Monday, April 9, 2018

AFSB - Looking For Something To Do

How many times have I said it?  Before you build a ship you spell out a concept of operations (CONOPS).  Well, the Navy has violated that simple requirement yet again and now we’re seeing the Navy flounder yet again, trying to figure out how to use a ship.  This time it’s the Afloat Forward Staging Base, USNS Lewis B. Puller, which is replacing the USS Ponce – yes, I know, the Navy is resorting to another of their gimmicks to try to make the size of the fleet appear larger by commissioning the Puller into the Navy instead of residing in the Military Sealift Command where all other similar ships and, in fact, its sister ship reside.  That aside …

The floundering is highlighted in what was, no doubt, intended to be a celebratory article on the USNI News website (1) about the arrival of Puller to the 5th Fleet.  Read the following snippets and you’ll get a sense that the Navy has a ship with no pre-defined role and is desperately searching for something it can do.  The ship’s Captain appears to have been tasked with trying to “sell” the ship to the rest of the Navy/Marines and find something for it to do.

“… Femino [Capt. Joseph Femino, commanding officer of Puller’s gold crew] said the ship has been busy working with Marines, special operations forces (SOF) and even French amphibious forces to learn how Puller could best support other naval platforms.”

“… Marines put a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon on the ship to start learning their way around the ESB.”

“The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) force surgeon has visited the ship to look into possible medical applications.”

“In October, a SOF team came out to practice fast-rope drills from their helicopters onto the flight deck and to learn how to bring their small boats onto the Puller mission bay with the ship’s crane.”

“Work with the mine countermeasures community is moving a bit more slowly – even though the Ponce and then Puller were initially requested by 5th Fleet specifically to support the MCM mission – but the crew have been aboard to assess the mission planning spaces and other assets Puller could provide.”

“This ship is a blank canvas. Whoever wants to come assess what they want, develop what they want, we’ll work to try and get that,” Femino said …”

A “blank canvas”???  Seriously?  It’s not supposed to be.  You’re supposed to have a detailed CONOPS and be working on implementing it – not looking around for something to do.

“Femino said there has also been an element of just trying something and seeing if it works.  “People bring their things and let’s see how they fit. And then if we need to modify then we’ll modify,” he said.”

There’s an element “of just trying something”????  This is a ship looking for something to do because it didn’t have a CONOPS.

“[Femino] made clear, “we are not an amphib. … The question is, how can we enable the amphibs to do things better?”

Question?  There aren’t supposed to be any questions about the function of the ship.  The CONOPS is supposed to have spelled that all out.

When asked what they needed to do to better utilize the ship, Capt. Femino responded

“… address the mine countermeasures mission in a more meaningful way; figure out how to work alongside an Amphibious Ready Group and embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, rather than bringing smaller groups of Marines onboard Puller itself … “

AFSB Puller - Does Anyone Need Me?
Mine countermeasures (MCM) was supposedly the main function of the vessel and yet the Navy is trying to figure out what to do with the ship in that role????  This is what a CONOPS is for!  You’re supposed to already know what you want to do and how you’re going to do it.  Sure, you’ll still have to figure out which line to throw over which pulley but the basic concept is supposed to have been worked out years ago!  Instead, MCM is “moving a bit more slowly” and the ship’s Captain is trying to address MCM “in a more meaningful way”.  The Navy hasn’t got a clue what to do with this.  There was, clearly, no CONOPS and no one was prepared to do anything with the vessel.  Didn’t we learn a thing from the LCS debacle which lacked a CONOPS and now no one knows what to do with them?  Apparently not!



“On the MCM mission, “we’ve done a little bit of work with mine warfare, but quite frankly we haven’t really [fleshed] out all of the mine warfare,” Femino said …”

Again, MCM was supposed to be the main function!

“The reason there was an RFF, the reason they created Ponce was I believe for a request for forces (RFF) to support the mine countermeasures process,” he said …”

The Captain of the ship isn’t completely sure what the purpose of the ship is although he “believes” it was to support MCM.  If there was a CONOPS, he’d know what the ship’s purpose is.

“Also on the to-do list, though, is working with the Avenger-class MCM ships in 5th Fleet to see if Puller could help refuel them or support them in any other way.”

It’s on the to-do list to see if the ship can support MCM Avengers?  Again, that should have been spelled out, one way or the other, in the CONOPS!

It gets even more unbelievable.

“The skipper said he’d also like to work with a carrier at some point, but that overall he has to balance working with a lot of different potential customers versus becoming proficient at working with some of them.”

So, the Captain wants to work with everyone even if that means not becoming proficient at any one thing?  Wasn’t the ship, like every other ship, built to be extremely proficient at one main function?  I guess not.  That’s what happens when you don’t have a CONOPS.

Again, you get the distinct impression that the Captain was told to go find a mission.

The Navy is incapable of learning any lessons and this – to develop a CONOPS before designing and building a ship – is one of the most basic.  We have absolute idiots leading the Navy.



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(1)USNI News website, “USNI News Video: Sea Base USS Lewis B. Puller Finding Its Way in 5th Fleet”, Megan Eckstein, 3-Apr-2018,

37 comments:

  1. "Chesty" Puller must be spinning in his grave. What a touchy-feely mess.

    "Hey, let's spend millions on a ship then try to figure out how to use it!"

    No CONOPS, no clue.

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  2. Much like LCS except much larger vessel at least there is just 1 and 30 some odd at last count and completely in the same line as the Zummies are they thinking of a mission at all before building the abject expensive failures I don't think so it's most to please politician needs which exactly bass ackwards

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    1. Of course it could have been worse though we could have 52 LCS and 10 of these plus 30 something of 5he Zummies

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    2. There are two of these AFSB ships: Puller and Williams. A third, the Keith, is under construction.

      I don't know if any more are being considered.

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    3. I really hope not I've even heard talk of them being used as hospital ships and some LCS being converted also Kind like a MASH in LCS case that may not be such a bad idea either

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  3. If Wiki is correct, 5 are planned with Puller being the third one built.

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    1. No, the first two were completed as Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP - since renamed Expeditionary Transfer Dock).

      Puller was the first that had the added flight deck and was completed as the Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB - since renamed Expeditionary Sea Base).

      So, of the five related ships, two are MLPs and the final three are AFSBs. The difference is in the intended roles. The MLPs were strictly intended as sea bases whereas the AFSBs were mine counter measures (maybe?).

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  4. Disgraceful how the USN and other services cry that they don't have enough money and then have a captain walk around with a ship in need of a mission?!?

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  5. I think the fingerprints of Bob Work are all over this waste.

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  6. "he has to balance working with a lot of different potential customers versus becoming proficient at working with some of them."

    This is very strange language to hear from a Naval officer.
    I'm much more familiar with the Royal Australian Navy, but I can't imagine for a second a RAN officer, a captain no less, referring to his fellow officers as "customers".

    Is this a naval officer or a business analyst? is he selling software or commanding a warship?
    So strange.

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    1. In RAN terms, the Captain is figuring his desired loadout of pokies.

      CPO Woolworth.

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    2. "Is this a naval officer or a business analyst?"

      The U.S. Navy has forgotten what war is and has adopted a business mindset. The Navy has become a business whose "product" is hulls because hulls are what generates the "profit" which is budget slice. Thus, the Navy built a hull for which there was no pre-defined role and now this Captain has been assigned the task of finding a role for it - any role will do. That way, the Navy can go back to Congress and say, "See, this ship is in demand and we need more budget to build more of them". Whether the role is useful in combat, or not, is not a requirement.

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    3. "pokies" ?? Are those people or things?

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    4. Pokie is strine for slot machine.
      The mission set of the AFSB would include R&R.

      CPO Woolworth

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    5. "The U.S. Navy has forgotten what war is and has adopted a business mindset."
      Yes, I've noticed that a bit.
      The language seems jarring to me.
      The focus on budget, the hordes of officers whose only job seems to be to put together slide shows and papers for Congressional Committees and the focus on selling concepts to the media - it all seems very odd to me.
      To be fair, the RAN simply doesn't have much budget to fight for, and the Australian parliamentary system results in a very different funding model.

      But it feels much less like the culture of a military organization and lot like the corporate world I now inhabit.
      It's corporate jargon - the kind of stuff you hear overpaid consultants in IT go on about.
      Coming from the captain of a naval ship it sounds ridiculous.
      Can you imagine a Admiral Nimitz referring to Halsey as one of his customers?? It's bizarre.

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    6. "It's bizarre."

      You can now understand the LCS, Zumwalt, Ford, etc. The desire to create "products", meaning hulls, is the overriding purpose for the Navy. Whether the hulls have any combat value is irrelevant to the business Navy. The only thing that's important is that product justifies more "profit", meaning budget slice.

      Sad, but that's the way the Navy now operates. Any combat capability is secondary and incidental. I'm doing what I can, in my own small and limited way, to change this.

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  7. There is use for this kind of ships in low intensity conflicts where you don't want to base you people in a host nation.

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    1. There probably is a use but that wasn't the point of the post.

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  8. ahum, my guess is that any amphib could fit that role.

    The sea basing concept was/is(?) intended, amongst others, for use in high intensity conflict, i.e. situations where it would be too dangerous for high value units to come close to shore. The sea basing ships would enable amphips and others to unload their troops from beyond the (shore) horizon.

    However, I cannot find related mission descriptions in the above.

    This could point to an evolving understanding of what it's mission should be.... Nah, there would have been a more clear direction for where the ships mission was evolving to.

    Then again the Navy could confuse outsiders deliberately on the role an mission of these ships.

    Amid all this confusion, I do have a question though, Has the design and employment of these ships been rigourously wargamed?


    All this confusion almost shouts for a well run wargaming exercise. It would even be interesting to explore their potential in an open source wargame. If only to gain a more informed understanding of what these ships could or could not do.

    Swen






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    1. The entire concept of a sea base is suspect. It doesn't take a wargame to see that. A few minutes thought and you'll realize that a couple of sea bases creates a massive single point bottleneck that is a point of failure waiting to happen. An enemy, knowing that the bulk of the assaulting force supplies and equipment must pass through the couple of sea base ships would apply maximum effort (a few SSKs would likely suffice!) to sinking them. No sea base, no assault.

      The entire thrust of WWII amphibious assault development was towards dispersal of risk. Today, we've gone the exact opposite direction and are concentrating the risk into/onto a few critical platforms that create massive vulnerabilities.

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    2. The MLP/Sea Base was always about enabling another path for follow-on forces (namely large LMSRs and MPF ships) to offload without a local port. The MLP was never really meant to offload amphibs (at least not as its primary role).

      Presumably the only time this would be used is when we could more or less guarantee the safety of the Sea Base.

      The entire concept certainly had issues, and was oversold in typical Pentagon fashion. However, the basic need is still there. How do you get the non-amphib Marines and Army to the fight?

      The AFSB is a different animal entirely. It's basically just a big, flexible ship that we can move around and park places. There have been many instances where we've needed a large, flexible platform to stage operations, but didn't want to dedicate a CVN or amphib (which have their own missions). USS Ponce has been filling this role for a while, but it was recently decommissioned.

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    3. "There have been many instances where we've needed a large, flexible platform to stage operations, but didn't want to dedicate a CVN or amphib (which have their own missions)."

      The utility and value of an AFSB is not the issue in the post - it's the lack of a CONOPS.

      That aside, what would be an example of a peer combat use for an AFSB? There are many possible uses in peace or very low end combat but the possibilities dwindle rapidly as one moves up the combat intensity scale.

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    4. "Presumably the only time this would be used is when we could more or less guarantee the safety of the Sea Base."

      Your understanding of the MLP is correct. As you know, sustainment/logistics is the lifeblood of an assault/invasion. An intelligent enemy wouldn't even have to oppose the initial landing but could simply wait and eliminate the sea base and the assault/invasion would die from lack of supplies.

      As you say, a MLP might only be able to be committed when we have assured control of the region. However, given subs (SSK and SSN), thousand mile cruise missiles, ballistic missiles (the MLP, once in operation is, essentially, a fixed target), etc., one can't help but wonder if there is such a thing as "control of a region" sufficient to risk our only couple of MLPs and the fate of the entire assault! This is the type of thing that should have been thoroughly wargamed and a comprehensive CONOPS developed before we built these ships.

      By the way, regarding numbers, I have no problem with intentionally having only a couple of these ships during peacetime. They would allow us to develop and validate operational procedures and tactics and maintain a "database" to build many more when war comes, if we think they'll be useful.

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    5. Since part of the AFSB mission is support of SPECOPS, the full CONOPS may be classified.

      One could speculate on some peer war uses:
      - supporting MIW clearance of a friendly or captured port,
      - supporting survey and repairs of damaged ports,
      - bathymetric survey of home and coastal waters for ASW and MIW use
      - assisting in recovery and repair of damaged ships
      - assisting in the intelligence exploitation of sunken or damaged enemy vessels
      - supporting coastal and riverine security activities vs insurgents and enemy SPECOPS

      There are probably many other uses, but that's what I came up with off the top of my head.

      Basically anything where you need a mobile forward base for helicopters, personnel and smaller surface and subsurface craft.

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    6. "One could speculate on some peer war uses:"

      Interesting list. Part of the "interesting" is that most of the tasks are not direct combat related. In fact, one could argue that none are. They're all of a support nature. There's nothing wrong with that. We need support functions.

      A few of the tasks sound like after-combat actions (mine clearance could be, exploiting sunken ships, surveys).

      Anti-insurgent activity is, by definition, not a peer war activity.

      So, it sounds like, in your mind, we've built a peace time or peripheral support vessel. Again, there's nothing wrong with that, per se. I wonder, though, if that's what the Navy had in mind, assuming they had anything in mind which it sounds like they didn't.

      I'm also struck by the observation that nothing on your list is terribly sophisticated or technologically advanced. As you describe it via the missions, the ship is basically a base for various specialized units to come aboard for a brief period and execute their functions. The ship, itself, is almost a hotel/base of operations. Given the lack of sophistication of the ship, one can't help but wonder if the $400M price tag (for the MLPs, according to Wiki) is justified. There are civilian ships that perform many of the same or similar functions and cost far less. Perhaps the Navy overbuilt (or overpaid!)?

      All of this goes back to the premise of the post - that the Navy appears to have built a ship without first having a CONOPS and concrete set of requirements. For example, with your mission list in hand, I wonder what the resulting ship would have looked like?

      Again, I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your list - just observing that it is only marginally peer war relevant or feasible. For instance, sunken enemy ships are going to be in contested waters until the end of the war. We won't be recovering or exploiting anything while combat is still ongoing.

      If this vessel is largely a peacetime vessel then, again, did we overbuild/overpay?

      Any additional thoughts?

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    7. "One could speculate on some peer war uses:"

      Given the list of missions you laid out, what changes in the design of the ship would you have made, if any? More cranes? Well deck? More small craft handling? More unmanned vehicle support? Enhanced comms suite? Enhanced cargo handling capability? More/less flight deck space? Hangar? Other?

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    8. "As you describe it via the missions, the ship is basically a base for various specialized units to come aboard for a brief period and execute their functions. The ship, itself, is almost a hotel/base of operations. "

      Yes, hence the name, "Afloat Forward Staging Base" (or the newer name, "Expeditionary Mobile Base" ESB).

      Facilitating the opening of ports by clearance of mines or repair assistance is definitely a peer war activity. Both activities could continue for weeks after taking an enemy port, as safe lanes and piers are expanded.

      The Allied amphibious invasion of Normandy gets all of the headlines, but far more combat power and logistics were pushed through the captured French ports.

      Anti-SPECOPs and anti-insurgent are certainly peer war activities. Throughout history, SPECOPS and insurgents/partisans have been used by the primary combatants to attack their enemies behind enemy lines.

      Yes, they may very well have overpaid for these ships. However, they also have a SPECOPs hosting function, and that will come with considerable secure data and electronics requirements, as well as the ability to host SPECOPS specific gear and vehicles.

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    9. Setting aside the merits of any partiuclar mission/role, this mini-discussion about the AFSB is what should have happened in the Navy, to a hugely more detailed degree, prior to construction of the ship so that it would now be perfecting its function rather than searching for it.

      I apologize for using this discussion to graphically and forcefully illustrate that point for all readers. Thanks for your assistance!

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    10. I see the mine clearance (and maintaining assured access through continued sweeps) as being a prime mission for a platform like this. Mine countermeasure operations are time and labor intensive, and a bigger platform like this could bring more systems to bear to put forth more effort against the problem. I would have hoped to see more unmanned vehicle support since MCM operations are trending towards the unmanned, and putting more vehicles against the task only decreases the timeline or decreases the risk.

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    11. "I see the mine clearance (and maintaining assured access through continued sweeps) as being a prime mission for a platform like this."

      Okay. How do you see this working in a peer war? If a very large, non-stealthy, slow, defenseless vessel that is a critical asset for MCM gets too near any war zone, don't you think it would be sunk fairly quickly?

      If it can only be used in rear areas, how useful is it?

      If it requires a squadron of Burke escorts in order to operate AND SURVIVE, is it a net benefit?

      Could it be used in a combat MCM role like clearing assault lanes to a beach?

      These are the kind of CONOPS questions that should have been addressed before the vessel was built.

      What are some of your answers? In other words, aside from vague, general statements like, "this could be useful for mine clearance", how do you see it being used, specifically? Assaults, clearance ops out front of a fleet (speed???), clearing transit/chokepoints under enemy control/fire, rear area only, etc.?

      Do you see what I'm getting at? You made a few general, non-specific statements that offer no clue as to how to use the vessel and under what circumstances. Now, take a shot at a CONOPS type statement - something the Navy apparently did not do.

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    12. Fair comment/critique.

      As you know, there are different types of CONOPS, either focused on a specific mission area or focused on a specific platform/system.

      For purposes of this (short) discussion, we can discuss a set of Design Reference Missions, and identify which of those missions would be addressed by an ASFB, and which would be a challenge to the ASFB. Different objectives or expected outcomes (ie, Exploratory, Reconnaissance, Breakthrough, Clearing, and Attrition operations) coupled with different scenarios/environments (ie, deep water lines of communications / Q-routes, amphibious assaults, sea base activities, and foreign and domestic ports) and the threat. The objectives drive the level of effort the MCM forces are expected to apply, and the scenarios/environments and threats describe the different conditions that drive the platforms and systems.

      The advantage of the AFSB is size and persistence. Presumably, its large size allows for the stores to stay on station for significant periods of time, and bring a large number of mission systems (and ordnance) to an area. This would be effective in deep water lines of communications and the Q-routes where the enemy threat is relatively low and in sea base activities where additional forces are already present to provide protection. I don't see much value in foreign and domestic port clearance (and attrition) since you could accomplish the objectives by deploying from land. As you note, a large, slow, unstealthy ship is probably a sitting duck in a near-shore assault scenario. Its best use in that scenario is to stand back well over the horizon (with the LHA/LHD/LPD and the rest of the amphibious assault forces) and allow the unmanned systems to make the approach to the 2 or 3 miles offshore point and let the unmanned systems take any losses that might be inflicted. But the large size would again presumably allow for more unmanned systems to account for attrition in the MCM forces.

      A related question: Is a derivative of the LHD-1 a better platform for conducting this mission or meeting these CONOPS? The LHD offers a large deck and large hanger to support aerial operations, a large cargo hold that could be flexed as workshop space for maintaining offboard vehicles, and a large well deck for operation of unmanned undersea and surface vehicles. Self-protection is provided with CIWS, RAM, and Sea Sparrow, and the platform could be used for amphibious operations or other priorities by offloading the MCM mission systems. The con is the large complement; I am unsure how the complement might be reduced for an MCM mission vice the amphibious assault mission.

      Note that performance is from the embarked mission systems, which largely consist of the same systems that are found in the LCS MCM mission module plus the MH-53E mission systems. In my opinion, it's a mistake to attempt to replace the MH-53E with the MH-60S; there is just so much more capability in the larger helicopter that is not adequately replaced by other, largely unmanned, systems.

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    13. Good! If I can sum up - and correct me if I've got it wrong - you seem to be saying that the overall mission is peripheral area and protected MCM scenarios. Quite reasonable given the non-combat nature of the vessel.

      Of course, even this brief and basic CONOPS description highlights the lack of combat MCM capability in our force structure - something the Navy should be addressing but is not.

      You mention the AFSB standing off from an assault, under protection, and sending unmanned vehicles to do the actual mine clearance. I don't know if you've considered the actual performance of those unmanned vehicles, or not. For example, the UUV that would tow the scanning sonar has a speed of around 5 kts. Depending on the distance between the AFSB and the assault mined area, it might take multiple hours just to reach the area and then multiple hours to detect, identify, and clear just a few mines. This is, of course, totally unacceptable performance during an assault. We can, to a degree, compensate for slow component speed by increasing numbers of components. This, then, leads to your question about a better platform. An excellent question!

      If greatly increased numbers of individual unmanned components is the solution (or part of the solution) then the host ship should have not only increased storage, maintenance, and analysis capabilities but vastly increased unmanned vehicle launch/recovery mechanisms. The vessel should be capable of simultaneous launches of dozens of vehicles and the same for recovery. Does the AFSB have this? Not that I'm aware of.

      So, even our simplistic CONOPS stab has revealed that the ship should have been designed quite differently! This is why CONOPS are necessary prior to design and construction - a concept the Navy seems utterly incapable of grasping. So, now we're left with a vessel that is likely unsuited for its primary mission area and is left to look for a job it can do.

      On a closely related note, do you have any ideas about how to handle combat MCM? The main criteria is speed. We can't have fleets sitting around in a fixed location waiting for days or weeks while we slowly clear minefields or approaches. How can we clear hundreds or thousands of mines in a matter of a very few hours and do so while under fire?

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    14. InterestedParty,

      "I don't see much value in foreign and domestic port clearance (and attrition) since you could accomplish the objectives by deploying from land. "

      Yes, you could accomplish this from land, though there may be a period early in the capture of a port where landward access for even mine clearance units is very limited (perhaps due to mines, damage, or residual enemy activity).

      For friendly ports in non-peer situations, in some parts of the world allies have greater sensitivity to our footprint on their soil.

      "A related question: Is a derivative of the LHD-1 a better platform for conducting this mission or meeting these CONOPS? "

      The latest LHD ran around $3.9 billion, if memory serves, and has a crew of over 1,000 sailors.

      The ESBs are more like $500-600m and 150 sailors.

      So is an LHD solution better than six ESBs?

      "In my opinion, it's a mistake to attempt to replace the MH-53E with the MH-60S; there is just so much more capability in the larger helicopter that is not adequately replaced by other, largely unmanned, systems."

      I think they've pretty much given up on using the MH-60S for towing sweep and sonar kit. Doesn't have enough reserve power. It just carries ALMDs and AMNS now. They decided the hunting sonar will go on CUSV.

      The MH-53Es are getting old. If we want to keep the capability, we'll need to replace them at some point. The Japanese use the AW-101 to tow minehunting sonars. Something in that class appears to be appropriate. However, they probably can't tow the old, heavy sweep sleds used by the MH-53E.

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    15. If greatly increased numbers of individual unmanned components is the solution (or part of the solution) then the host ship should have not only increased storage, maintenance, and analysis capabilities but vastly increased unmanned vehicle launch/recovery mechanisms. The vessel should be capable of simultaneous launches of dozens of vehicles and the same for recovery. Does the AFSB have this? Not that I'm aware of.

      The large flight deck could support large scale launch and recovery of unmanned aerial vehicles, assuming sufficient tactical control stations and what not. A well deck or the partial flooding that the other ESD variant has would support large scale launch and recovery of unmanned surface and undersea vehicles (hence my fascination with an LHD or LHD-like platform). It’s really a question of how long the unmanned vehicles can stay on station versus the sortie generation rate. If you can increase the sortie generation rate, then you can afford to have simpler systems with less time on station. If you cannot increase the sortie generation rate, then you need the systems to stay on station longer to avoid the turnaround time.

      On a closely related note, do you have any ideas about how to handle combat MCM? The main criteria is speed. We can't have fleets sitting around in a fixed location waiting for days or weeks while we slowly clear minefields or approaches. How can we clear hundreds or thousands of mines in a matter of a very few hours and do so while under fire?

      I just don’t know if the national command authority (and the American people) would have the stomach for a large scale amphibious landing that requires the clearance of a significant minefield. We suffered multiple mine losses in Desert Storm just faking an amphibious assault; multiple minesweepers were sunk off the coast of Wonsan during the Korean War. Technology helps to provide an answer, but my opinion is that we are back to applying brute force, assigning a high quantity systems to the operation and relying on pre-assault battlefield preparation t. Unmanned undersea vehicles are slow, but there are some systems that have great persistence, and one approach might be to “predict” where an assault might be accomplished and put those systems in the water well in advance of an assault so that assault planning can take into account what obstacles might be present and speed the minimal clearance required to get the forces ashore. It will be a tough problem to solve.

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  9. Think Defence ran a pretty good analysis of this type of vessel, although the AFSB might not be the best execution of the concept.

    https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/a-ship-that-still-isnt-a-frigate/

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  10. Due to its Swiss army knife nature, how about designating it as a maritime hybrid warfare ship?

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    1. Call it whatever you want but we're still left with the question of what can it do?

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