Ship Costs in Perspective
Someone asked why call for smaller, less capable warships? The above chart from the Congressional Budget Office, helps explain my thinking. Note that the cost of individual combatants now price double what they did in the 1980s. These figures are adjusted for inflation, which means for the same money you get fewer platforms.
My point is, thanks to the flexibility and capability of modern weapons, especially the Aegis system, and the enhanced accuracy of modern weapons like Standard SAMs and Tomahawk cruise missiles, you can build smaller ships, at less cost, more of them, without losing capability.
The same standard applies to naval airpower. Because the new Hornets are vastly more capable with precision bombs and missiles, plus more easier to maintain than older Tomcats and Intruders you can perform more sorties and destroy more targets with fewer planes. Naturally this should entail reducing the size of the airwing and the aircraft carrier. The smaller airwings are coming anyway, but the old flattop is just getting bigger, pricing itself into obsolescence.
You can only consider the smaller Flight III Arleigh Burke I proposed as being “less capable” as compared to modern naval thought, which is packing so many extra weapons and electronics into a warship, mostly redundant systems, making it too expensive and technically over-complicated. The apparently more capable ship ironically becomes less so because you can’t afford many of them, and the ones you get are so complicated as to be riddled with numerous faults.
Such vessels as the LCS, the DDG-1000, and the LPD-17 are examples of ships so heavenly capable they are little earthly good, Harbor Queens all, or potentially so. But a back to basics approach would fix all this. Smaller warships are not less capable but a logical response to the modern technology. It calls for a revolution in shipbuilding, which we are long past due.