USN Escort Designs - Cold War


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22 February 2006
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There have been various preliminary designs published for vessels from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I'm starting a new topic because it doesn't fit under the strike cruiser or NFR-90 ones.

First up, an early DDG-51:


Fig. 7 The most recent naval destroyer design, Arleigh Burke (DDG 51 Class). the new warship design strategy was intended for use in the desgin development of these destroyers

Larger image at:


Garzke, W H and Kerr, G, "A New Warship Design Strategy - A Perspective", Trans SNAME Vol 93, 1985

Points to note:

• No 5 inch in "A" position
• Different fwd superstructure design
• Different SSM location
• Different SM-2 illuminator disposition
• CIWS at aft end of aft VLS
• 5 inch on aft superstructure

This paper, which discusses the low-high mix concept, also has some profiles of various mid-mix (I think now they would be classed as low-mix) designs, and uses an Italian 17500 ton pocket battleship design as an example of upperdeck layout...

The DDG-51 was always intended as the "high" in a high/low mix, although it turned out that the "low" never materialized.

The low was meant to be a non-Aegis platform, only slightly smaller than the DDG-51, but with more of an orientation toward non-AAW missions.

When the DDG-51/Burke class was a still a 6,000 ton project designated DDGX, the low was a 5,000 ton escort designated DDGY.
Like what KDX-II is to KDX-III (or Murasame to Kongo)?
Here's an edited excerpt from "Naval Surface Combatants in the 1990s: Prospects and Possibilities" By Peter T. Tarpgaard, United States. Congressional Budget Office (1981):

Open Ocean Destroyer (DDGY). This ship, which for convenience is designated DDGY, is illustrative of a warship that would result from different choices on the design trade-off issues discussed in Appendix C. It would be an offensively oriented surface combatant capable of battle group operations, but optimized more for broad ocean operations in the context of a worldwide naval war rather than for the intensive, frontal assault scenario used to derive the DDGX requirements.

The DDGY would carry the same vertical launching system and the same systems, including cruise missiles, as the DDGX. It would be significantly smaller than the DDGX, however, because of the effect of the design trade-offs discussed below and because, unlike the DDGX, it would not have space and weight capacity for unspecified future growth. 6/

In AAW, the DDGY would emphasize "back-end" technology and would use an advanced missile fire control system to achieve high firepower at shorter ranges. It would use the advanced SM-2 AAW missile and would have the long-range area AAW capability of that missile. 7/ Although this system would probably be less capable, particularly in a jamming environment, that the one proposed for the DDGX or AEGIS, it should be considerably less expensive than AEGIS and much more capable than any of the pre-AEGIS AAW systems on existing cruisers and destroyers.

In ASW, the DDGY emphasizes long-range passive detection with a towed-array sonar whereas the DDGX emphasizes active detection using the SQS-53 sonar. The DDGY would also be fitted with an active sonar, but would utilize the smaller SQS-56 rather than the larger, more expensive SQS-53 carried by the DDGX. The DDGY would carry two LAMPS III helicopters, which are essential to its long-range ASW orientation and would also provide it with an independent over-the-horizon surveillance and targeting capability.

The DDGY is assumed to have the same propulsion as the DDGX; but being a smaller ship, it would be a bit faster. It's range, however, would be about 10 percent less than that of the DDGX.

Finally, the DDGY would be fitted with a gun and a relatively simply gun fire control system suitable for surface engagements and shore bombardment. Although a gun is unlikely to be useful in a modern battle group engagement, it could still be vital for independent patrol and presence operations and for support of amphibious landings.

Emphasizing long-range towed-array ASW rather than shorter-ranged active sonar, carrying its own helicopters, and mounting a large-caliber gun for antisurface and shore bombardment missions, the DDGY would be better equipped for independent operations outside of the battle group than would the DDGX.

In addition to carrier battle group operations, the DDGY could operate with surface action groups. In this role, its aircraft would provide over-the-horizon surveillance and its towed-array sonar would provide long-range detection of submarines. The DDGY could also act in support of amphibious landings, providing AAW and ASW protection en route and gunfire support during the assault. It could also operate with frigates in escorting replenishment ships and convoys, substantially increasing the protection provided. Finally, the DDGY could operate independently in patrol and presence or ocean area control missions.

The DDGY would, however, have less capability in its air search radar than the DDGX. The DDGY's AA capabilities would nevertheless be very good in any but the highest-threat environments, and in future battle groups it would have the advantage of data-linked air target information from the DDGX and AEGIS ships.

Using the size and cost impact estimating factors presented by the Navy in discussing various destroyer trade-off issues, it is estimated that the DDGY would have a full-load displacement of about 5,000 tons and a follow-on ship cost of about $375 million (fiscal year 1982 dollars). Its size and cost rationale is outlined in Appendix D.

6/ Provision of space and weight for future growth is a relatively recent development in U.S. design practice. In addition, U.S. designers use relatively large "margins" in their designs. Margins are allowances for unforeseen growth as design and construction progress. These practices tend to produce larger ships for a given payload than would be built in countries such as the Soviet Union or Italy where such allowances are much more austere. For a discussion of this, see J.W. Keho, C. Graham, K.S. Brower, and H.A. Meier, "NATO and Soviet Naval Design Practice, Eight Frigates Compared", International Defense Review (7/1980), pp. 1003-10.

7/ This concept assumes that high firepower is achieved through the use of the ICW and agile beam illuminator technology described in Chapter III. At long range, the multiple target engagement technique could not be used because of power limitations. Long-range engagements do not, however, normally have the time urgency of short-range engagements.
Taken from the aforementioned Appendix D:

Table D-1 derives displacement and cost estimates for the DDGY using the DDGX as a baseline. The DDGX incorporates the latest design practices of the Navy, but, since it is still in the early design stages, its ultimate size and cost are as yet uncertain. It is prudent, therefore, also to derive DDGY displacement and cost estimates using as a baseline a ship that has been already built and delivered. This is done in Table D-2, which uses the FFG-7 as a baseline.

This analysis yields a DDGY displacement of about 4,900 tons and a follow-on ship cost of $337 million to $428 million per unit. CBO's cost estimate for the DDGY of about $375 million is taken from the middle of this range; the ship's displacement has been rounded upward to 5,000 tons.
By "large-calibre gun", are we talking the 8" Mk71 dusted off, or some new design? (Link is giving 404 not found.)

As a last resort, a proportion of Copperhead-like LGPs (or similar) in the magazine (and a designator on your helo as needed) could give you a useful "desperation" weapon if all the missiles had run out and some of the enemy's ships were still afloat. And unlike the situation off Surigao Strait, in this day and age you wouldn't have to panic about not having any AP shell left for enemy capital ships. High capacity HE/frag might do just as nicely, at least from the "mission-kill" perspective.

One doesn't want to carry Lyddite around in this day and age; but gawd, imagine what it would do to today's warships!
The USN fills its modern range of 5in shells with explosive that is primarily based on HMX, a far more potent explosive than anything based on Picric acid, and also a fair bit safer.
In the early 1970s, the USN were looking at a 5,000 to 6,000 ton Aegis equipped 'missile escort ship', intended as a low cost alternative to more expensive CGNs, DLGNs, and DDGs. Haven't come across any more details yet.
I have some data on the 1960's escort proposals but not on the 70's. (Except 3 preliminaris of what became the Oliver Hazard Perry class / FFG-7)
Project Seahawk (5 studies, proposals, schemes or designs) of 1963
High Speed Study 15-64 of 1964 and
Fiscal Year 68 DE Study I and II of 1966
I've only read the USN Cruisers and USN Battleships books from Friedman regarding this matter and not yet the Destroyers.
I've only read the USN Cruisers and USN Battleships books from Friedman regarding this matter and not yet the Destroyers.

For Destroyers, makes sure to get the revised edition. But brace yourself for some terrible layout and editing in the new chapters. It's worse than usual, even for Friedman.
I only have the old books, but at least in pdf format
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