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 ...
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.