Thanks rickusn. An interesting article. It seems the waters of Blacksea are going to get hotter.
Change of Focus
Naval Forces Europe casts its attention on Africa and the Black Sea
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Vice Adm. Henry G. Ulrich III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CNE), spent time early this year in Ghana, Gabon, Angola and South Africa looking for military partners, offering security assistance and searching for ways to create new military coalitions with networked communications.
Ulrich also has cast his eyes — and his forces — eastward, building relations with nations in the Black Sea region, including new NATO members Bulgaria and Romania, as well as Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, he has continued the efforts of his predecessor to reduce the Navy’s footprint in the Mediterranean to a fraction of its level of a decade ago, when naval forces totaled about 25 warships, including several submarines. Today, two ships are permanently assigned to the Sixth Fleet, the U.S. operational command in the Mediterranean, normally augmented by four warships and one or two submarines from the Atlantic Fleet. The dedicated naval aviation presence there comprises four P-3C maritime patrol aircraft plus a few utility helicopters and transports, a stark contrast to the 15 or more P-3Cs in the region just a decade ago.
The U.S. naval presence in Europe and the Mediterranean is diminished to the point that it often is difficult for commanders to make ships available to train with longtime U.S. allies in Western Europe, said Cmdr. Craig Anderson, desk officer for international security strategy in Northern Europe and NATO for the chief of naval operations.
“We do not have as extensive a presence [in Europe], so we take advantage of the opportunities we do have for cooperative deployments. There are just fewer chances for us to train with other navies and [conduct] port visits,” he said.
After 60 years of intensive focus on Western Europe and the Mediterranean regions, U.S. naval forces in Europe are in the midst of fundamental reform to deal with a rapidly changing strategic environment shaped in part by military concerns about terrorist activities across in Africa, more demanding U.S. maritime security requirements and a growing U.S. dependence on West African crude oil.
U.S. military leaders have pointed to Africa as an incubator for terrorists. Gen. James L. Jones, NATO commander, told Seapower in 2004: “In Africa, there are clear signs of fundamentalists taking root and fomenting all kinds of problems for the future.”
Adm. Mike Mullen, chief of naval operations, said in January: “We’ve captured what we believe are some pirates off the Horn of Africa. There is piracy in lots of places. There is drug trafficking. There is weapon trafficking. There’s illegal immigration. … It’s the full spectrum.”
This is particularly worrisome, said Ulrich, because, “A lot of shipping is coming from … Africa, either around the Cape [of Good Hope] or originating in Africa.” One of his goals is “to have better awareness of where that shipping is coming from [and] what it’s doing, and to be able to provide that information back to the East Coast of the United States.”
Achieving that end will require partnerships with nations in the region. Ulrich is working with “the maritime forces on the west coast of Africa” to improve their security, surveillance and policing capabilities “so they know what’s going through their waters and what’s originating from their ports.”
For most of the nations in the region, “their big focus with maritime safety and security is economic,” said Cmdr. Mark McDonald, spokesman for CNE. Petroleum, vital to the economic development of the region and to the U.S. economy, is of particular interest. Gabon, for example, is concerned about attacks on, and pilfering from, oil wells at sea, he said.
“Fishing is, in many cases, critical to their survival,” he said. Piracy, smuggling and illegal fishing are serious problems in the region, as is human trafficking.
Almost 2 million of the 13.5 million barrels of petroleum products imported daily into the United States during 2005 originated from West African oil fields, said Jamal Qureshi, lead analyst of the Oil Markets Group of PFC Energy in Washington, D.C. Nigeria is the largest producer in the region, followed by Angola, Gabon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast. He predicts the percentage of U.S. oil imports from the region probably will rise during the next five to 10 years.
He noted two advantages of crude from West Africa.
“It is very easy to load up to a tanker and pop straight across to the [U.S.] Gulf Coast market, one of the most important crude markets in the world. West African crudes have become a swing crude between the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Wherever the prices are best, the crude can flow either way, east or west,” Qureshi said. “It tends to be high-quality crude, it’s easier to process, it produces more of the clean products we need more easily, so it’s more valuable.”
Illegal pilfering of oil is a problem, especially in Nigeria.
“Generally, all sorts of pirating is going on,” Qureshi said. “A lot of puncturing of pipelines. About 20 percent of Nigeria’s crude production right now is offline because of ethnic and criminal unrest going on in the Niger Delta. The communities in the Niger Delta are extremely unhappy about the distribution of revenues within Nigeria, and we’ve seen increasing willingness to express that though violence directed specifically at the oil industry.
“If significant volumes are taken offline in Nigeria, that can affect the price [of oil], especially if the market is tight anyway from other factors around the world,” he said.
Security of the oil properties is one reason behind the CNE’s initiative to convince African nations to invest in a network to improve their maritime domain awareness, which could include the commercial Automated Identification System (AIS), a shipboard broadcast system that acts like a transponder, capable of handling 4,500 data reports every minute and updates every two seconds. Like an air traffic-control system, AIS provides positive identification and greatly increases maritime awareness and safety.
“We do it every day with airplanes, and it’s time for us to start thinking about doing the same thing with ships at sea,” Ulrich said.
The cost of setting up an AIS network is about $4,000, and the coastal radars required cost about $150,000 per unit, which is expensive for many countries, but would be recoverable as the system contributes to antipiracy and antipilferage efforts, McDonald said.
In addition, Ulrich is devoting attention to goodwill missions, particularly along Africa’s west coast. The low number of submarines in the Mediterranean has freed the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land, at least for now, to support the CNE’s focus on Africa. Accompanied by the frigate USS Carr, Emory S. Land is making its second annual deployment to the Gulf of Guinea and the ports of several African nations.
The tender is not a sleek warship, but a massive hull filled with repair shops ideal for lending assistance to the navies and coast guards in the region. Its crew also takes on humanitarian aid projects during port visits.
Ulrich considers Emory S. Land “ideal” for building partnerships in West Africa. With very limited budgets, many African navies and coast guards are equipped with a range of patrol craft but are limited in repair and upkeep capabilities for them. The ship’s crew and embarked training teams are able to use their expertise and resources to repair ships and machinery, train personnel in maintenance and operations, contributing to the overall maritime effectiveness of the African sea services.
Since 1978, CNE has sent ships on the annual West African Training Cruise, also for the purpose of fostering security cooperation and conducting joint training with West African navies. Last September, the amphibious dock ship USS Gunston Hall and the high-speed vessel Swift participated in a Royal Navy-coordinated amphibious exercise in Senegal, and also conducted riverine, live-fire, amphibious raid and small-boat training.
Looking east, Ulrich said some nations of the Black Sea region, such as Bulgaria and Romania, “want to build their capability and capacity in their maritime security forces for all the same reasons as Africa. So if we can help them it’s a win/win for us.”
Ulrich wants to foster cooperation among maritime security forces that would patrol their home waters, share information, forewarning each, including the United States, about potential maritime problems.
Earlier this year, CNE dispatched the destroyer USS Porter to the Black Sea to train with the Romanian and Ukrainian navies in maritime security operations, including visit, board, search-and-seizure tactics. CNE sent explosive ordnance disposal teams to Azerbaijan to assist and train in the clearing of land mines. CNE also has been helping the Ukrainian Navy build “a professional noncommissioned officer corps, something they’ve never had before,” said McDonald.
CNE routinely contributes forces to Operation Active Endeavor, NATO’s ongoing effort to monitor shipping passing through the Mediterranean, primarily focused on searching for and interdicting terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, illegal drugs, human trafficking and arms smuggling, primarily from North Africa to Southern Europe.
Meanwhile, as Ulrich is reaching out to new areas, he continues to close facilities and cut back personnel, in concert with Navy-wide force reductions. For example, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two at Rota, Spain, was relocated to Whidbey Island, Wash., the same base of its Pacific Fleet sister squadron, for reasons of efficiency. The helicopter combat support squadron at Sigonella, Sicily, was moved to Norfolk, Va., last September, and now is deployed to Iraq.
With submarine deployments to the Mediterranean reduced, the Navy will close its submarine support base at La Maddalena, Sardinia, homeport of Emory S. Land. CNE’s manpower, which has dropped to 10,000 from 14,000 since 2003, will decline by an additional 2,500 with the closure of La Maddalena, counting the tender’s crew of 1,100 sailors and Marines. The ultimate fate of the submarine tender has yet to be determined.
The Navy has been dramatically shrinking its land-based footprint in Europe during the last few years, an effort begun by Ulrich’s predecessor, Mullen. Most far reaching was the consolidation of the CNE staff in London with the CNE staff in Naples, Italy, integration with the staff of the Sixth Fleet and absorption of the staff of commander, Fleet Air, Mediterranean, resulting in one staff that serves CNE and its battle arm, the Sixth Fleet. The consolidation trimmed about 1,000 billets, leaving a staff of about 500, McDonald said.
The change in CNE’s size, roles and missions is a change for Ulrich, personally.
“I’ve been trained all my life to sink navies,” he told Seapower. “What we’re doing [in Africa] is building maritime security forces … so we’re learning to do that. What I’ve learned so far is that the tools, resources and skill sets we need to help build these maritime security forces is different than it was when I was trying to sink navies.”
Thanks rickusn. An interesting article. It seems the waters of Blacksea are going to get hotter.
It's time we sent our people home from Europe. the Cold War is over and if they want to go and get themselves invaded again, it's not our problem.
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: The Honda Accord of fighters.
Ben, its true that the common wisdom is trhat the cold war is over.
Me Im not so sure.
But in any event SLOC's are as important in times of relative peace as full blown war whether cold or hot.
The MED is a difficult operating environment irrespective of the ***** to transit Straits of Gibralter and the Suez Canal.
Now if you mean ground troops I totally concur.
But a permanent naval prescence is a must IMHO. Until or unless US trade(inbound or outbound) no longer exists along with the cessation of the need to transit USN battlegroups.
7500 naval personnel in all of Europe with the lions share in Italy(Not to forget Rota, Spain) is a pittance.
Also remember Russia has recently stated thatt they consider the USN persona non grat in the Black Sea. Simple, basic laws of the sea contradict any such notion.
At one time to(I was there) the old USSR made live very difficult in the MED also.
Patton was right about the Russians and all who paid attentiom heeded his warnings.
I dont see that anything has changed.
The Russians dont even acknowledeg the failure of the USSR much less willing to foot the bill for the monumental clean-up.
Instead virtually blackmailing western governments to foot the bill while at the same time spending an enormous amount of wealth recreating their nuclear-powered, nuclear missle equipped submarine force.
Go ahead and stick your head in the sand. I prefer not to. To each his own I guess.
LOL, that's funny as hell.Originally Posted by BenRoethig
Rick, agreed. The Reds are one Coup away from being back in full fledged boogie man form.
The Russians don't bother me. Let the EU with with them.
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: The Honda Accord of fighters.
If we wish to trade freely on a worlwide basis we have no choice but to engage them. Or are you an isolationist?
Interesting PRAVDA article:
USA capable of wiping out Russia’s nuclear capacity in single strike
Front page / World / Americas
For the first time in the last 50 years the USA is on the verge of attaining ultimate domination with regard to nuclear weapons. This means that Russia is no longer able to keep up with the United States. If a conflict were to break out, the USA would be able to quickly and with impunity attack Russian territory, and Russia would have no means to mount a response.
This is roughly the message of an article published in the latest edition of the American journal Foreign Affairs. Its authors calculated that in comparison with the USSR, the amount of strategic bombers at Russia’s disposal has fallen by 39%, intercontinental ballistic missiles by 58% and the number of submarines with ballistic missiles by 80%. “However the true scale of the collapse of the Russian arsenal is much greater than can be judged from these figures,” they write. “The strategic nuclear forces now at Russia's disposal are barely fit to be used in battle.”
Russian radar is now incapable of detecting the launch of American missiles from submarines located in some regions of the Pacific Ocean. Russian anti-air defense systems might not manage to intercept B-2 stealth bombers in time, which could easily mean that they are able to inflict a strike with impunity on Russian nuclear forces. If Russian missile forces continue to decrease at the current rate, then in about 10 years only isolated missiles, which the American anti-missile defense is capable of intercepting, will be able to deliver a retaliatory blow. “It will probably soon be possible for the USA to destroy the strategic nuclear potential of Russia and China with a single strike,” says the article.
The article’s authors come to the conclusion that all this may stabilize the worldwide hegemony of the USA and sustain the foreign policy course of the USA, which aims to prevent the appearance of another power centre in the world of equal strength, and to exclude the possibility of weaker nations undermining American positions in key regions around the world, such as the in Persian Gulf.
Russian experts reacted extremely guardedly to the article in the American journal. It is obvious that Russian strategic nuclear forces are experiencing difficult times. Modernization is being carried out, but at a very slow rate. In the 1990s the Russian submarine fleet was almost totally destroyed. And it hardly seems possible to revive it in the coming years, as this would require colossal funds.
But it also obvious that it is completely unjust to talk of the USA’s domination with regard to nuclear weapons. This aim is unattainable within the next decade. “At least until 2015 it is unlikely that Russia’s nuclear containment capacity will noticeably diminish, as there are still some launch systems among the strategic missile forces that Russia can still rely on for a considerable length of time, capable of delivering an effective retaliatory strike,” senior academic at the RAN Institute of World Economics and International Relations Vladimir Dvorkin told Interfax. He has previously headed four research institutes in the Russian Ministry of Defense, devoted to problems of strategic weapons.
However, the main message of the article in the American journal is not that Russian nuclear forces are rapidly falling into decay and do not represent a significant threat to the USA. It is just that in Washington ever more vehement arguments can be heard that Russia is of no particular value to the USA as a political partner.
We should take into account that this journal Foreign Affairs is published by the Foreign Policy Council. As recently as the 6th March it published a report entitled “Russia’s incorrect course”, the main idea of which was that Russia’s opinion is now only important to the USA on certain questions and that the paths of the two countries are significantly diverging. Therefore the article on the forthcoming “nuclear domination” of the United States is no more than an attempt to “scientifically” expound the theory that Russia is of absolutely no use as a partner. Therefore it could be that we will not have to wait long to find out something new about our own country. That prospect is no less gripping…
Comments from experts:
Aleksey Arbatov, Director for the Centre of International Security IMEMO RAN:
At the current time there is no cause for concern. But in the next 10-15 years Russia will have to improve the ground-based component of its nuclear forces – for example, its ground-based radar system and warning system for a missile attack. If it does not do that, then many systems will go out of date, nuclear parity will be lost, and the USA will gain a definite advantage. But Russia has the means to not let that happen – for example, our ‘Topol-2’ complex has no equals in the world, and it needs to be developed in sufficient quantity. In turn, Russian diplomacy must work to ensure that all nuclear powers decrease, not increase the size of their nuclear arsenals.
Leonid Ivashov, General-Colonel, Vice-President of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems:
This article proves that the USA is employing a policy of political intimidation against Russia . This is their way of replying to the announcements of Putin and Ivanov that in Russia there will be a weapon capable of overcoming their air-defense system. In the next 10 years and beyond I hope that the Americans will not make any attack on us, because Russia has something to answer with – even if not in such a large quantity. At the same time this declaration is an expression of discontent with Russia for strengthening relations with China and, in part, with the European Union.
But there is the danger that Russian nuclear forces will shrink to such a level that the American air-defense system will be able to intercept them. And then American winged missiles based at sea will be able to deliver a strike on our infrastructure, our military-industrial complex and on civilian locations. But the USA will only do this if they are sure that Russia will not make a retaliatory strike, at least not such a massive one. And here everything will depend on our leadership, as to whether it will give the order to press the button for a retaliatory strike or not. But even in conditions of our great vulnerability, it is highly likely that for the USA, geopolitical intimidation will be much more important than a military strike.
Oleg Artyukov and Vadim Trukhachev for Pravda.ru
Translated by James Platt
The Cold War never ended it just left the front page foe a time.
Its coming back full blown in a hurry.
IMHO it started a few years ago with the Russains not only reneging on but using the funds from the US earmarked to dispose of the Typhoon class SSBN's on other projects.
China and Russia are well on the way to making an alliance with one purpose:
To restrict the United States free use of the seas.
They wish also to get India and Pakistan to do likewise ergo the USN's recently increased dialog with both of those navies.
Im not sure where these #s come from:
"CNE’s manpower, which has dropped to 10,000 from 14,000 since 2003, will decline by an additional 2,500 with the closure of La Maddalena, counting the tender’s crew of 1,100 sailors and Marines."
First AFAIK there are no Marines aboard the tender ES Land. Although I suppose it is possible some are temporaarily assigned but I havent read anything about it.
But as of 31DEC2005 the USN had approx 8800 personnel in Europe 1800 were afloat. The USMC approx. 1000. The USAF/Army had a combined total of nearly 91,000.
Major contingents of USN/USMC "aprox. #'s":
with another 500 -600 scattered around Europe. The USMC column comes up short about ioo(dont know why).
Make no mistake the US is marked as the enemy and by extension that means myself and my family.
You may say this off-topic or not relevant to a World Navies discussion.
I disagree. In fact it has everything to do with the subject if you think about it.
Control and protection of the Sea Lines of Communication is crucial to the survival of the USA as we know it.
Our potential enemies have been laying the groundwork for at least a decade to deny us free use of the sea.
The below and other reports are just minor skirmishs of a war that has already started. In fact it started before 911. 911 was this wars PH make no mistake.
The Cole incident also has paralles in history: Greer/Kearney and especially Reuben James come to mind.
The UK leadership understood this and was/is our most trusted ally at great cost to themselves and their country. But being on the right side is never easy especially if it begins to look like the wrong side.
Pentagon: Russia fed Saddam U.S. intel
By Robert Burns, AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON — The Russian government collected intelligence from sources inside the American military command as the U.S. mounted the invasion of Iraq, and the Russians fed information to Saddam Hussein on troop movements and plans, according to Iraqi documents cited in a Pentagon report released Friday.
The Russians relayed information to Saddam during the opening days of the war in late March and early April 2003, including a crucial time before the ground assault on Baghdad, according to the documents.
The unclassified report does not assess the value of the information or provide details beyond citing two captured Iraqi documents that say the Russians collected information from sources "inside the American Central Command" and that battlefield intelligence was provided to Saddam through the Russian ambassador in Baghdad.
A classified version of the Pentagon report, titled "Iraqi Perspectives Project," is not being made public.
In Moscow, a duty officer with Russia's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report late Friday. No one answered the phones at the Defense Ministry.
A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Barry Venable, referred inquiries seeking comment to Central Command. At Central Command headquarters in Tampa, officials did not immediately respond to a request.
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli declined to comment.
In addition to citing the Iraqi documents on the matter of Russian intelligence, the report also directly asserted that an intelligence link existed.
"Significantly, the regime was also receiving intelligence from the Russians that fed suspicions that the attack out of Kuwait was merely a diversion," the report's authors wrote. They cited as an example a document that was sent to Saddam on March 24, 2003, and captured by the U.S. military after Baghdad fell.
The report said the Iraqi document was titled, "Letter from Russian official to presidential secretary concerning American intentions in Iraq." The Iraqi document said, "The information that the Russians have collected from their sources inside the American Central Command in Doha is that the United States is convinced that occupying Iraqi cities are impossible," and that as a result the U.S. military would avoid urban combat.
"The strategy is to isolate Iraq from its western borders," the document added.
Central Command's war-fighting headquarters is at an encampment in the desert just outside Doha, Qatar.
The lead author of the Pentagon report, Kevin Woods, told reporters at a briefing that he was surprised to learn that the Russians had passed intelligence to Saddam, and he said he had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the Iraqi documents.
"But I don't have any other knowledge of that topic," Woods added, referring to the Russian link.
Brig. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, who appeared with Woods and also was closely involved in the project, said he believed such a link reflected a long-standing close economic relationship between Moscow and Baghdad.
"I don't see it as an aberration," Cucolo said. "I see it as a follow-on to economic engagement and economic interests."
In the end, one piece of Russian intelligence actually contributed to an important U.S. military deception effort. By telling Saddam that the main attack on Baghdad would not begin until the Army's 4th Infantry Division arrived around April 15, the Russians reinforced an impression that U.S. commanders were trying to catch the Iraqis by surprise.
The attack on Baghdad began well before the 4th Infantry arrived, and the government collapsed quickly.
As originally planned by Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief who ran the war, the 4th Infantry was to attack into northern Iraq from Turkey, but the Turkish government refused to go along. Meanwhile the 4th Infantry's tanks and other equipment remained on ships in the eastern Mediterranean for weeks — a problem that Franks sought to turn into an advantage by attacking Baghdad without them.
Based on a captured Iraqi document — a memo to Saddam from his Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated April 2 — Russian intelligence reported through its ambassador that the American forces were moving to cut off Baghdad from the south, east and north, with the heaviest concentration of troops in the Karbala area. It said the Americans had 12,000 troops in the area, along with 1,000 vehicles.
Indeed, Karbala was a major step on the U.S. invasion route along the Euphrates River to Baghdad. A key bridge over the Euphrates, near Karbala, was seized on April 2, permitting U.S. forces to approach Baghdad from the southwest before Iraq could move sufficient forces from the north.
The Pentagon report also said the Russians told the Iraqis that the Americans planned to concentrate on bombing in and around Baghdad, cutting the road to Syria and Jordan and creating enough confusion to force residents to flee.
The Pentagon report, designed to help U.S. officials understand in hindsight how Saddam and his military commanders prepared for and fought the war, paints a picture of an Iraqi government blind to the threat it faced, hampered by Saddam's inept military leadership and deceived by its own propaganda.
"The largest contributing factor to the complete defeat of Iraq's military forces was the continued interference by Saddam," the report said.
"We, the USA, are at a point in history where anyone will sell us out to see us fall on our faces for the right price. There are way too many disgruntled people in this world and even here, in the USA. Even our own citizens, if the money is right. To the Russians, to the Chinese, anyone willing to pay them lots of money for the right intel. Its the fall of the Roman Empire starting and it may be a matter of time. Unless this country starts cracking down on crime, no matter what the crime is, we will see more and more hate towards this country. It doesn't matter whether we have a Dem or Rep President either. The hate is there and the most troubling part is we have helped every country in the world financially and they hate us and still want harm done to us. I think our monetary aid should be spent here making this country stronger from the inside and concentrate on making the people here safer, healthier and more prosperous. Its time we take care of our own first. Not countries that could care less of our health, economy or safe being. "
"Is it me? Or do our Russian "allies" work against us on every issue? Iran, Iraq, Belarus. This is the 1980's all over again."
At least some people get it.
Last edited by rickusn; 25 Mar 06, at 00:12.
Rick I see your point. But notice that they only talk about ships perm assigned to 6th fleet. So it doesn't include the CBG or ESG that gets chopped from 2d Fleet.Originally Posted by rickusn
I wonder if it also includes the ship in the NATO ASW squadron? Or if we even have one there anymore?
Even as far back as 95 we were skipping Naples as a port visit. Not that anyone missed it
And as far back as 2000, it was hard to find an American at Rota compared to the 80s. The Spanish were quick to point out that it was their naval base. Not ours, And they will point to the flagpole just to rub it in.
Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?
For 30 years from the late 1950's to the late 1980's two carrier battlegroups were almost always present in the MED even during the Vietnam war.
In the late 1980's one was assigned to other tasks in particular the IO but also the N. Lant and Caribbean received renewed attention.
Also at least a 1/2 dozen SSN's plied the Med.
For the last seveal years the emphasis has been on the Persian Gulf/IO.
And the 6th fleet has had very few ships chopped to it I only know of only four surface combatants in the Euopean AOR at the moment and two of those are tasked to the SNMG1 & 2. Simpson and A Burke respectively.
Along with the Carr escorting the tender ES Land off Africa and the Porter that was in the Black Sea. Those two shipsmake up an SSG that is usually made up of three ships but the A. Burke has been assigned to SNMG 2. The Simpson is an independent tasking.
So the SSG is split between three different operating venues.
There is also a coupla submarines Im guessing.
No ESG or CSG at the moment anyway.
Also as the article says the P-3's have been reduced to a handful.
IYO, did the standing up of the SNMGs in the late 90s, and the lowering of the dependence on US 6th Fleet forces justify the reduced numbers now?Originally Posted by rickusn
What are we using to meet our "partnership for peace" and other "Requirements"?
Since there is no "Northern Watch". Will the CBGs come back to the Med? Or will they and the ESG sit in the Arabian Sea/Indian ocean and transit the Suez when the need arises?
I think we need at least 2 SAGs, Or a SAG/CBG/ESG in the area. To include at least one ship in the Black Sea quarterly. Aside fron the PFP exercises we have to
exercise the freedom of movement ops.
Of all the problems the Navy has, I think the P-3 situation is a major disgrace.
Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?
I dont know with the ever increasing importance of not only the Persian Gulf but also of the IO and a renewed focus on the Pacific if we will ever see CSG iin the MED much anymore except for transiting to those AOR's.
An SSG of three ships will be the norm , I think as I related above, with an ESG thrown in now and again for good measure.
The P-3's are quite useful when integrated into the Strike Groups. Especially for MED Ops but also in general. In particuar when Naval formations are transiting into and out of the MED. They can surveill a tremendous amount of space below, on and above the surface. And can be equpped with a number of weapons to deal with submarines or surface combatants. The updated versions have also been tasked to support operations on land .
But European operations are rapidly drawing to a close for the USN. Permanent basing is getting tougher to either justify or maintain.
In the future as the EU stands up their new naval formations there will be increasing pressure on the USN to withdraw even further.
On the P-3:
The 227 aircraft in the US Navy fleet have been reduced to 170 and will be further reduced to 130 by 2010. The P-3 will then be phased out following the introduction of the P-6 Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) from 2013.
The aircraft is flown by a crew of ten on missions up to 14 hours long. The flight deck accommodates the pilot, the co-pilot and the flight engineer. The main cabin is configured as a mission operations room for the tactical co-ordinator, the navigator and communications operator, two operators for the acoustic sensor suite, the electromagnetic sensors systems operator (responsible for the operation of the radar, electronic support measures, infrared detection system and magnetic anomaly detectors), the ordnance crew member and the flight technician. Circular protruding windows in the main cabin give the crew a 180 degree view.
ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE SYSTEMS
The aircraft’s anti-submarine warfare systems include the AN/ARR-78(V) sonobuoy receiving system supplied by Hazeltine Corporation of New York, the AN/ARR-72 sonobuoy receiver supplied by Fighting Electronics Inc of New York for the operation and management of buoys, two AQA-7 directional acoustic frequency analysis and recording sonobuoy indicators, and a AQH-4 (V) sonar tape recorder. The sensor suite also includes an ASQ-81 magnetic anomaly detector and an ASA-65 magnetic compensator. Sonobuoys are launched from within the main cabin and from the external hardpoints.
The airborne electronic surveillance receiver, ALQ-78(V) is carried on a pylon under the wing fairing. The system is supplied by Lockheed Martin based in New York and has also been manufactured under licence by Mitsubishi in Japan. The ALQ-78(V) automatically operates in search mode, its target primarily being submarine radars. When a submarine radar signal is detected the system is switched to direction finding mode and the received signals are characterised.
The aircraft can carry weapons in the bomb bay and on ten underwing pylons. The bomb bay is in the underside of the fuselage forward of the wing. It is capable of carrying a 2000 lb mine such as the Mk25, Mk 39, Mk55 or Mk 56. Alternative ordnance includes 1000 lb mines, depth bombs, torpedoes, or nuclear depth bombs. The underwing pylons can carry 2000 lb mines, torpedoes, rockets, rocket pods, and 500 lb mines.
The US Navy P-3C aircraft are equipped to carry the Harpoon AGM-84 anti-ship and stand-off land attack missile. During the late 1990s the US Navy P-3C Orions armed with the Harpoon were deployed in Yugoslavia. US Navy P-3C's are also being upgraded with the WESCAM 20 multi-sensor system, which includes thermal imager and CCD sensors.
In February 2004, the Boeing SLAM-ER standoff land attack missile completed integration on the US Navy P-3C Orion. 59 aircraft are to be modified to carry the missile by the end of 2004.
Related stories: Air Reconnaissance, Americas - USA, Contracts - Modifications, Lockheed Martin, Missiles - Precision Attack, Specialty Aircraft
Also on this day: 02-Jun-2005 »
Old dog, new tricks
Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems and Sensors, St. Paul, Minn., is being awarded a ceiling amount $56 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0082) to exercise an option for the procurement and installation of P-3C Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) Kits required to convert P-3C UII.5 aircraft to the P-3 AIP configuration.
The P-3C Orion fleet, which is due to be replaced by the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft beginning around 2010, is receiving a wide range of upgrades and special maintenance in order to keep the planes effective and flying. Nevertheless, this particular upgrade may have special relevance to the war on terror.
While the P-3C Orion fleet is facing airframe wear issues, their loiter time and surveillance capabilities are proving valuable in war theaters like Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as their classic maritime patrol role. The P-3C Update III Anti-SUrface Warfare Improvement Program [ASUWIP] Aircraft offers improvements in Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence; surveillance capabilities; and survivability. It also incorporates the Maverick Missile System, a TV-guided precision strike missile that is very useful against ground targets as well as small ships.
P-3C Orions modified to this capabilitity level could easily loiter high over battlegrounds in the Global War on Terror, using their surveillance capabilities and Maverick missiles in support of ground operations as well as maritime surveillance and interdiction.
Work on this contract will be performed in St. Paul, MN and is expected to be completed in December 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract. See other DID articles related to the P-3C Orion
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