Friday, October 16, 2020

Military's Focus

What is the military focused on?  Here’s the headlines from the articles on Breaking Defense website for 15-Oct-2020.(1)

 

 

Army Aims To Field TITAN Terminals For All-Domain Ops In 2024

 

Army Seeks Open Architecture For All Air & Ground Systems: Jette

 

Success of JADC2 Depends Upon Relevant and Actionable Data”

 

Army’s ‘Team Ignite’ Sets Futuristic R&D Targets: AI, Robotics, Autonomy”

 

AI Is the Advantage In The Field

 

EXCLUSIVE Navy Chief Demands Network Linking All Ships ‘This Decade’

 

 

What’s noteworthy about them?  Not a single article about firepower.

 

 



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(1)https://breakingdefense.com/

 

45 comments:

  1. Woah that's so cool! When do we see Skynet? Maybe even terminators! I am bored of the movies already CNO!

    On the other hand, the Navy is eyeing a new 6th generation design for destroyers. https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/10/13/the-us-navy-is-eyeing-a-next-generation-destroyer-from-a-new-design/

    “So think DDG-51 (that’s exactly what we did): We had a new hull but we put Aegis on it,” Gilday said. “We put known systems that were reliable and were already fielded out in the fleet. That’s kind of the idea. I call it DDG Next to kind of right-size it. Smaller than a Zumwalt but packing some heat nonetheless.” Is it interesting that the missile size is singled out as the focus of the new destroyer? if they are comparing it to the Zumwalt, I would expect some degree of stealth is in place.

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    1. "I call it DDG Next to kind of right-size it."

      This illustrates more of the idea of the post. While the military is frantically coming up with all kinds of futuristic, incredibly advanced, AI-powered, ideas for networking and command and control, the 'new' ideas for ships is to build a little bigger Burke and use existing weapons and sensors - an enlarged repeat of what we already have. Where are the breakthroughs and advances in raw firepower - bigger and better explosives and delivery systems? How is a little bigger Burke an improvement in firepower and lethality over current Burkes?

      Most of the increase in room will probably go to expanded women's berthing and showers and to larger crew video gaming rooms!

      Delete
    2. "We put known systems that were reliable and were already fielded out in the fleet."

      At least this part sounds nice, but a bigger Burke will cost like $4B each, and I don't see the point of putting more missiles on them given how small the inventory of those is.

      Besides, isn't that just a cruiser?

      Delete
    3. In a previous comment I brought up the "DDG Next". I think the concept of a new ship using all existing, up to the minute systems isnt a bad idea, considering the Ticos are going away, and the early Burkes are getting on in years. But with the new FFGs coming, heres a chance to refine the "new Burke"... Delete the ASW systems, and the helo facilities. Make it a double-ender again, and add a couple more CIWS.
      My question though is, is this the LSC? Is it dead, or is that a different planned program? Im just not clear. Do we have an upcoming LSC (cruiser?) that will be the future AAW centerpiece, AND the "DDG Next". If so, then is this the chance to separate the missions?
      I saw the FFG as our potential ASW-centric ship, but not so sure. Its "requested capabilities" include "detecting submarines", but I don't see an ASW weapons fit. Dont even see torpedoes. I understand the helos are the primary sub prosecutors, but... So are we still stuck in the multi-mission ship mentality, or is this the potential break from the "is-all, do-alls" we've been building??

      Delete
    4. "My question though is, is this the LSC?"

      Good question for which I have no answer. The only relevant thing I can offer is that the Navy recently stated that the next cruiser would likely not be a single, large cruiser ship but, instead, be a 'family' of vessels. That's an idiotic idea but that's what they said. If that's so, then this enlarged Burke will likely become the next cruiser by default because we won't have anything better.

      Very sad situation.

      Delete
  2. Cherry picking when AUSA 2020 is under way. Over on Defense News yesterday they posted so many new articles the days lead (Mobile Gun System) wasn't even on the current page by the end of the day. USNI had 2 articles on FFGX.

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    1. We'll do a gofund me and get CNO a few Janes subs.
      And Aviation Leak too.

      Delete
    2. "USNI had 2 articles on FFGX."

      You realize that the FFGX is not an increase in firepower? Compared to the LCS, I guess it is but not compared to the Perry class in terms of numbers or firepower. The FFGX not only does not offer an improvement in firepower, it's a step backwards.

      Delete
    3. I think, again, numbers are important!! 20 new FFGs is nothing like the 50+ Perrys built. 20. Hmm... So basically 10 per coast,but lets "pivot west" and give PacFlt 12. 2 in maintenance, back to 10.
      Nope. Not enough. So is the 20 planned just the initial contracted run, with more to follow??

      Delete
    4. My concern with the FFGX is that it strikes me as a step backwards from the Italian FREMM on which it is supposedly based. Yes, it has 32 VLS cells instead of 16. But the FREMM is designed and built for but not with (FBNW) the additional 16 cells, so that is not really an increase. And it gives up a 5-inch gun for a 57mm, and has no hull-mounted sonar.

      Why? The only thing I can possibly think of is that the high weight added with the AEGIS radar necessitated some tradeoffs. If so, I don't think that's the right tradeoff because I think we are already risking becoming too AEGIS-dependent, particularly given the reliability issues it is facing. I've previously expressed my preference for equipping at least some of our surface fleet with the APAR/EMPAR/SAMPSON and SMART-L/S-1850 combination, to provide an alternative capability. I'm not sure the FFGX is big enough to handle the combination, although it is virtually the same size as the so-equipped Horizon class. Maybe the top weight would be a problem, although I would think that low weight from adding stronger bulkheads would give us some slack there.

      Looking at the Horizons, they have a pretty long and empty fo'c'sle area. I wonder if it would be possible to put a 5-inch mount there and put two RBU-6000-equivalents where the two forward 76mm guns are. Also, since LRASM supposedly can operate from MK-41 VLS cells, consider putting say, 16 more MK-41 cells along the port and starboard sides where the Exocet/OTOMat launchers on the Horizons. I would also like to see a second helicopter. If you could make those changes to te Horizons, I think you'd have a pretty salty GP escort. I understand the Horizon was a bit more pricey than the FREMM, and I don't doubt our Navy's ability to inflate the cost of anything astronomically, but on the other hand the French and Italian unit costs were based on very short production runs, and if you could amortize the R&D costs over a 40-60 ship run, plus considering the scale economies and learning curve, you should be able to get unit cost for the full run down to a reasonable number. And if you could have several yards competing, even better.

      I still think we need 20 cruisers (enlarged Ticos on a Des Moines hull, with 4-6 8-inc guns and, say, 192 VLS cells), 40 AAW destroyers
      (could be Burkes), 60 GP escorts ( could be FREMMs or Horizons), and 80 ASW frigates (ComNavOps's ASW escorts).

      Delete
    5. "previously expressed my preference for equipping at least some of our surface fleet with the APAR/EMPAR/SAMPSON and SMART-L/S-1850 combination, to provide an alternative capability." That would be an interesting idea!i have recently read CNO article about diversity in ships and to an extent, we need that for planes and AA systems as well. If one company failed, others will succeed. We are way to reliant on whoever makes the Aegis that we couldn't even think of the alternative whether it is forward or equivalent. does the Navy even have the next generation of AA/AMD systems? or is it Aegis block 500 or whatever? I could think of several ones for China!

      Delete
  3. I knew it would be interesting after the Military gave up the Industrial Complex and started ordering from Amazon.

    "We're under attack! Alexa, contact the fleet so that we can talk about it!!"

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  4. Related to increased firepower, and acknowledging that its 99.99% unlikely someone will decide to dust off the old 8in gunned DD idea...(although Im still a huge advocate) I wonder if anyones explored or considered taking the current 5in gun and creating a dual mount?? A double-ended dual-mount ship would be a significant upgrade!! Id expect it to be in a proper, armored turret of course. Being automated, it wouldnt require double the footprint/'barbette', and if the new DD is a modernized version of the already beamy Burke, there'd be room.
    Just thinkin out loud...

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    1. What I have been thinking about is a larger replacement for the Ticos, that would be on a Des Moines hull and would look conceptually like the WWII proposed flight deck cruiser (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_deck_cruiser).

      From forward to aft it would carry:
      A: twin or triple 8-inch gun mount
      B: 96-ish VLS cells
      Midsection: flight deck for helos and UAVs, underneath hangar with provisions to launch USVs and UUVs over the side
      Y: 96-ish VLS cells
      Z: twin or triple 8-inch gun mount

      Radar would be AEGIS/AMDR or possibly APAR/EMPAR/SAMPSON combo with SMART-L/S-1850. It would probably have bow sonar mainly for self-defense (you wouldn't send it chasing subs, but would like to know what's out there).

      To save manning, replace steam plant with gas turbine or possible CODLAG or IEP for economy and quiet running when there is a sub threat. If the Makin Island plant could fit, it would seem a good choice, and if it can drive a 40,000T box at 28 knots, it should deliver well into the 30s for an 18,000T cruiser hull.

      I would focus on smaller UAVs/UUVs/USVs for the ISRT (intel, surveillance, recon, targeting) missions and it would seem useful to have those capabilities linked directly to a ship that can do something about the data, instead of a mother ship with few if any weapons.

      I like the twin 5-inch idea for the Burke/replacement.

      Delete
  5. Different people say different things. What to follow is the official Pentagon strategies. Unless new president is elected and change them, Pentagon bases them to build up US forces. It is impossible for Pentagon to announce one but does different. They may happen in tactics but not in strategy.

    In media, you hear different people say different ideas. Many of them lack of basic understanding of today and future technologies and battles.

    Now, as Martis has shifted US strategy from against regional powers to focus on potential conflicts among superpowers.

    One thing for sure under this strategy - strong firepower without functioning precision guidance won't work.

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  6. One thing for sure under this strategy - strong firepower without functioning precision guidance won't work."

    Nor will functioning precision guidance without firepower. Got to have both, and right now I question whether we are paying sufficient attention to either one.

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    1. A good point CDR CHIP... Theres a balance between the two, and I think you, and CNO are right, that neither are getting the proper attention.

      Delete
  7. Not sure it a good thing but its fire power of a kind the army seems enamored with a super long range gun.

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a31083160/leaked-images-army-super-gun-strategic-long-range-cannon/

    Although once again it seems likely to die on the bit where the shell makes missiles look inexpensive. And a fantasy on par with the rail gun.

    Why not just something bigger than a 155mm gun that delivers cheap range increases and auto loading rapidity with shoot and scoot ability?

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    1. Also something overall inexpensive so you can have excess ones and ammo stockpiled.

      Delete
    2. Such a gun has been around since 2006; the Utron CLGG (Combustion Light Gas Gun).
      Here is the full text:

      https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a462130.pdf

      A version meant to replace the guns on the Zumwalt was fully developed but never used. Those guns could have been replaced years ago with these able to fire shells for 200nm.

      Upsized to a 16" gun like those on a Battleship, a CLGG could launch a shell hundreds of miles, since the heavier the projectile the more efficient the gun becomes. The dangerous propellant in the ships could be removed and that space used for shells. Plus, the propellant can be made out of seawater and stored outside of the armor in multiple, redundant containers.

      Here's a more general Utron CLGG information. I thought that some secrecy was keeping this from being widely discussed but since this is not classified, I cannot imagine why nobody seems to care.

      https://ndiastorage.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ndia/2008/gun_missile/6349KruczynskiDavid.pdf

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    3. This is probably the foundation for the "Thousand Mile Cannon."

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    4. "Utron CLGG ... I cannot imagine why nobody seems to care."

      I know very little about this but your slide show reference was interesting. One thing that jumped out from it was the very small size of the projectile in the 155 mm test. The projectile, at 21 kg (95 lb) is half the weight of a normal 155 mm HE shell which, presumably, means half the explosive weight or (I suspect) less. This makes the 155 mm projectile equal in explosive effect to a 40 mm or 76 mm gun. I'm not sure the effort of sending a tiny explosive a long way is worth it.

      I don't know how the technology scales up but, for sake of discussion, if it's linear that would make a 16" shell equivalent to an 8" in effect and so on down the line.

      The other thing I note is the barrel length with tests using 70-100 caliber tubes. That's getting pretty long on a relative basis. In the slide show example, a 155 mm projectile would require a barrel of almost 36 ft (70 caliber) on up to 51 ft (100 caliber). By comparison, a standard 5" naval gun has a barrel of 26 ft (5"/62). The barrel length looks to be prohibitively long for the weight of explosive being delivered.

      I see from the graphs that heavier shells and shorter barrels can be used but then the range starts dropping off quite a bit.

      The 'claim to fame' seems to be the ability to deliver small explosives to long distances but I'm not sure that's useful.

      Note: I'm not familiar with the technology so I may be missing some attractive aspect.

      Delete
    5. "The other thing I note is the barrel length with tests using 70-100 caliber tubes."

      Imagine that the Navy wants you to fire a 100lb shell out of a 16" gun. As you know, the propellant does not explode; it burns. Being so light, the projectile would begin to exit the barrel quickly. So fast, in fact that most of the power from the propellant would end up being waisted as a big fireball. You would need to make the barrel much longer to continue adding velocity to the projectile...

      The reason that the tube is so long is because the Navy wants the gun to fire the tiny darts that they are so proud of!

      Delete
    6. If you read the longer "Final Report" (a lot, I know) you will find that H+O mix burns at a certain rate. Using a heavier round will INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY of the gun.

      Essentially, this gun can fire the same rounds (with some modification) as any gun, only twice as fast and therefore, twice as far.

      Delete
    7. "Using a heavier round will INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY of the gun."

      Use that statement cautiously and with understanding. While the efficiency may increase, the effectiveness will reach a peak and then decrease. For example, if the projectile weight is increased a little bit, the efficiency may increase and the effectiveness (range, I guess) will also increase. However, if the projectile weight continues to increase beyond a certain point, the efficiency will plateau and the effectiveness will begin to decrease. Consider the extreme of a million pound projectile. The efficiency of the H/O burn will be 100% as it will be completely contained within the barrel but the projectile will not move (0% effectiveness). So, presumably, there's an optimum projectile weight and increases or decreases in weight will negatively impact effectiveness.

      "twice as fast and therefore, twice as far."

      Again, be sure you understand this statement. Projectile weight affects range, in addition to initial projectile speed. As an extreme example, a feather launched at Mach 7 is not going to travel to the moon. It will very quickly slow and fall to the earth with very little range. At the other end of the spectrum, a million pound projectile launched at, say, 1000 ft/s will slow and drop quickly (gravity still exists!). So, again, there's an optimum weight/speed to achieve maximum range.

      The question ultimately boils down to can we achieve worthwhile ranges for a USEFUL weight of explosive and with a practical gun system (barrel length)? The little I read suggested that the benefits are marginal especially when the gun system is factored in. Bear in mind that the gun must be practical to operate. A hundred foot barrel on 200 ft ship is not practical, to be illustratively ridiculous. There are also practical considerations and concerns involving manufacturing of the barrel, barrel/liner changes in the gun, space on the ship, the fulcrum weight of the barrel (one photo seemed to show the end of the barrel being supported in a test shot), etc.

      Overall, I find this interesting technology but only marginally useful unless I'm missing something.

      Delete
    8. "A hundred foot barrel on 200 ft ship is not practical, to be illustratively ridiculous."

      I am speaking of the technology, not that particular gun. A gun made for a larger, heavier round will require a shorter barrel. That gun was made to fire tiny rounds. Try to imagine one that does not.

      Delete
    9. "Overall, I find this interesting technology but only marginally useful unless I'm missing something."

      The reason many do not want Battleships is because they remember some in the past being blown in half by their own gun propellants. Not having this dangerous payload is one practical reason.

      Delete
    10. "Use that statement cautiously and with understanding."

      While not a cannon expert, I am a math whiz. I tried to copy/paste the CLGG Physics calculations (page 12) but it will not enter correctly onto your form.

      That is unfortunate because it proves my point.

      "The CLGG, by using propellants with low molecular mass (as compared to a solid propellant) and thus much higher sound speed, is able to achieve considerably higher performance. In physical terms the pressures produced in the combustion
      chamber of the CLGG are transmitted much more efficiently to the projectile base as the projectile accelerates downbore."

      Delete
    11. "Projectile weight affects range, in addition to initial projectile speed."

      I would like to see a 16" Battleship CLGG. Same weight for the rounds and a barrel length to maximize performance. It would go much farther than the solid propellant could push it.

      Delete
    12. "Overall, I find this interesting technology but only marginally useful unless I'm missing something."

      Being able to produce propellant from sea water would free up space used for propellants, allowing more rounds to be stored.

      Being able to constantly produce propellant, much the same way as nuclear submarines make oxygen from seawater, would make the need for dangerous transfers and shipments of propellants obsolete.

      Delete
    13. "Bear in mind that the gun must be practical to operate."

      The CLGG compared to the Iowa Class Battleship guns (which I love) is far less complex. It would automate the propellant loading, allow immediate gas expulsion in an emergency or if the round will not be fired after loading.

      How many sailors did it take to transfer powder for those guns? For this one, it would take 0. How much time to get it from storage and into the gun? For this one, it takes seconds.

      Delete
    14. " Not having this dangerous payload is one practical reason."

      I'm guessing you're referring to Hood or Arizona. No modern battleship has been 'blown in half'. Modern magazines and charges are no more or less safe than any other munition.

      Let's also bear in mind that hydrogen is also quite flammable and explosive (2011 Fukushima massive explosion, for example) and requires proper storage unless it's going to be generated on the fly which I don't think is possible.

      Small leaks can build up the relatively low (4%) concentration required for ignition and leaks are a reasonably likely scenario in combat or just routine operation.

      Delete
    15. "I would like to see a 16" Battleship CLGG."

      This is the practical aspect I was talking about. A 70 caliber barrel would be around 93 ft long. The actual barrel on an Iowa is around 60 ft.

      Delete
    16. "would make the need for dangerous transfers and shipments of propellants obsolete."

      You're glossing over the dangers of hydrogen.

      Delete
    17. "How many sailors did it take to transfer powder for those guns?"

      Let's be fair. You're comparing a modern, fully automated system to a 1930's era, fully manual system. A modern 16" gun could be fully automated, too. The Zumwalt gun system uses zero manning, for example.

      Delete
    18. "Let's also bear in mind that hydrogen is also quite flammable and explosive..."

      Please refer to "'Twenty Hydrogen Myths' by Amory B. Lovins, which is included in the report.

      Hydrogen is not in itself flammable and explosive. If a tank was to be hit, the amount of O2 in the atmosphere will be greatly outnumbered by the Hydrogen atoms. Thus, it will burn and not explode.

      I would place multiple, conformal tanks on the outside of the ship. Perhaps oxygen to port, hydrogen to starboard. Any such leaks would thus go into the atmosphere. The reason they proposed putting the tanks inside the Zumwalt was to maintain stealth.

      "and requires proper storage"

      Industry has been storing hydrogen gas for decades and safety protocols are well established. I have a sickly relative who keeps multiple tanks of O2 on his porch. This is also not dangerous because oxygen is also not, in itself, flammable and explosive.

      Delete
    19. "No modern battleship has been 'blown in half'."

      Since the CLGG is much safer than powder charges, they wouldn't be in the future either.

      Delete
    20. "You're comparing a modern, fully automated system to a 1930's era, fully manual system."

      Yes, I am.

      "The Zumwalt gun system uses zero manning, for example."

      Even the CLGG designed for the Zumwalt would have been an upgrade to that over-priced gun-assisted rocket launcher.

      I agree that such and automated 16" gun could be built. I just hope to see such a gun in my lifetime. The CLGG could currently be built.

      Delete
    21. "A 70 caliber barrel would be around 93 ft long. The actual barrel on an Iowa is around 60 ft."

      Again, the longer barrel was to fire smaller projectiles. The optimal barrel length for a 16" CLGG could be even less than 60ft.

      Delete
    22. "This makes the 155 mm projectile equal in explosive effect to a 40 mm or 76 mm gun. I'm not sure the effort of sending a tiny explosive a long way is worth it."

      If the explosive and/ or kinetic effect is great enough to damage what it hits it might be worth it if the rate of fire is high enough. As an example the difference between an arty shell and a 7.62 minigun. The arty will take out a tank easily. The minigun will piss off the crew when they realize they have to repaint. But an area covered by a minigun can very effectively kill infantry.

      So the two big questions are: are the projectiles powerful enough to affect the target (or do they just scratch the paint) and can you send enough fast enough to affect the needed area (the ship).

      If the answer is yes on both the smaller, longer range projectile may be the way to go until the targets add armor.

      Delete
  8. "Why not just something bigger than a 155mm gun that delivers cheap range increases and auto loading rapidity with shoot and scoot ability?"

    I don't think so. As you can see on the Ultron paper, the CLGG 155mm gun was already tested with the Barrage Round. Some info on that round.

    https://www.onr.navy.mil/en/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2002/Navy-Tests-New-Rounds

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    1. I apologize, this is your statement I meant to respond to:

      "Although once again it seems likely to die on the bit where the shell makes missiles look inexpensive. And a fantasy on par with the rail gun."

      Delete
    2. Both the Autonomous Naval Support Round and Barrage Round fragmentation rounds which are only useful against soft targets. The Barrage Round is a sub (sub, sub?) caliber sabot round with, obviously, a greatly reduced explosive effect compared to a standard 5" HE round.

      This is the problem with all attempts at long range: they depend on significantly sub-size rounds to achieve the range. Sure, we can deliver a rifle bullet a thousand miles but it has no practical effect. Everyone likes to talk about sub-caliber 16" rounds that can travel 50 miles, or whatever, but the sub-caliber round then only has the explosive effect of a 6" or 8" shell and that's not worth the effort. When someone figures out how to deliver a 2400 lb, 16" shell 50 miles, then we'll have something!

      Delete
    3. I completely agree with you on switching from firing real rounds toward firing little spikes. I actually regret mentioning the Barrage Round while speaking of the CLGG, since I don't want to conflate the two.

      I think it is a good option for soft targets, or for reaching far off targets of opportunity but I do not argue for it to replace any explosive round.

      Delete
  9. While not familiar with the above-mentioned rounds, I recently saw a youtube of a company in (Sweden??). Theyre prototyped and testing a ramjet round. In 155, theyre talking about 150km range. Obviously youre again lowering the amount of explosive, and a massive,heavy round like 16in would have to be significantly light on the explosive. But... If you werent trying for the insane range, and looked at the 40-50 mile range, it might be worthwhile...
    A revival of the 8in, with a mix of conventional, and long range rounds could certainly hold promise, again not giving up explosive content for ultra long range, but finding the happy medium...

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