U.K. Election Result Boosts Royal Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine Program

USNI News – Had Labour emerged with the most seats in the House of Commons, its hopes of forming a viable government would have required the support of the fiercely anti-nuclear Scottish National Party. This was a worrisome prospect for advocates of strategic nuclear deterrence, who feared that a weak Labour leadership would inevitably cave in to SNP demands and scrap plans to renew the U.K.’s submarine-based Trident ballistic missile force.

Iran’s Latest Round of Maritime Brinksmanship

USNI News – Iran’s recent seizure and release of the Marshall Islands flagged M/V Maersk Tigris could be what Iran claims it is, a reaction to a decade-long dispute over shipping containers that were diverted to the UAE and never delivered to Iran. More likely however, it is a thinly veiled attempt at brinkmanship to remind the United States of the kind of trouble that Iran can stir up in the Strait of Hormuz. – See more at: http://news.usni.org/2015/05/11/analysis-irans-latest-round-of-maritime-brinksmanship#sthash.Ladh4PjJ.dpuf

Top 5 Weapons the U.S. Navy Needs Now

Real Clear Defense – It’s tough to winnow the U.S. Navy’s priorities list down to five weapon systems. However, I applied a secret method to come up with the definitive, incontrovertible list of the Top 5 Weapons the U.S. Navy Needs Now. The list employs such metrics as a system’s national-level importance, its capacity to multiply the fleet’s offensive and defensive fighting power, and its ability to exploit enduring enemy weaknesses at manageable cost to the United States.

The Navy’s New Museum Drone and Strategic Malpractice

War on the Rocks – Aviation history was made last week: an unmanned aircraft — the X-47B — successfully completed an air-to-air refueling demonstration, taking 4,000 pounds of fuel from a KC-707 tanker aircraft. This historic achievement followed last year’s equally revolutionary series of carrier launch and recovery operations by the X-47B. You would think that the Navy, cognizant of the need to take advantage of the promise of robotics would be aggressively pushing to do further testing, to make unmanned carrier-based surveillance and strike aircraft real, and thus extend the reach and power of the aircraft carrier — the crown jewel of America’s conventional power projection forces. Instead, the Navy wants to decommission the two X-47Bs (named Salty Dog 501 and Salty Dog 502) and put them in museums, even though they have 80% of their approved flight hours left. Such an action flies in the face of the imperative to counter the most strategically troubling elements of the emerging set of anti-access/area-denial threats that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his team are aiming to offset.