414 Ships, No LCS: MITRE’s Alternative Navy

on February 10, 2017 at 4:47 PM

http://breakingdefense.com/2017/02/414-ships-no-lcs-mitres-alternative-navy/
 WASHINGTON: The Navy needs a vastly larger fleet — 414 warships — to win a great-power war, well above today’s 274 ships or even the Navy’s unfunded plan for 355, the think-tank MITRE calculates in a congressionally-chartered study. That ideal fleet would include:

All told, the MITRE plan is even more radical than the competing plan submitted to Congress by the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. Although both studies would grow the fleet, upgrade the America-class amphibious assault ship into a conventionally powered light carrier, cancel LCS, and build a new frigate, MITRE calls for a larger force overall and more new types of ship. Senate Armed Services chairman John McCain finds both alternatives “impressive” but favors the CSBA scheme.

[Read about the Navy’s internal study and McCain’s favored plan, the CSBA proposal]

Bundeswehr image

The German Navy’s new F125 frigate, which MITRE proposes as a model for an LCS replacement.

The High-Low Mix

Building a 414-ship fleet “is unrealistic,” MITRE acknowledges, even assuming the Budget Control Act is repealed. So the study lays out what MITRE considers a good-enough plan to build and upgrade as many ships as possible for an additional $4.5 billion a year ($1.7 billion in shipbuilding funds and $2.8 billion for new weapons, mostly missiles).

This good-enough plan includes many compromises. Most notably, it slows down the production of aircraft carriers in the near term — even though MITRE believes we ultimately need more — because the Navy doesn’t have enough fighter jets to equip them all, and an aircraft carrier without aircraft is pretty pointless. To close the airpower gap, MITRE advocates buying more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, since it believes “accelerating F-35C (Joint Strike Fighter) production does not appear to be a viable option.”

BAE Systems image

BAE Hyper Velocity Projectile (HVP)

More broadly, and similarly to CSBA, MITRE argues against today’s reliance on a small number of exquisitely expensive long-range missiles for anti-aircraft and missile defense. Instead MITRE advocates large barrages of precision-guided shells fired from conventional naval cannon — known as the Hyper-Velocity Projectile — and ultimately from electromagnetic railguns. Fielding HVP “must be a top priority” because it would turn the 5″ guns on every Navy cruiser and destroyer into missile defense systems.

In general, unlike CSBA, MITRE explicitly calls for a “high-low mix” with a smaller number of high-end warships supplemented by a larger force of cheaper, less capable vessels. Most of MITRE’s proposed new types fall in the relatively “low” end:

  • The magazine ship or MG(X), similar to the 1990s concept of an arsenal ship, would be a low-cost hull — derived from a commercial or military transport — that’s packed with missiles. Weapons would include both new kinds of cruise missiles and a new ballistic missile based on the Army’s 1980s-era Pershing (but without the nuclear warhead). The MG(X) might also carry HVP-firing cannon. These ships would provide backup to conventional warships, which have better sensors but less capacity for munitions.
  • Diesel-powered attack submarines are far more common worldwide than nuclear ones, even among our First World allies, and with modern Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) — which eliminates the need for snorkeling — they can be highly stealthy, while still costing a fraction of the price of a nuclear sub. MITRE wants to keep building the nuclear-powered Virginia class at two a year, but would also supplement those boats with cheaper diesel subs.
  • The Navy currently plans to replace its aging LSD-class amphibious ships with a scaled-down version of its San Antonio-class LPD amphibs, to be called L(X)R. MITRE argues for economizing much further, replacing each planned L(XR) with either about six small Expeditionary Fast Transports — catamarans formerly called JHSVs — or three modified Watson-class transports.
  • MITRE’s new frigate, however, would be larger and more capable than the LCS it replaces, with a 5″ gun (firing HVP) and sufficient sensor and missile capacity to conduct air and missile defense over a wide area, instead of only being able to protect itself. MITRE proposes Germany’s new F125 frigates as a model.

Until the new frigate comes online, MITRE would funnel funds saved by canceling LCS into building more destroyers. In fact, MITRE’s ideal fleet would nearly double the current force of 84 “Large Surface Combatants” — destroyers and cruisers — to 160, compared to 104 in the Navy’s 355-ship plan and just 74 in CSBA’s proposal.

CSBA, by contrast, sees cruisers as increasingly redundant and relies heavily on highly capable frigates, 71 of them compared to MITRE’s 46 or the Navy plan’s 52. CSBA also calls for a new fleet of 40 corvettes and also emphasizes even-small unmanned craft more strongly than MITRE. Despite the real differences between MITRE and CSBA, however, both strongly concur on the need for a more powerful small warship than LCS, a frigate able to help defend the fleet against swarms of incoming anti-ship missiles.

The MITRE study doesn’t get as enthusiastic an endorsement from Sen. McCain as does CSBA’s. Nevertheless, its striking ideas will make a major contribution to the naval debate.

U.S., Canada Partner on Model, Test Activities to Support Heavy Polar Icebreaker Acquisition

http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20170210-icebreaker.html

Posted: February 10, 2017 4:58 PM

WASHINGTON — The U.S. and Canadian governments on Feb. 7 established a partnership that will enable the U.S. Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program to test and validate potential heavy polar icebreaker design models at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) in St John’s, Newfoundland, the Coast Guard said in a Feb. 9 release.

The testing, which includes analyses of maneuverability in ice and icebreaking resistance and powering, will be used to further inform the baseline requirements for new heavy polar icebreakers, expand current icebreaker design and operational knowledge, and support the urgent need to recapitalize U.S. heavy icebreaking capability.

The partnership is being facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and was developed under the Agreement Between the U.S. and Canada for Cooperation in Science and Technology for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Border Security, enacted in 2004. Model and test activities at the NRC are scheduled to formally begin in April.

The NRC is home to one of the world’s largest ice tank facilities, which is used to measure the performance and evaluate the safety of ice-going ships and structures in controlled model-scale conditions. The NRC ice tank is capable of modeling a wide range of marine ice conditions, including first-year and multiyear ice, pack ice, ridged ice and glacial ice.

In addition to the modeling work that will be conducted at the NRC, the Coast Guard and Navy will conduct additional model test work to evaluate the performance of the icebreaker in open water at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, in Bethesda, Md.

To Fix the Department of the Navy – Kill the Mabus Legacy

by Gary Anderson

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/to-fix-the-department-of-the-navy-kill-the-mabus-legacy

Gary Anderson

Global warming and political incorrectness are the greatest threats to the United States, and it is the job of America’s Navy to protect us from those threats. For the past eight years, that has been the strategic legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and the primary goal of his successor should be to ensure that Mabus has no legacy. The traditional mission of the US Navy has been to deter potentially hostile navies, or failing to do that, defeat them. Getting the US naval services back to that philosophy is going to be a big job for the new administration.

The Mabus priorities have been making the naval services more caring, inclusive, and environmentally protective. Discipline, combat effectiveness, and readiness have been secondary goals at best. Under Mabus, the Navy has sunk to readiness levels approaching those of the post-Vietnam Carter era. The breakdown of the appropriately named USS Zumwalt in the Panama Canal late last year is symbolic of Mabus and his “Great Green Fleet” concept. Zumwalt was arguably the worst Chief of Naval Operations in history. His namesake ship has been a disaster. Its main gun fires a round that is so expensive that it cannot be used in training, and would be ineffective in supporting sustained land operations, which is one of its primary missions.

The disgraceful conduct of sailors captured by the Iranians last year, and the incompetence of seamanship that led to the incident, are a direct reflection of the misplaced priorities of the Department of the Navy under Mabus. The fact that the Marine Corps has remained an effective military organization is primarily due to the moral courage of Marine Corps leaders who challenged Mabus and his extreme social experimentation at its worst when he attempted to integrate male and female units at the Marine Corps’ two recruit training establishments (Boot Camps).

The next Navy Secretary should have three immediate priorities:

First, should be a firm statement that a return combat readiness and iron discipline will the primary emphasis of the Navy and Marine Corps. Leaders should not be afraid to discipline malcontents because they might be accused of being racist or sexist; that is not the case today. Sailors and Marines should be trained to be warriors and not lab rats in bizarre social experiments. In addition, the Navy Department and the Defense Department as a whole should abandon hyphenated American celebration days. LGBT sailors and Marines are allowed to serve by law, but some are now demanding special recognition. Being recognized as a competent warrior should be enough. The demand for special recognition for race or sexual orientation detracts from morale, good order, and discipline; such celebrations have outlived their usefulness if they ever had any in the first place.

A second priority should be to conduct a thorough investigation into the Mabus’ era project on biofuels. In a recent Washington Post interview, Mabus touted supplying biofuels that cost only $1.99 a gallon as part of his legacy. The shady accounting that led to that ridiculous claim should be investigated and Mabus should be prohibited from being employed by any of the renewable energy firms with Navy contracts that profited from that scam in the future if it is shown to be bogus. If an investigation shows that biofuels are indeed cost effective and don’t impact operational efficiency, I’ll eat my hat; I’ll even buy a USS Zumwalt hat, and eat it.

Third, the embarrassingly bad performance of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) is an example of shoddy management and poor judgment involved in that program should result in a total review of Mabus era naval procurement. In the 21st Century, taxpayers should be able to demand that a multimillion dollar Navy ship have the same type of quality expected of a Toyota Prius.

The US Navy and its partner Marine Corps are facing extraordinary challenges in the 21st century. They have to be prepared to deter big wars with regional threats such as China, Iran, and North Korea as well as to wage small hybrid wars with non-state actors. They need to do so in an environment where threat include cyber warfare and insider attacks in an era of increasingly austere budgets. Secretary Mabus and people like him have used the Department of the Navy to accomplish non-military “progressive” political objectives at the expense of a real military capabilities.

Mabus and his ilk should be investigated for their performance in office; their “accomplishments” go beyond incompetent. If their actions are found to be of such a nature that they have eroded national security to further their political agendas, they should be prohibited from doing business with the government in the future.

Ignoring budget caps, Navy issues new call for larger fleet By Jared Serbu | @jserbuWFED December 19, 2016 5:30 am

http://federalnewsradio.com/dod-reporters-notebook-jared-serbu/2016/12/ignoring-budget-caps-navy-issues-new-call-larger-fleet/#more-1209162

Almost exactly one year ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter rebuked his Navy secretary, Ray Mabus, for submitting budget plans that Carter believed put too much emphasis on quantity over quality. Mabus evidently hasn’t been persuaded: the final force structure assessment prepared under his watch calls for a significantly bigger fleet than the Navy’s own growth plans called for two years ago.

The 2016 update to the Navy Force Structure Assessment, sent to Congress last week, asserts the service needs a fleet of 355 ships in order to adequately perform its missions. That’s a big change from the 2014 plan of 308 ships the Navy has been building toward.

Importantly though, officials fully acknowledge that the bigger Navy would be too expensive to fit within the governmentwide budget caps that have been in place since 2012 and will remain through 2021 unless Congress eliminates or raises them.

3-day work week for DC area feds due to inauguration.

The Navy said in a statement that the new force structure assessment “was not constrained by Budget Control Act funding levels” but insisted that “if funded, this plan is executable, as each ship class called for in the FSA has an active shipbuilding line already up and running.”

warships instead of 88 and 66 attack submarines instead of 48.

“To continue to protect America and defend our strategic interests around the world, all while continuing the counter-terrorism fight and appropriately competing with a growing China and resurgent Russia, our Navy must continue to grow,” Mabus said in a statement. “All of the analysis done to date, inside and outside of the Navy, recognizes, as we have for nearly the last eight years, the need for a larger fleet. That is why, working with Congress and our partners in industry, we have successfully reversed the decline in shipbuilding that occurred from 2001-2009, putting 86 ships under contract over the last seven years. Maintaining this momentum, and the cost-saving business practices we have established, will be critical to ensuring the Navy is able to achieve the FSA-recommended fleet size.”

During public speeches and interviews, Mabus often touts his success in increasing Navy shipbuilding during his unusually long tenure.

But he may have felt more free to recommend a larger fleet not only because this is the last assessment of his career as secretary, but also because it aligns closely with what little President-elect Donald Trump has said about his plans for Defense. Trump called for a 350-ship Navy during the presidential campaign, along with a larger Navy and Marine Corps.

Assuming lawmakers find a way to manage around or completely ignore the deficit reduction imperatives that prompted the Budget Control Act in the first place, the plan is also likely to get support in the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress.

“This force structure assessment is long overdue, but welcome news for America’s national security,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. “At a time when our adversaries are investing in weapons systems and engaging in aggressive behavior, this strategy, if implemented, will help boost our fleet, support our security, and send a strong signal to allies and enemies alike that American naval power remains a key element of our defense.”

Defense Bill Includes Biggest Military Pay Raise in 5 Years

Stars and Stripes | Nov 29, 2016 |

WASHINGTON — Troops would get their biggest pay raise in years under the final version of Congress’ annual defense policy bill unveiled Tuesday.

The 2.1 percent increase included in the National Defense Authorization Act would break a five-year trend of raises that have fallen below the private sector. The higher pay would go into effect Jan. 1 if the bill is passed by Congress, and it could receive an initial vote in the House on Friday.

The massive $618.7 billion policy bill also includes $3.2 billion to boost troop numbers and bolster Marine Corps and Air Force aviation, a military health care overhaul and a requirement to study whether women should be included in the military draft.

The NDAA was hashed out during months of negotiations between the House and Senate, which had disagreed about an $18 billion spending hike for the military. The proposal was pared down in the final bill, but the $3.2 billion increase could run into opposition from Democrats, who have demanded any additional defense spending be matched with dollars for domestic programs.

Military pay raises have been kept below 2 percent since 2011. Meanwhile, troops and families have been stressed by deployments, aging equipment and shrinking overall defense spending.

The National Military Family Association has said troops are being “nickel-and-dimed” and that a higher pay raise is among its top priorities.

The language in the NDAA overrides President Barack Obama’s order to set pay raises at 1.6 percent in 2017, which was a slight increase over the president’s decision to keep raises at 1.3 percent this year.

The bill also freezes a drawdown in the Army, keeping its end strength at 476,000, and boosts Reserve forces by 4,000. The Marine Corps would get 3,000 more troops, according to a briefing on the bill by senior aides with the House Armed Services Committee.

The House aides said the additional $3.2 billion will also help fill gaps in military readiness especially for the Air Force and Marine Corps, which have maintenance and training problems with F-18 fighter jets and CH-53 helicopters.

Tricare, the military’s health care program, would be overhauled to shore up its financial future and expand some access to health care facilities, according to the House briefing.

“We do raise the co-pays and fees on the next generation of military,” a senior aide said.

Active-duty troops and current retirees would not be affected by the fee increases. But service members who join the military beginning in 2017 will face higher costs for themselves and their beneficiaries when they retire.

The House and Senate conference committee rejected a proposal to require women between 18-25 years old to register with the Selective Service, as men are now required to do. The Selective Service could be used if the United States reinstitutes the military draft, which for now remains an unlikely scenario.

The proposal raised the ire of some conservative lawmakers, and the NDAA instead calls for a study of the issue, which was a proposal favored by the House.

Link to Full Article: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/11/29/defense-bill-includes-biggest-military-pay-raise-in-5-years.html

U.S. Navy Gives Look Inside $4.4B Futuristic ZUMWALT Desroyer

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/5780f73caee642cdbab5e4e7dd83a082/us-navy-gives-look-inside-futuristic-44b-zumwalt-destroyer

 

Navy Adjusts LCS Class Crewing, Readiness and Employment

From Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The Navy announced Sept. 8 it will implement several key changes to the projected 28-ship littoral combat ship (LCS) Flight 0/0+ class over the next five years that will simplify crewing, stabilize testing and increase overseas deployment presence availability.

The projected 12 Frigates will be the next increment of LCS and will use the same manning, training, maintenance and operating concepts as those that have been approved as part of the LCS review. The decision to make these changes resulted from a comprehensive review of LCS crewing, training, maintenance and operations commissioned in March. While a total of 40 ships have been approved for the program, the Navy Force Structure Assessment still projects the need for 52 small surface combatants that LCS and Frigate address.

Beginning this fall, the Navy will start to phase out the 3:2:1 crewing construct and transition to a Blue/Gold model similar to the one used in crewing Ballistic Missile submarines, patrol craft and minesweepers. The LCS crews will also merge, train and rotate with mission module detachment crews, organizing as four-ship divisions of a single warfare area–either surface warfare (SUW), mine warfare (MCM) or anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Though organized this way, the LCS class will retain the technological benefits of modularity and the ability to swap mission packages quickly if needed. Aviation detachments will also deploy with the same LCS crew, but will remain assigned to their respective squadrons when in home port.

To facilitate these changes across the class, the Navy will eventually homeport Independence-variant ships in San Diego and Freedom-variant ships in Mayport, Florida, 24 of the 28 LCS ships will form into six divisions with three divisions on each coast. Each division will have a single warfare focus and the crews and mission module detachments will be fused. Each division will consist of three Blue/Gold-crewed ships that deploy overseas and one single-crewed training ship. Under this construct, each division’s training ship will remain available locally to certify crews preparing to deploy. Few homeport shifts will be needed since only six LCS are currently commissioned while the rest are under contract, in construction or in a pre-commissioned unit status.

The first four LCS ships (LCS 1-4) will become testing ships. Like the training ships, testing ships will be single-crewed and could be deployed as fleet assets if needed on a limited basis; however, their primary purpose will be to satisfy near and long term testing requirements for the entire LCS class without affecting ongoing deployment rotations. This approach accommodates spiral development and rapid deployment of emerging weapons and delivery systems to the fleet without disrupting operational schedules.

Implementing these changes now and as more LCS ships are commissioned over the coming years will ultimately allow the Navy to deploy more ships, increasing overall forward presence. With the Blue/Gold model in place, three out of four ships will be available for deployment compared with one out of two under 3:2:1. The Blue/Gold model will also simplify ownership of maintenance responsibilities and enhance continuity as the same two crews rotate on a single ship. Single-crewed training ships will complement shore-based training facilities and ensure crews have enough time at sea before deployment. The findings and recommendations of the LCS review will allow the LCS program to become more survivable, lethal and adaptable as the LCS become regular workhorses in the fleet.

“As we implement these changes, we will continue to make iterative adjustments and improvements based on evolving fleet requirements and technological developments,” said Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces. “Implementing the approved recommendations from this review and continuing to examine other areas for improvement will better position the LCS program for success – both now and in the future.”

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Forces, visit www.public.navy.mil/surfor or follow the Surface Force at www.facebook.com/SurfaceWarriors and on Twitter @surfacewarriors

For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/.

Zumwalt Headed to San Diego After Commissioning By Brad Graves – SDBJ Staff

The U.S. Navy plans to send its futuristic destroyer Zumwalt to San Diego after the ship’s Oct. 15 commissioning ceremony in Baltimore.

In anticipation of the move, the Navy awarded shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works an $8.75 million contract modification covering products and shipyard services. Half of the work will go to San Diego while the other half will go to Bath, Maine.

The deal, announced Aug. 22, is a modification to a previously awarded construction contract. It covers “post hull, mechanical and electrical sail way, transit and post-delivery advanced planning support efforts,” according to the Pentagon notice. Among the items covered by the contract modification are shore support, “sail around support” for the trip to San Diego, unspecified industrial work, logistics support, spare parts and unspecified long lead-time material. Work will run through July 2017.

The Zumwalt is also known by its hull number, DDG 1000. The Navy plans to build three of the destroyers. At one time, the Navy planned to build 30.

Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Zumwalt-Headed-to-San-Diego-After-Commissioning-391167992.html#ixzz4IMRsOhOg