Monday, October 22, 2018

No Nukes! (at least deployed USN tactical nukes)

I'm no spring chicken, yet my cohort was the last group of junior officers to live with tactical nukes. They were on the FF I did my MIDN cruise on, they were part of my first sea duty tour. By the time I was a senior LT, they were gone.


They were an administrative and training nightmare that was only really justified by the M.A.D. Cold War calculus. The OPLANS where they were used were laughable. Their tactical use only marginally better than conventional weapons, and the theory of "limited nuclear war" a pipe dream.

Let's be clear, if nuclear weapons are used again against any peer to near-peer conflict, there will be nothing limited about their use. Everyone will use them or lose them. Any possible use of a nuke in a future war can be well met by ICBM, SLBM and yes - strategic air or lighter strike aircraft.

We do not need them again.

Over at Proceedings, FCCM (SW) Thomas Lohn, USN (Ret.), tries to make the sale, but I'm not buying.
Rearming destroyers, cruisers, and the future frigate with non-strategic nuclear weapons could be accomplished in three phases:

Phase One : Reintroduce the nuclear TLAM-N as part of normal deployment loadout.
Phase Two : Manufacture a nuclear version of the RUM-139 Vertical-Launch ASRoc (VL-ASRoc).
Phase Three : Produce a nuclear capable SM-2/6 Standard Missile.
1. TLAM-N was highly vulnerable and iffy when it was young - it is even more so now. With the fail-to-launch/transition with conventional TLAM in addition to their habit of not making it to their target and winding up on some hill in the middle of some goat herd, no. By the time it got to its target, the war would be over anyway.

2. Nuclear depth bombs are not as useful as some think they are. I would much rather have all that money spent on a LWT that can actually ________ in ______ and not ________ when faced with _______ and at least has a chance to ______ when _____ is _______ than _______. Not to mention ______ can only _____ when ______ it ______ in an estimated ______ of the expected _______ we will most likely ______ the ______. Oh, and buy _____ more than we already have - because I did the math a decade ago and I don't think it is any better now.

3. Just ... no. Invest that money in better terminal defenses, a fleet defense fighter, and more hulls in the water. If we are in the middle of a nuclear war, any base enemy long range strike aircraft are flying from would have been taken care of by our strategic forces anyway.

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