Tuesday, November 17, 2015
The aviation commandant wants F-35 only LHAs? Fine. How about MEU's without fast jets!
By now you've heard about the interview the Assistant Commandant gave about using the F-35 and leaving the Ground Combat Element on the dock (here). It will come as no surprise that before we got word of that fluff piece put out by USNI News, Bryan McGrath hit us with almost the same proposal (here).
A couple of things. First if Marine Air wants to take the F-35 and play Navy and Air Force I say it will be less disruptive to simply chop the limb and send them away. No more fast jets. Second is to consider seriously building MEU's without fast jets as a pre-emptive strike. We need to train as we fight. If F-35Bs aren't going to be part of the MEU then we need to train with that in mind.
Better to simply build MEUs without them. So what would one look like? Check out the below pic.
This isn't rocket science so lets be actual and factual. Chop the LHA/LHD from the mix. They're gonna be playing mini-aircraft carrier. Scratch six of the MV-22's. They're gonna be supporting the F-35s. Oh and we no longer have fast air support.
So what does my new MEU look like?
How about this. Two LSDs and one LPD? The air component would be six CH-53s, we'd beef up the AH-1Z force to 8 and settle for six MV-22s. I believe the LSD/LPD could handle this aviation package. If not then we use a MLP outfitted as an AFSB as the fourth ship dedicated to carrying whatever aviation overflow we have.
We will have to make up for the lack of jets so we'd increase the number of howitzers and probably need to consider adding a MLRS (truck mounted) system ... probably two. We'll need the direct firepower of Tanks so they'll be a standard feature of the new Ground Combat MEU.
We can expect a couple of units to go with the wing when they have their new aircraft carrier LHA/LHDs. Force Recon/Maritime Raid Force will head out with them I'm sure. The wing will also take some of the Motor T section but we can do without both.
I really thought that this idea would have been shot down by Marine Corps leadership long ago. Since its continuing then I would imagine that its being endorsed somewhere.
But that doesn't mean that we should castrate our MEU's just so the wing can feel special. We did it for over 100 years without aircraft. We can do it for another 100 without fast jets. We just need a bit of common sense...a little boldness...and we can get back our Marine Corps from these misguided reformers.