|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jun 13, 2017 10:02 PM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Already maxed out building warships for the U.S. Navy, American shipyards can't immediately respond to the Pentagon's call to increase the size of the navy fleet to 355 from the current 272 ships. Not within the next few years, at least.
The solution, claims the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., is to increase forward basing of navy warships, especially to Europe; modernize existing warships and increase each warship's lethality by arming them with more anti-ship missiles and surface-to-air missiles.
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"We can't just grow the Navy, that's not the solution that's going to meet all the demands we have," said John Miller, a retired vice admiral who led the development of the "improved Navy," (iNavy) plan.
"We really don't have the money to do that and we don't have the industrial capacity to just build a bigger Navy in a very short amount of time."
AEI's recommendations are contained in a plan to reorganize and modernize the navy to meet future challenges within five years.
AEI wants to see more navy warships based in Europe. They want nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) deployed to Scotland and a U. S. Marines amphibious readiness group with an attached Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed to Sicily.
AEI also wants the navy to accelerate the implementation of its "distributed lethality" strategy by arming more ships with more missiles. Among these ships are the San Antonio-class landing platform dock ships, which should be armed with vertical launchers that fire cruise missiles.
Fully implementing the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) network should also be a priority. NIFC-CA is an expanded fire control network designed to help the navy leverage lower-cost "dumb" weapons instead of sophisticated missiles that can help find their own targets.
It also allows sharing of targeting information, so a missile launched from one platform can be guided to a target by another.
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