Monday, March 02, 2009
THEL & HULC
An article on why the aircraft carriers we are building will be as obsolete as battleships when they come into service & a couple of military technologies we could put the money into instead. http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2009/02/obselete-military.html
Well worth reading(ok my emphasis :-) The future composition of the fleet depends in large part on what missions it must accomplish. Before we do that we need to answer hard questions about what are our responsibilities, and where. For example, do we still have an interest in Taiwan, or is it time to give notice that the treaty with Taiwan will run out? The US Navy has always been involved in freedom of the seas and free passage for all nations; we certainly will continue that, but what does that take?
Does it require great carrier groups to carry out the foreign policy of a wealthy republic> How far must we be able to project power? Would it be more cost effective to develop nuclear power plants or nuclear powered warships? These are the hard questions, and I am not sure anyone is asking them.
Unlike standing armies, a solid Navy has never been considered a political problem for the republic: the questions are effectiveness and costs vs. benefits and missions.
One of the hard questions is the survivability of present design warships in different levels of warfare. But just as different missions require different kinds of army, different levels of warfare require different kinds of Navy. Piracy suppression missions are not best carried out by large carrier groups. Protection of the coasts against a nuclear-armed invader is an entirely different mission from protection of American interests in a Banana Republic or the Middle East. To what extent will be be involved in "humanitarian" missions, and is regime change of a horrible dictatorship that devours its own people but is no threat to the people of the US an appropriate mission for the United States? We can all agree that disaster mitigation is a good thing, but how large a Navy should we maintain for the entirely predictable disasters that will take place in volcanic/earthquake typhoon regions? And so forth.
We need a new strategic survey on the future of sea warfare; a Strategy of Technology that looks into survivability and effectiveness in different combat environments and levels of warfare. I do not know how much of this is being done, but I don't see many results.
The following message is relevant to the new fleet design as well as relevant to a previous discussion.
Continuing the discussion on the future of air power (Begins http://www.jerrypournelle.com/
mail/2009/Q1/mail558.html#air1 and Continues http://www.jerrypournelle.com/
Col. Couvillon's remarks
As usual Col. Couvillon is right on. We all know it takes a decade or more from initial specs to production for most any weapons system. So, by the time a weapon is in production, the electronics are completely outdated. Now imagine the kind of fire control software that could be written to run on a current generation laptop from you local store, add-in remote controlled flying electronics from your local RC hobby store, an IED, and a light flying platform of some kind (think big RC plane or a Cessna). Now recall that most of this is built cheaply and in very large quantities in China.
I'm not aware of any Linux R/C software, as everything I found in a foray into R/C airchines (to carry expedient amateur radio repeaters to serve wilderness firefighters, where hams now use helium balloons to loft an antenna) was Windows-based. Now, milspec killware is rarely FOSS (Free Open Source Software) but the Greater Chinese Chamber of Commerce and People's Army is firmly Open Sourced, as who knows what's in Windows, donated by the NSA, these days?
When we see Linux R/C software leaking through the Great Firewall of China, that should be a Red Flag that someone's designing remote control swarmcraft.
And, why an AED? The Greater Chinese Chamber of Commerce and People's Army can copy a late WW-II device, the cluster munition, very well. Israel's been on the receiving end of their Type 90 MZD submunition http://www.hrw.org/legacy/english/docs/
2006/10/18/global14408.htm (delivered when Hezbollah is not too busy killing fellow Muslims http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2007/0409terrorism_saab.aspx ), the GCCCPA declines to sign a treaty against submunitions http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/landmark-cluster-bomb-treaty-signed-oslo-20081203
and their most recent white paper http://politicalminefields.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/chinas-landmines-and-cluster-munitions-policy/ also avoids criticizing submunitions.
-- 73s and best regards from John Bartley
Ther military may not be scaling lasers up to stop ICBMs but the market is scaling them down to get flies ;-)