Debating Defence and Naval Policy (XXV)

I too am a subscriber to the "tyranny of distance" thesis, as well as that "size matters" in providing seakeeping platform stability for systems effectiveness as well as creature comforts. However, there is also much to be said for Ken Hansen's thesis, if I may paraphrase, that "good enough is good enough." Our navy is entering a period of considerable risk, in which no govt will put forth the eye-watering sums needed for fleet replacement (that is assuming it can muster at the "jarmy" capability review board). It may be time to scope back considerably on the full-class capabilities of the future surface combatant. Is there any logic to arguing that the first four (as planned) be replacements for the 280s (not only for C2, but so that we don't get out of the big missile game), and accept that the follow-on dozen will be only very-basic capability (defined, I propose, as sufficient to conduct MIO and naval fires, the latter to support an amphib capability)? I would subscribe more fully to Ken's thesis (ie, delete the 280 replacement), except that I just know in my gut that whatever is built will be ours for the next 40 years, and a lot of strategic surprises can happen in that period of time.

David Perry: Eric Lerhe then added, "I like this distance thing."

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