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Provocative Questions

For the past seventy years, U.S. surface combatants have been focused on defending aircraft carriers from either airborne or submerged threats. This all-important defensive mission has–for better or worse–defined America’s Surface Combatant Fleet–the fleet’s platforms, weapons and (most importantly) it’s mindset. The Surface Fleet’s overarching protective requirement has permeated everything about the surface combatant fleet. […]

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Can rational DC people squelch those folks who traffic in “gotcha” stories? Today’s AP story on Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus‘ travel habits–written by AP reporter Lolita C. Baldor–is just an outright smear-job. Shame on Secretary of the Army John McHugh and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments’ Bryan Clark (color me shocked Bryan […]

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Appreciate China’s Big New Seaplane

by admin on August 7, 2014

A good deal of polite Western snickering met the announcement that China was on the verge of building large seaplanes–an “old technology”, scoffed the haters, whose “heyday came and went with the demise of the Pan Am Trans-Oceanic Clipper”. But at least one Chinese aviation commentator dispensed a bit of wisdom for the doubters: “The […]

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Stealth! Low observables! Reduced signatures! Wake reduction! It’s all the rage in naval warfare…Modern navies just won’t leave home without a full suite of pricey features deemed necessary to make a 16,000 ton DDG-1000 dwindle away to a rowboat-sized radar blip. But…outside of that uncomfortable moment when, say, an anti-ship missile starts seeking your vessel, […]

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The current global crop of “conventional” frigates (which I loosely define as a multi-purpose combatant of somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000-4,500 tons), has reached something of a developmental dead end. These ships cannot be improved–or, in the case of foreign models, brought into compliance with U.S. Navy standards and then improved–without a huge investment–An […]

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In the game of “annual” Navy conferences, it seems every naval “Community”, no matter how small, has a conference of their own. Sail on surface ships as a Line Officer? Go to the Surface Navy Association meeting. Special Operators have their convo. Submariners have theirs. Marines have a few. Aviators have whatever they are calling Tailhook […]

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It is high time to stop the proliferation of Portable Aircraft Carrier Killing Systems–or PACKS. There’s no need to sell PACKS–dangerous tobacco-delivery systems–at sea, and no need to subsidize sales of ’em at bases. Bear with me. We all know cigarettes are dangerous to individuals and hurt others via second-hand smoke. But I’ll bet you […]

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So, last week the Small Surface Combatant Task Force announced a call for ideas on a small future surface combatant, complete with substantial pricing and production information and–if a boat-load of pricing and production data wasn’t enough–operational concepts as to how the ship will fit and fight with the fleet. Goodness. Where does one sign […]

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If the Navy is going to spend time thinking about new frigates or pondering “up-gunning” the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), then America should also be thinking about developing a low-mix, austere DDG-51. Look, if the U.S. Navy is looking for a low-end Destroyer, then why not use the excellent high-end DDG-51 as a starting point? […]

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As Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel heads off to Asia to urge resolution of some of Asia’s island disputes, many Americans will continue to scratch their heads in wonder as to why several Asian countries are at loggerheads over some small, seemingly useless and unpopulated islands. It’s a hopeless case of nationalism gone amok, signal […]

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