FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WASHINGTON, DC (June 30, 2008) - The United States Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today announced the results of a study in the viability of a proposed type of warship dubbed the Fleet Advanced Response Control Escort (FARCE), designed to replace several existing types and classes of warship. On Thursday, a congressional subcommittee approved the findings and the Navy is expected to open bidding for design proposals.
"One of the goals of the Navy of the 21st Century is to consolidate the number of hull designs it currently uses into three or four basic platforms with which to build multiple-mission ships upon," said Alan Rockwell, senior director of the Naval Vehicle Design Office (NVDO) at DARPA. "But we've encountered resistance both within the active and retired naval community. That's one of the reasons we conducted the study with little fanfare."
The proposed warship itself is reportedly designed to not only assume the role of battleship, a role the Navy currently does not fill, but also the role of aircraft carrier and amphibious assault ship. By consolidating these roles onto one hull, the Navy hopes to save millions of dollars in operational and logistical expenses. It would allow the Navy to more quickly retire the older Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, as well as reduce the need for further development of single-role warships such as destroyers and frigates, which the Navy views as becoming obsolete. The US Navy would "lead the maritime defense arena in mission capability and innovation" with this type of ship.
The mission requirements for this new ship seem a daunting undertaking for a single type of vessel, encompassing the infrastructure to act as a traditional warship, an aircraft carrier complete with air wing, and an assault ship complete with embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Rockwell asserts that "while the size and scope of the project will certainly place limitations on the bidding process, the mere fact that the United States Navy will put to sea the largest warship, indeed, the largest ship, ever built will be more than enough to convince the American people and our enemies that America means to maintain ocean-going supremacy well into the 22nd Century."
So far, the proposal eliminates the need for the current strike group organization that the Navy currently heavily relies on, and will purportedly allow for the redeployment of most escort warships at Navy bases located along the contiguous United States' coastline. According to Rockwell, "Why send seven ships to do a job that one ship will be able to do?"
The Navy expects forceful opposition to the proposal, both from within its ranks and without, but fully expects the now-public white paper to convince its opponents of the obvious benefits of having such a ship. In order to help educate those reluctant to approve the purchase of the project, the Navy has recruited nautical strategy geniuses Ronald D. Moore and David Eick to conduct seminars on what a great idea putting all of your eggs in one basket is. After all, there's nothing like an ROTC dropout telling you how a military should work. Moore is currently accepting applications for one-eyed, alcoholic XOs who hate their wives and short-sighted, pop-culture philosophizing COs who can't even control their own children to help with the education of the public.
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