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Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds, Robert Ludlum's The Altman Code, 2003

United States

USS James Crowe (FFG-???)
Oliver Hazzard Perry Class Frigate
Details as per the real ships
Note: Class determination has been done by a process of elimination as the author simply refers to the ship as a 'guided missile frigate'. By the time the novel is set, the Oliver Hazzard Perry Class, while nearing the end of it's lifetime was the only class of frigate in US service, the Knox Class having been retired by the mid 1990s.

China (People's Republic)

Zhou Enlai
Submarine (SSN), class not specified.
No other details provided.

Plot summary: The year is 2006 (In an alternate universe.), a freighter has left China carrying a cargo bound for Iraq that the US has circumstantial evidence contains chemical weapon precursors. US agents searching for definitive proof of this find themselves caught up in a byzantine struggle between factions in the Chinese government and a multi-national corporation whose owner regards two million dollars as 'beer money' and who has a contacts list reaching into the highest echelons of various governments.   

Notes: Dating when  the story is set was fairly easy, it runs from Friday, 1st September to Monday, 18th September and 2006 is the first year after the book came out when this occurred. The novel itself is fourth in a series, built around a Presidents-eyes-only covert ops team, where author Robert Ludlum (1927-2001), or at least his papers, provided the plot idea and another author, in this case thriller author Gayle Lynds in her final outing in the series to date, fleshed out into a complete novel.
Alternative History and Future Speculation / Re: Fictional Warships - Novels
« Last post by Graham1973 on August 14, 2018, 11:33:08 pm »
W.D. Sullivan, Dauntless: A Novel of the Gulf War, 2018

United States

USS Dauntless (DDG-25)
Charles F. Adams Class Destroyer
Details as per the real ships, that received the partial NTU upgrade in the 1980s.
Note: The historic Charles F. Adams class comprised 29 ships, split between the United States, Australia & Germany (Federal Republic) with the hull/pennant  numbers as follows (DDG-2 to 24 (United States, Charles F. Adams Class), DDG-25 to 27 (Australia, Perth Class), DDG-28 to 30 (Germany (Federal Republic), Lütjens Class)). In the novel the split up is as follows (DDG-2 to 25 (United States, Charles F. Adams Class), DDG-26 to 28 (Australia, Perth Class), DDG-29 & 30 (Germany (Federal Republic), Lütjens Class)). The pennant DDG-1 was applied to the USS Gyatt (DD-712/DDG-1) a Gearing Class Destroyer experimentally fitted with Terrier Missiles in the 1950s that was decomissioned in 1969 before being expended as a target in 1970.

The name given to this ship does not follow the naming convention the United States uses for destroyers. See the entry on this thread for 'Empty Nets & Promises' (2016) for an explanation of this.

USS Wade (DD-999)
Spruance Class Destroyer(?)
Details as per the real ships
Note: This ship appears in a characters backstory. The author never states just which class this ship is, class has been determined from the pennant number only.


MV Basra (aka MV Najaf & MV Aphrodite)
Spy ship, converted fishing vessel
Length: 60ft
Twin diesel engines
'Requisitioned' by Iraqi Intelligence
Outfitted with basic ELINT equipment and military grade communications equipment, this is kept in the hold normally used to store fish after it is caught.
Note: This is essentially an Iraqi registered fishing boat that has been taken into military service. The ELINT equipment is high end radio equipment capable of listening to ship-to-ship communications, the crew have been provided with pages removed from copies of Janes Fighting Ships to allow them to identify US warships.

Plot summary: In the opening days of Bush the Elder's War (Persian Gulf, 1990 - 1991), an ageing destroyer facing decomissioning is given a new captain, one who sees the assigment as punishment for an earlier incident and sent into the firing line.

Note: Most action novels related to the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, have tended to focus on the land conflict, for the simple reason that Iraq didn't have that much of a navy before the conflict started, leaving little for writers of naval fiction to work with.

The author of this book has to be credited with coming up with a good plotline and a plausible Iraqi threat based on what they were actually capable of doing at the time, rather than indulging in outright fantasy. However his ability to keep the reader guessing is lacking in this novel, I'd figured out more-or-less what was going to happen well before the events actually took place.

Another novel I have covered in this thread which makes use of the conflict as a background (Albiet indirectly.) is 'China Sea' (2000) by David Poyer.
Alternative History and Future Speculation / Re: Fictional Warships - Novels
« Last post by Graham1973 on August 11, 2018, 01:43:37 pm »
Raymond Harold Sawkins (Pen name: Colin Forbes), Avalanche Express, 1977


Maxim Gorky
'Freighter' (eg Spy Ship)
Weight: 17,000 tons
Equipped with a full range of ELINT equipment
Armament: Dis-mountable Machine guns, types not specified.
Twin Funnels, superstructure aft
Is carrying a full cargo of weapons and ammunition bound for Africa.
No other details provided.


Torpedo Boat, class not specified.
Armament: 1 x Machine gun, type not specified (fwd), 2 x Torpedoes (Acoustic homing), type not specified, any other armament is not specified
No other details provided.

Plot summary: When the head of the KGB decides to defect to the West, the Soviet Union pulls out the stops to prevent him from reaching safety.

Note (Spoilers): For basic details on the author see the entry for 'By Stealth' (1992). This is a reasonably well written chase thriller that contains in prototype form the basic structure for many of his later 'formula' period novels, namely a, in this case, quasi-official team of agents running across Europe against an opponent of seemingly overwhelming strength. It also contains interesting 'period notions', for example, the novels fictional version of the Red Army Fraction aka the Baader-Meinhof Gang. (The 'Geiger Gang'.) is outright stated to be under the direct control (Via it's leaders, the rank and file know nothing of this.) of the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence Service).

This was the only one of his novels to be filmed. The resulting 1979 film failed at the box office and no other novels of his were filmed, although there is evidence that the novels preceding this one were optioned at one point (A pity, I would have liked to have seen a film, even a bad one of 'Tramp in Armour' (1969)). There is definite evidence that script of the film deviates from the novel, as a clip of the avalanche sequence from the film available on YouTube shows a completely different sequence of events to that in the novel.

Other novels by the author covered in this thread are 'Target 5' (1972), 'Shockwave' (1990) and 'By Stealth' (1992).
NGCV IFV 40-50 ton

Hypersonic passenger travel still seems more like dreamy work of science fiction than a feasible commercial project, but this is now a fact: Boeing is working on it, and it’s a serious project.

“It may not be as hard as people think it is,” says Boeing chief technology officer Greg Hyslop, who quickly adds a caveat: “It’s still going to be hard.”

Boeing first unveiled its hypersonic airliner concept on 26 June at an aviation technology conference and highlighted it again at the Farnborough air show in July.

In an industry that has lacked a supersonic transport option since 2003, suddenly proposing a hypersonic airliner as a viable option within 20-30 years seems to register somewhere between the ambitious and the absurd.

But Boeing insists that it has found a combination of speed, materials and propulsion that can make a Mach 5-capable aircraft not only technologically achievable, but financially profitable at some point after around 2040.

They even think they have worked out a solution for one of the trickiest problems associated with hypersonic flight. To cruise at speeds around M5.0, the aircraft has to fly at an altitude between 90,000 and 95,000 feet. The passengers won’t be wearing space suits, so they’ll be seated in a pressurised cabin. So any event that causes a depressurisation at that altitude would be catastrophic.

“We’re aware of it, and we’d thought about it,” says Kevin Bowcutt, a Boeing senior technical fellow and chief scientist for hypersonics.

“And we have some very innovative approaches for dealing with it,” he adds. “Basically, we’ve devised a concept that would keep the cabin pressurised even in a depressurisation event.”

Bowcutt declines to elaborate further on the technical solution to the depressurisation problem.

Boeing’s concept proposes a top velocity of five times the speed of sound. That happens to equal the commonly accepted threshold of hypersonic speed, but that wasn’t the reason. According to Boeing’s analysis, M5.0 is the limit achievable with the available structural, propulsive and fuel technology.

“We have the technology today and the design tools to do this,” Bowcutt says. “We don’t have to invent some new thing.”

The engine for the hypersonic airliner is a good example. A M6.0 aircraft requires a supersonic combustion ramjet (or “scramjet”) engine, a technology that still isn’t mature after decades of research and demonstration. A M5.0 aircraft, however, has access to other propulsion options, Bowcutt says.

The fastest passenger-carrying aircraft with an air-breathing engine in history is the Lockheed SR-71A. It flew at speeds up to Mach 3.2 using two Pratt & Whitney J58 engines. The J58 featured a unique configuration called a turboramjet. The engine functioned like a turbojet up to about M2, then diverted air from the compressor into ducts that emptied in the afterburner. The effect was similar to a ramjet.

Boeing’s hypersonic airliner also would use a turboramjet configuration, with some variations compared to the J58, Bowcutt says. Instead of ducting only a portion of the airflow around combustor over M2, Boeing’s concept might bypass all of the airflow around the engine core at higher speeds, he says.

Bowcutt is familiar with hypersonic vehicles. He is credited as the “father of the X-51”. He designed the vehicle in 1995 to become a missile, but it turned into a hypersonic demonstrator funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The X-51 used JP-7 fuel — the same kerosene formula that powered the SR-71A — as both a source of combustion and as a coolant system. Since the hypersonic airliner concept won’t travel than M5.0, Bowcutt says, it doesn’t require JP-7. Standard Jet-A fuel. Liquid methane or some combination of those fuels are options for the commercial aircraft.

Finally, Boeing selected M5.0 as the top speed because that greatly simplifies the structural materials. Instead of exotic, heat-absorbing materials like ceramic matrix composites, standard titanium alloys used in aircraft and jet engines today are strong enough to survive the surface temperatures ranging up to 600°C (1,100°F).

M5.0 is already 625% faster than a typical subsonic airliner cruising at M0.8, Bowcutt says. Higher speeds produce significantly greater challenges, with sharply dwindling returns. A M6.0 aircraft, for example, can fly only 20% faster than Boeing’s concept, he explains, but requires the designer to use nickel instead of titanium and unproven scramjets instead of turboramjets.

That more than six-fold increase in speed also drives the business case for the hypersonic airliner.

Hyslop compares hypersonic technology to a supersonic airliner, like the M2.0 British Aerospace/Aerospatiale Concorde. That speed allowed the Concorde, in theory, to cross the Atlantic twice a day using the same crew (although British Airways and Air France chose not to exploit that advantage). By contrast, the hypersonic airliner, in theory, might be able to cross the Atlantic four or five times a day with the same crew, he says. The difference in utilisation rate potentially makes the hypersonic airliner more attractive than the costs of operating a supersonic jet, he says.

“Would that be the tipping out where it economically makes sense?” Hyslop asks, rhetorically. “This whole business about how frequently can you turn an airplane — the economic engineering — looks more intriguing to us the faster you can go. That might be a sweet spot.”
Alternative History and Future Speculation / Re: Vultee/Convair XA-41
« Last post by KJ_Lesnick on August 11, 2018, 06:55:38 am »
I've got a variety of conflicting data on the XA-41: For example some sources seem to indicate it could carry 1000 pounds of bombs a range of 800 miles, others a radius of 800 miles.  The more reliable sources seem to indicate 800 miles but even sources that are generally reliable occasionally screw up.  For this reason, I'd like to put the issue to rest once and for all.

It'd seem that the most basic reason for cancelling the single-engine attack category was based on speed & payload-carrying capability over range (I'm not sure if there's any reason that they simply preferred two engines for other reasons), combined with a desire for heavy-cannon armament.  The planes carried the desired cannon armament (XA-39: 2-4 x 37mm + 4 x 0.50"; XA-41: 4 x 37mm + 4 x 0.50"), and I'm unsure what kind of payload they desired over range, though the A-26 seemed to be able to carry 3000 pounds of bombs a range of 1400 and a radius of 560 miles and the XB-42 could carry 2000 pounds a distance of 2000-2500 miles which might have formed a baseline.

As for speed: They considered the plane too slow and, while I'm not really sure what kind of speed they wanted, I'd guess they were probably seeking something around 330-360 at sea-level based on the P-47's, and a maximum altitude speed of 375-450 based on the XA-38 and other high performance fighters.

Existing dive bombers were too short-ranged for the Army/Air Force's battle plans.
Do you have any idea what kind of range/payload they wanted?
Multiple wing-mounted guns including various mixes of .50 cal. 20mm and 37mm guns were desired by the AF.
I assume they wanted the 37mm for tank busting right?

The North American A-36A did an admirable job in WWII - especially in North Africa during Operation Torch.
I'm surprised nobody noticed.
Designation Systems / Re: Potez designations
« Last post by hesham on August 11, 2018, 06:45:42 am »

Potez P-80 & P-82 were a three engined transport airplane Projects,no more details
are known ?.

Sorry for this mistake,they were powered by two turboprop engines for each design,and
not three.
Alternative History and Future Speculation / Re: Fictional Warships - Novels
« Last post by Graham1973 on August 10, 2018, 07:55:16 am »
Another 'self-published on Amazon novel'...

D. Clayton Meadows, Of Ice and Steel, 2013

Germany (WWII)

Type IXC U-Boat
Details as per the real ships.
Commissioned: Not specified but stated to have been "...built... in 1943..."
Lost: August 1944
Note: Pennant clashes with that of a Type VIIC U-Boat comissioned in 1942 and sunk in February 1944.
Torpedos carried include one prototype T11 torpedo (G7es (TXI) "Zaunkönig II"), a real weapon that never entered active service.

Germany ('Present Day')

Submarine of unspecified class
Stated to be the "...newest German U-Boat...) and described as looking more streamlined than the Vepr (K-157).
No other details provided.

United States

USS Miami (SSN-755)
Los Angeles Class Submarine
Real ship, details as in service.

USS West Virginia (SSBN-736)
Ohio Class Submarine
Real ship, details as in service.

United Kingdom

HMS Swift (P242)
Peacock Class Corvette
Real ship, details as in service.
Note: The author does not explicitly state this but the details he provides fits this class, although he does refer to the ship as a 'destroyer' at one point. The Peacock Class Patrol Ships were built for service in Hong Kong, after the colony was handed back to China in 1996, the ships were sold off to the Phillipines & Ireland. Whenever this novel is set it would appear that the British retained them in service.


MV Kangan
Armed Merchant Ship (Converted Water Tanker)
Length: 300ft (91.4 m)
Armament: 9 T-72 Tanks have been chained to what the author describes as the lower deck. The main guns can be fired through ports cut into the hull concealed behind false hull plates.
No other details.


Vepr (K-157)
Akula II (Pr.971U) Class  Submarine
Real ship, details as in service.

Admiral Kuznetsov
Kuznetsov Class Aircraft Carrier
Real ship, details as in service.

Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great)
Kirov (Pr.1144) Class  Battlecruiser
Real ship, details as in service

Kashin (Pr.61) Class Destroyer
Real ship, details as in service
Note: In real world decomissioned in 1993, sunk while on tow to be scrapped in 1995.

Udaloy (Pr.1155) Class Destroyer
Details as per the real ships.

Patrol Ship, class not specified
No other details provided.

Frigate, class not specified.
No other details provided.

Plot summary: The world is on the brink of WWIII as Russia is rocked by a coup backed by the Russian Mafya and a counter-coup backed by the Russian Navy. The tense situation is worsened when someone starts attacking ships in the North Atlantic Ocean, two submarines, one American, the other Russian race to find the cause before the situation spirals completely out of control.

Note (Spoilers): The author provides no specific dating information beyond a news story referring to the "...war on terror..." implying it's set after the events of the 11th of September 2001. Interestingly the story leverages the same science about Tardigrades hibernation abilities Jim Czaijkowski used in 'Ice Hunt' (2003), but attributes it's use to Nazi Germany rather than Soviet Russia. Stories featuring 'Weird Science' attributed to Nazi Germany in this thread include 'Operation Octopus' (1968) and 'Ice Fortress' (2017)
M2 Bradley is wider and higher than CV90, just as long. As already noted - roughly the same size. If CV90 is too small, same goes for M2. I still don't know by WHICH criteria it's too small. In some circumstances, being bigger can be a disadvantage - mobility, posing a target. Bigger generally means more expensive too.

As for big: that's what a fully armoured MBT with a passenger compartment and 150mm gun is going to be, not just for the passengers' sake, but also because of the bigger ammo carried - autoloader mandatory, because a human loader can't handle those big shells. Plus vehicle weight. Think 80, 90 tonnes. Then imagine how to get that to where it is needed - by air, by road, by train?

Weight   23–35 tonnes (Mk0 to MkIII)
Length   6.55 m
Width   3.1 m
Height   2.7 m
Crew           3 (commander, gunner, driver)
Passengers 8 troopers

M2 Bradley:

Weight   27.6 tonnes (30.4 short tons)
Length   21.49 ft (6.55 m)
Width   11.82 ft (3.6 m)
Height   9.78 ft (2.98 m)
Crew             3 (commander, gunner, driver)
Passengers  6 (7 in M2A2 ODS/M2A3) 

CV90 appears to be longer and narrower than the M2.  They appear approximately comparable in weight.

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