Monday, October 19, 2020

FFG(X) Versus Perry

Everyone is excited about the Navy’s forthcoming FFG(X) (now Constellation class FFG-62).  The only problem is that it’s a bit of a step backwards in terms of firepower and combat effectiveness compared to the Perry class frigates.

 

What??!  No way.      Yes way. 

 

Let’s take a closer look.  Let’s compare the Perry class, before the Navy neutered them, to the Constellation class.  The significant differences and advantages are highlighted in green.

 

 

 

 

Perry

Constellation

Length, ft

453

496

Displacement, tons

4200

6700

Speed, kts

29+

26+

Range, nm @ kts

4500 / 20

6000 / 16

Crew

176

140

Missiles

40(a)

32(b) + 8(c)

Gun

1x 76 mm

1x 57 mm

Close In AAW Weapons

1x CIWS

1x RAM

Torpedoes

2x triple Mk 32 = 6/24(d)

-

Helos

2x SH-60 Seahawk

1x MH-60 Seahawk + 1x MQ-8C Firescout

Sonar

SQS-56 hull mount + SQR-19 towed array

SQS-62 variable depth sonar + multi-function towed array

 

 

(a)Mix of Standard, Harpoon

(b)Mix of Standard, ESSM with quad-packing

(c)Likely NSM in deck mounted quad racks

(d)Perrys had up to 24 torpedoes including reloads

 

 

 

Perry Class Frigate


Speed - The Perry class may have a few knot advantage but it is likely not significant.

 

Range – Given that the two ranges are cited for different speeds, I suspect that the ranges are likely equivalent if compared at a common speed.

 

Crew – The Constellation’s smaller crew on a larger ship will be a detriment in combat when it comes to damage control, as graphically evidenced by the experience of the USS Stark.  Replacement of combat casualties will also be problematic for the Constellation class.

 

Missiles – The Perry has a larger missile magazine [40 vs. 32] although the Constellation compensates with bolt on anti-ship missiles (probably the Naval Strike Missile).  It is worth bearing in mind that the Perrys could have easily accommodated bolt on quad Harpoon launchers just as the Constellation will do, thus providing a greater missile capacity.  We’ve already examined VLS versus single arm launchers and determined that VLS offers no great advantage and, depending on circumstances, may be inferior in combat use (see, “VLS Versus Arm Launchers”).

 

The other noteworthy aspect is that in the AAW role, ESSM missiles can be quad-packed in the VLS which greatly increases the number of missiles.  Of course, quad-packing didn’t exist when the Perry was built.  Presumably, quad-packing would also be applied to a modern single arm launcher.  So, in a comparison of the Constellation to the original Perry, the missile number advantage would favor the Constellation.  Comparing the Constellation to a modern Perry, the missile numbers would likely be the same.

 

Gun – The Perry had larger and more effective gun.  Navy experience with the Mk110 57 mm gun has been disappointing, to say the least, with vibration/accuracy problems in the LCS, insufficient fire control sensors (optical only in the LCS), and elimination of the 57 mm from the Zumwalt design in favor of a smaller 30 mm gun.  The latter is particularly damning.

 

Close In – Close in weapons are equivalent and minimal.  Both classes should have a 2nd close in system, at the minimum.

 

Torpedoes - For a supposed ASW vessel, the Constellation’s lack of on-board ASW torpedoes is surprising and disappointing.

 

Helos - For a supposed ASW vessel, the Constellation’s single helo is disappointing.  Whether the ship could operate a second helo is unknown.

 

Sonar - The absence of a hull mounted sonar on the Constellation is puzzling although that is offset, to some degree, by the VDS and towed array.  It should be noted, though, that the towed array imposes some limits on sonar functionality while the ship is maneuvering.  The ship can physically tow the array while maneuvering (to an unknown extent and an unknown maximum speed constraint) but the array is negatively impacted and needs time to straighten out and ‘settle’ after maneuvering before it can again provide useful sensor data.  The maneuvering and speed constraints imposed by the VDS, if any, are unknown.  The Perry hull mounted sonar, in contrast, is functional at all speeds and needs no time to ‘settle’ after maneuvering although flow noise is an issue, as with all sonars.

 

 

 

Note:  This should not have to be said but I know it will come up.  Yes, the Constellation, being decades newer, has newer, more capable electronics.  Duh.  This comparison looks at each ship relative to its time.  If the Perrys were built today, they’d have all the same electronics that the Constellation has. 




Constellation Class Frigate



Summary

 

The Constellation is significantly larger than the Perry and yet is less combat capable especially in the ASW role which is a frigate’s main role.  The Constellation’s single helo, no ASW torpedoes, and lack of a hull mounted sonar will hamper ASW effectiveness.  Crew size and a markedly inferior gun further emphasize the decrease in combat capability although the quad-packing of ESSM missiles adds to the AAW capability.  Admittedly, the differences are not huge but the fact that a frigate which is decades newer represents a bit of a step backward is disappointing.  When cost is factored in, the Perry, at around $122M in the 1980 time frame ($385M inflation adjusted to FY20), is far cheaper than the Constellation which will likely be around $1B+ even in serial production.

 

A more expensive ship with less combat capability?  That seems in keeping with the Navy, today.

 

 

151 comments:

  1. Constellation class' AN/SPY-6V3 EASR radar is a powerful EASA radar. At the same time, it uses lots of electricity.

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  2. What I don't understand is that it appears to be a step down from the Italian/French FREMM frigate upon which it is based. Consider the Italian ASW version, probably the most applicable comparable, in the same format as your analysis above:

    Length, ft - 474
    Displacement, tons - 5500T light, 6700T full
    Propulsion and speed, kts - CODLAG, 30+
    Range, nm @ kts - 6800/15
    Crew - 133 + 23 aircrew, accommodations for 201
    Missiles - 16 VLS (plus 16 FBNW) plus 8 SSM
    Gun - 2x 76mm STRALES/DART
    Close In AAW Weapons - 2x 25mm Oerlikon KBA P&S
    Torpedoes - 2 triple 324mm tubes + 2 SLAT torpedo defense systems
    Helos - 2 SH-90 or 1 SH-90 and 1-AW-101
    Sonar - hull sonar and towed array
    Radars - Leonardo MFRA AESA, evolved version of EMPAR + phased array SSR/IFF + Leonardo SPS-732

    Crew - about a push, with slight advantage for ability of IT-FREMM-ASW to accommodate up to 201, suggesting they have anticipated the need.
    Missiles - with the 16 FBNW added, about a push. I would look at replacing the bolt-on anti-ship missiles with another 16 VLS to each side for NSMs in Iver Huitfeldt-type arrangement.
    Gun - IT-FREMM-ASW with 2 76mm STRALES/DART.
    Close-in AAW - IT-FREMM-ASW with 2 systems P&S; if Phalanx is superior to the Oerlikon 25-mm system, then change + STRALES/DART has CIWS capability
    Helos - IT-FREMM-ASW with 2 helos
    Sonar - IT-FREMM-ASW with hull-mounted plus towed array
    Radar - Appears that Constellation made some cost and weight sacrifices to get the AEGIS system onboard. Hard to determine if it is that much better than the AESA/EMPAR system, but given the reliability issues, I would not say those tradeoffs are a win. I would like to see SMART-L/S-1850 for redundancy, maybe give up the after 76mm for room/weight, or better do SMART-L/S-1850 and SeaRAM there if weight, room, and cost work.
    Cost - Hard to get actual numbers, but looks like about $800MM basic, $1B tricked out, which is about a push. US Navy adaptations would obviously add some cost, but longer production run should offset that to some degree.

    My takeaway is that it looks like the Navy's ongoing love affair with AEGIS drove a lot of tradeoffs. I think I'd rather have the ship without those tradeoffs. I outlined a couple of my own that I would have considered. The ship with my options would probably price around $1.2B with the possibility of getting it down to $1B per unit or less over a long production run.

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    1. One other thing, suppose we moved the bridge back about 10-20 feet to make room for a platform for a couple of RBU-6000-type ASW weapons. Not sure what the internal layout is, and that would surely require some rearrangement, but it would seem doable.

      I suppose the 22 feet of added length were to provide room for the extra 16 VLS cells without the fo'c'sle being cramped. That would obviously create room for some internal rearrangement.

      I just cannot understand the mods we made to the IT-FREMM-ASW design on any basis than to save cost and weight in order to put the AEGIS system onboard. If there is some other reason, I'd like to know what it is or could be. I've discussed previously how I would like to see some alternative AAW radar, to present a different picture and jamming problem for the bad guys, and as a backup given the AEGIS reliability issues. This would seem an optimum class to do that.

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    2. RBU belongs on a shallow water ASW ship. On an open ocean ASW ship, it doesn't make much sense to me. Too short ranged.

      FFG(X) doesn't have SPY-1. It has the much smaller and lighter EASR AAW radar. It does use the AEGIS combat management system, but that's not the same as the radar system.

      It would be nice if FFG(X) retained the Italian FREMM's ability to carry two full-sized helos. Maybe it can, but they just don't list it in the specs.

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    3. "On an open ocean ASW ship, it doesn't make much sense to me. Too short ranged."

      I might agree with you if you could guarantee that the ship would never sail in shallow or somewhat confined waters. Unfortunately, there are so many chokepoints, straits, shallow waters, etc. that a frigate, especially, will routinely sail in such waters so … an RBU makes perfect sense.

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  3. Its a bit disappointing the mast is fully enclosed/more stealthy. The choice of the 57mm gun is baffling. As CDR chip noted I was rather hoping the choice of the FREMM would lead to 2x real guns.


    Bring up the VLS vs arm launcher thing. IS there reason not to mix? Have one arm launcher and a limited set VLS cells. With the deck space saved you get torpedoes and a Swedish off the shelf anti sub rocket system.

    A seaRAM is fine but I can't see the either or choice why not Phalanx as well?

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    1. The Australians Perrys (called Adelaide class) had the rotary launcher upgraded to SM-2. They were also fitted with 8 x Mk 41s for 32 x ESSM.

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    2. "Australians Perrys "

      I love what Australia did with the Perrys despite the US Navy's insistence that they couldn't be upgraded. Well done, Australia! I know there were some problems with the finances and it cost more than it should have but, still, really well done and what an embarrassment for the US.

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    3. They were, until last year, our air defense frigate, and they also had two choppers.

      All I can say about FFG(X) it should have plenty of space for upgrades. FREEM is similar to the Perrys in packing a lot (2 x Helicopters) and plenty of missiles for its role.

      Our new Arafura class OPV is based on a corvette. But we demanded they remove flight deck strengthening (and ASMs) so choppers can't land on it.

      Steel is cheap.

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    4. Did not know about the chopper deck. Can we still mount containers on the deck?

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  4. The navy wants 16 NSM's on the Constellation as depicted in the artist rendering and other documents. Although as cost overruns mount, that'll probably be the first thing that gets neutered.

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    1. I rather have 8 NSMs on something like Visby-class corvette (with the SAM capacity filled not unused - ESSM?) and deploy them out Bahrain and Japan or the ROK.

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    2. The Navy uses the terminology 'threshold' and 'objective'. Threshold is the 'give me now' level and objective is the 'it'd be nice but isn't required' level. We'll have to wait to see whether 16 OTH missiles make it into the final design. With the cost cutting the Navy is already engaged in, I suspect it won't.

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    3. "on something like Visby-class corvette"

      I didn't bring this up because it can't be quantified but the Constellation design looks only marginally stealthy. The superstructure sides are slightly slanted but not much. The forward face of the superstructure is nearly vertical. The ship is covered with non-stealthy masts, equipment, antennae, and protuberances. Visually, it looks less stealthy than a Burke which is only marginally stealthy.

      By comparison, the Visby is maximum stealth and there's quite a distinct visual difference between them.

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    4. I suppose I mentioned the Visby for two reasons the one you picked up that our new frigate looks rather well less than stealthy. But more so because it would seem to be ideal for distributed leathality. Which is an odd concept because the USN is massively investing in concentrated leathality - that is its CV fleet by making a gold plated upgrade to the Nimitz.

      The navy may get a working ship out of the FREMM design but it seems to me what really needs is a lot of ships that it builds at no more than the Perry's 2020 inflation adjusted price. Not just picking a European mini Burk. We have Burks. If we want distributed NSM boats than build a bunch of corvettes and station them in our obvious hot spot areas. If we need Blue Water ASW ships to compliment the Burkes than build them and they really don't need to wasting space on air defense or toting land attack missiles about.

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    5. "The Navy uses the terminology 'threshold' and 'objective'."

      What is the history of 'give me now' and then actually upgrading later? (fingers crossed)

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    6. "What is the history of 'give me now' and then actually upgrading later?"

      It almost never happens. By the time 'later' comes around, the Navy claims the ships are too old to be worth upgrading and they go to Congress for money to build new ones. Other than carriers which get mid-life overhauls, I can't think of a ship class that has undergone a major upgrade. In fact, most ship classes are retired early. I've posted on this.

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    7. "...they go to Congress for money to build new ones."

      Let me guess, and they blow up the "old" billion dollar ships to make sure they cannot be upgraded.

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    8. "It almost never happens. By the time 'later' comes around, the Navy claims the ships are too old to be worth upgrading and they go to Congress for money to build new ones. Other than carriers which get mid-life overhauls, I can't think of a ship class that has undergone a major upgrade. In fact, most ship classes are retired early. I've posted on this."

      The FRAM destroyers back in the 1960s come to mind, but that's about it.

      The Navy just needs to be forced to hold ships for their intended lives, and to do a major mid-life upgrade of every one of them.

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  5. Apologies for going off topic, however I have some questions and thought people here would be knowledgeable and interested in the subject.

    This is an article on suspected nuclear submarine construction sheds that are under construction at Huludao.
    https://news.usni.org/2020/10/12/chinese-increasing-nuclear-submarine-shipyard-capacity

    According to the article, the new sheds could allow for 4 submarines to be built simultaneously.

    The first shed is about 140 meters wide and 290 meters deep, measured in Google Earth. It seems to have six groups of four rails. Virginia class submarines are transported to launch on four rails, going by this picture.
    https://www.defencetalk.com/military/photos/launch-of-texas-ssn-775-nuclear-powered-submarine-us-navy.13970/full?d=1514053661
    Each group of four rails has a sliding door that is about 20 meters wide. According to Wikipedia, Chinese nuclear submarines have beams of 11m to 12.5m and lengths of 110m to 135m. If submarine dimensions remain similar, the shed seems to have 12 construction slots.

    The second shed seems to be about 2/3 of the first shed in terms of width, so it should have 8 construction slots.

    Even if dimensions of new nuclear submarines are very large, the two sheds still seem to be divided into 5 distinct sections, so there should be at least 5 slots.

    How did the article reach the number 4?

    If the sheds do allow for 20 submarines concurrently, then I also have follow-on questions.

    Surely, one would not build such a gargantuan complex if it was just going to stand mostly unused for years. Instead one would build something smaller with expansion potential, and defer the full costs until later. That way the money could be instead spent on something that would be useful right away. One certainly wouldn't build a second construction shed if the first wasn't already nearing capacity.

    According to the Wikipedia articles on the Virginia and Ohio classes, these submarines built in similar sheds take about 14 to 30 months from being laid down to being launched. If each slot can be used to build one submarine in 14 months, then if all 21 slots (including the old one) were used, that would mean a capacity of 18 submarines per year. If construction takes 30 months, then that would mean 8.4 per year.

    Going from less than one a year to 10.5-18 a year within a few years seems like a very fast expansion rate. Is that even doable? According to people quoted in this article, the US would have difficulties building an additional submarine per year.
    https://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/04/17/navy-studies-building-3-virginia-class-attack-submarines-per.html

    The USNI article does cite a report by the Congressional Research Office that in turn cites a report by the Office of Naval Intelligence to the Senate Armed Services Committee which estimates that China will finish 6 SSNs and 4 SSBNs by 2030 (of which 2 SSBNs are already launched).
    https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6813097/China-Naval-Modernization-and-Implications-for.pdf (page 6)
    However, the ONI report also says "Current expansion at submarine production yards could allow higher future production numbers." So the estimate seems to just be an extrapolation of the historical construction rate.
    https://fas.org/irp/agency/oni/plan-trends.pdf (page 1)

    I looked for some historical data from the Cold War to compare to. Even tough the US completed the first nuclear submarine in 1955, and the second in 1957, it then expanded production capacity quickly. It commissioned 17 James Madison, Layafette and Thresher/Permit in 1964 alone. However the construction rate seems to have fallen quickly once the "41 for freedom" plan was finished. Would it be possible to expand nuclear submarine production that fast for modern submarines also, or was that something only possible with early model nuclear submarines?

    Would it be possible for China to expand nuclear submarine production to 8.4-18 per year within the not too distant future?

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    1. China may get bogged-down building concentration camps in Xinxiang Province but otherwise, they have no shortage of manpower and don't worry about paying their workers. So, probably?

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    2. Got to think there might be a limit to what the US can in expanding nuclear powered ships quickly. The industrial and education base is kind of stagnate to dying (nuclear and ship building). At every turn it seems doubtful even if you hand out money like water you going to get another nuclear sub building facility up an running stock full of experts at every level. That is compared to the 50s and 60s.

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  6. I read a story recently that described the large quarters, meeting rooms and etc. Sounds like it's best asset is the cruise ship quality accommodations. Sounds awesome...

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    1. Was just goimg to say, FFGx is heavier and bigger but packs less punch than old Perry, anybody know why? You would think radar, electronics, etc are modern and take up less space, with less weapons, new ship should be a little to about same size, not BIGGER!!! Is USN already trying to beat its deployment record, going for 300 day out at sea?!?

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    2. And it has a smaller crew but more crew space. This "frigate" will be more than twice the size of World War II era American destroyers.

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    3. "meeting rooms"

      On a WARship???? We have lost our way.

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  7. Way back I read about (I think it was) The Battle of Jutland. One of the reasons that the British gave for losing ships was that they had to make sacrifices in battle capability in order to have world ranging ships. At the time it seemed to me like 'the tail wagging the dog' and this strikes me likewise.

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    1. The losses in the battle of Jutland which were older battlecruisers is that they weren't built to fight as part of a line of battle they where designed to hunt cruisers being used as merchant raiders which the battle of the Falkland islands showed they could do.

      Frigate's weren't used in the line of battle during the Napoleonic war either and the two types of ship did basically the same role.

      Honestly Beatty is mostly responsible with his whole 'hold fire and get in close first and then fire faster' rather than accurately nonsense. He literally gave up the range advantage he had to get in closer and ended up being fired on first.

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    2. I remember Beatty's saying something like "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships!" So, it turns out it was the bloody leadership instead and those ships being used wrongly.

      Thank you!

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  8. This ship will look pretty impressive because of how crappy the LSC was, I guess.

    I mean, it's a functional warship and all, but a billon dollar frigate?

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    1. I also read that the Navy insisted on ours being made of steel, which I assume to mean that the European ones are not. This sounded good to me except I'm sure that doesn't mean any actual armor. For a billion bucks, it seems like 2" of steel would be available.

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    2. The Navy's insistence on steel (did they? I don't recall seeing that but I would hope it's correct) has nothing to do with armor. It's a fire damage issue tracing back to the Belknap's collision with the Kennedy and subsequent fire which burned the aluminum superstructure down the hull.

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    3. Here is the story that I had read. I was probably incorrect about the European ships not being made of steel. I guess they just have less steel. It says that they added 300 tons of steel to go into "scantling, ballistic and frag protection..."

      https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/07/05/fincantieris-fremm-frigate-design-bulks-up-for-the-us-ffgx-competition/

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    4. "300 tons"

      This went mainly to adding additional compartmentation to meet Navy survival standards. It did not go to armor to any significant extent.

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  9. Two random thoughts:

    1) This just makes it even more obvious what a mistake it was to get rid of the Perrys prematurely.

    2) As I recall, the Perrys were panned for being underpowered and underpinned. So almost 50 years later, we come up with something that's bigger, slower, and less heavily armed.

    Really makes you wonder which inmates are running the asylum.

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    1. Going by my experience, I hope that the taxpayers will demand that those anti-American and anti-defense lab workers in the Defense Labs be purged. Likewise, politicians with similar views should be voted out and their defense industry suck-ups should not get tax-funded trips to beautiful places to discuss garbage.

      From what I've learned on this site, our young warriors are being put into danger by the decisions made. I just don't believe that this is ignorance or error. I think it is a way to waist money on sub-par equipment so that we won't hurt anybody with it.

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    2. I thought the initial batch had some structural issues but they were addressed.

      Not sure I ever read anything about under powered. Do you mean speed or ability to make power for sensors?

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    3. Speed. Making power for sensors was not a major issue in the 1970s. That came later.

      Both Perrys and earlier Knoxes were widely panned for being too slow, having just a single shaft, and being very lightly armed for their size. But they both turned out to be decent ASW platforms--Knoxes with SQS-26 bow sonar and both with towed arrays added, and as such they were instrumental in winning the Cold War.

      So now we are coming up with bigger, slower, and more lightly armed. Oh well, at least it has two shafts, I think

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    4. "So now we are coming up with bigger, slower, and more lightly armed. Oh well, at least it has two shafts, I think"

      I have read that waterjets are much more efficient, especially at higher speeds, last longer and are quieter. Not sure if this is correct. If it is, why are they not used on ships like this?

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  10. Corrections:
    Perry "design" speed was 28.5
    Perry design range 4000@20
    Constellation displacement is Italian Fremm 6900 + 500 = 7400 ton
    Constellation - Crew size hasn't been announced other than to accommodate 200. Fincantieri indicates the Fremm crews with 145. Looks like Italy removed these details from their website recently.
    Constellation - 16 NSM is in the price.
    57mm is more ammo weight down range than 76mm.
    RAM is more ammo weight down range and range.
    Constellation hangar area can allow 2 H-60 should the navy choose that over MQ-8C.
    Both had Nixie but my understanding is the latest Nixie can also do detection work in addition to acting as a decoy.
    SM-1 had about the range of an ESSM.

    My main concern is a ship this size should have the Mk 45 and a second close in system up front. That and we could have a ship with all the ASW, 2 helo and 32 VLS with RAM and a 57mm for half the money if we forego some seakeeping.

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    1. "57mm is more ammo weight down range than 76mm."

      Really? What are the numbers?

      Delete
  11. FFG(X) is not designed to act alone or in a small group like LCS and DDG1000. It is to be part of a large fleet. Therefore, it needs to able to sail a long distance but only does jobs of its part.

    At this early stage, we only have its basic structure. Like other navy ship, weapons and sensors will be added later.

    One really troublesome thing is its price tag - about 6 times as China builds a 054a. Usually, price tags rise a lot more than first estimate.

    Too many people are in the food chain, especially some eat way too much.

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    1. "At this early stage, we only have its basic structure. Like other navy ship, weapons and sensors will be added later."

      In this case, no. The Navy has pretty fully specified the weapons and sensors and they are listed in the various docs and graphics that are readily available on the Internet. Nothing I presented was guesswork or speculation. It all came from the specifications graphic.

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    2. Sad how much US manufacturing has been downgrading or lost our way, I remember the 80s and Perry was small expendable frigate that was a piece of cake to execute, USN did it without breaking a sweat....40 years later and we are now like:"how did they manage to do all that?!?"....impossible to do but I wonder if you pitted a real crew of a 80s OHP against a 2030 FFX crew who would survive war better? Considering crews today, all that modern tech might not be as good compared crews of old tech that knows what the hell its doing....is 60% new tech fuzzy crew as good as 90% old stuff that works and crew proficient? I bet the results would be surprising but im sure USN will never war game that!!!

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    3. I don't buy that power generation is driving the 50% weight increase. That's part of it, but crew comfort has to be a huge piece of it. And once part of the ship is bigger, everything else has to increase proportionately.

      It makes you wish they started with the old Perry, streamlined the superstructure for stealth, updated the systems and called it a day.

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    4. It took a little while across the 80 for US unilateral dis armament in ship building(no shipbuilding subsidies) to kill the industry.

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    5. I only have it about 2-3 times that of a type 54A, if their numbers and ours are reliable.

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  12. Didnt realize the Perrys werr3 so cheap!! At $385M, Id rather have five Perrys than two new $1B FFGs!!! Especially with its noted deficiencies, and the fact it should have more closely followed the Italian ASW variant that CDR Chip pointed out. No hull sonar, and no torps, surely sacrificed for more AAW capability, is where this ship goes quite astray of whats needed and whats important!! The "one helo is none" also shows the lack of ASW emphasis.
    While in some respects the new fig makes good ship procurement reform headway (existing design, current weapons/sensors ), the more we analyze it, the more clear the shortcomings and lack of mission focus are.

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  13. Is it me, or does it seem like the Army procurement process is more effective? They are focusing on warfighting, including artillery, armor, rifles and ECM. The basics, updated (with ECM and limited, complementary drones) for the 21st century. Yeah, they include IT, but nothing like the Navy - all scifi tech all the time. Maybe because the Army has more recent real fighting experience?

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    1. The Army has done a few things right, of late, but let's not forget the MASSIVE failures of their attempts to replace Bradley, among other stunning failures. As a general statement, the US military is horrible at acquisitions.

      The things the Army is getting right likely stem from their main responsibility which is Europe and I think the Russian demonstrations of artillery, armor, EW, and drones in Ukraine really rattled the Army. There's nothing like "I'll die if I go into battle with what I have" to clarify and focus one's thinking. The Navy, in contrast, simply doesn't appear to believe that war with China is even remotely possible despite some of their public statements. Actions speak louder than words and the Navy's actions clearly convey that they have no focus on warfighting, whatsoever (submarine shortfall that's been known for many years, for example, and ignored).

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    2. Google "Time for a change Part 1 Small Arms" by Jim Schtaz to see what a horror show US military acquisitions have been.

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  14. Another level set here. FFG-61 was a FY84 ship procured for 300m which is 751.5 today. The lead ship was an FY73 ship bought for 202m which today is 1,184.16B

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  15. "When cost is factored in, the Perry, at around $122M in the 1980 time frame ($385M inflation adjusted to FY20), is far cheaper than the Constellation which will likely be around $1B+ even in serial production."

    You're so right, we are getting much less capability for so much more money. But, I think even a modern Perry-class would cost more than $385 million because the cost of electronics, weapons, labor, and materials have increased faster than the rate of inflation. But, it would be the better of the two.

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    1. "even a modern Perry-class would cost more than $385 million because the cost of electronics, weapons, labor, and materials have increased faster than the rate of inflation."

      This is a point of contention for me (with the concept, not with you!). Many aspects of ship construction have DECREASED in cost. For example, electronics are constantly getting smaller, cheaper, and more capable, across the board. You see this in your everyday personal computers, phones, etc. There's even a law about this but I can't recall the name of it. So ships should be getting cheaper.

      Run of the mill items like pipe, valves, pumps, and just mechanical items in general are increasing ONLY at the rate of inflation. So, ships should cost the same (adjusted for inflation).

      The basic hull materials have not increased in cost and the construction techniques have gotten MORE EFFICIENT (computer design, automated welding, assembly line techniques, 'lift' construction, module assembly, etc.) so ships should be getting cheaper to build.

      Labor costs have increased at exactly the rate of inflation since they are one of the main determinants of the rate of inflation. So, ships should cost the same (adjusted for inflation).

      Weapons are composed of electronics and mechanical items, both of which we've already addressed and neither of which is causing increases in cost.

      So, there is no evidence of increases in any costs and yet ship costs are skyrocketing.

      The only factors that are increasing costs are:

      1. Overhead - the fact that we're building fewer and fewer ships means the entire yard overhead is being allocated among fewer ships and that DOES drive up the price substantially.

      2. Navy incompetence - this shows as constantly changing requirements during construction which means substantial rework. Closely ties to this is concurrency where we try to design as we build - again, leading to vast amounts of rework. The EMALS and AAG are great examples of that, as is the entire LCS program.

      So, the only two major factors that have increased ship construction costs are actually entirely unrelated to actual construction!

      So, when we talk about what a Perry could be built for today, it is perfectly correct to take the old cost and adjust if for inflation and that's it - nothing more. That's what we could actually build the ship for if we didn't have to contend with incompetent Navy management. On the hand, the reality is that after adjusting the cost for inflation, we have to add the cost of Navy incompetence and that does hugely increase the cost.

      The conclusion is that if we could build ships without the Navy, they'd be substantially cheaper! For example, if we could turn a complete design for, say, the Perry, over to a civilian yard that builds, say, cruise ships, and let them build a Perry, it would likely be CHEAPER than the original after adjustment for inflation.

      How do like that for an analysis?!

      Delete
    2. "For example, electronics are constantly getting smaller, cheaper, and more capable, across the board."

      AEGIS Combat System is being skipped over on the Zumwalt in favor of the Total Shipboard Computing Environment (TSCE). Only the computer nerds out there will know what a big deal this is. I have worked on Linux (big fan) for years and could actually go onto the ship and help with this system from day one. The AEGIS System... probably not.

      This could eliminate the need for company staff to be in place at all times to ensure that systems are working correctly. Also, the system could be upgraded continuously by militarized versions of off-the-shelf equipment. The entire system software could be mirrored on an identical system in a different part of the ship, for redundancy.

      https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-navys-newest-linux-powered-command-center-is-right-1682363296

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    3. You could build cheaper ships if you built them to lesser standards or use less capable equipment. But, as you well know, military requirements often far exceed civilian requirements for electronics, materials, etc, which always drives cost.

      For NASA's ISS, we needed to provide traceability back to the raw lot the material was drawn from. I'll wager the Navy has a similar requirement. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Some projects obviously require that level of detail.

      Taking the aircraft as an example, the early fighters were relatively cheap to manufacture. But, as more electronics were added and more sophisticated engines used, the cost per fighter increased exponentially. I submit the same has happened with tanks and ships (though more related to electronics and sensors than propulsion).

      You're right about overhead, one of three factors (direct labor and materials being the other two) driving ship cost, as important to control. But, that's driven not just by how many ships you're building at the time, but federal and state regulations also drive overhead costs too.

      I don't know what the Silver Bullets are to drive down ship cost. Starting out with a good design and well-defined requirments is always a good start. In the civilian aerospace world, the OEMs have long put the screws to themselves and their suppliers to remove cost. The airlines have done the same too. Time for the Navy to do the same.

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    4. "You could build cheaper ships if you built them to lesser standards or use less capable equipment."

      Some years back, our lab had the World's fastest "Supercomputer," which was actually a bunch of blade servers linked together with synchronized strings.

      It is a myth that a huge mainframe with a specialized OS is needed to work such systems. This is actually a major point of failure. Plus, blades can be placed into enclosures that can include springs and shock absorbers with many redundant systems.

      As for the Linux OS being "lesser standards" or "less capable" equipment, just ask SpaceX about it, since they use Linux for many things, such as Falcon 9 and Dragon 2.

      Using Linux will free the Navy from reliance upon contractors to run their systems, since it is so common. For example, I'm typing this through my Linux-based computer right now.

      https://www.digitalphablet.com/spacex-falcon-9-linux/

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    5. "I don't know what the Silver Bullets are to drive down ship cost."

      I have stated, posted, and demonstrated that volume is one of, if not the, major factors in ship cost. To illustrate with a simple example … If a shipyard builds one ship per year, the entire year's overhead gets dumped on that ship. If the same shipyard, with the exact same costs, builds two ships per year, the overhead dump on each ship is 50% instead of 100%. That's a huge savings.

      We used to build 12 (for a 300 ship navy) to 24 (for a 600 ship navy) ships per year. Now, we build around 8 and half of those are small LCS which aren't built by the major yards so the major yard builds are around 4 per year. OF COURSE COSTS ARE SKYROCKETING!!!!!

      Volume - there's one of your silver bullets. And before you ask, I've described how to increase volume without increasing budget. Check the archives.

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    6. "Using Linux will free the Navy from reliance upon contractors to run their systems,"

      ????? I don't see how the OS matters. Sailors don't program computers, they use the programs. What OS the program is run on is immaterial to the sailor. He just uses the user interface.

      The OS may matter to the software developer, to some extent, but by the time the program gets to the fleet, it's irrelevant.

      Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point?

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    7. "Sailors don't program computers..."

      You are right and I'm not suggesting they should. I was speaking in terms of affordability and quality. The OS should matter to the Navy itself because as it is now, they pay the builders of their systems millions of dollars per year to manage and many millions more to upgrade systems.

      The Navy does have IT personnel and these could be used in place of contractors. Plus, expensive and specialized equipment could be replaced by less expensive but at least as good quality (probably better) equipment.

      Less money toward electronic systems and support - there's one of your silver bullets.

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    8. " as it is now, they pay the builders of their systems millions of dollars per year to manage and many millions more to upgrade systems."

      I'm not sure what systems or equipment you're referring to and why one operating system over another has any impact on the cost of equipment. Why don't you give me a specific example and help me understand?

      I have a sneaking suspicion that you're viewing things from a civilian world perspective that doesn't quite carry over to the military. For example, we can buy a perfectly good computer monitor for $100 - $500 depending on size and some other factors. The military, however, requires monitors that meet shock (physical, like explosions) resistance standards, vibration (like waves at sea) standards, possible emissions control, possible EMP resistance, fire resistance, possibly watertight standards, and so on. That $100-$500 monitor becomes $5000 for the military. It's Milspec which is often necessary though occasionally over-applied.

      Give an example.

      What the Navy pays system builders for is the programming, which in terms of the OS doesn't affect cost to any appreciable extent. Programming an Aegis system is incredibly complex but, on a relative basis, the cost has nothing to do with the consoles it operates on. The programming takes years and costs tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. The console and monitor costs tens of thousands - almost free in the overall scheme.

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    9. By using a proprietary system, only the builder has the knowledge and specialized equipment to service it. Thus, once the Navy has large scale deployment of that system, the Navy MUST pay that supplier for support. For example, AEGIS:

      "The total cost for the AEGIS Weapon System is $42.7 billion. The predominant driver that can be influenced today is operations and support (O&S) at $22.2 billion."

      https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/aegis.htm

      Your sneaking suspicion is exactly correct. You should also have a sneaking suspicion that Navy vendors are putting gimmicks onto things like monitors and then adding some zeros to the price.

      I explained server racks that can absorb shock, solid state hard drives are not affected by such movement as waves, I have a touch screen monitor in my Hummer that functions in the roughest terrain. EMP is the easiest, as it requires a simple Faraday Cage. The racks in our lab are waterproof, and if the doors are shut, even if the fire control (which uses water) went off, the servers would be unaffected.

      If you know of military electronics that are better than what can be found in the civilian world, give me an example and help me understand. I'll bet they are either inferior to what could be found or the same thing painted Navy Gray and sold for 10 times as much money.

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    10. Electronic systems, including software, always have ongoing cost. The question is, should the Navy do it or should a vendor do it.

      This is not limited to ship electronics. Such as, should sailors be able to work on steam catapults, or only vendors servicing the EMALS.

      As far as computing systems go, I know that the Navy can do it and save BILLIONS in the process.

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    11. "As far as computing systems go, I know that the Navy can do it and save BILLIONS in the process."

      The Navy can certainly take care of operating networks and they do. What they can't do is write/modify the code of the various systems. There are no Navy techs with the background and experience to modify Aegis code, for example. The manufacturer has PhD people with decades of experience developing that system and programming it and they still run into delays and problems while doing it. The Navy can replace monitors and consoles but they can't do anything with the software. They can't even operate it and diagnose it properly as the Navy has acknowledged.

      So, there are some things the Navy can do and a LOT of things the Navy can't do. That's one of the themes of this blog: have our systems gotten TOO complex. Would we be better off with slightly simpler systems that sailors can operate and maintain than bleeding edge systems that they can't? I come down on the K.I.S.S. side of things while the Navy comes down on the Star Wars side. War, which will eventually come, has a way of weeding out the needlessly complex but the Navy doesn't see it that way.

      Delete
    12. "If you know of military electronics that are better than what can be found in the civilian world, give me an example and help me understand. "

      Research milspec and you'll understand why it exists. Without a doubt it is sometimes over-applied but it exists for a very good reason.

      I don't know the detailed milspec requirements for any given piece of equipment but, conceptually, your civilian servers, while perhaps rugged for the civilian world, need to be many times more rugged for the military world. They need to be immune to be beaten with a hammer (nearby explosions), fire resistant independent of fire suppression systems because fire follows explosions, immune to battle damage induced voltage spikes and dips, and so on. Also, do not be so quick to dismiss the shock and vibration resistance issue. What passes for shock resistance in the civilian world is not the same as the military world. For example, the circuit boards of the various missiles and weapons that aircraft carry are constantly susceptible to the shock of carrier landings and each weapon has a landing limit beyond which it has to be removed from service, reinspected, and recertified due to the cumulative stress and shock of landings. Boards and components work loose and crack under the repeated stress. Similarly, a circuit board that may pass a single shock test in the civilian world has to be able to withstand the stress of wave action for months/years on end, continually subjected to flexing. As I said, I certainly don't know the detailed milspecs for any given piece of equipment but this illustrates the kind of considerations that go into milspec. Even the server racks need to be battle hardened to resist explosions, shrapnel, fire, smoke, and flooding.

      Now, none of this should be construed as saying that the defense industry does not take large profit when/where they can. They do. But even that is not as one-sided and despicable as it sounds. The defense industry is subject to having committed programs cut short and their carefully calculated (and fair) profits taken from them. Is it any wonder they grab profits when the can? It makes up for the times they got screwed.

      All of this is saying that the situation is not as cut and dried as many would believe. There's failings on both sides but also extenuating circumstances on both sides. I'm not defending industry or the military, just offering a more realistic look at the situation.

      Delete
    13. I certainly agree with you about having the best hardware. If you have a chance, check out the Total Shipboard Computing Environment (TSCE) and see what you think.

      To me, it has the potential to be a great system able to be served by multiple vendors, able to be upgraded continually and lead to a lot of savings.

      Delete
  16. One unknown is the acoustic silencing between these two ships. Is it possible that the Constellation class would have better silencing ? This version of the FREMM is to have a navy specified silencing..
    I too wonder about the decisions to leave out the hull mounted sonar, include the 57 mm gun and house only one ASW helicopter etc. Also no standard deck light weight torpedo launcher is included and they are planning for ASROC.

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    1. "One unknown is the acoustic silencing between these two ships. Is it possible that the Constellation class would have better silencing ?"

      This is an absolutely key issue especially for a ship whose main function is, presumably, ASW.

      The Perry's had Prairie/Masker among other measures. I have not heard what quieting the Constellation will have. Let me know if you come across anything!

      Delete
    2. I did read something about navy specified silencing for this frigate but it was some time ago. We know the FREMM version selected was the ASW one.

      Delete
  17. "I too wonder about the decisions to leave out the hull mounted sonar, include the 57 mm gun and house only one ASW helicopter etc. Also no standard deck light weight torpedo launcher is included and they are planning for ASROC."

    The only rationale I can figure is that the Navy wanted AEGIS above and beyond any other consideration, and the cost and high weight of AEGIS forced those other changes. The 32 VLS cells versus 16 on the FREMM is the only other thing that looks to be a possible upgrade, but the FREMM has provision to expand to 32, so that isn't necessary so..

    AEGIS is a wonderful system when it works, but given the reliability issues and fragility, I still think we'd do better to have something else--the EMPAR upgrade on the FREMMs or better the EMPAR or SAMPSON combined with SMART-L or S-1850. The latter would have to be mounted were the after 76mm is above the hangar on FREMM, and I don't know what the weight/cost tradeoffs would be. But if you could get a SeaRAM up here with the SMART-L/S-1850, that's a tradeoff that makes some sense. SeaRAM plus two Phalanx P&S would be a decent CIWS capability for a ship that size.

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  18. How can we possibly make a Frigate that has no torpedo's? That just seems to me to be incredibly stupid. I have seen what you have wrote about corvettes ComNavOps and its looking as if about 50 are needed.

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    Replies
    1. I still think bybthe time these hit the fleet we will have a CVLWT with the ability to be a defensive or offensive torpedo. They can be stowed in all up rounds and have twice as many at the ready. Less hotel services to them also.

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  19. Summer of 1985, I served my Midshipman tour on the original FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry. It was a wonderful ship with a great crew. The Captain was one of the finest officers I ever served under. He allowed us Midshipmen to take turns at the Conn while we did "Man Overboard" maneuvers with a flotation dummy in the water. After doing it a few times, I was getting pretty good at it. With a gleam in his eye, the Captain put on a life vest and said, "Ok. Let's do this for real!" With that, he walked aft to the helo pad and jumped off! Luckily, I didn't screw it up too bad as we circled back around to pick him up. He came back up to the bridge, soaking wet, with a huge smile on his face. We all had such a good time serving with him in charge.

    He was a great man in charge of a beautiful ship. Her raked bow was just sexy as hell.

    About midway through that cruise, we were visited by SecNav Lehman who shook all the hands of us Midshipman in a small, private ceremony on the deck behind the bridge. During his small talk to us, he kept on calling the ship a "Fig Seven" which, for some reason, I thought sounded funny. It was obvious to us, after his speech, how important he thought the FFG was to his 600 ship Navy and its role in any future war with the Soviet Union.

    A great summer with many great memories! Sorry I don't have much more than that to add to the discussion. I just loved that old FFG-7 so I thought I'd write a little note in her honor.

    PS: A few years later, I saw the enormous hole put in the USS Stark by an Exocet missile. The hair went up on the back of my head when I saw it had hit EXACTLY where my sleeping berth was. Gulp!

    Keep up the great work CNO! You have the best blog on the Internet.

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    Replies
    1. If that captain is who I'm thinking, he later made admiral.

      I don't think any of my former skippers made admiral.

      Delete
    2. " I just loved that old FFG-7 so I thought I'd write a little note in her honor."

      Thanks for sharing that with us!

      Delete
  20. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with the Constellation:

    - VL ASROC is an option for a ranged offensive ASW weapon, as opposed to the Mark 32 tubes, which are more self-defense weapons. This would be par with the Perry - as I recall, the 1 armed bandit can fire ASROC, and I believe some examples of the class had ASROC launchers (though I might b confusing that with the Spruances, perhaps).

    - The Constellation has an AAW grade radar on it, which the Perry never had. Definitely going to drive the price up there. There's a question of whether an ASW FFG needs to have a serious AAW-grade radar on it. Is the Navy thinking of using FFGX as a spotter-shooter to extend the DESRON's AAW coverage? Or in an era where serious antiship missiles are proliferating, is a serious AAW radar now a minimum requirement?

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    1. "Is the Navy thinking of using FFGX as a spotter-shooter to extend the DESRON's AAW coverage? Or in an era where serious antiship missiles are proliferating, is a serious AAW radar now a minimum requirement?"

      Those are excellent questions. I would think the answer to the second questions is 'definitely' but look forward to better informed answers.

      Delete
    2. JMD, I think the questions you are asking reflect what ComNavOps is always preaching about--the absence of a clearly defined CONOPS. Are the FFGXs primarily ASW platforms or AAW platforms? Are they just mini-Burkes or do they have a defined mission? As a GP escort, I think the original FREMMs are better ships than the FFGX.

      It looks like the Navy said, "OK, here's a hull, figure out how to put AEGIS on it, and make whatever cost and weight concessions you have to in order to make that happen"—once again, technology over CONOPS. My idea is you’d have 20 escort squadrons (CortRons), each with one cruiser (enlarged Ticonderoga, maybe on a Des Moines hull, 8-inch guns and 192 VLS cells, also possibly UAV/USV/UUV carrier), 2 AAW destroyers (could be Burkes), 3 GP escorts (FREMMs with changes discussed here), and 4 ASW frigates (ComNavOps’s ASW escorts). Each CortRon could escort task groups or conduct independent surface operations. I think the roles and CONOPS for each ship should be obvious.

      My proposed changes to the FFGX are discussed above. As far as serious AAW radars, I think we already place too great a reliance on AEGIS, particularly given its documented fragility and maintenance issues. I'd like to retain the EMPAR and possibly pair it with a SMART-L or S-1850 that could be mounted where the after 76mm is on the IT-FREMM-ASW. And if there appears to be room to put a SeaRAM up there to complement the P&S CIWS. Giving up the after 76mm gun to get SMART-L/S-1850 and a SeaRAM is a tradeoff that would have to be evaluated, but conceptually it sounds attractive.

      I don't have accurate cost numbers, but from what I've heard about AEGIS, I would guess EMPAR and SMART-L/S-1850 combined could be somewhat cheaper. And I like the idea of having some different sets of eyes—particularly a somewhat redundant set—instead of going all AEGIS. As far as other sensors, I don't understand giving up the hull-mounted sonar. That simply has to be a cost tradeoff to get AEGIS.

      I do think the upgrade to a 32-cell VLS is an improvement, although as I have noted the FREMMs were designed for but not with (FBNW) 32. If NSM is going to be the anti-surface missile going forward, and it fits in a VLS cell, I would replace the bolt-on SSM launchers with additional VLS cells, Iver Huitfeldt-style. Eyeballing it, looks like you could get 16 each to P&S, giving 32 more or a total of 64. You might have to move the SLAT launchers (which I would keep) further aft, but that looks doable. With 64 cells, you could do something like quad-packing 32 ESSM in 8 cells and filling it out with 16 Standard, 20 VL-ASROC, and 20 NSM. That is truly a GP escort weapons suit.

      With those changes I think you’d have a pretty feisty escort that could be the primary SUW unit and back up the AAW and ASW units.

      Delete
    3. One thing I've always wondered about the Mk32 torpedo launcher. When the Knoxes came out they had fixed two-tube launchers protruding from superstructure P&S. At first, that seemed to me to be a serious reduction in capability. But thinking about it, with modern guided/homing torpedoes you don't really need to train the launcher on target, the Knox tubes could be fully operated from the protection of enclosed superstructure, and fixed enclosed tubes could be set up for easier reloading, like submarine reloads. So I'm inclined to go that route as long as the reload capability is there.

      The other thing I wonder is we seem married to the 324mm torpedo whereas other navies also have 550mm torpedoes. Would it work to have a fixed 324mm tube paired with a 550mm tube with automatic reloading for both?

      Delete
    4. " VL ASROC is an option for a ranged offensive ASW weapon"

      VL-ASROC is listed as a future capability on the specifications graphic and, as you know, future never seems to happen for Navy ships. So, it is not a current option and I don't know why.

      Delete
    5. " Is the Navy thinking of using FFGX as a spotter-shooter to extend the DESRON's AAW coverage?"

      You're asking, does the Navy have a well thought out Concept of Operations already in place? As usual, no.

      Delete
    6. CDR Chip said, "I think we already place too great a reliance on AEGIS, particularly given its documented fragility and maintenance issues. "

      Do you know of current documentation that shows this? Remember AEGIS has been in service for nearly 40 years across over 100 platforms. It's been upgraded many, many times. Fragility from the '80s or '90s may not mean fragility in the 2020s.

      Delete
    7. "Do you know of current documentation that shows this?"

      I've documented this several times. Examples include the Port Royal grounding, the Burke collisions, the CO's story in Proceedings, the Admiral-chaired effort to remedy the fleet-wide degradation, the Yemen missile ?attacks?, the Chancellorsville drone strike, etc. Feel free to peruse the archives for all of these and more.

      Delete
    8. "I've documented this several times. Examples include the Port Royal grounding, the Burke collisions, the CO's story in Proceedings, the Admiral-chaired effort to remedy the fleet-wide degradation, the Yemen missile ?attacks?, the Chancellorsville drone strike, etc. Feel free to peruse the archives for all of these and more."

      Fragility and maintenance issues of AEGIS, specifically. Not general Navy maintenance issues.

      I'm looking for evidence to back the assertion that AEGIS is less suitable than foreign systems due to its fragility.

      Delete
    9. All of those examples involve Aegis, specifically. Review the archives and you'll find all the information you need.

      As far as comparisons to foreign systems, I have no information on foreign systems and have never made any comparisons.

      Delete
    10. The Vincennes shooting down the Iranian airliner, for another. That may have been more operator error, but such a wonderful system should be able override such errors. Unless there is more to the story than we have been told.

      Delete
    11. "I'm looking for evidence to back the assertion that AEGIS is less suitable than foreign systems due to its fragility."

      It's not just fragility, it's also maintenance issues, and ComNavOps has done a pretty good job of documenting those incidents.

      The other thing is that I think there is some advantage to having multiple types of sensors in case there is a weakness in one. Take the Brits and their Type 22/Type 42 platoon in the Falklands, because the two different radars each had different weaknesses.

      Delete
    12. "All of those examples involve Aegis, specifically. Review the archives and you'll find all the information you need."

      Those examples involved AEGIS ships, but not necessarily failures of AEGIS.

      For the Port Royal grounding you list the following causes,

      -The Commanding Officer had had only 15 hours sleep in the previous three days and had not been at sea in the previous five years.
      -The fathometer was broken and non-functional.
      -Both radar repeaters on the bridge were broken.
      -The Global Positioning System navigation gear was broken and the crew had switched to an inertial navigation system, leading crew members to think they were 1.5 miles from where they actually were.
      -Watch-standers ignored alarms from the ship’s navigation gear concerning position discrepancies.
      -The quartermaster of the watch didn’t know how to take navigational fixes near the shore.
      -Ship lookouts weren’t on watch; they were working as food service attendants due to a manpower shortage.

      None of these are failures of AEGIS. There are lots of components on ships, not all of them are part of the combat management system or its AAW radar.

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    13. CDR Chip,

      The Vincennes incident was 32 years ago. AEGIS has been updated countless times since then.

      Maintenance issues are issues regardless of the systems you have. You exacerbate them by adding multiple different systems, each with its own spares, support and training costs. Each system has its own unique maintenance issues. You split the force into islands who only knows how to operate one type instead of building a common pool of knowledge that applies everywhere. You split upgrade and bugfix money between multiple systems.

      It's better to go the other way and standardize on one system.

      Delete
    14. "None of these are failures of AEGIS."

      It is the reader's responsibility to be familiar with the archives, posts, and comments. I'm not your personal research service. I've documented all of this, multiple times. As a favor to you, I'll explain the Port Royal incident, yet again. For the rest you'll have to do your own research through the archives.

      The Port Royal gently nosed aground into soft sand under clear skies and calm seas at a speed of around 2kt. The ship sat there, in calm weather, gently rocking for a period of time until it was freed. Despite the gentleness of the event, the Aegis array was found to have been put out of alignment along with the VLS tubes, among other equipment. The arrays were found to be non-repairable for any cost the Navy wanted to pay which is why the Navy tried to retire the Port Royal despite it being the newest Aegis cruiser and, at the time, one of the few BMD-capable ships. The repairable physical damage totaled around $40M, if I recall correctly, and was completed in short order. That an array could be rendered degraded or inoperable - and unrepairable - by an event that gentle is extremely troubling and does not bode well for combat damage resilience.

      You can get all of the rest of the information you need from the archives, Proceedings, and on-line research.

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    15. "The Vincennes incident"

      The Vincennes incident had nothing to do with Aegis problems. It was purely human confusion and panic. The only possible criticism of Aegis, in that case, might be the user interface which reports suggested could have been clearer but the system absolutely had, and displayed, the correct data.

      Delete
    16. "Maintenance issues are issues regardless of the systems you have. You exacerbate them by adding multiple different systems, each with its own spares, support and training costs. Each system has its own unique maintenance issues. You split the force into islands who only knows how to operate one type instead of building a common pool of knowledge that applies everywhere. You split upgrade and bugfix money between multiple systems.
      It's better to go the other way and standardize on one system."

      That's the bean-counter argument, and as a CPA myself, I am very familiar with that point of view. I would counter a bit that AEGIS seems to require a number of specialists to maintain it, often including civilian tech reps as I understand it, and the FFGX is designed to be a smaller ship with a smaller crew, so maybe it needs something that is not such a maintenance hog.

      Yes, you'd have two different supply chains for parts and two different training pipelines, but not on one ship, so each ship could carry the supplies and personnel it needs.

      But my main point is that from a strategic/tactical point of view, it may be useful to have multiple types of sensors. My example is the Royal Navy experience in the Falklands. Their Type 42 destroyers were their state of the art AAW platforms, with their Sea Dart missiles and 992Q radars. Unfortunately, they had sold a couple of Type 42s to the Argentine Navy, and from practice they had figured out the strengths and weaknesses of Sea Dart and the radar systems. IIRC, Sea Dart was absolute death to anyone flying a normal trajectory, but the radar had trouble with sea skimmers or aircraft approaching over land. That happened to bring them into the wheelhouse of the Sea Wolf missile system onboard the Type 22 frigates. So after the loss of Sheffield, the RN began deploying them in pairs, with the ASW Type 22s providing anti-air protection for the AAW Type 42s. They lost Coventry when there was a coordination error between the 22 and 42, but for the rest of the campaign the 22/42 combo seemed to work. While not personally familiar, I can easily imagine situations where there is a similar hole in the AEGIS coverage (no system is perfect), that the EMPAR/SMART-L might cover.

      Delete
    17. "The Vincennes incident had nothing to do with Aegis problems. It was purely human confusion and panic. The only possible criticism of Aegis, in that case, might be the user interface which reports suggested could have been clearer but the system absolutely had, and displayed, the correct data."

      There are some things about that incident that have never been made public. There were definitely some user interface problems and some data handoff problems from other ships. "Distributed lethality" may have taken a hit there

      I was with Will Rogers in the mine force, and he is about the last person that I would expect to be trigger-happy in such a situation. I made that comment once to someone who had been on duty in the COMIDEASTFOR operations center at the time, and he filled me in on a few details that I don't think I'm at liberty to disclose.

      Delete
    18. "Despite the gentleness of the event, the Aegis array was found to have been put out of alignment along with the VLS tubes, among other equipment. "

      Ok, so it was "fragile" in that if you ground the ship, the radar array might go out of alignment.

      The "Aegis array" in this case means SPY-1. SPY-1 is not AEGIS. The FFG(X) has AEGIS but does not have SPY-1. It has a completely different radar system (EASR). AEGIS is just the combat management system that synthesizes information from multiple sensors.

      AEGIS, the combat system, was not misaligned. So this is not an instance of AEGIS fragility.

      Delete
    19. "I can easily imagine situations where there is a similar hole in the AEGIS coverage"

      Well, the drone that crashed into Chancellorsville found a hole! -and then made one of its own. :)

      Delete
    20. "So this is not an instance of AEGIS fragility."

      I've given you multiple examples of evidence of both hardware and software issues. You appear to have no interest in accepting my statements or conducting your own research. That would suggest that you want to argue for the sake of argument which is unproductive so this discussion is terminated.

      Delete
    21. https://www.blogger.com/profile/09669644332369727431 what is your gmail.com adress? Have some interesting photos regarding to FFG-7 upgrades for you.

      Delete
    22. "what is your gmail.com adress? "

      I'm sorry but I don't generally make my email address available. Unfortunately, there are a lot of nut cases on the Internet - not you, I'm sure - and I prefer to maintain my security and privacy. I hope you understand.

      Delete
    23. UA Seawolf, check your email.

      Delete
    24. Revisiting this somewhat: with the recent demonstration of SM-3 intercepting an ICBM in terminal intercept, it makes one wonder whether the choice of EASR was with an eye to ASBM defense - or, as alluded to earlier, transferring FFGX to BMD duty to relieve the burden on the DDG fleet.

      Delete
  21. Good point.
    Why does a frigate need AEGIS?
    It's not useful for ASW, and expensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Why does a frigate need AEGIS?"

      It depends on your CONOPS and your fleet mix.

      As a general perspective, look at the Japanese Akizuki, with it's AAW-grade AESA radar and its homegrown Aegis-equivalent combat management suite. In a Japanese desron, you have 1 AAW DDG (Kongo/Atago/Maya), your AESA DD (Akizuki/Asahi), 1 DDH (Izumo/Hyuga) and then the rest of the squadron is made up of ASW frigates and corvettes. Japan uses the Akizuki (which is essentially similar to a Constellation) to support the DDG for AAW, and open sources believe that it carries ESSM and VL-ASROC so that the DDG can focus purely on AAW defense of the squadron.

      In a USN-specific scenario? It really depends on what the Constellations are intended to be used for. It has COMBATSS-21 (which is derived from Aegis), but the Navy seems to be wanting to make that the standard combat system for all ships. Theoretically, if this was going to be used as a convoy escort ship like the Perrys, I'd see an argument for that: The Perrys were, afterall, intended to provide *some* AAW to REFORGER convoys, and the missile threat has increased since the Cold War. An alternative option would have been pairing an FFGX with a few ASW or ASuW LCSs for a mini-SAG, where the FFGX then acts to cover the LCSs, but that assumes there are enough working LCSs to roll into an SAG.

      Some speculation I've heard is that FFGX could be used to provide the Ballistic Missile Defense mission as a replacement for the Flight I Burkes, allowing the navy to free up the DDGs from being tied down to the BMD mission, hence the radar fit.

      But I mean, it all comes back down to what are you trying to do with your frigates. There's an argument to be made that the USN doesn't need its frigates to have more than point defense AAW, since it's got more DDGs than other navies have ships.

      Delete
    2. @CDR Chip: Like I said below, it really depends on what role FFGX is supposed to fill. I can see an argument for carrying EASR if it's supposed to do convoy escort - the Perrys were expected to provide *some* AAW defense for REFORGER, afterall. The level of capability we see here makes sense if you're trying to use this frigate to lead a mini-SAG of LCS... except that there aren't enough LCSs around for that.

      (To be fair, running multiple mini SAGs of ASW corvettes with an AAW-capable FFG to give some air cover, all also sporting deck-mounted AShM canisters, is not an inherently bad idea...)

      Delete
    3. "But I mean, it all comes back down to what are you trying to do with your frigates. There's an argument to be made that the USN doesn't need its frigates to have more than point defense AAW, since it's got more DDGs than other navies have ships."

      Pretty much what I meant.
      Either they're planning to replace the Burkes with Constellations or they could have skipped AEGIS and made the frigates a good deal cheaper.

      Unless they know something we don't about AAW/AEGIS?


      @JMD: That's a legitimate idea but I doubt the Navy is interested in ASW corvettes.

      Delete
    4. @Lonfo: Well the other way of looking at it is that it's doing the same things the Perry was doing, and today, when it's so much easier for China to generate saturation missile attacks, there's an argument that EASR and COMBATSS-21 is the cost of doing business, the minimum level of capability you need to play in the big leagues.

      Delete
    5. "the minimum level of capability you need to play in the big leagues."

      That philosophy is quite true. ESSM is the minimum price of admission to AAW combat. The question is whether EASR is required to support ESSM or whether some other, simpler, cheaper radar can suffice. If all we're controlling is ESSM, simpler is better.

      The frigate should not be an area AAW asset. We have plenty of Burkes for that. ESSM is sufficient for self and local defense AND FOR THE SHORT RANGE ENGAGEMENTS THAT WE'LL ENCOUNTER (horizon and in).

      Delete
    6. "The frigate should not be an area AAW asset. We have plenty of Burkes for that."

      @ComNavOps: As I understand it, weren't the Perrys supposed to provide area AAW for REFORGER convoys?

      Delete
    7. "weren't the Perrys supposed to provide area AAW "

      This is a terminology issue. As generally used, 'area' refers to a Burke/Aegis system that can provide missile coverage over hundreds of miles.

      'Local' refers to the medium/close range coverage out to around 30 miles or so.

      The Perrys were local defenders intended to provide coverage for themselves and ships very near to them.

      Delete
  22. FWIW my thoughts

    Displacement, FFG(X) FLD 7,300 lt =7,400 mt, plus 400t built in for SLA, apples to apples looking like FFG 7,700t vs Perry 4,200t

    Cost, several years ago, 2017 or 2018? CBO estimated a Perry would now cost $770 million, Navy saying average cost of FFG(X) in 2020$ $835 million for ships 2 to 10, CBO saying on past history of surface combatants since 1970 costs will ~40% higher than Navy estimate. Unknown if Fincantieri can create a new paradigm and meet the target cost, they have a long track record at their Italian shipyards on meeting contractual prices and delivering to specified date, even to actual day with their the cruise liners which are just if not more technically complicated than FFG(X), only time will tell.

    Fincantieri informed CBO "that about half of Marinette Marine’s cost to build the FFG(X) (excluding the cost of government-furnished equipment) reflects the yard’s contracts with vendors and suppliers, and that about three-quarters of those vendors are on fixed-price contracts".

    $835 million split looking like shipyard ~$555 million and ~$280 million for GFE, the GFE costs lower than originally estimated, remember mention of $305M in 2018$ per ship, so GFE has been cut? eg no ship launched LWT which was an objective requirement.

    Note LCS Freedom built by Fincantieri was massively overspent, Lockheed was prime contractor not Fincantieri.

    Speed, Fincantieri figure for FREMM ≥27 kn, FFG(X) displacement plus ~500t and FPP vs CPP, have more powerful electric motors by DRS, power rating has yet to disclosed, and slightly longer ship with no bow mounted sonar reducing drag, so don't expect much difference as pluses and cons may balance out.

    Crew, Italian FEMM number have seen 168 including helo detachment, CBO saying 200

    Weapons Fincantieri bid included 16 deck launch canisters for NSM etc

    Helos, FREMM designed to take the 15t Augusta AW101 Merlin so would be surprised if any limitations in hanger space or flight deck

    Operation and Maintenance, FFG(X) brings CBO, condition based maintenance with design, they have proved it works with their vast experience gained in use with the cruise liners, so hopefully the operation and support cost can be contained as very big number, CBO saying nearly four times procurement cost if using Navy estimate of $835 million

    CBO on past history of surface combatants estimated FFG(X) with dual crew the direct costs, indirect costs, and overhead costs at $130 million per year, 25 year life of ship totals $3.25 billion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. $770 million 'Perry, found the CBO reference

      AN ANALYSIS OF THE NAVY’S FISCAL YEAR 2017 SHIPBUILDING PLAN - FEBRUARY 2017 p 30

      In contrast, CBO assumed that the new class of small surface combatants would be larger than the currently planned frigates [at that time Navy planning upgraded LCS before Navy released RFI for new frigate July 2017] and more in line with the recently retired class of Oliver Hazard Perry frigates. CBO estimates that new SSCs will cost $770 million each. That estimate reflects real cost growth in the naval shipbuilding industry as well as the assumption that the new small surface combatant will be a more capable ship than what the Navy plans.

      Delete
  23. Knox Class torpedoe tubes... As designed they were also supposed to have 2x2 Mk 48 hull mounted aft in the VDS space, which was good sized. They never were installed (cutting cost already), and on our ship the space was used as a crews lounge and weight room. The light weight torpedo tubes were mounted in the forward end of the hanger on the 02 level (with reloads). Plus you had the 8 round ASROC forward. (our load out was 4 ASROC/4 Harpoon mix).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also on De 1057 the space was used for storing weight lifting gear and the equipment for the ship's band.

      Delete
  24. The Australians upgraded four of their Adelaide-class (a mix of short and long hull Perry-class) frigates with an 8-cell tactical length VLS ahead of the Mk-13 launcher. The added magazine capacity allowed the Adelaides to carry ESSM and, though not in their inventory, VLA ASROC as well. If anything, this allowed the MK 13 magazine to carry more Harpoon missiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "allowed the Adelaides to carry ESSM and, though not in their inventory, VLA ASROC as well."

      I'm not sure about this. As I understand it, the VLS was the smaller self-defense length and I can't recall whether it can accommodate VL-ASROC or not. I want to say it can't but I'm not at all sure. Do you know?

      Delete
    2. The 4 US built short hull (Flight I) Adelaides were turned into the long hull form (Flight III) which is a bigger flight deck with RAST.

      ASROC is 4.5 metres long (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RUM-139_VL-ASROC) and the self defence Mk 41 is 5.3 metres (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_41_Vertical_Launching_System).

      We used the Ikara rocket delivered torpedo on our destroyers but it's torpedo became obsolete (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikara_(missile)#Ikara_fitted_ships).

      Delete
    3. The Lockheed Martin Mk41 brochure shows what appears to be a scaled graphic of the various missiles that are compatible with the Mk41. It shows the VL-ASROC as being a tactical length missile which would suggest it cannot fit the now discontinued self-defense length VLS. It's not completely clear that VL-ASROC won't fit the SD VLS but the graphic suggests not. It's also possible the graphic, though appearing to be scaled, actually isn't.

      Another LM VL-ASROC brochure lists the VL-ASROC missile as being 16.0 ft long and the containerized round as being 19.2 ft (5.8 m) long which would make it just a bit too large for the SD VLS.

      Here's the brochure: VL-ASROC

      Delete
    4. Maybe I got that part wrong. A Defense Industry Daily story mentioned, "An 8-cell Mk41 tactical-length vertical launching system will generally carry up to 32 shorter-range RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow air defense missiles, but could carry different weapons including SM-1/ SM-2s." And, I know that the VLS ASROC is compatible with tactical length cell. Whether or not DID got it right, I don't know.

      As I said initially, if anything, the added 8-cell VLS would allow for more Harpoons to be carried.

      Delete
    5. Remember that the tactical length VLS is larger than the now-discontinued self-defense length. That may be a source of confusion. The VL-ASROC does seem to fit the tactical VLS but we tend to forget that there was a third, smaller self-defense VLS.

      And, you are correct. Whether the VL-ASROC fits the self-defense VLS is just a side, point of interest and doesn't alter your original thought that it frees up missile magazine space. There was so much more that the US Navy could have done with the Perrys but their incessant drive for new hulls won't even let them contemplate upgrades to older ships. The Spruances, with some timely upgrades, would still be world class ships.

      Delete
    6. I have actually spent years looking for that information.

      I been bewildered why only two navies (USN and JSDFN) use it.

      Torpedos on a ship are fairly useless. You pretty much have to be over the sub. Helicopters are the main means of delivery for most navies. But 1 chopper can only be in the air 10 out of 24 hours at best.

      If the FFG(X) has ASROC then it won't need a torpedo launcher. But it has torpedos for the chopper so why not have that capability.

      Ships defend convoys against subs (think INTERFET in East Timor) with pinging. Not having a hull sonar means you can't defend. Towed arrays are for hunting subs not defending against them.

      We learnt in WW2 that subs are attracted to convoys. If you want to find them that is where you look.

      Delete
    7. "I been bewildered why only two navies (USN and JSDFN) use it."

      Interestingly, the Soviets developed a very long range ASW missile/torpedo back in the late 1960's/early 1970's, the SS-N-14 Silex and then later variants. They were installed on the first Kirov and then on the Udaloys, if I recall. Depending on the variant, the range was up to 90 km.

      Delete
    8. The Italians have a torpedo in an ASM. From

      "In 1986 France and Italy began a collaboration to develop an anti-submarine missile based on the Italian Otomat missile. France dropped out of the programme but Italy has fitted the MBDA MILAS missile to its Durand de la Penne-class destroyers and FREMM anti-submarine frigates. MILAS is an 800 kg (1,800 lb) missile that can deliver a MU90 to 35 kilometres (19 nmi)."

      Delete
  25. Saw mention of 2 inch armor above. About how much would it cost? Just a ballpark estimate for anyone who knows. Would it work for this design?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know what it would cost but you can easily check on the Internet for the price for sq.ft. plates of steel which would at least give you a wild idea of the raw material cost.

      Delete
    2. I'm would be millions... and money well spent for a change and probably still only a fraction of the total cost. I'm guessing a heavier power plant and etc. would be needed. I have looked into the different types of steel plates. Actual armor plate is a type all it's own.

      ComNavOps, have you ever heard of an existing ship being upgraded with armor?

      Delete
    3. "have you ever heard of an existing ship being upgraded with armor?"

      In WWII, certainly. In modern times, no.

      Delete
  26. For Navy to design and build a ship, it needs to have a clear picture on this ship's missions. From that, the ship's functions and equipment will then be determined.

    For instance, US aircraft carriers have much less fire power in comparison with Soviet Union carriers. Other than a few short range self defence weapons, US carriers have no fire power. This is because US carriers' mission is to carry as many aircrafts as possible than to load with guns and missiles. Air defences is cruise and destroyer's mission.

    For a small nation, since it doesn't have many ships, it tends to make every one with high fire power at expense of self-sustainability because it doesn't have need to sail far away.

    Therefore, we had better understand what FFG(X)'s role in an aircraft carrier group than judge whether its design is good or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words - we have a ship design with no specific CONOPS/ defined role, and as a result, hard to say whether it is good or bad at its' job!

      Delete
    2. I don't think so. Navy does have ideas what FFG(X) fit into air carrier groups. Whether their ideas are good or bad can be examined.

      To be part of an aircraft carrier group, FFG(X) are assigned particular jobs thus no need to be able to do all, otherwise, it needs to be larger.

      Delete
  27. "we had better understand what FFG(X)'s role in an aircraft carrier group than judge whether its design is good or not"

    In my veiw, Id define a new ships purpose around capabilities we lack, or have deficiencies in. With a preponderance of AAW capability in a carriers escorts, it seems that ASW should be the focus. Now sure, the Burkes and Ticos all have sonar. BUT, as CNO has asked, appropriately, many times, "do we really want to send $2B ships to play tag with submarines" (where they're at a disadvantage) ????
    The answer is an obvious NO for lots of reasons. So, clearly we need an ASW-centric frigate to fill that deficiency. Adding high end radar, and the AEGIS system which is AAW-centric, isnt a rational set of choices to me. If its going to operate with a CVBG, then it doesn't need lots of AAW capability. It needs hull sonar, and two helos. Ideally it should have two CIWS since it would often be operating at the fringes of the groups AAW envelope. So imho, the new fig is a package of poor choices and a ill-considered CONOP considering what the fleet needs...

    ReplyDelete
  28. https://dronedj.com/2020/10/19/u-s-5gat-drone-ready-for-first-test-flight-after-covid-delay/

    It's an interesting to see DOTE taking jabs at the all the mismanaged programs, don't you think? :).

    "Typical acquisition process" combined with "small diverse team..." resulted in “When this unique prototype takes to the air in a few days, we will have gone from a basic concept to first flight in less than three-and-a-half years. That includes periods when the program slowed dramatically due to funding issues and the recent COVID-related delays,” Crisp said.

    As usual DOTE is the shining light and example of what the military could be and should be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some interesting observations that I saw from reading other articles,

      "According to The War Zone, the 5GAT would have a unit-price of about 10 million dollars...."

      "FlightGlobal quoted the Sierra Technical Services saying that 5GAT could become an attritable loyal wingman – so cheap that the loss of such a platform would be negligible. Thus, the UAVs such as the 5GAT could carry out the tasks that may create dangers for the more expensive platforms, such as the F-35 or the XQ-58A."

      If I'm not mistaken, isn't the XQ-58A per unit cost hovers around 2-3 million? How do they compare? If it's 1/10 of an F-35,should we just get an F-35?

      Delete
    2. "According to The War Zone, the 5GAT would have a unit-price of about 10 million dollars...."

      "5GAT could become an attritable loyal wingman"

      Let's bear in mind that the cost is for a very limited aircraft. It has leftover, underpowered engines. I suspect it has few, if any, sensors. It has no countermeasures that I'm aware of. It's range is unknown. It's speed is unknown. It does not appear to have any weapons carry capability. And so on …

      So, could it become a 'wingman'? Only with massive upgrading which would result in massive cost increases.

      This aircraft appears to be a nice example of exactly what it's supposed to be: a target drone that simply flies around waiting to be tracked and shot. It is entirely unsuited for combat so let's dial back the speculation and ignore the manufacturer's claims which, as with all manufacturer's claims, are mostly false.

      Delete
  29. The PEO Jan 2019 briefing slide FFG(X) capabilities graphic in ASW box referred to "Mk41 VLS supports VLA for all-wx stand off ASW (future)" a replacement for the 10/12 mile range 1990's VLA, Vertical Launch ASROC, original canister launched ASROC dates back to the 1950's. Meaning of abbreviation "all-wx" Weapon X?

    Early this month India tested its new SMART, Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo, test was a success in meeting its objectives of range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, deployment of its Velocity Reduction Mechanism, VRM, and release of torpedo . Have seen various ranges quoted of ~500km+ with the Indian 220kg LWT Shyena, range 19km, 50kg warhead, max depth 540m and max 60kph. SMART designed to be fired from ship or on shore

    As yet have seen no mention funding for the replacement of ASROC, the 1980's Sea Lance, a longer range ASW standoff weapon for firing from a Mk41 cancelled 1990 at end of cold war and the later VLA Extended Range, VLA-ER, program to give four to five times more range by adding a wing glider to the torpedo, cancelled 2010.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "all-wx"

      I believe that means "all weather".

      "ranges quoted of ~500km+"

      As I keep repeating, the issue is not weapon range, it's targeting. If you have a firing-quality hold on an enemy submarine, what's the likelihood that you don't have an asset already on scene with torpedoes? Somebody has to be on top of the sub, tracking it, and the platforms that have submarine tracking capability also have torpedoes so that they can launch immediately when they have a target fix. The number of times you'd have a firm track on a sub, no weapon on hand, and be within range of a 500 km missile/torpedo would have to be very few, I would think. This smacks of technology for its own sake rather than a clearly defined need.

      There's also the small issue of having to clear ships and aircraft out of the area of the target sub to avoid being hit by the missile/torpedo. If you clear the area, how do you keep track of the sub while you wait for the missile/torpedo to appear. Even supersonic missile/torpedoes take time to get launch clearance, launch, and transit to the target. It's hard enough tracking a sub when you're right on top of it. Clearing the area just makes it nearly impossible. Yes, you'll leave sonobuoys behind but if you can't keep laying new ones as the sub moves, you'll quickly lose it.

      This just doesn't strike me as a practical weapon. It's impressive on paper but bordering on useless in practice.

      Delete
    2. Under the Navy Matters article about whether attack submarines need Tomahawks or not, NavComOps was gracious enough to entertain my argument that of course we do. He then blew a 50' hole in my argument by pointing out the sensor issue.

      I have been one of those who saw the range of the weapon but did not really consider the range of the sensors used to guide that weapon. It was an eye-opener.

      Delete
    3. Now did he give you the option to stand behind the ½” armor plate? He sure did let the other guy though!(referring to Armor for Dummies post)

      CNO, you have previously talk about the range for effective ship radar detection range (20nm) but what is your opinion on sonar range? Is it also the at the horizon? How would one go to measure that?

      Delete
    4. "sonar range"

      As I'm sure you know, sonar range is quite variable and hugely different depending on whether it's active or passive. On top of that, there is almost no direct, unequivocal statements from the Navy or manufacturers about range.

      Active range is short, likely 5 miles or so depending on water conditions.

      Passive range varies from short to extremely long depending on ducting and convergence zones. With ducting and zones, range can extend to 30-100 miles or more.

      Finally, please do not confuse a long range passive 'noise' contact with a targeting contact. The latter is rarely (never?) valid in that situation.

      Read up on ducting and convergence zones to get a better feel for passive sonar ranging.

      Delete
  30. To purchase some 052D from China, all problem will be solve.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What's the point of the single crappy gun, by the way?
    Either go with something that makes sense or just ditch it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Economies of scale with the Coast Guard's 57mm buy, perhaps, or a weight saving measure. At the end of the day, when was the last time the gun was a relevant weapon in naval combat?

      Delete
    2. " when was the last time the gun was a relevant weapon in naval combat?"

      The important question is, when will be the NEXT time a gun will be relevant in naval combat?

      I see plenty of potential uses for a naval gun: ground fire support, small boat combat, anti-swarm, anti-drone, anti-helo, interdicting and sinking merchant shipping, destroying mines instead of waiting for the one LCS-MCM vessel in the entire Pacific, sinking a submarine that has been forced to surface, destroying enemy unmanned surface vessels, attacking island facilities, bombarding ports, etc.

      Delete
    3. "Economies of scale with the Coast Guard's 57mm buy, perhaps, or a weight saving measure."

      The only plausible reason I can come up with is that adding AEGIS put on a lot of high weight, and for stability purposes they had to get the topside weight down. As I have said before, I think everything ended up being driven by the Navy's goal to get AEGIS onboard as many ships as possible, and that meant a lot of tradeoffs. I think they got the wrong answer with a bunch of them.

      Delete
  32. "when was the last time the gun was a relevant weapon in naval combat?"

    The relevant question is when is the NEXT time a gun will be relevant in naval combat. If we're talking about a 57mm popgun, the answer is probably never. But get up to a 76mm, or better yet 127mm, and you start coming up with opportunities to use it to good purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  33. You bring up very valid points my point and the main reason why I like the Constellation class is because it's not the LCS also I tend to think there will actually be a lot more than just 20 I tend to think they will replace the early Burkes when they are decommissioned and a lot of LCS at least that's my feeling as of right now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment identifies two problems:

      1. Liking the Constellation because it's not the LCS is a VERY LOW bar. It's sad but you've also hit on a reality. The Navy will take great pride in a ship that's better than the LCS. What a failing! The FFG(X) should have been better on its own, not in comparison to the LCS and, on it's own, it doesn't measure up.

      2. IF you're right about replacing the Burkes - and you may be - that will be a downgrade in every respect. Very bad for the Navy.

      Delete
  34. Could you please compare the Constellation to the RAN Hobart and Hunter class ships?

    (When doing so please bear in mind I was Army not Navy)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is there something in particular about the comparison that jumps out at you?

      Delete
    2. Well, I'm an Aussie and don't really know enough about the topic, but a quick look at Wiki tells me the Aussie ships have Aegis, heavier weaponry, similar price, similar displacement, etc. Is there something I'm missing?

      The Hobarts can only carry one chopper, but they're not ASW platforms, but otherwise seem to be significantly superiror in every way I can see.

      Hunters are better in every way possible as far as I can tell.

      So not trying to be a smarty pants, serious question, what am I missing?

      Delete
    3. "what am I missing?"

      If you've read the specs, you're not missing anything. Is there something you don't understand and would like explained?

      Delete
    4. So the Constellation is seriously undergunned, under senssored proabably under EW as well?

      Will they be running SLQ32 or something else, can't find anything about that at all.

      Wow.

      Delete
  35. Didn't the US Navy propose a FF(X) program in '80-'83 to replace the Perrys even back then?

    ReplyDelete

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