Archive for October, 2010
I’ve been rather busy this week getting ready for a class, but I’ve still been sorting through the news and analysis as time permits. Here’s what’s been hiding in my backlog:
Pakistan Thwarts Prime Minister Assassination Plot, Police Claim
Pakistani police said they had thwarted a plot to assassinate the country’s prime minister, foreign minister and other senior officials after arresting a gang of seven militants.
Pakistan: Dissension in the Ranks
Pakistan’s most prominent — and vocal — retired chiefs of the army are demanding that the country’s air force be ordered to shoot down drones and helicopters — and increasingly angry active duty officers are voicing their approval in off-the-record conversations with Pakistani journalists.
Pakistan’s Nuclear Arms Push Angers America
Pakistan has been secretly accelerating the pace of its nuclear weapons programme, infuriating the US which is trying to cap worldwide stocks of fissile material and improve fraught relations with a fragile ally in the Afghanistan war.
Hu Revives Quasi-Maoist Tactics to Stem Social Instability
President Hu Jintao has revived a key Maoist concept—”correctly handling contradictions among the people”—so as to more effectively tackle China’s growing socio-political instability. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo on the eve of the October 1 National Day, Hu urged party cadres to “boost [society’s] harmonious factors to the maximum degree” through implementing policies that “match the wishes of the people, that take care of the people’s worries, and that can win over the hearts of the people.”
October 14th, 1066.
A seminal day in the history of Western civilization, 944 years ago this day. At one time, a date whose events were known to every school boy and girl who spoke English or French.
On that bright October Morning, England rushed to bring to bear all of her military power to defeat massive forces from across the water whose had come in the name of their God in a Holy War for the conquest and subjugation of the Island Nation.
King Harold Godwinson’s predecessor on England’s throne, Edward the Confessor, had disdained building a large number of warships, dismantling the significant force that had been built and maintained since the reign of King Canute. England remained powerless to stop the invaders, Viking or Norman, from reaching her shores.
England’s armies had to be cobbled together and rushed to the shores of England twice in the Autumn of 1066, including this October day. Three weeks earlier, in late-September, England’s housecarls had fought and defeated another strong invasion in the north. After they had originally been called to service of the King, Harold Godwinson’s Englishmen had been encamped along the southeastern coast, awaiting the ships that were expected to bear the armies of Duke William of Normandy.
But after a Viking landing near York, and after the English under Earl Morcar were defeated in a bloody battle at Fulford, King Harold Godwinson was forced to rush his army north to face the Nordic invasion by Harald Hardraade, who had claims to the English throne. At Stamford Bridge, on the 25th of September 1066, Harold Godwinson’s armies defeated those of the Viking Hardraade, whose ranks included Godwinson’s brother, Tostig. However, two days after the seemingly momentous English victory, Duke William (“William the Bastard”) found favorable winds and put to sea from the Norman coast.
Two days later, William’s army was ashore, and had occupied Hastings. Godwinson, hurriedly re-assembling his army to meet William, arrived to repel the invader.
On October 14th, 1066, the two armies, the Englishmen under King Harold Godwinson, and the Norman invaders under William, clashed on the fields before Hastings. The accounts of the battle are myriad in Medieval European literature. The tide of combat ebbed and flowed throughout the day, until an ill-advised advance by a portion of the English line and the Norman arrows and heavy cavalry took their decisive toll. As the sun was beginning to drop in the western sky, the fighting came to an end. The final result of the Battle of Hastings was a catastrophic defeat of the English at the hands of Duke William, and the death of the English King.
William became known to history as “William the Conqueror”. He was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, 1066, in Westminster Abbey. His rule, until his death in 1087, altered England forever. The events of leading up to, during, and after the epic battle are captured on the magnificent Bayeux Tapestry.
Like its King Harold, Anglo-Saxon England was dead. Killed by a Norman invader from across the Channel, for lack of a navy to defend its shores. A Norman invader who came across the sea in the hulls of ships capable of projecting power into the very heart of its enemy.
We would do well to remember, as the Royal Navy is facing near-extinction, and our own Navy’s ability to project meaningful power across the world’s oceans shrinks, the hard lessons that put the bones under the grass of that meadow on England’s southern coast. What is written on the tapestry of the Twenty-First Century is in the balance.
While the mainstream media has turned its attention elsewhere, the US military’s disaster relief operation in flood-ravaged Pakistan continues. Despite the fact that the operation is winding down, 26 US military helicopters still remain in Pakistan with others based offshore. These aircraft have been part of a response that has airlifted more than 21,000 flood victims and delivered 15 million pounds of supplies since July. Below is the second in a series of photos of this operation in action.
Caption: A Marine Corps Super Stallion helicopter from VMM-266, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, flies in route to deliver relief supplies during humanitarian assistance operations in the southern province of Sindh, Pakistan. Photo by Capt. Paul Duncan.
Caption: U.S. Marines with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 Reinforced, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit unload food off a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during flood relief operations in the Pano Aqil province, Pakistan, Oct. 11.
Caption: Pakistan civilians patiently wait as the U.S. Marines with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 266 Reinforced, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit unload food off a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during flood relief operations in the Pano Aqil province, Pakistan, Oct. 11.
Caption: The 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron delivers aid and supplies to Skardu Airfield, Pakistan as well as transports internally displaced persons back to Chaklala Air Force Base, Pakistan aboard their C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, Sept. 24. Photo by Staff Sgt. Andy Kin.
It started with this news:
The Pentagon has again postponed a high-level meeting on the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship program that was due take place on Oct. 29, a spokeswoman said, citing scheduling issues.
Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said no new date had been set for the meeting of the Defense Acquisition Board, which was expected to pave the way for the Navy to award a $5 billion contract for its new class of coastal warships.
The only reason the Navy would push the date back for selecting a winner of the LCS competition is if the Littoral Combat Ship is on the chopping block for POM 12. Well, as Bloomberg quotes Admiral Mullen discussing future defense budget cuts, that appears to be exactly what is happening.
“We’re going through that process right now,” Mullen said. “Major programs from all the services which aren’t performing well, which can’t get themselves under control in terms of cost and schedule, they’re going to be looking at either being slowed down dramatically or being eliminated…”
“If LCS is unable to contain itself in terms of cost and schedule, then I don’t think it has much of a future,” he said.
I explain in greater detail on the home blog why I believe the LCS program is about to get the axe in POM 12.
Below is a guest post from LCDR Benjamin Armstrong, USN. Lieutenant Commander Benjamin “BJ” Armstrong is an active duty naval helicopter pilot who has served as an amphibious search and rescue and special warfare pilot and an advanced helicopter flight instructor. He is currently assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28. He holds a master’s degree in military history from Norwich University and has written on irregular warfare and naval history. A frequent contributor to Proceedings and Naval History magazine, he also writes for Small Wars Journal, and his articles have appeared in The Naval War College Review, Defense & Security Analysis, and Strategic Insights. LCDR Armstrong is also a panelist in the United States Naval Institute History Conference 2010 on piracy next week.
Last week Galrahn, USNI Blogger and skipper of Information Dissemination, wrote an article on his home blog about operationalizing the Influence Squadron. It was an important next step in the discussion started by Captain Henry J. Hendrix in his Proceedings and Armed Forces Journal articles introducing and developing the concept. Anyone unfamiliar with the Influence Squadrons should read CAPT Hendrix’s articles for USNI, “Buy Fords, Not Ferraris” and “More Henderson, Less Bonds.”
Galrahn’s plan for a Horn of Africa squadron is well reasoned and the capabilities included would provide a solid foundation for the success of the squadron. However, deployment of an Influence Squadron to the Horn of Africa would do little to impact the debate over the importance of these squadrons or demonstrate their effectiveness on a wider scale.
Opponents of the Influence Squadron point out that the expense of developing the platforms required, and the changes in training and deployment methods, would result in little benefit compared to the current strategies used by the USN. They are more interested in “non-material” solutions that would allow the current fleet constitution to be “jacks of all trades.” The most common criticism of the Influence Squadron is that these task forces, while capable in constabulary missions like Somalia, would have no use in regions with near peer-competitors. Despite the importance that smaller vessels have played throughout naval history to convoy protection, scouting, and blockade forces in full scale conflicts, these critics will require a modern 21st century example of a squadron operating in a region with a potential near-peer competitor.
A Theater In Need of Partnership and Security
There is another region of the globe, an area for a test deployment of an Influence Squadron, which would prove the value of these task forces to countering the naval and diplomatic maneuvering of near peer-competitors. Currently the United States Navy provides an “all-in” diplomatic option to America’s foreign policy. Either a Carrier Strike Group or other major warfighting force sails within striking distance of the disputed area, or nothing happens. In the example of the recent exercises off the Korean coast, the point was made by sending a carrier but only for a short period of time and not without increasing the level of rhetoric. The Influence Squadron offers another option, a less bellicose choice that can also improve theater security and build partnership relationships while at the same time demonstrating the long presence mission embraced by the United States Navy. Where would this option be valuable today? The South China Sea.
Chinese rhetoric over claims to the South China and East China Seas has become more aggressive within the last year. Serious conflicts appear on the horizon both with traditional American allies like Japan and the Philippines and also other nations like Vietnam and Indonesia that are vital to regional security. In South East Asia, all nations are maritime nations and therefore able to benefit from partnership with the United States Navy. An Influence Squadron for South East Asia could not only be made to test the capacity of the U.S. Navy, but could also be a combined, multinational operation that would leverage the regional maritime strength of American allies and friends.
Call it the Pacific Security and Assistance Squadron, or just label it the next iteration of the Pacific Partnership Station, but a multi-national squadron coordinated and supported by the United States to develop maritime security in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the Pacific archipelagos would benefit the entire region.
A South China Sea Security and Assistance Squadron
The flagship for the squadron, as suggested by Galrahn, should be an LPD. Despite the ever present drumbeat against the Navy’s amphibious fleet, these ships provide the greatest versatility not just when it comes to capabilities but also in the adaptability of Gator sailors. These units are experienced in irregular warfare, humanitarian assistance, as well as full kinetic operations. A San Antonio Class vessel is not required. As we have seen over the last several years the older LPDs of the Austin and Cleveland classes, despite their slow march to the boneyard, still have a contribution to make.
A U.S. Marine Corps unit based on the Company Landing Team (COLT) model is a solid foundation for the embarked units aboard the LPD. This would be augmented by detachments from the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command including Sea Bees and Maritime Security Detachments, as well as a medical detachment and a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment. A single LCU in the well deck, with the Stiletto on the other side (obviously dependent on the beam and area of each), could provide amphibious lift, with NECC RHIBs on trailers in the ship’s vehicle storage area. On the flight deck a detachment of MH-60S Knighthawks, with Block III Armed Helicopter airframes, from the Helicopter Sea Combat community’s expeditionary squadrons could provide everything from Hellfire missile/gunship kinetic capability to medical transport and humanitarian operations. These pilots and aircrew, trained in special operations support and anti-surface warfare as well as classical logistics and search and rescue missions, would easily be able to integrate with the USMC units while bringing their vast experience in overwater and littoral operations.
Self-Defense & Anti-Submarine Surveillance. Any squadron deploying to the South China Sea can count on the fact that they will be monitored by the Chinese submarine force. Australia, long time American ally and a growing maritime power in the region, can provide the capability to monitor that possibility, as well as provide limited air defense protection. An upgraded Adelaide Class FFG would prove to be the perfect platform. Not only would the ship provide advanced defensive capabilities, but being a smaller vessel it wouldn’t dwarf other ships from the region while at the same time providing training to partner nations on integration with high-technology allies. In the frigate’s hangar bay would be a pair of Australian SH-60B Seahawk helicopters to help work anti-submarine training with partner nations and provide surface search and surveillance capabilities during integrated maritime security operations. Attaching an Adelaide class frigate to the squadron would allow Australia to step into their role as a naval leader in the region, while also allowing them to prove the impressive systems of the “new” frigates.
Maritime Security & Patrol. Several navies in the region have recently begun programs designed to improve their patrol vessels and corvettes. Three ships of the smaller classes would make up the core of the squadron. The United States should approach this as another opportunity for evaluation and development of the Littoral Combat Ships. Whether Freedom is sent, once repairs are completed, because it is already on the west coast or if Independence is ready for a real world operation, the squadron will be conducting exactly the type of littoral operations the ships were designed for. In the hangar bay should be a detachment made up of an MH-60S and MQ-8 Firescout UAS. This deployment will give the Helicopter Sea Combat community the chance to work with Firescout integration while continuing to prove the capabilities of the maritime vertical UAS.
Indonesia and Malaysia have each worked to procure new patrol ships over the past decade. The Indonesians could participate by providing a Diponegoro class corvette for the squadron. Introduced in 2007, these ships were built as part of the European designed SIGMA series of vessels. With a Thales combat system installed and a helicopter flight deck, integration with the other ships of the squadron would be relatively simple. The Malaysians have their new Kedah class of offshore patrol vessel. If they accept the invitation to participate the OPVs, built in Germany as part of the MEKO series of vessels, would serve as an excellent complement to the LCS and the Indonesian corvette.
Dedicated Logistical Support and Theater Lift. During Operation Enduring Freedom the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force provided reliable and regular logistical support to American and NATO ships. Political debate within Japan accompanied that mission. However, with Japan’s vested interest in the security of the South and East China Seas, such a debate is unlikely for this deployment. By providing dedicated logistical support to the squadron the Japanese would be playing a vital role in the success of the deployment, while limiting the historical concerns about Japanese designs on the region. The JMSDF provides a modern and experienced capability that would ensure timely delivery of resources.
Besides an oiler and logistical support for the vessels in the squadron, a ship to provide theater lift and movement of detachments and humanitarian supplies ashore would be required. Recently naval analyst Craig Hooper has discussed the value of the Logistic Support Vessels (LSVs) of the U.S. Army. The Philippines have been sailing LSV’s for a generation and have extensive littoral experience in the archipelagos of Asia. Inviting them to contribute the Dagupan City or Bacolod City to the squadron would provide lift within the theater, as well as a vessel capable of entering shallow or unprepared harbors.
Theater Security/Humanitarian Assistance/Partnership Development
Rather than a short term exercise, like RIMPAC, this squadron would be a full term deployment. Each contributing nation would commit to a four to six month operation. The squadron would move as a group, touching at each of the participating nations as well as others in the region. Other nations, like Vietnam, would be welcomed to participate and could be offered the opportunity to work with the squadron. With each Navy in the region they would conduct maritime security operations, training and development with the host nation’s forces, and humanitarian missions ashore. Maritime Patrol and law enforcement capabilities, EEZ enforcement, and multinational integration would be the focus of the military training missions. Medical and construction projects ashore would help to demonstrate American good will.
The South China Sea continues to see not only an increase in the disputes over territorial claims, but also a recent increase in piratical activity. Smuggling and maritime crime also continue in the region. These are problems that can not be addressed simply by sailing a CSG through the region. The deployment of a Security and Assistance Squadron, or an Influence Squadron, would create an opportunity for the Navy to return to its historical roots as an augment to the diplomatic capabilities of the United States. An invitation to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to participate would only strengthen the role of the squadron, whether or not it is accepted (thought likely not).
Deployment of an Influence Squadron to Somalia would be useful, as would a deployment to the Caribbean or the west coast of Central America. However, neither would serve to address the concerns voiced by those who focus solely on the potential near-peer competitors of the future. The deployment of a multinational Security and Assistance Squadron to the South China Sea would not only help to prove the value of such a unit in “great power” relationships, it would demonstrate that the United States Navy understands that “in no case can we exercise control by battleships alone.”
Happy 235th Birthday to the United States Navy
“It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.” -George Washington, 1781
“A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 1902 address to Congress
“Events of October 1962 indicated, as they had all through history, that control of the sea means security. Control of the seas can mean peace. Control of the seas can mean victory. The United States must control the seas if it is to protect your security….” -John F. Kennedy June 1963
“We shall take leave to be strong upon the seas, in the future as in the past; and there will be no thought of offense or provocation in that. Our ships are our natural bulwarks.” -Woodrow Wilson, 1914
“It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy, so that it will not be fought on U.S. soil.” -Admiral Chester Nimitz
After experiencing the 2010 San Francisco Fleet Week and observing the “Green Machine” that is the USS Makin Island, I had to wonder just what the heck happened to the Air Force? That military branch was, back in 2006, surfing the leading edge of the Green Wave. But today, the Air Force has entirely lost momentum, ceding the Green Lead to the Green Hornet, the Great Green Fleet and the force of nature that is SECNAV Ray Mabus.
To read more about why the Navy is beating the Air Force in the race to adapt Green Tech, head over to NextNavy.com and read all about it…
Well, before one of the more successful San Francisco Fleet Weeks in recent history winds down, here’s a little summary of what we set out to do, presented by Google Earth…The video is a little rocky, so if you can, run the Google Earth Tour (just make sure your volume for the embedded Google Earth video player is on mute!). But the video/tour gives you a good idea of what the folks who put together Fleet Week set out to do this week–and it sets the stage for the future! So…quit reading and go watch the San Francisco Fleet Week Video.
View this tour in Google Earth: Download KML
(Download the latest version of Google Earth here.)
Below is a guest post from CDR Lippold. He will be following along in the comments. If you have questions for him, please pose them.
The attack on USS Cole (DDG 67) ten years ago this October 12, was a watershed moment for the Navy and the nation. It signified that al Qaeda was now willing to attack our military capability to defend our interests worldwide. It was also a subtle shift in tactics lost on both the military and political leadership of the country. Tragically, the American people paid a heavy price eleven months later with the attacks of September 11.
Today, the military is fully engaged in a war effort to stem the tide of al Qaeda and its radical brand of Islam. As we were warned, this will be long-term fight with a determined enemy willing to die for their cause. While fortunate to date that no large-scale attacks have been successfully carried out within our borders, it is up to everyone to keep up their guard and not allow complacency to overtake the daily grind of our jobs, school and kid’s soccer games.
The crew of USS Cole rebounded from that attack and all have gone on to achieve remarkable lives for themselves – business owners, college educations, and careers within the Navy. Each possesses a unique insight into the horrors of combat the Navy has rarely seen since World War II. For the seventeen sailors that were killed that day, as well as the three shipmates we have lost since then, not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. I miss my shipmates.
This October 12, at 11:18 am the crew and families will gather in Norfolk, Virginia, to pay tribute and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. While the 10th anniversary may be significant, for those us who saved a ship from sinking and worked tirelessly to prevent our shipmates from dying, every anniversary is just as important as the last. To those who continue to serve our nation today, thank you for your service. God Bless each of our servicemen and women and the United States of America!
All the best,
Project Cadillac was more than just a program to develop radar – it would develop an entire AEW system — Radar, IFF, relay equipment, shipboard receivers, and airborne platform. Such an undertaking would be ambitious enough in peacetime, at the height of a critical stage in the war it bordered on a divine miracle. – SJS
February 1944. In Europe the invasion of Italy is well underway and the Battle of Monte Casino is engaged. Eisenhower establishes SHAFE headquarters in Britain. The RAF drops 2300 tons on Berlin, the 8th AF begins the “Big Week” bombing campaign and Soviet troops continue the offensive begin at Novgorod and Leningrad. In the Pacific US forces have landed and captured the Marshall Islands and have moved on to Eniwetok Atoll. In the south, MacArthur’s forces have begun Operation Brewer in the Admiralty Islands. The tide, ever so imperceptibly, is turning in favor of the Allies. In Japan, Commander Asaiki Tamai asked a group of 23 talented student pilots, whom he had personally trained, to volunteer for a special attack force. All of the pilots raised both of their hands, thereby volunteering to join the operation.
In the US, the fruits of scientific research and technological prowess were starting to manifest – high altitude bombers, Essex-class carriers, jet engines, the beginnings of nuclear weapons. At the MIT-RL, proposals were forwarded for an ambitious program to develop an AEW system that would be deployed with the fast carrier forces in the Pacific. It was envisioned that the system would be in place for Operation DOWNFALL, the projected invasion of the Japanese homeland, slated for sometime in early 1946. Following a series of meetings with reps from the Navy’s Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd) the Navy formally requested the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) to establish the project. Ultimately, the project would include 9 of MIT-RL’s 11 laboratories, BuAer, BuShips, Naval Air Modification Center, Philadelphia, Naval Research Lab, several Navy contractors and Radiation Lab subcontractors and over 160 officers and men. The project was eventually given the code name of CADILLAC, the name of the highest mountain on the US eastern seaboard and in the fall and winter, the location of the first sunrise in the lower 48 states. It would serve as the site of some of the developmental relay work because of its height and proximity to the sea.
As originally envisioned, Cadillac would consist of two sections (see CONOPS Illustration): one airborne (“AEW Aircraft”) and the other shipboard (“CV CIC”). The airborne unit would carry the APS-20 radar, IFF and VHF comms and relay equipment, acting as an airborne radar and relay platform for the ship. Back on the ship, the radar picture from the airborne unit would be relayed via a VHF video data link and displayed on a dedicated PPI (Plan Position Indicator) scope. Communications with far-flung fighter CAP would also be relayed through the airborne unit. Sorting out friend from foe would be via the newly developed IFF or Identification Friend Foe system which relied on an aircraft responding to electronic “challenge” signals with a coded pulse train. The airborne unit would also have the ability to display ownship’s radar picture and have a limited capability to control fighters, but this was planned to be a fall-back capability.
Aircraft. The aircraft chosen was the only carrier-based aircraft large enough to accommodate the 8-foot radome and 2,300 lbs of associated equipment. Stripped of turret, armor, and armament, a TBM-3 Avenger served as the initial platform for Cadillac. Besides the Cadillac equipment, the XTBM-3W was modified to include an engine driven high power generator, additional tail stabilizers, addition of a crewman position in the aft fuselage and over 9 separate antennas on the fuselage, tail, and wings.
Airborne System. The AN/APS-20, developed as part of the Cadillac program, was a 10cm set that had a peak power output of 1 megawatt and a 2-second pulse. The design of the APS-20 radar was so sound that variations of this same radar would see use well into the 1960s on a variety of USN, USAF and allied AEW platforms, until it was ultimately replaced by the E-2’s APS-96/120 series among others. The IFF system was built around the AN/APX-13 with a very high power (2 kW) transmitter and one of the most sensitive receivers in this type application. It was designed to enable ID of targets on both the (then) Navy standard A and G bands at ranges comparable to the radar. To “pipe” this information back to the ship, the AN/ART-22 relay-radar transmitter, broadcast the picture back to the ship on a 300 mc frequency.The radar synchronizer also synchronized the IFF and relay signals, encoding their outputs to ensure reception even in an environment characterizedby heavy enemy jamming and intrusion. Remote operation of the airborne system from the ship was made possible by the AN/ARW-35 receiver, AN/ARC-18 shipboard relay and the use of a modified flux gate valve to stabilize and orient the radar display to true North (ed. note – not altogether different from the system that was used in the E-2 almost 2 decades later). All this, of course, was in addition to the usual compliment of voice comm., IFF, and flight/navigation gear. Space, as one can see from the cutaway, was at a premium, even in the large-bodied Avenger.
Shipboard System. The shipboard system primarily consisted of relay (which included omnidirectional or a horizontal diversity receiver), decoding, and shipboard signal distribution equipment. The signal was passed to 2-3 PPI scopes, located in CIC. In CIC, the picture was merged with that of the ship in a manner that eliminated motion induced by the AEW platform – in other words, a ground-stabilized picture oriented to true north. That picture could be expanded to a 20nm view for detailed examination of sectors of interest. When tied together with voice communications, the implications of this capability were astounding.
Let us step back for a moment and review what the CONOP and “to be” Cadillac system would provide. Expanded radar coverage, in theory out to 200 nm. Positive identification of friendly aircraft in that volume of surveyed airspace. The ability to effect positive control of interceptors well closer to expected enemy marshaling points. Detect and track friendly and hostile surface units (including snorkeling submarines). Finally, the ability to bring all this information together and display it in CIC enabling informed decision-making from unit up to Fleet level. We who have been fortunate enough to have operated in the age of modern AEW aircraft, digital data links and automated detection and display systems take these for granted. It is not until one or more elements are removed that their intrinsic value is appreciated. This was something the Royal Navy painfully re-discovered during the war to reclaim the Falklands/Malvinas. That the concept, much less the hardware and integration of these many disparate elements was conceived and executed in a wartime situation says much about the technical verve and capabilities of this band of naval and civilian scientists, engineers and operators. The process of how this was brought to reality and IOC will be the subject of the next installment.
To Be Continued
(crossposted at Steeljawscribe.com)