Category Archives: Current Operations

On-going Naval Ops or Maritime Current Events

Israeli Naval Options For Gaza

An Israeli Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boat – a likely player in Israeli naval options

As fighting continues Friday between Israel and Hamas, the region braces for an expanded Israel Defense Force (IDF) incursion into the Gaza Strip – a possibility indicated by the government approval of a mobilization of up of 30,000 reservists.  Such a move would consist mostly of air and ground forces, but the Israeli Navy would also have a role to play. 

The bulk of the Israeli Navy consists of these missile boats and patrol craft, plus a handful of more-capable corvettes and subs.  Missile boats have already shelled (and perhaps struck with missiles) Hamas security positions along the coast, and the Navy continues to enforce its blockade of the Strip.  As Dr. Robert Farley and Galrahn, a pair of prominent naval bloggers (see our @CIMSEC twitter stream conversation), say naval options during this and expanded Israeli operations will mostly be confined to further shore bombardment and interdiction, along with ISR and effective surgicial strikes ashore.  Martin Skold, another CIMSEC member, notes that the normal missile load-out of Israel’s naval platforms limits the frequency of such strikes, especially when options such as the F-16 are readily available.  On the flip side, Israeli naval vessels may tempt Hamas as targets – especially as with the case of the Hezbollah attack on the INS Hanit in 2006 if they let their guard down.  It will be interesting to see if Hamas has the capability to attempt a similar strike.

             An Israeli Dabur-class patrol boat

Other scenarios tossed about for expanded fighting in the region include Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Egypt.  The latter would present the greatest naval challenges with 6 American-built frigates, 4 Romeo-class submarines, and roughly 200 other ships and craft.  But as the former showed with the Hanit, one should never count out the damage non-state actors can do to a Navy.

LT Scott Cheney-Peters is a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and the former editor of Surface Warfare magazine. He is the founding director of the Center for International Maritime Security and holds a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
 
The opinions and views expressed in this post are his alone and are presented in his personal capacity. They do not necessarily represent the views of U.S. Department of Defense or the U.S. Navy. 

Asymmetric Zombie Warfare

                       A violent and extremist, but what of its organization?

What can zombies teach the military and law enforcement about asymmetric warfare and counter-terrorism? San Diego is about to find out thanks to a privately run conference coinciding with Halloween. (Note: NOT part of International Maritime Satire Week):

“This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the Oct. 31 training demonstration during the summit at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island on a San Diego bay. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”

 

Hundreds of military, law enforcement and medical personnel will observe the Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack as part of their emergency response training.

 

In the scenario, a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes. The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies. At one point, some members of the team are bit by zombies and must be taken to a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment.

 

“No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do,” Barker said. “If a law enforcement officer sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”

It’s an interesting way to generate interest and use an outside-the-box scenario to develop insights into parallel reality based situations, similar to the way that military academics mine history for case studies or futurists use the intelligent prognostications of science fiction to think about the future of society and technology and its implications for warfare. Hopefully this scenario doesn’t fall into the latter category. Click on the link above for the full story.

The Tenacious Dutch: HNMLS Rotterdam v Pirates

                          Pirate Ship Down

The Dutch have done it again.  HNMLS Rotterdam, flagship of NATO’s OCEAN SHIELD counter-piracy operation yesterday decisively won an engagement with a suspected pirate dhow just off the coast of Somalia.  NATO’s Allied Operations site has the story:

A boarding team from Rotterdam was making an approach on a suspect dhow near the coast when they came under fire from ashore and from the dhow itself. Rotterdam returned fire in accordance with Rules of Engagement, during which the dhow was seen to ignite and crew members were observed leaping into the water. One crew member of the dhow was killed in this action and 25 people were subsequently rescued from the water by Rotterdam. Commodore Ben Bekkering, the commander of the NATO Task Force, said that the Rotterdam and her boats remained under sustained fire from the shore throughout, even while attempting to rescue the crew of the stricken dhow and one of Rotterdam’s rigid inflatable boats was damaged.
H/t Lucien. Check out the above site for more details.
Dutch vs Dhow: Small boat from HNMLS Rotterdam exchanges fire with suspected pirate dhow.

The Twin Tanker Terror of Tanzania and Tuvalu

“Pay no attention to the tanker behind the curtain…”

Okay, so I got a little carried away with alliteration, but if you’re curious about the nexus of maritime law, international sanctions, and Iran’s attempts to keep its oil economy afloat check out this article at Forbes.  It details the symptoms and clues, if not the actual action, of Iran’s efforts to keep its tanker fleet in use through the use of flags of convenience (Tanzania and Tuvalu), where it may or may not have actually registered the vessels.  Tuvalu reportedly delisted the Iranian vessels, which then attempted to register with Tanzania.  While it is unclear if they successfully registered (The Tanzanians claim not), the vessels are acting as if they had, including responding to radio hails using Tanzanian call signs. The calculus seems to be that if they can’t sail under their own flag, and they can’t sail under no flag (under international law they would therefore enjoy no protection and be subject to immediate seizure), the vessels have taken to faking their flag….

Bonus points if you can point to Tanzania and Tuvalu on a map without searching.