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Sea Links

December 11, 2009

Sailors man the rails as the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk.

Special: Littoral Combat Ship

U.S. Navy Preps For First LCS Deployment.

U.S. Navy Revamps LCS Procurement.

LCS competition: Lawmakers say cost looms too large.

Navy Inspectors recommends accepting LCS 2.

General Dynamics ship succeeds in trials–US Navy.

not 55, but more like 155” Littoral Ships


US Navy

The Sino-American naval conflict of 2015.

Scrap the Maritime Strategy?

Is ASW eating missile defense’s lunch?

Grumman Upgrades U.S. Navy Patrol Craft.

Countering Beijing’s new weapon.

San Diego welcomes new Navy destroyer.

US Admiral: China to have first aircraft carrier by ’15.

Rumored Scrapping of CGX Raises Concerns About BIW’s Future.

Pearl Harbor and the future of U.S. sea power.

Navy Christens Submarine Missouri. More.

A Tender For Ships That Wait.

Dual-Band Radar Illuminates New Missions.


Warships of the World

Undersea battle scenarios worry defense planners.

Russian Navy questions whether it needs French Mistral-class warship. More.

Fincantieri Starts Construction of New U212A-Class Submarine for the Italian Navy.

Fury as Royal Navy uses aircraft carrier to supply warship.

Navy’s £1bn+ destroyers set to remain unarmed for years.

BAE Systems complete HMS Dauntless engineering job. More.

When will Government properly fund The Royal Navy?

What is the future of the Royal Navy.

DCNS Funds OPV Prototype for French Navy Use. More.

Sri Lanka Navy celebrates 60 years.

Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyer Delivers.

Navy Chief Questions India’s Shipbuilding Pace.

Powering Up INS Arihant.

Keel laying ceremony of F-22 P Frigate held.

Roboship, the ‘unsinkable’ solution.

Japanese MoD seeks 1.3 billion $ for new helicopter carrier.

Japan And China At Sea Together.

China’s missile frigates visit South-East Asia.

Vietnam army concerned over S.China Sea disputes.

Indonesia Builds LPDs.


New Wars at Sea

Spanish police chase suspected smugglers into Gibraltar’s waters.

Marines To Secure Somalia’s Lawless Coast.

Saudi Royal Navy destroyers arms smuggling boats.

SACEUR Urges Patrol Aircraft, AWACS, Sats To Fight Pirates.

Indian warship saves Norwegian tanker from Somali pirates.

Pirate stock exchange helps fund hijackings in Somalia.

Germany extends anti-piracy mission.

Opinion: Battle against piracy can only be won in Somalia itself, not at sea.

GCC navies ‘will be key to fighting pirates’.

Seychelles strives to defend territory against pirates.

Navy patrols may extend as Somali pirates widen attacks.

West Africa rocked by vicious Gulf of Guinea gangs that the world forgot.

Make the Somali pirates’ sea smaller.

The Naval Arena in the Struggle against Iran.


From the Navy Vaults

HMS Trafalgar retires from the submarine fleet. (Plymouth Herald)

“Five ships of the Royal Navy have been named after the city of Exeter.” (Philately News)

The Japanese failure that was Pearl Harbor. (TH Online)

Pearl Harbor mini-submarine mystery solved? (LA Times)

Pearl Harbor Attack Foretold in 1925. (Simon Sez…)

USS Utah-The forgotten ship. (Deseret News)

Statue of USS Indianapolis Survivor Unveiled at City Market. (WIBC Indiana)

Remembering USS Gambier Bay. (Juneau Empire)

Rear-Admiral Sam Salt dies on December 3 aged 69. (Telegraph)

Guide to the Royal Navy 2010. (Daly History Blog)

CAPT John E. “Jack” Taylor, USN-Ret. (USNI Blog)

37 Comments leave one →
  1. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 14, 2009 3:05 pm


    Since Mike has re-posted the thread relating to the “5 battleships” with the Burke class DDGs being new ‘battleships’, then I have to think that the new Iver Huitfeldt class AAW frigates might be termed pocket battleships or even battlecruisers in his schema for describing modern warships.

    I did miss that link you mentioned. But, bringing it out into the thread just makes it more plainly clear to all readers just how different these Danish warships are from other similarly-sized designs deployed by NATO navies.

  2. CBD permalink
    December 14, 2009 2:26 pm

    That article was linked in one of my posts above, right after you first mentioned the class. I drew the lessons of the new shipbuilding strategy, more resourceful than commercial, from that specific article.

    Some additional reading indicates (to me, at least), that the weapons control systems and many of the weapons themselves are accounted for under the Danish Standard Flex program, a pool of weapons that can be reconfigured among the many different Danish ships. This means that many of the systems (like the 76mm stand-ins for the planned 127mm main gun, the 35mm Millennium Guns, the various VLS systems and their controls) will have most of their costs accounted under that program. Systems modularity at its best.

    The willingness of the Danes to delay adding some systems (the Absalon ships sail with 2 of 4 planned systems), and thus a willingness to accept ‘incomplete’ ships (with most combat capability present) into service, has reportedly been a source of financial benefit in the construction of both the Absalons and the Huitfeldts.

    More info on the class:
    Early Info (2005)
    Early Info (2006)

  3. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 14, 2009 12:34 pm


    No need to tell me about tropical storms and southeastern US impact of them. I’m in the Lowcountry of SC.

    Below is an article describing the planning for the construction of the three Iver Huitfeldt frigates. Parts of the frigates are fabricated in Estonian and Lithuanian shipyards and then shipped to Denmark for assembly into the warships. The price of the three ships is stated to have been $997 million (so, $332 mil., apiece).

    Defense Technology International

    Danish Modern: Commercial shipbuilding strategy cuts cost of frigates

  4. CBD permalink
    December 14, 2009 7:37 am

    True. And as far as weather goes, Chuck has covered it (although I’d also add in the Marinette shipyard in Wisconsin).

    Also, those cold weather US shipyards are less subject to massive hurricanes than those in the US, which tend to cause infrastructure damage, and humidity, which can screw with electronics.

  5. Chuck Hill permalink
    December 14, 2009 12:02 am

    Bath is in Maine, and it has historically been one of our best.

    Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard is in Kittery, Maine.

  6. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 13, 2009 7:54 pm


    You wrote “Still, a cheap capable useful ship…little bits here and there make the costs just that much smaller.”

    I believe that it might be said that this class of AAW frigates represent an inexpensive and yet highly capable type of warship… Small portions of cleverly planned savings here and there make the costs just that much less than what is typically observed when building warships in US shipyard.

    Moreover, the preceding two Absalom class support ships and these three Iver Huitfeldt class air defense frigates were built / are being built in shipyards located at two or more points surrounding the Baltic Sea. The weather conditions of the Baltic aren’t the most pleasant to be found on this planet. They are hardly congenial to year-around ship-building. It is of striking interest to me that the costs of these several ships could be kept so low in such an inclement climate. Perhaps the US should consider removing its shipbuilding industry to the Canadian Maritime Provinses. Or, perhaps even better – to Hudson’s Bay…

  7. CBD permalink
    December 13, 2009 5:38 pm

    “The price apparently includes the HM&E costs. Weapons systems and Radar are to be installed separately. It may also be that they are not included in the cost.”

    Should read “It may also be that they are not including labor for those other system installations in the cost.”

  8. CBD permalink
    December 13, 2009 5:36 pm

    Reddick and Mike,
    There was an article about these a few months back in DTI (Link). It seemed (to me) to indicate a few things:
    – The ship was constructed in sections in the Odense Steel Shipyard Group’s Baltic shipyards (in Lithuania and Estonia, resulting in cheaper labor and cost reduction of almost 50%)
    – The sections were floated to and assembled at the primary yard outside of Odense, Denmark.
    – The benefit of a shared hull with the Absalon-class was significant, particularly since both were built to a modified commercial standard.
    – As a lesson to the USN, the shipyard had a fixed-price contract and ate the difference on the Absalon class when they managed the construction improperly.
    – The price apparently includes the HM&E costs. Weapons systems and Radar are to be installed separately. It may also be that they are not included in the cost.
    – The article, in a quote from a shipyard manager, makes clear that the wiring was completed by government contractors while the shipyard was finishing the sections (so cost excludes all combat-related cabling).
    – The

    Other sources have indicated that many in Denmark are unsure of the actual cost, since the contracts (which indicate the stated prices) don’t include anything in the way of integration costs for all of those systems…and, to me, seems to just be cost of the contract with the shipyard and suppliers of new systems.

    There are also lots of little cost-saving measures that I suspect may have been used: the currently installed main gun systems (76mm) may be recovered from other ships in the Danish navy (newer, larger guns will be installed later). The same seems to go for the Harpoons (and perhaps their control systems), which may also just be using the StanFlex containers from the Flyvefisken and Absalon classes. I can’t tell if the Mk 56 VLS is recycled (StanFlex) or new. The main new pieces of gear are the Mk 41 VLS, the radars and the Millennium gun CIWS (one will be installed later).

    IIRC, there has also been some cost expansion and unaccounted for cost growth since this last summer.

    Still, a cheap capable useful ship…little bits here and there make the costs just that much smaller.

  9. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 13, 2009 4:04 pm


    I don’t know whether the -stated- pricetag of a Burke DDG includes its weapons load-out, or not. The new Danish Iver Huitfeldt class of AAW frigates cost 1/3rd of a billion dollars, apiece. So, that may be closer to 3/4 the firepower at about 1/6th the pricetag of a Burke DDG (I’m just not sure about the actual numbers). But that is -without- the missiles and other weapons. So, with weapons installed and completely loaded maybe these Danish AAW frigates would cost something like a first flight LCS (LCS-1 & LCS-2), more or less. Of course, these -slower- Danish ships have twice the displacement and much further range than either LCS type. Seems as though the Danes may have hit the sweet spot between what the USN is presently investing in with the LCS and DDG construction programs.

  10. Mike Burleson permalink*
    December 13, 2009 3:48 pm

    3/4 the firepower at about 1/8 the pricetag of a Burke? Thats amazing!

  11. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 13, 2009 3:26 pm


    Yeah, these are the AAW war-fighters developed from the Absalom class support ships. Their basic price (each) is approximately one-half that of an LCS and yet they carry three-quarters (mix of 32 SM-3s & TLAMs; 36 ESSM; 8 or 16 Harpoon: potentially 76 or 84 missiles) of the combat missile load-out of a Burke class DDG. Their final configuration will include two Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm revolver cannon (CIWS) and a Mk 45 Mod 4 127 mm / 62 cal. gun.

    The Danes are demonstrating to everyone how one can build inexpensive, blue water, large displacement AAW frigates. Pair one of these Danish frigates along with a Norwegian AEGIS AAW frigate and you’ve got the North Sea covered against airborne threats, methinks.

    These inexpensive AAW frigates will certainly be more heavily armed (in terms of missile numbers carried) than similar sized AEGIS-based AAW frigates of the Spanish and Norwegian Navies and also the Type 45 AAW Destroyers of the RN (which as yet have no missiles while two of the class are already in commission).

    Someone should cross-pollinate the thinking behind the Spanish-built AEGIS AAW frigates and these inexpensive Danish AAW frigates. Something interesting might result from combining those differing design philosophies & developmental experiences.

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    December 13, 2009 2:47 pm

    D.E. these are high-end versions of the Danish Absalon, from what I understand.

  13. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 13, 2009 10:58 am

    I just noticed this old thread over at (which has had much activity today). It’s about the class of three new air defense frigates being built for the Danish Navy. Their cost is approximately one billion dollars for all three ships, minus their weapons. They’ll carry up to 84 missiles. On the second page of the thread there’s a link in post # 22 which brings up a Danish page with construction pictures of the ships. You can see the Mk 41 VLS systems being installed in the ship, along with other internal details.

    Iver Huitfeldt class Frigate

  14. CBD permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:43 pm

    MSI’s DS30M Mk2 (remote) mount is also being used for the Bushmaster II on the UK’s Type 23 Frigates as an equivalent to the Mk46 Mod 1 mount (remote, optionally manned) for the USN (Link).

  15. CBD permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:35 pm

    The Mk 38 Mod 2 is being sold by BAE as capable of handling a 30mm gun (Bushmaster II) with a coaxial 7.62mg. Link. It also can be armed with various missiles (Link) to enhance striking power without burdening a ship with a full-sized AShM or separate MANPADS station. Might be one answer.

    MSI seems to be a completely independent firm. The Rafael Typhoon mount (Link) has been around since 1997 and MSI’s RWS is a direct competitor to BAE’s version of the Typhoon (see link above).

    The MSI’s unmanned system (Link) seems to have been an adaptation from their manned gun mounts (Info). The Rafael mount, on the other hand, was designed from the ground-up as a naval equivalent to the Samson RCWS, and has a considerably more streamlined architecture.

  16. Chuck Hill permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:11 pm

    Here is the link:

  17. Chuck Hill permalink
    December 12, 2009 5:10 pm

    If looking for patrol boats there is the Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter with should start delivery in less than a year. It’s based on a Dutch design and should have better range, boat handling equipment, and sea keeping than the CPB. It is data linked and will still do 28 knots and has a stabilized 25 mm chain gun that could be upgraded in addition to four crew served .50s.

  18. Hudson permalink
    December 12, 2009 3:21 pm


    Following the militaryphoto thread, one finds an image of the supposed MSI 30mm gun mount and joystick control, that looks identical to the same gun and mount manufactured by Raphael Industries as Typhoon. One wonders what connection, if any, exists between the Israeli firm and MSI Defense Systems Ltd., a U.K. firm. Are the two firms related; who’s 30mm design came first? Is MSI being used as a middleman to “launder” Raphael’s Typhoon gun for an Arab country?


    Of course we don’t know what the “modernized” coastal gunfire support for the Cyclones might be, whether it is a change in gun caliber or an improvement in fire control or something else. “Modernized” generally means an upgrade to an existing system’s capability; hence a more effective 25mm gun. A larger caliber, like 30mm, wouldn’t necessarily mean a modernization. The Cyclone gun tub can’t take a much larger gun, although the 30mm Bushmaster can take a 40mm shell with a quick change in barrel and chamber, I think. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  19. CBD permalink
    December 12, 2009 3:07 pm

    Addendum, Looks like the Military Photos post was a copy of DID’s brief.

  20. CBD permalink
    December 12, 2009 3:06 pm

    I was actually looking at the SwiftShips craft earlier today. Defense Industry Daily has a great review on them here.

    And then there’s the VT Halter Marine MkV-based fast patrol boat (MKV-C) that was just sold to Kuwait(IDEX announcement).

    The USN has no shortage of options in terms of domestic patrol boats of all sizes…it just likes having the closest local ally buy and operate the ships rather than sully the USN’s reputation for giant shining capital ships.

  21. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 12, 2009 1:38 pm


    Here’s a short thread from describing the new Coastal Patrol Boats (CPB) being built for the newly re-constituted Iraqi Navy. These sorts of vessels might be useful for monitoring inshore activities and intercepting suspected pirate vessels along the coast of Somalia, even though range and endurance is limited. However, if they are simply being posted to monitor and intercept marine traffic outside specific ports then they might prove to be suitable to the needs of suppressing Somali piracy. These CPBs are being built in the US with US-provided electronics systems and armaments being integrated into the design.

    Swiftships to Build Up Iraqi Navy’s Coastal Patrol Capabilities

    Swiftships’ 35-meter patrol boat contract is part of a larger program that also delivers spare parts, guns, ammunition, training, naval simulators and infrastructure to the Umm Qasr Naval Base in southern Iraq. Swiftships 35-meter coastal patrol boats (CPBs) are an important part of that program, as Iraq seeks to monitor and protect its southern oil export infrastructure.

    Armament will includes the 30mm MSI deck gun system forward, a .50 cal machine gun aft on the 01 level, and 7.62 machine guns on the bridge wings. Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine provides the integrated Bridge, CIC, and Radio Room equipment. MSI’s 30mm RWS system will be very consequential. As South Korea has proven several times, a patrol boat equipped with a main gun that integrates advanced sensors, ballistic computing, and RWS control will severely punish or sink enemy vessels that depend on hand-aimed guns of similar or greater calibers.

  22. CBD permalink
    December 12, 2009 11:35 am

    They’ve also recently been involved in installing some of the Mk38 Mod 2 guns to allow remote operations (at least for the forward gun mount), but I’m not sure I’d call that a “coastal gunfire support” (although recent Israeli footage from the Gaza campaign shows it is possible with their very similar Typhoon RWS).

  23. CBD permalink
    December 12, 2009 11:33 am

    Reddick and Hudson,
    The Egyptian Ramadan class FAC hull (A VT product) was the basis of the somewhat smaller Cyclone. The Ramadan class had a 76/62 forward, a Twin Fast Forty aft and four Otomat Mark 1 missiles. The Vita, which is derived from the same line is considerably more heavily armed. Reference. The Cyclones were built to be a much more affordable FAC, giving up some engine power, length and weapons to better fit the needs of the NSW folks.

  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    December 12, 2009 5:26 am

    Hudson I agree about Sweden! Along with the Visby corvettes, and the Gotland submarines, I also like the CV90 IFV and the CB-90 assault boat.

  25. Hudson permalink
    December 11, 2009 10:51 pm

    When you think about it, if you wanted to rely on one small country to supply a number of your major weapons systems, Sweden would be an excellent choice: Gripen fighter (How many small countries build their own fighter jet?), Gotland submarine, Visby corvette, Bofors family of auto cannon and armored vehicles, AMOS mortar system mentioned above.

    Sweden is not known in modern times as a military power or militant nation. One would think more of Swedish girls or filmmaker Ingmar Bergman than of any Swedish general, warrior or military accomplishment. Yet there they are, fiercely independent, makers of excellent contemporary weapons. Their extensive system of deep underground bunkers and tunnels makes them better prepared for nuclear war than most countries.

  26. James Daly permalink
    December 11, 2009 6:18 pm

    ‘That the RFA personnel would object to the Ark Royal refueling a frigate is reprehensible. This was common in the US Navy. If they object to the navy exercising a little tactical flexibility maybe they ought to be eliminated.’

    I gather what they objecting to is that on the one hand the Ministry of Defence is saying nothing has been decided on the future of the RFA, but on the other hand it could be seen that they are already planning how to operate without them. I think thats what the feeling is.

    But I agree, nothing wrong with experimenting with flexibility, if thats all that it is. But with our MOD you can’t take much at face value…

  27. Chuck Hill permalink
    December 11, 2009 4:15 pm

    AMOS is awesome, especially with the STRIX IR guided round

    but I doubt if there is a chance considering it is not in our inventory right now. More likely is two 30 mm chain gun. Hopefully in a stabilized mount with a remote fire control system.

  28. December 11, 2009 3:13 pm

    “That the RFA personnel would object to the Ark Royal refueling a frigate is reprehensible. This was common in the US Navy. If they object to the navy exercising a little tactical flexibility maybe they ought to be eliminated.”

    It is happened before in the RN too. I have picture of Ark Royal (the previous one) doing a three way RAS with a destroyer and RFA. The destroyer was taking bunkers. I bet in all my navy books and magazines I have many more.

  29. Hudson permalink
    December 11, 2009 2:49 pm


    I know. Just like the 155mm Advanced Gun System on the Zumwalts for pennies to that dollar. Smaller caliber and less range, but useful all the same.

  30. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 11, 2009 2:05 pm


    That AMOS 120 mm twin-tube mortar is one slick weapons system! It’s capable of 14 (or, maybe 28) rounds of time on target fire. OUCH!

  31. Hudson permalink
    December 11, 2009 1:35 pm

    The Cyclones are pretty much maxed out, and heavily armed at that. Besides 25mm and .50 caliber, they have two Mark 19 40 auto grenade launchers with an effective range of 1500 meters. That certainly constitutes shore fire. Maybe there is an update of those guns in the works.

    For future boats of similar or smaller size, the Navy might consider the AMOS twin 120mm breachloading mortar, which has been tested on the Combat Boat 90, of less than 10 tons. There are US ties to the Swedish company that makes the AMOS system originally designed to be mounted on a land tracked vehicle.

    The weapon offers direct fire in addition to arc fire out to 10,000 meters and more with advanced precision rounds. My idea of a modest close inshore support boat would be AMOS plus the DARDO twin 40mm gun with some anti-air capability, plus .50 caliber. Obviously, there are many configurations one could build into a Cyclone II, that would have both long range anti-pirate capability and close in-shore fire support.

  32. D. E. Reddick permalink
    December 11, 2009 1:29 pm


    The USN’s 57 mm Mk 110 Mod 0 Naval Gun System appears to be capable of being mounted on the Cyclone class of PCs. Here’s a claim by BAE Systems:

    “The highly compact and lightweight Mk 110 requires minimal deck penetration and space below deck for ease in integration to a variety of hull types of 150 tons or more.”

    The 25 mm MK 38 MOD 2 GWS (M242 cannon) mounted forward on the Cyclone class appears to be a deck mount. One has to wonder whether the 7-ton Mk 110 would fit and how much deck penetration would be required. The Cyclone class started out with a full load displacement of 331 tons. So, the issue of basic displacement is moot.

    But installation of a larger gun capable of conducting “coastal gunfire support” might be problematic. Yet, the newer Otobreda 76 mm Super Rapid mount weights in at 7.5 Kilotons (only slightly heavier than the Mk 110 57 mm mount). The Otobreda 76 mm mount does -really- require below deck space, so maybe that wouldn’t be workable with the Cyclone class. Anyhow, perhaps there are two different forms of lightweight guns which might be deployable on the Cyclone class PCs.

  33. Chuck Hill permalink
    December 11, 2009 12:12 pm

    Re the Cyclones, the coastal gunfire support might best be provided by Netfires NLOS even if it isn’t a gun.

  34. Chuck Hill permalink
    December 11, 2009 12:10 pm

    That the RFA personnel would object to the Ark Royal refueling a frigate is reprehensible. This was common in the US Navy. If they object to the navy exercising a little tactical flexibility maybe they ought to be eliminated.

  35. CBD permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:51 am

    I’d love to see another batch produced based on lessons learned with the PC-14 systems and the experiences both with TF150 and protecting the Iraqi installations. I’m glad they’re bringing the Cyclones up to date, the first round of upgrades supposedly helped a lot and this sounds like some thought is being applied towards modern Comm/Nav/control systems on smaller vessels.

    I know that they’ve been in the process of installing Mk38 Mod2s, but the 25mm those bear is hardly a weapon for “coastal gunfire support.” I wonder what that means…a 57mm?

  36. Mike Burleson permalink*
    December 11, 2009 9:05 am

    It is a needed capability. If they had about 50 of them for the price of a destroyer, it would make a terrific impact in the Gulf of Aden.

  37. CBD permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:01 am

    They are now being modernized to support new operational requirements for littoral warfare, coastal gunfire support and mobile training programs.

    If true, that is a significant upgrade in mission profile for the Cyclone class. It would also indicate some different weapons systems.

    Maybe they’re hedging their bets on patrol boats?

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