Thursday, November 02, 2017

Dawn Blitz 17 HIMARS ... video by Sgt. Logan Block (nice exercise but it wasn't as big a deal as we thought)

Caption from the vid...
U.S. Marines with 5th Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit, set up and launch a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) aboard the USS Anchorage (LPD 23) during Dawn Blitz 2017, Oct. 22, 2017. Dawn Blitz allows the amphibious force to integrate the HIMARS into the exercise to validate a capability with platforms not traditionally used at the Marine Expeditionary Brigade/Expeditionary Strike Group level. 
I've been chewing on this awhile and my initial happiness with this move has been tempered.

WTF am I talking about?  Remember this pic from Defense Tech that had us all going goofy back in 2010 (article here)?

Yeah.  We just experimented with a concept that the Chinese Marine Corps were doing almost a decade ago to "validate" the concept.

I don't recall my reaction at the time but looking at it now I wonder.  This is an extremely poor way of delivering fires.  You better have calm seas, a totally deconflicted sea space to perform this op in (God forbid if some hot dog pilot pops over the horizon or some missile boat skipper gets a wild hair and your arty/MLRS is lashed to your deck!) and if you're gonna actually put steel on target you better be working some good voodoo with your math unless the ship is at anchor.

The reality is stark...and simple.

We're trying to make it work with the resources we have, and despite spending a fortune on defense we still have a basic capability gap.

We don't have proper naval guns to deliver the weight of fire needed in this day and age if we were to ever cross swords with a peer threat.

What we need is a proper battleship for the 21st century and the Zumwalt while a decent attempt won't get it done.

Luckily for us planners have already crunched the numbers on this.  Remember the document outlining future "wishes" for the force?  On one of the slides was a requirement for what is essentially a Landing Ship Medium (Rocket), which is what you see above.

Long short?

The demonstration was nice but the action is with the budget and the Navy. Will they give the Marine Corp another toy after getting burned with the Zumwalt, the Mobile Landing Platform, the F-35, being coerced into using the MV-22 for carrier onboard delivery and being begged for space aboard the space constrained LCS to deliver Marines?

I'm not sure.  You can push goodwill too far and the Navy has bent over backwards to put into service ships and planes that we have to "figure out what we're gonna do with them, after we get them".

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