August 30, 2014
China can build whatever it wants on its islands in the South China Sea, a senior Chinese official said on Monday, rejecting proposals ahead of a key regional meeting to freeze any activity that may raise tensions in disputed waters there.
Above is the Chicom outpost on the manmade island that was once Kennan Reef, part of Scarborough Shoals in the Philippines.This is just one of several reefs the Chinese are building outposts on.
Since the Chinese consider these to be new Chinese territory, they claim the 200 mile EEZ around them, which is most problematic for the Philippines as Scarborough Shoal is not just claimed by the Philippines, it is well within the Philippines' EEZ, only 150 miles from Luzon and has been part of the Philippines since the Spanish organized the islands against the Sulu jihadists in the 1500s. When, after the US annexed the islands, the Philippinoes voted for and were granted independence from the US, Scarborough shoal was explicitly included by the US in the deal.
March 16, 2014
Some years ago the Chinese set up a military outpost on and laid claim to "Mischief Reef', a tiny coral outcropping in the Spratley islands off the coast of one of the main Philippine islands (Palawan).
China then cartographically stuck it's tounge out at all its southern neighbors claiming pretty much the entire South China Sea and in particular the Spratelys are Chinese territory.
The Philippines, which is not exactly a world power, could not evict the squatters without risking war and so responded by setting up an outpost on another of the rocks to confirm their sovereignty. The outpost is the Philippine transport ship Sierra Madre which has been grounded on Aungin reef and is the Phillipinel government administrative office for the Spratelys.
The ship is now classified as a government building and is staffed mainly with marines to prevent the Chinese from running the Philippines off from their own island and assert that the islands are not relinquished.
Well, while everyone was distracted by stuff happening elsewhere, the Chinese blockaded the island and PLA warships drove off Philippine ships bringing supplies.
The Philippine Air Force is now air dropping supplies. All this comes just as the US and the Philippines are getting ready to conduct joint exercises in Palawan.
June 25, 2013
I gather that "Operation Senkaku" is a new model line.
I note that this kit does not show up on their English language website.
August 16, 2009
Eaglespeak has been covering the mystery of the MV Arctic Sea for several days now.
Cliffs Notes version: The Moter Vessel Arctic Sea, a Maltese ship with a Russian crew was siezed by pirates posing as marine police in the...BALTIC SEA. After transiting into the Atlantic all the vessels transponders wee shut off...no one knows where the ship is. Though there have been at least 2 reported sightings one just last night, both are a bit sketchy at best.
July 31, 2009
Now I'm a Goldwater Republican and as our statesmen go Senator (and General) Goldwater is a better choice than most, but....no.
We need to end this now.
One of the most irritating and downright offensive military developments in the last few decades has been the habit of naming United States capital ships after politicians. This is reminiscent of the former Soviet Union and corrupt third world nations. With the possible exception of George Washington himself, we really do not need to be naming our fighting ships after elected officials. Frankly, I'd find an alpha numeric system preferable to this.
Carriers, were initially to be given names of famous battles and previous Naval vessels with especially distinguished careers. With this in mind there is a counter proposal for the naming of CVN 79 and it is an august name indeed....
Few ships have been as pivotal to world history as the Enterprise of 1775 as that vessels actions on Lake Champlain may well have changed the course of the Revolutionary War. The seventh ship to bear that name was, for several months during the Pacific War, the ONLY allied carrier in the Pacific. Holding the line against nigh impossible odds, the "Big E" won 20 out of a possible 21 battle stars and was absolutely pivotal in winning that terrible war. The eighth ship graced with that name is still in service. The first nuclear carrier in the world, her record of movements reads like the history of the US Navy after 1961. Now approaching her 50th year, Enterprise the oldest ship in the fleet by a wide margin, and is due to retire before CVN79 is commissioned. There are few more appropriate names for a US Navy warship.
Whereas the namesake ENTERPRISE has been proudly borne by two combat aircraft carriers of the United States Navy; Whereas the first USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) (seventh ship to bear this name) and her embarked airwing and crew gallantly fought in every major battle in the Pacific during World War Two, including the signatory battle at Midway when vastly outnumbered by the ships and planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, ENTERPRISE, with YORKTOWN and HORNET struck a mortal blow, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of the war in the Pacific; Whereas the same ENTERPRISE concluded that war as the most decorated warship in the United States Navy with 20 battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, a British Admiralty Pennant, Navy Unit Commendation, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and Task Force 16 Citation among many other accolades; Whereas the second United States Navy aircraft carrier to be named ENTERPRISE (CVAN/CVN-65) was the first such ship of her class in the world to be nuclear powered; Whereas that ENTERPRISE, the eighth ship to bear that name in the United States Navy is concluding a half-century of service to this nation and has honorably served in every theater of operations from leading the naval quarantine off Cuba in 1962 to conducting the first strikes following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001; Be It Resolved That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries. We The Undersigned: Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE. Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE
Steeljaw Scribe has got the ball rolling on this, you can keep it rolling by signing here.
May 27, 2009
Early this morning, suspected pirates attacked a Greek Bulk Carrier in the Gulf of Aden. The pirates fired upon the ship with small arms and RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). A distress call was picked up by the EU NAVFOR Swedish warship HSwMS MALMO which immediately proceeded to the area.
HSwMS MALMO made visual contact with the attacking skiff and fired warning shots and flares. The skiff stopped after pursuit and was boarded by a VPD (Vessel Protection Detachment). Weapons, GPS equipment, grappling hooks and barrels of fuel were found on board the skiff. 7 suspected pirates were captured and are at present being held for further investigation........
The Swedes have stationed two Stockholm class corvettes in the area since last year. The tiny vessels are supported by a tender.
Displacement: 335 tons full load
Dimensions: 50.5 x 7.5 x 2 meters/165.7 x 24.6 x 6.6 feet
Propulsion: 3 shafts; 2 cruise diesels, 4190 bhp, 20 knots; 1 boost gas turbine, 6,000 shp, 32 knots
Radar: Sea Giraffe 50HC air/surf search
Sonar: SS304 Spira hull mounted, TSM 2642 MF VDS
Fire Control: 9LV 300 missile control
EW: EWS-095 intercept, Philax decoy RL
Armament: 8 RBS-15 SSM, 1 57mm/70cal DP, 1 40 mm AA, 2 21 inch torpedo tubes, 4 LLS-920 ASW RL
The fact that a tender supported vessel of this size is meeting success on the other side of the world goes a long way to validating some of Admiral Cebrowski's Streetfighter concepts.
A slightly larger vessel able to be fitted with with ASROC or ( perhaps more realistically) and some light AAA weapons like Evolved Seasparrow or RAM might very well be a good fit for the USN.
With their heavy weapons removed they would be fairly cheap to operate in "warm war" operations like this but they might be quickly fitted with their variable depth sonar and ASW weapons (presumably attended to by reservists) so they would act as sub chasers in a hot war Such a vessel would be much closer to the original "Streetfighter" concept than the LCS it eventually evolved into.
RDNS Skaden of the Flyvefisken class
Vessels able to act as tenders for these vessels already exist. Some of the 'gator navy' amphibious vessels could be modifid to do so and most could provide helicopters as well.
It certainly beats ending up with 200 or fewer ships...
March 30, 2009
A group of Somali Pirates attacked a tanker off the horn of Africa several hours ago. This would be sad but not remarkable as the piracy in the area has been bad for years and exploded in the last few months. However the tanker they attempted to board was the FGS Spessart, a German Navy supply ship.
The German sailors returned fire and pursued the skiff while also calling in for support. Several naval ships — including a Greek and a Dutch frigate, a Spanish warship and the USS Boxer — sped to the area while a Spanish marine aircraft and two U.S. Marine Cobra helicopters joined the pursuit.
Five hours later, Greek sailors reached the pirate skiff, boarded it and seized the seven suspects and their weapons, including assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, the Greek navy said. The suspects were disarmed and transferred for questioning to the German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz where they remain Monday, pending a decision on whether they will be legally prosecuted, Christensen said.
Wasp, meet sledgehammer.
(Hat Tip: Information Dissemination)
March 22, 2009
That is the damage to the sail of USS Hartford from here recent collision with USS New Orleans. There is a good discussion of this that includes informed opinion over at Bubbleheads place.
Scuttlebutt over there is that the submarine rolled over 80 degrees.
That is one tough boat.
We need ships, lots of ships in a decade or less but given the economy we are likely to have have very little money
Given the high tempo 'medical diplomacy' operations pioneered by the Bush administration as well as the need to respond to disasters such as typhoons, volcanoes, plagues and tsunamis at least some of the vessels we build ought to have some sort of cargo capacity and a larger than average medical facility.
A converted or redesigned merchant design would seem to be the logical choice but if these are to replace the FFGs then it is important to ensure that such a vessel be capable of providing something in the event of a hot war other than terrible ways for bluejackets to die.
The challenges of modern warfare mean that an electronics fit is needed of course so such a ship will bear no relation in cost to whatever merchant ship it is designed from, but it might cost something akin to a modern corvette.
Lets take a standard American containership design, the Philidelphia Class, and assume the aft deck is used for helicopter operation and the aft holds are used as a flex deck for small craft and Littoral combat ship modules. The holds forward of the bridge have ample room for containers that can contain everything from food to hospital or war supplies. I'd use the midships below decks space (where pitching would be minimized )for a big hospital and a secondary helipad (if only to directly service the hospital). This would not have the capability of the Mercy or Comfort but it could conceivably approach that of the LHAs and could do a LOT of good on mercy missions.
It might be less threatening as well. Note that while such a vessel would not be a hospital ship, and would therefore be targetable by law, most people we are likely to lock horns with are unpersuaded by appeals to human decency anyway. Forward of the hospital area, even 2-400 containers would be an impressive ammount of relief supplies in peacetime and still leave room for 16-32 VLS cells for ESSM. The large helideck would give a decent helicopter borne ASW and possibly even minesweeping capability in wartime especially if during a major war something like SCADS or the old ARAPAHO concept were put into place along the lines of this....
These would probably not able to be procured in the same numbers that 600 ton corvettes might but they could ad a considerable complementary capability to the low end of the hi/lo mix.
At any rate it may bear considering. Any thoughts?
UPDATE: In the comments James Rummel takes the time to comment at length about the idea and makes some lucid points but also indicates that I may have been unclear about as few things.
These are not replacemtnts for our cruisers and destroyers, but a low end complement. If they replace anything they might best replace part of the production run of the LCS vessels....
IF they can be procured more economically and IF they would be a net improvement in capability . These are indeed big "IFs".
There are certainly all sorts of issues with this concept both political and practical. However, I am of the opinion that, if built, these would be warships with peacetime duties similar to a 19th century gunboat but with much greater utility to assist the main force.
Mr Rummel makes another comment that deserves mention.
You suggest that this is only a temporary change until economic conditions improve. But anyone interested in military procurement will tell you in a heartbeat that it would be almost impossible to get Congress to pony up for actual, very expensive warships after a decade of building cheaper cargo ships. Once the change is made, there is no going back.
This is a very real concern.
It is probably one reason the navy doesn't build some smaller carriers to increase survivability through numbers. This was tried in the 70s ant the congress made it plain that it would ONLY buy the smaller carriers and not increase numbers...thereby gutting the navy but giving the impression that congress was providing modern ships.
It does not always work out that way though.
In the 1880's the UKs shipbuilding program was terribly screwed up, with problems that included cost overruns, excessively long build times, ships massively over budget as well as overdue, quality control issues, problems integrating new technologies and simple corruption (sound familiar?). The response was to, for a time, order only second line vessels such as gunboats and auxiliaries as well as a few experimental technology test beds such as experimental high speed craft (the torpedo boats).
These were often ordered outside the usual defense procurement clique.
In the meantime the procurement system was overhauled, investment was made in physical plant improvements at the shipyards and the procurement system was reformed, Concurrently, a determination of what sort of vessels were needed was made. Then rational, attainable requirements for the various types of vessels were drawn up that matched the then current technologies, the national strategy of the time as well as the gamut of potential scenarios.
After several years of building gunboats and finishing the dubious vessels that were already ordered, the Royal Navy began building ships under the Naval Defence Act. William Whites design team produced the finest ships that had been built up to that time and for nearly two decades, every subsequent class was an improvement on their design predecessor in some way.
So while the pitfall Mr Rummel points out is very real, it can in fact be avoided if care is taken and the legislature acts in good faith...another very big "IF".
March 18, 2009
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