R.I.P. USS Kitty Hawk, the Navy’s Last Conventionally-Powered Aircraft Carrier

“The current U.S. Navy carrier fleet is entirely nuclear powered, consisting of ten Nimitz-class carriers and USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of a new class. The Navy prefers nuclear-powered aircraft carriers as they don’t require fuel oil and have essentially unlimited range. A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier can depart immediately to deal with an international crisis without having to top off with fuel. The use of nuclear power also lessens the burden on the Navy’s logistics fleet to keep carriers moving.”

A $4.4 billion US destroyer was touted as one of the most advanced ships in the world. Take a look at the USS Zumwalt, which has since been called a ‘failed ship concept.’

“Despite their cost, the Zumwalts have been plagued by equipment problems. Soon after its commissioning in 2016, the USS Zumwalt broke down in the Panama Canal. The second ship in its class, the USS Michael Monsoor, failed during sea trials the following year.

As a 2018 report from Military Watch Magazine noted the Zumwalts “suffered from poorly functioning weapons, stalling engines, and an underperformance in their stealth capabilities, among other shortcomings.”

“They have almost entirely failed to fulfill the originally intended role of multipurpose destroyer warships, while the scale of cost overruns alone brings the viability of the program into question even if the destroyers were able to function as intended,” the outlet said.

The Zumwalts lack several vital features, including anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes, and long-range area-air defense missiles, the military expert Sebastian Roblin wrote in a 2021 National Interest article. Roblin called the destroyers an “ambitious but failed ship concept.”

And, noted Roblin, their weaponry wasn’t cheap. The ship’s long-range land-attack projectile guided shells cost roughly $800,000 each — about the same price as a cruise missile. The munitions were eventually canceled, considered too pricey to merit producing.

Roblin said the Zumwalt was produced based on “unrealistic” estimates that banked on minimal cost, despite coming in 50% over budget.”

Moskva’s sinking, the rise of anti-ship cruise missiles and what that means for the US Navy

“If Ukraine’s Neptune ASCMs upended Russia’s naval presence in the Black Sea with ease, clearly the U.S. Navy and Congress must consider whether our pacing threat is capable of the same.

The U.S. Navy has been furiously working on countermeasures, such as longer-range radars and integrated air and missile defense systems, both of which are being incorporated into new ship construction. The Navy also expressed confidence in the contribution of our submarine fleet with a higher budget for submarine construction and plans to extend the life of older Los Angeles-class subs.

These vessels are relatively impervious to the ASCM threat; our surface fleet is not. Today’s surface fleet must be capable to detect, track and engage our adversaries’ most capable anti-ship missiles, and have the structural integrity to survive damage sustained in combat.

President Joe Biden’s proposed Navy budget reflects the need to think through this strategic challenge. On the one hand, the request of $28 billion for Navy shipbuilding is the largest ever. By way of comparison, then-President Donald Trump’s last budget in 2020 requested $19 billion. But Biden’s request also seeks to decommission a number of legacy surface ships that predate the threat posed by modern anti-ship missiles. Predictably, this decision has been greeted by a chorus of protest, but nonetheless the fact remains: Every U.S. ship that sails into harm’s way must represent a relevant threat and be fit to fight.”

The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It

“a steady stream of official U.S. estimates suggests that within a decade, China will possess enough warships to dominate the Indian Ocean region if it chooses. The Office of Naval Intelligence estimated China would build 67 new major surface combatants and 12 new nuclear-powered submarines by 2030. The Pentagon’s most recent report on China’s military power raised those projections even further. Given that China already has formidable capabilities for defending itself in the east — and the heightened range and survivability of these new ships — it seems China plans to operate them far from its shores. The Pentagon also observes that China is developing the capabilities to conduct “offensive operations” deep in the Indian Ocean, presumably including naval blockades, bombardment of enemy targets, or even a combination assault by land and sea.”

“What exactly does China want in the Indian Ocean? In the near term, it wants to protect its Middle East oil supplies, the hundreds of thousands of Chinese migrant laborers working abroad and its overseas investments. Looking ahead, however, China has laid the groundwork to bring considerable military might to the Indian Ocean if it needs to.

With an unchecked fleet able to exercise control in the Indian Ocean — even if for legitimate purposes to protect trade and investments — China could intimidate states militarily and economically, just as it has done in the South China Sea for years, and more recently with Bangladesh, the Maldives and Indonesia. It could engage in unsafe conduct close to ships and planes, harass commercial or naval vessels, and enter other countries’ waters and airspace. Vulnerability to such coercion could compel smaller countries to side with China on issues like freedom of navigation and overflight, territorial disputes, trade negotiations, military agreements with the U.S. or its partners, human rights or relations with Taiwan.

In a military conflict, a Chinese Indian Ocean fleet would be even more threatening. It could disrupt trade flows in the Indian Ocean for the U.S. or its allies or impede American military access. China could also attack U.S. or allied forces swinging from the Mediterranean, or Middle East, or Diego Garcia, to the Pacific.

Part of the reason the Indian Ocean hasn’t received as much attention as it should is that many U.S. defense experts assume or hope they can rely on India to automatically be a “counterweight” to China in this region. For over two decades, Washington has been enamored with the idea that India, at one point exceeding 8 percent economic growth annually, would become a military powerhouse that could “frustrate China’s hegemonic ambitions.” The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy released in February counts on India to be “a net security provider,” just as previous administrations officially banked on the Indian Navy taking a “leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security.” Some former Trump administration officials even want to formalize a Japan-style alliance.

But India’s ability to play this role is in serious doubt.”

Satellite images show China built mock-ups of U.S. warships

“China’s massive military upgrade has emphasized countering the U.S. and other countries’ naval forces.

That includes the development of land, sea and air-launched missiles to repel and possibly sink opposing vessels, expressed most emphatically by the land-based DF-21D ballistic missile known as the “carrier killer.””

“The Pentagon..issued a report saying China is expanding its nuclear force much faster than U.S. officials predicted just a year ago. That appears designed to enable Beijing to match or surpass U.S. global power by midcentury, the report said.”

“China’s test of a hypersonic weapon capable of partially orbiting Earth before reentering the atmosphere and gliding on a maneuverable path to its target also surprised top U.S. military leaders. Beijing insisted it was testing a reusable space vehicle, not a missile, but the weapon system’s design is meant to evade U.S. missile defenses.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the test was “very close” to being a “Sputnik moment,” akin to the 1957 launching by the Soviet Union of the world’s first space satellite, which fed fears the United States had fallen behind technologically.”

This Navy Veteran Was Deported Over a One-Time Marijuana Offense. After Nearly a Decade in Exile, He’s Back in the U.S.

“Howard Bailey came to the United States from Jamaica when he was 17. He served nearly four years in the Navy right out of high school, completing two tours in Operation Desert Storm and earning a National Defense Service Medal. But when it came time for Bailey—a lawful permanent resident—to apply for citizenship, his application was denied over a one-time marijuana offense.

What was already a devastating blow then turned into almost a decade in exile, with Bailey deported to a country he hadn’t seen in 24 years. Last Wednesday, he finally won the fight to come home.”

“From 2003 to August 2018, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, over 45,000 people were deported for marijuana possession. And according to immigration lawyers and advocates, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has denied citizenship applications from immigrants who admit to using marijuana in states where it’s legal. The agency requires that applicants have “good moral character.” Even legally sanctioned behavior can come into conflict with such a subjective criterion.

Around 5,000 noncitizens enlist in the military every year, and an estimated 94,000 veterans do not have U.S. citizenship. Biden administration officials announced steps to support noncitizen veterans and service members in July, including allowing those who have been unjustly deported to return to the U.S. There are likely around 1,000 military deportees in 40 countries, and recourse for those wrongfully removed is difficult to come by.”

A deadly fight 33 years ago shows just how destructive a war between the US and Iran could get

“a future conflict is unlikely to go as smoothly for the US as Operation Praying Mantis did, mainly due to Iran’s military modernization and expansion.

Iran’s Navy has gotten larger and more capable, with more vessels able to launch anti-ship missiles and at least three Russian-built Kilo-class attack submarines in service.

Last year, an Iranian Navy exercise included an attack on a barge designed to look like a US aircraft carrier. In January, Iran unveiled the Makran, a “forward base ship” capable of carrying drones and helicopters.

The IRGCN has also been expanding its numbers and capabilities, including recent reports that it is building large missile-laden catamarans.

Iran’s sea mines remain potent, but the biggest threat comes from Iran’s missile arsenal, which is considerably larger and more advanced than it was in the 1980s.

In recent years, Iranian missiles have been used to attack Saudi oil facilities and civilian sites, as well as ships. In January 2020, Iranian cruise missiles hit US bases in Iraq, injuring over 100 service members.

Iran’s missiles failed to hit their targets during Operation Praying Mantis, but things could be very different in the future.”

‘Are We Getting Invaded?’ U.S. Boats Faced Russian Aggression Near Alaska

“The Russian military operations in August inside the U.S. economic zone off the coast of Alaska were the latest in a series of escalated encounters across the North Pacific and the Arctic, where the retreat of polar ice continues to draw new commercial and military traffic. This year, the Russian military has driven a new nuclear-powered icebreaker straight to the North Pole, dropped paratroopers into a high-Arctic archipelago to perform a mock battle and repeatedly flown bombers to the edge of U.S. airspace.

As seas warmed by climate change open new opportunities for oil exploration and trade routes, the U.S. Coast Guard now finds itself monitoring a range of new activity: cruise ships promising a voyage through waters few have ever seen, research vessels trying to understand the changing landscape, tankers carrying new gas riches, and shipping vessels testing new passageways that sailors of centuries past could only dream of.

Russia’s operations in the Arctic have meant a growing military presence at America’s northern door. Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., the commander of the Coast Guard district that oversees Alaska, said it was not a surprise to see Russian forces operating in the Bering Sea over the summer, but “the surprise was how aggressive they got on our side of the maritime boundary line.”

In the air, U.S. jets in Alaska typically scramble to intercept about a half-dozen approaching Russian aircraft a year, outliers on the long-range nuclear bomber patrols that Russia resumed in 2007. But this year that number has risen to 14 — on pace to set a record since the Cold War era. In the most recent case, last month, the United States responded to the approach of two Russian bombers and two Russian fighters that came within 30 nautical miles of Alaskan shores.”