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Admiral Roughead Speaks

June 30, 2010
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Our Navy is in trouble, suffering through the birthing pains of a new century while grappling with antiquated shipyards and outdated procurement practices. Put bluntly, it is facing total obsolescence in a new era it has yet come to terms with. Don’t just take my word for it though. Listen to some select quotes from the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead’s speech at the Current Strategy Forum on June 8:

On Outsourcing Naval Security:

But we alone don’t need to cover all the worlds’ waterways against the many different threats. After all, global commons ought to be served by a global response. This is where are partnership fits in- specifically global maritime partnerships…

On Declining Naval Assets and Support Structure

In the past, as we entered a downturn in the defense budgets we could rely on a Fleet that had been built in the upturn, we could rely on a resilient industrial base that could weather the lean years. We could even rely on the personnel base that was either large enough to solve any problem through sheer manpower or a personnel base that could be significantly reduced without a significant effect.

But in this downturn, it is different. This time is different for the Navy.

This time it is different because we are the smallest Navy that we ever been since 1916.

This time it is different because the Fleet shrank in the last period of budget growth.

This time it is different because we have a strategy of engagement of being out and about, a strategy that requires us to be at more places in the world.

This time it is different because high-tech threats are proliferating at a faster and faster rate and they are simply not proliferating among nations, but they are proliferating to non-state actors.

This time it is different because our industrial base, which in the last downturn consisted of six major shipbuilding corporations now consists of two.

This time it is different for us in the Navy where we depend on our nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines- that part of the industrial base at one point had eight corporations and now it is down to two.

This time it is different because we have already reduced our personnel numbers by 16 percent and we saw a commensurate rise in cost by 13 percent when we did that. But I would also tell you where as that may all seem negligible, this time it is different because we have the best Sailors I have ever served in my 40 years in the Navy…

Questioning current building practices

We must ask if our procurement process is adequate for the environment in which we live, where we let a contract on a ship move rapidly- seven to 10 years to deliver that ship…

On the Need for Navies

Our Navy is very different than the larger U.S. navies of the past. And while our Navy is very different, and much smaller, we are also facing a new emerging order that I believe requires more naval power.

*****

35 Comments leave one →
  1. sid permalink
    July 5, 2010 10:17 pm

    And there are really only two practical options: 1) armor, and a lot of it, or 2) stealth, which practically speaking, means submarines.

    That is simply not so Graham.

    Again, the point is NOT to make ever ship “invincible”. The point is, that -in fact- much can be done to employ the basic tenets of Survivability Engineering into all too long neglected aspects of ship design.

  2. Graham Strouse permalink
    July 5, 2010 6:06 pm

    Mike/sid-

    Don’t get me wrong, guys. I think you both make a lot of salient arguments & in some respects might be closer together then you realize.

    Regarding the Corvette Navy (as it were): I know this goes against current American procurement policy, but it might be a good idea to start looking into other countries with advanced ship-building capability as a potential source. South Korea, Japan, Germany & the Scandanavian countries all have excellent ship-building yards & experience building quality low-end warships. At the worst, by opening up this market to foreign ship-builders, we might actually create the kind of competition we need to get the domestic yards to offer more thrifty & effective designs. I’m not usually a fan of globalist capitalism, but in this case I see it as a win-win deal.

    Regarding “survivability” & littoral combatants: When you’re operating close to hostile shores you need that last line of defense. And there are really only two practical options: 1) armor, and a lot of it, or 2) stealth, which practically speaking, means submarines. Offensively, you need enough munitions (guns, MLRS batteries, SEAL teams, etc) to make your loitering time worth it. Precision weapons cost a lot & you can’t carry as many of them. The main reason the Iowas remained valuable military assets for almost 50 years was because they were incredibly well-armored & they could just coast back & forth blowing the enemy apart all friggin’ day. They could attack with impunity & whatever it was they attacked tended to go away quickly, violently & traumatically (from the enemy standpoint, anyway).

    There’s no getting around the this fact If you’re going to operate in the littorals for a protracted period you need to be survivable & you need to be able to effectively deliver ordnance on target for an extended period of time in a cost efficient manner. Why do you think they’re flying the wings off the Spectre & Spooky fleets in Afghanistan? They’re flying battleships. Anyway, this is a stimulating conversation. Just had to put in my 2 cents.

  3. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 5, 2010 5:57 pm

    Graham wrote-“The Brits lost so many major assets early in the war precisely because they dispersed their heavy platforms (carriers, BBs & BCs) into small groups spread over a wide area with limited defensive coverage.”

    You are exactly correct as as you pointed out, the USN is forcing the same outcome on its own stretched thin fleet. The British did this out of necessity, because they weren’t prepared for modern war, and had too few ships. So the USN repeats the same mistake, becoming enamored with the basic Nimitz class hull where they could be building many small light carriers, taking their capital assets like the DDG Burke battleships off flotilla duty and using their long range Tomahawks to take some of the pressure off the handful of flattops.

  4. Graham Strouse permalink
    July 5, 2010 3:18 pm

    The dispersal pattern I mean…

  5. Graham Strouse permalink
    July 5, 2010 3:11 pm

    A tangential put crucial point to my previous post–

    The Brits lost so many major assets early in the war precisely because they dispersed their heavy platforms (carriers, BBs & BCs) into small groups spread over a wide area with limited defensive coverage. When grouped into fer real TFs they were pretty effective. Unfortunately, the USN seems to be devolving in this direction today…

  6. Graham Strouse permalink
    July 5, 2010 3:07 pm

    @all

    First, as far as WWII is concerned, US BBs were invaluable. Total battleship losses for the war were one old BB (Arizona) & one training ship (Utah, I believe). Comparing US BBs to British BBs (and their doctrine) isn’t at all accurate. The Brits placed less value on armor & had a habit of dispersing forces foolishly. Also, when the newer fast battleships came online they quickly became the most valuable anti-air/bombardment vessels in the fleet. Radar & the proximity-fused 5″/38 DP gun (which they all had a lot of, including the refitted older BBs), plus tertiary weapons, in volume, made them the best fleet protectors in the Navy. And those big guns were invaluable when it came to reducing ground forces in both theaters. American naval leadership was quicker to adapt to the changing role of the battleship then the Brits, Germans & Japanese were, and we used them effectively.

    Poorly protected carriers didn’t fair very well when exposed to serious air attacks, submarine attacks or surface attacks (HMS Glorious & her escorts were massacred by Sharnhorsct & Gneisenau).

    The point is that understanding what a platform is and isn’t good for is essential & arguing for which is number 1 in all conditions is rather pointless at best.

  7. sid permalink
    July 2, 2010 8:47 am

    I am more concerned about the transformation of warfare and the evolution of ship design which often trumps perceived “survivability”.

    I sure am glad that others “percieve” Warship Survivability correctly….

  8. sid permalink
    July 2, 2010 7:48 am

    I am more concerned about the transformation of warfare and the evolution of ship design which often trumps perceived “survivability”.

    o Fleets weak in staying power relative to their combat power are in an unstable condition. They are subject to destruction and defeat at the same time their ordnance is delivered. Such fleets must operate in a highly risk-averse mode, as if tactically paranoid. Conclusion 8 specifies unstable conditions.

    Capt. Wayne P Hughes

  9. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 6:41 pm

    So, you still doggedly stick to the very wrong idea that “survivability” is all about outmoded armor.

    And by extension, “exquisite.”

    If you disagree with the precept, at least you should attack it honestly and not try to fit it into an inaccurate hole that fits your argument….

    (the following fits for ships as well as aircraft)

    Vulnerability Reduction Deserves Some Respect
    RADM Robert H. Gormley USN, (Ret)

    The JTCG/AS has chosen wisely to devote this issue of Aircraft Survivability
    to vulnerability reduction technology. The Combat Survivability Division of the
    National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) certainly endorses the theme of
    this edition of the newsletter since we believe aircraft vulnerability reduction has not received sufficient attention in recent years. For this reason, the program for our October 1997 symposium was structured to shed light in this darkening vulnerability “corner” — to see how technological advancements might contribute to enhancing the survivability of both military and civil aircraft.
    In the survivability field, fiscal constraints can lead to a hyperfocus on susceptibility reduction since hit avoidance is without question the first thing one should do to enhance combat survivability. So, the logic might then go, let’s not attempt to improve damage resistance and damage tolerance of new air platforms. Or alternatively, why not relax vulnerability requirements in order to save on development and procurement costs?
    I urge caution here, particularly in the case of manned aircraft. It seems to me that those who determine aircraft requirements and characteristics would do well to avoid being too quickly dismissive of vulnerability considerations.
    They need to look carefully at the full range of possible tactical employment scenarios for proposed new aircraft, giving weight to the historical combat usage record of earlier planes. And before making a final decision on aircraft characteristics, into which the affordability factor must clearly weigh, requirements and acquisition officials should ask themselves two key questions relating to survivability:

    “If hit, do we really want this new bird to
    be more likely to be lost than the plane it
    is to replace?”

    And, “Is there a need for it
    to be less vulnerable than the predecessor
    system?”

    No

    and Yes

    When it comes to the fleet of 2020 and beyond…

  10. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 6:20 pm

    The old BB’s had plenty of staying power.

    yet again you mischaracterize…

    When the last of the survivors swam away from the Repulse and Prince of Wales, the BB’s no longer possessed much in the way of staying power absent air power.

  11. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 6:16 pm

    Then you have deliberately moving forward with a big hole in your logic.

    And proposing a fleet construct that will be easily defeated.

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 1, 2010 6:02 pm

    “”Staying Power”….

    The old BB’s had plenty of staying power. I am more concerned about the transformation of warfare and the evolution of ship design which often trumps perceived “survivability”.

  13. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 2:23 pm

    The principles of war remain the same,

    Sure do.

    So I am puzzled why you willfully ignore the immutable validity of Unit and Force “Staying Power”….

    And continue to perpetuate incorrect ideas about the entire subject of “Survivability”.

  14. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 1, 2010 1:19 pm

    Sid wrote “For someone who purports a, “New Look”, you sure seem all too mired in the precepts of 1945 Mike.”

    A back to basics is always entailed with reform. Kinda like the ground forces reading Sun Tzu or Clausewitz. The principles of war remain the same, though I do like HSVs which are new, except catamarans have been around since ancient times.

    Nothing new under the sun.

    Plus this is the last major war at sea we fought, and to ignore the lessons thereof is to our peril. With the Kamikazes you can almost get a glimpse of the future of warfare, and a pause of 70 years, with part 2 coming soon only with guided missiles instead of manned planes.

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/lessons-from-the-last-war-at-sea-pt-1/

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/lessons-from-the-last-war-at-sea-pt-2/

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/lessons-from-the-last-war-at-sea-pt-3/

    Also some non-naval stuff:

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/lessons-from-the-last-year-of-war-pt-1/

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/lessons-from-the-last-year-of-war-pt-2/

  15. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 1, 2010 1:07 pm

    I would not argue that investing in survivability is not a good investment.

  16. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 11:49 am

    That the Casablanca Class may have had some design defects, but the losses were not much heavier than would be expected if the ships had been built to naval standards.

    Have to remember though, the BuShips started an aggressive mod program to install magazine splinter protection by early 1943 in the class. However the Liscome Bay was lost prior to being refitted.

    Also, the Brits went even further than the US in hull “Vulnerability Reduction”. The Naval Constructor made it a point to highlight the fact that the HMS Nabob survived a torpedo that would have sunk a US CVE.

    See Friedman US Aircraft Carriers p177.

  17. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 1, 2010 11:31 am

    What I felt was significant was that, first, carriers were very vulnerable, particularly early in the war, before we learned how to minimize the chances of secondary explosions. This is clear when you look at the loss of the Princeton and Wasp and HMS Courageous a well. HMS Dasher was lost to an accidental petrol explosion that required no enemy action. That the Casablanca Class may have had some design defects, but the losses were not much heavier than would be expected if the ships had been built to naval standards.

    I don’t find this to be relevant: “Chuck-what you failed to point out in your accurate survey of small carriers, was the immense number built as compared to large carriers, the USN having about 20 of the latter in service by 1945, but over 100 CVE’s and CVLs built for themselves and the RN. So the damage you posted being close the same, the percentages favor the smaller ships.”

    Toward the end of the war CVs were constantly exposed while many CVEs were used to ferry replacement aircraft forward to the CVs making them less exposed, and the Atlantic (where there were never more than 6 USN CVEs) after May 1943 was relatively safe. My figures do not include the number of American built CVEs that were sunk or damaged in Royal Navy service.

    I think it should be obvious that size is major determinate of survivability. A higher percentage of CVEs sank when damaged primarily because they were smaller, not because they were built to merchant standards, although that was a secondary contributing factor.

    You see the same size dependent loss rate when you look at battleships, Cruisers, and Destroyers.

    Type Total lost or damaged Lost % lost
    Battleships 38 2 5.2
    Cruisers 66 10 15.2
    DD/DE 298 69 23.2

    It might even be argued that the loss of the two battleships should not be counted in that they were clearly not on a wartime footing when they were hit.

    I do understand that you can argue that if you can make more ships because they are smaller the total percentage of the population that is lost may the the same or lower. That kind of number is very hard to extract because the population was constantly changing. The one example I can immediately see is the inverse–the small number of CVs at the start of the war. All six carriers in the Pacific were hit and all but two of those (Enterprise and Saratoga) were sunk.

  18. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 11:16 am

    What I think you see is primarily that bigger ships are harder to sink.

    Every one of these Essex’s took significant battle damage by 1945….

    Every. One.

    Oh, and see the smaller Independence CVL to the left?

    Thats the largest US carrier type sunk.

    Kinda makes Chuck’s point.

  19. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 11:05 am

    Also, you can’t overlook that because the smaller ships were considered expendable,

    For someone who purports a, “New Look”, you sure seem all too mired in the precepts of 1945 Mike.

    Then, the US easily outproduced its enemies. No matter your rosy projections of “hundreds” of certain kinds of ships….By 2050 the ability of the US to wage a War of Production will be basically nil.

    And the thought that we can build a sacrificial force will lead your “new look” fleet into a crushing defeat.

    Besides…the CVE’s were never considered “expendable”. Thats a fallacy. Go read Friedman.

    CVE’s were built in very large numbers…In productions runs that will be impossible to replicate in this century.

    Again, the essential flaw in your operational construct is the the reliance on numbers that will never materialize.

    Also, the idea that CVE’s were pushed forward while the fleet carriers stood off, is entirely incorrect as well.

    Where the Jap’s rapidly degraded airpower could touch them, they took a beating.

    Oh, and don’t get me wrong. You make some good points about the lack of numbers of carriers, and their immense costs.

    Also…I never see this discussed….Is that carriers are the only warship type in modern times that carries its “main battery” aboard entirely unprotected.

    One blast over the deck, and they are done, as no provision at all has been made to protect that aircraft and deck crew.

    Used to be the USN got around that by pushing a steady supply of replacements forward in CVE divisons…Numbers and a a surfeit of production that won’t happen again.

    During the nuke years, it really didn’t matter, and since WWII, carriers have only operated in benign bastions where it hasn’t mattered.

    But to your point of “expendable” It won’t work Mike.

    rebump of this apparently overlooked correspondence:

    I know it is late to start talking about modifications in design…
    But the thought of sending these ships to sea as at present fills me with dismay…
    These auxiliary carriers are such valuable ships, have such valuable equipment, and above all, invaluable trained personnel, that if it is humanly possible I think we would be amply justified in any reasonable improvements which will help them to keep aflat when damaged.

  20. Juramentado permalink
    July 1, 2010 10:15 am

    “The Somali pirates are taking fishing vessels and speed boats for cruisers, plus captured merchantmen for motherships, and challenging the sea control of the world’s great powers.”

    Mike – this isn’t really happening outside of known pirate havens on the Somali coast like Eyl. Motherships that that large are contra-indicated for current raider doctrine. It’s too large and too slow a target and would easily be picked up on radar. For the most part, they are relying on their small size and agility to evade escort assets. Heck the motherships we’re seeing now aren’t much larger than a 32-footer, but packed to the gunwales with log material to support the skiffs.

  21. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 1, 2010 9:43 am

    Chuck-what you failed to point out in your accurate survey of small carriers, was the immense number built as compared to large carriers, the USN having about 20 of the latter in service by 1945, but over 100 CVE’s and CVLs built for themselves and the RN. So the damage you posted being close the same, the percentages favor the smaller ships.

    Also, you can’t overlook that because the smaller ships were considered expendable, they were often risked in waters where the bigger ships dare not go for fear of submarine and surface threats. This is why you see the loss of only small ships in the later Pacific War, because they were supporting amphibious landings closer to shore than the fleet carriers.

    The reason you see so many losses of large carriers early in the war, and so few later, might also be thanks to the more numerous small warships later available. Your numbers also point this out.

    Plus there was the submarine war, where the smaller ships were actively seeking the U-boats, lessons learned earlier on that you didn’t do with larger carriers. Compare the loss of Wasp or HMS Courageous, to that of the converted HMS Audacity of 1941, the first baby flattop, and which was the most tragic? The big ships were pulled off ASW duty but a great many more Audacity’s would follow, changing the outcome of the Battle of the Atlantic.

  22. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 1, 2010 2:16 am

    During WWII there were 25 instances of USN CVEs being lost or damaged in combat. This included 6 CVEs sunk or 24% of those hit. Of the far fewer CVs and CVLs, there were 42 instances of ships lost or damaged. These include 4 CVs and one CVL sunk or 12% of those hit.

    Liscome Bay (CVE-56) (CVE-55 class) sunk by one sub torp.
    Block Island (CVE-21) sunk by three sub torp.
    Gambier Bay (CVE-73) (CVE-55 class) sunk by over 26 rounds of surface gunnery
    St Lo (CVE63) (CVE-55 class) sunk by bomb and suicide plane
    Ommaney Bayh (CVE-79) (CVE-55 class) sunk by suicide plane and two bombs
    Bismark Sea (CVE-95) (CVE-55 class) sunk by two suicide planes and one bomb

    On the other hand the Kalinin Bay (CVE-68) (CVE-55 class) survived 15 surface projectiles and two suicide planes

    Of the conventional Carriers
    Wasp (CV-7) was sunk by two (possibly three) sub torp.
    Princeton (CVL-23) was lost to a single bomb

    What I think you see is primarily that bigger ships are harder to sink.

  23. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 1, 2010 12:52 am

    There is a circular relationship between the carriers and the aircraft. The aircraft require a carrier of a certain size and the aircraft designers don’t try to make them capable of operating from 500 ft long decks if 1000 ft long decks is what is in the fleet now.

    We could have STOL aircraft that could take off from 500 ft 10,000 ton carriers filling the role of AWAC, COD, ASW, and even light attack, if manufacturers saw their was a significant market for them.

  24. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 1, 2010 12:33 am

    Probably worth noting that the CVEs of Taffy Three at the battle of Samar were also Casablanca Class.

  25. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 12:19 am

    we say only 100,000 ton supercarriers will suffice.

    The size of the carriers has more to do with the size of the aircraft Mike.

    Gotta remember the Forrestals and later where designed to accommodate the Heavy Attack A-3’s and A-5’s in high latitude seas.

  26. sid permalink
    July 1, 2010 12:15 am

    First, no Liberty ships were converted to CVE. The Casablanca Class specifically were all newly constructed to a unique design, not converted from something else.

    Chuck, you are correct.

    The Block Island was a Bogue Class, which were converted C-3 hulls.

    And the Sangamons were converted T-2 tanker hulls.

    The Casablancas were built to a Maritime Commission hull designed by Gibbs&Cox.

    And its a powerful indictment against the rationale behind Mike’s assertion that “mercantile” designs would make adequate “capital ships.”

    While the Bogues received splinter bulkheads after the loss of the Avenger, the Casablancas did not…

    How the Casablancas came to be is a cautionary tale for those who believe that its ok to just use “mercantile” standards for warship designs.

    From Friedman’s “Aircraft Carriers” (p175)

    A bit of summary first. It was FDR’s personal desire that propelled the construction of the CVE-55’s, primarily because of the ongoing mess in the Atlantic at the time. There had been a host of suitability problems with the previous “mercantile” hull conversions, from slow speed, to sloping hangar decks, and awkward conversion details. Besides, these merchant hulls were sorely needed to replace the losses then ongoing from the U Boats.

    But, FDR -former SECNAV- was to have his way…

    BuShips correspondence:

    …Mr. HJ Kaiser had impressed [the President] with the merits of a design prpared by Gibbs&Cox for an aircraft escort vessel suitable for quantity production and fitted with engines capable of giving the vessel a speed of around 20 knots…
    The paramount need of the new additional program is speed, and to this end, it was decided that these vessels would be constructed by the Maritime Commission and inspected by them.
    In other words, it is to be a thoroughly Maritime Commission program….

    There it is Mike. A retro view of your “new look”.

    Friedman notes:

    Protection was limited….Moreover the concentration of personnel (as in modern merchants, and a factor of the Atlantic Conveyor) in itself made for the possibility of very heavy casualties from a single catastrophic hit, as actually occurred in the case of the Liscome Bay.
    The Casablanca hull was too small to accommodate the splinter bulkheads fitted to the C-3 conversions after the loss of the HMS Avenger. Moreover it could be argued that the C-3 conversions were more survivable
    (as the Block Island proved)…

    Sadly, the Vulnerability of the CV_55’s were recognized -at least by the Brits. Admiral JWS Dorling wrote of the CVE-55’s-10 months before the Liscome Bay tragedy:

    I know it is late to start talking about modifications in design…
    But the thought of sending these ships to sea as at present fills me with dismay…
    These auxiliary carriers are such valuable ships, have such valuable equipment, and above all, invaluable trained personnel, that if it is humanly possible I think we would be amply justified in any reasonable improvements which will help them to keep aflat when damaged
    .

    The Brits went on to significantly modify their CVE’s….While we didn’t, and over 700 sailors died at Makin, and offensive ops were dramatically impacted.

    Thats where your “mercantile” capital ships will get you.

  27. Chuck Hill permalink
    June 30, 2010 10:49 pm

    First, no Liberty ships were converted to CVE. The Casablanca Class specifically were all newly constructed to a unique design, not converted from something else.

    Certainly the degree of protection and the choice of what threats will be considered is something that needs to be considered in the light of a cost benefit analysis. As I understand it the Navy does not just have one standard applied to all types of ships, they have a range of standards.

    Next the Navy got themselves into this mess by having massive multi-year contracts that starved the losers and killed off competition.

    To make things worse they are building only high end ships that only the most sophisticated yards can build. Only one can now build aircraft carriers. (Is it only one can now build nuclear subs?)

    If they want this to change, they are going to have to award contracts for less sophisticated ships to multiple smaller yards.

  28. sid permalink
    June 30, 2010 6:16 pm

    It is something to consider, plus recalling how escort carriers from the world war were built on Liberty Ship hulls, used in amphibious operations and close air support that we say only 100,000 ton supercarriers will suffice.

    Again, its you who are making the leap: Survivability = Big Exquisite Expensive

    But, with careful design considerations…In the case of added splinter protection over existing holds converted into magazines on the Casablanca Class for instance….even smaller ships’ “Staying Power” can be increased exponentially…

    (I was wrong, the Block Island was struck by THREE torpedoes…and would not have sunk if the third one had not hit)

    1. BLOCK ISLAND was converted from the Maritime Commission
    C­3 class, a single screw cargo type. She was the second U.S. escort
    carrier to be lost as the result of submarine torpedo attack. BLOCK
    ISLAND was struck initially by two torpedoes and later by a third.
    There is overwhelming evidence that the ship would have survived the
    first two torpedoes. Although the third torpedo destroyed nearly all _
    of the buoyancy aft of the machinery spaces, more than an hour and a
    half elapsed before BLOCK ISLAND finally sank. Only six men were
    lost. Thus, this case stands in sharp contrast to the loss of LISCOME
    BAY (CVE56)*, in which it will be recalled that the bomb magazines
    detonated, destroying the after portion of the ship almost immediately
    and resulting in the loss of the vessel about 23 minutes after being torpedoed.

    The inclusion of splinter bulkheads…which limited magazine capacity, but in view of the Liscome Bay loss was then deemed acceptable…made all the difference in the world.

    And that is what the Vulnerability Reduction part of Survivability is all about.

    That is what is worth considering….

  29. Hudson permalink
    June 30, 2010 6:09 pm

    Admiral Roughead sounds like a Greek chorus wailing with his “This time it is different…” refrain. Granted, we need to be ready for emerging threats, and yes, the incredible shrinking fleet is the smallest it has been in nearly a century, and so on, and so on. But what other navy in the world, that we alone could crush or with our numerous seaworthy allies, is so anxious and insecure that it is sounding such a high alarm? Name one. OK, maybe the RN, which has us on their side. Maybe the Canucks, who also have us on their side. I ask you. The Russians, the Chinese, the Swiss Navy?

  30. sid permalink
    June 30, 2010 5:03 pm

    6. LISCOME BAY, Maritime Commission Hull 1093, was one of
    a large class of ships designed as escort carriers by the
    Maritime Commission. She was built by the Vancouver yards
    of the Kaiser Company, Inc. to the plans and specifications
    of the Maritime Commission and under the supervision of the
    Maritime Commission. Thus, hull design and construction followed
    merchant-type practice in contrast with combatant-type
    carriers built to Navy Department specifications. The main
    objective, of course, of this procedure was to provide a large
    number of small escort carriers in the shortest possible time
    by following mass production methods. The ships were originally
    intended, as their name indicates, for employment as
    convoy escorts, primarily to provide planes for anti-submarine
    work. It is well known that all classes of escort carriers,
    ~s well as other naval ships converted from merchant types,
    do not have armor protection against direct hits by bombs and
    projectiles, and do not have torpedo protection systems such
    s those provided in large carriers. In the class of escort
    carriers converted from oilers, however, good protection against
    fragments from torpedo hits is provided by a heavy layer of
    liquid in the wing tanks (originally oil tanks). In escort
    carriers converted from C-3 hulls, as in some other naval
    auxiliaries converted from merchant-type hulls, the Bureau of
    Ships required special protection against fragments from
    torpedo hits in way of torpedo and bomb stowage spaces. This
    protection took the form of a liquid layer or, in special cases,
    a heavy splinter protection bulkhead. In the CVE55 class,
    however, primarily because of the very limited space available
    for bombs and the urgent demands for early delivery of the
    ships, this protection was not provided.

    That adherence to “mercantile” designs were the direct reasons for the catastrophic loss of the Liscome Bay and the HMS Avenger is what should be “considered”…

  31. sid permalink
    June 30, 2010 4:52 pm

    It is something to consider, plus recalling how escort carriers from the world war were built on Liberty Ship hulls, used in amphibious operations and close air support that we say only 100,000 ton supercarriers will suffice.

    You very obviously ignored the excerpts I posted from the Liscome Bay War Loss Report Mike.

    Just wondering why?

    The ship -in the crush to provide numbers quickly- never was fitted with magazine splinter protection. When she was hit by a torpedo, 75 percent of her crew, and the capability to provide the CAS for the Makin landing were lost as the other CVEs were withdrawn as well after she sank.

    Two years later, another Casablanca Class the Block Island, took 2 torpedoes about the same spot…and only reluctantly sank. Indeed it was very nearly saved.

    The difference?

    The inclusion of splinter protection after the Liscome Bay experience.

    Yet you want to put the valuable military elements into Liscome Bays…

    Thats a looser fleet for sure Mike.

  32. sid permalink
    June 30, 2010 4:45 pm

    But if you see us solving all our problems with the same ole procurement practices,

    Absolutely NOT!!!

    Thats why we are in the mess we find ourselves.

    Not certain why you think I do….But I will opine it is your knee-jerk misplaced reaction, that any time I bring up the “S” word I must be talking about big expensive -exquisite- ships.

    Absolutely not so, and my intent here is to bang away at what it really is all about.

    Very certainly numbers matter. Can’t have one impregnable, invincible warship and expect to win any wars at sea. Problem with your construct is that, even under the best of circumstances, your notional fleet will never reach those required. This is why you cannot ignore the relative worth of building ships -large or small- as WARships.

    You cannot deny that you have repeatedly touted the supposed cost savings of civil design (“mercantile”) standards in your notional ships. But your calculus is very badly flawed.

    I have no truck with the likes of Lockmart or NG. They are the ones who want to go down the “exquisite” road -no matter the size of the platform- because it gets them the most return on investment. And, sadly, the DOD and services have left most of the formulation of requirements up to them.

    Getting the keys to the henhouse back from those wolves should be the first order of business…

  33. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 30, 2010 4:30 pm

    Another thing concerning mercantile construction for warships:
    The Somali pirates are taking fishing vessels and speed boats for cruisers, plus captured merchantmen for motherships, and challenging the sea control of the world’s great powers. It is something to consider, plus recalling how escort carriers from the world war were built on Liberty Ship hulls, used in amphibious operations and close air support that we say only 100,000 ton supercarriers will suffice.

  34. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 30, 2010 4:22 pm

    “Your proposed fleet architecture is based almost solely on numbers…At the expense of individual unit “Staying Power” by producing them to “mercantile” standards.”

    Sid, that is incorrect. I want to take our immaculate seapower, which is currently concentrated in a shrinking number of giant hulls, probably vulnerable to new anti-access weapons, and unable to manage the myriad threats facing it, and disperse this power. It would be a leaner, meaner fleet, not stretched thin or over-deployed, and prepared for a diversity of Hybrid Threats, not just the type of non-naval powers like Korea, Vietnam, or Saddam’s Iraq we have been facing the past 70 years, which aren’t shooting at our ships.

    But if you see us solving all our problems with the same ole procurement practices, the same ships from the last century, and shrinking numbers, when even the Chief of Naval Operations doesn’t think this any longer, then thats great.

  35. sid permalink
    June 30, 2010 4:11 pm

    Our Navy is very different than the larger U.S. navies of the past. And while our Navy is very different, and much smaller, we are also facing a new emerging order that I believe requires more naval power.

    Your proposed fleet architecture is based almost solely on numbers…At the expense of individual unit “Staying Power” by producing them to “mercantile” standards.

    Mike, as constructed, your notional “new” fleet will be dangerously tactically unstable because of the imbalance of Staying Power vs. Firepower

    This isn’t a call to only build big “exquisite” ships. Not at all. You’ve been badly mistaken in equating “Survivability” with the badly flawed notion that no amount of survivability matters short of complete invincibility.

    Large or small, individual units -indeed the entire force- MUST be constructed with an eye to maximizing effective “Staying Power.”

    And if a fleet were constructed with the fatal flaw you would engineer into it -coupled with the inevitable fact it will NEVER reach the numbers needed; nor will its losses be easily replaced- it will face the same fate the IJN did from 1943-1945.

    From the NPS thesis:

    THE EFFECT OF STAYING POWER ON OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE POWER OF A MODERN WARSHIP

    The warship attribute of staying power is given less attention than the attributes of offensive and defensive power. Most people are interested in armament, such as the number and kind of offensive and defensive missiles a warship has.

    Only a few will study how many missiles a particular ship can absorb before being put
    out of action. It is nice if a ship can deliver its missiles as well as defend against those incoming. But, what if the ship is unable to absorb a missile and continue fighting due
    to a momentary failure in the ship’s defense system?

    Once again, it is pertinent to note Hughes’ admonition that, “Ship staying power’s
    inherent robustness suggests that it should be treated with great respect.”
    A major purpose of this study was to examine the interrelationships between
    staying power and defensive or offensive power, even though staying power is
    more closely related to the design of the warship. This examination was accomplished
    in Chapter IV.

    The relationship between staying power and defensive power is linear and reciprocal. The weaker the defensive power, in hits prevented, the stronger the staying power has to be, in hits that can be taken while continuing to fight. The reason for this relationship is that both attributes (staying and defensive power) work for the same final goal. They both make the effect of the enemy’s missiles less powerful.Defensive power consists of trying to intercept an enemy missile prior to impact with a friendly unit.

    Staying power complements the weakness of defensive in that after a missile hits a friendly unit (because of a failure of that unit’s defensive power), it is the staying power which reduces the missile’s effect by enabling the warship to continue fighting.

    The relationship between staying power and offensive power is non-linear and hyperbolic.
    The reason for this hyperbolic relationship is that offensive power is inherently and
    functionally different from staying power. Offensive power’s function is to hit the enemy. Staying power’s function is to give the opportunity for the offensive power to fire again if it fails to eliminate the enemy on the first try.

    We could say that together these three attributes all work for a common goal-to increase
    the survivability of the warship while it completes its work on the enemy. It is important to realize that a high value of staying power contributes uniquely to survivability because the human factors of scouting effectiveness and alertness have less effect on it. The importance of a high value staying power even increases in some special situations. For example, Hughes has explained that, “In littoral operations, the effectiveness of defensive systems will be curtailed because of short response time, in which case survival and the ability to
    fulfill a mission will depend more heavily on staying power.” A warship which is weak
    in staying power relative to its offensive and defensive power is in a highly risky situation.

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