Surface Ships Need More Offensive Punch, Outlook

aonestudio

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sferrin

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sferrin

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GruntFox

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Via the SNAFU blog:
"Nice!" - China & Russia I'm sure this is just imaginary though. And we're only 6 months in. God help us.
Given that we've been running said ships to the point that they're (and their crews) are falling apart... it's a certainty while the US scrambles to go through numerous projects to modernize (we still have the SSBN replacement program and its new missiles for the USN, the new strategic bomber for the USAF, and the various upgrades for the US Army...).

The current situation is similar to when the Enterprise-class CVNs got canned after one ship.
This is due to how pitiful the barrel life of a railgun is right now. To give you an idea, most conventional guns right now have the mid-hundreds minimum for barrel life before you have to replace them. The various railguns? Not even 100 shots.

The metallurgy isn't there.
 

bring_it_on

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Given that we've been running said ships to the point that they're (and their crews) are falling apart...

Only thing worst than not having a cruiser replacement ready and fully tested to replace these, is to keep trying to keep them in service despite their age, condition, operational and upgrade cost and the challenge and stresses that the crew would have to deal with to keep them going. There is plenty of blame to go around. With the DOD, the Navy and the Congress but you have to rip the band aid and spend the next 20 or so years to develop and then recapitalize the LSC fleet. Before that, they probably have to show that they can put the Zumwalt to some use (whatever the new mission is), and then get the Frigate and the unmanned programs right. Tall order, but I doubt anyone will pour any serious money into something completely new until the Navy demonstrates some success with much less riskier programs. From the strategic lens, the Block V Virginia, and the Columbia class (they've screwed up the conventional side of things so better preserve the strategic modernization as much as possible), should be the top priorities. That will suck up most of the margin in the budgets for most of the decade.
 

Firefinder

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This is due to how pitiful the barrel life of a railgun is right now. To give you an idea, most conventional guns right now have the mid-hundreds minimum for barrel life before you have to replace them. The various railguns? Not even 100 shots.

The metallurgy isn't there.
Actually it is, the navy one has gun up to almost 400 shots before wear out back in 2018.

Here you going to need to control F 400 to do it.
LINK: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-113shrg49104598/html/CHRG-113shrg49104598.htm

The problem is powering the damn thing. The Zumwalt was design to do so, but the Burke isn't and it will cost to much to redesign the hulls to fit the needed power generation. The only ship type able to power them are the Zumwalts, Fords and maybe the LCS and San Ans by adding generators in their mission/vehicles bays. They might have moded the FFGs to be able so secretly but I doubt it.

Any new design, even if they just mod the Burke hull, will not have steel lay until 2025 at the earliest with it being launched around 2027. Basically 6 years from now at the best. With it being more along the lines of 10 years until a new design is chosen, 15years until commission most likely.

With the hardest parts of the railgun done, rail erosion and power storage, with the projectile being done basically by the many Army Programs, the Railgun is a Weapon System in need of a platform for use.

As it is it is a money sink doing nothing.

May as well throw it into the backrooms for now, and dust it off when it is needed.

Also the Army is working on its own railgun system for theater defense so it will not surprise me if a lot of the workers from the navy are being move over to that. So when the navy does want to go back to the system they are not starting zero, hell depending on the program status they might able to just buy a bunch and stick them on.
 

tequilashooter

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Question on the Lider Class destroyers even though of course there is no signed contract to build them yet.

I hear it comes with 56 S-500 cells ,16 redut cells which can use the 9M96DM missiles or go quadpack with 64 missiles. Also comes with 3 pantsir-M SAMs that have a rate of fire of 10,000 rounds per minute, also an ammunition supply of 32 missiles for each which rounds it up to 96 missiles. Does that mean the max of defensive missiles is 216?
 

bobbymike

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It all leads back to the post Cold War procurement holiday that (due to monies spent in the war on terror) has not really ended. We didn’t recapitalize AND wore the equipment out (usage and just plain aging).

We shortchanged procurement about $500 billion in the 90s and then spent $4 trillion in Iraq and A-Stan.

I am not making a judgment on the policies/actions or whether absent 9/11 we would have spent what was needed (we wouldn’t have IMHO) to recapitalize and modernize but there’s the missing trillions that could have been spent over the last 30 years.
 
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TomS

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They might have moded the FFGs to be able so secretly but I doubt it.

The FFG-62s have SWAP-C reserved for a 150-kW laser but that's nowhere near enough for a multi-MJ railgun. A militarily useful railgun would likely be comparable in size to AGS.
 
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Firefinder

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They might have moded the FFGs to be able so secretly but I doubt it.

The FFG-62s have SWAP-C reserved for a 150-kW laser but that's nowhere near enough for a multi-MJ railgun. A militarily useful railgun would likely be comparable in size to AGS.
Depends on what it is used for.

The Army is making one for cheap theater defense against Scuds type weapon, CRAM, and now hypersonic. The Blitzer is to come in three designs in 3, 10, and 32 megajoules.

If that works out I can see it coming to the navy acquiring it.
 

GruntFox

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Given that we've been running said ships to the point that they're (and their crews) are falling apart...

Only thing worst than not having a cruiser replacement ready and fully tested to replace these, is to keep trying to keep them in service despite their age, condition, operational and upgrade cost and the challenge and stresses that the crew would have to deal with to keep them going. There is plenty of blame to go around. With the DOD, the Navy and the Congress but you have to rip the band aid and spend the next 20 or so years to develop and then recapitalize the LSC fleet. Before that, they probably have to show that they can put the Zumwalt to some use (whatever the new mission is), and then get the Frigate and the unmanned programs right. Tall order, but I doubt anyone will pour any serious money into something completely new until the Navy demonstrates some success with much less riskier programs. From the strategic lens, the Block V Virginia, and the Columbia class (they've screwed up the conventional side of things so better preserve the strategic modernization as much as possible), should be the top priorities. That will suck up most of the margin in the budgets for most of the decade.
We're entering a similar situation back when the first USN SSBN, SLBM, and what not was becoming a thing and the entire Enterprise-class debacle...
This is due to how pitiful the barrel life of a railgun is right now. To give you an idea, most conventional guns right now have the mid-hundreds minimum for barrel life before you have to replace them. The various railguns? Not even 100 shots.

The metallurgy isn't there.
Actually it is, the navy one has gun up to almost 400 shots before wear out back in 2018.

Here you going to need to control F 400 to do it.
LINK: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-113shrg49104598/html/CHRG-113shrg49104598.htm

The problem is powering the damn thing. The Zumwalt was design to do so, but the Burke isn't and it will cost to much to redesign the hulls to fit the needed power generation. The only ship type able to power them are the Zumwalts, Fords and maybe the LCS and San Ans by adding generators in their mission/vehicles bays. They might have moded the FFGs to be able so secretly but I doubt it.

Any new design, even if they just mod the Burke hull, will not have steel lay until 2025 at the earliest with it being launched around 2027. Basically 6 years from now at the best. With it being more along the lines of 10 years until a new design is chosen, 15years until commission most likely.

With the hardest parts of the railgun done, rail erosion and power storage, with the projectile being done basically by the many Army Programs, the Railgun is a Weapon System in need of a platform for use.

As it is it is a money sink doing nothing.

May as well throw it into the backrooms for now, and dust it off when it is needed.

Also the Army is working on its own railgun system for theater defense so it will not surprise me if a lot of the workers from the navy are being move over to that. So when the navy does want to go back to the system they are not starting zero, hell depending on the program status they might able to just buy a bunch and stick them on.
From what I know, 400 shots are pushing it, but then again I've got far too many things to look for when doing my future-history setting.
 

ReprobateJoeshmoe

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It all leads back to the post Cold War procurement holiday that (due to monies spent in the war on terror) has not really ended. We didn’t recapitalize AND wore the equipment out (usage and just plain aging).

We shortchanged procurement about $500 billion in the 90s and then spent $4 trillion in Iraq and A-Stan.

I am not making a judgment on the policies/actions or whether absent 9/11 we would have spent what was needed (we wouldn’t have IMHO) to recapitalize and modernize but there’s the missing trillions that could have been spent over the last 30 years.
I don’t want to get in to politics, but if there were no wars in the Middle East post 9/11. What would have the budget and procurement looked like? Thoughts? A broad question for sure. Probably a topic for another thread.
 
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GruntFox

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It all leads back to the post Cold War procurement holiday that (due to monies spent in the war on terror) has not really ended. We didn’t recapitalize AND wore the equipment out (usage and just plain aging).

We shortchanged procurement about $500 billion in the 90s and then spent $4 trillion in Iraq and A-Stan.

I am not making a judgment on the policies/actions or whether absent 9/11 we would have spent what was needed (we wouldn’t have IMHO) to recapitalize and modernize but there’s the missing trillions that could have been spent over the last 30 years.
I don’t want to get in to politics, but if there were no wars in the Middle East post 9/11. What would have the budget and procurement looked like? Thoughts? A broad question for sure
It wouldn't really change as Congress was getting back to its old 'nice budget [USN/US Army], we'll take it' BS that it's infamous for.

Also, 9/11 should be best considered a 'floating certainty' where the exact day isn't set in stone but the event itself is.
 

bobbymike

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It all leads back to the post Cold War procurement holiday that (due to monies spent in the war on terror) has not really ended. We didn’t recapitalize AND wore the equipment out (usage and just plain aging).

We shortchanged procurement about $500 billion in the 90s and then spent $4 trillion in Iraq and A-Stan.

I am not making a judgment on the policies/actions or whether absent 9/11 we would have spent what was needed (we wouldn’t have IMHO) to recapitalize and modernize but there’s the missing trillions that could have been spent over the last 30 years.
I don’t want to get in to politics, but if there were no wars in the Middle East post 9/11. What would have the budget and procurement looked like? Thoughts? A broad question for sure. Probably a topic for another thread.
I believe GWB first defense budget pre-9/11 had pretty substantial increases across the board including nuclear modernization.

Whether those would have been sustained through Bush’s term absent 9/11 is the question. Despite the oft used “Reagan Defense build-up of the 80’s” accepted wisdom of today his administration was seeing serious pushback on Cap Weinberger budgets as early as 1983.

But agree probably discussion for another thread.
 

GruntFox

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Yeah, @shin_getter, the little element that people forget is that we're getting ever-increasing sensor densities. We'll be heading towards the density of 'yes' sooner than later.
 

Josh_TN

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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xvWhmY4Wkg


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8nPu7T0xKE


SAR Radar, constellation, 1m resolution, 1 hour global update time, <$1bil.

.... give the budget to the space force.

Given the long "service" lives of ships, ships built today may see a world where starship knockoffs are common....the lopsidedness would just be extreme.

I suspect jamming a radar satellite that relies on solar power and has an altitude of several hundred miles isn't overly difficult, though the jamming itself would give away the target's position and ID it positively as hostile. I suspect this is one of the missions that the USN is looking to fulfill with MUSVs - persistent offboard counter ISR ECM, with a secondary role of mimicing other platforms emission signatures (at least in terms of comms, if not air search radars) and serving as a decoy during engagements.
 

sferrin

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This is due to how pitiful the barrel life of a railgun is right now. To give you an idea, most conventional guns right now have the mid-hundreds minimum for barrel life before you have to replace them. The various railguns? Not even 100 shots.

The metallurgy isn't there.

And they're going to solve the problems by giving up, is that it? Imagine if back in the 40s they went, "whelp, these turbine engines don't last as long as we'd like so we'll stop working on them until, somehow, they do." Nobody is suggesting throwing them on ships as-is but for God's sake keep developing them. That's how we got into the current situation with hypersonics. Both Russia and China are far ahead of us because we gave up. Too risky.
 

tequilashooter

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I consider railguns a great option if they hit a 1000km range with nuclear shells. So further testing should be done and such projects shouldn't be abandoned . Not all that concerned about the metallurgy but the strategic use.
 

shin_getter

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Railguns are awful nuclear platforms. Instant escalation on deployment, insufficient throw weight/range/surprise for first strike, totally non-survivable for 2nd strike.

It should be clear that the general idea of bombarding land targets with ships firing missiles or guns is not something that can be done to a true peer that'd also have land based launchers but hardened. Historically ground based weapons are range limited to point defense, but when weapon ranges are in the thousand kilometer scale it lowers the cost of defense significantly.

If shoot war actually happen, I'd expect the surface fleet's primary action of being convoy escort into Guam and Japan except for a few short "all hands" surge actions, and even then the amount of offensive firepower delivered would be significantly less than air force throw weight.
 

sferrin

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Railguns are awful nuclear platforms. Instant escalation on deployment, insufficient throw weight/range/surprise for first strike, totally non-survivable for 2nd strike.

None of that is true. "Instant escalation"? You mean more than SSBNs going to sea? How would a railgun armed with nukes escalate anymore than an SSGN armed with nukes sitting off the coast of Delaware?

"Insufficient weight/range/surprise for a first strike"? Shanghai is right on the coast. Beijing not much further. Pershing IIs weren't aimed at Soviet ICBM silos.

"non-survivable for a 2nd strike"? Who said anything about "2nd strike"? Or a first strike for that matter? Any role currently filled by a non-strategic missile armed (or potentially so) with a nuclear weapon, could be filled by the right railgun.
 

shin_getter

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With modern civilian earth observation networks, sailing a nuclear strike surface ship into range would be known to everyone, no plausibility deniability or even chance of hiding. The inability to survive for the platform to survive to 2nd strike means it is first strike. So it is a public announcement.

It is basically the old nuclear IRBM which wasn't a good idea for nuclear stability and thus banned by treaty.

I mean, going for counter-value and not get a max escalated response?
 

tequilashooter

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I only considered nuclear for a bigger impact on sinking ships unless conventional does the trick? The only use I see is because of size and speed it is difficult to intercept.
 

shin_getter

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If the point is hypersonic terminal effects, using a rocket is a lot easier. It is not like one would fire enough nuclear projectiles for the gun to pay itself in the upfront costs and size.

Not that nuclear anti-ship weapon is a practical weapon for almost all wars. There is generally no need to escalate a naval conflict into a existential one.
 

Grey Havoc

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I would have to disagree with you. We live in a era where it is more likely than ever that tactical nuclear weapons will be used.
 

Grey Havoc

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On another note, via the CDR Salamander blog:
 

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