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Birth Pains of the New Navy

June 7, 2010

The U.S. Department of Defense leadership has concluded that the current mix of ships, and naval strategies they support, cannot be sustained. It’s not like this sort of thing has not happened before. This would be the third time in a century that the naval world was transformed by new technology. A century ago, the new “all big gun” battleship design had made all existing fleets obsolete. At the same time these new battleships appeared, so did aircraft. Three decades later, the aircraft carrier made the battleship obsolete. Now cruise missiles , UAVs and all manner of new sensors, software and electronics are threatening the aircraft carrier. If you go back and read the popular and professional media at the time of the last two transformations, you will note a lot of uncertainty about whether it was really a transforming moment. That is the case now, but the issue is heating up because the current carrier-centric navy is simply unaffordable. This includes the large amphibious ships (which carry helicopters and vertical takeoff aircraft, and look like carriers.)

Strategypage

Something big will soon occur to to navies worldwide. Some are well on their way to equipping their fleets for 21st Century warfare, others are wasting huge funds propping up last century building practices, and suffering accordingly. The Strategypage exert alludes to a major transformation in warship design which New Wars has consistently pointed toward the past several years. The ongoing procurement problems such as out of control costs is a sign of something that occurs periodically in warship design, obsolescence.

It is also a natural, recurring progression, as one weapons systems becomes increasingly harder to build and afford in adequate numbers, it will be replaced by something more affordable and practical. Often outright battlefield defeat is required to end production of a much treasured, or depended on weapon, recalling the horse calvary bowled over by the machine gun and tanks early in the last century.

*****

The British TV Network channel 4 recently produced a glowing documentary on the Royal Navy’s new class of guided missile destroyer, according to Marco Giannangeli at the UK Express:

The Type 45 destroyer, the first of six to be built at a total cost of £6.6billion, marks the future of the Royal Navy and is its last chance to prove its importance and relevance in the post-Cold War era.

The backbone of the Royal Navy, it was conceived to overcome the harsh lessons learned during the Falklands War, in which two of the five Type 42 destroyers deployed in the South Atlantic, HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry, were sunk by Argentinean bombs and missiles.

“The Type 45 is the culminating point of all those lessons being learned,” naval expert Professor Eric Grove, of Salford University tells me. “If we’d had just one Type 45 in 1982 the situation would have been very different.”

There is only one problem with this fluff treatment of the HMS Daring and her 6 sisters, none of the crucial Sea Viper missile systems are fully operational and ready for combat. While viewing the video, one of our observant commenter’s MatR noticed the ships still suffering from numerous faults, including:

  • Computer systems and sensors were inoperable.
  • Failed to prevent  simulated attack by a sub-sonic BAE Hawk trainer.
  • Failed to stop an inflatable boat (!) from pulling alongside and striking the vessel with a simulated RPG.
  • Accenting the Daring’s ongoing lack of missile defense, the producers had to “splice in stock footage of VLS missiles being launched”.

Lack of sufficient funds for the entire Type 45 program might be to blame, with major expenditure diverted over the last decade to combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for ground forces. The root problem is naval planners still thinking in terms of Cold War strategies, while fighting a different type of global warfare against Third World insurgents. The latter, while lacking even the basic industrial resources for modern warfare, not to mention high tech weapons, still manage to hold their own against the larger navies, do the lack of presence by shrinking fleets.

HMS Daring and her sisters are a good design, certainly as much as any other European missile warship program. The problem is the Navy’s tendency to turn every warship program into an exquisite platform, with every technical advance imaginable, while the enemies she contends with are less particular what type hulls they get into the water, and more successful in doing so. The final humiliation might be having to scavenge for older weapons to arm Britain’s most expensive destroyers ever, but she is not alone in suffering funding woes.

*****

As noted earlier at New Wars, the Canadian Government recently announced a National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, spending $35 billion to build 100+ ships large and small over the next 30 years. The Navy currently has 33 major vessels, none of which were built this century. While this is welcome news fro the country’s long-suffering shipbuilding industry, some feel they have heard such inflated promises before. Says Richard Foot at Victoria Times Colonist:

Such announcements are always greeted with great fanfare, but have amounted to little real progress in the past.

Blogger Mark writing in the Torch is even more certain it is all “smoke and mirrors”:

Where did Mr MacKay get those figures? The official news release makes no mention of either funding or numbers of ships. The CBC story is the only one to smell some smoke:


It is unclear how much of the $35-billion price tag is new money as the Canada First Defence strategy (first outlined by the Harper government in May 2008) called for spending $20 billion to replace destroyers and frigates and other vehicles in the Canadian Forces fleet between now and 2028.

It also called for $15 billion in previously announced purchases of vehicles, including offshore patrol ships…

In fact adding those two figures together is the only way to get a $35 billion figure, and they include a lot more than ships, do not mention the Joint Support Ship–and do not include vessels for the Coast Guard. The minister is indeed either blowing smoke, or else doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

In a recent online exercise, I manage to add 42 new large warships (over 1000 tons) to Canada’s fleet for less than $3 billion, which likely would have entered the service before the decade was complete (2020). The government promises 28 large ships over a period of 30 years, a modest figure which, if history is a guide, is far from certain, especially with the Navy having major difficulty maintaining the fleet she has.

*****

The US Navy needs a bigger fleet. Even their own modest figures have risen in recent years from a minimum 313 to 323 ships. It now stands at 280, but because of rising warship costs and a declining defense budget, it will most likely fall further. Recently a Congressional Budget Office report cast doubt on the Navy’s expansion. Here is an analysis if the report from Chris Cavas at Defense News:

Eric Labs, who wrote the study, noted in the report that statements in the latest shipbuilding plan and in related briefings by Navy officials point to a planned fleet of 323 ships for most of the next 30 years, up from the long-stated 313-ship goal. But he concludes the construction plan is insufficient to achieve a 323-ship fleet, and that the planned 323-ship fleet is unaffordable if the Navy continues to average about $15 billion per year for shipbuilding.

The culprits are easy to spot. Every America warship programs now exceeds $1 billion each, and most many times more. Here are the CBO’s estimated prices for individual ships in the coming years:

  • CVN 78-class aircraft carriers-$12.4 billion
  • SSBN(X) ballistic missile submarines-$8.2 billion
  • SSN 774I Improved Virginia class-$3.3 billion
  • DDG 51-class destroyers, improved Flight III-$2.4 billion
  • LHA 6/LH(X) amphibious assault ships- $4.2 billion

The so called “Low Cost Ship”, LCS at $700 million which was supposed to beef up fleet numbers instead has become another shipbuilding lesson on how not to build a ship. A so-called modular vessel, she is currently in service lacking any type of missile offensive or defensive capability, and even lacks sonar to track submarines. One has to wonder why couldn’t they have just built a patrol boat which the 3000 ton frigate has become, at much less cost, and more relevant to the missions entailed for the ship.

*****

The future of warfare at sea is less clearer than the giant complicated warships whose costs are sinking Western navies as if there was a real shooting war ongoing. You can get a glimpse by the disturbing trends of very low tech adversaries taking advantage of declining Western naval assets to spread into the surrounding seas.

Strangely, when the West seeks to economize, they cast off the most economic vessels in the fleet, small warships, just the right craft for the myriad small threats they are facing. For instance, we learned last week that Germany was selling off 6 of her small submarines for sakes of economy. Meanwhile, North Korea has used her fleet of midget submarines to create a major international crisis, as detailed by reporter Pauline Jelinek at the AP:

It showed how impoverished nations such as North Korea can still inflict heavy casualties on far better equipped and trained forces.

*****

Danish Flyvefisken class patrol vessel

26 Comments leave one →
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  2. Guess who? permalink
    June 9, 2010 12:33 pm

    Blue circle radar?… Yeh, that sort of thing couldn’t be made up.

    Nimrod MRA.4… the biggest problem was the MoD trying to save cash and re-furbish 30 (now 40) year old units rather than new-build aircraft (As much as De Haviland comet is 60 years old the MPA based on her airframe is a formidable bit of kit… especially when it works) and ironically because none of the aircraft were standard it ended up costing many times more to complete and delayed matters somewhat.

    SA80… Never had the fortune(mis) of lasting long enough to see the A2. the problem came about because of the standard NATO 556 round… the XL70E3 in 4.85mm was an incredibly sturdy rifle but something went majorly wrong when they were put into production as L85 in 556 even though XL70 was chambered in 4.85mm calibre because it was a relatively simple task to change it to 556 when it won… obviously not

    Chinook mk.3… another dodgy money saving exercise and now fitted as a mk.2

    Apache… the extra cost is primarily from the integration of British avionics, more powerful RTM-322 engines as used on Merlins, addition of folding blades, etc. most of which didn’t have to be done and did push costs up; it would have been impossible to buy “off the shelf” but some of the changes wern’t necessary and this is why it was a £3.1bn project for 67 helicopters, I don’t have any figures for flyaway costs though those might be interesting to see

  3. michael permalink
    June 9, 2010 8:54 am

    According to ‘Combat Fleets of the World’ the barge ‘Longbow ‘ which is the test vehicle for the T45’s missile system has just returned to Toulon and is expected to carry out further test firings in the coming weeks.
    This, after the last two test missiles failed to intercept their targets the reason being given that it was a manufacturing error in the missiles themselves.
    This will be a critical test as I believe Dauntless was due to be the first vessel to carry out live firing of ‘Sea Viper’ from a T45 this year.
    I am sure that all of us whichever side of the fence we sit in regards to T45, hope that these tests are succesfull.

  4. michael permalink
    June 9, 2010 4:40 am

    Reddy,
    O’h dear and I was the one who has been accused of being rude,.
    Perhaps if you had read and digested what I have posted then you would realise that I admit that the T45 is not the complete article,then again perhaps English is not your first language.
    I have no intention of repeating myself as it would no doubt fall upon deaf ears,and probably leave me open to more of your personal abuse

  5. MatR permalink
    June 8, 2010 7:18 pm

    Guess who? You’re absolutely right that programs always take time to come right because of expense and complexity. That itself is normal, absolutely. But this is different – it’s not like fielding capability upgrades or integrating new weapons over time. This is a product that’s said to work and doesn’t, full stop.

    Perhaps we just have a philosophical difference in our points of view? If the navy *hadn’t* spent years boasting about the Type 45 and briefing journalists on all the killer capabilities that were/are years from functioning, and actually said something like ‘Type 45 will be operational in 2014’ I and people like me would have a lot more respect for them.

    Personally, I work in marketing, and I’ve worked for many companies providing services and products to the government and the MOD itself. I’ve seen this kind of ‘puffery’ before, this kind of spin, and my personal feeling is that it’s dishonest and rips off our taxpayers in a ‘boondoggle’. If the Navy said ‘Type 45 isn’t currently able to do its air warfare job’ and stopped claiming that the project was a sterling example of government genius (I think that’s what really gets to me) people would stop calling ‘lie’ when they read the latest press releases. Type 45 could be great if it works – but that’s a long way off. All some of us say is – let’s be honest about that. Potential adversaries know it anyway.

    US readers of New Wars might be amazed to know that this kind of boondoggle is really bad in the UK, possibly much worse than the US IMHO. In the 1980s, at the height of the cold war, our latest front-line Tornado jets flew about for years with concrete in the nose rather than radars. Our latest super-duper Nimrod MR4 AEW/maritime patrol aircraft today is a reconditioned 1950s vintage airliner (the world’s first jet airliner, that’s how old it is!) painstakingly rebuilt and remodeled just so we could buy British kit – at 4 times the price of the off-the-shelf stuff the Americans would have let us assemble in our own factories anyway. Our British-built Apache helicopters cost 5 times the price of the US version, because we couldn’t program-manage correctly and desperately tried to shoehorn-in locally built content. Then we left them in storage for *6 years* because we couldn’t plan for training pilots properly. (Myself, I’d rather have left the UK content out and had five times as many Apaches. And actually used them for the first 6 years we owned them.) Ditto our purchasing of Chinook helicopters for our special forces, that sat in a shed for years because we decided to try to build flight control software ourselves, failed, purchased the original software, and ended up paying many, many time the original purchase price to fix things. Ditto our introduction of the SA-80, the world’s most reviled and ridiculed combat rifle for a good 20 years now.

    Now we build a 7 or 8 thousand ton Type 45 Destroyer without standard satcoms, bowman networked radio, command and control, missiles or phalanx. (If you look at some of the images the MOD put out, they even show Daring with harpoon missiles, although there’s no money for those yet.) So, we can’t use it until it’s fixed, not until it’s brought up to the baseline spec that the MOD claims it has as standard right now.

    We’re like some rather sad chap who’s down on his luck and keeps claiming how great the house be once he’s finally found the money to finish building the roof :o)

    As it is, Type 45’s missiles have never been integrated and then fired from the ship, and they have never even been tested against the high-speed missiles they are designed to kill. It’s just not ready. My way of thinking is that it’s unpatriotic for me to pretend that this is a good state of affairs. I don’t think people who disagree with me are unpatriotic (!) but I think that critics of Type 45 shouldn’t be seen as ‘haters’, more ‘honest friends’. I want a strong Royal Navy, but I don’t think T-45 is working.

  6. Reddy permalink
    June 8, 2010 6:38 pm

    Michael said ‘The Type 45 is a sound vessel with a very promising future notwhithstanding the flack it is getting from armchair admirals.’

    Good grief, I wonder if you work for BAE, dude! I looked at this thing online on maybe a dozen reputable naval sources, it doesn’t have any functioning weapons apart from one gun and some cannons and costs twice as much as the Aegis tech we sold to our allies in other countries. YOU sound like the armchair general, dude, like some crusty old retired navy guy too proud to admit that your navy bought a crock. You can’t complain that journalists and commentators notice that it doesn’t work and doesn’t have most of its equipment. They’re doing their job, so stop complaining. They just want your navy to work!

    Sure, Type 45 would be really cool if it works. And a Ferrari without half of its parts would be really cool if it had all the components finally put into it. Which is like your precious Type 45 right now. You can’t beat your chest and say how clever you are when the ship doesn’t work, admiral mike! You just sound like you should creep back to your milk and crackers, and stop getting so cranky!

  7. D. E. Reddick permalink
    June 8, 2010 3:41 pm

    Interestingly, Mike Colombaro at Combat Fleet Of The World reports two successful firings of Aster 30 SAMs from French and Italian warships during May and June. Apparently the missiles are really OK.

    Jun 8, 2010
    2 new (and successfull) test of the Aster 30 missile

    After failures during testing trials in May and November 2009 (during campaigns from the British “Longbow” barge, to conduct “Sea-Viper” system testing, the British equivalent to the French PAAMS equipping the new Type 45 destroyers).

    Recently, 2 French/Italian AAW destroyers successfully tested her missiles. After the Italian destroyer “Andrea Doria”, 25 may, the French destroyer “Forbin” conducted on June 1, off Toulon, a new test for the Aster 30 missile. After these 2 new successfull Aster missile test, in the coming weeks, a final test should be conducted from the British Barge “Longbow”, recently returned to Toulon to carry out a new campaign with the DGA missile test range in the Levant.

    http://combatfleetoftheworld.blogspot.com/2010/06/2-new-and-successfull-test-of-aster-30.html

  8. B.Smitty permalink
    June 8, 2010 1:46 pm

    DJF,

    The Navy is putting quite a bit of money in lightweight ASW sensors and weapons. Look over the ASW mission module for the LCS. USVs with towed sensors, multistatic sonars, AN/WLD-1. In addition they are working on CVLWT (Common Very Light Weight Torpedo) and “sparker” sonobuoys. ADS was a deployable sonar system meant for the ASW module, but it encountered difficulties and was canceled.

    I really don’t think it’s a good idea to use a corvette to drop a sonobuoy line. Witness the Cheohan. It’s just not a good idea to put any ship worth sinking in the SSK danger zone. Let robots and aircraft do it. (or manned vessels too small to be worth a torpedo)

  9. Guess who? permalink
    June 7, 2010 11:31 pm

    the £6.6bn is programme costs (I meant to write that in but didn’t)

  10. Guess who? permalink
    June 7, 2010 11:30 pm

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with T45, the fact that the vast majority is all new tech is the reason that some bits appear to not work and others have not yet been integrated (things like CIWS is another matter, Phalanx mounts are on the T42s and in Afghan) but if the need arises this can be fitted and made operational in very short notice(although it may not perform as advertised at this point)…

    The £6.6 billion “to build” isn’t entirely true the figure is around £3.5bn/6 to build (any figure suggesting HMS Daring cost more than $1bn to build at current exchange rates is only telling a half truth); what is commonly forgotten is that this programme is 20 years old already and has included the entire Sea Viper system, Aster development, WR-21 GTA development, MFS-7000, etc; approaching 10 years of delays and the advanced development into 2 entirely different warships. It’s a prime example of the post-cold war dithering by defence bureaucracies that caused huge delays and increase to costs causing lots of problems and solving nothing.

    New vessels based on new tech not performing at 100% is expected…

  11. DJF permalink
    June 7, 2010 9:48 pm

    How about the Navy putting some money into some light weight cheap ASW sensors and weapons.

    For example how about some cheaper light weight sonobuoy using modern electronics . Something that the Corvette can drop over the side and create line of buoys. Or maybe shot off on a small rocket to cover ahead and the side of the ship or dropped from a small unmanned drone helicopter.

    Or how about a smaller lighter ASROC type system capable of firing off a small ASW torpedo. Not a big system like what is on frigates and destroyers but maybe one with only two ready rounds and a couple of spares. Just something so that a submarine knows that the corvette is not toothless and can hit back at range so that submarine does not try to sink it by sitting out a couple of miles and firing off a torpedo. If used in shallow water you might be able to use a cheaper torpedo since it will not have to deep dive

    Or how about a light weight towed or dropped line of sonar sensors connected with fiber optics cable with sensors every hundred yard and which can create a sonar barrier deployed by a modified fishing rig.

    I know that this might seem to be building a mini frigate but I think giving the corvette some real capability against a submarine will make the sub hunting more effective and make the sub more cautious. The capability does not have to equal a frigate, just enough to make the corvette something other then either irrelevant to the submarine or an easy target

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 7, 2010 7:59 pm

    DJF wrote “What is you answer to the ASW problem? None of the corvettes or patrol ships I see advocated on this web site have much ASW capability.”

    Believe it or not I agree. Individually corvettes stand very little chance against subs, which is why I call for a great number of such vessels so you spread your net wider. You can’t build enough frigates and destroyers for this type of ASW warfare, which is a proven method of hunter/killer teams, convoy escorts. Now the hunter killers are joined by satellites, SOSUS, long range UAVs which make the tracking easier. But you still need ships on station to make the kill, or guard your convoys.

    I am not against any of the modern warships you mentioned, but I am against them in large numbers. I expect the revolution in warfare, which saw all these ships take over the roles of the battleships and gun cruisers after the world war, will see other smaller ships take the place of these warships we can’t even afford to arm adequately, as pointed out with the Type 45s.

    Why not have a frigate on station, with all the enhanced sonar and helos you need, but assisted by these numerous corvettes? In this way the lone frigate you can afford enhances numerous smaller and less capable ships. But if the frigates helos are its primary asset as so often I am told, do you really need such exquisite vessels for helos? How about a mothership from a mercantile hull, very inexpensive but also larger for supporting aircraft, and also plenty of cargo space for detaining pirates and smugglers. A 3000-5000 ton frigate is pretty tight for this type work, but a mothership can also load extra fuel and supplies to sustain her influence squadron indefinitely.

    So the last revolution at sea gave us the destroyer/frigate, carrier team. The next will see the transformation of navies with the mothership/corvette/OPV and even smaller craft for getting closer into shore. Of course, you may still need some big frigates to chase the handful of Russian or Chinese nuke boats, but for the likes of North Korea or Iran, these are more than adequate.

    Michael-I appreciate your positive take on the Type 45s because all I am hearing is bad news on these vessels. I too feel these are fixable problems, and I even wrote a post on this subject, some may recall.

    https://newwars.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/meet-britains-new-capital-ship/

    The idea that China or Russia is building carriers doesn’t deter me from my idea the giant ships are at risk. recall that all nations, Axis and Allied were aggressively building battleships right until the bombs were falling on Pearl Harbor 1941, and some afterwards. Aircraft carriers are very potent symbols of power, the acquisition of which means a nation has “arrived” as far as great power status. But it will only take a full-scale war to set things aright.

    I just fear we take the fact because they have been so useful in brush fire-wars means these ships are still invincible. The truth is, the aircraft carriers have not been shot at since 1945.

  13. DJF permalink
    June 7, 2010 2:07 pm

    You have used the North Korean sub attack example several times. What is you answer to the ASW problem? None of the corvettes or patrol ships I see advocated on this web site have much ASW capability. At most they have some short range ASW torpedoes which are only effective if you run over the sub, their sonar suites are poor and if they have any helo capability its just a landing deck with no resupply or sophisticated communication suite needed for ASW operations. Will your corvettes and patrol ships be effective against a sub or are they just more targets.

    And if they are not effective what do you propose that will be effective? You don’t like frigates and destroyers even though they have ASW helicopters, communication suites, helo resupply capability, sophisticated sonar suites and sometimes medium range ASW weapons. You don’t like carriers or large amphibian ships even though they can carry lots of ASW helicopters, they along with the frigates and destroyers are all classified as “battleships”. So what is the ASW answer?

    It certainly is not the Danish Flyvefisken class patrol ship that you have pictured, at most it has some short ranged ASW torpedoes and any submarine could sink it before the Flyvefisken got into range of the sub

  14. Joe permalink
    June 7, 2010 2:01 pm

    Solomon, I think the primary cost problem with the LHA(X) class is its prodn rate was slowed down.

    Reading this: …The 2009 plan calls for the purchase of an LHA-6 in 2017, in addition to the one being bought in 2007 and versions that would be purchased in 2010 and 2013 for use in the Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future) squadron…

    And contrast with this site, which shows the post-2010 budget plan for ultimately procuring only two of them.

    Similar in effect to this recent story about how the Ford-class carriers have jumped $5.4B in costs, with $4.1B (76%) of that coming from {Gates/The Admin} decision to push back the prodn rate.

  15. michael permalink
    June 7, 2010 1:59 pm

    Jed,
    Yes I would agree that the claim ‘full command systems not until 2014’ is possibly correct, and strangely enough I would be quite happy to see that.
    Why is it that a warship is expected to put sea for the first time as a fully capable fighting vessel,it just does not happen.
    Any fighting machine has to grow into itself and find its capabilities,a warship is no different.
    If we take and aircraft for instance,how long has the F16 been operational and it is still developing and taking on new roles,likewise the F18 now the Super Hornet and being touted round the world for export.

  16. Jed permalink
    June 7, 2010 1:36 pm

    Micheal

    While your absolutely right about Hawks “in the overhead” during the thursday war, and the fact that “for exercise” if the small boat does not get close enough to RPG you, then you don’t get to practice the first aid / damage control !

    BUT – I remember when the T23 was introduced, the hull came first and the C3I system came later. In fact if I remember rightly the CACS system was so crappy it was replaced in later vessels by a commercial derivative command system from another supplier. So “full command system in 2014” type shennagins would, unfortunately, not surprise me if it were true :-(

  17. michael permalink
    June 7, 2010 12:56 pm

    Mike,
    Knowing your views on carriers and your remark the some countries are wasting huge sums propping up last century building practices,it begs the question are countries such as the USA Russia China India who are building or intending building large carriers so short sighted as you claim. Sorry I forgot the UK.
    It also makes me rather doubt the claims made by various bodies recently of the ‘Anti Carrier Ballistic Missile’ that China is said to be developing, thus making carriers obsolete in one fell swoop whilst at the same time pouring billions of dollars into developing their own carriers.
    The Chinese are not so naive as to know that if they can develop this type of missile so can the USA and indeed Europe, so why are they pressing ahead with their carrier programme.
    As for the remarks made about the Type 45 destroyer, we all know that the mass media in general have very little knowledge of the military and make TV programmes for effect.
    Anyone who has taken part in FOST’s Thursday wars during a ships workup will know that far from not picking up the aircraft they will always overfly their intended target,likewise the surface craft that attack them.
    The only people that really know the outcome of these exercises are the FOST staff themselves and the Captain and senior officers of the ship under examination.
    As for the rest of the ships company,if the workup is completed to the satisfaction of FOST then all you know is exactly that and no more.
    As for the vituperative remarks made against the Type 45 before it has even completed its full capabilities,may I suggest that these are the views of one person with an axe to grind.
    Yes, it would be nice if these vessels had left the builders with a full complement of weapons and electronis sytems in place.
    The truth of the matter is that the RN wanted these hulls in the water at any cost under the current financial climate, these vessels can be added to/upgraded in the future as and when the need arises.
    The Type 45 is a sound vessel with a very promising future notwhithstanding the flack it is getting from armchair admirals.

  18. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 7, 2010 12:55 pm

    MatR-That is very disappointing. Such a promising class of ships.

    William-200 ships sounds about right if we continue buying ships $5-12 billion each, and even low end vessels at about three-quarter billion dollars, with the current naval budget.

    Myself, Dr Wayne Hughes, Capt Henry Hendricks and others have shown how the Navy could deploy a small but adequate force of capital vessels, for unlikely put still possible peer conflicts, while creating a huge global force of small escorts, submarines, and patrol craft, expanding America’s Navy to meet likely and ongoing current threats. This can be done under the present naval budget.

  19. 61er permalink
    June 7, 2010 12:34 pm

    Scott B. said : And what people don’t know yet is that the Type 143A Gepard FACs (all 10 of them) will be gone within the next 12 months, and won’t be replaced. The early retirement of the Gepards also means that Rostock Naval Base will shut down.

    The government wants to cut 80 billion € and made it clear, that the armed forces will face steep cuts.

  20. William permalink
    June 7, 2010 10:38 am

    I can’t remember who, but somebody said that they thought that the US Navy will eventually fall to about 200 ships and that would be including a lot of smaller ships like LCS’s and corvettes in that figure.

    Still if so, even at 200 ships, the USN would still be the biggest navy in the world.

  21. MatR permalink
    June 7, 2010 9:05 am

    Mike, Type 45’s faults are worse than that. She doesn’t yet even have standard radio or satellite links (Bowman and Skynet in UK use) and her full command and control systems aren’t scheduled to be included until 2014, if that. Only 8 years after launch of the lead ship ;o)

    The National Audit Office (equivalent to the US Government Accountability Office) described the project in 2009 as bedevilled by: “over-optimism about what could be achieved, inappropriate commercial arrangements, and poor project management”.

    Type 45’s crept up to $1.6 billion USD per ship by 2010. About the same cost as an Arleigh Burke, but with half the missiles and only a third of the weapon systems.

  22. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 7, 2010 7:51 am

    Scott, nobody reads New Wars but you, Gates, and Gen. Cartwright! LOL The only place where quality is better than quantity!

  23. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 7, 2010 7:49 am

    Solomon, the figures I quoted come from the link provided at Defense News, but the original CBO report is here:

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/115xx/doc11527/05-25-NavyShipbuilding.pdf

  24. Scott B. permalink
    June 7, 2010 7:09 am

    Mike Burleson said : “For instance, we learned last week that Germany was selling off 6 of her small submarines for sakes of economy.”

    And what people don’t know yet is that the Type 143A Gepard FACs (all 10 of them) will be gone within the next 12 months, and won’t be replaced. The early retirement of the Gepards also means that Rostock Naval Base will shut down.

    Not a very BURLESONIAN move by the German Navy. Don’t they read New Wars ? ;-)

  25. June 7, 2010 6:26 am

    can you provide a link to the document you reference for the cost of the LHA-6. i’ve seen numbers that are almost half of what you quote here. additionally i don’t understand how a much more advanced Burke can be less expensive than a helicopter carrier that doesn’t even have a well deck.

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