The US Navy has built the first of what will be a new class of warships for the USA. It is called a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) which is a large ship designed to operate very close to enemy shorelines. It has a unique triple-hull design which gives it the shallow draft necessary to operate in coastal waters. It has a distinctly futuristic look about it. The links [1, 2] below will give readers a chance to see its triple-hull design, learn more about this ship and see a video of how fast it is in actual operation.
The first ship of this new class is called the USS Independence, and the second link states that it can travel in the 60 mph range. This may be the fastest large warship ever built. The little gun turret in the front almost looks like a pea-shooter given the size of this ship. The heavy weaponry it carries is, no doubt, inside the sleek hull to give it a more stealthy radar signature. I did see a Phalanx point-defense gun system on it (I hope it has several on its deck!). Given the large size of its aft helicopter deck, it can transport a sizeable force of US Marines into a mission by deploying them via helicopters to an onshore destination. Its ability to operate so close to land means that helicopters departing from its deck can deploy Marines as far inland as their helicopters’ service range can reach. It appears to me that it could, in an emergency, also transport and deploy VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) warplanes like the Harrier jump-jet. Undoubtedly, it can fire waves of cruise missiles at inland targets or at enemy warships at sea. It looks like an impressive, lethal ship. Using this ship to chase after pirates in flimsy dinghies off Somalia seems to me to be about as practical as using a 12-gauge shotgun to kill a mosquito. This ship is built for major missions.
Now lets look at this ship from an enemy point of view. Likely places where this ship could be deployed in combat are in possible wars in Korea, the Taiwan-China region or in the Persian Gulf against Iran. In any of these locations, the USS Independence and its sister ships (up to ten of them) to follow will be exposed to salvo after salvo of both subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles. If this ship does not have defensive weaponry to shoot down large numbers of subsonic and supersonic missile fired at it in such high-threat environments, it is likely to be a “sitting-duck” target. If it is operating in its littoral range for which it was designed, many short-range weapons possessed by the enemy can also be fired at it. How many defensive “rounds” can it fire at incoming cruise missiles before it runs out of defensive ammo? If it is deployed against Chinese or Iranian coastlands, it can expect to be targeted by many cruise missiles. I hope that the LCS has unspoken futuristic defensive weaponry (on-board laser weapons that can be repeatedly used for a long time?) to complement its futuristic design. If it does not, its life in a major combat zone might be a short one.
China has committed heavy resources into building up its submarine fleet. It is “building” carriers at a very desultory pace, indicating that its commitment to building carriers is minimal. Whatever China’s “words” say, its “actions” indicate that the Chinese war-planners think submarines are going to be much more useful and survivable in the next war than carriers or surface ships. China is building an immense number and variety of cruise missiles to fire at enemy warships and it is also now ready to deploy ballistic missiles designed to target US carriers, as discussed in a previous blog post. Cruise missiles are useless against submarines, so submarines will have a big advantage over surface ships in surviving combat missions in a future war. The US Navy is still building large surface ships so it obviously thinks it has the effective defensive weaponry to shoot down the hundreds of cruise missiles that will be fired at any large ship that operates close to an enemy coastline. China’s disinterest in building big carriers indicates that China does not think large surface ships will be survivable in the future war against the USA for which its military is being built and prepared. We will eventually have a chance to find out which side was right in its thinking. Ezekiel 38-39 prophesies that an alliance led by Russia, China and Iran will, in the latter days, attack the USA and its NATO allies in a future World War III (see my homepage article, The USA in Biblical Prophecy, to see how this identification is revealed in Ezekiel 38-39). That war is coming.
USS Independence (LCS 2)