RN Deploys Influence Squadron South
Couldn’t help but notice the interesting makeup of the Royal Navy Task Force currently deployed near the Falkland Islands, as the tiny British Territory is once again under threat from the Argentine Mainland who still lay claim to what they call las Malvinas. Perhaps this wasn’t intentional on the Navy’s part, but most of the basic framework of the modern Influence Squadron advocated by New Wars and others is right here:
- Air Defense Ship-HMS York
- Mothership-RFA Wave Ruler
- Large Patrol Ship (Survey Vessel)–HMS Scott
- Coastal Patrol Ship– HMS Clyde
Backed by the Royal Air Force’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier” on Mount Pleasant, the Falklands, the force should be able to deter any renewed Argentine threat however unlikely that may be. If the two nations would again come to blows, HMS Ark Royal loaded with RAF Harriers, and HMS Ocean with troops and helos would spearhead a more capable and powerful Task Force to plug into the HMS York group already there.
It’s an entirely new concept of war at sea. Where you can’t have enough carriers to constantly forward deploy, certainly don’t need them for the everyday task of deterrence, patrol, and presence, the Influence Squadron is an effective and drastically cost-efficient measure to handle most contingencies. What exactly is an Influence Squadron, you ask? Though the idea has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a few years, Commander Henry Hendrix, USN recently compiled the notion and especially invented the title in a USNI Proceedings article titled Buy Fords, Not Ferrari’s:’
The next step on the Navy’s path to a new future should be the creation of “Influence Squadrons” composed of an amphibious mother ship (an LPD-17 or a cheaper commercial ship with similar capabilities), a destroyer to provide air, surface, and subsurface defensive capabilities, a Littoral Combat Ship to extend a squadron’s reach into the green-water environment and provide some mine warfare capabilities, a Joint High Speed Vessel to increase lift, a Coastal Patrol ship to operate close in, and an M80 Stiletto to provide speed and versatility….
These forces, operating every day around the world, would represent the preponderance of visible U.S. naval power. Their understated capabilities would epitomize America’s peaceful, non-aggressive intent, and would carry out the new maritime strategy’s stated purpose of providing positive influence forward. However, the Influence Squadron, carrying credible firepower across a broad area of operations, could also serve to either dissuade or destroy pirate networks that might seek to prey upon increasingly vulnerable commercial sea lines of communication.
Just exchange “America” for “Britain” in the exert and it still fits. Also note that Wave Ruler can load troops as well in the amphibious role, and there are plentiful helicopters within this little fleet.