Call for Motherships, Arsenal Ships
Everett Pyatt at Real Clear World has some interesting proposals for rebuilding the Navy to somewhere near the proposed 313 plan. On at least 2 of these he appears to be reading our minds, or blog posts:
Step five is to make the Navy more relevant in today’s conflicts. For example, establish a pirate control force using small boats based on a easily-deployed heavy lift ship. It is crazy having billion dollar major combatants chasing outboard powered skiffs. A single shot from a skiff borne RPG could cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Include in this force airborne surveillance, either by drones or blimp, so the skiffs can be tracked before and after any encounter.
It appears we may be inching toward this type of warship which doesn’t yet exist save in the minds of naval pundits. In an aside, the author also gives good credence to why America must fight the pirates, even though the latter has no submarines, missile battleships, or even aircraft carriers to contend with:
Defeating the Gulf of Aden pirates is important for two reasons. First, pirates are forbidden by the Law of the Sea. Secondly, and of most practical importance, ransoms collected by pirates can generate a lot of money that could support terrorist activity. Pirates have reportedly collected between $30 and $100 million dollars. Most of this money is unaccounted for by their capital investment in outboard powered skiffs, stolen mother ships and extravagant villas on the coast. The close affiliation with Yemen and the Yemeni inclination to look the other way has to be related to terrorists. The USS Cole was attacked in Yemen while in port. Pirates do not pay a lot of attention to UN resolutions and must be treated forcibly. The U.S. Navy is the only Navy capable of providing surveillance and coordinating the activities of multinational ships now moving to the Gulf of Aden. It is time to lead.
Amen! Some good news is that the US has officially established an anti-piracy task force in the Gulf, perhaps because a certain Asiatic Fleet has made a show of force in the region? Finally is the call for a decision on the long-neglected issue of Marine Fire Support, and his proposal sounds vaguely like a warship type frequently called for in this blog, the Arsenal Ship:
Step six is to resolve the issues regarding naval fire support for Marines… If dedicated fire support is needed, than a special purpose ship should be built taking advantage of a current hull form, precision guided ordnance, long range Tomahawk capability and remote drone spotting. In today’s environment, these ships are more likely to be needed than many other classes of ships. Build at least four ships, if needed.
The arsenal ship in a nutshell. What is interesting, as the Navy prepares to build more DDG-51s in addition to the sixty or so they already possess, the 1990s plans for the arsenal ship would include equivalent firepower of 5 or more Burkes, with 1/5 the crew required!