Not with a bang but a wimper…CVNs pricing themselves out of existence?
This piece at Information Dissemination poses the question of whether CVN’s are headed into their twilight by “the death of a thousand slips” rather than a well thought out capability transition plan.
This coming on the heels of the “DDG-51 Flight III that is a CG(X) lite” decision to in effect build a somewhat scaled back version of the CG(X)’s technology on a modified DDG-51 hull rather than a DDG-1000 hull to avoid calling it a new ship; the tribulations of the submarine community coming to grips with needing a new SSBN nad SSN at the same time, and the woeful “bang for the buck” of LCS; and you have a “perfect storm” of decisions that will set the foundation fo the fleet we will have in the middle third of the century being made based on monetary efficiency arguments rather than military effectiveness arguments.
Is it sensible to look at an “ultra high/ultra low” mix of 15 billion dollar CVN,s 3-4 billion dollar “Large surface combatants” and SSNs, on the one hand, and half billion dollar “what are they really for” LCS’?
The “Net-centric” idea the navy embraced a decade or so ago of moving from a platform-centric force, to a force where capability is distributed across more, cheaper platforms, seems to have given way to “status quo” force of high end “exquisite” forces on the one hand in order to claim capability, coupled with a bare bones capability at the low end to claim numbers.
The worrisome thing is that this appears to be occurring based on fiscal and political expediency, rather than a coherent conceptual strategy of “ends” driving “ways and means”. The tail of programatics appears to be wagging the dog of military capability.
Is there a role for ship lasses like the LHA – 6 America in the capability mix with CVNs and not just as the centerpiece of an ARG?
Will the transition to increasingly unmanned aircraft change the nature of the “super-carrier”.
Have we given up on the “big picture” of a truly distributed Fleet? For less than the price of 2 LCS, one can get 2 U.S. built (for Egypt) Ambassador III Class corvettes (@ 225 M2012$/ea to fight) and 2 JHSVs (@ 210 M2012$/ea to host payloads). Mate two of these ‘littoral combat squadrons” to a logistics support ship and you have a brown water force to be reckoned with. 4 LCS would have a difficult time defending themselves against a single Ambassador III, given the range disparity of weapons.
What sort of Fleet will the independent and conceptually disconnected surface, air and subsurface communities end up with in 2040 given the independent paths we are taking? How much money are wasting being “efficient” on a community basis, but “ineffective” on a fleet basis?