The U.S. Navy’s Greatest Enemy Might Be Exhaustion
With the USS John S. McCain knocked out of commission after a collision on Aug. 21 near the Straits of Malacca, the U.S. Navy is down two ballistic missile defense-capable Aegis destroyers in the Pacific. With USS Fitzgerald being also being knocked out of action after a June 17 collision... Read more
Sailors Missing, Heavy Damage After the Second U.S. Destroyer Collision in Two Months
Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five were injured after the Liberian-flagged tanker ship Alnic MC collided with the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer John S. McCain off the Malaysian coast before sunrise on Aug. 21, 2017. The damage from the 600-foot-long, 30,000-ton tanker vessel’s impact on John S. McCain... Read more
The Russian Navy Is in a Death Spiral
Over the past year, the Russian navy has undertaken several high visibility operations, most notably the deployment of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov off the coast of Syria, and the launch of cruise missiles from ships based in the Caspian Sea. Russian submarine activity has also increased, although not... Read more
In 1987, a Rogue U.S. Navy Admiral Schemed for War With Iran
By 1987, the Iran-Iraq War had turned the Persian Gulf into a shooting gallery. As part of a total war strategy, both Baghdad and Tehran targeted merchant shipping to impede the other side’s war effort. During eight years of brutal fighting, hundreds of commercial vessels, many belonging to neutral... Read more
The Captain of the Carrier USS ‘Franklin’ Is a Case Study in How Not to Lead
Seldom does your humble scribe come away incensed from reading history. The saga of the World War II aircraft carrier USS Franklin constitutes an exception. We normally think of Franklin’s history as a parable about the importance of shipboard firefighting and damage control. It’s about materiel and methods, in other... Read more
Soviet Nuke Attack Could Have Cut Off U.S. Missile Submarines
This story originally appeared on Oct. 16, 2015. A key component of the U.S. doctrine of mutually assured destruction — commonly and appropriately known as MAD — was that American troops would still be able to retaliate if the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack. But for a time, the Pentagon... Read more
Two Supercarriers Meet at Sea — One’s Missing Airplanes
The Royal Navy’s new supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and her battle group met the U.S. Navy’s carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the North Atlantic for an exercise beginning on Aug. 1, 2017. The 10-day exercise Saxon Warrior 2017 “allows both U.S. and U.K. naval forces a chance to... Read more
The Battlecarrier Was Part Battleship, Part Aircraft Carrier
This story originally appeared on Dec. 6, 2013. In the early 1980s, four Iowa-class fast battleships originally built during World War II—Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin—were taken out of mothballs and returned to active duty. Nearly 900 feet long and displacing close to 60,000 tons, the battlewagons could... Read more
A Grim Future For Russia’s Nuclear Sub Fleet
In March 2017, Russia’s new Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine Kazan launched at the northern port city of Severodvinsk. Perhaps the quietest Russian submarine ever, the event was further evidence the Kremlin can still build capable and lethal subs capable of a variety of missions, including cruise-missile attack. But it... Read more
Forget ‘God-Damned Steam,’ the U.S. Navy’s Digital Catapult Actually Works
On July 28, 2017, a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter became the first fixed-wing airplane to land on and launch from the Navy’s new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford. The Super Hornet belonged to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23, based at Patuxent River in Maryland. Lt.... Read more
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