Wednesday, April 18, 2018

France - Ready For War?

ComNavOps suggested in the Syria anti-chemical weapons strike post that it demonstrated that the UK and France have some severe limitations with their military reach and readiness.   Some commenters scoffed at that assessment.  Well, here’s some more evidence from a Defense News article. (1)  The French frigate that was designated to launch the three cruise missiles failed to do so and a backup ship had to launch missiles, instead.

“When a French multimission frigate failed to fire its salvo of three naval cruise missiles during last weekend’s joint airstrike on Syria, the military drew on a backup plan.

The frigate’s sister ship, the Languedoc, instead launched its naval cruise missiles at the three Syrian targets. The mission was the first time France fired its naval cruise missile, a weapon which up until then only the British and U.S.had fired against a threat.

“The first salvo did not fire,” Army Col. Patrick Steiger, spokesman for the French Joint Chief of Staff, told Defense News on April 18.”

The launch failures may not have been limited to French ships.  A French aircraft may have also had a launch failure.

“The spokesman declined to comment on why the French Air Force did not fire a 10th cruise missile, as reported by website Le Mamouth.

The Air Force declined comment. Each of the five Rafale fighter jets on the mission carried two Scalp cruise weapons, of which nine were fired.”

I’ve harped on the US readiness issues but France appears to have issues of their own.


(1)Defense News website, “France turns to plan B when missile launch fails during Syria airstrikes”, Pierre Tran, 18-Apr-2018,

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MH-53E and Mine Countermeasures

Following developments in the area of mine countermeasures (MCM) is challenging, to say the least.  Equipment seems to come and go on an almost daily basis.  A new piece of equipment is tested, proclaimed the future of MCM, and then dropped with the entire process occurring, seemingly, overnight.  The LCS MCM module development has epitomized this.

As we consider future MCM developments, it is helpful to understand the current and legacy systems.  To that end, let’s take a look at the current (soon to be legacy) MCM workhorse, the MH-53E helo.

A major portion of our current MCM capability is aviation based from the MH-53E helicopter.  The MH-53E was produced in the early 1980’s and is suffering age-related maintenance problems, spare parts shortages, and extensive maintenance times.  These helos, of which there are only 28 in inventory, are aging rapidly and there are no plans to provide direct replacements for them.  Instead, the Navy has decided to transition their MCM capabilities to the LCS.

“…current plans involve transitioning the MH-53E airborne mine countermeasures capability to the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Countermeasures Mission Package …” (1)

The sundown path for the MH-53E is now tied to the LCS MCM reaching full operational capability which is tentatively scheduled for 2025.


The MH-53E helos are organized into two active squadrons, HM-14 (10 helos) and HM-15 (13 Helos), and a Fleet Replacement Squadron, HM-12 (5 helos).

Here’s a few specifications with a comparison to the SH-60 series Seahawk just for some perspective.

                                                              MH-53E    SH-60B

Length, ft                     100     65
Empty Weight, lbs            33000  15000
Internal Payload, lbs        30000   6700
External Payload, lbs        36000    N/A
Unrefueled Endurance, hrs        5   3.5?

MH-53E Powerplant  3 × General Electric T64-GE-416/416A C, 4,380 shp each

SH-60B Powerplant  2 × General Electric T700-GE-401C, 1,890 shp each

As the specs demonstrate, the MH-53E is massively larger, more powerful, and with longer endurance.  In other words, ideal for the aerial MCM role.  The SH-60, as has been well documented, was found to be underpowered for safe MCM equipment towing, in what is one of the most bewildering blunders of the LCS module program.

MH-53E MCM capabilities and systems include the following:

Influence Sweep Systems
  • AN/SPU-1W (Magnetic orange Pipe)
  • Mk-104 Acoustic Sweep System
  • Mk-105 Magnetic Sweep System
  • Mk-103 Mechanical Sweep System (Mk-17 cutters)

Neutralization System
  • AN/ASQ-232 SEAFOX Airborne Mine Neutralization System

Mine Hunting
  • AN/AQS-24 Side Scan Sonar with Laser detection/ID capability

Future Upgrades include:
  • AQS-24B – Technical refresh of the Q-24A which addresses obsolescence and reliability issues and adds High Speed Synthetic Aperture Sonar (HSSAS) side scan arrays
  • AQS-24C – Provides expanded volume search capability to B-variant through the addition of iPUMA sonar to the tail of the towed body

Vertical website offers a nice, basic writeup on the MH-53E. (5)

One of the notable issues related to transitioning from aviation centric MCM to ship MCM is the loss of speed.  Helos operate much faster than the unmanned underwater vehicles planned for the LCS MCM module.  Even if it works, the LCS clearance rate will be very slow – too slow for combat clearance.

For example, the AQS-24B side scan sonar can be helo-towed at 18 kts and still be effective, according to manufacturer, Northrop Grumman. (2)   By comparison, the sonar-equipped, mine detecting, Knifefish UUV for the LCS has a speed of 4.5 kts.(3)  Even that speed is misleading because the Knifefish has to wait to return to its host vessel to upload its data which must then be analyzed to actually “detect” a mine.  That process takes significant additional time.  The Navy is attempting to adapt the AQS-24 towed sonar to an unmanned surface vessel to address the speed issue.

Here’s a telling quote,

"We're funding these new systems that, when you look behind the curtain, are not as capable as the systems that they are replacing," said Bob O'Donnell, a retired Navy captain who directed the service's program office for mine warfare in the years following the first Gulf War. "Even if the new systems meet all their operational targets, they won't be as good as the ships and helicopters we've had in service for decades." (4)

Clearly, the MH-53E MCM helos have capabilities that have yet to be duplicated by the LCS MCM module.  It is unclear how the planned 6-10 or so LCS MCM vessels, each individually less capable than current equipment, will replace 12 Avenger ships and 28 MH-53E helos.

Mk105 Magnetic Minesweeping Sled

Potentially, the new CH-53K in a dedicated MCM version offers the ability to replace the MH-53E although I have heard of no such plan by the Navy.

The larger question that looms over any discussion of MCM is whether mine countermeasures should be aviation focused or surface/subsurface.  The Navy has opted for the surface/subsurface path by going all-in on the LCS and unmanned surface/subsurface vehicles and by retiring the MH-53E without replacement.  However, it is not at all clear to me that this is a wise path.

As always, a combination of assets and capabilities is probably the best approach but allowing the MH-53E to retire without replacement is knowingly accepting a significant decrease in MCM capabilities.


(1)US Navy N98 / Mine Warfare Association, “The Future of Airborne Mine Countermeasures”, 3-Nov-2015,

(2)Northrop Grumman website, retrieved 1-Apr-2018,

(4)The Virginian-Pilot website, “A Hidden Danger”, Mike Hixenbaugh and Jason Paladino, Sept. 25, 2016

(5)Vertical website, “Clearing The Way”, 22-Aug-2012,

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Syrian Anti-Chemical Weapons Strike Analysis

Here’s an early and quick analysis of the Syrian strike.  I don’t have much to offer because not much is known.  However, a few things stand out about this latest anti-chemical weapons (CW) strike.

Political.  The participation of the UK and France was clearly intended to send a political message.  As the Pentagon briefers emphasized, the US, UK, and France make up 3 of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. 

The fact that Syria again used CW after the last use/strike cycle clearly demonstrates the uselessness of such political messages.  The last one didn’t deter Syria so why would we expect that this one will?

Since the last message didn’t accomplish anything, this strike should have been targeted at Assad, personally, to hit every location he is known to frequent with the intent to kill him.  You don’t provide second chances to maniacs who use CW against their own people.

Finally, the real message should be directed at Russia who provides the support for CW use and is the "enabler".  So much for Russia's assurances that Syria had destroyed all their CW capabilities and inventories.  Russia is complicit in this.  The strike should have been directed, at least in part, against Russia.  I don't care about escalation.  If promoting the use of CWs is the hill Russia wants to die on then we should accommodate them.  

Military – France and UK.  The strike also demonstrated the severe limitations of France and the UK to exert significant world wide military influence.  The lack of land attack naval forces forced the UK and France to resort to risky and difficult strike-fighter missile launches.  The risk of lost aircraft and killed or captured aircrew was significant.  Further, the strike required extensive tanking and electronic warfare escort, according to the Pentagon briefing.  Presumably, the use of aircraft also required search and rescue forces to be on standby.  That’s a lot of effort for what should have been a simple standoff cruise missile attack from naval forces. 

France and the UK need to seriously reevaluate their military capabilities as they relate to their geopolitical strategic goals.

Military US – The number of missiles employed suggests that the US was anticipating Russian defensive efforts.  As with the previous strike, this clearly demonstrates the enormous amount of firepower the US believes necessary to destroy even small facilities.  This suggests that our current level of munitions will be exhausted in a matter of days in a peer level war.  As a strategic imperative, we need to ensure that we have sufficient facilities to quickly replenish our inventories.

If the number of missiles used was indicative of an anticipated Russian defensive response, that would give us a good indication of how the US views the effectiveness of the Tomahawk missile at penetrating a peer level defense and it’s not good.  If unopposed, the targets could probably have been destroyed with around a dozen missiles.  This suggests that the US does not view the Tomahawk as being particularly survivable against active defenses.  Stealthier, higher performance missiles are clearly needed in the US inventory.

Tactically and operationally, there was no need for the US to use the B-1 bomber and JASSM along with the attendant risk to aircraft and aircrews.  Clearly, someone wanted to conduct a live fire test of the JASSM and/or justify the expense of its development.

Military SAM – Once again, as throughout the history of surface-to-air defensive efforts, we see that SAM systems are only marginally effective.  Syria’s defensive SAM efforts did nothing to change the historical success rate of 1%-25% - if the Pentagon is to be believed, no attacking missiles or aircraft were shot down.  Other, unconfirmed, reports suggest that at least some missiles were shot down.  Regardless, it doesn’t change the conclusion. 

As a point of interest, Russia claims that Syria shot down 71 out of 103 missiles. (1)  Interestingly, Syria only claims to have shot down 13 missiles! (2)


Syrian Anti-Chemical Weapons Strike

The U.S., U.K., and France launched attacks against three Syrian chemical weapons (CW) sites last night (0400 hr local Syrian time).  Here is the summary as provided by a Pentagon news briefing.

Barzah CW R&D Center

  • 57 Tomahawk (TLAM) missiles
  • 19 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM)

Him Shinshar CW Storage

  • 9 TLAM
  • 8 Storm Shadow missiles
  • 3 naval cruise missiles
  • 2 SCALP land attack missiles

Him Shinshar CW Bunker

  • 7 SCALP missiles

The attacking platforms and their contributions were:


  • USS Monterey – 30 TLAM
  • USS LaBoon – 7 TLAM
  • USS Higgins – 23 TLAM
  • USS Warner – 6 TLAM

  • 2x B-1 bomber – 19 JASSM


  • Tornado/Typhoon – 8 Storm Shadow


  • Rafael/Mirage – 9 SCALP

The Pentagon reports that approximately 40 Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched with the majority of them launching after the attacking weapons impacted. 

The Pentagon stated that no attacking platforms or weapons were hit.

The Pentagon stated that there has been no Russian military response.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

LCS Module Update

The original LCS program called for 55 LCS and 62 (if I recall correctly) mission modules.  As the program was whittled down, the number and type of modules was left in limbo.  Now that the LCS program is down to around 32 ships, here’s the latest on the number of modules that will be procured, courtesy of a USNI summary of a government report (1).

  • 10 SUW
  • 10 ASW
  • 24 MCM

This gives a total of 44 deployable mission modules.  Here’s a more detailed breakdown of where/how the modules will be assigned and used:

  • 24 modules (8 SUW, 8 ASW, 8 MCM) to outfit the focused mission LCS ships that make up the LCS divisions of 3 deployable ships and l training ship

  • 3 modules (1 SUW, l ASW, l MCM) in Mayport, FL to ensure high operational
    availability (Ao) of the training systems for the training ships in the LCS divisions
    and to provide spare systems for each focused mission area

  • 4 modules (1 SUW, l ASW, 2 MCM) in San Diego, CA to outfit the test ships (LCS l-4) and provide additional spare capacity for training ships and deployers

  • 4 modules (4 MCM) to outfit LCS 29-32 to mitigate warfighting capability needs across the MCM mission area

  • 9 MCM modules for use on other Vessels of Opportunity (VOOs) to meet the warfighting capability requirements and account for MCM maintenance cycles

There are a few interesting observations from this.

Note the 9 MCM modules that are for “Vessels of Opportunity”.  The Navy doesn’t actually need or want these modules and has no ships to use them but are required by law to procure 24 MCM modules.  From the article,

“An overall total of 24 MCM [modules] are required to comply with Section 1046 of the FY 2018 NDAA which prohibits the retirement of legacy MCM forces until the Navy has identified replacement capability and procured a quantity of such systems to meet combatant MCM operational requirements that are currently being met by legacy forces.”

Thus, the actual total of “wanted” modules is 35 for the 32 LCS seaframes.  This is the final, official nail in the coffin of swappable modules. 

Further, setting aside the 9 MCM modules that will be set aside on the Island of Misfit Weapons and discounting the MCM modules that are dedicated to the training ships, the total operationally deployable LCS mine countermeasure modules is 8 plus, potentially, 4 for LCS 29-32.

Let’s say that again because it’s incredibly important.  The total LCS MCM capability is 8 ships with an ultimate potential of 12.  That’s our total future U.S. military mine countermeasures capabiity.  We’re replacing 14 Avenger class minesweepers and two squadrons of MH-53E MCM helos (total inventory is 28 helos) with 8-12 LCS.

Does anyone really believe that’s adequate?  China, Russia, Iran, and NKorea each have hundreds of thousands of mines and we think 8-12 LCS are adequate to deal with that threat?  There goes any hope of conducting an amphibious assault.  On a larger scale, our Navy is going to be paralyzed by mine threats it can’t deal with.

I trust I’ve made my point about the inadequacy of our MCM force?

Moving on …

ASuW Module.  This module is currently a joke and consists of a couple of 30 mm machine guns and a helo.  The anticipated Longbow Hellfire missile which will provide some actual, though short ranged, firepower is scheduled for operation in 2019-20. 

Hellfire testing to date has demonstrated 83% success rate (1, full doc p.6) from 24 tests.  That’s surprisingly low given the scripted, simplistic, “designed to succeed” nature of such tests.  Real world performance is likely to be half that.

Current projected module purchase cost for the 30 mm guns, Hellfire, and RHIBs is $23.1M per module (1, full doc p.6).  The helo costs are not included.  It is not clear whether those are the individual equipment costs or the complete, packaged, installed costs.  It seems likely that they are just the individual component costs since the report also categorizes “common” costs as a separate item.

The ASuW performance is underwhelming, to say the least.  The Navy has established two levels of performance for the Key Performance Parameters (KPP):  a minimum threshold and a better, desired objective.  The ASuW module, even with the Hellfire missiles, will only barely meet the threshold requirements and will not even be remotely near the objective requirements.  The Navy’s graphic depiction of the actual and projected performance versus threshold and objective is so bad that they didn’t even include scales with actual values (1, full doc p.7).  Further, you know that the Navy’s projected performance is overly optimistic so the performance versus threshold/objective will be even worse than depicted.

ASW Module.  This module currently consists of,

  • Continuously Active Variable Depth Sonar (VDS)
  • Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA)
  • Light Weight Tow Torpedo Defense (LWT)
  • MH-60R Helo
  • MQ-8 UAV

There is no realistic scheduled operational date for the module although the Navy is suggesting sometime around 2020-21.  As always, that will be delayed.

Current projected module purchase cost for the VDS, MFTA, and LWT is $19.8M per module (1, full doc p.14).  The helo/UAV costs are not included.  It is not clear whether those are the individual equipment costs or the complete, packaged, installed costs.  It seems likely that they are just the individual component costs since the report also categorizes “common” costs as a separate item.

As with the ASuW module, the performance when compared to the KPP threshold and objective requirements is barely adequate.  Further, the DOT&E testing demonstrates that the Navy’s reporting on performance results is “optimistic”, to put it politely.

The MFTA is the only individual component that has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC).  Overall module IOC is scheduled for late 2019.  It is certain that will slip.

MCM Module.  This module uses a cobbled together collection of components that seem to change daily.  Current components include,

  • Knifefish UUV for buried or bottom mine detection
  • AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) for near surface (top 30 ft) mine detection
  • AQS-20 Sonar for suspended mine (volume) detection
  • ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS)
  • Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) – acoustic and magnetic
  • DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) for beach and surf zone mine detection
  • MH-60S helo
  • MQ-8 Firescout
  • EX64 Archerfish neutralizer

Additional components are being developed such as an unmanned surface tow drone for sonar and sweep components and the Barracuda system for near surface mine neutralization.

The various capabilities are expected to trickle in over the next several years.

The various module subsystems are not meeting their performance requirements and many are not even close (1, full doc p.22-23).

Current projected module purchase cost for the various non-helo components is $87M per module (1, full doc p.22).  The helo/UAV costs are not included.  It is not clear whether those are the individual equipment costs or the complete, packaged, installed costs.  It seems likely that they are just the individual component costs since the report also categorizes “common” costs as a separate item.

The Annual Report lists module development costs as totaling $2.6B (1, full doc p.28).  Of course, those costs will increase well beyond that before all development is complete!

The report lists total anticipated module procurement costs, including the separate “common” category as (1, full doc p.29),

Module  Qty    Tot Cost   Mod Cost

ASuW     10      $319M     $ 32M
ASW      10      $267M     $ 27M
MCM      24      $2.5B     $100M
Common   44      $576M     $ 13M

Total    44      $3.6B     $ 82M

The key column is the Mod Cost  which is the unit cost for each module of the indicated type.  Note that the costs don’t agree with the individual component costs described above.  The costs listed here are likely to be more accurate.

It is worth noting that the modules have been under development since sometime around 2003/4.  Now, some 14 years later, not a single module exists in an operationally useful form.  Operational modules are not expected for another few to several years and then another few years will be required to actually manufacture the modules.  We are burning through LCS seaframe life spans without any modules to equip them.  It is possible, indeed likely, that some LCS vessels will retire without ever having had a functional, useful module equipped!

LCS module development has been an embarrassment of staggering proportions and the fiasco continues.


(1)USNI News website, “Littoral Combat Ship Mission Package Annual Report”, February 2018 Annual Report to Congress for the Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules Program, 3-Apr-2018,
Full document:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Do The Hard Work

A child wants to build a birdhouse but instead of starting with hand saws, files, and sandpaper, he wants to start with a power saw, router, and power sander.  Instead of doing the hard work of mastering the fundamentals of woodworking and acquiring an appreciation for the craft, he wants to bypass all that and leap into the “easy” approach.

Now consider this,

“For the Navy in particular, with leadership looking for an exponential increase in fleet capability that comes faster and cheaper than the traditional approach of building more ships and planes, accelerated acquisition and innovative solutions to operational problems are an attractive approach.” (1)

Does that sound a lot like the birdhouse story?  Instead of doing the hard work of mastering the fundamentals of seamanship, discipline, maintenance, and readiness to increase capability, the Navy wants to bypass all that and leap into the “easy” approach of magical “innovation” and technology.

“Faster and cheaper”  -   Well, we’ve seen repeatedly that nothing is “faster and cheaper”.  The F-35 that was the cheap alternative to the F-22 wasn’t really cheaper, was it?  The promise of computer designed ships didn’t make the LCS construction time faster, did it (it takes longer to build a LCS than a Burke – we posted this!)?  Faster and cheaper didn’t work for the Ford or Zumwalt, did it? 

So, have we learned a lesson?  Nope.  The Navy is determined to repeat their mistakes in pursuit of the illusory “faster and cheaper”.

Unlike the child who, hopefully, has a father who will force them to learn the fundamentals, the Navy is unrestrained and darts off on any attractive path that glitters.

There is no short cut for the hard work of mastering the fundamentals.


(1)USNI News website, “Navy Prioritizes Boosting Capability Above Growing Fleet Capacity; Stresses Innovation”, Megan Eckstein, 11-Apr-2018,

Monday, April 9, 2018

AFSB - Looking For Something To Do

How many times have I said it?  Before you build a ship you spell out a concept of operations (CONOPS).  Well, the Navy has violated that simple requirement yet again and now we’re seeing the Navy flounder yet again, trying to figure out how to use a ship.  This time it’s the Afloat Forward Staging Base, USNS Lewis B. Puller, which is replacing the USS Ponce – yes, I know, the Navy is resorting to another of their gimmicks to try to make the size of the fleet appear larger by commissioning the Puller into the Navy instead of residing in the Military Sealift Command where all other similar ships and, in fact, its sister ship reside.  That aside …

The floundering is highlighted in what was, no doubt, intended to be a celebratory article on the USNI News website (1) about the arrival of Puller to the 5th Fleet.  Read the following snippets and you’ll get a sense that the Navy has a ship with no pre-defined role and is desperately searching for something it can do.  The ship’s Captain appears to have been tasked with trying to “sell” the ship to the rest of the Navy/Marines and find something for it to do.

“… Femino [Capt. Joseph Femino, commanding officer of Puller’s gold crew] said the ship has been busy working with Marines, special operations forces (SOF) and even French amphibious forces to learn how Puller could best support other naval platforms.”

“… Marines put a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon on the ship to start learning their way around the ESB.”

“The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) force surgeon has visited the ship to look into possible medical applications.”

“In October, a SOF team came out to practice fast-rope drills from their helicopters onto the flight deck and to learn how to bring their small boats onto the Puller mission bay with the ship’s crane.”

“Work with the mine countermeasures community is moving a bit more slowly – even though the Ponce and then Puller were initially requested by 5th Fleet specifically to support the MCM mission – but the crew have been aboard to assess the mission planning spaces and other assets Puller could provide.”

“This ship is a blank canvas. Whoever wants to come assess what they want, develop what they want, we’ll work to try and get that,” Femino said …”

A “blank canvas”???  Seriously?  It’s not supposed to be.  You’re supposed to have a detailed CONOPS and be working on implementing it – not looking around for something to do.

“Femino said there has also been an element of just trying something and seeing if it works.  “People bring their things and let’s see how they fit. And then if we need to modify then we’ll modify,” he said.”

There’s an element “of just trying something”????  This is a ship looking for something to do because it didn’t have a CONOPS.

“[Femino] made clear, “we are not an amphib. … The question is, how can we enable the amphibs to do things better?”

Question?  There aren’t supposed to be any questions about the function of the ship.  The CONOPS is supposed to have spelled that all out.

When asked what they needed to do to better utilize the ship, Capt. Femino responded

“… address the mine countermeasures mission in a more meaningful way; figure out how to work alongside an Amphibious Ready Group and embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit, rather than bringing smaller groups of Marines onboard Puller itself … “

AFSB Puller - Does Anyone Need Me?
Mine countermeasures (MCM) was supposedly the main function of the vessel and yet the Navy is trying to figure out what to do with the ship in that role????  This is what a CONOPS is for!  You’re supposed to already know what you want to do and how you’re going to do it.  Sure, you’ll still have to figure out which line to throw over which pulley but the basic concept is supposed to have been worked out years ago!  Instead, MCM is “moving a bit more slowly” and the ship’s Captain is trying to address MCM “in a more meaningful way”.  The Navy hasn’t got a clue what to do with this.  There was, clearly, no CONOPS and no one was prepared to do anything with the vessel.  Didn’t we learn a thing from the LCS debacle which lacked a CONOPS and now no one knows what to do with them?  Apparently not!

“On the MCM mission, “we’ve done a little bit of work with mine warfare, but quite frankly we haven’t really [fleshed] out all of the mine warfare,” Femino said …”

Again, MCM was supposed to be the main function!

“The reason there was an RFF, the reason they created Ponce was I believe for a request for forces (RFF) to support the mine countermeasures process,” he said …”

The Captain of the ship isn’t completely sure what the purpose of the ship is although he “believes” it was to support MCM.  If there was a CONOPS, he’d know what the ship’s purpose is.

“Also on the to-do list, though, is working with the Avenger-class MCM ships in 5th Fleet to see if Puller could help refuel them or support them in any other way.”

It’s on the to-do list to see if the ship can support MCM Avengers?  Again, that should have been spelled out, one way or the other, in the CONOPS!

It gets even more unbelievable.

“The skipper said he’d also like to work with a carrier at some point, but that overall he has to balance working with a lot of different potential customers versus becoming proficient at working with some of them.”

So, the Captain wants to work with everyone even if that means not becoming proficient at any one thing?  Wasn’t the ship, like every other ship, built to be extremely proficient at one main function?  I guess not.  That’s what happens when you don’t have a CONOPS.

Again, you get the distinct impression that the Captain was told to go find a mission.

The Navy is incapable of learning any lessons and this – to develop a CONOPS before designing and building a ship – is one of the most basic.  We have absolute idiots leading the Navy.


(1)USNI News website, “USNI News Video: Sea Base USS Lewis B. Puller Finding Its Way in 5th Fleet”, Megan Eckstein, 3-Apr-2018,