Thursday, May 12, 2016

Up the Creek Without a Missile

Uh oh. Our Navy's surface warfare community is worried that they are not prepared to fight other navies:

In the U.S. Navy there is growing concern that the Chinese Navy is well on its way to gaining an edge on the American fleet the same way the Japanese did in 1941 (World War II). ...

The current problem is that American SWOs (Surface Warfare Officers) believe their leaders are ignoring the fact that the Chinese Navy is planning a similar collection of nasty tactical surprises for their American adversaries and the U.S. Navy is ignoring it. The most obvious things the Chinese are doing is training at sea more and more and planning to exploit the weaknesses of the American ships. Some of these vulnerabilities are much talked about in the U.S. Navy, like the growing Chinese edge in network based warfare. But another edge that is not much talked about is that the U.S. Navy does not train as intensively for surface warfare (cruisers, destroyers and frigates finding the enemy and destroying them with missiles and torpedoes) as they do for submarine and air operations.

With the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet navy, it seemed like aircraft could handle any minor surface threats. After more than two decades of seeing anti-ship missiles dwindle as a weapon in our surface fleet, we again may have to fight to control the seas.

And our aircraft carriers and submarines will not be sufficient to sink all the enemy ships that need to be sunk.

Until we rebuild our own surface warfare missile arsenal, perhaps a Norwegian missile will help fill the gap.

Today the talk is of "distributed lethality" that spreads our offensive firepower among all our ships rather than relying on aircraft carrier battlegroups.

In the past this was "network-centric warfare." Whatever you want to call it, we need a Navy where all the ships can contribute to sinking the enemy's ships.

UPDATE: More on the Norwegian Penguin missile and the LCS firepower problem.