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Surface Ships Need More Offensive Punch, Outlook

Josh_TN

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

China operates a large fleet of modern build Tu-16 copies, probably about a hundred now, that have the ability to carry a half dozen weapons in the ~3000lb / 1500kg range. As far as I know that is the top notch that they have bomber wise. The most effective anti shipping missile that I know of is a meter long extension of a copy of a Krypton type ARM. Probably deadly, but probably less edgy than a Kh-22.
 

sferrin

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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.

Wow. I don't know whether to laugh or shake my head that you think the future is that discernable. Also, the whole, "design me a ship or you're wrong" bit is a bit childish. You're also missing the point about the Type 055 having more cells than a Zumwalt (a lot more) despite having much larger cells. As for "taking away" magazine capacity is there some physical law of the universe that says you can't put multiple missiles in one cell?
 

sferrin

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

China operates a large fleet of modern build Tu-16 copies, probably about a hundred now, that have the ability to carry a half dozen weapons in the ~3000lb / 1500kg range. As far as I know that is the top notch that they have bomber wise. The most effective anti shipping missile that I know of is a meter long extension of a copy of a Krypton type ARM. Probably deadly, but probably less edgy than a Kh-22.

They're developing a new stealth bomber that is predicted to roll out in the next year or two. There's also this:

 

Hood

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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.

Your thoughts were along the same lines as mine. I read it that the removal of the deluge system was possibly unconnected with the location of the and more to do with avoiding accidental discharge of the deluge system, though I suspect with a centreline system you might want to tradeoff the risk of accidental discharge over a potentially more serious situation risking an explosion inside the hull.

Unless you have a tumblehome hull then Mk 57 is less likely to be an option, the hull flare would require the Mk 57 to be located fairly well inboard so the savings in internal space are not as great. Also, it effectively limits the placement of silos around the fringes of the forecastle deck, unless you start fitting them inside deckhouses?
A forecastle deck will only ever be 15-20% of a ship's waterline length so you are never going to be able to utilise enough deck space unless you have a clear flush deck along the length of the ship and/or a minimal low RCS superstructure. RCS is always going to be difficult to manage without fairing the superstructure flush with the deck edge. So the Zumwalt is always going to be at a disadvantage in terms of silo numbers compared to the Type 055 because the concentrated centreline block is still the most efficient way to pack siloes in.
Of course a mix of Mk 41 and Mk 57 overcomes this and may well be the more ideal solution while you still have a mix of legacy and future weapons.

Its clear the Mk 57 is more tuned to handling improved versions of current missiles rather than a new generation in the longer-term (a focus on handling larger exhaust gas flows rather than physical size). A mix of 21in and 27in cells seems sensible but I am guessing any Burke-replacement is going to need growth capability to 27in and 33in for example if they intend a long production run, the Burkes have been around 30 years from now, there may well be 'DDG Next' developments still being built in 2060.

The GJB 5860-2006 may look impressive, certainly the smallest 3.3m tube can be quad packed but the 7m and 9m variants are probably single missile only. But again its whether the horse comes before the cart, is it large because of the inefficient hot launch system or because their missiles are still relatively massive compared to their Western equivalents or because they are working on a series of hypersonic missiles or mini ballistic missiles? Even if they were, its unlikely that all 112-cells would be fitted with such weapons, the majority would probably still be holding an HQ-series SAM with wasted space around it.

I'm not saying the USN doesn't need a bigger VLS, but efficiency might not be best served with a blanket 33in VLS system, something more nuanced is likely to suffice. What you intend to put into the silo matters more than how many you have.
 

Bhurki

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I'm not saying the USN doesn't need a bigger VLS, but efficiency might not be best served with a blanket 33in VLS system, something more nuanced is likely to suffice


“We are going to need, we expect, space for longer-range missiles,” he said. They are going to be bigger. So the idea that you could make a bigger cell, even if you don’t use it for one big missile, you could use it for multiple missiles — quad-pack, eight-pack, whatever.
 

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I think the navy may have already created digital twins of the ship without anyone knowing.
 

TomS

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I think the navy may have already created digital twins of the ship without anyone knowing.

What exactly do you think "digital twin" means here?
 

uk 75

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I am always puzzled why the Chinese and Russian navies who have zero experience of successful modern naval warfare are portrayed here as all knowing while the US and Royal Navys with all their combat experience and well trained crews are supposed to tremble with fear.
 

sferrin

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I am always puzzled why the Chinese and Russian navies who have zero experience of successful modern naval warfare are portrayed here as all knowing while the US and Royal Navys with all their combat experience and well trained crews are supposed to tremble with fear.
Nobody really has any experience fighting at sea with missiles. Damage control aside, I don't know how much prior experience is relevant. (Of course carrier experience is still relevant.)
 

marauder2048

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I am always puzzled why the Chinese and Russian navies who have zero experience of successful modern naval warfare are portrayed here as all knowing while the US and Royal Navys with all their combat experience and well trained crews are supposed to tremble with fear.
Nobody really has any experience fighting at sea with missiles. Damage control aside, I don't know how much prior experience is relevant. (Of course carrier experience is still relevant.)

The German High Seas Fleet had almost no surface warfare experience before it rocked the RN at Jutland.

And keep in mind, USS Mason alone accounts for the vast majority of successful ASCM intercepts by surface ship SAMs.
 

TomS

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marauder2048

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And frankly it was fought much more like a WW2 campaign than a contemporary one.

I think it's still instructive.

Big takeaway: while in the littorals, don't regularly wave-off fast jet interceptors armed all-aspect infrared missiles in favor of ship-launched semi-active SAMs.
 

TomS

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And frankly it was fought much more like a WW2 campaign than a contemporary one.

I think it's still instructive.

Big takeaway: while in the littorals, don't regularly wave-off fast jet interceptors armed all-aspect infrared missiles in favor of ship-launched semi-active SAMs.

Also: AEW is important. Putting point and area defense in different ships is a dumb idea. And vertical envelopment beats going over the beach and walking.
 

marauder2048

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AEW is important: true but counter-ISR is perhaps more important.

I don't think the Brits made any attempt to kill the Neptunes the Argentines were using to vector
their ASCM carriers despite the fact that British radar pickets could readily detect these MPAs.

And all of one C-130 (maybe) pulling MPA duties was lost. And the attempts to suppress the TPS-43 sites failed.

A contemporary echo perhaps: I'm guessing the fact that the Brits raided NATO war reserve stocks for AIM-9L
wasn't widely advertised even amongst the RN.

So maybe the controllers were making an informed decision when they (de) allocated intercept assets.

Consider that JATM/AIM-260 is a Special Access Program: will its WEZ, LAR, intercept capabilities be
sufficiently disseminated such that controllers can make the right call?
 
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Hood

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The Falklands had more lessons of damage control than anything else.
It was a modern-ish war but a lot of the kit on both sides spanned everything from 1940s to 1980s technology on both sides, a real mishmash. So the lessons are only partly relevant today, radar and ECM/ESM and networking capabilities are light years beyond 1982 capability.

Damage control though is a serious concern, we've seen several ships sustain serious damage in collision, explosion and fire and some have sank and some not but serious loss is likely with the latest generation of anti-ship missiles. And of course modern torpedoes can easily snap a ship in half.
 

Josh_TN

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It seems to me that if the SLRC could easily be operated from an ESD type vessel if the program enters production. It might be worth having a couple of dedicated ships for this purpose.
 

marauder2048

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The Falklands had more lessons of damage control than anything else.
It was a modern-ish war but a lot of the kit on both sides spanned everything from 1940s to 1980s technology on both sides, a real mishmash. So the lessons are only partly relevant today, radar and ECM/ESM and networking capabilities are light years beyond 1982 capability.

Damage control though is a serious concern, we've seen several ships sustain serious damage in collision, explosion and fire and some have sank and some not but serious loss is likely with the latest generation of anti-ship missiles. And of course modern torpedoes can easily snap a ship in half.

The damage control lessons are only so useful because you can't practically test the "learnings" with high fidelity
short of buying a modern surface combatant and blowing it up with modern ASCMs.

All of the ISR, counter-ISR, hard and softkill counter-ASCM, AAW stuff can be, comparatively, tested ad infinitum.

In contrast, FSSTs failed to anticipate the damage modes actually seen by just about every warship actually hit.

And if you look at recent papers on Modeling and Simulation for ASCM warship damage models
there's a fair amount of uncertainty.

I think INS Hanit is the only recent data point for what happens when a modern warship gets hit by a threat ASCM.
The irony is that signature reduction worked; the ASCM hit the one part of the ship that didn't have treatment: the crane.
 

fredymac

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Here is the article discussing possible radar options for the Zumwalts:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...ars-replaced-before-ever-sailing-on-a-mission

It mentions SPY6 as a strong contender but that Northrop/Lockheed are also making proposals. Since there are only 3 ships and the Navy is limiting how much money it will spend, the main issue is how to repurpose the ship’s main mission away from land support without having to sacrifice already installed hardware/software.

A spokesperson for Naval Sea Systems Command confirmed to The War Zone that "the Navy is exploring several alternatives to sustain air and surface search capability aboard the Zumwalt class ships" on Oct. 15, 2020. That same statement said that "no decision has been made at this time" as to how the service will necessarily proceed


Ironically, the ships stealth and integrated power systems are elements that are identified in this USNI article for inclusion in defining the future large surface combatant.

https://news.usni.org/2020/08/27/to...elopment-planned-spy-6-backfit-effort-in-flux

Apart from its mission, the signature features of the Zumwalts are their shape and the integrated power system. And those are still recognized as desirable for the future.
 

TomS

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the main issue is how to repurpose the ship’s main mission away from land support without having to sacrifice already installed hardware/software.

Given that they have no specialized land attack armament at the moment, I see no real problem here.
 

marauder2048

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the main issue is how to repurpose the ship’s main mission away from land support without having to sacrifice already installed hardware/software.

Given that they have no specialized land attack armament at the moment, I see no real problem here.

They have no excuse with the number of 155mm Army fires projects underway.
Either NSFS is something they want to do with cannon fire from major surface combatants or it's something they don't want to do.
 

TomS

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the main issue is how to repurpose the ship’s main mission away from land support without having to sacrifice already installed hardware/software.

Given that they have no specialized land attack armament at the moment, I see no real problem here.

They have no excuse with the number of 155mm Army fires projects underway.
Either NSFS is something they want to do with cannon fire from major surface combatants or it's something they don't want to do.

Historical evidence is that they don't want to do it. They've cut NGSF programs every time there was a choice of projects to cut, and only promoted them when they felt the overall ship procurement situation depended on it.
 

Dilandu

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Actually, I fail to see, why Navy couldn't just return to the concept of rocket support ship for naval gunfire support?

rocketship.png

Basically any old tub or droneship would suffice, as long as you could put enough magazine-fed rocket launchers (preferably in modular containers) onboard. Modern artillery rockets have range, comparable with long-range gun, and with rather modest addition of guidance kits (which are cheaper for rockets, since they do not need to sustain thousand-g acceleration of shells), they could be made as precise as required.
 

marauder2048

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Modern artillery rockets have range, comparable with long-range gun, and with rather modest addition of guidance kits (which are cheaper for rockets, since they do not need to sustain thousand-g acceleration of shells), they could be made as precise as required.

Only ER-GMLRS would come close to matching or exceeding LRLAP's range and it's the same ROM cost wise.
I guess you could, for apples-to-apples, do a reduced warhead GMLRS IM motor and get out to the same or greater range.

But that's still development and re-certifying that the new warhead + motor motor meets the Navy's IM spec which
is different to the Army's spec etc.
 
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bobbymike

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jsport

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the main issue is how to repurpose the ship’s main mission away from land support without having to sacrifice already installed hardware/software.

Given that they have no specialized land attack armament at the moment, I see no real problem here.

They have no excuse with the number of 155mm Army fires projects underway.
Either NSFS is something they want to do with cannon fire from major surface combatants or it's something they don't want to do.

Historical evidence is that they don't want to do it. They've cut NGSF programs every time there was a choice of projects to cut, and only promoted them when they felt the overall ship procurement situation depended on it.
If the USN can not support a gun on major combatants then there is again a reason for mass firings and not from guns.
 
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JFC Fuller

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  1. 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.

Thanks for the link to the Concentric Canister Launcher paper. United Defense (BAE since 2005) submitted a detailed patent for a CCL in 2001, by then they were claiming that the design didn't require a deluge system. The vertical launch version was being proposed in four cell modules, which would mitigate to some extent the flexibility issues apparent in the 1997 paper, notably the need to re-engineer the module every time canisters with different diameters are required. I rather like the 18 round slant launcher for what appears to be ESSM, it is notably similar to BAE's Adaptable Deck Launcher that is arguably even simper in its execution.
 

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