Friday, December 9, 2016

Don't Bring A Knife To A Knife Fight

To paraphrase the old saying, don’t bring a knife to a knife fight. 

This means don’t enter into a fight on equal terms.  Enter the fight with an overwhelming advantage.  Bring a 0.50 cal. machine gun to a knife fight.

Unfortunately, bringing a knife to a knife fight is exactly the path the Navy and Marines have embarked on (and the entire military in general).  Let’s take a closer look.

The Navy is currently building a class of 40-52 LCS that have no useful combat capability and, at best, in the future, may have a few anti-ship missiles.  That is the low end of the naval combat capability spectrum for that size vessel.  The Navy is giving its opponents a more than equal chance.

The Navy is steadily shrinking the carrier air wing.  From a Nimitz high of 90+ aircraft, the air wing has shrunk to around 65 and plans call for further reductions in squadron size as the F-35 enters service.  That’s giving the enemy a sporting chance.

The Marine Corps is shedding tanks, artillery, and heavy equipment.  At the time of Desert Storm, the Corps had three tank battalions, each with 70 M60A1 tanks and 72 armored M1045A2 Humvees mounting TOW anti-armor missiles (1).  Since Desert Storm, tank platoons have been reduced in size from five tanks to four and entire tank companies have been eliminated.  For example,

“Outlining the progression of decline in USMC tank inventories, Bodisch [Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Bodisch, 2nd Tank Battalion] remarked “overall since Desert Storm we had a 54% reduction in tanks and 88% for TOW anti-tank missile systems …” (1)

The situation is continuing to worsen.

“Next February, 2nd Tanks will likely deactivate another of its line companies, “this time Charlie Company, and it will happen about four months before I relinquish command of 2nd Tanks,” he added.

With the deactivation of half of 2nd Tank Battalion’s M1A1 inventory, the Marine Corps [will] be left with only one fully equipped active duty tank battalion, based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. “Only 1st Tanks will have the full complement of 58 M1A1 tanks and 26 HMWWV mounted TOW systems, 2nd Tank Battalion will have 30 M1A1 tanks and zero TOW systems,” Bodisch lamented.” (1)

The Marines are moving to a light infantry, low firepower force.  That’s bringing a knife to a knife fight.  You’re giving the other side a sporting chance.  That’s not how to fight a war.  The whole aim of our military is to make a fight so one-sided that no one wants to fight us.  That’s deterrence!

By moving towards a light infantry force, we’re only encouraging our enemies to gear up in the belief that they can match us or exceed our capabilities.  Not that long ago, no enemy believed they had a chance of matching us.  Now, Russia, China, and, increasingly, Iran and NKorea believe they can match us.  China believes they can pass us.  Our willingness to merely bring a knife to the knife fight is emboldening our enemies.

Future wars against peer enemies will involve high end combat with heavy tanks, heavy armored vehicles, lots of artillery, etc. because that is what our potential enemies are developing on a daily basis.  They are not developing motor scooters to flit around the battlefield, like we are.

After WWII, we knew how to wage high end combat.  Since then, we’ve been bringing smaller and smaller weapons to the knife fight.  We had a temporary resurgence in Desert Storm where we brought a machine gun to the knife fight but we’ve since forgotten that lesson.  Now, we’ll be lucky to bring a Boy Scout pocket knife to the knife fight.  We need to stop making the future fight an equal one and start making it a lopsided, forgone conclusion.



_________________________________

(1)Tactical Defense Media website, “Delta Company’s Deactivation: What Does the Future Hold for USMC Tank Battalions?”, Josh Cohen, date unknown,


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

... And What's Behind It

One of the four major rules of gun safety is to be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

In WWII, we frequently caused friendly fire damage and casualties by firing at attacking aircraft within the task force and hitting friendly ships behind and beyond the target aircraft.  It was almost unavoidable and considered an acceptable and necessary unfortunate consequence of trying to prevent a ship from being hit and sunk.

The same problems and concerns occur during infantry firefights and urban streetfights as well as during tank battles.

The same problem has occurred with Phalanx CIWS.  Here’s an example from Wiki,

“On 11 October 1989USS El Paso was conducting a live-fire exercise off the East Coast of the United States using the Phalanx against a target drone. The drone was successfully engaged, but as the drone fell to the sea, the CIWS re-engaged it as a continued threat to El Paso. Rounds from the Phalanx struck the bridge of USS Iwo Jima, killing one officer and injuring a petty officer.”

And another from Wiki,

“On 25 February 1991, during the first Gulf War, the Phalanx equipped frigate USS Jarrett was a few miles from the US battleship USS Missouri and the British destroyer HMS Exeter. The ships were thought to be under attack by an IraqiSilkworm missile (often referred to as the Seersucker), at which time Missouri fired its SRBOC chaff. The Phalanx system onJarrett, operating in the automatic target-acquisition mode, fixed on Missouri's chaff, releasing a burst of rounds. From this burst, four rounds hit Missouri which was 2–3 miles (3.2–4.8 km) from Jarrett at the time. There were no injuries.”

Note that we’re not discussing the closely related issue of identification/misidentification.  This post is concerned with the issue of stray rounds impacting friendly forces behind and beyond the target.  The distinction is critical for the discussion.  With this issue, identification is not a problem.  The friendly forces are well known and their location is clearly observed.  The problem is rounds that don’t hit the target and continue on to strike a friendly unit. 

Okay, this is a tragic but almost unavoidable consequence of close combat, especially in naval scenarios where friendly ships may be spread out over many miles and enemy aircraft, ships, and missiles can penetrate the force and intermingle with friendly forces but what’s the point?  The point is that with the advent of rail guns, lasers, and hyper velocity projectiles (HVP) that we’re all so excited about, the behind and beyond issue becomes immensely larger and more deadly.  For example, CIWS rounds have a range of couple miles.  A friendly ship that is in the line of fire but five or 10 miles beyond is perfectly safe.  However, with rail guns, lasers, and HVP’s, the behind and beyond range borders on unlimited.  We could miss a target that’s one mile away and inadvertently hit a friendly task force 50 miles beyond!

Consider the case of an enemy missile that has penetrated the perimeter of a naval task force spread out over many miles.  What might have been an adequate safety margin in WWII is now non-existent with lasers, rail guns, and HVPs.  Potentially, this means that far fewer, possible no, ships can fire on the incoming missile out of fear of hitting a friendly unit many miles beyond and behind the target.

Consider the case of a naval task force 50-100 miles from land and trying to defend itself using lasers, rail guns, and HVPs.  Misses in the direction of the land may see the land showered with projectiles and lasers.

Could we be hobbling our defensive fires by moving to lasers, rail guns, and HVPs?  At the very least, our zone of awareness will have to increase from a couple of miles to dozens or hundreds of miles.  In a situation like the Middle East or the first island chain, there may not be a safe direction in which we can fire!
Basic Gun Safety On A Grand Scale



I’m not suggesting that we don’t adopt lasers, rail guns, and HVPs but I do hope that someone is looking very carefully at the implications and impact on our defensive doctrine and tactics rather than just blindly pursuing the technology “just because we can”.  Sadly, like the Navy that forgot to check whether the LCS helo could safely tow the mine countermeasures equipment and then found out the hard way that it couldn’t, I’m fearful that we aren’t looking at the “behind and beyond” issue and won’t recognize it until it’s too late.  I just see a bunch of future laser and rail gun armed escorts paralyzed and unable to fire defensively because of friendly units and land dozens or hundreds of miles away.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

More Navy Lies and Deceit

We’ve documented instance after instance where the Navy has flat out lied.  The lies cover a wide range of topics but the common theme is that they lie when the truth won’t get them what they want.  To be fair, I guess that’s kind of the reason for lying, in general. 

They lie about weapons performance, they lied about the USS Fort Worth’s Singapore deployment performance, they’ve lied repeatedly about their determination to early retire the Ticonderoga class cruisers, and so on. 

The latest lie is about the LCS shock testing that was recently performed on the USS Jackson and USS Milwaukee.  What did we read from the Navy?  The tests went very well – even better than expected.  Now we find out that the tests weren’t exactly what was described to us.  The shock tests were only partial shock tests conducted at a greatly reduced shock load.  The Navy neglected to mention that, didn’t they? 

I’m not going to debate anyone about what a lie is.  A lie of omission is still a lie.  Deceit is a lie.  The Navy omitted telling us that the shock tests were vastly scaled down.  The Navy deceived us into believing that the LCS was fully tested.

What really happened?  As ever, we have to depend on Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) to tell us the truth.  Here’s the DOT&E comments as reported by USNI News website (1).


Note:  all emphasis added

“Full ship shock trials on both variants of the Littoral Combat Ship proved the ships are survivable and will only need “relatively minor modifications,” according to Navy written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, but the Pentagon’s top operational tester warned in his written testimony that the shocks were performed at reduced severity due to concerns about excessive damage to the ships.”

The tests were performed at reduced levels because the Navy knew the ships would be severely damaged by full testing.

Here’s the Navy’s lie.

“Stackley, [Sean Stackley, head of Navy acquisition] along with commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, wrote that “the LCS Program Office accomplished all FSST test objectives within budget, for both ship variants, demonstrating that the ships and ships’ systems are able to survive the degrading effects of an underwater shock event.” 

DOT&E’s assessment is a bit different.

“Gilmore’s [Director, DOT&E] written testimony tells a different story. He wrote that ahead of the trials he “approved the reduced severity trial geometries for LCS-6 because of serious concerns about the potential for damage to non-shock hardened mission critical equipment and ship structure.” He added that the Independence-variant aluminum hull could suffer more damage than a traditional steel hull, and that the combat system and main propulsion system on those ships were not hardened. “To further mitigate potential equipment damage and personnel injury, some mission systems were removed, other equipment was modified to improve shock resistance, and construction deficiencies were corrected,” he wrote.”

This statement reveals all kinds of things – things that I’ve stated over the years and now have unambiguous proof for.

We find out that the much of the LCS equipment is not shock-hardened.  Aside from having told you that for many years, this also puts the lie to the Navy’s attempt to claim that the LCS was built to some kind of Level 1+ survivability standard.  As demonstrated in a previous post, Level 1 explicitly calls for shock-hardening and now we have proof that the LCS is not shock-hardened and, therefore, does not even meet Level 1 survivability let alone some made-up Level 1+.  Here’s the relevant quote from OpNavInst 9070.1 which defines survivability levels.

“Level I represents the least severe environment anticipated and
excludes the need for enhanced survivability for designated ship
classes to sustain operations in the immediate area of an
engaged Battle Group or in the general war-at-sea region. In this category, the minimum design capability required shall, in
addition to the inherent sea keeping mission, provide for EMP
and shock hardening, …”

Lies!  Beyond shock hardening, the LCS is also not EMP shielded – again, a failure to meet even Level 1 standards.

We also see from the statement that some equipment was removed prior to testing.  I’ve been told that the 57 mm gun was removed, among other equipment.  In addition, some equipment was modified for the test in order to allow it to survive.  The Navy didn’t mention any of that, did they?

Moving on, what happened when stronger shocks were attempted on the Milwaukee?

“Gilmore directed the Navy to use stronger shocks for the Milwaukee test, with the third one reaching two-thirds the shock severity the ship is built to sustain.

“The Navy conducted the first two shots from August 29 through September 23, 2016, starting the trial at the same shock severity as other modern surface combatants. However, the Navy stopped the LCS 5 trial after the second shot, thereby not executing the planned third shot due to concerns with the shock environment, personnel, and equipment,” Gilmore wrote. “The Navy viewed the third LCS 5 trial as not worthwhile because the Navy was concerned shocking the ship at the increased level of that trial would significantly damage substantial amounts of non-hardened equipment, as well as damage, potentially significantly, the limited amount of hardened equipment, thereby necessitating costly and lengthy repairs.”

Gilmore’s summary assessment?

““Neither shock trial resulted in catastrophic damage, yet both shock trials exposed critical shock deficiencies, which I will detail in an upcoming classified report,” he concluded. “These deficiencies, which were only identified in the shock trial, can now be specifically addressed and corrected by Navy engineers to make the ships more survivable.”

The Navy flat out lied and deceived us into believing that the LCS was fully tested like any other warship.  Far from a success, the shock trials were an abysmal failure, apparently.

Now, here’s the really sad aspect of all this.  There was no need for the Navy to lie.  A reasonable case can be made that a small combatant does not need to be built to the same standards as a full-fledged warship.  It’s actually quite reasonable to expect a small vessel to be unable to withstand the same stresses as a full-fledged warship.  No one would object to such a conceptual design philosophy.  Of course, that leads to the question of whether a half billion dollar vessel the size of a WWII Fletcher should be considered “small” but that’s another issue.

This entire issue is due to the Navy’s attempt to portray the LCS as a warship.  They painted themselves into a corner.  They can’t, on the one hand, claim that the LCS is a warship and, on the other hand, not hold it to the standards of a warship.  By trying to deceive us into believing that the LCS is a warship they created the controversies over survivability and shock testing.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – We all learned that as children but the Navy appears not to understand it.



_______________________________

(1)USNI News website, “Navy Says LCS Shock Trials Had Positive Results; Pentagon Still Has Concerns”, Megan Eckstein, 2-Dec-2016,


Friday, December 2, 2016

Déjà Vu

We’ve beaten the LCS horse repeatedly, to the point that it’s not even fun anymore.  However, it bears one more examination in light of what’s about to happen – more on that later.  I want to examine one aspect, and only one, of the LCS program.  I want to state clearly what the main problem was with LCS acquisition process.

Let’s be clear.  The main overall problem with the LCS was the complete absence of a viable Concept of Operations (CONOPS) prior to committing to production.  This resulted in the disjointed set of design/construction requirements and the subsequent, repeated modifications of those requirements as various individuals attempted to put their own “stamp” on the design based on whatever they believed the LCS should be capable of doing – divorced from any coherent statement of needs derived from a CONOPS.  This lead to runaway costs, ill-suited capabilities, and an utter lack of focus on an operational endpoint – a lack which persists even today.  This, however, is not the problem I want to focus on.  This was the main overall problem but not the main acquisition process problem.

The main acquisition process problem was the commitment to purchase 55 ships before the design of the first one was even finalized.  Common sense and good business principles demand a “try, then buy” approach.  The Navy, in defiance of all common sense, intelligence, experience, and good business principles, opted to “buy, then try”.  The results were predictable. 

The product, the ship, failed to meet expectations by a wide margin.  Even the most ardent supporter has to acknowledge that the LCS has been a disappointment.  Had we bought only a single prototype, thoroughly exercised it, and seen all the problems it had, we would have refused to buy any more or demanded extensive changes prior to buying another.  Either way, we would have come out way ahead of where we are now.  Again, even supporters acknowledge that we should have prototyped the class before committing to the full buy.

If there is any lesson the Navy should have gotten from the LCS debacle it’s this – that you can’t commit to the purchase of an entire class before you even have a design.  Stated in other terms, the lesson the Navy should have gotten from the LCS debacle is that you have to “try, then buy”.  If nothing else, this should be hammered into the Navy acquisition psyche by now, right?

Well, you’re going to be disappointed.

The Navy is pushing Congress to approve the entire 12-ship “frigate” version of the LCS in the form of a block buy.  Here are the damning statements from the recently released GAO report.  Note the time frames.

“… early next year, the Navy plans to request authorization for a block buy of all 12 frigates …” (1)  [emphasis added]


“The Navy plans to request proposals for frigate-specific modifications later in 2017 …” (1)  [emphasis added]


There it is.  The Navy is going to ask for Congressional approval for a block buy of the 12 “frigates” before they have even requested design proposals from industry.  Thus, they are asking Congress to approve a ship that has no design.  This is exactly what happened and what went wrong with the original LCS.  The Navy is going to repeat their idiotic mistake.  Recall that the definition of insanity is to repeat a set of actions and expect a different result.  This is exactly what the Navy is doing.

Circling back to the main problem with the overall LCS program, the lack of a CONOPS, the Navy is set to repeat that mistake, also.  There is no CONOPS for the “frigate” version of the LCS.  Given that the “frigate” will not really be a frigate as compared to any other frigate in the world’s navies, a CONOPS is all the more vital to understand how we will utilize a sub-par “frigate” in a meaningful way so that we can set useful design requirements.  The Navy, however, has opted not to do that.

The magnitude of the sheer stupidity of Navy leadership boggles the mind.  It is incomprehensible.  One of the many definitions of intelligence is the ability to learn.  The Navy appears incapable of learning.  The conclusion is obvious.

The entire Navy leadership, civilian and uniformed, needs to be fired.


___________________________________

(1)GAO, “Littoral Combat Ship and Frigate”, GAO-17-262T, Dec 2016



Contract Insanity

The contract insanity continues.

“Landscape Management Systems Inc.,* Tumon, Guam, is being awarded a $9,632,953 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N40192-15-D-9008) for the exercise of option two for base operations support services at Naval Base Guam and Naval Support Activity Andersen, Commander Joint Region Marianas.  The work to be performed provides for all labor, supervision, management, tools, material, equipment, facilities, transportation and incidental engineering and other items necessary to accomplish all work to perform ground maintenance and tree trimming services.  After award of this option, the total cumulative contract value will be $46,414,693.  Work will be performed at various installations in Guam, including but not limited to, Naval Base Guam (75 percent); and Naval Support Activity Andersen (25 percent).  Work for this option period is expected to be completed November 2017.”  [emphasis added]


That’s $46M for a year’s worth of lawn mowing and tree trimming!!!!!  That’s $126,000 per day to mow lawns!!!!!  What do they have – Tibetan monks trimming individual blades of grass with micrometers and scalpels?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hangar Doors Cost What?!

From the defense.gov website (Contracts: 28-Nov-2016),

"G-W Management Services LLC,* Rockville, Maryland, is being awarded a $7,369,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of four hangar doors at Hangar 111 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River."


What are these doors made out of - an alloy of mithril and adamantium with solid gold fittings?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Revolution Through Evolution

We’ve repeatedly discussed the Navy’s fascination with and, indeed, fixation on, revolutionary advances as opposed to evolutionary advances.  Sadly, but predictably, most of the Navy’s attempts at revolutionary advancement have failed miserably.  While the LCS and JSF are obvious poster children for the pitfalls of revolutionary advancement, there are numerous other examples. 

Does the seeming inevitability of failure associated with revolutionary advancement mean that the Navy (and more generally the military) must content itself with only evolutionary advancements?  The answer is a double “no”.

The First No.  No, revolutionary advances can and should be pursued but not within the context of production.  Revolutionary advances should be pursued as research projects.  We need to attempt revolutionary advances but we need to do so in an environment forgiving of the inevitable failures that will occur along the developmental path.  That’s why the LCS, JSF, and others have failed so badly.  It’s not that their failures are either unexpected or inherently “bad” – heck, failure is the source of knowledge and the impetus for success – it’s that their failures have been institutionalized or “baked in” to production.  Thus, a flawed LCS concept is produced 55 times over and must be corrected 55 times at a cost of 55 times a single event as opposed to a single failure during the course of a revolutionary research program.  Further, the production failures produce secondary negative effects such as bad public relations, loss of confidence among Congress, the public, and even the uniformed ranks, burgeoning cost overruns that impact other programs, and a reluctance to allocate additional monies to fix the problems or to initiate other new programs.

Let the revolution begin but let it be conducted at the research level rather than production. 

The Second No.  No, revolutionary advances can come about from evolutionary or even existing technologies.  Herein lies the main premise of this post.  The Navy can achieve revolutionary advances by utilizing existing technology.  Huh??  How can revolutionary advances occur with existing technology?  Doesn’t “revolutionary” by definition involve technologies that don’t yet exist?  Yep, that’s correct.  Here’s the loophole, though …  If the technologies exist but just not within the Navy, then incorporation of existing technologies can, indeed, produce revolutionary advances. 

Here’s a ridiculous example that will illustrate the concept.  Suppose that we’ve all been “driving” anti-gravity cars for the last decade or two but that the Navy has never adopted the technology.  If they did, they’d instantly have ships that were no longer constrained by hydrodynamic drag forces and would be instantly many times faster.  A revolutionary jump in capability would have been achieved by adopting existing technology!

That’s all well and good as a fictional example but there’s no such real world, non-military technology that would produce revolutionary advances, is there?

Before we go any further, let’s briefly consider what we mean by revolutionary advances.  We tend to associate revolution with technology:  unmanned totally autonomous vehicles, lasers, rail guns, invisibility coatings, dynamic armor, and so forth.  What is it that’s really revolutionary about those technologies, assuming they worked and became suddenly available?  It’s not the technology, per se.  It’s the changes in tactics, doctrine, and operations that they enable that are what’s really revolutionary.  A working laser would allow us to significantly rethink how we conduct AAW, how far we could push into an A2/AD zone, how aggressive we could be in conducting amphibious assaults, how many ships we need to protect a task force, and so on.  Had the LCS worked as originally envisioned, it would have totally revolutionized HOW we conduct ASW, MCM, and land force support, not WHAT we do.  We’d still conduct the same tasks but in a completely different manner.

So, back to our premise …  Are there existing non-military (meaning civilian) technologies that can revolutionize naval operations?  Let’s look at some possibilities.

  • Heave compensated cranes – These cranes have been around for some time in the merchant marine world and their adoption might allow VLS reloads at sea, cargo transfers unlimited by sea state, and revolutionary impacts on amphibious loading/unloading operations.

  • Barges – These have been used in the commercial world for many years to provide mobile, flexible platforms for an endless variety of tasks.  The military could use them to host large Army aviation units and special ops forces for persistent operations.  These could revolutionize our peacetime operations, in particular.

  • Podded Propulsion Units – These propulsion units offer many potential benefits and have been in commercial use for some time.  These could revolutionize ship propulsion design and capabilities.

  • User Interface - Advances like mobile device apps and voice actuated systems from the consumer world could be applicable to command and control and CIC.  The Vincennes incident was due to misinterpreted data that might have been prevented by suitable apps and voice interface.  Data interpretation has always been a weak link and the consumer mobile device world offers many possibilities for revolutionizing our Command and Control process.

  • Earthquake and Sway Tolerant Structures – The Navy is plagued by stress induced cracking of hulls and superstructures.  The civilian world has long since mastered the construction of earthquake and sway (skyscrapers and bridges) tolerant structures.  The Navy ought to look into adapting some of those techniques to ship construction.  For example, poor vibration control design in the LCS has rendered the Mk110 gun useless when the ship is at speed.  Another example is the superstructures of the Ticos, LCS, and, to a lesser extent, the Burkes.  They suffer from stress induced cracks due to the constant motion of the ship on the sea.  Adapting civilian sway design into naval architecture could revolutionize ship design and construction.

  • Armor – Tanks (not a civilian technology but not a naval one, either) utilize an amazing variety of composite armors, reactive armors, spaced armors, spall liners, etc.  Spacecraft utilize ablative armor.  Automobiles utilize impact absorbing “armor”.  Adapting some of those armor schemes to ships could revolutionize ship protection.


Active Heave Compensated Crane
There are also existing technologies within the Navy and the military that are not being utilized to their fullest.  Here’s an example from the Russian navy – the Kashtan.  They took the existing gattling gun CIWS that’s been around since the Cold War and bolted it together with a simple surface to air Stinger-type missile.  The result was a revolutionary close-in weapon system.  We’ve seen small examples of the same type of thing in the military.  The warhead/seeker from one missile is married to a longer range propulsion body and a completely new, far more effective weapon is created – a revolutionary advance achieved by a recombination of existing components.  That’s good and we need to do more of it.

  • Existing ICBMs could be paired with conventional warheads to create truly long range tactical ballistic missiles.

  • MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) could be navalized and mounted aboard ships to provide long range, high explosive, high volume naval fire support.

  • Army counterbattery radars (Firefinder and GATOR) could be navalized to provide protection for amphibious assault forces.

Some might quibble and attempt to call these evolutionary developments and, admittedly, there can be a degree of overlap between the two concepts.  Evolutionary merely enhances an existing capability whereas revolutionary creates a new capability.  At this point it becomes a matter of semantics and is not worth further discussion.  The premise remains.


Russian Kashtan CIWS


Finally, there’s also revolution from history.  There are weapon systems that have existed that, if adapted to today’s needs, would provide revolutionary capabilities.  Perhaps the leading example is the Navy’s need for a truly long range anti-ship missile.  Well, guess what?  The Navy had a proven long range anti-ship missile once upon a time – the Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) – but gave it up.  Why not bring it back?  It would provide a revolutionary anti-ship capability.

Other historical platforms that could offer revolutionary capabilities today include:

  • The S-3 Viking which could provide long range ASW, higher capacity aerial tanking (KS-3A), and electronic signals intelligence (ES-3A Shadow) could fill dire capability gaps with the Navy’s dream of a common airframe.

  • The A-1 Skyraider, a propeller driven attack aircraft which could relieve the Hornet fleet of its pickup truck plinking duties thereby saving wear and tear on our front line combat aircraft

  • The Spruance class destroyer which was the best ASW ship ever built and would revolutionize today’s ASW operations.

A-1 Skyraider
  

The point is that revolution is available from sources other than fantasy technology wishlists.  Fantasy is fine as long as it remains in the R&D realm and not production.  There are plenty of existing revolutionary capabilities just waiting to be found.  Look around, Navy!  Stop depending on Peter Pan for your next wonder-weapon and start applying some imagination to history and everyday technology.