Monday, November 16, 2020

Carrier Deployments and Combat Readiness

USNI News website has a lengthy article about carrier deployments and maintenance.(1)  It makes for sobering reading and I urge you to read it.  I want to analyze the implications but, first, it is necessary to understand the fundamental conditions so here are some of the main points from the article (this does not relieve you of the responsibility of reading the entire article for yourself!):


  • Carrier operations are up 40 percent this year over last year;  from Jan. through Oct. 31, U.S. carriers had spent a combined total of 855 days at sea – 258 days more than all of 2019.
  • Carriers are regularly conducting back-to-back, double deployments and suffering shortened or skipped maintenance periods as a result.
  • The East Coast has just one deployable carrier for the next year and that one is the Eisenhower which has just returned from deployment and will have to execute a double deployment with a shortened maintenance interval.
  • Carrier maintenance is routinely running significantly longer than planned due to the deferred maintenance resulting from double deployments and longer deployments. 


The current status of our carriers illustrates the problems.  Right now, two carriers are tied up with mid-life refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) activities instead of the normal one carrier at a time: USS George Washington (CVN-73) is in the second half of its four-year overhaul, and USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is in pre-RCOH activities and should begin its overhaul late next year. 


A third, the Ford, is still trying to achieve operational status and is years away from doing so.  The first deployment is likely 2024 and that assumes that all goes well, including shock tests.


Of the remaining 8 carriers, 4 are home ported on the West coast, 3 are on the East coast, and 1, the Reagan, is ported in Japan.  The West coast carriers are generally adhering to the planned operational schedule although the Roosevelt is scheduled for a double deployment.  The East coast carriers have Bush in the 20th month of a planned 28 month maintenance period, Truman is in a maintenance period after undergoing a double deployment, and Eisenhower is halfway through a double deployment.


The carrier status is summarized in the table below. 







West Coast



West Coast



West Coast

executing double deployment


West Coast

maintenance after record deployment


East Coast

executing double deployment


East Coast

maintenance after double deployment


East Coast

20 months into 28 month maintenance


East Coast













Deployments, and double deployments, are eating up our carrier lifespans, ruining their material condition, and reducing readiness.  Why are we doing this to ourselves?  Deployments are intended as a deterrent but they do not accomplish anything.  I know that’s trying to prove a negative but we do have evidence.  If carriers are what’s preventing Iran, Russia, NKorea, and China from initiating hostilities with us or our allies then hostilities should have occurred during any of the extended periods of carrier coverage gaps that have occurred over the last decade or so in the various regions.  The fact that they haven’t demonstrates that the presence of a carrier has no deterrent effect and the absence of a carrier has no detrimental effect.  In other words, carrier deployments serve no purpose. 


If carrier deployments serve no purpose, why are we burning up carrier readiness conducting deployments?  Why are we conducting double deployments with deferred maintenance that is worsening the readiness situation?  At the moment, our carrier combat readiness is abysmal. 


Deferred maintenance in order to conduct double deployments is robbing Maintenance Peter to pay Deployment Paul and Deployment Paul isn’t giving us anything for our effort.


It is important to understand the devastating effects of double deployments and deferred maintenance.  Let’s look at one example:  storage tanks.  Carriers have enormous numbers of tanks that store all manner of fluids.  Those tanks corrode and need regular maintenance.  If the maintenance is performed on a regular basis, the tanks never get too bad and the work is fairly straightforward, easy, and quick.  However, if the regular maintenance is deferred then the tanks are much more corroded by the time maintenance is performed and what should have been a fairly straightforward, easy, and quick effort becomes much more difficult and time consuming.  An analogy would be if you take care of little spots of rust on your car as they appear, it’s no big deal but if you wait until the car is covered in rust and the corrosion has eaten through some panels then the repair is a major effort and cost.


This is exactly what’s happening with the carriers.  The planned maintenance work is being hugely increased as the extent of the deterioration is revealed when the equipment is actually opened up and examined.  Maintenance time is being doubled from what was planned.


We are generating crippling maintenance requirements faster than we can perform the required maintenance.  Every deployment increases the carrier maintenance backlog and makes the situation worse.  We need to step back, take a pause in carrier operations, focus on maintenance, and then return to operations with a sane concept of use instead of the blind attempt to fulfill the Combatant Commander’s ego-driven requests for carriers.  

 We need to say no to the Combatant Commanders.  I know that some of you are going to say that the Navy has to obey orders and can’t just arbitrarily say no.  Well, that’s incorrect.  The National Defense Strategy in January 2018 called on the military to prioritize building up readiness and lethality for a future fight over routine low-end operations today.  There’s the permission to say no.  Combatant Commanders do not ‘outrank’ the National Defense Strategy.  The Navy has, essentially, been given an order to prioritize readiness over routine operations.  Instead, we are doing the opposite of that. 


There you have it … Deployments (generated by the Combatant Commander’s pointless requests for carriers) are degrading our carrier readiness to an alarming state and the situation is getting worse with each deployment and double deployment.  Carrier usage is increasing while maintenance is decreasing.  This is insanity and must stop.  The National Defense Strategy gives the Navy the ‘cover’ they need to say no to the endless and pointless requests for carriers from the Combatant Commanders.  Now we just need a Chief of Naval Operations with the courage to actually say no.  Unfortunately, CNO Gilday has demonstrated that he is not that man.





By the way, we only have 9 air wings. 


By the way, the same problems are happening with all ships, not just carriers and the problems are only going to get worse.  If we can’t maintain 280 ships how are we going to maintain 350-500 ships?




(1)USNI News website, “No Margin Left: Overworked Carrier Force Struggles to Maintain Deployments After Decades of Overuse”, Megan Eckstein, 12-Nov-2020,


  1. I read that article, and like almost everything concerning the modern Navy it is depressing. Once again it confirms to me that no one in the Pentagon is serious about being ready to fight a near peer war in the not to distant future.

  2. It seems to me that Congress tends to be a serious problem whrn it comes to ship maintenance. It is "sexy" to buy new ships, not so to do the dirty work of maintaining them. Sure, members of Congress are all about the jobs that ship repair bring into their districts but when it comes to appropriations, it is easier to but a new ship than to maintain those that you have.

    1. I'm not trying to defend Congress because there's plenty of blame to attach to them, however, it is the Navy who submits a budget to Congress for approval and those budgets are very heavy on new construction and very light on maintenance and almost non-existent on facilities maintenance and improvement. So, let's be sure to keep firmly in mind that our professional naval warriors are failing badly in their responsibilities. Congress isn't helping matters, although they've begun to exercise their oversight powers of late and I commend them for that. Congress could, if they wished, completely reallocate the Navy budget but, if it came to that, one would have to seriously wonder why we have naval leaders. Of course, some of us wonder what good our naval leaders are doing now!

    2. And I do not want to take any of the blame off Navy Leadership, but maybe they have been "trained" to propose their budget that way because Congress is the way it is. Navy Leadership fault lies in its inability to, or lack of desire to, explain to Congress the "hows and whys" of a Navy and explain maintenance to them.

    3. I really don't think Congress is the one saying no. I'm convinced it's the Navy. For example, previous CNOs have publicly stated that if faced with a budget choice, they'll prioritize new construction over maintenance which is exactly the wrong choice to make. Congress is not telling them to defer maintenance, that's the Navy's choice.

  3. "A third, the Ford, is still trying to achieve operational status and is years away from doing so. The first deployment is likely 2024 and that assumes that all goes well, including shock tests."

    So... Fake deployment, more delays, or both?

  4. Thats quite an increase, certainly by years end!! The only positive here is that sailors are at sea, doing their jobs (hopefully becoming more proficient), but I wonder what all these long/double deployments are doing to retention??

  5. I am a numbers guy, so let’s look at numbers (all amounts 2019 dollars).

    The Navy’s shipbuilding budget over the last 4-5 years has been in the $20-22 billion range. So let’s assume $21B. That’s $630B over 30 years, or $840B over 40. CBO estimates that the Navy 355-ship plan would actually cost about $865B (more than the 40-year amount), or $28.8B/year over 30 years (which seems unlikely), or about $2.85B per ship. That means stealing money from elsewhere, probably maintenance and training. At $2.85B per ship, $21B builds about 7.4 ships a year, so in 30 years we would have 222, or even if we went to 40 years 296, short of where we need to be.

    We are pricing ourselves out of the numbers to fight a peer war. And we are attempting to offset by short-changing maintenance and training. We’ve also been fighting no-win wars in the Mideast for two decades, wearing out equipment and sacrificing lives and limbs in conflicts that we don’t even know what victory is, not to mention how to achieve it. We don’t need to get completely out of the deployment business, as there are things to gain from a certain level of deployments, but no-win missions make no sense.

    The carrier-specific problem is that we don’t have enough carriers. In my active duty days we had 15, and that seemed like a minimum number back then. We can’t afford 15 (or more) Fords, even if the Fords ever actually work. ComNavOps and others have proposed building Nimitzes instead of Fords and expanding the numbers with conventional CVs. A mix of 12 Nimitzes and 12 conventional CVs, operating in 12 two-carrier battle groups (CVBGs) seems about right to me. I would start by converting the LHAs/LHDs to interim CVLs (convert troop berthing, troop equipment spaces, and well deck into additional hangar and aircraft storage/maintenance spaces and add ski jumps), and as their useful lives expire replace them with something like ComNavOps’s modernized Midway or a modernized Kitty Hawk.

    The fleet-wide problem is that we are building too many over-priced and basically useless ships across the board (Zumwalts, LCSs), and don’t spend enough time or resources on maintenance or training. The only way I see to break the logjam is to spend less per ship and use the savings to grow numbers and to address maintenance and training. Going back to the $21B budget number, let’s assume we applied the Zumwalt high/low mix approach buy building some expensive, multi-purpose ships and filling out the numbers with smaller, cheaper, single-purpose ships. If we cut the average cost/ship in half, to say $1.5B, then we could build 14 ships a year, 420 over 30 years or 560 over 40 years. The Nimitz/conventional combination could double the number of carriers. Instead of spending $3.9B on an LHA/LHD and $2.2B on a San Antonio LPD, replace them with cheaper amphibs that could actually get an assault to shore, and convert the LHAs/LHDs to interim CVLs and the LPDs to ABM/BMD ships (per the HII proposal). Instead of spending $7.5B on a Columbia adaptation for new SSGNs, spend $5B or so on an updated Ohio adaptation, and instead of building 33 Virginia replacements at $5.5B each, build Virginias/Virginia VPMs for $3-3.5B each (caveat: if the replacement is mind-bogglingly amazing, maybe the extra cost is justified, but to me it looks like another Ford boondoggle). As far as surface escorts, what we really need are some single-purpose ASW platforms--modern successors to Spruances, Perrys, and Knoxes. The FFGX could have been, but it looks like the Navy was really interested only in converting it to another (cheaper and less effective) AEGIS platform.

    The other way to save money is to maintain existing ships for their design life instead of being in such a hurry to get rid of them. We could use some Spruances, Perrys, and even Knoxes today.

    Build some expensive multi-purpose ships, but build enough cheaper single-purpose ships to get the numbers we need. And spend the savings on maintenance and training.

    1. Agreed. Feel like ships being retired early hurts. If they are retired before 30, 40 or whatever the initial plan is, they should brought to optimum material condition and placed in a reserve fleet, where they, by (my new) law, CANNOT be scrapped or SINKEXd until 5 yrs or more beyond their expected lifespan.
      We certainly need more carriers, and Fords arent the way to go!! A Nimitz restart is the minimum plan change in the future that won't eat us alive. Frankly some decisive and painful choices have to be made yesterday, including cutting the Fords at two. Stop the waste on procuring any more LCS. Right now!! Put em all in the mothball fleet and if a "module" ever comes to fruition, then look at them again to see if theyre worthwhile. Stop the big deck LH and look at a large number of basic cargo hulls to haul troops and their own landing craft if the Marines are ever needed. Without armor the task gets simpler.... There are lots of massive changes needed, as we're into the "terrible 20s", and I see flat, but more likely, a shrinking budgets in the coming years. We will have to do more with even less.....

    2. Id also like to mention that ships with a lifespan plan of 40 yrs, besides carriers, seems absurd. The "room for growth" is touted but not often used. Ships with a planned life of around 25 avoids that, and puts more modern systems at sea more often. The more stable, continual flow of cheaper and incrementally improved, single purpose ships would also strengthen the industrial side, and even create opportunity for other/more yards to get involved. While not based on any specific evidence, I think getting more competition in shipbuilding could only be an improvement!!

    3. The problem with shorter lives is that we have to build way more ships to maintain the same fleet size. Say we want to maintain a 400-ship fleet (to make the math easy). With a 40-year life, you can sustain that size by building 10 ships a year. With a 25-year life you need to build 16 ships a year. I'm not sure we can do that.

    4. While the mismanaged budget, and cost of construction have a say in it all, its possible...
      While we have built 68 or so Burkes over the last 30 yrs, we turned out 34 Spruances/Kidds in 5 yrs!!!(the last Spru wasnt in that timeline, came yrs later) And we dumped them in their 20s. Not due to obsolescence or being worn out, there were other reasons, which remain top secret lol... But if you look at cheaper, non-exquisite Burke-esque ships, and the extra costs involved in maintenance and upgrades to keep a ship relevant for 40 yrs, I think theres a valid case. Now with the already too small fleet, doing this doesn't help the numbers as much down the line, and a dip in numbers will happen but further out, it makes sense...

    5. "The problem with shorter lives"

      As I've repeatedly demonstrated, that's a benefit, not a problem.

    6. It's a benefit if the cost of 25-year ships can be cut by 40% or so compared to a 40-year ship. And it's clearly a benefit if the Navy is going to get rid of them at the 25-30 year point anyway. But why is the Navy getting rid of them early? It seems to me that the intent has been to get rid of Perrys and Spruances to make way for LCSs. My fear is that if we go to 25-year lives, we will just carve those sorts of decisions in stone.

      My thought is still this. Build them for 40-year lives with a built-in midlife major maintenance and upgrade period. Assuming the hulls are still in acceptable condition, go through them from stem to stern replacing all outmoded systems with current ones. Since you have demonstrated that major cost drivers of a new ship are the hull and propulsion, you don't have to spend those costs twice. You just spiff them up a bit, as needed, and spend the money on upgrading electronics and weapons. You get basically a new ship from a combat standpoint without the new ship price for hull and propulsion plant.

      The other problem I see with the 25-year life is the sheer number of ships required to maintain the ship count would appear to overwhelm our existing shipyard capability. Of course, on the flip side, that might be the way to rehabilitate at least a significant part of our shipbuilding industry.

      And to concede part of a point, as long as the Navy is going to SINKEX Sprucans and Perrys to make room for LCSs at or around the 25-30 year mark, we might as well just build 25-year ships and be done with it. But I have to believe that we could have put the Spruances and Perrys through major upgrades at around 25-30 years and ended up with much better ships than the LCSs for less money. If we had kept them for 40 years, we would still have something like 4 Spruances and 30 Perrys, and I have to believe that would be better than the LCSs.

      So as long as the Navy's approach is going to be to get rid of good ships at around 25-30 years and replace them with junk, we might as well just build 25-year ships. But I think there is a better way to do it.

    7. "intent has been to get rid of Perrys and Spruances to make way for LCSs."

      BING, BING, BING!!!!! We have a winner! You just got the entire concept and summed it up beautifully. Unfortunately, you don't even realize it so I'll explain it.

      The LCS was the replacement for the Perrys and others. You can debate whether it was a good replacement or not (actually, you can't … it was horrible!) but it was the Navy's idea of how to leap forward. There was simply no possible way to mid-life upgrade a 40-year Perry (I know that wasn't the design lifespan of a Perry but work with me; I'm illustrating the concept) into a LCS which is the future that the Navy thought they needed and wanted. So, they did the only reasonable thing - in their minds - and neutered the Perrys and then retired them because they were neutered (circular logic but, hey, that's the Navy). It was the only way the Navy saw to get from the past (Perry) to the future (LCS) IN THE TIME FRAME THAT MATTERED.

      So, the Navy did EXACTLY what I've called for. They cut the Perry off at 20-25 years and built a new ship, the LCS. The future (the LCS) came and when it came time to embrace that future, the Navy couldn't wait another 20 years for the Perrys to retire on their own.

      So, instead of pretending that we're going to build 40 year ships and then wind up retiring them when the future comes in 20 years instead of 40, why not just build a 20 year ship to begin with? You're going to do it anyway, whether you mean to or not.

      You just brilliantly summarized the concept of the 20 year ship. Well done! Now, just recognize and acknowledge it!

    8. "on the flip side, that might be the way to rehabilitate at least a significant part of our shipbuilding industry."

      BING, BING, BING!!!!! We have another winner!

    9. "I have to believe that we could have put the Spruances and Perrys through major upgrades at around 25-30 years and ended up with much better ships than the LCSs"

      That's just execution. You can have the best concept in the world but if you execute it poorly, it's still crap. If you insist on designing LCS, Fords, Zumwalts, etc, then no concept in the world will work.

      Now, take a 20 year Perry and replace it with something better than an LCS (maybe a Streetfighter or an ASW corvette?) and you have a winner. Good concept and good execution. The two have to go hand in hand.

    10. Consider this point about a supposed 40 year ship … The Zumwalt is a 40 year ship and yet it's been in commission since 2016 and has yet to deploy because it only just now got its combat system installed AND IT'S MISSING ITS MAIN WEAPON. Why? Because it's trying to use futuristic technology that didn't/doesn't exist. So, of that 40 year life, we've already wasted 4 years doing nothing because it still doesn't have a full weapons fit. How many of that 40 year lifespan will we actually get, if any? How about the LCS? We'll never get anything useful out of it because we tried to include non-existent technology (module swapping, uber-speed, NLOS, unmanned vehicles, etc.). There's a 40 year lifespan that we'll get zero useful years out of. How about the Ford? Again, commissioned in 2017 and we're looking, very optimistically, at 2024 for the first deployment and that probably won't happen. How much of the 40 year life will be useful?

      Why did these disasters happen? Because we tried to build the future into 40 year ships and it predictably failed. With a 20 year ship, you ONLY build it with EXISTING technology and then every 20 years you build a brand new ship that includes all the future tech you couldn't have predicted 20 years before! The shorter lifespan IS THE FUTURE PROOFING!!!!!

      Honestly, this concept is pretty self-evident and it's how we historically used to build ships.

    11. "You just brilliantly summarized the concept of the 20 year ship. Well done! Now, just recognize and acknowledge it!"

      I agree that I have summarized the Navy's concept. My point is that the concept makes no sense. We had Perrys with perfectly sound hulls (and that's where you have shown that the money is). It seems it would have been cheaper to update them than to build the LCSs from scratch, and they would have been better ships (could hardly have been worse).

      Suppose you take a Perry, in year 20, put a 76mm (or better 127mm if it will fit) gun where the missile launcher was, put a couple of RBUs behind the gun (on an 01 level if needed), put 32 or 40 or 48 Mk41s where the 76mm gun was, keep the two helos, and upgrade the electronics. That strikes me as doable and as producing a much more useful ship than either of the LCSs.

      I agree that if the Navy is going to SINKEX everything at 25 years, then it makes no sense to build for longer than 25-year lives. But I don't think that is a sensible approach. Build for 40, major overhaul at 20, and you get effectively two 20-year ships with the expenditure for only one hull.

    12. " they would have been better ships "

      You're not being fair or objective. Instead, you're working from hindsight. Obviously, no one would advocate retiring the Perrys for an LCS but no one knew that at the time (well, yes they did - it was pretty obvious but that's incompetence on the Navy's part, not a flaw in the concept).

      "Suppose you take a Perry, in year 20, put a ..."

      If you want to play 'suppose', suppose the LCS had been the streetfighter or an ASW corvette or a stealth frigate, OR A VISBY, or almost any other ship than the LCS? Any of those would have been better than any upgraded Perry no matter how much upgrading you did. I'd much rather have had a Perry for 20 years and then a brand new Visby for 20 years than a Perry for 40 years.

      "you get effectively two 20-year ships with the expenditure for only one hull."

      No, you get one overly expensive new ship for 20 years and one obsolete ship for 20 years.

      Consider the Burkes which are on 40 year lives, if the Navy is to be believed. They're beyond any useful, effective upgrades for the world of future combat. They're only marginally stealthy, if that, and their stealth can't be upgraded. They haven't got the room, utilities, or weight margins to accept the radar that's needed. They can't support future lasers or rail guns. They're max'ed out. There is no viable upgrade path. Their useful upgradability ended at 20 years. Meanwhile, their maintenance costs steadily increase and spare parts become harder and harder to find and cost more and more.

    13. So don't build a ship for futuristic stuff that won't work. Build it with what we have today that we know works. In 20 years, when we still presumably have a sound hull and power plant, bring it back, and replace the old stuff with the newer stuff that DOES WORK. We're not going to future proof anything, we're going to update to take care of the future. And we build in that concept from the start. We plan on one 40-year hull that will become two 20-year ships by mid-life updates.

    14. I just demonstrated to you that it's almost impossible to upgrade an old ship with the necessary new equipment and capabilities. If you want to ignore reality, you can, I guess, but that ends my participation in this.

    15. “I just demonstrated to you that it's almost impossible to upgrade an old ship with the necessary new equipment and capabilities.”

      With all due respect, I think what you’ve demonstrated is that the Navy can’t do it with the Navy’s approach. I'm rejecting the Navy's approach and saying build intentionally differently from the start.

    16. “You're not being fair or objective…”

      It’s hindsight now, but we knew back before it was hindsight that it was a mistake. Just as we knew that going to untested aircraft carrier launching, recovering, and arming systems in one fell swoop was a mistake or that putting all your amphib eggs in one LHA/LHD basket was a mistake. But that doesn’t stop the Navy from chasing shiny new objects. Maybe what you’re saying is that the Navy could never execute the concept I am proposing. That may be entirely correct. But as you note, that’s because the Navy is stupid and incompetent.

      "If you want to play ‘suppose’, suppose the LCS had been … almost any other ship than the LCS?"

      But it wasn’t. That’s not the way the Navy thinks. They always want the shiny new toy. But perfect is the leading enemy of good enough--and their shiny new toys have been far from perfect.

      "No, you get one overly expensive new ship for 20 years and one obsolete ship for 20 years."

      If you don't do the mid-life update properly, yes. I was on a FRAM I can, and their “updates” left a lot to be desired. But if you do the update properly, and are not in such a hurry to dump a perfectly good hull for a new toy, then you can have 40 years of a ship that is never functionally more than 20 years old.

      I can see some problems. The Perrys were built as ASW ships without the quiet running advantages of CODLAG or IEP for ASW. The Brits figured that out with the Type 23s in the 1980s when the all-gas-turbine Type 21s/22s proved too noisy for ASW (although the Perrys and Sprucans seem not to have had that problem). And the Perrys did not have a plant that could generate the electricity needed to operate some later radars and possibly laser or other directed energy weapons. But the LCSs don’t have those, either. If we had decided they were truly needed, we could have fitted them into a Perry hull without the need to build a new hull. That would have been expensive, maybe more than it was worth, but a Perry without them would still be better than an LCS.

      As for high weight on the Burkes, it seems to me that there are 2 obvious solutions. One, give up something that is adding all that high weight, something that does not contribute to your primary mission—like the superstructure hangar and remote mine countermeasures system. Two, add low weight in the form of armor and armored bulkheads that makes the ship both more stable and better able to absorb battle damage. Also, design ships from the start with allowances for adding stuff later.

      I go back to your breakdown of Burke costs from a while back (and I think you did a newer one, but I couldn’t find it quickly, and I don’t think the numbers moved dramatically):

      “Planning $40M 2%
      Basic Construction $739M 44%
      Change Orders $114M 7%
      Electronics $173M 10%
      Hull, Mechanical, Electrical $81M 5%
      Ordnance $508M 30%
      Other $40M 2%
      Total $1697M”

      So 44% of the cost is the hull (and superstructure). Maybe you need to modify the superstructure to accommodate new weapons. And obviously any teardown requires expenditures not listed in new construction, particularly if you did something as drastic as changing out the propulsion system. But if I can start by saving any significant part of 44% by not having to build a new hull, I think that puts me money ahead. And whatever I save can go to build that Streetfighter or corvette or Visby. One other thing is that 7% for change orders. How about build ship #1 of the series to plan, no change orders. Then make incremental improvements as we go through the production run. Then part of the 20-year upgrade would include making any of those incremental changes that prove valuable.

      I agree that the Navy can’t do what I’m talking about with its current paradigm. So change the paradigm.

    17. " We plan on one 40-year hull that will become two 20-year ships by mid-life updates. "

      "No, you get one overly expensive new ship for 20 years and one obsolete ship for 20 years."

      I think there might be an interesting mid grounds between both. What if you build a ship that is intended for a 20 years lifespan with scalability in mind and build later batches with updated equipment?

      The Royal Navy during the early 1960s has demonstrated this idea through the design of the Type 22 Broadsword Class. The frigate was originally intended as a bigger than normal design to ease maintenance task with hopes that there would be a space margin for future equipment. Alas it was found out that they were too small to accommodate the Type 2031Z towed array and its associated operations room equipment.

      To mitigate this, the Royal Navy then commissioned a second batch with further increases in size of the operations room and lengthened the ship. The ship's hangar and flight deck was also lengthened and strengthened to accept a Sea King or a Merlin (as opposed to the Lynx of the first batch).

      The third batch Cornwall class was ordered and replaced the ships in the Falklands war. The only notable upgrade is the addition of a 4.5 inch mark VIII and a goalkeeper CIWS with change to the Harpoon SSMs from war lessons.

      As a note: The designers did not explicit say it was a scalable design, but it was originally intended to be a baseline ship for a different but larger design. Hence my conclusion of the results was scalability.

    18. “I think there might be an interesting mid-ground between both.”

      Here’s what I’m thinking. Design and build ships for an intended 40-year life. That at least in theory saves one of the 44% that goes to hull and main machinery, if I understand ComNavOps’s earlier presentation.

      Let’s say we are going to build a hypothetical class of 20, one per year. Here’s how it would work. Build ship #1 to plan in year 1, no change orders. If we come up with a change order, incorporate it in ship #2 in year 2 and subsequent ships. Same for #3 on up to #20.

      Operate ship #1 for 9 years. In year 10 it as a major maintenance and rehab availability. Any changes made in ships 2-10 that can be accomplished in this period will be done, but the main focus is to address any issues that have come up and fix them. End of year 10, it goes back out as a refurbished, almost like new ship. Operate another 9 years, come in for years 20 and 21 for a supermajor maintenance and remodeling availability. Again, the goal is to make it almost like new, and to incorporate any changes resulting from ships 2-20 that were not accomplished in year 10, but can be done over 2 years. Then operate 9 years, back in year 31 for major maintenance and then operate 9 more years.

      In that schedule, years 1-3, 11-13, 22-24, and 32-34 would be reserve status with half regular crew and half reserves. Years 4-9, 14-19, 25-30, and 35-40 would be two cycles of the 36-month Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) that you posted earlier. I would modify it a bit to provide 6 months maintenance, 6 months training, 6 months deployed, 6 months sustainment, 6 months deployed, and 6 months post-deployment sustainment. So they would be deployed for one year out of three.

      Carriers would be a bit different, at least the nuclear ones. They have a 4-year ROH period coming at mid-life, say years 24-25-26-27. So they would have two reserve years, then three of the 36-month OFRP cycles, then year 12 in maintenance availability, then reserve years 13-14, and 3 more OFRP cycles in years 15-23, then RCOH, then repeat.

      Obviously major changes involving things like enlarged hulls would probably not be done during major maintenance to predecessor ships in the class, but other upgrades would be installed to the maximum extent possible in the major maintenance periods. I would envision that ships would come out of the first and second major maintenance years pretty much good as new, and maybe by the third the goal would just be to refurbish enough to get 10 more useful years out of them.

      Carriers would spend 36 months deployed out of each 12 years, and other ships would spend 24 months deployed out of each 10 years. So roughly 25% of carriers would be deployed at any time and 20% of non-nuclear surface ships. Based on numbers in my proposed fleet, that would mean an average peacetime deployment of 6 carriers and 48 surface combatants, plus 15 SSNs, 12 amphibs, and 11 auxiliary ships, or 92 total deployed. That’s about 10% less than currently, and under my idea of a British Commonwealth alliance, India and Australia would take up slack in the Indian Ocean, UK in Europe, Japan and Canada in the Pacific, Malaysia and Singapore in the SCS, and South Africa (if they joined) in the South Atlantic and southwestern Indian Ocean.

      Having ships go through reserve status would cut down on active personnel required but would require some reinvigoration of the Naval Reserve. Deployment readiness would be 30 days for ships in sustainment, 60 days for ships in training, 90 days for ships in maintenance, and 120 days for ships in reserve.

      These are all pretty rough numbers. The plan would have to get fleshed out a lot. But it’s a conceptual outline.

      One question I have for you. I have read that the RN went to CODLAG for the Type 23s because either or both of the Type 21s/22s had COGOG/COGAG plants that were too noisy for ASW. I made the comment to that effect above, but I don’t really know which class it was, or both. Do you know?

    19. "Because we tried to build the future into 40 year ships and it predictably failed. With a 20 year ship, you ONLY build it with EXISTING technology and then every 20 years you build a brand new ship that includes all the future tech you couldn't have predicted 20 years before."

      I think the Zumwalt is probably the worst possible example of a total screw-up. But that's not what I'm talking about. Build a 40-year hull with what weapons we have now. Update a bit at the 10-year mark, then update majorly at the 20 year mark, and a life extension at the 30-year mark. A hull extension like the later Type 22s or a power plant switch from, say CODOG or COGOG to CODLAG or CODLOG, is probably beyond the scope of the 10-year or even 20-year rehabs, and probably not worthwhile at the 30-year mark. But most anything else should be doable.

      All I'm saying is build a ship to operate 20 years, and then take the hull and update the weapons and sensors to last another 20 years. Basically, you get the hull free for the second ship.

    20. "Basically, you get the hull free for the second ship."

      No amount of rebuilding would have turned a Perry into a Visby. You're ignoring the reality of the degree of technological change that occurs in 20 years.

      You're also ignoring the cost of an upgrade of the magnitude you're suggesting. This would not be a simple, two month effort for ten million dollars. It would likely be a 4 year rebuild effort (for an example, look at the rebuild times of the Burkes that collided and those were nowhere near the scope of what you're suggesting - don't ignore reality) and likely cost 2/3 the cost of a new ship and in the end you'd have an obsolete ship. A rebuilt Perry, today, would still be obsolete. It would be utterly non-stealthy, nowhere near quiet enough for ASW, would lack power and utility space for modern electronics, would not have been able to incorporate much VLS (Perrys were built too narrow for VLS - beam 45 ft versus Constellation beam of 65 ft - you can't upgrade beam, etc. It would have to be relegated to non-combat work.

      You've built a fantasy vision that is unsupported by reality. We've seen that the old Burkes CAN'T be adequately upgraded and a Perry couldn't have been adequately upgraded. You're also ignoring costs. I'm giving you concrete, real world examples and you're hand-waving them away. You can hold on to the fantasy concept, if you like, but it's not viable.

  6. Empires over extended their military power will lose their hegemony soon.

    On the other hand, perhaps, we need to develop an aircraft carrier which requires less maintenance. Ironically, conventional powered one requires less maintenance time but self sustainability is not as good as nuclear powered one.

    If US Navy focuses on defence the nation, then, there is no need to make so many nuclear powered ones.

    1. Or, to continue with my desire to see the Navy move past the 1960's nuclear power type systems, our government should stop dragging out moving toward Pebble Reactors.

      Imagine these benefits in a carrier: (from the article)

      The reactor CANNOT melt down.

      Ability to load follow (from 100% to 40% power within 20 minutes), making the plant complementary to maintaining a stable load on a grid that includes renewables.

      Continuous fueling and on-site fuel storage, delivering high availability (93-95%) while ensuring plant resiliency
      Reduced construction time (2.5 – 4 years for a 300 MWe plant).

      Factory-produced major components, enabling improved quality control while reducing per unit costs.

      It is time to move on already!

  7. After reading the article I am wondering how much of the work is maintenance versus restoration, precipitated by overuse to the point of failure.
    It would seem that a homeport in the Middle East region similar to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base would allow the carriers to spend periods of time in port rather than continuous deployment. More frequent port calls would allow for maintenance to be performed more frequently and maybe forestall the need for major restorations due to lack of maintenance.
    A naval air station in the Middle East would allow the carrier's air wing to function even if the carrier was laid up for a planned maintenance period.
    Camp Lemonnier would be the logical choice if there wasn't a Chinese naval base near by shooting lasers at our aviators.

  8. I like how the author tip-toed around what really should be talked about: "why the f#ck are we deploying so much for what effect"?!? Author almost went there IMO with the whole budget issue and availability:

    “The budgetary pressure that we’re under right now, when we don’t get the return on investment, the enormous investment on our aircraft carriers, I describe it as a drop of blood in the water: Every day we lose of operational availability further fans the flames for critics that want to cut aircraft carriers,” Meier added.

    Well, in my book and others can disagree BUT I understood it that we are deploying JUST to deploy! If we had these carriers sitting around doing nothing, one could ask the valid question of not really about their usefulness which in my book is undeniable BUT are they being abused to achieve some sort of deterrence (looking at you Iran) and well, Iran doesn't seem that phased about a carrier or not near their shores! Sure didn't seem to bother them shipping weapons to Yeman or shooting down a US Global Hawk. So its not that carriers aren't useful but are they doing the job assigned and is the carrier the best option? I think that would be valid question, I feel USN is so afraid to talk about their usefulness that they prefer to run them "into the ground" (so to speak) and just yell: "look how we need carriers!!!" than have to explain why we need carriers in a rational calm manner.

    Last time I checked, we not fighting the Soviets anymore, Russia is mainly SSNs and SSBNs, China only has 2 carriers and still limited experience and Iran surface fleet is mainly asymmetric to USN. So why are we punishing the carrier hardware and the crews so hard?!? If I were USA enemies, I couldn't ask for USN to do anymore to abuse itself!!!

  9. At War On The Rocks they recently had an article -

    "We’re an 11-carrier Navy in a 15-carrier world,” Rear Adm. Thomas Moore, the program executive officer for aircraft carriers, lamented in 2013. That one statement summarized a global problem plaguing Pentagon leadership: The demand for forces continues to outmatch supply.

    Combatant commanders independently create requests for forces and operations from service chiefs. The services then need to juggle the unrestricted needs of multiple commanders who have no incentive to be sparing with their demands. Even when there are ample quantities of personnel and readiness, not enough hard questions are asked up front about whether the task or mission is essential or simply nice to have."

    From an article entitled Putting Combatant Commanders on a Demand Signal Diet

    Someone needs an overview on the Combatant Commanders so resources are allocated based on national need based on what one has. At the moment the Navy tries to meet infinite need.

  10. 11 Carriers. 2 in long term maintenance, 1 in short term. So you really only need 9 crews and 9 air wings (although I pay for at least one maybe two more air wings as carriers are useless without planes). This allows 3 carriers to deploy at a time with ease, and another 3 to surge.

    1. Just to note, the two in long term maintenance is a mistake caused by misestimating the degree of maintenance needed. Only one is supposed to be in long term.

      Also, the number of air wings is supposed to match the number of carriers that we could surge in the event of war so the air wings should equal the number of total carriers. You can make an argument that one less air wing is justified because the carrier in RCOH may not be 'surge-able' depending on what stage of RCOH it's in.

    2. Shouldn't air wings attrite faster than carriers? Once war starts you can build more planes, but pilots with 10 years experience dont grow on trees.

  11. I have been looking into deployment cycle models and I am a little bit confused. I will detail my findings here and ask if anyone can find any issues with this timeline.

    Here is an excerpt detailing the deployment cycle for carriers in the Cold War :

    "The current cycle for ships without an overhaul due is a 6 month cruise followed by a 14 month turnaround for upkeep, independent training, aircrew carrier qualification (CQ) support, and workups for the next cruise. Underway for a total of 4 to 5 months during the turnaround, the carrier thus maintains an operational tempo (OPTEMPO) of 50-55% over the 20 month cycle."

    A GAO report detailing about the changes in fleet cycles after 2001 where the Navy drop the six month cruise with lower readiness and longer deployments. The details of the cycle are below.

    "Prior to the plan, the Navy had a notional 24-month Inter-Deployment Training Cycle for its nuclear carriers—the majority of its carrier fleet. This cycle normally included a 6-month maintenance period and an 18-month operational cycle, which incorporated training and a 6-month deployment."

    The Navy then implemented the Fleet Response Plan in 2003 to provide a much stronger initial force with a smaller group of surge units. The 6 plus 2 force concept signifies that six carrier strike groups are available to deploy within 30 days of notification, and two additional groups are available within 90 days of notification.

    "... However, the Navy was actually performing a 27-month cycle instead of the notional 24-month cycle (during the IDTC period). Under the Fleet Response Plan, in essence, the Navy formalized the 27-month cycle that it was already performing..."

    The later changes in requests from theater commanders have increased the cycle up to 32 months and deemed unsustainable (25% increase from the original IDTC cycle). This has led the Navy to an even newer deployment cycle.

    "....the Fleet Response Training Plan (FRTP) to train and maintain ships and aircraft. The current deployment plan organizes the training and maintenance of ships and aircraft in the CSG to conduct one deployment (nominally seven months) per 32-month cycle; the CSG is thereafter available to deploy for contingencies for up to 12 months..."

    The newest cycle is now called OFRP containing about a 36 months cycle. Here is a picture breaking down the cycle.
    O-FRP is the construct that governs how the U.S. Navy deploys and trains its sailors. It starts with a maintenance phase, where ships get fixed and maintained ahead of entering into a deployment work-up cycle. Then sailors enter the basic phase, where they start qualifying for the various shipboard functions such as fighting a major fire, operating the combat system correctly and safely navigating the ship.

    Then ships enter an advanced and integrated phase where they learn high-end warfighting tactics and bring the strike group together to fight as a unit. That’s followed by a deployment, followed by a roughly 14-month period of elevated readiness called the “sustainment phase.”

    In all, it adds up to 36 months."

    The question is did I miss any changes especially between 1990s to 2001 and the period between 2003 and 2014? Are there any other deployment models for CSG in the Cold War?

    Thanks for reading!

    1. Whoops, I copied over from another place and missed "Here is a picture breaking down the cycle."

      The picture is available here:

    2. Would be interesting to see a comparison of let's say 1980 to 1989 or something like that time frame with 2011 to 2020 and international situations. I bet there was more going on in the 80s than now! And carriers weren't being beat up as bad!!!

    3. It would be interesting to see a historic comparison of deployment timetables.

      I am curious if the Covid-19 epidemic influenced the lengthening of deployments this year in particular. While most younger sailors are not as susceptible to higher death rates than older and less for individuals, it does seem likely that widespread crew infections would reduce overall combat effectiveness. By keeping ships at sea, it is one way to keep the sailors in a more controlled environment, as opposed to a maintenance availability which the crew would interact with ship yards personnel, family and local community where they could pick up an infection and transmit to the rest of the crew.
      This might explain any deployment differences this year, but not others. Why else would COCOMS call for so much more carrier support when, quite frankly, the immediate state of affairs in pretty quiet. Compare this to other years when we had direct stand offs with N. Korea, Iran, operations in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

  12. USS Ford is a big problem. If it had entered service as planned, we would not have today's problem. There is no hope that it can be deployed for military action at least until 2022, even 2024.

    What a mess!

  13. In practical terms how would you build a ship with a 20 year life as opposed to 40 year life?

    Would it be like building a Hyundai rather than a Mercedes?

    Would you use lower quality steel for the hull? Engineer the shafts and turbines and gearboxes less finely? Not worry too much about the fitout generally?

    Wouldn’t all this mean that the maintenance and refit schedule kicked in much earlier as everything would be halfway worn out in 10 years rather than 20?

    1. While lesser quality items might be appropriate in a few instances, the main difference would be the design of the ship and all the things you WOULDN'T DESIGN INTO THE SHIP. You wouldn't design in excess power in the form of more and bigger generators to handle future needs. You wouldn't design in extra hull size and internal volume for future upgrades. You wouldn't design in as much access to various compartments for future equipment removal and upgrades. You wouldn't design in removeable and upgradable electronics, cable runs, computing centers, and the like. And so on.

      You also wouldn't need as extensive maintenance schedules since you're only keeping the ship for 20 years. This greatly reduces ship operating cost. The ship would have no planned upgrade periods, just routine maintenance and corrosion control maintenance.

  14. In practical terms how would you build a ship with a 20 year life as opposed to 40 year life?

    Would it be like building a Hyundai rather than a Mercedes?

    Would you use lower quality steel for the hull? Engineer the shafts and turbines and gearboxes less finely? Not worry too much about the fitout generally?

    Wouldn’t all this mean that the maintenance and refit schedule kicked in much earlier as everything would be halfway worn out in 10 years rather than 20?

    1. "In practical terms how would you build a ship with a 20 year life as opposed to 40 year life?"
      The answer is that you build exactly the same. Most ship systems are designed with large safety factors and for shock loads well in excess of normal operating loads.
      What you do alter is the maintenance schedule. Ship maintenance availabilities fall into two general categories: major and minor. Major overhauls are extremely invasive and tend to occur near mid-life. A 20 year boat would effectively end life at that maintenance point and save shipyard time from doing the most difficult work. Even though ships are over-designed, they are still exposed to salt water environment and abuse, such as in the tank and piping environment as described in the post. Try taking apart something that has been in salt water for 20 years. The 20 year life cycle change would improve both ship building capacity and ship maintenance capacity at the same time.

      A shorter design cycle would also improve the health and aptitude of our ship design yards. More designs mean more practice and more opportunity for competition between design teams. It would also reduce the urge to design for generational leaps which inevitably lead to over reaching into immature technologies that corrupt the design (see Zumwalt, Ford, etc)

    2. You wouldnt lower quality. Youd be able to change up the maintenance schedule knowing you werent looking at 40 yrs. Not to say youd neglect anything but... Think of it as buying a new car, and the age old question of: Do you trade it in for a new one before anything starts to fail, or do you maintain it forever and avoid the payments once theyre over??
      Heavy trucking companies trade off their new trucks with only a few hundred thousand miles, their maintenance investment was nil, and they got most of their initial outlay back on trade in. Of course the Navy doesn't get trade in, but I can tell you, those companies that take the other route and buy, then keep forever, eventually invest tens of thousands repairing somthing worth only thousands. While not an exact parallel, the company with constantly new assets are running cheaper and trouble free, with always-current equipment. So while carriers are too expensive to not RCOH and keep for a long period, the smaller surface combatants are prime candidates.
      So when you look at the constant early retirements, we should embrace them and reorganize the procurement and maintenance to reflect the actual 20-30 year lifespans. 40 is just too long for many reasons...

    3. I'm sorry, there is just no way that I could ever embrace retiring Perrys and Spruances to build LCSs and Zumwalts. I realize those are exceptionally bad examples, but you look at the Navy's last 3 really big ship procurement decisions--LCSs, Zumwalts, and Fords--and you are looking at 3 colossal disasters.

    4. You could increase the quality of the ships to require less maintenance and pay the manufacturer for the reduced maintenance needs of the ship.
      If a ship's paint lasted 10 years instead of 5 years and using it eliminated the need for a drydock or reduced the duration of the drydock, the manufacturer would see a payment for the reduction in downtime. Getting paid for something you have already done drops to the bottom line pretty fast.
      Using materials that do not require as much maintenance (stainless steel, titanium, composites) would likely be used more often if there was an monetary stimulus for reduced maintenance.
      Life cycle costs need to have a higher weight in the US Navy decision analysis.

    5. "look at the Navy's last 3 really big ship procurement decisions--LCSs, Zumwalts, and Fords--and you are looking at 3 colossal disasters."

      ONCE AGAIN YOU MAKE MY ARGUMENT FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      In your vision, we're stuck with LCS, Zumwalts, and Fords for 40 years instead of having the opportunity to get rid of them at 20 years and replace them with something better. Forty year mistakes in your vision. Wow.

      You have made the case for 20 year lives repeatedly and yet refuse to recognize your own statements!!!!!!!!!!! I really don't get it.

    6. "If a ship's paint lasted 10 years instead of 5 years"

      You undoubtedly recall the experimentation with the blue anti-fouling coatings some years ago. I don't know what became of that but I haven't noticed it much anymore so they either changed the color or it didn't succeed.

      When you think about it, an anti-fouling coating or just external ship's paint is a very demanding application. It has to not just stop rust but also be physically resistant to weather, constant humidity and water, sun, etc. as well as having good thermal and radar signature properties. That's a tall order!

      The same with anti-fouling coatings - lot's of demands.

      Navies have been looking for 'magic' paints and coatings for hundreds of years and have yet to find it. Still, it's well worth the effort.

  15. And I look at the FFGX as being better than an LCS or Zumwalt, but I still think the Navy sacrificed whatever they needed to get AEGIS on them, and in the process turned a reasonable GP escort into another AAW platform in an escort force that was already heavy with better AAW platforms. We still need to address ASW and SUW in our escort fleet. Build something like ComNavOps's ASW DE as an ASW frigate, optimize the FREMM for SUW, and make it a backup for ASW and AAW.

    1. "We still need to address ASW and SUW in our escort fleet."

      And with 20 year ships, you get to do that on a regular and frequent basis. With 40 year ships, if you guess wrong (and no one ever guesses right about future needs and technology!) you're stuck with your choices for 40 years. Wow, that's bad.

    2. "And I look at the FFGX as being better than an LCS or Zumwalt,"

      I think that proves my point even further that maybe a middle ground would be more realistic.

      I am not arguing for a case of using a 40 years life span but instead, two 20 years ship batches. The second batch of ships would be upgraded with a modernized/modified design.

      Now I have talked about the example of the the Type 22 with different batches before that should be its own classes. I think the FFGX was another similar concept. The Italian ship design was adapted to US needs, presumably because the ship was designed with scalability in mind.

      Now I also disagree with the UK ship designers about the extras built in the first batch. The first batch should be optimized for that specific time period and nothing more. 20 years down the line, keeping mind the scalability that we had, we now are looking at a ship design that is ready to be modify and modernize.
      After making the necessary adjustments, this design would compete with other contemporary designs and cost savings then could be compared. Now I recognized that savings won't be comparable to having a "free hull" design as CDR Chip proposed but it certainly shaves off the first in class costs, training costs, other costs thanks to degree of commonality and with expected flaws rectified.

      As I have said before about competing with other ships design, I think it WILL NOT work out sometimes but I think it's worth to design with this focus in mind, at least. The minimal research upfront costs should be worth the gamble for a cheaper ships class in the future.

      As a side fact: The Type 22 class was considered as an upgraded Leander Class in WW2. The designers were quoted saying that they took large amount of inspirations, and the ship's superstructure bears striking similarity to the WW2 class. Goes to show how scalable the design really is!

    3. OK, let's think about it conceptually as building two 20-year ships on one 40-year hull and main propulsion system. That would be the extreme case, and most of the time it would be a lesser upgrade. I don't need to do a Zumwalt and invest in vaporware, because I'm not interested in making the weapons and sensor fit last 40 years. And if at the end of 20 years, we still don't have anything better, I'm just going to rehab what we have.

      Take the Perrys. I never liked the placement of the 3-inch (76mm) gun. I thought it added a lot of high weight. And we've gone pretty much to VLS instead of one and two arm launchers. So if there is room to put the below-decks machinery for a gun on the fo'c's'le (and I'm guessing there is since there was room for all the missile stuff) I would move the gun down there, and maybe upgrade to a 5-inch (127mm) if there was room. I would also try to fit in a couple of ComNavOps's RBU-type launchers, maybe move the bridge aft a tad and put them on an 01 level. Then put 32, 40, or 48 Mk-41 VLS cells where the gun was originally. If we saved enough high weight by moving the gun mount down, I'd go with something like TRS-3D/4D for the radar.

      Here is a slightly different upgraded Perry.

      I'm not sure there is enough room on the fo'c's'le for the gun mount and the VLS cells, I'm not sure whether the weight distribution would work with the high mounted SPY-6 (or whether the power plant could generate enough electricity), and this model seems to imply two screws where I believe the original had only one (and that would be a more difficult change than I would probably try to make). But if that's a dream, then the reality is probably somewhere between the original Perry and there. And I'd take that.

    4. "20 years down the line, ... we now are looking at a ship design that is ready to be modify and modernize."

      There comes a point where a given ship simply can't be modified and modernized any further. For example, we've essentially been doing what you're suggesting with the Burkes. We keep modifying and modernizing them but we've now reached the point where they simply can't absorb any more equipment, they don't have the power or utilities required for modern radars so we're installing sub-optimal versions, they lack stealth, and so on. We're now building poor versions of the Burke because we're trying to indefinitely upgrade them instead of moving to a new design.

      What the new Burkes should be is an ultra-stealthy ship (think Visby or Chinese Type 055) with massive power capacity (thing Zumwalt) and increased size along with enhanced quieting and reduced IR signature, among other changes.

      Modifications can only take you so far and then you have to move on to a new design.

    5. My problem with your proposal is that a 40 years presumption is literally a Zumwalt proposal. Your view of 40 years into the future WILL NOT be the same as everyone else in the DOD, and worse the following generation will disagree (for good reasons or not is not relevant to this discussion) and they WILL surely prematurely retire your designs. With a track record like this, you don't think that your proposal is borderline fantasy?

      Now my proposal is more like a gamble more than anything. It was never intended to fully replace an original design (optimization is better than generic) and serve as a cheap complement to buy time? And fill ship numbers? My readings into naval history pointed out that there is a length of time where there were not necessary large or revolutionary developments. This is perfect for my concept where incremental updates could be worked into through lengthening and strengthening. There are clear savings and benefits with one major downside because of its aging design. A plus in my book considering the maturity and the familiarity of the design are major cost savings (not having to retrained and acquire new skills, etc). This was, fron my consideration, much less likely be scrapped as it would still count as a new design in the eyes of later generations if they chose to pursue it.

    6. "For example, we've essentially been doing what you're suggesting with the Burkes. We keep modifying and modernizing them but we've now reached the point where they simply can't absorb any more equipment,.."

      This is, in fact, very true. My argument has a limit of well... 40 years. I initially forgot the Burkes but it certainly made a great case of the concept. Let'say that the 20th Century is uneventful and lacks any real technological advancement, continue building a Flight IIA Burkes starting in 2008 would be a logical and cost effective proposal, right? Of course, it certainly isn't the best contemporary high end design and that's what we need today. I certainly do not disagree with your proposal, just thinking along the lines of CDR CHIP proposal. Now there might be arguments for a case of low end needs where a much cheaper frigate could be incrementally upgraded and scalable for wide range of usage, I think my proposal would fit right in.

    7. LCS and Zumwalt are products of Navy's strategic blunder. The are designed to fight against regional powers than any superpower. They are not designed to be part of an aircraft carrier fleet. A Zumwalt, even though bigger, carries less missiles than an Aleberc destroyer.

      Another problem is they failed from deliver what were proposed first as manufacturers won contracts.

      By design Zumwalt should have better radar, dual band radar, than current Aegis system but they could not be implemented. Sadly, China is able to have this tech done and deployed on their type 055. Electromagnetic gun, originally intended for Zumwalt, could not be developed even today.

      FFGX is designed to be part of an aircraft carrier battle group thus need to consider self sustainability than carry more firepower. It is aimed to do works assigned to it than be a ship full of fire power but cannot sail for long. If you like, Israel's Saar 6 is a ~2,000 ton ship but has advanced radars and lots of missiles, a super strong in firepower. No problem, for Israel navy doesn't need to go far away from its coasts.

    8. " dual band radar, … could not be implemented."

      That's not quite right. The DBR could have been installed but a only half of the system was installed as a cost savings measure. It was a choice rather than an inability to implement it. The full system was installed on the USS Ford.

  16. I don't think you are understanding my concept. I'm not thinking of building Zumwalts armed with vaporware. I'm talking about building a hull and propulsion system (the biggest ticket items) to last 40 years, fitting it out with best available contemporary weapons and sensors technology, rehabbing it at 10 years, doing a major upgrade at 20, and a service life extension at 30. Nobody is really stuck with anything for 40 years.

    The major upgrade at 20 years accomplishes the same thing as your 20 year life, but saves the half of ship costs that go to hull and main machinery.

    I wouldn't expect the 2-year maintenance and upgrade period at 20 years would be as extensive as what was done to the Albany class (that took 4 years). The one thing that I could see that might extend it would be a decision to change out main propulsion, such as putting CODLAG or IEP into an ASW ship for quieter running. I freely admit that could be a tough call to make. But I don't think that will be required in every, or even most, cases. And if you are following my incremental approach, maybe you made that change at ship #7 (or #15, or wherever in the class) and would have some idea how to expedite putting it in by the time the 20-year mark rolls around. Or maybe you could even experiment with some ships in the class, see what works better on an apples-to-apples comparative basis, and adopt "best practices" as you go along.

    I don't disagree with your points, but I don't think they are really applicable to the concept that I am talking about.

    1. "The major upgrade at 20 years accomplishes the same thing as your 20 year life, "

      No, it doesn't. Note even close. As an actual example, which I've already cited and you've ignored, since the Perrys were built, stealth came along. Trying to upgrade a Perry to be stealthy like a Zumwalt, LCS, Visby, or even the marginally stealthy Burke, is simply not possible. Without that stealth, an upgraded Perry cannot be a front line combat vessel. No matter what other upgrades you do, you'd have a non-combat useful ship for rest of its life. You'd be stuck with an obsolete ship. You can't physically change the shape of the ship.

      You can continue to ignore the reality of a real world example, if you wish.

    2. "decision to change out main propulsion"

      You continue to make cases against your own concept. Trying to change out main propulsion would involve massive holes cut into the hull, decks, and bulkheads. That whole idea of keeping the 'free' hull would be invalidated. You'd be rebuilding significant portions of the hull and, as you know, the cost of retrofitting and rebuilding is much, much greater than the original fitting. You're paying for the cost of tear-down and removal in addition to the cost of rebuilding and the difficulty of rebuilding in and around existing structure is far more difficult, time-consuming, and costly than original construction. Changing out main propulsion would likely cost several hundred million dollars to a billion or more.

      As far as the time required, the Fitzgerald required three years to repair and cost $270M and that was just repair, not overhaul and total upgrade (I'm sure the Navy snuck in some upgrades but nothing approaching the degree of upgrades you're suggesting). The McCain required two years and cost $233M and it turns out that the ship will have to undergo further repairs because the shaft alignment was found to bad after the repairs were supposedly complete so the time and cost will increase even more.

      Again, feel free to ignore the real world data.

    3. First, I thought I made it clear that changing out propulsion is not something that I would consider because of exactly the reasons you list.

      As far as the McCain and Fitzgerald situations, I plan to train my officers and bridge watchstanders well enough that they don't go around running into things. And both of them had significant hull damage. I'm not contemplating touching the hulls. It would be more like the FRAM updates to destroyers, although probably a bit more, as my own time on a FRAM I convinced me that they didn't go far enough.

    4. "Again, feel free to ignore the real world data."

      I will feel free to ignore data that aren't relevant to anything that I'm talking about.

    5. If you feel that real world examples and data aren't relevant then you're undermining your own argument!

    6. You've laid out your case and I've countered it. Readers can assess the discussion for themselves. There's nothing further to be gained. What I would ask is that we drop it, move on, and that you refrain from bringing it up in future posts so that we don't have to rehash it.

      Just to be fair, if you feel the need to make a final comment, you're free to do so and I'll give you the final word.

    7. "If you feel that real world examples and data aren't relevant then you're undermining your own argument!"

      Real world examples about things other than the concept I am proposing are not relevant to a discussion of the concept I am proposing. I'm not proposing that we upgrade Perrys, I'm merely stating that I'd rather have a Perry than an LCS.

      I'm not talking about a Perry or a Zumwalt, so real-world data about Perrys or Zumwalts isn't relevant to my concept. It's like saying real world data about elephants is relevant to a discussion about aircraft.

      What I'm talking about is a 40 year hull and main plant designed and built with the understanding that its systems would be refurbished with minor upgrades at 10 years, possible major upgrades at 20 years, and life extension at 30 years. That's not Perry, and not even anything else that we ave built. So real-world data about ships that we've built is irrelevant because they're not what I'm talking about.

      I will close with one question for you. You have laid out a fleet structure of 398 warships, plus an unidentified number of auxiliaries. If you build them all for 20-year lives, you are going to have to build 20+ ships a year to maintain that number. Looking at your fleet, I'm guessing it prices out at about $2B per ship or more. So to maintain your fleet with 20-year ships you're going to have to spend $40 billion a year on shipbuilding. How are you going to do that? And where are you going to find the shipyards to do that?

      With that, I'm out.

  17. Off topic:

    Apparently, the chinese are claiming during their recent live fire exercises, both the DF-21 & DF-26 hit a moving target vessel. Is there anyway to verify this on our end?

    1. I doubt it. However, the question is not whether they managed to set up a contrived test that resulted in success - heck, the Navy does that all the time - but whether the test was even remotely realistic and I'm positive it wasn't because a realistic test wouldn't have a detected target. No one - not us or the Chinese - has solved the thousand+ mile targeting problem.

  18. "No, it doesn't. Note even close. As an actual example, which I've already cited and you've ignored, since the Perrys were built, stealth came along."

    Well, just like the conversation that got sidetracked onto the Visbys, I'm sorry this got sidetracked onto the Perrys, because they weren't really designed with modification in mind. But let's take the stealth issue. Seems to me that you could extend the superstructure out to the edge of the hull, slant it, clean it up, and end up with something that looks a lot like a French La Fayette, and that should be at least reasonably stealthy. And that would create a bunch of main deck interior space that could possibly be used to move some high weight down lower.

    I have never really understood the Navy's fascination with exposed outdoor and cluttered main deck passageways. Back on my old FRAM I can, it always seemed to me that extending the main deck superstructure out to the deck edge would have created a lot of additional internal space. Now we find out that doing that, plus slanting the sides, also improves stealth.

    1. Compare photos of the Perry and a Visby or Zumwalt or Burke or any other stealthy ship. The ship's hull sides of the Perry are vertical. Stealth requires that they, too, be slanted. Also, note the Perry hangar. It is already all the way out to the side and it's vertical. If you were to reshape it to make it slanted you'd lose the hangar space for one helo. Those helos only had about an inch to spare, as it was!

      If you slant the superstructure without removing the existing superstructure, you add a LOT of weight and cause stability issues. If you do remove the existing superstructure, you lose any supposed savings by 'reusing' the hull and you add gargantuan costs and time to the overhaul.

      You'll also lose a lot of functionality. For example, the Perrys had a boat location on the port side of the superstructure. If you slant the sides you lose the Perry's boat capability.

      The problems go on and on. You can't get to a combat effective, stealthy Perry. It's just not possible.

      You like cost accounting. Have you considered the operating cost case for a 40 year ship versus a 20 year ship? Unless you envision literally gutting every piece of equipment from the ship, you're going to wind up with an upgraded ship that is operating 40 year old valves, pumps, wiring, tanks, seals, filters, and the hundreds of other mundane pieces of equipment - equipment that is prone to breakage due to age and use and is increasingly impossible to find or replace. And, if you do envision gutting the ship then the time/cost of the overhaul becomes several years and a billion+ dollars.

      I'm sorry but there is absolutely nothing about this concept that makes sense.

      The conversation isn't getting sidetracked, it's getting into real world examples that you're hand-waving away.

    2. In the first place, I said the Perry is a bad example because it wasn't built to be upgraded. So I really don't like being trapped into defending something that I don't support. All I've really said specifically about the Perrys is that they were more useful than the LCSs with just refurbishment and nothing more. I would not have SINKEXed or sold the Perrys to build the LCSs.

      I'm not hand-waving anything away. You are trying to force me into defending tings that I'm not proposing.

      All I'm saying is build a 40-year hull and propulsion system with current weapons and an ability to upgrade. At 10 years do a major refurbishment, sort of like a 50-point check on a used car. If you can make changes to weapons or sensors easily, do them. At 20 years, make major upgrades, as required, to sensors and weapons. At 30 years, refurbish and do what you can to extend service life. You keep making incremental improvements, and the ship is designed to make that process easier. You save the cost of that second hull and main propulsion plant at the 20-year point. If it costs more to upgrade than build from scratch, then you build from scratch. But if it's cheaper to upgrade, you do that and use the savings to build those Streetfighters and corvettes and Visbys.

  19. “With a 20 year ship, you ONLY build it with EXISTING technology and then every 20 years you build a brand new ship ……”

    Are you suggesting that we design a new generation of e.g. destroyers without factoring in the need for consecutive power upgrades to run new generation radars, rail guns or a non-kinetic air defense system?

    Each new iteration of radars is heavier and hungrier than the previous one. Don’t we need to design for that so we don’t run in to the top-heaviness problem that we see in the Ticos (the RAN seem to be running into that problem even before they’ve cut the steel for the first in class of their Type 26s).

    There’s probably lots of other stuff that’s visible on the horizon, but not quite here yet – it will all take space that’s for sure, so do we just ignore it?

    Things are moving fast. A parallel might be the speed of change the Royal Navy saw in the seven years between the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906, and the launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth in 1913. Every 3 or 4 years there was a new class of battleship which made all the previous ones obsolescent.

    I'm not sure that a ship designed with today’s technology only and no upgrade path is likely to be of much use in 10 years, let alone 20.

    1. "I'm not sure that a ship designed with today’s technology only and no upgrade path is likely to be of much use in 10 years, let alone 20."

      While the pace of new technology is fast, the pace of APPLIED NEW TECHNOLOGY is slow. For example, the F-35 has been in development for twenty years! The construction time of a new ship is 5 years or more.

      What this means is that if we build a ship today, with today's technology and a new technology is developed in a few years, it would be a decade or more, at best, before that technology is ready to actually be applied. Consider the EMALS on the Ford. It appeared a decade or so ago and yet still isn't ready for routine use and likely won't be for a few more years.

      So, a ship built for a 20 year service life will remain relevant, effective, and useful for its entire life.

    2. “So, a ship built for a 20 year service life will remain relevant, effective, and useful for its entire life.”

      I don’t think something so inherently counter intuitive can credibly asserted as a ‘fact’ without a convincing rebuttal of the counter arguments.

      For example, if we had built ships in the way that you’re proposing we wouldn’t be able to back-fit even the scaled down Spy-6 to the 2A Burkes, because of the redesign work needed to cope with the extra power demand, but if we decide not to do that, and without an upgrade path, we’ll have no commonality across systems.

      How are we going to network the fleet when the systems can’t talk to each other?

      How are we going to manage the supply of replacement parts for multiple versions of weapon and electronic fitout.

      Are we going to have technicians trained up on Spy 1, Spy 6, Spy 6 (full version), (+ Spy 7 and 8 -10 presumably)? It's hard enough to get them up to speed when we're only running one system. Ditto for Aegis, and all its multiplicity of components.

      Can we expect that a 25 year old ship would serve a useful purpose without a modern radar or combat management system, or a non-kinetic defense against hypersonic missiles.

      At some point (hopefully in less than 20 years!) the Navy will have to work out some sort of passive detection capability so we’re not even running these big signal radars. Would you want to deny yourself the ability back-fit that capability to a very non-stealthy Burke (or some other capability) because of a lack of space?

      The problem is that we don’t know what’s going to be a game changer, and what’s going to be a dead end. But we do know that in the defense world a reverse version of the old Moore's Law applies and that every upgrade and improved system will cost more, and require more power and space than its predecessor - we need to factor this in from the get-go.

      Basic prudence, common sense and a concern for the survivability of our ships and the lives of our crew argue very strongly against your idea.

  20. Guerts reversed the total nonsense Navy policy of extending ships lives to meet the 355 fleet requirement, March 2020 said " performing service life extensions on Burkes designed to bring them up from 35-year hull lives to 45 years was not cost-effective."

    Bryan Clark said last month on plan to fit hypersonic missiles to destroyers “ The oldest ships, built in the 1990s, already are more expensive to maintain and operate than the newer Flight IIs and Flight IIIs. // They’re in their last decade, and their operation and support cost is 30% higher than the Flight IIs”

    The older the ships are tired ships, expect extending life a real challenge in terms of safety certification, stability certification, scantling draught are not things you can just fix, cable life is also a limiter and expensive to replace. Ships inevitably get heavier, and become less stable, as new equipment and systems are added above the center of gravity, lead ballast is regularly used as the “cheap fix” to maintain or restore adequate stability at the cost of added weight.

    Looked at commercial ships some time ago, average life of ship ~23 years before scapping.

  21. If the Fords cost $13B apiece (CBO number, 2019 costs, as are all costs herein, except my estimates for ships not priced by CBO), then even if they ever work they are going to price us out of business.

    The Navy has historically spent about $15B per year on ship construction. In the last 4 years that number has been in the $20-22B range. Where has the extra money come from? Apparently from training and maintenance.

    But let's be generous and assume the number is $22B going forward, and also that the Navy figures out how to fire enough admirals to be able to afford training and maintenance. Over the 30 years that the Navy plans to get to 355 ships, that's $660B. Over that time the Navy plans to build 7 Fords to get to 12 CVNs. That's $91B. They also plan to build:

    12 Columbias, $90B,
    33 Virginia replacements, $181B,
    5 large payload submarines (presumably SSGNs), $37B,
    61 future large combatants, $161B,
    8 LHA/LHDs, $31B, and
    20 LPDs, $44B.

    That's $635B for 146 ships of the 304 (plus 51 legacies) that they need to get to 355. That leaves $25B for 158 more ships, or roughly $158MM per ship. Can the Navy build anything for $158MM? We're talking combat canoes with cap pistols. Roughly half our fleet will be wishing they could grow up to be LCSs.

    So what to do? Here are my ideas:

    - Build Nimitzes ($9B) instead of Fords, use savings to buy conventional CVs ($6B), and operate them as 2-carrier CVBGs.
    - If the Virginia replacement and its $2.5B (83%) price increase is the submarine equivalent of a Ford, build a mix of VPMs ($2.9B), Virginias ($2.5B), and smaller, cheaper SSNs like French Barracuda ($1.5B).
    - If a new Ohio-based SSGN prices in the $5B range, build those instead of the large payload subs.
    - Realign the surface combatant force. Build 8 battleships (I'm partial to the 1980s battle carrier concept, maybe $6B each), 8 ASW helo carriers (like JP Hyuga which went for $1B, so say $1.5B each), and operate them together as SAG/HUK groups. Then build an escort squadron (CortRon) composed of 1 cruiser (enlarged Tico with 8” guns, more VLS cells, and UAV/USV/UUV launch/recovery capability, say $3.5B each), 2 AAW destroyers (Burkes, we have a bunch, $1.8B each to replace), 3 GP escorts (could be FFGX, but I prefer ditching AEGIS for something cheaper and lighter, maybe EMPAR/SMART-L, and using the savings to add more SUW/ASW capability, $1B each), and 4 single-purpose ASW frigates ($500MM each). One CortRon would cost about $12B. So you could build 12 CortRons (120 ships, $144B) for less than the Navy's 61 major surface combatants.
    - LHAs/LHDs and LPDs are great for hauling troops around, but not for landing them, because they have to stand so far out that they lack viable ship-to-shore connectors for tanks and artillery. I'd build a different amphibious squadron/ARG of cheaper ships that can be risked closer in, including smaller LHA/LHD like Spanish Juan Carlos ($1.5B), LPH like French Mistral ($800MM), simpler LPD/LSD like RN Albion ($600MM), LST with an LST bow ($500MM) which imposes an 18 knot SOA on the group (instead of the Navy’s insistence on 20+ knots, saving a ton of money on the other gators), LPA/LKA ($500MM), and NGFS/land attack frigate ($500MM). Cost per PhibRon/ARG $4.4B, so 10 of them (enough to lift 2.5 MEBs) for $44B. As these come online, repurpose existing LHAs/LHDs as CVLs until the CVs come online, and convert LPDs to the ABM/BMD ships that HII proposed.

    So here’s how I’d spend $660B:

    7 Nimitzes plus 7 CVs, $105B
    12 SSBN Columbias, $90B
    20 VPM, 30 Virginias, and 30 Barracudas, $178B
    5 Ohio-based SSGNs, $25B
    8 BBs and 8 CVH, $60B
    120 surface escorts, $144B
    60 amphibious ships, $44B

    307 ships for $646B. The Navy wants to build 27 auxiliaries for $19B, giving 334 additions (385 total ships) for $665B. Get rid of the 11 legacy LCSs that CBO includes for 2050, and convert 2 Zumwalts to flagships for 6th and 7th Fleets, and put one in San Diego as a test/experimental platform.

  22. 8 BB's ? You are living in dreamworld CDR Chip. There will never be a need for a shore bombardment ship like that ever again or a "gunship" in a LOS naval battle. We won't even see another "Des Moines" class , realize the Zumwalt was an attempt at that and look how in-effective and too costly they were. AGS? LOL

    Flagship? yea, maybe because they look pretty , but most flagships for amphib forces were just civ freighters with added extended commo suites and bunking for command and staff. Don't need a failed multi billion dollar , warship, capable of high speed for that. Personally I await for one of the Zumwalt class to capsize in a bad storm. The design was bad and not seaworthy. But we will see.

    As to your build plans? no , not gonna happen, The USA no longer has the heavy steel /ship building industries to make it happen.
    And it is sad.
    For the USA to have good ships , it needs a good ship-building industry , It does not.
    Probaly would be advisable for the US to stick with submarines , that part of your plan I can support. We are not going to be landing marines "on the shores of Tripoli or Iwo Jima, or fighting Barbary pirates , outside 2-4 idiots with AK-47's or suicide boats any where on the planet.

    The decline of the navy is concurrent with the decline of the USA and its Empire. It happened to England and if you have not noticed it has already happpened to the USA.
    I'd rather see see money spent on the USN , spent to fill pot-holes in the street, At least such money would not be thrown into the maw of the MIC. Of which only a small return is provided through salaries of the lower workers who actually meld steel.

    1. Christo, let's steer away from the political/sociological, please. Thanks.

      As far as your ship comments, you wrote a lot about disagreeing with someone's proposals but you didn't offer any actual reasons. A better comment would be to offer specific reasons. An even better comment would offer alternatives.

      Think about it and consider offering an additional comment with some added substance? That would benefit all of us. Thanks.

    2. OK CNO, yea, my thoughts get colored by what I have read or the Dreadnoguht race build-up between the Britsh and German Empires before WWI and how the amounts of money being spent of those ships was battle between navy spending and social spending. More affecting the British situation than the German one, since their army came first. I look at the US as being much like the Britsh Empire was pre-war (WWI). Only thing is we seem to have ALOT more wastage in our MIC than they did, and we don't have any Jacky Fisher's to make Navy things, "economical".
      If I post agin I will try harder with some real info and figures. Regards to you , nice site you have here :)

    3. "battle between navy spending and social spending. ... don't have any Jacky Fisher's to make Navy things, "economical".

      You have the basis for a very interesting topic. I encourage you to comment on it. I'd love to hear your thoughts backed by whatever data is appropriate. I could see a potential guest post on this, if you have the interest.

  23. “8 BB's ? You are living in dreamworld CDR Chip. ... We won't even see another "Des Moines" class, realize the Zumwalt was an attempt at that and look how ineffective and too costly they were.”

    The BBs would be based on the 1980s battle carrier idea—6x 16” forward, and aft 288 VLS cells, a flight deck with ski jump to port, with 10 STOVL and 10 helos. Primary mission would be sea control and sea denial (with 32 anti-ship missiles like Russian Shipwreck) as a cheaper alternative to carriers, secondary mission shore attack in support of littoral/amphibious operations. Basic idea would be to out-Kiev the Kievs and out-Kirov the Kirovs. I’m talking about maximizing existing technology across the board. The Zumwalts and LCSs were prime examples of doing exactly what I am saying not to do.

    “Flagship? … Don't need a failed multibillion dollar, warship, capable of high speed for that.”

    Given the money we have tied up in them, congress will have a cow if we don’t find some use for them. They will scream enough if we SINKEX the LCSs, but they simply have no viable mission and cannot be adapted to one. At least this is something that maybe they can do. I like using the one as a test/development platform. Maybe if we did more of that, we would avoid future Zumwalt disasters. The other two as flagships, along with the test ship, was suggested in a USNI Proceedings article a few months back, and looks to me like the closest thing to a mission fit I can find.

    “As to your build plans? No, not gonna happen, The USA no longer has the heavy steel/ship building industries to make it happen. And it is sad. For the USA to have good ships, it needs a good ship-building industry.”

    The Navy’s plan to grow to 355 ships has been priced out by CBO at $865B over 30 years, $28.8B/year, or $2.8B/ship ( My approach lowers that number to about $1.5B/ship. We definitely need a revitalized shipbuilding industry, but I think we can find more places to build $1.5B ships that to build $2.8B ships and we are finding somewhere to spend $22B/year as is. I think we can put some incentives in place to help rebuild the industry. I propose adapting several foreign designs, and I would favor encouraging those foreign vendors to invest in US yards to get them built.

    My total approach actually has a 40-year implementation time frame (based on ship lives averaging roughly 40 years, an issue which ComNavOps and I have already disagreed about and beaten to death). The numbers listed above would be the 40 year goals, with about 75% of the major combatant numbers at the 30-year mark (so 5 Nimitzes for total of 10 CVNs, 5 CVs, 6 BBs/CVHs, 8 PhibRons/ARGs, and so forth). The $55B or so savings over that time would go to building more cruiser/destroyer/frigate escorts and a coastal/littoral fleet including shallow water ASW corvettes, mine countermeasures vessels, missile patrol boats, and some AIP SSKs. The total fleet would address current Navy shortfalls in ASW, NGFS, mine warfare, and coastal/littoral/amphibious ops. Maybe we try 30-year average lives and live with a slightly smaller fleet.

    “Probably would be advisable for the US to stick with submarines, that part of your plan I can support.”

    If all we want to do is fight a peer war, then we probably focus on SSNs, SSBNs, and SSGNs. But the Navy has a lot more missions than that, and submarines are pretty useless for anything that requires presence or visibility. We can pretty much deny the enemy sea lines of communication (SLOCs) with subs, but it’s hard to protect our SLOCs with them.

    “The decline of the navy is concurrent with the decline of the USA and its Empire.”

    It isn’t pretty to ride downhill in a declining country. I still think the USA can be saved, but I agree it needs a major change of direction in many areas, including the Navy, which is the subject of this blog. I won’t engage here on issues beyond that.

    1. "I still think the USA can be saved, but I agree it needs a major change of direction in many areas"

      Our society has grown too risk averse as a culture, too timid, and too desirous of an Eden-like approach to life. Thomas Jefferson said,

      "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

      It may be time for the US to remember what makes this country great and what is worth fighting for. There is an argument to be made that the occasional Nazi Germany or Soviet Union or China is necessary for the continued good growth and proper direction of freedom loving peoples.


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