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Navy has fewest ships since before World War I

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
linkage


When the last sailor walked off the amphibious ship Anchorage yesterday, ending the ship's 34 years of naval service, the Navy's fleet of warships shrank to its smallest size since before World War I.

The battle force ? the Navy's fleet of front-line aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious ships and selected support vessels ? now numbers 296 ships with the Anchorage's decommissioning.

The Navy has continued to shrink despite increasing demands on the maritime force since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

During the past two years, the Navy has been very busy. Dozens of warships fired cruise missiles, launched bombers and carried Marines during recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of those same ships deployed Marines to Liberia and the Horn of Africa. Others are watching developments on the Korean Peninsula.

"We've cut too deep," said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "We need more ships."
 

SuperTool

Lifer
Jan 25, 2000
14,000
0
0
We need more ships like fish needs an umbrella.
The soviet subs and ships our huge cold war navy was built to fight are either rusting or sitting on the bottom of the ocean.
300 ships seems adequate to me, considering the lethality each ship carries with it, and lack of a serious blue water naval opponent.
Just like US businesses, the government will have to do more with less.
 

MadRat

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
11,607
3
76
Quite frankly the navies of the world are all becoming smaller. Even the merchant fleets are shrinking because bigger but fewer ships can handle trade more efficiently than smaller and more numerous fleets. As components for equipment shrink, both civilian and military ships should decreas from the mid-1980's peak. Numbers of ships do not necessarily mean more capability, as even the lowly destroyers can carry the most sophisticated radars afloat. Computer management of cargo has streamlined the distribution networks and made organizing offloading a relatively non-issue when ships reach their destinations.

Why spend $1 billion+ per warship when a $1 million missile or $100k torpedo can penetrate its defenses and send it to the bottom? Sure the world is covered 70% by water, but its also covered 100% by air. Removing the spending base from the Navy ship building budgets and moving more money into the Air Force and Navy for increasingly capble warplanes just makes sound sense for the long term.
 

OS

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
15,582
1
76
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Somebody should try to kick the "invasion" habit.
seriously.

Several years ago, the Navy was working on some very radical design stealth missile ships which were computerized/automated up the ass. But in the end, they decided to ax the project because they only needed a handful of people to operate and it provided no career paths and promotions for military personnel.

I have no sympathy for their situation. Like ST said, do more with less.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: OS
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Somebody should try to kick the "invasion" habit.
seriously.

Several years ago, the Navy was working on some very radical design stealth missile ships which were computerized/automated up the ass. But in the end, they decided to ax the project because they only needed a handful of people to operate and it provided no career paths and promotions for military personnel.

I have no sympathy for their situation. Like ST said, do more with less.
Actually the new ships coming out do have lower manepower requirements.
 

Aegion

Member
Nov 13, 1999
154
0
0
Originally posted by: charrison
linkage
When the last sailor walked off the amphibious ship Anchorage yesterday, ending the ship's 34 years of naval service, the Navy's fleet of warships shrank to its smallest size since before World War I.

The battle force ? the Navy's fleet of front-line aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious ships and selected support vessels ? now numbers 296 ships with the Anchorage's decommissioning.
This is actually a rather misleading comparison in my opinion. Before aircraft carriers and effective sonar that could see over large distances appeared, ships had to stumble across each other in order to locate each other. Modern ships have vastly improved abilities to locate enemy ships, and this ability serves as a force multiplier. Aircraft carrier battlefleets can effective control and locate enemy ships for many hundreds of miles around it, a vastly superior position to Pre-WWI battleships that had to find an enemy in visual range before they could engage. With the disapearance of the Soviet Union, there is currently not a naval adversary anywhere close to where we are at. If we stick with plans for a 15 carrier fleet and appropriate supporting ships, the US navy is going to be in the position of being one of the most clearly dominent naval powers in history. This is particularly true since apparently no-one else is going to be able to afford building any new full sized nuclear powered carriers. I also noticed that the article seems to suggest that submarine are not included in that total, certainly a significant aspect of the US navy that were not really relevant pre-WW1 for the US navy at the time. You need to consider the modern capabilites of naval warships and those of our potential advisaries to get a realistic picture of whether our navy is in decent shape or not.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: Aegion
Originally posted by: charrison
linkage
When the last sailor walked off the amphibious ship Anchorage yesterday, ending the ship's 34 years of naval service, the Navy's fleet of warships shrank to its smallest size since before World War I.

The battle force ? the Navy's fleet of front-line aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious ships and selected support vessels ? now numbers 296 ships with the Anchorage's decommissioning.
This is actually a rather misleading comparison in my opinion. Before aircraft carriers and effective sonar that could see over large distances appeared, ships had to stumble across each other in order to locate each other. Modern ships have vastly improved abilities to locate enemy ships, and this ability serves as a force multiplier. Aircraft carrier battlefleets can effective control and locate enemy ships for many hundreds of miles around it, a vastly superior position to Pre-WWI battleships that had to find an enemy in visual range before they could engage. With the disapearance of the Soviet Union, there is currently not a naval adversary anywhere close to where we are at. If we stick with plans for a 15 carrier fleet and appropriate supporting ships, the US navy is going to be in the position of being one of the most clearly dominent naval powers in history. This is particularly true since apparently no-one else is going to be able to afford building any new full sized nuclear powered carriers. I also noticed that the article seems to suggest that submarine are not included in that total, certainly a significant aspect of the US navy that were not really relevant pre-WW1 for the US navy at the time. You need to consider the modern capabilites of naval warships and those of our potential advisaries to get a realistic picture of whether our navy is in decent shape or not.
We currently dont have plans for a 15 carrier fleet(reagan did, 600 ship fleet). I think we currently have 12 and that number is dropping.
 

Aegion

Member
Nov 13, 1999
154
0
0
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: Aegion
We currently dont have plans for a 15 carrier fleet(reagan did, 600 ship fleet). I think we currently have 12 and that number is dropping.
It looks like we are sticking with 12 and I haven't seen anything suggesting that we won't be able to sustain that number since we're going to be building the CVX carriers, but as I already said, that also is 12 more full sized carriers than anyone else will have. Even the British are looking at some increasingly small non-nuclear carriers. Here's the part of the article you didn't quote that seems to disagree with your sentiment.

But many analysts doubt there is a major concern in having a fleet smaller than 300 ships because the numbers game is less significant than in past decades.

"It's ludicrous to compare today's Navy with the ships of World War II," Polmar said.

A single aircraft carrier today has more firepower than all the U.S. carriers of World War II. A guided-missile cruiser that launched dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles at Baghdad six months ago is vastly more capable than a cruiser built in the 1960s.

Also, only the United States and allies such as Britain, Japan, Italy and Australia have state-of-the-art warships.

The military's needs also have changed.

Today's Navy, largely designed to fight a blue-water war against the Soviets, has transformed itself into a force that sits off the coast and strikes deep into enemy territory with cruise missiles, attack bombers and long-range assaults by Marines.

"The issue is not how many ships we have; the issue is how many ships we can put in harm's way at a time," Pike said
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: Aegion
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: Aegion
We currently dont have plans for a 15 carrier fleet(reagan did, 600 ship fleet). I think we currently have 12 and that number is dropping.
It looks like we are sticking with 12 and I haven't seen anything suggesting that we won't be able to sustain that number since we're going to be building the CVX carriers, but as I already said, that also is 12 more full sized carriers than anyone else will have. Even the British are looking at some increasingly small non-nuclear carriers. Here's the part of the article you didn't quote that seems to disagree with your sentiment.

But many analysts doubt there is a major concern in having a fleet smaller than 300 ships because the numbers game is less significant than in past decades.

"It's ludicrous to compare today's Navy with the ships of World War II," Polmar said.

A single aircraft carrier today has more firepower than all the U.S. carriers of World War II. A guided-missile cruiser that launched dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles at Baghdad six months ago is vastly more capable than a cruiser built in the 1960s.

Also, only the United States and allies such as Britain, Japan, Italy and Australia have state-of-the-art warships.

The military's needs also have changed.

Today's Navy, largely designed to fight a blue-water war against the Soviets, has transformed itself into a force that sits off the coast and strikes deep into enemy territory with cruise missiles, attack bombers and long-range assaults by Marines.

"The issue is not how many ships we have; the issue is how many ships we can put in harm's way at a time," Pike said
I am not sure which sentiment you think I disagree with. Yes we have 12 nimitz class carriers, but only about 1/2 are available at any given time. Each carrier battle group requires a large number of support ships. If we are going to mantain 12 battle groups, it may not be wise to let the number of ships drop to far.
 

Miramonti

Lifer
Aug 26, 2000
28,645
91
91
a republican saying we need more investment in the military? is this for real??? :Q
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,868
81
91
military must change to fit the technological advances of the times. nothing new at all.
 

tnitsuj

Diamond Member
May 22, 2003
5,446
0
76
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: OS
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Somebody should try to kick the "invasion" habit.
seriously.

Several years ago, the Navy was working on some very radical design stealth missile ships which were computerized/automated up the ass. But in the end, they decided to ax the project because they only needed a handful of people to operate and it provided no career paths and promotions for military personnel.

I have no sympathy for their situation. Like ST said, do more with less.
Actually the new ships coming out do have lower manepower requirements.
That's misleading. I was on one of the first "smart ships" USS Yorktown CG-48. Yes, we had the reduced manning due to the Smart Ship systems monitoring and control systems..but the end result was that we had people standing a ridiculous number of watches particularly during excercises and doing things like insurv.
This was particularly true of the junior officers who I am pretty sure didn't sleep at all for a few weeks.


The problem isn't quality of ships, or even really numbers of ships. The US navy is more than adequate to meet an concievable military threat.

It is more a case of manpower and deployment issues.
 

smashp

Platinum Member
Aug 30, 2003
2,444
0
0
UH ohhhhh Worring Time. Less Ships.... Oh no


Hey why arent you worried about the fact that the Army has less horses now than they did before WW1
 

308nato

Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2002
2,674
0
0
Originally posted by: smashp
UH ohhhhh Worring Time. Less Ships.... Oh no


Hey why arent you worried about the fact that the Army has less horses now than they did before WW1

The horse was replaced as a frontline land battle conveyance.......do you know of something that has replaced the ship as a way to get across the water ?

 

dpm

Golden Member
Apr 24, 2002
1,513
0
0
Originally posted by: 308nato
Originally posted by: smashp UH ohhhhh Worring Time. Less Ships.... Oh no Hey why arent you worried about the fact that the Army has less horses now than they did before WW1
The horse was replaced as a frontline land battle conveyance.......do you know of something that has replaced the ship as a way to get across the water ?
Well, there were those Russian ekranoplans (spelling?) were very cool, but I don't think shipbuilders will be worrying about them just yet ;)
 

tk149

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2002
7,258
1
0
We may not have to worry about an all out naval war with another nation, but the Navy also serves a secondary function: suppression of pirates. No, don't laugh, it's true. Some countries (like Malaysia, IIRC) have trouble with pirates.

I'd be worried that we don't have enough "small" ships to police the oceans. It doesn't make much sense to send an aircraft carrier task force to swat a little pirate ship.

I'm not sure how much "search and rescue" stuff the navy does too.
 

smashp

Platinum Member
Aug 30, 2003
2,444
0
0
The navy is looking into building less ships and into building "Floating bases"

Bases that would be driven to where needed. No joke.


Think about it though
 

Lucky

Lifer
Nov 26, 2000
13,126
1
0
Originally posted by: dpm
Originally posted by: Lucky
yeah, planes.
While you can team up a plane with a ship, you can't replace a ship with a plane.
<STRONG>edit</STRONG> But you could combine them, and have an <a class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href="http://www.aether.demon.co.uk/coolkit/ekranoplan.html" target=blank>ekranoplan</A>!


my point was that ships used to be used more substantially in troop transport. now it's possible, through both military and commercially chartered planes to move mass numbers of troops and small equipment that formerly would require ships.
 

MadRat

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
11,607
3
76
A substantial percentage of the U.S. commercial air fleet is paid for by the government for use during wartime. Plus they pay the airlines to maintain the planes, an extra incentive to keep a certain percentage equipped as cargo certified rather than passenger certified, and on top of that pay a token compensation (aka premium) to use them (planes they've bought, not the air lines) when they cannot be used in the civil fleets.
 

MadRat

Lifer
Oct 14, 1999
11,607
3
76
Originally posted by: smashp
The navy is looking into building less ships and into building "Floating bases"
Bases that would be driven to where needed. No joke.

Think about it though
And your source is 1984...
 

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