Meet the Navy’s Near-Shore “Influence Squadron”

06.04.09

Categorie: Naval |

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On the first day of his presidency, Barack Obama promised to reconfigure the Navy to include “smaller, more capable ships, providing the agility to operate close to shore.” But how should the Navy organize these new near-shore forces?

In so-called “Influence Squadrons,” according to Navy Commander Henry Hendrix, writing in Proceedings. He proposes the Navy maintain a three-tier force composed of: nine or 10 large-deck aircraft carriers and their escorts; 10 assault ships doubling as light carriers, with escorts; and 16 Influence Squadrons. Each Influence Squadron would include:

* An LPD-17 or “cheaper commercial ship with similar capabilities,” presumably for command and control, logistics, and to support a company of Marines in a “raid profile”

* A destroyer for air, surface, ballistic-missile and submarine defense

* A Littoral Combat Ship, pictured, for mine warfare

* A PC-type coastal patrol boat

* One each Joint High-Speed Vessel and M-80 Stiletto to connect the amphibious ship to shore

Influence Squadrons would be used to “build the basic communal building blocks of productive life” in developing countries, in order to win hearts and minds, similar to what the Navy’s Africa Partnership Station is doing today with a single amphibious ship.

(Photo: me)

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Littoral Combat Ship = Mini Gator
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16 Responses to “Meet the Navy’s Near-Shore “Influence Squadron””

  1. B.Smitty says:

    Interesting. His “Influence Squadrons” sound conceptually similar to the Littoral Operations Groups I proposed in your Build Your Navy thread a while back.

    I just don’t see how his Squadron can increase fleet numbers if it’s populated with big-ticket vessels like DDGs and LPD-17s. And I’m not a fan of the M-80 at all. It doesn’t offer anything except a rough ride, huge beam and short range.

    For policing SLOCs and making ports of call, we can get by with inexpensive ships in larger numbers.

    Just MHO.

  2. Heretic says:

    Well … David “overpriced” a number of things back in his Build Your Own Navy thread last time. LPD-17s weigh in around $800 mil, not $1.5 bil. M80s would cost (fully loaded) a mere $10 mil, meaning you could buy 10 of those for just 1 point ($100 mil) in the game. Plus, the M80 is small enough to carry aboard another ship (by crane, if necessary) and can fit in an LCAC slot in the LPD (if absolutely necessary) for long transits. The M80 gives you FAC capability for patrolling in waters that reach almost all the way up to the beach (draft is less than 1m).

    Aside from the PC coastal boat, the combination would cost (in game):

    LPD-17: 8 points
    DDG-51: 20 points
    LCS: 5 points (after getting up the experience curve)
    PC (Cyclone-class): 0.4 points
    JHSV: 2 points
    M80: 0.1 points
    = 35.5 points(?) for 6 hulls
    x16 squadrons = $56.8 billion for 96 hulls

    Which, when you think about it, is NOT a bad deal … and that’s just “back of the napkin” computation and not including any sort of economies of scale you could get in doing package deals designed from the get-go to give steady work to shipyards which can bring down costs per hull because they can budget for them over several years with very little uncertainty.

  3. B.Smitty says:

    Heretic,

    Where’d you get $800 million for a new LPD-17? Everywhere I’ve seen suggests that a new one runs closer to $1.7-1.8 billion.

    M80s may be relatively cheap, but they’re also too big for what they provide (IMHO). There are a multitude of patrol boat designs out there. No need to pick something exotic that beats up its crew in anything but glassy-smooth seas.

    For protecting SLOCs, you can fit a lot more RB-Ms, RCBs or the like in the same area, or jump up to a 25-30m patrol boat that can spend 3-4 days on its own.

  4. matt says:

    Ok so does this mean that the LCS is an overpriced mine warfare vessel? Shouldnt it be used for anti-piracy operations and at least some fleet escort roles?

  5. B.Smitty says:

    It does not mean the LCS is just an overpriced MIW vessel.

    The article specifically says, “composed of…, a Littoral Combat Ship to extend a squadron’s reach into the green-water environment and provide some mine warfare capabilities.”

  6. Galrahn says:

    I think ideas like this are very smart.

  7. Heretic says:

    Well, the reference point I was using previously (ie. the wikipedia article) has been changed/updated. Last time I looked, it was quoting prices of $800 million for the class, and now it’s saying $1.4 billion was appropriated for the 9th ship in class.

    Inflation does all kinds of funny things to prices … even before cost growth gets added into the mix.

  8. [...] (Photo: USS Oscar Austin fires at the retired destroyer Connolly during a recent “sink-ex” exercise; U.S. Navy) Related: Meet the Navy’s Near-Shore “Influence Squadron” How Fast Is Fast Enough for the Navy’s New Warship? Video: How the Littoral Combat Ship Will Fight Pirates Littoral Combat Ship = Mini Gator Obama’s Defense Priorities No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  9. [...] For years, the U.S. Navy has been organized around aircraft carrier battlegroups and amphibious ready groups, usually around 10 of each. Each group, anchored by a large aviation vessel — either a carrier or an amphibious assault ship — includes surface escorts, submarines, logistics ships and its own organic air force of around 100 aircraft — and possesses more firepower than most of the world’s navies. While the precise number and composition of the CVBGs and ARGs have changed, over time, their importance has not. But now Stavridis is advocating a new kind of group, one anchored by hospital ships like Comfort, and tailored for delivering aid, not munitions. … While Stavridis didn’t specifiy what kinds of vessels, in addition to the hospital ships, might comprise the humanitarian groups, one of Stavridis’ protégés has offered some hints. Commander Jerry Hendrix, who served under Stavridis, is on the team preparing the Pentagon’s influential Quadrennial Defense Review, due in early 2010. In an article in the professional journal Proceedings, Hendrix advocated for what he calls “Influence Squadrons,” to replace several of the carrier groups. An Influence Squadron would include vessels optimized for coastal, non-combat missions, much like Operation Continuing Promise. Hendrix proposed the Navy buy more catamaran transports and shallow-draft Littoral Combat Ships to fill out the squadrons. Adding a hospital ship to the mix would turn the Influence Squadron into a Humanitarian Support Group. [...]

  10. I am trying to contact Commander Jerry Hendrix concerning Professor Claude A. Buss. Please assist me in trying to contact him (at the suggestion of Claude’s daughter Lynne).

  11. [...] The attack on the Hanit was a wake-up call for the Israeli navy. In the aftermath of the Lebanon conflict, the Israeli navy revamped its training, tactics and equipment to better prepare the roughly 6,000-strong navy for operations against sophisticated “irregular” enemies in crowded, littoral waters. The Israelis upgraded their corvettes’ air defenses and tweaked existing doctrine to keep vessels farther from shore, but still close enough to matter. The result, as demonstrated during operations off Gaza earlier this year, is the world’s most effective littoral navy — one that should serve as an object lesson for the U.S. Navy, as the world’s largest sea service builds up its own littoral forces. … [...]

  12. [...] Entire large ship amphibious force to be replace by high speed catamarans, sea lift vessels, auxiliary warships. San Antonio’s canceled. Older amphibs would shift to mothership duties for new Influence Squadrons or sold to friendly powers. [...]

  13. [...] mothership would act as the supercharger for an Influence Squadron. By its mere presence it would transform a force of ships adequate for presence but not much else, [...]

  14. [...] a much larger number of inexpensive vessels (“Fords”) organized into what Hendrix calls “Influence Squadrons.” The new squadrons would deploy across the globe, to the waters off developing countries whose [...]

  15. [...] a much larger number of inexpensive vessels (“Fords”) organized into what Hendrix calls “Influence Squadrons.” The new squadrons would deploy across the globe, to the waters off developing countries whose [...]

  16. [...] mothership would act as the supercharger for an Influence Squadron. By its mere presence it would transform a force of ships adequate for presence but not much else, [...]

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