Monday, July 2, 2018

New Page - Fleet Structure

Posts are inherently limited in length and this often leads to some confusion.  For example, the discussion about an ASW corvette lead many to believe that was the only ASW asset I envisioned.  Instead, it was just one of many assets but the only one I could discuss in the space allotted.   

To ease some of this confusion, I've published a page (see the tabbed menu across the top of the blog) with my proposed complete fleet structure and descriptions of individual elements.  With this, the reader can place any specific asset under discussion into the proper overall context.

Recognize that this fleet structure is subject to change as ideas are modified and refined.

I've omitted the entire logistics support fleet, at least for the time being.

I've proposed a two-tier war-peace fleet.  This page covers only the war fleet.

The page is intended as a reference and is, therefore, closed to comments but feel free to comment in this post.

Check it out and enjoy!

36 comments:

  1. Had a quick look at the fleet composition. Interesting. Ships which don't exist are on the list- battleships.

    What is an ASW carrier? You mean similar to what the Japanese have?

    Andrew

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  2. Sorry CNO- have had a longer look now- explanations underneath. Bit embarrassed by that

    Andrew

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  3. Hm. Why no conventionally powered submarines ?

    Also, wouldn't it be a better solution to only have Midway-sized carriers ? The overall cost would be less, and its better to have all your eggs in numerous buckets...

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    1. I have no particular objection to SSKs. It's simply a matter of priorities within the confines of the budget. If we could get all that I've laid out and had money left over I'd be happy to have SSKs.

      Every study ever performed (and there have been many) has come to the same conclusion - full size carriers are superior in every way to smaller carriers. If you compare the air wings that I described for the large and smaller carriers you'll see why we need large carriers.

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    2. https://blog.usni.org/posts/2009/08/27/the-monster-myths-of-the-cvl-concept

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  4. First immediate thoughts looks sensible, totally agree with ships dedication in roles.

    Your thinking behind numbers chosen for different classes

    No mine hunters/sweepers?

    A few minor queries

    Phalanx, is it effective, have seen no convincing trials results, did I miss them.

    The Hensoldt TRS-3D/4D C-band radar in the Cruiser and AAW escort with the AMDR/SPY-6, would replace the TRS with new cheaper/lighter Saab SeaGiraffe 1X or equivalent X-band to mount high up for surface surveillance to compliment the SPY-6 S-band, 1X uses new GaN silicon and so much harder to jam as can transmit on different frequencies, than the older (2002) AN/SPQ-9B X-band and only transmit on a single frequency at any one time, though makes SPQ-9B low cost, $4.4M each.

    PS Agree with above comment on conventional submarines, nuclear very expensive, only one nuclear plant production facility and two shipyards qualified to build nuclear subs so severly limiting numbers, same thinking as to your choice of nuclear supercarrier and small carrier?

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    1. "Your thinking behind numbers chosen for different classes"

      That's an interesting question. The fleet I've laid out is not sized for a sustained war. It's sized for the first year of a war while we gear up production.

      "No mine hunters/sweepers?"

      There are endless auxilliary vessel types that I've simply omitted for sake of brevity. I would call for a dedicated MCM vessel - a modernized Avenger and MCM motherships.

      "Phalanx, is it effective, have seen no convincing trials results, did I miss them."

      No one knows because it's never been tested in full auto mode in a realistic scenario, as far as I know. That said, I'm a big fan of the "wall of lead" defensive concept for that last ditch effort.

      "would replace the TRS with new cheaper/lighter Saab SeaGiraffe"

      The radar designation is a place holder. I would leave the exact radar selection up to the technical experts. I'll take any radar that meets the conceptual requirement of decent coverage at an affordable price. This is not the place for a maximum capability radar. It only needs to deal with medium range targets for ESSM.

      "conventional submarines,"

      See reply above.

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    2. "No mine hunters/sweepers?"

      CNO "There are endless auxilliary vessel types that I've simply omitted for sake of brevity. I would call for a dedicated MCM vessel - a modernized Avenger and MCM motherships."

      Why emphasized the mine hunters/sweepers, would not expect battleship to engage its 16" guns for infantry gun support at limited range unless sea swept for mines, admirals historically have been paranoid about losing battleship to mines in littoral waters.

      "Phalanx, is it effective, have seen no convincing trials results, did I miss them."

      CNO "No one knows because it's never been tested in full auto mode in a realistic scenario, as far as I know. That said, I'm a big fan of the "wall of lead" defensive concept for that last ditch effort."

      All in favor of wall of lead, but also a believer in rule of thumb, caliber^3 x rof,

      Phalanx 20 x 20 x20 x 4500 = 36,000,000 v. Oerlikon Contraves Millennium 35 x 35 x 35 x 1000 = 42,875,000 :)

      "Conventional submarines"

      CNO "I have no particular objection to SSKs. It's simply a matter of priorities within the confines of the budget. If we could get all that I've laid out and had money left over I'd be happy to have SSKs.

      Its about numbers, SSN very, very limited build capacity, SSK allow much higher build numbers.

      CNO "Every study ever performed (and there have been many) has come to the same conclusion - full size carriers are superior in every way to smaller carriers. If you compare the air wings that I described for the large and smaller carriers you'll see why we need large carriers."

      Slightly cynical about those studies, perhaps wrongly, but just think self serving Navy/Industry justification for building CVN's, Ford dates from 2008 or earlier and be operational in 2020 hopefully, an extreme case but telling, may be a new Nimitz will get back to reasonable build rate.

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    3. "Millennium"

      I have no problem with Millenium or any other CIWS type weapon IF SOMEONE CAN PROVE THEY ARE SUPERIOR IN A REALISTIC TEST. US naval observers are all in love with the Millenium based on ... nothing. There is absolutely no information that I'm aware of about its actual performance. Just like our systems which all sound good on paper but all have significant performance limitations, I'm sure the Millenium has its own set of problems and limits. We just don't hear about them. So, put 'em in a side by side, realistic test and I'll gladly take whichever is best. Until then, I'll stick with the existing USN standard CIWS.

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    4. "Its about numbers,"

      No, it's about capability. An SSN is far superior to an SSK in all but a very narrow set of circumstances. If it was just about numbers, we'd all be overjoyed about the LCS program, wouldn't we?

      As I said, if I have extra budget I'd love to have a handful of SSKs but not at the expense of a single SSN.

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    5. "Slightly cynical about those studies, perhaps wrongly,"

      There's no perhaps about it, you're wrong. The studies are crystal clear. There is no one more skeptical of conventional wisdom than your ComNavOps and I'm completely sold on the large carrier superiority. The only exception arises when you simply price yourself out of the large carrier business, as we're in the process of doing.

      Interestingly, the Navy tried very much wanted small carriers right from the start. The Wasp was an attempt at a small carrier but they quickly realized that it just wasn't as good as a large carrier by any measure. Literally, people have been trying to justify small carriers since the first carrier was built!

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    6. How about Goalkeeper CIWS? 30x173mm GAU-8 gatling from the A-10 Warthog. Already in U.S. stockpiles, spares are in production, used by multiple allies around the world. Much higher kinetic energy on the receiving end.

      "The GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm Gatling gun, as used by the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, was selected for the system. The 30x173mm cartridge has a greater projectile mass than the 20x102mm cartridge fired by the Phalanx CIWS M61 Vulcan, so it provides much greater destructive power with similar muzzle velocity but significantly increased range.

      The 30x173mm MPDS cartridge has a discarding nylon sleeve (sabot) with a 21 mm sub-calibre tungsten penetrator. The nylon sabot provides a seal between penetrator and barrel, and reduces wear."

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    7. "Goalkeeper"

      Again, if someone can prove it's superior in realistic testing, I'm all for it.

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    8. All in favor of wall of lead, but also a believer in rule of thumb, caliber^3 x rof,

      Phalanx 20 x 20 x20 x 4500 = 36,000,000 v. Oerlikon Contraves Millennium 35 x 35 x 35 x 1000 = 42,875,000 :)


      Sure, perhaps for aircraft or small boats, but if the primary purpose of the gun is to protect against incoming missiles, I would guess that the rate of fire would be far more important than a 20 mm round vs a 35 mm round. The incoming missile isn't exactly armored, and you're just looking to get a round or two on target.

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  5. Relative to your small carrier air wing, I would suggest a few tankers and helicopters for ASW and plane guard duty.

    Also, would you consider an ASW/Sea Control formation built around a small carrier, 1-2 ASW carriers, and 6-8 escorts (AAW, ASW, etc.)?

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    1. "I would suggest a few tankers and helicopters for ASW and plane guard duty."

      A few tankers is pointless. If you want tankers then it needs to be 6-10 to be operationally useful. And then we may as well add 6-8 electronic warfare (Growlers) to round out the air wing. And, if we're going to add all that then it only makes sense to add more fighters and strike aircraft and a couple more AEW. Oh crap, we've just created a full size air wing and a full size carrier!

      No. No. No. A small air wing for a smaller carrier is small for a reason. Did you read the operational groupings? Small carriers don't fight alone. They fight with large carriers which is where they get the tankers and helos they need.

      The small carrier is, basically, extra aircraft for the large carrier.

      Trying to add every capability to every platform is how we wind up with $15B Fords.

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    2. "ASW/Sea Control formation"

      No. This is one of those notions that is appealing in concept but fails the reality check. It's too small and weak, as a group, to accomplish anything significant and uses up too many assets for what it can accomplish.

      I have yet to hear any reasonable justification or realistic mission for such a group. Feel free to propose a specific mission against a realistic threat. Maybe you can change my mind. You'll note that I did propose ASW hunter/killer groups.

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    3. CNO, I read your comment to mean that the large carrier would use the smaller carrier's aircraft for the offensive task.
      One use for a lower spec carrier is to provide defence for the large more resilient carrier so that the larger carrier can use it's sortie rate for the task in hand. This keeps the smaller carrier more out of harms way.
      I stand to be corrected.

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    4. As I've stated, small carriers would operate with large carriers to supplement their air wings. Who provides the offense or defense, I'll leave to the air wing commanders to figure out.

      Carriers operate in groups so the small carrier will be in no more or less danger than the large carrier.

      Sortie rates are almost irrelevant and have rarely ever been a limiting factor. Combat air ops are generally pulse operations - a pulse of aircraft to conduct a strike, for example. Sortie rate is irrelevant.

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  6. Nukes. No mention of nuclear depth charges/torpedoes. I suspect in a gloves off peer conflict a carrier group wouldn’t be averse to dropping these after the first Ford or Nimitz was becoming an expensive, hot, reef.
    I bet your incoming cruise salvo wouldn’t like a directed EMP blast if it could be launched early enough either.

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    1. Nuclear warfare is unlikely and is far beyond my expertise so I leave that area alone.

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    2. What about CBW ?, GSFG would blitz CBW on day 4 or 5, when NATO was fully engaged. CBW attacks on fixed facilities by Russian forces should be allowed for.

      Mr. Wurzburg

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  7. For the battleship, how about using something like a VLS ATCAMS for SRBM, drop the IRBM, and merge into just VLS tubes.

    IRBM strikes are a different mission type, and just as well handled by subs. By dropping that mission, you get a more flexible ship and one less major system.

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    1. ATACMS does not have the range to be really useful. Tomahawk is better.

      One of the goals of a ship-mounted IRBM is to provide a more survivable (via mobility) launch platform as opposed to a fixed, land location. Hence, the BB.

      A purpose built IRBM submarine, as you suggest, is a complementary or alternative possibility. A BB can do many things and still has room for a IRBM system. A sub would only be able to do the IRBM and would have no other use. I'd rather mount the system on a BB, for that reason.

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  8. A possible tweek on the ASW carrier, it would be useful if this vessel was more substantial to the point of being a refuelling support ship for the ASW group.
    The Royal Navy did this with with the Fort Victoria class even to the point where they were going to be fitted with Seawolf PDMS. They also carried up to five Sea King helicopters for actual ASW use or as replacements for the helicopters of the Type 23 frigates that they were meant to operate with in the Nth Atlantic.

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    1. "it would be useful if this vessel was more substantial"

      Yes, it would. It would also be useful if this vessel had some fixed wing fighter aircraft to provide protection for the ASW group. Also useful would be strike aircraft just in case they can find some surface subs. Electronic warfare aircraft would be useful to help in group defense. Of course, fixed wing ASW aircraft would be great. It would probably be useful to add a substantial gun/missile battery for anti-small craft defense. A good sonar and array suite would undoubtedly be useful, too. Should I keep going or do you see the point?

      If we add everything that would be useful, as opposed to minimally mandatory for the mission, we'll wind up with mammoth, mammothly expensive, do-everything ships that we can't afford in sufficient numbers and that will cost too much to risk performing the very task they were intended for.

      Warship design is easy when you have an infinite budget - just add everything! With a budget, you have to design for the MINIMUM mandatory functions.

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  9. Would the battleships and independent cruisers be nuclear powered vessels?

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    1. I'm ambivalent about nuclear power. It has advantages and disadvantages. I'll leave that decision to the naval designers. I'm inclined to go conventional since the escorts would need conventional refueling anyway.

      My main concern with nuclear power is the mess that it will cause from battle damage. I can foresee one shot mission kills with abandoned vessels due to spilled radioactive materials from relatively minor hits. That would be operationally tragic.

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    2. I was a nuclear trained engine room operator on an aircraft carrier, but I'm no longer a proponent of nuclear powered surface ships. Perhaps having a few nuclear powered large carriers makes sense, but otherwise conventional power is the way to go for surface ships. The only big advantage is being able to do top speed over long distances, but that isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds. With less expensive conventional ships, we can afford more of them, and station a few of them in friendly ports closer to where they may be needed. Nuclear power comes with a lot of logistical baggage that most people never see.

      Repair of battle damage on a nuclear powered ship would have severe political consequences. The repair work would need to be done at a domestic shipyard certified for nuclear work, and most of these are operating near capacity during peacetime. Now imagine a damaged ship limping back into port possibly leaking radioactive contamination. How would the local community react to even a slight possibility their bay and beaches becoming contaminated?

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    3. Completely agree about the consequences of battle damage leading to radiation. I don't think the Navy has thought through the issue.

      You make a really good point about the yard availability. Excellent!

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    4. Also way easier to surge wartime production of conventional ships. During budget cuts, conventional ships can be "mothballed" until needed again. Can't do that with nuclear powered ships.

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    5. Yet another excellent point.

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    6. MM-13B I worked at PSNS. I know of some of the baggage you mentioned. For one thing, you need Grade A water source (pure water ?) you need a way to get that to the ship. You need Radcon people to monitor radiation levels. Depending on what needs to be repair, often specially made gear.

      Also, once the reactor goes hot, don't you need to man the reactor till the day it is removed from the ship ? Also, I get the impression that refueling is a major undertaking, as you need to reach the reactor compartment, which is down on lower levels of the ship. I know that depending on what needs to be repaired, extensive hands on training on a mock up may be needed, along with any special tools, which need to be constructed. Then cleaned for use. Then properly stored, etc.

      Also, most people dont realize, that there is only one drydock on the west coast that can handle carriers, and it is starting to show its age, drydock 6, it was built and finished around 1960. That affects the hull design, you cant build a carrier bigger than the drydocks available.

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  10. Idea for your "small" carrier: I like your general idea of waste cats only, but how about adding a ski-jump to the forward deck. Boeing, trying to get a contract with India, has announced the F/A-18 super hornet capable of both catapult and ski-jump take off. This assumes the super hornet is the main fighter and attack aircraft. They could launch forward from the jump or from the cats. Other aircraft requiring cats would of course use them. The ski jump would not add much cost, only take up a small amount of deck park space, and add flexibility. Granted, you couldn't use the jump and forward parking at the same time, air bosses call.
    Any opinions?

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    1. I saw that bit about Boeing proclaiming the Hornet able to use the jump ramp. HOWEVER, Boeing is not the most reliable source and will say anything to get a contract and worry about the reality later. It's likely that a Hornet can achieve flight from a ramp. But, can it do so with a useful weapons and fuel load? I suspect not.

      One of the main reasons for my choice to eliminate the forward cats was to gain the parking space. The ramp eliminates much of that so what have we gained? We already believe that we can generate sufficient launch rates with just the waist cats so the ramp adds nothing and subtracts parking.

      So, no, I'm not in favor of ramps.

      Related question: Cats can be used in any flyable weather. Can a ramp be used in any flyable weather? I have no idea but I suspect they're limited to certain sea states? Don't know.

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    2. Unlike catapults, a ramp would be easy and inexpensive to add or remove after the ship has performed carrier quals. First two ships in class: build one with ramp and one without, and then see how well both arrangements work. Add or remove ramp as needed and build rest of class accordingly. This assumes f-18 or whatever aircraft we will be using is really capable of both catapult and ramp launch.

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