AORs in the Age of Distributed Lethality 1


30 March 2017. An article written by Christopher Cedros, a surface warfare office with the US Navy, sparked my earlier comment on repair containers and mexeflotes. The article is “Distributed Lethality and the Importance of Ship Repair” [available at http://the strategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017-2-14/distributed-lethality-and-the-importance-of-ship-repair].

The doctrine of distributed lethality could fill an issue of Canadian Naval Review, and include a follow up issue discussing the implications of supporting this shift to the offensive. Under distributed lethality the greatest shift in thinking may not come in the warships but from the auxiliary ships. Instead of a hostile navy tracking and targeting one large task force, it will be forced to track multiple targets. The more aggressive the surface action group, the greater the likelihood it will suffer battle damage. AORs that focussed on refueling and resupply in the past will be called upon for repairs, in the absence of dedicated repair ships.The commanding officer of an armoured regiment does not think ‘what if a tanks get hit’ in battle but when a tank gets hit, the commander thinks ‘how fast can the vehicle be repaired and re-enter the battle.’ Some battlefield repairs can be done by armoured recovery vehicles. More serious damage requires the recovery and transport of the vehicle to rear area workshops.

The commanding officer of an armoured regiment does not think ‘what if a tanks get hit’ in battle but when a tank gets hit, the commander thinks ‘how fast can the vehicle be repaired and re-enter the battle.’ Some battlefield repairs can be done by armoured recovery vehicles. More serious damage requires the recovery and transport of the vehicle to rear area workshops.

Should admirals adopting distributed lethality be changing their ideas on repairs at sea? Hoisting mexeflote pontoons and containerized workshops on the deck of the interim AOR is simple and low cost way to add repair capability. The challenge will be deploying these assets as tactics evolve. The role of the AOR is changing. The Canadian Navy changed thinking when it launched the first generation of AORs – maybe it is time to break the mold when the next generation of AORs enter service ..... with a mexeflote raft on the deck.


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One thought on “AORs in the Age of Distributed Lethality

  • MRB365

    Long gone are the days of the Cape Brenton and Cape Scott, however perhaps a review of essential ‘on site’ repair requirements are needed to ensure the ability and adaptability of deployed Naval units would ensure that basic Engineering/Combat requirements are met.