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Author Topic: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts  (Read 47867 times)

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #135 on: January 23, 2019, 10:09:16 am »
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Hmm.  I feel like the hull may well be related to LCS-1 -- it's still got the large and very squared off flight deck that extends all the way aft.  But the superstructure is really different, much more like a conventional destroyer with a midships break and a very prominent raked tripod mast.  It may well owe something to Gibbs & Cox and their older International Frigate (which was considered for the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer).






Offline Moose

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #136 on: January 23, 2019, 10:16:32 am »
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Hmm.  I feel like the hull may well be related to LCS-1 -- it's still got the large and very squared off flight deck that extends all the way aft.  But the superstructure is really different, much more like a conventional destroyer with a midships break and a very prominent raked tripod mast.  It may well owe something to Gibbs & Cox and their older International Frigate (which was considered for the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer).
The shape and fullness of the bow also look markedly different than LCS-1, I'm trying not too read too much into the silhouette but I definitely wouldn't be shocked if they gave it a more conventional displacement hull to improve ride and efficiency.

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #137 on: January 23, 2019, 10:55:50 am »
That slide deck also says "mature designs" but not explicitly "parent hull/design," which is interesting given that Austal's LCS-based design has changed pretty dramatically, HII still hasn't shown their hand, and now LockMart is teasing/hinting at a more dramatic departure from their base LCS design for their FFG(X) offering.

Hmm.  I feel like the hull may well be related to LCS-1 -- it's still got the large and very squared off flight deck that extends all the way aft.  But the superstructure is really different, much more like a conventional destroyer with a midships break and a very prominent raked tripod mast.  It may well owe something to Gibbs & Cox and their older International Frigate (which was considered for the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer).
The shape and fullness of the bow also look markedly different than LCS-1, I'm trying not too read too much into the silhouette but I definitely wouldn't be shocked if they gave it a more conventional displacement hull to improve ride and efficiency.

Given that the max speed regime is so radically different (26-28kts vs 40 knots), a new hull would certainly make sense for FFG(X).  That semi-planning hull only makes any sense if you need to push 40 knots.  But at that point, how is it a proven design if they've swapped out the hull, the superstructure, and most of the combat system? 

Even the Austal FFG(X) design seems to be stretching the definitions on this. Switching to Diesel/CP props from GT/waterjets is pretty radical.  The trimaran hull at least is still usable at lower speed regimes.

PS: I don't think they've replaced the "parent hull" language.  The reference to "mature designs" in the slide deck is about the purpose of the FY18 awards: Mature,  Reduce, and Identify are all action verbs there.  (They use the same construct in the present tense on slide 7: Matures, Reduces, Identifies.)

Offline bring_it_on

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #138 on: January 25, 2019, 03:41:31 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.
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Offline sferrin

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #139 on: January 25, 2019, 06:27:27 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???  Hell, the new Russian Frigate has cells for 16 Kalibr or Oniks (Brahmos) cruise / antiship missiles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Gorshkov-class_frigate
« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 08:34:50 am by sferrin »
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #140 on: January 25, 2019, 06:54:17 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???

Clearly not self-defense length because VL ASROC and SM-2 Block IIIC require at least tactical length.  And there is no indication that the USN has ever seriously considered adopting tactical-length VLS on US ships. 

No mention of TLAM because they probably don't intend to include the Tomahawk mission planning hardware (TTWCS) or associated crew members necessary for TLAM employment.  There is no shortage of TLAM shooters around the fleet, so adding that to the frigates would mean extra spending on hardware and manning that the Navy doesn't need.

No mention of LRASM because 1) VL-launched LRASM is not actually a USN program of record right now.  2) It's not clear when the actual program of record (NGLAW) will deliver an antiship capability.  3) NGLAW will probably need the same sort of infrastructure as TLAM, so see above.

OTH/NSM offers plenty of performance for a ship like FFG(X).  Seriously, it outranges Harpoon Block I and roughly matches Block II, which should be ample coverage for frigate role. If and when longer-range weapons actually show up in the fleet, there will be plenty of time to consider which ships should carry them.

Excluding weapons like TLAM and LRASM is basically the same as excluding SM-3 (which they also did). There are enough other shooters for those weapons in the fleet that it makes no sense to spend money to add those capabilities to the frigates as well.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2019, 08:16:17 am by TomS »

Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #141 on: January 25, 2019, 08:22:36 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???  Hell, the new Russian Frigate has cells for 8 Kalibr or Oniks (Brahmos) cruise / antiship missiles.  (Not sure why the two pictures are so different.  They're both supposedly members of the same class.  ??? )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Gorshkov-class_frigate

Thpse pictures are not the same class.  One is a Grigorovich class ship, not a Gorshkov.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Grigorovich-class_frigate

Offline sferrin

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #142 on: January 25, 2019, 08:35:04 am »
Hmmm.  No Tomahawk, LRASM, Harpoon or even NSM.  Lame.

The OTH Weapon (NSM) has already been selected for the LCS and the FFG(X) with an objective of 8 missiles per hull.

But one wonders why they didn't mention the possibility of TLAMs or LRASMs in the VLS.  Are they Self-Defense Length cells rather than Strike Length?  ???  Hell, the new Russian Frigate has cells for 8 Kalibr or Oniks (Brahmos) cruise / antiship missiles.  (Not sure why the two pictures are so different.  They're both supposedly members of the same class.  ??? )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Gorshkov-class_frigate

Thpse pictures are not the same class.  One is a Grigorovich class ship, not a Gorshkov.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiral_Grigorovich-class_frigate

Okay, fixed.
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #143 on: January 26, 2019, 11:33:03 am »
Just wanted to revisit this and talk about your main point re armament.

So, the Gorshkov has 16 AShMs, and 32 cells for SAMs.  This is actually the same as the objective armament for the FFG(X).  The only real difference is that the Russian ship's AShM are heavy, long-range weapons intead of "merely" 100+ mile light antiship weapons.  Why?  Because the Russian and US navies still have different views on the role of small combatants as offensive assets.  The USN sees carrier aircraft still as their primary offensive arm (hence the emphasis on puttling LRASM on Super Hornet rather than surface ships), while the Russians see their destroyers as having a greater offensive role.  Which is necessary because otherwise they have one barely operational carrier and a small (but potentially potent) submarine force.

Also, FFG(X) will have a few more capabilities in the surveillance and defensive role that the Gorshkovs lack.  They carry both a helicopter and a sizable drone MQ-8C), both towed array and variable depth sonars (Gorshkovs has only the towed part), and a fairly robust torpedo defense capability.  And some really robust EW as well, both SEWIP and AOEW on the helicopter (or maybe even the drone).

PS: almost forgot that SM-2MR Block IIIC brings the same high-speed antiship capability as SM-6, just with less range.  That's a fair counterpart to the speed of the Russian AShMs.

Offline sferrin

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #144 on: January 26, 2019, 12:14:56 pm »
Just wanted to revisit this and talk about your main point re armament.

So, the Gorshkov has 16 AShMs, and 32 cells for SAMs.  This is actually the same as the objective armament for the FFG(X).  The only real difference is that the Russian ship's AShM are heavy, long-range weapons intead of "merely" 100+ mile light antiship weapons.  Why?  Because the Russian and US navies still have different views on the role of small combatants as offensive assets.  The USN sees carrier aircraft still as their primary offensive arm (hence the emphasis on puttling LRASM on Super Hornet rather than surface ships), while the Russians see their destroyers as having a greater offensive role.  Which is necessary because otherwise they have one barely operational carrier and a small (but potentially potent) submarine force.

Also, FFG(X) will have a few more capabilities in the surveillance and defensive role that the Gorshkovs lack.  They carry both a helicopter and a sizable drone MQ-8C), both towed array and variable depth sonars (Gorshkovs has only the towed part), and a fairly robust torpedo defense capability.  And some really robust EW as well, both SEWIP and AOEW on the helicopter (or maybe even the drone).

PS: almost forgot that SM-2MR Block IIIC brings the same high-speed antiship capability as SM-6, just with less range.  That's a fair counterpart to the speed of the Russian AShMs.

Where the Russian frigates win out is in the antiship capability.  Up to 16 Mach 2.8, 300km range missiles.   :o
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #145 on: January 28, 2019, 08:53:53 am »
Where the Russian frigates win out is in the antiship capability.  Up to 16 Mach 2.8, 300km range missiles.   :o

Right.  But the point is, the Russian sips have those missiles because they serve a different role in the Russian fleet than US frigates (and for that matter, other surface combatants in general) serve in the USN. 

Offline sferrin

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #146 on: January 28, 2019, 10:03:19 am »
Where the Russian frigates win out is in the antiship capability.  Up to 16 Mach 2.8, 300km range missiles.   :o

Right.  But the point is, the Russian sips have those missiles because they serve a different role in the Russian fleet than US frigates (and for that matter, other surface combatants in general) serve in the USN.

And I get that but they could be that much more versatile with the capability.  Does it really cost that much money to add TLAM capability when the VLS is already there?  (A shame there will never be a LRASM-B or RATTLRS to put in them.)
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Offline TomS

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Re: Small Surface Combatant Task Force concepts
« Reply #147 on: January 28, 2019, 12:18:29 pm »
And I get that but they could be that much more versatile with the capability.  Does it really cost that much money to add TLAM capability when the VLS is already there?  (A shame there will never be a LRASM-B or RATTLRS to put in them.)

 I couldn't find an actual unit price per installation, but it definitely isn't trivial.  The modern Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System installation on surface combatants is four operator consoles, three electronics equipment cabinets, and some ancillary hardware  (Subs make do with one operator console, but presumably lose functionality). A few million dollars per ship for TTWCS electronics would make a noticable difference in the program cost. 

And the operating costs are obviously significant too -- four consoles probably means at least four bodies, with the personnel and training costs that go with them.  That adds up on a ship that already is supposed to have fairly lean manning and Blue-Gold rotating crews.