Saturday, June 19, 2010

You want to fight in the Littoral Zone? Retask the Riverine Units.

 Keeping with the theme of warfare in the Littoral Zone.

If you REALLY want to fight in this area then the LCS is not the answer.  No, the answer is to retask the Riverine Units and have them operate in Green and Brown water.

This is going to be a major undertaking however.
 First you have to re-equip them with CB-90's or equal boats.  Their rigid raiders can operate far afield but in order for them to be effective they need a slightly larger boat.

Next you need to provide them with some type of mother ship.  I really hate the idea of dedicating an amphib to the mission of supporting these Littoral Action Groups (my new name for the organization) but its necessary.  We should take an LPD that is to be retired, service life extend it (again) and have it act in this role...we'll need three.  One for action in the Pacific, Atlantic and Middle East.
Lastly you need to have dedicated air assets devoted to fighting in the Littoral Zones, supporting these Littoral Action Groups yet capable of operating from the decks of the mothership.  In other words bring back the Sea Wolves.  The US Navy should bring back its attack helicopter component.  Ideally it would simply be additional CH-60's armed with hellfires.  This would allow a fast response when necessary to emerging threats detected by radar or recon UAVs/aircraft and it would simplify logistics.

This would give you a force capable of operating in the Littoral Zone effectively.  If its a counter-insurgency at sea then this force will be optimal.  If its full scale warfare then hand the issue back to the big boys---Burke's, Subs and Aircraft Carriers.

Lets not fool ourselves.  Full scale combat in the littoral zone will shred LCS and this new organization I propose.  This will also bring our doctrine in line with common sense.  The littorals are dangerous.  If its less than full scale war then the Littoral Action Group, equipped with CB-90s, LPD motherships and dedicated CH-60's can handle it.

This leaves the question.  What do we do with the LCS?  I'm sad to say, we scrap it and move to a cheaper solution.  It is looking more and more like the Navy's version of the FCS...a concept that was designed in haste to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

Please Explain.


I was reading an article by Chris Rawley over at Information Dissemination and I'm a bit confused.  Read his article here.  But he makes this statement...
In an hybrid warfare environment, a stateless enemy with only a handful of higher end, state-provided, sea denial capabilities such as anti-ship cruise missiles will likely choose his targets carefully to maximize impact at a minimal cost. A capital surface combatant off the coast makes a more tempting and high profile target than a larger number of smaller green water combatants.
This leads me to my confusion.

1.  Why would we build ships that are in other words designed to be lost...along with the crews...in order to preserve our capital ships...
2.  How can the SecDef question the relevance of Amphibious Assault while at the same time pushing the concept of the building Littoral Combat Ships if amphibious assault can't occur because of anti-ship missiles, shore batteries etc???

This is almost idiotic! 

Greg over at Defense Tech penned an article you can read here.  In it he made this statement.
The proliferation of low-cost, precision anti-ship missiles into the arsenals of potential enemies means large deck amphibious ships are becoming “wasting assets.”
So amphibious assault doctrine is to operate 50 miles or more off shore and now the US Navy is designing a class of ships to push in closer???  We are actually embarking on a path where we will have 50 or more 600 million dollar a piece throw away ships to operate in hostile, congested waters with small crews and limited defensive countermeasures and its the path of the future?

Wow.

I DON'T GET IT!

Pic of the day. June 19, 2010.


100617-N-7948R-125 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2010) Marine pilots assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) fly an AH-1W Super Cobra during flight operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Peleliu is part of Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, on a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Russell/Released)
100617-N-7948R-175 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2010) A Marine pilot assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) flies an AH-1W Super Cobra during flight operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Taylor is participating in theater security cooperation activities in the Adriatic Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Edward Kessler/Released)
100617-N-1200S-947 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2010) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conducts a replenishment at sea with the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Freedom and Bonhomme Richard are scheduled to participate in RIMPAC 2010, the world's largest international maritime exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)
100617-N-1200S-914 PACIFIC OCEAN (June 17, 2010) The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conducts a replenishment at sea with the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Freedom and Bonhomme Richard are scheduled to participate in RIMPAC 2010, the world's largest international maritime exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)
NOTE: Is it just me or does it seem like everytime the LCS goes out to sea for more than a day its conducting replenishment exercises to keep it in the game? It has no endurance to speak of and it seems like a dedicated mothership might be necessary if the Navy goes ahead with procurement of these ships...or old fashioned forward bases.

Interactive displays.

Major hat tip to Bob for the Hawkei site.  I've already heaped praise on the effort put out by BAE and Thales Australia for providing the public with information on their new vehicles.

You can see the BAE interactive CV90 Armadillo site here.


and...

You can see the Thales Australia interactive Hawkei site here.

Hagglunds SEP is now BAE Alligator!