Challenges in the high seas are increasing, and the US Navy plans to add ship-killer missiles on LPD amphibious ships. Adding these extra missiles will add a punch and defend these transports.
The US Navy is now changing to adapt to more threats and ways to field more weapons in the force. One of them adding more fighting ships and turn any platform into weapons mount.
Both the Navy and Marine Corps are in an experimental phase to see if a long-range anti-ship missile is practical on LPD 17s or amphib transport. They can challenge Chinese ships in the Indo-Pacific instead of just carrying troops. Chinese naval ships outnumber the US navy but not in quality, reported Breaking Defense.
Why arm a small flat top?
Naval planners realize that limiting "Naval Strike Missiles" to specific ships is not practical; Land Platform Docks (LPDS) smaller flat tops are needed force multipliers. China and Russian surface navies are putting more long-ranged missiles on their ships is a problem.
This LPD 17s is 600 feet long, built to survive in their mission, and part of the expeditionary warfare unit under Marine Maj. Gen. Tracy King. Amphib transports need the ability to have defense and offense options, like sink enemy ships. If this LPD 17s can sink another ship, then adversaries will be more cautious.
Providing a punch for LPD 17s and other ships
The Naval Strike Missile will be armed on the Littoral Combat Ships and the Constellation-class guided-missile frigate (FFGX). Ship-killer missiles might find their way to Amphibious ships eventually.
NSM is already used on the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS), and part of the Navy and Marine Corps plan to pack both forces with missiles to attack. This means if, on the water or land, the rockets will protect them.
It has been two years for the Marines to learn how to shoot long-range anti-ship missiles from vehicles and improve the US navy's ability to fight back. These anti-ship missiles are finding their way to submarines too. Other missiles under consideration are Lockheed Martin's new Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile and Boeing's Harpoon.
Right now, everything is still under development and checking if it is a reasonable expense for the navy, said King.
Amphibs and more firepower
Arming up these LPD 17 is a must as they will be forward ships, while aircraft carriers will be used for F-35s, with F-35s flying cover for these transports, which will be more protected to engage adversaries in the South China Sea or the North Atlantic and survive.
More ships will be retired, but amphibs are a solution.
Older ships in the next ten years will replace, but many missile tubes will be lost, with smaller FFGX (Constellation class frigates) that will be part of smaller navy ships. Soon a 30-year shipbuilding plan for the navy will begin for a new US Naval force to rise.
More ships by 2040
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, the plan is to grow the navy to 355 ships until the 2040s. This is to compete with other nations, building more powerful navies. The target is 4% in naval expansion, or only 305 to 310 ships can be reached. Crucial is the budget, or no naval development will happen.