Friday, August 08, 2014

I Have a Cheaper Solution For the Mistral Problem

France is selling amphibious warfare ships to Russia. Some are urging the West to step in and buy the vessels so Russia can't use them to threaten their neighbors along the Baltic or Black Seas or the Pacific. I have a cheaper solution.

I understand this way of thinking:

The French warships -- offensive naval platforms built to support invasions -- serve Putin's expansionary goals. Mistrals are essentially small aircraft carriers configured to support helicopters. Helicopters can hunt submarines, but from assault ships they transport marines ashore. The multi-role Mistrals, however, also have a well deck for amphibious vehicles and landing craft. They can carry up to 40 tanks. ...

As Felix Seidler noted on his security policy blog ( several members of the German parliament have proposed that NATO buy the two warships.

The idea has gained instant traction, and it should.

But I disagree. NATO spending is so paltry that I'd hate to waste the money on amphibious warfare ships that would have no role in resisting or deterring Russian action.

Sure, we'd deprive Russia of the ships. But Russia would build their own in time.

I have another suggestion. We should buy the French blueprints of the ships and program anti-ship missiles with the data to target the vulnerable points of a Mistral class ship.

And then sell such missiles cheap to every nation that borders a sea where one of those ships is built.

Let France get the money for the sale to Russia. Let Russia have ships that we know how to sink.

And save that NATO money to buy anti-tank weapons and build the logistics network of eastern NATO countries.