Skip to comments.Navy Welcomes USS San Diego to the Fleet
Posted on 05/22/2012 11:50:58 AM PDT by moonshot925
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy commissioned the latest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during a ceremony in San Diego, May 19.
The ship is named for the city of San Diego, principal homeport of the Pacific fleet, and honors the people of "America's Finest City" and its leaders for their continuous support of the military.
The ship will be homeported here. It is the only ship in the Navy homeported in its namesake city. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders presented the commanding officer of San Diego, Cmdr. Kevin P. Meyers, with the key to the city, saying it was, "in honor of welcoming America's finest ship to America's Finest City."
Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, delivered the ceremony's principal address. He said that San Diego and her crew are coming into the Navy at an important time.
"Our expectations for this ship are very high," said Ferguson. "It arrives at a time when nearly half of our ships are underway on a given day; when we are surging forces to the Middle East to deter the threat of aggression; when we are rebalancing our forces to the Pacific; and when we face increasingly complex, and global, security challenges in an uncertain fiscal environment.
"Take a good look at this ship because she will be very busy," said Ferguson. "Her time will be consumed fulfilling the tenets of our Navy. She will focus on warfighting, she will operate forward and she will spend her time being ready. This is our charge to the fleet, and the expectation of our nation that our Navy be ready to answer the call to defend freedom on the seas."
Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, commander Naval Surface Forces, said he admired the work the crew put into making this ship a reality.
"Thank you for the dedication, professionalism and perseverance you have displayed over the years as you brought this ship to commissioning," Hunt said. "USS San Diego ... always keep warfighting first. I promise that you will operate forward. I charge you to always be ready. It is demanded by the surface warfare profession and a mandate for a ship with this incredible capability."
The ship's sponsor, Mrs. Linda Winter, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, gave the order to the ship's approximately 377 officers and enlisted personnel to, "man our ship and bring her to life." With that order, the crew began a spirited charge up the brow to take responsibility for the Navy's newest warship. Marines from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., soon joined the Sailors to man the rails of the ship, as a show of the Navy/Marine Corps team that will serve aboard.
After his ship was manned and brought to life, Meyers told the audience that the San Diego memorabilia donated to the ship by the city, including street signs, was proof that, "the city has open its heart to us and we are truly, truly appreciative."
Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Joshua Cuevas said he was proud to be part of the ship's first crew, traditionally known as a "plankowner" because they were present as the ship was being built.
"It took a lot of hard work in building this ship so to be a plankowner is an overwhelming achievement," he said Cuevas, a Miami native.
Cuevas added that having a ship named for San Diego is fitting.
"The city has always supports the Navy and having a ship named for the city of San Diego in San Diego is a way of giving back," he said.
Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., San Diego is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, a navigational draft of 23 feet, displaces about 24,900 tons and is capable of embarking a landing force of about 800 Marines. Four turbo-charged diesel engines power the ship to sustained speeds in excess of 22 knots.
San Diego is the sixth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class and the fourth ship to carry the name. Her principal mission is to deploy combat and support elements of Marine Expeditionary Units and Brigades. With the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion or conventional landing craft and augmented by helicopters or MV-22 vertical take-off and landing aircraft, these ships support amphibious assault, special operations, and expeditionary warfare missions. The ship will provide improved warfighting capabilities including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift capability, increased vehicle and cargo-carrying capacity, and advanced ship survivability features.
Cool, I had some friends that served on the LPD-8 Dubuque which I just noticed was decommissioned last year. Out with the old and in with the new Gator fleet.
God bless this ship and all those who sail on her.
That’s a good looking ship. As a proud alum of the University of San Diego, I’m very pleased that the Navy has done this.
Stay San Diego classy.
I served on the USS San Diego AFS-6 in the early 70’s.
What does USS SAN DIEGO (LPD-22) have for self-defense? The 16-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launch System is NOT fitted; there are two Mk 46 Mod 1 (30x173 NATO) Bushmaster II guns (range 2,200 yards); two .50 (12.7x99 NATO) machine guns (range 2,000 yards); two Mk 49 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers with 21 shots each (range 8 miles); two Mk 36 SRBOC, 12 barrels each, (Super Rapid Blooming Off-board Chaff and flares). That's all folks. You have a billion dollar, Haze Gray target.
These ships are for non or lightly contested shore-landings only. They are NOT amphibious assault ships. Also the San Antonio class has a ton of major improvements to make it stealthy.
My wife and I are in San Diego visiting her brother and sister-in-law. Yesterday we were going to the USS Midway. San Diego was tied up next to Midway. We were honored to see San Diego making her maiden commissioned voyage. I popped a big hand salute as the tugs led her out.
Like it or not, these ships will be put in harm's way. That means getting closer to shore than 250 miles. This ship is extremely vulnerable the closer to the shoreline it gets.
The LPD-17 class can carry two LCACs or one LCU. The LCACs are designed for over the horizon assaults and are fast, the LCU is a self-propelled tank lighter. It can do over the horizon, but it only has a speed of 10 knots. LCUs are better employed closer to shore. Ditto for the LCAC.
In an age where anti-ship cruise missiles are cheap and can be launched from mobile land launchers, fast attack craft, and aircraft, going close to shore is suicide for a ship this large. Don't put a lot of faith in its supposed “stealthy” characteristics either. Cruise missiles can reach over 100 kilometers [in the larger birds] and carry heavy warheads. [Example: The Chinese C-802 “Saccade” has a range of 180 km, speed of Mach 0.9, and carries a 363 lb. warhead. This bird will ruin your day if it hits you.]
The LPD has to off load via its wet well deck. If it cannot ballast down to flood the well deck or open and close the stern gate, it cannot off load heavy equipment. (It could lift troops in helicopters or MV-22s from its helo deck — but no heavy equipment.)
This multibillion dollar ship cannot defend itself unless it has a carrier battle group to protect it. Carrier groups will be hard pressed in a shooting war and so will the amphibious assault groups that aren't as well protected as the carrier groups. An LPD removed from the group's protective bubble is toast.
I am not impressed by Chinese cruise missiles.
The carrier battle group has a sensor umbrella of 250 miles.
RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be quad-packed in the Mark 41 VLS. That is 32 ESSMs in a single 8 cell VLS.
There is also the Phalanx CIWS, RAM and electronic jamming.
Yes, the CVBG (and the amphibious expeditionary strike group) have a protective bubble. The CVBG can, with its E-2C/D Hawkeye AWACS, extend the radar horizon between 250 to 350 miles from the carrier. The AESG does not have an airborne equivalent to the E-2C/D, and its defensive bubble depends on the radar range of its escorting CGs and DDGs. The result is the AESG has a sensor range of about 100-150 miles.
The LPD-17 class was to have the Mk 41 VLS that carried four RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) in the Mk 25 “quad pack”. If the Mk 41 were fitted to the LPD-17 class (and it is NOT), a 16-cell MK 41 VLS loaded with as many Mk 25 “quad packs” could put up 64 individual ESSM. The ESSM has a much longer range than the RIM-116 RAM.
However, there's one problem with ESSM: it is NOT a fire and forget bird like the RAM. The ESSM uses semiautomatic radar guidance and that means its target must stay illuminated by the fire control radar until the missile impacts the target. Once a kill by the ESSM is made, another target can be engaged. ESSM is not designed for a saturation attack. RAM is much better because once it achieves target lock, it will kill that target without further assistance from the ship's fire control.
I would prefer the LPD-17s were equipped with two Mk 15 Mod 0 Block 1B Phalanx CIWS. These 20mm Gatling guns would backup both the MK 49 RAM launchers and the Mk 46 30mm guns. The Navy has decided NOT to do this and it will not be done.
BTW, one of our LPD-17 class recently transited the Suez Canal in daylight. The captain was so nervous about attacks from the shoreline that he mounted eight Mk 16 tripods on the main deck and 01 level of the LPD [bringing the total to ten .50 mg]. The additional .50 machine guns, their cradles, and ammunition trays were borrowed from USMC vehicles embarked on the ship. Sometimes it is better to act to protect your ship than ask permission. The LPD transited the Suez safely and the borrowed armament was returned to the Marines.
Yes, there are countermeasures available to the LPD-17 class. One is AN/SLQ-25A Nixie (an anti-torpedo decoy), another the is AN/SLQ-32A(V)2 ESM and ECCM suite, there's the pair of Mk 36 SRBOC mortars (2x12 or 24 tubes), and finally the Mk 53 Nulka (an ASM decoy) mounted on the SRBOC mortars (total of 8 decoys). However, this all supposes the ship's combat system is working at 100 percent efficiency.
I'd be more interested if the Navy would invest more in stand alone defensive systems that don't need to depend on the ship's combat system. These are the Mk 49 ROSAM (a remotely operated .50 mg — USN version of the Israeli Mini-Typhoon), CIWS/Phalanx, and SeaRAM (with an 11-round RAM launcher that replaces the CIWS 20mm Gatling).
Can any Mark 41 VLS accept the Mark 25 Quad Pack ESSM canister or does the VLS need to be modified?
Could a Tico class cruiser theoreticaly hold 488 ESSMs?
Thanks for the info. I guess those guys were not pulling my leg.
The most basic module is a cluster of 8 launch cells (2x4). A typical VLS module contains 4 modules (4x8) for a total of 32 missiles. Here: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/mk-41-naval-vertical-missile-launch-systems-delivered-supported-updated-02139/
No mods are required for the Mk 41 to fire the Mk 25 quad pack. The only mod (maybe) is a modification to or addition of an illuminating fire control radar. The ESSM is a semi-active radar missile that flies to its target by means of the reflected radar energy.
Theoretically, the CG-47 Ticonderogas have either 122 or 128 launch cells and if the cells were loaded with the Mk 25 Quad Packs, the ship could hold from 488 to 512 ESSM. However, the two Mk 41 launchers will typically be loaded with a mix of vertical launch SM-2MR, SM-2ER, SM-3 ASAT, or SM-6 ERAM Standard missiles, BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, Mk 25 Quad Pack ESSM, and RUM-139 VL ASROC. The exact numbers of the load out will change according to the mission.
Dubuque 1998-2000 when she left Sasebo. Crew swapped to Juneau LPD-10.
Oh c'mon now-they have more than two .50 cals. They could be twin mounts.
No disrespect intended whatsoever but, talk about beauty being in the eye of the beholder!