Skip to comments.Smaller Navy Ship Has a Rocky Past and Key Support
Posted on 04/05/2012 8:57:15 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Smaller Navy Ship Has a Rocky Past and Key Support
MOBILE, Ala. The Navys newest ship is designed to battle Iranian attack boats, clear mines from the Strait of Hormuz, chase down Somali pirates and keep watch on Chinas warships. The ones built here even look menacing, like Darth Vader on the sea.
Its going to scare the hell out of folks, said Representative Jo Bonner, the Alabama Republican who represents Mobile and is one of the ships biggest boosters in Congress.
Mr. Bonner acknowledged that the ship had needed a tweak here and there his allusion to one of the most tortured shipbuilding programs in Navy history, a decade-long tale of soaring costs, canceled contracts and blown deadlines.
One of the two $700 million ships completed so far has had a major leak and crack in its hull, while the other is at sea, testing equipment that is failing to distinguish underwater mines from glints of light on the waves. More ominously, a report late last year by the Pentagons top weapons tester said the ship is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.
But for better or worse, the Pentagon and the Obama administration are embracing the Littoral Combat Ship as the future of naval warfare and just what is needed to meet 21st-century threats.
Able to operate on the high seas and along shallow coastlines (the littorals), the fast, maneuverable ship is central to President Obamas strategy of projecting American power in the Pacific and the Persian Gulf. It adds a relatively small and technologically advanced ship part of what former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld envisioned as a lean, proficient military to Americas traditional blue
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
That’s a mean looking ship. And it’s ours, which is a good thing.
These "ships" are underarmed, short of range and far, far too expensive for what little firepower they have.
A billion bucks for 2,200 tons that cannot sink another ship, take a hit or down a high-flying jet.
On top of that, this design promises “modularity,” which means that it can be dynamically reconfigured depending on the battle situation. Apparently, this is a total pipe dream where we have been way oversold on what is feasible.
You can put Aegis and VLS on these and they carry the 76mm gun. That COULD be upgraded to the 5inch/62 cal gun carried by the Burkes.
It's ludricrous the USN is wedded to the LCS and I'm CERTAIN the Surface Warfare Officers now at sea would much rather have the Ingalls Frigate.
“...not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.
Ha, show me any ship that is survivable? How did that unsinkable Titanic work out?
Of the many, many flaws and failures of the LCS, the survivability issue is indeed a bit overblown.
Pretty much any modern combatant will be sunk by a heavyweight torpedo, and rendered combat-ineffective by any sort of missile hit.
I always have to laugh at the oft-mentioned “Somali Pirate Chasing” mission. You’ll never see the LCS doing that because it has such poor endurance.
I'd prefer the LCS was Chinese and not ours.
It's a matter of degree. Some warships are tough. Others are eggshells armed with sledgehammers. The LCS is an eggshell armed with a tackhammer.
What we need is something to replace the Perrys, that can also fight in the litorals but not give up the Air, ASW, and ASuW capabilities that the LCS have to switch out to obtain at any given time.
In the US Naval Institute Proceedings for this month they had a great discussion about this and the proposal for a 4,500t FFG with the two Harpoon cannister launchers, an MK-41 VLS, a 76mm or 127mm gun, a couple of 25-40mm auto cannons for secondary guns, a RAM launcher (21 cell variety) and a hanger for a full sized Lamps III helo.
Sweet looking FFG and something we should build in some numbers IMHO.
The Chinese are doing so and have already built 16 of the following in the last 6-7 years and are building more...as well as pumping out modern DDGs about as fast.
The French designed Formidable class frigates (operated by Singapore) and a new class of Aegis-equipped frigates built by Spain for Norway are good starting points for the kind of medium combatant.
Probably will not be an AEGIS vessel. Displacement goes up as does the cost.
Probabaly will contain cooperative engagement capabilities so that a Burke can perform the coop if necessary...but these will be more like the Perrys. Good, all-round multi-purpose combatants, able to operate effectively as picket escorts for CSG or Phibrons, able to perform well in a SAG able to support LCS vessels in the littorals, or able to do stand-alone assignments in medium risk areas.
U.S.S. OBAMA (Powered by Algae)
I had a chance to spend some time on HMAS PERTH which is fitted with the new CEAFAR/CEAMOUNT radars. They don’t weigh much but the performance is outstanding. Better yet it is very easily scalled up (they are modular so just add more tiles).
The Yamato wae the most powerful battleship afloat, and it was destroyed very, very, quickly.
As Dundee described, the new Australian radar and the Israeli EL/M-2248 are excellent for lighter ships if you are looking primarily for anti-air and anti-cruise missile capability.
I’d prefer the LCS was Chinese and not ours.
I’d prefer the LCS was Chinese and not ours.
What the Aussies did with their Perrys is something we should have done long ago. The Aussies will not have large numbers in their new vessels and fleet, but with the Canberras and the new Air Defense DDGs they will be very, very good.
Not exactly the impression given by the Emperor Dalek on the 02 deck
But you're right. When Huntington Ingalls pitched their Patrol Frigate 4921 for the SEA 1180 Offshore Combatant Vessel (they're dreaming) they put CEAFAR into a tiny chapeau right on the masttop.
...not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.
Ha, show me any ship that is survivable? How did that unsinkable Titanic work out?
You got me mixed up with someone else. I didn’t say that.
What is a Mission Package?
What is a Harpoon used for?
A few Predator UAVs with machine gun pods would work better.
A Mission PAckage is a modularized set of equipment for a specific mssion/capability. For example if they wanted to do mine sweeping or laying, theey add those modules and take out the other they currently have. If they want to do Anit-surface warfare, they add a [modularized package of additional guns and missiles, same for anti-air.
They have a basic gun and self defense capability (57mm gun and RAM missiles) but have to add the package they want to accomplish the specific mission. They can swap packs in a day.
A Harpoon missile is an anti-surface missile capable of attacking other ships or land targets. Our latest variants have a range of near or over 130 nauticle miles. They come four to the cannister and a vessel usually carriers tow quad packs ... so eight missiles.
Here’s a few sites I maintain that can help:
Wolrd-wide Aircraft Carriers
AEGIS & AEGIS-like Vessels of the World
US Navy in the 21st Century
The Rising Sea Dragon in Asia
We know the Iranians will attack in a mass rush of small boats loaded with explosives.
They will launch a wave of 107 mm rockets that will land about 500 meters away from the target and create a wall of water that effectively blinds all our onboard targeting radar.
The small boats rush through at 40+ knots. Our weapons have 4-5 seconds to degrade them before they are too close and below the ship’s weapon horizon. You can only aim so low.
The small boats are made of fiberglass and wood, further making them harder to detect.
They only way to pick up the target is by overhead look-down radar such as from drones or AWACs, if they are available.
Many sailors from the USS Carl Vincent, recently returned, reporting seeing many dhows and other small wooden boats passing very close by, often.
I witnessed a target practice where the only effective down range weapons were human-aimed. The Phalanx was unable to acquire and stay on target until it was shut down. The practice target was a floating raft of wooden pallets topped by a steel container painted white.
The bobbing and weaving of floating targets and interference by waves made aiming very erratic.
The most hits came from gunners with .50 caliber Brownings, followed by gunners with 25 mm cannons. Visual acquisition down range was critical close in.
Tactically, the most effective defense appears to be Marines with 240G hand held automatic weapons firing from the deck rails and weather decks.
We made need to greatly expand the Marine complements on board every ship in the Gulf including these littorals.
The LCS is a DISASTER in the making.
We need 50-100 hulls in the 3,000 - 4,500 Ton class with all the modern voodoo.
With that voodoo you can get crew size down to about 100.
I'm a big believer in the Ingalls "Patrol Frigate 4921" with the 12,000nm range and 60 day endurance. Harpoon and VLS for SM-3. All the voodoo.
Buy 50 of them and they'll be but $300-$350 Mil per copy.
Very sweet ship and exactly what the USN needs today.
I haven’t mentioned the problems of a night attack or an attack coming out of the rising sun.
As we waited for the target to come by, the glare and shimmer from sunlight was blinding. I identified the target before the deck watch whom were using polarized, digitally enhanced binoculars, by looking out the side of my eye for differences in color in the distance.
At sea, we will find a very low tech and personal fight.
LCS=Little Crappy Ship.
The Navy had better implement a Kamikaze type shield.
Easy for me to say.
I have seen the 4921 and like it. Here’s a thread on a Sino defense forum I posted regarding it.
US Navy Patrol frigate proposal shown at DIMDEX
Good discussion there.
This USNI Proceedings proposal is also a good one and we do need them.
We have to get a CINC and congress in there who will build them.
He was far from my 1st choice, but I have to say that Romney has some good ideas and things to say about the military and US Navy needs.
As soon as firing begins, you choke on the acid-smoke that burns your eyes, the gunner and loaders and fire controller all shouting at each other. Trying to wipe away the flood of tears to see the target.
The muzzle blasts, 3 a second, were so strong, my contacts shook off-center when my eyes were open and my nose started bleeding.
The spent casings are red hot, piling all around and burning our feet and ankles. The concussion from the muzzle blasts leaves you numb and I have a permanent ringing in my ears.
All of that in only about 90 seconds of live fire. And, the enemy was only a 25 foot long, unarmed steel shipping container.
I can only imagine the pounding sailors would take firing on waves of small boats that were firing rockets and small arms back. God bless 'em if they get in that fight, they're better men than me. It's easy to call 'em from the bench, war with the Iranians will be to the death.
That's the problem. The mission should be pirate killing, to hell with chasing them or arresting them.
To his credit Romney is the only one talking about our MOST IMPORTANT national security need.
Rebuilding the USN through the expansion of the number of ships at sea.
Without USN domination of the seas, we would certainly not maintain our place in the world and would not be a "super power". Everything we purchase from overseas, from wine, to BMWs to oil would be expensive and scarce. No commerical flag vessel would be safe anywhere. The worldwide economy would be in complete shambgles and chaos, at best. Starvation and disease would dominate the human condition when it was not dominated by war.
I know some folks think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.
It is essential civilized man maintain absolute domination of the seas. In history when that condition did not exist, the world was a far, far different place.
And it can be again.
To Romney's credit, he sees that.
That’s no good. A hell of a weapon that’s basically useless after a very short time.
Doesn’t take many hits to stop a small craft, but it is our chosen deck gun from 300 up to 2,000 yards.
The .50 cals takeover when closer, they are going to be the most effective weapon.
The MK-38 is not very easy to swing or lower, I agree we need a more agile weapon.
Close in, under 100 yards, no better choice than Marines at the rails.
This is scary.
You are talking about the Mod 1 version of the weapon which is manually operated. We also now have the Mod 2 version, the auto fire (remote controlled) version of these weapons too. Did you ever work with any of them?
Mod 2 is a stabilized, remote control version with electro-optic fire control system and auto-tracking capability.
Mk-38 mods 1 and 2
The Mod 2 evidently hasn’t made it to the fleet that I know of. I wasn’t on the gun crew, just an observer. The BHR was drydocked for upgrades after my deployment and I was onboard afterwards and the MK 38’s were the same.
On the BHR, a front row fighting ship with a MEU onboard, there is only 3 50’s, two MK 38’s and a Phalanx on the stern, on each side. No way they’re going to handle more than 10-15 approaching fast boats.
Only one has to get through.....
How would the new fire controls deal with waves and water curtains caused by rockets? The Phalanx has optic and radar fire control and was firing way too low or high on the target until they shut it down.
I know the Phalanx has sweet fire control as it tracks the ship to shore boats in port at Singapore, gave those boats the creeps. But that is all calm water.
How would optics work at night, rain, big water?
The mod two is out in the fleet already. Not very mod 1 has been replaced yet, but the Ticos, many of the Burkes, the wasps, and others have been refitted, updated.
Those optics use numerous sensors, one of which is surely a cooled or uncooked thermal sensor which works well in fog, rain, heavy weather, etc. Laser sensors as well are used which also can work in the same to a degree,
My guess is that there are also provisions for radar tacking to a point, but I am not sure on that.
The following US Navy site indicates that mod 2 began deploying in 2005 and that 166 units had been deployed aboard vessels as of 2011.
Thanks for the link.
It says: “MK 38 Mod 1s are maintained in a rotatable pool for temporary installation aboard deployed ships.”
Temporary installation? They list the primary upgrades to, among others, the LHD class.
Well, the BHR is LHD 6, a forward deployed carrier with a MEU. You can’t get closer to the enemy than the BHR did.
Why wouldn’t they upgrade during drydock? They say one thing and are doing another. The BHR will be deployed again late this year.
I would agree on thermal sensors, they are amazing and give very crispy images. Night or day, rain or shine, 1,000 yards + great technology.
In my agency we use them for surveillance...military grade. Detect at 5 km, recognize at 2 km, and ID at 1 km. Night, day, rain, shine.
These are uncooled. The cooled variety would double all those ranges...but 3X + on the price and not necessary for us.
I know they are adding laser to the MK-38, and would not be surprised if there was not radar control from their local surface, and maybe air radar...but not sure about it.
I field tested a new hand-held thermal imager and was very impressed. I could easily see the differences in size of a 5.56 over a 7.62 round, carried in pockets, at night. up to about 20 feet away.
Very crispy image targeting up to 300 yards at night, in the rain, easy to see if weapons or explosives were being carried under blankets, whatever.