In an effort to save money and protect the environment, the U.S. Navy has decided to move away from fossil fuels and back to non-toxic and environmentally friendly wind power.


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In an effort to save money and protect the environment, the U.S. Navy has decided to move away from fossil fuels and back to non-toxic and environmentally friendly wind power.

Not letting Republican obstructionism of the budget process go to waste, President Obama’s national defense team is putting together a plan to retrofit US warship with ‘tried-and-true’ sails, taking advantage of free, naturally occurring wind rather than diesel and nuclear fuels that put crews at constant risk of causing an ecological disaster.

Used by many advanced cultures for thousands of years, sails were the environmentally sound propulsion system for naval vessels until the 20th century.

Many experts agree that their return might just usher in a new era of ‘green military technology’ – if it can overcome opposition from the generals and the fossil fuels lobby, whose alleged “concerns” about military readiness only serve to ensure more profits for the military-industrial complex.

Read the whole thing. It makes perfect sense!

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24 comments

  • JGL

    I am looking for the Onion symbol somewhere in the article.

  • Garry

    Can’t wait to see the sail-powered submarines, so we can get rid of those yucky nuke power plants!

  • jwing

    The USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel, was just spotted leaving Boston Habor in full sail making way towards the Barbary Coasts once again.

  • Pzatchok

    If it didn’t hit so many points that are close to reality I would have found it funny.

    But instead it bordered on the scary.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    I liked the part about needing to return to all-wooden vessels – Hey, what was OLD is NEW again ! ! Imagine aircraft carriers with masts & F-18s landing on ’em – yeah, that’ll work ! ! Hilarious spoof, there are probably some taking it seriously – but as Pzatchok said, it’s so close to the truth with this Admin, it really IS almost scary ! !

  • That article was obviously a joke, but in fact there is a military use for sailboats.

    We do not have enough ships to be everywhere we need to be to even just gather information and satellites only fill part of that gap. But a massive number of low cost small sailboats with with high tech. communications and just a single missile launcher coordinated in a network from a single warship could be a powerful capability. PT boats were scorned at one time but proved themselves. This is a similar thing and would be a natural, right out in the open, camouflage as well.

    Think about that military exercise where the opposing officer used kamikazi speedboats against our navy and won the simulation. We need to be careful about closed minded thinking.

  • jwing

    Yes, Ken, it is obviously a joke, and if my memory is correct PT boats were motorized. While I’m all for thinking outside the box, changing paradigms,and brainstorming, the use of sails on large container ships has been proposed and tried but it never came to fruition. The main reason being the lack of speed and dependability. In warfare, it’s all about speed or as General Patton would say “celerity”.

  • PT boats were motorized

    The point being that they were small wooden boats that the old navy thought were a joke until they demonstrated their capabilities.

    large container ships

    Did I say anything about that kind of ship? No I did not. Networked communications equipment hardly takes any space at all. So the size requirement depends on what kind of missile system they’re packing (if any at all.) Our navy now has less than 300 ships (that operate in groups) so they can’t be everywhere. Supplement those with 5000 or so low cost sailboats (who then could be everywhere) and you’ve multiplied the capability of those 200-300 ships tremendously. Our 11 aircraft carrier groups can fight any war, but thousands of missiles in some of the right places changes the equation incredibly when it matters..

    This isn’t outside the box. This is the box. You must be confused thinking these sailboats are meant to go toe to toe with other ships. They are not. Don’t diminish the value of having intel and assets when you need them. Our current navy is half blind in an increasingly dangerous world.

    The advantage a sailboat has is it can circumnavigate the entire world without needing to be a bigger ship. Not burning fuel is simply a bonus.

  • Forgive me about not directly respond to the issue of speed in my first response. That’s the whole point. You can’t get there any faster than already being there. With enough boats, you do not dispatch them, you withdraw them.

  • While sails alone are fine, I was thinking a small motor as well.

  • Pzatchok

    Wooden boats are heavier than metal boats of the same size.

    To make a wooden boat strong enough to be the same size as a metal ship could be, it would not be able to carry the same in cargo.

    Plus metal boats last 5 to 10 times longer. Wooden sailing ships used to last 5 years a most. They eventually found ways to make them last 15 years but even then it took a lot of continuous work to make that happen.

    PT boats were made out of wood because they were actually civilian speed boats first and during the war metal was impossible to buy in quantity.

  • Pzatchok

    Just because a boat can use a sail to get all the way around the world does not make it a good war ship.

    Two totally different uses.

    War ships have to be armed and armored. They have to be fast and carry a large cargo, be it people, planes, weapons or ammo.

    Plus they have to run in bad weather, no wind, and against the wind as good as with it.

    The only thing sails do is save gas.

    You mine as well just send armored bicycles up against motorized tanks.

  • jwing

    Ken, I like your “thinking outsinde the box” but logistically speaking, manning, releiving and supplying 5000 small sailboats would be a nightmare. Plus pirates could pick off a good many of them in no time at all.

  • Wooden boats are heavier than metal boats of the same size.

    So make them metal, or concrete, or whatever makes sense, but don’t miss the point.

    That point being they enhance the navies strategic advantage with an electronic network providing a better knowledge at all times of what they are up against. Arming them (and not all need to be) isn’t for a traditional fight, that’s what the regular navy is for. But having known missile assets and intel where they otherwise would not gives them options they otherwise would not have.

    To give an idea of the size, I envision a crew of four with a number of boats forming a loose squadron that blends in with private traffic. While some might have the same four torpedoes of a PT boat, others might only carry shoulder mounted anti-air missiles stored most of the time. The one essential item is the advanced electronics and communications. Think, Stryker variations. These are not destroyers. These are tools.

    Logistically speaking … [it] would be a nightmare.

    There is no need for it to be. They’ll have an app for that. ;-)

    Again, because of advanced communications and software. We would know the exact location of each boat at all times. Each boat would be on station for a time, then return to port (not necessarily home port.) Crews are not necessarily tied to each boat and would swap. They would have two 3 hour watches per crew because only one person on watch is needed at any time (they are controlled from a station on a ‘real warship.’) Otherwise the crew could be sleeping or working on their tans (they must blend ya know.) Resupply would be a nightmare if some person had to do it. It’s trivial if managed by software (I’d be glad to write it for them.) How do pleasure boats keep themselves supplied? Marines have the brain power to keep themselves supplied. They just need an ATM card.

    …pirates could pick off a good many of them

    Some may. How are pirates operating? With small arms on speedboats against unarmed civilians. Try that against four well armed marines.

    bad weather, no wind, and against the wind

    Don’t miss the point. Quantity makes up for lack of speed. They’re faster. Let me repeat, they are faster because they don’t need to head for trouble spots, they would already be there (which includes rotation.) If not, you make more. They are as cheap as is possible (especially the electronics which are then mass produced.) In many cases, it would be great duty.

  • four well armed marines

    Each surrounded by a picket of similar ships that spend all their time collecting intel and also each carry four well armed marines. Only one of a dozen ships may be armed with an anti ship missile if needed. They only need that one. The other ship may be an hour away by sail, but it’s missile will be right on time. Again, it is a network. Network makes a huge difference.

  • War ships have to be armed and armored.

    The jeep was one of the most useful tools of war ever invented. Most were not armed or armored.

  • Pzatchok

    Please do NOT equate a jeep to a sailboat.

    First off exactly how do we supply these sail boats that are now anchored all over the globe?
    And please please do not say that the sailors can fish.

    Do you know what can take the place of your thousands of ‘watch’ boats? Remote buoy’s and satellite images. Since the boats are not armed they can not engage in ANY military action. Nothing.

    They stand no chance against a fast speed boat armed with RPG’s and AK’s.

    Please get serious. Stop dreaming and think logically.

    The original article was written as a spoof. Please don’t keep trying to run it down the serious road. Good grief, if sail boats made sense then every third world nation would be using thousands of them exactly like you’re saying. But what are they doing? nothing even close.

  • How do we supply these sail boats?

    Obviously, you don’t get the job. How do any boats get supplied? One of two ways, they go to port or meet another boat. Since some ports are not accessible and some supplies are not available in some ports, then they are supplied like any other military craft from a supply ship. Did I mention their exact locations are known at all times?

    Since the boats are not armed they can not engage in ANY military action.

    The crew are always armed. Some or all of the boats are armed. This seems to be a reading comprehension problem.

    They stand no chance against a fast speed boat armed with RPG’s and AK’s

    You do seem to lack imagination. That’s the sort of thing that can get you killed.

    * Let’s start with, you know the boat is coming (from miles away) since intel is your job.
    * You are not alone, that speed boat is surrounded.
    * You presume that speed boat knows the sail boat is armed (I’ll give you this one.)
    * You presume the sail boat is not also carrying one of these.
    * You presume the sailboat does not have man portable wire guided antitank missiles. As Gomer would say, “surprise, surprise, surprise.”

    An RPG is a grenade. I’ve been informed my sailboat is made of metal, not wood. That fiberglass speedboat is a lot more vulnerable and my guys are better trained and equipped because we’re the U.S.N. [and that word that follows “yippie kay yay”]

  • Can a sailboat be sunk? Well of course. Will those pirates face their friends. You bet. When they do, they are dead.

    The key point in the post above is, THEY ARE SURROUNDED.

    It’s not four guys in a boat. It’s a squadron. It’s 48 guys in 12 boats that all know each others exact position and situation. When the pirates go after one boat, they have eleven with various weapons and rubber attack boats positioning themselves to support that one boat. Unlike our guys in Benghazi, they aren’t dependent on a go/no go from some politician.

    Taking out pirates may even be their reason for being, part of their primary mission.

  • Don’t presume that speedboat is more maneuverable than my sailboat either. It could have a huge motor that doesn’t get used much but is there just for situations like this. Remember, it’s basically a PT boat with sails.

  • You do know that pirates go after civilian sailboats off the coast of Florida right? They protect themselves by traveling in packs. These are (presumably) unarmed civilians against normally armed pirates. It’s a seasonal thing.

  • Just for the record Pzatchok,

    We’ve each taken a position and defended it. I think you’ve done a great job. So I hope you have taken no offense?

  • Ok, I’ve done a post on this subject.

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