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Maybe Iran Should Worry

April 27, 2010
21 Comments leave one →
  1. Chuck Hill permalink
    May 1, 2010 11:20 am

    “Doing a 1000 nmi Market Time style operation unsupported from shore ought to be a “Required Operational Capability” for the Navy”

    I should have said off a hostile shore. I Vietnam the shore was at least nominally friendly and we had the use of bases there, but that will not always be the case.

    Actually the Coast Guard hasn’t gotten any hand-me-downs from the Navy in quite a while, with the minor exception of the Cyclone Class PCs. Most of the equipment was purchased new for the CG. Unfortunately in too many cases new was over 40 years ago. I put most of the blame for this on the CG leadership that adopted the “Deepwater” concept of handing control of procurement over to the vendors. Looks like things have turned around to some extent.

  2. CBD permalink
    April 30, 2010 10:40 pm

    Good idea…but that would require acknowledging the USCG and providing them with a serious budget. Right now, people hardly notice them and the budget is shrinking to accommodate the much larger services…sorta like how we’re bleeding the ANG dry, cutting air craft and shutting down air bases to fund expensive aircraft for the USAF & USN!

    Give the ANG some nice new F-16s and F-15s (not worn down refurbs), give the USCG the equipment they need to protect the shores…and tell the other services to not forget that their core mission is the defense of the US Territories.

    We’ve coasted for too long on the ANG getting USAF Cold War hand-me-downs and the USCG getting the same from the USN…especially as the USAF and USN are using more of the service life of fewer units.

  3. Chuck Hill permalink
    April 30, 2010 9:17 pm

    Doing a 1000 nmi Market Time style operation unsupported from shore ought to be a “Required Operational Capability” for the Navy, even if they might be allowed to call on the Coast Guard for help.

  4. CBD permalink
    April 28, 2010 7:09 pm

    Causus Belli only applies if one is applying the blockade to a sovereign nation.

    By classical theory of statehood, the nation is responsible for the defense of its people AND for the control of its people (ie, you have to protect your citizenry from external powers and also do your best to defend those external powers from your own citizenry in order to be a proper government).

    If the government fails to do so (As in Sudan, Chad, Somalia, the NW Frontier of Pakistan, Gaza and the West Bank), then it is subject to the responses of the other government(s) involved. In that case, the government is more properly dealing with brigands (now ‘insurgents’ ‘rebels’ ‘freedom fighters’ or ‘terrorists’ depending on the source) or, as this is a maritime conflict, pirates…who are not subject to normal international laws.

    It is by that measure that one distinguishes privateers (government-licensed to raid commerce) and pirates (no governmental support). Privateers have their own sets of rules and laws and, essentially, are regulated by the state that has issued them a Letter of Marque. It also means that any complaints go to the sponsoring government. Pirates have no state support and so were historically killed upon capture or tried by whoever caught them and then imprisoned or killed.

    The pirates could thus claim that they are their own state (even city state) and declare war, but then they’d also be responsible for whatever damages their citizenry do to international trade and they could be sued in international court for the incurred damages…or would be open to declarations of war.

    As far as ‘dry feet’ raids, the French did that a while ago.

    “USN is seriously underfunding the NECC”
    You’re being too polite.

    “Pretty sure the Mk38 Mod2 is too heavy for CB90/RCB? (will check with Master Gunner) .”
    Not sure about the practicality, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    The current RCB has a ROSAM RWS* with a .50 cal mounted on the top of the pilot house. Exact weights for the shortened RCB aren’t in my notes, but the CB-90H specs I have are as follows:
    L: 14.9m @ waterline, B: 3.8m
    Displacement: 13,000kg empty, 15,300kg standard load, and 18,300-20,500kg full load.
    Max pax+cargo capacity: 4.5tonnes (4,500kg)

    The Typhoon is 690-750kg w/gun, no ammo but the Mk38 Mod 2 is 1,040kg (w/gun, no ammo; ~2,295lb). With 168rds@0.5kg, that’s +84kg (+185lb). So total armed weight for the Mk 38 Mod 2 would be about 1,124kg.

    One of these fits on the forecastle of the 48 ton (standard), 60 ton (full load) Super Dvora FPBs…but I don’t know of any reason that they shouldn’t fit on the smaller craft. For comparison, the CB90s had the AMOS mortar system installed (3,300kg for turret, reportedly as low as 2,500kg with aluminum armor) and successfully, albeit with a much lower center of gravity and there were understandable issues of recoil force. The Alucat M12 bears the 1,500kg NEMO mortar system readily, although it is only 10.3-14 tons.

    So by weight alone it should work fine.

    *- The winning ROSAM (Mk 49 Mod 0) RWS in NAVSEA competitive testing was the Mini-Typhoon (the Typhoon’s little sibling) as marketed by GD. So the control systems are likely very similar. More.

    “So what does that tell you about USN priorities?”
    They can’t afford small, effective boats…of any displacement. And are hoping that they stop getting involved in all of these coastal, riverine and shore-oriented problems altogether so that people will forget about such small craft. :)

    “Historical note…Go look up Operation Market Time as well. Its tactics and asset selection apply off Somalia.”
    I’ve actually been reading up a bit on it over the past couple of weeks (school slows that), but the historical blindness in the USN is stunning.

  5. Marcase permalink
    April 28, 2010 2:31 pm

    Well, NECC/SWCC may be needed, if some are to be believed.

    The more forward presence of the Dutch does bring the whole anti-piracy nearly into true coastal waters. Although the LCUs and HNLMS deWitt prefer to stay out of visible (coastal) range, it [i]is[/i] an escalation – of sorts. It can effectively be considered as a naval blockade. And that’s a casus belli in some books.

    With this creeping closer to shore, I wouldn’t be surprised if later this year, actual overt or covert ‘feet dry’ offensive operations will be conducted.

  6. leesea permalink
    April 28, 2010 11:17 am

    CBD, the USN is seriously underfunding the NECC especially when it comes to weapons systems. They ONLY use what others have bought. Pretty sure the Mk38 Mod2 is too havy for CB90/RCB? (will check with Master Gunner) . No AMOS or NEMO mortars for their boats. They are not getting new CB-90/RCBs only variations of boats designed for others like NSW. So what does that tell you about USN priorities?

    Historical note. The Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam used formations of “heavies” converted LCMs to take the fight to the enemy. Some of those boat groups were escorted by PBRs and USN aircraft i.e. Seawolf helo gunships and Black Pony COIN attack planes. The MRF landing craft had Army tanks, howizers and much more in them for offensive power.

    My message to the USN/EUfor:
    Go read what was done many years ago and apply it to current Dutch efforts.

    A platform note one can put a lot of weapons and marines on an LCU!

    Go look up Operation Market Time as well. Its tactics and asset selection apply off Somalia.

  7. CBD permalink
    April 28, 2010 10:07 am

    Very interesting back story! Hell of a thing to have an LPD but no helicopters. But then again, lots of USN destroyers also run without full complements of helicopters in spite of their relative availability.

  8. Marcase permalink
    April 28, 2010 8:26 am

    CBD – my colleagues are RNLN (though I’m just a Dutch MoD REMF now), and there was serious thought about “upgunning” the ’empty’ LCUs. The YPR was considered (as were .50cal MB jeeps) as it’s still amphibious (after a fashion). But various practical objections scuttled that idea (conflict ‘escalation’, training sailors to use the YPR, maintenance etc.)

    The LCU idea isn’t exactly new for the Dutch themselves as well, we used this LCU tactic way back in the ’50s and ’60s in New Guinea and Indonesia.

    The plan was pitched a year ago when deWitt was chosen for deployment, and was coordinated through Northwood (UK). What sold it was the expanding range of the pirate attacks, all the way to the Seychelles.

    This more pro-active approach was however also necessary because the Dutch Lynx helos are currently down; out of 21 only a handfull are operational due to budget cuts caused by NH-90 delays. As a result, HNLMS deWitt doesn’t carry any helos – helluva thing for an LPD…

    The RNLN was also interested in acquiring CB-90Hs (2011), but that plan fell through with the coming defense cuts.
    Real shame that one.

    Some lame RNLN pics/info (in Dutch) –

  9. CBD permalink
    April 28, 2010 7:34 am

    It is nice to see somebody in their command has put some thought into the problem…and nicer that they’re using the same solutions that have often appeared on this blog. Best of all, they work.

    There’s a significant history of the large landing craft being used as independent patrol vessels and command ships for such coastal (however you define it) and riverine groups. The the interdiction operations off of Vietnam come to mind, as do a couple of smaller operations in WWII. Perhaps the CO of the Hr. Ms. deWitt has been reading up on these previous actions?

    Also, where’d you hear about the plans to place AIFVs on the landing craft?
    I’ve had trouble just finding basic data on the Dutch landing craft used let alone the planning of this action.

    I’m just responding to Mike’s unusually unclear statement about the video.

    Absolutely agree about the need to recognize the importance of small boat handling capabilities. Unless the USN starts providing the SWCCs with scores of CB-90s/RCBs (and a means of transporting them, as we’ve previously discussed), there’s little they’ll be able to do for the USN.

    For a best use of these crews and USN resources, put out some RCBs with Mk 38 Mod 2 RWSes mounted in the central gun position and some SWCCs at other weapons stations and you’ll have a vessel fast and well armed enough to obliterate almost any of the IRGC/Navy units seen. Strap some ATGMs onto the side of the RWS and those FACs also become prey.

    If so desired, a small RHIB could fit on the aft part of the original CB-90, not sure if there’s still room on the shortened RCB hull, but it would be a nice means of deploying a boarding party for VBSS. So with some good thought, we have a counter to the swarm that could also be useful in other green and brown water scenarios. Best of all, there’s this on-going situation off of Somalia that could use their help…

  10. Mike Burleson permalink*
    April 28, 2010 7:14 am

    No big deal. It was just going off the page on my browser.

  11. Marcase permalink
    April 28, 2010 6:27 am

    Thanks, I’ll do that in the future ;).

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    April 28, 2010 4:19 am

    Marcase, I embedded the link there!

  13. Marcase permalink
    April 28, 2010 4:17 am

    Using the landing craft, the deWitt already caught some pirates (and dropped them off safely at the beach).

    Some pictures here

  14. Marcase permalink
    April 28, 2010 4:13 am

    Perhaps the Dutch approach might be an option. The LPD deWitt is currently deployed off Somalia, and uses two groups of landing craft (with deWitt in the center) in a line to cover the Somali coast; forward sea control instead of chasing pirates out there on open sea.

    The two ‘flanking’ groups each consist of a (large) LCU, 2 (smaller) LCAs and some fast RHIBs. The LCUs act as mini-command ships and are equipped with .50cals, and can even be armored to protect against small arms.
    Heck, there was serious talk of placing a YPR-765 AIFV aboard the LCUs, which could provide fire support with its 25mm cannon.

    SWCC are more riverine than ‘blue water’ anti-swarm units. To counter the latter, an AH-1Z or MH-60 would be the best option.

  15. leesea permalink
    April 28, 2010 1:11 am

    Solomon I don’t think so, as a matter of fact I know that SEALs and SWCCs can take incoming probably a lot more than you might think!

    The NSW sailors have operated in that part of the world for a long time and their stories are still not being told.

    CBD, Whether the NSW crews/boats will be used to counter swarming tactics is another thing all together. The blue water navy had better get its head wrapped around the asymetric, kinetic wafare concept PDQ. The USN needs to deploy more small warboats and equip its larger combatants better to counter the threats in the dangerous green waters.

  16. CBD permalink
    April 27, 2010 9:45 pm

    Not sure how NSWCC crews will do much in the likely scenarios…

  17. April 27, 2010 9:00 pm

    they’re good guys but please note that a couple of RPG’s and those guys are toast. those boats only have kevlar linings…not much else.


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