Iowa and Alaska Class Conversion Projects

Delta Force

CLEARANCE: Confidential
May 23, 2013
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I brought up nuclear blast effects resistance earlier. Does anyone think they could be made more resistant to not only the blast but the radiation and EMP of a blast than other warships? If so, that might have made them a good choice for conversion to missile platforms. It doesn't seem that there were any studies done on converting the Alaskas and Iowas fully into Talos cruisers, but the studies that were done gave the ships 2-4 Talos launchers and several Tartar launchers in addition to a large complement of Regulus or Polaris missiles.

Sea Skimmer

Jul 13, 2008
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Making an existing ship EMP resistant would immensely harder then building a new one with such protection. EMP protection requires electrical isolation of all systems, while in the absence of such a requirement people put wiring and piping perforations and grounding straps all over the place. Gut and rebuild is needed. Though at the time most of these conversion studies were done HEMP effects were not really understood anyway.

Nuclear blast protection is a matter of detail design of the superstructure, as is protection against fallout accumulation. You'd have to rebuild the upperworks completely on an existing ship to have good protection against both. Radical upgrades to existing hulls rarely make sense when you consider the limited service life the ship will have afterwards. The battleship has little advantage in this respect anyway because the max useful protection standard is limited before all antennas will be stripped off the ship. Ryan found a document some time ago showing USN adapted a 10psi standard for its nuclear carriers, and it appears this was also used for the Arleigh Burke class. Certainly tests did show that a battleship will take less damage because it is more heavily built, they did not clearly show that this would be operationally relevant except in a context of the engine room crew surviving to get the ship home while incapable of fighting.

The missile conversions for the Iowas and Alaskas were rejected because they mounted only slightly more weapons then could fit on heavy cruiser hulls. This was a limitation of the radar technology, bigger hulls could hold more launchers but not avoid mutual interference between the high power radars. Since the bigger hulls needed far more men and had far higher operating costs in general they had no appeal. Mounting strategic bombardment missiles onboard made little sense operationally, and faded when the cost of the more important SSBN force rose alarmingly, indeed forcing the cancellation of the last four Polaris subs. It was supposed to be 45 for freedom. The 1950s had all the same, if not worse, cost escalation problems as we see in the present day US military. The US wasn't spending ~10% of its GDP on the military for nothing. The last thing it could afford was white elephant battleship conversions.

Sea Skimmer

Jul 13, 2008
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I have to say I remain amazed, after fourteen years of encountering it online and a few times even in person, at how dedicated so many people are at questioning the rational of why every military service on the entire planet abolished an entire class of weapon willingly. Why don't we get a similar level of passion for the unlimited range of the sailing ship of the line, ideal for low cost persistent anti piracy patrols, or the ideal all around visibility of the mighty open halftrack topped armored personal carrier for today's modern 360 degree asymmetrical battlefield?


I really did change my personal text
Senior Member
Oct 4, 2007
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Sea Skimmer said:
F-14D said:
Just stumbled across this and hada couple of thoughts. It's all academic since the Alaskas are gone and the Iowas have been deliberately rendered unrestorable.

The Iowas were designed to survive (not unscathed, or course) repeated hits from the Yamato and Mushahi's 3200 lb. shells arriving at probably supersonic speed. . No non-nuclear antiship weapon today has any kind of impact like that. They were far better protected than the Roma. There used to be a joke, Q: What do you do if an Exocet hits the New Jersey? A: Send a out Boatswain's mate with a broom to sweep the missile fragments off the deck.

This is completely false. The USN did not even know the Yamato class had 18 inch guns until late in World War Two. The protection on the Iowa class was calculated against the ships own 16 inch guns and the US 1,600lb AP bomb from a specific altitude. 11,000ft IIRC.

The thickest deck armor on Roma was 150mm, the thickest plates on Iowa are 127mm inboard and 147mm outboard, though the Italian system certainly was pretty bad on average. The bomb that sank Roma hit the 100mm thick portion of the main deck and threw fragments into B turret magazine which was under 150mm armor, but then the bomb was also rated as able to pierce a 150mm thick deck anyway. Iowa's deck would not have repelled the same hit in the same place. The Germans bombed with Fritz X from around 15,000ft typically.

In fact US 1,600lb AP bomb could pierce armor over 9in thick if dropped from high enough, and while Iowa was pretty okay being proof only against the weapon from a lower altitude in WW2, in the modern day smart bombs make it trivial to drop a bomb from any height a plane can fly. We also have vastly stronger steels to make bombs out of.

An Exocet would most likely hit an Iowa above the main belt armor, or on her massive unarmored bow area, it would pierce the lightly armored shell plating, explode inboard and start a serious fire. Unless it was the latest model, which has a shaped charge that will blow a hole in any piece of armor on the ship no problem. Of course so will many shoulder fired weapons.

Regarding the crew numbers, one of the proposals was that since there was no longer any need to sustain 33+knots, mothball half the plant with the consequent manpower savings. When that half reached its overhaul time, mothball it and run on the other half, then overhaul them both after that.

So we end up with a ship that still needs ~750 men instead of 1,000 but can only make about 25 knots and no longer has full survivability from machinery dispersal? How pointless. You might as well spring for rebuilding the ship with diesels or gas turbines, it might actually save money long term and avoid the horrendous problems of operating a half century old oil fired steam plant in a navy which has virtually no other surface ship steam plants left. How many boiler ratings do you think the USN has trained right now? Hell about the only reason the Iowa class could be brought back in the 1980s was the USN still had handfuls of men around who had served on them earlier or on similar steam and oil burning cruisers that lasted longer. This was also key to the operation of the main battery safely. All of those men are gone from the service and many are dead.
I''ll defer to your greater knowledge of ship's armor, alhtough it is worthy of note that the Iowas were expecting to get hit from above. I took this as a theoretical exercise since there is no chance, for the reasons you state, of the BBs ever coming back. Even if they could, iw would only be in a fire support role. In that mission, a max speed of 26 knots is no big deal.


I really did change my personal text
Senior Member
Oct 4, 2007
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Sea Skimmer said:
I have to say I remain amazed, after fourteen years of encountering it online and a few times even in person, at how dedicated so many people are at questioning the rational of why every military service on the entire planet abolished an entire class of weapon willingly. Why don't we get a similar level of passion for the unlimited range of the sailing ship of the line, ideal for low cost persistent anti piracy patrols, or the ideal all around visibility of the mighty open halftrack topped armored personal carrier for today's modern 360 degree asymmetrical battlefield?
Asidde from the sheer beauty of the ships, I think part of the passion is for the fire support (to my mind the only rational role for them since WWII) they could provide to forces ashore, and for which major enhancements were under design until the late '80s. The volume of what they could put on target in a day was greater than carrier based or landbased tactical air yet cost less. The loss of that capabililty has never been made up. It keeps getting promised, but never delivered.

Abraham Gubler

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Mar 18, 2008
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Friedman's US Battleships has this vertical of a 1959 proposal to convert an Iowa class to a missile armed battleship. Low res image attached. Was to have Talos and Polaris. The dome to aft was to be a radio star tracker for precise navigation (1960s GPS).


Sea Skimmer

Jul 13, 2008
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blackstar said:
Does anybody here have this book?

No but it once had an extensive preview on Google books I did see five years ago, and the artwork resolution was extremely poor. When people complained about this on, the author then openly insulted them in the commentary. That commentary is now gone as a new edition of the book was eventually put up, presumably with better quality scans. However that is impossible to verify as both the amazong and google book previews were removed.

The book didn't seem bad and had a lot of art, he even put some cancelled built aircraft into the backgrounds too like IIRC the Sea Dart and Tradewind, but the bad quality and authors insulting attitude ensured I dropped all thoughts of buying it. I was all set to buy it until I saw those comments; google book preview did not make it clear that the art in the book was as bad as the preview. It was clearly I think a case of someone using a low quality home scanner to do the job, not that the art itself had been painted badly. So it likely was fixed for the 2011 vs 2008 edition.


CLEARANCE: Confidential
May 24, 2011
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The art is bad man. Let me rephrase that, the art is wonderful, the REPRODUCTION of the art is BAAAAAAAD!!! Many of the paintings and drawings look like low res web versions that were blown up for publication which is NEVER a good thing. I love his paintings and bought his previous "US Battleships" book for that specific reason and was horribly disappointed in the reproduction quality. Couple that with the inflated price and the books are just not wroth it in my opinion. The paperback style its in is a nice "cheaper" alternative to a larger book allowing for more people to be able to afford it. I get that and wholly support that decision but whoever was in charge of the reproduction of the artwork is who screwed the house on this one.

I feel that they should have gone with a larger format allowing for the artwork to be better appreciated since its full of details that are plain nonexistent in its current state and really does a disservice to the artwork and the artist. I was unaware of his hostile reactions to negative reviews nor do I know that whole situation so I'll reserve judgement on Scarpaci himself.

For more design sketches and descriptions about proposed conversions of the BBs and CBs look in the back of Dulin and Garzke's "US Battleships" There are multiple conversions discussed and sketched for each class and some that I've yet to see in any other print source or mentioned before, the earliest ideas specifically.


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Sep 26, 2008
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Sea Skimmer said:
blackstar said:
Does anybody here have this book?

No but it once had an extensive preview on Google books I did see five years ago, and the artwork resolution was extremely poor. When people complained about this on, the author then openly insulted them in the commentary. That commentary is now gone as a new edition of the book was eventually put up, presumably with better quality scans. However that is impossible to verify as both the amazong and google book previews were removed.
Different book. This one is newer and larger. You can find the other books with that commentary.

I had complaints about one of the earlier books. My complaints fell into three categories:

-the line drawings were too small. At the very least they could have run the drawings vertically, like a centerfold, instead of horizontally across a single page, which made a very big ship fit into the space of about four inches.

-the paintings are poor quality. Sloppy work.

-the editing left something to be desired. I found it awkward even if there were not typos.

The reason I asked about THIS book is that I am hoping that the quality has improved.

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Oct 9, 2009
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An interesting 1987 article on the Iowa Class battleships from a Soviet viewpoint:

Moscow ZARUBEZHNOYE VOYENNOYE OBOZRENIYE in Russian No 1, Jan 87 (Signed to
press 7 Jan 87) pp 57-62

[Article by RADM L. Vasyukov, Capt 1st Rank P. Lapkovskiy; "Battleships and
Their Combat Employment"]

[Text] It was noted in the documents of the 27th Party Congress that the
problem of war and peace is the foremost one facing mankind. International
imperialism, headed by the U.S., continues to fuel, on an unprecedented scale,
the race for nuclear and other arms. The policies of the White House became
their most aggressive following the rise to power of the Reagan administration
when in conjunction with a host of other military measures, it took steps to
increase its naval armaments. By 1990, it is planned to have 600 active navy
ships of various classes in the fleet. This fleet growth will not only be
quantitative, but qualitative as well.

The American shipbuilding program places importance on the renovation,
rearming, and recommissioning of the IOWA-Class battleships (BB). The foreign
press has reported that the cost of putting one such ship into commission is
about equal to the cost of building a SPRUANCE-Class destroyer (about 500
million dollars), but the combat effectiveness of the BB is 15-20 times
greater. U.S. defense specialists consider that modernized battleships can
remain in service in the active fleet until 2005.

IOWA (BB-61), first in a 6-ship series, was built in 1943, following which, in
1943-44, NEW JERSEY (BB-62), MISSOURI (BB-63) and WISCONSIN (BB-64) were
placed into service. Construction of the final two (5th and 6th), ILLINOIS
(BB-65) and KENTUCKY (BB-66) were deferred.

Each BB was armed with three 3-barrelled 406-mm turrets, two 2-barrelled 127-
mm turrets and 20 sponson-mounted 40-mm automatic guns. The ships have a full
displacement of 58,000 tons and a standard displacement of 45,000 tons. They
are 270.4 m long, have a 33-m beam and draw 11.6 m. The steam power plant
drives four shafts (includes eight boilers and four geared turbines) and has a
rating of 212,000 hp which supports a speed of 33 knots. Cruising range is
5,000 miles at 30 knots and 15,000 miles at 17. Fuel supply is 6,840 tons,
sufficient for three months. The peacetime complement is 1,562, of which 62
are officers.

Battleships are assigned tasks of conducting combat actions against heavy
enemy surface ships. However, toward the end of World War II, by dint of the
increased role of strike aircraft carriers, battleships were assigned
primarily for covering aircraft formations as well as for providing gunfire
support during amphibiout assault operations. After the end of the war in the
Pacific, three BBs were placed in the reserve fleet and MISSOURI (BB-63 was
used for training.)

All four battleships took part in the aggressive Korean War (1950-53).
Missions and tasks included blockading North Korean ports, control of sea
lines of communications, shore bombardment against North Korean troop
concentrations and anti-amphibious defensive positions, and destruction of
shore installations.

Battleships were also employed in the U.S. aggression against Vietnam. NEW
JERSEY, recommissioned in April, 1968, was, by October, conducting shore
bombardment and continued to do so on and off for 120 days until June of 1969-
The employment of NEW JERSEY in combat action in Vietnam was considered by
U.S. naval specialists to have been necessary in order to conduct active and
continuing fire support to ground forces and Marines, since these missions, in
their opinion, could not be satisfactorily performed by any other force under
the given circumstances.

The widespread use of the large caliber guns on surface ships against shore
installations in Vietnam, in addition, compensated for the reduction of flight
operations in adverse weather, and also for reducing aircraft losses from the
action of air defense forces. Bombardment was generally area and uncorrected.
In some isolated cases, fire was corrected by aircraft (or helicopter)
spotters or by reconnaissance groups landed from submarines or helicopters.
Foreign defense specialists have equated NEW JERSEY'S main battery to the
firepower of bombing strikes of 50 fighter-bombers. Over a six-month period,
NEW JERSEY carried out 434 fire strikes from her 406- and 127-mm caliber

The U.S. Navy, assessing the actions of the battleships in Vietnam, has
remarked that their ability to operate, in practically any weather conditions,
the high accuracy and effectiveness of their fire in destroying defended
targets, placed the BB in first place compared with field artillery, bombers,
and strike aircraft. After the dirty war in Vietnam, NEW JERSEY was once
again mothballed.

In 1981, Congress, within the framework of the regular program of force
improvement, authorized allocation of resources for demothballing and
modernizing NEW JERSEY, fully approving the Navy's proposal for subsequent
recommissioning of the remaining three battleships. A foundation for taking
such a decision was the lying, provocative ceartifications of the "growing
threat of the USSR Navy." It was also underscored in the foreign press that
for these relatively modest expenditures, BBs could effectively be employed in
forward groups to supplement the aircraft carrier groups.

In 1980, the U.S. Navy defined the primary missions of the battleships. They
were to be employed both within the composition of aircraft carrier battle
groups, and as the nucleus of independent surface action groups. It is
considered also that they could successfully operate, while executing fire
support missions for landing forces, for the defense of sea lines of
communications and achieve sea superiority in dispersed regions of the
maritime TVDs. It is noted also that the installation of the TOMAHAWK guided
missile permits the use of these ships to conduct strikes against second
echelon and reserve ground forces. In peacetime, BBs can actively be employed
as a show of force in the so-called regions "of vital importance" to the U.S.

There are presently three battleships — NEW JERSEY (BB-62), IOWA (BB-61) and
MISSOURI (BB-63) — in the fleet following completion of the first phase of
modernization; and WISCONSIN (BB-64) is expected to return to the active fleet
by 1988. These BBs, completing the first stage of modernization, are equipped
with the following weapon systems: eight 4-cell armored TOMAHAWK launch
systems, four 4-cell armored launch installations for the antiship missile
HARPOON, three 406-mm 3-barrel and six 127-mm twin-barrel turrets, four 20-mm
anti-aircraft guns (VULCAN-PHALANX close-in weapon system) and three SEA
SPRITE (SH-2F) ASW helicopters. In addition, new radar systems,
communications, fire control and electronic warfare systems are installed.

Battleships can have any of three modifications of the TOMAHAWK. For
destruction of shore targets there are the BGM-109A with a nuclear warhead and
a range of 2,500 km and the BGM-109C with a conventional warhead. To attack
surface ships, there is the BGM-109B with a high-explosive fragmentation war
head of 454 kg (up to 550 km range).

The BGM-109A/C use a combined guidance system consisting of a basic inertial
navigation system with a radio altimeter, into which are fed corrections from
the TERCOM correlation system. The foreign press has noted that the arrival
accuracy of the missile on target does not depend on the length of flight,
since the TERCOM compensates for errors of the inertial system which increase
over time. The BGM-109B anti-ship TOMAHAWK is guided, as well, toward its
surface target using a combination system, consisting of an inertial system
with a radio altimeter (initial and mid-course phases of the trajectory) and
active radar seeker head with an IFF interrogator (on final). The missile
speed is 885 kM/HR.

The RGM-84A HARPOON anti-ship missile has a 110-130 km range, and its guidance
system does not differ in principle from that used by the BGM-109B. The
warhead is high explosive and weighs 225 kg. Its cruising speed is Mach 0.8.

The range of the ships' main battery guns (406-mm) is 39 km, the rounds weigh
860-1,225 kg and the firing rate for each barrel is 2 rds/min.; the 127-mm gun
range is 16.5 km, one of its rounds weights 25 kg and the nominal firing rate
of the turret is 15 rds/min. The VULCAN-PHALANX AA 20-mm close-in weapon
system is designed to destroy diving and high speed, low-flying airborne
targets. Its maximum horizontal range is 6 km; it can reach up to 2,500 m in
altitude; nominal rate-of-fire for the 6-barrel complex is 3,000 rds/min with
a ready service supply of 950 rounds.

Heavy-armored protection guarantees the high survivability of the battleship:
the side armor thickness is 406-482 mm; the upper deck, 102 mm; the main deck,
152 mm; combat center has 440 mm of armor; the side armor on the main battery
turrets is 432 mm thick, its rear walls, 305 mm, and the thickness of the roof
armor is 184 mm.

The U.S. Navy has reviewed a number of variants of the Phase II modernization
of the battleships. One of them proposed removal of the stern main battery
turret, all or part of the 127-mm guns, as well as the missile box launchers.
In their place, it was planned to install a hangar and flight deck about 100 m
long, and to emplace a single vertical launch missile system. In this case,
the ship could then take on board 12 VSTOL aircraft or as many helicopters.

Recently, the foreign press has reported on a U.S. design for a shipboard
variant of a mass volley fire reaction system (PC30), or ABRS (Assault
Ballistic Rocket System), based on the Army's MLRS system, designed for
installation on a number of surface ships, including IOWA-Class battleships.
Specifically, they are examining the feasibility of replacing four 127-mm gun
turrets with PC30 ABRS box launchers. These will fire rockets out to 30 km,
and in the future, will extend the range to 90 km. U.S. defense experts
consider that the ABRS is the most effective means of destroying kinetic
energy generators, armored combat vehicles, artillery batteries, antiair
defense systems, C3 systems, and other important targets.

It is planned to modernize the gun weapons because there are new rounds for
the 406-mm and 127-mm guns, which, in U.S. defense specialists' opinion, will
increase their range and the accuracy of target destruction as well as reduce
the expenditure of ammunition. Thus, the 127-mm guided round with a laser
self-guidance, equipped with jet engines, allows a range increase up to 40 km,
while the 406-mm range can be extended to 80 km.

Foreign defense specialists consider that after modernization, BBs could
accomplish a wide circle of missions during combat action at sea. They are
capable of conducting strikes with guided missiles with both nuclear and
conventional warheads against shore installation and maritime targets, and
carry out artillery action against surface ships and shore installations as
well. The importance of this is the fact that the BB possesses great
survivability (405 times greater than the aircraft carrier).

In recent years, the tactics of employing battleships as part of carrier
battle groups and in surface action groups has been exercised. In both
instances, they have worked out a tight combat coordination with the forces
and system of the zonal network of anti-air and antisubmarine defense in a
TVD. In so doing, they pay special attention to working out joint strikes by
shipboard missiles and deck aircraft against maritime and shore targets as
well as to the organization of all the aspects of defense. It is considered
that BBs have become capable of carrying out at least part of the combat
missions earlier assigned only to aircraft carriers and their strike aircraft.

In the makeup of a carrier battle group, the combination of the battleship's
guided missiles with conventional or nuclear warheads and its main battery
guns with the carrier's strike aircraft, demonstrates considerable striking
power in actions against surface groups as well as enemy shore installations
in support of Marine amphibious operations and their follow-on shore combat

The carrier battle group battle formation (1-2 CVs and 1 BB) envisions the
movement of the BB with screening ships in the direction of the enemy [along
the threat axis] at distances of 300-500 km from the carrier for the purposes
of carrying out simultaneous missile and strike aircraft attacks on the enemy
surface strike groups 800-1,000 km from the carrier. In order to increase the
probability of success in anti-air and antisubmarine warfare, U.S. specialists
are considering the possibility of including in the composition of the carrier
battle group one carrier equipped only with fighters and antisubmarine
warfare aircraft.

Exercise experience of the last few years (1984-85), underscores such a tactic
for employment of the battleship. In these exercises, while conducting combat
operations against "enemy" surface forces, simultaneous as well as sequential
strikes with TOMAHAWK and HARPOON and carrier aviation, were practiced. In
order to conduct simultaneous strikes, the BB, with its screening ships (four
or five surface combatants) moved away from the carrier and toward the "enemy"
flank, remaining within air cover of its fighters. Foreign specialists think
it is possible to employ, as well, general purpose LOS ANGELES-Class attack
submarines, using TOMAHAWK or HARPOON, for these joint strikes. A
simultaneous strike with missiles of the battleship and its screen ships
(TICONDEROGA-Class CG and SPRUANCE-Class DDs), fighter-bomber carrier aircraft
(16-20 planes) and nuclear submarines, in foreign specialists' estimate, is
simply too hard to repulse.

The battleship is very survivable. World War II experience points out that in
order to sink such a large ship as one with 45,000 to 60,000 tons displacement
required 8-9 torpedoes or 6-8 500-lb high explosive bombs. For example, the
Japanese battleship YAMAT0 was sunk in April, 1954, after taking hits from 10
U.S. airborne torpedoes (warhead weight of each was about 270 kg) and about 13
250-kg bombs. Recent tests conducted by U.S. specialists have shown that in
order to sink a modernized IOWA-Class battleship requires the simultaneous hit
of 10 Mk 48 torpedoes, which in their opinion is highly unlikely. The armored
protection of the ship makes it practically invulnerable to the antiship
missile such as the EX0CET (which can penetrate up to 90 mm of armor).

The inclusion of the battleship, with its great striking power and
survivability, into the composition of the carrier battle group substantively
increases its strike and defensive capabilities, and guarantees a high level
of combat stability while solving the problems of gaining and maintaining
superiority in various important military action theaters such as the
Norwegian and Mediterranean Seas, North Atlantic and Indian oceans and other
areas, and also in defending its maritime lines of communications and in a
range of other cases.

However, the BB can play a major role as the main combat element of an
operational missile group. Such a group could consist of a battleship, two
Class frigates. It can be supported by one LOS ANGELES-Class SSN, land-based
patrol aircraft and shorebased fighters when operating within their range. The
operational missile group has substantial strike potential in operations
against enemy surface groups and shore installations and sufficiently broad
defensive capabilities. The collection and processing of information on the
enemy as well as guaranteeing over-the-horizon targeting is accomplished by
the OUTLAW SHARK system, based on data from satellite observation and other
information sources (aircraft) surface ships and submarines, shore listening
posts and centers, etc.

The group's defensive system is laid out along sector principles with
reinforcement along the dangerous axes. A summary composition of the ASW
weapons and resources for search might include: 6-8 surface ship sonars,
including 3-4 with the TACTAS towed array; 10-14 airborne sonar systems (in
helicopters); 40-60 ASW guided missiles ASROC; and 35-40 tubes of ASW

In the most active ASW defensive zone (about 50-80 miles from the BB) search
is carried out by ships with the TACTAS antenna and shipborne ASW helicopters.
Beyond this zone (150-200 miles), regional theater ASW aircraft operate. And
in the far zone, ASW defense is carried out by the LOS ANGELES-Class SSN. All
these forces and resources, in foreign defense specialists' views, can assure
detection, prosecution and destruction of up to 3-4 enemy submarines.

Air defense of the battleship is the responsibility of the air defense screen
ships (AEGIS, TARTAR and SEA SPARROW systems and the VULCAN-PHALANX,
76-mm and 127-mm guns), sea and landbased fighters (in the event the missile group
is operating within their zone of accessibility). As a rule, fighters operate at
distances of 300 to 400 miles. The missile groups antiair defense systems, in
foreign specialists' estimate, are capable of killing no less than 12 to 14
anti-ship missiles out of each raid of 8 to 12 aircraft.

U.S. military specialists, pointing to the need to strengthen fire support for
amphibious assault operations, underscore that the best solution to this
problem is the battleship. In the view of the U.S. Navy, battleships at the
outset of the landing operation can lay down cruise missile strikes on the
enemy, jointly with carrier air strikes. In order not to disclose, at the
start, the participants of the landing, strikes are carried out along a wide
front against ships at sea, bases, airports, important air defense system
installations, command points, communications networks, missile and artillery
units and also ground force groupings. Later, battleships will participate in
preliminary fire preparation before the landing, which begins from one to five
days before. In this period, missile strikes against shore installations are
combined with carrier strike aircraft attacks as well as Marine aircraft to
suppress antiair defense systems, which allows in the latter periods for the
battleships to approach the shore and utilize its shipboard artillery.

In the period of fire preparation for the landing and supporting the landing
forces on the beach, destruction by artillery of main targets is carried out
as announced by the commander of the landing force. In one hour the ship can
discharge from its nine barrels more than 1,000 rounds. In so doing, the area
of maneuver for firing can be dispersed from 20-30 km from the shore. When
using active-reactive rounds, this distance can be increased up to 50-60 miles.
Destruction of targets can be done either by volley fire or single shot.

U.S. Navy specialists consider that the combat capabilities of battleships
will considerably increase the strike power of operational navy groups, which
are one of the main instruments of carrying out the aggressive foreign
policies of the White House.

COPYRIGHT: "Zarubezhnoye voyennoye obozreniye," 1987

CSO: 1801/124

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Oct 9, 2009
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On a tangent, found some info on the Navy's original plans circa 1988 for deployment of the AAI/Mazlat Pioneer RPV on the Iowa class.

As a result of a demonstration proving the RPV's capabilities, Naval Air
Systems Command was directed in July 1985 by former Secretary of the Navy John
Lehman to implement a RPV program using off-the-shelf technology. Doing so
would enable an RPV unit to be deployed to the fleet as soon as possible for
intelligence gathering and fleet support.

In order to find the most effective and efficient technology being used,
competitive tests were conducted from October through December of 1985. The
conclusion drawn upon the completion of these test was that the Pioneer, an
unmanned air vehicle marketed by AAI Corporation/Mazlat LTD was the best
suited for the Navy's needs. [Ref. 5:pp. 15-16]

The Pioneer air vehicle has a wing span of 16.9 feet and a maximum gross
weight of 419 pounds. The vehicle is propelled to its maximum speed of 115 miles
per hour by a Sachs SF2-350 (26HP) horizontally-opposed twin cylinder, two stroke
engine. Several payload packages can be employed within the 100 pound
payload limit. Options currently available include the gyro stabilized MKD-200
high-resolution daylight TV camera or the MKD-400 FLIR for night or reduced
visibility operations. [Ref. 5:p. 16]

Mission success in a high-threat environment is very much dependent on the
survivability attributes of the vehicle conducting the mission. Survivability of the
Pioneer is enhanced by its small size, low visual signature, jam resistant data link,
and low radar/IR signature. In addition, the Pioneer's endurance time and altitude
capability make it a viable option for many Naval applications.

Installation of the RPV system aboard the USS Iowa (BB-61) began in April
1986. A rocket-assisted takeoff capability was introduced as the battleship's answer
to catapult launches and a net was designed for shipboard recovery. However, the
Pioneer's introduction has not been without casualty. During the system's first
deployment aboard the Iowa in 1986, four out of five air vehicles were lost. After
the first cruise, the Navy and AAI formed so-called "tiger teams" of specialists to
work on the problems which had been identified, and air operations resumed
shortly thereafter. The Pioneer was deployed aboard the Iowa again in July 1987
and has been flying ashore and afloat ever since. To date the system has acquired
over 600 flight hours of which more than 60 hours have been at night. The first
U. S. Marine Corps companies have been formed and have conducted night fire
support exercises with the optional thermal imager. During the latest trials
onboard the battleship Iowa, the RPV logged more than 110 flight hours, 20 of
which were flown at night employing the forward-looking infrared sensor.
[Ref. 5:p. 16 & Ref. 6:p. 10251]

A Navy baseline review of the AAI/Mazlat Pioneer remotely piloted vehicle
program has endorsed the concept of a short-range unmanned vehicle for over-the
horizon surveillance and targeting and recommended procuring the system in

Pending Department of Defense approval, the Navy will pick up its option to
procure four more Pioneer systems to support an operational evaluation in 1989.
Each system consists of eight RPVs, one ground control station and a tracking
control unit. A full-scale production decision is scheduled in Fiscal 1989.
Eventually, the Navy wants to procure 43 systems, including 344 RPVs, for over the-
horizon targeting, surveillance, and support of amphibious operations.

The base line review follows extensive field testing of the system by the Navy
and the Marine Corps that was intended to determine whether there was an
operational need for a short-range RPV system and what the final configuration
should be. [Ref. 7:p. 251]

The Pioneer RPV system has performed remarkably well and has proven quite
cost effective considering it was an off-the-shelf system that was intended to be a
stop-gap solution to an existing problem and that it was employed without the usual
operational test and evaluation required of major Navy systems. There have been
several problem areas identified, however, and work is presently being done to
correct these deficiencies and to implement improvements. Some of the critical
issues include finding an alternative-fuel engine capable of running on JP-5 or
diesel fuel to replace the current engine. A command/control data link needs to be
developed that will expand the effective control range beyond the 100 nautical mile
limit. It is considered by some that the Pioneer air vehicle is slightly deficient in
pitch authority, requiring a rather lengthy and flat glide slope be used during
recovery, thereby increasing the time spent in a critical transition region. Such a
deficiency also necessitates that a higher approach speed be utilized which in turn
increases the danger of the recovery to personnel and to the air vehicle.

The Navy has identified several low Reynolds number airfoils, such as the
Wortmann FX 63-137 airfoil, which might offer superior performance over those
currently in use, especially at conditions of high lift encountered in the landing
mode. 1 With the use of such an airfoil and some "fine tuning " of the stability
parameters, the handling qualities of the Pioneer RPV or a similarly configured
vehicle could possibly be improved upon.

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Oct 9, 2009
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