Coming Soon: The smallest US fleet in 90 years

Two great naval bloggers, EagleSpeak and CDR Salamander, comment on the sad state of our fleet to be and some realistic alternatives. Which will be ignored.

At some point, we are going to be severely hampered militarily and politically because our fleet just isn’t big enough.

UPDATE: Link to EagleSpeak fixed to point to right post. Sorry. Anyway, the Sunday Ship History: Large Medium Speed RoRos was a good one, too. But if you didn’t read Navy Shipbuilding Problems, you should go back and do so now. And the comments.

Comments

  1. With the state of our country today, we’re lucky we don’t have a giant, gaping hole where our fleet once stood. Hey, I know, why don’t we pay our contractors more profit to build a paper fleet than we do for them to cut metal? I know what you’re thinking, surely no one can be that stupid, but you’d be wrong because none of us individually is, but get us all together as a country and we’re the biggest bunch of morons on the planet. And let’s not limit this to the fleet ’cause we’re doing the same thing with our aircraft, spacecraft, you name it. You’d think we’d be spending less, but we’re spending more for less, and laying off soldiers to pay for it.

  2. The only reason we don’t have a giant gaping hole where the fleet once stood, is you can’t leave holes in the sea. The navy is the sickest of all the armed services. The admiralty was ignored their own war games, studies, common sense and only because no one has shot at the Navy, has the Navy managed to thrash and foam near the surface. (Though currently its having a ball sinking its own ships – because it can’t afford to keep them.) The Falklands should of been a wake up call. A third rate power managed to nearly sink a Brittish Navy. The US Navy would not of fared much better. It has been proven the current fleet would be a sitting duck in conflict with an opponent with brains and some balls. Attack any Navy ship along an obvious attack axis and you can sink it. The current Admirals should be fired in mass, for completely botching the procurement and planning process since at least 1991 (Through you can make an argument that goes back to 50’s)… A-12, ATF, Battleships, Arsenal ship, Super Hornet, F-14, DDX…. and now add the LCS. ( A good idea, botched badly)

  3. Did you see this article where the guy is basically saying the LCS can be sunk by a mounted machine gun? He’s a Connecticut politician, so I assume he has a reason to be biased toward submarines, but putting lightly armored ships in close to shore sounds to me like yet another recipe for disaster. —————- Scrap Costly New Navy Ship and Build More Submarines Commentary by former Rep. Rob Simmons The Pentagon last week announced that the Navy had issued a 90-day stop work order on a new class of surface ships because of cost overruns, further delaying delivery of a troubled platform with a questionable future. The Navy envisioned the Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS, as a small, fastboat operating primarily in the oceans’ shallow-water coastlines; but it is increasingly doubtful that its value will equal its cost to the budget and our sailors. The Defense Department and Congress should take the three-month hiatus to re-examine whether it makes sense at all to continue this program given the LCS program’s failures and the Navy’s real needs. For the following reasons, I believe the money would be better spent for submarine design and production. The Navy initially sold the Littoral Combat Ship with a pitch that it would provide an inexpensive but effective tool along ocean coastlines or the ‘littorals.’ Banking on ambitious but unproven technologies and concepts, the Navy bet LCS could replace many fast-attack submarines and destroyers at a great savings to the sea service. In 2006, one year after defense budget cutbacks were reversed, the Navy had an opportunity to increase submarine production and help fix a growing capabilities gap in the fleet. At the time, the U.S. Submarine Force – despite working overtime – could meet only about half of its high-priority missions due to insufficient numbers; the percentage is now worse. The Navy opted instead to accelerate the LCS program. It did this despite serious questions about the ship’s final price tag and its ability to perform as advertised once built. Ironically, the Virginia-class submarine is the only class of ship currently going down in cost. It is also ironic that the submarine is the Navy’s weapon of choice in the war on terror because of its stealth and proven capabilities. Unfortunately, the latest cost overruns for LCS will add to the shipbuilding deficit, meaning fewer overall ships in the fleet during a time of great uncertainty. Currently China is outstripping U.S. submarine construction by at least five-to-one, and the terrorism threat will be with us for a long time into the future. When I served as Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Navy Subcommittee, I did not see the value of LCS and I said so. Last year I opposed bailout funding for the program when it became clear that the LCS’ main anti-submarine weapon system would not work – even though LCS was supposed to be a submarine hunter. I also became convinced that the ships lacked adequate defensive systems for our sailors. LCS is largely defenseless against cruise missiles, and its aluminum skin can be pierced by large-caliber projectiles. A direct shot from a missile or a torpedo could sink the ship in just minutes. The proliferation of anti-ship weapons means that only subsurface vessels can navigate stealthily and safely near enemy shorelines in East Asia or the Persian Gulf. Our nation needs more ships, but the kind that can meet the threat effectively, without unnecessarily endangering our sailors. Submarines have the stealth, persistence on target and protective elements we need. The Navy needs to stop funding the LCS, and apply those dollars to funding two Virginia-class submarines per year. Let’s scrap the ‘Little Costly Ship’ and build the ships we really need – submarines.