Navy Seeks Rail Guns, Lasers, Cruise Missiles To Improve Pacific Firepower

sferrin

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Triton said:
Is the rail gun considered to be a threat by the Raytheon lobby?
Personally, I think they each have their roles. ("Each" as in missiles and railguns.)
 

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I remember the arguments against the Advanced Gun System (AGS) and how it wasn't necessary because of Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) and precision airstrikes.
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
I remember the arguments against the Advanced Gun System (AGS) and how it wasn't necessary because of Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) and precision airstrikes.
Yeah, those are spectacularly weak arguments.
 

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sferrin said:
Triton said:
I remember the arguments against the Advanced Gun System (AGS) and how it wasn't necessary because of Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) and precision airstrikes.
Yeah, those are spectacularly weak arguments.
Indeed. In the meantime, the Marines are without Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) and the Navy cannot support the decision to decommission the last of the Iowa-class battleships.
 

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Source:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DU3WMWZW4AAvTHp.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DU3WMWZW4AAvTHp.jpg
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18119/is-this-chinese-navy-ship-equipped-with-an-experimental-electromagnetic-railgun
 

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Slightly off-topic... for easier viewing the full size image on twitter is *.jpg:large
 

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I wonder why the turret is mounted so far forward on the Chinese ship? It would surely be unstable in that position.
 

marauder2048

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Kadija_Man said:
I wonder why the turret is mounted so far forward on the Chinese ship? It would surely be unstable in that position.
Safer sabot/armature separation?
 

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"Northrop Grumman Builds the Biggest Laser Gun Ever"
The Navy wants Northrop to size up its current laser cannon by nearly 5 times -- and put it on a destroyer.
Rich Smith
(TMFDitty)
Jan 2, 2016 at 10:13AM

Source:
https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/01/02/northrop-grumman-builds-the-biggest-laser-gun-ever.aspx?&utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=feed&referring_guid=b0163d70-07d1-11e8-9b7f-0050569d4be0&utm_source=yahoo-host

Sheesh! What does it take to make the U.S. Navy happy?

Two years ago, tiny Kratos Defense & Security (NASDAQ:KTOS) strapped together six commercial welding lasers, added a bit of military-industrial complex magic, and built the Navy its first working laser cannon. Unimaginatively dubbed the Laser Weapon System, or "LaWS," the new gun proved itself capable of shooting down unmanned aerial vehicles, poking holes in small boats, and blasting targets at classified -- but "tactically significant " distances.

But apparently that's not enough for the Navy. They want a laser that's bigger. And better. (And presumably badder.) And they want Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) to build it.

Introducing LaWS's bigger, badder brother
The laser that the Navy has decided to build -- and has hired Northrop Grumman to build -- is called the Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD), and it's quite a monster.

Weighing in at 150 kilowatts in energy output, LWSD will be about four and a half times as powerful as Kratos's LaWS. According to website BreakingDefense.com, that should be enough power to "take out cruise missiles, drones, and manned aircraft at ranges of a few miles." And according to Northrop Grumman energy weapons program manager Guy Renard, all this will cost "about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot" -- $2 per shot.

Getting the program up and running, though, will cost a bit more.

Building LWSD
Earlier this week, we learned that the U.S. Office of Naval Research has awarded Northrop Grumman the LWSD contract. Over the course of the next three years, LWSD will progress through three phases from design to demonstration.

In phase 1, Northrop will develop a detailed design for the weapon. Northrop will receive about 58% of the $91 million in funds budgeted for LWSD's development -- $53 million -- over the first 12 months of this work. Phase 2 would greenlight Northrop to assemble LWSD and conduct land-based test of the laser. Finally, in phase 3, Northrop would conduct at-sea tests aboard the U.S. Navy's "Self Defense Test Ship," the former Navy destroyer USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964), which serves as a floating testbed for new technologies.

Start to finish, these three Phases should take 34 months to complete.

What it means to investors
It's hard to overestimate just how important this news is for the U.S. Navy -- and not just because it would catapult the U.S. into a new generation of weapons systems, unmatched by any foe on the globe. Northrop's $2-per-shot boast -- validated by earlier testing of Kratos's LaWS, which proved capable of firing multiple 33-kilowatt shots for just $0.59 each -- promises to make shipborne defense against enemy missiles, drones, and aircraft extremely cost-effective.

Moreover, a warship equipped with powerful lasers, instead of powerful -- but expensive and bulky missiles and cannon shells -- would have essentially "infinite ammo" to power its weapons. It won't need a long supply chain to keep it supplied with "bullets." So long as there's fuel in the tanks, the warship could remain in the fight. For that matter, freed of the need to lug around large munitions lockers stuffed to the gills with explosive ammunition, warships themselves could be smaller -- and cheaper.

These, as I say, are all benefits that laser weapons would confer upon the Navy -- but they're also strong arguments in favor of buying Northrop Grumman stock as well, because all these factors that make laser weapons so attractive to the Navy also make it a motivated buyer. The potential cost savings from a laser-armed fleet have already convinced the Navy to pay Northrop Grumman to develop LWSD -- and they will surely convince the Navy to buy these laser weapons once they've been perfected.

How many laser cannon might the Navy buy? According to Northrop, it's designing LWSD for easy integration onto the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer -- of which the Navy eventually intends to have 77 in its fleet. So that's at least 77 potential sales of this $91 million weapons system for Northrop. Or perhaps 154? 231? It all depends on how many lasers the Navy ultimately decides to arms its destroyers with.

Given the advantages, my guess is it's going to be a lot.
 

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"Lockheed Martin 'Dazzles' With New Laser Cannon Project"
Motley Fool Rich Smith, The Motley Fool,Motley Fool 12 hours ago

Source:
https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/lockheed-martin-dazzles-laser-cannon-163300321.html

Wayward drones, rogue missiles, and hostile aircraft, beware: The U.S. Navy is getting a new laser cannon. Weighing in at perhaps 500 kilowatts in power output and bearing a $100 million-plus price tag, it will be the Navy's biggest and most powerful laser yet -- and its most expensive.

For Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), it could also be very profitable.
Red laser beam

Careful where you point that thing, Lockheed. You could put an eye out -- or an ICBM. Image source: Getty Images.
HELIOS rising

Last week, the U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract to build it two prototype "High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance" (HELIOS) weapons by 2020. One system will be built for testing on land, the other will be installed aboard a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.

Lockheed's contract contains the option for the Navy to extend its ambit to cover a total of nine weapons. If exercised, these options could grow the value of the contract to as much as $942.8 million -- essentially turning HELIOS into a $1 billion weapons program.

Investors have been waiting for this news -- and waiting to learn who would win the HELIOS contract -- ever since the Congressional Research Service published a report in November 2017 describing the weapon's development. Initially, Lockheed will develop a 60 kW laser, then rapidly ramp up its power to first 150 kW, then 300 kW, and ultimately as much as half a megawatt of power throughput. In fact, Lockheed is probably already well on the way to reaching that goal, having already built 30 kW and 60 kW versions of its ATHENA air defense laser cannon for the Army.
Competition rises, too

Now, Lockheed isn't the only company building lasers for the military. Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) won a Navy contract to build a nearly-as-big 150 kW Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) in 2015. Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) has a 25 kW laser that's small enough to mount on a Humvee. And Boeing (NYSE: BA) has built a 10 kW laser gun that's actually men-packable. (That's not a typo. It takes a team of at least eight Marines to carry and assemble the several components that go into Boeing's laser squad weapon.)

Why, even tiny Kratos Defense & Security (NASDAQ: KTOS) built a laser -- also for the Navy -- the 33 kW "LaWS" laser weapon system, which was sent to patrol the Persian Gulf a few years back.

That said, most of these other lasers have garnered just a handful of millions of dollars in Pentagon funding to develop their prototypes. At $150 million -- and potentially nearly $1 billion -- Lockheed Martin's HELIOS contract is taking laser weapons to a whole new level entirely.

Indeed, the nonprofit Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) predicts that Lockheed's laser contract "will ultimately lead to the first program of record for laser energy weapons in the U.S. military." In other words, while other contracts have requisitioned the construction of one-off, prototype laser weapons for testing purposes, Lockheed's new laser will be something that the armed services will be able to buy in bulk -- and deploy in force.

How soon will we see it? Pretty darn quick, if the Navy gets its druthers. According to AFCEA, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) says it wants to begin testing the HELIOS aboard a destroyer "in the shortest time frame possible," and the office of the Secretary of the Navy says fielding laser weapons is an "urgent" Navy and Marine Corps objective.
What it means to investors

Although Lockheed's HELIOS is still probably two years away from first deployment, I don't think it's too early for investors to begin doing the math to figure out what this might mean for Lockheed Martin. Working off the HELIOS contract's $942.8 million total potential value, and dividing by the nine weapons the Navy might decide to purchase, it works out to a unit cost of just under $105 million per laser cannon. That makes each HELIOS about as expensive as an F-35 stealth fighter jet (also, incidentally, built by Lockheed).

Unlike an F-35, though, which costs more than $65,000 an hour to operate and can carry only eight missiles, HELIOS will probably cost just about $1 per shot -- and can keep shooting forever, so long as it has a fuel source to generate energy. And not needing projectiles to shoot, it will save the Navy money on ordnance and supply chain support as well, which should result in a low lifetime cost, increasing the weapon system's attractiveness to the Navy.

What will HELIOS mean for investors in Lockheed Martin stock? At this early stage in the game, it's hard to say how profitable HELIOS will be. Even at $105 million per unit, it certainly won't become as big a part of the business as Lockheed's F-35 program, which accounts for about a quarter of the company's revenue today, anytime soon. But at a $1 billion program size, it could move the needle on Lockheed Martin's stock. And if AFCEA is right, and HELIOS becomes the first (and for a period of time only) laser weapon program of record, it could vault Lockheed Martin into a quick lead in the race to build, and sell, even more laser weapons to the military down the road.

That, in turn, could make HELIOS Lockheed Martin's most effective weapon in fending off its own laser competitors.
 

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If 150 kw will allow for intercepting a cruise miissile flying just above land/sea at a few miles away, does it mean the same laser on a plane could intercept a missile flying at 10 km altitude at some 250% greater distances? ( Roughly the difference of air density) also, how many seconds of dwell time are we talking about here, against a missile?
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
"Northrop Grumman Builds the Biggest Laser Gun Ever"
The Navy wants Northrop to size up its current laser cannon by nearly 5 times -- and put it on a destroyer.
Rich Smith
(TMFDitty)
Jan 2, 2016 at 10:13AM

Source:
https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/01/02/northrop-grumman-builds-the-biggest-laser-gun-ever.aspx?&utm_campaign=article&utm_medium=feed&referring_guid=b0163d70-07d1-11e8-9b7f-0050569d4be0&utm_source=yahoo-host

Sheesh! What does it take to make the U.S. Navy happy?

Two years ago, tiny Kratos Defense & Security (NASDAQ:KTOS) strapped together six commercial welding lasers, added a bit of military-industrial complex magic, and built the Navy its first working laser cannon. Unimaginatively dubbed the Laser Weapon System, or "LaWS," the new gun proved itself capable of shooting down unmanned aerial vehicles, poking holes in small boats, and blasting targets at classified -- but "tactically significant " distances.

But apparently that's not enough for the Navy. They want a laser that's bigger. And better. (And presumably badder.) And they want Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) to build it.

Introducing LaWS's bigger, badder brother
The laser that the Navy has decided to build -- and has hired Northrop Grumman to build -- is called the Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD), and it's quite a monster.

Weighing in at 150 kilowatts in energy output,
The problem is that Joe Blow thinks 150kw is notable. What's needed is megawatts.
 

Triton

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"Iff China is ahead deploying Railguns, electromag catapults and hypersonic weapons"

brian wang | February 4, 2018

Source:
https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/02/various-photos-show-prototype-railgun-on-a-chinese-military-ship.html
 

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General Atomic contract for storage capacitors supplying High Power Microwave weapons.

"General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Navy through the Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) to develop advanced, high energy density capacitors for use in High Power Microwave (HPM) systems. GA-EMS is applying advanced technologies to create high energy density capacitors that will enable the deployment of HPM systems on smaller and more tactically relevant Navy platforms."
http://www.ga.com/general-atomics-awarded-navy-contract-for-high-energy-density-capacitors
 

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marauder2048 said:
Kadija_Man said:
I wonder why the turret is mounted so far forward on the Chinese ship? It would surely be unstable in that position.
Safer sabot/armature separation?
If it was amidships you'd fire it with the barrel directed amidships. Placing the turret that far forward means that it would be subject to excessive pitch when waves hit the ship. If this was a trials ship, it would be to prove that the weapon could be deployed on a ship and I suspect most firing would occur when the ship was stationary.
 

marauder2048

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Have we actually seen any of the double-digit MJ EMRGs at any appreciable angle of elevation?
 

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sferrin said:
That raises more questions than it answers. Why don't the larger copper discs go to the end of the barrel? Are they for cooling? Does it take a big jolt to get the round moving and maybe less to keep accelerating? Coil-gun first then railgun (maybe to reduce a giant arcing hotspot as the round goes from resting to moving)? ???
Hi,

I think the massive chunk of metal is the breech, containing the high power connections. A railgun is literally just two rails with a conducting projectile across them (you can make one yourself with some copper wire and a power supply). They are contained inside a strong casing of some sort - it appears to be a composite fibre-wound structure in this case.
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/02/drones-ro-boats-f-35-on-wheels-marines-seek-tech-for-major-war/
 

jsport

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bobbymike said:
https://breakingdefense.com/2018/02/drones-ro-boats-f-35-on-wheels-marines-seek-tech-for-major-war/
Thank you for posting.

Radar verses open rotors & tiltrotors equals expensive crash site.. Dumbafied.

Just like quadrotor per Marine squad equals squad under mortar fire. Add new penchant for automatic 82mm mortars. Dumbafied
 

sferrin

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jsport said:
bobbymike said:
https://breakingdefense.com/2018/02/drones-ro-boats-f-35-on-wheels-marines-seek-tech-for-major-war/
Thank you for posting.

Radar verses open rotors & tiltrotors equals expensive crash site.. Dumbafied.

Just like quadrotor per Marine squad equals squad under mortar fire. Add new penchant for automatic 82mm mortars. Dumbafied
Could we get that in English please? You can't possibly be baffled that world militaries use helicopters and drones so you must be trying to say something else. What?
 

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https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/03/22/navy-likely-be-first-service-field-laser-weapons-expert-says.html

If one service has made sufficient progress to use laser weapons in its arsenal in the next few years, it's the U.S. Navy, according to the former director of the Missile Defense Agency.

"The Navy right now is the most forward-leaning because they're the only service that has actually fielded an operational prototype weapon, the Laser Weapon System that they put on the USS Ponce," said Trey Obering, an executive vice president at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton who leads the directed energy innovation team.

Military.com spoke with Obering, a former Air Force lieutenant general, fighter pilot and NASA space shuttle engineer, in the midst of this week's Directed Energy Summit hosted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
 

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sferrin said:
M107 barrel? ;D
Sort of. Started life as an M113 tube for the M107 175mm gun but they smoothbored it and extended it by 10 feet or so.

Edit: the attachment is a review of the HARP program from the Army Ballistics Research Laboratory that talks about the smaller demonstrators, not just the famous 16-inch tube. Photos are illegible but the text is interesting.
 

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USAF prepares for rapid demo of high-energy laser weapon

15 May, 2018

The US Air Force has started preparing to rapidly stage a demonstration of a highly mature laser weapon system (LWS) for an unspecified “airborne vehicle”, with the potential for a follow-on production programme.

The plans for the near-term demonstration of a “High Energy Laser (HEL) Flexible Prototype” programme are revealed in an 11 May notice to potential suppliers from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC).

The notice outlines a plan to pay a supplier to deliver a HEL prototype and perform a system level ground verification test of an LWS within 12 months of contract award.

“The success of meeting this schedule milestone is the primary factor for continued work toward the flying prototype and the possibility of future LWS production,” the AFLCMC says.

The new request for information comes about a year after Eglin AFB published an RFI for “Airborne Tactical Laser Technology”, which solicited information about various subsystems that would be needed for an HEL.

“Those responses have been reviewed,” the AFLCMC states in the acquisition notice.

Nearly a decade ago, the Air Force Research Laboratory wrapped testing of a 100kW-class chemical oxygen iodine laser on a Lockheed Martin C-130 after an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board report determined the weapon had “no tactical utility”.

But interest in such a weapon never waned — especially for Air Force Special Operations Command. Since the late-1990s, the organisation has lobbied for funding to develop a laser weapon for its C-130 gunships.

Following the demise of the Advanced Tactical Laser programme in 2009, AFSOC’s interested shifted to solid-state laser technology.

Last month, AFSOC commander Lt Gen Marshall Webb complained in Senate testimony that a programme to install a 60kW-class laser weapon on an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship by 2022 is moving forward, but is $58 million short of full funding levels.

Meanwhile, the AFRL also has funded a self-protect high-energy laser demonstrator (SHiELD) programme for aircraft.
 

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http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-the-navys-new-destroyer-could-be-total-game-changer-25905

DDG 51 Flight III destroyers are expected to expand upon a promising new ship-based weapons system technology fire-control system, called Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA.

The Navy has now started construction on a first-of-its-kind new surface warfare destroyer armed with improved weapons, advanced sensors and new radar 35-times more sensitive than most current systems, service officials announced.

Construction of the first DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class Flight III Destroyer is part of a sweeping Navy and Pentagon effort to speed up delivery of new warships and expand the surface fleet to 355 ships on an accelerated timeframe.
 

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https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/05/29/why-the-us-should-stock-up-on-tomahawks/?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Socialflow&utm_source=facebook.com

The Tomahawk cruise missile is one of the most effective and highly utilized weapons in the U.S. arsenal ― and we have decided to stop producing them.

Last month, the U.S. Navy placed its final order for 100 replacement Tomahawks, citing a new cruise missile under development as the reason for closing the production line. Well and good, but the new missiles are not expected to be available until 2030. In the meantime, the U.S. should maintain — and even grow — its inventory of the cruise missile, which has been aptly described as the military’s “weapon of choice.”

Look at the numbers. Although exact figures are not publicly available, it is estimated that the Navy fires about 100 Tomahawks per year. In its first 15 months, the Trump administration has used Tomahawks at least twice, first launching roughly 60 against the Shayrat air base in Syria in response to that regime’s use of chemical weapons. Then again last month, in a coordinated strike with France and the U.K. against the Assad regime, the U.S. launched approximately 100 Tomahawks, according to U.S. Department of Defense officials.
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/07/destroyers-maxed-out-navy-looks-to-new-hulls-power-for-radars-lasers/?_ga=2.179083430.32131720.1531308516-233619353.1531219104

ARLINGTON: The Navy has crammed as much electronics as it can into its new DDG-51 Flight III destroyers now beginning construction, Rear Adm. William Galinis said this morning. That drives the service towards a new Large Surface Combatant that can comfortably accommodate the same high-powered radars, as well as future weapons such as lasers, on either a modified DDG-51 hull or an entirely new design.

“It’s going to be more of an evolutionary approach as we migrate from the DDG-51 Flight IIIs to the Large Surface Combatant,” said Galinis, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Ships. (LSC evolved from the Future Surface Combatant concept and will serve along a new frigate and unmanned surface vessels). “(We) start with a DDG-51 flight III combat system and we build off of that, probably bringing in a new HME (Hull, Mechanical, & Engineering) infrastructure, a new power architecture, to support that system as it then evolves going forward.”
 

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Psst, Admiral Galinis. I've got your large surface combatant right here.

 

sferrin

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Yep. It boggles my mind the lengths they go to shoot themselves in the head.
 

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There are people in the Navy who would buy more DDG-1000s tomorrow, leave off the AGS and add rails or more VLS, and there are those who want to hide them away where nobody will ever talk about them again. Which type of person is in charge of making what decisions will be interesting to see. Along the same lines, what is meant when he says "DDG Flight III Combat System" might mean "the same hardware again" or the next baseline in its continued evolution of Aegis in the OA/VM direction. It's hard to tell without really in-depth interviews, which the Navy sadly doesn't seem too interested in.

On the positive side, it's nice to see they've evolved to calling it "Large Surface Combatant" and are definitively moving past the idea of re-using the existing hull again. Ironically, they would more or less instantly have more Congressional support if they started calling it a "Cruiser," but that's its own tangent.
 

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In Japan, an 820 foot/27,000 ton carrier is a destroyer while the UK and Australia have a 500 foot/7,500 ton frigate. The political way to get the DDG-1000 back into production is to reclassify it as a RHIB.
 

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sferrin said:
Yep. It boggles my mind the lengths they go to shoot themselves in the head.
Here is how I see it:
- If the DDG-1000 hull is flawed, in that it can't be repurposed to other missions, then the whole Naval design staff should be fired.
- If the DDG-1000 hull works, but the Navy wants to spend $billions and years designing a new Large Surface Combatant hull, then the whole Naval design staff should be fired.
- If the DDG-1000 hull works and is selected in 2 - 4 years, instead of right now, then the whole naval design staff should be fired for wasting time.

Basically: they should all be fired and replaced with someone (anyone?) better.

Also: Moose, your analysis sounds completley true.
 

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Finally, someone appears to see these designs for what they are too small and under-powered.

Bureaucrats w/o the fear of being fired will always muck up and waste time and money.
 

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Moose said:
Along the same lines, what is meant when he says "DDG Flight III Combat System" might mean "the same hardware again" or the next baseline in its
continued evolution of Aegis in the OA/VM direction.
For the radar/hull study they did investigate a DDG-1000 variant that incorporated AMDR-S and replaced the DDG 1000's
TSCE combat system with the core of the Aegis combat system. My hope is that, at the very least, the SPY-4 apertures
get filled with something useful.
 
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