ComNavOps understands positive spin but I’m really getting sick of the way the Navy is carrying it to embarrassing levels. The latest is the Navy’s announcement that an LCS has used a helo/UAV to provide targeting for a Harpoon missile. (1)
for the first time used a UAV to provide over-the-horizon targeting information
and damage assessment for a missile fired from onboard a ship.” U.S.
I can’t say whether this is actually the first time a UAV has provided targeting information for a missile but it’s hardly the first time a UAV has provided targeting information for Navy weapons. Heck, the
class battleships carried RQ-2 Pioneer UAVs for
targeting, spotting, and damage assessment.
They were used during the 1991 Gulf War, for example. Prior to that, the Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH drone
was used for targeting, spotting, and damage assessment during the Vietnam war. Iowa
Apparently, though, the use of a helo/UAV for targeting is something new to the Navy. I guess they’ve forgotten.
“Speaking to Defense News, the commander of the Navy’s Task Force 73, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, said the Coronado’s MH-60S and MQ-8B used radar, electro-optical systems and other sensors to locate the target, pass targeting information back to the ship via data link to refine the firing solution, monitor and assess the missile, and then carry out damage assessment on the target. He noted that this is the first time the U.S. Navy has done so.”
Again, while it might be technically true that it’s the first time a missile has received the targeting data, it’s hardly a new capability! I’m sure this has been done before – I just can’t pull an instant reference out of the air.
This announcement rates a bored, “That’s nice”, coupled with a yawn. There’s nothing new or even interesting about this. As I said, I understand a bit of spin but this is embarrassing. The Navy seems to be undergoing a cycle of reinventing the wheel (remember the post about discovering escort ships?) and wildly self-congratulating themselves. This is what happens when you can’t accomplish anything substantial and you fall all over yourself trying to make mundane news seem important.
One might also note that this was the second test firing of a Harpoon from an LCS. The first was a failure. So, this amazing new, never before seen capability is one for two.
(1)Defense News website, “In an LCS first, drone supports targeting mission for missile”, Mike Yeo,