means.  All of these vehicles can be collectively referred to as connectors.  Simply put, the connector is the transport between the ship and shore.

The connector has the potential to be both a potent enabler of the amphibious assault force as well as a  bottleneck and vulnerability.

As an enabler, the connector should be able to transport Marines and their gear quickly, safely, and, ideally, with a little bit of inherent firepower to provide some support at the point of landing.  The Marines should land in good physical shape and intimately integrated with their gear.  In other words, they should be landed in peak physical readiness for battle.

As a weakness, the connector represents a potential bottleneck if there are too few connectors to transport sufficient numbers of Marines and weight of gear in a given time frame.  Marines and gear sitting piled up on ship waiting around for connector transport are a recipe for disaster. 

LCAC


Similarly, the connector represents a possible vulnerability.  Just as naval tacticians recognize that it’s far better to shoot archers than arrows, so too would any enemy recognize that it’s far more efficient to kill loaded connectors rather than deal with landed Marines.  Unfortunately, current connectors are slow and unarmored for practical purposes relative to the modern missile age.

The current connectors are aging rapidly and most are only marginally suited for the modern battlefield.  The AAV has been serving since the early 1970’s.  The AAV’s long anticipated replacement, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) is now a dead program with no other replacement in sight.  The LCAC entered service in the mid 1980’s and only 91 were built.  In addition, they’re large, slow (relative to missiles), attractive targets.    MV-22s are great for rapid transport of troops but can’t carry heavy gear.  The CH-53E heavy lift helo entered service in 1981 and airframes are being used up rapidly.  And so on …

All right, so the existing connectors are aging and ill-suited.  Can’t we just design new ones?  Well, therein lies the initial problem and the crux of this discussion.  What basic conceptual design is needed?  Do we need a traditional short range amphibious vehicle or do we need a very long range, way-over-the-horizon vehicle?  Are we doing traditional beachfront assaults or airborne, inland, maneuver warfare assaults? 


Cancelled EFV

The Marines tried to develop the EFV which is a short range beachfront assault vehicle despite the fact that both the Navy and Marines have stated that amphibious ships can’t survive within 50 miles of a defended beach due to the proliferation of shore launched anti-ship missiles.  In fact, for a decade or more, the Marines have embraced behind-the-lines, bypass-the-beach, maneuver warfare doctrine.  That being the case, why have they been fixated on the EFV?  Even now, with the cancellation of the EFV, they seem to be looking for yet another short range, slow, AAV-like replacement, suggesting a continued emphasis on short range beachfront assaults which is at odds with public statements regarding assault distances. 

On the other hand, the Navy is currently building a new class of amphibious ship (LHA-6) that doesn’t even have a well deck!  OK, so that means we’re going to be doing long range airborne assaults, right?  That’s fine except how do you transport M-1 Abrams tanks and all the other Marine combat vehicles and tons of gear and supplies by air?  The MV-22 can carry troops but not much more.  But wait a minute, didn’t the Navy just build an entire class of new LPD-17 class amphibious ships with well decks?  So, I guess we are doing beachfront assaults.

You see the problem?  I don’t think the Navy and Marines currently have a clear consensus on what type of assault operations they want to conduct in the future.  Of course, they could just opt to try and cover all possible scenarios but the cost of that would be staggering.

The Navy and Marines need to agree on how amphibious assaults will be conducted in the future and then start designing new connectors that complement that vision.



On a related note, here are some capacity/range figures for aerial connectors as cited in an NPS thesis (1).

MV-22
5 ton external, 50 nm range
10 ton internal, 100 nm range

CH-53E
18 ton external, 215 nm range
15 ton internal, 230 nm range


(1) Naval Postgraduate School, Thesis:  Cost Benefit and Capability Analysis of Sea-Base Connectors, Justin Dowd, Sep 2009, p. 17-18







26 comments:

  1. An amphibious landing has been described as the most difficult large scale combat operation to conduct. The Marines learned valuable lessons in previous combat landings: having multiple options for getting men and material ashore is the biggest one.

    The LCAC has been a great success for the USN/MC. It entered service with no significant program delays or overruns. And it revolutionized amphibious landings. Conventional landing craft can access only 17% of the world’s coastlines; with the LCAC this reaches 80%. The Navy found the speed of the LCAC in various sea states better than expected. The LCAC success led the Navy to modify the last four Whidbey Island LSDs into the Harpers Ferry sub-class with a well deck half as long and much more cargo and vehicle capacity (a LPD). LCACs could move cargo so quickly that a LSD only needed 2 of them instead of four.

    The Ship to Shore Connector is the planned replacement for the LCAC and is a straightforward improvement of the LCAC.

    The CH-53E and the planned CH-53K are the helo equivalent of the LCAC. The CH-53E has done great work over the years, and like you pointed out, the main criticism has been that there are never enough of them around. The other critique is that they require a lot of maintenance after every flight. The new CH-53K will do the same mission but with lower maintenance needs.

    The two connectors that have had problems are the V-22 and the EFV. The V-22 took a lot longer to field because the Corps has not had a lot of experience leading and developing a new platform like the Osprey. Traditionally the USMC has tagged its orders onto existing, and mature programs. The F-18 and the M-1 Abrams are two examples of this. But taking the lead, and shepherding something as complex and ground-breaking as the V-22 is not in the Corps’ “corporate knowledge”. That’s why the Ospreys were flying with full loads of Marines on board before the issues with ring-state vortex were resolved and why so many died needlessly in the testing phase.

    The EFV also suffered in a similar fashion. The Corps kept with the program long after the support for it, both inside the USN/MC and Congress, had faded. The EFV’s hoped for goal was an amtrac replacement that could travel 50 miles at 40-50 knots. That would be a one hour trip from ship to shore, allowing for the LPD (which normally carried the amtracs) to remain over the horizon from the enemy. It also is the upper limit time-wise to having Marines aboard a “sea-skimmimg brick” and in some condition to fight upon landing. But the EFV’s performance dropped to the point where each vehicle would have had an astronomical price yet would still not meet the range and water speed targets.

    The LPD-17 class was supposed to leverage the EFV by being a stealthy launch platform for it. The LPD in a MEU almost always operates closest to the hostile shore; it made sense to give the new class the best stealth any non-surface combatant has. The problem is the LPD-17 has been mismanaged and the EFV is now cancelled. AAV-7s and whatever replaces them in the future are a way to get Marines ashore with firepower and maneuverability, independent of helicopters and landing craft.

    The Navy screwed up the new LHA class by building the first one or two without a well deck. Their argument was that the V-22 and the F-35B have a bigger logistical “footprint” and this edged out the well deck. From what I have read, the third and further units will have a well deck.

    On a side note, I’m not sure about the range figure of the CH-53 with an external load. My recollection was that a Super Stallion with sixteen tons (LAV-25) under slung would have a range of 50 miles unrefueled.

    WireguidedMarine

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    1. One of the systemic problems the Navy has is the tendency to assume that they will fight unopposed. I've always thought the LCAC was an example of that thought process. In an unopposed landing, the LCAC is undoubtedly a great vehicle. In an opposed landing, it provides a large, slow (relative to missiles), defenseless target with a high payoff, meaning the potential to lose lots of troops and cargo.

      Even against nothing but conventional artillery, the LCAC eventually has to stop somewhere to unload and then becomes a big, stationary target.

      In an opposed landing, I suspect that the Navy will find that a lot of the LCACs don't come back which makes transporting the follow-on waves a challenge.

      I agree that the range figures for the CH-53 seemed too high to me but you'd like to think a NPS thesis would have reasonably accurate data. I'll keep an eye out for other sources of range data.

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    2. The LCAC is meant to carry follow-on forces, not to land in the initial assault wave. That is the AAV/EFV's job.

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  2. The LCAC has trade offs compared to a LCU or LCM. Underwater hazards like coral reefs aren't a problem for a hovercraft, the same for naval contact mines or tetrahedrons underwater. And because so much more of a coast is accessible, an enemy command would have a harder time predicting and marshaling their forces where the landing occurs.

    And when the LCACs stop to disembark their vehicles, it won't be in the surf but up to a couple of miles inland on flat dry land. That increases the possible area the unloading takes place, unlike the very predictable thin line a LCM can unload at on a beach

    Bear in mind that a LCAC is not going ashore alongside AAVs in the first wave. If it did, then it would be incredibly vulnerable to any beach defenses. But this isn't a replay of Normandy and Inchon. The first flight of CH-53s and V-22s will be able to put platoons and companies deep behind the beachhead. Follow up flights could bring IFAVs, artillery, and Hummers in. Marine doctrine would be to expand the bubble inland so that the first wave of AAVs most likely meet with Marines that have just helo'd in. And with the immediate coastal high terrain taken, any artillery will have no forward observers.

    LCMs and LCVPs had armored bow ramps (while having unarmored sides) because the limited choices for landing, lack of precision weapons, and no helicopters made the surf zone the only way to get vehicles and troops in coherent units ashore. And if a LCAC traveling at 40 knots with a M-1 tank is large and slow, a LCU at 11 knots with two M-1s is an even more defenseless target.

    WireguidedMarine

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  3. The essential problem with EFV, besides being too costly, was the underlying rationale. When it's too dangerous for the ships to go near shore exactly how well is the battle space prepared for a beach assault? The requirements for EFV led to a rather complicated design with a 2,700hp engine. If the high speed water requirement were dropped, along with the underlying doctrine placing the amphibs that far off shore, then they'll be able to build an affordable replacement. The new program is ACV and it's not clear yet exactly what that vehicle will look like.

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  4. As suggested in the post, we should not be pondering what type of connector but, rather, what type of assault. Are we going to be conducting waterborne, beachfront assaults or are we going to be conducting airborne, deep inland assaults? If we, meaning the Navy and Marines, can answer that question then the form and specs for the connector become pretty clear.

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  5. With respect I disagree on two levels. The first is that it's not either or but rather having a broad range of capabilities for the Corp to get ashore and then be supplied from the sea. Secondly, I'd suggest if the Corp doesn't retain the capability to do opposed beach assault then it loses it's reason for being.

    Certainly the ideal is to land where the enemy isn't present or overwhelm him where he is; however, do we really want a Marine Corp incapable of assaulting a defended beach? On a broader level the Corp is an expeditionary force that operates from the sea. It doesn't really matter how they get ashore from one operation to the next but rather being able to operate from a full play book.



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    1. In an ideal world, I agree with your notion of being able to do all things. In the real world of severely limited (and getting worse) budgets, I don't think we have that luxury anymore. I don't believe we can afford to produce all the things required to carry out both types of assaults. Remember, it's not just a question of buying a few more AAV replacments. We also have to build and maintain an entire fleet of amphibious ships geared towards one, the other, or both approaches. The Navy just embarked on a building program for LHA-6 which doesn't even have a well deck. Can we afford that type of narrowness of purpose unless we totally commit to that approach? I don't think so.

      We've posted previously that the entire amphib assault concept should be re-examined and that our assault capability is vastly overmanned for the threats that can be foreseen. Go back and read the Aug: Marine Amphibious Lift

      Who, in the foreseeable future, is going to have a defended beach that we're going to want to directly assault as opposed to an inland, airborne assault? Again, reread the post that I referenced.

      As far as the Corps losing its reason for being. If we don't need what it does, then it should be disbanded. I don't believe that's the case, though. We do need a ready reaction force which is what the Marines really are. Amphibious assault is simply how they've traditionally done it. If modern times call for over-the-horizon, inland, airbore assaults then, fine, let that be the method that the Marines execute their ready reaction purpose.

      Seriously, give me a scenario where a defended beachfront assault seems likely and desireable to you in the foreseeable future and where an airborne assault wouldn't work as well or better.

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  6. If you mean something like Tarawa or Iwo Jima, I'm pretty sure that will not happen. The strategic need for such island hopping may never occur again. Aircraft such as bombers have much greater ranges now.

    But the need for a Normandy or Anzio, where the beach head is to expand the number of fronts in a broader campaign, is there. Inchon in 1950, and the threat of a Marine landing in 1991, succeeded in opening, or threatening to create, a new front for enemy forces to deal with. The amphibious feint in 1991 tied down several Iraqi divisions that could have been used elsewhere. The only reason they honored such a threat was the seriousness of the Marines in training and equipping for beach assaults in decades prior.

    Somalia saw amphibious landings by U.S. forces as well.

    And because of the LCAC and helicopter, Marines will have far more options and coastline to pick from than only a few beaches that have the proper gradient for a LCM as in WWII.

    I believe if the USN/MC trains for the more difficult mission (defended beach landing) then they have the option of doing that or a benign admin landing when the time comes. The LHA, LHD, and LSD, MOB, can remain over the horizon. Current and anticipated AAVs will still require the LPD to come close to shore. If LHA-8 and onward have well decks, then the AAV is right now the only component that is without replacement and needed for traditional beach assaults.

    Depending on the defenses around ports or cities, it may be necessary to go ashore where there are no port facilities. Normandy is a good example on a large scale, but something smaller may occur in Somalia or North Korea after the government collapses. Once the beach head is established, the taking of the nearest port may be done from both the landward and seaward sides.

    The only way heavy forces can be placed on a coastline from ships in any significant amount is to use horizontal means (LCAC, LCU, AAV). Over long distances airlift can only do so much. An organized landing can place numerous tanks, AAVs, artillery, and other vehicles ashore in a relatively short period of time.

    That has been the appeal of LVT/AAV: self-deployable APC/IFV that give a landing a mechanized component.

    More importantly, the logistics can be supplied better from ashore than trying to support forces airlifted or airdropped in. Mechanized units consume fuel at tremendous rates, then there is the ammo and medical support.

    Right now, The concern in all first-rate militaries is how to fight in built-up areas. Any port with significant piers and cranes will be the center of a built-up area. Amphibious landings might be a way around that. That was the case for Normandy vis-a-vis Calais.

    WireguidedMarine

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    1. Who do you see defending a beach that we care about? The only conceivable scenarios are Iran and N. Korea and both of those have overland access which would be the main avenue of approach. An amphibious landing (or threat thereof) would only be for some small scale diversionary purpose and an inland airborne assault would work quite well. There just is no defended beach scenario that makes any sense.

      If you're arguing that we need amphibious assault capability, you're preaching to the choir. If you're arguing that we need to be able to conduct any type of assault using any type of equipment, then you're ignoring the fiscal reality. We need to pick one assault methodology that will fit most of our anticipated needs and hope that we even have the financial resources to meet that. Heading off in multiple directions is unaffordable and dilutes our limited resources.

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  7. The USMC is an expeditionary force that operates from the sea. If we're prepared to give up on amphibious assault then I fail to see the rationale for the Corp's continued existence. If all the Corp does is entry via helicopter I suggest the 101st, which trains for this mission full time, is a better model.

    The essay you point to is rather problematic. One reason we have 33 amphibs is to maintain enough ARG's to keep 3 MEU's forward deployed at sea. It's a national strategic asset that gets called upon to operate more often that almost any other asset one can name.

    As for the question you pose, what's the purpose of the amphibs, I'd suggest it's to support an expeditionary capability from the sea to exploit the fact that most of this planet is covered by ocean and the vast majority of people live near the sea.

    The issue is thus not the capability to directly assault a defended beach per se but rather the capability to operate from off shore directly on land. Once you have a port and/or airfields and can bring in heavy Army units the Corp has done it's job, though they might continue to operate.

    Heavy armored units are not deployed nor supported by air. For that matter even USAF units aren't supplied by air. The Corp provides a medium weight force, with heavy armor, able to deploy over most of the planet. That's the Corp's rationale for existence and why the nation supports a fleet of amphibious ships to deploy them.

    As for potential employment I agree China and Korea aren't likely; however, places like Iran, Indonesia, and myriad nations in Africa and around the Pacific are far more likely areas. The first responding force is likely to be a forward deployed MEU. A nation of 300 million people can afford to keep 3 MEU's afloat and forward deployed. If anything the increased emphasis of DOD with the entire Pacific region indicates we probably don't have enough amphibious shipping.

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    1. Whoa! Back the amphibious assault vehicle up there a moment. Don't put conclusions in my mouth that I haven't stated. I'm not in the least advocating doing away with amphibious assault though I do suggest that we have way more capability than we need for foreseeable operations. You're suggesting that I'm implying that we should get rid of the Corps and use Army Airborne units. I'm not even remotely suggesting that. The difference between the Marines and the Army is that the Marines are forward deployed on mobile platforms (the amphib ships) and are readily available whereas the Army is, by and large, garrisoned (Iraq/Afghanistan not withstanding) and not readily available. Thus, the Marines served a valuable function. Whether they're delivered to their objective by air or water is immaterial. They're still the ready reaction force for the country.

      You state that the Corps is a national strategic asset that gets called on more than any other. Consider, though, over the last 10 or 20 years how often has an amphibious assault occured? When was the last amphibious assault? Off the top of my head, I'm stumped. Grenada, maybe?

      Yes, the Marines have been heavily involved in combat but not amphibious assaults. Yes, the Marines have been involved in small scale embassy protection, humanitarian efforts, and so forth but, again, not amphibious assaults. With the exception of humanitarian work which should not be the military's responsibility, the other Marine activities are necessary and vital but don't require much in the way of assault capability.

      You suggest that our nation should be able to afford to keep three MEUs forward deployed. Do you know how many troops a MEU consists of and how many amphib ships they require? Check it out and tell me what you think.

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    2. I don't believe I asserted you personally was saying anything whatsoever. We don't exactly make a lot of combat para drops either. It's not about how often something is done but rather having the right arrow in the quiver when required.

      Yes I know exactly how many Marines are in a MEU and that our ARG's used to contain more than the 3 ships they do now and if anything I'd suggest the USN needs more amphibs not less. They're over tasked now.

      Here's two links that list the 104 amphibious operations,and 4 assaults, the Corp undertook from 1990 to 2009:

      http://blog.usni.org/2009/05/25/amphibious-operations-1990-1999

      http://blog.usni.org/2009/05/25/amphibious-operations-2000-2009

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    3. C'mon, now, Lane. Of the list for 1990-1999, the summary states that of the 66 amphibious operations, there was 1 assault and 2 raids. The remainder being non-combat evacuations, humanitarian ops, demonstrations, etc.

      Similarly, 2000-2009 lists 3 assaults and 8 strike. However, the "assaults" appear to be Afghanistan operations which are not amphibious assaults they're just transfer of troops to ground operations.

      In short, the list was a clear attempt by the author to justify the Marines existence (an unnecessary exercise!) and is intended to mislead.

      The listing reinforces my point that there are few true amphib operations and most of those can be carried out by company size forces and don't require heavy assault capability. For example, the oft cited embassy evacuation operations are just helo rides with some Marines along for protection - necessary, vital, but hardly an amphibious assault despite being listed as such in your reference.

      One of the commenters in your reference asked the best question - when was the last opposed "assault"? It doesn't appear there's been one.

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  8. Any amphibious landing, administrative, benign, or combat, will require helicopters and surface connectors like LCACs. These have to be based on ships like LSD/LHD/LPD. We have the assets for all that already. The only real addition necessary for combat landings are the AAVs. If this country truly cannot afford a modest AAV-7 replacement program, we are long past any fiscal reality that even has a Marine Corps or for that matter half the current Navy in it.

    An airborne assault or airlifted unit would have to depend on air-delivered logistics. There is no way I can see a mechanized unit larger than a battalion able to conduct operations for a sustained period this way. And the "air bridge" would be even more vulnerable than sea transport.

    I can't predict the next scenario where landing on opposed territory will occur, no one can. In 1949 during a period of fiscal austerity there were confident predictions in Washington that amphibious landings (along with aircraft carriers) were history because of new technology. The combat landing at Inchon followed a year later. In 1989 everyone thought the same thing with the end of the Cold War. The major feint off the Kuwaiti coast was two years later, and a small combat landing in Somalia soon after that.

    WireguidedMarine

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    1. Well you just hit the nail on the head. We can't know what's coming next. The problem is we can no longer afford to be prepared for the absolute worst case. If we could, we'd have a million Marines sitting in 5000 ships just waiting to go. Instead, we have to make hard choices about what we spend our increasingly tight budget on. My proposition is that there is no realistic scenario on the horizon that will require a heavy Marine assault. By heavy, I mean full fledged, sustained combat with tanks and everything else. The most I see is light infantry actions for a short period. Could time prove me wrong? Certainly! In the meantime, it's all about prioritizing our spending on a fixed and shrinking budget. If you or anyone else looks at the future and predicts we need (not would like to have, but actually needs based on a semi-realistic scenario) more emphasis on amphibious capability then that's perfectly fine. No argument.

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  9. Not knowing what is coming next is the worst nightmare to any military planner. Let's not forget he goes over the very life of his nation's soldiers who do not deserve to die needlessly!
    Now, as far as I got it, the idea of the new LHA's without welldeck was to integrate them in an assault group composed of an LHA,and one or two LPD's. The LHA would concentrate on highspeed airborne insertion of the first battle line wereas the other ships would handle the landing of heavy equipment. Also the LHA would provide extensive airsupport . These groups would cruise the seas and approach tensionzones just like a carrier battle group does and apply a maximum of firepower This of course is the result of the US worldpresence. The idea is to be "prepped for anything". But, this of course is an expensive affair! And logistically, how long can you keep troops affloat, what about morale and training?
    Thus the new LHA was all about integrating an all-round amphibipus battle-group were the LHA was the center-piece and capable of high tempo insertion an maximumu firesuppprt trough the airwing.

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    1. William, you might want to refer back to my post on the LHA-6 class. The LHA-6 can be configured for either assault or air support but not both. In assault configuration, there might be around six JSF for support. Better than nothing, I guess, but hardly "extensive air support". In the LHA-6's support configuration, there is no assault transport capability. You get one or the other function but not both.

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    2. OK, fair point. I will restudy the battle configuration. Only one point, these are theoretical configurations. French MISTRAL LHA's supposedly could carry 16 medium Helo's. During Libya they carried far more plus troops.

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  10. During the second Iraq war US Marines landed with there old AAV and this old battlewagon drove them to Baghdad...amphibiousity at the extreme dire I say! It is utterly impossible to defend all and everything against an all-out missile attack. Would be nice to look when was the last missile saturation attack in history...because these missiles need launching pads and bases who can, throug a typical US systemintegration be destroyed up front! The ESV is a typical way of one branch trying to get something new and looking solely to their needs. Also, peacetime wargaming developed an outright obsessinion for speed wich, in real battle is seldom attained. So, if the mission is to land a battalion it should first strike from the air and strike defences , who most of the time tend to be rather static,from behind, then in time, land an assault force with a reasonable speed and armed AAV at the ennemies perceived weekest point and , land the heavy force with good speed an payload connectors .If opposing forces can fire missiles, somebody did not do his job!

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  11. The LCAC was never intended to be an assault craft: it's size, cost and manning requirements make it logistical transport.

    Perhaps the UK Royal Marines Griffon TD2400 hovercraft, the French EDA-R L-Cat , and a modestly improved AAV with greater water speed are the mid-price solutions to amphibious landing assault craft.

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    1. Anon, no one is claiming that the LCAC is the main beachfront assault vehicle but, on the other hand, with indirect maneuver assaults it could well be used as such.

      That aside, the main point of the post was that the Navy/Marines are showing very mixed signals about what type of assaults they want to conduct and, therefore, what type of assault vehicles they need. For example, AAV/EFV is intended specifically for beachfront assault and yet the Navy/Marines have stated publicly that they won't be doing that anymore. Navy doctrine states that amphibious ships can't get close enough to a beach anymore to conduct traditional direct assaults - except that that is contradicted by the Marines attempt to build the EFV and their continued interest in a follow on to that cancelled program. If we're not going to get up close to a beach then the helos, MV-22s, and, yes, LCACs wind up comprising the main assault vehicles.

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    2. You may have a good look at the EDAR here http://www.meretmarine.com/fr/content/la-russie-va-acquerir-des-edar-pour-ses-futurs-bpc 4 have been built for the first two Mistral-class LHA of the french Navy. 4 more expected but not purchased yet. Built in Boulogne, those are 30 meters long by
      12 meters catamarans. Equiped with diesels and water jets they basically ride at 25 knots without load and 18 knots fully charged. Transport capacity: 80 tons. Rusia will buy them for the 4 Mistral-class LHA they have bought from France (Vladivostok actually undr construction). The EDAR has an up and down platform. It raises for high speed and get down for beach landing. It doesn't allow to go further than the beach but it is a good improvment for the french navy that had been using WWII landing equipments.

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  12. FIPASS and the mexefloats are missing from the list of connectors. They both featured large in the last amphibious war on the Falklands and its aftermath.
    The M80 Stiletto might be an interesting modern development if size of this pentamaran increases. Could we have a discussion on these connectors?

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    1. Kurt, the post was not an attempt to provide a comprehensive list of connectors. I mentioned a few of the common ones used by the Navy just to illustrate the various points in the post. That said, by all means go ahead and start a discussion of the platforms you mention. Do you see these as providing viable ship to shore transport in a combat environment? Remember, the Navy will be conducting future assaults from 25-50 miles offshore. I look forward to your thoughts.

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  13. Our financial resources are limited because of poor acquisition and project management by most military programs (F-35, EFV).

    With proper management we should be able to get a much bigger bang out of our defense dollar. Financial mismanagement in the DOD is out of control and reduces our defense capability and depth.

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