Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Open Post

It's been while since the last open post so let's do it again.  This is your chance to offer a comment on whatever interests you, within the bounds of the blog (no politics!).

Got a suggestion for a post topic?

Want to talk about something that's been neglected?

Want to tell me what you'd like more (or less) of?

Want to tell me how you'd make the blog better?

Want to give a shout out to your favorite foreign ship design?

Got a rant you want to get off your chest?

Have at it!

185 comments:

  1. The first thing I want would be covering World War Two Naval battle in Indian Ocean.

    The second thing I want is another fiction about use of airship in both World War Two and possible application of airship in modern naval battle.

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    1. I second the "airship in modern naval battle" thing.

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    2. The airship is a popular idea, however, I can't get past the fact that it would be a giant blinking 'here I am' signal to the enemy and both it and the host ship would be quickly destroyed. I would gladly do a fiction on it if I could come up with a viable concept. Give me a concept! How do you think this would work without it and the ship being instantly pinpointed and destroyed?

      A large blimp with active radar is hard to miss!

      Help me out. Give me a viable concept to work with.

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    3. “I can't get past the fact that it would be a giant blinking 'here I am' signal to the enemy”

      “The hull is constructed of a lightweight polyurethane-coated or Tedlar fabric that weighs only eight ounces per yard.” https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/airdef/tars.htm

      I searched a great deal to find how this material reflects radar. The most that I could find was an article about weather balloons made of this material requiring radar reflectors on them to avoid them being hit by aircraft. On some pictures, I can see the sun shining through the aerostat. I’m not sure if this means that it would also be somewhat transparent to radar.

      The aerostats currently used contain their own diesel generators because they were designed to be self-contained. One company trying to sell these proposes running power up the tether to make them less expensive and have longer float times. A USV could tow and power the units. A really crazy idea that I have is launching one from a large UUV; launch from the surface and resubmerge…

      Of course, the radar could be seen. This is a problem. It could also be a way to keep the enemy looking at this “beacon” while the real ships are moving somewhere else. Heck, even stick a jamming device on it.

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    4. REAP (Rapidly Elevated Aerostat Platform)
      http://designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/aerostats.html

      “The REAP aerostat, built by ISL's Bosch Aerospace Division, is specifically designed for quick deployment. The whole system, including the deflated blimp, is transported in a container on top of a vehicle (HMMWV in the Army application). After attaching the payload to the tether line, an automatic sequence can be started, which inflates the aerostat and releases the tether until a preselected altitude has been reached. The whole procedure takes only around five minutes. The Army's standard REAP payload consists of electro-optical (day time) and night vision cameras, which have an effective surveillance radius of about 33 km (18 nm) at the blimp's operating altitude of 90 m (300 ft).”

      Beyond USV surveillance, perhaps an updated type of these could be put onto ships and, when stealth is needed, used instead of the ship’s radars since the Video/IR range is (I think) out to the horizon. It didn’t say the dimensions, but judging by the people below it, it’s not very big.

      This could be an alternate option to using the "giant blinking 'here I am' signal to the enemy” ship-based radar.

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    5. MARTS (Marine Airborne Re-Transmission System)
      http://designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/aerostats.html

      “The MARTS aerostat is equipped with transponders for AN/PRC-113, AN/PRC-117, AN/PRC-119 (SINCGARS) and EPLRS (Enhanced Position Locating and Reporting System) radios, and provides a 24/7 relay with a radius of 125 km (80 miles) for up to 15 days (when the helium supply has to be refilled). The blimp is designed to survive winds up to 85 km/h (50 knots), lightning strikes, and small arms fire from the ground. The first MARTS system was moved to Iraq in early 2005, and current plans call for the acquistion of a total of six systems.”

      Of course, Marines would float their own. A USV could park, or circle if it may be being targeted, offshore to provide good radio communication coverage for onshore Marines. Have another 80 miles away to create a chain of radio link from the fleet to the Marines.

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    6. Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS)
      https://missiledefenseadvocacy.org/defense-systems/jlens/

      This is probably what people are talking about when discussing towed aerostats.

      “The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System or JLENS consists of two large, unmanned, helium-filled aerostats that carry a radar system designed to detect and track threats such as cruise missiles, drones, aircraft, large caliber rockets, vehicles, and maritime surface vessels. The JLENS aerostats can float up to 10,000 feet and provide 360 degree coverage for an area approximately the size of Texas. It can also detect threats over the horizon, up to 340 miles away, and can stay airborne for up to 30 days providing 24/7 continual protection. [1] JLENS also integrates with defensive systems such as the Patriot missile defense system, the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) employed by Aegis BMD systems, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), and the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), as well as other command and control and defensive systems.”
      “Radar can detect aircraft within a 340-mile radius, or an area of about 363,000 miles.”
      “Vehicles on the ground can be detected within a 140-mile radius, an area of 62,000 miles.”

      Clearly, a fleet could not sneak up on anybody when this is deployed. However, in the thick of battle, when both fleets are located, raising one of these and using it to direct SM-6 at airborne targets several hundred miles away and surface targets over one hundred miles away would be a battle-winning option. This is not a disposable aerostat and I would NOT put one on a USV. Rather, I would mount them on LCS-2 instead of the helicopters and defend them rigorously.

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    7. This article is about "UFO" stuff but it is the Balloon Drone idea that interested me.

      https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28640/could-some-of-the-ufos-navy-pilots-are-encountering-be-airborne-radar-reflectors

      "U.S. Patent #7341224B1, which was filed in 2004 and awarded in 2008, describes a Miniature Robot Surveillance Balloon that has thrusters to control its flightpath and can carry an electrical-powered payload aloft."

      "A miniature surveillance balloon system is described that can be used in military and public safety situations for real-time observations. They are low-cost and expendable, and typically are deployed in clusters. Balloons may act individually or alternately clusters may act robotically (in unison) without command input at times. Balloon systems may be deployed by dropping from aircraft or by some form of artillery or rocket launch mechanism."

      If you look at the sketch, I think you'll agree on the implications. Imagine a Standard Missile or a DeepStrike popping such balloon drones out over an enemy fleet...

      With solar cells on the bag harness, they could power for some time, float for a long time and dodge around if someone wants to waste expensive weapons to get rid of them. All without relying upon powered rotors to keep them airborne.

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    8. Here is a patent from 1949!

      https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/e7/48/55/7c755c05740f91/US2463517.pdf

      I can picture drone ships popping this out, essentially leaving a "cloud" of long-lasting chaff between our incoming aircraft and the enemy. Also, UAV's leaving these above enemy locations as beacons to fire missiles at.

      I think lighter-than-air is a long-lost capability who's time has come!

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    9. I am not an expert, but I will tell you what I think is viable concepts for airships to appear in the modern military. The source of this comes from Tvtrope and I just paraphrase it to be more concise.

      Cost: Airships are pretty much cheaper than aircraft due to their mechanical simplicity and low power requirements. For example, airships are more fuel-efficient and thus longer range, 1/3th the cost of airplanes and 1/10 the cost of helicopters, and for Hindenburg-sized airships they can carry up to 500 tons of heavy cargo. While the cost associated with airships can be expensive as airships need mooring masts, ground crews, and hangars for storage; modern hybrid airships need little to no infrastructure to deliver heavy cargo. And while there is a helium shortage, people often mistook this as helium running out when it is more have to do with how there are delays with new production facilities, helium reserves being abandoned, helium production breaking down due to lack of maintenance, increasing demand, and waste that occurs when helium is not recycled after being used for medicine and industry. The United States alone has enough proven helium reserves in natural gas to last sixty years, and the country's unproven reserves are estimated to be 1,000 times bigger. As our technology improve, there is no doubt that helium can be used for a long time. Not to mention how you can also extract helium from the atmosphere as well. It might be 3 times more expensive than the ground's 0.07 dollars per liter, but it is viable. There is also the fact the cost of helium initial fill-up is a small percentage of the airship's cost and the cost of keeping it inflated is relatively negligible as there is a very little leak. If helium is still not viable for some reason, however, hydrogen can be used. While hydrogen is more dangerous because it can catch on fire like the Hindenburg disaster, people should remember that Hindenburg was an old design using outdated technology. It is just public fear that stops us from using extremely safe hydrogen-filled airships.
      Durability: People often mistook airships for being easy to hit with being easy to shoot down. Airships are actually incredibly resistant to attacks because they are fragile as various weapons don't detonate against the fabric. There is also the fact that Airships' nearly nonexistent radar and heat signatures also make missile targeting difficult. Any leak that would happen during battle is negligible even with over 500 holes and can stay afloat for hours. Even hydrogen airships are safe from incendiary bullets as long as oxygen is not mixed with hydrogen. There is also the fact that airships are safe due to loads of redundancies like lots of gas cells, many engines, several steering gondolas, etc. There is also the fact that some new hybrid airships are even capable of flying with no lift gas at all. Lastly, while it is true that past airships have a reputation for being disaster-prone and vulnerable to weather, this isn't true for modern airships as technology improved. Airships are in fact well suited to ride out storms that grounded other aircraft due to their natural buoyancy, lengthy endurance, and ability to maneuver at low speeds. Of course, there are still some weather conditions that are unsafe for airships to fly and some high-profile disasters happened because of overconfidence. When necessary precaution is taken, however, airships are quite safe.

      So when I think about viable roles that airships can serve in the modern navy, I think that airships are suited for heavy cargo, mobile scientific research facilities, cheap surveillance, and defensive military against submarine and missile. You can look at Tvtrope if you want to learn more.

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    10. Airships can also use NH3(toxic but not very flammable) or CH4 (flammable but not very toxic)as a lifting gas if helium is in short supply. The airship needs to be larger for the same payload but there is no supply constraint for NH3 or CH4.
      Very large structures can use solar radiation to heat the air inside the structure reducing the air's density enough to lift the structure.(Think very large geodesic spheres) The structures are so large that damage by conventional weapons would not result in enough air exchange to change the temperature differential sufficiently to reduce the lift generated by the structure.
      Solar powered floating geodesic spheres 

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    11. "Airships are actually incredibly resistant to attacks"

      The WWI balloon busters are an interesting case study about airships. The WWI balloons used hydrogen due to helium scarcity. The attacking pilots used incendiary bullets as the main weapon. There were several dozen balloon aces in the war.

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  2. I would just like to challenge you on manning levels, not on the validity of your point (i.e. increase crew size) but on the practicalities of doing it. All professional militaries worlwide seem to have great trouble recruiting, especially navies. There seem to be various reasons for this :

    -1- It's hard to stay away from home for a long time.
    -2- It is hard not be permanently connected to your favourite(s) social network(s).
    -3- Pay isn't that great.
    -4- etc ...

    I can't see how you can easily overcome those obstacles to filling up the posts. Your suggestion to reduce the length of deployments goes in the right direction but that's the only thing I've seen on the blog. You can increase pay but that builds up costs today and also in the long run, you can organise to have some connections to the internet via satellite but that is not workable on submarines and advertises up to a point that you are here on a surface ship, you can have better accommodation but that makes ships bigger. The only thing I can think of is to reintroduce the draft like Sweden has partly done but how would that go down ?

    Any ideas ?

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    1. Okay. We've already proven that we can fully man the fleet since we fully manned a 600 ship fleet in the Reagan era with a smaller population to draw from. Today, we have 290 ships. That should be simple to man.

      I posted that we have a HUGE excess of shore personnel. We could eliminate 30,000 - 50,000 of those positions and that, alone, would provide crews for 43 - 71 ships (at 700 crew per ship).

      If we eliminated 100 admiral positions and their staffs (at 20 people per admiral) that would free up almost 3 ships worth of crews.

      Now, let's talk about motivation. I'm NOT in favor of decreasing the length of deployments. Let's be clear about that. I'm in favor of ELIMINATING deployments. So, there's a whole bunch of motivation right there.

      Motivation comes from providing people a WORTHWHILE challenge and letting them overcome it. Instead of doing worthless deployment cruises, I've posted that we should be home-ported and conducting constant, REALILSTIC, highly challenging COMBAT training. Sailors would eat that up!

      We should also be confronting enemies instead of passively backing down. That means occasional, real firefights at sea. For example, the riverine boats that Iran seized should have destroyed the Iranian boats. This kind of real world challenge is what a certain segment of people live for. They would flock to the Navy.

      Foreign liberty calls should be relaxed, as they used to be. We've removed all the fun from liberty. There's nothing wrong with allowing sailors to go out and have some drinks, for example. If someone comes back having had a little too much, what's the harm? Make liberty fun again.

      The pay is actually not bad when you consider that an enlisted sailor gets his food, lodging (while at sea), medical, travel, college education, etc. all paid for while racking up a genuine pension. Most civilian jobs don't offer that!

      If you do all that, you'll have so many people lining up to join that you'll have to turn them away. The Marines used to do this with their ad campaigns that basically said, we're too tough for you and we don't want you. Well, that attracted exactly the kind of people the Marines really wanted: those that relished a challenge. The Marines did turn away people. If the Navy would adopt the changes I've discussed and would 'toughen up' the service, they'd have no problem fully manning 600 ships let alone our paltry 290!

      I trust that answers your question?

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    2. ComNavOps, we don't always agree (although I do think you sometimes blow our disagreements out of proportion), but I agree 100% with what you wrote there, with one exception.
      I would add a couple of other (and slightly different) data points to the headcount discussion.

      CBO did a primer on the military force structure in 2016 (https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51535) and found that the Navy and Marine Corps combined had 210,000 active duty personnel in combat forces, 93,000 active duty personnel in combat support forces, 202,000 active duty personnel in admin/overhead positions, and 97,000 reserve personnel. That's 40% of total personnel in the admin/overhead function. Cut the admin/overhead in half, and distribute those personnel 1/3 to combat, 1/6 to combat support, and 1/2 to reserves, and you'd end up with 244,000 active combat, 110,000 active combat support, 101,000 active admin/overhead, and 147,000 reserves, more combat and combat support with lower personnel costs (since reservists cost about 1/6 what an active duty person costs). Breaking that down between Navy and Marines (since CBO did not separate them), you'd have something line 22,000 more combat sailors, 11,000 more combat support sailors, 12,000 more combat Marines, and 6,000 more combat support Marines.

      Consulting firm McKinsey did a "tooth to tail" analysis of military spending for the OECD (basically, the advanced) countries. They concluded that the average OECD country spend 26% of its defense budget on combat, 11% on combat support, and 63% on admin/overhead. The USA was much worse, 16% on combat, 7% on combat support, and 77% on overhead. In gross numbers, if we could spend 25% more on combat, 25% more on combat support, and 25% less on admin/overhead, we could reduce the defense budget by $100 billion a year.

      If we reduced admin/overhead to 20% of our headcount and 67% of our budget (much higher percentage of budget because many non-personnel costs are in the admin/overhead category), we free up a lot of dollars and people for additional ship manning and operation.

      My exception, if we eliminate deployments altogether, then what are the foreign liberty calls that should be relaxed? I understand where you are going with this, but the problem is that we have made some commitments to allies that we must either find somebody else to take them over (my choice, and my first choice would be an alliance with the British Commonwealth to do so), renounce them (with significant diplomatic consequences), or deploy ships to honor them.

      What I oppose is purposeless deployments, deploying just to deploy. My first deployment was to the Mideast. We got there about the 1st of November, did Exercise Midlink with the Brits (who were still a major presence there) and Iranians (who were still our friends), and after that spent 3 months just sailing around idly from port to port, chipping and painting and otherwise doing virtually nothing. We described our mission as, "Be good, show the flag, and feed the [expletive deleted]." The exercise portion might have been useful (although the Brits felt that they were slowing their tempo to suit us, and we felt that we were slowing our tempo to suit the Iranians). And of course, Iran didn't remain a friend much longer, so whatever benefit they got was counterproductive to our long-term interests.

      I think deployments with a purpose are okay, but deployments just to deploy are not. And we have too many of the latter, By showing such a willingness to deploy, we are apparently triggering and facilitating local commanders' demand for ever more deployments.

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    3. "if we eliminate deployments altogether, then what are the foreign liberty calls that should be relaxed?"

      Obviously, this applies more if we're going to continue deployments but even with my end to deployments, you'll recall that I've called for a peace fleet that would show the flag and all the other useless stuff, so they'd have liberty. Even with no deployments, there would be actual missions that could/should have port calls.

      "I think deployments with a purpose are okay"

      I have yet to hear of any deployment that served a purpose. Feel free to give me a real or theoretical example, bearing in mind that I've demonstrated that 'deterrence' is a myth.

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    4. I know a number of people who have served in the Navy, often from families with a certain naval tradition, who essentially told their sons "It's FUBAR, stay away from there and go do something else instead."

      Nobody worries about hiring the right kind of young men anymore, and that's not just about the pay.

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  3. I would very much like to hear more on the use of active radars in a peer level conflict.
    All new ships come with powerful search radars, yet (with lack of actual knowledge) I get the impression that switching these things on and basically giving away your position could be very dangerous in a world with more and more guided long range munitions.
    Is this not as much of a problem as it seems to me? And if it is, how is it mitigated? Will there be a mix of silent and radar-loud ships? I have no clue.
    ( and give this concern, the first thing I would develop is a expendable stealth drone with a simple passive sensor and long endurance. Does this make sense?)

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    1. You correctly identified the problem and the solution! We had this figured out as far back as WWII. The ONLY time you emit (radar and comms on) is during an actual attack against you. The rest of the time, you sail with zero emissions (EMCON).

      Now, this strongly suggests the need for both ship passive sensors and aircraft (UAV) active and passive sensors. Let the offboard UAVs go do the surveillance. If they get found and destroyed, who cares?

      There's one other caveat. IF, and I emphasize IF, you believe that your defensive system (radar and AAW missiles) is so good that you can shoot down anything that comes your way, then by all means radiate and maintain your awareness while you casually shoot down anything the enemy throws at you. Do we have defensive systems that are that good? I doubt it but nobody knows because the Navy refuses to test our systems under realistic conditions. We need to take one of those Ticondergoas the Navy is always trying to get rid of and put it in the middle of the ocean on full auto (yes, Aegis has a full auto mode) and launch a massive, real attack on it and see what happens. If it's quickly sunk then we'll know our systems aren't that effective (and we should rethink how/why we're spending money on more of the same systems!). If, on the other hand, it casually swats the attacks aside then we'll know we're ready for combat and we adjust our attitude on EMCON operations.

      In short, war involves EMCON unless you have missiles inbound.

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    2. "If it's quickly sunk then we'll know our systems aren't that effective (and we should rethink how/why we're spending money on more of the same systems!)."

      I just hope a negative result would be TOP SECRET! Don't want the enemy to learn our weaknesses. Maybe this is the reason for the lack (or lack of broadcasting) such tests.

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    3. "The ONLY time you emit (radar and comms on) is during an actual attack against you."

      I have wondered about this, do exercises practice this proactively? Does the Navy still practice EMCON in deployments?

      It seems to me that when everyone is talking about these systems, they are talking about active mode. Wouldn't a better metric to compare is passive range as it is used the majority of the time? Is there a percentages that tends to be lost when using passive mode? Like 40-50% or more?

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    4. How long would it take to get the radar on? I honestly dont know this. If passive identifies missiles inbound, the radar horizon on a ship vs sea skimming missiles is approx 30 seconds. Can you spin it up in time?

      Delete
    5. "Does the Navy still practice EMCON in deployments?"

      Not that I've heard.

      "Is there a percentages that tends to be lost when using passive mode?"

      Depending on the type of sensor, it is possible to gain range over a radar! In addition to EO/IR which are limited to horizon (as is radar) (talking about ship sensors, now) if the target is sea skimming, there is a whole range of signals sensors which can, under the right conditions, detect signals and possible targets far beyond the horizon. Check out OUTBOARD and COBLU. They're classified but the hints that are publicly available are amazing.

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    6. "OUTBOARD and COBLU"

      I cannot find good information on this. Do you have any more search words that I could use? It (they?) sounds like something I would love!

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    7. There is very little public information. Over the years, I've cobbled together bits and pieces and lots of reasoned speculation to get the vague understanding I have. It's a passive signals detection system with vast range and is networked (possibly to a land based data center) to provide triangulated location of enemy forces. What little I can find and infer suggests that it is highly (stunningly!) effective. Given current and future smart weapons, this may well be targeting quality data. No wonder it's classified!

      COBLU is the upgrade to OUTBOARD.

      This is the kind of system we should be emphasizing in a future EMCON war.

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    8. I did read about COBLU before stemming from your mention through a conversation with B. Smitty. From what I have read, the upgrades allow the system to differentiate the levels of electronics signature and gather it through periods of time, periodically revealing locations and even decryption of data. It seems to me that COBLU is simply a software upgrade (a digital database) that comparison could be done much quicker and easier. I think the secrecy behind the development does help the system to stay on track pretty well and helps it progress nicely. In fact, I do spot some upgrades have been done over the years and it seems like the Navy and the UK are both phasing out the system. They are replacing with what is called SSEE (Increment F with upgraded anti spoofing GPS) so that seems like a pretty good sign of continued development.

      Whether the system was made on the right premise and proven technologies is difficult to judge but I would absolutely love to learn more about it since there is rarely any information in public domain (even regarding the original OUTBOARD system). Do you have anything that you can share or directions you can point me to? I fully understand if you think these information shouldn't be shared willy nilly.

      There is a history of systems that made great contributions to warfare that doesn't get the same kinds of fanfare. There is a saying that goes: "For every public transformational program, there is a secertive actually transformational one." Are there any systems similar to this one that too often get overlooked that you think should merit further attention?

      Side question, why are all B. Smitty comments deleted? He seems to have some fascinating ideas judging from your responses. I understand that commenter can come and go but deleted comments seems to only apply to him.

      Delete
    9. "Do you have anything that you can share"

      Sorry, I do not and I have no additional information that I haven't already shared in past posts and comments. There just isn't much publicly known about it. I've talked to a couple of people who have worked with it and they wouldn't discuss any details or even much general information. If even half of what I've been able to glean is true, it's a pretty remarkable system.

      B.Smitty opted to leave the blog and start his own. I stumbled across it once but I don't recall the name/address. When he left, he deleted most of his comments. Maybe he wanted to use them in his own blog? I have no other information.

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  4. How do you think the Space Force and other space forces will affect the Navy? Maybe an update on AI?

    How do you think our adversaries navy's and shipping will fare once we have Low Earth Orbit satellite constellation observation of nearly the whole Earth at once, AI to filter through the mass of data that LEO's send and Starship Hypersonic Bombers to take out what is found?

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2020/05/darpa-and-us-space-force-aim-to-mass-produce.html

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/06/worlds-fastest-supercomputer-triples-performance-to-445-petaflops.html

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2020/09/spacex-starship-hypersonic-bomber-will-give-us-decades-of-air-dominance.html

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    1. Also, I have heard chatter that Quantum Magnetometers will make the oceans "opaque" to submarines. Any thoughts on this?

      http://www.gemsys.ca/pdf/MM3_GEM_Brief_Review_of_Quantum_Magnetometers.pdf

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    2. The only thought I would offer you is that you're reading an awful lot of science fiction level wishful thinking. You really should go back and read some history about weapon systems. EVERY weapon system ever produced was advertised as revolutionizing warfare and making us invincible and, yet, here we are …

      NOTHING WORKS AS CLAIMED. A truly great system works at about 25% of claimed and might, someday, with lots of hard work and development, rise to 50% of claimed. Of course, by then, the enemy will have the exact same thing and we'll be in the same relative position.

      Immerse yourself in history!

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    3. "Immerse yourself in history!"

      I remember reading about those arguing that aircraft would be useless against battleships. I'm not one of those types of people.

      Immerse yourself in upcoming tech!

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    4. I have studied the SpaceX Starlink program. A very rough way of describing how it works is with hundreds of small satellites circling constantly at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and constantly sending and receiving and sending signal while communicating with each other using lasers and through these systems back to control stations.

      The military program set up to do this is the “Blackjack.” It will include small LOE Sats, made by different companies for different purposes. For example, Overhead persistent infrared (OPIR), Radio Frequency Systems, Position, Navigation and Timing, Optical Inter-Satellite Links/Electro-Optical/Infrared and Space and Missile Defense Command.

      At about $6 million per node, they are not cheap but are more survivable than drones and with extra nodes per positions in space, redundant in the case of breakdown or, conceivably, if an enemy does manage to hit one. Since they communicate with each other, surface jamming will only effect units on the actual battlefield – which I do not discount. However, this data will be communicated to those units when possible. Since home-on-jam missiles will make jamming very dangerous and potentially short-term, the ability to jam us is not a reason to discount satellite surveillance.

      A situation where the entire battlefield is being watched, even though someone may not be able to actually study every spot at once (maybe AI will be able to soon), should not be discounted. Of course, this only proves NCO’s argument for more armor and firepower.

      This describes the goals, although not the current achievements of the SBR mission (as far as I can tell). IF Space Based Radar satellites can track ships, and I *think* it can, then the Space Force will be the greatest supporting branch that the Navy could have hoped for.


      "The Space Based Radar (SBR) mission was to provide worldwide, on-demand, near continuous, surveillance, and reconnaissance for battlespace characterization. It was to provide theater and global users (e.g., strategic, Combatant Commanders) with responsive multi-theater capability to detect, geo-locate, identify, and track surface objects regardless of motion, location, or environmental conditions. The SBR program was focused on maturing technology and developing an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) system capable of providing Ground Moving Target Identification (GMTI), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and Digital Terrain and Elevation Data (DTED) over a large portion of the Earth on a near-continuous basis. By combining SAR, GMTI, and digital terrain elevation data, Space-Based Radar was to be able to track and target stationary or moving combatants in near real time, almost anywhere on earth, at anytime."

      https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2020/05/darpa-and-us-space-force-aim-to-mass-produce.html

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    5. "The only thought I would offer you is that you're reading an awful lot of science fiction level wishful thinking."

      Check out the SpaceX Starship. It is bada$$ !!!!

      That 100+ t payload could drop some serious damage onto a fleet. All with a completely reusable everything. After it launches very soon (hopefully before the end of the year) I'll be here to see if you still think it is science fiction!

      SpaceX isn't military, you may say? The first client of the Starlink program was the U.S. Military...

      https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/starship/

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    6. "Immerse yourself in upcoming tech!"

      Absolutely. However, without understanding how new tech actually arrives, we tend to believe in miracles that do not and will not happen. Tech arrives in tiny, faltering steps, not fully functioning miracle events as the military would have us believe.

      Delete
    7. "At about $6 million per node, they are not cheap but are more survivable than drones and with extra nodes per positions in space, redundant in the case of breakdown or, conceivably, if an enemy does manage to hit one."

      For peer states the answer is simple, launch enough ASAT's to start a cascade of shrapnel at that orbital level. Once it gets started putting up more satellites large or small quickly just adds to the carnage in space. Every body is blind and deaf as far as space based sensors/ comms.

      I wonder how useful our Space Force will be once you can't keep anything operational in orbit past days/ hours?

      Delete
    8. "I wonder how useful our Space Force will be once you can't keep anything operational in orbit past days/ hours?"

      Good question. "Space Junk" is already becoming a problem. Even at LEO, such shrapnel could last for years -- like orbiting minefields. I'm guessing that there are the equivalent of thousands of levels of orbit and the farther out you go, the more difficult it would be to clog them up.

      There is also ship/surface-based weapons (eg. directed energy) that have been and could be devised to fight space based objects.

      Delete
    9. "Tech arrives in tiny, faltering steps, not fully functioning miracle events as the military would have us believe."

      I read your article "The Illusion of Breakthroughs in Warfare" and fully agree with you about the ridiculous idea of the "Offset." I'm not suggesting such a thing.

      With ships being built for 40 year lives and a strategies needed for a decade at a time, I think such advancements should be considered.

      Delete
    10. "That 100+ t payload could drop some serious damage onto a fleet. All with a completely reusable everything. After it launches very soon (hopefully before the end of the year) I'll be here to see if you still think it is science fiction!"

      I still think it's a lot of fiction even if it's launching. I don't know if you have intimate time with SpaceX but from my limited interaction, I have little hope. I have talked with several SpaceX engineers in the past and most of them are relatively opposed to military uses. Of course, they still take lucrative goverment contracts designed to monitor (which is somewhat their original intention) but dropping bombs is a move that is very unprecedented. Most engineers working for these companies do not wish to see their invention turn into a space based weaponry.

      That being said, there is a variety of other issues that could be considered. The enemy is not gonna sit back and see us covering the entire sky with military satellites so they will proactively working on systems to destroy them. Maybe ASATs? Tom Clancy has proposed the idea of killer satellites and that has some merits. I would think that a large LEO explosion from a missile or a bomb could be on the table as well.

      You noted that the system is gonna be reusable, I disagree. Assuming that if a system like this is gonna be use for military purposes, we will need to shield it and variety of strengthening and armoring against a different set of standards. This tends to increase the weight of the system and that tends to be the main reason why missile is non-reusable. Now if we want to ignore this and keep the original specifications, I am absolutely sure that they are non-survivable in any kinds of conflicts. I have noted the possible counters above. Not only that they may fail to deliver the payload, we also lost a costly reusable ship.

      That's why the military tends to use a non-reusable missile as the main method of payload delivering. It is plain and simple and that contribute a great deal to its lower costs. If we are seeing from this perspective, we just need to mass produce large amounts of ICBMs!

      That's not even mentioning the political consideration. We don't even dare to consider using ICBMs because the enemy might think it is nuclear payload and retaliate with nuclear option. What makes you think that it is okay to employ Space-based nuclear-possible bombers?

      Delete
    11. "I don't know if you have intimate time with SpaceX but from my limited interaction, I have little hope."

      I work with some of the most anti-military, anti-American people in the World. If they had a website, it would probably be called "NAVY DOESN'T MATTERS." I don't care what some random SpaceX employees think, because I'm not suggesting that SpaceX will be bombing ships.

      It is the technology that I'm speaking of and, from what I've heard Elon Musk say, I doubt that he would refuse to have these craft built for the military under contract, or even build them directly, for good money. He ain't the multibillionaire because of his peaceful views.

      "I am absolutely sure that they are non-survivable in any kinds of conflicts."

      I can't accuse you of having an open mind! It's made of stainless steel and will be covered with hard, heat resistant ablative materials -- much more survivable than any other bomber in existence and much harder to hit at such altitude. Yes, it will be reusable.

      Do I think it will be a good bomber? Maybe not. That would mostly depend upon what weapons that it would launch against ships.

      "I would think that a large LEO explosion from a missile or a bomb could be on the table as well."

      If such a bomb is able to take out the LEO sats, then hopefully it won't go off in the atmosphere and take out all the World's aircraft.

      Anti-sats will be able to take out LEO sats, just like ships, aircraft and anything else can be destroyed. That doesn't mean that they won't work. Especially since they could be launched at the start of a conflict and survive long enough to be effective.

      "We don't even dare to consider using ICBMs because the enemy might think it is nuclear payload and retaliate with nuclear option."

      Let me guess, China can launch long-range missiles against us and we wouldn't destroy the World... Sounds fair. If we are that timid, or nations like China are that crazy, then lets go with my Comrade coworkers and do away with the whole war thing.

      Delete
    12. "I can't accuse you of having an open mind! "

      Discuss the idea, not the person. First, last, and only warning.

      Delete
    13. "I don't care what some random SpaceX employees think, because I'm not suggesting that SpaceX will be bombing ships."

      I think you are consideringtthe ideai in essentially a vacuum. Militarily, this would makes sense since orders are orders. A private company, on the other hand, has to juggle a lot of things around. Elon Musk has no real obligations to hand over his technology to the government if it means a lot of things will be at stakes.

      SpaceX is not what it is without the people working for him. If he can accept losing one of his most profitable franchise for seemingly a one-off proposal then he could feel free to. I somehow doubt this is the case. His Tesla franchise is extremely reliant on China and he is buildingtteo Gigafactories in China right now. What would happen if he sold the government a technology that threatens China's interest?

      Delete
    14. "I can't accuse you of having an open mind! It's made of stainless steel and will be covered with hard, heat resistant ablative materials -- much more survivable than any other bomber in existence and much harder to hit at such altitude. Yes, it will be reusable."

      If you believe it, then I will take your word for it. I will admit that I am not an expert in this field and I am just talking from the history. History has pointed out that most technologies designed for commercial use that people claim to be suitable for military use were almost always proven false. Modifications that lose some of the original characteristics of the technology will occur whether we like it or not. Whether reusable can be kept is a story that I wait for the future to answer.

      Delete
    15. "If such a bomb is able to take out the LEO sats, then hopefully it won't go off in the atmosphere and take out all the World's aircraft."

      I think you are exaggerating my point a little bit but you make somewhat of a good point. If China see an overcompassing system that threatens any of their development, nothing is off the table. Maybe a nuclear explosion in LEO? Maybe a MOAB in LEO? Again, I am just mentioning the vast possibilities to damage and destroy the sattelites that would not be cost-effective to us. I have read before about the many things that could damage a satellite or put it out of action by seemingly small things. A purposely built weapon to neutralize vast amount of satellites is so far very feasible from my point of view.

      "Anti-sats will be able to take out LEO sats, just like ships, aircraft and anything else can be destroyed. That doesn't mean that they won't work. Especially since they could be launched at the start of a conflict and survive long enough to be effective."

      Now you did propose that we can track equipment in near real time which I note is extremely beneficial. I just can't wrap my head around how China would let this advantage to materialize. What would you think is long enough good for? What role it would fill aside tracking surface systems?

      "Let me guess, China can launch long-range missiles against us and we wouldn't destroy the World... Sounds fair. If we are that timid, or nations like China are that crazy, then lets go with my Comrade coworkers and do away with the whole war thing."

      This is more of the position of the government and the military. Whether you like to argue this but this is a limitation that we are facing right now in peacetime. That being said, assuming that this limitation is bypassed, what's the point of space bombers then? We can do it way more easily and cheaper with ICBMs!


      Delete
  5. One of the best things about your blog is a thought-provoking consideration of a basic concept. People usually say that you need to keep in mind of the basic concepts and then go more higher/advanced. I believe that there are plenty of examples in your blog that merits its own section on the blog. Now to illustrate just briefly what I mean, here is a list of posts that I have collected over weeks of reading your blog:

    1. Bare Minimum: Bare minimum design philosophy and the follow up:

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-bare-minimum.html

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-bare-minimum-follow-up.html


    2. Escorts: an educated guess of the escort numbers.

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2020/05/escorts.html

    3.Fighting in Plain view:

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2020/11/fight-in-plain-view.html

    4. What War is: an examination of the nature of war
    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2017/02/what-war-is.html

    5. If the shoe were from the other side: See our development form the Chinese perspective.

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2019/06/if-shoe-were-on-other-foot.html#comment-form

    6. Tactical timidity

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2020/08/tactical-timidity.html

    7. Lost Focus: lost of combat focus

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2020/08/lost-focus.html

    8. The Unfriendly Skies: a consideration of a focus on air superiority

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-unfriendly-skies.html

    9. In Harm's Way: putting yourselves in harm's way!

    https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2014/02/in-harms-way.html

    The benefit of a section is the fact that the concepts perpetuate itself in almost all kinds of consideration and discussion. Most readers, while have read history, may lack the ability to grasp it all together. A post that is self-contained would go far to bring everyone on the same page! This will help readers to understand more about the nature of current military to better the conversations happening here. There are certainly many more posts along the line that I might be forgetting here but this is a pretty good start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, thanks, I think.

      I have to confess, I'm missing what you're asking, if anything. Are you asking for a mega-post that ties all of the cited posts together? If so, that would be called a book! I'm really not sure what you want. Apologies and please try again.

      Delete
    2. I kinda consolidate the paragraph too much that the meaning is a little bit unclear. What I meant is the section or the compilation you have on the right side. This is meant to complement (or as a mutiplier like the military call it) your fiction and fleet structure. They are relatively simple but very insightful to miss these gems. Maybe call it "ComNavOps Philosophies"?

      Delete
    3. Ah, you're talking about a reference listing of posts that summarize the fundamentals or foundations of this blog's philosophy? Hmm … the problem is that every post is award winning! Seriously, it would be difficult to winnow down to a list of just, say, a dozen. You've made a start at it. I've kind of got this with the listing of the 'best posts' but it's not quite the same as what you're suggesting. Perhaps another page, with a bit more extensive listing by categories or some such, similar to the Comment Policy or Fleet Structure page?

      Let me give this some thought and see what I can come up with.

      Delete
    4. Perhaps another way to phrase it would be to call it 'First Principles' - as in, this is where the basics are, & the rest (should) flow logically from that starting point.

      I think thats what Ipnam is meaning. CONOPS I think is how you've referred to it previously perhaps?

      Delete
  6. "Got a suggestion for a post topic?"

    Actually, a few of them.

    - If you want to go there, a post on what the new US administration could mean for the military in general and the Navy in particular (budget, foreign wars, etc.) is a possibility.

    - What should the Ticos be replaced with, instead of USV toys? Just more AA or what?

    - Open ocean mining: yay or nay? Can it be done properly? Is it a possible way to mess with enemy AA/AD zones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The new admin will be a disaster for the military but this is not a political blog so I've got to pass on that one.

      A Tico/cruiser replacement is a good topic idea and I'm initiating the post as we speak. Bear with me, it takes a while to research and generate posts!

      Open ocean mining was widely and effectively done in WWII. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't today. The challenge lies in trying to mine enemy controlled waters. We simply don't have the ability to do that today. Open ocean mining is more a defensive tactic and that's still viable though, again, we lack the capability to deploy significant numbers of mines - and we lack significant numbers of mines!

      Delete
    2. "We simply don't have the ability to do that today."

      A possible use for SSKs, maybe based at Guam?
      You'd need many of them, though.

      Delete
    3. The Tico replacement that I envision is a true cruiser on a cruiser hull, not an overgrown destroyer.

      I'd say use a Des Moines hull (we already know that works) and probably something like the Makin Island hybrid propulsion. If that drives a 40,000T box through the ocean it 28 knots, it ought to be able to drive a 15,000T cruiser hull somewhere in the mid 30s.

      I'd put 3x 8-inch gun turrets in the A and Z positions, and 192 VLS cells, 96 each in the B and Y positions. In between I'd put something like the WWII proposed flight deck cruiser, a deck from which to launch helos and UAVs, with a hangar underneath from which USVs and UUVs could be launched over the side. It would have AEGIS/AMDR and something like 4 SeaRAM and 8 Phalanxes. I would give it a Tico sonar suite, not because I want it playing tag with submarines but because I would want it to be able to defend itself on independent ops or should a sub somehow get through the outer screening units.

      I would make it flagship of an escort squadron (CortRon) consisting of 2 AAW destroyers (could be Burkes), 3 GP escorts (could be FFGXs, although I would go with EMPAR/SMART-L in place of AEGIS, and go with a lot beefier weapons suite), and 4 ASW frigates (like ComNavOps's ASW DE, but with 32 VLS cells instead of the ASROC pillbox (load out something like 32 ESSM quadpacked, 12 ASROC, 8 NSM, 4 Standard).

      The CortRon would be notionally assigned to escort a CVBG or SAG/HUK group. It could also conduct a fairly wide range of independent operations.

      Delete
    4. Never heard of higher than 25kn on LHD/LHA hybrid plant. Des Moines was 20-21k ton stretching that 120k hp plant from Baltimore. 192 of what size cell? Mk 41, possibly could get those numbers on a cruiser hull. I'd still estimate your proposal as the most expensive ship ever, so greater than Columbia's $14.4B for the first ship. 8 inch guns to what end? So they can have the ammunition cancelled again because no one else uses those rounds? The gun either needs to be adapted from the army or improved from existing naval mounts. I'd really like to see shore bombrdment and point defense coming from the same guns again. Maybe we need 48 VLS cells where we can quad pack SM-2 or SM-6. There will be enough new things needed for a new ship I am all for borrowing from the parts bin up to possibly the Zumwalt hull. Also agree it will be a real cruiser size ship and their will be a need for more escorts.

      Delete
    5. Wikipedia (not the most authoritative source, admittedly) says 28kts for Makin Island on gas turbines. But even if it will only do 25, a power plant that will drive a 40,000T box through the water at 25kts can surely drive a 15-18,000T cruiser hull somewhere over 30. My question would be whether that plant would fit but that's for naval architects.

      I'm not sure why it would be so expensive. There's nothing really new. It's just putting existing technology into an existing hull. There's nothing like the Zumwalt gun or hull system or the LCS propulsion system or modules, none of which work yet. And I think the hull is big enough that, if designed properly, you could add a bunch of stuff later (and the Maki Island plant should produce enough electricity to power them).

      Why the 8-inch is because we don't really have any shore bombardment capability, and that is one of several things that rules amphibious assaults out. If we wanted a 155mm that could use standard ammo as an alternative, that would be reasonable.

      As for the 21,000T Des Moines, I'm thinking of saving enough weight to come in at 17,000-18,000T. That would give some expansion room later.

      Delete
    6. "So they can have the ammunition cancelled again because no one else uses those rounds?"

      Without either agreeing or disagreeing about a gun cruiser, I would just note that the issue of ammo is all about the number of ships. If we do like we did with the Zumwalt and cut a planned buy from 32 ships to 3 then, sure, the ammo will be prohibitively expensive. However, if we have a solid build program and follow through on it with, say, 15 cruisers, each with a 8" magazine of, say, 500 rounds, we'd need 7,500 rounds just to fill the ships. In addition, we'd need, say, 20,000 rds of spare inventory in storage and, hopefully, we'd use 1,000 rds per year in training. So, there would seem to be adequate demand for the ammo. The key is following through on the ship construction.

      Delete
    7. I second the notion of exploring the Tico replacements. But it should be two faceted... Wed all love to see a modern gun cruiser, but Id also like to in depth look at the "what we will ACTUALLY get" side, considering what the Navy is looking at and envisioning today...

      Delete
    8. "Wed all love to see a modern gun cruiser, … "what we will ACTUALLY get"

      There's actually a third facet and that is what should we get?

      We want a gun cruiser.
      We'll actually get an oversized Burke.
      We need a …?

      What we need may be different than what we want. For example, the Marines have categorically stated that they're out of the amphibious assault business. Okay, if that's true, is there really a need for a gun cruiser? One could make a pretty solid argument that there is not.

      You'll recall I did a post on cruisers and their role. See, Roles - Cruiser

      Delete
    9. My preference would be to build the Tico replacement on a Cleveland class hull.

      It would be a pure air defense weapon that would be used to coordinate the air defenses for the task force.

      It would also be a shooter with banks of VLS, and would be festooned with CIWS to protect itself along with modernized Cleveland class armor.

      The only guns would be two dual mount 5"/62 gun turrets mounted fore and aft used for defense against ships and as part of the air defense suite.

      It would not have any ASW capability.

      I would concurrently build a separate Des Moines class heavy cruiser with 8" guns to fill that role.

      Delete
    10. Oops, just re-read my post. It sounds like I'm linking the Des Moines gun cruiser to ASW...not what I meant.

      The Des Moines would fill the gun cruiser role and would have no ASW capability...just like the Tico/Cleveland.

      I would have ASW done primarily by dedicated ASW frigates in blue water and corvettes in brown water.

      My apologies for the unclear writing at the end of the previous post.

      Delete
  7. How about a post comparing distributed lethality to Jeffersonian gunboats?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, intriguing. I'll look into that! Thanks for the idea.

      Is there a particular aspect that jumps out for you?

      Delete
    2. It just strikes me that the Jeffersonian gunboats were an attempt at distributed lethality, but didn't take into consideration some obvious practical problems.

      And they were put into place at the expense of building more frigates.

      How would the War of 1812 looked if the US Navy had more than three 44-gun frigates to do merchant raiding?

      It seems like our emerging ideas are just as impractical as the gunboats concept was circa 1800.

      Delete
    3. Excellent take on it. I'll see what I can do with it.

      Delete
  8. Another idea, how has naval warfare changed since Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" was published in the 1980s?

    How has stealth changed things, and how does emission control interact with it?

    How does the modern navy compare to the navy of that time period?

    Just some ideas that I would find interesting...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Personally, I've especially been a fan of all the analysis on the current state and possible future of naval aviation capability, procurement and operations. So, more love letters to an actual F-14 replacement, J/K!

    In all seriousness, I love all the stuff you put forth on this blog, so more of the same is good for me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another idea for a post subject could be speed.

    Is it really needed for a carrier group to be "fast" anymore, given that supersonic missiles and aircraft exist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speed was never about evading missiles. Even subsonic missiles are immensely faster than ships. Speed is about repositioning - the ability to move from one operational location to another quickly.

      The classic example was the early WWII carrier raids where a carrier would sprint, under cover of night, to a launch position, launch a strike, recover, and retire before the enemy could muster a counter force.

      The same applies today although we no longer practice the operations and tactics that are needed. In ten hours, a carrier group can travel 300 nm in any direction which makes a possible 70,000 sq.nm. area for an enemy to have to search or defend. A day's sailing can see a carrier cover 700 nm. It's that ability to operationally reposition quickly that's useful.

      Now, a legitimate question is how useful is speed given the thousand mile strike range of a Tomahawk missile? Moderate speed and a thousand mile strike range combine to give a pretty good operational advantage.

      What do you think?

      Delete
    2. I worded that message poorly, anyway your point about repositioning is pretty good and I think still valid today.

      That said, reducing speed requirements would bring serious savings (I guess) across the entire fleet and thus theoretically allow for more ships to be built.

      I'd take the trade except for the fact that we're looking at a Pacific war again, and the distances are huge so I'm on the fence.

      Delete
    3. "we're looking at a Pacific war again"

      Not really. We started WWII with the Japanese in possession of the entire Pacific out to Hawaii, in addition to various Asian land territory. In contrast, a war with China will be all about the S/E China Seas and surrounding first island chain territories. Instead of the entire Pacific, the war will be limited to a fairly confined region. Because of that, the Chinese will have an immense density of forces in that region, backed by local naval and air bases. That's quite the home field advantage.

      The US will have the freedom to maneuver in the open ocean outside the first island chain. We'll have the freedom to strike (with thousand mile Tomahawks) from anywhere within several hundred miles of the chain. So, there's the use for speed - the ability to launch a missile strike and leave before China can send a bomber or submarine force to counterattack.

      You undoubtedly understand the speed/power curve and the huge increases in power required to achieve the last few knots of speed (the LCS being the classic example of landing on the wrong spot on the curve and paying a huge penalty in internal volume and weight to achieve the few extra knots). That being the case, there is an argument to be made that 28 kts is almost as good as 32 kts and costs a lot less in internal space and power.

      This is where we need to have a plan for fighting China so that we can decide whether the extra few knots is worth it or not. Does our plan (which we lack) require that extra speed, or not?

      While there is a savings in slightly slower ships, I don't think it's anywhere near enough to start imagining fleets of extra ships being built from the savings. At best, you might get one extra ship for every 20 or 30 ships built. But, hey, every little bit helps.

      Delete
    4. "Instead of the entire Pacific, the war will be limited to a fairly confined region. Because of that, the Chinese will have an immense density of forces in that region, backed by local naval and air bases. That's quite the home field advantage."

      This is where things stand right now, but I don't think China will commit to a real fight with the US (assuming they ever do) until they can project a lot more power than today well beyond the first island chain and have possibly absorbed (one way or the other) some small, nearby countries.

      The difference is that this time Japan will likely be on the US side (or at least not openly on the Chinese one), with everything that implies.

      Delete
    5. You're quite right that if we allow China to expand and annex first island chain countries then the area of conflict hugely expands and it could become a true Pacific war.

      The other possibility is that we fight a remote war in Africa with both sides tacitly respecting the other's territory and just limiting the fighting to some place in Africa (Djibouti area, perhaps?) along the lines of the Falklands War which both sides agreed to limit to a confined area.

      Delete
  11. Some ideas I'd like to explore:

    1. Fleet architecture, with maybe a build-your-own-fleet discussion, perhaps with some cost constraints.

    2. The future role of the Marine Corps.

    3. The division of responsibility among the various branches (Army, USAF, Navy, USMC).

    4. What our geopolitical grand strategy should be, how to implement it, and how the military and diplomatic roles should be sorted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done posts on various aspects of all of these.

      The Marines are currently adrift and have no role. Their future depends on the next Commandant. Will he return sanity to the Corps or continue the descent of the Marines?

      The division of responsibility was once a clear cut, simple statement. No longer. Each service is trying to branch out into the responsibilities of other services. It's degenerated into a budget free-for-all. Very disappointing. I'd do a post but there's nothing really useful or substantial to say. Do you have a take on it that offers some insight for the services?

      Delete
    2. "The division of responsibility was once a clear cut, simple statement. No longer. Each service is trying to branch out into the responsibilities of other services. It's degenerated into a budget free-for-all. Very disappointing. I'd do a post but there's nothing really useful or substantial to say. Do you have a take on it that offers some insight for the services?"

      It seems to me that what we need is a leader who can say, "OK, folks, this isn't working. Here's how we are going to change." Of course, that word leader may have answered the question of why we haven't done this.

      I have my own ideas, you probably have yours, we probably have a few differences but overall are not far apart.

      Delete

    3. "The Marines are currently adrift and have no role. Their future depends on the next Commandant. Will he return sanity to the Corps or continue the descent of the Marines?"

      There was a post over on WarOnTheRocks about combining the Marines and SOCOM. That's basically what the Royal Marines did when faced with budgetary extinction in the 1960s and 1970s, and it seemed to work okay in the Falklands.

      SOCOM is only about 30,000, and I doubt the Marines would want to downsize that much. I still think there is a need for an amphibious capacity. The only two countries that we can attack totally by land are Mexico and Canada, and I don't see us going to war with either of them any time soon. So for almost any conceivable conflict, we need to be able to move forces by air or by water. The Navy's current amphibious doctrine is a mess, and Marines are being forced to try to find stupid missions to make up for it. I still think there's a need for about 100,000 potential expeditionary combined arms forces--infantry, armor, artillery, amphibious armor, and air. I would restrict Marine air to troop transport and CAS, and move the air superiority mission to the Navy. Put 100,000 Fleet Marines with 30,000 commandos, and add 20,000 for admin and training, and you'd have a downsized Corps of 150,000, and focus on get in, get done, get out, instead of baby army of occupation.

      Delete
    4. Certainly like #1 CDR CHIP...!!! I would love to spend a weekend immersed in that!!!

      Delete
    5. I don't disagree with this downsizing but what was the purpose of the Royal Marine in the first place? The Royal Marine right now seems to do the same mission that the Marine Corps fill?

      I don't really understand the part about the Marines and SOCOM combination. Isn't that MARSOC? There was a controversy in the past that is related to your proposal. The Marines and SOCOM felt like MARSOC is forced on and an insult to both. Their position , for the Marines, was the fact that the philosophies and belief born from being the best of the best. The choice to create Special units in the Marines shatters this and seems to have be an insult to the original philosophy. Something to keep in mind if you are looking to embark on this.

      Delete
    6. The idea in the WarOnTheRocks piece was that SOCOM would basically become the Marine Corps. The Marines would be a special operations force.

      Delete
    7. We already have 65,000+ personnel in SOCOM. Why would we possible need more?

      Delete
    8. I don't understand why this is so hard for people to understand. This would not be adding. This is making special ops a primary mission area of the Marines. Navy would still have SEALs, and Army would still have Green Berets, and Air Force would still have AFSOC, probably about 10,000 each to handle specialized missions in their specific areas, like SBS and SAS in UK. But core of about 30,000 would be in Marine Corps.

      Delete
    9. Right now no branch has specs as a primary mission area. And wile they like to brag about their Green Berets and SEALs and AFSOCs as poster children, they really don't support them they way they need. And we don't really have a unified doctrine of how to employ them. The Marines are used to making do with less, and their get in, get done, get out approach works well with special ops. Get them away from being baby army and start doing unique things that nobody else really wants to support.

      Delete
    10. You've got 65,000 currently and you want to add more in the form of Marines. That's adding. Unless you disband a portion of the existing SOCOM, turning the Marines into special forces IS ADDING to the total. How is adding more special forces not adding????????

      Delete
    11. Move the existing SOCOM into the Corps. Not adding or subtracting. For the short term SOCOM would be a purple-suited command but over time would become a Marine organization.

      Delete
    12. You have 60,000 total special forces now. You would have 30,000 Marine SOCOM, and 10,000 each Green Berets, SEALs, and AFSOC. SOCOM would start out purple suited but commanded by Marines, and evolve into a Marine command.

      Delete
    13. I was slightly off. SOCOM website lists their strength as 70,000. For all practical purposes, they are their own branch of the military. They have access to air, land, and naval forces and all the associated support elements. They have all the support they could want (far too much, I would argue).

      SOCOM is an out of control blight on the US military and is far too large. The joint SOCOM command should be eliminated and authority returned to the component groups. Then, the overall force level should be reduced by at least half. For example, the Navy SEALs should be reduced to around 500; enough for clandestine from-the-water missions instead of fighting land wars. They need to get back in their lane.

      'Special' forces used to be that - special - but now they've become their own general purpose land army. That needs to end.

      Delete
    14. At some point you'd reach a status where every Marine E-5 or above would be commando qualified. I can see where having commando-qualified troops leading amphibious assaults would be very useful.

      You'd have a fleet Marine force and a Marine commando force. With a phib lift capacity of 32,000, then about 96,000 fleet Marines would enable one third to be deployed, one third in training for surge, and one third rebuilding after completing deployment. Of course, not all the "deployed" would actually be deployed, but I'm trying to think of a different terminology.

      Delete
    15. "I was slightly off. SOCOM website lists their strength as 70,000. For all practical purposes, they are their own branch of the military. ... SOCOM is an out of control blight on the US military and is far too large"

      So recognize that and make them a major component of the Marines. Create a cadre of about 30,000 commando-trained Marines, and let every other branch have 10,000 or so specialists to work with the Marine commandos.

      Delete
    16. Part of our difference is that I still see a need for amphibious forces. There are only two countries that we could attack overland--Canada and Mexico--and we aren't going to war with either one any time soon. So we will need massive airlift or sealift for any foreseeable military operation.

      Delete
    17. I don't want to go too far here. This is supposed to be a forum about what ideas we would like to see discussed, and this is really getting into the meat of a discussion about one of those ideas.

      It's a thought. I think there is a place for Marines, and I think there is a place for special forces. And our current SOFCOM is out of control. So give it to the Marines to get back under control.

      If we followed this suggestion, I would expect over time that the Corps would adopt a more commando-oriented philosophy across the board. Kind of fits well with, "The few, the proud," and the historic culture of the Corps.

      Delete
    18. At worst, it sure fits better than the Boy Scouts with BB guns approach that the Commandant seems to be taking.

      And one reason why I think that SOFCOM is out of control is that no one branch is really accountable for it. Put it under the Corps and then you have some accountability.

      Sorry for so many posts, but I keep hitting "Publish" before I should.

      Delete
    19. "And our current SOFCOM is out of control. So give it to the Marines to get back under control."

      I wouldn't give our current Marines control of a Boy Scout troop. The Marines are demonstrating that they have no clue about what to do.

      That aside, we already have Rangers, Green Berets, SEALs, Delta Force, a bunch of Air Force special ops units, Night Stalkers, Special Boat Teams, and a host of others - 70,000 strong. We already have every possible special ops mission covered - most in duplicate or more - so why would we want to add commando marines to the already overlarge list?

      On top of that, the Marines already have their own special forces group, MARSOC, including the Marine Raider Regiment. MARSOC is around 3000 personnel.

      Why do we want to add even more special forces? Are we running out? We're already wasting them on routine army duties because we don't have actual special ops for them to do.

      Turning the Marines into special forces is a horrible idea with absolutely no analytical justification. It solves no problem. It fills no gap. It's pure excess.

      Delete
    20. "Put it under the Corps and then you have some accountability."

      The only group more out of control than SOCOM is the Marines! They've tried to become the new Air Force. They're trying to take over the Navy's job by sinking ships and subs. They've abandoned their core mission. They're trying to dictate to the Navy what kind of ships to build. They forced the F-35 to become an abortion by insisting on making it vertical. And the list goes on. They're doing all this based on secret games that they won't tell anyone about. You can't get more out of control than that. And you want to give them control over SOCOM?????? You want a rogue service to control SOCOM??????????? And increase the size of SOCOM at the same time by adding more commando marines?

      This is a truly horrible idea.

      Delete
    21. First, I'm not adding any numbers. I don't quite understand wy that is so hard to understand.

      Second, the reason SOCOM is out of control is because it is a purple-suited organization that has no direct accountability to anyone.

      Third, the reason that the Marines are out of control is because their primary mission has been taken away from them because the Navy persists in building amphibious ships from which you cannot do an assault and in eliminating any meaningful NGFS platforms.

      Fourth, the root cause of all this seems to me that we don't have defined missions for any branch, so everybody is stepping on everybody's else's toes to try to get more budget. I'm trying to come up with some rational distribution of duties. Maybe a discussion of how to cut out inter service rivalry would be a useful target.

      Delete
    22. "First, I'm not adding any numbers."

      Of course you are. You've stated that you want to turn Marines into commando marines and you've not stated that you would reduce any existing SOCOM forces. THAT'S AN INCREASE. Feel free to explain how adding commando marines to existing SOCOM is not adding.

      "has no direct accountability to anyone."

      SOCOM reports directly to the Secretary of Defense. You can't get much more direct accountability than that.

      "the reason that the Marines are out of control is because their primary mission has been taken away from them because the Navy persists in building amphibious ships"

      No, you're confusing cause and effect. The Marines have voluntarily decided that they're out of the assault business which renders the amphibious ships useless. It's not the other way around. Yes, the amphibious ship concept has problems but it does not prevent their use in assaults.

      "the root cause of all this seems to me that we don't have defined missions"

      We have clearly defined missions as described in one of the most basic military docs that I can't recall but it starts with Title 10 in which each service has its own section that defines it and then the most fundamental service docs further describe it. The problem is that the services are leaving their lanes in pursuit of budget and we have been lacking a strong willed SecDef to rein them back in. The Marines are the most egregious offenders.

      Delete
    23. Numbers. You said that right now there are 70,000 special forces. I'm talking about 10,000 each for Army, Navy, and Air Force, and a 30,000 commando cadre that would be Marines over time. That's 60,000 total, a reduction from 70,000, not an increase.

      The cadre would start out purple suited, under a Marine command. Marines would establish commando training, at Parris Island or Eglin or Pendleton or wherever, and eventually all Marines E-5 or above would be commando trained. As people in SOCOM retired or moved on, and as Marines got commando qualified, Marines would slot into the SOCOM billets and the command would eventually transition to a Marine command. Marines would be charged with developing more effective doctrine for asymmetric and counterinsurgency missions.

      Marines would still keep an amphibious mission, and over time the Navy would reconfigure the amphibious force to accomplish assaults rather than simply hauling Marines around the world. Marine air would focus entire on CAS and would give up its F-18s and air superiority mission to the Navy, which needs the airplanes and pilots to create a sufficient number of sufficiently populated CVWs.

      Army and Air Force would focus on continental conventional warfare. Navy and Marines would handle the open sea and littoral regions. The issue between Army and Air Force is CAS. It's logically an Air Force mission, but Air Force doesn't really seem all that keen on it. I'd tell the Air Force either to get keen on it or give the A-10 squadrons to the Army. I think I know what their answer would be. I would give the Space Force to the Air Force. And then I'd tell each one of them to stay in their lanes.

      Each side gives and each side receives.

      Delete
    24. SOCOM may report directly to SecDef, but its components report all over the place.

      I disagree on the cause and effect. The LHAs/LHDs started coming in the 1970s. Our compliant in the Gator Navy back then was that it was putting too many eggs in one basket. The Navy decided that the solution to that was to keep them 25-50 miles offshore. The Marines realized that they couldn't get tanks and heavy artillery ashore from that far out--the connector problem that you yourself have referenced--so there goes amphibious assault.

      OK, we have clearly defined missions on paper, but as long as nobody stays in their own lanes they are meaningless.

      Delete
    25. Reconfiguring the amphib force would free up the existing LHAs/LHDs and LPDs. I'd convert those LPDs with enough useful life to the HII ABM/BMD ship on the same hull. I'd operate the LHAs/LHDs as interim, "Lightning Carriers," and replace them as their lives expire with new conventional carriers, based on ComNavOps's updated Midway or an updated Kitty Hawk. Depending on cost effectiveness, possibly convert newer LHAs/LHDs to something like CSBA's CVL, adding sponsons, an angled deck, and cats and traps to end up with something like the 1960s/1970s HMS Ark Royal.

      Delete
    26. Our joint military reports all over the place but it is still overseen by a single SecDef. SOCOM is no different.

      "The Marines realized that they couldn't get tanks and heavy artillery ashore from that far out"

      That's your conclusion (mine as well). However, I have never read a single statement from a Marine saying that. I have read many statements saying that assaults are no longer viable in the face of missiles, guided munitions, electronic warfare, unmanned vehicles, mines, etc. but never once has anyone said that assaults can't happen because of the ships. If you can find me such a statement, I'll gladly reconsider my position.

      I think you're substituting your conclusion for the Marine's rationale. For example, the Marines didn't drop tanks because they couldn't get them ashore. They dropped them because they saw no need for them in the type of Pacific war they believe we will fight. They're wrong but that's their actual rationalization.

      Be careful not to alter the reality of the Marine's position and rationale to fit your narrative.

      Similarly, I have yet to hear a single statement from any Marine saying we don't need the amphibious ships - which would seem to be the logical next step and yet they haven't taken it.

      "OK, we have clearly defined missions on paper, but as long as nobody stays in their own lanes they are meaningless."

      Which means that you can define and redefine missions any way you like, as clear as you like but it will be pointless if the services ignore them, as they're doing now. What we need is not more mission statements (which we already have in great abundance and clarity) but more control from our SecDefs.

      Delete
    27. “Our joint military reports all over the place but it is still overseen by a single SecDef. SOCOM is no different.”

      Understood. But as you say, it (and frankly most of our other joint commands) are out of control. So what we are doing is not a great model.

      “That's your conclusion (mine as well). However, I have never read a single statement from a Marine saying that.”

      Nor have I, nor do I ever expect to. But when supposedly smart people make stupid decisions, there are two possible reasons:

      1) They’re not smart, they’re stupid, or
      2) The decision was forced upon them be externalities beyond their control.

      I think the latter fits with the apparent timeline in this case:

      1970s—Navy (and Marines, TBH) come up with this great new concept—put everything on one big ship that can go 22-25 knots.
      1980s-1990s (probably between the Falklands and Desert Storm)—Navy figures out what we gator sailors knew all along, that one lucky missile or torpedo can end your whole assault
      1990s-2000s—Navy decides that to reduce the risk of a total wipeout, they will keep the LHAs/LHDs out of the range of shore-based missiles, 25-50 miles offshore (not sure how this helps with subs, but once the Soviets fell, we kind of quit worrying about subs)
      2000s-2010s—Marines figure out that LCACs aren’t reliable, and that there are no connectors to get tanks and heavy artillery ashore effectively, so, we will just do without them

      As I said, the options are to conclude that they are idiots or to conclude that they are dealing with very restricted choice. I find the second more believable than the first. And I wouldn’t reject it because nobody has made the career-limiting move of saying so in public.

      “I think you're substituting your conclusion for the Marine's rationale. For example, the Marines didn't drop tanks because they couldn't get them ashore. They dropped them because they saw no need for them in the type of Pacific war they believe we will fight. They're wrong but that's their actual rationalization.”

      Or maybe the rationalization is that we can’t get them ashore, so we’ll just pretend we don’t need them. Except now it gets hard to define a mission. I agree that they’re wrong to think they don’t need tanks, but as long as they can’t have tanks, they really don’t have other options. When your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

      “Be careful not to alter the reality of the Marine's position and rationale to fit your narrative.”

      One interesting thing is that the force the Commandant is proposing is in reality a special operations force. SpecOps forces don’t have tanks or artillery and tend to travel as light as possible. So maybe where he is hoping to go with this is to turn the USMC into a larger version of the Royal Marines. I can at least find some rational thought in that line of reasoning.

      “Similarly, I have yet to hear a single statement from any Marine saying we don't need the amphibious ships - which would seem to be the logical next step and yet they haven't taken it.”

      They’ve made no secret that they believe we need different and smaller amphibious ships. So in a way they are saying it.

      " Which means that you can define and redefine missions any way you like, as clear as you like but it will be pointless if the services ignore them, as they're doing now. What we need is not more mission statements (which we already have in great abundance and clarity) but more control from our SecDefs.”

      No argument there. I am arguing for precisely that kind of control, with some rational allocation of missions beforehand.

      Bottom line is that neither you nor I are privy to the closed-door discussions that have led the Commandant to this point. I find it more believable that he was forced into it rather than that he got there willingly and voluntarily. But I admit that it could be either one, or quite possibly some of both. The Navy being idiots does not preclude the Marines being idiots.

      Delete
    28. I think we've both stated our positions pretty clearly and well. I don't know that we accomplish anything by restating the same points again, so maybe best to just move on.

      Delete
    29. Playing around with the Super Hornet stores weight list some more. The heaviest thing they could be loading these days is the 2k mk65 quickstrike at 2446lb and the heaviest loaded item is the 480 gallon drop tank at 3645lb full. Assuming a loyal wingman you would launch off the fighter at that 2446 empty weight leaves 1200lb for fuel and ordinance. You could have 2-4 of these off each fighter each with a laser, 2 sidewinders, 2 stormbreakers, or 4 Hellfire fairy easily.

      Delete
  12. Rant: all the nice foreign designs for corvettes/frigates and we have the LCS. For example the Qatari Doha class and the Japanese 30FFM.

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    1. Yep, there's lots of good ones out there! I'm partial to the Russian Steregushchiy, based on appearance. I just like the looks of it!

      Delete
    2. There were a couple of Steregushchiys in Kronstadt when we were coming out of Sankt-Petersburg a couple of years ago. They are very nice looking ships.

      Delete
    3. They would about amount to a Mexican POLA for 469 mil.

      Delete
    4. Don't even need a foreign design. Ambassador class given to Egypt is from the US.

      Imagine shipping a couple of them within the Expeditionary Sea Base/Support Dock to your desired location, then letting them do their thing.

      Andrew

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    5. "Ambassador class"

      In the abstract, I love this class but the question is how would it be of use to the US Navy?

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    6. The engine is now out of production and depending on how you count they are the world's most expensive missile boat ($287m low 408 how I count, 767 if you count everything (adjusted to 2020 dollars). That said, if I did a US version I'd swap the gun for a Mk 110, the missiles for NSM, combine the RAM and CIWS into a Searam, now use the back deck for vertrep and for VTOL UAV launch and recovery. Probably use a Sea Giraffe radar, SEWIP lite, and SRBOC. Add the optional 3rd genset. Use a slightly less power engine and add some more gas for range. Really, I'd use the stretched version of the MUSV, man it, have a smaller gun and more missiles.

      Delete
  13. Offensive Mine Warfare capabilities or our lack of them. One strategy in a conflict with China would be to blockade of their coast (they need to import food and energy via sea lanes), and mines would be a great way to do that. Submarine deployed and air launched mines could cut those sea lanes... if we had some. Do we?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Offensive AND defensive mine warfare capabilities. We don't have mines or mine countermeasures commensurate with our "peer" adversaries. And that will bite us in the rear end someday if we don't fix it.

      We probably actually have more offensive mining capabilities than countermeasures. But it's kind of a little versus none comparison.

      Delete
  14. Thanks for your insight.

    I would like to see more posts on future naval warfare. Technology progresses have made past success story obsolete. For instance, guns on a naval ship have little use in battles today. Naval battles among superpowers are well beyond visual range.

    Electronic warfare has brought us into unknown territories (among superpowers). For instance, precision guided weapons may become useless if the other side has higher electronic capabilities. Their precision guidance works all way to a US ship but US' precision guidance becomes headless in front of them.

    Also, while fighting with a competent superpower, Aegis system could be as good as a blind man thus all manufacture's specifications become nothing. On the other hand, if US is stronger, then, precision guidance becomes a US only tool.

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    Replies
    1. "For instance, guns on a naval ship have little use in battles today"

      One needs to be very careful about such statements. For example, guns on aircraft were deemed utterly obsolete … and then the Vietnam war came along and completely disproved that.

      I've already described in past posts exactly how a naval battle could degenerate into a guns battle so I wouldn't write guns off just yet.

      Naval guns also provide valuable support for ground forces.

      Naval guns would be useful for dealing with enemy merchant shipping instead of wasting multi-million dollar missiles that are in short supply.

      Delete
    2. Bullets are a lot cheaper than missiles (as long as you don't go Zumwalting) and you can carry a lot more so you don't run out as fast.

      Delete
    3. Standard F-35C has no gun installed. China's J-20 also has not installed gun.

      Well, I respect your view even though disagree.

      Delete
    4. Guns on ships and planes are 2 very different games. Has their been a guns air to air kill since 82?

      Delete
    5. "Has their been a guns air to air kill since 82?"

      I have no idea. If that's meant to be some kind of proof, it's a sophomoric argument. The list of weapon systems that have no real world kills is nearly endless. The only relevant question is what will the next war require and history assures us that aircraft guns never go out of need.

      Delete
    6. Electronic warfare, especially how good Aegis System's performance under strong electronic interference, it is critical in future contests among superpowers.

      Delete
    7. $320k per M61 and $3k per second for the amo. 202 lb for the M61A2 plus amo 412-480 rounds (F-18E/F & F-22) @ 98.5 to 102.4g per round = 89.5lb to 108.4lb..... so I found the actual super hornet numbers in writing this. 449lb for the gun installation and 231 - 238lb for the amo. So basically the weight of 1 ESSM Blk II, 2 AMRAAM, 3.5 AIM-9X. And the gun requires pointing the aircraft in one bearing to hit something along a perfect line. Give me the laser inside that weight and dimension with a swiveling turret please. If not I'll take the missiles. I play varsity.

      Delete
  15. My pet peev is with the US refusing to licence or import the Italian Oto Melara guns (forget the new name).

    Some of their problems could be overcome by having access to deck mounted 40/76 mm guns and the wide variety of shells they have for anti air, vulcano long distance, etc.

    The LCS could have a respectable gun which didn't need yet more research and development for the longer ranged shells which the 76mm Oto already has, and the Zumwalt could have several deck mounted 76mm guns placed. I mean, anyone could actually board and steal it as it currently is, with 2 x 30mm guns, which only face the rear.

    US 5 inch guns could use vulcano ammo for a 40-50nm range, so can combine an Anti ship attack with Harpoons and 5 inch guns.

    Oh, thought of a second peev. Too top heavy

    300+ admirals
    3000+ captains

    Andrew

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    Replies
    1. Without a doubt, the LCS Mk110 57 mm gun was a head scratcher that never made any sense. The only thing more puzzling was the Zumwalt selection of an even smaller gun, the 30 mm, on a cruiser size ship.

      Delete
    2. The Zummie being all stealthy, the bad guys will have to come in with iron bombs and rockets. Since the radar and ir systems wouldn't be able to target the ship, right ?
      (snark mode off). At least pop the AGS off and give the poor ship a 5in and a 76mm.

      Delete
    3. The NavWeaps website claims that there was a planned sub-calibre round for the 16" guns.

      It had an 11" warhead and a claimed range of 100 nm.
      That would put it in the same range as an ASM.

      Put the 8" round used in the new Des Moines class cruisers in a discarding sabot 16" round from an Iowa and I wonder what range it could achieve?

      Put some kind of terminal guidance on it and that could be one heck of an anti-ship weapon.

      Delete
  16. Given the fact that I was in the Army in the early 80's I have, at best, a basic knowledge of how the Navy operates and its onboard systems. But I do follow all things military and your site is a regular stop for me. You have touched on the use of corvettes a couple of times and you seem to think that having some would be a good idea. I was wondering what the amount of corvettes you would like to see, and would they be strictly for ASW use? It seems to me that they would be a great asset for the price tag given the failure of LCS, Zumwalt, and Ford. Also what would the estimated cost be for one? Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "what the amount of corvettes you would like to see, and would they be strictly for ASW use?"

      Yes, the corvettes that I imagine would be focused on ASW. We need a couple dozen. More importantly, we need to have a solid, proven design so that when a war comes, we could put them straight into production and know they'd work.

      "Also what would the estimated cost be for one?"

      The cost ought to be $200M or less. Any more than that and we are not following good shipbuilding design and practice plus, any more than that and they would lose their main attribute, low cost, which is what allows them to be expendable (and thus able to do ASW) and procured in large numbers when war comes.

      Delete
    2. Abu Dhabi is the only one I can think of inside that price range.

      Delete
    3. "Abu Dhabi is the only one I can think of inside that price range."

      That's because most (all) corvettes are designed as multi-function, mini-destroyer ships with as much AAW, helo, guns, Aegis-level sensors, etc. as the building country can cram in. My corvette is a single function, austere, ASW-only ship. Yes, it would have a minimal self-defense capability but it would not be a muti-function, mini-Burke.

      Delete
    4. Abu Dhabi is a gun, 4 missiles, 2 point guns, helo, torpedo launchers, hull sonar, towed sonar, air and torpedo decoys. Kamorta is basically the same thing except it has the ASW rockets and it goes for $331m.

      Delete
  17. While it seems much is devoted to the toys and their abilties little is said about the sailors on those toys , their training and how it affects everything else. What is going on in the USN? Not the ships but the sailors on those ships. Yes, obscure info to find amoungst "armchair" sailors, now , even if they are old salts. Current info as what is going on "below decks" is missing. Those issues are the "little wheels" that turn the "big machine".

    Really need more info from either active or more recently departed active USN service IMO. I know discussing current personnel issues is not PC , so probably impossible and would threaten the site if anything was brought up. Much easier to discus , those floating toys rather than the people on them or sitting at bases. Sure we can discuss MIC shenniagans and how they might produce defective effective equipment, but where is the discussion about personnel either being untrained, or defective or that simply cannot work together? A PC minefield I know, and surely I realize how hard , difficult and dangerous such a path may be.

    It is funny, ironic and sad. That we are limited in this way. as to discussions of this , Yes amatuers talk tactics and toys and professionals talk logistics,which is manpower (a verboten PC term now), maintenance and spare parts/supply lines, but I think Omar Bradley said it better.
    "To tell the story of how and why we chose to do what we did, no one can ignore the personalities and characteristics of those individuals engaged in making decisions. For military command is as much a practice of human relations as it is a science of tactics and a knowledge of logistics. Where there are people, there is pride and ambition, prejudice and conflict. In generals, as in all other men, capabilities cannot always obscure weaknesses, nor can talents hide faults."
    Perhaps some more discussions in that light, about what is wrong or right , about the sailors of the USN today.
    Happy Turkey Day everybody here, I figure anybody here is a real American. Regards to all of you .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no problem with discussions of personnel or behavior issues as they impact the Navy. I've covered women in the military/Navy, sociological issues, entitlement, etc. and will continue to do so, as appropriate. I hear from serving personnel all the time.

      Feel free to comment on these issues or let me know if there's a specific aspect you think ought to be covered.

      Delete
    2. I jsut wanted add about "people" in the USN, as that it what it made of. Sure defective LCS Ford CV ships . But why cannot the crew of Navy ships now fix anything? Or even chip rust and paint? The switch toward contractors to do anything is highly dissappointing. There won't be a civ contractor out out on the battlefield. The technical expertise seems frowned upon , not only that highly restricted. I saw that as a CIV DoD contracted on a USN/USMC ship myself LOL. I was told to wait for another contractor. No , many times times I fixed things way outside of my area, becuase I knew those things, and it needed to be done then rather than a month later. I know sailors are far more limited and even at the CPO ranks there is alot more "wait for the contractors to show up". I simply cannot see this as a functional system in a real war. And my first hand knowledge of such things comes from about 1995. It is much later and that problem has only gotten worse. Sorry for all the negativity. Believe me, I feel the same about the US Army of which I am a Cold War veteran of. We won that Navy was highly trained and competent back then too.

      Delete
    3. Wish there was a better edit function here. Perhaps you should migrate the site. IDK. But at this this archaic beast you use CNO, hasn't got you banned for discussing such noble things LOl

      Delete
    4. "But why cannot the crew of Navy ships now fix anything? Or even chip rust and paint?"

      I would guess that at least part of the reason is that minimal manning doesn't provide enough sailor-hours to get stuff like that done.

      Delete
  18. Hoss? Mannheim? Only reply if yes. Don't mean to mud up the forum CNO.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The misguided dependence on "jam-proof" battle-scene understanding. For an example of this, read “Full-Spectrum Barrage Jamming” by Chinese author Cixin Liu in his new story collection “To Hold Up the Sky”.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I understand you correctly, I did a fiction post on this. See, Piece It Together

      Delete
    2. Thank you, I missed that post, it is very good. The point of the Chinese author's story is a little different. It is that a combatant (Russia) that encounters precision jamming from its invaders (NATO) - this story from 2001 - can turn the tables using very powerful full spectrum jamming that blinds both sides.
      Love your posts ComNavOps, Happy Thanksgiving to you.

      Delete
  20. Sonobuoy technology advancement (launched by aircraft such as P-8A) has made submarines' survivability questionable in shallow waters. Will this make submarines unable to function is shallow waters? Unlike US' west coast, most waters around China and Russia are shallow.

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    1. Quite the opposite. Shallow water is so noisy that it hides/obscures a submarine's noise. An SSK in shallow water is extremely difficult to find.

      Delete
    2. Active sonobuoys are killers, not passive ones.

      I learned that sounds from active sonobuoys are tortures toward people in submarine. Sometimes, sailors can bear no more thus captain chooses to surface. It is not war time thus this is a llright.

      Delete
    3. I learned that sounds from active sonobuoys are tortures toward people in submarine. Sometimes, sailors can bear no more thus captain chooses to surface."

      This is ridiculous. I think you've been watching too many movies.

      Delete
  21. Happy Thanksgiving to you CNO, and the participants here who keep us all thinking!!!

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    Replies
    1. Happy Thanksgiving to ComNavOps and to all who post here.

      Delete
  22. Idea for possible post
    - Fast attack/Missile boat/patrol boat comparison.
    Ambassador MK III vs Type 22 vs Hamina class vs Cyclone Class boats.
    Possible inclusion of fast attack/missile/patrol boats in the CNO Fleet structure? Numbers needed? CONOPS? What weapons/sensors would the CNO put on such a boat? I know you have written about the Type 22 and the lack of range making it less useful for the US Navy, is there a use for this type of ship in the US Navy?

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    1. As you know, the problem with any small missile boat is the limited range and need for a support base/tender quite near the operational area (recall the PT boat bases in WWII). With the advent of modern long range missiles and better sensor systems, the ability to survivably sustain a forward missile boat base/tender is suspect. Solve that problem and you suddenly have a viable missile boat need. Without a solution, the missile boat is not viable.

      Bear in mind that missile boats make the most sense when deployed in their home waters, within easy reach of multiple bases and air support. The Type 022 and Ambassador fall squarely into this category of deployment. Those boats would not fall into that category in US use.

      Do you see a solution for the support issue?

      Delete
    2. I was wondering if they could be used similarly to the Cyclone class. Possibly used as a replacement to the Cyclone class in the Persian Gulf, around Guam and as foreign military sales to Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. They will need nearby ports and maybe the greatest value would be to forge political relationships and port sharing agreements with those nations. The Philippines could really use some naval support to deal with the Chinese advances. Attractive leasing or free use of the ships in exchange for port access might be appealing.

      Delete
    3. "wondering if they could be used similarly to the Cyclone class"

      The number one feature of the Cyclone class is their cost. When built, they cost around $12M. The newest, built several years later, cost around $20M.

      They have no combat utility whatsoever. They are peacetime patrol boats which, during peacetime, is fine. However, to contemplate replacement them with $200M-$400M corvettes is a misapplication. A missile boat can't use its missiles during peacetime so what's the point of a missile boat? Better to just replace the Cyclones with new Cyclones. The missile boat is useful in war ONLY if you can solve the forward support issue.

      So, to use a $200M-$400M missile boat similarly to the Cyclone boat is a misapplication.

      Now, to produce a missile boat strictly as a foreign sales item might have some merit.

      Or, solve the forward support issue.

      Delete
    4. Could the forward support issue be solved if we treat the LHA/LHD as a mothership? We could allow repairs in the welldock if we presumably remove the equipment to repair and support amphibious units since they lack any utility in a peer war anyway. Maybe the flight deck could serve as a helicopter landing pad for transporting equipment. The best thing that we could have to fully exploit the flight deck is to have SVTOL Hawkeye or a long range radar-equipped drone. We could still do this today somewhat with the F-35. A missile boat would greatly benefits from the increased radar range and avoid the danger of exposing itself.

      Delete
    5. "treat the LHA/LHD as a mothership?"

      This has some appeal and, absent an enemy, could function quite ably as a mothership. The problem arises when one realizes that the mothership has to be forward deployed, meaning pretty close to the battle zone. In WWII, with detection ranges essentially equal to eyeball range and weapons range limited to the horizon or less, a mothership/tender could survivably operate quite near the front. Today, with modern sensors and long range weapons, a large, non-stealthy LHA/LHD would have a hard time surviving close enough to the front to be effective.

      It might be possible but it would require some realistic gaming/exercises to prove or disprove the concept. Personally, I have doubts that a mothership could survive operating close enough to be effective. We have got to start testing these, and other, concepts so that we know what works and what doesn't. Our refusal to conduct realistic tests and exercises increases the chance of disaster early in a war as previously unknown problems surface. The example of the Navy's WWII torpedo fiasco ought to serve as a clear example of the folly of refusing to conduct realistic tests and yet we're repeating that scenario with system after system, today.

      Delete
    6. Small boats cannot fire missiles under strong waves for safety reasons.

      China has long stopped producing type 022. US navy doesn't deploy any this kind of ship. Only small nations have no choice would employ them.

      Delete
    7. China has produced 83 Type 022 missile boats. They clearly consider them quite valuable and useful. It is unclear whether they've stopped producing them, or not but if they have stopped it's because they've built all they need.

      As far as who would employ missile boats, it would be countries that have a home waters defense need where the limited sailing range and endurance is not an issue and where land based surveillance support is available.

      Missile boats make excellent sense in the right circumstances and present a potentially lethal threat to enemy naval forces.

      Delete
    8. As I read, China has stopped producing type 022 many years ago, around 2010, just after 5 years of production. They plan to use type 056 corvette to replace it eventually. China has built 72 type 056 corvette (~1,500 ton).

      Type 022 has common problem of its class - cannot fire missile under strong waves, limited self sustainability, very weak anti aircraft and missile capabilities, etc. It has no fire control radar and relies on data chain for missile guidance.

      I read some reports on selling these 022 but there are difficulties. As they rely on data chain for combat. Nations purchase them also need to purchase a whole serious of other equipment such as radars (and their carrier), data chain, ... potential buyers usually have no money to buy some many or they would buy large ships.

      Type 056 itself is an interesting design. Its fire power is far less than Israel's Saar 6 but it is another topic.

      Delete
  23. Interesting technology that could save some money for the fleet, at least the ships that have fixed propellers. Reduces drag on the propeller. Just something to watch. The propellers look like works of art.


    sharrow marine 

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    Replies
    1. That's fascinating technology although it appears to be geared at small boats with very high speed props. I wonder if it would scale up to warship size?

      Delete
    2. They are working on scaling up to warship, tanker, and containership sized vessels. They have worked with University of Michigan to develop the software tools to design propellers for all size vessels. If you click on the applications tab on the homepage they are looking to produce propellers in the 1 to 10 meter range for government clients. I would be interested to see if they make a bid on the Constellation Class propellers? The FFG(X) design called for fixed propellers originally. I haven't kept up on the design so I don't know if that is still the case.

      Delete
    3. Similar new thinking by the Dutch with 'Hull Vane' fixed hydrofoil attached to hull at stern, claims influences the stern wave pattern and creates hydrodynamic lift, which is partially oriented forward. This results in a reduction in of the ship’s resistance from ~ 5% to 15% and increases speed, benefits include stern wave reduction (thinking of Russian wave homing torpedos and reduces wake visibility from air) trim correction and reduced pitching.

      In 2018 fitted to 52m French CMN OPV Themis,"CMN’s sea trial team showed a reduction in fuel consumption of 18% at 12 knots, 27% at 15 knots and 22% at 20 knots. The top speed increased from 19.7 knots to 21 knots.” Dutch Navy will be trialling by fitting to 3,750t 108m HNLMS Zeeland OPV.

      Delete
    4. The Navy experimented with stern 'duck tails' which were supposed to accomplish all the things you listed. I read about some initial claims of success but I don't know whether they're still being used or not. I think they are but I'm not positive.

      Delete
  24. One of your entertaining historical battle narratives...

    The battle of Quiberon Bay perhaps?

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  25. How USA can defeat China in limited conflict at South China Sea? Can little crappy ships be useful if they will have NSMs on board? What if chinese light forces (FACs, type 056 corvettes, type 054 frigates) will meet LCS task force with SeaHawks carrying Penguin missiles, "missile marines" on islands, F-35Bs from LHD and LHA, with support from USAF B-1B Lancers and their LRASM and USAF E-3?
    Can U.S. Navy slaughter chineses using same tactics as brits at Gulf War in 1991 (Bubyan Turkey-shoot)?
    What chinese avaition will do with higly dispersed and maneuverable LCS with F-35B in the air?
    The main thing - can China move all PLA Navy (052 and 055 destroyers, carriers) to SCS if they will face threat from U.S. carriers, Burks and SSNs at some other place?
    How to deal with chinese SSKs in such conflict?
    Your opinion will be highly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This entire blog is a 'how to' defeat China. I've discussed victory conditions, strategy, tactics, force structure, etc. Read through the archives and you'll have your answer.

      If there's a specific aspect you'd like to explore, let me know.

      Delete
    2. Aspect to explore is use of LCS, armed with Naval Strike Missiles and Helos (also with anti-ship missiles) against chinese FACs and corvettes at South Chinese Sea. I remember how useless that ships were, but what if Navy will use them there? At least Navy don't need to pay for them, they are already in service.

      Second one - can Marines with their new doctrine create A2/AD zones all around occupied islands which will be useful in such operations? Berger trying to promote USMC like some kind of naval warfare asset, how will it work at SCS?

      Delete
    3. "is use of LCS"

      They have no use in combat no matter what they're armed with. The problem is that they have no endurance. They have to put into port every two weeks for maintenance and once a month for major maintenance. That's not viable in combat. By the time the ship arrives from some distant, safe, maintenance port, like Guam or Pearl Harbor, they have to turn right around and go back for the next scheduled maintenance period. The LCS is totally unsuited for a Pacific/China war. They might have some usefulness in the Middle East against Iran, but that's it.

      "can Marines with their new doctrine create A2/AD zones all around occupied islands"

      No. That's pure fantasy. They have no sensors that can reach beyond the horizon (12 miles or so) so their weapons are useless. Small units are not survivable. They can't be resupplied. They can't remain undetected. They can't arrive on an island undetected. The list of problems goes on.

      Delete
    4. "They have no use in combat no matter what they're armed with. The problem is that they have no endurance. They have to put into port every two weeks for maintenance and once a month for major maintenance."

      Ok, no problem, what if some new Naval base at Philippines will be found? May be some temporary one? Some supply ships, floating dock, floating piers, tugboats and task force of LCSs? Such base or bases will be close enough to warzone to keep fleet of LCS combat-ready.
      Philippines will not be happy with chinese invasion I bellive. From other perspective U.S. Navy have no other expendable ships. I can not imagine 1.5 billion dollars destroyer moved to littoral zone fight against missile boats. It will be like 3 vs. 1 knife fight at elevator cabin.
      Helos with anti ship missiles are lethal against light vessels, missile boats etc, we saw it in the Gulf.
      Why chinese FACs have to perform better against helicopters than iraqi torpedoboats and minesweepers? LCS also have enough speed to play such game even with helicopter on board.

      " They have no sensors that can reach beyond the horizon (12 miles or so) so their weapons are useless."

      They don't need them moreover they will need to apply same EMCON as Navy.
      But they can use external guidance. All they need to know are direction to target, range, target's course and speed. They can get this info from external source.

      "Small units are not survivable."

      Yeah I agree this is one of commandant's mistakes, but there is not 2030 now I bellive marines will fix it. First realistic drills will show them this mistake.

      " They can't be resupplied. They can't remain undetected. They can't arrive on an island undetected. The list of problems goes on."

      It is some kind of oversimplification. Some islands aren't secured, others aren't captured by China, some will have very weak garrison easy to defeat and so on.
      If Navy will keep supply commuinication lines with occupied island open, marines will be resupplied.

      Delete
    5. "fight against missile boats"

      Ideally, you fight missile boats with aircraft, not other ships.

      "They can get this info from external source."

      You're buying into the fantasy! We have no long range, survivable sensors. Remember, we're talking about operating in Chinese controlled air and water. Triton, P-8, E-2 Hawkeye, Air Force AWACS, Air Force large UAVs … none of them are survivable in contested air. There won't be any external sensors available. The Marine concept is fundamentally flawed.

      "First realistic drills"

      The Navy does not run realistic drills.

      The weakness of any forward battle is logistics. Trying to move supplies into forward islands in Chinese controlled air and water will be suicide. Large, slow, non-stealthy cargo carrying vessels, of whatever type, will have no chance of survival. To believe that the Chinese wouldn't see our logistic ships sailing around the first island chain is pure fantasy. If you want to buy into that, be my guest!

      Delete
    6. "deally, you fight missile boats with aircraft, not other ships."

      Sure, helos will do main job. They are even better than jets against missile boats. Check for Bubiyan turkey-shoot, it was very inspiring expirience. LCS will provide housing for helicopters, their own missiles will be for self-defence mostly.

      We have some mutual misunderstanding probably. I bellive that when Commandant or any other person tells "contested" air, water or land it means that it is contested at the beginning of battle, and main objective will be to move enemy out ang take that air, water and land under control. If marines with anti ship missiles took some island under control it means that this is U.S. controlled island, not chinese. And if helicopter from some little crappy ship destroyed all chinese missile boats between two captured island water between islands became u.s. controlled too.

      " We have no long range, survivable sensors."

      F-35B is survivable sensor. Also some time a lot of expendable sensors can replace one survivable. Bunch of expendable UAVs from surface ships with reliable satellite communication channel can replace single survivable platform.

      Marines can get their data from following sources:
      a. F-35B
      b. UAVs
      c. Navy helicopters
      d. Marine helicopters
      e. LCS passive sensors
      f. satellites

      If Navy will send other assets to same area, they also will be in the list.

      " To believe that the Chinese wouldn't see our logistic ships sailing around the first island chain is pure fantasy."

      They will not see, because they will be dead. Deadmen can not see anything. If Navy will destroy enemy forces which pose a threat to communications, there will be no problem with supply. And if chinese forces are still trying to penetrate american defence it is always possible to use convoy tactics for supply ships and protect convoys.

      Delete
    7. One big problem I see with all of this is that we have done no realistic war gaming or exercising any of it. We've been fighting a third-rate power with out hand tied behind our back by absurd ROEs for 20 years, and we haven't really trained for anything in a peer-to-peer environment. We need to bring back the Fleet Problems of the 1930s that prepared us to go to war with Japan. We need to validate what we plan to do, perhaps first by tabletop war gaming, but it doesn't really mean anything until we do it with ships in the water and boots on the ground.

      Delete
    8. Well, in theory there is no problem to evaluate LCS capabilities or Force design 2030 or anything else.
      Get some LCS, helos, Cyclone-class boats as "chineses", F/A-18 as Flankers, LHA will bring F-35Bs to playground and all things will became clear. Someone just have to do it.

      Delete
    9. Naval confrontation between US and China actually happened in 2016, right after the International Tribunal handed decision. Two US aircraft battle group went into the South China Sea. Pacific commander Harry Harris gave his famous talk that US troops need to be ready to fight tonight.

      On China side, ships from all her 3 fleet went to the South China Sea. Land based DF-21D were put to high alert.

      If US had been scared away Chinese navy, then, Philippines, etc. can organize fishermen, etc. to take just completed Chinese man made islands with US navy's back.

      Eventually, China showed to US that she was able to precisely track the two US aircraft carriers. Harry Harris gave up that campaign and withdrew the two aircraft battle groups.

      After that, China's South China Sea fleet commander was promoted to her navy commander (first time in China a fleet commander promoted directly to whole navy commander); Harry Harris "retired" from Navy. Harry Harris is now US ambassador to S. Korea.

      What really scared away US fleet was land based DF-21D. As China was able to precisely locate the two aircraft carriers, if US attacks, then, it can fire DF-21D with high probability to hit.

      Today, if a ship's locus is precisely tracked by a powerful enemy, then, been hit is a high probability.

      Precision guidance's keys are locating, tracking, guiding, plus anti electronic warfare capabilities.

      Delete
    10. It is some chinese fairy tale. Secret victory no one knows about.
      C'mon, stop kidding people.

      "What really scared away US fleet was land based DF-21D. "

      Lol. No one outside China will buy this, except that navy guys who want to get more money from Congress. Anti-ship ballistic missile is dead concept. It just can not work.

      Delete
    11. "Naval confrontation between US and China actually happened in 2016"

      There was no confrontation. It was just routine operations for the US which has operated dual carrier groups in the South China Sea from time to time. For example,

      Sep 2012 - USS George Washington (CVN 73) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)

      2001 - USS Constellation (CV 64) and USS Carl Vinson

      US carriers appear, operate for a few days, send a message, and leave. China protests, as they always do, to no effect.

      The forward deployed carrier in Japan routinely operates in the area, as well. China routinely protests. Nothing happens.

      The US ships make no attempt to hide. In fact, various civilian sources track the ships!

      Concocting a story about ballistic missiles and some great Chinese 'victory' is just fiction.

      Delete
  26. 1) It would be off-theme, but I'd be interested in reading your thoughts on what we can be *optimistic* about.

    2) What parts of your analysis would change if you scaled back your estimate of the likelihood/scale of conflict with China by 25%? Increased by 25%?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) I did a post on this back in 2014 (see, What's Right. Maybe it's time to do an update to that.

      2) I see war with China as 100% inevitable so scaling back 25% is still a 75% chance and that would change nothing. Even if, somehow, miraculously, the China threat completely vanished overnight, it wouldn't change any of my thoughts on force structure or size. History assures us that eventually another peer enemy would arise and we'd need the same strong Navy that I call for now. Now, depending on what that new threat would be, I might call for some different capabilities or emphasis but without knowing what that threat would be, I can't modify anything. So … no change.

      Delete
    2. "I did a post on this back in 2014 (see, What's Right. Maybe it's time to do an update to that."

      Re-reading that, I wonder whether you would still be as optimistic about some of those points.

      Delete
    3. "I wonder whether you would still be as optimistic about some of those points."

      Optimism is a relative thing. While I focus on the Navy's problems, on a relative basis compared to other countries, many of our problems are less bad than other country's. So, I can be pessimistic about a given 'thing' and be optimistic about it relative to someone else's 'thing'.

      That probably made sense, right?

      Delete
    4. Yes.

      "We may be slow, but we are ahead of you."

      Delete
  27. Just a weird thought that popped into my mind. I know that in Millennium 2002 they restored the "destroyed" ships so they could get in the training that they wanted rather than simply retiring early. Suppose we played a war game where the rules were that if you got "destroyed" you went over to the other side and kept playing?

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  28. System operations is another interesting topic. Right now, only US and Chinese navies have this capabilities.

    Under system operations, individual ships have their own functions. People may think that their fire powers are weak than peers but they only serve their parts in battle groups.

    LCS and DDG1000 are not parts of system operations but used to against weak nations.

    Russian navy cannot afford to build and maintain this capability. None of European navy has this capability but could be part of US operations.

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  29. CNO, i think posts containing a general overview of naval strategist and the theories they proposed would be very interesting, together with prof of how they worked, or did not work. It would also be interesting to see how they would apply to the situation today. Example Julian S. Corbett and Alfred Thayer Mahan.

    Also, could nuclear subs be considered capital ship? The subs can "clear" the ocean of both other subs and all kind of surface ships. thereby facilitating all other ships to operate in a less hostile environment.

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  30. One thing that I have never understood, dating back to my time in Vietnam, is why Westmoreland sent the Marines north to I Corps instead of using them in the Mekong Delta to develop riverine strategy and tactics with the Navy. I have never really seen any discussion of it, and it seems to me that is where the Marines got off the track of being a naval infantry and onto the path toward being a baby army.

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    Replies
    1. Probably because he was an army general. For army guys all things are simple. This one have one head, two hands, two feet, rifle, boots and green uniform. Probably he is a soldier, send him to frontline to fight.
      Very easy.

      Delete
    2. Westmoreland made a lot of mistakes in Vietnam. That one just always seemed very puzzling to me.

      Delete
    3. Army commanders have no understanding of naval power. They are trained for direct actions - find enemy, kill enemy etc. Ships in their minds are floating missile and artillery units, marines are "just soldiers". Riverine warfare is something specific for them, not everyone of them can understand it's value.

      Delete
    4. I have heard that early on there was a problem up north and the only personnel available were a Marine unit, so he sent them. But that doesn't mean they needed to stay there, or that basically half of the country should be assigned to services least familiar with them.

      Delete
  31. What's your thoughts on the A-10? I have read some of the reasons behind the A-10 retirement and it seems to be quite the program to look af. The aircraft seems to be over-engineered but in a good sense. The focus of the A-10 was more leaning towards survivability and low cost. It seems like a good starting point from an aircraft design consideration. I still don't really understood why the AF is trying to retire it, duplicate of mission? High operating costs?

    Do you think that it would be feasible if the Marines Corps ever consider having an A-10 on SVTOL carriers like the America Class? I know this may not work but the idea of close air support aircraft is intriguing. Would it be a sufficient counterpart in the absence of any kinds of artillery or naval fire support? The AC-130 operate somewhat like an airbone artillery, could we possibly have a very stealthy version of it, loitering behind the frontline and taking potshots?

    Apart from that, it just isn't feasible to think of any concepts better than a naval ship with a giant gun lobbing shells into land. Maybe a submarine carrying hidden guns inside itself is probably the only safer choice but that isn't realistic any time soon.

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