Navies and the Forces of Anarchy Pt 2
The following article from Jane’s (via Pakistan Defense) showcases the perils and pitfalls even the most modern countries are facing trying to create what I call “USA Light” militaries, focusing here on India:
The Indian Navy’s six Scorpene submarines, under construction at Mazagon Dockyard in western India since 2006, face a cost escalation of INR20 billion over the original INR187.98 billion contract signed in October 2005, official sources said. Consequently their delivery dates of between 2012 and 2017 have been postponed as talks continue over the price hike.
The dispute over the threefold price increase – from USD974 million to nearly USD3 billion – for the retrofit of the 44,700-ton former Russian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (ex-Admiral Gorshkov), whose arrival has been delayed by four years to 2012-2013, also awaits resolution.
The navy also faces a grave shortage of combat aircraft to operate from its sole existing, and recently retrofitted, aircraft carrier INS Viraat, while its anti-submarine warfare helicopters are well past retirement age. Additionally, 63 per cent of its already deficient submarine fleet will be due for retirement by 2012.
And that was just the part concerning the Navy, with almost every weapons program from Arjun tanks to Multirole Combat Aircraft, and air defense guns suffering from delays brought on by bureaucratic corruption or just by over-ambitious plans that failed to pan out. Does any of this sound familiar? We have reported on floundering weapons programs from all nations, from Canada, to Britain, and especially the USA. Today the real threats are on our porous borders and upon our undefended sea lanes as the Civilized World seems hell-bent on picking fights with one another, repeating the disastrous mistakes of Great Power rivalry that opened and almost destroyed the last century.
Instead of attempting to become “Queen of the Indian Ocean”, here is what India should be worried about. From Strategypage:
China is causing considerable consternation in India by reviving old claims to border areas. In northeast India, the state of Arunachal Pradesh has long been claimed as part of Tibet…China also has claims on Kashmir, and actually occupies about 20 percent of the region, and claims the rest.
Concerning the sea, here is a threat that all nations should be focusing their efforts, instead of building supercarriers, supercruisers, and supersubs. Eagle1 warns us that the Somali Pirates have broken the 600 mile barrier:
The most recent ship captured by Somali pirates shows that fortune may favor the bold, as the pirates, using mother ships, are able to move operations into sea lanes that have shifted ever farther off their coast…
Move the sea lanes, the pirates simply will move with them.
Instead of creating new empires, forces for power projection, expeditionary warfare, giant naval fleets, and huge conventional force structures to impress our neighbors, look instead to your own borders. It is the 4th Generation threats which matter the most, not costly conventional forces of the last century warfare, consisting of decades long procurement cycles. Instead of attempting to intimidate others, build forces geared toward the lighter foot print. This would include large sums of troops to protect our borders, and for resisting internal disturbances incited by the forces of anarchy. In the air, think less of costly and complicated manned fighter programs, think more UAVs and missiles. Do the same on the sea, with many small warships, corvettes and patrol ships, as Charles W. Koburger details in the book Sea power in the twenty-first century:
The ongoing disappearance of the traditional destroyers as DDs-their becoming cruisers, in fact–will inevitably lead to the filling of the tactical void this creates by frigates (FFs), corvettes (PCs), and fast attack craft (FACs). The need for the fine old heavily-armed, fast, seaworthy DDs (or DD surrogates) in the naval scheme of things has not disappeared. Fortunately, recent developments in electronics, weaponry, and propulsion give smaller ships the necessary speed and punch to replace the old DDs, even if they will always lack the larger ships’ operational autonomy, range, and seaworthiness. Inshore, the last usually does not matter much.
Today the civilized world are needlessly at each other’s throats. Liberals are against Conservatives. Socialists are against Capitalists. Meanwhile, the forces of devolution, the terrorists and Third World dictators are like vultures, waiting for the carcasses of East and West after we have destroyed ourselves. Don’t let this happen again.