|VT Halter Marine photo Patrol Missile Craft|
Foreign littoral waters have become an unsafe place to operate on the sea surface. Although the bulk of U.S. naval action has been in coastal waters since 1950, their significance has increased with the rise of China, the continuing threat from Iran, and the recent ventures of other countries, such as Russia. In these narrow seas, early warning and constant alertness are harder to achieve. Depth of fire is lost for lack of sea room. The clutter of inlets, differing coastlines and islands, coastal shipping, fishing boats, and oil rigs are all factors that complicate both offensive and defensive tactics.Read the whole thing.
For many reasons, a single-purpose ship is far preferable to an open-ocean multipurpose ship in situations that require a vessel to sail in these dangerous areas. The advantage of the single-purpose ship can be clearly illustrated by using lost combat capabilities as the basis of comparison. Assume a notional multipurpose ship has four. These might be surface-missile warfare, antisubmarine warfare, mine clearance, and the employment of helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles. Since there is a high probability that one modern antiship cruise missile will put either ship out of action, the advantage in missile combat is 4:1 in favor of the single-purpose ship; when the multipurpose ship is put out of action in a missile battle, the Fleet also loses all its other capabilities. This is a tactical measure of combat advantage. (footnotes omitted)
We had Captain Hughes on Midrats for an interesting discussion about a year and half ago, Episode 150: Policy, Fleet Size, and the Navy Next.