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Monday, June 06, 2005

A Editorial in Favor of...Battleships?

Well, just when I thought I had heard the last of the battleship debate, along comes The Washington TImes with Battleships fit for duty.
Technology now allows battleships to do far better. GPS guidance will ensure one-shot, one-kill of hard targets such as the North Korean gun emplacements and Chinese missile batteries. Shells weighing 525 pounds can reach as far as 115 miles in a life-saving time of only 3 minutes. Over the longer term, the battleship's potential is truly revolutionary. Studies show that its massive firepower could be projected to at least 460 miles. With enhanced firepower and the ability to steam between Inchon and the Formosan Straits in less than a day and a half, two modernized battleships would have a chilling deterrent effect on aggressive designs by either the Chinese or the North Koreans...The Navy has misled Congress regarding the battleship's firepower, costs, survivability -- the Nevada survived two atom bombs -- and condition of equipment. The reality is that these ships could meet Marine Corps fire-support requirements in the near future. Nothing else can. Cost effective? Each battleship, with a reactivation and modernization cost of only $1.5 billion, has firepower equivalent to two aircraft carriers using only one-eighth the manpower. Moreover, the battleships' response is all-weather, is generally faster and is impervious to air defenses.
I like battleships, too, because there are times when nothing else in the inventory can really get the job done...

However, they come with an expensive set of problems. They are steam powered ships in an era of gas turbines (which means keeping a training pipeline for boiler techs especially for them (unless we convert them to gas turbines)), the ammo is very old and we'd need to make more, and regun the ships and then there is the threat from shore launched cruise missiles...
On the other hand, who can forget the video of the Iraqi soldiers during Desert Storm surrendering to the UAV spotting for one of the battleships?

One more tool...

Update: On Naval Gunfire here.
Update2: My title misleads. The piece in question is an "op-ed" piece, not an "editorial." Whoops.

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