Tag Archives: Zumwalt

How stupid are we?

Yes, let’s come with a question that optionally offends us all straight from the barn, because we deserve to be asked the hard questions. I have been accused of being ‘all’ pro Saudi, all ‘pro’ China and why? You see, two players (US and UK) have a product, OK the USA less so, if you ignore 900 flaws and that would be fine, but then the US gives the KSA ban after ban and for no good reason, merely a morel approach whilst the opponents of the KSA are not held to ANY standard. So, if I see an option to make 3.75% from $11,000,000,000 I will do so. Australia is not in a war with China. Now, as a commonwealth citizen I would have preferred to sell the KSA the UK solution, but here we see that the UK is as stupid as the US and they all listen to the wrong people and they are now losing out on billions, billions THEIR government coffers desperately need (the US needs them as well, but I remain a commonwealth citizen, so fuck ‘em). And China has a product and personally so does Russia, but in that equation I would prefer to ‘sell’ the Chinese solution. There are no morals, this was all about common sense (and me getting a few coins in light of an upcoming retirement event).

Now was it good, was it bad? It is neither, a buying party needs their nation safer (KSA) and the USA and UK have an issue with that, so along comes a valid alternative (China) and so I take a gander being the courier here. 

That does not mean that others are not to be held by standards and that is where we are. You see Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/9/15/what-could-an-evergrande-debt-default-mean-for-china-and-beyond) is giving us the stage where we see ‘What could an Evergrande debt default mean for China and beyond?’ And the stage is not a small one, the debt is now at $300,000,000,000. It is larger than the national budget for quite a few nations. I am wondering, was no one awake when we were confronted with the utter stupidity of a place called Interserve Plc? Oh, and only earlier this year we were fed ‘Interserve Construction suffers £108m loss’, and that was not even the worst. In March we get ‘Losses from Interserve’s energy-from-waste disaster top £300m’, did no one catch on and after we had the Lehman brothers, the Dutch SNS bank who relied on ‘We are too big to fail, we now see Ever Grande and the risk of running short on $300,000,000,000 which looks like a thousand times worse than Interserve, now Tilbury Douglas and the hard times are nowhere near over. Yes, the board of directors will fill their pockets on the way out and I reckon that Hui Ka Yan and his $11,000,000,000 plus fortune will not face the danger of hunger any day soon. Now, whatever China does is up to China, yet I believe that the setting of “Evergrande currently has 1,300 real estate projects in 280 cities in China” shows that there is a larger need for governments to step in, especially when we are confronted with “the real estate developer may not be able to make the interest payments on some of its $300bn in liabilities next week and could also miss a principal payment on at least one of its loans”, I personally never believed that there is anything like ‘Too big to fail’, just offer some of these contracts and the payments to their competitors and see what happens. So even as Hui Ka Yan believed in the alternative Tom Cruise with “I feel the need, the need for greed” there is a larger station, we do know that governments tend to be a lot more stupid then people, but there are well over half a dozen examples of stupidity, did no one catch on? And here we need to take notice that people are on average as stupid as the average of the total amount of stupid people. Yet governments and companies doe not share that. They are as stupid as the sum of all the people working for them and that tends to be a lot worse. According to Deutsche Welle it is already there. With “Some 1.5 million people have put deposits on new homes that have yet to be built” (at https://www.dw.com/en/evergrande-why-the-chinese-property-giant-is-close-to-collapse/a-59175953) we see a setting where a place like San Diego, California where every person in that city loses ALL of their lifetime savings, it is that bad and we tend to wonder what will any government do, I wonder how these people will not lose everything. This is not some collection of shareholders, this is a stage where 1,500,000 people become optionally homeless overnight, it is a lot worse and it could hit the Chinese economy in a few ways and as some people sit hiding behind their dark shades, nodding and state “We feel the need, the need for greed”, all whilst the cadavers of circumstance pile up. When will governments learn that there is a need for oversight, especially when the impact is THAT big. So whilst we take notice of “Evergrande has expanded into other areas of the economy, including food, life insurance, tv/film and leisure”, can anyone explain to me why a property giant was even allowed in food and life insurance? Never mind the bollocks (aka: the 122nd largest group in the world by revenue, according to the 2021 Fortune Global 500 List), too many are heralding and applauding stupidity and greed. As such I feel perfectly fine trying to be the courier between two parties grabbing a decent coin in the process. Oh, and as the Chinese government is seeing what is rolling their way, the KSA deal might be one that diminishes the impact of Evergrande, so whilst we see three people (Biden, Johnson and Morrison) plot to become a new world power by handing nuclear submarines to Australia, all whilst we know that this is merely setting a stage to strut around like peacocks, no one is looking how much more Australian defence budgets will get with nuclear submarines in the mix, all whilst they still need to realise the impact of the F-35 folly. As such I wonder who is aware of what will be left to other people past 2035 when the defence budget will require a 45%-61% top up. I believe in defence as much as the next person, so whilst we accept “Last month the Australian government signed a $50 billion contract with the French company DCNS to build 12 new submarines”, do you think that such a contract will not come without cost? Yet here too (source: ABC News) we are told that “that program has come with delays and blowouts, and would have delivered conventional diesel-electric submarines, like the Collins Class”, so at least there is a decent reason and it makes sense, but still, there is a larger concern, not the coming of nuclear subs, but the realisation that Australia has an antiquated submarine stage and it does need to take care of 2,137,000 meters of beach front property, something needs to be done and that is good, I do not object.

Australian Navy too small

I merely wonder (at times) why it took this long in the first place. When we dig deeper we see why the US wants it because the foundation of nuclear submarines need to be build there, which makes me a bit hesitant after the failures that the F-35 (with 900 design flaws) as well as the failure that the Zumwalt class represents (at $21,000,000,000), the US wants to shout that this will be a success, but I have concerns and fortunately I do have a degree in ships engineering (which I never used). The larger stage is seen but so far governments are seemingly deaf as their irresponsible teenagers (aka politicians) are living off someone else’s credit card and there is the rub, there is the danger. They all live by the rule “We are too big to fail” and China is seemingly no different, its corporate greed is just like all the other greed driven players. So whilst a few players are trying to push the borders, we need to consider what happens when someone in that pool of overspending delusional players panics, because that will be the ball game when things escalate and explode in all our faces. 

How stupid are we to not loudly protest as corporations and governments remain absent in actions, especially when there is a $300,000,000,000 issue? Why was there no action when the danger was a mere $5,000,000,000? Even for China 300 billion is too much and when did we see a positive outcome when that much money was lost? I do not remember any positive impact. Not in 2004, not in 2007 and this time around it will be no different. Yet when the amount is that big it will impact a lot more people, all over the globe. 

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Lemon of the Century

Yes, you have seen it, we have all seen it in some form, but when was the last time you saw a genuine Lemon? Not to mention a Lemon of the century. You would think it is a near impossible task, but Lockheed Martin, an American company pulled it off. In thee cases it is so much sweeter if the accomplishment is American.

I made a case to sell (as a corporate individual) to sell the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia either the British BAE Typhoon, or the somewhat better match the Chinese Chengdu J-20. Now, this is not on principles, but the US making Saudi embargo after embargo, all whilst it is mere puppet play and there was no direct need to stop the sales, especially as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was under direct attack by Houthi forces directly sponsored from Iran and the people were eager to ignore that fact. So there I was taking a stab at a 3.75% sales commission, and in light of a $11,000,000,000 sales ticket could bank me $412,500,000 over a few years. Now, I know, am I greed driven? Nope! But I am not walking away from such a massive mealticket! 

All that happened and was mentioned before, but now there are more reasons as ABC news gives us. The article ‘F-35 program’s future uncertain owing to design flaws, parts shortages and cost blowouts’ (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-08/f35-program-design-flaws-part-shortages-costs-opinions-divided/100431664) there we see “He said the combat jet currently had almost 900 design flaws, with seven considered critical.” This is given to us via Former US Marine Corps Captain Dan Grazier. So this is not out of thin air, this comes to us by decently informed people and at what point is anyone accepting a lemon with 900 design flaws? We get it, a plane with a current whole of life cost estimate of $2.3 trillion we need to consider that there is a massive flaw in the entire process. It becomes worse when you see and consider the Naval failure called Zumwalt class destroyers. That is two out of three, so now we merely need to add an army failure and the US forces will be 3 for 3. So how often do major projects on these scales fail? There is optionally the second stage where both China and Russia are not afraid for a war with the US, because the US is lacking in functional equipment. They have functioning 5th generation planes. I cannot tell if they are better, merely that they are. And I am am the mouse who loves that 412 million dollar cheese wheel, whether I retire or eat myself to death is all equally similar and there is a customer base who would want something that actually works so overall there is more than one seller and there is a definite buyer, so I am game.

Yet the article also gives us “It said that would grow to 40 per cent of jets grounded by 2030, if the repair backlog didn’t improve” this implies that the US airforce needs to grow by 250% to keep the effectiveness numbers of 2017, that is one hell of an investment. I am not denying what the pilots are saying, that it is a game changer that it will be effective, we get that, but it has 900 flaws, and there are a lot of questions in the background when we consider the seven critical problems. So when we consider the claim “Mr Grazier said the cost per flight hour in the United States was around $36,000” and the math man in me consider that at present there are (unverified numbers) “1,763 F-35As for the USAF, 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs for the USMC, and 273 F-35Cs for the USN” it would require the DoD $88,416,000 an hour to get it all in the air, in light of the Afghanistan clambake, which lasted 2 decades, count your losses today. Is someone doing the math here (apart from me)? This is a plane with 900 design flaws. So if China (or the United Kingdom) can beat these costs they have a real chance in getting a new customer in their arsenal and it is one that has money, so that part will be the smallest of concerns.

We could go all (overly) marketing and say:

Chinese
Hellbringing
Equalising
Negotiating

Goalseeking
Defence

Unit

But that might be slightly over the top, what matters is that the US has a real problem and, oh, that reminds me. Is that why they pulled out of Afghanistan? 40% of their flying capabilities wasn’t up to it? I know, it is grasping and it is speculation, but I am trying to get my hands on that 3.75% and that makes me a little giddy. With the Zumwalt it was the principle that it didn’t meet its need, it was too expensive and it was ugly as hell. I still hope to test my new stealth anti naval weapon on it, merely because it is just too ugly to see and congress never approved the shells needed to fire these guns, and a stealth ship with a Raytheon solution is just not a stealth ship. And as a $22,500,000,000 failure it is too expensive for such a failure be allowed. Consider that ABC ends the article with “To respect that dependency, we remain laser-focused on continuing to enhance the capability, affordability and availability of the F-35. With the help of partners and customers, I have no doubt we will succeed.” Which is all fair enough. Now consider that 12 nations have committed to ordering, now consider that if 3 leave that group (Singapore being the most interesting one) and China gets Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE on board as well, the stage changes on a global scale at that point. Now reconsider the military power play where we accept “There are developmental issues that come up because it is a very high technology advanced aircraft. Over time, these issues are resolved.” Yet 900 flaws imply that this will not be resolved until 2029, with spare parts and shortages of equipment lasting until an expected 2036. That implies that these players will not have a real effective airforce for well over a decade, so how many nations will get nervous on that premise and how many will consider a change (please do not change to Russian option, as they give me nothing). So in that light is there really nothing to worry about? And that is before we see the other 9 nations with billions invested all for… what for? 

So whilst I have nothing against Lockheed Martin (I really do not), being in the stage where they are now with 900 design flaws is just too weird. Yes we accept that it is a developing project, but design flaws imply that it is not developing, it was wrongly developed and as such the F-35 should still be in an earlier stage, that is until well over 600 flaws (and the 7 critical ones) were resolved ahead of where they are now. 

So here I am, just a man, a (really) poor man, hoping for his 3.75% before he retires and retirement is not that far away. And in all this, I remain optimistic, because I have things to smile at, especially if I get to test my creative sinking idea on the USS Zumwalt. Yes, it is a gasser (in more ways than one). So feel free to agree (or disagree) but when you see something that should be the lemon of the century, would you not shout that from the tallest building? Especially if it was your neighbour who bought the Ford Edsel. So Ford can now relax, Lockheed Martin surpassed their failure with an impressive larger one.

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Conjecture

To understand this piece, we need to consider the meaning, when we use conjecture we imply and mean “an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information”, the media tens to be in this state well over 90% of the time. They call it something else, something like ‘from sources who revealed this under condition of anonymity’, or perhaps you have heard the statement ‘people close to the matter revealed to us’, yet it remains conjecture, the information was not complete, it almost never is. So when the Middle East Eye handed its readers the headline ‘Can Saudi Arabia develop a major domestic arms industry by 2030?’ Early this morning (18 hours ago), I had to think this through. I saw the setting last year, or the year before and I shrugged at it. You see ‘a major domestic arms industry’ is generic, too generic. Yet the setting is interesting as it will remove billions in revenue from the EU and the US. This after all the BS the US and the European nations gave them is actually refreshing. But the generic side remains. It is hand weapons, armoured vehicles, naval vessels, airforce crates (an old term for airplanes) the list goes on and they cannot have it all, but a nation like Saudi Arabia could set in motion armoured vehicles and hand weapons. I want to continue, yet lets take a look the article (at https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudi-arabia-develop-national-arms-industry-vision-2030) first. We get to see “Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) – a state-owned defence company – set up a joint venture with the US aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, which, according to a SAMI statement, “will develop localised capabilities by transferring technology and knowledge, and by training a Saudi workforce in manufacturing products for, and providing services to, the Saudi armed forces”” is point number one. Then we get “Riyadh has successfully been able to divert some money formerly earmarked for imports to developing domestic alternatives and has reaped the benefit in terms of Saudis employed, but the goal of going from two percent domestic spending in 2018 to 50 percent domestic spending by 2030 is unrealistic if Riyadh wants to maintain its capabilities and maintain an arsenal of the best equipment,” she said” which they get from Emily Hawthorne, Stratfor’s Middle East and North Africa analyst. Yet I am not entirely convinced. I agree that 50% will be a tall order, I am not sure if 50% can be reached by 2030, too much needs to happen. Yet 2035? Is that out of reach? I am not convinced. You see, we all focus on one side, but this entire enterprise has two sides and we seemingly forget that. You see point one gives us ‘training a Saudi workforce in manufacturing products’,  my issue is that this is a focal point not a destination. You see, the military is a destination, The focal point of that workforce needs to grow beyond that. To see this we need to look back at WW1, yes that long back! You see no matter how amazing the Sopwith Camel was (I think the New Zealand Airforce still might have a few), it came from the Sopwith Pup. A plane that was introduced by Sopwith Aviation Company in 1916, during the war, yet the company was founded  on 15 December 1913 before WW1, implying that the design was altered for war, which makes perfect sense. That timeline shows that there is a larger stage to any plane, often used for war later on, that premise changed as the arms industry saw the massive benefits of wealth during WW2. It changed nearly everything. The arms industryu continued, but came from something else and it also came from a direct need. For the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (as my personal conjecture goes), it is in one part to strengthen national defence and it needs to diminish import in this area. A stage the others never had, they were always about the export. I tried to hide that clue in an earlier story named ‘The impact of insanity’ on January 20th 2019 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/01/20/the-impact-of-insanity/), the clue was “The idea came from a famous Dutch bank robber named Aage M (70’s)”, it was a clue, because outside of the Netherlands this man and his book would be widely unknown. I used an engineering solution and made it into a stealth weapon (we all have a bit of Alfred Nobel in us). The secondary clue is seen now (which was unintended), but in the original story I did write “Yet, the brain needs nourishment, in my case it is music, I found out that different scores, will set my mind in different directions and it is not set in the style of music, Whilst one album gave me the brain jump to get me to find the Zumwalt pounder (initially merely a solution to take down the Iranian navy), it was David Bowie, and his album ‘the Next day’ that pushed me to make an initial design of the Elder Scrolls X (formerly known as ES6). I never figured out why it happened, merely that it does”, the underlying part I that other elements drive us to push other areas forward, the Military push is NEVER from the military, it comes from somewhere else, and in this case it is most often civilian needs. We look at the internet and decentralised computing (as DARPA brought it), but the stage is almost never in that direction. It is a business need that fuels a consumer drive and it then becomes a military option. That is more often the case. So look and consider Saudi Arabia, or as the fat cats say, a lovely large sandbox. This sandbox has it own approach, its own needs, elements and drives. We in the west think we know, but there is too much we do not and cannot know. 

So I give you an alternative, we tend to seek an understanding of what is available, yet what is the stage of observation? We look at planes, we look at drones, but what if we take this in another direction? What if we redesign a much older concept?

So consider the previous image and consider the Battle of Fleurus (1794) where they were used first. In those days they had to be big, but today, with what we have in electronics, we could suffice with something that could be found at Toys-R-Us. Did SAMI ever consider (perhaps they did) to use a whole range of stealth kites? We tend to look at it as something like 

Yet that was then, that was civilian, so who considered redesigning that kite in dark colours, make it more stealth like and give it its lightweight electronics that allow for a 25 mile observation with a 5G connection to its base station? No fuel, a silent observer in the night and one most ground forces will not see until it is too late. The Middle East is a different stage, its theatre of war is on grounds seldom seen in the west, as such different solutions will work. A thought that I have not seen explored by DARPA (speculatively) and Raytheon/Northrop Grumman (less speculatively). We all need to consider that the offered information comes from conjecture (even mine) as such I have n clear image of what actually is, but I can see where others did not look (which gave me my 5G IP) and now SAMI has another venue for investigations on what could be done to spend less in other nations (feel free to financially support this poor poor blogger) and consider what else no one has been looking at, because in one of the other stories I left another link, which involves two valves that apparently do not yet exist and that opens up other venues of export. It even gave me a third idea just now. It reflects on an old premise that started the origin of Ceramic glaze, it had different functions, now consider the two-part epoxy adhesive, consider that if it is in two parts, it is an adhesive, yet what if the container it holds has two liquids as well, separate innocent, but if you remove the separation you get a secondary reaction, a chemical reaction that does something else, we now have a nice little chemical detonator, no danger there, until it changes the compound it reacts too, we now have a different setting. All elements that have been abandoned for larger and more accurate electronics. Yet what happens when we change the need of electronics? They need batteries and they tend to have their own flaws, chemicals do not, we are all about relying on the latest ‘electronic’ solutions all whilst the people forgot to look at the other solutions. You see “It has some disadvantages too, e.g. higher cost per detonator and the need for intensive training for users”, when timing is not essential, chemical detonators have their own benefits and in mass production they are cheaper and the need for a larger trained workforce and assembly environment becomes less so, all elements that are not what the seller wants to give you, but the buyer can rejoice when it is faced that way. It does not apply all over the place, but the question becomes, what allows for a different curve that allows for a real application of reducing the investment a cost of developing an arms industry that is applicable to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by 2030, there were two elements, the first is ‘develop a major domestic arms industry by 2030’, the second is ‘spending around 50 percent of its military budget on local sources’, yet that could be seen in two parts as well, spend 50% less of its budget and spend amount X on local sources. If $10B is spend in the US and you can reduce it by Spending $7B less and $2B on local sources the trip is near complete. Consider in that the cost of a US drone (like the MQ-1 Predators) all whilst a refurbishes Kite might cost no more than $15,000. So we get $40,000,000 versus $15,000. Yes the MQ-1 Predators can do a lot more, but how effective is that in Saudi Arabia? Most look at how cool you can fly for $40,000,000, all whilst 15 kites can cover a lot more ground and these groups merely have to observe and guide the MQ-1 Predators to its destination. It is conjecture that we know what is out there, all whilst the term conjecture implies we never knew. Be honest, how many of you considered the deployment of a stealth Kite? A device that uses no fuel, makes no sound and in the dark desert is seemingly as invisible as the night. 

All this whilst we need to consider that as SAMI becomes more successful, the US and the EU will miss out on billions each year, a station that they themselves had a hand in creating. In that time I came up with two additional novel ideas (that might not work). Have a great day!

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What possessed them?

The LA Times brought us the article ‘The Navy’s newest destroyer, the Michael Monsoor, is as much an experiment as a ship-killer‘ (at https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-michael-monsoor-zumwalt-20190126-story.html) a few days ago. My personal view is that it is the ugliest vessel I have so far ever seen. Now, for a functioning being pretty, pleasing or even appealing is not a requirement. It needs to be the killer that scares every other killer and even there it falls a little flat.

The initial consideration for laughter is seen when we consider the line “In the end, what was once intended to be a class of 32 destroyers will now be only three — making for a per-ship cost of about $4.4 billion, according to a December 2016 estimate by the Government Accountability Office, the most recent cost estimate available. Including development costs, that number balloons to $8.2 billion, the GAO said“, so basically the US gets three dinghies for a mere twenty four billion dollars (aka $24,000,000,000), or twenty four thousand million

Three mechanical driven rowboats that amounts to one third of the entire US national budget on education, how perverse is that? Well, it is their tight to choose of course. Yet when we learn that “Despite the higher price, the two advanced gun systems have no ammunition, cancelled because of cost“, a smart bullet system that costs $1,000,000 per round. With the added “The gun’s shells were to be rocket-propelled, guided by GPS and loaded by simply pressing a button“, we are treated to a system that congress will not fuel with ammunition. That is the foundation of a failed and sunk project whilst the vessel is for now still afloat. It was even more fun to learn that optionally the system I designed to sink the Iranian fleet could also be used here, giving us an optional $135,000 solution to drown a $8,300,000,000 mishap, how is that not return on investment? On my side that is!

Do not get me wrong, the US is our ally and I have no such inclinations, my focus was sinking the Iranian ego trippers, I merely found it interesting to know that for a stealth boat, any stealth boat has a similar weakness and mine was set to kick the Iranian dinghies a little, so I take no pleasure that my solution is likely to work there too and it shows the failing of a design and project to be much larger than anyone considered, giving us all a lot more to ponder, because some elements should have been clearly seen on the drawing table and it seemingly was overlooked to such a large extent.

The second part in the mishap is seen when we consider that the design was awarded in 2008, laid down in 2011, launched in 2013, christened in 2014 and repurposed in December 2017 with ‘New Requirements for DDG-1000 Focus on Surface Strike

When USNI News gives us (at https://news.usni.org/2017/12/04/navy-refocus-ddg-1000-surface-strike) “The Navy is revamping the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s requirements and will morph it into a focused surface strike platform, the director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96) told USNI News today” Are you kidding me? After 8 billion and change, a path that spans 10 years (with all the fiasco’s on the internet), we see the calling of ”revamping’ instead of loudly calling the entire Zumwalt class a failure? Did the $1,000,000 per shot not give a clear indication that something extremely weird was afoot? Was there no quality calculation showing us that some implementations were not realistic and that a system like this having a flaw that might be swallowed by a $135,000 could spell a lot of trouble in any direction?

I feel particularly concerned with Rear Adm. Ron Boxall when we see: “I was very pleased with where we came out because some of the decisions were much more about the concept of what we’re getting instead of the actual platform we’re getting“. To him I would go (off course in an informal way) with: “Robby, pal, when the betrothed concept is too far from the begotten actual, we need to consider, ‘product fraud’ (you did not get what you ordered), we can go with ‘failure’ (they did not deliver what was promised) and we certainly need to go with ‘fiasco’ (congress will not allow you to purchase the bullets that the dinghy fires)“, so overall there are three levels of non-success to consider on a whole range of issues that these three puppies have and lets not call them ‘ship-killers’ ever, OK?

And when we see “at the same time look at some of the challenges we’ve had. It’s no surprise, we have some very expensive bills still outstanding with the LRLAP (Long-Range Land-Attack Projectile)” so is that a way to state that invoices were unpaid, or that paid invoices have not met practical delivery? The question is out in the open, because we can go in a few directions. It becomes a larger issue when we see the NY Times Magazine (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/magazine/navy-gunfire-ammunition.html). Here we see: “All three of the failed projectile programs had similar design features and shared a fundamental conceptual problem. “When you try to make a rocket-boosted projectile that can steer itself to a target, you basically have built a guided missile,” said Tony DiGiulian, a retired engineer who has studied all these weapons“, with the added “So why not just build missiles in the first place?” he said. “That’s what you’ll end up with anyway” at the very end, yet leave it to an engineer to apply common sense to an optional working solution. What stopped you guys? Too much outstanding issues with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman? I could have told you that part and I am certain that the navy has scores of common sense people around, still the eight billion was spend and congress will not foot $600 million for a full armory of shells, is anyone surprised?

So not only are we confronted with “the Navy then spent $700 million to have BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin develop the Long Range Land Attack Projectile for the Zumwalt deck gun. It also came to nothing” with an added “rivaling the cost of the Tomahawk cruise missile, which has a 1,000-mile range“. And now we are treated to: “they are evaluating a new shell, called the “hypervelocity projectile,” that is lighter and narrower and could potentially be fired from the upgraded five-inch guns at targets 40 miles away. The program is experimental and in its early stages, and it is unlikely to produce a viable weapon soon“. So not only is the US Navy in a phase where they have nothing, they have been in an 11 year phase of denial and unsupported science fiction ideas that went nowhere with an optional total bill of $256 billion, averted to a mere twenty four billion by scrapping 29 (ugly) vessels.

The fun part is that there was an option to consider, weirdly enough it was not DARPA or the US Navy who came up with the idea; it was film director Jon Favreau who had the brainwave in 2009. Yes, it was a drone used in the movie Iron Man 2. Yet the idea is far less weird and less science fiction then you might think. The air force has its drones, yet the navy could have deployed its own drones, vessel drones are not a myth and even as they are not stealth, they are small enough to get in quick, fire and get out, with a Zumwalt cruiser as a home base. So when we see: “We just doubled the range of our artillery at Yuma Proving Ground,” Gen. John Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium“, we see that the Army has one part of the equation and that droning that solution might have saved the US treasury a few billions. The drones will not endanger manpower, the drones do not required oxygen and can approach submerged and all that at a fraction of the cost, was that so hard to figure out?

Now we get that the brief was never about drones, yet when you try to find a 2010 solution for a 1988 version of smart bullets (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfGnUzGRIuY) we need to consider that someone spending billion to not get there was a terrible idea from the moment the first invoice was paid.

Did I oversimplify the issue?

Let’s also realise that the road to triumph is paved with failures, that makes sense, as not every solution is the breakthrough we aim for, more precisely the failures tend to contribute to future success, yet in this case there seems to have been a lack of common sense on a whole spectrum of issues (or so it seems). And it is there where we see the issue in the larger field, especially with all the failures that seem to define the Zumwalt class, especially as the bulk will be shoved under the carpet through ‘revamping’.

In addition, when we revisit General Murray and consider the quote: “A 70-kilometer target range is, by any estimation, a substantial leap forward for artillery; when GPS guided precision 155mm artillery rounds, such as Excalibur, burst into land combat about ten years ago – its strike range was reported at roughly 30 kilometers. A self-propelled Howitzer able to hit 70-kilometers puts the weapon on par with some of the Army’s advanced land-based rockets – such as its precision-enabled Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System which also reaches 70-kilometers“, what would stop us from adding a drone part in there? Not in the launch, but in the shell itself. Consider the simplicity, when there is one shot, there is a lot less cyber security needed, that whilst the vision for the drone operator is merely the need to adjust the trajectory and there are accurate low expense solutions there. The initial cyber part is not too expensive and merely requires a 240-300 second fail-safe on hacking, there are plenty of solutions there. When we consider that an artillery round could be adjusted, the enemy needs to know the frequency, the codes and the option to interfere, the drone operator might not have to do anything and merely need to lock out changes at some point. An optional 12% increase on a 89% certain hit, making every shot a hit, a better result could not be asked for, so when you consider my ad-hoc idea (open to loads of scrutiny at present), we are still left with the ‘what on earth possessed them in the first place‘, we get it, the defense gravy train is very lucrative, but to revamp the brief on a 24 billion fiasco that was 10 years in the running is taking the mickey out of the entire train ride (staff, fellow travelers and equipment).

War never changes, the technology does but at some point we are confronted with the simplicity of common sense and adjusting the view towards another direction would not have been considered and preferably before the ship was launched might not have been the worst idea. If an optional solution to force a reactor meltdown is seen in a snow globe, what other ideas have not been looked at? Even when we look at it from a complete non-military way, what other options have we never investigated?

It is the same for 5G, when we consider that not the telecom operator but the consumer is at the heart of it all, we see a whole new range of solutions that brings new technologies, and new innovation and they can lead to new services and new foundations of income and profit of course.

 

 

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