Skip to content

Sea Links

July 17, 2009
Guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) leads the Royal Thai Navy aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH 911).

Guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) leads the Royal Thai Navy aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH 911).

US Navy


The Next Naval Aviation Revolution.

X-47B scheduled to launch at sea in 2011.

Navy Accepts Re-Delivery of USS Vinson.

General Atomics Awarded Contract to Build Hybrid Electric Warships.

Life in a Submarine.

Not your average Wasp-class ship.

Time for an All-Navy Missile Shield?

New National Security Cutter in Drug Bust.

Research begins on hypersonic anti-ship missile.

Tomahawk may get ship-killer role.

Keel to be Laid for Third Littoral Combat Ship.


Warships of the World


Peruvian U-Boat Stalks the USN.

Russia Looks Abroad for New Warships.

Russian navy goes straight to the bottom?

Russian Navy facing ‘irreversible collapse’.

Israeli warships make rare Suez crossing.

Queen Elizabeth Class Latest Video.

South African Navy Showcases ‘Cutting Edge’ Ship.

Britain revokes arms licences for Israeli navy guns.

India’s home-built nuke sub.

India’s Costly Victory for Carrier Gorshkov.

Chinese Navy Amphibious Female Scouts.


Tackling Pirates


US warship, Georgian vessels hold joint Black Sea exercises.

Indian, French Navies secure release of Indian dhow.

World pirate attacks more than double this year.

Hijacked Indian Ship Becomes Pirate Mothership.

Could seriously put a pirate's eye out! Independence (LCS 2) underway during builder's trials.

Could seriously put a pirate's eye out! Independence (LCS 2) underway during builder's trials.



From the Navy Vaults


Fighter Planes and Submarines. (The Thirsty Theologian)

Relics from legendary cruiser Varyag return home. (Russia Today)

Former American brig of war Spark became Brazilian brig of war. (Warships Research)

Historic Navy Hydrofoil in Need of a Final Home. (Kisap Sun)

Could cannon balls from the early 19th century sink warships? (Lab Spaces)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 17, 2009 9:02 pm

    About 20 years ago in an issue of Military Review, I think it was Martin Van Creveld who wrote a prediction of the end of airpower. I thought at the time this was an astounding statement, especially with the dramatic display of the same in the recent 1991 Operation Desert Storm. His thoughts were we would still helicopters and light tactical aircraft but everything else would be overtaken by drones.

    For the most part we see these predictions coming true today, except in the procurement strategies of many at the DoD!

  2. Heretic permalink
    July 17, 2009 4:45 pm

    Well, this really gets to the crux of the matter doesn’t it? As far as air-to-ground attack is concerned, particularly against fixed targets (as opposed to mobile vehicles or personnel), the role *can* be done through automation. Heck, even the A-117A Nighthawk (which was never a “fighter” plane…) could do ground attack on autopilot, so this isn’t exactly something new. Furthermore, if you start with the postulate that “most” environments you’re going to be flying in are (relatively) permissive, as far as enemy EW is concerned, there’s very few excuses left for keeping a pilot on board the aircraft.

    Additionally, there’s no real fundamental (ie. technological) reason why -47Bs would have to be controlled via satellite uplink. It should be perfectly possible to have controllers flying them either from the carrier (via uplink through the AEW aircraft?) and/or controllers stationed in theater, on the ground at a secure base, who are more familiar with the navigation of the “local” area over land.

    So it’s fairly straightforward to predict that for the air-to-ground role, unmanned platforms are (already) encroaching on the turf of the manned strike aircraft … and that it’s only a matter of time, tools and tech manuals before they start shouldering more and more of the mission tasking for that role.

    That said, it’s also fairly easy to predict that there’s almost certainly always going to be a need for *manned* CAS aircraft. Reason being is that for real-time interactions in time critical situations, you really want (for a variety of reasons) to be a ground controller talking a trained pilot onto an attack vector. So Forward Air Controllers (both air and groundbound) will remain important, and if the drones become a sufficiently significant share of the aerial strike power of the USN (and USAF and USMC?) we’ll probably see all FAC aircraft in future be at least a two seater … with the back seat having “drone controls” so that the rear seater in the manned plane can “interpret” between the controller on the ground and the drones flying in the sky so as to be able to make use of any local drones to respond … in real-time … to any requests for air support from the ground.

    At that point … we’re going to start wondering why we’d ever want to buy a single seat, manned, ground attack aircraft … since the two seater ground attack plane offers so much *more* capability, through its manpower and networking versatility, than the single seater. And that’s even before upgrading any of the AWACS or JSTARS or FLKA planes to be able to control -47Bs operating in their airspace.

  3. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 17, 2009 3:33 pm

    I with you on that prediction Heretic! And the USAF on why they need 2000 F-35s! I say 500 plus swarms of Reapers!

  4. Heretic permalink
    July 17, 2009 9:52 am

    I predict that by 2012-13, the USN is going to have to explain why it “needs” to have F-35Cs rather than use MQ-47Bs for the strike role.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: