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Time to bring back battleships?

Devildoc

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#1
The article makes a compelling argument, but 1) those behemoths are terribly cost prohibitive, 2) the role of the battle ship is to take out other battleships, and 3) we haven't used battleships as designed since WWI. Still, another 'Great White Fleet' would be an awesome sight.

The Case for a 21st-Century Battleship
 

Devildoc

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#3
It's always good to read a different perspective. One of the issues, and I admit I don't know anything about Australia's Naval strategy with regard to foreign or economic policy, is that the US has ALWAYS fought for fair navigation of the seas, in every ocean. China is declaring those areas in the SCS as 'theirs,' which is historically an international sea lane.

I would also argue that the former PM doesn't really understand the role of capital ships; though I understand his point about US battleships at Pearl Harbor, the point he missed (which the article details) is that they are extremely hard to sink. I don't know that I believe they are the best platform for what the author thinks should be done, heavily-armored and fast ships are probably a good idea. With stand-off doctrine through air and missiles, it's very, very unlikely that we would slug it out with another country's battleship, which is what they are used for in the first place.

I also like how the former PM pointed out that Australia could pursue their own policies independent of those of the US, being aligned where they need to be, but separate in other areas.
 

Red Flag 1

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#4
I'm not terrible blue water Navy savvy so I'd ask what does the Battleship bring to the table that we do not already have?

In WW II they were a standoff sea-based artillery platform that could bring devastating firepower to a planned sea assault/landing area as was seen in the Pacific. In WW II the might of naval power depended to some extent on the big battleships. Pearl Harbor wiped out our big blue water brutes and we still went on to beat the enemy at their own game. Can't we still do the same now with existing sea-based and air assets?

If you bring a big battlewagon, you need to bring defensive assets to protect that asset. The Aircraft carriers are an example. The great offensive punch of the huge floating Air Base requires defensive bubbles from attack subs, to its own air assets for CAP. I just do not see the value in such a large ship, at this point in time.
 

CQB

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#5
Our approach is for a littoral force similar to a Marine Expeditionary Force. It’s been there for a while but is now being expanded.
The Chinese White navy is very active and as with a lot of conflict currently, operates just below the threshold of all out aggression.
 

Teufel

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#6
Pretty dumb article. Armor isn’t going to do much against Chinese YJ-83s. You defeat anti ship cruise missions with countermeasures, not armor. Sure add armor but that’s not a solution in and of itself. We need smaller more agile vessels packed with modern cruise missiles and countermeasures. Basically what the LCS should have been.

The former Australian PM just doesn’t want mommy and daddy to fight. Australia is massively tied to China by trade and heavily tied to the US by historical association.
 

DC

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#7
Aircraft have made the BB obsolete BUT parking a BB off the beach of your enemy and training 16s on ya does make a statement.
 

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#8
Gotta give Oz the kudos for knowing up front that China would destroy them in days so letting the bully run around the area taking and making territory's is self preservation at best. No worries we would back them up if they ran an end around.
 

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#9
No one needs battleships anymore. The closest modern comparison is the Kirov class, but those are in horrible shape. We need better countermeasures and cheaper but capable surface-to-surface missiles.
 

Devildoc

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#10
Pretty dumb article. Armor isn’t going to do much against Chinese YJ-83s. You defeat anti ship cruise missions with countermeasures, not armor. Sure add armor but that’s not a solution in and of itself. We need smaller more agile vessels packed with modern cruise missiles and countermeasures. Basically what the LCS should have been.

The former Australian PM just doesn’t want mommy and daddy to fight. Australia is massively tied to China by trade and heavily tied to the US by historical association.
I largely agree. There's a reason that we haven't used battleships since World War II, and I am not counting the times we would recommission mothballed battleships. Reagan had a love affair with them which is the only reason he recommissioned them.

More armored ships is never a bad idea, but as much as I love the old battlewagons, they are not the answer. Neither is strictly air power either, to defeat that kind of threat it needs to be a varied fleet.
 

Devildoc

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#11
I'm not terrible blue water Navy savvy so I'd ask what does the Battleship bring to the table that we do not already have?

In WW II they were a standoff sea-based artillery platform that could bring devastating firepower to a planned sea assault/landing area as was seen in the Pacific. In WW II the might of naval power depended to some extent on the big battleships. Pearl Harbor wiped out our big blue water brutes and we still went on to beat the enemy at their own game. Can't we still do the same now with existing sea-based and air assets?

If you bring a big battlewagon, you need to bring defensive assets to protect that asset. The Aircraft carriers are an example. The great offensive punch of the huge floating Air Base requires defensive bubbles from attack subs, to its own air assets for CAP. I just do not see the value in such a large ship, at this point in time.
Historically, that is in the twenties and thirties, the theory was to use the carriers to screen and protect the battleships when World War II showed us the reality was the other way around.

The author misses the point of what the battleship was supposed to be for, which was to blow up other battleships. Now I could see bringing back a type of ship like the old Heavy Cruiser which was up armored, fast, and could handle a variety of roles.
 

AWP

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#12
Now I could see bringing back a type of ship like the old Heavy Cruiser which was up armored, fast, and could handle a variety of roles.
Which is basically a Ticonderoga class boat. Heavy armor isn't that necessary these days given the power of a cruise missile.
 

Devildoc

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#13
Which is basically a Ticonderoga class boat. Heavy armor isn't that necessary these days given the power of a cruise missile.
That's assuming that's the only threat we're trying to protect against. But I think there are other actors out there with small boats and littoral craft who could put some damage on a thin skin ship. Or, something like the USS Cole.
 

AWP

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#14
That's assuming that's the only threat we're trying to protect against. But I think there are other actors out there with small boats and littoral craft who could put some damage on a thin skin ship. Or, something like the USS Cole.
I agree, but the problem becomes one of weight and performance as well. The added armor/ weight to defend against smaller craft impacts your performance in other areas like speed, range, mechanical wear, etc. I think the Navy's already looking into ways to deal with smaller craft from newer weapons systems, other small craft, ISR, etc.
 

Devildoc

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#15
I agree, but the problem becomes one of weight and performance as well. The added armor/ weight to defend against smaller craft impacts your performance in other areas like speed, range, mechanical wear, etc. I think the Navy's already looking into ways to deal with smaller craft from newer weapons systems, other small craft, ISR, etc.
I totally agree. That is not an issue with aircraft carriers or submarines, but when you get into capital ships that are jacks of all trades and masters of none there so many trade-offs, many of which you mentioned.
 

Etype

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#16
Pretty dumb article. Armor isn’t going to do much against Chinese YJ-83s.
Not to mention that most countries can now, quite reliably, hit ships with aerial bombs. The armor belt around your hull doesn't matter much when a 2,000 pound bomb smacks your super structure.
 

Teufel

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#17
That's assuming that's the only threat we're trying to protect against. But I think there are other actors out there with small boats and littoral craft who could put some damage on a thin skin ship. Or, something like the USS Cole.
Cruise missiles are the main threat we are worried about. They can be launched from all sorts of platforms to include all sizes of ships, planes and coastal artillery. Small littoral craft can sink a ship if they get lucky. Volleys of cruise missiles can sink fleets. It's a matter of perspective. Are you familiar with the Houbei? It's a Chinese fast attack boat armed with, you guessed it, 8 anti-ship cruise missiles. Countermeasures are much more important than armor. We tend to think about the Navy's experience in the GWOT when we need to think about a modern version of Midway. That's how we wasted time and money on the LCS program instead of developing a modern frigate replacement.

Also, keep in mind that even battleships will sink if they take enough hits. Armor can only do so much against torpedos and cruise missiles. The missile will penetrate most armor you throw at it. You save the ship through damage control and sealing compartments to maintain buoyancy. Cruise missiles strikes take out carriers by putting big holes in the flight deck.
 

Devildoc

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#18
@Teufel , I don't disagree, especially with the analogy of Midway with peer/near-peer threats. I also agree with training (and equipping) to fight the last war. But a guy in a row boat or junk won't sink a fleet. I think as I said earlier, there is a trade-off no matter which way they go and I agree that the Navy has to build and train for the higher probability events.

RE: damage control, I know it well....trained at boot camp, trained at DCO school, and trained afloat. I was not a SWO but I was a sailor. The Navy puts a premium on "warfare qualifications," and when I earned my FMF warfare qual, I was also in the process if earning my ESW qual, so some ship systems I became very familiar with (specifically damage control).

FWIW, like I said, as much as I love the old battleships, I don't think there's a role for them any longer. I totally agree with the LCS boondoggle and need to upgrade and build more frigates (and cruisers).
 

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#19
We need more anti ship weapons sub delivered along with more subs(shiver the thought of underwater underway)