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Corvettes Should be Good and Plenty

November 16, 2009
tags:
Corvette_Steregushchiy

Russian Steregushchiy corvette, commissioned in 2007.

The lineage of the modern corvette can be found in the fast attack craft (FAC) from the 1960s, notably those built by the Soviet Union and transferred to scores of Third World navies. The notion that the “little Davids” armed with the new cruise missiles like Styx could sink the larger, more capable warships of the dominant Western navies at very low cost was too intriguing to resist. After awhile, various counter-measures taken by the West would effectively blunt this ideal scenario, as detailed in this 2007 Armada International article by Ed Hooton:

Like the British battle cruisers in 1916 the fast attack craft proved vulnerable to plunging fire, in this case missiles delivered by aircraft, and US naval air power severely punished both Libyan and Iranian vessels. The lesson was driven home in 1991 when Allied air power massacred Iraqi fast attack craft (some of them former Kuwaiti vessels) making a sortie down the Saudi Arabian coast. The range of fast attack craft search radar was restricted by the low height at which the antenna was carried, depriving them of early warning while their air-defence capability was further eroded by the absence of anything more than man-portable missiles. The small size of the fast attack craft, less than 55 metres long and with a displacement of 500 tonnes or less, made them especially vulnerable to missile strikes–those that did survive were fit only for the scrap yard.

Clearly the air defense problem needed to be addressed, and thankfully modern technology was up to the task, especially from the same Navies whose large warships were at risk. Many small but technically advanced fleets which had quickly discarded their large frigates and destroyers for fast attack craft, now saw the corvette as a way to restore some balance to their seapower abilities. Larger corvettes, while still packing the missile punch of the FAC, could also deploy adequate air defense weapons and radar, even sonar, yet cost much less than a $1 billion destroyer or frigate. Hooton continues:

Israel has followed the same path from major warship to fast attack craft to corvette, partly spurred on by the Eilat incident, which has led the trend towards enhanced AAW capability in corvettes. In the 1990s the Israelis built under license an Ingalls/John J. McMullen Associates design with Foreign Military Sales funding as the Eilat or Sa’ar 5 class. This 1295tonne Codog ship with traditional shafts, which may be about to replace its Elta EL/M-2218S radar with the IAI Elta MF-Star active array sensor, has an Elbit NTCCS combat management system, Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, and was the first to feature an effective surface-to-air missile system in the form of the Israel Aerospace Industries Barak 1. This was one of the first corvette ‘stealth’ designs with shaping and radar absorbent material to combat radars while the acoustic signature is reduced by resilient mountings for machinery together with a Prairie Masker bubble system. This and the increased mass of the design demonstrated the advantages of the whole corvette concept in July 2006, when the INS Hanit was hit by a C-802 anti-ship missile off Lebanon. Despite the fact the ship had its main search radar and close-in weapon system switched off the missile struck the corvette’s stern and, while killing four crew, it inflicted limited damage and the ship quickly returned to front-line duties.

Other navies have since joined the corvette bandwagon, including several in the Middle East and elsewhere. While loading Exocet and Harpoon missiles for attack, they also sport advanced surface to air defenses usually seen on heavier warships, like the Israeli Barak (6.5 nm), the Raytheon Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (10 nm), Raytheon Rim-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (5 nm) and Russia SA-N-11 ‘Grison’ (4.5 nm). BAE is equipping the 3 corvettes for Brunei with the battle proven Sea Wolf (11 nm) in VLS (the ships were built but the sale flopped).

Mark 46 torpedo’s,  “the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s lightweight ASW torpedo inventory” are carried by many small warships, including the Israeli Eilat. Swedish corvettes like the Visby can carry the ASW 600 Elma, Short range ASW grenade launcher that brings to mind the “Hedgehog” for the World War. Russia’s RBU-6000 ASW rockets are used on all types from carriers to corvettes.

Recent sea combat between North Korea and the South emphasizes the importance of the surface gun in small boats engagements. Probably the most popular medium caliber gun for corvettes is the Oto Melara 76-mm 62-caliber gun. The compact mounting is very popular, with a range of 12.4 nm and 85 rounds/min rate of fire, in ships as large as frigates and smaller classes like the Indian Kora, the German Braunschweigs, and the Eilat. Some navies prefer the smaller, shorter range BAE Systems Bofors 57 mm, like the Swedish Visby and the much larger American LCS.

As small as they are, many corvettes of less than 2000 tons full load also have helicopter facilities. Here are some details:

  • Braunschweig-Camcopter S-100
  • Sigma-Optional hangar
  • Eilat-Eurocopter Panther
  • Espora-Alouette III or ‎Fennec

Those which do not possess a fixed hangar often sport landing spots for helos. Being a shallow water vessel, this capability is not a prerequisite, since land based airpower would normally be on call.

Today, European built corvettes are leaning toward the 2000+ ton range for new corvettes, the French Gowind for instance, putting them increasingly in the “light frigate” class. That is fine for navies with only the need for a handful of highly capable but affordable vessels. For larger global fleets like the US Navy, it would seem prudent for them to keep the tonnage low, from 1000-1500 tons light to insure plentiful numbers. Capabilities are fine for battleships like Aegis missile warships, but for general purpose missions such as presence required of a larger fleet, numbers are most crucial.

118 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott B. permalink
    November 20, 2009 5:56 am

    CBD said : “N.B. LCS is not championed by anyone on this blog…nor is the Sa’ar V, now stop using them as strawmen for your claims.”

    Let’s have a look at another possible candidate for the mythical corvette then : the Turkish Milgem (about 2,000 tons fully loaded).

    Here is what the Milgem’s propulsion look like :

    “Propulsion units from the Tognum subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen will also power the Turkish navy’s flagship project: the MILGEM corvette. For this approximately 100-meter-long ship, MTU will deliver the entire drivetrain – a combination of diesel engines and gas turbines. It will comprise two MTU 16-cylinder Series 595 engines, each supplying up to 4,320 kW (5,875 hp), an LM2500 gas turbine with 23,000 kW (31,280 hp), a CODAG (combined diesel and gas turbine) transmission, the drive shafts and the controllable-pitch propellers. The drivetrain will be completed with electronic control and monitoring equipment from MTU. The 31,640 kW (43,030 hp) power pack will accelerate the ship to a maximum speed of more than 29 knots.”

    So : a CODAG arrangement, with one GT and two diesels, giving a total of 31,640 KW for 29+ knots.

    On the Ivar-Huitfeldt, which displaces three times as such fully loaded, the CODAD arrangement (4 diesel engines) produces 32,800 KW for a top speed of 28+ knots.

    1) The MILGEM can do up to about 18 knots on diesels only, i.e. 8,600 KW. Whenever the MILGEM will need to run faster, she’ll have to use her LM2500.

    An Absalon can do about 18 knots on a single diesel engine, i.e. 8,200 KW. An Absalon can do about 24 knots (26 knots achieved during her trials) on two diesel engines, i.e. 16,400 KW. An Ivar-Huitfledt (same hull as Absalon) can do 28+ knots on four diesel engines, i.e. 32,800 KW.

    Above 18 knots, which ship is going to have the highest fuel consumption ?

  2. Scott B. permalink
    November 20, 2009 5:09 am

    CBD said : “That has nothing to do with fuel efficiency.”

    Fuel economy is driven by a number of factors, like hull design, engine technology, propeller design, surface finishes AND ship size.

    As Norman Friedman explains in his “Modern Warship” (pp. 67-68) :

    “Speed performance in smooth water is determined by the size and shape of the underwater hull, principally, at the speeds of frigates and destroyers, by waterline length. (…)

    The sea resists the passage of a ship by a combination of friction and wavemaking (residual) resistance; the latter is very largely a function of the speed-length ration. (…)

    Again, very crudely, power required per ton is very nearly a function only of the speed-length ratio, since frictional influences follow much the same trend as residual ones.”

    Norman Friedman also observes (p. 65) that :

    “On the other hand, to maintain 30 knots in Sea State 4 (which was the Spruance design requirement) is far more difficult to achieve than the pre-war 36 knots in smooth water : although modern destroyers and frigates appear (on paper) rather slow in comparison to their forebears, their effective speeds are rather better. This speed, however, is often bought largely by better (and larger) hull forms, rather than by more power per ton or per cubic foot.”

    And Norman Friedman concludes :

    “The weights of equipment which must go into the ship habe proportionately less impact on a larger hull, which, among other virtues, is easier to propel at high speed and likely to be more seaworthy.”

  3. Scott B. permalink
    November 20, 2009 4:33 am

    CBD said : “Power required per ton to reach a top speed has nothing to do with fuel efficiency.”

    What I said was :

    “for a displacement hull, the power required per ton is very nearly a function of the speed-length ratio”

    Where is it that you read *top speed* in this sentence ?

  4. Scott B. permalink
    November 20, 2009 3:53 am

    CBD said : “The Cyclone class (in deployment pairs) transits from and back to the US every 18 months.”

    So Cyclone PCs making a transit once every 18 months is your example of of these warships under 2,000-tons that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?

    Let’s take a close look at your example then (blod emphasis added) :

    **************************************************************

    USNS Patuxent Escorts Patrol Boats on Trans-Atlantic Journey
    Story Number: NNS040514-10
    Release Date: 5/14/2004 2:55:00 PM

    By Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class (AW) Tim Comerford, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

    ROTA, Spain (NNS) — USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201) accompanied patrol boats USS Typhoon (PC 5) and USS Sirocco (PC 6) on their journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Naval Station Rota, Spain, and arrived in port with the two PCs May 12.

    Patuxent is an oiler from Williamsburg, Va.

    “Our mission is under way replenishment,” said Capt. Craig Upton, master of Patuxent. “We give fuel and stores to Navy ships out at sea, so that they can sustain their time at sea and stay on station longer.”

    Patuxent has 90 personnel aboard; four active-duty military personnel, one Navy chief and 85 civilians round out the crew.

    Patuxent deployed for the Iraq war last year, so the current trip to Spain is just a short journey in comparison.

    “We just came from Norfolk,” said Upton. “We have been under way for eleven days. We were escorting two PCs and some combatants…. It was a welcome surprise to come over here for only four or five days and not the whole six months.”

    Conversely, the patrol boats are beginning their deployments and are traveling to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

    “We just completed a TRANSLANT [trans-Atlantic crossing] enroute to 5th Fleet for our scheduled deployment,” said Lt. Michael Nash, commanding officer of Sirocco. “This is a rest and fuel stop along the way. We will only be here a couple of days.”

    A trans-Atlantic crossing for small crafts, such as a PC, is not easy. A patrol boat’s primary mission is coastal patrol and interdiction operations. Weather can be a big factor for crossing the Atlantic on these small craft. The ship holds only 32 people (28 enlisted and four officers on Sirocco). The patrol boats have a length of 170 feet and a beam of 25 feet with a shallow draft.

    The patrol boats don’t normally TRANSLANT. We are going to go relieve two ships in 5th Fleet that have been over there for more than 18 months,” explained Nash. “The reason we are coming over in May is the time of year. It is really tough on the crews when you get in rough weather. Potentially, it can be tough on the ship as well. The timing proved to be perfect; we had great weather all the way across.

    “We transited with a group like we did, because we were going to need fuel,” said Nash. “We do not have the fuel capacity to make a TRANSLANT without refueling. But then, we can operate where other ships can’t.”

    The commanding officers were glad to reach Rota and take a small break from their work before continuing on their separate travels.

  5. Graham Strouse permalink
    November 20, 2009 1:07 am

    Smitty,

    I’ve been ranting in 17 different directions tonight but in all seriousness, I think you’re suggestion for up-arming LPDs is a good one. They’re versatile ships, tough ships, relatively easy to produce in fairly large quantities. My problem with current US LPDs (and CVNs) is that they’re overly dependent on escorts. This could be easily remedied.

    I’m a big fan of the Japanese Hyuga helicopter-destroyer class (much smaller then an LPD) and it’s mostly because they’re designed to be self-supporting. I’d prefer that the Hyugas had a a 76/62 & a few Israeli/Russian style remote gun/light missile mounts for close combat against FACs & corvettes, but that could be easily remedied. Hyuga already has 16 quad SAM mounts, 13 choppers & two triple 324 mm torpedo mounts.

    This is an 18,000 ton ASW carrier that costs a little over a billion in US dollars. Consruction schedules have been on time & in time.

    Modifying our extant LPDs for three-dimensional defense & power projection makes a lot of sense to me. We’re making pretty good use of the early Ohios as SSGNs/spec ops boats (only the cost of the bloody Tomahawks is prohibitive).

    We have some good material to work with. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Re-dedicating LPDs for different functions strikes me as an excellent idea.

  6. CBD permalink
    November 19, 2009 8:54 pm

    Still not reading Scott?

    I responded to Tangosix…and what you said.

    I wasn’t disputing your account of Huitfeldt-class installed power. The manufacturer information about that series of diesel engines states that it can produce up to 9,000kW.

    Rather that the illegibly long and gibberish answer you’re posting, keep it simple : just name the warship (or the class) and the Navy it’s serving with.

    It’s legible. It’s written in English and with proper sentence structure.

    You’re not reading it. You just admitted as much.

    Read, you might learn something.

    FYI, ctrl+c, ctrl+v is something you should learn to do less often, it might let you think about what you’re saying. Otherwise you just prove yourself to be a disingenuous troll who repeats the same thing endlessly, not listening to what anyone else has to say and absolutely convinced of his own ultimate wisdom.

    N.B. LCS is not championed by anyone on this blog…nor is the Sa’ar V, now stop using them as strawmen for your claims.

    I answered before. The Cyclone class (in deployment pairs) transits from and back to the US every 18 months. It’s 1/3rd the size of the ‘mythical corvette’ and the ‘favorite Sa’ar V’ (which is only YOUR favorite).

    The PCs use propellers, not jets. And their draft is less than 9 feet with full load, fuel, and maxed out in weight. Then again, nobody ever said that Absalon was a bad boat…just the USN won’t accept it. If you’d read the previous posts, you would know as much.

    ““for a displacement hull, the power required per ton is very nearly a function of the speed-length ratio”
    OK ?
    Yes. That has nothing to do with fuel efficiency. It has to do with power, inertia, many other things…but not fuel efficiency.

    Fuel efficiency is the reason that going at top speed anywhere means you go less far, fuel efficiency is about the volume in the combustion chambers on the engine and how much fuel is fed into each per cycle, fuel efficiency is about how well the engine compression ratios are set for the power derived from the operation of the engine. Power required per ton to reach a top speed has nothing to do with fuel efficiency.

    The deployment of those vessels was successful. They intercepted pirates and were able to operate with minimal support several thousand miles from their home base. Why they were carried down instead of sailed is still not clear (Sweden sailed their equally small corvettes to Lebanon, as did Germany with their FACs, it’s easy sailing from there through the Suez to TF150 and TF151 AORs).

    As for the unknown standard, the USN does not recognize DNV as a standard for its naval vessels. It is not a standard to which USN vessels are built and, as such, they will not accept it for their vessels. It’s silly, but true.

    DNV is a recognized (mostly commercial) ship standard…unless you’re talking about military ships being purchased for the USN.

    LCS-2 could be built with a steel hull. Yes, Austal specializes in aluminum construction…it also helps them meet the weight, production rate and speed requirements. It also means that the utility of that beautiful, wide-open landing space has a decently strict weight limit.

  7. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 4:49 pm

    CBD said : “First point: Check. PC-1, PC-14+ classes fit here, as does the Corvette. All that is needed for the former is a tender.”

    If all what’s needed for the former is a tender, why is it that the Swedish Navy had to charter a heavy-lift like M/V Eide Trader to deploy a couple of corvettes off Somalia ?

    Incidentally, that’s one of the things Dr. Robert Dalsjö is trying to point out in his paper (pp. 63-64) :

    “You can cross the Atlantic in a fifteen foot sailboat as well, but is it a good idea ? Swedish plans for deployment to the Horn of Africa consider sending the corvettes down to the area of operations as cargo on a heavy lift ship. (…)

    If we are to become regular contributors to international naval missions, we must have ships that can transit and operate under the same conditions as the others. We can’t come with units that either slows the entire force down, or which become stagglers, de facto eing a drain rather than a contribution to operational effectiveness.

    And why on earth should we run counter to the conclusions of navies with decades, if not centuries, of experience of operating in the waters we are talking about, such as the British, the French, Americans and Dutch ?”

  8. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 4:06 pm

    CBD said : “The performance of the Swedish Stockholm-class corvettes off of Somalia (supported by a tender) and the Göteborg-class corvettes as a part of UNIFIL-MTF show that vessels similar in displacement to the PC can be configured for a more aggressive patrol armament.”

    What evidence do you have that the deployment of the Swedish corvettes of Somalia is *successful* ?

    At the risk of repeating myself again, here is something the pro-corvettes folks should ponder :

    **************************************************

    http://www.santabarbarachronicle.com/articles/view/105222

    “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.

  9. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:49 pm

    CBD said : “I know the problems, they are clearly defined:
    – The USN needs small, cheap craft capable of simple patrol operations in support of on-going fleet efforts”

    Why small ?

    Is being small an explicitely stated USN requirement ? In which document(s) ?

  10. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:43 pm

    CBD said : “Additionally, the USN would never adopt the Absalon for combat duties (a perhaps wrong-headed approach, but one that is prevalent) as a foreign vessel built do an unknown standard. Even though it is better armed and equipped to execute the role of a frigate and support hybrid operations (combat and humanitarian), is cheap (until the US military-industrial complex folks get their hands on it) and exists as a proven design…they will not take it.”

    Absalon is NOT built to an unknown standard !!!

    At the risk of repeating myself again :

    ***************************************************************

    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…).

  11. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:37 pm

    CBD said : “The LCS-2 at least has enough aviation space to make the concept of operations interesting (although the landing pad must be re-engineered for heavier loads, perhaps by use of a steel hull once the ridiculous speed requirement has been eliminated…and the price dropping by half would be nice, too).”

    You claim LCS-2 can be built with the steel hull ?

    You think YOU know better ? Really ?

  12. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:28 pm

    CBD said : “The USN is developing craft for the green waters (for which it has almost none) out of a blue water fleet.”

    I posted this earlier in this thread. You keep ignoring the most basic facts.

    **********************************************************************

    1) At the risk of repeating myself again :

    **********************************************************************
    B. Smitty asked : “I have to wonder though, how many places Freedom can go at 3.7m draft that an F125 can’t go at 5m draft.”

    Bill replied : “Not many. 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. This is particularly true if you need to maintain the ability to back down or conduct low-speed maneuvers; in that case the reverse bucket flow looks and acts exactly like one of Mel Fisher’s salavage boats..everything/anything on the bottom…as much as 3-4m BELOW the keel..gets nicely ‘recovered and filtered’ through the intake for future removal by a diving crew (with that propulsion line tagged out, of course.

    I can personally tell ya how long it takes a team to extract a steel-belted radial tire from a 63SII KaMeWa (4.5 hours) ..oh..and a Persian carpet too (2.5 hours). The load of large (4″-8″ diameter) rocks we picked up in Pusan..we didn’t bother to remove since the impeller was trashed.

    Intake grates kill jet performance and are seldom employed on any jet vessels designed and built by the ‘competent guys’ (e.g. thems not here in US) but even with intake grates, the jet impeller erosion and damage is till great when using buckets in ’shallowish’ water conditions.

    **********************************************************************

    2) At the risk of repeating myself again, your mythical 1,000-ton corvette, the Sa’ar 5, has a navigational draft of 15 feet, i.e. 4.7 meters.

  13. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:20 pm

    CBD said : “the added problem I have with Scott’s claims is that installed power is not the same as fuel efficiency.”

    Stop acting like a disingenuous troll and read what I said :

    “for a displacement hull, the power required per ton is very nearly a function of the speed-length ratio”

    OK ?

  14. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:17 pm

    CBD said : “Actually, I’ve already answered all of the questions you have posed;”

    I’ll repeat the question again :

    “can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?”

    Rather that the illegibly long and gibberish answer you’re posting, keep it simple : just name the warship (or the class) and the Navy it’s serving with.

    Think you can do that ?

  15. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:11 pm

    CBD said : “Given that the Huitfieldt-class runs 4, “MTU 8000 20V M70 diesel engines, 8 MW each” (according to Wikipedia, also known according to the MTU reference (link above) guide as providing a maximum of 9,100 kW apiece).”

    Take a look page 2 of the Ivar Huitfledt on the Danish MOD website :

    Hovedmotorer: MTU 4x 20V M70 –hver med en ydelse på 8200 kW

    4 x 8200 = 32800 KW

    But hey, YOU know better ;-)

  16. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 2:57 pm

    CBD said : “The point was that you have rejected data derived from historic ships and from ships that already exist (when it opposes your view), including historic realities and anything like nuance.”

    Tangosix was kind enough to post data derived from historic ships :

    ***************************************************

    I can give an example of ships which do exist.

    The 1,940 tonne Nakhoda Ragam class corvettes make 30 knots on 30 Mega Watts of power:

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

    The 4,100 tonne Adelaide class frigates also make 30 knots on 30 Mega Watts of power:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Adelaide_(FFG_01)

    ***************************************************

    What is it that you don’t understand ?

  17. CBD permalink
    November 19, 2009 2:41 pm

    Tangosix,
    Understood. Please, see the above. The challenge wasn’t about the numbers but about the choices…also the numbers are unfair given the comparison being made, again see above.

    The additional comparison you gave is interesting (did some snooping around myself and saw similar numbers in a wide range of existing vessels), but the added problem I have with Scott’s claims is that installed power is not the same as fuel efficiency.

    Joe K.,
    I don’t know if this has been posted, but CBD, do you understand the idea of crew retention? If you put people on a ship that causes its crew hefty discomfort without any light at the end of the tunnel you are putting that ship on a course for high crew turnover every few years.

    I do understand the idea of crew retention and it has been at least hinted at earlier in this and other threads. Crew retention was great on the old DE vessels way back when, was great on the Cyclone class PCs with the SBUs and is good with those same PCs in the USN today.

    The opportunities of enlisted personnel on the Cyclone class (often filling in for officer roles and the variety of work) have meant reports of very contented crews. All of the first-hand accounts that I’ve found of crews on small and cramped ships seem to be highly positive, while the accounts of life on large, stable, comfortable vessels are often much less positive.

    Why do you think Navy pilots often quit their jobs after two or three tours on a carrier? Because it’s a tough job and people are not likely to be a Navy pilot for the entirety of their career.

    And because, as officers, they rise to other positions officer within the Navy and as highly trained pilots have opportunities outside of the navy. It’s the same reason that most junior officers only deploy at the head of an infantry company a couple of times: they move up or they move out.

    A better perspective is that of the senior enlisted personnel, NCOs and specialists. These sailors often are in for a certain amount of time (to get money, to get technical training, to pay for college) and have every incentive to leave the Navy. Personnel with a better feeling of a accomplishing something during their duty tend to stick around.

    Do you think a sailor feels better about emptying the trash cans on a Burke-class destroyer while it launches a Tomahawk or while manning one of the 4 machine gun mounts as your PC gives chase to a suspect vessel? When the cook is also a medic and knows how to perform VBSS, I think that he might feel more fulfillment in his role than as a cook (one of many) or as a medic (one of many) on a vessel with several hundred other sailors?

    If you field more corvettes that cannot handle Blue Water as the larger destroyers and cruisers you risk putting those ships on a crew rotation where only the most senior officers would have more than a few years experience on them, and that’s if they stay.

    The ability of a corvette to handle the blue water (they can, they also spend most of their time relatively near shore) and the issue of crew rotation are two different matters. As it currently stands, very few non-officers have more than a few year’s experience. The navy is actively shrinking, so adding more vessels means that junior officers have somewhere to go if they ever want to hold a command. It’s easier to add 250 officer spots on 50 corvettes than trying to add the same number of spots by building destroyers.

    I don’ t believe that working on an empty ship where everyone is over-worked (LCS-1) and the extra crew you bring in to make the work manageable must live in makeshift barracks (and find heads elsewhere)…is balanced out by the really nice room you got. We don’t have problems packing people in on destroyers, why do sailors need more personal room on a smaller ship where fresh air is 10 feet away instead of 50? I doubt that those enlisted personnel are going to be all that happy. And there are still only a few slots for officers or roles for senior enlisted personnel, so your experienced people are still leaving.

    While crew rotation on and off of ships (blue and gold crews) may seem like an odd thing to do, if you’re worried about people not liking the transit of the Pacific then you can keep the vessels forward deployed. It’s not an aircraft carrier, if you have 40 such craft so we can afford to have teams forward deployed to Guam, Japan, Diego Garcia, Spain and Bahrain. If that’s your concern, then that’s my answer.

  18. CBD permalink
    November 19, 2009 2:11 pm

    Again, you start with the solution, which in your case was initially a glorified PC Cyclone which quickly morphed into a less-than-2,000-ton corvette, and try to find the problem that your favorite solution is going to solve. In the case of the US Navy, it won’t solve any.

    I accommodate others so far as to say that larger vessels with other capabilities (organic helicopter support, Mk 41 VLS, etc) would be possible on larger corvettes, but I have not “morphed” my original concept. I have not changed my personal beliefs about what type of vessel the USN needs, but my interest is supporting any move in that direction.

    Since you demanded to know what helicopters could be launched from a USN corvette, I answered you. The Panther has a proven record in both MIO and general roles from Corvettes and can be adapted to bear the Hellfire and other such systems (for FAC killing). It is produced in the US and has a US military service record (thus it could be rapidly fielded). Since VBSS is often performed by USCG crews (even off of Somalia and Iraq), they could cross-train their navy counterparts. The description of an aviation corvette is a nod to M. Burleson’s eponymous concept, which would require a larger vessel. I just wouldn’t include it on my vessel and it didn’t make its way into my plan…and my vessel has not grown.

    I know the problems, they are clearly defined:
    – The USN needs small, cheap craft capable of simple patrol operations in support of on-going fleet efforts

    – The USN needs vessels that can:
    a) enter dangerous areas, the loss of which individual vessels would not mean a significant reduction in fleet operations capabilities
    b) be adequately equipped to conduct offensive operations in such situations

    – The USN needs vessels that can ‘show the flag’ at foreign ports and be used in cooperative security and training efforts without too much cost to the rest of the fleet.

    First point: Check. PC-1, PC-14+ classes fit here, as does the Corvette. All that is needed for the former is a tender.

    Second point:
    Part A. Check. Losing a PC or Corvette does not break your theater ballistic missile defense coverage. Nor does it mean that a third of your strike group’s helicopters, land attack missiles, anti-submarine missiles and anti-ship missiles were just destroyed in a surprise strike by a truck-launched barrage of 3 AShMs. It does suck to have casualties and lose a boat…but the casualties on a PC or Corvette are likely fewer and the costs to replace the vessel are likely smaller, than the casualties and damages that would result from similar action against a Burke-class destroyer.

    Part B. Check. The Corvette could be armed with appropriate missile and gun systems to deal with enemy craft and installations, can seek submarines, can distribute marine infantry forces and special operations teams and can support ISRT operations with onboard UAV systems.

    Second Point:

    The Cyclone class has performed admirably off of Somalia and Iraq (as an <400t full displacement vessel)…but does not have the endurance necessary for extended patrols nor the capability to be up-gunned in a manner that would afford it self-defense capability against peer threats (FACs, Corvettes, shore-launched AShMs). But they are inexpensive (~$24M per vessel for the PC-14 subclass). A modern build PC class (including the latest upgrades, like the Mk 28 Mod 2 mount and improved connectivity) would be in the range of $40-50m.

    I believe the USN should build at least a dozen more such craft based on further incremental improvements to the PC-14 standard. I also believe that these new craft should NOT be named vessels (which hindered their use for NSW/SWCC purposes), and that the extensive VBSS experience of Special Boat Unit members and current crews should be consulted.

    My ideal corvette would be slightly larger than the PCs and WOULD be named vessels.

    My concept is for a patrol vessel that can be flexibly up-armed according to the situation (a standard matching the corvette title).

    The performance of the Swedish Stockholm-class corvettes off of Somalia (supported by a tender) and the Göteborg-class corvettes as a part of UNIFIL-MTF show that vessels similar in displacement to the PC can be configured for a more aggressive patrol armament.

    The successful deployment of these vessels with a single tender for support (which can also cover some patrol territory) demonstrates some aspects of the Influence Squadron concept. The Cyclone class demonstrates other aspects (forward basing, VBSS) under the same concept.

    The development of a compact ScanEagle launch and recovery system for the Mk V SOC (<60t, 25m) means that UAV launches can easily be carried out without the need to dedicate a large area to the launch and recovery system. The small size of VTUAVs like the MQ-8B Firescout and the YMQ-18 Humminbird means that some former helicopter missions can be filled (IF so desired) without the space and weight bearing requirements of a crewed helicopter. It would mean, however

    A slightly larger vessel (600-1200t) should have the capability to bear the following armament:
    – a 57mm main gun
    – Several (2-8) AShMs,
    – A small secondary gun like the Oerlikon 35mm Millennium CIWS or Mk38 Mod 2 mounted 25mm
    – a limited air defense missile system
    – several small machine guns or weapons stations

    This vessel could also perform the following tasks:
    – launch RHIBs for VBSS from a rear ramp (as was later adopted on several Cyclone-class vessels)
    – launch UAVs as needed for surveillance purposes.
    – seek enemy submarines with built-in sonar (as the Cyclone-class has had from the start)

    All while accommodating both the primary crew and a significant boarding contingent.

    For simple VBSS deployments, Heavier weapons (AShMs, main gun ammunition) could be off-loaded, thus improving endurance and VBSS crew could be off-loaded (in favor of SEALs or marines) when the ship is in a more offensive role or supporting the operations by those forces. In humanitarian operations, these craft could support amphibious vessels of the USN and provide local security.

    If there was concern about the ability of the fleet to handle enemy submarines in the shallows, the equipment could be modified so that the rear boat ramp and missile stations become stations for a towed array depth charge launchers. If mining operations are required, the same can be done with mine distribution equipment.

    Given these characteristics, a complement of under 80 (including dedicated VBSS teams) and a total system cost of under $200M does not seem out of the question. If it were produced in a country where money was tighter (ie, most European countries), the cost would probably be closer to $150M. ***

    An incremental development program, back-fitting most of the systems to a spare Cyclone-class vessel for iterative testing before the hulls are developed would significantly reduce both costs and would clearly define the role of the new vessel (sorry, can't fit a Mk41 VLS or SPY-1F(v) onto the PC, no theater ballistic missile defense mission creep). Sure the SPY-1K and SPY-5 could fit, but with the inherent limitation of the systems being fired, the temptation to grow would be limited. This whole process would not take much time and the production of the prototype would be measured in months, not years.

    *** – A hull variant (at about half the latter price) to replace a variety of very old USCG patrol craft would be simple: leave out much of the electronics, downgrade armaments and accordingly reduce crew…thus boosting endurance and allowing more room for other tasks. This would also achieve the USCG's desire to return to a second-line navy status since this vessel class would be ready for upgrades to bear heavier weapons (the requisite systems). Such a vessel would also work well in the USCG's efforts under SOUTHCOM's drug interdiction operations.

  19. CBD permalink
    November 19, 2009 2:10 pm

    Scott B.,
    Fear not, you’re far ahead in the “jackass comments” category.

    The point was that you have rejected data derived from historic ships and from ships that already exist (when it opposes your view), including historic realities and anything like nuance. The point is not about power curves (nor about the power generation, in MW) of engines. The point is about ignoring the evidence of others that don’t mesh with your goals and repeatedly using the same old evidence (no matter the context, from which said evidence has been completely removed) to try to bash their heads in.

    Furthermore, neither company involved in the LCS debaucle should be trusted for their calculations about proposed ship characteristics in the early proposal phase (ie, Sa’ar 5B, which has not yet gone through the serious design consideration and modeling that other “to be made” ships have completed).

    It is especially an odd choice for comparison given your general bashing of the Sa’ar V class and the real historic problems with the NG (Ingalls) shipyard with giving proper specifications and fulfilling conceptual design criteria for that class of vessels.

    If you’d like a challenge to the numbers, the installed power on the Sa’ar V was as follows:
    CODOG system
    2x MTU V12 1163 TB82 diesel engines (each at 7,400 kW (Max), for 14,800 kW)

    1x General Electric LM2500 gas turbine (at 25,100 kW)
    Thus, the total installed in this Combined Diesel OR Gas system is somewhere under 39,900 kW for a nominal top speed (on gas, of 33 knots).

    The important thing to note is that the sales materials on the Sa’ar 5b describe the propulsion system as “Twin Screw Combined Disesel or Gas Turbine 38,300kW” for a nominal top speed of 28.5 knots (on gas) (which seems to be where you got your data, above).

    All of that power is not being used at once (CODOG) to drive the vessel at top speed, so only the 25,100 kW of the power is used at top speed (in the Sa’ar V and likely in the Sa’ar Vb).

    Given that the Huitfieldt-class runs 4, “MTU 8000 20V M70 diesel engines, 8 MW each” (according to Wikipedia, also known according to the MTU reference (link above) guide as providing a maximum of 9,100 kW apiece). Since all of these engines are being used to attain top speed, the installed power being used to reach the top speed somewhere north of 28 knots is between 32,000 and 36,000 kW.

    These have little to do with fuel efficiency, since at top speed the Sa’ar V will be running a single gas turbine at 25 MW while the Huitfeldt will be running 4 diesel engines at 32 MW. In any case, the power output is a better measure of ability to accelerate a given mass rather than efficiency.

    It’s not that I know better, it’s that you are too ready to grab those numbers without considering what they mean. They did their math correctly, you didn’t understand what they meant by their answers.

    The K130 class, upon which Israel’s newest ships will be based, operates two MTU 20V 1163 TB 93 diesel engines (a larger, later model of the engine series on the Sa’ar V) producing 14.8MW for a top speed of 26 knots on a vessel that is about 1,800t full displacement.

    —–

    In other regards,
    So you cannot answer the question.

    That doesn’t surprise me at all…

    Actually, I’ve already answered all of the questions you have posed; You never seem to have read the answers in full.

    An example of not reading the answers:
    I raised the issue of (1) hull forms, (2) active anti-roll stabilization systems, and (3) stabilized weapons systems as improvements for small vessels vs. the WWII era of ships and their roll characteristics. Your response was only to (3):
    There’s only so much roll / pitch / yaw you can compensate for with stabilization. This is true for guns and sensors.

    * a 3D radar like the Israeli EL/M-2238 STAR radar is stabilized up to +/- 20° in roll & pitch.
    * a 3D radar like the Swedish Sea Giraffe AMB is stabilized up +/- 25° in roll and +/- 10° in pitch.

    During a NATO operation in 1953, the battleship USS Iowa registered a 26° roll each way

    That response entirely ignores the effect of the previously described improvements in (1)hull forms since the 1960s and (2) active anti-roll systems. Each of these improvements results in a significant roll reduction, up to 40% in the case of active fin stabilizers alone.

    In fact, while my comment described the new designs of hulls and systems like ART and fin stabilizers (incorporated in 1960s and later hulls), your response example was the battleship Iowa (designed around 1939 and constructed between 1939 and 1943). Again, ignoring the 2/3rds of what I said.

    The Iowa, were it given the same stabilization systems that exist on other US large vessels after the 1960s, would be able to have proceeded in similar conditions with a roll much less than 13 degrees in similar conditions.

    While a vessel under 2,000t designed without considerations for modern hull forms or active stabilization might have a 30 degree roll to either side, stabilization can improve that to less than a 10-15 degree roll to either side, well within the stabilization capabilities of the systems stated. A roll of 45 degrees (normally endangering the ship), would be reduced to less than half that. The ship would then be operating at the far margin of effective offensive systems operations, but well within safe vessel operating conditions.

    To the point:
    I made several extensive responses to your complaints against the DE class and, therefore, small vessels:
    1) Much of the previous complaint was justified due to the poor hull design (intentional) of the DE class, which reduced handling characteristics across the entire spectrum of operations in order to simplify construction.
    2) While you complained about the limit of stabilization systems built into guns and radars, you ignored the stabilization of the ship itself.

    And yet your response to the DEs and similar vessels was “show me an example” or, better yet, quoting the British responses to Captain-class vessels out of Friedman’s book (again). I’ve shown you multiple examples before and now again.

    I’ve also now twice demonstrated the irrelevance of those quotes with respect to modern corvette operation.

    As far as capabilities, It should be noted that the Danes (pre-Absalon) operated and still operate numerous <2,000t vessels (called, variously, Patrol Boats, Corvettes, Destroyers or Frigates) in the harsh North Atlantic and North Sea without apparent problems completing their mission for decades.

    The claims against small ship operations across the range of normal environmental conditions and as vessels expected to deploy around the world have now been dismissed in multiple ways and on multiple occasions. Did you read to the end this time?

    ——

    Another example of not reading the answers:
    When I commented on Dr. Dalsjö’s description of a classic cruiser-type ship, you proceeded to claim that a “frigate-like” armament, the ability to lead a task force, and a low cost indicated that it was NOT such a vessel.

    While I explained to you that a classic cruiser was a vessel capable of independent operations from the fleet (these were often, in the days of sail and thereafter, known as FRIGATES), you ignored it.

    In fact, you claimed that the reference to a classic cruiser-type vessel was unclear, while any quick reference to the history of the term “cruiser” directly points to my meaning (as does reading my explanation of the term). Since the modern Ticonderogas are known as cruisers more as an indicator of relative position (larger than destroyers, smaller than battleships), rather than for the traditional cruiser role (although it also has the capability to do so).

    Instead, you objected to the single point that the USN, as a fleet, and the RDN and the Swedish Navy, as fleets, are moving in the OPPOSITE direction in terms of developing fleet capabilities:
    – The USN is developing craft for the green waters (for which it has almost none) out of a blue water fleet.
    – The nordic navies are developing nascent blue water capabilities out of a green water fleet.

    You challenged my point that Dr. Dalsjö specifically indicated that the characteristics stated were specifically for a classic cruiser vessel and that he had specifically stated that such characteristics were to be sought in a vessel over 1,000t displacement.

    To that I responded by giving you quotes out of your favorite source. I copied out the prelude to Dr. Dalsjö’s 10 points, where he specifically describes the “ideal” new vessel for the Swedish fleet as the Absalon and supports the claim by creating a list of characteristics that describe a classical cruiser with added qualities such as the flexibility afforded by the Absalon.
    In that same section, Dalsjö specifically prescribes a shift from small combat vessels under 1,000t (of which Sweden has plenty) to large combat vessels (of which Sweden has none).

    To this you responded by ranting about how terrible the LCS program has been (agreed) and how the Absalon is a better frigate replacement. Neither point had anything to do with either my comment or the previous line of discussion.

    I don’t care about the LCS progam (it has failed at all objectives) and the LCS-1, for my view, is a complete wash.*

    While the LCS has become a frigate replacement program (as it has swelled in mass), the original (long lost) goal of the program was not to develop another classic cruiser/frigate but to develop small, focused-capability vessels that would not break the bank to develop in numbers for green water patrols in/around foreign waters. The Cebrowski and Hughes “streetfighter” concept concentrated on a means of re-entering the expanding littorals in an era where anti-access/area denial technologies prevented the conventional fleet vessels from entering within several dozen miles of enemy coastline. The LCS program began as the desire to launch large numbers of small, heavily armed craft (more like the CB90 than the Perry) as well as UAVs and UUVs to prepare the littoral space for the insertion of land forces. This low-end force was meant to cost less than 10% of the high-end force while providing 25% of the fleet. The main manned vessels were targeted in the range of 300+ tons with capabilities that perfectly describe vessels in the Stockholm class. A support mothership would provide fueling, support for long transits and resupply for the associated small craft. The relatively low value of these vessels combined with their ability to punish enemy submarines and small craft meant that enemy craft seeking to attack them were at great risk of being sunk. The LCS-1 meets none of these concepts.

    I refer you to the following, among the hundreds of sources, if background reading is required:
    http://www.ndu.edu/ctnsp/Case%20Studies/Case%207%20LCS.pdf

    ——

    Yet another example of not reading the answers:
    When the issue of using corvettes as low-end combat vessels continued, you referenced Dr. Dalsjö’s 10 characteristics again…paying no heed to the evidence presented to you wherein Dr. Dalsjö specifically clarified that those characteristics were applying to a large vessel. In the case of the Absalon transport frigate and Huitfeldt frigate, vessels that are well over 6,000t. The Huitfeldt might more accurately be called a destroyer.**

    In any case, Dr. Dalsjö’s view is specifically that, if Sweden (which has a history of cross-purchasing military items with fellow nordic countries) wanted to develop an expeditionary capability (in addition to the small craft, which Dalsjö noted have completed long-distance, expeditionary patrols) it should look to the Absalon class. I agree with that assessment. Given Sweden’s excellent small corvettes, a vessel like the Absalon (which uses the Swedish SRC90E) would fit in nicely with a desire to increase the Swedish presence on international mission such as the anti-piracy patrols off of Somalia. But that doesn’t mean that it fills the role of littoral warrior any better than the LCS.

    —–

    To the point:
    You said: “Proclaiming as you do that the US Navy doesn’t need such a ship because it has it already is LUDICROUS.

    It may be ludicrous, but it is how things are done.

    When navies are trying to solve a certain problem (ie, the need for cheaper low-end vessels for various tasks that must otherwise be filled by a limited set of very expensive high-end vessels), they tend to not look to fill in operational roles that have already been filled.

    If the USN needs to run humanitarian support instead of, say, destroy a nation with cruise missiles, then they happily dispatch an LSD or LPD…or even an entire ARG/ESG if it is in the right region. If it needs to perform an operation to “show the flag” or intimidate the hell out of a country, it parks a Burke-class destroyer or two off of that nation’s coast. The Absalon is not built to the same standards used on these vessels and the program would, in the USN, be dead in the water…or end up so bloated that nobody knows what to do with it.

    —–
    —–

    * -The LCS-2 at least has enough aviation space to make the concept of operations interesting (although the landing pad must be re-engineered for heavier loads, perhaps by use of a steel hull once the ridiculous speed requirement has been eliminated…and the price dropping by half would be nice, too).

    Additionally, the USN would never adopt the Absalon for combat duties (a perhaps wrong-headed approach, but one that is prevalent) as a foreign vessel built do an unknown standard. Even though it is better armed and equipped to execute the role of a frigate and support hybrid operations (combat and humanitarian), is cheap (until the US military-industrial complex folks get their hands on it) and exists as a proven design…they will not take it.

    They shouldn’t take the LCS program past the first two and anyone who ever had command responsibilities for the program should probably be relieved of command for cause…but they’ll accept that a thousand times over before the Absalon.

    Were I building a navy from scratch, I would place the Absalon along side LPD/LSDs and LHDs to form an expeditionary amphibious group with organic fire support capabilities…but I am not the USN.

    The USN will accept foreign companies that set up American shells (BAE, VT, Austal, Incat, Fincantieri, Eurocopter and all of the Israeli firms), but not ‘foreign’ products. Odense Staalskibsværft should try looking at taking over Todd Shipyards, which has USN maintenance contracts but hasn’t produced a major USN combat vessel in some years…but not for lack of capability. THEN they might be considered.

    ** – A great deal of confusion exists relative to the terms of Destroyer vs. Frigate vs. Corvette vs. FAC. Political and national traditions have a lot of weight in the distinction (overcoming issues like weight class, armament, and role). While most frigates designed during the Cold War seem to have stuck in the range of 3,000-4,400t full displacement or less (Perry, Knox, Brooke, Garcia, Neustrashimy, Krivak, La Fayette, Floréal, Halifax, Type 21, Type 23, Leander, Maestrale, Lupo, Santa María, Bremen, Oslo, Karel Doorman and Denmark’s own Thetis, Peder Skram, Beskytteren, and Hvidbjoernen classes).

    More recent European Frigates (Huitfeldt, F124, F125, FREMM, De Zeven Provinciën, F100 and derivatives) are more in the range (5,000t+) of Cold War destroyers (Burke, Spruance, Kidd, Type 42, Sovremenniy, Lütjens).

    Political reasons mean that the term “destroyer” is avoided, although the scales and capabilities of these vessels indicate that “destroyer” is the appropriate title. Adding to this is the increase across the board in terms of ship classes: new 3,000t vessels are called ‘corvettes’ instead of frigates and new destroyers (Burke Flight IIa, Type 45) approach the displacement of the old cruisers (Ticonderoga).

  20. Joe K. permalink
    November 19, 2009 10:47 am

    I don’t know if this has been posted, but CBD, do you understand the idea of crew retention? If you put people on a ship that causes its crew hefty discomfort without any light at the end of the tunnel you are putting that ship on a course for high crew turnover every few years.

    Why do you think Navy pilots often quit their jobs after two or three tours on a carrier? Because it’s a tough job and people are not likely to be a Navy pilot for the entirety of their career.

    If you field more corvettes that cannot handle Blue Water as the larger destroyers and cruisers you risk putting those ships on a crew rotation where only the most senior officers would have more than a few years experience on them, and that’s if they stay.

  21. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:53 am

    CBD said : “A ship that doesn’t yet exist vs. a ship that will never exist? Really?”

    Are you trying to suggest that the folks working at NGSS and OSS don’t know how to estimate speed power curves ?

    Are you trying to suggest that YOU know better ?

    Do you understand that the kind of jackass comments you’ve just offered is not the way to build credibility ?

  22. Scott B. permalink
    November 19, 2009 3:25 am

    CBD said : “I’ve already addressed each of your claims now more than twice. I’ll leave it at the following: Read from top. If unsatisfied, read again.”

    So you cannot answer the question.

    That doesn’t surprise me at all…

  23. November 19, 2009 3:18 am

    Hello,

    CBD said:

    “A ship that doesn’t yet exist vs. a ship that will never exist? Really?”

    I can give an example of ships which do exist.

    The 1,940 tonne Nakhoda Ragam class corvettes make 30 knots on 30 Mega Watts of power:

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

    The 4,100 tonne Adelaide class frigates also make 30 knots on 30 Mega Watts of power:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Adelaide_(FFG_01)

    tangosix.

  24. CBD permalink
    November 18, 2009 11:43 pm

    1) The Ivar Huitfeldt-class frigates (full load displacement 6,000+ tons, length 455 feet) require 32 MW to make 28+ knots.

    2) The Northrop Grumman Multi-Purpose corvette (aka Sa’ar 5B) (full load displacement 2,310 tons, length 33 feet) require 38 MW to make 28.5 knots.

    The former has a CODAD propulsion, and the latter has a CODOG propulsion.

    Wanna bet which design is the most fuel efficient ?

    A ship that doesn’t yet exist vs. a ship that will never exist? Really?

  25. CBD permalink
    November 18, 2009 9:24 pm

    Scott,
    I’ve already addressed each of your claims now more than twice. I’ll leave it at the following: Read from top. If unsatisfied, read again.

  26. Scott B. permalink
    November 18, 2009 6:05 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Scott and others will argue that large size doesn’t mean extreme cost.”

    What I argue is that for the cost of your exquisite corvette, you can get something that has :

    1. superior endurance
    2. better seakeeping
    3. more versatility
    4. superior adaptability
    5. better air defense (not only for self-defense)
    6. better interoperability
    7. better survivability
    8. superior crew comfort
    9. more free spaces
    10. better aviation facilities

    Why even bother with the mythical corvette ? Because it’s more sexy ?

  27. Scott B. permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:57 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “If you want to decrease manning issues, build smaller ships.”

    That’s not true.

    For instance, the Northrop Grumman Multi-Purpose corvette (aka Sa’ar 5B) requires the same number of personnel as the Ivar Huitfeldt-class frigate, i.e. about 100 in both cases.

    And the former will be more of a burden on support asset than the latter, for instance because of her much inferior endurance (3,650 NM @ 17 knots for the Sa’ar 5B vs 9,000 NM @ 15 knots for the Ivar Huitfeldt).

  28. Scott B. permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:40 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “If you want to reduce individual cost of ships and simplify construction, build them smaller!”

    That’s not true.

    Ceteris paribus, building a small ship doesn’t simplify construction since the weights and size of equipment which must go into the ship have proportionally more impact on a smaller hull, which also requires more power to achieve a given speed (for a displacement hull, the power required per ton is very nearly a function of the speed-length ratio).

  29. Scott B. permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:32 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “If you want fuel efficient vessels, build them smaller (it worked for cars!)”

    That’s not TRUE. For instance :

    1) The Ivar Huitfeldt-class frigates (full load displacement 6,000+ tons, length 455 feet) require 32 MW to make 28+ knots.

    2) The Northrop Grumman Multi-Purpose corvette (aka Sa’ar 5B) (full load displacement 2,310 tons, length 33 feet) require 38 MW to make 28.5 knots.

    The former has a CODAD propulsion, and the latter has a CODOG propulsion.

    Wanna bet which design is the most fuel efficient ? ;-))

  30. Scott B. permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:15 pm

    CBD said : “In other words, Dalsjo is looking at exactly the opposite problem of the one facing the USN and is coming up with a cheap, but long-legged and highly capable vessel”

    According to the LCS promoters, LCS was supposed to be a *cheap truck* that could self-deploy transoceanically.

    When I look at the LCS program, all I see is a prohibitively expensive speedboat, that’s going to be very hard to deploy overseas considering the support assets it will require to do so.

    OTOH, Absalon is EXACTLY a cheap truck that can self-deploy transoceanically. And Absalon can do much more.

    Proclaiming as you do that the US Navy doesn’t need such a ship because it has it already is LUDICROUS.

    Proclaiming as you do that the mythical corvette will fit the bill is equally LUDICROUS.

    Again, you start with the solution, which in your case was initially a glorified PC Cyclone which quickly morphed into a less-than-2,000-ton corvette, and try to find the problem that your favorite solution is going to solve. In the case of the US Navy, it won’t solve any.

  31. Scott B. permalink
    November 18, 2009 4:39 pm

    CBD said : “I answered it. Before you even asked it. WWII DEs.”

    1) The question was :

    “can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?”

    The question was not :

    “can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that did transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?”

    So your answer is ?

    2) On the DEs, I posted this a couple of times already, but hey, it seems that a third time won’t hurt :

    ***************************************************************************
    Below are some comments made by our British friends on their Captain-class frigates (i.e. US-built DEs) :

    “Rollin – since this report is written at sea, it is difficult to describe with reticence the nauseating movement of these vessels in the open sea…”

    “Built presumably in the principle of ‘Never repair, sink or replace’, these ships present no problem at all as to damage control. There is none.”

    “It is unenviable to serve on a ship on which all hands are hoping for a draft note. It is influenced by excessive and uncontrollable rolling which is a factor which obscures every virtue these ships may possess. It cannot be urged too strongly before the ‘market is flooded’, that all the most strenuous measures be taken to mitigate this overwhelming defect in all vessels of this class.”

    “Commanding officers of both types of Captain-class frigates are unanimous in their complaints about the rapid rolling of these ships. The quickness of the recovery not only causes physical exhaustion but makes the efficient operating of weapons and instruments most difficult”.

    You’ll find much more details in Norman Friedman’s US Destroyers, Chapter 7, pp.137-164, which is where the above quotes come from.
    ***************************************************************************

  32. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 18, 2009 9:31 am

    CBD says “True, but SMALL manning on SMALL craft is a different fish.”

    Bringing up a good point. If you want to decrease manning issues, build smaller ships.
    If you want fuel efficient vessels, build them smaller (it worked for cars!)
    If you want to reduce individual cost of ships and simplify construction, build them smaller!

    All these are problems all navies possess, from manning to operating costs. If you are worried about losing capability, then numbers has a quality all its own. If you are worried about individual protection, numbers mean fewer targets, letting the enemy worry about where you are instead of the opposite.

    Scott and others will argue that large size doesn’t mean extreme cost. This applies also to the corvette that small doesn’t mean incapable, excessively vulnerable, or not useful. They are useful, proved in war, cost efficient in peacetime, while being more relevent to Third World gunboat duties than battleships.

  33. CBD permalink
    November 18, 2009 7:37 am

    “Lean manning saps morale, puts sailors at risk”
    Agreed. But the difference is significant between trying to run a 3,000+t vessel (LCS-1) with 65-75 crew (clearly, from recent news, more like 95…with the balance in temporary berths) versus the types of crewing arrangements on most corvettes (where additional berths are to facilitate additional, not core capacities).

    Examples:
    Baynunah Class: 660t vessel (full) (71.3m). Core mission crew: 50 + room for 12.
    Sigma Class: 1,700t vessel (full) (<91m). Core mission crew: 62 + room for 20.
    Qahir Class: 1,450t vessel (full) (83m). Core mission crew: 45 + room for 15.
    Future Omani corvettes: 1,650t vessel (~90m). Core mission crew: 70 (incl. aviation)

    Each of these currently have helicopter facilities that, were they downgraded to support UAV launches, would provide room (eliminating Av fuel, mechanical space, etc) for additional crew (by eliminating air crew and adding space), stores (like fuel for the main vessel) and small craft for VBSS.

    Lean manning saps morale. True, but SMALL manning on SMALL craft is a different fish.

    Lean manning means more work because the tasks of a ship don't shrink with the crew. Small manning for ships with fewer tasks at better proportions (crew:tasks) allows your crews to rest between shifts. Hybrid sailors are good, but that doesn't mean that they don't need sleep…

    Conflation of lean manning (small crew, big ship) with small crews (small crew, small ship) should be avoided.

  34. CBD permalink
    November 17, 2009 8:55 pm

    Putting sailors in expendable corvette as you propose is the best way to create a risk-averse Navy !!!”
    We HAVE a risk-averse navy. The plans for amphibious invasions involve launching assaults over 50nm from shore. They have abandoned anything that can’t survive in every situation and have constantly sought to replace good, solid planes with more expensive planes that might work less well because of what the latest paper tiger threat (USSR err Communist China err Saddam err Iran err North Korea) might have the capability to do.

    —-

    Where is Dr. Robert Dalsjö stating that these criteria are *simply for vessels that are over 1,000t* ? Which page ? Which paragraph ?

    Set-up: The existing Swedish Fleet and the need to expand upwards in tonnage.
    p.61 “For half a century now, the Swedish Navy has not taken delivery of any surface combatant – excluding mine-layers – with a displacement over 500 tons. Since the 1980s, nothing has provided an impetus to change the dominant paradigm within the Navy. But the world, and Sweden’s role in it, has changed profoundly since then, leading to entirely new needs for capabilities, if the naval forces are to be useful as instruments of Swedish security policy.”

    p.62 “The combatant craft – I question whether anything below 1000 tons should be called a ship – we now have in service are all designed for operations in the Baltic under late Cold War conditions. Much the same applies to the Amphibious Corps, which was designed, organized and equipped for a mobile defence of our own coastline, not for the classic role of marines, attacking land from the sea.”

    Statement of intent: to enter deep waters with a fleet that goes beyond 1,000 tons displacement and can fill the roles of the over-strained UK and American forces of destroyers (ie, can fill the role of a classic cruiser: a vessel capable of long-range patrol and independent operation from the fleet, meant for individual strike and protection missions on the high seas.)
    pp. 62-3. “Is it difficult to find a way out to where there is ample water under the keel? Not really.”
    “If Sweden’s naval forces are to have a future they have to be seen as useful instruments of security policy. In order to do this, they need to be able to make contributions where the centre of international politicial-naval attention is, and that is far beyond home waters. For centuries, trade-dependent Sweden has benefited from the fact that first the Royal Navy, and then the U.S. Navy kept the trade lanes open and safe. Now, we can no longer sit back and count on others doing all the job for us.”

    Dalsjo then calls for the Swedish Navy and Amphibious forces to seek a ship capable of operating in these roles (of the USN’s Burkes and amphibious craft). The same paragraph he gives the 10 points to which you constantly refer.

    In other words, Dalsjo is looking at exactly the opposite problem of the one facing the USN and is coming up with a cheap, but long-legged and highly capable vessel to serve as BOTH low-end destroyer/frigate and highly capable LPD/LSD–the Absalon hybrid/station wagon. Great ship, but not what is needed for a navy that has those craft already (but are faster, built to higher standards, have greater capacity and more arms)

    If you didn’t get that you should re-read those conference statements.

    —-
    I asked a simple question yesterday : can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?

    And your answer is?
    I answered it. Before you even asked it.
    WWII DEs. Also, I earlier said:
    “The destroyer escorts (predecessors to the Knox class and Perry class frigates) of WWII such as the Edsall and Butler classes and the 1950s’ Dealey class were LESS THAN 2,000t and under 100m long. They were considered to be highly capable vessels capable of patrolling large swaths of the sea.

    “Low displacement was not a hindrance to worldwide operations, as evidenced by their built-in ranges of 5-10,000nmi. Scores of these vessels were produced in wartime and sent around the world to do combat. There were no complaints that such small vessels were incapable of transiting the Atlantic or Pacific for patrol duties.”

    —-

  35. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 12:37 pm

    CBD said : “Only our nuclear Submarines, CVNs and some, large non-combatant or amphibious vessels can really accomplish operations without UNREP. Why should smaller ships be held to a different standard than the Burkes?”

    The mythical 1,000-ton corvette, the Israeli Saar 5, can do 3,500 NM @ 12 knots.

    A Station Wagon Frigate like ABSALON can do 9,000 NM @ 15 knots.

    Am I supposed to believe that the former is not going to require more logistical support than the latter (leaving aside the fact that the Saar 5 NEVER replenished at sea as far as I am aware) ?

    Am I supposed to believe that, since both will need to refuel at some point, the difference in endurance doesn’t matter ?

  36. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:53 am

    CBD said : “Your ability to read what others have written is less clear.”

    I asked a simple question yesterday : can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?

    And your answer is ?

  37. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:49 am

    CBD said : “The role of these vessels as means of aggressively seeking out and striking at the enemy means that they will have higher casualties”

    Did you read Friedman’s paper for the Swedish conference on naval strategy. Specifically this paragraph where it says (page 17, end of first paragraph) :

    “A commander who believes that one hit will finish his ship will be much more prone to make expensive mistakes than one who thinks he can, in a pinch, accept a hit and fight back.”

    Likewise, as the much regretted D.K. Brown pointed out in his Future British Surface Fleet (page 73) :

    “The common philosophy of the US Navy and the Royal Navy is well illustrated by their respective slogans ‘Fight Hurt’ and ‘To Float, to Move, to Fight'”

    Putting sailors in expendable corvette as you propose is the best way to create a risk-averse Navy !!!

  38. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:39 am

    CBD said : “Smaller crews have been shown to have BETTER morale and a STRONGER dedication to their duties, not the reverse.”

    Lean manning saps morale, puts sailors at risk

  39. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:35 am

    CBD said : “You can have aviation corvettes with patrol capabilities or patrol corvettes with anti-shipping capabilities (and some UAV capacity for scouting), doing both on one platform is not sustainable.”

    Once you get rid of this fixation of corvette, what you’ll find out is that there are WARships out there that can carry two large embarked helicopters AND possess significant anti-shipping capabilities.

    You’ll also find out that these WARships don’t necessarily cost more to acquire and operate than the mythical corvette.

    Your problem is that you start with some pre-conceived solution (the mythical corvette) and then try to find what problem they might solve, hence your tunnel vision, your proposal to introduce yet another type of helicopter in the US Navy, your disdain for *platform-centric* attributes, etc…

  40. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:28 am

    CBD said : “And, as I pointed out the last time several times you brought up the statements of the chief of the INS, there are several distinct reasons for him to make such statements…and several reasons why he is wrong (intentionally so, in an attempt to save his career).”

    And the evidence that supports your claim is what ?

  41. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:23 am

    CBD said : “Dr. Dalsjo is specifically describing a classic cruiser-type ship.”

    At the risk of re-posting what I said… yesterday :

    “The new 6,000-ton flexible support ship Absalon is currently leading Task Force 150 off the Horn of Africa, and has prevented several attacks from pirates. She was laid down in 2003 and she and her sister were delivered and operational in 2007/2008, fully equipped and within a budget of slightly more than 3 billions Swedish kronor for both ships.

    The Absalon does not only have lots of space for equipment and people, making it a very flexible platform for various tasks. But it also carries all of the weapons system and sensors one would associate with a frigate, like a 5-inch gun, Harpoon SSMs, Evolved Sea Sparrow SAMs, ASW torpedoes, and two embarked medium helicopters. In fact, one might call her a station wagon version of a frigate.”

    1) Does the second paragraph sound like a *classic-cruiser type ship*, whatever that means in your mind ?

    2) Did you check how much 3 billion Swedish kronor makes in USD ? Does that sound like a typical pricetag for what you call a *classic-cruiser type ship*, whatever that means in your mind ?

  42. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 11:13 am

    CBD said : “These are not strict criteria he lays down for any vessel, simply for vessels that are over 1,000t and that will have a wider role in international affairs.”

    Where is Dr. Robert Dalsjö stating that these criteria are *simply for vessels that are over 1,000t* ? Which page ? Which paragraph ?

  43. CBD permalink
    November 17, 2009 10:56 am

    Scott B.,
    Your ability to “continue forever,” screaming into the void, is clear.

    Your ability to read what others have written is less clear.

    Dalsjo:
    As I’ve now repeatedly stated, he is responding to the issues of a small-scale, large number navy that seeks to expand into the high end. Rather than trying to stretch a limited naval budget to build a fleet of modern destroyers (classic cruisers) as well as a fleet of amphibious landing ships, he is suggesting that they go with they hybridized, station-wagon Absalon (which fills both roles adequately given the foreseen role as a flag ship of allied efforts, where real destroyers and frigates will be i abundance and the specific threats are relatively limited).

    I agree. The USN, however, has exactly the opposite problem, many high-end platforms with no low end fill-in (on a MUCH higher budget).

    Dr. Dalsjo is specifically describing a classic cruiser-type ship. The USN has these…the USN doesn’t need more of these. These are not strict criteria he lays down for any vessel, simply for vessels that are over 1,000t and that will have a wider role in international affairs. Re-read his statements. Heck, re-read the entire conference agenda. http://www2.foi.se/rapp/foir2655.pdf

    Sa’ar V:
    It’s always nice to make a straw-man argument to distract from the point, but it is not useful for understanding the inherent utility (or non-utility) of low-end ships in a navy. The rumors that started were picked up in other sources…yes. The INS has a vested interest in maintaining confusion about its abilities (say, the ability to launch a long-range nuclear strike from the Dolphin-class submarines).

    And, as I pointed out the last time several times you brought up the statements of the chief of the INS, there are several distinct reasons for him to make such statements…and several reasons why he is wrong (intentionally so, in an attempt to save his career).

    Helicopters:
    You can have aviation corvettes with patrol capabilities or patrol corvettes with anti-shipping capabilities (and some UAV capacity for scouting), doing both on one platform is not sustainable. IF you need both, you make a mixed fleet based on a common hull, with a variant dedicated to aviation and another dedicated to general patrol. The UAV capacity takes limited space (the ScanEagle has been launched from the Mk V SOC) and manpower.

    IF you want helicopters (as I said), you would want to consider the smaller variants. The Panther/Dauphin has been proven in use in the USCG, can be produced in numbers in-country, has known capabilities and can fulfill likely missions for a small ship.

    The USN already operates a great variety of helicopters off of its ships (UH-1N/Y, HH-1N, AH-1W/Z; CH-46D; CH-53D; MH-53E; SH-60B/F, HH60H, MH-60R/S; and UH-3H)…and they all have limited commonality. While the USN is seeking to collapse those into a more limited set of airframes (UH-1Y, AH-1Z, M/CH-53K, and MH-60R/S), they’re all still rather large aircraft.

    The adoption of the MH65C Dauphin or a Panther variant would work well for cooperative efforts with the USCG (say, the operations currently off of Iraq and generally around the middle east) and is well-adapted for small ship efforts (proven history). Its specs aren’t horrible either, 2-4 crew + 10 passengers, 356 nm range, 160knot top speed, a total loaded weight less than half of the Blackhawk series, and 1,540kg useful load. For a helicopter to be launched, recovered and kept on a small aviation corvette, the Dauphin/Panther is a good option.

    Affordable Ships =/= expendable ships:
    Just because a ship has less protection than a large vessel does not mean that it is at greater risk to losing crew. Smaller crew numbers, smaller target (via lower signatures) and fewer enemy resources dedicated to the destruction of a particular low-end vessel mean that there is a roughly equivalent risk to being on such a vessel.

    The role of these vessels as means of aggressively seeking out and striking at the enemy means that they will have higher casualties than a Burke-class that sits as far away as possible while launching its strikes…until the Burke is sunk. In the meantime, the lower-craft will be more effective in disrupting enemy forces and the loss of one ship does not present a serious blow to the whole force. Smaller crews have been shown to have BETTER morale and a STRONGER dedication to their duties, not the reverse. It’s also significantly more difficult to launch a successful surprise attack on a fleet of several vessels than on one. If we can only afford to send one-vessel fleets in the future, our comparable risk increases greatly.

  44. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 7:39 am

    Mike Burleson said : “So I think the best comfort we can provide for our sailors in a warship is ensuring they have a better chance of survival when the missiles and suicide boats start attacking.”

    Putting our sailors in the kind of expendable (war)ship you’re promoting, i.e. the mythical corvette, won’t give them a better chance of survival.

    Putting our sailors in (war)ships with the kind of dubious seakeeping qualities you’re promoting will seriously degrade their mission effectiveness when suicide boats start attacking.

    Putting our sailors in (war)ships with the kind of austere comfort you’re promoting won’t be good for recruitment and retention and won’t be good for morale and crew cohesion.

    And I could continue forever….

  45. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 7:26 am

    Mike Burleson said : “So I think the best comfort we can provide for our sailors in a warship is ensuring they have a better chance of survival when the missiles and suicide boats start attacking.”

    Your notion of *comfort* comes from the civilian world.

    At the risk of repeating myself again, I’ll repost what I said back in July 2009 :

    ****************************************************************
    Mike Burleson said : “Are ships built to fight or for leisurely peacetime requirements?”

    Seakeeping and crew comfort are not just *leisurely peacetime requirements* as you suggest.

    For instance, below are a couple of short paragraphs from STANAG 4154, Common Procedures for Seakeeping in the Ship Design Process :

    “The general desirability of good seakeeping performance is universally accepted and has been for almost as long as ships have been designed and built. In general terms, good seakeeping qualities permit a warship to operate in adverse weather conditions with minimum degradation of mission effectiveness.

    AND

    despite the clear link between poor seakeeping and reduced mission performance, seakeeping is not given sufficiently high priority when the naval requirements are defined.”

    IOW : a warship with poor seakeeping qualities is not built to fight.

  46. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 7:21 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Your size notion of size concerning warships doesn’t come from wartime experience”

    Am I supposed to believe that a conflict like the Falklands did not confirm the utmost need for such *platform-centric* attributes as endurance, seakeeping, air defense, interoperability, survivability, crew comfort or aviation facilities ?

    Or maybe I am supposed to believe that the Falklands don’t qualify as *wartime experience* ?

  47. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 7:16 am

    Mike Burleson said : “when you have real escorts, such as those we constructed in world wars, then you have plenty of ships for the enemy to worry about, instead of your handful of big ships piling on ever more armor and defenses”

    Not so long ago, regular contributors like Anonymous or B. Smitty made some interesting observations :

    *******************************************************************
    Anonymous said (September 23, 2009) :

    “Scott is right. Big is better. Mike you are confusing complication for size.”

    *******************************************************************
    B. Smitty said (September 23, 2009) :

    “More importantly, Mike is confusing big for expensive.”

    *******************************************************************

    For some reason, you keep making the same fatal error over and over again, which is why you end up proposing a (war)ship that fails to meet any of the 10 criterias listed by Dr. Robert Dalsjö.

    I call it a fatal error because the price that eventually gets paid for making such mistakes is always the same : the blood of our warfighters.

    (sorry for the double post)

  48. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 17, 2009 6:30 am

    Scott said “THINK BIG, not small !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    I do, in terms of number of ships, but concerning their size, I see no point except in terms of battleships. An all battleship navy gives you a few targets, but when you have real escorts, such as those we constructed in world wars, then you have plenty of ships for the enemy to worry about, instead of your handful of big ships piling on ever more armor and defenses, to create the mythical unsinkable warship.

    But with numbers you have presence, crews which are relieved on reasonable occasions, ships which can be replaced efficiently as they are worn out ect. You also have more targets for the Chinese anti-access weapons to contend, ensuring greater survivability.

    Your size notion of size concerning warships doesn’t come from wartime experience, ships meant to fight, but decades of peacetime sailing, and naval gunboat diplomacy. Imagine comparing the world’s most powerful warships to the little steam powered warships of the Victorian Age, where a casual cannon shot could tame whole countries and rogue dictators. Now we need to mobilize our high tech battlegroups, stealth bombers, and armored divisions, and we still haven’t conquered 7th Century, land-locked Afghanistan.

    So I think the best comfort we can provide for our sailors in a warship is ensuring they have a better chance of survival when the missiles and suicide boats start attacking.

  49. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 5:08 am

    Mike Burleson said : “I think I have awakened a sleeping giant!”

    Hey, Mike, if my estimates are correct, you’ll hit the 300,000 mark by the end of the week.

    This is just my modest contribution to the increasing success of your blog !!!

    All the more as I have a feeling that more and more people reading your blog are starting to realize, thanks to the quality of the debate, that the much-touted corvette is yet another solution looking for a problem.

    And that’s a very encouraging trend !!!

  50. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 5:03 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Saar 5 as top heavy-True but so are the Ticonderoga cruisers. Just look at them! Both work though and for decades now.”

    Except that much of this proposed armament fit has never been installed on the Saar 5, which isn’t the case with a Tico.

    Except that a Tico meets the USN requirements in terms of damage stability, and a Saar 5 doesn’t even come close.

    I can think of many more *not-so-subtle* differences, but hey, that’ll do for now. Your analogy doesn’t make any sense, at all.

  51. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:56 am

    Mike Burleson said : “On corvettes and seakeeping-I’ll concede a warship mainly geared for coastal warfare isn’t as stable on the high seas as a high seas battleship!”

    At the risk of repeating myself again and again, here is what the much regretted D.K. Brown pointed out so many times, for instance in his “Future British Surface Fleet” (p.56) :

    “It is widely believed, incorrectly, that waters close to the land are sheltered and so are safer, but even in the English Channel high winds and seas are not uncommon.

    The 50-year wave height is 20 meters almost to the Isle of Wight, with a corresponding wind speed of 30 m/s.

    Many inshore disasters have shown the danger of underestimating coastal areas, such as the breaking in half of the French torpedo Boat Branlebas off Dartmouth in World War II.”

  52. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:50 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Over-emphasis on seakeeping, crew comfort, endurance, and helo facilities, takes us back to the bloated frigates”

    As long as a Station Wagon Frigate, with good seakeeping qualities, good crew comfort, good endurance and good helo facilities can be kept affordable, what’s the problem ?

    And it’s not like a Station Wagon Frigate with good seakeeping qualities, good crew comfort, good endurance and good helo facilities cannot be had for about $250 million, is it ?

    So why even bother with the mythical corvette that won’t cost much less, and will prove to be nothing more than Chinese Junk ? All the more as the price to be paid at the end of the day will be the blood of the AMERICAN WARFIGHTER ?

  53. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:41 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Concerning Absalon-I still insist the USN can’t build this for $300 million.”

    Is labor more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Is steel more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Are diesel engines more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Is a 5″ gun more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Is a Mark-48 GMVLS more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Is a Harpoon launcher more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Is piping more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Are pumps more expensive in the US than in Denmark ?

    Etc…

  54. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:35 am

    Mike Burleson said : “CBD-Thought I had an ally for the corvette concept, but you are backsliding here on too many requirements for small vessels which are just not essential. Over-emphasis on seakeeping, crew comfort, endurance, and helo facilities, takes us back to the bloated frigates, and the destroyer/battleship obsession which has so weakened the global presence of Western Navies.”

    What this reply clearly shows is that there are two different *schools* in this entire pro-corvette advocacy :

    1) The first school believes that lunch is free and that cramming 10 pounds of potato’s in a 5 pound bag is the way to go : the end-result can only be an over-exquisite, über-expensive speedboat.

    2) The second school believes that such *platform-centric* features as seakeeping, crew comfort, endurance, helo facilities, vulnerability reduction, growth margins, etc… are obsolete *in the missile age* : the end-result is that when you sacrify these *platform-centric* features, what you really sacrify is THE AMERICAN WARFIGHTER.

    What it really shows is that the mythical corvette is NOT the way to go : what you want to do is THINK BIG, not small !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 17, 2009 4:32 am

    I think I have awakened a sleeping giant!

    Scott-Concerning the pirates now in the Blue Water, I discussed this before, that this wouldn’t happen if we had numerous smaller, shallow water vessels to keep the pirates in their coastal havens. I and others have warned this would happen if the piracy issue wasn’t nipped in the bud!

    Concerning Absalon-I still insist the USN can’t build this for $300 million. More likely a 6000 ton ship would be more closer to the $1 billion mark. You know how they are!

    Saar 5 as top heavy-True but so are the Ticonderoga cruisers. Just look at them! Both work though and for decades now.

    On corvettes and seakeeping-I’ll concede a warship mainly geared for coastal warfare isn’t as stable on the high seas as a high seas battleship!

    “Nuclear Powered Hydrofoil Battleships”-Sadly, you are probably right.

  56. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:20 am

    CBD said : “If Scott wants helicopters he loses AShM and gun capacity.”

    An ABSALON gives you all of the above, and MUCH MORE !!!

  57. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:16 am

    Scott B. said : “The fool I am would simply like to ask a basic question : can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?”

    Answer ?

  58. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:11 am

    Mike Burleson said : “CBD-Thought I had an ally for the corvette concept, but you are backsliding here on too many requirements for small vessels which are just not essential.”

    The Nuclear Powered Hydrofoil Battleships syndrom is still alive and kicking, especially on the internet !!!

  59. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 4:07 am

    Hudson said : “What Scott is saying is that stabilized guns and GPS don’t mean that the hull doesn’t roll in stormy seas.”

    In his excellent Future British Surface Fleet, on page 91, the much regretted D.K. Brown has a graph that “gives some idea of how the accuracy of even a modern stabilized gun falls off when its support is moving”.

    What the graph shows (target = destroyer, broadside; range = 7,000 m), is that the hit probability falls from ~0.35 when vertical velocity is ~0.5 mps down to less than 0.10 when vertical velocity increases to ~3 mps.

    But, hey, *platform-centric* considerations like seakeeping qualities are obsolete in the *missile age*, and *technology* will solve all the problems…

  60. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 3:45 am

    CBD said : “Dauphin/MH65 or the Panther (militarized Dauphin). These craft are successfully employed on corvettes and smaller vessels (ie, FACs like the Sa’ar 4.5) by many other nations. These can be produced in-country (American Eurocopter produces the MH65C for the USCG, which is the Americanized and up-engined AS365 Dauphin). The Panther is just the militarized version of the Dauphin, capable of bearing many weapons systems including ASW gear) and are lower weight than the Seahawk equivalent.”

    So the Navy should introduce a new type of embarked helicopter (new training, new supply chain, new equipment,…) , with less capabilities than the H-60, just because the H-60 won’t fit onto the mythical 1,000-ton corvette ?

    That’s not serious…

  61. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 3:41 am

    CBD said : “The DE vessels did transoceanic escorts regularly 60+ years ago. There were not problems with capability of those vessels.”

    At the risk of re-posting what I posted yesterday in this thread :

    “Rollin – since this report is written at sea, it is difficult to describe with reticence the nauseating movement of these vessels in the open sea…”

    “Built presumably in the principle of ‘Never repair, sink or replace’, these ships present no problem at all as to damage control. There is none.”

    “It is unenviable to serve on a ship on which all hands are hoping for a draft note. It is influenced by excessive and uncontrollable rolling which is a factor which obscures every virtue these ships may possess. It cannot be urged too strongly before the ‘market is flooded’, that all the most strenuous measures be taken to mitigate this overwhelming defect in all vessels of this class.”

    “Commanding officers of both types of Captain-class frigates are unanimous in their complaints about the rapid rolling of these ships. The quickness of the recovery not only causes physical exhaustion but makes the efficient operating of weapons and instruments most difficult”.

    You’ll find much more details in Norman Friedman’s US Destroyers, Chapter 7, pp.137-164, which is where the above quotes come from.

  62. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 3:36 am

    CBD said : “Survived the missile fine.”

    The missile fired by the Hezbollah DIDN’T hit the aluminium superstructure, otherwise INS Hanit would have been a burning wreck.

  63. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 17, 2009 3:35 am

    Re the SAAR 5’s survivability, there is considerable doubt out there that the missile that hit the ship was a 802, or if it was an 802 that the warhead detonated.

  64. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 3:25 am

    CBD said : “I’ve responded to that one before. I never heard back from you on my last post.”

    At the risk of repeating myself AGAIN, here is the statement made by the Israeli Navy Chief shortly after the incident (source)

    “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.” (emphasis added)

    And ONCE AGAIN, you’re trying to make it sound like what the Israeli Navy Chief said doesn’t exist and/or counts for nothing.

  65. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 3:15 am

    CBD said : “Rumors, alone.”

    Some quick quotes from the Forecast International specsheet on the Sa’ar 5 :

    “The armament was intended to provide for all types of engagements. The main armament comprises two anti-surface missile systems: eight 54-nautical-mile-range Harpoon missiles in two quadruple launchers, and eight Gabriel IIs, which have a 20-nautical-mile range. The principal anti-air weapon is the Barak I. This surface-to-air missile has a range of 5.4 nautical miles. Barak is carried in a 32-cell vertical launch system. It is backed up by a 20mm Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) and two 20mm Oerlikon mounts. Much of this proposed armament fit has never been installed, probably for topweight reasons.

    Topweight considerations mean that the ships have been completed to a much reduced standard from the original design. The Gabriel missiles are not carried, and the 76mm Otobreda gun has been replaced with a 20mm Mk 15 Phalanx and the two Sea Vulcans with pintle-mounted 20mm cannon. There is considerable confusion as to whether the Barak missiles planned for these ships have actually been installed. The position of the satellite antenna over the rear 32-round silo strongly suggests that this battery is not used at present.”

    For Combat Fleets of the World, 2007 edition, p.333 :

    “The planned eight single launcher containers for Gabriel-II antiship missiles were not installed due to topweight problems”

    And of course, our beloved Mike B. hit the nail about a year ago with this post :
    Sa’ar V Corvette is Top-Heavy

  66. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 2:53 am

    Mike Burleson said : “The Danish vessel can be seen as a small mothership, which is fine if you have a small navy. But the better the mothership the more support you can have for corvettes”

    There’s no need for corvettes when you can have an Absalon for pretty much the same cost as the mythical 1,000-ton corvette, as you conceded in your Build Your Own Navy-Radicalized! blog entry :

    3 points : Danish Absalon Flexible Support Ship –> $300 million per unit
    3 points : Corvette (high-end missile) –> $300 million per unit

    Compared with the mythical 1,000-ton corvette, an Absalon offers :

    1. MORE endurance : the ability to operate at sea for an extended time without replenishment or service.

    2. BETTER seakeeping : the ability to operate in or transit rough waters while maintaining not only safety, but also operational effectiveness.

    3. MORE versatility : the ability to solve several different tasks in differing circumstances.

    4. MORE adaptability : the ability to reconfigure the ship’s capabilities in order to meet changing circumstances.

    5. BETTER air defense : not only for self-defense

    6. BETTER interoperability : including C3I and replenishment at sea

    7. BETTER survivability : being able to take a hit from a RPG or even a SSM, without undue casualties and while remaining not only afloat but also able to operate.

    8. MORE crew comfort : quite important during extended deployments, especially with an all-volunteer crew.

    9. MORE free spaces : for additional elements, functions or equipment.

    10. BETTER facilities for embarked helicopters and/or UAVs

    To paraphrase Dr. Robert Dalsjö : “We No Longer Need a Sports Car, We Need a Station Wagon”

    To paraphrase Gen. Philip Sheridan : “The only good corvette is a DEAD corvette”

  67. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 2:33 am

    Mike Burleson said : “not needed for the Blue Water when you have destroyers and submarines.”

    Unless I missed something, most of the anti-piracy effort off Somalia takes place in not-so-shallow waters, and not-so-close from the coastline.

    Are you trying to suggest is that AEGIS destroyers and nuclear submarines are the right tool for that kind of anti-piracy job ?

  68. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 2:29 am

    Mike Burleson said : “It is too large for the littorals”

    Not so long ago, I asked a pretty simple question and I don’t recall seeing any answer.

    So I might as well ask again :

    *********************************************************************

    Mike Burleson said : “Logically for shallow seas you want a smaller shallow water vessel.”

    What sort of shallow waters are you talking about, i.e. what depth in feet / meters ?

    What would be the corresponding maximum navigational draft of the vessel you envision ?

    Why is a naval vessel even needed ?

    *********************************************************************

    And the answers are ?

  69. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 2:25 am

    Mike Burleson said : “That said, Absalon probably isn’t for the US. It is too large for the littorals, “

    1) At the risk of repeating myself again :

    **********************************************************************
    B. Smitty asked : “I have to wonder though, how many places Freedom can go at 3.7m draft that an F125 can’t go at 5m draft.”

    Bill replied : “Not many. 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. This is particularly true if you need to maintain the ability to back down or conduct low-speed maneuvers; in that case the reverse bucket flow looks and acts exactly like one of Mel Fisher’s salavage boats..everything/anything on the bottom…as much as 3-4m BELOW the keel..gets nicely ‘recovered and filtered’ through the intake for future removal by a diving crew (with that propulsion line tagged out, of course.

    I can personally tell ya how long it takes a team to extract a steel-belted radial tire from a 63SII KaMeWa (4.5 hours) ..oh..and a Persian carpet too (2.5 hours). The load of large (4″-8″ diameter) rocks we picked up in Pusan..we didn’t bother to remove since the impeller was trashed.

    Intake grates kill jet performance and are seldom employed on any jet vessels designed and built by the ‘competent guys’ (e.g. thems not here in US) but even with intake grates, the jet impeller erosion and damage is till great when using buckets in ’shallowish’ water conditions.

    **********************************************************************

    2) At the risk of repeating myself again, your mythical 1,000-ton corvette, the Sa’ar 5, has a navigational draft of 15 feet, i.e. 4.7 meters.

  70. Scott B. permalink
    November 17, 2009 2:12 am

    CBD said : “The Absalons would be nice, but don’t fit in (and are not required) in such a fleet.”

    The Absalons fit exactly where LCS is supposed to fit, except that they cost less than half as much and can do MUCH MORE than LCS ever will.

  71. November 16, 2009 11:00 pm

    CBD,

    You’re right; my second post was in error. It’s a long thread and I did not go back far enough for my second post. As to your first post, the Navy does plan a replacement for the Perry class–the LCS. The LCS is not a proper frigate, but that’s what the Navy plans to do.

    I saw a live fire demonstration of a stabilized gun at Aberdeen Proving Grounds years ago. An M-60 tank drove around in a tight circle with its gun trained on a paper target a mile down range. The tracer bolts flew down there in about one second and were consistently high. Obviously the device worked but was not calibrated properly.

  72. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 10:06 pm

    Mike,
    The Corvettes can handle Helicopters…but I don’t think they’re needed (A SeaEagle is better for their duties) and an aviation corvette or local mothership is more capable of running aviation operations. If Scott wants helicopters he loses AShM and gun capacity. Helicopters are nice, but not necessary for every corvette. If he wants to consider helicopters as necessary on-board items, he should recognize that fleet-standard H-60 series craft are not needed for the role of a Corvette.

    Seakeeping is relative. The modern small corvette can keep going in conditions that would have been disastrous for older, equivalently sized vessels. An increase in size will only mean relative stability…at the cost of mission effectiveness in the stated role. An increased attention towards hull form, stabilization systems and a reduced focus on the idea that “more mass (or speed) = better” (disregarding mission).

    I do think that endurance over speed is important for the dual role of such vessels (peacetime/LIC interdiction, hot-war activity as pickets and minor combatants).

    Comfort is relative. The crew will not have the benefits of expansive berths, but they’ll be less crowded than on the WWII-era DEs (in terms of personnel density per ton of vessel). Lack of crowding will be due to that alone. A situation as we now see on LCS-1 (where sufficient crew are only on board with make-do add-ons…which occupy the valuable and already limited mission space on that vessel) is simply not acceptable, but the purpose of these crews is to sail. No fancy mess halls, but, done right, crews might feel like they’re actually sailing. :)

    Ships systems should, as much as possible, be based on the equipment carried on larger vessels (76mm or 57mm main gun, as the rest of the fleet goes, 25-30mm secondary armament, standard ASMs, and some sort of short-range AD missile would be full combat load. Doesn’t sound like much, but with UAVs, RHIBs, and numbers the “quantity has a quality all of its own.”

  73. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 16, 2009 9:25 pm

    DE wrote “An Absalon type of vessel with frigate sensors, communications, and weaponry would clearly enhance the capabilities of smaller, inshore littoral combatants.”

    I agree that something along this line is needed, but a large frigate like the Absalon isn’t the vessel for this. The Danish vessel can be seen as a small mothership, which is fine if you have a small navy. But the better the mothership the more support you can have for corvettes, and I see 10,000 tons as a minimum for a global navy like the USN. Not a warship, just an enabler of other combat vessels.

    See, I’m not totally against Big Ships!

    CBD-Thought I had an ally for the corvette concept, but you are backsliding here on too many requirements for small vessels which are just not essential. Over-emphasis on seakeeping, crew comfort, endurance, and helo facilities, takes us back to the bloated frigates, and the destroyer/battleship obsession which has so weakened the global presence of Western Navies.

    All these abilities are less important than numbers for coastal warships. Whatever special abilities they seemingly lack can be made up for with mothership support, hence the need for influence squadrons.

    A corvette is not a frigate, and different functions call for different types of warships. Keep the specs low and you keep numbers high and costs reasonable.

  74. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 8:02 pm

    Hudson,
    I’m well aware. I have also done that. Please read the post he was referring to, it’s covered even if he ignored it. I’ll post it again here:
    – Rolling would be mitigated and accepted as usual.
    The rolling of that class of vessels was, in part, due to the hull form selected in that class. The DEs were designed to be readily put together at any of a dozen small-end shipyards using pieces built at dozens of inland factories tasked with producing sections of the vessels. They were finished in under a month and that was certainly at the cost of any sort of complex hull form.

    We’ve come a long way in stabilization technology since the early WWII period (when the Captain class hull was designed), both in terms of passive hull qualities (especially since the 1960s) and active stabilization systems (anti-roll tanks, rudder and fin roll stabilizers). The latter have been used on most large USN vessels, reportedly reducing roll by as much as 40% .

    Added to that, sailing sometimes means actually sailing (not just moving from a civilian job of collecting trash at some office building to a navy job of collecting trash deep inside of a CVN)…thousands upon thousands of sailors managed, somehow, to survive being on the DE ships of WWII. I don’t believe that modern sailors are magically less hearty or capable of living aboard a small vessel.

    Scott B.,
    All measures given are full weights. The DE vessels did transoceanic escorts regularly 60+ years ago. There were not problems with capability of those vessels. Those WARSHIPS, those under 2,000t FULL LOAD warships (made cheaply with simple designs optimized for production rather than sea keeping), made the journey dozens of times. The operated in the North Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and other theaters without fault. Patrol duties (ie, subhunting) does not mean that a vessel is not a warship.

    Re: Sa’ar V: a wonderfully poor example for the type of vessel being sought.

    “1. endurance : FAILS (3,500 NM @ 12 knots)”
    The Sa’ar V is oriented towards patrolling in the Mediterranean, specifically the Eastern Mediterranean. Not at all a ship oriented towards crossing seas.

    “2. seakeeping : FAILS, quite miserably
    “3. versatility : FAILS, quite miserably (cannot even carry half of the notional weaponry on board)
    “4. adaptability : FAILS – see point 3 above”
    Rumors, alone. Standard patrol load is considerably below full combat load (reduced weight for the vessel and maintenance requirements for the crew), facilitating longer on-station patrol and reduced crew duties. Similar reduced carriage is observed on the Hayabusa class, which is usually seen with a fraction of full combat load. A silly rumor started years ago doesn’t mean anything.

    “5. air defense : FAILS – cannot even perform self-defense by the own admittance of the Israeli Navy Chief after the Hanit *incident*”
    I’ve responded to that one before. I never heard back from you on my last post.
    To Recap: The systems for defense were turned off, the failure was the same as for the USS Stark. Radars off, defense systems in standby. Same result, officers relieved for failure to respond to reported threats…except for the Chief of the IN, who was responsible for embargoing intelligence that was meant to warn the Hanit of the presence of AShMs in the possession of Hezbollah. The Barak has been proven capable, as has the Phalanx CIWS system, of intercepting such weapons…but that requires the system to be turned ON.

    “6. interoperability : FAILS. NEVER EVER REPLENISHED AT SEA.”
    Sa’ar V would have no need to perform USN-style UNREPs…since there are no UNREP-capable support ships in the Israeli Navy.

    “7. survivability : FAILS. The aluminium superstructure is not gonna help there”
    Survived the missile fine. Also got itself back to port…and was rapidly back in service.

    “8. crew comfort : FAILS. 60-70 folks on a 1,000-ton ship remains a pretty tight fit.”
    Not really. Crew comfort for 60-70 on 1,000t >> comfort for 150-180 crew on a similarly sized ship.

    “9. free spaces : FAILS (notional growth margin barely 25 tons; actual growth margin already NEGATIVE)”
    Yep. That’s why they didn’t buy any more ships from them.

    “10. and at least one medium-sized embarked helicopter. FAILS; Eurocopter’s Panther is nowhere near in the same league as the H-60, the NH-90 or the Merlin.”
    Right. Read the rest of my post above about all of these.

    The Hanit was not suggested as a solution…nobody did.

    Also, what’s the source for those probabilities? If you don’t mind my asking?

  75. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 16, 2009 7:46 pm

    Mike,

    I think you are mistaken about the Absalon class of support ships. If corvettes and / or OPVs are employed along the littorals of some marginally defended state, then they deserve to have a frigate-like backup and support ship standing by in the near margins of blue waters. An Absalon type of vessel with frigate sensors, communications, and weaponry would clearly enhance the capabilities of smaller, inshore littoral combatants. And having a two or three helo det aboard such a support warship would certainly provide even better aviation backup to smaller patrol combatants in the littorals.

    Build ’em small…

    Plus…

    Build ’em large…

    An Absalon-like support ship backing up two to four corvettes like the U.A.E. Baynunah class (deploying Fire Scouts) could control and suppress unwanted actions along the coastline of a failed state like Somalia (or, other places). Just keep the $2 billion Burkes way out in the deep blue sea where they belong and function best.

  76. B.Smitty permalink
    November 16, 2009 7:39 pm

    Scott B said, “1) The solution you’re proposing is going to have some significant radar / acoustic / IR / visual signature. In other words, it’s going to be a big juicy target.

    It’ll be a bigger, juicier target with the option to stand off at much greater distances. I imagine, proper design, its acoustic signature can be as good or better than an Absalon.

    2) Sure it’s going to carry more *stuff* than an LCS, but AFAIK there is no requirement for a surface combatant to carry 6 x H-60s or 12 x CB90s.

    The requirements are based on the LCS CONOPS. Change the CONOPS and you’ll change the requirements.

    If you have a mothership that carries 6 small combatants, each of which able to deploy ASW or MIW sensors and munitions a hundred or more miles away from the mothership, and able to reload and return multiple times to expand the search field, you can cover a lot of ocean.

    3) Since the solution you’re proposing might cost as much as any of the current LCS designs, you’ll either drain the same amount of resources away from the rest of the fleet, or reduce the quantity that will be procured. Either way, numbers and presence will continue to shrink.

    Well, not necessarily. Presence will improve over the LCS with much greater range and endurance plus more numerous, longer-ranged deployable surface assets and a larger number of air assets.

    And allowing them to swing role as amphibious ships might let you cut back on the LPD-17 buy.

  77. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 16, 2009 7:25 pm

    Concerning Absalon. I also see this as a command type vessel, with a secondary amphib function for small navies. I can see where Scott favors this as an “LCS on steroids”. Canada should probably consider this instead of the cost prohibitive JSS. (They seem much like the USN wanting either the best or nothing. Lacking the latter’s huge funds, they normally get nothing). With some off the shelf Type 212 or 214 SSKs, and some corvettes or OPVs, there is a balanced fleet for a small but aggressive minded Navy.

    That said, Absalon probably isn’t for the US. It is too large for the littorals, not needed for the Blue Water when you have destroyers and submarines.

  78. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 7:08 pm

    “Funny how you’ve left aside the tidbits regarding “nauseating movement of these vessels in the open sea” and the “physical exhaustion” of the crew.”

    Actually, I didn’t. There are several paragraphs in the same post (now referred to twice) about stability, motion and crew effects on small craft in the open ocean.

    “But who cares about the real world. Whatever…”

    Yep. Read the paragraphs, they’re about the real world. Real science, real tech, really stabilized vessels…and real history of those small DEs and their floating cork-quality stability.

    Re: Type 022 FAC
    Whether or not it is actually designed to be stealthy is unknown. But enclosed missile launchers, small size and the angling on the hull indicates a somewhat signature-minimized form (vs. older Soviet-style FACs which had exposed equipment and work spaces, and consequently giant radar returns). Not “stealthy” (I never claimed it was) by Western standards, but several jumps above the 1980s style of its predecessors.

    Re: Absalon.
    Dr. Dalsjö’s paper concerns Sweden’s need to expand from small craft (a fleet of vessels entirely <1,000t) into a more expeditionary role. In other words, they need a classical Cruiser (like the Burkes) that is also capable of operating in the roles of amphibious landing mothership and humanitarian support (like the USN's LPDs, LSDs, etc.), for minimal cost (ie, the desire to not purchase both DDG-level craft AND LPD-type craft). According with the desire to expand from littoral/green water and riverine craft into expeditionary roles more in line with allied (NATO and EU) efforts abroad.

    The USN, by distinct contrast, has plenty of high-end cruisers (Ticonderogas, Burkes) and amphibious craft (LSD, LPD, LHA, LHD, etc.). The Absalons would be nice, but don't fit in (and are not required) in such a fleet. They would be a nice compliment to LPDs for humanitarian efforts of the USN, but given all of the budgetary pressures at present, the Absalon-type FSS takes back seat to the development of a low-end capability.

    Like it or not, the USN is primarily offensive. It is looking to cut anything that looks like an amphibious vessel (note the lack of a well deck on the America-class, the lack of any plans for LSD-replacements in long-term fleet plans). Given that aggressive nature, small attack-capable craft with an extensive peacetime patrol effort (the low-end utterly lacking in the USN) are missing. The cruiser and humanitarian support roles are filled in the USN. Dr. Dalsjö recognized that.

    Lacking LSDs and LPDs, the Absalon would be an excellent option. That isn't the point, isn't the role and is not relevant to the need for corvettes in the USN.

  79. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 7:01 pm

    Not so long ago, I posted a fairly simple question and I don’t recall having seen it answered so far.

    Since we’re discussing seakeeping again, I thought it was an appropriate time for a repost, so here we go :

    *****************************************************************

    Mike Burleson said : “So it seems a ship expected to operate in fairly calm shallow seas might be small and still offer adequate crew comfort.”

    Forgive me for reusing a good line, it depends on what your definition of *fairly calm* is. ;)

    Below are the typical sea state probabilities that can be assumed to prevail in the *average* littorals :

    inferior or equal to SS3 : 0.40
    inferior or equal to SS4 : 0.86
    inferior or equal to SS5 : 0.93
    inferior or equal to SS6 : 0.97

    Just to get the ball rolling, what I suggest is this :

    1) You pick the sea state you consider to best meet your definition of what *fairly calm* is.

    2) You define at which speed (all headings) you want your *small ship* to be able to operate in this sea state.

    3) You show me one real-life example of a *small ship* capable of meeting the sea state / speed combination you’ve just required.

    Does it sound fair enough ?

    *****************************************************************

  80. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 6:47 pm

    Hudson said : “What Scott is saying is that stabilized guns and GPS don’t mean that the hull doesn’t roll in stormy seas.”

    There’s only so much roll / pitch / yaw you can compensate for with stabilization. This is true for guns and sensors.

    For instance :

    * a 3D radar like the Israeli EL/M-2238 STAR radar is stabilized up to +/- 20° in roll & pitch.

    * a 3D radar like the Swedish Sea Giraffe AMB is stabilized up +/- 25° in roll and +/- 10° in pitch.

    During a NATO operation in 1953, the battleship USS Iowa registered a 26° roll each way…

  81. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 6:33 pm

    Hudson said : “To meet Scott’s argument on this point, you must show that the smaller 100m 2000t corvettes of today handle better in rough seas than the WWII DDs I think Scott is referring to.”

    Hold on a minute here.

    What CBD claimed regarding the DEs was that “there were no complaints that such small vessels were incapable of transiting the Atlantic or Pacific for patrol duties.”, which is a grossly inaccurate statement.

    Then CBD claimed that : “it is foolish to claim that vessels under 2000t are incapable of regular transoceanic operations.”.

    The fool I am would simply like to ask a basic question : can CBD show me one of these warships under 2,000-tons (light ? standard ? fully loaded ?) that does transoceanic operations on a regular basis ?

    And please, don’t forget : a patrol vessel is NOT a warship !!!

  82. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 6:14 pm

    B. Smitty said : “Even if (suitably outfitted) it cost twice that much (~$800 million), I still think it would have a lot going for it. “

    1) The solution you’re proposing is going to have some significant radar / acoustic / IR / visual signature. In other words, it’s going to be a big juicy target.

    2) Sure it’s going to carry more *stuff* than an LCS, but AFAIK there is no requirement for a surface combatant to carry 6 x H-60s or 12 x CB90s.

    3) Since the solution you’re proposing might cost as much as any of the current LCS designs, you’ll either drain the same amount of resources away from the rest of the fleet, or reduce the quantity that will be procured. Either way, numbers and presence will continue to shrink.

    Like I said last week, that’s not the way to go.

  83. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 16, 2009 6:13 pm

    Sorry for the AWOL. I was out of town on a mission of mercy.

    CBD’s recent post sums it up for me. This isn’t a new concept, just tried and true lessons which we need to dust off, that might hold many answers we are seeking for shrinking force structures, tired ships and crews, overall the decline in Western ASW, and ASuW capabilities.

  84. Hudson permalink
    November 16, 2009 5:39 pm

    CBD,

    What Scott is saying is that stabilized guns and GPS don’t mean that the hull doesn’t roll in stormy seas. To meet Scott’s argument on this point, you must show that the smaller 100m 2000t corvettes of today handle better in rough seas than the WWII DDs I think Scott is referring to. I’m just saying.

  85. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 5:34 pm

    CBD said : “To the Second post.”

    Let’s take a look at one of these 1,000-ton corvettes that exist in the real world, for instance the mythical Sa’ar 5, shall we ?

    1. endurance : FAILS (3,500 NM @ 12 knots)

    2. seakeeping : FAILS, quite miserably

    3. versatility : FAILS, quite miserably (cannot even carry half of the notional weaponry on board)

    4. adaptability : FAILS – see point 3 above

    5. air defense : FAILS – cannot even perform self-defense by the own admittance of the Israeli Navy Chief after the Hanit *incident*

    6. interoperability : FAILS. NEVER EVER REPLENISHED AT SEA.

    7. survivability : FAILS. The aluminium superstructure is not gonna help there

    8. crew comfort : FAILS. 60-70 folks on a 1,000-ton ship remains a pretty tight fit.

    9. free spaces : FAILS (notional growth margin barely 25 tons; actual growth margin already NEGATIVE)

    10. and at least one medium-sized embarked helicopter. FAILS; Eurocopter’s Panther is nowhere near in the same league as the H-60, the NH-90 or the Merlin.

  86. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 5:09 pm

    CBD said : “Dr. Robert Dalsjö is describing a classical cruiser, not every ship of a navy must meet such a standard”

    Dr. Robert Dalsjö’s paper was appropriately entitled : “We No Longer Need a Sports Car, We Need a Station Wagon : Conceptual Challenges and Issues for the Royal Swedish Navy”

    Here is the solution he suggested in his paper :

    “One doesn’t have to be a great naval strategist or a technological rocket scientist to see what needs to be done. To begin with, stop trying to be so different, and look at what the neighboors are doing.(…)

    Denmark provides an interesting example, in several respects. In a short time, they have turned their defence around from a territorial to an expeditionary focus.(…)

    The new 6,000-ton flexible support ship Absalon is currently leading Task Force 150 off the Horn of Africa, and has prevented several attacks from pirates. She was laid down in 2003 and she and her sister were delivered and operational in 2007/2008, fully equipped and within a budget of slightly more than 3 billions Swedish kronor for both ships.

    The Absalon does not only have lots of space for equipment and people, making it a very flexible platform for various tasks. But it also carries all of the weapons system and sensors one would associate with a frigate, like a 5-inch gun, Harpoon SSMs, Evolved Sea Sparrow SAMs, ASW torpedoes, and two embarked medium helicopters. In fact, one might call her a station wagon version of a frigate.”

  87. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 4:58 pm

    CBD said : “Please read the point above about not having to lay guns and adjust for roll manually,”

    Funny how you’ve left aside the tidbits regarding “nauseating movement of these vessels in the open sea” and the “physical exhaustion” of the crew.

    I understand that seakeeping qualities are supposed not to matter in the *missile age*, but I can guarantee you that they still matter QUITE A LOT in the real world !!!

    But, hey, who cares about THE REAL WORLD !!!

    Whatever…

  88. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 4:29 pm

    Scott B.,
    Response to First Post:

    “Uncomfortable ? Is that what you call it when a (war)ship ‘not only causes physical exhaustion but makes the efficient operating of weapons and instruments most difficult'”
    Please read the point above about not having to lay guns and adjust for roll manually, using an optical rangefinder to compute range to target, or having to calculate one’s own position by astrolabe/sextant, quadrant and a compass (radio-locating equipment, if you’re lucky). GPS, radar-based (computer directed) targeting, and laser rangefinders are all very nice improvements…and I can assure you that they’re much more rapid. When was the last time you operated a car without power steering? Or used a phone that had to be manually connected (by a human operator) to another line in order to complete a call? The comparison with old technology is silly and counterproductive to a debate about core capabilities and fleet roles.

    To the Second post.
    Dr. Robert Dalsjö is describing a classical cruiser, not every ship of a navy must meet such a standard…and many modern ships of the line don’t meet those criteria in full. We have those in the Burke class and what remains of the Ticonderoga Class. The problem is that those vessels are rare.

    1. Only our nuclear Submarines, CVNs and some, large non-combatant or amphibious vessels can really accomplish operations without UNREP. Why should smaller ships be held to a different standard than the Burkes? Proposed corvettes could accomplish the transit and continue operations with minimal aid.

    2-4, 6, 8 and 10 are FULLY met by the proposed corvettes.

    5. It’s hard to even say that any of our ships meet this category. Aircraft carriers don’t even have dedicated interceptors anymore and such a requirement (as you state it) assumes the worst (that the enemy has vast air superiority), and that there is no role for any vessel that doesn’t cover itself and its next three neighbors.

    The role of a major fleet vessel (to defend itself and the carrier or amphibious group it is most likely escorting) is not one that a Corvette seeks to fill. Corvettes are minor vessels, with minor vessel roles. Their radars might be useful for defense of the fleet (picking up and reporting hostile targets at ranges beyond the radar horizon of the Major Vessels) and their size and armament will be useful in defending the fleet against low-end threats (freeing the Major Vessels to contend with supersonic AShMs, ASBMs, and enemy jets and bombers), but no one is mistaking a corvette for a Burke replacement. They’re an addition to the fleet, a stand-in for the small roles (ASW, picket, convoy escort) of the dwindling Frigate/DE fleet that can also handle the roles not covered by our non-existent patrol boats.

    7. Survivability can mean inflicting enough damage on the opponent while remaining afloat long enough for crew to be rescued or to recover the ship. It does not necessarily mean that the ship can stay on station in spite of attack (at least since WWII). The large US warships with recent experience of attack from enemy forces (USS Cole (Burke-class) and USS Stark (Perry-class)) have had to leave station and, have been unable to maintain combat readiness following attack.

    The corvettes could withstand an RPG and, as the INS Hanit confirmed, can survive some strikes by smaller (ie, not “Carrier-Killer”) Soviet/Chinese-style AShMs…without the defenses even active.

    8 & 9. As stated, small vessels can be much more comfortable (and spacious) for their crews than their old equivalents. Automated systems (those same things that make finding the target easier) also mean fewer crew for core tasks. Better engines and management systems reduce manpower requirements. While the LCS-1 clearly took the idea way too far (a point that many of us have made long before that ship hit the water), smaller crewing is very possible.

    10. The embarkation of a medium-sized helicopter (MH-60R) is possible on various of the proposed corvettes (depending on envisioned employment).

    It would also be possible for a US corvette to employ the somewhat lighter weight helicopters at less cost (manpower, space):
    – Dauphin/MH65 or the Panther (militarized Dauphin). These craft are successfully employed on corvettes and smaller vessels (ie, FACs like the Sa’ar 4.5) by many other nations. These can be produced in-country (American Eurocopter produces the MH65C for the USCG, which is the Americanized and up-engined AS365 Dauphin). The Panther is just the militarized version of the Dauphin, capable of bearing many weapons systems including ASW gear) and are lower weight than the Seahawk equivalent.

    – LUH-72 variants (ARH-72, theoretically a navalized variant). The utility version is being employed in large numbers by the US Army and the USN just received a handful at the Naval Test Pilot school. They are much lighter than the other options, but probably lack ASW gear, although they could still perform other roles.

    – VTUAVs. Several could be carried in the place of a single manned helicopter, they can bear a variety of offensive and sensor packages and are being tested in the fleet right now.

    – Fixed-wing UAVs. Why not a ScanEagle-type UAV? Longer ranges for patrol with a launch and recovery system that can be integrated into the hull. Low crew requirements and good range. Limited ASW and offensive capabilities are made up for by their auxiliary search and fire-direction role for the main weapons aboard the vessel.

    To Sum up: Sacrifices are made, but not many (and those made are minor compared to cost and numbers benefits) by adding these smaller options to the fleet.

  89. B.Smitty permalink
    November 16, 2009 4:12 pm

    Scott,

    de Witt is larger than Galicia and Rotterdam and is outfitted as a command and control ship right? Could that account for some of the difference?

    Even if (suitably outfitted) it cost twice that much (~$800 million), I still think it would have a lot going for it. A real well deck opens up the possibility of carrying larger craft (twelve or more CB90s, nine or more 18m patrol boats or some combination)

    The real interesting part, IMHO, would be if you built something specifically for it, like the notional 22m SES. You could use them to seed and monitor a sensor field with USVs, sonobouys, AN/WLD-1s and so on from a hundred miles away or more.

    The small craft carried by Absalon and LCS can’t do this type of “two stage” delivery.

    And a it can still retain its role as a real Marine transport with LCACs or LCMs, helos, and berthing for a reinforced company. Given a large enough buy, you could even group them together as surrogate ARGs.

  90. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:59 pm

    Chuck Hill said : “Every time I see a price on a ship, I wonder if we are comparing apples to apples.”

    At the risk of repeating yself again :

    1) The NATO SLC study of 2004 has been discussed quite frequently at Mr. Raymond Pritchett’s website, and, since the link to the study was posted at the time, chances are that Mr. Raymond Pritchett has a copy of this study.

    2) Here is what it says on page 38 on the study :

    “The overall correlation of U.S. Coast Guard and Netherlands shipyard production costs (SWBS Group 100-700 inc.) is assessed to be good, as follows:

    Shipyard Production Cost
    Ship / Netherlands / U.S. Coast Guard
    600 SLC : 1.0 / 1.153
    2000 SLC : 1.0 / 1.024
    600 OPV : 1.0 / 1.093
    2000 OPV : 1.0 / 0.826
    Overall Correlation : 1.0 / 1.0394

    Netherlands shipyard administrative costs (SWBS Group 900) for OPVs were about half those estimated by the U.S. Coast Guard. This is judged to reflect the influence of lower cost commercial practices as U.S. shipyards primarily produce naval or Coast Guard ships both of which are similarly procured. Similarly, the Netherlands has also estimated lower design costs for OPVs.”

  91. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:53 pm

    CBD said : “signal-minimizing form”

    This is Chicom propaganda *disseminated* (pun intended) by uninformed fanboys all over the net.

    In the real life, the Type 022 Houbei is about as *naturally stealthy* as a pink elephant in white heels.

  92. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:49 pm

    Chuck Hill said : “Every time I see a price on a ship, I wonder if we are comparing apples to apples. Many times I think what we see is the contract awarded the shipyard, which may or may not include government furnished equipment and outfitting.”

    Defense Daily reported on Feb. 6, 2009, that, according to RADM Gary Blore, the unit cost estimates for the Coast Guard’s planned fleet of eight National Security Cutters (NSC) had increased between $60 million to $90 million per vessel, putting the average unit cost at between $560 and $590 million.

    The November Issue of Seapower pretty much gives the exact same numbers (see page 22).

    Navy Times reported on May 8, 2009, that Bertholf was estimated to cost about $700 million.

    The bottom line is that building a cutter at one of the most inefficient combatant shipyard in the US is NOT the way to go if affordability is what you’re after…

  93. Joe K. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:32 pm

    I think there’s something amiss among some of the talk about China’s PLAN.

    You all do realize that the ships deployed to fight Somali pirates is the first time in centuries the Chinese Navy has sent ships outside of its territorial waters. No doubt the reason why PLAN’s Blue Water capabilities are rather low is because their force structure is geared more towards coastal defense rather than patrols or actions overseas.

    Try to put their fleet of patrol boats, missile boats, and smaller ships into perspective.

  94. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:26 pm

    Scott B. permalink

    Chuck Hill said : “That is of course the National Security Cutter.”

    And it costs over $600 million a copy !!!

    Every time I see a price on a ship, I wonder if we are comparing apples to apples. Many times I think what we see is the contract awarded the shipyard, which may or may not include government furnished equipment and outfitting.

    Seems everything made in the US is overpriced, but then other nations continue to buy our weapons, and if the weapons are the primary cost driver for the ship, how do theirs come out so much cheaper than ours when equipped with US weapon?

  95. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:20 pm

    Solomon, Re: Chinese missile boats.
    What they want to do is make the area around Taiwan risky enough for CVN escort vessels and Burke destroyers that the USN hesitates to respond to a Taiwan Strait crossing. They’re hoping to make enough of these type 022 boats that the risk to our expensive, small fleet makes any attempt to bolster Taiwan’s defenses unlikely.

    I don’t think that the 022s are expected to do much in the way of anything other than increasing the number of targets the USN must defend against.

    Small crews, just enough AD to challenge helicopters and smaller vessels, limited self-direction of AShMs and signal-minimizing form means that it is effectively a floated shore-based AShM platform. Hard to find but relatively dangerous to large, expensive vessels…thus a way of occupying a great deal of your opponent’s concentration (ie, they must send out their helicopters to ‘clear’ any region before entering…which drains anti-Sub resources) with the least financial, industrial and personnel cost.

  96. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:13 pm

    At the risk of repeating myself again :

    1) Is there any such thing as a small warship that possesses all 10 critical attributes defined by Dr. Robert Dalsjö for , i.e. :

    ********************************************************************
    1. endurance : the ability to operate at sea for an extended time without replenishment or service.

    2. seakeeping : the ability to operate in or transit rough waters while maintaining not only safety, but also operational effectiveness.

    3. versatility : the ability to solve several different tasks in differing circumstances.

    4. adaptability : the ability to reconfigure the ship’s capabilities in order to meet changing circumstances.

    5. air defense : not only for self-defense

    6. interoperability : including C3I and replenishment at sea

    7. survivability : being able to take a hit from a RPG or even a SSM, without undue casualties and while remaining not only afloat but also able to operate.

    8. crew comfort : quite important during extended deployments, especially with an all-volunteer crew.

    9. free spaces : for additional elements, functions or equipment.

    10. and at least one medium-sized embarked helicopter.
    ********************************************************************

    The answer is simple : there is no such small warship out there.

    2) Since there’s no such small warship out there, what is it that you’re going to sacrify if you opt for a small warship ?

  97. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:06 pm

    Chuck Hill said : “That is of course the National Security Cutter.”

    And it costs over $600 million a copy !!!

  98. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:03 pm

    B. Smitty said : “IIRC, they cost around $2-300 million”

    Johan de Witt (L801) ~ €275 million, i.e. ~ $410 million based on current exchange rates, with an expected service life is 25 years.

    For (non-)comparison purposes :

    Absalon ~ €168 million, i.e. ~ $251 million based on current exchange rates, with an expected service life of 30 years.

  99. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:56 pm

    Jed said : “Steel is cheap – you could build something as big as a Danish Absalon, and as long as you don’t gold plate it and fill it full of exquisite capabilities and allow it to suffer scope creep this could actually fulfill the ‘corvette / frigate’ role for the USN – after all its only terminology, one mans frigate is another mans destroyer………”

    Amen to that !!!

  100. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:54 pm

    CBD said : “Uncomfortable, perhaps, but not useless.”

    Uncomfortable ? Is that what you call it when a (war)ship “not only causes physical exhaustion but makes the efficient operating of weapons and instruments most difficult” ?

  101. Chuck Hill permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:49 pm

    No doubt you can make a 2000 ton ship that is sea worthy and now with active systems to dampen roll they can be made more comfortable than the ships of WWII.

    But for only a very small marginal increase in acquisition and operating cost you can increase the size of the hull substantially and improve the ship in many different ways. Range, survivability, sea-keeping, habitability, endurance, helicopter operations all benefit from increased size. Steel is cheap and air is free, but always seem to get into trouble, giving in to the temptation to load up a ship to it’s maximum capacity.

    Steregushchiy is an impressive little ship, but it is designed primarily to protect Russian bases. Typically in Russian usage this is called a “Guard Ship.” It’s would not the best sort of ship for doing anti-piracy type work. Helo and boat handling facilities are limited and there are almost too many weapon systems with volatile fuel and explosives to bring along side a boat armed with RPGs. The danger of a hit resulting in massive secondary explosions is very real.

    There is a US ship being built in the 4000 – 8000 ton range, that can launch, hanger, and maintain two medium helicopters, has excellent boats and boat handling equipment, accommodations for more than one boarding party, and a gun large enough to impress anything short of a warship. That is of course the National Security Cutter. Perhaps we should build more of them, let the Coast Guard handle the law enforcement missions like piracy and let the Navy get back to doing it’s thing.

  102. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:42 pm

    Criticisms exist. But not for their ability to make transoceanic transits. Uncomfortable, perhaps, but not useless. Scores of these vessels were produced and effectively used against enemy U-boats, Torpedo boats, and small craft. They’re not as stable as an aircraft carrier, but they’re for an entirely different role…one for which their (relatively limited) capabilities vs. numbers trade-off makes sense.

    Discomfort came from small spaces, difficulty operating weapons systems, and rolling.

    – As modern crews would be about 1/2-1/3rd as large as on equivalent-displacement WWII predecessors, the tin-can effect of crowded crews would be significantly reduced.

    – Luckily we now have stabilized weapons systems aided by computer-based directors instead of mechanically augmented/manually trained systems. That eliminates most of the problems reported re: systems management.

    – Rolling would be mitigated and accepted as usual.
    The rolling of that class of vessels was, in part, due to the hull form selected in that class. The DEs were designed to be readily put together at any of a dozen small-end shipyards using pieces built at dozens of inland factories tasked with producing sections of the vessels. They were finished in under a month and that was certainly at the cost of any sort of complex hull form.

    We’ve come a long way in stabilization technology since the early WWII period (when the Captain class hull was designed), both in terms of passive hull qualities (especially since the 1960s) and active stabilization systems (anti-roll tanks, rudder and fin roll stabilizers). The latter have been used on most large USN vessels, reportedly reducing roll by as much as 40% .

    Added to that, sailing sometimes means actually sailing (not just moving from a civilian job of collecting trash at some office building to a navy job of collecting trash deep inside of a CVN)…thousands upon thousands of sailors managed, somehow, to survive being on the DE ships of WWII. I don’t believe that modern sailors are magically less hearty or capable of living aboard a small vessel.

  103. Jed permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:14 pm

    While I agree that WWII experience shows that lack of size and displacement does not necessarily equal a complete lack of sea keeping capability, and I have been out in a Leander class frigate that lost antenna, life rafts etc and even had its hanger door severely dented by waves (!) – “Corvette” as term can apply to capability as well as size could it not ?

    Steel is cheap – you could build something as big as a Danish Absalon, and as long as you don’t gold plate it and fill it full of exquisite capabilities and allow it to suffer scope creep this could actually fulfill the ‘corvette / frigate’ role for the USN – after all its only terminology, one mans frigate is another mans destroyer………

  104. B.Smitty permalink
    November 16, 2009 2:10 pm

    Rather than tiny corvettes, what about using up-armed LPDs for this? How about something smaller and cheaper than an LPD-17 like the Rotterdam or Galicia class?

    IIRC, they cost around $2-300 million, or about as much as one of these corvettes. They would need to be up-armed, but could generate a large degree of survivability from standoff afforded by using small craft launched from their well decks.

    They can carry up to 6 H-60s with two helo spots, or maybe 4 H-60s and 6 Fire Scouts. That’s enough for two persistent (24×7) Fire Scout orbits, and one H-60 orbit.

    I’ve been mulling over what best to carry in the well deck, but I imagine it’d be mission specific. Candidates include CB90s, SURCs, 11m RHIBs, Coast Guard craft, USVs, landing craft, or perhaps even a custom fast attack craft. I wonder what you could do with, say, a 22m long SES FACs based on Skjold technology? You could fit six in a Rotterdam/Galicia.

    Of course you’d incur extra cost fitting a more capable combat system, and these LPDs aren’t exactly fast. But they make up for their slow speed with very good endurance, gobs of payload, and flexibility.

  105. D. E. Reddick permalink
    November 16, 2009 1:40 pm

    Scott,

    Still, they were tough ships. My father served on the Edsall-class USS Otterstetter (DE-244) during ’44 and ’45. They and their entire hunter-killer group got caught up in a massive nor’easter and were pushed somewhere up along the coast of Greenland. By the time it was over none of the six DEs or the CVE had any remaining radio aerials. My father’s ship lost all topside equipment except for one of the 3″/50 mounts (one of his younger shipmate’s hair turned white afterwards). Still, all seven ships managed to return to port for repair & refurbishment (after nearly being attacked by patrol bombers because they refused to answer radio-issued challenges).

    Then, they went to the western Pacific and got caught up in that largest of the ’45 typhoons (the one that sank three DDs) which Bull Halsey had disregarded.

    Tough, small warships.

  106. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 1:04 pm

    CBD said : “There were no complaints that such small vessels were incapable of transiting the Atlantic or Pacific for patrol duties.”

    Below are some comments made by our British friends on their Captain-class frigates (i.e. US-built DEs) :

    “Rollin – since this report is written at sea, it is difficult to describe with reticence the nauseating movement of these vessels in the open sea…”

    “Built presumably in the principle of ‘Never repair, sink or replace’, these ships present no problem at all as to damage control. There is none.”

    “It is unenviable to serve on a ship on which all hands are hoping for a draft note. It is influenced by excessive and uncontrollable rolling which is a factor which obscures every virtue these ships may possess. It cannot be urged too strongly before the ‘market is flooded’, that all the most strenuous measures be taken to mitigate this overwhelming defect in all vessels of this class.”

    “Commanding officers of both types of Captain-class frigates are unanimous in their complaints about the rapid rolling of these ships. The quickness of the recovery not only causes physical exhaustion but makes the efficient operating of weapons and instruments most difficult”.

    You’ll find much more details in Norman Friedman’s US Destroyers, Chapter 7, pp.137-164, which is where the above quotes come from.

  107. CBD permalink
    November 16, 2009 11:55 am

    DrRansom (and Scott),
    Corvettes (in the modern sense) are smaller, capable, cost-effective ships. Such vessels are necessitated due to the primary duties of the Navy and the force balance required to support those missions:

    The primary of the duty of the USN is to patrol the seas, ensuring freedom of the seas with the occasional need for a massed, high-end response to ensure American interests abroad.

    The future USN force balance will not be able to provide for both patrol and contingency operations based on a force that entirely consists of high-end units that are made unavailable for high-end missions by the need to provide dozens of craft for routine patrol missions.

    A Burke-class destroyer is NOT required to intercept pirates off of Somalia. The purchase of a fleet of 3 Burke-class vessels (which would be required to maintain one stationed off of Somalia year-round) would require an investment on the order of $6Bn (+ costs of about 820 crew). To maintain a fleet of 3 Corvettes off of the same coast at all times (covering far more area than the Burkes), would require approximately 10 corvettes (high-end, armed with offensive missiles and capable defensive systems), at a cost of $3Bn (+costs of about 600-700 crew, although rotating crews would reduce some personnel costs). Such corvettes would be in better position to escort convoys, establish blockades against poorly-armed enemies, they could operate 1 helicopter each (1 more than the Burke nominally can, 2 more than the Burke actually supports in that region) and support 6 boarding teams from RHIB craft (vs. 2 on the Burke).

    Some historical insight…
    With our future (USN) destroyers and cruisers approaching the displacements of WWII Cruisers (which were benefitted with heavy armoring), we’re seeing a large gap in mid-range displacement ships. This gap is reflective of the loss of the middle-low range of vessels that used to be filled (through the end of WWII) by small Destroyers and Frigates. Such smaller vessels were VERY capable on long-range patrols and their large armament relative to their size ensured that the high-end vessels could be dedicated to aggressive missions without sacrificing the continuation of the national defense or patrol missions in other theaters.

    The latest Burke-class vessels (Flt IIa) are over 9,200t, the older Ticonderoga class approach 9,600t, the DDG-1000 will approach 15,000t and the CG(X) concept called for a split class at 14,000t and 23,000t. These last trump the WWII and post-WWII all-gun, armored cruisers.

    Below 9000t, we have the few, remaining (neutered) Perry-class Frigates (4,200t), and the new LCS vessels (around 3,000t). And the next combat surface vessel?

    PC-1 patrol ships at 330t.

    The Perry class is 30 strong (including Naval Reserves, out of an original class of 50) and is due to be entirely retired in the next decade. There is no replacement for these vessels.
    The Knox class ASW frigates (46 strong) were retired post-Cold War, without replacement.

    There is no indication that future warfare would involve a reduced need for ASW capabilities, but there has been a significant reduction in ASW assets.

    Surely, then, the replacement would be new, 3-5,000t vessels? No.

    The destroyer escorts (predecessors to the Knox class and Perry class frigates) of WWII such as the Edsall and Butler classes and the 1950s’ Dealey class were LESS THAN 2,000t and under 100m long. They were considered to be highly capable vessels capable of patrolling large swaths of the sea.

    Low displacement was not a hindrance to worldwide operations, as evidenced by their built-in ranges of 5-10,000nmi. Scores of these vessels were produced in wartime and sent around the world to do combat. There were no complaints that such small vessels were incapable of transiting the Atlantic or Pacific for patrol duties.

    Why would we abandon the range of 400-8000t entirely? Why strangle our own numbers for no reason? It’s simple enough to build a fleet of 100 Corvettes at $300M a piece that are fully capable of self-defense in even non-permissive environments and can serve as picket ships for the larger, more expensive, and more capable (although far fewer) super-Destroyers?

    I like the argument, but it is foolish to claim that vessels under 2000t are incapable of regular transoceanic operations.

  108. Hudson permalink
    November 16, 2009 11:28 am

    The Russian corvette, Steregushchiy (doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue) has a full load displacement just shy of 2,000t and is slightly over 100m long. It is armed as listed below:
    1 x Arsenal A-190 100mm 2 x MTPU pedestal machine gun 14.5 mm 2 x Kashtan CIWS 6 x 3M54 Klub or 8 x 3M24 Uran 4 x 400mm torpedo tubes
    SS-N-29 / RPK-9 Medvedka-VE anti-submarine rockets. Don’t know the cost.

    The Kashtan gun-missile system is a short range missile box sandwiched between two 30mm gatlings, all aimed at one target. You can watch it splash targets on YouTube. The Steregushchiy carries two of them. Note that it mounts in the bow ASW rockets in addition to torpedoes. Some Scandinavian ships also carry these rockets, which you can also watch in operation on YouTube. They can also bombard land targets. Either this firepower is effective in combat or it isn’t. If it is, then what is the argument that the ship isn’t worth its weight on the waves? The “Gushy” is as well-armed as most European frigates, maybe better, has the obligatory helo/pad, and has ample range. So, what’s the beef?

    Dr. Ransom’s “limited use” is noted. Everything is of limited use. If it quacks like a frigate and costs less than a frigate, then maybe it has limited+ use.

  109. November 16, 2009 11:25 am

    You need a helicopter and hanger. That is the primary (small) naval weapon system and has been for well over 3 decades.

    You need an economical cruising speed of 2o kts.

    You need a nice big gun or three.

    You need a good sea boat.

    You need something bigger than 2,500 tons.

  110. DrRansom permalink
    November 16, 2009 10:31 am

    The problem with medium size Corvettes is this: to what purpose? They won’t have the sea keeping abilities to function overseas, where, like it or not, the most of US naval action takes place. But, they are too expensive to be merely coastal patrol boats, so the will have to be sent overseas. If the US wanted to build a gunboat navy, a historical precedent which should be discussed more in this blog, they should go with the small stealthy missile boat. But, if we want to build ships to deploy overseas, we will need to go bigger, 3000 tons +.

    This is not to say current ship building strategy is good or not, it is merely to raise the point addressed above, small ships, that cannot self deploy, have limited use in a massively global navy.

    As for the particular navies that have built up their fleets quickly, what navies are you alluding to? China, for one, has put money into their 022 class, but those, as the Chinese themselves seem to admit, are merely for close in protection. To launch hit and run missile attacks against nearby enemy combatants. Those missile boats will be extremely vulnerable to air power, and really can only function in an environment where their enemy does not have air superiority. Because, in the end, a carrier group with a fighter strike wing has much longer effective range than a missile boat. (Sure, missiles may have ranges greater that 500 nm, which is about the max range for a strike package, but the boat won’t be able to target that far out. And the aircraft can always carry missiles of their own)

    They reason why the US does not build small ships is simple: the navy, as it currently stands, is primarily occupied with fighting across oceans, not in their neighborhood. Investing in smaller warships ties the US navies to ports, increases the logistics load (which will be considerable for a fleet operating off of Somalia), and constructs warships of limited usefulness in anything other than a permissive environment.

  111. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 16, 2009 8:56 am

    Scott claimed “the mythical corvette is yet another solution looking for a problem”

    Only mythical in the USN, Scott, though not so in the world navies, as Solomon points out, or even in America during its last real war at sea.

    And doing the same thing, building only giant warships which are harder to build, more expensive, and shrinking the fleet isn’t a shipbuilding strategy!!! It’s suicide.

  112. November 16, 2009 8:28 am

    Very informative article. Looks like the Chinese aren’t keeping up with trends then. The Type 022 reverts back to the Fast Attack type ship. What do they know that the rest of world’s Navies don’t?

  113. Scott B. permalink
    November 16, 2009 8:27 am

    Distiller is SPOT ON.

    IOW, the mythical corvette is yet another solution looking for a problem !!!

  114. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 16, 2009 7:07 am

    “I’m afraid for a number of reasons I don’t see surface combatants under 3700/4000ts as qualified for more-or-less independent missions in further off ops areas.”

    So thinks the Navy, who are resigned to the smaller fleet while less particular navies build up their fleets quickly, in large numbers, and improved variety. I’m ready to try something different, though not so different since vessels of 1000-2000 tons have been used in all our wars, often in Blue Water combat, massed produced in large numbers. Just not so much in the past 70 years of mostly peace at sea, where we say “we have learned better”. But have we learned the right lessons when we are stretched thin, overworked, unable to replace ships on a one-on-one basis?

    Clearly there has to better a better way than constant retrenchment overseas, or even like the Royal Navy threatened with extinction.

  115. Distiller permalink
    November 16, 2009 6:38 am

    I’m afraid for a number of reasons I don’t see surface combatants under 3700/4000ts as qualified for more-or-less independant missions in further off ops areas.

    And for ops within one’s own EEZ, meaning mostly defensive, and with support from landbased aviation, there doesn’t seem much use for surface combatants over 500/600ts (the size of a Tarantul or Visby).

    In short I really have my problems with that in-between size of ~2000ts.

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