Thursday, June 07, 2018

The USMC's Super UAV is all about "untying" from an aircraft carrier?

via USNI.
With the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter now fielded, an Upgunned Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) – a typical Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked on a three-ship Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), plus a couple cruisers or destroyers – is a formidable naval unit: it carries a Marine landing force, a fifth-generation stealthy fighter capability, a high-end radar paired with the Aegis Combat System, and the networking to tie them all together. The only thing missing is an airborne early warning system like the Navy’s E-2D to identify and cue surface and air threats.

That is the capability gap the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Expeditionary – or MUX – will fill.

“Think about the ESG, the Amphibious Ready Group, the large-deck amphib: even if it’s upgunned with a set of [surface warfare] assets with Aegis radars, we are still missing an airborne early warning capability. And therefore, in the fight of the future, we are going to be tied to the carrier strike group,” Brig. Gen. James Adams, director of the capabilities development directorate at Marine Corps headquarters, said during a MUX industry day presentation today.

“That’s why airborne early warning is our number-one top-tier requirement (for MUX). We don’t have an E-2D obviously with the ARG, we could never get one, but we need that capability present inside the ARG as we distribute forces in connection with and in support of the concepts – [Distributed Maritime Operations], [Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment], [Expeditionary Advance Base Operations] – in the future and enable the naval force to be more lethal and allow us separation from and integration with the carrier strike group. And that’s why [airborne early warning] is so important and why it bumped up from being way down somewhere in the ICD (initial capabilities document) as a nice-to-have to an absolute essential must-have.”

Adams said some lawmakers have gone so far as to suggest a light-carrier concept for the Marines so they could operate their own E-2Ds and have airborne early warning capabilities in ARG/MEU operations, and he said fielding the MUX will be a better solution to bringing that capability to the amphibious force.
Story here. 

Marine Corps leadership has me spinning.

Not long ago all we heard was talk about the F-35 playing mini-AWACS.  Now?  Now we hear that we need a UAV to perform the mini-AWACS role.

That's not the most disturbing part though.

Once again we keep seeing the chess pieces being moved.  Once again they're talking about a MEU engaging in the high end fight.

It's not suppose to be that way.

MEU's conduct the INITIAL landing with follow on forces arriving quickly.  VERY VERY VERY QUICKLY if you're talking about fighting more than 3rd world forces.

In essence the point I'm trying to make is that the Marines are moving the goal posts in the way that our critics love for no good reason.  They're bastardizing our own concepts to justify spending money on a capability that is already resident inside the Dept of the Navy!

Why would Marines fight a peer opponent solo?

This is a strawman justification if I ever heard one.

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