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5 Quick Fixes for the US Navy

July 6, 2010

Modern frigates are some of the world's most powerful and expensive warships. This is the Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme (73).

As noted for the past few weeks, I think a new naval revolution is upon us, where ships costing in the tens of millions will gain renewed importance over those we generally buy pricing in the billions. High end warships still have their place, but are becoming increasingly difficult to procure in adequate numbers, and when they do enter service, are so technically complicated, they require numerous trips back to drydock to make them fully operational. You have to wonder if these high tech marvels will actually work in major combat, and what will break down at a critical moment?

I think history bears this out, that every century or so the fleet must have a radical makeover or face obsolescence against new threats. Even national calamity can result when countries prepare to fight the wrong war, as France learned in 1940. In the unlikelihood the enormous difficulties and challenges the USN currently faces is crying for fleet overhaul, there are some cosmetics changes the service can do to the fleet they have, without losing capability.

  1. Build small carriers. Take advantage of the revolution in naval airpower, specifically smart bombs that have put an end to multiple sorties by huge airwings to ensure a target is destroyed, and smart planes that need low maintenance. 50,000 ton ships with 20-30 planes should be more than adequate, and you could build enough of them to matter. Price range from $1.5-$4 billion each.
  2. Build smaller nuclear submarines. It seems the primary advantage of a modern sub is the near-universal endurance it gets from nuclear power. Can’t we find a reactor to fit in a smaller submarine? With so few peer antagonist, it seems a 3000 ton nuke boat would be quite adequate for most needs. Price at about $1 billion or maybe less.
  3. Replace cruisers and destroyers with frigates. Frigates today are no longer low end escorts though most price less than modern guided missile destroyers. From 4000-6000 ton, they can carry Aegis, and though often a smaller weapons load than larger ships, are extremely powerful nonetheless. Price starts as low as $300 million+ but no more than $1 billion each.
  4. Replace frigates with corvettes. If the frigates become the new destroyer, what will replace their vital role as low end escorts? The answer is the corvette, most of which are more heavily armed than our Perry and LCS ships, which we have to disarm in order to afford them! The USN could build a decent corvette closer to $200 million each, the original asking price for the LCS.
  5. Build smaller European style amphibs. The Marine’s main complaint these days is not possessing enough amphibious lift. If you look at the type amphibious ships we are getting, over-priced and underperforming monoliths like the LPD-17 and LHA-6 classes, is it any wonder? The amphibs we buy should be more practical as with European versions which rarely weigh over 20,000 tons but are immensely capable and affordable. All prices range from $500 million to $1 billion.

*****

FS Saphir, French Rubis class nuclear sub

41 Comments leave one →
  1. bradyn jace permalink
    December 3, 2016 3:06 am

    My colleagues wanted GCAAR Notice of Transfer this month and located a website that has 6 million forms . If others have been needing GCAAR Notice of Transfer too , here’s https://goo.gl/YFB3QX.

  2. Hudson permalink
    July 9, 2010 11:52 am

    Thanks, Mike.

  3. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 9, 2010 9:37 am

    “Why not open a new page for this?”

    I’ll consider your proposal Hudson!

  4. Hudson permalink
    July 9, 2010 1:19 am

    Mike,

    A suggestion about Build Your Own Fleet, currently on this post.

    It’s an interesting idea. Many of us, I imagine, don’t have the time to devote to our fantasy fleet, in a day or an evening. Soon, this post will pass into the archives. Why not open a new page for this? This way, there would be no rush and more of us could contribute and thoughtfully comment.

    Just an idea.

  5. B.Smitty permalink
    July 8, 2010 4:37 pm

    Scott B. said, “That’s a very eclectic fleet that you’ve got there. You should try to simplify, otherwise it won’t be sustainable.
    And I would forget about the *New Navy Fighting Machine* thingy, which is nothing more than the last stand of the Office of Farcical Transformation rearguard !!!

    I used it as a starting point because it had a useful set of numbers. I also think there are some (but not all) good ideas illustrated in there.

    They, for instance, don’t buy any amphibious assault ships. On the other hand, I buy more modest ships based on foreign designs because I think their level of specialization is still valuable.

    They also assume CVLs will take over for naval aviation. I’m not buying it.

    Yes, there is definitely some extra program weight that could be shed.

    Two types of SSN probably won’t fly. However if you drop the cheap SSN(5k) option, you can only afford 48 SSN(7k)s total for the same budget. I don’t think dropping the high-end SSN(7k) makes much sense, unless Tango Bravo bears some serious fruit. So do you suffer with fewer, more capable boats? More, less capable boats? Or go with a mix? I went with a mix. Also, I much prefer the SSN(5k) to buying a gaggle of SSKs.

    CVNs, CVs and CVLs are somewhat duplicative. However again, you can afford fewer overall platforms for the same budget if you stick with CVNs alone, for instance. If the F-35B doesn’t pan out, the CVLs could be traded in for more LHD(L)s.

    The CVs can do most of the tasks assigned to CVNs now. They just can’t do as much. Could we get by with fewer than 14 total large deck carriers? Probably. However one of the implicit goals of the exercise was to expand the size of the fleet under the same budget. And I am an airpower aficionado.

    Could we drop the CVN completely? Yes. That may make some sense. As might a conventional Ford class “CV(70 a/c)”.

    The Influence Squadron components cost so little, relative to the overall budget, it doesn’t hurt to have a few different types in there. I particularly like the MSV concept, but this could be partially or totally swapped with an inexpensive OPV.

    The Modular Coastal Combatant is controversial, but I only buy 20. This is enough to experiment with the concept, and enough to be useful in regions where their short range and endurance isn’t as much of an issue.

    The Land Attack ships make sense to me. SSGNs are an extremely expensive way to carry a handful of cruise missiles. As are DDGs.

    DDGs plus FFGs use the same hi/lo principle as the carriers and subs. I expect the FFGs to have area air defense capability, just not to the same extent as the DDGs.

    I was only able to afford 8 SSBNs under my plan. 10-12 are probably a more likely goal.

    Are you going to post your version Scott? I’d be interested to see your thinking on this matter.

  6. Hudson permalink
    July 8, 2010 1:38 pm

    “I was also a former FLT I Burke salior and I can tell you we had no problem dealing with small boats. The Burkes are perhaps the finest multipurpose combatants out there.”

    Good to hear. We fret alot about Iranian boat swarms on this blog.

  7. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 8, 2010 8:25 am

    My mistake on the number of Soviet Subs. According to an off the shelf source book, the Reds have 142 nuke boats in 1979 while we had 109. They may have increased this fleet by the end of the 1980s but it probably wasn”t 200.

  8. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 8, 2010 7:01 am

    RW2 wrote “if you build ships to these specification they would be useless in 10 years because they would be to small to upgrade”

    You mean we can actually start getting new ships again, replacing them on-time, and in adequate numbers? I’m for that! Just don’t think we can keep going as we are, with ships increasing in size, price, and reducing in numbers. Numbers are still essential for vital sea control. Just consider them the Navy’s “boots on the ground”.

    Lets not forget though the over 10 year old Cyclone patrol craft, getting upgraded to make them last even longer!

    Also, your numbers on aircraft carriers disregards our 100+ missile firing platforms, subs and surface ships that are powerful force projection ships in their own right, especially the 4 new SSGNs, with their Tomahawk Block 4 now smarter than ever. Also we have the Marine Harrier carriers which are excellent ground support planes, and probably more cost effective supporting troops than the world’s most expensive and increasingly vulnerable warships.

  9. RW2 permalink
    July 8, 2010 2:56 am

    WOW. I don’t even know where to start. However some quick thoughts. For starters if you build ships to these specification they would be useless in 10 years because they would be to small to upgrade. American warships are always being upgraded. Quality of life for the crew mean anything anymore?For crying out loud LHDs/LHAs are only design to get there aircraft to beach head. My first ship was a LSD out of Sasebo. In a full scale assaualt the Marine Airwing LEAVES the ship to follow the Marines. They do not carry the storage capacity for large number of bombs and missiles. Most importantly you need a minumuim of 10 to 11 Super Carriers. Deployment, work ups, maintnance. Then when conflict does erupt you can have 6 carriers on station ( like during both Gulf Wars) totaling atleast 360 warplanes with 5 CVNS gearing up. I was also a former FLT I Burke salior and I can tell you we had no problem dealing with small boats. The Burkes are perhaps the finest multipurpose combatants out there.

    The problem with the Navy is not the Navy, its greedy defense contractors. They need to be controled if the fleet is to survive.

  10. Scott B. permalink
    July 7, 2010 9:56 pm

    B. Smitty said : “That being said, here is my current version. It’s based on the New Navy Fighting Machine.”

    That’s a very eclectic fleet that you’ve got there. You should try to simplify, otherwise it won’t be sustainable.

    And I would forget about the *New Navy Fighting Machine* thingy, which is nothing more than the last stand of the Office of Farcical Transformation rearguard !!!

  11. Scott B. permalink
    July 7, 2010 6:05 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Concerning Rubis, it probably was too small if what you have to contend with is a 200+ strong Soviet nuke fleet.”

    BTW, when did the Soviets have a 200+ strong nuke fleet ?

  12. Scott B. permalink
    July 7, 2010 6:04 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “The range and speed of the Rubis could still beat any SSK afloat, which is why I’d like to keep some nuke subs in the mix.”

    You keep praising SSKs for their *inherent* quietness, and, all of the sudden, when it comes to SSNs (which might face SSKs), quietness no longer seems to matter as long as you get range and speed.

    Your position really doesn’t make any sense at all.

    In a global Navy, range and speed are needed to get there on time and quietness is needed to prevail once you’re there. You cannot get these with a 3,000-ton SSN : that’s why the French went for

    And you cannot have all of these ingredients (and some more necessary features that would be treated as peacetime luxuries in the *Old* New Wars mindset) in a 3,000-ton SSN. You need at least 4,700-ton surfaced as the damn’ French finally realized.

    At the end of the day, no matter what one may think of the Frogs, they KNOW how small a modern SSN CAN be simply because they have been there, done that : that’s the whole difference between real life experience and preconceived ideological postures I guess…

  13. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 7, 2010 2:00 pm

    Moose, we have to get the price right before SSNs become extinct. I’m thinking about 2050 unless a major war makes it even sooner.

    Concerning Rubis, it probably was too small if what you have to contend with is a 200+ strong Soviet nuke fleet. But the latter bankrupted themselves building high end warships on a faltering economy.

    The range and speed of the Rubis could still beat any SSK afloat, which is why I’d like to keep some nuke subs in the mix.

  14. Moose permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:50 pm

    Glad to see you talking in terms of SSNs instead of SSKs, but 3000 tons is absurdly small. As Scott rightly points out, even the French realize the Rubis is far too small. Give the Block IV or V Virginias the electric drive the Block IIIs didn’t get and they’ll come down in size and displacement by a healthy chunk without giving up their lethality in the process. Done right, we can make them even better.

  15. B.Smitty permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:44 pm

    B.Smitty said,”CV(50 a/c): $4 billion each (per this thread)
    65,000 ton CATOBAR carrier

    Actually I paid $5 billion each for these in my version

  16. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:18 pm

    ” Did it ever happen in WW2? Usually it went step by step, first softening up the island, then land – not both actions simultaneously. ”

    Yes, North Africa, Sicily, and Salerno. Europe was very different from the Pacific Island campaigns. In the Pacific you could isolate an island and start pounding and the enemy could not reinforce, but if you started pounding an area in Europe and made it obvious you were going to land there, the enemy would start reinforcing. That’s why the pre-landing prep was so different between Europe and the Pacific, and why deception was so much more important in Europe.

    The same considerations would apply anywhere the enemy would be able to move additional resources in response to our actions.

  17. B.Smitty permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:06 pm

    Scott B said, “Wanna take a chance and build the first New Look Fleet of the *New* New Wars era, Smitty ?

    I’ve been tinkering with this since War is Boring did their first Build your Navy. Unfortunately just throwing out numbers does little without justification. Lots of big questions to answer. And new ship variants keep popping up.

    That being said, here is my current version. It’s based on the New Navy Fighting Machine.

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AiVQu4lA4SjvdEdEV1dQVE1KOHpPNFUzNDJZUHQtY2c&hl=en&authkey=CIjU5rYE

    I have added a few ship types as follows:

    CV(50 a/c): $4 billion each (per this thread)
    65,000 ton CATOBAR carrier

    FFG: $1 billion each (per this thread)

    MSV (Multipurpose Support Vessel): $100 million each
    This is a ThinkDefense Platform Support Vessel conversion.
    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2010/06/fdr-littoral-4/

    LPD(L): $500 million each
    Enforcer variant (e.g. Albion, Galacia, de Witt, Rotterdam)

    LHD(L): $1 billion each
    Mistral variant

    CVL: $3 billion each
    Cavour or similar

    SSN(5k): $1.5 billion each
    ~5,000ton SSN

    Modular Coastal Combatant: $200 million each
    In the spirit of Streetfighter/Seafighter/Sea Lance

    Total SCN/year is $16 billion.

    ARGs would switch to 5 vessels: 3 LPD(L)s, 1 LHD(L) and 1 CVL. I need to determine what is lost and gained by this change in terms of cargo cube, vehicle square, and so on. I wanted to be able to split the ARG into 2-ship sections, with the CVL detaching to form the core of a separate task group.

  18. Scott B. permalink
    July 7, 2010 11:24 am

    B. Smitty said : “Do we think $15.9 billion is a realistic yearly SCN number?”

    Let’s assume that CBO got it right for a change.

    Wanna take a chance and build the first New Look Fleet of the *New* New Wars era, Smitty ?

  19. Scott B. permalink
    July 7, 2010 11:19 am

    B. Smitty said : “Are you speaking of Mistral or Juan Carlos here? Or Albion, Galicia, Rotterdam, or Johan de Witt?”

    Mistral Mod. for Australia was the benchmark I had in mind.

  20. B.Smitty permalink
    July 7, 2010 11:13 am

    Scott B said, “ CBO recently suggested an envelope of $17.2 billion per year through 2040 (including $1.3 billion per year for the costs of refueling nuclear carriers).

    Do we think $15.9 billion is a realistic yearly SCN number? Or will budget realities push this much lower?

  21. B.Smitty permalink
    July 7, 2010 11:06 am

    Scott B said, “5) How many *small amphibs* (let’s assume a unit cost of $750 million, up to $1 billion just to be on the safe side)

    Are you speaking of Mistral or Juan Carlos here? Or Albion, Galicia, Rotterdam, or Johan de Witt?

  22. Anonymous permalink
    July 7, 2010 7:05 am

    @Distller,

    Thanks for being patient with me on this. As for war with China, I hope it never happens but I believe in being prepared for anything.

    Al

  23. Distiller permalink
    July 7, 2010 2:38 am

    @ Anon:

    I see where you’re coming from. Acknowledged.

    My baseline is that a war against mainland China is impossible, especially an invasion.
    Thus I would not design the conventional U.S. forces for such an event. That’s why I advocate a very robust nuclear force. And I would make it very clear to Red China that in a real war with them it would be nuclear from the first moment on and that they can say good-bye to 200 of their largest urbanized areas. Up the ante! They will understand.
    My baseline says that there might well be war with China, but not mainland vs mainland. Naval actions, yes. Proxy wars somewhere, yes. Covert actions (realspace and cyber), yes. Maybe even direct action in e.g. Africa, maybe alone, maybe as part of a joint force with India (?), yes. But I say it’d a waste of resources to even try to design the U.S. forces for conventional direct action against the Chinese mainland.

  24. elgatoso permalink
    July 7, 2010 1:45 am

    mike ,you want to get patrolships and motherships.Give them to SOCOM.They gonna find a terrific use.

  25. Hudson permalink
    July 7, 2010 12:52 am

    Not to throw cold water on any China vs. USA scenarios, but this past week the PRC and ROC vastly expanded trade between their two countries, making it increasingly unlikely that the PLA will bombard and attempt a violent military takeover of Taiwan.

    Of course, the US and China might spar over another issue, trading pawns, maybe a rook or two. We will never militarily occupy China, they will not occupy us, and no American president will willingly exchange cities with China in a nuclear war. So, maybe we need fewer ships than we think.

  26. Anonymous permalink
    July 6, 2010 10:08 pm

    @Distiller

    Before I answer your questions, let me state a key assumption of mine: these planes would be used in an invasions of China as using them against nearly anyone else would be overkill.

    “And what is NavAir doing during such amphib ops? Sitting back in port?”

    Half of it is sitting in port being repaired because of chinese missile strikes. The other half is trying to hold back the swarms of Chinese fighters and maintain a tenuous air superiority.

    “What can a fastmover offer a Marine rifleman on the ground in air support that a helicopter or UAV can’t? ”

    First, it can offer double the weapons payload of the Cobra.
    Second, it can offer a (limited) AA capability to help prevent Chinese planes from killing troops on the ground.
    Third, it cannot be hacked/jammed like a UAV.
    Fourth (related to first), it has a greater payload than any UAV.

    “And how exactly does that have to be provided by an aircraft with “Marines” on the side? Why not one with “Navy” instead?”

    First, the Navy doesn’t have aircraft and crews specifically for ground support.
    Second, I believe in a war with China we would rapidly run out of both carriers and planes. (We can’t outnumber or outproduce China). So the more we start out with the better.
    Third (because of above), the planes we did have would be stretched thin so each Force would be reluctant to take them away from their own Operations.
    Fourth, those that the Navy could spare would primarily be fighting Chinese fighters for air superiority.

    ” I seriously doubt that in the future an opposed amphib forced entry will take place while an enemy fleet is in the area, or the enemy air force is still operational. ”

    Unfortunately, with China we may have no choice. If we are trying to liberate Taiwan (or South Korea) we would face a fully operational Chinese airforce, plus a potential for reinforcements from the Chinese mainland.

    ” Did it ever happen in WW2? Usually it went step by step, first softening up the island, then land – not both actions simultaniously. ”

    I am aware of how it was done in WWII, I was just making a point that air power has always been important in amphibious landings.

    “The cost-benefit ratio of the low numbers of STOVL strikefighters on LHA/LHDs is extremly bad, and the Marine CTOL fastmovers play no role in a Corps focused on amphib forced entry.”

    Then retire the CTOL and replace them with STOVL. That will make the STOVL more cost effective too.

    “It sure is nice to have independent full blue water aerial strike capability AND amphib support aerial strike capability – if you can pay for it. ”

    Nice? With the loss of the Iowa class for fire support, I’d say it is necessary.

    As far as cost goes, I feel that the best way to save money is not to change the platforms but to change the procurement process so that it is more streamlined.

    (Sorry it took so long to reply, I had a lot going on).

    Al

  27. July 6, 2010 9:26 pm

    Bravo Mr. Burleson. The collapse of our rigged economy will require a transformation of the Pentagon and the services. Whether any of you like it or not. The reindustrialization of America will demand that many thousands of engineers tied up in defense work be freed up for frankly productive, human work. I am hoping at least half in the defense business over the next 20 years. We need a much bigger Navy and Marine Corps, a smaller and transformed Army, largely devoted to real Civil Affairs Work, a Special Forces Command to supplement and support the Marine Corps. The Air Force should be distributed to the other commands and transformed into a Space Command. And please, get rid of the Carriers, give them to the Chinese. Build small carriers? Possibly, but we need large numbers of fast ocean going frigates and assault craft which can launch drones and missiles in salvo if necessary. We need to reestablish control of the seas, all of them. The Navy has great challenges ahead which it will meet when it accepts the world has moved on. The Gulf debacle is not going to stifle the exploitation of resources under the oceans and we face grim confrontations with WMD over the next half century, which will make the current configurations of our naval and air resources irrelevant.

  28. Jed permalink
    July 6, 2010 9:11 pm

    Distiller said: “Kill the F-35B. Or sell it to the Brits.”

    Sod off – we don’t want it ! You wont let us have the software source code, reneging on earlier agreements to let us have it, so screw the “special relationship” you can stick it where the sun don’t shine…… :-)

  29. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 6, 2010 8:21 pm

    The majority seems against these proposals. Try to do the Navy a favor and this is what I get. Sigh…

    On the bright side, this means I will get my patrol boats and motherships after all, what I REALLY wanted, when their budget goes belly up from the strain of too many legacy ships. Woohoo!

  30. Scott B. permalink
    July 6, 2010 5:41 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “The amphibs we buy should be more practical as with European versions which rarely weigh over 20,000 tons but are immensely capable and affordable.”

    It’s note that rare for the EuroGators to displace 20,000 tons and over at full load, and it may actually become more or more common in the future :

    British Ocean : over 20,000 tons FLD
    French Mistral : over 20,000 tons FLD
    Spanish BPE : over 20,000 tons FLD
    Future Italian LHDs : at least 20,000 tons FLD

    As already discussed so many times in the past, for instance here, the assumption that *size and cost are closely connected* is a false one, which is one of so many reasons why the *Small is Beautiful* mantra doesn’t hold water.

    But this was in the Old New Wars, and today marks the beginning of a new era, right ? ;-))

  31. Scott B. permalink
    July 6, 2010 4:09 pm

    A couple more inputs for planification purposes :

    1) Assume each CLF ship to cost somewhere around $400-500 million per unit (on average).

    2) Assume all ships to have a service life of 30 years, except the carriers which may be given a (conservative) service life of 40 years.

  32. Scott B. permalink
    July 6, 2010 3:31 pm

    Now, what I’d like to see as the next step is how Mike B’s new approach translates into a force structure, i.e. :

    1) How many *small carrier* (let’s assume CATOBAR with 65,000-ton FLD and a unit cost of $4 billion)

    2) How many *small SSNs* (let’s assume 4,500-5,000 tons surfaced and a unit cost of $1.5 billion)

    3) How many high-end frigates (let’s assume a unit cost of $1 billion)

    4) How many low-end frigates (let’s assume a unit cost of $400 million)

    5) How many *small amphibs* (let’s assume a unit cost of $750 million, up to $1 billion just to be on the safe side)

    Just to offer some kind of budget framework, CBO recently suggested an envelope of $17.2 billion per year through 2040 (including $1.3 billion per year for the costs of refueling nuclear carriers).

  33. Scott B. permalink
    July 6, 2010 3:13 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “With so few peer antagonist, it seems a 3000 ton nuke boat would be quite adequate for most needs”

    You really have to ask yourself why the damn French decided to go for the new Barracudas (4,700 tons surfaced) if they found their old Rubis (2,400 tons surfaced) to be so adequate for most needs.

    Short answer is that the damn French finally realized that the Rubis were too small to accommodate new weapons / sensors, and provide adequate silencing AND safety for a nuclear plant.

    What this means is that, practically, the kind of smaller nuclear submarines Mike B. now advocates cannot be much smaller than the Barracudas (i.e. 4,700 tons surfaced and 5,200 tons submerged), which would translate into a cost around $1,500 million per unit.

    These smaller nuclear submarines, while not as good as the Virginias, might provide much of the benefits one might expect from an SSN (i.e. MUCH MORE than just near-universal endurance), represent a dramatic improvement (by an order of magnitude) over the AIP SSKs that Mike B. favored so far.

    Again, I see this new proposal as a move in the right direction. One more step in the emancipation from the *Small is Beautiful* tyranny anyway.

  34. Distiller permalink
    July 6, 2010 2:58 pm

    @ Anon:

    And what is NavAir doing during such amphib ops? Sitting back in port? It sure is nice to have independent full blue water aerial strike capability AND amphib support aerial strike capability – if you can pay for it. What can a fastmover offer a Marine rifleman on the ground in air support that a helicopter or UAV can’t? Basically interdiction and certain types of fast reaction reach further into the depth of the battlespace. And how exactly does that have to be provided by an aircraft with “Marines” on the side? Why not one with “Navy” instead? I seriously doubt that in the future an opposed amphib forced entry will take place while an enemy fleet is in the area, or the enemy air force is still operational. (Not talking about covert missions, or raiding). Did it ever happen in WW2? Usually it went step by step, first softening up the island, then land – not both actions simultaniously. The cost-benefit ratio of the low numbers of STOVL strikefighters on LHA/LHDs is extremly bad, and the Marine CTOL fastmovers play no role in a Corps focused on amphib forced entry.

  35. Scott B. permalink
    July 6, 2010 2:54 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “4.Replace frigates with corvettes.”

    This is the biggest weakness in the reform proposed by the new Mike B.

    Obviously, the mythical corvette fails to meet most if not all of the 10 critical attributes and is merely a survivance of an obsolete in the new thinking embraced by Mike.

    Not so long ago, I suggested that the AAW Eurofrigates should be grouped together with the Type 45 destroyer in the DESTROYER category and a distinction should be made with ASW/GP frigates (with would remain in the FRIGATE category).

    Once this reclassification is made, Mike B.’s step #4 starts to make more sense, in the sense that while high-end frigates would replace cruisers / destroyers, low-end frigates (NOT corvettes) would their vital role as low end escorts.

    One would then point out that since such low-end frigates can be had for $300 million or less (think ABSALON), there’s no need for such EXQUISITE things as $200 million corvettes.

  36. Scott B. permalink
    July 6, 2010 2:39 pm

    elgatoso said : “I am waiting for Scott.I already bought the popcorn.”

    As New Wars approaches the 1,000,000 mark, I’m very very pleased to see our beloved Mike B. professing such a major cultural revolution and emancipating himself from the *Small is Beautiful* tyranny with such a dramatic move.

  37. elgatoso permalink
    July 6, 2010 2:18 pm

    I am waiting for Scott.I already bought the popcorn.

  38. Anonymous permalink
    July 6, 2010 1:19 pm

    Distiller said: “As part of the above disband all non-helicopoter or UAV aerial units of the Marines before Christmas.”

    May I ask why you want to deny the Marines their air support, given the major role such support has played in every successful amphibious landing since the start of World War II?

    Al

  39. Anonymous permalink
    July 6, 2010 1:03 pm

    I don’t mean that I disagree with all these proposals (although I do some), I just don’t think they should be called “cosmetic” or “quick”.

    Al

  40. Distiller permalink
    July 6, 2010 1:00 pm

    Neither of these changes are “quick”. They’d take a generation to complete.

    Quick changes would include:
    — Cutting the Marine Corps down to 40% of its current size. Take away all aspiration to be a full spectrum force. Re-focus them towards the amphib forcible entry as part of a unified forces forcible entry operational concept. Meaning create Army mech air assault units and buy more C-17.
    — As part of the above disband all non-helicopoter or UAV aerial units of the Marines before Christmas.
    — Kill the F-35B. Or sell it to the Brits.
    — Kill LCS today at dinner.
    — Kill Zumwalt tomorrow at breakfast.
    — Kill America class tomorrow at lunch.
    — Kill San Antonio class tomorrow at five o’clock tea. Sad, but something’s gotta give and streamlining the Marines is necessary.
    — Do not RCOH the next CVN (or the one in dock – Roosevelt?), instead retire it next week. Go for 8+1 carriers, with 2 Ticonderogas and 4 latest-flight Burkes each. Retire the rest of the Ticonderogas, rebuild max 18 surplus old Burkes as NGF ships for the Marines.
    — Scrap/sell off all shooters in the reserve fleet.
    — Kill EFV, use technology to build an amphib cavalry tank.
    — Trim the Coast Guard to be a coast guard, not another Navy. Relieve them from all missions outside the U.S. EEZ.
    — Give all V-22 to SOCOM, give modded Armed Blackhawks to the Marines as standard assault helicopter. Get the Army air cav units in shape to routinely operate off carriers and LHDs.
    — Stop all non-tactical BMD stuff the Navy does.

    — Buy OFF THE SHELF the license for 45 copies of a nice 3.500 – 4.000 tons frigate, preferably some MEKO derivate like the Valours. Build the hulls anywhere in the world where it’s cheap and done with decent quality, outfit at home.
    — Buy OFF THE SHELF 5-6 U212A from the Germans, and the license for 5-6 more to be built at home. Build 4 Flo/Flos to transport them into their ops area.
    — Get that LCAC replacement programme on line.
    — Keep building Makin Islands at 0.75 annually till something better comes up.
    — Increase and stabilize the Virginia class at 2.66 boats annually till something better comes up.
    — Make sure that all the aux and support units are compatible with each other and in good shape.
    — Invest more in orbital relay capability.

    — Stop expanding Guam, but re-establish Hawaii and the SFO Bay area as USN main bases.
    — Build a nuclear capable fleet base in Western Australia to cut transfer times.
    — Start working on a new small SLBM, one that fits a humped Virginia.

  41. Anonymous permalink
    July 6, 2010 12:58 pm

    Mike,

    “There are some cosmetics changes the service can do to the fleet they have, without losing capability.”

    You call these changes cosmetic?
    #1 requires a dramatic rethinking of how are forces are deployed.
    #3 would force us to retire and replace fifty-odd Arleigh Burke destroyers, not to mention the Ticonderogas. And then we would have to replace them!
    #4 has similair problems to #3.

    Al

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