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Corvettes and the Failure of the LCS Pt 2

July 9, 2009

The best weapon to counter enemy small surface combatants is a force of small surface combatants.

Milan Vego

Why the USN Needs Corvettes

Ecuadorian Corvette BAE El Oro (CM 14)

Ecuadorian Corvette BAE El Oro (CM 14)

Yesterday we discussed the ongoing gap in the US Navy’s plans for fighting in the littoral regions of the earth, and why the new littoral combat ship (LCS) designed specifically for this purpose has failed. Ultimately the attempt to marry Blue Water endurance with Brown Water capabilities has given us this hybrid craft at very great expensive, and as with all such weapons which try to do everything well, it is far from the “best of both worlds”.

In the book The Future of War, George and Meredith Friedman explain the diverging capabilities of Blue and Brown water warships:

The situation is this: surface vessels capable of extended global travel must be large enough to sustain life with a degree of comfort, remain on station indefinitely, and handle well on the high seas. They must be hard to see, highly maneuverable, and very fast. As can easily be seen, the first and second sets of criteria are incompatible.

The answer to this conundrum, which might turn one against the reasonable use of small corvettes can be two fold: forward deployment with mothership support, or  from friendly naval bases. By this simple tactic the Navy could do away with large, long endurance hulls, and their voluminous spaces that add so much needless weight and cost, which in turn means fewer numbers of warships bought and deployed.

Home-porting of USN warships is not unheard of, from early times to today. Since its inception in the latter 18th, early 19th centuries, standard practice has been the forward basing of ships for the protection of US commerce and the national interest. At the start of the Civil War, President Lincoln was forced to recall this far-flung fleet, with more active vessels deployed overseas than were in home waters. Considering the variant politics of our allies, sometimes the use of a friendly ports might not be available in time of crisis. For such an eventuality, a better way of supporting the corvette fleet would be through the use of motherships. With this precedent in mind, America could once again build ships whose exclusive purpose is to fight.

Helicopters versus Corvettes

Philippines Tatlong Bayany-class corvette BRP Armenio Ricarte

Philippines Tatlong Bayany-class corvette BRP Armenio Ricarte

Recent history has given rise to a recurring myth that cause some to insist helicopters are the best weapon for countering the small missile craft threat in littoral waters. Helicopters have been used effectively against weaker powers like Iraq whose boats were very poorly armed with almost no anti-air capability. There is a problem we see with relying exclusively on aircraft as a sustained strategy for anti-attack craft defense:

  1. Helicopters can only patrol a threat area for a brief period, obviously.
  2. Helicopters are more affected by adverse weather or night operations than a corvette.
  3. The corvette, with a greater weapons load than helicopters can perform a greater diversity of missions.
  4. The corvette’s ability to detect and track an enemy is much greater than a helicopter.
  5. The combination of a corvette and a helicopter is the best counter to enemy sub and surface threats.

Corvettes versus Large Combatants

While we are on the subject of what the corvette can do, here is how it matches up against the large surface warship, call it a cruiser, destroyer, or frigate:

  1. Large ships are at risk from small attack craft using swarm tactics.
  2. Small corvettes can increase the size of the Navy quickly and at less cost than bigger and naturally more expensive large combatants.
  3. The small size of the corvette makes it naturally stealthy, while the greater the size of a ship presents a greater target.
  4. With 75,000 cruise missiles in the world’s inventories, the US Navy will run out of Big Ships long before an enemy runs out of missiles.
  5. Large ships are harder to maneuver in shallow seas, and their deep draft make them vulnerable to “grounding”.

What is a Corvette?

There is no generally accepted size that makes a corvette. The average in world navies today would likely consist of the following specifications:

  • Size-From 500 tons up to 1500 tons.
  • Draft-Usually 10 feet, more or less.
  • Performance-High Maneuverability, High Speed (30 knots or more), Good Range

Corvettes should also have a good degree of stealth with a reduced radar, acoustic, and magnetic signature. Vessels of less than 1000 tons would be dual purpose, or with no more than two specific functions, while over at 1000 tons may be multipurpose. The capabilities of such craft would differ little from large surface combatants with anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine or minelaying tasks. The following list includes a few suggestions for a USN corvette:

Again, Why the Corvette?

Back in May we wrote this clear justification for corvettes, which we hoped would satisfy the Big Ship Navy that their historical Blue Water function was not under threat:

The missile armed corvette is the new battleship for littoral operations. Weighing in at 1000-1500 tons, of shallow draft, and low profile, such small attack ships should be the largest Navy warship sailing in such missile, mine, and submarine infested waters on an extended basis. For the traditional forward strategy of the USN, such relatively inexpensive and easy to build vessels, deployed in large numbers would be the “shock absorber”, taking on the initial wave of any enemy attack in the impending missile war at sea, until sizable Blue Water forces can surge to the location.

The two type of vessels then have two very distinct functions, one for the Blue Water, the other for the Brown, with neither being adequate in the other’s role. So any jealousy on the part of the Large Surface Combatants union is completely unjustified, and even unreasonable since the small ship navy is just looking out for you in the dangerous littorals, where giant warships have no business either historically or rationally.

 

(This two-parter used as a main source the excellent article advocating a Corvette Navy titled “Think Small” by Milan Vego. We suggest you read the whole thing and memorize if possible!)

 

Bulgarian Navy corvette Bodri

Bulgarian Navy corvette Bodri

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  4. CBD permalink
    July 15, 2009 7:15 pm

    Scott,
    Yes. And, as I said, it doesn’t make any sense.

    “Green water” as a reason for one experimental remote weapons station tyhat depends on unproven methods versus another that is well proven and widely respected is nonsense. I said that when you first raised the idea, I said it just above and I’ll say it again: it means nothing.

    Hopefully you will get past the first paragraph of the posts above and notice the part where I debunk the myths in Cannon’s presentation.

  5. Scott B. permalink
    July 15, 2009 4:02 pm

    Since Cannon’s brief is now online, everybody can go to page 4 and read what it says in the second bullet point :

    “MK 38 MOD 2 not a good candidate due to green water and would be inaccessible, like the MK 38 MOD 1″

  6. CBD permalink
    July 15, 2009 10:47 am

    (Continued)
    Cannon’s suggestion that the superstructure of the PC be modified to improve the position of the foreward gun is one that I can understand and agree with in general. The modification offered, however, leaves a significant ‘no fire’ zone for such a small vessel, especially given its role in MIO/MSO and the primary role of the vessel in VBSS (when this gun would need to be trainable on the vessel under inspection). As long as we’re changing the gun, we might as well make it the best it can be.

    I would go one step further and take advantage of NSWC’s composite manufacturing capability for NSW craft and produce an extended forward superstructure similar to that found on the Armidale, where the Typhoon (Mk 38 Mod 2′s twin) is mounted on those vessels.

    http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/armidaleclass/

    http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/area.aspx?FolderID=351&docID=1034

    The composite structure would not result in the same cost penalties as an equivalent structure of steel or aluminum and, depending on design, could also significantly increase the safety of crews operating around the forecastle by protecting sailors from surf across the bow.

    If one really wanted to go all out, the vessel could be given moderate stealth-producing cowling around the front and sides of the vessel. Due to vessel design, this would have minimal impact on operations behind this radar/IR signatures ‘shield’. The shield could be extended over the aft boat ramp doors, thus allowing 360-degree reduction of signature observable by other ships and shore-based installations. Adjustment of the overall profile would be necessary to allow for the field of fire from the aft gun.

    Given the opportunity to fully address the technical issues with this plan, I’m pleased that my initial assessment based on the general description of the concept was spot-on, in that, the Cannon proposal has nothing to do with inadequacies of the Mk 38 Mod 2 mount.

    Also, that the proposed superstructure expansion would work as well, if not better, with the installation of a Mk 38 Mod 2 system is supported given the full Cannon presentation.

  7. CBD permalink
    July 15, 2009 10:42 am

    Clarification:
    I’ve found and reviewed the presentation prepared by Steve Cannon at

    http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2009gunmissile/Cannon.pdf

    The PCRON is reported to have already installed the Mk 38 Mod 2 on 6 vessels in place of the old Mk 96 at the aft weapons station (unsurprising, given that the modifications necessary for the installation of the systems could be made in a few days’ work at the forward basing station in the ME).

    No plans are presented in Cannon’s presentation that would indicate plans to modify other vessels in the PC CLASSRON beyond the testbed, the plan Cannon presents is to test the concept of building an extension to the superstructure that would serve as an elevated post, allowing the following installation of a developmental Mk 45 derived gun mount.

    Cannon rejected the Mk 38 Mod 2 not because of any technical faults with the system but rather an issue of accessibility and limited field of fire inherent in the design of the vessel itself and the placement of the existing systems. In other words, the low freeboard of the vessel combined with the rough operating environment means that it is sometimes difficult for crew members to approach the forward gun mount for both combat and routine maintenance operations.

    While he goes on to propose his Mk 45/NEO/Gunslinger/MAWS mount, he never provides a clear reason that the Mk 38 Mod 2 wouldn’t suffice if the physical modifications are made to the craft. It seems that the Mk 45 was being pursued as an alternative to the Mk 38 Mod 2 that could be constructed ‘in house’ by NSWC.

    Modifications to the existing Mk 38 Mod 2 (offered by BAE Systems, the US distributor of this Rafael product) allow for the installation of a Mk44 (30mm) Bushmaster II, would significantly increase ammunition capacity (from 168, 25mm to 400, 30mm rounds), and would add a second machine gun the (7.62mm) M240 for lesser targets (also with 400 rounds).

    This system would seem to be ideal because of the reduced reloading requirement. The options offered by the Mk 44′s dual feed (round select) for engaging targets with the best round (it is compatible with rheinmetal’s 30 x 173mm ABM round) also enhance the utility of the system.

    http://www.rheinmetall-detec.com/index.php?fid=1528&lang=3&pdb=1

    In fact, he proposes an unmarinized 30mm gun from ATK instead of the proven ATK product (Mk 44), which would significantly increase the logistical tail of these small vessels. While support for the 25mm M242, 30mm Mk44, Mk38 Mod 2 could be obtained within any larger USN vessel and at any forward US naval station, the Mk 45 mount spares would have to be flown into the region in anticipation of PC activities.

    This burden would be borne in order to save some weight on the gun and thus allow a lighter mount to TRY to carry the larger gun (assuming that the recoil suppression system for the M230LF is able to keep the mount from being shaken to pieces, that the recoil suppression system itself doesn’t become a point of failure and that the gun can be properly marinized). The feasibility of operating a 30mm gun system from such a light mount, however, is somewhat suspect given that existing lightweight mount systems are distinctly limited to much lighter gun systems. Even using the lighter 30mm system doesn’t entirely absolve this issue.

    The mount proposed would still require the exposure of crews to the elements and potential enemy fire at a similar OR HIGHER rate than for the Mk 38 Mod 2 with expanded ammunition stores.

    http://www.baesystemspresskit.com/mk38/30mm_Variant.cfm

    Like his MAWS design, the Typhoon/Mk 38 Mod 2 system can readily be modified to mount 2 MANPADS or ATGMs that may be controlled and directed with the same FCS as the rest of the mount. Unlike the proposed MAWs, however, the Mk 38 Mod 2 exists, is combat-proven in multiple conflicts and will have few integration issues with the USN supply chain (since the Mk 38 Mod 2 is to be deployed throughout the fleet).

    If the desire is to have a reconfigurable mount or a lighter system weight, the Typhoon family includes the miniTyphoon system, which operates smaller caliber weapons (12.7mm MG, 40mm GMG/AGL and smaller). Another option is Kongsberg’s M151 SeaProtector system, which can also be modified to launch Javelin ATGMs, 70mm/2.75″ guided rockets and even Hellfire missiles. The latter system is launched off of a M299 (2 rail variant), which is closely related to the Hellfire mounting system employed for Seahawks (4 rail variant).

    http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/area.aspx?FolderID=351&docID=1065

    http://www.kongsberg.com/en/KPS/Products/RemoteWeaponStation.aspx

    Mk 45 gun mount is lacking in that its optical system is placed below the gun system, reducing the potential field of view when all of that green water starts flying up at it…the Mk 38 Mod 2 may also (with the camera used by the USN) independently scan the horizon without repositioning the gun. It also seems to be the more advanced EO package.

  8. Andy permalink
    July 15, 2009 5:12 am

    @Alex (the orriginal).

    Ahhhhh, ok. Message recieved and understood. I’ll leave you two to it! I’ve managed to read just about everything Andrew Lambert has written, but nothing by james Cable so far. Had better get me to a well stocked library. Thanks for the tip.

  9. CBD permalink
    July 15, 2009 4:30 am

    Alex,
    I’ll take a look at it. I’d envision the support/command/overwatch group as a sort of ESGlite with an LPD/LSD taking on the role of the main landing vessel. The objective would be a group that can deploy in anticipation of a larger conflict and can prepare the terrain in anticipation of the main ESG/CVBG elements.

    I’ll go into more depth on your blog.

    Best,
    CBD

  10. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 14, 2009 8:56 pm

    Scott annoying? Perish the thought! LOL

    Speaking of DK Brown, we actually started thinking about the corvette as far back as the 1990′s from reading this book, and yours truly recently bought a used copy from Amazon to make up for the one we no longer had!

  11. July 14, 2009 7:57 pm

    CBD

    yes Thankyou, your view is interesting and I agree the Absalon has proved itself; you might like this post and thread as well – http://amphibiousnecessity.blogspot.com/2009/03/dream-corvette.html; in my ‘mental’ image a purfect littoral combat team, it would be two -three teams of an Absalon, a Bay and couple of those heavly armed ‘dream corvettes’ – with a couple of DDGs, a couple of auxilaries and an LHD waiting of shore to complete the influence squardon; heavy in ships I know, but so much capability would be enough to calm down many a nations impudentic rage.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  12. CBD permalink
    July 14, 2009 7:29 pm

    Alex,
    Much thanks. I now have no choice but to agree with your estimate of the situation.

    BTW, did you see the link I posted on your Absalon post?

    Best,
    CBD

  13. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:07 pm

    CBD said : “SES does not do as well when cruising at low speeds,”

    As far as KNM Skjold is concerned, that’s only true in head seas, where the criteria for pitch is more easily exceeded at lower speed than the vertical acceleration criteria is at high speed.

    In all other cases, the full-scale trials KNM Skjold went through after completion showed that reducing speed actually increased the operability of the ship, and not the other way around as you seem to believe.

  14. July 14, 2009 5:07 pm

    Andy

    I actually like D.K.Brown – I was just fed up with Scot…so I decided to wind him up…he gets a little annoying = and I decided that instead of trying to beat him with logic, or giving up, I would try him at his own game…he has stopped bothering me now, so perhaps problem solved…petty I know,

    thanks for the appraisal, I have that book and a few others of his, they are interesting especially when combined with the works of James Cable, and Andrew Lambert

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  15. Andy permalink
    July 14, 2009 3:56 pm

    @Alex (the origional),

    Hi, you may want to read: Future British Surface Fleet. Author, D.K. Brown. You may find that ‘opinion wise’ you both have alot in common re the title of said book. Isbn: 0-85177-557-8. Picked my copy up for a couple of quid on amazon. Also, from someone who likes history so much, i’m disapointed in you for not finding out about D.K. Brown before passing sentance on him! Have read your website and i do like the the thoroughness of your work, especialy when you put it in historical context. In my opinion to few people do this these days!

  16. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 10:01 am

    CBD said : “The argument has been heard before and is less convincing every time. Upon repeated exposure the MSI effect is reduced and combat effectiveness increases significantly. It’s called ‘getting your sea legs’ and it is very commonly a rapid process.”

    Here is what McCauley and Pierce wrote in a presentation they made on HSV-2 Swift in April 2006 (slide #11) :

    ———————————————————————–
    SWIFT Crew Motion Sickness

    Crew adaptation to motion sickness is helpful, but not a “solution”

    * About 24% of an adapted crew showed symptoms of motion sickness during a routine Atlantic transit

    * Seas were estimated at 2-3 meters maximum during the Atlantic transit
    ———————————————————————–

  17. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 8:19 am

    CBD said : “The Russian 1000t corvette based on an SES hull has operated well in spite of mechanical issues”

    The Boras are drydock queens, because (but not only) of the technical reasons I mentioned earlier.

    The Boras are as stealthy as an elephant tap dancing : despite some superficial resemblance, it’s not the same concept as the Skjolds.

    The Russians love them so much that they won’t build more than the existing : that alone should be an eye-opener.

  18. July 14, 2009 7:26 am

    Commodore Michael Clapp, ATG 1982

    and as for the denigration, that is what you did to CBD, and have done to everyone else in the past, if you don’t like then I suggest in future in stead of being rude, you be polite when pointing out the differences;

    “Alex said : “actually CBD does have a point; in that he describes very well the aim of good seakeeping;”

    NO, he doesn’t have a point, and he failed to describe the aim of good seakeeping, which is to “permit a warship to operate in adverse weather conditions with minimum degradation of mission effectiveness.” (STANAG 4154, Section 11.2).”

    other people are allowed an opinion, just as you are scott, if you write your own blog, then you can limit it, but when you are commenting on other peoples, I would suggest, as its practice I usually follow myself, politeness, civility, and above all not calling people idiots, it takes a lot of guts to publish yourself, to open yourself up to critism, those who do so should be treated like you do.

    if you don’t like, don’t do it

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  19. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 7:12 am

    Alex said : “so you trying your last thing”

    I disagree with what you say. I explain why. I quote reputable open sources to support my position.

    You may denigrate these sources as much as you want, and fail to provide more than some anonymous friend who supposedly commanded a task group.

    I’m not impressed. Sorry.

  20. July 14, 2009 7:07 am

    ah, so a senior tecnhocrat, and there I was promoting him

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  21. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 7:06 am

    Alex said : “D.K.Brown, a renowned Accademic, of some repute, with moderate fame”

    D. K. Brown (RIP) was the Deputy Chief Naval Architect of the RCNC.

  22. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 7:03 am

    CBD said : “The hull is not automatically aluminum. Nor is it automatically from Austal. If you asked them for a 62m trimaran vessel constructed out of high strength steel they’d hand you the contract to sign.”

    Austal builds aluminium ships only.

  23. July 14, 2009 6:56 am

    D.K.Brown, a renowned Accademic, of some repute, with moderate fame

    so you trying your last thing, you can not disagree with what I write, so you start arguing over a small, and for the point of the orriginally argument insignificant topic?

    will this be the Mk41 vls in the influence squadron debate all over again?

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  24. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:52 am

    Alex said : “lovely, you found a technocrat to quote”

    Do you even know who D. K. Brown is (or was to be accurate) ?

  25. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:49 am

    Alex said : “actually CBD does have a point; in that he describes very well the aim of good seakeeping;”

    NO, he doesn’t have a point, and he failed to describe the aim of good seakeeping, which is to “permit a warship to operate in adverse weather conditions with minimum degradation of mission effectiveness.” (STANAG 4154, Section 11.2).

  26. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:44 am

    CBD said : “So the ship may be considered too small (particularly if you’re an officer in the Danish Navy who feels that its capabilities are dwarfed by those of fellow European and NATO navies), but it can do the job.”

    The Danes have operated their Niels Juel corvettes for nearly 30 years, but hey, you think you know better.

    I think NOT.

  27. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:36 am

    CBD said : “Not sure where you’re getting that information.”

    Source is : Steven J. Cannon, NSWC/Port Hueneme Division, Louisville Detachment in a presentation he made at 44th Annual Armament Systems: Gun and Missile Systems Conference & Exhibition on 8 April 2009.

  28. July 14, 2009 6:27 am

    Scott

    lovely, you found a technocrat to quote; so in the game of trumps, here is a Commodore of the RN, ATG Falklands 1982, in an interview with me ‘the Leander class were the ships which made the storm fighting possible, they were the ships which managed to retain station close to shore in the roughest seastates without be smashed on the rocks’

    on another point, I believe that study was in SS5-6, which you try holding down an RN curry in…if you can you are a better man than me, being sick is not always a sign of weakness, not when you have had a curry as strong as that!

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  29. July 14, 2009 6:23 am

    actually CBD does have a point; in that he describes very well the aim of good seakeeping; not the methodology; the theory which gives the equipment meaning

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  30. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:23 am

    Alex said : “the Leander’s used to regularly provide the winter guardship in the Falklands, and the were often in use in the very north of the north atlantic”

    This is the loss of effectiveness described by D.K. Brown for the Leander in SS6 :

    “Up to ½ crew sick. Sleep difficult. All are tired, some
    exhausted. Helicopter operation difficult (quiescent period
    only). Many weapon systems degraded.”

    Source is : Brown, D. K. The value of reducing ship motions. Naval Engineers Journal, March, 1985.

  31. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:20 am

    CBD said : “Seakeeping is about ability to retain control of the vessel and the ability of the vessel, essentially, to remain afloat.”

    I’m sorry but, NO, this is NOT what seakeeping is all about.

    You simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

  32. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:16 am

    CBD said : “1) the ship is being built as a civilian-certified hull and delivered as such.”

    I think I already commented earlier on this. What is it that you fail to understand ?

    What else could I add that you’re not going to try to ignore ?

    Oh yeah, perhaps that the future British CVF will be designed and built to Lloyd’s naval ship rules ?

  33. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:01 am

    CBD said : “I think I interpreted it quite well the first time. OSS is not installing the combat systems and the ‘cost’ of constructing these vessels awarded to OSS (~ €635 million) appears to exclude these costs.”

    DKK 4.7 billion (~ €635 million) is NOT the value of the contract awarded to OSS.

    DKK 4.7 billion is the total cost of the program, with the scope and exclusions I’ve already indicated earlier.

  34. July 14, 2009 5:58 am

    Scott

    the Leander‘s used to regularly provide the winter guardship in the Falklands, and the were often in use in the very north of the north atlantic…so I think they were quite good – remember sea keeping is not just about size and weight, but also hull configuration, where that weight is, and the fitting/lacking of stabilisers…In more simple words a ship the same in size, could be completely different in qualities and in capabilities…All I really know is that a man who commanded the Amphibious Task Group in the falklands said they were the best seakeeping escorts they had down there by way more than a country mile, and that is good enough I think for a design to be based on them.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  35. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 5:53 am

    Alex said : “so yeah, there are lots, in my preference I prefer something of the size closer to the Leander class”

    Just checked some BMT paper on their Venator design, which is about the same size as a Leander.

    Seakeeping Performance Criteria for the baseline version are :

    * Intercept, Full capability : SS4
    * Intercept, Limited capability : SS5
    * Transit, Limited defence : SS6
    * Air Operations : SS5
    * VERTREP : SS4
    * Survive : SS8

    Further in the BMT paper it says :

    “Overall, in Sea State 6 transit conditions the vessel showed, as expected, a poor seakeeping performance.”

    “This implies that voluntary speed loss is highly likely to occur in Sea State 6 conditions and hence achievement of an 18knots transit is unlikely due to potential damage and crew discomfort. The results suggest that a reduction of speed to circa 10 knots would reduce slamming at station 3 to the criterion.”

  36. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 14, 2009 5:49 am

    It all comes back to the “close blockade” versus “distant blockade” of 100 years ago. The Royal Navy, with a century of sea dominance was beginning to wonder if that dominance still included the littorals, with the advent of new coastal submarines, torpedo boats, and naval mines. They eventually settled on a loose blockade where cruisers and small boats would patrol near the enemy coastline, which could alert the battlefleet if the enemy battleships broke out.

    The question is, now that threats seem to be mounting against the once totally dominate US Fleet worldwide, will we continue to limit our low end abilities and forward deploy our most powerful and expensive high end warships in sundry patrol duties, that a corvette or a USCG cutter, or even an Auxiliary warship like Absalon with a helicopter might actually be better at? Certainly less a risk, more cost efficient, more practical, less intimidating to the population of the sea.

  37. July 14, 2009 5:27 am

    Scot

    check your NATO ship designations – FSG=Corvette, or vessel 1000-3000tons,

    so yeah, there are lots, in my preference I prefer something of the size closer to the Leander class, which were so easily upgraded throughout their lives; making them very successful

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  38. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 5:17 am

    CBD said : “And that US UAVs are being outfitted with retransmission capability and that the ScanEagles would be part of a network with adjacent friendly ships.”

    So basically you need a radio relay ship between your ScanEagle and your mythical 1,000-ton corvette ?

  39. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 5:09 am

    CBD said : “signatures and emissions may be more easily controlled on the smaller vessel and the impact of a specific reduction in signature is much greater given the limited baseline signature of such small vessels.”

    Can I see your evidences for this claim ?

  40. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 5:06 am

    Alex said : “8*FSG – do the vast majority of the work”

    What is an FSG ? How big is it ? Any real-life example ?

  41. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 5:02 am

    CBD said : “I see no reason why we should forget this lesson and be caught without this clearly useful low-end capability when a real war breaks out and the number of hulls begins to rapidly decrease.”

    I see NO reason why the mythical 1,000-ton should be the low-end solution.

    In fact, I see FAR TOO MANY REASONS reason why the 1,000-ton corvette shouldn’t be the low-end solution.

    The 1,000-ton corvette is a DEAD END.

    Get over it and move on !

  42. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 4:59 am

    CBD said : “I’m asking you to consider the possibility of a 600-1600t PC/Corvette that can be modified in peacetime to serve purely in the PC mode as a lightly armed, high-endurance patrol vessel and in times of conflict can be up-armed, at the expense of some endurance, in order to address a tremendous range of possible threats.”

    Corvette and high-endurance are mutually exclusive terms, and you’ve already been provided with ample evidence of that.

    Furthermore, you guys keep confusing a corvette and an OPV, and switch from one to the other whenever convenient.

    I’ll give you a hint : An OPV is not the same animal as a corvette.

    Just look at some contemporary OPVs, and (maybe) you’ll finally understand the difference.

  43. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 4:49 am

    CBD said : “none can be expected to escape a modern blockade by radar-equipped warships.”

    Every single blockade runner that’s big enough to sail in SS5 or above can be expected to escape the mythical radar-equipped 1,000-ton corvette that will remain in harbor because of poor seakeeping in heavy seas.

  44. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 4:47 am

    CBD said : “These are a few, rare cases of large blockade runners…”

    M/V Ibn Khaldoon (“The Peace Ship”) was another famous blockade runner of the Persian Gulf War. She was 11,000 tons.

  45. Scott B. permalink
    July 14, 2009 4:41 am

    CBD said : “There’s little reason to claim, were the CIWS systems operating, that the vessel would still have been struck. With the advanced Israeli ECM (repeatedly proven in battle) and hard-kill systems, there’s little evidence for his claim.”

    I repeat again for you :

    “[Navy Chief Maj.-Gen.] Ben Ba’ashat explained that two other ships that were in the area identified the missile launch as an IAF aircraft, and concludes that even if the systems were operating, the hit would have occurred.”

    But, hey, this guy is just the Israeli Navy Chief after all…;)

  46. July 14, 2009 3:35 am

    CBD

    I agree that it makes more sense to have the little & large mixture; so here is my suggest for a littoral patrol squadron

    8*FSG – do the vast majority of the work
    2*DDG – provide the cover, the ship ‘presence’, act as command ships and protect the very visible supply ships
    2*Auxilaries – obviously to keep the group going, as well as supply extra helo’s for the interdiction role

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  47. CBD permalink
    July 14, 2009 1:28 am

    Scott,
    The comparison isn’t what a corvette vs. destroyer can do to land targets, aircraft threats, sub-surface targets, or to large fleet vessels (destroyers through aircraft carriers. This is no more the case than comparing the value of an Abrams tank to a light infantry squad on foot patrol. Different targets, different roles, different vulnerabilities and costs.

    In this case, I’m asking you to look at the value of a small USN vessel that can self-deploy with a fairly small (for the early 21st century USN) tender, and patrol green water/littoral areas through varying threat levels.

    The main issues with regard to this role are the capabilities, costs and risks involved for a PC/Corvette vs. a frigate vs. a destroyer employed in this role.

    Costs run from very low to moderate to high (respectively).

    Active self-defense capability against aircraft-launched ASMs/ASCMs runs is moderate across the board with some improvement in the frigates and destroyers with additional RAM- and gun-based CIWS systems, but at the cost of a larger target vessel and less area coverage per defensive system (due to superstructure blocking field of fire).

    In terms of passive defenses, smaller ships present incoming missiles with a smaller target throughout their flight and, while it makes it more likely that any single hit would be critical, signatures and emissions may be more easily controlled on the smaller vessel and the impact of a specific reduction in signature is much greater given the limited baseline signature of such small vessels.

    Capabilities for VBSS are not very different and might even be easier in a vessel with a boat ramp (as found on PC-14 and three or four of the earlier Cyclone-class vessels that were modified to match PC-14) or some sort of mini-wet/dry dock (for larger craft). Boarding crews of equivalent sizes could be carried in even a 600t corvette (enough for two simultaneous deployments of RIBs, each bearing 8 person boarding teams, with a smaller team in reserve). Manned helicopter operations are severely limited from such smaller vessels, but the advanced state of unmanned helicopter and UAV/UAS systems indicates that these systems may replace the manned helicopter in scout and targeting roles.

    Additionally, though a minority of suspect vessels (very large merchantmen) will require helicopter-deployed boarding teams, a littoral squadron of 4 PC/Corvettes and a command/mothership (based on LCS/JHSV/etc.) will have at least 2 helicopters available to deliver boarding teams to such vessels. Even the smaller armaments of the PC/Corvettes and their associated command/mothership would be sufficient to cripple the largest of merchant vessels if the boarding is not readily permitted.

    As far as the damage to the Hanit figures into this equation, let’s look at the cost of corvettes vs. larger vessels, especially when it comes to battle damage. If you want examples of what constitute a crippled vessel, look to the Stark and Cole.

    Two ASMs missiles were fired at the Stark (from about 42 and 29km), were undetected except visually (active radars did not spot either missile), and struck the vessel near critical systems. No defensive systems were engaged, although present (Phalanx, SRBOC and Standard Missiles). 1 of 2 warheads detonated. 37 crew members were killed and 21 injured. Firefighting took hours just to contain the fires and aid from two other large warships was required. Repair took months (first being patched up in Bahrain by a tender and then in Mississippi) and cost $142M (in 1987/1988) just for the repairs in Mississippi.

    Two ASMs were fired at the Hanit from 16km. One (reportedly radar guided, C-801/2) completely missed and the other (reportedly optically guided, either another C-801/2 or C-701) hit a crane at the very aft of the vessel, far from critical systems. Defensive systems didn’t engage because they’d been turned off as was the radar (because they didn’t expect any real combat and were augmenting PB patrols). The fire from the fuel caused several deaths but the vessel was back in full service in a few weeks.

    Even if you lose a $60M/600t PC/Corvette or a $100M/1000t corvette, cost-to-cost, ton-to-ton, it’s better to lose one of 12, 1000t corvettes to an ASM strike (maximum cost: 1 ship@$100M, 40-60 crew) than to lose the 1 destroyer you bought for about the same price (maximum cost: 1 ship@$1.2B, 280+ crew, 2 helicopters).

    Even if your destroyer survives, what are the odds that your damages will be less than $100M, 40-60 casualties and the extended loss of 1 large combat capable ship?

    Put the PC/Corvettes in harm’s way. They will do more for less and save the big grays for the major strikes at the enemy.

    Scott,
    If you can provide me with firm evidence that proves the non-utility of corvettes for VBSS, general CP&I operations (which don’t require 5″ guns, SM-2/3/x missiles, or Tomahawks), and routine patrol in place of larger vessels that have other duties, then let me know.

    If you have proof, that the same vessels cannot, in times of open conflict, serve as littoral scouts, combat patrol craft, picket screens and as a means of enhancing the capabilities of the highly capable, but tremendously costly and massive battleships of the USN, then please let me know.

    The successful model that was achieved in WWII, in Korea, in Vietnam, in the Carribbean and in the Mediterranean, and that we turned to, once again, off of Iraq since 2003 is for cheaper, smaller, single-or dual-mission vessels to provide adequate (not overwhelming) firepower in the place of CVNs, BBs, CGs, DDGs and even FFGs in the green water/littoral environment.

    I see no reason why we should forget this lesson and be caught without this clearly useful low-end capability when a real war breaks out and the number of hulls begins to rapidly decrease.

    I’m asking you to consider the possibility of a 600-1600t PC/Corvette that can be modified in peacetime to serve purely in the PC mode as a lightly armed, high-endurance patrol vessel and in times of conflict can be up-armed, at the expense of some endurance, in order to address a tremendous range of possible threats.

    LCS was meant to do this but the core mission was lost among wild ideas about high top speeds and drifting mission capabilities.

  48. CBD permalink
    July 14, 2009 1:04 am

    “TIP #1 : it helps to click the links and read the content of the articles provided.”
    Excellent tip, you should follow it.

    “First link : http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aw/dti0708/
    The sentence you seem to misread and /or misinterpret is this one :
    “The three frigates purchased by Denmark will cost taxpayers just €635 millions ($997 millions), excluding weapons.”
    As mentioned earlier in this thread, €635 million ~ DKK 4.7 billion”

    As I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t include the weapons systems. Further on in the same article (same page, in fact), it notes that:

    1) the ship is being built as a civilian-certified hull and delivered as such.
    2) that the weapons systems (clearly including FCS) will be installed separately from the main construction (and separately from the fixed-price contract).
    3) that it will take 2 years for the combat systems to be integrated into the hull as delivered (and priced)
    4) any integration of combat systems is being conducted by FMT at the yard, not as part of the construction costs being paid to OSS (a separate cost through FMT)

    If one gets to the end of the second page, the extent to which OSS is NOT doing integration work becomes more clear yet, as it is revealed that
    5) the radar will be installed in the purpose-made mast modules by the manufacturer (Thales) at its facility in the Netherlands, before the modules are returned for installation as a single piece (the radars and wiring for it are never touched by OSS except once already installed)
    6) the C-flex combat management system will not be installed until after OSS has completed the hull (the maturity risk involved in this is openly stated)

    I think I interpreted it quite well the first time. OSS is not installing the combat systems and the ‘cost’ of constructing these vessels awarded to OSS (~ €635 million) appears to exclude these costs.

    “Second link : http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:f8724f9c-a245-4dc4-85f0-781818bd1b87
    “Yet to be awarded are contracts for the missiles (planned are Raytheon Standard Missile SM-2 Block IIIA, Raytheon Tomahawk, Raytheon ESSM); the main gun (planned to be of 127-mm. caliber), and the 35-mm. close-in weapon systems (planned to be Millennium guns from Rheinmetall/Oerlikon Contraves).”
    These are the weapons excluded from the DKK 4.7 billion figure.

    Meaning that everything else is included in the DKK 4.7 billion figure.”

    Not really. In this case, omission does not imply previous inclusion.

    Sources closer to the issue (navalhistory.dk) support my perspective and repeatedly point out that the missile costs (among others) are missing from the estimate and that many systems don’t seem to fit within the existing contracts.

    “Once you accept your misreading, you should be able to understand by yourself that the fire control systems, combat management systems are included in the cost of DKK 2.5 billion given for the Absalons.”

    I’m not talking about the Absalons. I figured that, given the hidden charges on the Huitfeldts, the habit might have been developed with the Absalons…especially given the civilian nature of OSS. That’s not misreading, nor is it misinterpretation, but rather my own supposition.

    “On the Iver Huitfeldt, the 127mm main gun and the 35mm CIWS have so far been excluded because, initially :
    (stuff I have known for a while)
    ” Therefore, as far as the Absalons are concerned, what is not included in the $235 million per ship are the missiles (ESSM and Harpoons) and their canisters. Everything else is included in the $235 million per ship.”

    So the missiles and related systems were not included. As suggested.

    “Because Qahir may (or may not) achive 15 knots in SS6 doesn’t mean that her seakeeping is any good : Seakeeping is not just about speed.”

    Actually, it is. If the ship can maintain a heading at cruising speed in a certain sea state, it is indicative of the control retained over the actions of the vessel. The vessel at SS6 is controlled, does not have to seek port, and can proceed with patrol unless significantly stronger conditions are expected.

    Seakeeping is about ability to retain control of the vessel and the ability of the vessel, essentially, to remain afloat. Moving at 15 knots in SS6 is reflective of the vessel’s capability at that high sea state for a relatively small warship with its combat load.

    “1) There are non-trivial technical problems associated with large SES.”
    Have been since they first started trying it out in the US back in the 60s, especially when you want to make it a 3000t vessel (as the USN was trying to do). It works fine in smaller craft, when the proper care is taken.

    The Russian 1000t corvette based on an SES hull has operated well in spite of mechanical issues (which are uniform with any complicated USSR and FSU machinery, as demonstrated in their rusting SSBNs, ‘modern’ fighter jets that fail so often that India has grounded much of their Soviet-based air fleet, new strategic sub-launched ICBMs that won’t work and many of their other technologies).

    The Norwegian minesweepers based on an SES hull (about 55m long and short of 400t) do just fine, technically speaking. One has been lost due to a mechanical fault in the engine that turned into a fire because fire-resistant paint was not used. Another ran aground and was not repaired.

    SES does not do as well when cruising at low speeds, but they are good for intercepting and at high sea states. You brought in the excellent capabilities of SES at high sea states, which is quite true.

    “2) During African Lion Exercise in April 2005, USMC Reservists from Utah went through an 18-hour exposure to 3-meter seas at 17 knots on HSV-2 Swift (Incat wave piercing catamaran) : 90% were affected by MSI and it is estimated that they lost, on average, 20% of their combat effectiveness.”

    USMC reservists are not sailors. They are also not Marine boarding teams.

    The argument has been heard before and is less convincing every time. Upon repeated exposure the MSI effect is reduced and combat effectiveness increases significantly. It’s called ‘getting your sea legs’ and it is very commonly a rapid process.

    We’re talking about trained sailors and practiced boarding teams. Not reservists.

    “3) Trimaran : the only trimaran warship available on the market are those proposed by Austal : 100% aluminium. Not good for suvivability !”

    The hull is not automatically aluminum. Nor is it automatically from Austal. If you asked them for a 62m trimaran vessel constructed out of high strength steel they’d hand you the contract to sign.

    “4) Actively stabilized monohull vessels : like LCS-1 Freedom for instance ? Even though it’s the fastest ship in the Navy, the flat-bottomed Freedom has a decided roll at slow speed. -> Not very good in my books.”
    The LCS Freedom is designed on a strange hull. No intelligent person would suggest a flat bottomed hull for a vessel meant to have good seakeeping…but a lot of fools might suggest it if you asked them to make the fastest ship in the navy without specifying that it should also be seaworthy.

    The Freedom is my least favorite hull design, as it happens.

    So you’ve pointed out problems with complex machinery, landlubbers, aluminum construction in warships and bad program management…but not any problems with the hull types I’ve suggested as the basis of a PC/corvette type vessel in the suggested weight range.

    “You don’t know what you’re talking about : modern frigates and destroyers launch and recover their helos in SS5 and higher on a regular basis.”

    Actually, I do. I said that it gets difficult over SS5. That is true.

    SS6 is the border region for helicopter operations for most of these vessels (DDG-1000 being a possible exception due to mass, but tumblehome might negate that). SS5 isn’t the issue. I stand by what I said.

    “I’m not impressed by the PRC’s FACs, even the most recent ones like Type 022 or Type 037-II : sitting ducks for aviation assets is what they are.”

    If the aviation assets are available. China has been building the means of striking at US bases within fighter range since the early 90s and is, reportedly, working on invalidating the one US airbase that isn’t fixed: the CVNs.

    They’re not impressive against aircraft, but they’re impressive in numbers. The US lacks numbers that can close out such missile boats. PC/Corvettes could provide said numbers.

    “CBD said : “Perhaps because major surface vessels are susceptible to their ASMs and the USN has no minor vessels that can stealthily approach and eliminate those very light missile craft?”

    1) The validity of Hughes’ salvo model has been heavility criticized. For a good discussion on this subject, see Bob Work’s “Naval Transformation and the Littoral Combat Ship”, pp.55-57

    2) Even when postulating some validity in Hughes’ salvo model (pretty strong IF), the solution to the problem is NOT the mythical 1,000-ton corvette, the solution is called Streetfighter. And the Skjolds are the closest thing you’ll find in terms of Streetfighter, not the mythical 1,000-ton corvette…”

    1- I’ve read it. It’s irrelevant because those FACs kept major vessels from operating until the FACs could be eliminated. It was still largely accepted then (Gulf War (I)) and it will, in the future, keep larger vessels from entering a region until the FAC threat can be eliminated.

    The mission of FAC(M)s, of shore-based ASCMs, of enemy aircraft and of a host of other systems possessed by a number of potential USN opponents is to deny the USN access to the region and, thus, to prevent the US from exerting its overwhelming force against the target nation.

    If there are mines, if there are shore-based ASMs/ASCMs, if there are enemy aircraft with ASMs, if there are FACs, the commanders of large fleet vessels are unlikely to take the risks necessary to achieve mission goals. The point of Seafighter (and the original, long-since forgotten mission of the LCS program) was to allow commanders to take those risks thanks to low-end vessels.

    Theories of engagement are irrelevant. Operational capability is critical.

    The USN analysis ignored the possibility that the USN would not have air superiority, would not have a littoral scouting advantage, or that the USN would not have the aircraft available to conduct the strikes. If any of these is lost, for whatever reason, then the USN loses its advantage.

    Corvettes can ensure a second means of hunting and eliminating FAC(M)s and enemy craft in times of conflict. It can provide an alternate means of scouting if the helicopters on the ships are all busy defending against quiet enemy SSKs/SSPs. It can provide these capabilities in such conflicts and still be useful in other scenarios.

    2- Corvettes and small craft need not be “designed to lose”, they can be designed to be lose-able, but still highly capable in and of themselves. The streetfighter system allowed for larger AND smaller “low” vessels. Properly understood, streetfighter is about a good mix of expensive, highly capable, but not lose-able battleships and cheaper, modestly capable vessels that could be risked instead of the battleships.

    I believe that Mr. Work quite well proves my point throughout his paper.

    “What most advanced corvettes are you talking about ?

    Can we try to avoid this kind of vague statements that don’t bring any value in this discussion ?”

    Are we down to brass tacks now? I was under the impression that the discussion was essentially about the utility of Corvettes (and a lot of fact-checking).

    -In Service/Construction-
    Niels Juel (minus stealth)
    Visby
    Roussen (Super Vita)
    Goteborg (minus SAMs)
    Minerva (minus stealth)
    Braunschweig (K130)
    Valour (SAN Meko A200)
    Kora (minus stealth)
    Kilic
    Victory
    Laksamana
    Sa’ar 5
    Tarantul/Molniya/Project 1241.1 (and its many variants)
    Steregushchy/Project 20380
    Khukri (minus stealth)
    MILGEM
    Oman Qahir

    -Planned/Offered-
    Gowind
    Israeli K130 variant

  49. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 9:55 pm

    There’s little reason to claim, were the CIWS systems operating, that the vessel would still have been struck. With the advanced Israeli ECM (repeatedly proven in battle) and hard-kill systems, there’s little evidence for his claim.

    I tend to also not trust tabloids, Israeli or otherwise.

  50. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 9:53 pm

    “Pot calling kettle black !

    You’ve been trying to make it look like the Israeli Navy Chief didn’t say that :

    “[Navy Chief Maj.-Gen.] Ben Ba’ashat explained that two other ships that were in the area identified the missile launch as an IAF aircraft, and concludes that even if the systems were operating, the hit would have occurred.”

    So I’ll repeat again for you :

    “EVEN IF THE SYSTEMS WERE OPERATING, THE HIT WOULD HAVE OCCURED”

    Does that tell you something ?’

    Yes, that you didn’t read my response to that statement.

    I’ve copied it from above for you:
    “CIWS systems (Barak and Phalanx) tend to be fairly automatic. External (non-PR) reports state that the defensive weapons (active and passive) and ECM were shut down and the radars were not at full power because they were causing interference with Blue aircraft (something that is difficult to explain at a press conference/to the public). That’s not a sufficient reason for shutting down the systems without the commander’s knowledge.

    “Furthermore, to say that other ships (who did not have the missiles on an axis of approach) misidentified it is evidence of an overall systems failure and much need of training for radar operators. When you notice something on a direct track to your position, you look twice before automatically saying it’s just another aircraft track. If you’re an off-axis vessel, that’s a lot easier to do.”

  51. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 9:45 pm

    “CBD said : “Blockade runners are rarely the many thousands of tons commercial transports full of standard shipping containers…look more to the DPRK’s recently famous Kang Nam”

    The famous German blockade runner of WW1, the merchant steamer Marie was about 7,000 tons.

    The famous German blockade runner of WW2, the motor vessel Ramses, was 8,000 tons.

    One of the blockade runners used by Argentine during the Falklands War was Formosa, a 12,762-ton cargo ship.

    Another blockade runner used by Argentine in the same conflict was Rio Carcarana, an ELMA cargo ship of 8,500 tons.

    One of the blockade runner used by Iraq in 1990 was Ain Zalah, a tanker built in 1972 with a DWT of 36,330. She was detected by USS Fife and subsequently boarded by surprise.”

    So, again, they are rarely are large vessels. These are a few, rare cases of large blockade runners…and none can be expected to escape a modern blockade by radar-equipped warships.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear before, and for that I apolgize, when I indicated blockade runners I meant ships that could run a blockade, not ships that failed to do so while under a blockade.

    Fates of these vessels:

    The “famous” “Ramses” was caught on the outside of Germany when the blockade was laid. She was in the Western Pacific and Eastern Indian ocean when war was declared. While trying to return to Germany from Batavia (Jakarta) with much-needed resources, she failed to sail more than about 1500 miles of open seas in the South Indian ocean before being discovered and sunk.

    “Rio Caracana” didn’t run blockades. She supported Argentina’s forces on Falklands through the declaration of the Maritime Exclusion Zone (April 12), before UK vessels (being too few) could actually establish a blockade (when the first major force arrived April 21). The “Formosa” falls into this same category.

    The Rio Caracana was attacked on the 16th May, once the UK forces extended their operations into the main Falklands islands, where she was operating. The crippled vessel was sunk at anchor on the 21st.

    “Ain Zalah” was at sea when the blockade was announced. On 22 August 1990, she was seeking to unload oil in the Yemini port of Aden. Within five hours she was ordered to leave, this being 3 days BEFORE the blockade was voted into effect on the 25th. On the last day of 1990, she was boarded, was found to be free of contraband (not running the blockade) and allowed to continue to Iraq. The only reports I know of its containing contraband were from 2003, when the rusting hulk of the vessel was inspected, yielding weapons and documents indicating it was an observation post for anti-Coalition forces in Iraq.

    So the only real blockade runner in these higher weight classes you can produce is the WWI Marie, which was caught while unloading cargo to German forces in East Africa and shelled. The British vessels didn’t sink it, using 4-5cm guns, and it escaped to Batavia/Jakarta, where it apparently remained for the rest of the war.

    The Marie also happens to be the lightest of the vessels mentioned.

  52. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:55 pm

    CBD said : “Perhaps because major surface vessels are susceptible to their ASMs and the USN has no minor vessels that can stealthily approach and eliminate those very light missile craft?”

    1) The validity of Hughes’ salvo model has been heavility criticized. For a good discussion on this subject, see Bob Work’s “Naval Transformation and the Littoral Combat Ship”, pp.55-57

    2) Even when postulating some validity in Hughes’ salvo model (pretty strong IF), the solution to the problem is NOT the mythical 1,000-ton corvette, the solution is called Streetfighter. And the Skjolds are the closest thing you’ll find in terms of Streetfighter, not the mythical 1,000-ton corvette…

  53. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:38 pm

    CBD said : “Please read my posts in full. I feel it’s rude when you skip the parts you don’t like to address and jump to other, minor points or simply restate your claim.”

    Pot calling kettle black !

    You’ve been trying to make it look like the Israeli Navy Chief didn’t say that :

    “[Navy Chief Maj.-Gen.] Ben Ba’ashat explained that two other ships that were in the area identified the missile launch as an IAF aircraft, and concludes that even if the systems were operating, the hit would have occurred.”

    So I’ll repeat again for you :

    “EVEN IF THE SYSTEMS WERE OPERATING, THE HIT WOULD HAVE OCCURED”

    Does that tell you something ?

  54. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:32 pm

    CBD said : “Additionally, since most advanced corvettes have much longer-ranged SAMs, air-search capable radars and at least some stealthy shaping,”

    What most advanced corvettes are you talking about ?

    Can we try to avoid this kind of vague statements that don’t bring any value in this discussion ?

    Please ?

  55. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:27 pm

    CBD said : “A near-peer state (China) has many dozens of vessels, which are each armed with much more advanced FC systems and many of which have SAM systems.”

    I’m not impressed by the PRC’s FACs, even the most recent ones like Type 022 or Type 037-II : sitting ducks for aviation assets is what they are.

  56. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:19 pm

    CBD said : “Additionally, most Destroyers and Frigates have problems launching and landing their helicopters over SS5″

    You don’t know what you’re talking about : modern frigates and destroyers launch and recover their helos in SS5 and higher on a regular basis.

  57. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:16 pm

    CBD said : “Also, given that no specific hull type has been cited for the “mythical 1,000t corvette” means that you are also automatically excluding alternative hulls like the Skjold’s SES hull, trimarans or even wave-piercing catamarans in addition to actively stabilized monohull vessels.”

    1) There are non-trivial technical problems associated with large SES.

    2) During African Lion Exercise in April 2005, USMC Reservists from Utah went through an 18-hour exposure to 3-meter seas at 17 knots on HSV-2 Swift (Incat wave piercing catamaran) : 90% were affected by MSI and it is estimated that they lost, on average, 20% of their combat effectiveness.

    3) Trimaran : the only trimaran warship available on the market are those proposed by Austal : 100% aluminium. Not good for suvivability !

    4) Actively stabilized monohull vessels : like LCS-1 Freedom for instance ? Even though it’s the fastest ship in the Navy, the flat-bottomed Freedom has a decided roll at slow speed. -> Not very good in my books.

  58. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:01 pm

    CBD said : “More recently, their Oman Qahir class can maintain 15knots at SS6 and 25 at SS5.”

    Because Qahir may (or may not) achive 15 knots in SS6 doesn’t mean that her seakeeping is any good : Seakeeping is not just about speed.

  59. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 7:57 pm

    “Do you realize that the Navy decided NOT to replace the forward Mk38 Mod.1 with a Mk38 Mod.2 on the Cyclones, because the Mk38 Mod.2 was not a good candidate due to green water ?

    The US Navy expects to operate the Cyclones in higher sea states than the Israelis and Sri Lankans do with their patrol boats.

    Higher sea states mean more green water (which is never a good thing when you have electronic gizmos), and makes the fo’c’sle area inaccessible (which is a problem when maintenance or reloading is needed).

    The solution currently envisioned for the Cyclones is this :

    1) Build a new deckhouse (height ~ 7 feet) forward of the existing CIC superstructure.

    2) Put a modified Mk 45 Weapon System on top of the new deckhouse, with an 30mm M230LF Chain Gun. The gun can be removed and stowed as needed.

    Last I heard, they were going to demo this system some time in September this year. TEMPALT (deckhouse) should be completed by now”

    Not sure where you’re getting that information. Any sort of citation would be appreciated, especially since I can’t find any sort of contract announcement for such modifications (especially not with Bollinger). Further, you claim that they don’t want to use the Mod 2 because it’s difficult to reach, while the existing PCs have a Mk 38 that requires the gunner to stand at that same weapons station in the same conditions?

    As it stands, your explanation of why they’re not using the Mk 38 Mod 2 is that the ship needs an elevated forward superstructure in order to operate a similar, but older RWS produced by the same manufacturer (formerly UD, now BAE Systems) as the new mount?

    It sounds less like an issue of the Mk 38 and more like a question of the Navy realizing that a useful platform needs some structural work to operate at its best!

    The last news I heard on the Mk 38 Mod 2 was that they were installing it on PC-6 this year (along with SATCOM and electronics upgrades) and are planning on installing them on every PCRON vessel (as of last month).

    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/06/navy_chain_gun_062909w/

    Additionally, the Typhoon series weapons are installed on a number of foreign navies’ green water vessels which DO operate in rough seas. Again, it sounds more like structural modifications (mentioned nowhere in SLEP outlines I could find) are a means of improving the vessel, rather than a reason to detract from the Mk 38 Mod 2.

    Getting back to the original point, this strawman you’ve presented against the Mk 38 Mod 2 provides no reason to detract from its placement on the CB90, which would be operating in similar environments as the Super Dvora series boats used by both Israel and Sri Lanka. It also provides no reason that the same system shouldn’t be used on a corvette-type vessel (with naturally higher freeboard) as an auxiliary weapons system, placed on the superstructure (not forecastle).

    Now, if you’d said they were replacing it with the Mk 46 Mod 1, it would be a very different change…and one I could understand.

    “The Absalons and the Ivar Huitfelds are expected to have a service life of 30 years.”
    As are most ships of that size. “At least for the next 20 years” refers to the fact that 20 years seems to be the time point at which such ships begin to become available for SINKEX due to changing operational environment, demands, or simply politics…and when the navy begins to wonder what new weapons can do to the rest of the fleet.

    “For example, after the Royal Danish Navy participated in the 1991 Gulf War, it concluded that its ships were too small. The crews grew stale too quickly. Hence the much larger ships the Danes are now placing in service, which they associate with the new world of expeditionary operations.

    “The Danish surface combatant that proved too small during the Gulf War was the OLFERT FISCHER (F-355), which displaces 1,100 tons (standard) and 1,320 tons (fully loaded)…”

    The 1,000t corvettes aren’t meant to be the main combatants, they’re support and picket vessels. This is, oddly enough, what that very vessel did when it deployed in 2003 for a routine patrol in the Mediterranean and was re-tasked to support the invasion of Iraq (OIF).

    http://www.navalhistory.dk/English/History/1989_2003/IraquiFreedom_2003.htm

    Given the US crewing plans for the 3000t LCSes and Cyclone-class vessels, ‘stale crews’ are anticipated and accommodated by rotation.

    In its deployment in support of OIF, The FISCHER transited to Bahrain from Denmark and adjusted from peacetime patrol to full combat readiness while en route. So the ship may be considered too small (particularly if you’re an officer in the Danish Navy who feels that its capabilities are dwarfed by those of fellow European and NATO navies), but it can do the job.

  60. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 7:49 pm

    CBD said : “Blockade runners are rarely the many thousands of tons commercial transports full of standard shipping containers…look more to the DPRK’s recently famous Kang Nam”

    The famous German blockade runner of WW1, the merchant steamer Marie was about 7,000 tons.

    The famous German blockade runner of WW2, the motor vessel Ramses, was 8,000 tons.

    One of the blockade runners used by Argentine during the Falklands War was Formosa, a 12,762-ton cargo ship.

    Another blockade runner used by Argentine in the same conflict was Rio Carcarana, an ELMA cargo ship of 8,500 tons.

    One of the blockade runner used by Iraq in 1990 was Ain Zalah, a tanker built in 1972 with a DWT of 36,330. She was detected by USS Fife and subsequently boarded by surprise.

  61. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 7:16 pm

    CBD said : “So a special 400t ships and commercial 50-2000t ships can operate at SS5 but a 1000t warship (hull unspecified) cannot?”

    1) Skjold is not a special 400 tons ship. Skjold has a displacement of 270+ tons.

    2) Seakeeping performance was a major design driver in the Skjold : FPB requirements were for instance 100% operability in Sea State 5.

    3) Commercial shipping on international routes frequently deal with Sea States 5 or higher 5, which, for instance, represent 38% of the occurences in North Atlantic (SS5 = 22%; SS6 = 11.5%; SS7 = 4.5%.

    The mythical 1,000-ton corvette cannot do that because her seakeeping s*cks big time.

  62. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 7:06 pm

    CBD said : “These are great ship designs considering the mode of work and it’s a good price for a hull and basic systems. But my point stands.”

    No, your point doesn’t stand and never did (except in your mind perhaps).

  63. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 7:04 pm

    CBD said : “The comparison was to the completed K130s.”

    For the K130s, I strongly suspect that the 76mm guns come from the pool of guns that become surplus after the Type 143 Albatros and the Type 148 Tiger : 3 guns could come from the 3 Type 148 scrapped, and another 4 guns could come from the 4 Type 143 that haven’t been sold to foreign navies yet.

    I also have yet to see evidences that the initial missiles allotment (2 x 21 RAMs + 2 x 2 RBS-15 per ship) was included in the cost of $300 millions generally reported for the K130.

    Since I can read German pretty well, any such evidence is welcome. That’s if it exists of course… ;)

  64. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 6:45 pm

    CBD said : “It’s not clear to me that the fire control systems and means of interacting with the main offensive (16 Harpoon ASMs) and defensive (18 Sea Sparrow) weapons ARE included.

    Once you accept your misreading, you should be able to understand by yourself that the fire control systems, combat management systems are included in the cost of DKK 2.5 billion given for the Absalons.

    On the Iver Huitfeldt, the 127mm main gun and the 35mm CIWS have so far been excluded because, initially :

    * a 76mm gun will be used in the A position on the foredeck (which is prepared for a 127mm to be installed later).

    * a 76mm gun will be used in the B position in a standard container, which makes it possible to quickly exchange the B-position with a 35mm CIWS.

    These guns will be uplifted from the Niels Juel and Flyvefisken as these leave active service.

    * another 35mm will be installed in a fixed mount on the top of the helicopter hangar, as is also the case on the ABSALON Class.

    On the Absalons, no gun was uplifted from the existing pool, which neither had 127mm main guns, nor 35mm CIWS. Therefore, these had to be procured with the ships, and their costs are included in the DKK 2;5 billion, i.e. $235 million per ship.

    Therefore, as far as the Absalons are concerned, what is not included in the $235 million per ship are the missiles (ESSM and Harpoons) and their canisters. Everything else is included in the $235 million per ship.

  65. Scott B. permalink
    July 13, 2009 6:22 pm

    CBD said : “the Frigate cost estimates pointedly exclude the major weapons systems and their controls.

    TIP #1 : it helps to click the links and read the content of the articles provided.

    In this case :

    First link : http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aw/dti0708/

    The sentence you seem to misread and /or misinterpret is this one :

    “The three frigates purchased by Denmark will cost taxpayers just €635 millions ($997 millions), excluding weapons.”

    As mentioned earlier in this thread, €635 million ~ DKK 4.7 billion

    Second link : http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post:f8724f9c-a245-4dc4-85f0-781818bd1b87

    “Yet to be awarded are contracts for the missiles (planned are Raytheon Standard Missile SM-2 Block IIIA, Raytheon Tomahawk, Raytheon ESSM); the main gun (planned to be of 127-mm. caliber), and the 35-mm. close-in weapon systems (planned to be Millennium guns from Rheinmetall/Oerlikon Contraves).”

    These are the weapons excluded from the DKK 4.7 billion figure.

    Meaning that everything else is included in the DKK 4.7 billion figure.

    OK ?

  66. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 12:30 pm

    “Do you understand that the comm. system on the ScanEagle currently has a range of about 100 km with LOS ?”

    Yep. And that US UAVs are being outfitted with retransmission capability and that the ScanEagles would be part of a network with adjacent friendly ships.

  67. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 11:23 am

    “INS Hanit WAS mission-killed.

    Then she had to limp back home right in the middle of a shooting war.”

    Please read my posts in full. I feel it’s rude when you skip the parts you don’t like to address and jump to other, minor points or simply restate your claim.

    The weapons were operational and the ship was withdrawn from combat because the risk to the crew was judged to be worth less than the completion of maritime patrol duties by that vessel, which were assumed by other, cheaper and smaller, IDF missile boats and patrol boats.

    It was on patrol duty against civilian vessels entering the war zone. The damage was quickly repaired after the investigation of the damage was completed and was back in service inside of a month.

    There was no naval role for the Hanit to play in that combat. No enemy vessels, no enemy aircraft. The unexpected firing of missiles aided by Hezbullah-friendly Lebanese military officers and guided by Iranian weapons specialists, perhaps, but none of the threats it was there to engage were in any less danger following the hit.

    Given the scenario, 1 minor hit from two large shore-launched ASMs fired at relatively short range, all while one’s defensive systems are down is a pretty nice ratio for the Hanit.

  68. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 11:18 am

    “The coalition helos and planes didn’t find it to be much of a problem with smaller ships during the infamous Bubiyan Turkey Shot.

    And, on the contrary to what some people seem to believe, this is not a myth : it happened for real.”

    It helps when the targets are limited to MANPADS, have weak and thus short-ranged air-search radars and are crewed by poorly trained sailors (particularly sailors who are operating captured enemy craft and cannot properly operate the few decent radar systems available to them).

    On the other hand, a lot of intelligence from satellite images, SIGINT bases ashore and, most of all, powerful surface-search radars mounted on P3Cs (which were able to operate in an uncontested airspace) also went into finding those ships.

    Even with the minimal threat to helicopters, much of the killing was done by fixed-wing aircraft (A-6E, F/A-18, CF-18…and they missed a few) at night. And relatively few vessels were involved, most of which were trying to flee to Iran, not fight.

    The “myth” isn’t that it happened, but that the helicopters did all of the work by themselves.

    A near-peer state (China) has many dozens of vessels, which are each armed with much more advanced FC systems and many of which have SAM systems. They also have their own surface-search radar planes. Oh, and an air force to fight.

    So, if we’re taking on China, that system won’t work and our own vessels would be subject to aerial assaults.

    You should also notice that the USN avoided using fleet vessels to eliminate such poorly equipped vessels. Perhaps because major surface vessels are susceptible to their ASMs and the USN has no minor vessels that can stealthily approach and eliminate those very light missile craft? That’s why the USN needs PC/Corvettes. In the next war, you can count on those helicopters being too busy searching for SSKs/SSPs to look for the missile boats…

    Additionally, since most advanced corvettes have much longer-ranged SAMs, air-search capable radars and at least some stealthy shaping, there’s pretty much no evidence that corvettes are any more susceptible to air attack than frigates. Being of a smaller size, there’s good evidence that several of the “links” on the kill chain are disrupted and that the corvette is thus less susceptible.

  69. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 11:11 am

    “A Skjold can operate in Sea State 5.

    A cargo (which may be used as a blockade runner) can operate in Sea State 5.

    Many ships can operate in Sea State 5.

    The mythical 1,000-ton corvette CANNOT…”

    So a special 400t ships and commercial 50-2000t ships can operate at SS5 but a 1000t warship (hull unspecified) cannot? Please do explain that one!

    Blockade runners are rarely the many thousands of tons commercial transports full of standard shipping containers…look more to the DPRK’s recently famous Kang Nam, a fairly conventional ship at the large end of those dedicated to carrying assorted, sundry cargoes. Displacement: 2000t. Most are more like the pirate motherships at less than 200t displacement. Few pirates or blockade runners are crazy enough to try even attempt passage at SS5 in such vessels.

    Many 1000t corvettes persist in capability through SS6. Especially those of Vosper Thorneycroft, whose Vita and Super Vita FAC(M) boats had great stability for their sizes. More recently, their Oman Qahir class can maintain 15knots at SS6 and 25 at SS5. The active fin stabilizers VT uses on these hulls increases their seakeeping beyond what one might expect based on displacement alone.

    Also, given that no specific hull type has been cited for the “mythical 1,000t corvette” means that you are also automatically excluding alternative hulls like the Skjold’s SES hull, trimarans or even wave-piercing catamarans in addition to actively stabilized monohull vessels. Not all hulls are the same, especially not when you’re comparing designs from the 1960s/70s to designs from 2010.

    Additionally, most Destroyers and Frigates have problems launching and landing their helicopters over SS5, so at SS6 you have a few large vessels with minimal or no helicopter launch ability vs. many smaller vessels that can still (albeit uncomfortably) maintain their patrols over a wide area. Or you could always task that spare CVN/LHD/LHA to coastal patrols and VBSS…but I hear it’s difficult to park one of those in the center of an archipelago.

  70. CBD permalink
    July 13, 2009 10:13 am

    Scott B.,
    “1) With the exception of the 57mm Bofors, the *weapons* are not included in the cost of the LCS seaframes (i.e. $640+ million for LCS-1 and $700+ million for LCS-2).”

    The comparison was to the completed K130s. As I said above, the Absalon was the product of a much better design and execution process, thus saving the hundreds of millions of wasted dollars for the LCS hulls (not ships).

    “2) The cost of all the guns fitted to the ABSALONS (i.e. 1 x 127mm Mk45 and 2 x 35mm Millennium) is included in the unit cost of $235 million mentioned earlier for the ABSALONS”

    It’s not clear to me that the fire control systems and means of interacting with the main offensive (16 Harpoon ASMs) and defensive (18 Sea Sparrow) weapons ARE included. The same shipyard and development group working on a similar project 2 years later are likely to use the same cost estimates and the Frigate cost estimates pointedly exclude the major weapons systems and their controls.

    “”CBD said : “It DOES do a very nice job of hiding true costs from taxpayers, however.”
    For the new Ivar Huitfeld frigates, hull and superstructures modules will be build in Estonia (Loksa Shipyard) and Lithunia (Baltija Shipyard).

    Then the modules will be assembled in Denmark, which means that most of the added value will be produced in Denmark.

    The reason why modules are produced in Estonia and Lithuania are :
    1) It costs less to the Danish taxpayer to do so, why means that scarce DoD money can be invested where it really matters.
    2) It allows the shipyard (Odense) and its parent company (Maersk) to make more money on the project, all the more as most of the non-recurring costs (e.g. tooling, R&D,…) have already been paid for with the two Absalons.

    That sounds like a true WIN-WIN to me : the Danish Navy and the Danish taxpayers get more BANG for the BUCK, and the shipyard imrpoves its bottom line.

    The Dutch will do something similar with their new Holland-class OPVs (2 hulls will be built in Romania by Damen Shipyards Galati).

    None of the four bidders competing for the Royal Navy MARS Fleet Tanker program (cancelled in December 2008) would have built the Fleet Tankers in the UK.”

    I was talking about the exclusion of weapons systems (the guns, missile launchers, missiles, and targeting systems) from the cost of the frigates. We all know why they did it, that’s not the question…

    My point is that the US and US manufacturers cannot replicate this model…so while it’s nice for Europeans to use cheap Eastern European yard production (to enhanced commercial standards) for most of the hull work. That OSS owns the two other shipyards means this isn’t “outsourcing”, it’s using lower labor costs to drive down internal overhead.

    Also, fleet tankers are not made to full warship standards…they don’t intend to “go in harm’s way.” The USN’s Lewis & Clark class T-AKEs were built at NASSCO.

    OPVs are also, to be clear, not employed as warships. They’re COAST GUARD vessels, optimized for seakeeping and range, not armaments. So, still only one good recent example of this being done for warships (the Huitfield).

    Tankers and OPVs are not made to the same standards as FACs, Destroyers and Destroyers. Frigates and amphibious landing craft usually are.

    “I’ll give you another hint : in the case of ESSM, the acquisition cost of the Stanflex container is less than 50% than the acquisition cost of the 12 ESSM missiles and their associated canisters.

    So much for the *significant factor* strawman I guess…”

    Work on your grammar (bold, above) and logic. They still are buying the guns, missiles, canisters and many computer systems to direct these weapons. There are still costs associated with these systems. The cost of the containers + the canisters + the missiles will be greater than that of the canisters and missiles alone.

    Point: The combat systems still tend to be a significant portion of the overall cost of a completed ship.
    Point: The official cost of the ship excludes weapons systems.
    Conclusion: Thus, the official cost of the ship understates the actual cost of the completed vessel.

    Why? The official cost of these ships does not include costs for the combat systems nor the costs of integration, which are not being completed with the rest of the machinery. Even if the work is being done ‘in house’ by a navy’s own shipyard, it still is expensive and a cost to the taxpayers. A cost, that in this case, has not been fully disclosed.

    These are great ship designs considering the mode of work and it’s a good price for a hull and basic systems. But my point stands.

  71. Scott B. permalink
    July 11, 2009 6:55 pm

    One more comment on the mythical 1,000-ton corvette :

    Here is a quote from a presentation Norman Friedman made last year during a conference on Naval Strategy in Sweden (emphasis added) :

    “Sustained operations involve, first of all, endurance. That means not only the paper endurance of a ship, which depends on her fuel load and her stores capacity, but also the endurance of her crew.

    For example, after the Royal Danish Navy participated in the 1991 Gulf War, it concluded that its ships were too small. The crews grew stale too quickly. Hence the much larger ships the Danes are now placing in service, which they associate with the new world of expeditionary operations.”

    The Danish surface combatant that proved too small during the Gulf War was the OLFERT FISCHER (F-355), which displaces 1,100 tons (standard) and 1,320 tons (fully loaded)…

  72. Scott B. permalink
    July 11, 2009 6:50 pm

    CBD said : “at least in the next 20 years of the Absalon’s operational life”

    The Absalons and the Ivar Huitfelds are expected to have a service life of 30 years.

  73. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 10, 2009 8:14 pm

    “OPVs are fatter and have hulls optimized for low speeds.”

    A low end corvette. Build more of these and fewer high end missile corvettes. Re: Admiral Zumwalt’s High-Low concept.

  74. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 7:34 pm

    B. Smitty said : “Scott, the Israelis and Sri Lankans seem satisfied with Typhoon mounts on their patrol boats. Did the Navy find reliability issues?”

    The US Navy expects to operate the Cyclones in higher sea states than the Israelis and Sri Lankans do with their patrol boats.

    Higher sea states mean more green water (which is never a good thing when you have electronic gizmos), and makes the fo’c’sle area inaccessible (which is a problem when maintenance or reloading is needed).

    The solution currently envisioned for the Cyclones is this :

    1) Build a new deckhouse (height ~ 7 feet) forward of the existing CIC superstructure.

    2) Put a modified Mk 45 Weapon System on top of the new deckhouse, with an 30mm M230LF Chain Gun. The gun can be removed and stowed as needed.

    Last I heard, they were going to demo this system some time in September this year. TEMPALT (deckhouse) should be completed by now.

  75. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 7:17 pm

    Scott, the Israelis and Sri Lankans seem satisfied with Typhoon mounts on their patrol boats. Did the Navy find reliability issues?

  76. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 7:01 pm

    B. Smitty said : “OPVs are fatter and have hulls optimized for low speeds.”

    And good seakeeping in difficult sea states…

  77. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:54 pm

    Certainly. OPVs are fatter and have hulls optimized for low speeds.

  78. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:20 pm

    B. Smitty said : “The 1700 tonne NZ Protector OPV can operate its helo in SS5 and patrol in SS6″

    An OPV is not the same animal as a corvette.

  79. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:18 pm

    CBD said : “As for mounting systems on the CB90, the Typhoon/Mk38 Mod 2 mount is tall enough that its forward arc is not blocked.”

    Do you realize that the Navy decided NOT to replace the forward Mk38 Mod.1 with a Mk38 Mod.2 on the Cyclones, because the Mk38 Mod.2 was not a good candidate due to green water ?

    You expect this problem to disappear on a much smaller boat like the CB90 ?

  80. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:08 pm

    Small ships certainly can operate in SS5+. The 1700 tonne NZ Protector OPV can operate its helo in SS5 and patrol in SS6 (and survive SS9), according to the Wikipedia page.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protector_class_OPV

    Is the issue with these corvettes that they’re too top heavy from all the armament?

  81. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:06 pm

    CBD said : “I’m well aware of the existing limits. If your ScanEagle is scanning 100nm out, that means you have a paltry range of 101 nm.”

    Do you understand that the comm. system on the ScanEagle currently has a range of about 100 km with LOS ?

  82. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:51 pm

    CBD said : “So even if you know where the ship is and it’s entirely undefended, a 1000t vessel is pretty hard to hit.”

    The coalition helos and planes didn’t find it to be much of a problem with smaller ships during the infamous Bubiyan Turkey Shot.

    And, on the contrary to what some people seem to believe, this is not a myth : it happened for real. ;)

  83. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:48 pm

    CBD said : “Was the Hanit still in fighting condition? If it was a shooting war against ships or a specific target, yes. It lost helicopter capability and had compromised sea worthiness due to fire damage. It wasn’t mission-killed like the Cole (needing to be carried back).”

    INS Hanit WAS mission-killed.

    Then she had to limp back home right in the middle of a shooting war.

  84. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:40 pm

    CBD said : “And pirate motherships, blockade runners, enemy missile boats and any civilian vessels that you want to intercept are all also not present”

    A Skjold can operate in Sea State 5.

    A cargo (which may be used as a blockade runner) can operate in Sea State 5.

    Many ships can operate in Sea State 5.

    The mythical 1,000-ton corvette CANNOT…

  85. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:35 pm

    CBD said : “It DOES do a very nice job of hiding true costs from taxpayers, however.”

    For the new Ivar Huitfeld frigates, hull and superstructures modules will be build in Estonia (Loksa Shipyard) and Lithunia (Baltija Shipyard).

    Then the modules will be assembled in Denmark, which means that most of the added value will be produced in Denmark.

    The reason why modules are produced in Estonia and Lithuania are :

    1) It costs less to the Danish taxpayer to do so, why means that scarce DoD money can be invested where it really matters.

    2) It allows the shipyard (Odense) and its parent company (Maersk) to make more money on the project, all the more as most of the non-recurring costs (e.g. tooling, R&D,…) have already been paid for with the two Absalons.

    That sounds like a true WIN-WIN to me : the Danish Navy and the Danish taxpayers get more BANG for the BUCK, and the shipyard imrpoves its bottom line.

  86. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:15 pm

    CBD said : “This is not a model easily replicated in the US, nor for any other manufacturer.”

    The Dutch will do something similar with their new Holland-class OPVs (2 hulls will be built in Romania by Damen Shipyards Galati).

    None of the four bidders competing for the Royal Navy MARS Fleet Tanker program (cancelled in December 2008) would have built the Fleet Tankers in the UK.

  87. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:59 pm

    CBD said : “This building was done by a commercial manufacturer, using cheap labor from Eastern European shipyards to do much of the work on the hull.”

    The Absalons were entirely built in Denmark (by OSS).

  88. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:49 pm

    leesea said : “ScottB, sure CB90s are only being used in wet wells NOW but there are plenty of examples of large boats being lifted on/off ships.”

    The point I made was that a CB90 won’t fit onto the mythical 1,000-ton corvette.

  89. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:42 pm

    CBD said : “DTI cites the costs counted for the future Danish Frigates (and thus, likely of the Absalons, which share a hull design) WITHOUT weapons systems but possibly with the radars (this technical equipment being 40-60% of the cost of most combat vessels).”

    1) The projected cost of the Danish Frigate program is DKK 4.7 billion for 3 ships, i.e. $292.5 million per ship based on current exchange rates.

    2) Most of the contracts covering all 3 frigates have already been placed, and, unlike some recent US shipbuilding program that shall remain unnamed, these are fixed-price contracts.

    Read more here

  90. leesea permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:34 pm

    CBD sorry I don’t agree about JHSV (as currently configuted) is a transport ship with little aflaot logisitcs capabilities. Perhaps a future version? One cannot add significant weight i.e. payload to any HSV and expect it to go fast – doesn’t work that way. In addition, there is NOT the internal spaces and tankage to hold breakbulk and POL cargo.

    Bsmitty, ah but there is double hulled tankers in the USN they are the lsat three Kaiser class Fleet Oilers in the NFAF. In addition, Flo/Flos by design have multiple bouyancy tanks adding to ships surviability. Docks ships just less so. I of course completely agree with your assetment of clear deck Flo/Flos and told the assembled audience at CNA that last week! I’ll send you the ppt.

    ScottB, sure CB90s are only being used in wet wells NOW but there are plenty of examples of large boats being lifted on/off ships. The RFA routinely lifts larger LCTs in davits. The NZ Protectors use modern knuckle cranes to lift its landing craft onboard. There is NOTHING magic about lifting CB90s (as there would be with a Stiletto). Its only the myopic bluewater types who think boats and wet wells are a lock.

    I will leave weapons discussions to MasterGunner.

  91. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:30 pm

    CBD said : “I haven’t been able to find any clear indication that the stated cost of the Absalon actually includes the 5 flex containers (which bear the most expensive missile systems).”

    I’ll give you another hint : in the case of ESSM, the acquisition cost of the Stanflex container is less than 50% than the acquisition cost of the 12 ESSM missiles and their associated canisters.

    So much for the *significant factor* strawman I guess…

  92. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:21 pm

    CBD said : “This may also be a significant factor if the weapons and weapons control systems are not ‘counted’.”

    I’ll give a couple of hints :

    1) With the exception of the 57mm Bofors, the *weapons* are not included in the cost of the LCS seaframes (i.e. $640+ million for LCS-1 and $700+ million for LCS-2).

    2) The cost of all the guns fitted to the ABSALONS (i.e. 1 x 127mm Mk45 and 2 x 35mm Millennium) is included in the unit cost of $235 million mentioned earlier for the ABSALONS.

  93. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:14 pm

    B. Smitty said : “It would be interesting to have an objective damage tolerance comparison of a larger hull designed to enhanced commercial standards (Absalon) vs a smaller hull designed to naval standards (K130).”

    On the one hand, I KNOW that the HE required for destruction/severe damage is about 15 kg vs a 600-ton surface combatant and about 38 kg vs a 2,000-ton surface combatant.

    On the other hand, I KNOW that an ABSALON would remain (at least) afloat if hit by a couple of AShMs with a warhead of 150-200 kg (i.e. something like Exocet or Harpoon).

    I also KNOW that in terms of both damage stability and reserve buoyancy, the mythical 1,000-ton corvette doesn’t even come close to the 6,000-ton ABSALON.

    There are so many more *subtle* differences in terms of vulnerability between a 1,000-ton corvette and a 6,000-ton ABSALON, but the bottom line is that when the sh*t hits the fan, I KNOW which ship I’d rather be on.

    And it’s NOT going to be the mythical 1,000-ton corvette…

  94. CBD permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:14 pm

    Re: arming Super Dvoras with NLOS: Not sure why that would be necessary for the counter-swarm nor for a vessel like the Super Dvoras. As long as you’re buying Israeli, post two Naval LAHAT stations on each side (although that means little room for other systems along the sides) and you have 16 missiles good to about 8km at a lower price. Even better for a boghammer situation might just be 2 Typhoon and 2 MiniTyphoon mounts per side (3, 25mm Bushmasters and 2, 12.7mm M2s, each with 2 SPIKE-ER missiles (10 overall) to counter any boghammers with longer-ranged weapons).

    The “Strike”/”Littoral Warrior” configuration to which you refer will probably more resemble what I laid out for the CB90 above: 25-30mm main gun (w/2 SPIKE-ER ATGMs), 2 weapons stations along each side, each bearing 2 Hellfires, 14 PG 70mm rockets (Israeli firms are partnered in on many of these developments), or 4 LAHATs.

    As for mounting systems on the CB90, the Typhoon/Mk38 Mod 2 mount is tall enough that its forward arc is not blocked. RWS bearing PG rockets/missiles on either side eliminates the blind spots.

    On range: More motherships would be required if you were running a blockade with PBs. Running a blockade with 600t and 1000t PC/Corvettes is much easier, no matter the requirements, self-sufficency, and room for UAV launch. CB90s and Super Dvoras might be useful for local objectives or (my favorite) as fast interceptors attached to the central/command force (DDGs, LSD/LPD, T-AKE/AOE/OE). They’re also both useful in terms of supporting transits of defended straits as they could be used to intercept boghammer/speedboats.

    Differences: if you need to form a picket line for DDGs transiting Hormuz, Being able to organically deploy 6 CB90s vs. 2 Super Dvoras begins to matter. Yes, they could wait for a large transporter to arrive, but then any urgent need to enter the region will have forced an unescorted transit. RCBs in Iraq could be attached to an LPD/LSD for the transits and refueled in shifts.

    As I said, were I trying to defend my own coast or that of an allied, friendly nation I would use the Super Dvoras for patrols. If I must operate off of unfriendly shores, there’s no good way of dealing with a vessel too large to dry-dock in an LSD/LPD for transit and repairs and too small to self-deploy.

  95. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 4:06 pm

    Scott B,

    You really should set up a blog. You have enough information here for a number of posts on just this topic alone.

  96. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:58 pm

    Defiant,

    There are a number of firms building USVs. While useful, there will still be a need for manned boats to conduct VBSS. There are also C2 issues to be resolved when controlling a large number of USVs, especially OTH.

  97. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:49 pm

    B. Smitty said : “It would be interesting to have an objective damage tolerance comparison of a larger hull designed to enhanced commercial standards (Absalon)”

    At this stage, it might (?) be useful to repeat what I’ve tried to explain to Mr. Raymond Pritchett so many times :

    1) It’s not unusual for warships to be built to classification society naval rules. For instance, the ANZAC-class frigates were built to GL (Germanischer Lloyd) rules, and the ABSALON were built to DNV (Det Norske Veritas) rules.

    2) Because a warship built to built classification society naval rules doesn’t mean that it is built to merchant standards. For instance, the GL rules have an entire section specifically dedicated to Naval Vessels (Section III), Part 1 of the section being for Surface Combatants, Part 2 of the section being for Submarines. Likewise, DNV rules include a section that is specifically dedicated to Naval Vessels (Part 5, Chapter 14 of the DNV rules).

    3) As noted by Joris Janssen Lok in his August 2004 article in Jane’s IDR, the Absalons have full NATO-standard shock protection (STANAG 4142, 4137 and 4549), nuclear, biological and chemical protection (STANAG 4447) and vital area armor protection (STANAG 4569).

    4) As mentioned on the Naval Technology website in the entry dedicated to the Absalons :

    “The ship design, with 16 watertight sections or compartments and two airtight bulkheads, incorporates survivability and damage limitation features including dual redundancy, automated damage control zones, damage detectors and smoke zones. The ship’s on-board battle damage and control system continuously monitors the status of the ship and incorporates a closed circuit television observation system with more than 50 cameras, fire fighting installations, sensors and alarms, a load and stability computer.”

    From there, we could get into more *subtle* considerations, e.g. :

    a) That the Absalons (and her near-sisters currently under construction) are equipped with MTU 8000 Series diesel engines and that MTU is currently completing certification to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Naval Vessel Rules for its Series 8000 engine.

    OR

    b) That the Absalons have steel superstructures, as opposed to the aluminium superstructures you could find on such deathtraps as the Israeli Sa’ar 5 corvettes or both LCS designs (with LCS-2 also having an aluminium hull). And then explain once again why aluminium sucks for surface combatants.

    But hey, I’d be happy NOT to have to repeat YET AGAIN the four points I made right at the beginning of this post (I am not delusional though…).

  98. Defiant permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:37 pm

    On the docksta vavret page is also an ic18 with a turret.
    I don’t know on which page i read and what it was called but it was about one of the general-firms( i think general dynamics) who were to deveelop an unmanned boat with sonar and other sensor equipment. Such a concept should be a lot smaller, while having lots of endurance.

  99. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 2:45 pm

    CBD,

    The Israelis are working on Super Dvora variants with additional weapons. My thought was to use some of that extra space for a handful of NLOS-LS missiles (8?).

    I also had thoughts of using that aft area for other modular packages such as a dipping sonar or MIW UUV.

    In addition, such a boat would be useful for counter-piracy and littoral COIN, where numbers, range and endurance all matter. Going with shorter-ranged craft means you will need more motherships to support them over a wide geographical area.

    Certainly CB90s are in production in the U.S. and operational in the USN – two big things going for them.

    They can be up-armed (as tests of CB90s carrying the AMOS turret demonstrate), however putting the major weapon amidships limits its field of fire forward. Dockstavarvet does have a patrol boat variant of the CB90 called the IC 16M, which might be able to carry a cannon on the bow (though the product sheets show a .50 cal RWS on the roof of the pilothouse).

    If the mothership for these vessels was to be existing LPDs and LSDs, then certainly, a CB90 variant makes more sense.

    The nice thing about starting with a large, wide-open FLO/FLO mothership design is then you have the option to go either way (larger or smaller or both) with the craft it carries.

  100. Defiant permalink
    July 10, 2009 1:57 pm

    For swarming you simply need a lot of cannons. Whats the usual range for small ships to be detected and how long does is take to get to know wheather it’s a normal civilian vessel or an enemy? now just build a ship in frigate size full of guns with that range (57 and 35mm for example) This should take care of the problem. Swarming is also not something a lot of enemies will do as a lot of the “swarmers” are bound to die (or they have USVs ).

  101. CBD permalink
    July 10, 2009 1:55 pm

    B. Smitty,
    Fair point on the swarms.

    The Dvoras are better (as Mike points out, this has been well proven by the Israelis and Sri Lankans) for patrol, but if the US can use boats already produced in the US (the CB90s as RCBs for NECC) to test the concept, so much the better.

    I’m concerned that, while the Dvoras would do the duty well, they would not be armed by the USN in a manner better suited to deal with swarms than the USN would arm the CB90s. Standard configuration for the Super Dvoras is 1, 25mm RWS foreward, one 12.7mm (.50cal) aft, with one small inflatable boat in the middle. The armament one can pack onto the Dvora is less of a reason for its larger size than the practical need of a relatively small craft to go long distances. The Dvora is first and foremost a PB/interceptor, the CB90s are transport/interceptor/gunboats. The CB90 will not go as far, but it’s designed to have the extra arms packed on and to take hits as a combat vessel.

    If I had to develop a defensive force or to patrol a certain area from a nearby friendly base, I’d go with the Super Dvora Mk 3. If I needed to do a similar task set but had to base my ships from the sea, I would use a CB90 or some variant of it,* because they’re easier to deploy and service from an LSD/LPD/LHD well deck (no additional vessels required).

    *- Say, the 18m patrol/interceptor variant, with some of the extra passenger capacity (designed for 32 vice 20 in the CB90) yielded to provide additional fuel stores and, thus, range.

  102. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 1:33 pm

    CBD,

    Certainly you wouldn’t get Marine transport with Super Dvoras, but my intent was to investigate means to counter swarming tactics, not provide an alternate amphibious capability. For countering swarms, the armament available on a larger hull is more important, IMHO, than carrying Marines.

  103. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 10, 2009 1:01 pm

    The LCS is a hybrid warship, a brown water capability in a blue water hull. Hardly the best of both worlds, so it is expensive.

    The beauty of the Dvora’s mentioned is they are combat proven by the Israeli’s and the Sri Lankan Navy, who used such craft as workhorses to help enforce their blockade of the LTTE Tamil Tigers. These are wicked little craft and the USN could use some to fight pirates. Imagine this 60 ton boat, probably costing a million or less, more than adequate to fight pirates than a $2 billion 10,000 ton destroyer or a $1/2 billion LCS! But this is a foreign language to the Navy.

  104. CBD permalink
    July 10, 2009 11:40 am

    B. Smitty,
    First, on the Dvoras, that was mostly a technical note. And yes, 20 would be a very nice force to have on hand. The issue is mostly that a well deck can carry 6 CB90s, enough for a local patrol force and capable of ferrying 120 marines per load. They don’t have high endurance because they’re fast patrol boats meant for interdiction and landing, but they can fit into the force structure and serve several roles. The Dvoras, which I love, are just as dependent upon support craft but have no secondary landing role.

    Otherwise, certainly a good and efficient means of moving a force. The balance, as has been pointed out, is the ability of a vessel to self deploy from a friendly port to the area of operations with minimal support. I feel this is less important, but it’s a big hurdle for many. If we make a test Littoral Squadron, it would be very nice to see some Super Dvoras (Dvorim, using heb. pluralization) being exercised with the Corvettes, PCs, USVs/UAVs and LCSes.

    “Can one really expect a 1600 tonne vessel to take many hits and keep fighting anyway? Was Hanit in any fighting condition after being hit?”

    Was the Hanit still in fighting condition? If it was a shooting war against ships or a specific target, yes. It lost helicopter capability and had compromised sea worthiness due to fire damage. It wasn’t mission-killed like the Cole (needing to be carried back). Two missiles resulted in no direct hits and inadequate fire control resulted in several deaths and lots of damage.

    If your criteria is the ability to exchanging fire with the enemy, then yes, it was still in fighting condition. No combat systems were compromised (other than by being shut down) and, were there targets, it could have fired any and all of its weapons.

    It left the scene because it was there to chase ships and it couldn’t continue in that role without repairs.

    If you have 2 1/2 for the current price of one LCS, then while each ship might be sunk by two or three direct ASM hits it would mean that eliminating the force would take 2 1/2 times the number of accurately fired shots that were able to avoid CIWS and other defensive systems and strike in a critical area. Being 1/3rd the size, it would also be that much more difficult to hit the corvettes (assuming equal stealthiness relative to displacement).

    “It would be interesting to have an objective damage tolerance comparison of a larger hull designed to enhanced commercial standards (Absalon) vs a smaller hull designed to naval standards (K130). The Absalon marketing does cite enhanced compartmentalization, plus shock and fragmentation protection, so it’s not just a commercial vessel.”

    Yes, it IS, as I said, enhanced above commercial standards, but not to full warship standards. It would do better than an equivalent sized commercial transport, but that’s all that the marketing says. Such a comparison would be nice, even a SINKEX, but that’s unlikely to happen for a number of reasons (at least in the next 20 years of the Absalon’s operational life).

    “I wonder how much more such a ship would cost if built to full USN warship design rules? Even if the price doubled, it would still be a bargain compared to the LCS (or one of these corvettes, IMHO).”

    LCS has many more cost factors than its hull. The hull and systems should cost $3-400M, the added cost in keeping a shipyard open during delays and rebuilding the vessel due to post-fact design changes gives you $700M. That should not be quickly forgotten in your comparison. The Absalon was a good design, well-managed and well executed. That saves you a lot of cash.

    Additionally, I haven’t been able to find any clear indication that the stated cost of the Absalon actually includes the 5 flex containers (which bear the most expensive missile systems). This may also be a significant factor if the weapons and weapons control systems are not ‘counted’.

    DTI cites the costs counted for the future Danish Frigates (and thus, likely of the Absalons, which share a hull design) WITHOUT weapons systems but possibly with the radars (this technical equipment being 40-60% of the cost of most combat vessels). This building was done by a commercial manufacturer, using cheap labor from Eastern European shipyards to do much of the work on the hull. This is not a model easily replicated in the US, nor for any other manufacturer. It DOES do a very nice job of hiding true costs from taxpayers, however.

    http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aw/dti0708/

    So, Apples-to-Apples, the Absalon with weapons systems is likely only slightly less expensive per ton than the K130 (the price of which DID include combat systems) at the possible cost of survivability relative to equivalent displacement vessels.

  105. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 11:02 am

    Defiant,

    87′ WPBs do it all the time.

  106. Defiant permalink
    July 10, 2009 10:55 am

    From your post:
    “Note, I keep using Super Dvoras as an example simply because it’s the smallest craft I’ve seen with multi-day endurance and range, and it can carry an auto-cannon comfortably”

    of course you can put more people on these ships, but not with multi day endurance.
    You need a crew of at least 2, in 3 shifts you’d have 6 persons for the boat + boarding personell, I think such a ship is seriously too small for multi day missions which should be used consideing a big standoff from coast of the mothership.

  107. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 10:31 am

    Defiant,

    Why can’t 30m craft carry boarding personnel? Don’t 87′ WPBs perform boardings all the time?

  108. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 9:55 am

    CBD,

    Can one really expect a 1600 tonne vessel to take many hits and keep fighting anyway? Was Hanit in any fighting condition after being hit?

    It would be interesting to have an objective damage tolerance comparison of a larger hull designed to enhanced commercial standards (Absalon) vs a smaller hull designed to naval standards (K130). The Absalon marketing does cite enhanced compartmentalization, plus shock and fragmentation protection, so it’s not just a commercial vessel.

    I wonder how much more such a ship would cost if built to full USN warship design rules? Even if the price doubled, it would still be a bargain compared to the LCS (or one of these corvettes, IMHO).

  109. Defiant permalink
    July 10, 2009 9:45 am

    the problem with a small boat carrier is that 30meter boats can’t carry boarding personnell and to get them via boat from the mothership would take several hours, getting them with a helicopter is dangerous.
    Against swarming ships you could add a cannon frigate to a big ship group ^^
    ww2 style with modern guns :) with like 4x57s, 6x30mms, maybe even AGS, this should fuck up any small vessel within in LOS range.

  110. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 9:42 am

    CBD.

    Yep, I agree. Such a ship may have to be larger or have fewer craft to accommodate tie downs, or have custom cradles.

    But 20 patrol boats is still a decent swarm.

    Going larger isn’t a big deal, IMHO. This ship could be built to MSC standards, and much of the volume is air (which is free :) ).

  111. Bill permalink
    July 10, 2009 9:36 am

    “The typical surface search radar that equips your typical 1,000-ton corvette won’t detect a FAC at a range greater than 20 NM (and that’s being quite generous to the surface search radar).”

    A good bit less than 20 NM in the case of Skjold..with her 130 NM range ASMs. ;-)

  112. CBD permalink
    July 10, 2009 8:51 am

    “”CBD said : “Yes, it means that, as the commander of that Corvette, you need to have your CIWS and other defensive systems turned ON. It means VERY little else.”

    “[Navy Chief Maj.-Gen.] Ben Ba’ashat explained that two other ships that were in the area identified the missile launch as an IAF aircraft, and concludes that even if the systems were operating, the hit would have occurred.”

    Very little else ? Nah…..”

    From the same article:
    “The report further indicates “inadequate culture” on the ship. The report reveals a strong example of this as one of the officers on the ship decided about one hour prior to the incident to switch off some of the ship’s defense systems without notifying the commander of the vessel.

    “Navy Chief Maj.-Gen. David Ben Ba’ashat said this was a major problem that must be dealt with, but added that the fact that the Navy’s general assessment indicated there was no missile threat explains why the officer acted the way he did.

    “Once the ship was hit, the report says, it was unclear for a long time what had caused the strike and the rescue of the injured sailors took a particularly long time. ”

    CIWS systems (Barak and Phalanx) tend to be fairly automatic. External (non-PR) reports state that the defensive weapons (active and passive) and ECM were shut down and the radars were not at full power because they were causing interference with Blue aircraft (something that is difficult to explain at a press conference/to the public). That’s not a sufficient reason for shutting down the systems without the commander’s knowledge.

    Furthermore, to say that other ships (who did not have the missiles on an axis of approach) misidentified it is evidence of an overall systems failure and much need of training for radar operators. When you notice something on a direct track to your position, you look twice before automatically saying it’s just another aircraft track. If you’re an off-axis vessel, that’s a lot easier to do.

    FYI, as for stealthiness, the missile struck the non-stealthy crane near the pad and a second missed, sinking a commercial vessel. So even if you know where the ship is and it’s entirely undefended, a 1000t vessel is pretty hard to hit.

    “The NanoSAR tested on ScanEagle has a range of 1 km.”
    I’m well aware of the existing limits.

    If your ScanEagle is scanning 100nm out, that means you have a paltry range of 101 nm. The point of these systems is that they extend the range by adding more known areas to your situational map without exposing the major vessels or revealing their location.

    Also, they’re working on range during integration. Unlike the AGS or EMALS systems, this technology is already at a prototype stage and is being rapidly improved.

    http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=3438157

    “The current distance between the UAV and a target of interest is about a kilometer, Smith said.

    “”We’re looking to push this out to two kilometers this year and then possibly four kilometers,” he said.

    “But increasing the radar’s range means more power is needed to transmit its images longer distances, and more power requires more cooling, which means more weight, he said.

    “”There is an upper limit” to how much power and weight can be added to the UAV, but eventually the NanoSAR’s range may be extended to about 10 kilometers, he said.”

    “Let’s not forget what B. Smitty wisely said a couple of days ago
    “Size is not the major determinant in cost. 6300 tonne Absalons (~$230 million) are cheaper than 1700 tonne Braunschweig K130 corvettes (~$300 million).””

    Not ok. The K130s are built to full warship standards, the Absalons, although quite well armed, are not built to a standard like what the USN expects. They’re built to a standard closer to that of commercial vessels, in which case 6000t+ at $230M is more normal. That’s why many (not most) European vessels, especially support vessels, are cheaper than US equivalents.

    So, yes, if you want a destroyer-sized vessel that you don’t expect to take any hits, then it can cost you $230M. But if you want a very large corvette with a lot of systems, then that will cost you quite a bit more.

    That’s a matter of design choices and expected threats. Not an apples to apples comparison.

    “All fine and dandy, but in any sea-state of 5 or higher, your mythical 1,000-ton corvette is going to provide EXACTLY ZERO PRESENCE.”

    And pirate motherships, blockade runners, enemy missile boats and any civilian vessels that you want to intercept are all also not present…so you can sit in port and be damn sure you’re not missing much. But it’s not often SS5, so you will have to prepare for the 95% scenario and let the 5% (when you have no targets) go. These aren’t FACs meant to kill destroyers, though they are capable of it, they’re small vessels meant to engage the small vessel threats.

    B. Smitty,
    Even if you try really hard and leave about a meter between vessels to allow for tie downs (not really sufficient), I don’t see how you can fit more than about 20 on the stated size vessel (27.5×5.67m boats onto a 31x165m carry space).
    BTW, several larger corvettes are readily survivable at SS6. Although they cannot perform all functions at SS5, they’re still there.

  113. B.Smitty permalink
    July 10, 2009 8:42 am

    Scott B said, “OTOH, the YE-sized HLV with 30 Super Dvoras onboard is gonna make one hell of a juicy target, well worth shooting at.

    True, which is why it would have to use significant stand off distances afforded by the patrol boat’s 700 nm range.

    However, I can see a strong case for splitting the swarm into multiple smaller ships. A slightly longer Whidbey Island-sized well deck could carry up to 10 Super Dvoras. A 140m by 19-20m well deck (slightly longer and wider) could carry 15.

    Note, I keep using Super Dvoras as an example simply because it’s the smallest craft I’ve seen with multi-day endurance and range, and it can carry an auto-cannon comfortably. CB90s are too short-legged, and larger vessels like the USCG FRC and M80 Stiletto are too big to carry in large numbers. Dockstavarvet has a larger 18m patrol craft design that could also fit the bill.

    Having a well deck sized to carry larger craft obviously doesn’t preclude carrying smaller ones. A 140m x 20m deck could house as many as 40 CB90s, or 28 of the Dockstavarvet Interceptor Craft 18ms.

  114. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 6:03 am

    Scott B. said : “OTOH, the YE-sized HLV with 30 Super Dvoras onboard is gonna make one hell of a juicy target, well worth shooting at.”

    Well, the heavy-lift vessel alone might actually be a juicy target :

    “The Eide Trader, sailing under the Marshall Islands flag, was part of the convoy being escorted by the Admiral Panteleyev on last Saturday when two speedboats closed in on the slow-moving ship in an attempt to hijack it.”

    And what was M/V Eide Trader doing off Somalia ?

    M/V Eide Trader was returning home after she transported a couple of Swedish corvettes (HMS Stockholm and HMS Malmö) and their support vessel (HMS Trossö) that were to deploy outside the Somalian coast to… fight piracy.

  115. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:50 am

    Defiant said : “As I said before the absalon price seems somehow cheated”

    No, it’s not cheated. It doesn’t need to.

  116. Defiant permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:45 am

    Is sea state 5 a daily occurence?
    the only real enemy that doesn’T have enough problems with himself in sea state 5 is a submarine.
    It’s no use to build someting only for APW (anti pirate :) ), Piracy will probably occur more often in the future , but the ships should have a task beyond that.
    To use them against swarming, it has to have the same abilties at sea as csg ships, this won’t allow for a small ship.
    A muli national mass produced corvete doesn’T really reduce cost, as every nation involved wants something different and everyone wants to have a share of work. Endless Quarrels hinder engineering and make the project more expensive. Take any european multi national project for example. A lot of them get cancelled or get a cost overrun because one nation quits the project (France!!)

    “Size is not the major determinant in cost. 6300 tonne Absalons (~$230 million) are cheaper than 1700 tonne Braunschweig K130 corvettes (~$300 million).”

    As I said before the absalon price seems somehow cheated ^^ and absalon is probably the only example you can mention for this comparison, moreover, german ships are usually very expensive.

  117. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:36 am

    B. Smitty said : “Thirty Super Dvoras on a Yacht Express-sized vessel sounds like a useful counter-swarm to even the odds. And, unlike a corvette (Hanit), Super Dvoras really aren’t worth shooting at with cruise missiles or torpedoes.”

    OTOH, the YE-sized HLV with 30 Super Dvoras onboard is gonna make one hell of a juicy target, well worth shooting at.

  118. Alex (Orriginal) permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:20 am

    Mike

    and it could work; those navies are similar enough, that they would be able to build a vessel which could suit all their needs to a very large extent; yes there would be comprimises…but they would not be wanting completing different things, as happened with the Horizon project; and the nato frigate project

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  119. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:14 am

    Alex said “If Britain, America, Canada and Australia, all got together and designed together a corvette”

    A brilliant suggestion! And I loved the Flowers too which ended up serving in many navies.

  120. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:50 am

    CBD said : “you can cover 10-12 times the territory or provide a massive presence in the same space.”

    All fine and dandy, but in any sea-state of 5 or higher, your mythical 1,000-ton corvette is going to provide EXACTLY ZERO PRESENCE.

  121. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:47 am

    CBD said : “The larger vessel also is a more costly loss (men, materiel, replacement value) than the corvette.”

    Let’s not forget what B. Smitty wisely said a couple of days ago :

    “Size is not the major determinant in cost. 6300 tonne Absalons (~$230 million) are cheaper than 1700 tonne Braunschweig K130 corvettes (~$300 million).”

    OK ?

  122. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:40 am

    CBD said : “If you launch a ScanEagle with a SAR package (currently being integrated), you get a much better range…”

    The NanoSAR tested on ScanEagle has a range of 1 km.

    Check page 2 of the Manufacturer’s brochure.

    OK ?

  123. Scott B. permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:29 am

    CBD said : “Yes, it means that, as the commander of that Corvette, you need to have your CIWS and other defensive systems turned ON. It means VERY little else.”

    I posted this article less than a week ago in the Influence Squadron blog entry.

    Then I posted this specific paragraph from the article :

    “[Navy Chief Maj.-Gen.] Ben Ba’ashat explained that two other ships that were in the area identified the missile launch as an IAF aircraft, and concludes that even if the systems were operating, the hit would have occurred.”

    Very little else ? Nah…..

  124. July 10, 2009 2:35 am

    couldn’t corvettes be like the model T?

    the Model was not that cheap in terms of material or building…it was only cheaper because it was mass produced mean the development costs/setting up the manufacture costs were small when compared to the unit costs.

    If Britain, America, Canada and Australia, all got together (and this might work as their navies are pretty similar anyway) and designed together a corvette, and then built 200 units between them – it would be far cheaper; because the cost per unit for its development would be so much lower.And it would be lower than that, because with 4 such naval nations behind it, it would get foreign orders, it might become the ‘kilo’ of the surface world or the new ‘Flower’ class.

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  125. CBD permalink
    July 9, 2009 9:40 pm

    Scott B,
    “The typical surface search radar that equips your typical 1,000-ton corvette won’t detect a FAC at a range greater than 20 NM (and that’s being quite generous to the surface search radar).”

    If you launch a ScanEagle with a SAR package (currently being integrated), you get a much better range…

    “What happened to INS Hanit should be an eye-opener for all those who believe you can mess around in the 25NM range band with a corvette and still expect to get away with it…”
    Yes, it means that, as the commander of that Corvette, you need to have your CIWS and other defensive systems turned ON. It means VERY little else.

    “A 1,000-ton warship isn’t naturally stealthy…A larger ship doesn’t automatically present a *greater target*.”

    In a radar field full of 500-4000t civilian vessels or complicated by islands, a 1000t corvette is a naturally more difficult target to locate than a 7-9,000t destroyer.

    The larger vessel also is a more costly loss (men, materiel, replacement value) than the corvette. Thus, if the corvette can accomplish the desired missions in that environment, it is the more cost-effective system. That you can have 10-12 light corvettes/5-6 heavier corvettes for the cost of a second destroyer means that you can cover 10-12 times the territory or provide a massive presence in the same space.

  126. B.Smitty permalink
    July 9, 2009 9:30 pm

    Lee,

    Helos certainly could be provided by auxiliaries or sealift ships, but then they become targets. This may not be a big deal off the coast of Somolia, but the Persian Gulf is a different story.

    Maybe a double-hulled supertanker with a helo deck? They seem to shrug off missile hits and mines fairly well.

  127. CBD permalink
    July 9, 2009 9:12 pm

    Leesea,

    “BUT while the JHSV can support helo and boat ops, the current ships are NOT good motherships having neither the logistics support capability nor the POL tankage required more frequently by the small boys. Those features are not in the JHSV or LCS specs, but could well be in a naval auxiliary such as the German Berlin class ships. IMHO An armed naval auxiliary would work well as a mothership for the smaller ships we are kicking around here. The larger NFAF ships like T-AOEs and T-AKEs are going to be out in the blue water supporting the carriers and destroyers, not closer in the littorals. That also make the Berlin class a handy size to have.”

    Certainly. Taking a quick look at the Berlin/702-class, I only see one problem: they’re not produced in a US shipyard…other than that, they’re great. An armed naval auxiliary in the same weight class as the Berlin is probably close to ideal, but we would have to wait for NAVSEA to dedicate itself fully to the production of every other ship for the Littoral Squadron before that becomes a priority (such modestly sized support vessels have little other use to the rest of the Blue Water USN).

    The reason I refer to the JHSV is that it’s the only small USN fleet support vessel on the drawing boards. Absent a sudden shift in ship production, it would be easier to transform a high speed ferry into a high speed mini-AOE. Theoretically, a T-AOE/T-AKE would visit the central group, transfer stores and fuel to converted HSVs (if four are tasked to a littoral influence squadron, dedicate two to serving as oilers and two as stores/ammunition replenishment). It’s far from the best solution, but if you want to produce a working (demo) influence squadron for Somalia, it’s the closest available option. That they CAN launch helis for VERTREP and limited self-defense is a nice addition. My favorite is the LCS-2 (purely based on concept and layout), but I’m disappointed with the design features I’ve seen to date…

    “Also your suggestion I think is to leave the larger than raid troops on the amphibs is good. The smaller ships could/should be for raids and boarding and the capability you sugges it right on.”

    Much thanks.

    “Your point about weapons on corvettes sounds righ to me. BTW the CB90 aka RCB RWS is currently setup for twin .50s, I haven’t seen any calibers larger?”

    I’m trying to figure out the weapons and systems weight of a (fairly heavily armed) corvette that can be reconfigured (stripped of heavy weapons) to operate as a high endurance PC with a target 62m/~600 tonne displacement. I just finished calculating the first configuration:
    1, 76mm main gun
    16, Barak VLS SAMs
    2, .50cal mounts
    1, “Millennium Gun” CIWS (35mm)
    6, Remote Weapons Stations (2, Mk38 Mod 2+ (30mm); 2, Hellfire launchers (4 missiles tot.); 2, laser guided 70mm rocket launchers (28 rockets tot.))
    8 (2 quad-packed NSM ASMs)

    2, 6m RIBs
    4, 4.7m CRRC
    4, ScanEagle UAVs

    Displacement just for these systems is 27.6 tonnes. The extensive use of PGMs and remote weapons stations reduces crew exposure and improves firepower by the use of stabilized weapons systems (not cheap when most modern FACs were designed).

    This is NOT necessarily an ideal configuration (am still working on the cost-benefit of 57 vs. 76mm main gun, etc.), but it gives me hope.

    As for the RCB/CB90, the standard Swedish configuration is a pair of twin .50s in front of the navigator/gunner (fore of the pilothouse) and a mount just aft of the pilot house that can take just about anything short of 30mm. There are also spots for MG mounts elsewhere on the vessel and racks (the rails aft) for 4 naval mines/6 depth charges.
    See: http://www.dockstavarvet.se/Images/Products/cb90h/cb90h_01.jpg
    And: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stridsb%C3%A5t_90.jpg

    By replacing the stand with a stabilized RWS (Typhoon G/Mk 38 Mod 2, etc.), you both have eliminated firing errors by stabilizing the gun and have removed the need for crew members to be exposed to the elements (there’s room in the pilot house for at least one more crew member). It also adds a nice EO package to the vessel, which can be used to direct laser guided weapons (Hellfire or guided 70mm rockets).

    IF you use the Typhoon GS instead of the G you can attach two ATGMs (the Israelis like the Spike-ER) or if you’re concerned about enemy helicopters, the GSA can be used, which bears two Stingers. The weight of the Typhoon G mount is about 1000kg while the Mk38 Mod 2 (25mm) is 1126kg with ammunition (168 ready rounds). The gun can select between two types of rounds if so desired.

    FYI, A modification (the Mk38 Mod 2+ I mentioned above) offered by the US manufacturer bears a 30mm Bushmaster and a coaxial 7.62mm MG (both with 400rds), that I estimate would weigh around 1246kg, a bit much for the CB90, but nice for larger vessels.

    The Norwegians have already demonstrated the possibility of firing the Hellfire from a modified M151 SeaProtector system (2 AGM-114Ms) that weighs about 276kg, by my best estimate.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=no&tl=en&u=http://www.mil.no/start/article.jhtml%3FarticleID%3D78157&prev=hp&rurl=translate.google.com

    Using the same modified M151, two M260-like launchers (7 rd per, 14 total) Hydra rocket launchers could be mounted (on the M299 rail) in the same space as the 2 Hellfires (weight: 431.8 kg). Kongsberg’s precision guidance packages under development for the 70mm are said to include an anti-radiation variant, which could cripple enemy FACs.

    The intermediate-sized LAHAT (from IAI), has been modified (from AT warhead to general purpose blast/frag) to make the Naval LAHAT, 8 of which can be borne on a single mount.

    http://www.iai.co.il/34407-16163-en/default.aspx

    Putting the Mk38 Mod 2+ and all of these PGM launchers on a single RCB would have a definite weight penalty, but a basic Mk38 Mod 2 and a pair of modified M151s bearing whatever combination of PGMs you desire would certainly be possible. As long as you don’t care about using the racks for sea mines or depth charges (standard on the CB90), you should have the weight margin to allow for the operation of these systems. You might lose some speed when loaded with 20 marines and all of this, but the firepower makes up for that if it’s an opposed landing.

    If the PGM launchers are slaved to the RWS controls, you only need 1-2 crew to operate the system or 5 sailors total.

    What do you think?

  128. leesea permalink
    July 9, 2009 8:39 pm

    I would recommend a Dock Express 10 class as mothership for larger combatants. That large a semi-submersible could not only provide logistic support and helo decks it could dock the small boys for BDR.

    If one is talking about FACs and smaller CB90/RCBs, there are even smaller dockship around today which likewise could be motherships and force enablers.

    My point is if the combatant does not have a helo facility for whatever reason, it could be provided by an armed naval auxiliary or even a sealift ship.

  129. B.Smitty permalink
    July 9, 2009 7:30 pm

    Sven,

    Speedboats packed with explosives and driven by suicidal zealots certainly is relevant.

  130. B.Smitty permalink
    July 9, 2009 7:26 pm

    Mike,

    Visbys went for $184 million, but 600 tons is awful small, and no organic helo makes it a lot less attractive, IMHO.

    OPVs go for a lot less, but they aren’t corvettes.

  131. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 9, 2009 5:41 pm

    Smitty, does every corvette class have to be $300 million each? I figure 3 corvettes, at least, for the price of an LCS.

  132. July 9, 2009 4:39 pm

    “The probability of the 10-feet Iranian Revolution Guard being able to orchestrate a swarming attack using a Boston Whaler (or a Boghammar or whatever speedboat you like) in any sea state higher than 3 is equal to ZERO. I repeat, this probability is ZERO !!!”

    I don’t consider speedboats as relevant yet, but this might be of interest:

    “The Hammerhead is powered by a 3.0L 4 cylinder inboard gas engine which delivers 135 prop HP and can reach speeds of up to 35 knots in sea state 3 and 25 knots in sea state 5.”

    http://www.meggitttrainingsystems.com/main.php?id=49

  133. July 9, 2009 4:21 pm

    @ Defiant: “there are a lot of unsolved problems with airships”

    Ah…that is not true. There are problems with the way they have been designed and costructed and operated in the past. A bit like the first automobiles or the first airplanes or any other ARCHAIC technology.

    The problems you alude to have been solved. All that remains is to implement them.

    Alas, that first takes money.

  134. B.Smitty permalink
    July 9, 2009 4:18 pm

    Mike,

    How are two $300 million corvettes (e.g. Meko A100/K130, Sa’ar 5) going to perform significantly better than one $600 million LCS against a small boat swarm of 40+ craft? The corvettes will still be swarmed (20:1 odds against).

    Maybe we need to talk about Leesea’s FLO/FLO dock ships again.

    Thirty Super Dvoras on a Yacht Express-sized vessel sounds like a useful counter-swarm to even the odds. And, unlike a corvette (Hanit), Super Dvoras really aren’t worth shooting at with cruise missiles or torpedoes.

  135. July 9, 2009 4:15 pm

    Yep. Huge hangars. Stupid. Building an airship as it has been done in the PAST has always required a huge hangar. Building an airship the CORRECT way eliminates that; and eliminates all need for a hangar to keep the airship in later.

    “maximum altitude”? There ya go..thinking “blimps” still! A rigid SHELLED airship doesn’t have the old pressure height problems;and, shaped as a lifting body, changes altitude as readily as an airplane. No venting of helium. (helium, @ $2.00/cu.ft. x 8 Million…is still less expensive than surface ships costs).

    Lesseeee….run the airship on solar power for weeks at a time at oh, 50 knots. faster than LCS, at ZERO FUEL COSTS…. Switch over to diesel fueled jets and pick up speed to 150 knots when wanted….yeah, a little fuel costs in there.

    No blimps,no blimps, NO Blimps, NO BLIMPS!

  136. Defiant permalink
    July 9, 2009 2:52 pm

    i only remebered someone mentioned the cb90 in the comments, but i didn’t reread and thought someone wnated it to be on the corvette, i should have used “would” as i do not think it is possible accomplish this.(without increasing weight significantly)

  137. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 2:38 pm

    Defiant said : “On another note, integrating a cb90 onto a corvette is little bit over the top, i do not know any non-well deck ship carrying a boat with 15tons of weight”

    A CB90 won’t fit onto the mythical 1,000-ton corvette…

    One Absalon can carry two SRC-90E (plus 2 x 11-meter RHIB), PLUS two EH-101 medium helicopters, PLUS permanent accommodations for up to 70 additional personnel.

  138. Defiant permalink
    July 9, 2009 2:27 pm

    The problem with airships i the maximum altitude, and with 150kts speed you burn lots of fuel, this will make the airship lighter and create lift, you can only change that by getting rid of some of the helium, ergo you can’T fly up and down often. helium isn’t cheap either. other arguments in the playing chinas game post. There are a lot of unsolved problems with airships. 500 ton payload… the cargolifter was designed for 160tons and already needed the biggest hangar in the world to be built.

  139. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 2:21 pm

    Defiant said : “If the absalons really costs only 200Million,”

    Cost for 2 Absalons is DKK 2.5 billion, i.e $235 million per ship based on current exchange rates.

    See page 2 of this Danish MoD document where it says :

    “Den samlede pris for de to skibe med udrustning er ca. 2.5 mia. kr. og skibene planlægges at være fuldt operative med udgangen af 2007.”

  140. July 9, 2009 2:10 pm

    “The situation is this: surface vessels capable of extended global travel must be large enough to sustain life with a degree of comfort, remain on station indefinitely, and handle well on the high seas. They must be hard to see, highly maneuverable, and very fast. As can easily be seen, the first and second sets of criteria are incompatible”

    Oooh! I just gotta get in here. Okay…then, simply remove the word “surface”. Then it can work. Airships, Gentlemen. Get the “vessel” up off the water. Combine the reach of a nuclear submarine with flight characteristics similar to a helicopter.
    “sea states” and “draft” barely applicable. Speed to 150 knots.
    Even retain the amphibious delivery capability if wanted, by building large airships (Navy is looking towards 500 ton payload airships)

    I know there’s a lot of Surface Warfare people here….but, airships were once part of the fleet. Bad timing is the only reason why they aren’t still (technology not up to the task at the time) Now, it’s time for a comeback!

  141. Defiant permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:56 pm

    lots of new comments while i was posting,
    I always wonder how the absalons can be that cheap, there is no other vessel with either similar size or firepower for under double the price of the absalon. Usually any bigger than patrol boat -vessel costs about minimum 300million
    I cannot comprehend the pricetag if it is with weapon systems. ESSM missilies cost at least 500.000 each, Harpoons aren’t cheap either ( the rbs15 on k130 cost about 2.5million each!!! i wonder how prices in germany are made), weapon system integration and operation equipment , sensors …
    German Ships seem usually heavyliy overpriced, the new f125 frigates cost 650MIllion each with 8 rbs15, 127 Oto-Melara, 2 Ram (which are expensive as well , half a million per rocket and 42 rockets comes at 21Million …), no vls (maybe this will be changed)
    If the absalons really costs only 200Million, it’s the cheapest universal ship out there, you could launch a shitload of uav/helos, have jurmos and enough space for boarding teams or other equipment. (prices approximated and in euro)

    On another note, integrating a cb90 onto a corvette is little bit over the top, i do not know any non-well deck ship carrying a boat with 15tons of weight

  142. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:51 pm

    Alex said : “if we call them by their nato designation FSG”

    The FSG acronym in NATO parlance doesn’t refer to a (war)ship, what it means is Forward Support Group.

    Check the NATO GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS, page F-10.

  143. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:45 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “With 75,000 cruise missiles in the world’s inventories, the US Navy will run out of Big Ships long before an enemy runs out of missiles.”

    Put the 1,000-ton corvette within 25NM off the coasts (as you keep insisting upon), and what you’ll find out is that you’ll run out of corvettes long before the much-criticized Blue Water Navy runs out of Big Ships.

    What happened to INS Hanit should be an eye-opener for all those who believe you can mess around in the 25NM range band with a corvette and still expect to get away with it…

  144. July 9, 2009 1:22 pm

    Mike

    here is an idea, if we call them by their nato designation FSG, perhaps that will make them more acceptable?

    perhaps if we go further, just call the 2500-3500ton jobs Swan‘s (the old name for a ship with destroyer level weaponry, put in a small frigates hull…check up the RN…it has all these great names for small ships) then they might be happier at building them; just think of it now…President/Prime Minister reading out to the world; “we will comenicing immediately construct a 48 Swans of the Flower class!” – how non-threatening does that sound, what a great line for the swing voters…and the navies get what they need!

    yours sincerly

    Alex

  145. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:22 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Large ships are at risk from small attack craft using swarm tactics.”

    Risk is the same for the mythical 1,000-ton corvette.

  146. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:17 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Large ships are harder to maneuver in shallow seas, and their deep draft make them vulnerable to “grounding”.”

    Let’s not forget what Bill wisely said yesterday :

    “The simple fact of the matter is that waterjet propulsion still requires a considerable amount of draft below the keel (more corectly, the jet intakes) or big trouble ensues.”

    And let’s not forget that a 1,000-ton corvette like the Israeli Sa’ar 5 has a navigational draft of 15 feet (i.e. 4.7 meters).

    OK ? ;)

  147. Defiant permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:16 pm

    You could still mount the radar on smaller-than-marine-helo-UAV(vtol) and use several (4 for example) of them from a corvette with hangar and deck, giving you a coverage of 40+2×80=200nm linear, with the other taking over in refueling times. For this you wouldnt need more than a corvette for 200Mil or so instead of a billion dollar vessel.
    Still this ship would only be useful for sea control, the main weapon would be the uav, if the uav has sonar buoy capability, you also have a good asw vessel.
    I’d say 1500 t minimum as you need crew to operate uav, and also for anti ship missiles and maybe asrocs, plus boarding crew

  148. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:14 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Small corvettes can increase the size of the Navy quickly and at less cost than bigger and naturally more expensive large combatants.”

    Let’s not forget what B. Smitty wisely said yesterday :

    “Size is not the major determinant in cost. 6300 tonne Absalons (~$230 million) are cheaper than 1700 tonne Braunschweig K130 corvettes (~$300 million).”

  149. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 1:04 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “The small size of the corvette makes it naturally stealthy, while the greater the size of a ship presents a greater target.”

    A 1,000-ton warship isn’t naturally stealthy.

    A larger ship doesn’t automatically present a *greater target*.

  150. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 12:57 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “The combination of a corvette and a helicopter is the best counter to enemy sub and surface threats.”

    Again, why a corvette ?

  151. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 12:53 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “The corvette, with a greater weapons load than helicopters can perform a greater diversity of missions.”

    And a frigate, with a greater weapons load than corvettes can perform a greater diversity of missions.

    And a destroyer, etc, etc…

  152. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 12:47 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “The corvette’s ability to detect and track an enemy is much greater than a helicopter.”

    A helicopter radar like the AGRION 15 can detect a FAC at a range of 40+ NM.

    The typical surface search radar that equips your typical 1,000-ton corvette won’t detect a FAC at a range greater than 20 NM (and that’s being quite generous to the surface search radar).

    See what that means ? ;)

  153. leesea permalink
    July 9, 2009 12:46 pm

    CBD you are correct about smaller surface combatants to include FAC, OPV, corvettes being “encumbered” by a NAVAIR helo facility, and the solution being a UAV “platform” instead.

    BUT while the JHSV can support helo and boat ops, the current ships are NOT good motherships having neither the logistics support capability nor the POL tankage required more frequently by the small boys. Those features are not in the JHSV or LCS specs, but could well be in a naval auxiliary such as the German Berlin class ships. IMHO An armed naval auxiliary would work well as a mothership for the smaller ships we are kicking around here. The larger NFAF ships like T-AOEs and T-AKEs are going to be out in the blue water supporting the carriers and destroyers, not closer in the littorals. That also make the Berlin class a handy size to have.

    Also your suggestion I think is to leave the larger than raid troops on the amphibs is good. The smaller ships could/should be for raids and boarding and the capability you sugges it right on.

    Your point about weapons on corvettes sounds righ to me. BTW the CB90 aka RCB RWS is currently setup for twin .50s, I haven’t seen any calibers larger?

  154. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 12:18 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Helicopters can only patrol a threat area for a brief period, obviously.”

    1) The MQ-8B Firescout can remain on-station for 5 hours at 110 miles from launch site (with a 500lb payload).

    2) Equipped with a radar like the Telephonics RDR-1700B, a Firescout will detect a 1 sq. meter target beyond 15 nmi in sea state 3 from low
    altitude.

    3) Operational experience shows that a helicopter’s time is about 15 minutes.

    4) Being overly generous, a FAC won’t be able to attack from a range of more than 25NM (and that’s being very generous), unless it receives OTH targeting info.

    5) That means that the FAC is going to have something like 15 mns to cover 100 NM (100 = 110 + 15 – 25).

    6) Any FAC out there that’s capable of making 400 knots ?

  155. Heretic permalink
    July 9, 2009 11:44 am

    Using back of the napkin analysis, it does make sense to subdivide the primary roles any corvette “fleet” would undertake along the lines of:
    Mines/Submarines
    Surface/Air

    The key element would be to develop a single, standardized hull which could then use what amounts to mission module(s) in order to optimize for a single role/function as needed. So in that respect, the LCS is a move in the right direction as far as being able to reconfigure capabilities is concerned … it’s just way over-bloated to do so well in the environment it is intended to “dominate” (or whatever).

  156. Scott B. permalink
    July 9, 2009 11:37 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Helicopters are more affected by adverse weather or night operations than a corvette.”

    A frigate-sized warship can operate helicopters in up to sea state 6.

    None of the corvettes in your list of 5 will be *mission-capable* in any sea state higher than 4 (maybe 5 if I’m generous).

    The probability of the 10-feet Iranian Revolution Guard being able to orchestrate a swarming attack using a Boston Whaler (or a Boghammar or whatever speedboat you like) in any sea state higher than 3 is equal to ZERO. I repeat, this probability is ZERO !!!

    As for night operations, helicopters flew nighttime search-and-destroy missions from US Navy ships and leased barges on an almost daily basis during Operation Prime Chance (1987-89).

  157. CBD permalink
    July 9, 2009 10:12 am

    Agreed! The mothership should do air support.

    If you put this in the Gator Navy (so the USN doesn’t have to fully ‘own’ these smaller craft), then you could put some AH-1Zs on the mothership along with the transport helis. If the ScanEagles can provide ISRT with greater endurance than the helicopters, then let them be deployed from the Corvettes and save the helis for sub hunting and assault operations.

    A 600t FAC hull should be able to support 18 (24 for short periods) naval infantrymen (USMC regulars with VBSS training, USMC MSOBs, SEALs, etc.) who could land via CRRC and RIB. This gives a company-sized light infantry element for a fleet of 4 small Corvettes and 1 mothership (including headquarters). If the mothership can carry some CB90/RCBs, which can disembark 20 infantrymen while providing decent covering fire, you even have some organic landing capability that doubles as an additional short-range patrol unit.

    Given modern PGMs, a CB90 could be readily armed with a 30mm on a RWS (also bearing 2 ATGMs) as well as a limited number of laser guided missiles/rockets (Hellfire II, laser-guided 127mm Zunis and 70mm Hydras) to provide fire support for the embarked Marines. A corvette might just be disposable enough that a landing operation could be supported by line-of-sight fire from the corvettes (even if only with 57 or 76mm guns and other PGMs).

    If oversight for these Littoral Squadrons (Corvettes+mothership) were provided, as suggested at InformationDissemination, by a command group (DDGs, LSD/LPD and attached T-AOE/AKE/OE), then a Marine Battalion could be landed between the central group and four supporting Squadrons including a limited but definite air support group and a large number of vessels to provide fire support.

    If the USMC wants to return to amphibious operations, this would certainly be a capability for the Gator Fleet that no other DoD service can match.

  158. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 9, 2009 9:29 am

    Good point about the helos CBD. It makes sense that the more capabilities you place on a ship, up goes the cost and down goes the numbers (as with LCS). Which is why I thought of adding a single purpose aviation corvette for helos and UAV support. There must be some kind of aerial support if for nothing else than early warning, but also assault and attack missions. Barring that, I don’t see why the mothership couldn’t also do air support for an entire squadron.

  159. CBD permalink
    July 9, 2009 9:19 am

    Mike,
    Very well put. I guess that includes highly capable PCs and FAC-like craft with multiple capabilities.

    One problem is that any deployed group of Corvettes can be much better armed (and better able to ferry and deploy crews of naval infantry for VBSS) if we forgo aviation facilities for manned helicopters (bearing instead lightweight UAVs and the occasional unmanned helicopter). The problem is that we’d be giving up vertical assault capabilities (for raids ashore), so some sort of oversight ship with the capability to launch at least a few transport helicopters would be desired. The LCS and HSV programs can best serve, IMHO, in this role.

    It would be nice if the LCS program could produce vessels for ~$400M with the stated capabilities. Unfortunately, even the combat-configured/Israeli-variant LCS-1 is extraordinarily poorly armed (that’s with Harpoons, VLS, etc.) while lacking internal and deck space to simultaneously operate USVs and UAVs in the mothership role. While the LCS-2 seems to have a more reasonable “full battle” configuration and has better aviation facilities, weight and cost are a serious concern. Both of these sets of problems were sorely compounded by poor management (change orders, encouraging building to start before plans were complete, etc.).

    Given this, it seems like a converted Incat-style (Swift-type) HSV could better serve in the role of a mothership at the stated cost (which would allow for the integration of better systems, weapons safety improvements and basic combat systems) at a much shorter length. That is a sad state of affairs given the costs sunk into LCS already.

Trackbacks

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