Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Making do with a $4B warship

Danger Room has an article about the stealth Zumwalt-class destroyer, built to cruise close to shore, appear on the radar as a fishing boat, and unleash a torrent of artillery rounds on cross-border armored troops. The problem? Between design and implementation, warfare changed. Massive tank armies are out. So the Navy is trying to recast Zumwalts as an air defender for aircraft carriers. The problem: the stealth design is lousy for this purpose, since it sacrifices stability and volume.
Simply put, the world is changing faster than ship design can keep up. “But that's not a new problem," Work says, citing the early 20th century and the post-Cold War period as similarly rapidly evolving eras. "When you keep a ship between strategic eras, you almost always have to goon it up.” That means kluging together all sorts of weapons and sensors you never anticipated during the design phase, and making do with less-than-perfect hull forms.
This is a familiar story for anyone who has read Max Boot's War Made New (reviewed earlier on my blog).
Danger Room - Wired Blogs

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