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Surface Ships Need More Offensive Punch, Outlook

marauder2048

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The truth hurts sometimes and I was hoping these peace deals would give everyone a tempo reprieve.

The fundamental issue is that no combatant commander will ever say "I have enough airpower, thank you."
 

marauder2048

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bobbymike

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jsport

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581!!! Should be about 200 Virginia’s in the fleet :D
Many experts inside and outside the Navy have concluded they’d rather have the same number of missile launchers from one large cruiser split among two or three smaller ships – allowing them to be more places from a lethality standpoint, allowing them to be smaller targets from a survivability standpoint, and creating a hedge in case one were sunk by an enemy from an attrition standpoint.

minimally manned/unmanned during cmbt corvettes
 

Colonial-Marine

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Large cruisers have the benefit of being able to carry larger and more powerful radars which are going to be vital especially against ballistic missiles. Until there is a solid plan for the next generation large surface combatant all of this talk of corvettes and unmanned ships should be put on the back-burner.
 

marauder2048

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IIRC, the authors were previously on the record opposing FFG(X) because they argued it's not
enough ship for the $$$ relative to a corvette.
 

Moose

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The attrition argument also runs into the problem that survivability does not scale linearly with size. That's true with today's jammers, sensors and weapons, and likely remains true in the age of directed energy.
 

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Bhurki

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Video of Russian Navy Frigate Admiral Gorshkov firing of Zircon Hypersonic Missile.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLfDIXfa3A
With the max dimensions of missiles being launched from UkSk system, zircon isn't larger than 0.70m*9.0m, or the same size as P800 onyx. It requires a much larger booster to get upto hypersonic speeds for its scramjet to function. As a result, i'm not sure what meaningful range would they be able to pack into the cruise vehicle.
 

stealthflanker

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With the max dimensions of missiles being launched from UkSk system, zircon isn't larger than 0.70m*9.0m, or the same size as P800 onyx. It requires a much larger booster to get upto hypersonic speeds for its scramjet to function. As a result, i'm not sure what meaningful range would they be able to pack into the cruise vehicle.

Depend on what you mean on "Meaningful".

Like, some 1500 km range is practical. Assuming 1200 s of ISP and 120 Kg of Ramjet propellant. The rocket booster itself, assuming some Boron enriched propellant can catapult the whole assembly to Mach 5 in just 4 seconds. With about 2500 Kg of propellant. The Cruise L/D for the thing at Mach 8 would be about 4.40.
 

Bhurki

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With about 2500 Kg of propellant.

Unless it's as big as Regulus 2 there's no way in hell it has 2500kg of propellant.
Right, thats where i was getting at.
It essentially a 28" x 30' scaled up unit to the 24" x 25' atacms based x-51, which was launched from 30k ft with high subsonic velocity, not to forget without any warhead.
 

Trident

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It essentially a 28" x 30' scaled up unit to the 24" x 25' atacms based x-51, which was launched from 30k ft with high subsonic velocity, not to forget without any warhead.

That might not sound like much, but it represents a huge increase in volume and weight. X-51 was a 1800kg vehicle all up, Oniks is 3000kg (conveniently matching the volume ratio perfectly!) and on ship-launched missiles like Kh-35 and Tomahawk the booster to take them off the deck to subsonic speed adds about 20% mass. So even after enlarging the booster to account for surface launch there should remain margin to scale up by some 30% and accommodate a warhead and a terminal seeker in lieu of the telemetry equipment. It might be possible to do with a significantly reduced explosive charge (or none at all) and rely on kinetic energy to do most (all) of the damage. By significantly reduced I mean perhaps just 100 to 150kg instead of 200 to 300kg, barely enough to retain the option for fitting a 100 to 200kt nuke. As X-51 was nominally designed to fly at up to Mach 6 for 300 seconds, that yields a weapon with around 500km range, which seems quite sufficient to be useful and matches the performance demonstrated in this test well.

And of course, the X-51 of 10 years ago need not be representative of the state of the art in Russia now, Tsirkon may well not be the X-51ski that people are expecting based on that Brahmos II model.
 

TomS

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OK, I'll admit that's one of the first times I recall a Navy leader suggesting they don't have enough VLS cells.

I'm not sure what the answer is; just building a larger DDG seems overly simplistic in this day and age.
 

Bhurki

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OK, I'll admit that's one of the first times I recall a Navy leader suggesting they don't have enough VLS cells.

I'm not sure what the answer is; just building a larger DDG seems overly simplistic in this day and age.
Not sure if it directly means more VLS.
But it could certainly mean larger VLS cells, to support the upcoming hypersonic weapons, something like sea launched ARRW. Then again, you can always multipack these vls if firing smaller munitions.
There's so much more capabilitiy that could be fit on these ships if they had larger calibre launch tubes, SM3 Block2B etc.
 

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The question is whether more tubes are desired for defensive or offensive operations, and at what range. I think the USN needs a lightly manned surface combatant built to an existing commercial design that is just a box of VLS designed to look more or less like a civilian ship of the same size with minimal self defense (RAM, NIXIE, Nukla, SRBOC). It's function is to carry extra long range weapons, either defensively in a formation or offensive sailing independently. Use up its weapons first and send it back for a reload, and ideally have others further back to go on station once the first is depleted or killed. It looks like this is roughly the direction they are going with LUSV, though I think it should at least have optional long term manning as opposed to full automation.
 

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TomS

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So, it sounds like no new cruiser -- DDG-Next is the answer for Large Surface Combatant. Which is fine; what you call the ship is the least of the concerns here.

To come in at smaller than DDG-1000 while still carrying significantly more missiles than the DDG-51s doesn't leave a lot of options. It means not trying for the radical RCS reduction of the Zumwalts, which drove a lot of that displacement growth.
 

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Larger missiles, more missiles, larger growth margin, probably larger SPY panels. Those 5000 t between Flight III and Z can disappear pretty easily. Really no reason to claim to thread between them anyway, just say "won't be 20K or more tons" and move on.

They've reset this program twice in the last 4 years, and still haven't released the force structure documents which are driving the requirements. But, hey, they have a snazzy nickname.
 

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Sounds like something much more akin to the Type 055, around 12-14,000 tons, but probably still with low RCS if possible.
I wonder if they will reject the Peripheral Vertical Launch System and return to the traditional centreline location? While it would rob them of more space within the hull and lower survivability, Zumwalt only has 80-cells despite its size so a couple of centreline 61 or 64-cell blocks seems the easiest way to get 120+ missiles, presumably with enough hull space reserved for a bigger VLS when it comes on stream.
Can the Mk 57 be adapted for large centreline blocks?
 

TomS

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Sounds like something much more akin to the Type 055, around 12-14,000 tons, but probably still with low RCS if possible.
I wonder if they will reject the Peripheral Vertical Launch System and return to the traditional centreline location? While it would rob them of more space within the hull and lower survivability, Zumwalt only has 80-cells despite its size so a couple of centreline 61 or 64-cell blocks seems the easiest way to get 120+ missiles, presumably with enough hull space reserved for a bigger VLS when it comes on stream.
Can the Mk 57 be adapted for large centreline blocks?

No fundamental reason it couldn't be. But there might be some unique issues. For example, I'm not sure if the removal of the deluge system in Mk 57 is from better design or just the peripheral installation where a restrained firing is not as much of a concern.

The problem with Mk 57 is that it's inherently inefficient for legacy missiles. It's not big enough to handle multiple 21-inch canisters in a cell (or even to easily put two legacy weapons in a new canister). So unless and until new large-caliber weapons are widely fielded, each Mk 57 canister eats up something around 30% more volume for the same actual loadout. So, there are a couple of options:
  1. Go even bigger, develop a launcher that can hold four 21-inch canisters in the same way that ExCLS takes 10-inchers (quadpacked but individual). Very hard because of how this exposes the legacy canisters to the launch efflux from other missiles multiple times. Plus, that's a huge launcher and probably ends up being inefficient in the other direction; it's unlikely that future weapons will max out a 42-inch "supercanister" any time soon.
  2. Mix smaller and larger cells in the ship. Fit some number of "oversized" (Mk 57 or equivalent) for future weapons like hypersonic strike weapons, advanced TBMD missiles, etc. and keep a significant number of 21-inch cells* to efficiently carry legacy weapons. Deciding on just what that mix looks like is an interesting question for wargaming. But I have a hard time believing you would need more than a third of your total load as oversized rounds.
  3. Totally rethink the approach to vertical launching. Switch to something like Concentric Canister launchers, which make it much easier to mix and swap sizes of launch tube without a major refit. This has some serious logistical challenges, however, because it means you need two totally distinct sets of legacy munitions -- one in the Mk 41-compatible canisters and one in CCL units. Plus, it costs a bunch to fully develop CCL for each legacy weapon.

* Whether that is a Mk 41 or a new design is another question. Ideally, you would want to at least redesign the Mk 41 electronics for commonality. Ideally, there are other improvements in Mk 57 you might want to adopt, like the elimination of water deluge.
 

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What large new weapons are coming into usage besides the future Prompt Strike? Those weapons are so large (particularly in length) and are so long ranged (on the order of a couple thousand miles) that it makes more sense for dedicated offensive platforms to ship these and stay far out of contested areas. I particularly like the idea of break bulk carriers being adapted for that role in one of the posted articles above. I think DDG/FFG should focus on area/self defense, which currently just includes 21" weapons. Either Mk41 or Mk57 will probably work for this. I think offensive weapons are sufficiently long ranged that they should be moved to dedicated ships for this purpose. Again, I like the idea of using an existing break bulk design as a cheap arsenal ship. Even with BGM-109, the strike platform doesn't have to be closer than a thousand miles to its target.
 

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What large new weapons are coming into usage besides the future Prompt Strike? Those weapons are so large (particularly in length) and are so long ranged (on the order of a couple thousand miles) that it makes more sense for dedicated offensive platforms to ship these and stay far out of contested areas. I particularly like the idea of break bulk carriers being adapted for that role in one of the posted articles above. I think DDG/FFG should focus on area/self defense, which currently just includes 21" weapons. Either Mk41 or Mk57 will probably work for this. I think offensive weapons are sufficiently long ranged that they should be moved to dedicated ships for this purpose. Again, I like the idea of using an existing break bulk design as a cheap arsenal ship. Even with BGM-109, the strike platform doesn't have to be closer than a thousand miles to its target.

 

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SM-2 Block IIB was supposed to be around 27 inches diameter. That was initially intended just for AEGIS Ashore but it's a size compatible with Mk 57. I'd take that as a reasonable upper bound.
 

sferrin

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SM-2 Block IIB was supposed to be around 27 inches diameter. That was initially intended just for AEGIS Ashore but it's a size compatible with Mk 57. I'd take that as a reasonable upper bound.
Even the Mk57 cell is dwarfed by those in the Type 055. I think we need to come up with something better.
 

TomS

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SM-2 Block IIB was supposed to be around 27 inches diameter. That was initially intended just for AEGIS Ashore but it's a size compatible with Mk 57. I'd take that as a reasonable upper bound.
Even the Mk57 cell is dwarfed by those in the Type 055. I think we need to come up with something better.

Mirror imaging is not analysis. Why does the USN need a bigger cell? Not just because the Chinese have them -- the two navies have different needs.

My understanding is that the Type 055 cells are bigger at least in part because they use something like CCL for hot launch -- each canister includes its own exhaust plenum. Not a terrible idea, but the USN seems to be happy with the shared plenum in the Mk 57. That likely means the actual missile size for hot launch is similar between the two systems. Possibly the Type 055 can handle even bigger missiles with cold launch, but does the USN need an even bigger missile on a surface combatant? I'm not sold.
 

sferrin

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SM-2 Block IIB was supposed to be around 27 inches diameter. That was initially intended just for AEGIS Ashore but it's a size compatible with Mk 57. I'd take that as a reasonable upper bound.
Even the Mk57 cell is dwarfed by those in the Type 055. I think we need to come up with something better.

Mirror imaging is not analysis. Why does the USN need a bigger cell? Not just because the Chinese have them -- the two navies have different needs.

How did I know my statement would be received so simplistically? Larger cells mean more options. It's not about d!ck size. Jesus. :rolleyes:
 

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Larger size means fewer cells. I personally would want a definite reason for making that trade off - either a weapon in the pipeline that was of a larger size, or some kind of road map to future weapon systems that clearly defined a need for larger weapons. Another way to go about it would be to reserve space for larger weapons tubes to allow for platform growth - but in that case I think the reserved space needs to be in the depth dimension, not the width of the cell. Having a more adaptable space for future cell sizes also recommends centrally locating the cells so that new sizes could be slotted in with the greatest space efficiency - a peripheral launch tube arrangement is going to be more limited to being retrofitted with a larger cell size vice one that allocates one large open space for cells. So that might make a Mk41 arrangement a more flexible option for future retrofit/overhaul.
 

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How did I know my statement would be received so simplistically? Larger cells mean more options. It's not about d!ck size. Jesus. :rolleyes:

Probably because you presented it that way -- "China has bigger VLS cells, so we need bigger ones too." If you're making a case that the current cell sizes aren't big enough to offer the necessary flexibility, then say that. It's a much more validf arguement. (Wrong, I think, but valid :) )

Larger size means fewer cells. I personally would want a definite reason for making that trade off - either a weapon in the pipeline that was of a larger size, or some kind of road map to future weapon systems that clearly defined a need for larger weapons

That's my concern as well. You can see that the Navy had a perceived need for 27 inches or thereabouts for a long time (back to about 1999, when a new 27-inch TBMD missile and associated 6-pack VLS was being discussed). That gives us the size of the Mk 57 launcher, which is pretty huge (It's something like twice the footprint as Mk 41). Going even bigger than that needs a very compelling reason.
 

sferrin

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Larger size means fewer cells. I personally would want a definite reason for making that trade off - either a weapon in the pipeline that was of a larger size, or some kind of road map to future weapon systems that clearly defined a need for larger weapons.

Hypersonic weapons. ABMs. Also, don't get stuck in the mindset of only having one size of cell. And you need the cells first. Nobody is going to build a weapon for a non-existent cell. And you can always put a small missile in a large cell. The reverse is not true.

Just for some perspective. The one on the left is a Mk41. Then Mk57, SK VLS (K-VLS II), and then China. If you don't think there isn't the potential to be seriously outgunned I don't know what to tell you. Also, China is able to fit 112 cells on a smaller hull than Zumwalt, with it's 80 smaller cells.

1602798484233.png

66195437_2220384021393306_2173482055705296896_o.jpg
 
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Moose

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Mk41 was sized around Tomahawk, it's not unheard of for the missile to predate the launcher. If the Navy has allowed NGLAW to grow beyond 21" then that would likely be the canary in the coal mine for Mk41 and may represent the new target.

If there's an upper bound to consider right now, it may be the CPS at 34.5 inches. But that's pretty extreme, there's unlikely to be tactical weapons anywhere near that size in the near term...or anywhere this side of a war with the Goa'uld. Maybe a modular cell system that could take 9 canisters for CPS-class weapons in 9x9 or 25 canisters for 21" weapons in 5x5.

My contribution to the being "outgunned" discussion: SM-6 is already pretty amazing, with 21" propulsion upgrade it will be something beyond that. There also exists the SM-3 IIB upgrade path, moving the Standard family to 27". I don't think we're gonna be massively outclassed anytime soon in the SAM department.
 

uk 75

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Has China acquired a large force of Backfire equivalents or are we just talking missiles?
 

Josh_TN

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Larger size means fewer cells. I personally would want a definite reason for making that trade off - either a weapon in the pipeline that was of a larger size, or some kind of road map to future weapon systems that clearly defined a need for larger weapons.

Hypersonic weapons. ABMs. Also, don't get stuck in the mindset of only having one size of cell. And you need the cells first. Nobody is going to build a weapon for a non-existent cell. And you can always put a small missile in a large cell. The reverse is not true.

Just for some perspective. The one on the left is a Mk41. Then Mk57, SK VLS (K-VLS II), and then China. If you don't think there isn't the potential to be seriously outgunned I don't know what to tell you. Also, China is able to fit 112 cells on a smaller hull than Zumwalt, with it's 80 smaller cells.

View attachment 642460

View attachment 642461

Hypersonics. Anti Hypersonics. Fine. Lay out a road map and explain to me what the dimensions you think the USN needs are. I'm not even convinced the USN has done that to the extent of deciding a cell size, and no offense, I'm pretty positive you haven't. If you are going to take away magazine capacity, you better do so with a plan, not a whim.
 

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