sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is 100 ft. longer than an Arleigh Burke Class destroyer, but they are still calling Zumwalt a destroyer. The word, "cruiser" has apparently gone out of naval fashion. I'm not sure why, but it has. USS Zumwalt is a stealth ship with a small radar cross section that's about 10% of her size. On radar, it would look like a yacht or a fishing boat.

Despite rumors that the launch of Zumwalt would be delayed until early 2014, the vessel was launched from its shipyard in Bath, Maine on 29 October 2013. The builders have completed extensive testing from what I've been told and the ship will be delivered to the US Navy later this month or in January with initial operating capability reached later next year.

I find it interesting that the Navy only plans to build three of them. It may have to do with the $7 billion (each) price tag.  Anyway, not to worry, we're going back to the old Arleigh Burke Class with a modernized design to allow it to carry more 'potent' weapons including lasers. USS Michael Murphy was originally intended to be the last of the Arleigh Burke class. The new version of the Arleigh Burke destroyers is referred to as the Flight III variant As many as 42 Flight III ships are expected to be procured by the U.S. Navy with the first ship entering service in 2023.

The Problem:

The US Navy's fleet is aging. The US is not producing Naval ships fast enough to replace the ships that are going out of service -- possibly because 1/5 of Americans are receiving food stamps and social spending to buy votes has been the national political posture. 

There are also manning and operational difficulties that have to do with national funding priorities.

I understand. Nobody wants to spend money on a navy...until they need it. Then a new class of ships will roll off the chalks over a decade later.

Class & type:Zumwalt-class destroyer
Displacement:14,564 tons[3]
Length:600 ft (182.9 m)
Beam:80.7 ft (24.6 m)
Draft:27.6 ft (8.4 m)
Installed power:Integrated Power System (IPS)
Propulsion:Rolls-Royce Marine Trent-30 gas turbines plus 2 Rolls-Royce RR4500 gas turbine generator sets,[4][5] 78 MW
Speed:30.3 knots (56.1 km/h; 34.9 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar (MFR) (X-band, scanned array)
Volume Search Radar (VSR) (S-band, scanned array)
Armament:20 × MK 57 VLS modules, with 4 vertical launch cells in each module, 80 cells total. Each cell can hold one or more missiles, depending on the size of the missiles, including:
• RIM-66 Standard
• Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile(ESSM)
• BGM-109 Tomahawk
• RUM-139 Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket
2 × 155 mm Advanced Gun System
920 × 155 mm total; 600 in automated store + Auxiliary store room with up to 320 rounds (non-automatic) as of April 2005
70-100 LRLAP rounds planned as of 2005 of total
2 × Mk 46 30 mm gun (GDLS)
Aircraft carried:SH-60 LAMPS helicopters or 1 MH-60R helicopter
MQ-8 Fire Scout VTUAV

New Cold War?

Russian Naval Infantry
Russia's is a one-comodity economy. It runs on oil.

Unfortunately for Russia, the world's largest proven reserves of oil are in the US and Canada (320+ billion barrels). And Saudi production capacity for their proven reserves of about 250 billion barrels makes them the market maker in that they can open or close the valve to move the price just about anywhere that they want to.

Vladimir Putin wants to start another cold war fueled by Russian oil revenues. 
(Fox News) MOSCOW – The Russian ruble faced intense selling pressure Tuesday, falling at one stage by a whopping 20 percent to historic lows despite a massive pre-dawn interest rate hike from the country's central bank.
The surprise decision to raise the rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent came in the middle of the night and represented a desperate attempt to prop up the troubled currency. The ruble has fallen sharply in recent weeks as a result of sliding oil prices as well as the impact of Western sanctions imposed over Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
Standard Bank:
Timothy Ash at London-based Standard Bank described the ruble's fall as "the most incredible currency collapse I think I have ever seen in the 17 years in the market, and 26 years covering Russia." 
Ash said "there is now a huge credibility gap for Russian policy makers in the eyes of the market" and that the decline is all the more astonishing given Russia's solid foreign currency reserves and the fact that it runs a budget surplus.
Given Russia's huge dependence on oil revenues, the recent sharp falls in the price of oil have hit the Russian economy hard. That's exacerbated by the fact that the Russian economy isn't diversified enough to withstand the shock.

I wonder if the Kremlin got the message?

A Year from Now


It began long ago in a far away galaxy and it's worth a lot of money so it's still going.

The film, set to be released in December 2015, begins with a search for Luke Skywalker, who has retreated and lives in isolation. Over time, he has morphed to become a type of Yoda character. A new evil is afoot in the universe and "The Force Awakens".

Disney is making Star Wars now, so I have no idea where they will go with the franchise beyond the general plot type for the next three episodes of the SciFi classic. Naturally the movie will be built around rides in the theme parks.

Will the movie end up with the epithet: May the Mouse be with you!!