Former USN Officers Advise How They’d Contain China
A pair of retired US Navy Captains recently penned a very well written paper for the Naval War College (the full 7-page paper here ) entitled “Between Peace and the Air Sea Battle: A War at Sea in which they pain how the US could isolate a confrontation between itself and China and keep it bottled up West of Japan and PI.
Basically, isolate and blockade China with a force of submarines (much as the US Navy did in World War Two where Japan was cut off from the rest of the world by the War of the Maru’s inwhich a huge and effective US Submarine community sent eveything with a meatball on it to the bottom 1943-45) and small combantants for escort and sea denial (such as the US Navy did with the Blockade squadrons along the CSA coast during the Civil War from 1861-65)
To accomplish this the authors call for a fleet of small 64 FACs.
“What would the flotilla look like? In rough terms, we envision individual small
combatants of about six hundred tons carrying six or eight surface-to-surface
missiles and depending on soft kill and point defense for survival, aided by offboard manned or unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and tactical scouting…………..To paint a picture of possible structures, we contemplate as the smallest element a mutually supporting pair, a squadron to comprise eight vessels, and the entire force to be eight squadrons, of which half would be in East Asian waters. The units costing less than $100 million each, the entire force would require a very small part of the shipbuilding budget…..For comparison, a PHM (or patrol combatant hydrofoil, a type discarded by the U.S. Navy in 1993) carrying four Harpoons displaced 250 tons; coastal patrol ships (PCs) now operating in the Persian Gulf are of either three or four hundred tons; and the coastal minesweepers (MSCs) once stationed in Sasebo, on Kyushu, in Japan, displaced 450 tons…….. For example, supposing a unit cost of eighty million dollars in series production and assuming a mere ten-year service life, a force of sixty-four vessels would cost about $500 million per year to sustain, or a bit over 4 percent of the probably diminished Ship Construction (Navy), or SCN, budget.”
I love the idea personally, but the Navy has a history of dislike for FACs of any type.