Editorial Note – Naval Year In Review 2009

2009

World Naval Operational News Highlights

The ten most significant naval news stories / themes this year included:

  • The ever-increasing piracy off of Somalia and the expanding, expensive and ultimately ineffectual response to it by the world’s navies. When will some country pass a law against piracy and start prosecuting and jailing these pirates?

  • The continued ascent of the Chinese Navy, with its near-official declaration of its desire for an aircraft carrier during its 60th anniversary celebrations and with even more clues emerging as to how its anti-ship ballistic missile capability will work. When will the entire system be tested?

  • The continued descent of the Russian Navy, with the future credibility of its ballistic missile submarine deterrent force in question as the Bulava missile fails test after test and as the Russian fleet turns to France as a supplier of amphibious assault ships. Will the Russians have to out source all their naval procurement in the future?

  • India’s continuing pursuit of a modernized aircraft carrier force with the keel laying of its first indigenously built carrier. Will it be commissioned before the refurbished carrier Admiral Gorshkov is delivered to India from Russia?

  • The continuing evisceration of the Royal Navy due to retargeting of funds to fight the war in Afghanistan. Will the two new carriers be completed before the funds run out and will there be any escorts left to screen them?

  • The use by Israel of its navy for signaling it’s strategic retaliatory capabilities to Iran, in the form of its Dolphin-class submarines. How many nuclear-tipped cruise missiles do they carry?

  • The increase in size and importance of the US and allied (Japanese) Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) force, especially in light of the decision not to deploy ground-based ballistic missile interceptors in Eastern Europe. How can the US Navy get BMD so right and the US Army get BMD so wrong?

  • The conflicting sovereignty claims in the Arctic, as Russia heats up its claims to the region. Will the Russians back their claims with force – and if so exactly what deployable forces do they have?

  • The Chinese lawfare campaign to upset traditional notions of freedom of navigation in order to deny foreign warships and aircraft access to its coastal waters. Can China win this campaign solely by scholarly articles and symposia?

  • The mysterious at-sea collision between the British ballistic missile submarine HMS Vanguard and its French counterpart Le Triomphant. The silence surrounding this event was deafening. What exactly is the chance of two boomers running into each other accidentally in the middle of the ocean?