Our Navy Should Go Nuclear, Not Green

Nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines have proven their strategic value and the safety of nuclear power.

For a few years, 9 nuclear powered cruisers (CGNs) supported the carrier task groups.

The last of the CGNs was commissioned in 1980. All were deactivated in the 1990s for economic reasons.

Today, we have been dismantling the Navy, so it is fast reaching the point where it will be unable to project power in multiple, distant waters.

The waters in question include, the strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, The straits of Malacca, the South China Sea, and with the emergence of a resurgent Russia, the Arctic, the Northern Pacific and the North Atlantic.

The trend toward Littoral Combat Ships, supposedly with the ability to perform multiple missions by using modules that can be loaded as needed onto the ship, cannot project power. It’s doubtful they will even be able to do the job they were intended to do.

They can show the flag, but, as a weapon system, may be as effective as was the Panay.

The so-called GreenNavy is undermining the capability of the remaining major ships.

The Rand report, Findings on Military Use of Alternative Fuels, castigated DOD for its efforts. See Military Funds Being Wasted.

Secretary of the Navy Mabus established the goal of having a nuclear carrier strike force with ships, other than the carriers, powered by biofuels.

The several reasons for using biofuels are senseless: Cutting greenhouse gasses rather than focusing on winning any future war: A supposed lack of reliable supplies of oil when we now have abundant supplies due to fracking: Saving money, rather than providing our men and women with the best equipment to win what ever dangers they face. See Dangerous and Fool Hardy.

Modern Underway Replenishment
Modern Underway Replenishment

Biofuels are limited in supply. Replacing diesel fuel or oil with biofuels increases the logistical problems of fueling the fleet at sea. Adding biofuels to the mix of fuels that must be carried by tankers for supplying the fleet using underway replenishment hurts the Navy’s ability to operate efficiently.

If the fleet must rely on tankers for fuel, they can be targeted by any future enemy, which could prevent the Navy from operating effectively.

What’s needed is a carrier task group powered by nuclear power … not biofuels.

Nuclear power allows forward deployment to project power where it’s needed for extended periods of time. Nuclear power allows ships to travel at maximum speed without concern for where their next refueling with oil or biofuels might take place.

In addition, the Navy of the future will require large amounts of electricity for electric magnetic rail guns (ERMG) that can hurl kinetic energy projectiles for 125 miles or more in support of any amphibious landings that might be required, or to interject power many miles inland while remaining far offshore. Nuclear power can supply the electricity while powering the ships at maximum speed.

The nuclear technology already exists for building cruisers that could operate with nuclear powered carriers. If nuclear power plants can be installed in submarines, why can’t they be installed in DDG-1000 class destroyers?

The concept of a Green Navy is misguided at best, and terribly dangerous at worst.

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