Distributed lethality & Naval Strategy 2025: More aircraft, more missiles, more platforms, less money

A lot of people worry that there could be a great power naval war sometime in the next generation. As such, the “fleet you have,” which last fought a live-fire fleet engagement with a near-peer opponent in 1944, may not be the “fleet you want” but some easy fixes could help.

Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes (Ret), now a PhD and heavy hitter on the military of the future, has an interesting take over at Task & Purpose on how to bring a lot of missiles and airframes to the naval engagement of the near-future: pick up gently used container ships for peanuts and convert them into haulers for combat-capable UAV’s and containerized missile systems. It’s a lot cheaper than risking a traditional CVBG or repackaging an LHD to use F-35s. Such a vessel could be fielded with a much smaller crew than a big-deck CVN.

As pointed out by Hammes: “a carrier and air wing alone cost $20 billion and 5,000 Americans live aboard. This is an enormous investment of eggs is a possibly fragile basket,” and that “Suggesting the use of amphibious big decks is not a different way – it’s just a very similar but much less capable basket.”

The alternative:

Thinking differently, we could envision any container ship – from inter-coastal to ocean-going as a potential aircraft carrier. It could carry from a couple dozen to thousands of cruise missiles as well as hundreds of autonomous drones ranging from short to long range and both reusable and expendable. And, of course, the containers could also be land based — with nearly unlimited basing and hide sites.

More here.

USS Sicily (CVE-118) at New York City, September 1947. Courtesy of The Marines Museum, Newport News, Va. Ted Stone Collection. Catalog #: NH 66791. Escort carriers were commercial hulls converted to flattops in WWII and proved remarkably effective. Today’s version, fitted with combat UAVs and containerized missiles could be as well

Also for your consideration is LCDR Daniel Wiltshire, USCG, and his take in the latest Proceedings that the Navy should man up and put anti-ship missiles on the new Offshore Patrol Cutters and National Security Cutters, some 35~ frigate-sized warships without frigate-equivalent weapons. A large part of his case is, since the Coast Guard often gets sent into harm’s way with the Navy, it should be able to keep its promise of being war-like.

Some will argue that cutters are not optimized for high-intensity combat. While it is true that the NSC and OPC were not designed for high-intensity combat, the distinction between high and low intensity becomes meaningless during a great power conflict. It is a distinction predicated on the luxury of being able to choose when, where, and with whom to fight and which ships are deployed to do the fighting. Great power conflict at sea affords no such luxury and typically entails a whole-of-fleet approach.

More here

USCGC Mellon fires a Harpoon missile back in the Cold War. It used to be a thing. It can be a thing once again

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “Distributed lethality & Naval Strategy 2025: More aircraft, more missiles, more platforms, less money”

  1. I am Not Cory Booker says :

    Gee you forgot putting drones on Kyacks, helicopters on duck boats, and missiles on the Staten Island ferry. Yup that’s the way to run a navy. Imagination! Like a six year old eating Tide pods.

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