Ahem. I don't know how to read into this.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is taking major steps in an attempt to shake off years of false starts and setbacks with the Littoral Combat Ship program, an effort Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said he’d oversee on his watch. In an exclusive interview with Defense News on July 16, Gilday listed LCS as a major priority, saying he will turn up the heat on efforts to get the ship to become a major contributor to fleet operations.“There are things in the near term that I have to deliver, that I’m putting heat on now, and one of them is LCS,” Gilday said. “One part is sustainability and reliability. We know enough about that platform and the problems that we have that plague us with regard to reliability and sustainability, and I need them resolved.”
My take on this whole spike in activity regarding these very expensive and grossly under-gunned, putting it politely, ships is related to news from Russia who started trials for her combat modules for project 22160 patrol ships.
Gilday’s goal of fielding the mission modules is well along already, according to two sources familiar with the progress, who spoke to Defense News on condition of anonymity.The mine-warfare mission module is on track for a final test and evaluation by the end of this year, a source with knowledge of the program told Defense News, and the individual components have already passed testing and are in initial low-rate production.End-to-end testing of the mine-warfare mission module is set to begin in fiscal 2021 and is on track to have its initial operating capability declared in 2022, another source said.The status of the ASW mission module, which has been a regular target of Congress-imposed budget cuts, is a little less clear.
Let's face it--the issue with combat modules for LCS is nothing new, as is the issue of preposterous costs for such a ship, in excess of $700 million per hull. What may become an issue, and a huge one at that, will be if Russians will succeed (I am pretty sure they will) with testing of their own modules, including ASW one, and appearance of project 22160, say in Mediterranean, carrying containers with Kalibrs or P-800s, or 3M22s together with ASW packages. This WILL create a shitstorm in appropriate Committees and subcommittees in Congress--remember, pr. 22160 are shitstorm corvettes--because the question will be this: why those fvcking Russians managed in few years to come up with several working modules for what amounts to their version of LCS (of sorts) and we cannot do it for more than a decade? I would say such a question, actually, will be a legitimate one. But then guess what--have you heard about F-15X lately? I heard:
And now the Air Force is doing just that. Last week, the Defense Department announced in its daily digest of defense contracts awarded that Boeing will produce an unspecified number of F-15EX aircraft over the next three years, at a total cost of $22.89 billion.Oh baby, for around $90 million a pop for a venerable and slightly up-gunned F-15 that looks so...so... Pentagonish. But isn't it how the whole US Defense Budget is spent? I omit here all those "doctrinal" decisions such as producing a rather mediocre aircraft such as F-35, but it will do for attacking third world nations, and calling it "Stealth" because 1950s radar cannot "detect" it, but generally one has to wonder "where's the beef"? Argument of "complexity" of US weapon systems is a complete bunk--I write about this for years and people at TAC question this too.
OK, let me cut to the chase--most American "hawks" are not hawks but chicken-hawks most of who do not know shit from shinola when dealing with military, because they lack proper education and experience which would allow them to pass sound judgements on the issue of actual warfare. US weapon systems are no more complex than many from Europe, let alone Russia. Term "sophisticated" is a false equivalency and is used merely to impress dumb-asses who sign the checks for Pentagon. Criteria of Combat Efficiency of the system has long been discarded in the US in favor of monetary gain (through ridiculous unreal costs) and making Hollywood movies. The issue is not even that SU-35C, not speaking of SU-57, will tear F-35 a new one, or that Patriot PAC whatever the version, looks like, using Publius Tacitus terminology, a Nerf Gun when compared to Russian Air Defense systems. The issue is that the US simply cannot produce decent weapon system on time, on budget and, most important, cannot make it combat effective in real combat environment.
Come on, Russians know this, so do many many people in DoD in the US, but they are not talking because US warfare long ago became about money, appearances and propaganda, not about defense. Come to think about it, not about offense either, since the US military record as of lately is not that impressive. Ridiculous price tags of US weapons didn't help much in Afghanistan or Syria, once Russia got involved there. Well, as one of the pundits concludes:
Wood’s argument that the only way to deal with adversary technology is with better technology is also false. We don’t need to out-engineer the Russias and Chinas of the world, we need to out-think them. For virtually every high-tech weapon, there is a low-tech counter. Our struggles to deal with IEDs in Iraq is the perfect example of this. The Pentagon spent $20 billion to develop counter-IED systems only to come to the realization that nothing worked as well as a dog.
Out-think is a fancy euphemism for coming to terms with military reality and facing facts, which for Pentagon will be really painful and goes completely against Modus Operandi and Vivendi both in US military and the US Congress agreed upon for the sake of keeping a gravy train running. Well, the run may continue but the US realistically cannot win a war with the peer. In fact, it will sustain colossal materiel and reputational losses gigantic price tags of its weapons notwithstanding. Just yesterday I listened to one discussion between some totally delusional "Marxist" Alekseev and former Colonel from General Staff Vladimir Trukhan, who apart from wiping the floor with Alekseev, noted that as a former Officer-operator of General Staff he doesn't take militarily NATO seriously. Or as he said: "we don't even break sweat". He has a point, but then again, I can only repeat myself--the real danger is in the United States stumbling into open military confrontation with China, let alone Russia, see its expensive military hardware destroyed en masse, not to speak of human losses, and being pushed to the threshold of the unthinkable. This is the only "out-thinking" the United Sates is capable of today and that makes me scratch my head. I heard there was a proposition to put a ballistic missile on Zumwalt-class DDGs to enable these three white elephants with a whopper of a price tag to have missiles capable of carrying hyper-sonic glider vehicles within Prompt Global Strike paradigm. If that is "out-thinking" what can I say.... Sergei Viktorovich, help!