Rapid Fire Sept. 13, 2013: The Coming US Submarine Shortfall
- During a hearing at the US House Armed Services Committee, Rear Admiral Richard Breckenridge outlined significant shortfalls in the future submarine fleet – which today counts 55 boats – but while the Navy says they need to maintain a fleet of at least 48 SSNs:
“Over the next 15 years, the forward presence of SSNs and SSGNs taken together will fall by over 40%. Roughly half of this reduction is due to the decline in the number of SSNs and half is due to the retirement of the SSGNs. [...] Between 2025 and 2030, the SSN force drops to 42, all 4 SSGNs retire and the SSBN force drops from 14 to 10.”
- The Pentagon released a list of 5 possible sites on the US east coast for a 3rd missile defense location besides Alaska and California. This was done with some reluctance to fulfill a congressional request since the Administration does not want to pursue ground-based ballistic missile defense on the east coast.
- Syria submitted to the UN its request to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. But the Syrian military reportedly spread its chemical weapon stockpiles across dozens of sites in past weeks. The media’s fixation on existing stockpiles might seem somewhat puzzling since chemical weapons are not that hard to produce, but a report [PDF] by the US Director of National Intelligence assessed that as recently as 2011 “Syria remains dependent on foreign sources for key elements of its CW program, including precursor chemicals.” That may make the gathering and destruction of stockpiles a worthwhile goal, to the extent such intelligence can be trusted. See also last month’s CRS report [PDF].
- Fresh from success creating the RAF’s new BAe-146 Mk.3 transport, BAE Systems sees potential for their short-takeoff regional jets as tactical aerial refuelers, and especially as firefighting planes. At just $6 million or so for used jets, the economics are intriguing.
- American logisticians still have about 24,000 vehicles and 20,000 container equivalent sets to ship back from Afghanistan before the end of next year.
- A team from NATO’s Science and Technology Organization (STO), led in Norway by Ernst Krogager, is developing an electronic beam that can stop motor vehicles such as cars used by suicide bombers, as well as jam bombs. Video below:
- NATO’s Defence College published a good paper [PDF] covering some positive second-order effects of the rise in maritime piracy, as well as the future of the alliance’s role in such operations after Operation Ocean Shield wraps up next year.
- Jamie Morin, currently USAF Assistant Secretary for Financial Management, has been nominated to be the Pentagon’s Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) to replace Christine Fox who resigned back in May.
- France’s DGA procurement agency received [in French] the 1st of 4 Falcon 50Bs turned into maritime surveillance aircraft (under the Falcon 50 MS moniker).
- Today’s 2nd video below shows a good variety of flight operations aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68):