The U.S. Navy Tried to Create a Far-Out Seaplane Strike Force
This story originally appeared on March 1, 2015. After World War II, the U.S. Navy found itself in uncertain waters, despite its enormous successes in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. Blame the atomic bomb. The 1946 Operation Crossroads nuclear tests demonstrated naval power’s vulnerability to atomic attack. And the... Read more
The U.S. Navy’s New Carrier Drone Borrows 1970s Stealth
The U.S. Navy’s new MQ-25 Stingray aerial-refueling drone bears an uncanny resemblance to an experimental U.S. military plane from the late 1970s. And that similarity could point to the way for the Stingray’s potential evolution from a tanker into a stealthy surveillance and strike aircraft. On Aug. 30, the... Read more
After 20 Years, the U.S. Navy Finally Buys a Carrier Drone
The U.S. Navy on Aug. 30, 2018 chose Chicago-based Boeing to build the sailing branch’s first carrier-launched unmanned aerial vehicle. In choosing Boeing to build the MQ-25 Stingray multi-mission tanker, the Navy has opened the next major chapter in a story that began in the mid-1990s, when the sailing... Read more
This Nuclear Outboard Motor Was a Really Terrible Idea
This story originally appeared on Aug. 6, 2013. In the early 1960s the U.S. Navy could have gotten a disposable, atomic-powered outboard motor that would have made America’s warships a Hell of a lot more efficient. But there was the little problem of all that noise and radiation. File... Read more
The U.S. Navy Is Re-Arming for Surface Warfare
In 2016 the U.S. Navy possessed just one surface-launched anti-ship missile type — Boeing’s Harpoon, a munition that first entered the fleet in the 1970s. Two years later, the Navy had added no fewer than five additional ASM types to the fleet and also updated the Harpoon. The fast... Read more
The U.S. Navy Is Struggling to Grow
In late 2016, the U.S. defense establishment arrived at a consensus: with just 275 frontline ships, the U.S. Navy was too small to maintain a forward presence across the world’s oceans, deter Russia and China and support combat operations in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Both the Obama... Read more
There’s Nothing the U.S. Navy Can Do to Avoid a Submarine Gap
In 2018, the U.S. Navy has finally begun to come to terms with a long-term problem that has been decades in the making. The fleet has too few attack submarines. And arresting the growing shortfall — never mind reversing it — could prove too expensive. The Navy needs 66... Read more
Jim Mattis Is Pushing the U.S. Navy to Act Unpredictably
Well, there is a reason he cops to the nickname “Chaos.” Last month Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis set the naval community aflutter by musing, Hamlet-like, about jettisoning the U.S. Navy’s effort to rotate carrier, amphibious and surface forces from home port to foreign stations on a foreseeable cycle. To be predictable,... Read more
In 1982, Four U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers Gathered Near Lebanon
As tensions escalated in the Middle East over the civil war in Syria, in April 2018 the United States deployed one of the largest naval forces to the region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The carrier strike group, centered on Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Harry S. Truman, seven... Read more
American Warplanes Are Falling From the Sky
Five U.S. military aircraft crashed over a period of less than a month beginning in mid-March 2018, killing 16 crew members and alarming military officials. Two of the crashes involved U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, underscoring concerns that the naval aviation fleet is overworked, undertrained and poorly-maintained. “We’re... Read more
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