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How the USN Defines Overkill

October 11, 2008

Updated. See below.

Thought this was very interesting from Information Dissemination:

While not confirmed, it is believed the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Monterey (CG 61) are making their way up the east coast of Africa, while the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS San Antonio (LPD 17), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Ramage (DDG 61), and USS Howard (DDG 83) are all thought to be in the area.

Seriously, that is the most powerful air, land, and sea combination anywhere in Africa. With that said, it’s the submarine the pirates can’t see that should have them worried. The USS Florida (SSGN 728) is thought to be in that region, among other submarines usually deployed.

If we need this much firepower to weed out a nest of pirates in speed boats and dhows, what type of fleet do we need if we have to fight China or Russia? Sadly, when the budget cuts start coming with the new president, I’m afraid the Navy might be in for a rude awakening.

Update-A timely alternative to the budget-busting task force currently lurking in the Gulf of Aden is this from the UPI, as titled U.S. needs frigates, LCS to fight modern pirates:

In order to accomplish such goals, a naval task force that combines well-armed naval ships of smaller tonnage, such as frigates and corvettes, is needed. A good example are the Eilat-class — Sa’ar 5 — corvettes built by the United States for the Israeli navy in the 1990s by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems — formerly Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp. of Pascagoula, Miss. — based on Israeli designs.
Although this 1,227-ton, 260-foot ship is called a “corvette,” its weaponry and 33 knot speed are comparable to those of a frigate. It has a stealthy design, sonar, torpedoes, missile launchers, a gun mount, and a helicopter hangar large enough for a U.S. Navy H-60 helicopter. The U.S. Navy could greatly increase this frigate’s lethality by adding the U.S. Army’s new EFOG missile system to strike small craft and targets ashore.

Now the article mentions frigates and LCS, but the warships presented here clearly are of the Corvette class, something we have also advocated before.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. charbookguy permalink
    October 12, 2008 8:25 pm

    While the SAAR’s are more heavily armed (really!) than the LCS, it is nearly as costly. I would spread the weaponry around in less expensive platforms. Numbers count in wartime and 1/4 billion for a small warship won’t make it. The price must come down to the tens of millions for small combatants or we will never possess them in sufficient quantities. And unless a miracle happens, budget cuts are on the way!

    But let me add how impressed I am of the resiliency of this type of warship, its ability to accept punishment and still remain afloat as the Eilat did a few years ago off the coast of Lebanon. When hit by the Chinese design C-802 missile the corvette remarkably stayed afloat and return to port under its own power. To me this is a repudiation on those who toss scorn at the idea some of you as well as myself contend that small warships have a quality all their own, and can stand up individually to modern offensive weapons at sea. Imagine what a fleet of such craft would do unleashed on the Third World or off the Chinese coast (with suitable motherships along as well)!

  2. October 12, 2008 8:12 pm

    There’s no reason we couldn’t build our own Sa’ar Vs. Heck, we built Israel’s down in Pascagoula. We know how to do it. We’d just need an agreement with them as we did to have the Aussies build their Perry variants.

  3. Mrs. Davis permalink
    October 12, 2008 5:04 pm

    It’s too cynical a question for me to pose, but…is threat really driving this train?

    The threat of the Chinese building a High Seas Fleet must be countered.

    This situation is what Eisenhower feared when he warned of a military-industrial complex. Both Navy and Air Force procurement are paralyzed by it

  4. charbookguy permalink
    October 12, 2008 8:51 am

    Thanks everyone for your comments. To me, the mothership along with her “brood” of short range small combatants appears to be the future of surface warfare in terms of survivability and affordability. I’m a little shocked and disappointed the leadership doesn’t get this, but as Mrs. Davis suggests, without a major war we can’t expect any real change at the Navy Department in the near future, considering all the hands in the shipbuilding cookie jar.

  5. Mrs. Davis permalink
    October 12, 2008 8:44 am

    Why is the Army able to mass produce the weapons it needs in wartime, but not the Navy?

    Soldiers have been getting killed daily for the last five years. People only kill sailors once a decade.

    Someday, the Navy will even remember how to convoy.

  6. leesea permalink
    October 12, 2008 12:45 am

    In reply to charbookguy, three words:

    NAVSEA & Congressiional Critters

  7. October 11, 2008 8:58 pm

    Former Navy here, very concerned about the service’s direction.

    I attended the Maritime Security Council’s “Chairman’s Leadership Summit” in Washington, D.C.
    7 October 2008. Somali piracy dominated the meeting.

    I didn’t get this bit quite right in my notes, but one speaker spoke about briefing top brass about the piracy issue off the Somali coast. Brass asked him the draft of the two LCS ships we’re close to finishing. Too poorly armed to fight in the blue water, LCS draws too much water to get close to the beach. In short, not literally littoral.

    I’ve often wondered, in my most cynical moments…if you actually wrote on a piece of paper the Navy surface ships you actually need, now and in 5 or 10 years, irrespective of anything other than the 4GW threats we are likely to face, you get a certain number and mix of types. Superimpose on that list the Surface Warfare Officer structure we have now, and the one we would need in 5 or 10 years to staff that “fresh” list of ships. If you contrast the “mother ships” and brownwater boat squadrons and PCs and Corvettes and real littoral combatants (as well as the major combatants) with the current SWO structure, isn’t that contrast a bit jarring?

    It’s too cynical a question for me to pose, but…is threat really driving this train?

  8. Big D permalink
    October 11, 2008 8:44 pm

    Agree with charbookguy…..Why don’t all of you other”negative military” “USA NO GOOD” “Proud for the First Time in My Life” __itheads leave the Country and move to to some other place where your Freedom is better defended. Like …….Cuba, France, Canada — Whoops “nope” we completely defend those idiots, Spain, USSR, South America (Anyplace there) and so on. Incease military spending and cut support to the people who had rather stay home, smoke dope and collect unemployment… know that certain “standout” percentage …say no more.

  9. charbookguy permalink
    October 11, 2008 8:06 pm

    It is just a travesty that after 9/11 the Navy failed to build up its littoral fleet with off the shelf designs as the Army did with its armored vehicles fleet. Why is the Army able to mass produce the weapons it needs in wartime, but not the Navy?

  10. leesea permalink
    October 11, 2008 3:56 pm

    Of course the USN needs corvettes and maybe frigagtes smaller than the Perrys! And of course there are good designs such as the SAAR V in service. Does anyone see any hull that size in the SCN budget? Even the LCS is larger and needs much upgunning to take on the anti-pirate/MSO mission.

    The pity is the USN could simply buy a foreign desgin and build them at one of our second tier shipyards, but not there are NIH!

    The FAC Skjold was up for sale for awhile. Mabye some shipyard could build a Visby (certainly not NGSB Ingalls they have failed to produce anything composite).

    Hell the Seafighter (which flys on Mike’s banner) could be weaponized and serve as prototype for a real mission. It is all American (ahh but ONR bought it not NAVSEA).

    Point is there are many solutions but no leaders to make changes.

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