The Navy is loudly and proudly trumpeting its “new” up-gunned Expeditionary Strike Group concept which is a standard amphibious ready group (ARG) plus a Burke class destroyer and an Australian Perry class frigate.
“Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and amphibious forces in U.S. 7th Fleet (Task Force 76), told USNI News in a July 19 interview that the Upgunned ESG included the ships of the Bonhomme Richard ESG – USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), USS Green Bay (LPD-20), USS Ashland (LSD-48) and guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett(DDG-104). The American ships added Australian frigates, with Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Darwin (FFG-04) leading the air defense mission for Upgunned ESG.” (1)
Correct me if I’m wrong but adding destroyers and frigates to an amphibious group has, historically, been called “escorts” and the concept was developed many, many decades ago. Hell, sailing ships provided escorts to transports. This is not a new idea despite the not very clever marketing phrase, “up-gunned expeditionary group”.
Does the Navy really think that they’ve developed a brand new concept in naval warfare? Are they really that stupid? That was a rhetorical question because they’ve repeatedly demonstrated that, yes, they are that stupid!
By the way, did you catch that bit about the Perry class frigate leading the air defense mission for the group? I guess that’s because the Perry has a superior radar system, better command and control facilities, better communications capability, SM-3 and SM-6 missiles, and cooperative engagement capability. Oh wait, it doesn’t have any of those things so that must be why it was leading the air defense mission.
Is the Navy comfortable with this revolutionary new idea of escorts? Well, they’re not rushing into it. After all, it’s just an experiment.
“Dalton made clear that the Upgunned ESG concept is still in development right now, but he said that Talisman Saber 2017 created a lot of confidence in the idea …” (1)
So, based on one exercise, the Navy now has “a lot of confidence” that escorts can help an amphibious group? The entire history of WWII up through the Cold War didn’t give the Navy confidence in the idea of escorts but a single tiny exercise with a Burke and an Australian frigate suddenly did?
Just how eye-opening was the idea of escorts to the Navy Admiral?
“The addition of the surface combatants – in this case the destroyer and frigates – and their added air-defense and sea-defense capabilities has “enabled us to operate in a higher-threat environment where there was more risk to the force …”
Apparently, the Admiral was stunned to find that the group could operate in a higher threat environment with escorts than it could without. Uhhh …… Isn’t that what escorts do, Admiral? What an idiot!
I understand the concept of positive spin and marketing but this is just embarrassing. What are we going to discover next – that bigger engines make ships go faster?
These are our professional warriors? Blithering idiots. Get rid of every Admiral in the Navy and start over.
(1)USNI News website, “Australian Frigates For ‘Upgunned ESG’ Rehearsal in Talisman Saber 2017”, Megan Eckstein,