Armor was another knee jerk reaction. So many people think that if we add armor the ship will either sink outright under the weight or, at best, be reduced to a 5 knot barge, nearly unable to move. Those people are ignoring the fact that every WARship built in WWII had heavy armor, appropriate for their size, and yet managed to not only float but sail around at 30+ knots and carry a weapons fit that puts our modern designs to shame and all on hulls that were much smaller than today’s ships. Armor can be done. We routinely did it. We’ve just forgotten that it can be done because our paradigm, today, is unarmored ships. It’s that paradigm that made so many people instantly claim the destroyer couldn’t be armored.
Crew comfort was also a popular knee jerk reaction. Many people seem to feel that if today’s crew doesn’t have luxurious five star accommodations they’ll either die or flee the ship. The fact that tens of thousands of sailors fought for four years in WWII under spartan conditions seems lost and forgotten. We not only managed to operate ships with minimal crew comforts but we actually won an entire war while doing so! It’s only today’s paradigm of cruise ships masquerading as WARships that have conditioned people to think luxury comforts are necessary. It’s that paradigm that made so many people instantly claim the proposed destroyer couldn’t be crewed with only minimal comforts.
Paradigms … they really restrict our thinking, don’t they?
Let’s try a paradigm-breaking exercise. Let’s imagine taking a WWII Fletcher and simply replacing its weapons with modern equivalents. Specifically,
- Leave 5” gun mounts number 1 and 5
- Replace 5” gun mounts number 3 and 4 each with a 8-cell VLS
- Replace 5” gun mount number 2 with a CIWS
- Replace the aft 40 mm with a CIWS
- Replace the 4x port/starboard midships 20 mm guns with a SeaRAM port/starboard
- Replace the torpedo tubes between the stacks with 2x 8-cell VLS
- Leave the aft set of torpedo tubes
- Replace the port/starboard deck edge depth charge launchers with an RBU port/starboard
- Replace the bridge top fire control/range finder with a TRS-3D radar
- Replace the stern depth charge racks with a towed array sonar
|Fletcher Class Destroyer - Visualize the Modern Replacements|
Hey, that’s everything I specified for the modern destroyer except for the hangar and flight deck! And all on a 376 ft hull ! With an additional 50-60 ft to play with, as specified for the modern destroyer design, and a little rearranging (weapons on top of the hangar, for example, as on the Perry and Burke) we can easily accommodate the hangar and flight deck.
And, we still had the 2x forward 20 mm gun spaces that we can use for still more weapons/sensors! Hmm … I may have oversized the spec on the modern destroyer length!
Further, a modern destroyer would have a wider beam than the 39 ft wide Fletcher – probably something around the 45 ft beam of the Perry class (Burkes have a 66 ft beam). That gives even more space for weapons. We could probably fit the 32 VLS cells in the space of the forward torpedo tubes and retain the 5” gun mounts number 3 and 4 – everything I specified plus two additional 5” guns for a total of 4 !!!!!
You see what can be achieved if you’re not constrained by paradigms? Anytime you have an instantaneous reaction (especially a negative one), stop and ask yourself why? It might be for a good reason but often it’s because you’re subject to a paradigm that you didn’t even realize you had.