1 thought on “Quiet”

  1. Link No.2 is really the old ‘are carriers obsolete?’ debate. Not really is probably the answer but that doesn’t mean US should keep building lavish mega carriers.
    The X47B is a credible perhaps vital platform to get the best out of US legacy carriers-especially if the F35 wonder-plane proves to suck badly in service.

    One could also mention 3 omissions is this piece.
    1. Just how important next generation Tomahawks will be-i.e. JASSM or the like.
    2. To what extent sub-surface drones, undersea glide sensors, and even surface littoral drones will play a much bigger future role? Why think of drones as only game changing the carrier-naval aviation scene and not the wider navy?
    3. Whether rail guns will ever see the light of day as service weapons of value-and if we’ll see a class of littoral combat ships (or gun subs?) with some type of rail gun system capable of sustained precision fires out to distances of hundreds of k, effectively replacing short range cruise missiles and tactical air support at the beachhead? My guess is dream on to the 2050s.

    Two major caveats to his essay have to be:
    1. Land air-bases, whether Andersen or Kadena, are very vulnerable to missiles like the DF21…an easy target in fact compared to a carrier…and you need to envisage an OPFOR who will escalate to tactical nuclear level, or threaten this, and have the technical ability to engineer special sub-munition warheads to close runways.

    2. UAVs to date have proven they are useful and can do lots of things well, but not everything always better.
    However, they are no longer as cheap and cheerful as they once were.
    And they seem to have higher accident attrition rates and are vulnerable if faced with well prepared AD which is looking for drones and has assets to target them. Serbs shot down at least one drone with helicopters and door machine guns in 1999!
    I don’t think you’d take down an X47b that way but Chinese may simply have jarked the chips inside and use coding malfunctions to jam or more subtly degrade drones.
    So drones will have to get a whole lot tougher, safer, redundant and robust.


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