How Fire and Fatigue Almost Destroyed an American Carrier
Two deadly collisions involving U.S. Navy destroyers in June and August 2017 cost the lives of 16 sailors, leading the Navy to declare a day-long operational pause to reflect upon its safety culture. That such similar accidents took place in such close proximity reflects stresses and failings common to the maritime... Read more
Israel’s Tiny Navy Packs a Huge Punch
Israel’s navy is the smallest branch of the Israel Defense Forces. However, the need to protect Israel’s recently-established gas rigs in the Mediterranean against missile and terrorist attacks presents the Israeli navy with a profound challenge. In addition, the Israeli submarine fleet is of tremendous strategic importance—particularly regarding a... Read more
The ‘Alfa’ Attack Submarine Was Ahead of Its Time
The Soviet Union began the Cold War well behind the United States in submarine technology. Although the Soviets acquired several of the most advanced German submarine types towards the end of the war, the United States had amassed a wealth of experience in submarine and antisubmarine practice from the... Read more
The Royal Navy’s Next ‘Frigate’ Is Not a Frigate
In 2023, the Royal Navy hopes the first of its new Type 31 frigates will hit the waves to replace HMS Argyll, the first of 13 Type 23 frigates scheduled to begin retiring that year, with another to retire every year until 2035. The new vessels will add desperately... Read more
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
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