ComNavOps just read that an MQ-8B Fire Scout was used to laser designate a target for a Hellfire missile launched from an MH-60S helicopter. I’m hearing more and more of these kinds of disparate pairings. A submarine designates a missile for an Aegis cruiser. An F-35 designates a surface target for a missile fired from a Poseidon. And so on.
What’s the point? What practical combat purpose does it serve?
In combat, is a submarine really going to come to the surface to designate a target? Is our supposed top of the line strikefighter aircraft really going to spend its time being just a target designator? Is it really necessary for a UAV to designate for a helo given that they’re both the same distance from the target (Hellfire range is only a few miles)? This strikes me as technological masturbation - pardon the crudity. We feel good about cobbling together yet another unlikely and nearly useless combination of technology but what does it really get us?
This has become our idea of preparing for combat – stringing together useless bits of technology for its own sake. Unfriendly countries, on the other hand, are developing bigger and bigger explosives and armor. They’re developing the boom that will dominate the next battlefield while we’re developing apps for our soldier’s tablets.
I’m sorry but explosives trump techno-toys on the battlefield. We’re focused on trying to figure out whether that enemy soldier in the foxhole is right-handed or left while our enemies are developing high explosive artillery barrages that render the question moot. If you can obliterate an acre at a time it really doesn’t matter what, if anything, was in that acre – it’s gone!
We’re focused on developing little scooters for our soldiers to flit around the battlefield on but all the agility in the world isn’t going to matter when a Russian 9A52-4 Tornado 300 mm rocket launcher fires a full salvo which can cover 32 hectares (1) or a Chinese WS-2 MLRS fires a salvo of 400 mm rockets.
The Navy is building an entire class of LCS ships that have no boom whatsoever.
Hey, Navy and Marines, where’s the boom?