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Navy Sinks Super-Destroyer

July 24, 2008

The US Navy will build only 2 of its multi-billion dollar missiles destroyers, as was hinted at last week. Senator Susan Collins of Maine commented on this yesterday, according to Bill Sweetman at Ares blog:

Collins and Senate colleagues had added $2.6 billion to the 2008 defense bill for the third DDG-1000, which was to have been built by her constituents at Bath Iron Works. She is now advocating for the construction of nine more DDG-51s at BIW, in order to maintain the shipyard’s employment level and turnover. This is apparently more important than any military need for the DDG-51s, which is not discussed in Collins’ release.

Good point. The USN already has over 80 missile firing battleships in service, not counting the 50 or so  submarines which can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles from their stealthy haunts at sea. We can’t understand why we need more Big Ships when all the navies on earth don’t begin to possess anything similar, or in similar numbers. Senator Collins and her peers in Congress seem more concerned about jobs for their districts than any National Security reasonsfor building unneeded warships. Sadly, such things happen in democracies as Galrahn points out.

Overall this is a welcome decision and Navy CNO Admiral Roughhead also gives us further satisfaction (Via David Axe of Danger Room):

The DDG-51 can provide Ballistic Missile Defense capability against short and medium range ballistic missiles and area Anti-Air Warfare capability (required in an anti-access environment) where the DDG-1000 currently does not. Upgrading the DDG-1000 combat system with this capability would incur additional cost. The DDG-51 class also possesses better capability in active open ocean anti-Submarine Warfare than does the DDG-1000.

Further good news surrounding this is the services are slowly but surely casting off such Cold War-like super weapons in favor of robust platforms that can fight the wars of attrition in this new era. As David Axe contends:

The Navy’s decision bears resemblance to the Army’s 2001 cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche stealth helicopter. Axing that Cold War super-gizmo freed up cash to buy more than a thousand new and upgraded choppers, effectively rescuing Army Aviation from a slow decline into irrelevance. Similarly, buying upgraded Burkes instead of a handful of battleships will help the Navy reach its goal of 313 ships, versus the 280 it has today.

If we have learned anything from Iraq, is that numbers do count in wartime, whether it is aircraft, vehicles or warships. Though the kind of battles we might prefer are the short quick exchanges such as Desert Storm One, more often than not its the long tedious slugfest like we are fighting against the Middle East insurgents that can bring real decision and lasting change.

6 Comments leave one →
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  4. charbookguy permalink
    July 30, 2008 8:41 am

    Definitely frigates and corvettes. Not sure why we stopped building small ships after the Cold war, when the Blue Water threat all but disappeared. After 9/11, there is just no excuse.

  5. leesea permalink
    July 29, 2008 11:18 pm

    We need missile firing surface ships in addition to subs because they (unlike subs) can take out the missile that will be launched at the satalites in space and over the top towards CONUS. DDG-1000 was not focused on that mission.
    Numbers do count when our Navy is being spread thin around the world and subject to swarming attacks in the chokepoints, or being tasked to swat small pirate boats from the coasts. Admittedly the later mission could be preformed by smaller frigates or corvettes.

  6. west_rhino permalink
    July 27, 2008 9:41 pm

    Hmmmm… “Ballistic Missile Defense capability” Sizzlers and Sunburns oh my!

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