Well, the frigate debate is on! Observers are weighing in with their favorite candidates for the Navy’s frigate competition. Here’s a couple relevant thoughts.
- ComNavOps is on record as saying that the Navy will go with the Freedom LCS frigate which would be the worst possible decision in every sense.
- ComNavOps is also on record as stating that the Navy does not need a frigate – it needs a small, cheap, expendable ASW corvette.
However, observers are all enthusiastically promoting large, powerful frigates which are just mini-Burkes. I’ll say it again, we don’t need mini-Burkes because we have plenty of full size Burkes! Instead, observers and, sadly, the Navy are focused on how many VLS cells they can squeeze in and how powerful a radar they can mount. In essence, they’re trying to see how close they can get to a Burke. Hey, if you want a Burke, build a Burke. A “frigate” that is nearly the match for a Burke is going to have a cost that is nearly a match for a Burke.
Here’s an example of what we really need: the Indian Kamorta class corvette
The Kamorta is a stealthy shaped ship that is small (358 ft) and ASW focused with
- single ASW helo/hangar/flight deck
- RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launcher
- 4x heavyweight torpedo tubes
- towed array
- bow mounted sonar
- sound isolating, raft mounted machinery
Additional armament is defensive
- 76 mm gun
- 2x CIWS
The radar is a reasonable medium range 3D planar array.
Add an 8-cell VLS for 32 ESSM and you have the basis of a nice, small ASW corvette which would be immensely useful to the Navy as opposed to mini-Burkes.
|Kamorta Class ASW Corvette|
Being slightly smaller than the Freedom class LCS and without the expensive focus on high speed, hopefully the construction cost would be a good bit less than the LCS. If costs were too high, though, I’d drop the helo/hangar/flight deck since a single helo doesn’t contribute all that much to ASW simply due to its very limited availability.
This kind of ship can perform the peacetime “show the flag” and patrol duties that are currently using up our Burkes and preventing their proper maintenance and crew training. In war, these ships can provide the numbers and expendability we need for shallow water ASW, peripheral patrol duties, can augment task forces, and can perform convoy escort duties.
This is what we need, not mini-Burkes.