Bring back the big guns


It is fitting that on the 61st anniversary of D—Day that Dennis Reilly urges the US Navy to reactivate the two Iowa—class battleships remaining on the Navy's register.  Mr. Reilly is the science advisor for the US Naval Surface Fire Support Association, and makes a strong technical and tactical case for upgrading the two ships to fill the fire support gap that has existed since the early 90s.

The National Defense Act of 2006 would strike the USS Wisconsin and the USS Iowa from the Navy register and turn them into museums.  Reilly is pushing to upgrade and refurbish the two ships much as was done in the early 80s to provide a huge boost to the firepower for naval surface task forces.  In contrast to the new DD (X) destroyers which have only two long range guns and costs 1.7 billion a pop,

Each battleship, with a reactivation and modernization cost of only $1.5 billion, has firepower equivalent to two aircraft carriers using only one—eighth the manpower.  Moreover, the battleships' response is all—weather, is generally faster and is impervious to air defenses.

In other words, electronic counter—measures and anti—aircraft missiles cannot stop a two ton projectile from hitting the target.  At any rate, one of these battleships upgraded with 21st century technology would have the ability to strike targets en mass with both guns and cruise missiles.

In the future, we may not have the luxury of having modern ports located in friendly territory to disembark our troops for a protracted ground campaign.  It's time to show our potential adversaries we are serious about forcing our way ashore if necessary.

Doug Hanson                           06—06—05