Two USN Carriers in Japan?

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tritonprime

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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 03:45

"Two USN Carriers in Japan?"
by Christopher P. Cavas 9:42 a.m. EST November 19, 2015

Source:
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defens ... /76011904/

WASHINGTON — With the US Navy stretched beyond its means to meet worldwide commitments, planners are looking at ways to get more operational time out of the ships, aircraft and sailors on hand. One solution, says an influential analyst, is to consider basing not just one, but two aircraft carriers in Japan.

A second carrier in Japan would solve all western Pacific carrier needs, Bryan Clark, a naval analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Tuesday, a day before presenting his findings at a Capitol Hill press conference.

“Not having the transit time from the West Coast saves about 20 percent in the deployment length,” Clark said, adding that his research shows a two-carrier force would result in a 1.4 presence factor, meaning at least one carrier would be available every month of a year, with both carriers available an additional four months.

Time offline includes maintenance and overhaul periods.

The US has maintained a forward-deployed naval force (FDNF) presence in Japan for many years, including one aircraft carrier. That ship is currently the Ronald Reagan, having relieved the George Washington late this summer. Cruisers, destroyers, mine countermeasures ships and a four-ship amphibious ready group also are based in Japan, operating from Yokosuka or Sasebo, along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in Okinawa.

Carrier Air Wing Five, based in Japan at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, would probably need to be “augmented” to serve both carriers, Clark said, but he does not see the need to add another complete air wing. The wing is moving to expanded facilities at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni — a larger field that could handle more aircraft, he noted.

“Instead of two full wings, you could have a single augmented air wing — or two partial air wings,” Clark said. “You could also look at alternative ways to equip the air wing.” One possibility, he said, would be to outfit each wing with only three strike fighter squadrons rather than four, due to an ongoing shortage of F/18-C Hornet and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighters.

Clark does not see the need to beef up the surface forces in Japan, other than to send an additional cruiser to provide anti-air commander escorts for the carriers.

Clark also acknowledged there are numerous political, logistical and budgetary issues with the idea.

The recommendation is included in a report released Wednesday, “Deploying Beyond Their Means,” on the effect of continuing high operational requirements on the US Navy and Marine Corps.

In addition to adding a carrier in Japan, Clark would also forward-deploy an additional amphibious ready ready group to the western Pacific, possibly in Guam, and restore carrier rotations in the Sixth Fleet’s European theater of operations — a Cold War staple that fell off with the end of that conflict and the shift in focus to the Arabian Gulf region.

The Navy is required by law to maintain an 11-ship carrier fleet, although a temporary, 10-ship level is in effect until the carrier Gerald R. Ford is commissioned next year.

While the two Japan-based carriers could handle normal Western Pacific duties, Clark said, the five west-coast based carriers would rotate in and out of the Gulf/Indian Ocean region, while the four carriers on the Atlantic coast would rotate in and out of the European theater.

Beefing up carrier presence in those regions, he said, would be “indicative of American resolve. It shows that the US is not walking away from the Asia-Pacific, and it would restore some presence to the European theater.”

There is no indication, however, that the US Navy is considering moving another flattop to Japan.

“There has absolutely been no conversation related to forward-deploying an additional carrier in Japan,” a Navy official said curtly when asked about the report.

But some on Capitol Hill might be considering the idea.

"Deploying an additional forward-based carrier to the Pacific is not a new idea, but given the demands on the carrier fleet it is an option that’s time may have finally come,” one Senate staffer said.

“Along with the benefits identified in the report, perhaps the most important one is that deploying a second carrier in the Pacific on a permanent basis would offer a real demonstration of our enduring commitment to our allies and partners in the region. We need to take a hard look at the peacetime and war-fighting benefits, associated military construction costs, and the propensity of an ally like Japan to consider a deployment like this.”

The full report is available at http://csbaonline.org/publications/2015 ... ing-point/
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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 03:51

"Will the United States Base 2 Aircraft Carriers in Japan?"
A new study suggests that basing more ships overseas will help the overstretched U.S. Navy meet its global commitments.
by Franz-Stefan Gady
November 20, 2015

Source:
http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/will-the ... -in-japan/

Basing an additional aircraft carrier at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan would meet the entire demand for carrier coverage in the Pacific without having to build more ships to fulfill the U.S. Navy’s commitments in the Asia-Pacific region. That’s the conclusion of a new study published by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).

Despite being the most powerful naval force in the world, the U.S. Navy, given its global presence, has been deploying its forces at a pace it can’t sustain. “The central force structure challenge facing the Navy and Marine Corps today is that demand for naval forces exceeds the supply they can sustainably deliver,” the study notes.

“Both services have been maintaining a higher level of presence than they typically plan for by extending deployments, deploying more than once per readiness cycle, and basing more ships overseas,” according to CSBA.

All in all, the U.S. Navy currently operates 272 ships – the largest and most powerful naval force in the world – structured around its ten aircraft carrier strike groups. By 2028, the U.S. Navy will have a fleet of 321 ships on active duty. This number will decline to 305 vessels by 2045.

However, these number projections are based on the U.S. Navy’s current shipbuilding plan, which, due to budgetary reasons, might not be implementable, CSBA notes:

It is unlikely (…) that the Navy will be able to significantly grow the fleet. Its current shipbuilding plan requires $5 to $7 billion more per year than the historical average over the last 30 years. The Navy may be compelled to revise this plan to meet fiscal constraints.

The result is simple: Fewer available ships mean longer deployment cycles and less time for training and maintenance. A new so-called Optimized-Fleet Response Plan, once implemented, will allow the U.S. Navy to more effectively complete training and maintenance between deployments.

“However, it will also reduce the presence they can deliver overseas because it shifts from today’s eight-month (or more) deployment in a 32-month cycle for carriers and surface combatants to a single eight-month deployment in a 36-month cycle. This means each ship goes from spending about 25 percent of its time deployed to about 22 percent of its time deployed,” the study finds.

As a consequence, even fewer ships will be available. The solution: Forward basing naval forces. Transiting from the United States to the Western Pacific takes about 15 to 20 percent of a ship’s deployment time. This amount of time can be saved if the ship is already in its operating area. Additionally, the report points out two more advantages of ships operating forward:

They do not undergo deep maintenance periods such as overhauls. When an overhaul is due, the ship or aircraft is swapped out with a new platform. The crew generally swaps out as well and remains forward with the new ship.

They do not conduct extensive retraining between operational periods. Because they operate so often, forward based ship and aircraft crews are often able to maintain a higher level of proficiency than their CONUS[Continental United States]-based counterparts.

A ship based in the United States only spends about 25 percent of its time forward deployed in its area of operation. A carrier based in Japan would be operating forward 67 percent of its time. The advantage here is obvious. A carrier based in Japan would be able to spend the same amount of time in an area of operation as three ships based in the United States combined.

But it doesn’t appear the U.S. Navy is seriously considering this option. According to a U.S. Navy official interviewed by Defense News, “there has absolutely been no conversation related to forward-deploying an additional carrier in Japan.”
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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 04:05

China would love that.
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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 04:46

sferrin wrote:China would love that.


They would probably love a return to Subic Bay even more.

"Warily Eyeing China, Philippines May Invite U.S. Back to Subic Bay"
By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ SEPT. 19, 2015

Source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/world ... .html?_r=0

SUBIC BAY, Philippines — In a flash of anticolonialist fervor nearly a quarter-century ago, lawmakers in the Philippines expelled the United States from an enormous naval base here, then the largest overseas outpost of the American military. Promising to break free from the “shackles of dictatorship,” they declared that foreign troops would never return.

But with China forcefully pressing its claim to a vast expanse of sea west of here, the Philippines is now debating whether to welcome the United States Navy back to the deepwater docks, airstrips and craggy shores of Subic Bay, which served as a haven for bruised battleships and weary soldiers during the Vietnam War.

It is also asking Washington for hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding to strengthen its own military, one of the weakest in Asia.

The change of heart is just one sign of the shifting strategic calculations in the region as President Xi Jinping of China has sought to reinforce Beijing’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea by turning reefs into islands and putting military facilities on them. Satellite photos taken last week appear to show China preparing to build a third airstrip on one of the new islands.

United States officials have objected to the buildup in contested waters, and the dispute is expected to be high on the agenda when Mr. Xi meets President Obama in Washington on Thursday. Even as China has accelerated construction, though, the Obama administration has struggled to coordinate a response in Asia, where many leaders are not sure how hard they should push back against China, the region’s economic giant, and how much they should rely on the United States, its dominant military power.

Several nations lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, through which pass some of the world’s busiest shipping routes and which is believed to hold significant oil and natural gas deposits. But China’s push to establish the sea as its own has hit closer to home in the Philippines than almost anywhere else.

An island with a civilian Filipino population is in the disputed area, and Chinese forces have occupied reefs and shoals the Philippines once controlled. “The fight hasn’t even started yet, and it looks like the Philippines government has already surrendered,” said Renato Etac, 35, a fishing boat captain who says Chinese vessels there routinely chase and try to ram his ship. “I can’t even count the Chinese ships I see, there are so many.”

Last year, the government in Manila signed a 10-year agreement that would let the United States station troops, weapons and matériel at bases across the Philippines, setting the stage for an American return to several facilities, including Subic Bay and the sprawling Clark Air Base nearby. But the pact has been tied up by a legal challenge.

Filipinos, by a wide margin, hold favorable views of the United States, polls show. There is ambivalence, however, about allowing American troops to be stationed in the country — a concern amplified by the Philippines’ history as an American territory from 1898 to 1946 — and anxiety over how China might respond.

“When the elephants brawl, ants should be spared,” said Rene Augusto V. Saguisag, one of a group of former senators who voted to expel American troops in 1991 and has petitioned the Philippines Supreme Court to block the military agreement. “The U.S. and China should leave us alone and not involve us in the quarrels of the strong.”

Washington has expressed frustration with the delay in carrying out the agreement, which President Obama announced with fanfare during a visit to Manila last year. The case is not expected to be decided in the Philippines Supreme Court until later this fall at the earliest.

If it goes forward, the pact would give the United States the ability to operate a stronghold on the shores of the South China Sea, less than 500 miles from the new islands built by the Chinese. Currently, American forces in the region rely largely on bases more than 1,500 miles away, in Japan and the United States territory of Guam, for repairs.

The Philippines, prized for its deep, sheltered waters, is a linchpin in the Pentagon’s effort to shift resources toward Asia. The Subic Bay base, roughly the size of Singapore, played a role in virtually every American conflict of the 20th century. United States and Japanese forces battled to control it in World War II, and millions of American personnel passed through it every year during the Vietnam War.

The base was reborn as an economic development zone after the American withdrawal in 1992. Luxury villas were erected atop former ammunition bunkers, and a marine park was built along the shore. Outside the local government here, a statue of a woman holding a dove celebrates the American withdrawal and a plaque reads: “Unchain us now.”

In addition to the legacy of American rule of the Philippines, another hurdle to military cooperation is the decrepit state of the Philippine armed forces, which have long suffered from waste and corruption.

Despite a recent effort to modernize its military, the Philippines still lacks basic equipment, including submarines and fighter jets. The most famous vessel in its fleet may be the Sierra Madre, a decaying World War II-era ship that the government ran aground nearly two decades ago to protect a contested reef. American military aid to the Philippines has increased significantly in recent years, more than doubling last year to $50 million. But that is less than the hundreds of millions the United States provided during the Cold War, when the Philippines was used to counterbalance Soviet support of Vietnam.

In private talks, the government of President Benigno S. Aquino III has pressed the United States for up to $300 million in aid this year, arguing that it needs a substantial buildup of planes and ships to deter Chinese expansionism, according to a senior Philippine official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because United States officials have asked to keep the talks confidential.

But the Obama administration has so far rebuffed the request because it worries about corruption and the Philippines’ capacity to handle such an influx of resources. A spokeswoman for the State Department noted that the Philippines was already the largest recipient of American military aid in Southeast Asia.

“The issue of the West Philippines Sea is a shared responsibility of the Philippines and the United States,” said Fernando I. Manalo, a Philippine defense official, who used the local term for the South China Sea in arguing for joint investments in military upgrades.

But Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, a Republican member of the Armed Services Committee, said it would take time to rebuild trust between the two countries.

“If you look at what happened in Subic Bay, that was a pretty abrupt turnaround by the Philippines,” he said, referring to the American expulsion in 1992. “I think memory probably lingers in both the Philippines and the United States.”

On Pag-asa island, home to about 100 residents in territory claimed by the Chinese, Mayor Eugenio B. Bito-onon Jr. has promised to resist what he calls the “Chinese invasion.”

“This is a question of preserving our existence,” he said during a visit to Puerto Princesa, a nearby city, pointing to a wall-sized map that he uses to track the advances of Chinese ships and construction work.

Mr. Bito-onon, 59, said he was worried that the Philippines was too weak to stand up to China, and that allies like the United States were too timid. “We seem to have lots of leaders and allies with no strong direction,” he said.

The Philippines has deployed coast guard ships in an effort to protect reefs and shoals from Chinese advances, and it has announced plans to station fighter jets and frigates at Subic Bay next year. It has also lodged a complaint before an international tribunal at The Hague, arguing that China’s claim to almost the entire 1.4 million square miles of the South China Sea violates international law. Chinese officials have said they will ignore the court’s ruling, contending that territorial disputes should be resolved through direct negotiations between the two countries.

In Manila last month, the top United States commander in the Pacific, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., told Philippine officials that the United States did not want to take any military action that might distract from the case at The Hague, according to an individual briefed on the talks. But Admiral Harris also said that the United States planned to conduct more patrols in the South China Sea, the individual said.

Some Filipinos are worried that relying on the United States will delay efforts by the Philippines to build its own military. Others are concerned that the United States, despite its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines, is too distracted by its fight against terrorism in the Middle East to help them.

“We can’t simply trust that others will come to save the day,” said Maria Turco, 42, a teacher in Subic Bay. “We have to take ownership.”
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sferrin

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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 04:58

Thought they were already planning that?

“When the elephants brawl, ants should be spared,” said Rene Augusto V. Saguisag, one of a group of former senators who voted to expel American troops in 1991 and has petitioned the Philippines Supreme Court to block the military agreement. “The U.S. and China should leave us alone and not involve us in the quarrels of the strong.”

'cuz that always works. :doh:
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tritonprime

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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 06:51

Thought they were already planning that?[/quote]

Wasn't sure if other people on the forum knew about the United States Navy's return to Subic Bay. Would be a great place to station an aircraft carrier.

I also wonder if the United States Air Force might return to Clark Air Base. Would be a great place to station F-22s and F-35s.

sferrin wrote:“When the elephants brawl, ants should be spared,” said Rene Augusto V. Saguisag, one of a group of former senators who voted to expel American troops in 1991 and has petitioned the Philippines Supreme Court to block the military agreement. “The U.S. and China should leave us alone and not involve us in the quarrels of the strong.”

'cuz that always works. :doh:


Yeah, he wants to maintain the peace by allowing the People's Republic of China to annex disputed territory claimed by the Philippines
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Unread post24 Nov 2015, 15:16

Meanwhile China fuels the Philippine rebels...
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Unread post25 Nov 2015, 09:44

A better idea would be pushing US allies to develop their own carrier capabilities. The F-35B makes it possible for our friends to easily add at-least another half-dozen light carriers in the region for China to keep track of.
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Unread post25 Nov 2015, 13:02

lookieloo wrote:A better idea would be pushing US allies to develop their own carrier capabilities. The F-35B makes it possible for our friends to easily add at-least another half-dozen light carriers in the region for China to keep track of.


They almost certainly will. Japan's next aviation ship is going to be Wasp-sized, and they're buying F-35s. Wouldn't be much of a stretch for them to add F-35Bs to the list. And both South Korea and Japan have yard capacity to handle building a carrier, with the US chipping in in critical areas.
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Unread post26 Nov 2015, 04:22

sferrin wrote:
lookieloo wrote:A better idea would be pushing US allies to develop their own carrier capabilities. The F-35B makes it possible for our friends to easily add at-least another half-dozen light carriers in the region for China to keep track of.
They almost certainly will. Japan's next aviation ship is going to be Wasp-sized, and they're buying F-35s. Wouldn't be much of a stretch for them to add F-35Bs to the list. And both South Korea and Japan have yard capacity to handle building a carrier, with the US chipping in in critical areas.
Methinks a little incentivizing might be in order. Perhaps a discount on the planes for anyone developing a capability to base them at sea. Funding a V-22 AWACS demonstrator might help things along as well.


By 2020, we could be experimenting on LHA-6 with the concept of F-35B TACAIR supported by V-22s filling the COD/Tanker/AEW roles... a package that foreign customers would notice.
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Unread post26 Nov 2015, 07:55

The UK really needs to procure the Osprey. If, they're going to exploit the full capabilities of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers and the F-35B!
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Unread post27 Nov 2015, 02:04

Corsair1963 wrote:The UK really needs to procure the Osprey. If, they're going to exploit the full capabilities of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers and the F-35B!
Given the STOVL/VTOL nature of their carriers, I've always been somewhat puzzled by their lack of interest in the V-22 given the vast improvements it offers in speed/range. Whatever its perceived faults as an assault transport, it's hard to argue that it isn't way better than any helicopter for COD, AEW, maritime-patrol, or tanking. The only things that a Merlin might be better at are rescue and ASW.


Oh well, I suppose they'll still be alright.

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