USS Independence, LCS-2

WASHINGTON: Is the Littoral Combat Ship a real warship? That question has bedeviled the small, sleek, lightly armed ships for years. Now it’s taken on new urgency as the Defense Department and the Navy both refocus on high-intensity, high-tech warfighting against “great powers” — i.e. China and Russia. Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to cut… Keep reading →

The Navy’s jet-powered P-8 Poseidon patrol plane boasts plenty of advances over the P-3 Orion turboprops it will replace, but for the sensor operators the favorite feature will be very basic: They won’t throw up as much.

The P-3’s notoriously rough ride at low altitudes and the gunpowder-like stench from the launch tube shooting sonar buoys out the back meant that, “typically, every mission or two you’d have somebody get sick [and] start throwing up into their air sickness bag,” said Navy Captain Aaron Rondeau, a P-3 veteran who now runs the P-8 program. “We haven’t seen that much with the P-8.” Keep reading →

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: During a decade of relentless focus on counterinsurgency, the military has let other skills erode, skills it will have to struggle to get back even as budgets tighten. In particular, the capacity of the US and allied navies to hunt enemy submarines has suffered even as potential adversaries like China and Iran have built up their sub fleets.

That’s not to say it wasn’t necessary to put Afghanistan and Iraq first — just that we’ve paid a price. “They were good choices,” said Rear Adm. Phil Davidson of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, speaking at the annual Joint Warfighting Conference hosted by the US Naval Institute and the electronics industry group AFCEA. “They were needed for the current fight,” Davidson went on, “but these choices were not without cost.” Keep reading →

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD [updated 7:30 am Thursday 19 April with Congressional comment and Raymond Pritchett’s retraction] : The smartest man in the Department of the Navy, Under Secretary Robert O. Work, erupted today in a passionate defense of the service’s integrity in how it counts its ships and of the controversial Littoral Combat Ship‘s place as the most numerous class in the future fleet. Keep reading →