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Several Arsenal ship concepts

Triton

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blackstar said:
I also suspect that the rest of the surface ship navy would have raised objections as well, because the Arsenal Ship would have threatened to steal Tomahawks away from all the other surface ships. So while it came from an advocate of the surface navy, it would have posed a threat to the surface navy as well.
Because of the budget realities of purchasing TLAMs to arm the Arsenal Ship or that the Arsenal Ship would result in operational changes in the United States Navy? It is incorrect to think of the Arsenal Ship as a platform that could provide additional firepower? Was the Arsenal Ship intended for more than the land attack role?
 

TomS

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Budget for additional missiles was certainly a major problem -- the USN has never actually had a great shortage of VLS cells (usually the reverse, in fact), making ArShip in some ways a solution looking for a problem.

A whole range of new missiles were offered as possible low-cost ways to fill up the Navy's VLS cells (NTACMS, Land-Attack Standard Missile, POLAR, and too many others to name). None were ever bought, though.

At various times, Arsenal Ship was also proposed as a platform for theater ballistic defense missiles, again relying on offboard targeting and fire control.
 

Triton

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Though I presume that the Arsenal Ship would not have gone to sea with 500 missiles, or 384 missiles, etc. in its VLS cells. The dual 52 caliber 155mm guns and magazine of the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS) in development at the time would have taken up 64 VLS cells in the Arsenal Ship. The VGAS would have fired the Raytheon Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) and have a magazine of 1,400 rounds in an all up configuration. I guess now it would be the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and BAE Systems for the AGS.

Source:
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/policy/vision/vis98/vis-p09.html
http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/date/2008/03/page/2
 

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As specified in the Navy-DARPA project, Arsenal Ship did not have guns.

Despite that Navy Vision, Presence, Power document (which I think I worked on, peripherally), ERGM was primarily a 127mm round for Mk 45 Mod 4. There was some thought that the VGAS round could be an up-sized version but that didn't happen and the AGS LRLAP round is a clean sheet design from a different company. The confusion stems from the fact that "extended-range guided munition" (lower case) was used for some time as a generic term for any rocket-assisted guided round, rather than referring to a specific program of record.
 

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Oddly enough, back in 1996, with the original 500 cell concept*, there was at least initially a requirement for it to be "capable of underway refueling and
accommodating SH-60, V-22, and CH-46 aircraft with landing area and limited services". Somewhat counter to the underlying basis of the entire concept, IMHO.

*Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Promulgation of the Arsenal Ship Concept
of Operations, Memorandum, Serial N863D/6U654802, dtd. 11 April 1996.


Here's a couple of papers on the Arsenal Ship concept:
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a286917.pdf
http://calhoun.nps.edu/public/bitstream/handle/10945/7991/arsenalshipautom00mcne.pdf?sequence=1
 

blackstar

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Grey Havoc said:
Oddly enough, back in 1996, with the original 500 cell concept*, there was at least initially a requirement for it to be "capable of underway refueling and
accommodating SH-60, V-22, and CH-46 aircraft with landing area and limited services". Somewhat counter to the underlying basis of the entire concept, IMHO.
Why is that counter to the concept? It seems like it would make sense to have a landing area and refueling capability. The former is useful for basic utility and resupply, not to mention evacuating a sick crewmember.
 

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The landing area yes, but the refueling and service capabilities, no. They added expense and potential vulnerabilities (e.g. aviation fuel storage) to something that was supposed to be a relatively low cost, ultimately expendable platform. Most later arsenal ship concepts only had a landing area, if that.

Speaking of which, here's the 1996 TSSE Arsenal Ship concept, created in response to a request from the then Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. Please note that you'll likely need a .dwg extension viewer to look at the ship views. They seem to have been left out of the final report.
 

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Have any reliable drawings of the original Project 1144M proposal come to light, by any chance?
 

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blackstar said:
Thanks for posting that. It is consistent with other things that I read at the time, which indicated that it was mostly Boorda's idea and largely came out of nowhere. This quote supports that:

"Norman Polmar, a naval expert and author in Alexandria, Va., said: "It's an interesting idea, but when will you ever want to fire 500 Tomahawk missiles? There's no analysis to support that number of missiles."

When Boorda died, the Arsenal Ship idea died with him. But it's doubtful that if he had lived it would have continued. Eventually somebody would have had to fund it, and that's when they start asking the tough questions. Boorda said that he wanted a "cheap" ship, but clearly it would have grown in complexity and cost. First of all, supporting that many missiles would have required a lot of sophisticated integration, and that would have cost money. Then people would have asked the inevitable question: "If we're creating such a high value asset, shouldn't we also add in extra damage control and redundancy and self defense so that one hit doesn't sink the whole ship?" And then they would have added more stuff and the cost would have gone up.

I also suspect that the rest of the surface ship navy would have raised objections as well, because the Arsenal Ship would have threatened to steal Tomahawks away from all the other surface ships. So while it came from an advocate of the surface navy, it would have posed a threat to the surface navy as well.
IMHO the Arsenal Ship could be a cheap 'low intensity conflict' platform while still being able to contribute to fights with A2AD near peer enemies.

The vast majority of coastal areas like Africa do not 'today' at least threaten warships so you could have a single ship posted on each coast and/or in the 'Med' giving 'continental' coverage married to special forces teams on the ground designating targets. But I also envision an Arsenal ship with IRBMs and HSSWs for prompt strike and not just cruise missiles. I would convert an old helicopter carrier it having huge deck space, although it might be cheaper to build a whole new platform.
 

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Thanks Tzoli. It's surprising that Russia haven't also looked at the old Project 1080 as the basis of a relatively quick way of helping to rebuild their seagoing firepower. Institutional amnesia, perhaps?



bobbymike said:
IMHO the Arsenal Ship could be a cheap 'low intensity conflict' platform while still being able to contribute to fights with A2AD near peer enemies.

The vast majority of coastal areas like Africa do not 'today' at least threaten warships so you could have a single ship posted on each coast and/or in the 'Med' giving 'continental' coverage married to special forces teams on the ground designating targets. But I also envision an Arsenal ship with IRBMs and HSSWs for prompt strike and not just cruise missiles. I would convert an old helicopter carrier it having huge deck space, although it might be cheaper to build a whole new platform.
On that score, have you come across this Missile Support Barge (MSB-1) concept from a year or so back? (image via the SNAFU blog):
 

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Grey Havoc said:
Thanks Tzoli. It's surprising that Russia haven't also looked at the old Project 1080 as the basis of a relatively quick way of helping to rebuild their seagoing firepower. Institutional amnesia, perhaps?



bobbymike said:
IMHO the Arsenal Ship could be a cheap 'low intensity conflict' platform while still being able to contribute to fights with A2AD near peer enemies.

The vast majority of coastal areas like Africa do not 'today' at least threaten warships so you could have a single ship posted on each coast and/or in the 'Med' giving 'continental' coverage married to special forces teams on the ground designating targets. But I also envision an Arsenal ship with IRBMs and HSSWs for prompt strike and not just cruise missiles. I would convert an old helicopter carrier it having huge deck space, although it might be cheaper to build a whole new platform.
On that score, have you come across this Missile Support Barge (MSB-1) concept from a year or so back? (image via the SNAFU blog):
Interesting design. How many VLS cells does that show?
 

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If you walk it back to the original source, it claims 320 cells (I count 32 modules, so they're not the standard 8-cell configuration). But the same designer has a flying aircraft carrier based on the Nimitz design and a Dutch catamaran battleship from WW3, so it's not exactly a high-fidelity concept.
 

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From aviation week:

Strictly speaking not an arsenal ship but I found the link at the arsenal ship entry in wikipedia.....and it can be used as such
Introducing the Ballistic Missile Defense Ship

Among the many striking displays at the recent Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition was this marvel -- an amphibious warfare ship adapted for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), with three times the radar size and missile capacity of current BMD vessels, as well an electromagnetic rail gun that can launch shells to the edge of space.

The concept from Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) is based on the hull of the LPD-17 San Antonio Class, a component of the three-ship “Amphibious Ready Groups” that stage Marines at forward, sea-based positions. In this incarnation, HII has removed the Marine’s berthing, vehicles, helicopters and landing craft, and installed air defense equipment with greater range and capacity than any ship in the fleet.

Atop the superstructure is a massive S-band phased array radar, over 21 feet on each side. Compare that to the 12.5 ft. diameter of the SPY-1 radars aboard Ticonderoga Class Cruisers and Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers. For radars, larger size means greater range and better resolution and these arrays have three times the area of those which equip current BMD vessels.

Starting behind the superstructure and continuing along the periphery to the stern is a vertical launch system (VLS) with 288 cells to carry surface to air missiles (SAMs), Tomahawk cruise missiles or Vertical-launch Anti-submarine rockets (VLAs). For comparison, Ticos have 122; later Burkes 96 and earlier Burkes 90. So, that’s triple the average missile load to start, with plenty of room to install more. Plus, the ship is taller than the surface combatants, which means it can hold future missiles of greater length and range.

Forward of the superstructure, you see what looks like a standard five inch gun, the kind one finds on the Ticos and Burkes. But an engineer responsible for this design explains that’s not what it represents. In fact, it’s an electromagnetic rail gun.

At least two other companies at the Expo exhibited their work on rail guns. The contractors speak of equipping surface combatants with 30+ mega joule (MJ) systems sometime in the 2020s. Elevated for maximum range, those barrels can throw shells a hundred miles away. Elevated higher, they can shoot projectiles to the edge of the atmosphere and possibly beyond.

That capability has caught the attention of missile defense thinkers because the shells might be able to intercept incoming warheads from ballistic missiles. With muzzle velocities of Mach 7, shells accelerated by 30MJ weapons would retain enough speed to engage re-entry vehicles as they fall back into the atmosphere, and possibly enough to chase maneuvering re-entry vehicles (MaRVs) trying to dodge them.

They’re also relatively cheap. Part of the difficulty of missile defense is economic. BMD interceptors like SM-3 often cost several times more than the missiles against which they defend. Using rail guns for BMD could flip that ratio, allowing multiple rounds to be economically expended on a single target. Even if a MaRV has greater kinetic energy than each round – which would confer a maneuvering advantage – it would face difficulty avoiding multiple interceptors while maintaining a course that ends at its target. This is particularly true if when the rounds approach they explode into clouds of hypersonic shards, which is what Boeing has in mind:

Yet another reason rail guns may interest the BMD community is the emerging threat posed by hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs), such as the one China tested in January. Rather than entering space like normal ballistic missiles, HGVs achieve great speed from their boosters but separate earlier, staying low enough to glide on the air remaining in the stratosphere. Accepting some drag for greater lift, these warheads fly farther than if on a higher trajectory. The benefit is more range and a flight path too low to be intercepted by exo-atmospheric kill vehicles – such as the ones which equip the SM-3 and other mid-course BMD interceptors. The downside is when the warhead nears its target, it has less speed and altitude and is therefore more easily intercepted by low-tier interceptors, including potential rail guns.

While offering greater BMD capability than any other ship operating or planned, the LPD BMD could still provide versatility. The missile cells can launch Tomahawks at land targets. While not currently intended for anti-submarine warfare, acoustic equipment could be added, VLAs can be carried, and the ship can embark helicopters. They could also retain some of their Marine equipment to continue providing amphibious warfare capability.

HII generated this concept about a year ago, and they’re not the only one’s thinking about it. Noted naval analyst Norman Polmar has also spoken of integrating air defense equipment onto amphibious warfare vessels. The two qualities one needs to improve BMD capability are larger radars and more missile cells; features which call for a bigger ship, like an amphib.

The number of missile cells also harkens back to the Arsenal Ship, a notion which floated around the pages of defense publications in the 1990’s. The idea was to design a stealthy, low-visual signature ship which would just barely extend above the water and hold 500 cells for tomahawks, providing unmatched firepower wherever it travelled. The idea came to partial fruition with the conversion of four Ohio class submarines to SSGNs. In place of 24 Trident nuclear ballistic missiles, these subs now carry 154 conventional Tomahawks and comprise 60% of the Navy’s cruise missile strike force. However, they are set to begin retiring towards the end of the decade. The current solution is to add more Tomahawk launchers to the next version of Virginia Class attack subs. It seems LPD BMD could help here as well, as it is conceptually a cross between an amphib, a Burke and the arsenal ship.

But the big difference in feasibility between the SSGNs and the LPD BMD is cost. The four subs had already been bought, except for the Tomahawk equipment. To field LPD BMD vessels, the US would have to pay for new ships, as well as new radars.

How much would it have to pay? So much nobody has asked for a specific estimate. One can make an educated guess though. The last LPD 17 the US bought cost around $2.1B. The most expensive addition to the basic design would be the radar and associated combat system. Aegis combat systems and their SPY-1 radars cost approximately $222M apiece for FY15. However, an engineer responsible for the LPD BMD design states a better analogy would be the “Cobra Judy,” a shipboard radar the US uses to conduct surveillance on foreign ballistic missile launches. Cobra Judy and its carrying vessel costed ~$1.7B for research and construction of one system. Building multiple ships might reduce the cost, but there would also be research and development to conduct on the new radar, which could increase the total cost of each ship significantly. Throw in the other combat systems and $4B seems like a reasonable ball-park, which would make LPD BMD the third most expensive ship class on record, after the Ford Class Carrier and Ohio Ballistic Missile Submarine Replacement.

At that cost, it’s hard to imagine the US ever buying more than a few, but that may be all the military needs. While no ship can be in two places at once, there are only a couple of theaters that require such great BMD defenses. Like the SSGNs, a handful of LPD BMDs could vastly increase capability in the couple of regions where the threat is greatest. Each LPD BMD accommodates up to 288 interceptors and has the space to carry more. China’s entire ballistic missile force numbers approximately 1100.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough money in the budget right now even for a handful. Too bad. It’s a fascinating concept, but in today’s fiscal environment, that’s probably all it’ll ever be … that, and the world’s coolest key chain:
 

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Triton

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The San Antonio-class based Ballistic Missile Defense Ship, BMD, is not the same thing as an arsenal ship. The arsenal ship provides extra VLS launchers and missiles for United States Navy cruisers and destroyers. The arsenal ship does not have radars or fire control systems. It is essentially a floating missile magazine. The arsenal ship was developed because VLS-equipped ships can't be rearmed at sea. BMD is a guided-missile ship using an LPD hull.

BMD is documented in the following topic:

"Huntington Ingalls LPD Flight II"
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,18872.msg182219.html#msg182219
 

XP67_Moonbat

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https://books.google.com/books?id=_eMDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA56&lpg=PA56&dq=strike+cruiser+ADM+Mike+Metcalf&source=bl&ots=C9kY-mzzKd&sig=IYtcpwSJQOLpsC6cpcwQPI0SblY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_wjVVLOjF5PmgwTGiILIDA&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=strike%20cruiser%20ADM%20Mike%20Metcalf&f=false
 

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http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/1987-a-battleship-for-the-21st-century/
 

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https://newwars.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/the-navy-and-the-missile-threat-pt-2/
 

blackstar

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Interesting to see that is from 1988. I did not know that the concept went back that early. Then again, it's not that surprising when you consider that once they came up with the VLS concept somebody would ask why they couldn't load a ship up with a LOT of VLS cells. So the real question is who came up with the first viable proposal for VLS and what limited the number of them that could be included in a ship?
 

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blackstar said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
Interesting to see that is from 1988. I did not know that the concept went back that early. Then again, it's not that surprising when you consider that once they came up with the VLS concept somebody would ask why they couldn't load a ship up with a LOT of VLS cells. So the real question is who came up with the first viable proposal for VLS and what limited the number of them that could be included in a ship?
Someone wrote up this tread, I think, that there was seen to be a real danger of an 'all [or most of your eggs] in one basket' if the Soviets, at the time, were able to sink these capital ships. With a 600 ship Navy you could distribute your firepower over many more ships all with VLS.

IMHO I actually think these types of ships make more sense today because when you have only 300 ships (and they can be in only one place at a time) you want to be able to have your 'many ships' distributed firepower plan where it makes sense.

Today there are only two nations, who are potential adversaries, that can threaten the US Navy's capital ships (China/Russia) yet there are many places around the world that you need a naval presence. Why deploy a carrier strike group to East Africa (say for anti-terror activities) when you could position an Arsenal Ship with intermediate range strike missiles that could, in theory, cover South West Asia all the way to East-North Africa.
 

blackstar

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bobbymike said:
IMHO I actually think these types of ships make more sense today because when you have only 300 ships (and they can be in only one place at a time) you want to be able to have your 'many ships' distributed firepower plan where it makes sense.
I don't think they make any more sense today than then, but for different reasons. Back then they represented too many eggs in one basket. But today the Navy deploys lots of singular ships by themselves, and those ships need the capability to operate alone and take care of themselves. An arsenal type ship would represent too much money in one basket, rather than distributed to the far-flung units.

Reading the article, retired Admiral Metcalf was advocating a distributed and interlinked force, rather than putting too many resources into "capital ships," so the arsenal ship seems to have run counter to what he was proposing. The Navy is much more networked now, and they are striving for seamless networking so that everybody shares information. Some of that started in the 1980s and 1990s (the Navy developed the capability of having one ship launch another ship's missiles, for instance, which I doubt was very popular). But this big ship with lots of missiles, while less of a vulnerable target than during the Cold War, would not be capable of doing all the things that you need to do, like get in close and operate special forces in the littorals.

There are some interesting things in that July 1988 article, such as Metcalf's prediction that "We're almost to the point where we're going to be able to eliminate manned aircraft from the naval scenario altogether." He also predicts that antimissile/antiaircraft laser weapons are just around the corner. Well, I guess he was right, except 30 years too early.
 

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blackstar said:
Interesting to see that is from 1988. I did not know that the concept went back that early. Then again, it's not that surprising when you consider that once they came up with the VLS concept somebody would ask why they couldn't load a ship up with a LOT of VLS cells. So the real question is who came up with the first viable proposal for VLS and what limited the number of them that could be included in a ship?
Limiting factors:
- cost (at ballpark $1M/missile, things add up quickly)
- number of fire control channels (for missiles that aren't fire-and-forget)
- manpower (while some of these were no more than missile carriers, you want a crew large enough to fight fires, which adds up for a large ship)
 

TomS

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The Metcalf designs don't really rate as Arsenal ships, IMO, since they were supposed to have extensive onboard sensors and fire control. One of the hallmarks of the ArShip is that it was primarily a remote magazine for combatant warships.
 

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But it can be said that the Metcalf Strike Cruiser was an important ancestor of the Arsenal Ship concept.
 

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Matt R. said:
Whose design is the one below ?
According to Bill Liebold, this is a Lockheed Martin design (Baseline 2B), with the shipyard being Litton.

Here is a short narrative :

The second ship shows another concept. I don't know who made it, where it came from, or what scale it is but it's 61" long. It showed up in my shop at Lockheed Martin in 1997 or 1998 when I was hot and heavy building newer versions for trade shows and this one was being taken out of circulation. As you can see on the name plate it is Baseline 1A, you can also see the paint cracking. The other photo is the last model I built of the ship Lockheed Martin worked on just before the Arsenal Ship program was canceled. I can't remember who the ship yard was that we were teamed with but I think maybe Litton back when they still owned Ingals Ship Yard. That one was Baseline 2B and was built to 3/32"=1'. Just forward of the front VLS are four little light grey squares with holes on the dark grey deck. Those are the guns. You only see the gun muzzles at the deck level. They were to vertically fire guided rounds. I did build the Baseline 2A ship. It looked a lot like 2B but was narrower. The vertical launchers on 2A and 2B were a new design and the hatches were flush to the deck and you could not see the hinges. There you go, my entire memory of Arsenal Ship in a paragraph.
Higher resolution pics can be found here

Credit : Bill Liebold / Model Ship Gallery
 

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flateric said:
Lockheed Martin Marine Systems Arsenal Ship Concept via JimK
According to Bill Liebold, this is the Lockheed Martin Baseline 1A variant (short narrative in the previous post).

More pics below (credit : Bill Liebold / Model Ship Gallery)
 

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Matt R.

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Triton said:
Box artwork for a notional U.S.S. Arizona (BB-72) model kit based on the Lockheed Martin Baseline 1A variant manufactured by Blue Ridge Models.
More pics of the model kit by Blue Ridge can be found here
 

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Matt, many thanks
 

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XP67_Moonbat said:
https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2015-05/breaking-anti-access-wall#
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,24684.0.html
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Well no s**t?!! A day late and a dollar short, huh? Aint that a bitch. ;D
 

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Well no s**t?!! A day late and a dollar short, huh? Aint that a bitch. ;D
Story of my life thanks for taking this one ;D
 

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http://militaryboatsonline.com/2015/09/creative-models-northrop-grumman-team-12-resin-model-arsenal-ship-boat/

Found this trying to Google the Northrop Grumman arsenal ship...unfortunately the model has already been sold.

Anyone got better pictures of it? If I were to guess it went through a similar change to the Lockheed Martin arsenal ship.
 

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https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/01/us-shift-to-missile-container-navy-would-be-six-times-more-cost-effective.html?fbclid=IwAR2dFUg9z_MbmPNFcqPDh-BvYC6Yut_Ylu2Jt5pVlgXdK7xmI9eBtnzUs3s

The US Navy is considering converting available merchant ships into missile-armed Navy ships. They would be able to make 15-20 merchant ships for the cost of one destroyer. The merchant missile ships would have 450-600 missiles versus 90 on one destroyer.

Offensive and defensive missiles are one of the main metrics for how much combat capability there is in a fleet.

The line item cost for Mk41 VLS is around $51-54 million per ship set (twelve modules). For hardware alone, the cost drops to $33-36 million per ship set. This means the cost of the missiles is about 2-4% of the cost of a $1.5 billion US destroyer.
 

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They would suffer from the same problems the original arsenal ship concepts did. All those eggs in baskets that can't defend themselves.
 

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sferrin said:
They would suffer from the same problems the original arsenal ship concepts did. All those eggs in baskets that can't defend themselves.
And it misses the cost of the actual armament. The Next Big Future article says "the cost of the missiles is about 2-4% of the cost of a $1.5 billion US destroyer" but that's actually the cost of the missile launchers, not the missiles themselves. Taking an average cost of $2.5 million per missile (SM-6 more, Tomahawk less), the actual cost of the missiles on a DDG is pushing $240 million. Very rough estimate, since it's going to vary a lot based on the mix, but it's far more relevant than the cost of the launchers alone.

Simple fact is that barring a major change in the cost of missiles, inventory is going to be a far more serious limitation on the number of missiles afloat than the number of deployed VLS cells.
 

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Ships can't be two places at once. I always thought this configuration could work in a zero anti-ship threat environment. Park one off the Horn of Africa and target a big part of that and the Middle East.

Then keep the high end ships for the high end fight.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
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bobbymike said:
Ships can't be two places at once. I always thought this configuration could work in a zero anti-ship threat environment. Park one off the Horn of Africa and target a big part of that and the Middle East.

Then keep the high end ships for the high end fight.
Anything more than TLAM barges and they'll need a cruiser there with them anyway for target detection / SM-2/3/6 control.
 
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