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Dissecting the Influence Squadron Pt 2

April 6, 2010

Navy Riverine Forces would receive integral support within the Influence Squadron.

A New Navy for a New Century is the goal, as we continue to peek inside the Influence Squadron devised by Commander Henry J. “Jerry” Hendrix, U.S. Navy. Here in the April 2010 Proceedings, we learn more about the concept for restoring numbers and maintaining sea control by the US Navy with “More Henderson, Less Bonds“.

 Yesterday we discussed the imperative need for such a concept, with a fleet shrinking under the weight of outdated concepts involving massive firepower of supercarriers, Aegis destroyers, giant amphibious ships, and nuclear attack subs from the Cold War. Instead we think a lighter footprint is called for, not only to increase drastically fallen ship numbers in an age of sterile shipbuilding budgets, but also for ships more relevant to the concerns of littoral warfare, where the Navy needs to be in this new environment. As a starter, Jerry would see the Influence Squadron something like this:

The Influence Squadron-Riverine Detachment

  • one 49-foot riverine command boat
  • three 38-foot patrol boats
  • two 33-foot assault boats

Cost-About $40 million

According to Jerry, these craft would extend the reach of the Squadron, which would itself extend the reach of the Blue Water element of carriers, destroyers, and subs. The latter we recognize as immensely effective and powerful, but aren’t right for modern sea control, which would more effectively and less costly be performed by these “new cruisers”. Neither are they adequate for operating with allied navies, which often consist of corvettes, frigates, and patrol boats, to guard their coastlines from pirates and smugglers. 

I also appreciate the plan to deploy coastal warships of 100-200 ft, that price in the tens of millions, from “$20 to $40 million a copy”. This is a huge leap in thinking when present day warships usually start at half-billion dollars each, and end up at the $10 billion. But this is how you restore ship numbers, and such craft are sufficient for most problems of modern seapower such as anti-piracy and anti-narcotics smuggling. Today we are using $2 billion Aegis destroyers and $700 million LCS for this type of extreme low tech work!

The Influence Squadron-Coastal Element

Now we are spreading out further from shore, but in layers, giving future foes no leeway. In the ongoing anti-piracy mission off Somali, we see the new insurgents at sea slipping through the net of the very powerful but very few Western frigates, no matter how individually capable they are. This is how the guerrilla is intimidating Western armies on land. Despite the lack of capability, they can still do power and presence thanks to their dispersed numbers and agility.

Other essential support (including medical help from large Hospital Ships) would come from unmanned vehicles which are transforming war on land, sea, and air, such as:

Finally for some cost comparisons:

  • One Influence Squadron-$1.35 billion (10 ships)
  • Two Littoral Combat Ships-$1.4 billion
  • 1 Arleigh Burke Destroyer-$1.8 billion

Only a small portion of the Blue Water budget would need be diverted to the new ships, about 10% according to the author. The contrast in purchases would be dramatic, as we pointed out: up to 10-1.

So, for all the current Navy woes, from inadequate presence, declining force structures, over-complicated ship programs constantly delayed and suffering enormous cost-overruns, the answer seems simple. The Influence Squadron provides more ships, which are affordable and easy to build, which would also provide work for long-suffering shipyards, while at the same time are more relevant for where the Navy wants to be, dominating the littorals as it already does with the Blue Water.


40 Comments leave one →
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  2. May 31, 2010 8:13 pm

    Hello leesea,

    I think you may have misunderstood me.
    I am familiar with the implications of Logistics Over The Shore and unloading in stream.
    What I am not familiar with,and what I was hoping to pick your brains about,is the sea states in which certain types of cranage may be used.
    Specifically,I hoped you might know the offload rates and sea states which the overhead cranes on Lighter Aboard Ship vessels are capable of.
    Cranes like this:


  3. leesea permalink
    April 11, 2010 12:46 am

    T6, I have done boat handling most ways the are in existence. Slinging a boat around on the end of whip from a crane is IMHO the worse way. One ends up with a pendulating object which is difficult to control and even when NOT loaded.

    I saw the worse form of that on the USS New York recently. Their two (non-rescue) RHIBs sit on a hatch amidships completely surrounded by high “walls”. The (one) ships hydraulic crane has to raise each boat about 100 ft in the air to clear the side “walls” and then go to the rail where the operator cannot see them. DUMB IDEA!

    The American system of sealift will work if properly funded. The US Marines tried to make most ships in their MPF(F) psuedo-amphibs and the idea was canned. Sutainment is a matter of tonnage delivered inland. A simple beachead probably cannot do that (unless someone builds another Mulberry Harbour like Operation Overlord?). The JLOTS operation in Haiti shows how much can be moved through port when JLOTS systems are employed. Moving across a beach is necessary for forcible entry ops (I will not argue the validity of f/i) BUT it is not the most efficient means of throughput AND require specialized and expensive ships, landing craft, and helos to make it work.

    The Atlantic Conveyor was a jury rigged expediant sealift ship hit by mistake. I do NOT see that as beimg precedent.

  4. April 10, 2010 4:37 pm

    Hello leesea,

    the problem with rail loading is the reason I favour overhead cranes.
    They allow boats of various sizes to be stowed on cradles and lifted over eachother which gives more flexibility.

    I was thinking of replacements for the Bay and Point classes,or rather what I would like to have been purchased in their place.
    British forces have a number of problems with their sealift capability.
    Firstly,British demand for sealift has far exceeded available capacity in recent wars.
    Even with the new Bay and Point ships the United Kingdom will only be able to drip feed a division into theatre over a long period of time.
    Secondly the slow speed of British sealift assets means they cannot deploy with combat assets so will require escorts of their own,that is a big problem for the Royal Navy which can afford few escorts.
    Thirdly,the Point class are designed to offload in port but ports are often unavailable,are subject to enemy action and often congested during a military buildup.
    For these reasons it is desirable if the entire sealift fleet can offload across a beach.
    Lastly the loss of Atlantic Conveyor during the Falklands War demonstrated the folly of carrying high cost mission critical equipment in a ship built to civilian standards of survivability.

    I believe the only affordable way for the British to overcome these problems would be a smaller fleet of larger,faster,more survivable ships capable of offloading across a beach.


  5. CBD permalink
    April 10, 2010 11:18 am

    It would certainly be interesting for some Navy officials to see the costs of construction and ownership of the Hawaiian cats in relation to the planned JHSVs of similar style.

    You can probably find my email on your warboats forum (I’ve posted there on the CB90 thread before). Let me know if you can get at that email. I’d love to see the idea.

  6. leesea permalink
    April 10, 2010 12:37 am

    T6 we considered them for MSC prepo service but chartered serveral LASH instead. I have seen several studies about how to convert both barge ship types for naval auxiliart and sealift service. The primary difference is the Seabee barges have 1000 tons capacity while the LASH have 500 tons.

    The gantry lift system on the LASH is a little more tolerant of sea conditions than the Seabees. And the capability to stack 500 objects as one would a container make them good. The biggest drawwback of the Seabees is they are loaded horixantaly and once inside its like that long garage I refer to wet well docks as. All cargo carried must be in a barge or on deck.

    BUT the bottom line is both barge types are too BIG to affordably support NECC ops. Hence my conclusion a NEW mobile forward logistic ship is needed. It could serve as mothership for boats, helos, UAVs etc.

    I just remembered a handy sized open well dock boat support ship for an Meditteran navy but can’t recall name or country – CRS!

    Not sure what you mean about British service? Most of their ships doing amphib ops lift some boats in davits except for the Bay class LSD(A)

  7. leesea permalink
    April 10, 2010 12:25 am

    CBD the charter term restriction just started a couple of years ago. WPE was a time charter which after one year was reflagged and owned by US company now. Swift was a bareboat charter and sponsored by MINEWARCOM at first. I don’t know how the Navy pulled that one off? Swift is now also time chartered from Sealift Inc

    What is even screwier is the two Hawaii SuperFerrys are American built, in the custody of MARAD since company went under and NO one is trying to use them like out in WestPac? Even SECDEF referrerd to DOD chartering them. Something stange going on there? Maybe somebody might compare their costs to certain other HSVs??

    If you want my dockship as T-MMS proposal tell Mike to release your email

  8. CBD permalink
    April 9, 2010 10:05 pm

    Well aware…but I’d expect problems with trying to integrate such vessels into regular deployments of IFrons.

    The USN might go for one or two in a budget, but that’s not enough to ensure that you can get your boats out on regular patrols. Furthermore, the budgeting and crewing issues for such vessels also just makes it easier for the USN or MSC to lease such a vessel on a per-use basis, further hampering the idea of an expeditionary NECC with dedicated fleet support assets.

    Personally, much of the NECC responsibility seems less like a set of USN responsibilities than it does USMC responsibilities…especially when it comes to inland waterways and coastal patrol/landings. Too late for that now.

    True. very true.
    BTW, how did the USN get around that rule for the HSV-2 and Westpac Express?

  9. April 9, 2010 8:07 pm

    Hello leesea,

    do you have any experience of the SeaBee ships and if so,what do you think of them?

    My own thoughts for British service is a vessel with landing craft/boats/lighters stowed on the weather deck and launched by overhead cranes either at the stern or alongside.
    Lower decks can then be used exclusively for vehicles,containers and men.
    The idea being to have a large vessel with very large lighterage capacity and a much larger internal volume for payload than most assault ships have.

    This was intended as a landing ship,not a riverine “mothership” but would have some capability in that role.


  10. leesea permalink
    April 9, 2010 6:12 pm

    oops forgot to insert my ID in below

  11. Anonymous permalink
    April 9, 2010 6:11 pm

    Bsmitty thanks for amplyfying on what I posted & of course you are right. There are about 4 dozen semi-submersible ships in commercial service today (haven’t checked the listings recently). The majorilyt are of the clear deck type like MV Blue Marlin which was used to lift the USS Cole back from Yemen.

    A sub-set of those are “dockships”. They are mostly large ships used for what is called special cargos i.e over-size, large, long, heavy. DockExpress is the largest company and a merger of Wjismuller and Dock Express of US. Goto their website for more info on their fleet. Google the names I gave you for some more.

    Their primary advantage is that almost any cargo which fits can be floated into their dockwells. That includes small warships and boats as well as cargo, troop and support barges. There are NOT height restrictions as exist on amphibs with wet well. The ships are also usually equipped with some heavy cranes (something else not on amphibs).

    Smitty their is a hitch in buying or even chartering one for long term test:
    the good old US Congress prohibits MSC and the Navy from buying or long term chartering any foreign ship (even if it it would be converted in a US yard and reflagged US and operated by a US company). Gee you know American get to buy foreign built and US transplant autos but not so ships, you wonder what the shipyard lobbyists are doing??

    So NAVSEA is spending about $150 mil to convert a NASSCO tanker hull to be a bastardized semi-submersible called MLP. Your tax dollars at work folks!

    CBD unfortunately the good old style of LSD is not in favor now, the senior thinkers believe using a LPD17 hullform would be preferable – dahh!

    I could get you two converted T-LKAs as naval auxiliaries for about $65 mil in two years time. But no way the USN is going to reactivate a steam ships. More on point the LKAs just do not have the cargo POL tankage needed for a mothership as desribed by Cdr Hendrix.

  12. B.Smitty permalink
    April 9, 2010 2:25 pm


    I don’t think Lee or I are talking about an amphibious ship. These dockships are commercial vessels. Presumably they would be bought and run by the MSC as naval auxiliaries.

  13. CBD permalink
    April 9, 2010 10:55 am

    Leesea & Smitty,
    I like the well dock idea…but it seems that the USN has problems with a LPD ending up in the $1.8 billion dollar price range instead of the $800 million dollar price range. IF we could make more LSDs in the style of the Whidbey Island-class,* then we’d have our mothership. Well deck, helicopter spaces, technical support and C4I support.

    I was mostly running with the idea of LKA-like storage/lift capabilities on an AKE hull (and with AKE stores support for the rest of the IFron).

    *- The first two units cost over $300 million (FY81, or ~$750M FY10). The last four reportedly averaged $150 million per ship (FY84-89, the latter being ~$290M FY10). Quite a bit of drop in price there from first in class to last…unfortunately, that will not be happening with the LPD-17s…

  14. B.Smitty permalink
    April 9, 2010 9:17 am


    Perhaps an even larger problem is convincing the Navy that there is a problem with carriage and sustainment of NECC and other small boat units in theater. Or at least a problem worth spending money to buy support ships.


    I understand the desire to try to use an existing vessel. However the LKAs aren’t in active service anymore, and modifying T-AKEs might detract from their primary role and turn them in to specialized boat support vessels anyway.

    The nice thing about a dockship is if you want to carry larger vessels you can. Dockships have the space and capacity to handle a variety of vessels. If you want USCG 87′ WPBs, you just have to build a custom cradle for them. You could also carry Cyclones, USCG Sentinels or other types of small craft. You could even carry an SSK or two.

    Or you could use the space to carry containers (1300 on Blue Giant), outsized cargo, JLOTS components, or various types of barges (as leesea pointed out).

    It is a specialized heavy lift vessel though, so if we just want a NECC boat carrier, we could probably find a cheaper option.

  15. leesea permalink
    April 9, 2010 1:47 am

    The other way to go is providing a support ship with a wet well dock for all small combatants and warboats. I have suggested something like the old Dock Express 10 class or the German Blue Giant ships. Barges can be floated in to provide most support features discussed.

    The big hurdle with them is not so much capacity, they have it, its the USN accepting that a specialized sealift ship can be an organic support ship.

  16. leesea permalink
    April 9, 2010 1:42 am

    CBD, while the JHSV does have space and weight for C4ISR gear, its another mod. JSHV does not have cargo fuel capacity that I know of, but I should check the specs?

    I think the proposal was to lift the NECC boats around theater with the JHSV? While they have the capacity for internal boat stowage like you said, they don’t have a good lift system. The Navy might be able to translate the boat lift system from SeaFighter or LCS to JHSV – well maybe. Due to HSV construction I don’t see how any davits can be fitted below the weather deck? Welll maybe? All of that goes into what I am calling a “navalized” JHSV.

    The T-AKE does not have open deck space for more than its organic boats IMO rescue RHIB and lifeboats. Gaining on- deck or internal stowage means a major costly realignment of the superstructure. While the Allied cranes might be able to pick larger boats, they may not spot on deck? Design changes equals $$

    Remember the T-AKEs are NFAF station ships and focused on the movement of parcel size loads by UNREP/VERTREP.

    I am totaly NOT talking about using a conventional USN tender for this or any mission like it. They are dead ducks and obsolescent concepts. My mothership is something better than an AGP and more like a German Berlin class. Armed Naval Auxiliary.

    T6, the Riverine Command Boat is supposed to do the C3 role, but to date I have seen NO internal details of such. I think it was mis-named by the USN ? Swedes call it a Combat Boat (multi-functional) I would accept that. Those old CCBs were slow targets and cramped too. RCB should be able to handle modern electronics.

    My favorite utility launch these days is the MPF Lighter by Kvichak. Meant to be lifted by crane, fast and functional.

  17. CBD permalink
    April 8, 2010 11:37 pm

    Certainly in the spirit of the old “Mike” boats and CCBs, but on the latest update of the LCM modern comms/C4I, armoring and weapons…yes, we’re reinventing that wheel (with modern knickknacks), but we haven’t used that wheel in almost 50 years.

  18. April 8, 2010 10:44 pm


    CBD said:

    “Any comments on my idea of converted LCM-8s (LCM-8(C)?) as mobile command centers and fire support ‘monitors’ for a riverine force? Mobile enough? Shallow enough? Big enough?”

    Is this what you were thinking of?:


  19. CBD permalink
    April 8, 2010 10:40 pm

    I was trying to see if an LKA-like ship handling system might allow a smoother delivery of forces into the AOR without requiring the addition of a vessel that lacks any other role.

    The T-AKE, being necessary for general force sustainment, could deliver the smaller craft upon arrival and continue on its normal patrol. A T-AD type vessel (an AD-41 Yellowstone follow-on) would be nice, but might not have sufficient standalone delivery capacity…and are almost as large as the Lewis and Clark class.

    Lots of work would need to be done to make the T-AKE work as a small craft carrier and general tender (as Lee describes), but otherwise sustaining a IFron becomes very tricky. But if you can lift in 4 RCB-type craft and over a half-dozen smaller craft, you have the nucleus of a decently sized coastal/riverine patrol force…if more vessels can fit, so much the better!

  20. CBD permalink
    April 8, 2010 10:14 pm

    I wouldn’t use the JHSV for anything other than local support of a boat unit (some fuel transfer capability, maybe a command post for one coastal patrol unit)…It’s really not worth it to try to fit the RCBs on there at all. I view it much more as a partnership station, helicopter site and C4I center. A davit for a CB90 sounds interesting, but technically difficult…a davit for RHIBs would probably serve the ship better.

    In that sense, I don’t see a use for the MRV at all…not as capable as other ships and offering little more than the JHSV. The price estimate is also unconvincing.

    The T-AKE conversion will certainly cost a bit, but it will keep NASSCO alive, extending the possibility of constructing a (much needed) T-AOE(X). It will also establish NECC/Riverine forces as a part of the naval force structure…allowing them to consider buying new small craft. A really sharp Riverine/Coastal Warfare commander might finagle his/her way into having a boat det tag along with a partnership station tour or two…no better way to sell your unit than by making it visible. NECC could push onboard some EOD and SEABEES and make it a traveling road show for NECC capabilities, all in the name of training the forces of friendly nations in small boat patrol, EOD and expeditionary construction techniques…

    One idea, which your comment raises, in a way, is the storage of the RCBs on davits alongside the T-AKE. Doesn’t look pretty, but it might work well enough without impacting topside functions.

    Any comments on my idea of converted LCM-8s (LCM-8(C)?) as mobile command centers and fire support ‘monitors’ for a riverine force? Mobile enough? Shallow enough? Big enough?

  21. leesea permalink
    April 8, 2010 12:44 pm

    CBD you are right about transporting and lifting/stowing the NECC boats. And I agree the T-AKE is too big and more importantly not currently configured to support the InfRon much less the NECC boats. Let me be specific (and I have handled similar boats and worked on the conversion of two Charleston class to T-LKA).

    First about the LKAs, they only have two Stulken Masts strong enough/having reach to lift the newer larger NECC boats. Those would then have to be stowed on the hatch covers over-stowing internal cargo. The class has no significant boat repair capability. The DO have many of the features which Cdr Hendrix talks about.

    Onto newer ships. The JHSV and MRV only have ONE means of handling current not future USN boats. That is the stern mounted hydraulic crane. Will that work sure – one boat at a time and weather limited. NOT a good solution in my lengthy experience. Some of you may have noted how on the RN Aboukir Bay concept, the CB-90s were stowed in davits. The British routinely handled large landing craft and boats in davits for decades. I see not much wrong with the USN doing what the RN has for so long? BUT where does one install the davits on a JHSV or MRV, possible yes? The first of many mods which would be needed I think? More mods as you suggest are needed and would add to the “navalized” JHSV in addition to reducing its payload capacity. JHSV do NOT have cargo POL or ammo capacity.

    As to transport, the NECC boats right now get lifted into theather on amphibs. IVO of their cost and limited number available I think the were nor considered for inclusion in the InfRon. But I believe what Cdr Hendrix is suggesting that the NECC boats, crew and support be carried on JHSV (yes there is internal space for them maybe?) and/or the T-AKE. There would have to be some speadloading to accomplish that COA. The T-AKE class is not configured to handle nor support the larger boats we are kicking around here. Not the cargo gear, open hatches nor cargo holds. Which is why I WAGed a $150 mil mod cost to convert the T-AKEs from their current highly specialized use a NFAF station ships.

    Currently the RivRons deploy in dets of 4 to 6 boats. COMRIVGRU One has made a point of saying he can deploy force adaptable packages on any size (given the transport and support). I think that as configured by Cdr Hendrix, the NECC boats are suitable for naval raids and VBSS. When they start going up river for patrolling more boats, helos, UAVs and weapons would be needed. But for the given concept, there are enough boats.

  22. B.Smitty permalink
    April 8, 2010 12:13 pm


    Another option might be to use a dockship like the Rolldock, Blue Giant, or one of the Dockwise vessels.

    Having a large, open deck and multiple loading methods would give you flexibility in the sizes and types of vessels carried. You could use tweendeck covers to subdivide the hold. Carry smaller boats on top, and support barges or containers underneath.

  23. CBD permalink
    April 8, 2010 10:29 am

    MRV: Not sure what benefit this brings over a second JHSV and the investment in a program to modify the JHSV to include some armoring of the hull, a proper helicopter maintenance facility and the installation of several Mk 38 Mod 2 remote weapons stations.

    I’m highly suspicious of the claimed cost and the added utility vs even an unmodified JHSV.

    I’d also prefer to place a F-100-like frigate or a pair of corvettes with the group, to add some serious defensive/strike capability. But one can always wish for what one does not have.

  24. CBD permalink
    April 8, 2010 10:22 am

    One quick note:
    The T-AKE is large for the job, but might be a good item for an Influence Squadron if a few modifications can be made to the design.

    One of the big concerns that many people have is the lack of simple means of transporting the RCB/CB-90s (or M12/Jurmo or RAB/SOC-R or SURC/RPB) to the theater and the problem of forward support. An old craft type–the LKA–might be useful as a means of delivering both the coastal/riverine craft and for the delivery of a forward base.

    This class type survives today in the mothballed Charleston-class. These could hold a large number (18) of landing craft, mechanized. They could likely hold several of the smaller RCBs in a similar manner (as well as the other craft mentioned)…and a few LCM-8s converted to ‘river monitors’.

    If newer T-AKEs could be modified to have LKA-like craft lift and storage capacity (at the expense of some support stores, say the capacity for 9-10 heavy craft instead of 18) then you could launch 2-3 coastal and riverine patrol groups off of that ship (each with a converted LCM-8 as an armored fire support/command post that can reach up river sites). Great, also, for partnership stations and relief work (no lack of small craft with the T-AKA in theater)…and useful in case the USMC ever gets back in the business of delivering forces by sea.

    One problem I have with the Influence squadron described is its low capacity for riverine and coastal PB sorties. The one detachment they describe is barely enough if you need any serious patrol capacity. The above described support ship would both provide the influence squadron with necessary fuel/food/stores support and would be a useful means of transporting smaller craft forward.

  25. Scott . permalink
    April 7, 2010 1:02 pm

    leesea said : “In point of fact there are already heavy wepons available for riverine and cosastal gunboats. The Swedes have mounted twin 120 mm AMOS mortars on the CB-90 and have single barrel NEMO mount on the Watercat M12 landing craft which is a smaller version of the CB-90.”

    Good call re: AMOS and NEMO. A couple of quick comments though :

    1) Watercat M12 is NOT a smaller version of the CB-90, for a variety of reasons, e.g. Watercat is designed and built by a Finnish company (Marine Alutech Oy AB) whereas CB-90 is designed and built by a Swedish company (Swede Ship Marine).

    2) On the contrary to what the marketing spin would like people to believe, AMOS Navy tested on a CB-90 back in 2003 wasn’t such a great success, quite the opposite actually. Add the extravagant price of AMOS and you’ve got all the reasons why they’ve been unable to sell even one AMOS Navy so far, and BAE has literally given up on the promotion of the system. AMOS (100% Finnish on the contrary to AMOS which was a joint Swedish / Finnish effort) proved much more successful, and affordable, which might explain why it’s been better off from a commercial standpoint (e.g. with the UAE).

  26. leesea permalink
    April 7, 2010 1:19 am

    In point of fact there are already heavy wepons available for riverine and cosastal gunboats. The Swedes have mounted twin 120 mm AMOS mortars on the CB-90 and have single barrel NEMO mount on the Watercat M12 landing craft which is a smaller version of the CB-90. Those are the weapons which really need to be bought for NECC boat units. Because the ships in the InfRon are not well armed for inshore or riverine warfare.

    It should be noted that the JHSV in basic form only has 4x.50 cal HMGs on it. That’s less barells than my PBR had on it! I have suggested more weapons in an armed naval auxiliary modification ot JHSV. I am not clear on what MRV has but surely can mount more weapons in the 20 to 40 mm range?

    It is NOT the NECC officers which need to do some work, its skeptical senior naval officers who do not properly fund the warboat units. Which is why I like what Cdr Hendrix has purposed. It gives the new riverines their own transportation and a seagoing platform to work from. BTW the coastal and riverine spheres overlap when you look a NECC presntations.

  27. Hudson permalink
    April 6, 2010 4:50 pm

    Yes, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle is a kind of light sea tank, you could say, a waterborne Bradley IFV. It’s heavier that the Sprut tank by 2-1, better armored, probably has longer sea range, and it carries troops. Its 30mm cannon could penetrate Sprut armor; the Sprut 125mm gun, of course, would obliterate the EFV. Overall, I think, the EFV would be more useful to the Marines than the Sprut. But I like the Sprut and its firepower.

    Operationally, you might place the tank or self-propelled gun in more dangerous places. The EFV has composite armor, but the hull is aluminum. Russian experience with aluminuum hulls is that they tend to light up. Robert Gates has called the EFV “exquisite,” presumably the kiss of death to the program. I hope the Marines get a few hundred of what they ordered. Meanwhile, the Army and Navy can figure out the next vehicle, how “dumb” and simple to make it, so that it is affordable. It takes so long to start over.

    Maybe we should collobrate with the Russians on a land/sea vehicle. The Russians know how to keep it relatively simple. The Sprut is basically a defensive weapon, and Russia has built only small numbers of them. A Sprut crew familiar with the lay of the land would be a dangerous adversary, waiting in the marshes.

  28. B.Smitty permalink
    April 6, 2010 2:57 pm

    Hudson said, “For close in-shore, up-river work, every influence squadron needs a sea tank.


  29. Hudson permalink
    April 6, 2010 1:17 pm

    Thanks, Mike. As a side note: Arial Sharon used captured Russian PT-76 amphibious tanks to out flank the Egyptian Third Army, I think, in the marshes in the 1973 war, which effectively surrounded the Egyptians and led to their surrender. So these are useful vehicles.

  30. Scott B. permalink
    April 6, 2010 1:12 pm

    leesea said : “The Austal MRV is a fine design (without customers). Its capabilities are far too similar to that of a JHSV. I would prefer a cat ove a tri for littoral ops. Better yet a conventional FAC of about the size being discussed. While I agree with Cdr Hendrix that a good FAC is needed the MRV is duplicative.”

    1) Very good point about the MRV-90 being duplicative, with all the implications such a duplication may have on costs for instance.

    2) That this design may be included in the much-touted *Influence Squadron* is clear evidence, to me that the Reformers and Corvettes folks didn’t emancipate themselves from the LCS pipedream and that, fundamentally, what they are proposing is a mere re-run of the fully-bugged software that lead to the LCS fiasco. IOW, history will repeat itself, with more money going down the drain in the process.

    3) Real-life experience has proven the FACs to be dead meat, no matter what design you go for. Why you guys keep insisting that the US Navy should buy FACs is a mystery.

  31. Scott B. permalink
    April 6, 2010 1:05 pm

    leesea said : “I would kick the cost for T-AKE to about $500 mil,”

    The AKEs already cost somewhere around $510 million per unit (for T-AKE 13 and T-AKE 14).

    Likewise, based on the latest 30-year shipbuilding plan submitted by the Navy, the average cost for JHSV is $194 million per unit.

  32. Mike Burleson permalink*
    April 6, 2010 12:00 pm

    Hudson, that is excellent! Marines, are you listening?

    Lee, thanks for your thoughts. Sounds like the NECC guys really need to do some thinking.

  33. Hudson permalink
    April 6, 2010 11:52 am

    For close in-shore, up-river work, every influence squadron needs a sea tank. Actually, the Russians already have such a sea monster: the Sprut Tank or self-propelled gun. Not sure if turret has 360-degree traverse or less. It’s a full swimmer, up to sea state 3, as you can see, shooting on the run. Supposidly it is air-droppable–with the crew inside! Oh, those hardy Russians!

  34. leesea permalink
    April 6, 2010 11:22 am

    Here is a reality check. The current three riverine squadrons are still using hand me down SURC aka River Patrol Boats (which ther are too big for!) from the US Marines. The USN has NOT bought any new SURCs/RPB period. The RivGru One has been testing its two Riverine Command Boats aka CB-90s for two years now but I have NOT seen any new orders. Oh BTW thee RCB are really coastal craft too big for rivers the Brownwaters I know. Well at least the River Assualt Boats are new except they are really just modificed SOC-Rs bought for NSW missions (modern versions of my PBR).

    The real problem is tha the JHSV as currently configured cannot support all those boats. They belong on a mothership, opps the T-AKE does not have deck space or lifting gear for ALL those boats. So maybe they will be spread out amongst the InfRon?

    See comments in Pt 1 about T-AKE, that design is going to need lots of mods to fufill the mothership role. Most importantly it will need more POL capacity and the ability to support small ships alongside as the AGPs use to. I would kick the cost for T-AKE to about $500 mil, better yet go buy a good design for a smaller naval auxiliary with suitable mulit-product capacities.

    The Austal MRV is a fine design (without customers). Its capabilities are far too similar to that of a JHSV. I would prefer a cat ove a tri for littoral ops. Better yet a conventional FAC of about the size being discussed. While I agree with Cdr Hendrix that a good FAC is needed the MRV is duplicative. There are other good small combatant designs to choose from.

  35. Mike Burleson permalink*
    April 6, 2010 10:58 am

    There’s nothing personal about any of this. We’re just talking, not making policy. The Navy probably won’t listen anyway, but its worth a try.

  36. Scott B. permalink
    April 6, 2010 10:35 am

    MatR said : ” We need this question answered now, for the good of the nation.”

    What a strange cat trying to bark like a dog…

  37. MatR permalink
    April 6, 2010 8:22 am

    Scott, you’re right about Steve Symm. Anyone who doesn’t refer to it as ABSALON in giant letters, preferably red, clearly knows nothing.

    What would win in a fight, an ABSALON or an ABSALON’S weight in guppies? We need this question answered now, for the good of the nation. Scott, come through for us!

  38. Scott B. permalink
    April 6, 2010 6:26 am

    Steve Symm said : “As Scott B has thoroughly proved, (blah blah blah full of bitterness snipped)”

    And then you pontificate about being *quantitative, argumentative or discursive*.

    Well done, Sir.

    And thanks again for this outstanding contribution !!!

  39. Steve Symm permalink
    April 6, 2010 6:11 am

    As Scott B has thoroughly proved, the ABSALON can perform riverine duties far better than mere river patrol boats, *ptuie*! [Pauses only to hug photograph of lovely, lovely Absalon. And occasionally rub it sensuously against face.]


  1. Rapid Fire: 2010-04-12

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