Showing posts from July, 2018

Missile Loadouts: French Air Warfare Ships (1962-2018)

The Marine Nationale has a somewhat mixed history with guided missile ships. It obtained its first such ship back to 1962, the same year as the Royal Navy. Further, France has domestically designed and produced two generations of naval surface to air missiles. However, every class of French guided missile ships was cut short for budgetary reasons, resulting in a perpetually undersized fleet, and none of these ships has every fired a missile in combat, leaving their actual combat effectiveness open to question. The Surcouf-class The first French guided missile ships were conversions of the  Surcouf -class escorteurs d'escadre. Originally armed with a heavy battery of six 5" and six 57mm guns, the twelve ships of the Surcouf -class were the first French destroyers built after WWII and entered service 1955-1957. While France already had an indigenous naval missile program, the United States offered to supply a number of Tartar missile systems free of charge. Four ships were sele

Royal Navy vs United States Navy (2018)

Despite the title, this post is not about a hypothetical battle between the United States Navy and the Royal. Instead, it is an attempt to analyze how accurate Britain’s common refrain about “punching above its weight” really is. While my thesis may prove unwelcome to the British, I am not trying to insult the RN. Rather, I am trying to disabuse a commonly held myth that I feel does far more harm than good. First a comparison of the two nations. The UK has a population of 66m and a GDP of $2.9 trillion nominal or $3.0 trillion PPP, while the US population is 327m and its GDP is $20.4 trillion (nominal and PPP are the same for the US since PPP is calculated off the dollar). Supported by a population 1/5 the size and a GDP 1/6.8 times the size, it is obvious that the UK will be far weaker than the US in absolute terms. However, as will be shown, it is also far weaker in relative terms. The FY2018, the British defense budget was £47.2 billion ($62.5 billion at the time of posting),

Average Warship Age (2018)

This began as a quick look at the average age of the warships of the Russian navy, but the results were interesting so I expanded it to include the top dozen navies. For simplicity's sake, I only considered the following vessels: carriers (including flattop amphibious ships), submarines (excluding ballistic missile submarines), and surface combatants of over 100 meters in length (excluding coast guard and training ships). In the national breakdowns I further separate surface combatants into "large" and "small," with the former being ships of at least 150 meters in length. Given that warships are generally built with an intended service life of around thirty years, we can predict that a healthy fleet should have an average service life of around fifteen years. A figure noticeably higher than that reveals that the fleet is unable to replace aging ships, while a significantly lower number indicates that the fleet is undergoing rapid expansion. However, this on