USN Large Surface Combatant - Delayed

shin_getter

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Is Cruisers today more relevant than, say, Cruisers in WWII? If it were, and war breaks out, I don't think the marginal performance difference would be highlighted at all.


The replacement for the Burke is a ... Long Burke?

Small programs with fast iteration is low risk compared to leap-ahead with large planned runs.
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edit: perhaps the Navy could steal AF digital engineering and plan an series of ships instead of one and done ddX design.
 

Bhurki

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Conversely, if one has to think about things that you could remove from the zumwalt to make it more affordable, less complex, then that might be a better way of how navy looks at the the cruiser replacement.

Zumwalt is already at a very high baseline (if it was built as intended, eg with both the new radars and the new ammo). Reduction in key attribute performance, like notching down the stealth requirements (since its already going to be a noisy emitter in an Anti-air role) and letting go of the AGS system will remove the burden of fulfilling missions the CG(X) will actually never conduct (fire support, which was the main reason DDG1000 is burdened with such high requirement).

All things considered, it seems Navy would settle for something that looks like the chinese 055, is considerably more suped up in terms of sensors, shooters and power margins.
 

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My understanding is that the main separation between Tico and Burke is flag space, outside modest differences in magazine capacity.
Other differences include the fact that, while a Tico can easily undertake the tactical ABM role as part of her general Area Air Defence duties, Burkes have to be specifically assigned to that duty, with associated hardware and software changes usually carried out in port and then often in drydock, because of technical limitations (at least some of which were related to increasingly used COTS based systems & components). And an ABM configured Burke can only undertake primarily self-defence anti-air duties while so tasked. The USN have been trying to fix this major shortcoming in recent times, though with mixed success at best to date. Another problem is that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in general has pretty limited onboard repair and maintenance capabilities compared to the Ticonderoga-class cruiser, making the former very dependent indeed on logistical and other support from shore. In the age of the disastrous offboard / outsourced / contractor based logistics model that the USN has insanely persisted with in the last couple of decades or so and which still hasn't yet been shown the door, this heavy reliance on outside assistance to operate has proven to be even more unfortunate.

My understanding is that the ABM role depends on the specific update to the Aegis system, with baseline 9 iteration being capable of both SAM and ABM missions simultaneously and previous versions having to adopt one mode or the other. I believe that upgrade is ship specific, though I do think more/most of the Ticos received it. Flight III Burkes have it by default. The four Burke’s assigned to Rota with the SeaRAM upgrade would be an example of previous upgrades where the ship can’t operate in an air defense mode while employing as an ABM platform.
 

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Is Cruisers today more relevant than, say, Cruisers in WWII? If it were, and war breaks out, I don't think the marginal performance difference would be highlighted at all.


The replacement for the Burke is a ... Long Burke?

Small programs with fast iteration is low risk compared to leap-ahead with large planned runs.
-----
edit: perhaps the Navy could steal AF digital engineering and plan an series of ships instead of one and done ddX design.
So basically the Orignal 1989 design for the Flight 3s?

That was a Burke with a 50 foot hull plug for 32 more cells and flag capablities.

Which as I understand was basically to be a future replacement for all the older cruisers that would have started aging out in the early 2000s right when the Burkes 2s production was to end as the low "cheap" designs for the High End designs that gave us the Zumwalts.

Then well the Soviets had to vanish with the money, and good sense.

Probably should have went with that design since they basically had to rebuilt the entire production line and do redesigns to replace out of production parts for the F3s we got...
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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As far as i know, Tico have only one additional feature, besides the deeper magazine, that is supporting the Air Warfare Commander and having space and systems to support his staff (Aegis CIC). Can't that be replicated in an enlarged AB class?
The Level II and Level III designs for the original 1989 Flight III Burke had space for a Warfare Commander. The former had a 12-ft hull plug forward and a 28-ft hull plug aft, whilst the latter had a 46ft hull-plug amidships.

Edit: it seems @Firefinder has got there before me.
 
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Grey Havoc

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My understanding is that the ABM role depends on the specific update to the Aegis system, with baseline 9 iteration being capable of both SAM and ABM missions simultaneously and previous versions having to adopt one mode or the other. I believe that upgrade is ship specific, though I do think more/most of the Ticos received it. Flight III Burkes have it by default. The four Burke’s assigned to Rota with the SeaRAM upgrade would be an example of previous upgrades where the ship can’t operate in an air defense mode while employing as an ABM platform.
Unfortunately Baseline 9 has been more than a bit of a disappointment, even without the ongoing disaster that is Flight III. The attempt to try and do a software only endrun around the need for urgently required hardware upgrades likely doomed it to failure, to be honest. And at the worst possible time to boot.
 

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isayyo2

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My understanding is that the ABM role depends on the specific update to the Aegis system, with baseline 9 iteration being capable of both SAM and ABM missions simultaneously and previous versions having to adopt one mode or the other. I believe that upgrade is ship specific, though I do think more/most of the Ticos received it. Flight III Burkes have it by default. The four Burke’s assigned to Rota with the SeaRAM upgrade would be an example of previous upgrades where the ship can’t operate in an air defense mode while employing as an ABM platform.
Unfortunately Baseline 9 has been more than a bit of a disappointment, even without the ongoing disaster that is Flight III. The attempt to try and do a software only endrun around the need for urgently required hardware upgrades likely doomed it to failure, to be honest. And at the worst possible time to boot.
Could you go further into detail about Baseline 9/10s shortcomings? Is it a hardware/software issue for the computers? Or is it more related to the hull and power generation?
 

Grey Havoc

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Could you go further into detail about Baseline 9/10s shortcomings? Is it a hardware/software issue for the computers? Or is it more related to the hull and power generation?
Primarily the former (both the yet to be properly purged mania for COTS and associated issues with supply chain security & reliability even pre-Covid 19 have been major pains once again, no surprise) though the latter probably hasn't helped with regards as to the Burkes. Which is quite ironic given that when the planning for Baseline 9 first began back in the day it was initially intended that only the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers would be receiving it. At the time the USN were also planning to accelerate the retirement without replacement of their remaining cruisers as part of the infamous 'systems not platforms' dogma. (Fortunately Congress has mostly blocked this lemming drive to date, though the future is not looking very promising at the moment.) Another problem is that the much touted system virtualisation has been more than a bit of a disaster. Overall, the Aegis Open Architecture, of which Baseline 9 is supposed to be a major milestone, has never really lived up to its proponents promises. Indeed it can be argued that it has only ultimately served to severely undermine the Aegis system, with potentially dire consequences for the United States and its allies.

On a related note, here is yet another attempt by the United States Navy at rejigging the software side of things:
https://news.usni.org/2021/04/12/na...forge-wants-to-reshape-how-ships-get-upgraded

Reading between the lines they are still trying to salvage the virtualisation drive.
 

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How about Zummwalt hull but with Burke Superstructure ?

kinda out of the blue but.. why not.
Has been proposed in the past, I believe.

Really? By whom? Because it doesn't make much sense as far as I can see.

If we're talking about literally transplanting a Burke superstructure onto a Zumwalt hull, well you know basic things like the locations of machinery rooms and uptakes aren't going to line up. And I'm not even sure it fits -- what is the Z's beam at the weather deck, compared to the Burke, for example?

If we're talking more about appearance -- putting a limited LO superstructure similar to the Burke design on a Zumwalt hull -- then it's not physically impossible, but it doesn't make a ton of sense. The tumblehome hull is largely designed around a VLO approach. If you aren't doing that, you don't need all the features of the DDG-1000 hull, like the variable ballast tanks.

The level that makes some degree of sense is integrating something like the DDG-51 Flight III combat systems into a newer and less cramped hull design possibly related to the DDG-1000. That lets you worry about getting the hull and integration right without managing the moving target of a new combat system as well. And it lets you decide how much LO you actually want -- it might be that the VLO approach of the Zumwalts is overkill for a ship that has to emit to be effective. So maybe you want a new hull with just common machinery to the DDG-1000s.
 
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Foo Fighter

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Just take the Zumwalt design and adapt it to fit. Plenty of power generated for the job and updates.
 

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What is the key difficulty in developing a surface combatant? If it is system integration and software, than all the talk about hull forms and likes isn't really all that relevant, just use whatever.

..... One does wonder how can amateurs discuss software given the tradeoffs is basically invisible to outsiders.
 

starviking

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How about Zummwalt hull but with Burke Superstructure ?

kinda out of the blue but.. why not.
Has been proposed in the past, I believe.

Really? By whom? Because it doesn't make much sense as far as I can see.

If we're talking about literally transplanting a Burke superstructure onto a Zumwalt hull, well you know basic things like the locations of machinery rooms and uptakes aren't going to line up. And I'm not even sure it fits -- what is the Z's beam at the weather deck, compared to the Burke, for example?

If we're talking more about appearance -- putting a limited LO superstructure similar to the Burke design on a Zumwalt hull -- then it's not physically impossible, but it doesn't make a ton of sense. The tumblehome hull is largely designed around a VLO approach. If you aren't doing that, you don't need all the features of the DDG-1000 hull, like the variable ballast tanks.

The level that makes some degree of sense is integrating something like the DDG-51 Flight III combat systems into a newer and less cramped hull design possibly related to the DDG-1000. That lets you worry about getting the hull and integration right without managing the moving target of a new combat system as well. And it lets you decide how much LO you actually want -- it might be that the VLO approach of the Zumwalts is overkill for a ship that has to emit to be effective. So maybe you want a new hull with just common machinery to the DDG-1000s.
Is it possibly "fit the Burke superstructure systems" on a Zumwalt? Radars, ECM, ECCM, etc? Probably still quite involved, but not as much as a physical graft between the two ships.
 

Grey Havoc

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How about Zummwalt hull but with Burke Superstructure ?

kinda out of the blue but.. why not.
Has been proposed in the past, I believe.

Really? By whom? Because it doesn't make much sense as far as I can see.

If we're talking about literally transplanting a Burke superstructure onto a Zumwalt hull, well you know basic things like the locations of machinery rooms and uptakes aren't going to line up. And I'm not even sure it fits -- what is the Z's beam at the weather deck, compared to the Burke, for example?

If we're talking more about appearance -- putting a limited LO superstructure similar to the Burke design on a Zumwalt hull -- then it's not physically impossible, but it doesn't make a ton of sense. The tumblehome hull is largely designed around a VLO approach. If you aren't doing that, you don't need all the features of the DDG-1000 hull, like the variable ballast tanks.

The level that makes some degree of sense is integrating something like the DDG-51 Flight III combat systems into a newer and less cramped hull design possibly related to the DDG-1000. That lets you worry about getting the hull and integration right without managing the moving target of a new combat system as well. And it lets you decide how much LO you actually want -- it might be that the VLO approach of the Zumwalts is overkill for a ship that has to emit to be effective. So maybe you want a new hull with just common machinery to the DDG-1000s.
Is it possibly "fit the Burke superstructure systems" on a Zumwalt? Radars, ECM, ECCM, etc? Probably still quite involved, but not as much as a physical graft between the two ships.
The idea was studied during the CG(X) saga as a supposedly lower cost option. Was ultimately deemed not to be cost effective, I believe.

What is the key difficulty in developing a surface combatant? If it is system integration and software, than all the talk about hull forms and likes isn't really all that relevant, just use whatever.

..... One does wonder how can amateurs discuss software given the tradeoffs is basically invisible to outsiders.
There is a very good reason why "systems not platforms" is pretty much discredited these days. It simply doesn't work. The only reason why it is even still in play is that a lot of its proponents still hold senior positions in the DOD and Pentagon. The classic definition of insanity does rather come to mind here...
 

bring_it_on

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They need to design and build a ship they can afford. Can an IAMD optimized Zumwalt with a larger magazine, and an effective radar suite (not what's on those ships currently) and room for larger diameter cells be cheaper to acquire than the first three ships? I doubt anyone (with any serious decision making authority) believes that. So then what do you trade away and what is non-negotiable? Size? Survivability? IPS? Future room to grow etc etc. I think Navy will protect the IPS investments, and demand a hull that can grow to accommodate future needs. There is no money in the budget to pack all these things up front unless they give up on something like the LCS, Ford Class, Columbia class etc. Or shrink to a 250-300 ship Navy (long term). That's just the reality.

Navy likely will trade signature and other attributes to save money. Perhaps a smaller ship than the DDG-1000 design. They have to convince the taxpayers that they can buy a couple of DDG(X)'s a year at a cost that is probably closer to the Burke than the Zumwalt (though it will no doubt carry a premium over the Flight III DDG-51). The Navy can't design and propose a large cruiser and still try to sell "we need to grow the navy" to Congress - so a more expensive, and more capable ship (or classes of ships in general) will mean a smaller Navy. Here's hoping that they deliver on the Frigate and the unmanned fleet (with 36-64 VL cells) in the next 10-15 years. Perhaps they can save some money by decommissioning half or more of the LCS's that don't seem to be capable of doing anything combat related (perhaps give them to the CG if it wants them). But then Congress won't like that either because they've kept pushing these useless things to the Navy to protect their own constituencies (and the Navy never really pushing back).

Even with savings from these, I doubt they can afford a ship with a DDG-1000 price tag while simultaneously fielding the Columbia class, the new Frigate, Ford class carriers (with their double digit billion price tag), current Flight III's, and designing the next-generation attack submarine (one are where we still enjoy a considerable advantage over the PLAN). It's a sad state but it's all because the Navy squandered its political (and real) capital by mismanaging nearly all of its surface programs in the last 15-20 years. Perhaps the Navy needs to seriously consider other ways of countering the PLAN build up? Maybe some sort of strategy that doesn't count on a 15-20 year shipbuilding program that may deliver a ship that goes out on an operational cruise in the mid 2030's and exist in large numbers in the 2040's? Perhaps a wholesale shift to Unmanned surface and sub-surface platforms is the right course to throw a lot of RDT&E money on??
 
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Firefinder

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They need to design and build a ship they can afford. Can an IAMD optimized Zumwalt with a larger magazine, and an effective radar suite (not what's on those ships currently) and room for larger diameter cells be cheaper to acquire than the first three ships? I doubt anyone (with any serious decision making authority) believes that. So then what do you trade away and what is non-negotiable? Size? Survivability? IPS? Future room to grow etc etc. I think Navy will protect the IPS investments, and demand a hull that can grow to accommodate future needs. There is no money in the budget to pack all these things up front unless they give up on something like the LCS, Ford Class, Columbia class etc. Or shrink to a 250-300 ship Navy (long term). That's just the reality.

Navy likely will trade signature and other attributes to save money. Perhaps a smaller ship than the DDG-1000 design. They have to convince the taxpayers that they can buy a couple of DDG(X)'s a year at a cost that is probably closer to the Burke than the Zumwalt (though it will no doubt carry a premium over the Flight III DDG-51). The Navy can't design and propose a large cruiser and still try to sell "we need to grow the navy" to Congress - so a more expensive, and more capable ship (or classes of ships in general) will mean a smaller Navy. Here's hoping that they deliver on the Frigate and the unmanned fleet (with 36-64 VL cells) in the next 10-15 years. Perhaps they can save some money by decommissioning half or more of the LCS's that don't seem to be capable of doing anything combat related (perhaps give them to the CG if it wants them). But then Congress won't like that either because they've kept pushing these useless things to the Navy to protect their own constituencies (and the Navy never really pushing back).

Even with savings from these, I doubt they can afford a ship with a DDG-1000 price tag while simultaneously fielding the Columbia class, the new Frigate, Ford class carriers (with their double digit billion price tag), current Flight III's, and designing the next-generation attack submarine (one are where we still enjoy a considerable advantage over the PLAN). It's a sad state but it's all because the Navy squandered its political (and real) capital by mismanaging nearly all of its surface programs in the last 15-20 years. Perhaps the Navy needs to seriously consider other ways of countering the PLAN build up? Maybe some sort of strategy that doesn't count on a 15-20 year shipbuilding program that may deliver a ship that goes out on an operational cruise in the mid 2030's and exist in large numbers in the 2040's? Perhaps a wholesale shift to Unmanned surface and sub-surface platforms is the right course to throw a lot of RDT&E money on??
Problem is that due to how they build the ships today any new class that not basically a Burke hull is going to cost a LOT more then a Burke without sacrificing something that no one wants to give up.

Like Surviviblity, Engines, metals used, or something along those lines.

Cause they are going to have to basically REBUILD the shipyard, which they already had to due twice last decade, to be able to build a new hull. They had to do so for when they went to Zumwalt from Burke, then revert it for the Burke 3s. Both times damn near bankrupt Ingells and that was only stopped by the government bailing them out and raising the price of the B3s to help them cover it. Then you had the fact that alot of the need thing for the Zumwalt was made by companies that went out of business after the class was finish.

So any new hull type class is going to take into account that. And that is basically going to make any new large combant of the Burke or Zumwalt size a PITA to get past without something major happening to make Congress point the money printer at the Navy.
 

bring_it_on

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Yes it is going to be expensive even if it is run properly - something that the Navy doesn’t have experience in for at least two decades. They can’t really use a European parent design this time around so they are probably on their own. Oh by the way they need to grow the Navy while they are at it. So this probably won’t go anywhere fast. Maybe by 2040 they’ll have a decent sized fleet if they execute everything on time. I would much rather pump money into increasing the block V SSN production rate and on R&D towards the large displacement unmanned vessels. LSC is going to take a lot of time, lot of money, and lot of risk to field. We don’t have that luxury given how many ships and subs PLAN has and is pumping out. Chalk the lack of a proper cruiser or a proper destroyer to the GWOT and look at some sort of offset capability that can help maintain an advantage in the 2030-2050 timeframe.
 
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Lc89

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In my opinion the shortage of American shipyards are a big problem. It is also the fault of the Jones Act of 1920. Being protected from competition, it seems obvious to me that there is no incentive to innovate in shipbuilding, civil and military at the same time. If you notice, although Asia plays the lion's share of shipbuilding, Europe has many good shipbuilding companies, which the United States does not have.
 

bring_it_on

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Killing off the Naval Yards and then later on the Navy's in-house design capability certainly didn't help matters either.

Yes its very much a case of bringing it upon themselves (Navy + Congress). There is no easy way out of this problem the Navy currently finds itself in. DDG(X) will take a long time, will be expensive and will put lots of stress on the need to grow the Navy. Even the most optimistic budget predictions won't change this.
 

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In my opinion the shortage of American shipyards are a big problem. It is also the fault of the Jones Act of 1920. Being protected from competition, it seems obvious to me that there is no incentive to innovate in shipbuilding, civil and military at the same time. If you notice, although Asia plays the lion's share of shipbuilding, Europe has many good shipbuilding companies, which the United States does not have.
I grew up an hour from one of the last American shipyards that built both combatants, including nuclear surface combatants, and large commercial cargo vessels. And it was "innovative" enough that parts of it were parted out to shipyards around the world long after it closed. The Jones Act definitively did not kill it, had it enjoyed the same support and subsidy some European and Asian yards enjoy from their governments, it would still be producing first-class vessels to this day.
 

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In my opinion the shortage of American shipyards are a big problem. It is also the fault of the Jones Act of 1920. Being protected from competition, it seems obvious to me that there is no incentive to innovate in shipbuilding, civil and military at the same time. If you notice, although Asia plays the lion's share of shipbuilding, Europe has many good shipbuilding companies, which the United States does not have.
I grew up an hour from one of the last American shipyards that built both combatants, including nuclear surface combatants, and large commercial cargo vessels. And it was "innovative" enough that parts of it were parted out to shipyards around the world long after it closed. The Jones Act definitively did not kill it, had it enjoyed the same support and subsidy some European and Asian yards enjoy from their governments, it would still be producing first-class vessels to this day.
Long-term subsidies have never been sustainable and are often a self-inflicted wound on taxpayers' wallets.
 

bring_it_on

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So any new hull type class is going to take into account that. And that is basically going to make any new large combant of the Burke or Zumwalt size a PITA to get past without something major happening to make Congress point the money printer at the Navy.

I doubt that is going to happen (Congress gives them unlimited cash) even in the best case scenario. It likely wouldn' have happened if the Navy was actually good at fielding ship classes (of late). The Navy still prefers to brush the entire LCS discussion aside and seem to always be "Priming the pump" towards its future deployments.. At least they are making some bold moves by advocating for early retirement though the numbers they are proposing for the scrapyard are probably too few to make a big difference in its budgets (to free up cash for more important things). The Navy has also totally failed to make a case for how it intends to grow its size. After advocating for a 355 ship Navy, the Navy leadership never put anything out there that viably got them to that number. Despite all the buzz around FFGX, it is essentially a single yard 10 ship program so doesn't alter the fleet in any significant way in the medium term. So they do not appear to have a long term strategy and sadly also don't have future proof vessels that they can reliably churn out to grow itself (besides the Blk V Virginia) so must go back to the design process which then means that these new classes won't contribute in any significant way for at least the next 15 years.

IMHO, the Navy needs to admit that China will continue to outproduce it, and will eventually catch up or surpass its own abilities in the coming decade or two (if not earlier) and then plan for a different type of force structure that offsets some of that advantage. If they act now, find and empower competent leaders they could possibly look at leveraging unmanned vessels as a source of competitive advantage. Those should be cheaper and relatively easier to build and could thus begin contributing a lot sooner.

To their credit, PLAN fielded some credible combatants while the Navy was busy developing two variants of its yatch and nothing much else. So PLAN, AC's and SSN's aside, doesn't now have to worry about both developing a future combatant (s) and growing its force - It's basically focusing on buying what it spent the last few decades developing and fielding. So no matter what the USN does going forward, the PLAN will continue to erode the LSC advantage and ultimately surpass the USN. This won't likely change till well into the the 2040's if not 2050's and ONLY if the USN knocks it out of the park with DDG(X) and other combatant programs (would be an exception to how the USN has managed its recent programs).
 
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MihoshiK

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In my opinion the shortage of American shipyards are a big problem. It is also the fault of the Jones Act of 1920. Being protected from competition, it seems obvious to me that there is no incentive to innovate in shipbuilding, civil and military at the same time. If you notice, although Asia plays the lion's share of shipbuilding, Europe has many good shipbuilding companies, which the United States does not have.
I grew up an hour from one of the last American shipyards that built both combatants, including nuclear surface combatants, and large commercial cargo vessels. And it was "innovative" enough that parts of it were parted out to shipyards around the world long after it closed. The Jones Act definitively did not kill it, had it enjoyed the same support and subsidy some European and Asian yards enjoy from their governments, it would still be producing first-class vessels to this day.
Long-term subsidies have never been sustainable and are often a self-inflicted wound on taxpayers' wallets.
Long-term subsidies are the price a lot of governments pay to keep vital knowledge in-house.
 

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Ok like what if ( ok this will sound stupid but this is for ideas) you took like say..... An old Brooklyn class and updated it by making it smaller and more armoured and then replace gun no1 and 2 for missile boxes and no4 for a helo deck? Tell me your thoughts
 

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Ok like what if ( ok this will sound stupid but this is for ideas) you took like say..... An old Brooklyn class and updated it by making it smaller and more armoured and then replace gun no1 and 2 for missile boxes and no4 for a helo deck? Tell me your thoughts
Would work great in the FRAM-era and I’ve had similar thoughts. A hanger for a couple of DASH drones, an ASROC launcher fore, and a Mk11/13 tartar too. Would be a nice flotilla leader for escort destroyers and frigates.
 

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Ok like what if ( ok this will sound stupid but this is for ideas) you took like say..... An old Brooklyn class and updated it by making it smaller and more armoured and then replace gun no1 and 2 for missile boxes and no4 for a helo deck? Tell me your thoughts
Would work great in the FRAM-era and I’ve had similar thoughts. A hanger for a couple of DASH drones, an ASROC launcher fore, and a Mk11/13 tartar too. Would be a nice flotilla leader for escort destroyers and frigates.
Or a z20 Karl galster and replace gun no1 with missile boxes and replace no4 with a helo deck. It would look better
 

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Ok like what if ( ok this will sound stupid but this is for ideas) you took like say..... An old Brooklyn class and updated it by making it smaller and more armoured and then replace gun no1 and 2 for missile boxes and no4 for a helo deck? Tell me your thoughts
Would work great in the FRAM-era and I’ve had similar thoughts. A hanger for a couple of DASH drones, an ASROC launcher fore, and a Mk11/13 tartar too. Would be a nice flotilla leader for escort destroyers and frigates.
Or a z20 Karl galster and replace gun no1 with missile boxes and replace no4 with a helo deck. It would look better
But I didn't think of DASH systems
 

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If the US decides to build the next-gen cruiser, no edge-peripheral launch system/tubes like DDG-1000 Zumwalt, way too vulnerable, keep armament amidship and re-loadable.
 

shin_getter

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Okay, a dumb question here:

Why is developing a surface combatant expensive and time consuming?

For aircraft or submarines, all design elements interact with each other in a complex way, as fluid dynamics, mass, volume, propulsion, stealth, sensors, damage resilience and cooling all get in each other's way.

For surface ships, while a tightly integrated design is possible and more efficient in large runs, for small runs or short lead times, it seems simple enough to just overbuild the hull size and propulsion a bit, and just throw combat system into it. On the most extreme end of this logic, containerized weapons and "land vehicle rolled onto a flat deck" enable combat power with zero development time.

It seems like this kind of development model would have problem with stealth, damage control and potentially information systems integration, but all of them solvable and none of them critical to surface ships.
 

MihoshiK

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If the US decides to build the next-gen cruiser, no edge-peripheral launch system/tubes like DDG-1000 Zumwalt, way too vulnerable, keep armament amidship and re-loadable.
The Mk 57 is reloadable, those canisters are not single-use. If you're referring to underway replenishment, Mk-41 is effectively not reloadable at sea anyway, so that's a moot point. There's a reason the reloading crane only shows up in the first few Mk-41 equipped units.
 
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Tuna

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If the US decides to build the next-gen cruiser, no edge-peripheral launch system/tubes like DDG-1000 Zumwalt, way too vulnerable, keep armament amidship and re-loadable.
Vulnerable how? On the contrary, they act as armor for the ship, protecting it from deeper penetrations. The cells are armored in such a way that a missile can burn in it's cell without harming the ship. In contrast, if the Mark 41 gets hit, the ship is a goner.

Also, VLS is not practically reloadable at sea in any US ship. The Navy gave up on attempting underway reloading of the Mark 41 decades ago.
 

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