Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mk45 Assessment

ComNavOps loves to look at weapons and systems and ask, “How will they be used?”, and see if the answer makes sense.  We just did that for BAMS.  Now, let’s take a look at the common USN 5” gun that is mounted on Burkes and Ticonderogas. 

The gun is the Mk45 and comes in two calibers, 54 and 62, and is currently manufactured by BAE Systems.  An automatic loader allows the gun to operate with no crew but the loader is limited to 20 rounds.  A crew of six are required to operate the gun on a sustained basis.  Navweaps website lists the rate of fire as 16 rounds per minute in sustained operation.  It also gives the effective firing range as 15 miles (54 cal) or 23 miles (62 cal). 

The common projectile is an HE round with various fuzing options and a burst charge of 7.7 lbs.

The Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM) would have extended the range to 60 miles but was cancelled in 2008 after a protracted and troubled development.

Now that we know everything there is to know about the Mk45 5” gun, what roles does it perform?

The gun has an anti-ship capability although 5” guns are not considered capable of sinking a vessel of any size.  Further, the gun is not considered effective as an anti-small boat (anti-swarm) weapon due to the slow rate of fire.

The gun is not considered effective in the AAW role.

The gun is somewhat useful in a shore gun support role against small or lightly protected targets.  It is not considered to be particularly effective as an area bombardment weapon and is not effective against bunkers, fortifications or other hardened targets.

The major problem with the gun in the shore gun support role is that the Navy has doctrinally ruled out approaching within 25-50 miles of shore.  That places the ship outside the gun’s range to even reach the shore let alone provide inland fire support.

Mk 45 5" Gun - Too Limited For Modern Naval Combat?

Considering the preceding, and given the size and weight of the gun and the internal ship’s volume consumed by the gun and its magazine, one can’t help but wonder about the limited utility of the gun.  A 5” gun is an in-between weapon.  It’s too small to be an effective shore gun support or anti-ship weapon and it’s too big and slow to be an effective anti-small boat or AAW weapon.  If it were a Christmas cartoon weapon, it would be found on the Island Of Misfit Toys (for those of you who get the Christmas cartoon reference!)

The Navy’s choice of the 5” gun as its mainstay projectile weapon has always been a bit puzzling. 

ComNavOps also likes to examine history for precedents and lessons.  In this case, I couldn’t help but wonder why the 5” gun of WWII was so ubiquitous and, presumably, useful whereas I’m drawing the conclusion that today’s 5” gun is of limited usefulness.  What changed? 

It wasn’t the gun that changed but, rather, the targets and doctrine.  The 5” gun of WWII was inherently no more effective in the shore gun support role than today but the doctrine of the time allowed Navy ships to approach very closely to shore which allowed the gun to achieve its maximum capability and range.  In the anti-surface role, the targets have changed.  Small boat swarming was never a threat in WWII and most surface ships were relatively small.  Consider the size of WWII destroyers compared to today’s versions or the size of WWII cargo ships compared to the supertanker size vessels of today.  Finally, the 5” gun of WWII was an effective AAW weapon (to the extent that any WWII gun was an effective AAW weapon!) whereas today’s 5” gun is totally ineffective in the AAW role. 

Thus, the 5” gun of WWII was a good general purpose gun, able to perform a variety of tasks at least reasonably well, and it was sized to fit on a wide range of ships.  We see, then, that today’s gun isn’t all that much different but the targets it’s being asked to engage and the doctrine governing its use have changed markedly and have resulted in a gun that is no longer well suited as a general purpose weapon. 

The Navy needs to rethink its selection of the 5” gun as the standard weapon of choice on its surface combatants.  New construction Burkes (Flt III) might be better served with a modern 8” gun and a secondary 30-57mm gun. 


As an historical sidenote, the Spruance class was designed and built to mount the 8” gun when the gun’s development was completed although the change never happened.

51 comments:

  1. If you compare with land based artillery, you see an almost universial preference for guns of about 6 inch's in size.

    If the army is saying 5 inch's is two small, the navy's preference looks inconsistent.

    I have a theory that most guns are in reality there for show. A token gesture really.

    Mark





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    1. I will responded to the 8 inch gunned Burke latter.

      The reason land forces prefer the 6 in caliber is there rate of fire is greater because the shells are lighter than the 8 inch guns, The 5 inch gun and 4.5 inch gun were not consider as useful because they have less hitting power. The 8 inch guns did have their place because of their longer ranges hand more powerful shell, but at the cost of lower rates of fire.

      The same factor was also true for naval guns before the development of automatic loaders. In fact several navies made the mistake of going to larger guns in believe that they would increase ships firepower, but discover that it reduced the ships total broadside and lower it effectiveness.

      The navy's preference for 5in guns goes back to the need for higher rates of fire require for small ship combat, and the reduce space available on ships. If you need a example, look at the size difference between the early CLAA of WWII with their 5in DP guns and the Roanoke class with 6 in DP guns.


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    2. Mark, you're probably right about the "show" aspect of the gun, at least from the Navy's perspective. The Navy clearly doesn't believe in shore gun support and doesn't believe that a ship-to-ship gun battle will ever occur again (just as they once believed aerial dogfights would never occur - how'd that work out?). From the Navy's perspective, the guns are there for the visual benefit of Congressmen who want to see visible weapons on a billion dollar ship!

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    3. Didn't the older 5" 'ers have higher rates of fire? The lightweight 5" slowed things down- but shed so much weight the Navy went for it. The 5" is a sad compromise- but it was easy enough to throw a 5" on- if for aesthetic reasons only. Maybe they should ditch the 5"- put a VLS in its place - and maybe put a 30mm somewhere for small boats/helicopters.

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  2. OK, There is a great difference in performance between the 5in 38 cal. of WWII and today's 5in 62 cal. weapons. But your right that the current weapon is not total up to the today's needs, That why they developed the AGS.

    As for 8 inch Mk 71 gun on Burke hull, we discuss this idea to death, and frankly it not going to work. But may I suggest an alternative. You have pointed out that the Spruance class was design to carry the Mk 71 from the start. Why don't you suggest building new Spruance class ships instead trying to shoehorn another large system on Burke cramp hull.

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    1. GLof, the 1991 Gibbs & Cox study showed that the Mk71 could be accomodated aboard a Burke though not without some restricted vision issues from the bridge. As I said in the post, my suggestion is that new construction Flt IIIs be built with the 8". That said, I would completely agree with a new design cruiser to replace the Ticos that incorporates an 8" gun.

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    2. The problem is not visibility from the superstructure,, it is the weight of the gun and its ammo, combine with the small numbers of shell a Burke can carry. This means you will have a major redesign of the bow clear back to the engineering sections to carry the Mk 71.

      Yes the Spruance will also require strengthening, as their bow prove to be weaker than expected when the Mk 41 missiles cells were installed, But that is a lot simpler to do than a Burke modification will require.

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    3. I should be clear that when I discuss new construction Flt III's in this context, I'm referring to enlarged and strengthened Burkes. Despite what the Navy would have Congress believe so that they can justify a MYP package, the Flt III's are going to be extensively redesigned to accomodate the AMDR, anyway. It only makes sense to lengthen and reinforce the ships. The Burkes have proven to need structural strengthening just to withstand the stress of normal sailing. This is a chance to create a top flight vessel with a larger AMDR, 8" gun, etc. Of course it will cost money but these are (or once were) intended to be the high end Tico replacements before they were dumbed down to mediocre ships with substandard AMDR and no growth margin.

      Sadly, rather than do the right thing with the Flt III, the Navy will attempt to shoehorn a substandard capability onto a hull that's too small just so they'll have an easier funding path through Congress. Very disappointing.

      By the way, you should read the G&C writings if you can find them. Very interesting.

      Delete
    4. IO know this is off the topic, but you hit one of my pet peeves, the effect of titles and tags have on Engineering practices. The Navy's attempt to shoe horn the AMDR into a Burke hull it typical of such problem. I believe it is driven by politics mostly as they use this tag line to make Congressman believe it is the "economical solution."

      Un fortunately, your proposal of major design upgrades is only slightly better in my opinion. By holding onto the Burke tag line, you imply to the NARCH and Engineers that the resulting product should be tied somehow to the Burkes, design as much as possible. Which in turn will results in problems not being corrected, or desirable design improvements not being made.

      I think it would be better to do away with all the old baggage that old titles and tags give, and go with a new ones, It is one method the the LSC program show was quite effective, as adopting a new title gave the designers a freer hand (even if you don't like the LCS you must admit this much is true.)

      Personally I suggests using a titles like Command Cruiser or Fleet Cruiser for the AMDR ships as it will avoid all the stereotypes of calling them Destroyers.

      Delete
  3. Its far from ideal, but the gun isn't terrible.
    Its not much of a threat to a 1940s battleship, but a modern destroyer is very poorly armoured and a couple of 7lb he shells will seriously degrade the effectiveness of one, strike location dependant.

    For gunfire, well, doctrine might be to stay out to sea, but that can change, the UK fielded smaller guns in the Falklands and considered them as effective as a full battery of towed field guns.

    The problem gun support has is we all know that a real war will require large scale indiscriminate shelling of built up areas, but that can't be said, so its a bit stuck.

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    1. TrT, you say that doctrine can change and you're right. However, the Navy decided to build an entire class of LCS ships for littoral combat rather than commit their Burkes to it. Rightly or wrongly (wrongly!) the Navy is scared senseless of approaching a hostile shore. I believe it's because of the catastrophic consequence of losing a multi-billion dollar ship. Thus, I don't see them sending a Burke in-shore to engage in bombardments with a puny 5" gun while facing enemy artillery and missiles. They're wrong but that's the way they view it.

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  4. A 155mm gun which can fire standard Army shells is a great option. Wonder why it was never done

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    1. Cost. Switching it to use a fixed/semi-fixed case instead of bag charges would be expensive. As would developing a new mount.

      5" guns are good enough for what they do.

      Delete
    2. Anon,

      BAE was developing a 155mm gun for the Royal Navy as a direct swap for their 4.5" guns, but along came the fiscal crisis and pfzzzt... no more development!

      As Smitty noted, the charges were an issue requiring either double ramming (halve you rate of fire), or a fixed/semi-fixed case.

      Nonetheless, this remains a great solution, and frankly the USN would save a lot of future RDT&E costs by going with a common round and fuse as the development costs for fuses and PGMs dwarf the costs of developing a new propellant.

      GAB

      GAB

      Delete
  5. The gun these days is a utility weapon. It can sink a ship, though it may take a while. It can perform NSFS, though not if the enemy has shore-based AShMs. It can help fight the small boat swarm, though it's far from ideal.

    It's a Swiss Army knife.

    Is it worth the weight and cost? Eh. I'm of mixed opinion.

    Going any smaller and you'll lose any remaining, useful NSFS capability. Going much larger will increase weight and volume needed and/or reduce the number of rounds carried. 8" is too big for NSFS. As others have said, 5-6" is preferable. You can carry more rounds.

    LockMart published a new Naval Guided Projectile pdf. It's supposed to do everything, including making your bed. Typical over-selling.

    A useful PGK-style fuze would be nice. A 5" LRLAP would be nice too. A guided round along the lines of Davide/DART might be useful vs swarms.

    If we really want our surface combatants to sink large ships, we should re-equip them with torpedoes. A couple Mk48s in a semi-fixed mount wouldn't consume THAT much space or weight, and they could be used as medium-range ASW weapons. The Soviet, 80's-era Sovremennyy class destroyers carried 2x2 21" tubes.

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    1. "8" is too big for NSFS" ??? Who decided that? Every Marine Corps study has called for big guns - the larger the better. It wasn't the Marines who retired the 16" gun. If you're going to make that statement, you're going to have to back it up with something!

      I'm all for ship launched torpedoes.

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    2. The Marine Corps and Navy requirements call for greater range, greater responsiveness and greater numbers. They don't call for bigger guns beyond the 6" gun identified in the '94 COEA.

      Frankly, I the entire NGFS/NSFS debate smells like a giant Navy/USMC self-licking ice cream cone. Very few of these "studies" have actually been released in their entirety for independent review.

      However, fundamentally, NSFS is meant to support Marines until they can land their own systems. They clearly don't need 8" gunfire once they are ashore. They retired all of their 8" guns decades ago. Yet for some reason they need it during the transition? I don't buy it.

      >8" guns used to be valued for their penetrative power vs shore fortifications, but now we have a plethora of penetrating PGMs (say that 10 times fast) that are far more effective in this role.

      8" guns and their munitions require more space for fewer munitions. This naturally limits a ship's ability to perform area fires. Larger numbers of smaller munitions are preferable.

      Even AGS is going to eventually collapse under its own unsustainable cost structure. The FY15 budget has a request for some ~240 LRAPS at a staggering price of $359k each! In other words, you can buy a Block IV TLAM for around the price of 4.4 LRAPS! There's no way we can afford to use these for volume fires. We might as well volume fire TLAMS!

      Now hopefully that price will come down some, but I seriously doubt it will ever hit the $50k each envisioned in the Navy's fantasy procurement plan.

      Delete
    3. B.Smitty, every study of naval gun support has concluded that larger guns are more effective than smaller guns. Viet Nam studies on this point were conclusive. The ratio of targets and area destroyed per shell were overwhelmingly in favor of larger guns.

      To an extent, you are correct that naval gunfire is intended to fill the void until the Marines can get their own weapons ashore. You're wrong that the need for naval gunfire disappears once the Marine's weapons are ashore (to be fair, you didn't exactly state that but that was the implication). The Marines simply don't have and can't get the number of weapons ashore that they would need for sustained, heavy ground combat.

      You state that the Marines clearly don't need 8" gunfire because they don't currently have it. The Marines, and Army, gun sizes are dictated by mobity. Guns larger than 155 mm have proven too big be easily transportable and mobile on the battlefield. Same for their munitions. Ground gun size is determined by mobility and logistics rather than pure combat effectiveness. The 155 mm has been found to be an acceptable compromise. That compromise in no way leads to the conclusion that 8" (or larger) naval gun support is not needed.

      Read the Viet Nam gun studies. The conclusions are overwhelming. Bigger is better!

      I quite agree with you about the AGS. It is effective only in a very limited role.

      Delete
    4. "Larger numbers of smaller munitions are preferable."

      So, you're saying that the best naval gunfire support weapon is a 0.22 caliber automatic pistol?

      Sorry, I couldn't resist! I know that's not what you're saying. Still, the logic of the statement ... :-)

      Delete
    5. CNO,

      Their conclusions are from the pre-PGM era. The Navy conducted studies that found a 6" gun plus TLAM more cost effective than an 8" gun.

      The Vietnam-era studies show that greater range and penetration were the primary advantages of larger-caliber guns. The former can be had with advanced 5" and 6" munitions. The later is the purview of PGMs. It's far easier, cheaper and more effective to drop a smart bomb on a hard target than it is to try to hit it with naval gunfire.

      An equivalent weight of 5" or 6" projectiles produce superior fragmentation patterns to 8" and are thus preferable for area suppression.

      Your .22 cal comment is not that far off. ICM rounds were developed specifically to enhance area effects. They distribute large numbers of small bomblets to blanket the area with high-velocity fragments. Of course we are trying to get away from using them due to UXO concerns.



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    6. B.Smitty, I'm not familiar with that study. Do you have a reference? I find it very hard to believe that the Navy is advocating using million dollar TLAMs in a NSFS role!

      In your comments, you seem to be assuming a near mystical ability to see all the targets. I've consistently maintained, and backed with operational evidence, that most targets in an assault scenario will be unseen. That leaves two courses of action: don't shoot or conduct area bombardment. For the latter, the bigger the gun, the more real estate we can chew up and the more likely we are to destroy a hidden target. It's pretty simple and every Marine who witnessed the effects of the BB's 16" guns would agree. Again, the VN studies were quite clear.

      Delete
    7. The Navy isn't considering cratering wide swaths of landscape part of the NSFS mission (as I understand it).

      As I said earlier, area fires against troop concentrations is better done with lots of smaller munitions than fewer large ones due to fragmentation patterns.

      Do you have links to these Vietnam studies?

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    8. Another issue with larger munitions is their considerably larger danger-close distance. Troops in contact can't call them in as close to their position.

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    9. "The Navy isn't considering cratering wide swaths of landscape part of the NSFS mission (as I understand it)."

      The Navy, and the military in general, has forgotten what war and opposed landings are (a common theme of mine!). After the first few Marines are killed by enemy hidden in brush or buildings, they'll remember what area bombardment does.

      You also seem to be assuming an idealized scenario of troops in the open politely waiting to be mowed down by the ideal munition. Enemy infantry will be hidden in whatever cover, including buildings, are available and will have to be rooted out one by one in a bloody mess or simply disposed by large caliber area explosives.

      I printed the study off some years ago and filed it in of my many piles of hundreds of reports. I'll try to remember the name and/or find it but my success rate on that type of thing is notably poor! In the meantime, you'll have to accept my statement (or not, as you choose) that the data was overwhelming.

      Delete
    10. "Another issue with larger munitions is their considerably larger danger-close distance. Troops in contact can't call them in as close to their position."

      They also can't call in nuclear weapons on themselves!

      If only there were some kind of magic flying vehicle whose driver could fly right up to the area, look around, and then drop a bomb really close.

      Delete
    11. Well then why stop at 8"? Why not go up to 16"? Or the aforementioned tac nukes? "Clearly" bigger is better. Let's not even bother fighting in cities. Just nuke them and move on. ;)

      Dug-in infantry have been suppressed and killed by 4-6" artillery since before WWI.

      There's nothing magical about 8". It makes a somewhat bigger hole per shot, but fewer holes per pound of ordinance. It delivers a less uniform density of fragments per pound of ordinance. Ammunition supplies are exhausted faster. Ships can carry less than half as much 8" as 5" for a given weight/volume.


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    12. B.Smitty
      Most self propelled guns are 155mm, towed guns 105mm
      Mortars 120mm and 81mm.

      If smaller = better, there would be little reason for vehicle mounted weapons to be 40-50% larger.

      That's not to say bigger is better, but bigger is different.
      To my knowledge I'm the only person to have suggested a medium tank with a quad turret of box fed 40mm GMGs.

      Higher calibres give longer range and greater shot effect. Smaller gives more shots and more effect per ton.
      If the ship has to stay 25miles out to sea, a gun with a 26mile range is not that useful.
      Super duper glide bombs are all well and good, but they cost a £%&* load and aren't going to be used for recon by fire or harrasment fires

      Delete
    13. We have plenty of towed guns that are both 155mm and 105mm. There was talk of reviving an SP 105mm for the SBCTs, but no money for it.

      You need big enough guns to reach the range you want and produce the effects on target you want. Any bigger is sub-optimal. The Army used to have 8" SP guns, but 155mm guns caught up to them in terms of range. 155mm effects on target were sufficient for the Army, and they had lower logistics loads than 8" munitions. They could carry more 155mm rounds for a given size/weight.

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    14. http://www.navalshipbuilding.co.uk/navalship_warships.asp?ID=WAR9&catID=5

      Links from there to BAE documents

      Navalised 155mm. issues with recoil. Cancelled relitivly recently.

      Very disappointed. Promising project. Army Navy Commonality.

      Beno

      Delete
    15. Smitty,

      You make some great arguments against the 8" (and larger) calibers, but the real determinant has been driven by weight (logistics) rather than effect.

      Weight is much less of an issue for ships and there is no question that a larger shell becomes much more effective at delivering HE, frag, and cargo munitions than medium caliber (155mm) weapons. The penetrative power of 203mm or larger gun against concrete targets is phenomenal, and the effects of such a weapon using super quick PD against abatis, barbed wire and other fortifications is likewise spectacular.

      We have spent the better part of 70-years chasing 3rd world peoples around the battlefield in unimportant wars of choice: I have no doubt that a serious fight with a competent near peer competitor will invalidate much current theory and practice.

      You may want to hunt down a copy of "Field Artillery and Firepower" by general J. B. A. Bailey as probably the best treatise of modern artillery tactics and theory. Note that General Baily expresses reservations, not about rockets and15cm systems, but the precise lack of large caliber guns.

      GAB

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    16. GAB,

      Historically, 8" rounds weigh about around twice as much and occupy 2.4 times the volume as 155mm rounds but have less than twice the effective casualty area.

      If you look here on page 302,

      http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/docrepository/FM6_40_1957.pdf

      the HE penetration for the M2 155mm howitzer is actually better than the HE penetration for the M2 8" howitzer. The M1 8" gun is somewhat better than both, but not by a large margin. Muzzle velocity appears to be more important than bore size.

      There are effective casualty areas in there as well.

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    17. Smitty,

      8” naval weapons absolutely spank modern 155mm guns even using 1940s technology carrying 3x the shell weight of the medium caliber guns.

      The 8"/55RF (20.3 cm) Mark 16 weapon found on the Des Moines (CA-134) class had a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute (times nine guns = 90 rounds per minute!) and could throw an AP Mark 21 weighing 335 lbs to a range of 30,050 yards (27,480 m). That is 15 tons of shells per minute from one ship!

      On the receiving end, at maximum range, the AP shell struck at a velocity of 1,296 fps (395 mps) and an angle of 54.7 degrees. This is guaranteed to be

      The best current 155mm system is the PZH2000 has a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute and could throw an L15A2 or M795 round weighing~103lbs to a range of 30km.

      Using modern weapons technology, there is every reason to believe that we could build a 20-25cm (8” -9”) gun with a sustained ROF of 12 rounds per minute and the ability to lob 360 lb shells to 40km with no reliability issues, and minimal development risk. We could also easily use sabot technology to throw a smaller 155mm projectile, significantly longer distances (yes the Germans pioneered firing sub projectiles from rifled barrels in WWII). We could also go with a smoothbore weapon and use PGM technology.

      GAB

      Delete
  6. Some great thoughts here. I can only say that when using the ship in an interdiction and search mode for quarantine ops that it is very hard to fire a missile across the bow of a ship to get them to stop. Chief Torpedoman

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  7. Of course the easiest way to add to surface combatant's ability to actually sink ships is to add an ASuW mode to the Mk 54 LWT. Burkes carry 2x3 SVTT mounts, and the MH-60S can carry a pair.

    No significant ship modifications required.

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  8. CNO , a more pragmatic question for a future post of this kind should be why the vulcan phalanx has not evolved so much.

    I mean against big naval guns everyone could come up with 100 reasons, but what is the argument not to have better CIWS than the phalanx for so many years.
    Also why aren't they planing to use the RIM-116 in a dual mode that can also hit small surface targets ?

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    1. The advantage of phalanx is its cheap and simple.
      Goal keeper is considerabley larger and requires far more ship support.

      Given that CIWS are a long shot at best, its far better to spend limited resources in more likely avenues of defence.
      Killing it in its bunker
      Killing it before launch
      Killing it in flight at a distance
      Decoying it

      All far more likely to result in survival than shooting the missile down with guns.

      People with better ciws tend to have poorer outer defence networks

      Delete
    2. Storm, so many topics, so little time!

      Seriously, though, what do you see as the problems with CIWS? I'm not saying there aren't problems - I just want to know what you see as the problems for the role they're intended to fill (last chance protection).

      As far as the RIM-116, I thought it did have a surface mode? Am I mistaken?

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Well the first thing that comes to mind, why haven't they replaced the 20mm gun on the phalanx with something bigger?
      Now before GAU-8 comes to mind, the gun that the russian AK-630 uses shows that a 30mm compact gatling gun is possible.

      Delete
    5. GAAAAR Sorry guys wrong place. let me try again.

      http://www.navalshipbuilding.co.uk/navalship_warships.asp?ID=WAR9&catID=5

      Links from there to BAE documents

      Navalised 155mm. issues with recoil. Cancelled relitivly recently.

      Very disappointed. Promising project. Army Navy Commonality.

      Beno

      Delete
  9. Why not use a 'navalized' 155mm gun using base-bleed technology similar to the South African G-5/G-6 or a European FH-45 (I think)?

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    1. I don't know if the South Africans ever tested one of their 155 turrets on a ship, but the FH-45 was tested by the Germans, and it was not successful.

      Delete
    2. At a quick glance, I can't find any reference to a FH-45. I see a Bofors FH-77. Can you tell me something about the gun?

      Delete
    3. GLof, as above, I can't find any reference to an FH-45. Can you tell me about the gun and in what way it was deemed unsuccessful?

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    4. Sorry, brain cramp, I think.

      What I was talking about was the PzH-2000/ MONARC program,

      Delete
    5. http://www.navalshipbuilding.co.uk/navalship_warships.asp?ID=WAR9&catID=5

      Links from there to BAE documents

      Navalised 155mm. issues with recoil. Cancelled relitivly recently.

      Very disappointed. Promising project. Army Navy Commonality.

      Beno

      Delete
  10. To put it simply... it happened like this...

    The Navy used to have big gun cruisers and battleships during and after WWII. Destroyers and light cruisers on the other hand were largely armed with a relatively large number of high elevation 5" guns in single and double turrets. The Fletchers for instance had five singles Sumner class had three twins, the Atlanta class light cruisers have sixteen (16) in 8 twins.

    In the 50s and 60s, the Navy started putting missiles on ships and smaller ships like destroyers started having started having less and less deck space for traditional guns. What they did then was to replace the multiple Mk12 5"/38 mounts with a single high performance 5" mount called the Mk42. The Mk42 could fire twice as fast as today's Mk45 and about three times faster than the manually serve WWII era 5" guns. This allows a single Mk42 to replace 3 of the traditional mounts.

    However, the Mk42 proved to be fussy and unreliable in service. The utility for guns in naval warfare also became somewhat diminished in the 70s as guide missiles took center stage. The Navy has a complete change of heart with regards to the design paradigms of naval guns... they wanted to replace the Mk42 and no long believed that the high performance Mk71 8"/55 automatic cannon was the right answer. The Navy issue a set of new requirements where performance of the gun is no longer that important -- rather the gun should be light, simple, easily serviced and reliable. That became the Mk45.

    The Mk45 is light, it is reliable, it is easy to work with. It is not fast firing, it is not particularly powerful. But, for firing a warning shot across the bow of a merchant ship or a pirate boat it's enough. For limited shelling of shore targets in low intensity policing missions it's enough.

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  11. Interesting Topic.
    NGS is still prevelant and recent.

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDAQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.royalnavy.mod.uk%2FAbout-the-Royal-Navy%2F~%2Fmedia%2FFiles%2FNavy-PDFs%2FAbout-the-Royal-Navy%2FThe%2520RN%2520Contribution%2520to%2520Libya.pdf&ei=fW1XVJKgCIut7Aa_6YDQDA&usg=AFQjCNFSxZiyIMLPZ0kPpB4Kvc1Rx1TeBQ

    Obviously you really need to put your ship in the right place.

    Im fairly interested in Excalibur N5, it seems to extend range, and the CEP allows for more effect with less rounds \ rate of fire.

    It would be fascinating to know how a local area defence system on say a frigate would cope with a sustained bombardment ? 20 \ 30 round say ?

    Beno

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  12. The utility of a 5 inch gun is similar to a 105mm howitzer in terms of effects on target and range. While the published Range Of The 5/54 is longer, due to the high velocity of the round and the resulting low trajectory skips, the gun mainly provides NSFS in High Angle. The gun is very useful in providing fire support during a landing against enemies with no anti ship capabilities as it has to get close to shore. What it really needs is a precision fuse like the PGK to increase accuracy and decrease skips

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  13. Online 'analysts' like to pick at performance nuances. There's so much more that goes into an acquisition. Investing in the development of a slightly better gun system that's still just for show would pull funds from projects developing real improvements. If cost wasn't a factor, every ship would be nuclear powered with ten railguns.

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    Replies
    1. I have no idea what point, if any, you're trying to make. Try again?

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