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Arctic shipping to conserve energy.

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Arctic shipping to conserve energy.

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 17 May 2017, 09:31:40

This is the fundamental problem caused by the bureaucracy of the Pentagon. If you are a student of recent history you know the same thing took place in the 1960's and probably repeated in the 1990's on what seems to be a 20-30 year cycle. First come massive budget cuts to the military without a massive reduction in expectations. Then comes finagling to try and have every person in the service do more with less. Less manpower and fewer pieces of equipment. Then some 'brilliant' person comes to the conclusion that every weapon system should be like a Swiss army knife and preform all roles wonderfully so you can just buy a bunch of that one weapon system. The following stage is to sink enormous moneys into designing, building and testing things like the LCS for the Navy and the F-35 for the USAF/Navy that are supposed to be the universal system that does everything within a broad category. Meanwhile you have cut personnel to beyond minimum manning levels to save money at the same time. This includes even the brand new Gerald Ford class aircraft carriers with 'reduced manpower needs' due to 'advanced automation'.

The problem is not specific to any one subsystem of the new design, it comes from marrying too many new things into one new whole. As a result you have a whole set of systems that are each requiring a high maintenance standard because there is not enough operational experience to have worked out the bugs and developed the detailed maintenance plan that will keep the system running at peak performance with the least down time possible. The new Swiss army dose everything design then has all sorts of issues with finicky new delicate systems that need a tone of work to stay fully operational.

A couple of real world examples, the F-111 was initially designed to be the super fighter bomber of the 1960's with the A version going to the USAF and the B version going to the USN. Unfortunately it was intended to be very long range for deep penetration missions into enemy territory which required it to be large to carry a lot of fuel. It was also given swing wings which were the new wonder technology of the 1960's which are inherently very heavy compared to traditional wings because of all the extra hinges/hydraulics built into them. The end result was the B version was just plain too heavy and complex to fly from the majority of the USN aircraft carriers. It was nice for marine air bases or shore bases but the USN requires shipboard aircraft. So the USN went with an independent design that was relatively new, the F-4, and they up-rated the electronics and capabilities to do most of what the F-111B would do in a much simpler airframe that was lighter but shorter range in endurance. The moderately upgraded F-4 was such a successful design the USAF ended up buying thousands of them for itself and only bought the minimum number of super complex F-111A's that were forced on them by powerful lobbyists who got Congress to pass the budget for them. The Navy also was 'encouraged' to adopt a modern fighter/bomber aircraft to replace the F-4 design and what they came up with was the F-14 Tomcat, which started out as a shrunken version of the F-111B designed from scratch to fit the USN aircraft carriers. It had the same swing wings and longer range than the F-4 but the real unique feature was the Phoenix fire and forget missile that could knock down an enemy bomber at 90 miles independently after being launched. The issue was like the F-111 and the B-1B bomber in the USAF the swing wings were great in theory, but a maintenance PITA in practice. As a result the USN continued to operate F-4 fighter aircraft into the late 1990's and by 2010 all of the F-14's were withdrawn from service and almost all of them were literally chopped up to prevent their parts from being sold to Iran. In the 1970's Iran had been the first, and it turned out only, foreign purchaser before the fall of the Shah.

Now we have super automated systems that don't have all the bugs worked out being mated to new ships and aircraft designs that have little or no real world experience along with every bell and whistle people could think of adding to make the platforms do all jobs for all departments. Like the F-111B the USN has 'delayed and deferred' orders for the F-35 and are buying F-18 Super Hornets to replace their aging Hornet aircraft as an 'interim measure' exactly like what was done in the 1960's when they 'deferred' the F-111B and bought improved F-4 aircraft instead.

There are two basic philosophies for military logistics, option one is hit the enemy with your wonder weapon and stomp them in the dirt immediately. Option two is hit the enemy with so much stuff you overwhelm them with raw numbers. These two methods can be seen all the way back at least as far as Ancient Greece where the Spartans dedicated their population to being military men equal to our modern Special Forces where the few, the proud, the Spartans could take on a force up to five times their own and win more often than not. The problem came when they started fighting forces more than 5 times their own size because being super specialized for warfare they didn't have enough people to recover well from losses. Their military training lasted 10 years taking boys just past toddler age and toughening and training them for war. Other militaries that used citizen soldiers could throw almost every person they had at the Spartans and wear them down by sheer numbers. Others like the Red Army of WW II and the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war or the Mongols of the 1200's used human wave attacks where they would send draftee's by the thousands against the enemy wave after wave until they were tired and low on ammunition, then send in another wave to finish them off. If you don't care about casualties this system works with quantity over quality.

The USA has a couple deep military traditions. One is in perceived peacetime we cut spending and scrap a lot of existing capability in a piecemeal fashion depending on whose congressperson gets to hang onto the military contracts. The other 'tradition' is we dink around in this low capability mess condition until reality kick us a good hard one in the rear, like when the US Civil War broke out, followed by the Spanish American war, followed by World War I, World War II, Korea and so on and so on. Every time we won the government promptly dismantled the military back close to pre war strength and when the USA 'won' the Cold War we did it all over again in the 1990's. Unfortunately we have not come close to restoring our say 1988 level of capability since then because we keep placing brushfire war games with very poorly equipped and trained opponents that specialize in what is called unconventional war.

Now we have climate change staring us in the face opening up the Arctic to all sorts of new possibilities, and new dangers, and we are woefully unprepared to deal with this new world we have created. Our navy is a mere shadow of its former self and has been torn in two trying to design super high tech ships that on the one hand can best anyone else's navy while simultaneously being intended mostly to fight small mobile terror units. These two demands are fundamentally incompatible and are resulting in ships that are not great at either role.

With the new need for Arctic operations beyond the submarines that have been deployed there for the last 60 years what will be the USN response? Sadly I think it will be another 20 year long study by Pentagon bureaucracy to try and figure out the least cost least risk system. Meanwhile the Russian navy and merchant marine are deploying dozens of ice hardened ships and the Chinese are taking advantage of that new reality. There is nothing fundamentally new the USN needs to learn to put a joint Navy/Coast Guard base on the Arctic coast somewhere in Alaska. There is also nothing new that needs to be developed to safely build ships designed for current and expected future conditions operating in the Arctic sea. Thicker hulls with greater reinforcement is not a technology that mystifies anyone. Deploying navigational aids and maintaining them is not a mysterious process either.

But we have to get off the dime and actually DO IT!
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Arctic shipping to conserve energy.

Unread postby Synapsid » Wed 17 May 2017, 17:42:50

Thanks for this Tanada.
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Re: Arctic shipping to conserve energy.

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 23 May 2017, 17:52:22

Kind of a neat video on the topic.

Talks about the conflict between Canada and USA over whose water it is. ... -shortcut/
IMG_1043.jpg (167.12 KiB) Viewed 1700 times
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Re: Arctic shipping to conserve energy.

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 24 May 2017, 15:56:20

I think you will enjoy this one Newfie,
II Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
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