Xlation? 10,000 ton cruisers will have a problem trying to outmaneuver cigarette boats which can hit 60 knots.
U.S. Navy upgrading Gulf capabilty after incident in Strait of HormuzWASHINGTON -- GERTZ -The U.S. Navy seeks to bolster its fleet with new vessels that could easily maneuver in the shallow waters of the Gulf. Officials said the platforms were deemed vital in wake of a series of Iranian confrontations with the U.S. Navy in the Strait of Hormuz.
"The fact that we are operating in concert with our friends in the region and other nations who contribute to the coalition speaks to the essence of our maritime strategy, which is one of cooperation and collaboration," Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said.
The nation's first Littoral Combat Ship, Freedom (LCS 1) - prepares to make a side launch during her christening at the Marinette (Wis.) Marine shipyard in September 2006. Lockheed Martin
Xlation? If you think we have a problem, wait till you see the Dutch and Italian navies deal with this in confined seas.
Roughead has supported the procurement of the Littoral Combat Ship for Gulf operations. Two designs were scheduled to be presented for testing in 2008 before the navy selects one of them for development. Israel and Saudi Arabia have also expressed interest in LCS.
"We have to inject in our process the discipline to control the requirements that we've placed into the ships," Roughead said. "We have to put in there what we need, not what we want. We also have to make sure that we're doing everything to control costs."
In a Feb. 12 briefing, Roughead said the U.S. Navy has contained any threat from Iran. He cited three naval encounters with speedboats of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in December 2007 and January 2008.
The Littoral Combat Ship is designed to defeat these kinds of attacks, and is equipped with a raft of helicopters, it's own deployable speedboats, and muiltiple machine guns and other fun toys specifically with Iranian tactical type attacks in mind.
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"The events in the Strait of Hormuz -- I thought they were rather irresponsible," Roughead said. "But again, I fall back onto the professionalism and the performance of our COs and sailors, again, taking in a lot of different bits of information and making the appropriate decisions that kept an event like that from getting out of control."
Officials said the U.S. Navy regards the Gulf as a strategic waterway and would maintain operations regardless of any reconciliation between Teheran and Washington. They said the navy's main task was to ensure the flow of crude oil through the Strait of Hormuz, which contains 30 percent of global oil shipments.
"It's that naval force that is guaranteeing that free flow and the safety and security of those very precious commodities," Roughead said. "That's what navies do."