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Thursday, January 23, 2014

This May Be the Dumbest Thing I've Read in Some TIme: "DOD TOPGUN Fights For Navy To Fight Like It Is 1986" by Craig Hooper

Well, I read a lot of truly dumb stuff, but this piece of - um- work by Dr. Craig Hooper, DOD TOPGUN Fights For Navy To Fight Like It Is 1986, is almost too silly for words.

I don't remember the great wars of 1986*, but his "analysis" leaves much to be desired. I suggest reading one of the comments to his blog post before reading the post so as to better understand Dr. Hooper's line of baloney. Comment is by "Chris":
Chris January 22, 2014 at 9:58 am

In may be technically accurate to say the LCS is not defenseless, but that is all. SeaRAM has a range of 5 nm. Foreign navies operate without air coBy way of comparison, Australian FFG-7, using that obsolete Mk 41 VLS carries ESSM with a range of 27 nm. Which would you prefer? Taking the comparison further, the FFG-7 also has a bigger gun (very passé) as well as carrying Harpoon. Harpoon’s 67nm range is also a lot bigger than the LCS anti-surface module’s Griffin or Hellfire range of about 3 nm. Which would you prefer?

VLS may date from the eighties, but the missiles it carries do not. That’s one of the central advantages of VLS. You can easily upgrade (i.e. it is modular) the missiles. Unfortunately, LCS is too small to carry it. Lockheed or Raytheon I am sure would be more than happy to try and invent a smaller, lighter, but more powerful missile to squeeze onto an LCS. Given enough time and money this magic missile might eventually materialize. Smaller missiles have smaller amounts of propellant and smaller warheads. It is physics. BTW, a technical point, all modern guns are breechloaders. Being a breechloader has nothing to do with the argument surrounding the efficacy of large caliber main batteries vs carrier aviation.

No reporting that I have seen, certainly not the Navy Times article, has said anything to back the hysterical comment that the Navy is abandoning rail guns and lasers. The LCS does not have the space or power margins for either of those systems. The Freedom variant has already had weight and stability issues that required bolt-on buoyancy fitting at its stern. The Independence variant cannot even accommodate a 76mm gun, so in what reality would a railgun be squeezed in? Furthermore, neither variant has an integrated power system that would be key to energy based weapons, only a DDG-1000 currently has that.

Perhaps the real story is that OSD finally threw the BS flag on buying upgunned Coast Guard cutters to form 1/6 of the fleet. If modularity and affordability are the goals, and laudable ones at that , look at the Danish STANFLEX system. STANFLEX was developed in dreaded 1980s, but it works and module swaps are a lot faster than those conceived under LCS’ reported CONOPS. The LCS is an example, like the JSF, of acquisition mal-practice. The Navy attempted to cross a frigate replacement with the Street Fighter concept mixed a little Rumsfeld transformation secret sauce to create two ships designs that can hunt pirates and make nice with small navies. Hardly key components for the battle fleet “pivoting” to the Pacific.
And then, after another person comments in agreement with Chris, Hooper offers up:
admin January 22, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Thanks for commenting.

I am always amused at how the advocates for a robust Navy always seem to forget logistics. They always come at you with a laundry list of cool stuff, but those peksy mundane (and vital) things like, oh, T-AO(X)s or the need for wide-ranging diplomatic support or wider presence never seem to get on the list.

Look, banging stuff up from an awesome, horribly-beweaponed cruiser is great fun. I’d love to have a Navy you describe. But, unfortunately, a lot goes into supporting the pointy end we both love.
Golly gee, Dr. Hooper, I guess the LCS, being "horribly un-beweaponed" is a marvel of not needing logistics because of it long sea legs and ability to change modules at sea? If we are going to drag along at 10 knots to get better mileage, we wasted a heck of a lot of money creating a ship that can do 40 knots. Which is, after all, just a little faster than an old style Fletcher-class destroyer, except the Fletchers and the follow-on Gearings out gunned the LCS, carried torpedoes, had indigenous sonar and could operate UAV's from their FRAM'd flight decks. Of course they were designed 60 years ago, so you've got that going for you. Further, suppose your LCS is rigged for mine ops and you discover a sub threat? Are you gonna go back home for the ASW package? Send out another LCS with the ASW package?

And what on earth does this mean, ". . .the need for wide-ranging diplomatic support or wider presence never seem to get on the list." It seems to me that diplomatic support is on every nice to have Navy list I've ever seen - except we once had a Navy that could cut itself free from foreign shores even when we didn't have that support. In fact, It still can, so long as we have the logistics train to support it. What we did was we transferred that logistics support force to MSC, which has done a bang up job.

I have no idea what "wider presence" means in the context you used it.

I can tell you that the LCS is the epitome of a ship that needs both local shore support (can't change those modules at sea) and an armed escort to go into harm's way. You might look at SecNav's comments here:
“One of the things the CNO said the other day is one of the things the LCS can do is help prevent warfare,” Mabus said – by doing the day-to-day work of maritime policing and partnership building in accordance with the new global strategy, for example. But, he went on, “if there is a war, we aren’t going to have the LCS out there by itself.” Other, more robust vessels can provide cover against enemy warships, cruise missiles, and aircraft while the LCS conducts its specialized shallow-water missions sweeping mines, hunting submarines, or fending off swarms of small boats.
Well, hell, under those conditions, I could send a pontoon boat to sea for "policing" and "partnership building."

However, if the balloon goes up, I like something a little more "beweaponed" and a little more robust under my feet.

*In fact, 1986 was a relatively peaceful year. If any warship ever was designed to operate in such relatively benign period, it's the LCS.

1 comment:

  1. UltimaRatioRegis10:43 PM

    Craig Hooper is a vain, arrogant Navy wanna be convinced of his own genius. I have yet to have a personal or on line discussion with him where he has done his homework, or can provide cogent analysis that provides any particular insight. Commenter "Chris" flays him, and Hooper reacts predictably, which is with bad sarcasm and disconnected analogies.

    His understanding of warfare, naval or otherwise, is non-existent.

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