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Research: Ships As The Primary And Core Component Of The Navy Force

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The Naval forces around the world are more or less helping the respective nations to build up the military power around or beyond. For the Navy, the core of its force is measured by the number of ships rather than in terms of personnel, and of course, due to the characteristics, functions, and equipments of each ship, the capacity could be determined differently. Among all of the criteria, the Navy usually focuses on how effective the ship works in the combat capability of ships.

The Aim

Any consideration of a country’s ship capabilities or its ship effectiveness must begin with an examination of the resources – financial, human, physical, and technological – that the national leadership makes available to its military organizations. These resources are clearly a function of the larger navy-level assets possessed by a military as well as the imperatives emerging from navy performance, that is, the pressures levied by external threats, and as a whole can perceive problems and develop satisfactory solutions.

Findings and recommendation


  1. It is essential to improve the Navy readiness and responsiveness, especially in case of the current extreme terrorism threats in each country and over the world. Tellis et al. once analyzed in their book “Measuring National Power in the Postindustrial Age” (2000, p.136) that the size of the defense budget serves to identify the relative importance of the powerful organ of a country compared to others. Especially, by understanding the expense distribution regarding to operations and maintenance, research and development, the navy power can be identified (according to reference C). Indeed, there is a fact that buying new ships with extraordinary capacity, especially for countries which have a tight or not abundant defense budget, seem to unable to afford.
  2. To do so, each country needs to generate and identify a significant defense budget provided to a navy. Moreover, a deep understanding in the distribution of the fund provides a maiden view for a country to deal with potential threats, to improve its combat proficiency, as well as to show off the military power. Following that, providing long-term, predictable funding for maintains all equipment is also an essential activity for the navy.
  3. First of all, one efficient investment to directly impove the ship capacity is renewing, replacing, and maintaining core equipment, and continue to strengthen the national defence. This option is quite practical for the countries with tight budget as mentioned above. Meanwhile, the activity of long-term funding distribution is required to be not only secure and stable but also done periodically because it will provide a relatively accurate and reliable panorama about the ship capacity as well as leading to a deeper understanding and more precise procedures to improve its capacity.

Training Personnel

  1. Due to the evaluation in “Measuring National Power in the Postindustrial Age” (p138), the size and quality of navy human resource is the kind of resource that yields insight into a country’s navy power in general and into ship capacity of military in particular. The size of a military force is the primary index implied the military strength, and the quality of its combat is the second one.
  2. Being a healthy military manpower means that each soldier requires professionally educational levels of both the officers or the levels of technical proficiency. All the information provides substantial evaluation on the military manpower character and its potential success in conflict (according to reference C).
  3. The leader in navy in general and in each ship in particular should promote the life quality of their soldiers by creating strong, healthy communities and secure jobs. Another indirect way to support the ship capacity is providing the men and women of the VPN with the necessary equipment and resources allows them to do their job with high levels of professional and personal satisfaction. Keep in mind that updating training programs for officers and sailors to adapt to changing new equipment and security environment is a neccessary task.

Ship Infrastructure

  1. The extent and quality of ship infrastructure is the other kind of resource that has an impact on the quality of ship capability. This category includes the physical infrastructure possessed by a navy force.
  2. In addition to the facilities normally used to house ship personnel and their equipment, this category should assess the number and quality of test and training ranges, medical facilities, and construction projects.
  3. Since ship infrastructure must ultimately be assessed by its ability to support the warfighter, quality assessments ultimately become part and parcel of the analysis.

Combat proficiency

  1. Another kind of resource affecting ship capability is the combat proficiency in both number and quality. Tellis et al., (2000) determined this activity is only can be done by the cooperation of many institutions, for example the academic institutions, the specialized warfighting associations, and the technical centers (according to reference C).
  2. The dramatic revolutions in ship arts with the support of cyber intelligent technology demand a ray of specialized activities that focus on research and development in the field of combat. Today’s security environment requires each modernized Navy to ensure the operations in core land, sea, and air.
  3. Navy’s leaders can create a more combat rehearsals as well as increase amount of tactical exercise and number of ship and exercise’ time, making an opportunity for naval forces to train, react, and adapt to the fluctuate security environment. Besides, the investments on modern capabilities will build up the naval guards’ capability in national defence and international collaboration.


Improving requirements

  1. In the context of the world security situation is becoming more complex, to continue to protect nation and defend the strategic interests around the world, all while continuing the counter terrorism fight, there is a demand for the navy of each country to grow. In the marine field, many national navy needs to grow its fleet to have more ships to be able to compete with other world powers and counter terrorism. We need a new shipbuilding model that can cost-effectively provide significant increases in capability at low rates of production.
  2. To achieve this, the Navy requires targeted and strategic investment in capabilities and equipment that can be used on domestic and international military operations. The Navy must be a multi-purpose military force able to offer the Government, the inhabitants, and other partners and allies a broad range of options to respond in an uncertain security environment. Without investment in capabilities, the ability to defend of a nation and respond to emerging threats is at risk.
  3. To begin with, with an allowance for more effective offensive and defensive naval capabilities, one of the most useful investment in navy is acquiring new or enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, upgraded armament, and additional systems for current and future platforms. Taking into consideration of the recent document of Canadian Armed Forces strategy as a good one to follow, since the Navy requires an alternate airborne platform that can be operated from the multi-role patrol frigates in order to provide near realtime ISTAR information. This ability will generate a tactical advantage for commanders while minimizing the risk to the frigate or maritime helicopter in support of simple to multi – threat operations.

Each ship–set will include: ‘Unmanned Aircraft, Payloads, Ground Control Station/Multi-Domain Control Station, Communications (data link system), and Support Element (maintenance/storage)’ (Lieutenant Commander Ernie MacNeil RCN, 2018) (according to reference A). To achieve operational offensive and defensive naval capabilities, high level mandatory requirements are needed, as following:

  • Remain airborne for a minimum of 6 hours;
  • Remotely operate at a minimum of 50 NM from a frigate with a maritime ISTAR sensor suite;
  • Operate from a frigate by day or night in challenging weather conditions;
  • Support operations by transferring up-to-date data to both the controlling and participating divisions;
  • Expand SA to a minimum range of 80 NM from the ship depending on the combat activities;
  • Operate in a contested and congested electromagnetic.

Vice Admiral Tom Moore of the US Navy (2017) once said that the navy can seek for more help from smaller defense contractors to maintain carriers and submarines in an effort for ship makers to build new crafts. By hiring other companies, the navy can free up capacity to build, test, maintain and repair ships. Given the workload that many navy forces in the world have now, it is hard to see a situation of having excess capacity happening anytime in the near future. At first, it provides the marine a level of stability in the public yards to let them focus on the core work that they need to get done to get the ships out on time (Sputnik, 2018) (according to reference B). On another way, creating the joint ventures and licensing arrangements with foreign companies would help to reduce the cost of building new modern ships. This is a relatively effective option for developing countries. On the one hand, they can achieve the purpose of acquiring and improving vessel capacity. On the other hand, these countries have an opportunity to access to high quality ship products. In addition, by transferring technology, they can later research and develop their own ships to meet the purpose and requirement of their own country.

Case study: Vietnam

  1. Taking Vietnam as an example, in December 2009, Vietnam signed the contract worth $ 2 billion for the purchase of six Kilo submarines from the 636 Varshavyanka Project (NATO designated it as Kilo Improvement). In addition to shipbuilding, the contract includes training Vietnamese sailors, providing equipment and techniques. The Kilo submarine group marks a milestone in the process of modernizing the military and military equipment and improving the fighting power of the Vietnamese People’s Navy. Kilo submarines together with surface ships, and guard ships are modern means of patrolling, reconnaissance and protection of naval bases, coastal areas and territorial sea of Vietnam. On February 28, 2017, at the flag-raising ceremony of two submarines HQ-186 Da Nang and HQ-187 Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed that the modernization of the navy and the development of submarine force is a normal employment of the marine nation. It is not an arms race, nor a deterrent to countries in the region, but a firm protection of the sovereignty of the sea, islands and continental shelf of the country in all circumstances (according to reference E).
  2. Kilo is a class of diesel-electric attack submarines, tasked with anti-submarine warfare and submarine-launched anti-ship missiles. This is the third most advanced submarine in the world, 74 meters long, 10 meters wide, 3100-meter displacement, 20 knots (37 km/h), deep diving 300 meters, independent operation 45 days and night, crew of 52 people. It is equipped with 6 torpedo tubes of 533 mm diameter. Among all of them, the most powerful weapon is the Klub-S multi-role cruise missile. The complex consists of at least five different types of missiles, which enable the submarine to select a flexible weapon in combat (Truong Minh Vu and Nguyen The Phuong, 2017) (according to reference D). To be honest, without the technology transfer, it is challenging for Vietnam with its internal capabilities to build a modern submarine with modern equipment and sophisticated technology such as the Kilo by itself. Meanwhile, the amount spent by Vietnam to buy these six submarines is $1.8 billion. In addition, Russia also provided training centers (in Cam Ranh), submarine-based weapons such as torpedoes, 3M54E cruise missiles and 3M14E cruise missiles for land-based attack (similar to the type Russian missiles used to attack IS troops in Syria). Overall, the total cost of submarines and weapons and equipment amounted to $4 billion. Indeed, it is truly a bargain.
  3. Thanks to the efforts of the Vietnamese navy and the naval technology of the navy such as Russia, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Vietnam have a possibility to built onboard grenade, Gun DKZ 100mm, improve anti-ship coastal defense system. For example, it can be said that this 100mm mortar is completely developed by Vietnamese engineers, not by any mortar model in the world. Its structure is similar to the traditional mortar, but the caliber type, as well as the caliber size, is completely different from the US mortars, Russia and many other countries. Currently, Vietnam has successfully researched and manufactured many types of advanced radar such as RV-02 of Vietnam Military Academy, VRS-M2D medium-range Airborne Radar, and low VRS- 2DM, sea watch radar of Viettel Group. These radars (radio equipment, sonar to detect submarine) are only meeting the need to modernize the “skyline” of Vietnam, but also containing full of opportunities to export abroad. In the field of submarine, Vietnam does not need to rely too much on Russia about repairing or maintenance of these submarines, because of the fact that Vietnam will be able to repair its submarines and modernize its maintenance, repair and overhaul of naval vessels, according to the UK’s Defense department Janes. For the past two years, the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam has upgraded the Factory X-52 under the Naval Technical Department at Cam Ranh port in Khanh Hoa Province to be able to repair its submarines and perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) vessels. The factory upgrades are made mainly to support 6 Kilo-attacking submarines. The last two were on the Navy’s payroll in March 2017. The People’s Army of Vietnam said that after 7 years of operation, the Factory X-52 has “confirmed its self-reliance in repair and maintenance of ships and boats”. According to the media in Vietnam, in 2017, the X-52 plant directly repaired nearly 20 ships. In addition, the factory also repairs the termination of a submarine warranty and maintenance of many other submarines, after the appointment of engineers to study abroad, mainly in Russia. As planned, this factory will continue to invest to fully implement the MRO services for Kilo submarines in 2019. In terms of anti-submarine weapons, it has improved the detection of submarines, ensuring effective submarine defense. To sum up, from the case of Vietnam, it is clear to say that the Navy must get to work now to both build ships, and to think forward – innovative – as it goes.


In conclusion, the military in general and the navy in particular of the future will require a high demand on technology for better developing and implementation, as well as a diversification of equipment for more flexible organization and national defense. Ships are the primary and core component of the navy force, therefore, improving its quality and capacity is always an important task for each Navy. To remain competitive, the Navy of each country must start today and must improve faster in multi-dimension from proper procurement, comprehensive training plan for both manpower and ship fundamentals to enhance ships’ echnical capacity.


First, the ship maintenance through renew, replace is a good way for a Navy to upsurge its combat ability.

Second, each Navy should focus on a wide-range training program to bring the best situation of both soldiers and facilities regarding to combat missions.

Third, furnishing high-tech equipment for the current ship can bring cherish outcome for a Navy.

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