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NATO Fleets in the 2030s


BansheeOne

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Inspired by the "Who needs NATO anyway" thread (so it is actually good for something 😁 ). The naval side of the Western response isn't getting much play in the current crisis since Russia isn't really a big player on the high seas and has in fact suffered some painful losses like Moskva off Ukraine; excepting of course the rather crucial topic of protecting critical maritime infrastructure. Still, keeping global sealanes safe is a neverending job, so I thought I'd take a closer look at allied plans for their navies of the next decade, when other actors like China might be the bigger concern. Major non-US navies down to the Netherlands and oceangoing combatants including amhibious units only for now.

 

Canada

- up to 15 Canadian Surface Combatant FFGs of 9,400 ts to replace the twelve Halifax-class frigates from the early 30s

- six (plus two for coast guard) Harry de Wolf-class arctic OPvs of 6,500 ts being commissioned until ca. 2028

- four Victoria-class SSKs of 2,400 ts should remain in service until the mid-30s; replacement currently unclear

 

France

- one future CATOBAR aircraft carrier of 75,000 ts to replace Charles de Gaulle by 2038

- three Mistral-class LHDs of 21,500 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- two Suffren-class DDGs of 7,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- eight FREMM FFGs of 6,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade along with three upgraded La Fayettes of 3,200 ts until the early 30s, the latter joined/replaced by five FDI frigates of 4,500 ts from 2024

- ten OPVs of 2,000 ts to replace the D'Estinenne d'Orves-class avisos and Flamant-class patrol boats from 2025; six European Patrol Corvettes of ca. 3,000 ts to replace the Floreal-class FFLs from 2030

- four SNLE 3G SSBNs of 15,000 ts to replace the Triomphant class from 2035

- six Barracuda-class SSNs of 5,300 ts to replace the Rubis class until 2030

 

Germany

- six F127 DDGs of ca. 10,000 ts to replace the three F124 air defense frigates from 2032

- four F125 FFGs of 7,200 ts should remain in service throughout the decade, joined by four (plus option for two) F126 of ca. 9,000 ts replacing the four F123 from 2028

- five K130 FFLs of 1,800 ts should remain in service throughout the decade, possibly joined by five more if the money can be found to replace the first batch

- six U212A SSKs of 1,800 ts will be joined by two U212CD of 2,800 ts from 2032

 

Italy

- STOVL aircraft carrier Cavour of 30,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- LHD Trieste of 38,000 ts is currently undergoing sea trials and will replace STOVL carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi; two (plus option for one) LHDs of ca. 20,000 ts to replace the three San Giogio-class LPDs at some point

- two Orrizonte-class DDGs of 7,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade; two DDGs of ca. 11,000 ts to replace the Durand de la Penne class from 2030

- ten FREMM FFGs of 6,700 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- seven (plus option for three, total plan for 16) Thaon di Revel-class FFG/OPVs of ca. 6,000 ts to replace the Soldati- and Minerva-class until 2035; eight European Patrol Corvettes of ca. 3,000 ts to replace the Sirio- and Cassiopeia-class OPVs from 2030

- four U212A SSKs of 1,800 ts will be joined by two (plus option for two) U212NFS replacing the Sauro class from 2027

 

Netherlands

- two LPDs of 14,000 and 17,000 ts respectively plus one JSS of 28,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four De Zeven Provincien-class FFGs of 6,000 ts to be replaced by DDGs similar to the German F127 in the early 30s

- two ASWF FFGs of 5,500 ts jointly designed with Belgium to replace the Karel Doorman class (currently inactive due to personnel shortage) from 2028

- four Holland-class OPVs of 3,800 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four SSKs of 2,800-4,500 ts to replace the Walrus class from 2034

 

Spain

- LHD Juan Carlos I. of 27,000 ts and two Galicia-class LPDs of 14,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- five F100 FFGs of 5,800 ts should remain in service throughout the decade; five F110 FFGs of 6,000 ts to replace the Santa Maria class from 2025

- six (?) European Patrol Corvettes of ca. 3,000 ts to replace the Descubierta- and Serviola-class FFL/OPVs; Meteoro-class OPVs of 2,900 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four S-80 SSKs of 3,400 ts will replace the two Agosta-class subs from 2023

 

Turkey

- two Anadolu-class LHDs of 27,000 ts to be commissioned from 2022; two Bayrakrat-class LSTs of 7,300 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- 15 TF2000 DDGs of 8,500 ts to replace eight OHP FFGs from 2027

- four Istanbul-class FFGs of 3,000 ts to replace the Yavuz-class from 2023; four upgraded Barbaros-class FFGs of 3,100 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four Ada-class FFLs of 2,400 ts should remain in service throughout the decade; another six to replace the D'Estinenne d'Orves class cancelled

- six Type 214TN SSKs of 1,800 ts to replace four Type 209/1200 subs until 2027; eight upgraded Type 209/1400 of 1,800 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

 

UK

- two Queen Elizabeth-class STOVL aircraft carriers of 65,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- two Albion-class LPDs of 19,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade (one in extended readiness); three Bay-class LSDs of 16,000 ts and JSS Argus of 28,000 ts may be replaced by up to six new ships in the 30s

- Six Type 83 DDGs of ca. 11,000 ts to replace Type 45 from 2035

- Eight Type 26 of 8,000 ts and five each Type 31/32 of 7,000 ts to replace twelve Type 23 FFGs from 2028

- four Dreadnought-class SSBNs of 17,000 ts to replace the Vanguard class from the early 30s

- seven Astute-class SSNs of 7,800 ts to be commissioned until 2026, to be replaced by SSN(R) from the 40s

 

Subtotal:

- Four CV of 235,000 ts total (three of 160,000 ts STOVL)

- Nine to ten LHD of 223,500-243,500 ts total (four of 129,000 ts STOVL-capable)

- 13 LPD/LSD/LST of 215,400 ts total

- 37 DDG of 343,500 ts total

- 88-90 FFG of 595,700-613,700 ts total

- 58-70 FFL/OPV of 200,000-263,000 ts total

- eight SSBN of 128,000 ts total

- 13 SSN of 86,400 ts total

- 40-42 SSK of 86,800-97,200 ts total

 

Edited by BansheeOne
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Yeah, the incoming generation of minehunting systems will be a combination if specialist vessels like motherships for surface and underwater drones, diver support ships, etc. You can find some info on the British, French and German plans for example, but little in the way of tonnage, which might not be a good indicator of capabilities anyway.

I have to advise that a lot of the tonnage for future combatants is necessarily guesswork, too - usually you have no exact numbers until the ships are actually in the water, and you never know if the projections are for light or full displacement. I went with the latter when I could distinguish it, as it seems more usual. Some is literally educated guessing; the German F127 exists only as a concept so far and said to be "of Arleigh Burke size", which in turn informs on the future Dutch DDGs* since both countries do a lot of common design work. Similarly, I sized the Type 83 at 11,000 ts full because that's what given for the future Italian DDGs, since a tenuous relationship exists between the Type 45 and Orrizonte class.

I'll try the very small and very big next, i. e. the USN and minor European navies which, with the exception of Greece, add only three or four frigates and maybe some OPVs each. Maybe add the Pacific allies later while I'm at it.

 

* The whole designation thing is yet another issue of course. Obviously France and Germany don't use the term destroyer, though others refer like that to equivalent classes or even smaller ships. I classed any air defense ship of at least 7,000 ts as a DDG for comparison purposes, since that includes the Type 45 and Orrizontes; there are actually bigger FFGs though. Then there's the whole FFG/FFL/OPV overlap. The Italians are great at blurring those lines; in fact their new Revel class comes in three different versions of sensor and weapons fit on the same hull of 5,000 ts, and even the OPV variant is fitted-for-but-not-with Otomat missiles which would turn it into an FFL/G depending upon definition ...

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Bear in mind that Poland is also due to get 3 Type 31's, which is going to bump the total up a bit. In fact, the Poles have a surprisingly large Navy, not least in missile corvettes.

So at least as far as Europe, I dont think we need the Americans, welcome though they are. There is a good case for saying NATO navies should concentrate on regional security, and free up the USN for facing down the Chinese. They remain the only ones fiscally capable of facing down the technological demands required. Nuclear submarines remain perhaps the sole exception where NATO can help in the Pacific. The Russian navy looks like its submarine forces are declining in numbers even faster than the Americans are.

 

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PL navy is on the bring of disappearance actually, though the new Miecznik (Arrowhead 140/ Type 31) program will rejuvenate it for the next decade. We have some very modern minehunters of Kormoran class(3 + 3 on order), just signed contract for 2 ELINT ships. Apart from this we have one "OPV" based oh MEKO100 that took 20 years to build and has pushed "fitted for, but not with" philosophy to the point that puts Royal Navy to shame. The FACs/ Corvettes of the Orkan class are just being re-engined, but although armed with super modern RBS-15, lack of meaningful AD makes them almost useless. The last barely functioning sub is an old Kilo, and the fate of the replacement (Orka program) is not yet decided.

Regarding the other small navies, Nordic countries have around 10 SSKs between them, which is significant, as well as some minehunting capabilities. Corvettes/ FACs do not count here I guess.

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Same is true for the Black Sea, at least as long as Turkey is on board, though Bulgaria and Romania would do great with at least some antiship missile batteries on shore and minehunters/ ASW helos. In case of the shooting war breaking with Russia, even the Norhtern Fleet would soon find itself without any safe port due to proximity to Finnish territory, with the remaining task for NATO fleets consisting of  hunting the nuclear subs.
More realistically though, what will IMO become the focus of European navies in next decade is protection of underwater infrastructure - and this means various UUVs and their motherships, and perhaps miniature submarines. Also, at least in the Baltic and Northern Sea, some permanent instalations, SOSUS 2.0 or something like that would probably make sense.

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Should NATO do the high north, or should we let the Russians keep it? Is putting a Standing NATO maritime patrol up there, just to annoy the hell out of them and keep them out of NATO waters by chasing them down, a good idea, or too aggressive?

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Belgium

- two ASWF FFGs of 5,500 ts jointly designed with the Netherlands to replace the Karel Doorman class from 2029

 

Bulgaria

- three ex-Belgian Wielingen-class FFGs of 2,200 ts to be modernized

- two MMPV 90 OPVs of ca. 1,800 ts to be delivered from 2025, replacing single remaining Koni-class FFG of 1,900 ts?

 

Denmark

- three Iver Huitfeld- and two Absalon-class FFGs of 6,600 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four Thetis-class FFLs of 3,500 ts to be replaced by European Patrol Corvettes of 3,000 ts?

- three Knud Rasmussen-class OPVs of 2,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

 

Greece

- three (plus option for one) each FDI-HN FFGs of 4,400 ts and Gowind FFLs of 3,000 ts to replace ex-Dutch Kortenaers from 2024; four modernized Hydra-class FFGs of 4,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four additional Type 214 SSKs of 1,800 ts may replace the older three Type 209/1200 and one 209/1500 AIP subs, bringing the total to eight

 

Norway

- four Fridtjof Nansen-class FFGs of 5,300 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- three Jan Mayen-class OPVs of 9,600 ts to replace the Nordkapp-class until 2024; OPVs Svalbard of 6,300 ts, Harstad of 3,100 ts, and three Barentshav-class of 4,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- four Type 212CD SSKs of 2,800 ts to replace six Type 210 subs from 2029

 

Poland

- three Arrowhead 140PL FFGs of 7,000 ts to replace two OHP frigates (and FFL Kaszub?) from 2028

- MEKO A-100 FFL Slazak of 2,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- replacement for Kilo-class SSK Orzel of 3,200 ts unclear

 

Portugal

- one LPD of ca. 14,000 ts planned

- no plans known to replace two ex-Dutch Karel Doorman-class FFGs of 3,300 ts and three Vasco da Gama class frigates of 3,200 ts, though Portugal is an observer on the European Patrol Corvette project

- six additional Viana do Castelo-class OPVs of 1,800 ts to replace the remaining Joao Coutinho- and Baptista de Andrade-class FFLs for a total of ten until 2030

- two Type 209PN SSKs of 2,000 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

 

Romania

- two ex-British Type 22 FFGs of 5,300 ts to be modernized; no plans known for FFG Marasesti of 5,800 ts

- four Gowind FFLs of 3,000 ts to replace the Tetal-I and IIs

- Kilo-class SSK Delfinul of 3,200 ts used for dockside training only

 

Non-US NATO subtotal:

- four CV of 235,000 ts total (three of 160,000 ts STOVL)

- nine to ten LHD of 223,500-243,500 ts total (four of 129,000 ts STOVL-capable)

- 14 LPD/LSD/LST of 229,400 ts total

- 37 DDG of 343,500 ts total

- 121-124 FFG of 742,500-764,900 ts total

- 93-106 FFL/OPV of 312,800-380,800 ts total

- eight SSBN of 128,000 ts total

- 13 SSN of 86,400 ts total

- 56-58 SSK of 122,800-133,200 ts total

 

US

- Five Ford- and six Nimitz-class CVNs of 100,000 ts by 2036, with five additional Fords planned to replace further Nimitzes

- total of eleven America-class LHAs of 45,000 ts planned to replace Wasp-class

- total of 13 each San Antonio-class LPDs of 25,300 ts and LX(R) LPDs of 23,500 ts planned to replace remaining Whidbey Island and Harpers Ferry class

- remaining 17 Ticonderoga-class CGs to be decommissioned until 2027 and replaced by 14 Arleigh Burke Flight III DDGs of 9,500 ts from 2023, plus another 28 to replace Flight I and II Burkes; undetermined number DDG(X) of 13,300 ts to replace 47 newer Burkes of 9,300 ts from 2030 (I'm going with total Burke numbers and tonnage for our purposes); three Zumwalt-class DDGs of 15,700 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

- 20 Constellation-class FFGs of 7,300 ts will replace the remaining LCS'

- eleven (plus option for one) Legend-class OPVs of 4,500 ts and up to 25 Heritage-class OPVs of 3,700 ts should replace the remaining Hamilton-, Famous- and Reliance-class cutters of the US Coast Guard

- twelve Columbia-class SSBNs of 20,800 ts to replace Ohio class

- total of 66 Virginia-class SSNs of 7,900-10,200 ts to replace remaining Los Angeles class and four Ohio-class SSGNs until 2043; three Seawolf-class SSNs of 9,100-12,100 ts should remain in service throughout the decade

 

US subtotal:

- eleven CVN of 1,100,000 ts total

- eleven LHA of 495,000 ts total (all STOVL-capable)

- 26 LPD of 685,000 ts total

- 92 DDG of 834,000 ts total

- 20 FFG of 14,600 ts total

- 36-37 OPV of 68,000-72,500 ts total

- twelve SSBN of 249,600 ts total

- 69 SSN of 639,100 ts total

 

NATO total:

- 15 CV of 1,335,000 ts total (eleven of 1,100,000 ts US)

- 20-21 LHD/LHA of 718,500-738,500 total (15 of 624,000 ts STOVL-capable; eleven of 495,000 ts US)

- 40 LPD/LSD/LST of 914,400 ts total (26 of 685,000 ts US)

- 129 DDG of 1,177,500 ts total (92 of 834,000 ts US)

- 141-144 FFG of 757,100-779,500 ts total (20 of 14,600 ts US)

- 129-143 FFL/OPV of 380,800-453,300 ts (36-37 of 68,000-72,500 ts US)

- 20 SSBN of 377,600 ts (twelve of 249,600 ts US)

- 84 SSN of 725,500 ts (69 of 639,100 ts US)

- 56-58 SSK of 122,800-133,200 ts total (none US)

 

Simplified categories for overall comparison:

- of 79-80 aircraft carriers and amphibious ships of 2,967,900-2,979,900 ts total, the US will operate 52 of 2,280,000 ts (ca. 65 and 77 percent respectively)

- of 399-416 surface combatants with 2,315,400-2,410,300 ts total, the US will operate 148-149 of 916,600-921,100 ts (ca. 37 and 40 percent respectively)

- of 160-162 submarines with 1,185,900-1,236,300 ts total, the US will operate 81 of 888,700 ts (ca. 50 and 72-75 percent respectively)

 

Edited by BansheeOne
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N.A.T.O. (without the U.S.N.) naval superiority over Russia is assured for a long time. The same in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The way China is negatively influencing the countries around it assures at a minimum naval parity by these countries: Australia, Japan, and Taiwan. I'm not sure how India and Malaysia are affected by China. That the U.S.N. can be an overwhelming presence anywhere it goes assures the Chinese opponents of naval superiority for decades. The U.S.N. has only two weaknesses and that is the incompetence of its senior leadership and of the civilian leadership over it.   

 

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The Mediterranean, yes. The Gulf, no. Because its a LONG way from home, and European nations, other than Britain and France, are reluctant to base ships there. Even Britain only managed it by the neat expedient of forward basing a ship, and rotating the crew.

European navies can deal with Europe. Outside engagements? Would take a lot of work, except perhaps for nations with SSN's, and there is a limit with what you can do with a submarine.

OK, the USN, lets talk about it. You have no Frigates, years away from getting some. You are building more LCS, with the Pentagon busily trying to redefine battlefields to get them to fit. Your Tico's are going away. Your newest destroyer design dates from the early 1990's, and the Ford Class is proving time consuming to iron the bugs out of. You have no long range missiles on your aircraft to do fleet defence work (you really could do with the F14 here), and your SSN fleet is in steady decline in numbers, though happily not in quality. The only really positive area is you still have a lot of amphibious assault ships, although as the USMC seem to be busy removing most of the things that gave them a decent shore assault capability (and the LPH are being 'borrowed' by the USN as F35B minicarriers) one has to reflect, the USN is in a bit of a capablity gap.

The US really needs to leverage is European allies to take up the slack outside of Europe. It needs to do better than the 'We dont need no stinking allies' narrative, because you really do need allies.

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AIM-260 is due to enter service in the next year. Short term there isn’t much the USN can do to add capabilities outside buying more missiles, which at least they are doing. Also the orca class ELUUVs represent a quick way to increase underwater capabilities, at least in terms of mining and sensor emplacement. The other good news is that the USAF seems to be embracing the anti ship mission. They’ve created a bomb guidance kit for mk84s that is specifically an anti ship keel breaker. The recent gathering over the summer of UAV industry types involved drones assisting B-21s in three scenarios, one of which was maritime strike. They’ve dramatically upped their LRASM purchases. I’m willing to bet HACM get an anti ship mode either right out of the gate or as it first spiral development.

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8 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

The Mediterranean, yes. The Gulf, no. Because its a LONG way from home, and European nations, other than Britain and France, are reluctant to base ships there. Even Britain only managed it by the neat expedient of forward basing a ship, and rotating the crew.

This is what diplomacy is for. Just my opinion, but the ability to have a few minesweepers and maybe a frigate or two to escort the tankers would be worthwhile.

European navies can deal with Europe. Outside engagements? Would take a lot of work, except perhaps for nations with SSN's, and there is a limit with what you can do with a submarine.

OK, the USN, lets talk about it. You have no Frigates, years away from getting some. You are building more LCS, with the Pentagon busily trying to redefine battlefields to get them to fit. Your Tico's are going away. Your newest destroyer design dates from the early 1990's, and the Ford Class is proving time consuming to iron the bugs out of. You have no long range missiles on your aircraft to do fleet defence work (you really could do with the F14 here), and your SSN fleet is in steady decline in numbers, though happily not in quality. The only really positive area is you still have a lot of amphibious assault ships, although as the USMC seem to be busy removing most of the things that gave them a decent shore assault capability (and the LPH are being 'borrowed' by the USN as F35B minicarriers) one has to reflect, the USN is in a bit of a capablity gap.

Mostly irrelevant as the only potential adversary at the moment is China. As Admiral Cunningham said to the effect it takes 300 years to build a tradition and three years to build a ship, China is at the beginning of the maritime idea stage .  

The US really needs to leverage is European allies to take up the slack outside of Europe. It needs to do better than the 'We dont need no stinking allies' narrative, because you really do need allies.

"...  is European allies to take up the slack..." Yes, it would be nice if they would live up to their potential. 

 

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10 hours ago, Rick said:

Mostly irrelevant as the only potential adversary at the moment is China.

Its perfectly relevant to point out the USN is underperforming in all kinds of strange ways. The idea that China is going to wait for your Admirals to stop playing with LCS and form a decent procurement policy is pretty optimistic.

Yes, Europe should help. But this is the USN's mess is primarily of its own making. Its going to take time and some smart people to work their way out of it.

China has a naval tradition that goes back, through fits and starts, to at least 1405. They also built a naval Empire throughout SW Pacific. The peak didnt last long, but they were still defeating portugese warships as late as the 1520's. So If you are looking for a tradition, they have it in spades.

https://newafricanmagazine.com/10204/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_history_of_China

 

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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Its perfectly relevant to point out the USN is underperforming in all kinds of strange ways. The idea that China is going to wait for your Admirals to stop playing with LCS and form a decent procurement policy is pretty optimistic.

As I pointed out, yes you are correct, and this is due to the senior leadership of the U.S.N.

Yes, Europe should help. But this is the USN's mess is primarily of its own making. Its going to take time and some smart people to work their way out of it.

See above reference.

China has a naval tradition that goes back, through fits and starts, to at least 1405. They also built a naval Empire throughout SW Pacific. The peak didnt last long, but they were still defeating portugese warships as late as the 1520's. So If you are looking for a tradition, they have it in spades.

China had, not has, a intermittent navy, not a naval tradition. Prime example of the naval tradition is Great Britain and the Royal Navy. I would put the Dutch and French as minor additions to this. Post W.W.2 would be of course the U.S.N. 

https://newafricanmagazine.com/10204/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_history_of_China

 

 

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As I suggested in the earlier NATO thread, the only real way to shift more burden from the US to its allies is the former proactively reducing expenses. Which I find is taking longer leads in the naval field than I already thought, as ten years from initial contracts to commissioning will pass even for a DDG. It becomes harder for bigger units, with expected lifetimes of 50-55 years for CVNs. So to avoid sunk cost fallacies, we're really talking the end of the 2030s before the USN would show any serious reductions which might make allies take up the slack.

Examples: You may cut the Ford class at the four units already built or under construction now. Unless you retire Nimitzes early however - and the retirement of a CVN is itself a terribly expensive affair due to the dismantling and disposal of the nuclear drive - the first carrier which will go unreplaced is Theodore Roosevelt in 2036, followed by Abraham Lincoln in 2040. So at the end of that decade you will be down to nine total, eight by 2044, etc.

It's a little better for LHAs as judging from the Tarawas, those seem to have a lifecycle of 30-35 years and no nuclear penalties for retirement. So the seven remaining Wasps could be decommissioned between 2024 and 2034 and replaced only by the four Americas already built, under construction or awarded. I suspect you're pretty much stuck with 16 out of a total 26 San Antonio-class LPDs planned, though, which would be the sole class of the type in service after 2026. Note: I had a mix-up leading to LPD inflation in my original USN list above, as LX(R) is now Flight II of the San Antonio class.

Also had to revise the projected number of DDGs downwards as it seems likely the 28 Arleigh Burke Flight III envisioned beyond replacement of the Ticonderogas will succeed the equal number of Flights I and II which are now over 30 years in service. Cancelling that and DDG(X), you get the number of destroyers down from 92 to 64 between ca. 2026 and 2034. You could also cut the Constellation-class at the three already awarded, though that seems overly harsh in replacing the remaining (and still building) 32 LCS; the twelve announced to be homeported at Everett sound about right.

Don't see a real need to reduce SSBNs more than to the twelve Columbias already planned, but the Virginias could be cut at the 34 minimum increment. The last 26 Los Angeles' would then retire until 2031, bringing the SSN fleet from 50 to 37 including the three Seawolves.

Compensation by NATO partners for security in the greater Atlantic area would be spread out over 16 minor and mid-sized blue water navies, and not necessarily need to be 1:1; certainly not regarding tonnage. You could think about replacing each of the 36 US surface combatants deleted in the above scenario, which would merely amount to two additional ships for most countries; plus another for Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey and the UK each, and one less for the real small navies like Belgium, Bulgaria and Poland or Romania. That's actually already partly covered with options in existing programs; two each for Germany and Greece for example, three for Italy. Plus Germany alone has a variance of five K130 in its plans, already accounting for a total of twelve units.

High-value units like carriers, amphibs and nuke subs are more interesting. Amphibs are not really needed for defense of the Atlantic area, unless you want to retake Norway or something; if you need to stage Normandy redux, your defense has already pretty much failed. An easy way to increase carrier decks however would be Italy switching its plans for up to three new LHDs of 20,000 to two additional Trieste-types capable of operating F-35s. Spain could similarly replace its two Galicias with another Juan Carlos when they come up for decommissioning.

While we're at it, build another one for the Netherlands who operate two LPDs related to the Galicias and have run a carrier before; maybe Germany could chip in since we have a cooperation in the amphibious sector and will now be both F-35 users. We could raise a joint naval aviation squadron like the French-German C-130 outfit. Heck, bring in the Brits who have their own cooperation with the Dutch in the same field, and could teach us naval STOVL operations. They might replace two of their own six planned future amphibians with another LHA, too; for most of the last 50 years, they have run a three-carrier navy anyway. Maybe even the Canadians could be interested to return to the carrier business.

Wait out Erdogan, rescind the ban on Turkish F-35s, and you have a total of 13 STOVL carriers ranging from 27,000 to 38,000 to 65,000 ts, replacing six of the seven deleted Americas, albeit at the expense of similar tonnage in smaller amphibs. CATOBAR remains for the French, who have long wanted a second carrier again. Extend Charles de Gaulle to supplement rather than be replaced by PANG until a second of the type can be built. So far she's planned to serve 37 years like her predecessors, but of course Foch served another 17 (although constantly plagued by breakdowns) for Brazil, and it wouldn't probably need to be that long like the Nimitzes. Might come at the expense of a full replacement for the Mistrals though; one or two smaller LHDs might fit in.

SSNs would also be for the British and French, who would both have to double their fleets to make up for 13 deleted US boats; unless high-end long-range SSKs like U212CD and Barracuda Shortfin could step in. There are already two additional ones on option for Italy, and Poland and Romania are candidates for replacing their single derelict Kilos. Maybe Denmark would be up for returning to the submarine business, too. That would already account for almost half of the gap; spread the rest between France, Germany and the UK.

 

New distribution by 2040:

CV: Nine US, five NATO (including nine and two CATOBAR respectively)

LHA: four US, eight to ten NATO

LHD/LPD/LSD/LST: 16 US, nine to twelve NATO

surface combatants: 112 US, 287 NATO (including 67 and ca. 41 DDG respectively)

SSBN: twelve US, eight NATO

other submarines: 37 US, 82 NATO (including 37 and 17-26 SSN respectively)

 

Edited by BansheeOne
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On 12/11/2022 at 3:28 AM, Stuart Galbraith said:

Its perfectly relevant to point out the USN is underperforming in all kinds of strange ways. The idea that China is going to wait for your Admirals to stop playing with LCS and form a decent procurement policy is pretty optimistic.

Yes, Europe should help. But this is the USN's mess is primarily of its own making. Its going to take time and some smart people to work their way out of it.

China has a naval tradition that goes back, through fits and starts, to at least 1405. They also built a naval Empire throughout SW Pacific. The peak didnt last long, but they were still defeating portugese warships as late as the 1520's. So If you are looking for a tradition, they have it in spades.

https://newafricanmagazine.com/10204/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_history_of_China

 

The US has belatedly started to unfuck some of its procurement policies. The B-21 is the posture child of modern procurement - on time, on budget, meeting all requirements, very reasonable price tag for the kind of unparalleled capability it will provide. LRASM was taken out of DARPA and fast tracked to actual service. The USN has given almost every missile that didn't have an anti shipping mode that capability (HARM, Tomahawk, SM-6, RAM). Mine warfare is having a renaissance. The USAF not only carries a new AShM, it invented its own bolt on anti ship guidance kit sans the USN. Unfortunately ships are the long lead items that take the most time to reorganize. The Zumwalts and LCS were abysmal failures where as the FFG(X) seems like an solid development. If the US gets another yard to produce them by the end of the decade, we might have a decent sized fleet of modern general purpose ships in the mid 30s. The DDGX proposals look equally solid, IMO. Its just shame the US went through the whole "transformational"/Rumsfeld/neverendingwar era and set its procurement back a couple decades. If the Chinese decide to make a move this decade, the sad state of the navy can probably be firmly laid at the Bush administration's feet. But given a decade to rebuild I think the USN will be on solid ground.

 

As for "naval tradition", I think it is more about doctrine and training. As to how effective the PLAN is in that regard, I can't say. But it would be a little surprising if they suddenly made the best sailors in the world, absent any significant naval experience since this current form of government took power (or centuries before that really). I expect them to be more or less effective however and if there is a major failing in their organization, I expect it to be at the highest levels, not the lowest: anyone of admiral age in the PLAN grew up sailing on surface ship who's primary weapon system was a gun or else on a sub that was a Chinese copy of a Russian copy of a German Uboat. There's definitely no carrier officers lying around and their first relatively modern warships were bought from Russia just over two decades ago. Add to that the need for political reliability over ability at the very top level. Perhaps they are perfectly competent but if there is a weakness of "tradition", that is where I'd expect it to manifest.

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Well consider this, China did write the worlds oldest military manual. They get the idea of grand strategy in a way we have largely forgotten, and whilst yes, im sure many of those ideas are unsound, they do have a clear ethos of what they want naval power to do. They clearly want Taiwan. They want to dominate the south china sea. They want to prevent anyone interfering in what they see as their neighbourhood. These are relatively easy tasks to achieve. The USN, it has not had a clear objective of what it wants to try to do since the end of the cold war. It wants to interpose itself between Taiwan and China? Well ok, except there is no clear political directive to interfere in a Taiwan dispute. Want to stop the Chinese dominating the South China sea? Well ok, but there is not really skin in the game so much as there is for China.

Id feel a lot happier if someone could demonstrate what the west wants to achieve in the Western Pacific, and how many ships it needs to do it. Britain has its own idea. France has its own idea. Even Germany seems to have its own idea. But none of them seem to work together, and it seems far more about capturing Asian trade than it actually does protecting Asia from China.

So im not picking a fight with just the US here, though as it is the senior nation, it would be good if it could come up with a workable strategic concept to enforce freedom of navigation, and integrate its allies in it.  I dont believe I see the mindset in the USN that it cant do everything it wants itself, it will never again get the ships to do that, and it needs to leverage allies to do it. And most importantly, it needs to figure out what the hell it wants to do, and sensibly procure towards It. I hope the USN has unfucked iself, though looking at continued procurement of LCS, I fear that may be overly optimistic.

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Without the USN, the rest of the West has so few naval assets available for conflicts in Asia that it simply does not matter, if the PLAN has competent personnel or not.

I believe that the USN will start to shift assets from the Atlantic to the Pacific soon. Even with a much smaller Atlantic Fleet the US and NATO navies will be sufficient to handle the Russians.

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It's fascinating to realize that the US spent something like 4 trillion USD on all of WW2, adjusted for inflation.  In the wake of that war and those expenditures was an unprecedented time of prosperity.  In response to the pandemic we printed 6 trillion USD out of thin air with the stroke of a pen, with public officials assuring us that there are no consequences to doing this, with little lasting to show for it.  That's 6,000 billion USD. That's 600 Nimitz class carriers, for perspective.

So it turns out what we "can't" afford, and what we won't afford, is mostly just semantics.  I wonder what the opportunity cost of 32 trillion dollars is...

Edited by Burncycle360
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Today's system of systems may make scaling up more difficult. Lots of parts may emerge has bottlenecks if trying to scale up to WW2 level of production. Latests naval radars use GaN rather than GaAs. Can GaN radars be mass produced as easily as GaAs? The machinary and chemicals and raw material are all needed for that. Just one shortage in this advance materials production, then it's eithe low grade substitute or just simply no production of it. Chipsets are another one. People might have to turn in their cars to have whatever chipsets inside be removed for military buildup, like with rubber during WW2. At the very rear end tail of Allies war effort was resource extraction from places like Africa where it was still more easily accessible because it was British empire. This level of resource extraction from civilian goods and far away places can only be done with the sense of urgency like a total war. Without the war circumstance, such forces to move those gears of activities can't be called into play.

Edited by futon
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