I saw something on the Internet yesterday that I also saw in the March 2008 issue of “Popular Science.” It was a warship of the future, the Zumwalt. It was named after Admiral Zumwalt, who had Agent Orange sprayed over the Ho Chi Minh Trail to defoliate the jungle so that the enemy couldn’t hide under its cover. His son developed cancer because of it. When his dying son was asked if the substance shouldn’t have been used, he said that if it hadn’t been used, he might not have survived the war and couldn’t have given his father grandchildren. One or more of those grandchildren may join the navy and be able to serve aboard the vessel named after their grandfather.
It uses slanted hull plating to make it a harder target for an enemy radar to detect. It also uses drones, missiles, an electromagnetic rail gun, and 155 mm guns to hit targets on shore. It can also launch small subs underneath the hull so that seal teams can use it. But with Obama’s desire to slash defense spending, there won’t be as many built as there should be.
Like Carter’s Navy, the number of vessels the Navy will have to settle for is less than what we had during WW I. The other branches of the military will be downsized too so that we won’t be able to fight a two-front war in the future. I’ll be dealing with what Obama will most likely deny them in future essays.
There are at least six types of vessels I would construct for the Navy of the future. They are the VL3 Short Deck Carrier, the Multi-Ship, the Landing Support Vessel, the Fire Ship, the Drone Patrol Boat, and the WASP. The VL3 Short Deck Carrier would be less than 900 feet long and would launch planes and drones either vertically or from below deck by electromagnetic launchers. Manned planes would use vertical lift, launch, and landing units that would lift the planes into the air, fly with them for awhile, and either go back to the ship or retract into the plane to be used when the plane needs to land on the ship. Drone bombers that will carry nearly as many bombs as a B-I will also be launched from the vessel. The reactors that power the vessel will provide energy for electromagnetic discharge guns, charged-particle beam weapons, and the field discharge systems that will destroy missiles and solid projectiles. If the Navy places power satellites in orbit, planes and drones will be powered from them to provide nearly unlimited range.
Multi-Ships will be part submarine, part destroyer, and part aircraft carrier. They will also be nuclear-powered and be able to travel underwater at over 100 knots thanks to the ionized water injection electromagnetic linear induction engines. It will even launch drones from below the surface. On the surface, it will use electromagnetic discharge cannons, missiles, and charged-particle beam weapons. It will have more firepower than the Battleship New Jersey.
The Landing Support Vessel will be a submersible to bring landing teams to shore and launch drones to provide air cover for the teams. Once the shore systems are released, the vessel will submerge and use small floating communications systems to stay in contact with the teams, drones, and command centers.
Fireships will be about half the size of battleships and three to five times more powerful. They will also be nicknamed icebergs because most of the time, over 80% of the ships will be underwater. The main guns will be electromagnetic discharge guns that will send 300 mm shells toward targets at over 2 miles per second. The 100 mm “mags” will pound targets at a firing rate upwards of 600 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity upwards of 10 miles per second. Charged particle beam weapons will tear open enemy ships, planes, and missiles and be capable of sending missiles and powered projectiles out into space to intercept ICBM warheads and space planes. The beam weapons will be potent enough to destroy targets on the moon if enemies ever establish bases on the moon that are capable of firing upon the earth. Field discharge systems will also defend the ship.
Drone Patrol Boats will patrol areas that are infested with pirates. They will be a little larger than WW II PT boats and more powerful than a cruiser. They will be fast and potent and often deployed from larger vessels. With high-energy weapons and a top speed in excess of 300 knots, our enemies may fear them nearly as much as they fear flying drones.
WASP stands for Water Air Surface Predator. It will attack targets on the water, be able to fly to attack airborne targets and surface targets, and land to attack ground targets like a huge tank. It will also be able to deploy troops and become a small base during battles. A WASP could use a small nuclear reactor to give it more potency.
A “mother ship” that is often submerged would be the supply ship and main repair ship for the fast deployment fleet upwards of 100 of the vessels I mentioned. The cost may exceed $300 billion, which may make it too expensive to build and deploy. But it would greatly modernize our Navy and make it more potent. The Obama cuts to our naval capability will probably keep it just a dream.