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Giving Sea Fighter Teeth

May 6, 2010

The following is courtesy of Thanks to authors Lee Wahler and Robert Stoner for allowing New Wars to post this!

Sea Fighter (FSF-1) – A proposal for full operation
Purpose:   To evaluate the X-craft in anti-piracy as well as long-range surveillance and interdiction roles.
Introduction   Sea Fighter (FSF-1) is a fast, maneuverable platform that was designed as a technology demonstrator.  It is a platform for the development of new roles and missions for this technology’s employment.
Sea Fighter was designed to be fast and nimble through the use of lightweight materials.  It also has some stealthy design features incorporated into its construction.  The proposed additions would take these features into account while expanding and developing the platform for various practical applications.
Employment:  To do this, we need to look at the four “F”s as they apply to the anti-piracy, surveillance and interdiction role.
1.     Find ‘em.
2.     Fix ‘em.
3.     Fight ‘em.
4.     Finish ‘em.
FIND ‘EM  The key to dealing with and interdicting pirates is finding them.  To do so we need to look beyond the typical shipboard search radar and expand Sea Fighter’s over the horizon capabilities.
The first way is to use both military reconnaissance satellites and the civilian weather satellite systems as space-borne “eyes in the sky” that can cover tens of thousands of square miles of ocean quickly and allow relatively unimpeded observation of trouble spots.
The second way is to extend the vessel’s eyes beyond the line-of-sight search radars.  For carrier battle groups, we use the E-2C Hawkeye airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft.  For Sea Fighter, we can do this through the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) now in-use and under evaluation.  It is proposed we use several types of UAV.  For long-range reconnaissance and surveillance, the Northrop-Grumman RQ-8A/B Fire Scout is entering service and a good aircraft.  For short and intermediate range reconnaissance and surveillance, the Boeing-Insitu ScanEagle UAV as currently used in Iraq can operate off the Sea Fighter’s large flight deck.
FIX ‘EM  After the above aircraft find the quarry, we have to fix them so they cannot escape.  Currently, Fire Scout has an eight hour endurance and longer range, while ScanEagle has lesser range, but a 22 hour endurance time.  This should allow shadowing of suspect craft by relief on station as required for as long as required.
FIGHT ‘EM  The primary aerial strike weapon of Sea Fighter should be the MQ-8B Fire Scout.  The MQ-8B is an armed attack variant of the reconnaissance RQ-8A/B.  The MQ-8B does have some of the RQ-8A/B electro-optical sensors, but they are primarily configured for the strike role as opposed to reconnaissance and surveillance. 
A “hunter-killer” team composed of either the MQ-8B and RQ-8A/B Fire Scout or ScanEagle, and MQ-8B Fire Scout would be a very difficult team for pirates to avoid and fight back against.  A UAV composite detachment to be supported onboard Sea Fighter would be composed off:
1.     For the long-range missions, 2 ea. MQ-8B and 2 ea. RQ-8A/B Fire Scout
2.     for the short to intermediate range missions, 4 ea. ScanEagle.
Threat Assessment:  Sea Fighter would likely face two types of direct threats:
1.     Low threats as represented by small, fast, lightly armed boats (AKM 7.62×39 rifles, PKM 7.62x54R machine guns, and RPG-7V rocket launchers).
2.     Intermediate threats since it would be a “mothership” would be from fast attack boats having crew served weapons such as 12.7mm or 23mm heavy machine guns and recoilless rifles or anti-armor missiles.  Likewise, an Intermediate threat would be posed by heavier weapons possessed by many failed nation states that are no longer under their control; that is, coastal anti-ship missiles and aircraft or boats either modified or dedicated to the attack role. 
FINISH ‘EM  Sea Fighter employs a unique mix of armed UAV, organic light and medium guns and missiles that can defeat and kill any likely kind of threat mounted by pirates or state sponsored terrorists.
Ship Modifications:
Sea Fighter is designed for swap-in and swap-out of various mission modules.  Some of these modules will be ready for use before the LCS are operational.  Recent photos suggest that a small elevator has been added to Sea Fighter to move equipment from the mission deck to the helicopter deck.  Some minor modifications to that elevator might be necessary to accommodate Fire Scout when it is configured for stowing and moving it from the helo deck to the hangar or “module” deck.  ScanEagle is much smaller and lighter; the elevator would be used to move the portable launch and retrieval gear.  Command and control for ScanEagle and Fire Scout could be accomplished from a module similar to the Army’s C3OTM (command, control, communication on-the-move) that is designed to fit the back of a lengthened Humvee.
Weapons Suite:
The primary weapons and counter measure systems proposed for an operational Sea Fighter are:
1.     One SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System (CIWS)
2.     One GDM-008 35mm Millennium Gun (CIWS)
3.     Two Mk 95 twin .50 Browning machineguns
4.     Two Mk 38 Mod 2 25mm machine guns
5.     One Mk 36 Mod 1 Super RBOC for defense against radar and infrared targeting (or equivalent).
6.     One SLQ-650 Electronic Warfare system for small combatants (or equivalent).
7.     Two deck-mounted pedestals for the Mk 19 Mod 3 40mm automatic grenade launcher
8.     Four M240G 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) with on-board cradles and ammo box trays.
In addition, the Sea Fighter should carry:
Two 11-meter NSW RHIBs equipped with mounts for M2 .50 machinegun, Mk 19 Mod 3 40mm AGL, and 7.62mm GPMG.
Ordnance modifications are readily accomplished.  Both the SeaRAM and the GDM-008 35mm Millennium Gun are designed for bolt-on installation with minimal hook-up required.  The same is true for the Mk 38 Mod 2 25mm machinegun installation.  The Mk 95 twin .50 machinegun installations requires no special preparation, other than an area of deck where it can be bolted-down or welded to the deck.  The Mk 36 Super RBOC requires minimal installation.  Pedestals for the Mk 19 Mod 3 40mm AGL or M240 GPMG can be bolted or welded to the deck to give optimal arcs of fire.  Location of one twin .50 machine gun and one Mk 38 Mod 2 machine gun should be installed at the corners of the bow flare for optimal arcs of fire.  Consideration should be given to locating them behind quick-acting doors in order to preserve the design characteristics of the bow area yet allow engagement over a wide area.
Electronics and systems integration (some may already be present): 
Secure voice communications gear, data links to UAVs (secure) and supporting ships.
An EW system similar to the SLQ-650.
Satellite communications (for download of recon satellite imagery)
A good intermediate, high resolution search radar (UAVs and satellites will do most of long range scouting).
Integrated combat system for fire control systems of CIWS and Super RBOC for defensive purposes.  CIWS (SeaRAM and GDM-008 35mm gun) fire control can be fully automatic, semi-automatic (with operator decision making, and local (operator has full control of SeaRAM or GDM-008). 
The reason why Sea Fighter is equipped with two kinds of CIWS (missile and gun) is that it makes them harder to defeat.  The Mk 36 Mod 1 Super RBOC launchers and SLQ-650 EW system are to defeat enemy targeting systems.  If Sea Fighter would come under this kind of attack, the MQ-8B could also be used as an airborne combat air patrol (CAP) when the ship is operating close to a hostile shoreline.
Emphasis should be placed on existing technology that can be adapted to do the ship easily.  It does not need to be naval type, but it does need to be marinized to survive the nautical operations.
Operational Rationale:
We are in one of those in-between moments of history.  When the old ways are no longer the best way of doing things and we are blazing new trails with concepts and ideas that are strange to many
The Navy has already completed test and trials of the Sea Fighter with a joint service crew.  Further experimentation to develop operational knowledge of UAVs is advisable.  The mix and interoperability of manned aircraft and UAV needs to be determined.
Using the Sea Fighter for anti-piracy patrols would be the ideal way to iron-out operational doctrine and experiment with flying UAVs on real world missions.  This is the ideal way of learning their strengths and weaknesses.  It is also the ideal way of learning and refining scouting and engagement practices for Sea Fighter.  And most importantly, the Sea Fighter can deal with the growing threat to coastal shipping using a lower cost platform then current surface combatants.
Sea Fighter can be a very capable, armed, fast scout.  As modified, it would have the aviation assets to perform the reconnaissance and attack missions necessary to neutralize low to mid level threats.  It would have a suitable mix of ordnance to deal with low to mid level surface and air threats.  It could be operated ahead of the surface force.  More importantly, it can do anti-piracy patrols without having to tie-up precious surface warfare assets like frigates or DDGs or CGs.

51 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2014 10:56 am

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

  2. mastergunner01 permalink
    May 17, 2013 1:45 am

    The “giving teeth” to Sea Fighter (FSF-1) was an idea of a fast gunfighter for dealing with the pirate threat off Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The idea was to give the vessel a fighting chance at survival in the Green Waters off potentially hostile coasts. I don’t know if Sea Fighter could accommodate all the systems we suggested in this paper. What Lee and I did hope to do was stimulate out of the box thinking that appears so lacking in today’s USN.

  3. May 17, 2013 12:02 am

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  4. Guy Stitt permalink
    August 7, 2012 10:41 am

    What is the new radar onboard SeaFighter?

  5. Anonymous permalink
    January 7, 2012 12:08 pm

    From the Ship’s Boatswain on board the Sea Fighter, We can carry 4 11m rhib’s and 12 7m rhib’s!

  6. May 15, 2010 1:39 am

    Re: Why Mk 38 Mod 2 and not the Mk 96 of the Cyclones?

    The Mk 38 Mod 2 is in production and is pretty much a bolt down installation and it is stablilized in all three axes. The Mk 96 is peculiar to the PC-1 Cyclone class and no other ship types. It also has onboard manning, whereas Mk 38 Mod 2 does not. This makes Mk 38 Mod 2 smaller and lighter (and available).

    I do believe that Mk 38 Mod 2 could be give a co-axial missile or gun system. The Rafael Mini-Typhoon system has gone this route. The Mk 38 Mod 2 is a modification of the Typhoon that is produced by BAe Systems for the USN.

    If I was going to get more bang for my buck, I’d put a co-axial gun or pair of missiles like Hellfire or Javelin on the Mk 38 Mod 2.

  7. leesea permalink
    May 9, 2010 11:49 am

    @ Bill good answer! Which goes to all those folks who think that LCS or JHSV can automatically be motherships with good logistics capabilities. Oopps there I go again “assuming” as mothership is logistic in nature~~ but I still have not seen a good argument why its a warship which might? be designed to do multi-functional roles whcih gets back to your point.

    One can not make a Corvette do what a Ford F150 does (easily or correctly)!

  8. Bill permalink
    May 9, 2010 8:29 am

    “Did someone blow the rqmts for a flexible mission deck?”

    Point of view problem. Let me turn it around for you: The mission bay deck on FSF-1 can deal with higher loads (much higher where the mission module boxes are landed) than similarly-sized high speed cat ferries. The X-Y crane system supports moving any module to any location, including the elevator and the L & R ramp.

    It all gets back to the permanent conundrum that will always exist when talking about HPMV solutions; multi-mission disease sinks them – you simply cannot have or accomodate everything without growing the ship..a lot.

  9. leesea permalink
    May 8, 2010 10:09 pm

    @Bill the overhead lift x3 does not surprise me at all. Did someone blow the rqmts for a flexible mission deck? Can’t use forklifts and can only land boxed in specific place – dahh! If one cannot move objects around on a deck it ain’t Flexible.

    I guess part of that is how the deck is structured and things like shadow box pressure?

  10. Bill permalink
    May 8, 2010 10:00 am

    “The X-Y crane I presume is an overhead multi-rail lift system akin to what is on LCS? Let me guess all three are of different designs?”

    But of course they are all different designs. ;-p

    Are there big sideports? Nope. One side port on port side..for boarding essentially.

    I guess the Navy didn’t use the commercial dollies to move ISO containers around on deck?

    The mission bay deck on FSF-1 cannot support high local leads except where/as specifically designed for,e.g. where the conex pads are. Even a small forklift cannot be used on the mission bay deck without laying down some steel plating where you want to go with it.

  11. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 9:02 pm

    @Bill and Bsmitty, I sure would not want to move modules around u/w, but being able to launch boats with some way on is desirable. The NSWG guys talked about four RHIBs at once. perhaps for raiding? I would only see the need for two or three as VBSS assets. The other part of MIO missions would be accomodations for boat sailors, M&R on the boats, ammo lockers and POL. There needs to be the right kinds of sensors for C4ISR.

    The X-Y crane I presume is an overhead multi-rail lift system akin to what is on LCS? Let me guess all three are of different designs?

    Are there big sideports?

    I guess the Navy didn’t use the commercial dollies to move ISO containers around on deck?

  12. Bill permalink
    May 7, 2010 2:44 pm

    “IIRC, from the Coast Guard evaluation, they said the X-Y crane wasn’t meant to be used underway. ”

    You sure would not want to try and use it in wave conditions that make the vessel rock and roll…it is a suspended load on the crane, after all. Calm-ish conditions, not a problem.

    And yes, the original L & R ramp design definitely had some ‘issues’ in the perforamnce department. All fixable, for sure.

  13. B.Smitty permalink
    May 7, 2010 2:22 pm

    MH-60S rather, for the MIW module.

  14. B.Smitty permalink
    May 7, 2010 2:20 pm

    IIRC, from the Coast Guard evaluation, they said the X-Y crane wasn’t meant to be used underway. If so, then it won’t be able to move module components to and from the L&R ramp. I don’t know what modifications would be needed, or if they have already been performed.

    Also, there were complaints about the angle and design of the L & R ramp.

    Obviously without a hangar, FSF-1 can’t really deploy with the full MIW package (including MH-60R). Perhaps the surface and subsurface components.

  15. Bill permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:57 pm

    “It is my belief/experience that a NAVAIR certified flight deck for helos adds TOO much to a small ship. The cost of installation, the equippage, the deck crew, the power & maintennce demands ALL add up to more crew, more cost and more weight. ”

    You are spot on the mark with that assessment. Getting that NAVAIR flight deck all sat and certified on FSF-1 was not trivial at all..

  16. Bill permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:55 pm

    The Sea Fighter could handle any number of 11m RHIBs…as many as 8..9? if you wanted to be ‘silly’ about the total number and carry only RHIBs. The X-Y crane extends back to encompass the L&R ramp. The RHIBs are stored on cradles in mission bay slots and moved to/from the L & R ramp via the X-Y crane.

  17. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 12:01 pm

    I have seen photos of FSF-1 handling boats. I do not know how well the testing went? I have not seen interior of mission deck so need to know that ship can support at least two 11 meter RHIBs?

    Wouldn’t it be nice if a CB-90 could be lifted?

    The FSF-1 boat handling capability also goes to Heretic’s question which I would restate as: Can the FSF-1 handle the MIW mission modules to include sufficient drone boats?

  18. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 11:57 am

    I guess I did not explain the background about helos on small combatants, so here goes. It is my belief/experience that a NAVAIR certified flight deck for helos adds TOO much to a small ship. The cost of installation, the equippage, the deck crew, the power & maintennce demands ALL add up to more crew, more cost and more weight. When you add that to Cdr Hendrix’s point that in order for a platform to be trully functional as a mothership it must have a hangar and the capability to do aviation M&R. Both of those things told me to keep the Sea Fighter “down” to UAVs only. Taking the UAVs below deck is an acceptable design feature when compared to a full hangar etc.

    Bill good to hear FSF-1 had JP tanks.

    The fact that ONR required a full size helo deck without support is questionable but I guess they were on a tight budget and timeline?

  19. Bill permalink
    May 7, 2010 7:53 am

    Re: the Chinese 022 cats: We sea trialed (motion instrumented) various AMD cats as the natural consequence of commissioning the active stabilization that they were fitted with. They were all passenger ferries..but same parent hulls, many of them, as the 022. That is how/why I so quickly recognized the 022 cats for what they were..AMD hulls.

    Its also a fundamental part of our business that we usually cannot divulge much in way of detailed information about all the various HPMV types that we are involved with (which is most all of them in the world); if we did, we would not be allowed back in the door to provide the stabilization packages that they all require. While the differences in hull lines and unstabilized motions may (are) be very subtle between and Incat/Crowther, Stenna, Austal or AMD, or… they all still treat their designs as quite proprietary. ;-)

  20. Bill permalink
    May 7, 2010 7:44 am

    For Eric/all;

    Sea Fighter was delivered with a fully NAVAIR-certified helo deck, certified for both day and night ops. She is already equipped with a helo refueling station and tanakge, etc.

    I’m not sure how those recent modifications (the new turbine exhaust stacks and flight deck side panels especially) have affected the original helo support capability. (that was fully demonstrated btw..I have some good pics of the ops).

  21. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 7, 2010 6:07 am

    SWL-We aim to please, but really all credit due to the guys at Warboats!

  22. ShockwaveLover permalink
    May 7, 2010 4:46 am

    Wow, when I asked what you wanted to arm Sea Fighter with, I wasn’t expecting this. Nice find!

    Though I can’t decide whether the GDM-008 or the Phalanx would be better on the front. Possibly the Phalanx, as it comes with a self-contained targeting system, and it’s off-the-shelf, already used by the USN.

  23. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:30 am

    Big D I presume you saw the USNI Proceeding article about Type 022 Houbeis? Very scary warships in certain situations.

  24. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:28 am

    Eric, the reason we stuck with UAVs is that the ship is not fully fitted out to have a helo det onboard for an extended period – no hangar, elevator not big enough, M&R, full helo det etc.

    Warboaters have kicked this scheme around with some Seawolvees we know. They consensus it that one H-60 and two Fire Scout would make a damn good team for a ship of this size. And for lower end missions like MIO, anti-piracy etc.

    So we used just UAVs as the OTH enablers. But your thought about FSF or JSHV being lilly pads is a good one. I do not know the JP tankage on either ship type, but might be able to find the JHSV’s?

  25. Big D permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:27 am

    Stupid question… why Mk38-2 instead of Mk96, which is in use on the Cyclones and adds a 40mm GL to the same RWS?

    Also, on a different topic, Bill, have you typed up a review of the Chinese cat anywhere? If not, would you be interested in doing so? I’d like to hear your opinion, since you’re probably the best fast-boat expert on the blogosphere…

  26. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:21 am

    Bsmitty for my part the SeaFighter proposal has two purposes. One is as Bill has said – we own now let’s use it. The other was to push the envelop of what existing weapons systems could be fitted on her. Sure the Warboats proposal has a lot of layers of weapons on the ship – that’s becase we come from gun boat backgrounds. We both saw mods to our warboats in Vietnam, some worked some did not. In my case the original Mk 1 PBR became the “product improved” Mk 2 version. (and PBR crews are still debating which was better!)

    It should be noted that the proposal was written in June 2009 and since then Undersecretary Bob Work has said (I paraphrase): buy the right sized platform, try it out, modify it and operate it more. The FSF-1 is the right size, it can be modified and it should be used in actual operations.

    All I am saying is we got this hot rod, tune it up and let’s take it to the drag strip!

  27. leesea permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:10 am

    I have been told that the SWCCs of NSWG really like the Skjold. Remember back a couple of years ago SOCCOM was looking for a ship to deploy SEAL platoon with gear over long distances. The Skjold has the troop and boat capacity I think?

  28. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 6, 2010 9:33 pm

    Off Topic Moment: the total of 750,000 (three-quarters of a million) hits at New Wars was passed today, May 6, 2010.

    800,000 hits prior to the end of May;
    900,000 hits before the end of June;
    1,000,000 hits before the month of July comes to an end.

  29. May 6, 2010 9:25 pm

    One of the uses I would think would be handy for this ship (depending on the op) is to have some fuel/weaps/consumables onboard for when lets say a Navy helicopter (for example a Romeo) needs replenishment.

    The helo can go out to do what ever work it was doing after being launched from its home ship (destroyer etc…) and can stop by the Seafighter to get extra gas weapons — a sandwich/stretch your legs for a few minutes– and then get back into the air. This and the HSV have this nice ability that should be very useful.

  30. Hudson permalink
    May 6, 2010 5:44 pm

    Thanks, Bill–typing included!

  31. B.Smitty permalink
    May 6, 2010 5:24 pm

    A couple comments:

    1. To just evaluate FSF-1 in an active counter-piracy role you really don’t need that much armament. The existing 6 x .50 cal stations might be plenty. No need for missile or air defenses. If you want, add a single Mk 38 Mod 1 or 2 for longer range punch.

    I wonder if you could fire a TOW 2 RF from the deck using one of the .50 cal mounts? A pitching deck might make hitting anything a challenge for the gunner.

    2. Fire Scout doesn’t fit in the existing elevator and the elevator doesn’t lower flush to the mission deck floor. That’d make using the mission deck as a Fire Scout hangar a no-go at present. You could still carry them exposed on the flight deck, but that puts more wear on the airframes.

    3. UAVs are nice, but an effective counter-piracy system will need a manned helo. There are some things UAVs just can’t do, like performing boardings, shooting out motors with .50 cal sniper rifles, rescuing pirates from their burning skiffs, and so on. Of course another asset could carry the manned helo, and Sea Fighter could lilly pad them.

  32. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2010 4:56 pm

    I sure do type badly when I’m on my soapbox. Sorry…

  33. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2010 4:54 pm

    My opinions? First, Sea Fighter is, and is NOW, what the LCS started out to be. IT’s actually a Street Fighter on steriods. And more to the point of todays tpoic, Sea Fighter is HSNC classes and has already undergone all the ‘fleet upgrades’, as we on the team called them at the time. to become a depluyed asset for taking over Persiand Gulf duties from the PCs. Didn’t happen..not sure why although I know the politics were bad. Sometimes that is everything.

    Skjold is one of the best near-shore combatant craft there is in the world. But her capabilites are quite limited compared to Sea Fighter. I mean come is an 1800 ton multi-mission high speed ‘truck’ with flight deck, mission bay including conex pads and X-y crane, RHIB L & R, long range, nice crew accomodations..

    ..the other a 270-ton focused-mission combatant craft (but also with nice crew accomodations.. ;-).

  34. Hudson permalink
    May 6, 2010 4:38 pm


    Thanks for your first hand knowledge. What is your opinion of Skjold? And do you think SF-1 has a clear place, clear mission in the USN? You can put guns and missiles on anything and make it more dangerous. What is it–armed reconnaisance? Pirate hunter? Battle space ferry? It really is the broad side of a barn as a target.

    One big problem with LCS is that it was not conceived narrowly as a strictly littoral (close inshore) vessel. It was meant to be a frigate replacement as well, or at least, it evolved in that direction–very different mission. So it is neither “fish nor fowl.” Will Sea Fighter evolve in the same direction, do you think?

  35. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2010 4:18 pm

    To get back on topic with my .02: Simply put, there is no other floating vessel anywhere in the US, Navy or otherwise, that sits ready, capable and able to do what Lee and Bob have proposed for the Sea Fighter. It seems that fact singular as it becoming obscured in the digressions; said digressions I apologize for my part in.

    I’m a huge fan of the Skjold class, that’s no secret..hell, I helped design the damned thing. But its not a Sea Fighter and, regardless of that, its not here now and couldn’t be for years to come. And that Chines AMD catamaran?..tested that too. We don’t want one. ;-)

  36. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 6, 2010 4:17 pm

    ““Why not something like Stiletto rather than Sea Fighter? ”

    I would appreciate the mix. CB90s, FACs, then OPVs, and then corvettes. I see the latter two as heirs to the destroyers and frigates from the war years. We no longer have any flotilla vessels, or even a mindset toward that need, everything being a battleship in cost and capabilities. These small warships I consistently advocate are self-deployable and are necessary for closing the gaps, exploited by the speedboat navies, in our sea control. The Stiletto could be but probably shouldn’t be self-deployable, the same as the PC-1 class.

    “Are you guys on the Sea Fighter payroll?”

    Still waiting on that paycheck. Think they lost my address? Sigh…

    I know for a fact Stiletto isn’t a favorite with one of the Warboats guys, but I’m curious what they would do to her for a redesign!

  37. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2010 4:09 pm

    The USN technical community got almost nothing done that they wanted to. I know..I helped write the test plans..before all the promised money vanished. SOCCOM?..most were thoroughly impressed with Skjold duriong joint exercises they conducted.

    But that’s about it. The entire evolution turned in to mostly a nice US adventure vacation for the Norwegian crew. The Skjold was NOT ‘evaluated’ by hardly anyone, even though that was supposed to be what would happen when she got here.

  38. Hudson permalink
    May 6, 2010 4:03 pm


    OK, I stand partially corrected, since the Navy got to “kick the tires” of Skjold. I imagine these various communities you mention formed a pretty good idea as to whether the Navy would want to build something closely similar.

  39. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2010 2:54 pm

    Hudson; lease of Skjold has ever been done. The Navy shelled out a few bucks to pay for expenses so the Norwegian Navy crew (Cdr. Rune Anderson the CO at the time) could bring the Skjold over here and let various USN communities kick the tires for a few months (each at their own expense..which is why most of what they hoped to do never got done).

    Now the series production is nearly completed and the vessels are entering active RNoN service as we speak; and thus there are no longer any unarmed prototype demonstrators of the class.

    Besides, the current RNoN version has, per staff requirement. a range of little over 700 nm. Long-range variants are on the boards but none built. Sea Fighter has very long legs in diesel mode at 18 knots or so.

  40. Hudson permalink
    May 6, 2010 2:38 pm


    I’m fairly certain that the Navy leased Skjold for a year. So it has been well tested. Of course, Norway wouldn’t just give a boat to us.

  41. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 6, 2010 2:18 pm


    Besides “active (flare and chaff) deception systems and passive ESM (Electronics Support Measures)”, what else might be hidden behind that new bow and those stealth-seeming side-panels or bulwarks? Since her seemingly extensive rebuild Sea Fighter looks quite different than the picture provided with the start of this thread.

  42. Bill permalink
    May 6, 2010 2:12 pm

    “Why not something like Stiletto rather than Sea Fighter? Or, why not something like the Norwegian Navy’s Skjold Class SES’s? Or why not something like China’s Houbi-class WPCs?”

    This is a joke comment, right?

    Stilleto is a small toy compared to Sea Fighter, with nothing like it range, payload, crew accomodations..anything.

    The Norwegian Navy has not volunteered to let us have one of their new ‘Skjold’ class MTBs. They are not going to volunteer to either.

    The Chines?..doubt that they are going to volunteer to let us play with one of their AMD-clone cat hulls either. Why would they?

    And..oh yeah. We already own Sea Fighter, its in great condition and it largely sits at dock doing nothing.

    Hmm… ;-)

  43. May 6, 2010 1:49 pm

    I would revise and extend my previous remarks in regards to the recomendation of the GDM-008 35mm Millenium Gun.

    Change the recommendation to the Mk 15 Mod 0 Block 1B Phalanx gun with the M61A1 20mm gun. The Millenium gun is still undergoing tests, but the Phalanx GDM-008 is currently in-service. The Phalanx also requires less work to install than the 35mm Millenium Gun.

    Both SeaRAM and Phalanx are designed as stand alone systems and have their own fire control systems — both radar and electro-optical. The E/O option allows operation of SeaRAM and Phalanx in a dual purpose (anti-missile or anti-surface) role. Hookup of the systems are simple: plumb-in a cooling water supply and the necessary electrical supply, then bolt the module to the deck. The SeaRAM or Phalanx can be operated from a local control panel or from a CIC.

    Sea Fighter has tested active (flare and chaff) deception systems and passive ESM (Electronics Support Measures). To what extent these are operational at present is unknown to the author.

  44. Anonymous permalink
    May 6, 2010 1:43 pm

    Why not something like Stiletto rather than Sea Fighter? Or, why not something like the Norwegian Navy’s Skjold Class SES’s? Or why not something like China’s Houbi-class WPCs? Are you guys on the Sea Fighter payroll? I enjoy this blog, but for God’s sake, give Sea Fighter a rest.

  45. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 6, 2010 1:43 pm

    Hudson, I would suggest the cost of upgrading Sea Fighter to this state would be considerably less than LCS in its current underarmed condition!

    D.E. Wrote “a larger format, clearer picture would be nice”

    I agree, but this is the one that was sent to me! Got any extras Lee?

    Anonymous-Thanks for your honesty and good luck on your country’s elections. Our thoughts and prayers are with our cousins across the pond, that democracy may continue to triumph!

    Like you I am concerned over the Navy’s half-hearted efforts with this program. There is no denying the Navy has little love for small ships, and 60+ years of peacetime sailing might blind them to the fact of the usefulness of such craft, not only in peace but wartime as well.

    Considering the budget troubles with no clear relief in sight, I can only hope common sense will return to the procurement process, and ships built more as the Navy fights, rather than the kind she prefers, before it is too late. Else we end up with a fleet so heavenly capable it is of little earthly good, and too darn expensive as well.

  46. Hudson permalink
    May 6, 2010 1:25 pm

    What would all of these weapons add-ons cost? Small change, or substantially more? And, can you just tack all of this weaponry on to the ship as is? Looks like a real brute with all this applique firepower. A Cyclone plus. Great if it all works!

  47. Heretic permalink
    May 6, 2010 1:03 pm

    I keep looking at the FSF-1 and thinking MIW “mothership” for deploying anti-mine robots. Rather than the Sea Fighter *itself* being the anti-mine vessel, it simply houses (and feeds and pampers) the assets which perform the anti-mine tasks … much like how an aircraft carrier is a “mothership” for fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

    Why can’t the FSF-1 be the foundation for a new anti-mine warfare ship? I know that the hull is metal rather than fiberglass … but if the anti-mine work is being done “remotely” by underwater robots …

  48. Anonymous permalink
    May 6, 2010 12:55 pm

    I have read post after post about ‘Seafighter’ on your website and I am still completely confused about your Navy’s attitude toward it.
    According to its champions,and I would count you amongst them (forgive me if I am wrong) they would appear to be a very viable and extraordinarly cheap alternative to the LCS that are at the moment taking the plaudits.
    As the first vessel was handed over to the Navy in I believe 2006 for trials,surely four years is long enough to either confirm whether or not the vessell is fit for purpose.
    This situation makes even me (who is a complete cynic regarding a small ship force) think that it is more to do with the Navy’s mentality of wanting large high tech state of the art warships than it is to do with actually having the right vessells for the job.
    Both LCS variants seem to be forging ahead even given the doubts that are being raised over their costs and capabilities,whilst ‘Seafighter’ seems to be fighting for its existance.
    I understand that the vessell was damaged in heavy weather some time back and had to undergo a lengthy docking period,have the problems caused by this episode been rectified?
    Also the use of aluminium has been questioned in the construction,does this have any bearing on decision makers, I ask this as a result of the direct result of the loss of HMS Sheffield in the falklands campaign where the use of this material was said to have contributed to her loss.
    Obviously turning to steel for her hull would seriously degrade her weight factor,but to what extent would this affect her capabilities to perform in the litorals.
    I would think that if this vessel is taken to its capabilities it would turn out to be a ‘serious bit of kit’
    Perhaps after Mr Gates lambasting the people ‘in the know’ may start to think seriously about how to move forward.
    P.S. I really hope that after our general election in the UK, we might also have a considered opinion on defence but having always bungled it I don’t hold out any great hopes.

  49. D. E. Reddick permalink
    May 6, 2010 12:48 pm

    I approve!

    Although, a larger format, clearer picture would be nice. The current picture has text that is simply difficult to read.


  1. Panic Room at Sea « Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon
  2. Giving Sea Fighter Teeth « New Wars

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