Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mass Effects--Not Platforms

I thought that the notion that we have too many of our offensive eggs in too few carrier baskets was a healthy realization. In a network-centric world, let's not just build an entirely new basket.

Egad, not the Arsenal Ship again?

[The] proficiency that appears most lacking in the U.S. naval arsenal today is the third: the ability to rapidly and repeatedly put multiple ordnance on target. There are too few missile tubes/launchers in the Fleet, and many of them must be filled with theater ballistic-missile defense, anti-satellite, anti-antiship ballistic and cruise missiles, and anti-aircraft weapons to provide the needed layered defense. In this scenario, the Navy requires launchers with strike weapons in abundance. This should drive us back to reconsidering the once-heralded but quietly discarded concept of the arsenal ship.

I was heartened that the Navy appears to realize that the aircraft carrier is too expensive.

In a network-centric world, we can't afford to have so much of our offensive firepower in a sea control mission concentrated on so few aircraft carrier hulls.

But what comes up? Let's build different platforms--arsenal ships--to concentrate our missiles on a few high value targets.

Mind you, if not for the possibility of these ships being sunk with all their missiles aboard going down with them, I'd say sure, these are great. After all, those converted ballistic missile subs are basically arsenal subs--and are great.

But we had already built the hulls, so converting them was a relatively cheap additional cost. If the choice was building even less vulnerable (than surface ships) new arsenal subs or putting the same amount of missiles across our fleet, I'd go with the latter.

We need an Arsenal Navy with anti-ship and land-attack missiles (and eventually rail guns on our surface ships) scattered across the surface and subsurface fleet and carried in planes and helicopters above them.

And if during war we find we do need to cram some offensive missiles on a hull, why not make a Modularized Auxiliary Cruiser (Arsenal Ship)?

Mass effect--not platforms.