|USS Colorado - Note the cluster of three 5" shielded|
mounts on the forward superstructure. The
open backs of the mounts can be clearly seen.
Robust Ukrainian and Russian air defenses have rendered both sides’ aircraft, particularly those used for close air support missions, largely “worthless” in the war between the two countries, according to a top American Air Force general.
About 60 Ukrainian aircraft and 70 Russian aircraft have been downed in the year since Russia launched its invasion, according to commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa Gen. James Hecker … This is nonsense. Aircraft have not been rendered ‘worthless’ by air defenses; they’ve been rendered ‘worthless’ by the complete absence of any operational and tactical expertise in their employment. Sure, a single soldier with a .22 cal handgun can render your entire platoon ‘worthless’ if you continually walk up to him and allow him to shoot you. The soldier’s effectiveness is not due to the .22 cal gun; it is due to your own tactical incompetence. With the slightest bit of tactical expertise you can easily eliminate him.
Based on combatant commander (CCDR) assessments of their limited ability to compete successfully in strategic competition, at a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Tank on 19 June 2020, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) directed the development of a joint concept for competition to drive joint strategic planning and joint force development and design.You’ll note that the word ‘joint’ appears five times! In one sentence! If you’ve got ‘joint’ on your buzzword bingo score sheet, you’re a winner!
The Iwo Jima class carrier was the first purpose built
vertical assault (helicopter) amphibious ship.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at its original design
rationale, abilities, and limitations and examine whether those have remained
… concluded that a few atomic bombs could easily destroy the concentrated shipping and also the beachhead of any classical amphibious assault.As described by Friedman, the Marines settled on the helicopter as the means to achieve physical dispersion of both ships at sea and troops on land. The greater range of the helicopter would allow the host ships to more widely disperse and would allow the troops to land at more widely dispersed locations thus avoiding the concentrations that an atomic bomb would easily destroy.
Even larger helicopters were proposed, but the Marines were reluctant to adopt one that could lift many more than twenty men in view of the high vulnerability of individual craft.[emphasis added]The Marines recognized that concentrating greater numbers of troops in a vehicle that was inherently non-survivable would be a mistake. In comparison, today’s MV-22 transport is rated for 24-32 troops which raises the concentration of risk issue that the Marines were afraid of. To be fair, most sources state that the MV-22 troop capacity is not actually achievable in real world applications.
The Marines concentrated on the requirements of a divisional assault, which were considerable. For example, a January 1951 study envisaged lifting 10,000 men and 3,000 to 4,000 short tons of material. Total lift, then, would be 520 HRSs [ed. Sikorsky H-19] or 208 HR2Ss, which in turn would require, in the former case, 20 escort carriers with 20 helicopters each, accommodating 150 to 200 tons of cargo, 500 to 600 assault marines, and a 200-man helicopter squadron.This focus on division level assaults was a far cry from our current MEU/ARG (3-ship Amphibious Ready Group) and disaggregated ARG which employs the three ships of the ARG separately. Of course, in the event of a genuine assault operation, multiple MEU/ARGs would aggregate to form MEBs (Marine Expeditionary Brigade) and MEFs (Marine Expeditionary Force) although these aggregations are never exercised and constitute a theoretical capability, only. Further, with the elimination of tanks, reduction in artillery, elimination of heavy mortars, and lack of anti-air vehicles it is highly debatable that MEBs/MEFs are even combat effective anymore.
Tactically, the Marines considered a flight of ten helicopters best for effective control, so that helicopter carriers were generally designed to accommodate multiples of that unit.We see then, that the Marines of the time were focused on getting large numbers of helos/troops on the ground quickly as opposed to our current concept of slow, drawn out, one-at-a-time MV-22 landings due to the 250 ft aircraft-to-aircraft separations and immense cleared areas required for landing.
… May 1948, 8 helicopters from the Palau simulated a full helicopter attack of 184 aircraft flying from six CVEs, to lift a complete regimental combat team which would seize a strategic crossroads inland of the beach. … each HRP [Piasecki HRP tandem rotor helicopter] carried six passengers about ten miles from the carrier under heavy fighter cover.Note the use of fighter cover. The exercises were tactically realistic as opposed to the unrealistic, set piece theater performances we call exercises today.
… over the next ten to fifteen years most existing attack cargo and transport (AKA and APA) ships would be replaced by helicopter carriers. “This will be occasioned by the VTOL aircraft becoming the principal means of placing personnel ashore under assault conditions. Supporting personnel and heavy equipment will still be landed by water-borne means but the majority of assault troops will be air-landed.”Ultimately, a new design LPH, the Iwo Jima class, was built along with several Essex class conversions. The purpose-designed Iwo Jima class, not surprisingly, offered several significant advantages over the Essex conversions. Even so, the design was not without its flaws,
The amphibious force commanders criticized the Iwo Jima design for its “complete lack of landing craft, so that it is of doubtful utility under non-flying conditions and must depend on other types with landing craft to give it an over-the-beach capacity.This flaw eventually led to the development of the LHA design which incorporated both aviation and a well deck to support waterborne landing craft. Interestingly, we have returned to exactly the original flawed design with the new America class variants which have no well decks.
The original Marine leadership was focused on division level
assaults. What they failed to address
was sustainment. While simply moving
troops ashore is easy (ignoring the extreme vulnerability of the helicopter and
the potential lack of suitable landing sites), sustainment via helicopter is
not. In fact, it is impossible. The logistic supply demands of a division in
combat are staggeringly huge and the cargo carrying capacity of a helicopter is
vanishingly small. This remains an
unexplained – and hand waved away – weakness in today’s various vertical
assault concepts (helos, MV-22, well deck-less LHAs, etc.) as well as the
Commandant’s dispersed, hidden, platoon size missile shooters concept. It is not possible to sustain an assault
The push for affordability “doesn’t mean… that this is an attritable type of platform,” Jobe [Maj. Gen. R. Scott Jobe], Director of Plans, Programs, and Requirements at Air Combat Command, said during a panel at the Air and Space Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium. “That’s a common misconception.”Simple logic dictates that if the drone is not going to be expendable then it will have to be extremely capable, meaning on par with modern 5th generation fighters, in order to survive. If they aren’t equally capable, they won’t survive. Of course, simple logic also dictates that if they’re on par with 5th generation fighters, they’ll cost what 5th generation fighters cost and that violates another commonly touted characteristic: affordability.
Officials said a careful balance must be struck between their affordability and capability.Of course, when was the last time the military was able to strike an appropriate balance between affordability and capability? Let me repeat … if you want survivability, you need 5th generation capability and that means 5th generation cost. This is pretty elementary logic.
The [remotely piloted aircraft] ... requires much more architecture than, say, an F-16 squadron, Kwast said. While the ratio of people to aircraft in manned aviation is roughly 1.5 to 1, he said, it takes about 10 people to operate one UAV at any given time.Now we have the Army saying the same thing.
“It’s kind of a paradox that our ‘unmanned’ formations are larger than our manned formations,’” said Maj. Gen. Michael McCurry, a veteran helicopter pilot who now heads the Army aviation “schoolhouse” at Fort Rucker, Ala. “We have Apache [attack helicopter] companies that are just over 30 people and we have Grey Eagle [drone] companies that are 135 people [or more].Tell me again, now, what’s the advantage of unmanned systems and why have jumped straight into the deep end of the unmanned pool with no evidence of its combat usefulness?
|How many men does it take to change an unmanned light bulb?|
There have been no combat exercises that have demonstrated
any unmanned combat effectiveness, that I’m aware of. To the contrary, there have been numerous
real world examples of unmanned assets being shot down, captured, or driven
The Navy decided in July to deactivate the battalion after the elevated causeway system — a modular pier stretching up to 3,000 feet to provide logistic support to Marine Corps and Joint Expeditionary Forces — was removed from the command’s Table of Allowance.
As part of the Marine Corps' ongoing and controversial attempt to reinvent the service for future warfare, it had decided to get rid of the scout ...
As part of the plan, all three training locations for the grueling three-month Scout Sniper course will stop accepting new students starting in fiscal 2024 … Gone or significantly reduced: tanks, artillery, mortars, snipers. The Marines are being systematically eliminated as a fighting force. It would be impossible for a Chinese agent to do more harm to the Marine Corps than the Commandant is doing.
The vast majority of fuel usage is for aviation. The Air Force requires nearly 750,000 barrels per day, and Naval Aviation another 100,000 barrels per day. Warships and amphibious units only use ~160,000 barrels per day at full steam. I'm not including Army figures, but ten armored divisions would use about the same as the Navy's ships.
Not only are China's ~9 million barrels per day of seaborne imports vulnerable, but ~30% of China's four million barrels per day of crude oil production comes from offshore platforms. Those facilities should be easy targets that are difficult to repair. The country will suffer a 75% reduction in oil supply, leaving onshore production and Russian pipeline imports.
There are 800+ Very Large Crude Carriers that hold 2 million barrels, 570+ Suezmax tankers that hold 1 million barrels, 650+ Aframax tankers, and ~1000 misfits that hold a few hundred thousand barrels.
There are ~650 tankers worldwide in just the Aframax classification, and ~10 could keep the Navy supplied from the US West Coast since each ship holds 500,000+ barrels.