1) The USNavy is building ships that are to big, to expensive, to late. This means they are stuck with a force build to fight Gorshkovs navy. You always inherit a substantial part of the Navy build to the specifications of a war already won. The war was won 20 years ago – does the USN then ask what the next enemy will be? Nope – they take the present generation of ships and design them x% larger and more costly. This will eventually become too expensive.
In effect reducing the number of ships at sea.
That is why I used the Danish navy as an example: Denmark has reduced the number of ships (though not really – but that is another story), but increased the number and size (from ambitious rowing boats) of ships AT SEA.
2) I am a great believer in the task force composed of different vessels, but if you build all the vessels to expensively – you will end up with fewer ships and task forces.
What would you rather have? Two fleets centered around an 80 aircraft carrier or three fleets with a 40 aircraft carrier. Other vessels scaled as well.
This will mean, that you can use the third fleet as an reserve and concentrate force according to the tactical principles – and maintain the 80 aircraft where you need them plus maintaining control.
The first question a president ask in time of crisis is: “Where are the carriers?” If the cost spiral continues the answer will be: “What carrier?”
3) The punch of a 1989 80 plane carrier is not necessarily heavier than a 2010 40 plane carrier – which is the effective complement of the 1989 carrier today.
4) The prolonged (and increasing) gestation period of advanced and costly ships puts you behind schedule for rationalizing ships complement. I saw the British are refurbishing old frigates with a complement of 173 – a Peder Skram-class had 193 after rebuild I 1989 (the one that made a direct hit on a summer cottage with a Harpoon) – an Ivar Huitfeld – class of 2012 will have 101.
5) Thus both the punch increase and the manning decrease simultaneously.
6) A greater number of fleets will again give the possibility to adapt the ships in the fleet to waters and mission: F.i. even pissed a Danish admiral would not dream of using a Flyvefisken – class north of Greenland. (he would however – if I’m not mistaken – use a Knud Rasmussen in the Baltic – provided severe icing).
To some other points:
A) I don´t want more subs – I want more task forces with subs! But that I don’t get (or rather the USA won’t get them) if the jerks keep building ships to defeat an already dead enemy – just oversize.
I won’t get them if they take 10 years mulling over their own splendor and bitching over how misunderstood they are – and then another 10 years to build the bloody contraption – ending up with another one ship class and lingering on operationally with the antiques - because the shipyard equivalent of a pyramid is so expensive to build, operate and maintain, that it is all I’m going to get.
B) The Air Force made the same mistake in the 1950’ies and 1960’ies when they tried to build a replacement for the B-52: The B-70 didn’t fly very well (overly ambitious), the B-58 flew (but not for long – to specialized), the B-1 nearly newer flew (and then only in a downsized version), the B-2 occasionally fly there are so few of them, that each departure is an occasion for a parade!
Guess what? The B-52 still flies with pilots whose grandfather flew them.
C) As to make the Chinese waste money – which never has been any concern of theirs – I’m all for it; but why make let them define the terms. Have balanced forces that you compose according to mission - we do it by plugging in different containers on board – but if that’s to advanced for you, then alter the collection of ships.
D) My concern was not so much surveillance as the ability to concentrate force at the decisive point in time and space.
E) As to the rising sun of China – please! Given China is vast and thus difficult to turn around economically: Keep your planning horizon as short as possible. Cut steel on ships that are operational in 5 years. At the present: When the ship is build it is probably outdated, delayed due to endless modifications during build and wildly over any pretense of a budget.
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