Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Navy admits that its secretive new $760 million aircraft carrier defense system is a total failure
The U.S. Navy has shed light on a previously highly classified project meant to protect aircraft carriers from the grave and widespread threat of torpedos, and it's been a massive failure.
Virtually every navy the U.S. might find itself at war against can field torpedos, or underwater self-propelled bombs that have been sinking warships for more than 100 years.
U.S. Navy aircraft carriers represent technological marvels as they're floating airports driven by nuclear reactions, but after years of secretive tests, the U.S. has given up on a program to meet the threat.
The U.S. Navy has cancelled its Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defensive System project and will remove the systems from five aircraft carriers that actually have them installed, the Pentagon's Office of the Director of Test and Evaluation revealed in a report on Tuesday.
"In September 2018, the Navy suspended its efforts to develop the [surface ship torpedo defense] system. The Navy plans to restore all carriers to their normal configurations during maintenance availabilities" over the next four years, the report reads.
Essentially, the report says over five years, the program made some process in finding and knocking down incoming torpedos, but not enough. Data on the reliability of the systems remains either too thin or completely nonexistent.
This leaves the U.S. Navy's surface ships with almost no defense against a submarine's primary anti-surface weapon at a time when the service warns that Russia and China's submarine fleet have rapidly grown to pose a major threat to US ships.
The US ignored the threat of torpedos, and now anyone with half a navy has a shot
High-speed underwater missile Shkval-E.(Vitaly V. Kuzmin via Wikimedia Commons)
At the end of the Cold War, the U.S. turned away from anti-submarine warfare towards a fight against surface ships. But now, Russia, China, and Iran reportedly have super-cavitating torpedoes, or torpedos that form a bubble of air around themselves as they jet through the water at hundreds of miles an hour.
The new class of speedy torpedos can't be guided, but can fire straight towards U.S. Navy carriers that have little chance of detecting them.
Torpedoes don't collide directly into a ship, but rather use an explosion to create an air bubble under the ship and potentially bend or break the bow, sinking the ship.
Other Russian torpedos have a range of 12 miles and can zig zag to beat countermeasures when closing in on a ship.
In a combat exercise off the coast of Florida in 2015, a small French nuclear submarine, the Saphir, snuck through multiple rings of carrier-strike-group defenses and scored a simulated kill on the USS Theodore Roosevelt and half its escort ships, Reuters reported. Other US naval exercises have seen even old-fashioned, diesel-electric submarines sinking carriers.
Even unsophisticated foes like North Korea and Iran can field diesel-electric submarines and hide them in the noisy littoral waters along key US Navy transit routes.
The U.S. has spent $760 million on the failed system, The War Zone reported.
The U.S. Navy can deploy "nixies" or noise-making decoys that the ship drags behind it to attract torpedos, but it must detect the incoming torpedoes first.
A U.S. Navy carrier at 40 knots runs just 10 knots slower than a standard torpedo, but with a flight deck full of aircraft and personnel, pulling tight turns to dodge an incoming torpedo presents problems of its own.
Read more from Business Insider:
- The U.S. Navy just turned the future guns of its new Ford-class supercarriers on a drone in a landmark live-fire test
- China sets the stage for a 'bloody nose' attack on US aircraft carriers, but it would backfire horribly
- The U.S. Air Force refuels combat jets in midair with a 'flying boom system' — watch it in action
- The U.S. Navy's carriers have a gaping hole in their defenses against a growing threat, and drones may soon fill it
- The Air Force's biggest plane had another landing mishap, but it's not related to a similar problem 2 years ago, the service says
WATCH NEXT: Dual Carrier Operations, Motherfucker!
A sprawling new survey says a ‘culture of resilience’ helped US military families weather housing woes for years
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
Decorated Vietnam vet presents Purple Heart and Bronze Star to family of slain UNC Charlotte shooting hero
Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military's highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina this week.
Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis "Reed" Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30.
CAIRO (Reuters) - After losing territory, ISIS fighters are turning to guerrilla war — and the group's newspaper is telling them exactly how to do it.
In recent weeks, IS's al-Naba online newspaper has encouraged followers to adopt guerrilla tactics and published detailed instructions on how to carry out hit-and-run operations.
The group is using such tactics in places where it aims to expand beyond Iraq and Syria. While IS has tried this approach before, the guidelines make clear the group is adopting it as standard operating procedure.