Monday, July 29, 2019

Lexington Institute pushes against dumping the 38 amphibious ship requirement!

via National Interest.
Regardless of the issue of overall fleet size, the amphibious warfare fleet is in serious need of modernization. The current size of the fleet, 31 ships, means that at any one time there are around 18 available for operations.  This number is inadequate to meet current demands, much less respond to a high-end contingency.

In addition, there is a clear need for more capable ships. With the arrival of the F-35B, airpower is becoming ever more critical in future Marine Corps operations. But to take advantage of what the F-35B offers, means building more large-deck amphibs, particularly the new America-class amphibious assault ships (LHA).
In addition, the Marine Corps desperately needs the combination of capabilities provided by the Landing Ship Dock (LPD) 17.  LPDs are survivable mobile expeditionary air and sea bases, hospitals, command and control centers, logistic and maintenance facilities.
LPD-17 Flight IIs can support the full range of military operations and effectively enable distributed maritime operations through robust organic capability and extensive space, weight, power, and cooling margin to rapidly accommodate vertical launch, directed energy, and unmanned vehicle capabilities.

When the full range of evolving threats and missions is considered, it may turn out that the size of the future amphibious warfare fleet should be larger than the prior goal of 38 ships.  But whatever number the Sea Services finally settle on, they must be the most capable ships available.  This means increasing, not decreasing, the procurement of America-class LHAs and the new LPD-17 Flight II.
Story here. 

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