Surface Forces: July 20, 2002


The British Royal Navy has conducted a study and has determined that its warships would be vulnerable to attack by a swarm of small fast boats that either tried to destroy it with suicide bombs or just keep it from fulfilling its mission. The British warships, like most, are fitted with one or two cannon to engage serious-sized ships, a couple of anti-missile guns to engage incoming anti-ship missiles, and assorted missiles (depending on the type of ship). None of these are really suitable to stopping an attack by a dozen speedboats, each armed with a thousand-pound suicide bomb. The problem is there are just not enough weapons to deal with that many small, maneuverable targets at close range. The short-term plan is to equip the anti-missile guns with an electro-optical site for anti-surface work, but it may be necessary to provide the ships with a dozen infantry-type heavy machineguns that could be pulled out of storage and mounted on deck stanchions if a threat presents itself.--Stephen V Cole


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