Friday, August 31, 2012

Fracked Up Logic

Since when did we start treating our aircraft carriers like battlestars?

I liked Battlestar Galactica. Both the original and the remake. Although I was pretty young for the first round, so my expectations perhaps weren't that refined. But one thing that really annoyed me (and still does) was that the battlestars--with their two wings of fighters--still seemed to fight like a battleship rather than a carrier.

If they can't conduct long range strikes and keep enemy base stars at bay, I'm not sure why the battlestar shouldn't have dispensed with the fighters that just muck up IFF and instead add more laser guns to simply shoot whatever approaches the ship.

Which brings me to our Navy (tip to Instapundit):

Swarming speedboats represent a major threat to Navy aircraft carrier groups. Small boats are dangerous because they can emerge without warning from behind islands or other features, and weapons systems are designed to handle fewer, larger opponents, so carriers and other large vessels might be swamped before they can deal with the threat.

Today the Navy appears to be taking the threat more seriously. And existing defense technologies could be combined to create a defensive shield to detect and destroy boat swarms from a safe distance. The latest proposal involves an all-seeing eye in the sky that can pick out small boats at a distance and see over obstacles.

Raytheon's JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor) is a blimp-based radar system that provides 360-degree, 24/7 coverage.

Small boats could slip out of the radar shadow of Iran's coast and swarm any carrier or large warship that sails in the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf. So we are building an expensive system to spot those small boats and sink them before they get close to the big ships.

Excuse me for asking the obvious, but why do we need to send our carriers into the Persian Gulf to fight Iran? Those small suicide boats aren't ocean-going assets. They have to stay in shallow water. Relatively calm, shallow waters.

Why don't we keep our big ships in the Arabian Sea where the small boats can't go and use our aircraft--including persistent drones--to go after the Iranian forces?

Truth be told, should we go to war against Iran, we shouldn't want our carrier in the constricted waters of the Persian Gulf. We'd want the maneuvering room of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean behind that. We deploy a carrier in the Gulf when we don't anticipate combat with Iran.

Not that the airborne shield wouldn't be of great use to the Ponce sitting in the Gulf, being used as a base to go after Iranian small assets.

But for God's sake, just keep our fracking carriers out of the Persian Gulf rather than spend whatever sum is necessary to figure out how to keep them there.