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_Del_

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So why have frigates at all then if you're not going to operate them independently?
You have frigates to provide certain capabilities for less money...

The USN already has massive amounts of strike warfare capability at sea, between the VLS cells on dozens of CRUDES, the SSNs/SSGNs, and the carriers (plus the USAF bringing a level of strategic strike the Russians can't even hope to match).
I'd rather have 48 cells than 32 regardless of the mission. Let's assume the USN will always have SSN's and DDG's aplenty, in a manner in which they are always available for quick deployment to any given area-- and the frigates are "only" tasked to ASW and AA missions alongside a carrier or surface group.

That's, say, 12 ASROCS for ASW. Which leaves us 20 cells on the FREMM-based ship or 36 cells on a Adm. Gorshkov analogue available for anti-air load out. If we split the FREMM load out with 20 ESSM and 15 Standards, we can split a single Adm. Gorshkov with 28 ESSM and 29 Standards. That's almost twice as many Standards to fleet air defense, and 40% more ESSM carried.

Or alternatively, two FREMM frigates bring 2/3 the cells of a Burke Flight III, while two Adm. Gorshkov's bring 100% of the Burke's cells to the fight. And the fewer cells the Burkes have to expend, the longer they can effectively stay at sea. Much rather rotate frigates back and forth to reload magazines than have to take the Burkes off station.

To say nothing of scenarios in which the Navy finds itself in situations where only a frigate is available to be quickly dispatched...
 

TomS

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Sure, and I'd like 64 cells and a pony. But we've seen what happens when PEO Ships tries to buy a pony (it gets DD-21).

You can do the same basic math and get to the exact opposite conclusion. Consider that in 8 cells, FFG(X) has 32 ESSM, which is as many local defense SAMs as an FFG-7. And with the on-deck NSM, it has as at least as many SSMs as a normal FFG-7 loadout (with an option for twice as many). That leaves 24 extra cells, which is a radical improvement. And it has an actually useful PDMS in the form of RAM Block 2 I don't worry about carrying a huge number of VLA -- it's not part of the baseline and the USN really doesn't see it as a critical capability. Even if it gets added to FFG(X), I wouldn't expect a ship to carry more than a half dozen to keep a POSSUB busy while they put a helo on it. That leaves you 18-24 extra cells to play with, for a mix of more ESSM and SMs. I'd hope to see a lot of that as SM-2 block IIIC (aka MR Active), which can double as a supersonic ASBM. This is a huge advance in capability over any previous USN ocean escort.

Comparisons to the Gorshkov are spurious because the ships do not fill the same roles. For the Russian Navy, Gorshkov is the high end of the surface combatant mix. It needs all the weapons because it's the star of the show, likely the centerpiece of an RFN surface action group. And they've crammed all those systems into a frankly undersized hull because it's all they could afford. For the USN, FFG(X) is a gap-filler. It needs to be able to keep itself alive, contribute to the ASW and ASuW fights, and maybe escort a couple of ships in close company. For that, it's obviously value-engineered in an attempt to make an actually affordable escort ship. But it's still highly capable.
 

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Kek. Russia is launching icebreakers at 33.500 tonnes(with already signed contract for 71k tonnes ones), tankers at 114k tonnes, but *somehow* everything above frigate at 5400 tonnes is TOO BIG for it.
 

TomS

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Kek. Russia is launching icebreakers at 33.500 tonnes(with already signed contract for 71k tonnes ones), tankers at 114k tonnes, but *somehow* everything above frigate at 5400 tonnes is TOO BIG for it.
Fair. But the next-gen and much larger Lider destroyer just got cancelled, apparently for budget reasons.
 

GARGEAN

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It wasn't specifically cancelled (despite journos performing journos as usual), it was more of not pushed further desigh state and stayed in same limbo it was since its first appearance.
 

_Del_

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And they've crammed all those systems into a frankly undersized hull because it's all they could afford.
You mean they determined that they can put effective fire power to sea most cost-efficiently through the use of relatively cheap, but powerful frigates? How "backwards" they must be!
 

Volkodav

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And they've crammed all those systems into a frankly undersized hull because it's all they could afford.
You mean they determined that they can put effective fire power to sea most cost-efficiently through the use of relatively cheap, but powerful frigates? How "backwards" they must be!
You used "effective" and "cost-efficiently" in the above, considering professional navies, including the former USSR pretty always increase size to improve effectiveness and cost efficiency, I wonder how Russia has managed to achieve the complete opposite to everyone else. I suspect, though don't know for a fact, that their frigates are too tight, inefficient and difficult to maintain. The reality is, systems are the expensive part of a ship acquisition, the structure being cheap by comparison, I strongly suspect future generations will grow in size due to lessons learned on these smaller tighter ships.
 

sferrin

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Sure, and I'd like 64 cells and a pony. But we've seen what happens when PEO Ships tries to buy a pony (it gets DD-21).
Zumwalt was not a technical failure. It's a failure of the USN to sell the program and failure to adjust when circumstance changed. Such a ship is certainly doable, and a necessity.
 

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Sure, and I'd like 64 cells and a pony. But we've seen what happens when PEO Ships tries to buy a pony (it gets DD-21).
Zumwalt was not a technical failure. It's a failure of the USN to sell the program and failure to adjust when circumstance changed. Such a ship is certainly doable, and a necessity.
Sorry, that was a bit terse. Let me unpack that.

The whole SC-21 process suffered really badly from wish-list requirements documents that did not reflect what was affordable within the actual budgets that existed. PEO Ships asked for pretty much every capability it could think of in the SC-21 COEA (asking for a pony). As a result, it got a pair of unaffordably large ship designs (the original DD-21 Blue/Gold designs), which it then had to cut down significantly (to DD(X)), and then only partially outfit (DDG-1000 as built).
 

sferrin

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Sure, and I'd like 64 cells and a pony. But we've seen what happens when PEO Ships tries to buy a pony (it gets DD-21).
Zumwalt was not a technical failure. It's a failure of the USN to sell the program and failure to adjust when circumstance changed. Such a ship is certainly doable, and a necessity.
Sorry, that was a bit terse. Let me unpack that.

The whole SC-21 process suffered really badly from wish-list requirements documents that did not reflect what was affordable within the actual budgets that existed. PEO Ships asked for pretty much every capability it could think of in the SC-21 COEA (asking for a pony). As a result, it got a pair of unaffordably large ship designs (the original DD-21 Blue/Gold designs), which it then had to cut down significantly (to DD(X)), and then only partially outfit (DDG-1000 as built).
Hull size isn't what makes a ship unaffordable. Lots of ships are bigger than the Zumwalts and cheaper. I'd argue the cost of the Zumwalts is largely due to poor, to non-existent, leadership resulting in abysmal execution. Does anybody really believe a clean-sheet Tico replacement will get here sooner and cheaper than if they would just use the Zumwalt as the basis for the cruiser? Most of the hard part is already done.
 

TomS

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OK, to tie this back to FFG(X), what did so much damage to DD-21 was that there was a massive disconnect between capability expectations and cost expectations. The Navy asked for all the nice-to-have capabilities and asked for it all within a $750 million unit price. But putting in all the toys drove both unit price and hull size way beyond expected levels, which caused massive pushback in DoD and Congress. Program failure.

So, now with FFG(X), we have the Navy actually trying to make sure that the required capabilities fit within the available budget. And what's happening? People start whining about FFG(X) not having all the toys. Sigh...

Edit: We hear "steel is cheap, air is free" a lot in shipbuilding discussions. (I've said it myself many times). But this is only true is you are absolutely fanatical about not stuffing additional systems into that cheap steel and free air. DD-21 was a classic example in which that aphorism failed because no one said NO loudly enough at the outset.
 
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Josh_TN

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And they've crammed all those systems into a frankly undersized hull because it's all they could afford.
You mean they determined that they can put effective fire power to sea most cost-efficiently through the use of relatively cheap, but powerful frigates? How "backwards" they must be!
You used "effective" and "cost-efficiently" in the above, considering professional navies, including the former USSR pretty always increase size to improve effectiveness and cost efficiency, I wonder how Russia has managed to achieve the complete opposite to everyone else. I suspect, though don't know for a fact, that their frigates are too tight, inefficient and difficult to maintain. The reality is, systems are the expensive part of a ship acquisition, the structure being cheap by comparison, I strongly suspect future generations will grow in size due to lessons learned on these smaller tighter ships.
Soviet ships also were far better armed than their USN equivalents of a given tonnage. Look at say a Krivak compared to a Knox, or even a pre VLS Spruance, which really wasn't much better armed than a Knox for all its size. The Soviets generally de-prioritized crew comfort, sea keeping ability, and damage control. I suspect those the are the same compromises here. Given the disparity of deployment schedules, distances, and endurance between the Russian Navy and the USN, that makes total sense. But there is no free lunch.
 

sferrin

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Edit: We hear "steel is cheap, air is free" a lot in shipbuilding discussions. (I've said it myself many times). But this is only true is you are absolutely fanatical about not stuffing additional systems into that cheap steel and free air. DD-21 was a classic example in which that aphorism failed because no one said NO loudly enough at the outset.
The Zumwalt / Cruiser should be like the Spruance class was. It was also roundly criticized at the outset (compared to a Kara it looked positively naked). By the time they sunk them prematurely they were some of the best, most heavily armed destroyers on the planet. (And that was without the 8" Mk71 they were supposed to get as well.)
 

_Del_

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And what's happening? People start whining about FFG(X) not having all the toys. Sigh...
It's not really a whinge, I agree with you more than not. I said it in the other thread:
Frigates haven't been capital ships in over a century -- what exactly are people expecting? It's a picket ship. Bit like complaining a Humvee isn't survivable in a pitched battle.

I'm not a huge fan of the Navy's new "distributed lethality" bent, but if they can get an AEGIS system and VLS and deckspace asea in a proven hulls for under a billion dollars, I'll be thrilled that something in the Navy appropritation program is actually working.
That said, I think I'd prefer more cells available. I have little doubt that the choice based on a (more) proven design was the best of the available choices for the competition. I like that installing new engines and gear can (reportedly) be done without cutting a hole in the ship. I like that they stuck with mostly mature tech to hold costs down. But if we're going to stretch it and put in a plug, it would have been nice to get extra VLs cells.

If the price balloons as is, and we start to see it climb anywhere near the cost of a new Flight III Burke ($1.8 billion), heads should roll.
 
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Colonial-Marine

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I must admit I am disappointed that the USN didn't go with a gun layout like the Italian version. The USN version could have had a 5" Mark 45 Mod 4 in front and a 57mm Mark 110 in back above the hanger. The base design clearly had the capability for it.
 

Volkodav

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on a related note, in regards to the competiition, did BAe submit a proposal based on their Type 26 for the FFX?
probably would have been a good rival to the FREMM
Existing, in-the-water designs only. And unlike with the Canadians who had the same stipulation, BAE weren't able to bribe the officials into accepting the T26 anyway.
Your tin foil hat is slipping
When are people going to realise the Type 26 has won a number of competitive acquisition because it was the most suitable design on offer. When it is the main surface combatant of a navy it logically has to be larger, more capable and more survivable, when the navy concerned already has significant capabilities in the form of a large destroyer force, then larger numbers of smaller less capable ships can make sense.

Th Italians have GP and ASW FREMMS supporting Horizon air defence frigates and carrier, the USN is the USN, i.e. carriers, cruisers, destroyers, as well as LCS, these are a supplementary capability. For Australia and Canada the Type 26 is one of the main, if not the main combat capability of the surface fleet. Suggesting bribery is just ridiculous.
 

TomS

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I must admit I am disappointed that the USN didn't go with a gun layout like the Italian version. The USN version could have had a 5" Mark 45 Mod 4 in front and a 57mm Mark 110 in back above the hanger. The base design clearly had the capability for it.
The US version is closer in configuration to the ASW FREMM, which does not have the 5-inch gun. Seems the volume was needed for other things. The US version also has RAM sitting where that aft 3-inch gun is in the Italian ships. While the Italians use their 3-inch guns as CIWS, the USN does not regard the 57mm as a CIWS equivalent. I'd consider RAM a better point defense than any medium-caliber gun.
 

Lc89

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I found this site on the FFG (X). There is also an email address for questions.
 

TomS

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That's a lot of .50-calibers (I count 10).
 

TomS

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Might be time to resurrect Metal Storm CIWS.
Resurrect?
Didn't know it had been terminated.


Regards
Pioneer
Well, to be fair, you can't resurrect something that was never alive in the first place. Metal Storm never built anything that you could really call a CIWS, AFAIK. And the company went bankrupt nearly a decade ago. Even the Chinese dropped their attempts to copy the technology... Turns out that insanely high RoFs aren't all that helpful. Precision matters much more, and being able to sustain fire counts more than firing all the rounds at once.

I'm not sure that .50 cals would be the weapon I'd choose to deal with boat swarms. I'd rather have seen a pair of 30mm, as in the LCS ASuW fit, for commonality and ABM ammo, but at least the machineguns are cheap. The 57mm is clearly going to be a much more significant line of defense here. I hope ALaMO lives up to its promise. (And not up to its name...)
 

sferrin

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I'm not sure that .50 cals would be the weapon I'd choose to deal with boat swarms.
No but it seems it's all they're willing to pony up for. A ship or two will have to be attacked before they pull their heads out.

Here we show what would be a dead LCS.

 

TomS

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I'm not sure that .50 cals would be the weapon I'd choose to deal with boat swarms.
No but it seems it's all they're willing to pony up for. A ship or two will have to be attacked before they pull their heads out.

Here we show what would be a dead LCS.

I see a lot of close aboard impacts around that target boat with what are presumably inert practice rounds. After all, those things aren't free; best not to destroy your test assets if possible. Live ABM or HE might well have killed it.
 

sferrin

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I'm not sure that .50 cals would be the weapon I'd choose to deal with boat swarms.
No but it seems it's all they're willing to pony up for. A ship or two will have to be attacked before they pull their heads out.

Here we show what would be a dead LCS.

I see a lot of close aboard impacts around that target boat with what are presumably inert practice rounds. After all, those things aren't free; best not to destroy your test assets if possible. Live ABM or HE might well have killed it.
That's ONE boat.
 

Moose

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That's also the 30mm Mk44, not the 57mm Mk110. Plus, no guided rounds. The main swarm-killing will be done with ALaMO and/or weapons launched from helos/UAVs.

The .50cals are point-blank defense and they're included because they're cheap and the Navy can pretty easily train Specialist Bonehead to do some damage with it without taking a big bite out of the time needed to train said sailor on other things.
 

sferrin

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That's also the 30mm Mk44, not the 57mm Mk110. Plus, no guided rounds. The main swarm-killing will be done with ALaMO and/or weapons launched from helos/UAVs.

The .50cals are point-blank defense and they're included because they're cheap and the Navy can pretty easily train Specialist Bonehead to do some damage with it without taking a big bite out of the time needed to train said sailor on other things.
What concerns me the most is how long it takes takes even a Mk110 to prosecute each boat in a swarm. Not fast enough most likely.
 

TomS

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That's also the 30mm Mk44, not the 57mm Mk110. Plus, no guided rounds. The main swarm-killing will be done with ALaMO and/or weapons launched from helos/UAVs.

The .50cals are point-blank defense and they're included because they're cheap and the Navy can pretty easily train Specialist Bonehead to do some damage with it without taking a big bite out of the time needed to train said sailor on other things.
What concerns me the most is how long it takes takes even a Mk110 to prosecute each boat in a swarm. Not fast enough most likely.
It's not incredibly easy to effectively engage even a big ship from a small speedboat while running at high speed in anything but a dead calm.
 

shin_getter

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It is like there is some strange aversion to precision weapons on both sides in this conflict. Giving shooters an ATGM/guided Carl Gustaf/etc would do more than 50cals and not take more space.

If switchblade have swarm logic software developed it seems like a cheap and compact long range option.
 

Purpletrouble

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That's also the 30mm Mk44, not the 57mm Mk110. Plus, no guided rounds. The main swarm-killing will be done with ALaMO and/or weapons launched from helos/UAVs.

The .50cals are point-blank defense and they're included because they're cheap and the Navy can pretty easily train Specialist Bonehead to do some damage with it without taking a big bite out of the time needed to train said sailor on other things.
What concerns me the most is how long it takes takes even a Mk110 to prosecute each boat in a swarm. Not fast enough most likely.
It's not incredibly easy to effectively engage even a big ship from a small speedboat while running at high speed in anything but a dead calm.
Having been on RIBs chasing down other boats, any form of waves or sea and at anything over 20kts you are hanging on and it is all about trying to flex and tense your body to take the slams. My predecessor in one role broke his back on a landing (hence me being called out early!) and we frequently broke boats.

The idea of firing anything, let alone hitting something even as big as a frigate, in those conditions is utterly fanciful. If the frigate is at 20kts you’d be left behind even if you could get into its wake - as we frequently were!

If it were shooting at you even a near miss from a 30mm round is going to put people out of action from the pressure wave.

Even our GPMG mount was only for use when stationary, it was more useful as a climbing aid to get on bigger dhows.

Similarly I recall a mate in Basra telling me how he wasnt sure if his rounds were above or below the horizon when firing from the top hatch on a speeding Snatch. Having done it on the range, it took using a minimi at about 25m to get even a round on a target.

From watching 30mm ASCG vs Killer Tomatos (targets) I was pretty happy any rib would be shredded miles out, having then also fired GPMG and minigun closer in (<1 mile) from the exceptional comfort and aiming stability of a bridge wing, nothing is getting close.

So all in all the swarm rib threat is not what it is presented as, just as torpedo boats weren’t. Same old same old!

Ref using a guided weapon - the problem is training burden plus storing them securely and getting them topsides when needed. At 10s of £1000s they arent something we can have sitting around vs the very cheap ammo for a MG or even an autocannon.

Of course the real problem is getting authority to fire. That is the thing that is likely to be too late. We frequently had RIBs within 1/4 mile being annoying but without an overt threat or an extant war no (Western) chain of command is going to fire. Quality of weapon defences are irrelevant if we don’t use them.
 

Purpletrouble

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We routinely spent 12+ hours out on the boats, never more than an hour at speed because it was exhausting and generated injuries and broken boats. Tactical coordination of even 2-3 boats was difficult in such conditions, all command being from the ship or helos because on the boat your world was about 50m radius at best, falling to about 25m at speed.

The idea a swarm of boats could deploy from somewhere, then launch any kind of coordinated attack using shoulder or pintle mounted weapons - can only come from people who have never done it.

If the ship is at action stations and firing back, it is a turkey shoot. If a helo is in the air it is a massacre.

What we don’t need is more or bigger super complex and costly weapons to defeat it - but more thought about how we’d work out the difference between harassment and an attack and how we’d then actually make that decision to go live. That’s boring against weapon porn, but it is the thing that will actually make a difference.
 

sferrin

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The idea a swarm of boats could deploy from somewhere, then launch any kind of coordinated attack using shoulder or pintle mounted weapons - can only come from people who have never done it.

But that's the least of the problems. Who says they need to be manned? Who says they all need to be manned? 40 boats come out, pre-briefed, 10 of them with warheads in their hulls and a crew who's going to bail when their buddies take the boats over remotely. The possibilities are damn near limitless.
 

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Hilarious how the I's want to board a ship they have destroyed. What to capture the survivors before they all sink, including the boarding party. .
 

Purpletrouble

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The idea a swarm of boats could deploy from somewhere, then launch any kind of coordinated attack using shoulder or pintle mounted weapons - can only come from people who have never done it.

But that's the least of the problems. Who says they need to be manned? Who says they all need to be manned? 40 boats come out, pre-briefed, 10 of them with warheads in their hulls and a crew who's going to bail when their buddies take the boats over remotely. The possibilities are damn near limitless.
40 boats? 10 warheads?

The logistics of that require a state. Even in Hormuz the Iranian harassment is a tiny fraction of that. The logistics of keeping such a force in readiness and deploying it operationally hurt my head.

Noting their PR video shows <10 at sea together even when they are all set up to show off what they can do.

And what are they in? Line abreast. For the same reason we were in 1914, that is the difficulty of coordinating things in a more complex way in the face of the environment. Even then, for their PR video with zero threat, weather, return fire, boats are ahead/behind, off line and so on.

Look at amphbious landings and the vast amount if coord needed including large ships close in - and there the objective was huge, basically in front of you and not moving!

Trying to coordinate that in any kind of sea, when your command element is also on the water (assuming a helo or larger ship isnt an option), just isn’t very feasible.

With frigates that can rapidly get to 30kts and keep that in up to moderate sea states, these boats are going to get left behind. Hell even unmanned the steering/hull/warhead is going to take a pounding and they’ll drop like flies if you try to remotely push them. This is because driving a RIB requires considerable skill from the cox - being based on the feeling of the hull and interaction with the waves and associated constant throttle manipulation. Watching them it was an art - and any mistake was costly in damage/injury.

This idea these boats can be controlled like icons in a computer game, will come crashing apart the moment you get on the water and encounter a sea state.

And having done Hormuz dozens of times, I’ve never seen it flat - what with tide and the distance from land there is always a wind (eg. hence why it is so nice at the end of the UAE palm tree thing as you are a fair few km out to sea there and get decent breeze).

This entire threat is massively over egged, it is the exact same mentality as the 1800s torpedo boat one - which proved equally unseaworthy and thus unable to use their weapons effectively due to the environment and the difficulties in tactical command. They then grew and grew and grew, but got fewer and fewer and fewer until they merged with warships and are now the target!
 
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Purpletrouble

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Hilarious how the I's want to board a ship they have destroyed. What to capture the survivors before they all sink, including the boarding party. .
What was also hilarious was fast roping from rhe helos onto something comfortably big enough to land on and disembark everyone near instantly. The point of fastroping is where you cant land (having done it!).

Plus they board the CVN, which has been hit and disabled so has presumably everything from ammo to leaking reactors, and at least several thousand people still alive - with light infantry carrying what, half a dozen mags each - where are the breeching charges for doors? respirators for a smoke filled environment? more ammo, much more ammo.

Plus yes, aside from killing even more, which is completely pointless when you’ve already acheived the biggest coup since 7/12/41, but putting precious and expensive helos and people at risk, why?

Plus the boat threat comes later - their actual ship killers are clearly the SSMs. Even in the PR video the target has to have been disabled and sitting still/undefended before the boats approach. I think that reflects they wont get close to a live one, and whilst everyone assumes every IRGCN is a “break glass and use” suicide martyr - what that video showed were trained and well equipped troops. People like that don’t martyr themselves or get used in that way - the Iranian chain of command has the exact same options to lead them as Western troops are. And if you look at how say Iranian formations fought in Oman, these are regular troops that fight with the same characteristics. Not the civilians they have used as martyrs.
 
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