Monday, July 26, 2021

Light Amphibious Warship: A Mistake For The U.S. Marine Corps And Navy?

 via 19fortyfive

The trouble with this acquisition strategy is that the Sea Services look like they are going all in for LAW, even though it appears to be flawed both technically and operationally. At 14 knots, LAW will be a slow ship. It would take one to two weeks to make the trip from Hawaii to the first island chain, even if it had the range. Being slow also means that if detected, it would have little chance of evading attack or, lacking adequate armaments, of defending itself. With respect to self-defense, LAW would be vulnerable to mine warfare when approaching the shore.

Supporters argue that because it is relatively small and slow, and able to use its shallow draft to land on unguarded beaches, LAW will be able to avoid detection by hiding among the great number of small cargo and fishing vessels that operate in the littoral waters of the Indo-Pacific theater. This assumes that most of these vessels will not run for cover when war breaks out.

The LAW operating concept also fails to appreciate how rapidly surveillance technologies of all kinds are proliferating in the region. Over the next decade, China may be capable of creating a robust network of surveillance assets and supporting analytics to find, fix and target ships as small as LAW. There is no worse combination of attributes when it comes to the survivability of warships than slow and visible.


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