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  • Fleet size

    Just read this article. The US Navy's Real Enemy: Math | RealClearDefense
    What do folks think about it here? Does it hold water? The author states 4.4 Burkes are necessary for every 1 forward based Burke and other vessel types go as high as 8 of the type to maintain 1 in forward deployed status. This puts the fleet numbers in a very different light when you consider the number of potential hot spots around the world where the US claims an interest.

  • #2
    It seems odd that the author doesn't address either the "pivot to asia" or the fact that the US has a number of allies in the region who would presumably take a hand in any conflict with China. In fact, if the US is involved, it probably got sucked in by one of those allies.

    The "pivot to asia" is already shifting US resources to the region, as well focusing planning and procurement around a conflict with China. The idea that a small contingent of the USN will have to go it alone against the combined might of the PLAN, PLAF, and PLA in any conflict seems a bit unrealistic as well. The US has numerous allies both in the region and around the world who can contribute ships, subs, aircraft, and missiles. The JMSDF and ROKN seem to be very capable in their own right and practiced at integration with the USN. The US also has the navies of Europe to draw on either directly or to free up additional USN units to bring to the fight.

    The other factor that comes into play is that securing their immediate waters isn't enough for China. Exports are responsible for more than a quarter of Chinese GDP, and it is almost impossible for China to send trade overland. Perhaps more importantly, China is greatly dependant on energy imports that must come by sea. China has to import 60% of its energy and it can't rely on its largely energy starved neighbors if sea routes are cut off.

    This changes the dynamic to a situation where China can't just bunker up and try to push foreign aggressors away from it's backyard the way the US could in the gulf. China NEEDS access to energy that comes through the Straits of Malacca and markets in Europe, therefore the USN isn't likely to pull any light brigade charges into heavy land based defenses.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 26 Mar 15,, 15:22.

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    • #3
      He also forgets the forward deployed USAF assets. The US Navy will not go it alone against the combined strength of the Chinese Navy,Air Force and Missile forces.

      He mentions Mahan's 2x yardstick. Must have 2x the number of ships that our possible enemies have combined. And uses that to argue for more ships while he conveniently leaves out the fact that we have a 19 equivalent Navy. Our Navy is larger than the next 19 largest Navies combined.
      Last edited by Gun Grape; 27 Mar 15,, 22:13.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Gun Grape View Post
        Our Navy is larger than the next largest Navies combined.
        And, as always, they ignore the human element.

        USN ships deploy, train, exercise and UNREP on the high seas as regularly and naturally as eating and breathing compared to potential adversaries. So do many of our allies.

        (I'm sure you remember those days fondly Gunny )
        “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
        ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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        • #5
          I understand that the USN looks forward to the day that the RN can operate 2x QE class VTOL aircraft carriers, but how many America class LHA does each one make up for? Seems it depends on where the trouble is and how far that is from our respective homes. Given the massive cuts to UK forces planned, we may as well go all Royal Marine with a side order of ASW.
          Market Economy is unfair: Rob Sugden

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
            And, as always, they ignore the human element.

            USN ships deploy, train, exercise and UNREP on the high seas as regularly and naturally as eating and breathing compared to potential adversaries. So do many of our allies.

            (I'm sure you remember those days fondly Gunny )
            That's a huge force multiplier for us as it makes our ships more effective, more survivable and more available for mission tasking. Also there is the availability of forward based USAF assets, something Mahan could not have considered in his day. But I am not asking about the 2x rule of thumb. I'm curious about the ratio of ships in the force to ships actively forward based in a hot spot. The author suggests 4.4 to maintain 1 Burke in, say the Persian Gulf. That would be the one on station, the one leaving, the one working up to deploy and one in maintenance availability I am assuming. Does that seem right? He lists other ratios, not sure what vessel type, but shouldn't it be similar? If you think of a CSG having perhaps 2 Ticos and 3 Burkes, that's 22 of those vessels (using the 4.4 figure) for the CSG. I'm kind of guessing that that figure (the 4.4 to 1 ) is low. I don't think it accounts for ships that might have casualties making them undeployable, but not in that maint availability cycle and vessels involved in local ops, the 3 days out from home port, then 4 days in, ledets, etc. With the Ticos, that is almost 10 for 2 forward deployed and there is only 22 of that class. It just puts the numbers of ships in the fleet in a different light than what many people would think when they say how large the US Navy is. There are typically 3 carrier centered deployments, Medcruise, WestPac, Persian Gulf. Smaller yearly deployments such as UNITAS, WATC, deploying a 2nd CSG when the Gulf region or eastern med heats up or Nork gets fidgety. It's mind boggling. At least for my mind, which easily boggles. I can see how it can be an interesting subject for those whose minds tend to logistics and planning.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DonBelt View Post
              That's a huge force multiplier for us as it makes our ships more effective, more survivable and more available for mission tasking. Also there is the availability of forward based USAF assets, something Mahan could not have considered in his day. But I am not asking about the 2x rule of thumb. I'm curious about the ratio of ships in the force to ships actively forward based in a hot spot. The author suggests 4.4 to maintain 1 Burke in, say the Persian Gulf. That would be the one on station, the one leaving, the one working up to deploy and one in maintenance availability I am assuming. Does that seem right? He lists other ratios, not sure what vessel type, but shouldn't it be similar? If you think of a CSG having perhaps 2 Ticos and 3 Burkes, that's 22 of those vessels (using the 4.4 figure) for the CSG. I'm kind of guessing that that figure (the 4.4 to 1 ) is low. I don't think it accounts for ships that might have casualties making them undeployable, but not in that maint availability cycle and vessels involved in local ops, the 3 days out from home port, then 4 days in, ledets, etc. With the Ticos, that is almost 10 for 2 forward deployed and there is only 22 of that class. It just puts the numbers of ships in the fleet in a different light than what many people would think when they say how large the US Navy is. There are typically 3 carrier centered deployments, Medcruise, WestPac, Persian Gulf. Smaller yearly deployments such as UNITAS, WATC, deploying a 2nd CSG when the Gulf region or eastern med heats up or Nork gets fidgety. It's mind boggling. At least for my mind, which easily boggles. I can see how it can be an interesting subject for those whose minds tend to logistics and planning.
              I don't think he is right and I also don't think you can use a solid formula for such things.

              Why do you need 4.8 DDs in San Diego to support each one "Forward Deployed", (stationed) in Japan? Those ships (- the carrier) go through dry dock periods at the base. No different then them being stationed at Pearl or San Diego.

              The 4 ship per deployment ratio is a good guesstimate to be used for planning. The Corps did/does the same thing for LF6F rotations. But its not a hard number. There are always multiple ships in the training/maint cycle that can step in and replace the casualty or be ready for the unexpected deployment.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by perfectgeneral View Post
                I understand that the USN looks forward to the day that the RN can operate 2x QE class VTOL aircraft carriers, but how many America class LHA does each one make up for? Seems it depends on where the trouble is and how far that is from our respective homes. Given the massive cuts to UK forces planned, we may as well go all Royal Marine with a side order of ASW.
                I believe the Queen Elisabeth and America class ships are tailored to somewhat different purposes such that one really isn't a direct replacement for the other. The QE class was built to launch F-35s, while the America class was built to quickly send in marines.

                The America class ships will primarily carry a bunch of MV-22s to deploy its 1600 marines, along with a handful of F-35s, attack, and heavy transport helicopters to assist in the deployment and support of those marines.

                The Queen Elisabeth class on the other hand, is built to project offensive air power. It will primarily carry around 40 F-35s with some helicopters in support. This requires that the QE class devote significant volume to hangar space, aviation fuel, and munitions. A QE class carrier can be expected to generate and sustain significantly higher numbers of sorties than an America class.

                To some extent the America class and QE class are capable of swapping roles. The America class can give up most of its helicopters and Ospreys to carry about 20 F-35s if required, and a Queen Elisabeth could give up F-35s to bring more helicopters or Ospreys aboard along with 1200 additional marines and their equipment. Yet neither would perform as well or be able to sustain such a role reversal without a lot of additional effort and inefficiency. I see the role of a Queen Elisabeth class ship having a lot more in common with a Nimitz or Ford class than an America.
                Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 30 Mar 15,, 04:04.

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