Amphibious Operations in a Brave New World
Bryan Clark and Jesse Sloman
15 Nov 16
Original Source – War on the Rocks
Last month, Houthi rebels in Yemen twice fired anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) at the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, forcing the ship to take defensive measures. In September, the same rebel group attacked a former U.S. high-speed vessel, burning it to the waterline. These events highlight the ease with which potential adversaries, including stateless terrorists, can obtain and use capable long-range weapons. In the words of Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for the integration of capabilities and resources, “in the next few years, everywhere the Navy goes, if you’re not in a submarine, you better watch out because every…country will be able to launch high-speed missiles at you.”
Traditional amphibious operations will be particularly vulnerable to ASCMs and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) that can reach hundreds of miles away. A large assault like Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal would involve capital ships operating close to hostile shores for hours to offload Marines and their equipment using helicopters, short-range armored vehicles, and unprotected hovercraft and boats. These kinds of large-scale operations will likely not be viable in future conflicts. READ MORE.