Monday, August 23, 2021

Constellation vs. Burke

We’ve compared the Constellation to the Perry class (see, “FFG(X) Vs. Perry”) and the Buckley Class (see, “Buckley Vs. Constellation”) so let’s now compare the Constellation to the Burke.  The Constellation is a frigate so it ought to be around half the size, displacement, and armament of the Burke, right?  Let’s see.  Here’s a brief comparison of size and armament.

  

 

 

Burke (Flt IIA)

Constellation

 

Constellation

vs. Burke

Length, ft

509

496

 

97%

Beam, ft

66

65

 

98%

Displacement, tons

9500

7400

 

78%

VLS Cells

96

32

 

33%

 

 

So, compared to the Burke, we’re building a frigate that’s the same length, same beam, and 80% of the displacement to give us a ship with … 33% of the VLS armament. 

 

All right, let’s consider cost.  We have only a very sketchy idea of what a Burke costs because of the various accounting games the Navy plays but let’s use some recent quoted figures for the Flt IIa over the last several years and call it $1.8B.  We have even less idea what the Constellation will cost but the initial costs are well north of $1B and we know ship costs only move in one direction so let’s say $1.4B.  That puts the Constellation cost at 78% of the Burke which is in line with the fact that the ship is going to be same size as a Burke but just a bit lighter.

 

So, same size ship, 78% of the cost, and … … … … … … 33% of the armament.

 

Is that really value for the dollar?

 

Sitting around the design table at the first meeting, who raised their hand and said, “Hey, this is a great idea” ?


72 comments:

  1. 'comparisons are odious'

    Lots of Love

    The Royal Navy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Constellation only costs 45% of a Burke

    Costs always a fraught subject, but lets quote some cost figures from the Navy FY2022 budget, both for single ship buys, Burke $2,401.7 million vs Constellation $1,087.9 million. To be noted Constellation costs include over a $100 million in non-build costs for initial funding of the LBES, second shipyard etc.

    The operating and maintenance costs over life of ship will cost approx three times build cost, the old generation Burkes are expensive eg Burkes with their all GT propulsion are gas guzzlers and relatively short range, ~4,500 nm vs Constellation 6,000 nm, Constellation 33% more range.

    As a side note the Constellation with its HED propulsion and FPP will be much quieter than the Burkes with their noisy MGR and CPP so Constellation will be much more capable for their primary ASW mission (Capt Smith, Constellation program manager PMS 515, said at SAS2021 its main mission will primarily be anti-submarine warfare).

    Question on ships armament why did you exclude Constellation's sixteen deck launchers for the ASCM NSM?, if you had included them Constellation's percentage increases to ~ 50%.

    To note Burke and Constellation have different primary missions, Burke AAW/ABM whereas Constellation ASW and should be looked in combination.


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    Replies
    1. That ASW is it's primary mission is a lie. It has ZERO shipborne ASW weapons as built, and no bow or hull array for persistent ASW. VDS and MH-60 R don't change this. Ship will NOT be delivered ready to load and fire ASROC.

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    2. You're trying to make the best case cost comparison by using only the INITIAL Constellation funding which does not include fitting out, phased delivery (which the Navy has used on every ship class going at least back to the LCS) construction costs, modifications/change orders which have yet to occur but with 100% certainty will, etc. On the other side of ledger, you're looking at the costs for a Flt III which is NOT the Burke I'm comparing the Constellation to. The FY2020 budget allocated $5.4B for 3 Burkes which is $1.8 each. The FY2021 budget allocated $2B for 2 Burkes which is $2.0 per. The FY2021 budget allocates $2.4B for a single ship - a pretty nice demonstration of the effect of scale, by the way. Clearly, the 'average' cost as presented in the budget is around $1.8B per ship over the last several years as I stated in the post.

      Now, could the cost of Constellation go down instead of up as history assures us with 100% certainty it will? Well, in one of the infinite number of universes in the multi-verse concept, yes, costs probably will go down. In all the other universes, including ours, the costs will go up. I'd love to be wrong about this … but what's the odds of that?

      So, I'm confident that as the Constellation program moves along and more definitive cost data emerges we'll see that my prediction is likely to be just about right.

      As far as weapons comparisons, it's all a matter of what you include or exclude. I chose to keep it simple with just a VLS comparison. The Burkes, when war comes, will be fitted with deck mounted anti-ship missiles just as the Constellation will be. We've seen exactly that on the earlier Burkes when we still had functional Harpoons. Now, the Harpoons have exceeded their shelf lives and are not being installed but, clearly they (or NSM or LRASM or Tomahawk ASM) will be added when needed so claiming the Constellation has 16 ASM and the Burke has none is misleading, at best. Again, it's all about what you choose to include or exclude.

      I could have noted that the Burke can, theoretically, carry 384 ESSM compared to the Constellation which can only carry 128 but that, too, would be misleading so I didn't.

      I'm quite comfortable with my overview comparison and the point it makes that the Constellation is significantly less value for the dollar than the Burke. Same size ship with a third the weapons.

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    3. "Constellation will be much more capable for their primary ASW mission"

      This is a completely unfounded statement. ASW is a function of many factors including number of helos (Burke 2 vs Constellation 1), VL-ASROC (Burke yes, Constellation no), sonar (Constellation lacks hull sonar but will have VDS), quieting (Burke has acoustically isolated rafted machinery and Prairie/Masker - I don't know what Constellation has; do you?), etc. Nothing about that demonstrates that Constellation will be better at ASW.

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    4. "its main mission will primarily be anti-submarine warfare"

      The Navy can say whatever they want about primary missions. They could say that the primary mission is amphibious assault but that doesn't mean the ship is suited for it.

      The Constellation is a mediocre ASW platform since it lacks VL-ASROC and has only a single helo. I may revise my opinion of its ASW capability up or down as we get a better understanding of the VDS performance, towed array capability, and quieting (if any). In particular, I've been unable to find any detailed description of quieting measures.

      I also have grave doubts about the shallow water ASW. As the Navy found with the LCS, towed arrays are not useful in shallow water because the drag on the bottom. A VDS will, presumably, suffer the same problems. A hull mounted active sonar has been found to be the best shallow water ASW.

      Shallow water ASW is prone to sudden, short range encounters which is where VL-ASROC is so important. An RBU type weapon would also be valuable but no US Navy ship has that.

      It is quite clear that the Constellation is NOT a primary ASW platform but, rather, a multi-purpose ship that is not going to be outstanding at anything. It's a modern Perry. The Navy can designate ASW (or amphibious assault!) as the primary mission but that doesn't make it optimized for that mission.

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    5. "Using only the INITIAL Constellation funding which does not include fitting out, phased delivery (which the Navy has used on every ship class going at least back to the LCS) construction costs"

      I'm quoting the single ship buy figures from the Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Estimates May 2021 - Navy Justification Book Volume 1 of 1 Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy

      Gross/Weapon System Cost ($ in Millions) FY2022, Buke 2,401.719 and Constellation 1,087.900. Think fair to say totally apples to apples comparison as far as its possible whereas your quoting figures from 2020 for three ship Burke buy making it apples to oranges comparison as we have no figures for a three ship buy of Constellation (Navy have said if Congress authorized two Bukes in FY2022 the cost would drop to $2 billion each).

      I would again empathize the magnitude of the operation and maintenance budget costs which much higher than the SCN budget (O/T recently heard quoted O & M budget 85% nuclear and 15% conventional?) and due to Burkes age its an expensive ship to operate with its gas guzzling GT etc compared to the diesel/GT Constellation.

      Think your argument of just using the VLS cells to measure armament is an unrealistic metric, as said not including the deck launchers. Your assumption that deck launchers will be fitted to the Burkes is an assumption, and do wonder if they have the space to fit them on the Flight III's weapon deck as SPY-6(V)1 installation resulted in having to move an accommodation block on to the weapons deck.

      ASW, take on board your points, but as said Burke self generated noise from its MGR and CPP will seriously degrade its sonar performance compared to Constellation's quiet HED with its shaft mounted motors (no MGR) and FPP.

      The big advantage of the new VDS SQS-62 as fitted to the Constellation is that its able to be deployed below the thermocline and if Raytheon hype to be believed its an all digital so can transmit any waveform. Not saying an HMS would not be advantageous, but the SQS-53 fitted to Burke is low frequency and think of very limited use in littoral waters where mid and high frequency sonars are better as with the SQS-60 & 61 fitted to Zumwalt. Think of no reason Constellation should not be able to launch the limited range VL-ASROC from its Mk41 VLS cells, (Navy has mentioned a new future stand-off ASW weapon but have seen no mention of funding).

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    6. and yet you leave out it's disadvantage of not having persistent ASW detection, NO asw weapons and NO hull mounted sonar.

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    7. "Burkes age its an expensive ship to operate with its gas guzzling GT etc compared to the diesel/GT Constellation."

      While one might expect the Constellation to be cheaper to operate, one would do well to keep the example of the LCS firmly in mind. The Navy predicted the LCS would be very cheap to operate, having no crew and no maintenance, and might possible turn a profit but the reality, as documented by GAO is that the LCS wound up costing almost as much to operate as the aged Burkes.

      The point is that the Navy can make any claims they want and we can anticipate anything we want but history tells us, with 100% certainty, that our expectation will be wrong; the only question being, how wrong?

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    8. If we swap the single FY22 FFG gear and put it on the single FY22 DDG it would cost 77.3% as the full price DDG. That includes DDG basic construction, reduction gear, vls, and Tomahawk. Personally, I'd drop 2 LM2500 and add the 1.5 MW motors, Add in gensets where the LM2500s came out and remove the existing aft genset. Drop Connie for a cheaper design based on NSC for 750M. Work flight II DDG-1000 into a cruiser.

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  3. Not putting on the thing most people want is an easy way to get it added later. And don't think that adding VLS cells will be cheap. In fact some careerist will say see we had foresight that we might need more and the displacement allows that. After all the LCS-1 showed up overweight and needed flotation devices welded on, and you keep telling us to learn from our mistakes.

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    1. ???? I have no idea what point you're trying to make? Try again?

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    2. Pitch the system with minimal capability to keep the cost low and get the program going. Then show that it has room for more items that you know people wanted and needed all along. Bait and switch, you get a new ship line past the bean counters and then make the uses happy with more stuff and by then it doesn't matter what the additional costs are.

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    3. Navy never said it's primary mission was ASW.

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    4. Wasn't the French FREMM the ASW version more than really the Italian version? Makes me wonder than why USN went with the Italian ship vs the French "more adapted" ASW version? I haven't really able to find what more ASW enhancements it has compared to the Italian FREMM....

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    5. "Makes me wonder than why USN went with the Italian ship vs the French "more adapted" ASW version?"

      The Navy has never viewed the Constellation as an ASW vessel. They view it as a general purpsoe vessel, one of whose missions is ASW. The official Navy frigate graphic makes this abundantly clear.

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  4. First. OT-ish but not sure picking Chesapeake for the third ship is a good ideal. Not the most lucky of the USN's early frigates.

    What perplexes before build is why downgrade the gun.

    Overall I guess I still willing to wait and see. If the buying into a known design that is not being stretched to edge of capacity (like new Burks) really does bring in the claimed price point and they work (unlike the Zumwalt, Fords or LCS) I not sure I would argue. At least the navy will have produced a working ship.

    To the extent it is based on the FREMM design it would seem there is at reasonably a chance some ships (not yet built)could be switched to have bow sonar or a different gun

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  5. Burke's successor is DDG(X). Navy has formed DDG(X) program office to design long overdue Burke successor but the first acquisition is expected 2028. Therefore, I suggest that we compare DDG(X) vs Burke once its design is officially available.

    Constellation doesn't have a speed (30 knots) to keep up with carriers thus not to be used for air defense for carrier group. Nevertheless. it generates same amount of electricity which is important for it to upgrade with more powerful radar and electronic warfare apparatus in future.

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    Replies
    1. What does this have to do with the premise of the post?

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    2. My view is that Constellation is designed for different purposes to Burke, we had better evaluate against its designed purposes (even if these scenarios are correct or not) therefore, not direct compare Constellation vs Burke.

      Once DDG(X) design comes out, then, compare them.

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    3. You seem to have misunderstood the premise of the post. It was NOT a functional comparison of the Constellation and Burke. That would be apples and oranges since they have different roles (thought with some overlap). The post was examining the VALUE (capability for the dollars spent) of the Constellation relative to the Burke. The difference in roles is irrelevant in that case.

      Again, the post was examining the value of the Constellation using the Burke as a comparison data point.

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  6. Was a modification of USCG's NSC-Legend-class ever considered as a candidate for the FFG(X)? Having a little commonality between hulls and equipment might benefit the Coast Guard and the Navy for joint operations. As far as ASW is concerned, resurrect the S-3 Viking or a more modern airframe. Range/Endurance/Payload of a CVN-based aviation platform is what we should have stayed with, IMO.

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  7. ComNavOps,

    Going back to your excellent Comparative Fleet Roles thread from July, there is an obvious hole (actually several, but one in particular that the FREMM could have filled)—the ASW/ASuW escort role. Go with the 32 VLS cell configuration and let it carry a mix of ESSM, VL-ASROC, NSM, and possibly some Standard missiles. I played around with three proposals that didn’t get a lot of love on here, but I would still look at them.

    1) Put 16 VLS where the canister launchers go, filing them with NSM, and use the 32 forward VLS cells for VL-ASROC, ESSM, and possibly Standard (say 12 VL-ASROC, 12 Standard, and 32 ESSM quad-packs). This gets you up to 50% of the Burke VLS cells.
    2) Put SeaRAM where the after 76mm goes and add at least 4 Phalanx. Since SeaRAM is bolt-on this should free up more hangar room for 2 helos. The Italian ASW version comes with 2 helos and a double hangar, but they might be a bit cramped.
    3) Stay with the EMPAR radar instead of AEGIS. If weight and cost works, add SMART-L aft above the hangar, just forward of the. SeaRAM.

    I would consider each of those individually, and either do them or not based on cost/benefit analysis. Either way, I think you get a better ship than what the Navy is buying.

    Clearly we don’t have any apples to apples cost data, but the French and Italians were bringing their FREMMs in under the equivalent of US$1B, so that ought to be at least a possible target. If we got 50% of the VLS cells for 50% of the cost of a Burke, and with a focus on areas where the Navy currently has holes, that could be a useful ship.

    I would then step down to the $500MM range and build a pure ASW frigate, something a lot like ComNavOps’s ASW destroyer escort. 60 FREMMs for $60B and 80 ASW frigates for $40B would be a far better use of the taxpayers’ money than what the Navy is going to do with it.

    The Navy appears to be trading off everything else, and basically destroying the Constellation’s ability to be an effective ASW/ASuW escort, in order to get AEGIS onboard. The obvious conclusion is that they see the Constellation at some point as a cheaper and far less capable replacement for the Ticos. Putting AEGIS on a ship with only 32 cells would seem like nonsense, but that hasn’t stopped the Navy. What good does it do to be able to track hundreds of incomings, if you can only shoot 32 of them?

    As you can probably guess, I really liked that Comparative Fleet Roles analysis, and I wish somebody in the Navy hierarchy would read and consider it. It really does show where the weaknesses are, and they are many.

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    1. Does anybody have any hard cost and weight data for AEGIS versus EMPAR versus SAMPSON versus SMART-L?

      I see self-serving promotional materials for EMPAR and SMART-L claiming that their systems are much lighter and cheaper than AEGIS, and I would presume that there must be some factual basis for those claims somewhere, but my question remains, how much lighter and cheaper?

      I have also read with respect to both SAMPSON in the Type 45s and EMPAR in the Italian FREMMs that the lighter weight enables them to be placed much higher, atop those very tall towers, enabling greater range.

      I have seen a news release regarding sale of 4 AEGIS systems to Canada (1) at a price of $1.7B (from the context, apparently USD), suggesting something slightly north of $400MM each. Spitballing here, but if "much cheaper" EMPAR comes in at around $100MM, then that difference would account for most of the difference between the $1B target cost for the Connies and the $1.4B that ComNavOps rightly expects them to cost. Obviously, just guessing as to how much cheaper that "much cheaper" in the promotional literature means, but particularly if the production run could be lengthened substantially from the numbers that the Euros are buying, then the price could come down a lot.

      I also like the idea of having a number of platforms with some advanced radar other than AEGIS because of AEGIS's reliability issues.

      I still think the Navy's goal for the Connies is a cheaper, less-capable replacement for the Ticos. If we can add 20 Connies with AEGIS, then we can get rid of 22 Ticos and only lose a net 2 AEGIS platforms. But that obviously ignores getting rid of a whole heaping bunch of missile tubes.

      If we can get a FREMM for half the cost of a Burke with half the missile tubes (as opposed to 70% of the cost for 33% of the missiles), that might very well be a good buy, particularly if it can be oriented more toward the ASuW/ASW roles, like a WWII destroyer, freeing the Burkes to focus on AAW. Then round out the ASW package with single-purpose ASW frigates and an updated S-3 or equivalent and we might be getting somewhere.

      But without hard data it is difficult to make the call. Does anybody have any?

      (1) https://www.dsca.mil/press-media/major-arms-sales/canada-aegis-combat-system

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    2. "because of AEGIS's reliability issues."

      Do you understand what the Aegis reliability issue is? I suspect not because your implied assumption that trading one complex system for another will solve the problem is likely incorrect.

      You might want to come up to speed on what the Aegis issue really is because it affects not just Aegis but every system in the Navy to varying degrees.

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    3. "Do you understand what the Aegis reliability issue is?"

      I suspect that a large part of it is a shortage of properly qualified maintenance personnel. And I would guess that you are alluding to that with your comment about "every system in the Navy."

      With that in mind, I perhaps I should add reliability data to the cost and weight data that I am seeking for the various systems above.

      I also note, as you have previously, that AEGIS seems to be very sensitive to alignment issues, and that the Port Royal, Fitzgerald, and McCain incidents were all sufficient to knock their AEGIS systems completely out of alignment. I can see that for Fitz and McCain, but Port Royal seems troublesome in that regard.

      If I am off base here, perhaps you can instruct me or point me to a reference.

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    4. The Aegis issue is NOT a shortage of properly qualified maintenance personnel. The Aegis issue is complexity. We have acquired a system that is so complex that Navy sailors, even highly trained ones, are unable to maintain the Aegis system or, indeed, even recognize that it is degraded. The complexity is beyond their training. Instead, it requires teams of PhD specialists with many years of experience with the system to maintain it. We have 'complex'ed' ourselves into situation where the system can only achieve a degraded level of performance without extensive manufacturer support. Conceptually, we'd be better off with a less complex - and on paper a less capable - system that can actually achieve its full capability.

      Acquiring some other equally complex radar won't solve the problem. It will just shift it to another system. Is there a radar system out there that is as (or more) capable as Aegis but is significantly less complex? Maybe, but that seems unlikely. You don't magically get super-capability and simplicity. Super-capability and complexity are inextricably linked.

      We should be looking for systems that give MINIMUM acceptable levels of performance coupled with MINIMUM complexity instead of looking for ever more capable and complex systems that provide more capability than is needed. Why do you think our development cycles are constantly getting longer? It's because we're pursuing complexity/capability far beyond what's MINIMALLY needed to do the job. Zumwalt/Ford/LCS/F-35 didn't need to be as complex as they are to do their jobs. We just couldn't recognize and accept that lesser is often better. We just had to have the most advanced and complex technology possible. The fact that it doesn't work doesn't matter to the Navy.

      So, before you embark on a crusade to get a different radar, thinking it will solve all of Aegis' problems, consider the complexity and maintainability issue and ask yourself whether a claimed superior system can really be less complex.

      Of course, there's no way for us to actually evaluate any radar system but common sense says that a more capable system is almost certainly more complex and that likely means even less maintainable.

      The Aegis article in Proceedings, some time ago, wherein the ship's CO described being so proud of his Aegis system only to find out that it was degraded and the Navy's best people didn't even know it, was stunning. It required a manufacturer's team of PhD scientists to point out the problems to him. The Navy then started running more ships through the eval and that's how they discovered that the system was degraded fleet wide. The Navy then formed one of their useless Admiral-chaired committees to address the problem but, as far as I know, it never was corrected because the system is inherently too complex for the Navy.

      Of course, you can always choose to believe the manufacturer's claims and then you'll be quite happy, just like the Navy.

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    5. Understand the complexity issue. That's why I asked for any reliability data for the alternative systems. I don't know about relative complexity and maintainability and am trying to get reliable information.

      I haven't heard comparable reports of reliability issues with SAMPSON or EMPAR or SMART-L. I know the Type45s have had problems with their engineering plants, but have not heard similar reports of problems with the SAMPSON systems.

      From everything I've found, I would tend to put SAMPSON, EMPAR, and SMART-L in the category of not more capable but rather more reliable or maintainable. But I haven't seen anything fully reliable, and that's why I'm asking.

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    6. "We should be looking for systems that give MINIMUM acceptable levels of performance coupled with MINIMUM complexity instead of looking for ever more capable and complex systems that provide more capability than is needed."

      Agree 100%. My questions are aimed at determining whether any of EMPAR or APAR or SAMPSON or SMART-L or S-1850 might fit that description. I don't know. Do you?

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    7. "and that's why I'm asking"

      There is no maintainability or reliability data for foreign systems. They don't have the equivalent of DOT&E reports in any publicly available forum that I'm aware of. Until they do, we just don't know. The lack of problem reports is NOT the same as the lack of problems.

      The reasonable assumption is that EVERY complex system has its own set of problems - we just don't know about them.

      I know that's not very satisfying but it is what it is.

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    8. I think CDR Chips idea about other radars has some flaws as it mixes up things:
      - AEGIS is system that includes a CMS and radar, SPY and a LRR on the cruisers and only SPY on the Burkes
      - The SMART-L/S-1850 is a LRR/VSR and has a rotating antenna and has no fire control capabilities on it's own, just tracking, operates in L band
      - The EMPAR/MFRA is a rotating AESA with a single face, it is a search and fire control radar, as standalone it has a limited volume search capability at long range, it's a double band radar C+G band
      - Sampson is a rotating AESA with 2 faces, it is a search and fire control radar, as standalone it has a limited volume search capability at long range, it's a single band (S) radar like SPY
      -APAR is a fixed face AESA, it is a search and fire control radar, as standalone it has a limited volume search capability at long range, operates in X band.
      It seems that these other radars need less energy and withlower voltage than SPY.
      Thus in larger or cruiser like installation these radars are coupled with a LRR for target search and tracking at long range. These fire contol radars don't need dedicated illuminator radars like the Ticos and the Burkes, which is an advantage. Only APAR with the Thales CMS has been integrated with US Weapons and launchers.
      The problem with adopting these radars on the Constllation class will always be the CMS and integration costs. For standartization it would be best to integrate them into AEGIS but it could be very costly, the alternative would be adopting a dedicated CMS, there are many on the market.


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    9. Greywolf,

      Not sure I understand all off the technical info, as it's been 50 years since I was a radar officer, but what I think you are saying is that EMPAR/MFRA/SAMPSON/APAR all have limited long-range search capabilities, and that's why they have been paired with SMART-L/S-1850 in many cases. That's why I have proposed possibly such a pairing on the FFG(X).

      What I don't know is how such a combo compares with AEGIS for cost, weight, or reliability. Do you have any solid data on any of those issues.

      I also so not know whether any of the combos would be easier to maintain than AEGIS. Can you shed any light there?

      The CMS is one I was aware of but had not mentioned previously. Again, perhaps I am oversimplifying but what I am reading is that the Thales CMS used with the Dutch/German APAR/SMART-L combo as been integrated wit USN systems. Perhaps that suggests a way to go.

      I would expect the APAR/SMART-L combo, as an older one, to be somewhat less capable than AEGIS. It has also been around long enough that there should be some decent reliability/maintainability data somewhere.

      If APAR/SMART-L could be integrated with USN systems via Thales CMS, and turned out to be cheaper and lighter weight than AEGIS, but to be somewhat less capable but more reliable and more easily maintained than AEGIS, then I would be inclined to go tat way for FFG(X). After all, it's not your primary AAW asset, just a backup. Of course, I am well aware that all of those ifs are just that, ifs, and if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas.

      I'm just trowing ideas out for consideration. The USN's willingness to rush headlong into putting AEGIS on the FFG(X), and to make sacrifices in other capabilities to get that done, still suggests to me that the plan is to present them as new (albeit less capable) AEGIS platforms than the Ticos, to justify killing the Ticos without replacement (or perhaps with still less capable unmanned replacement). Hey, we build 20 FFG(X)s and get rid of 22 Ticos, we're only down 2 AEGIS platforms. But that ignores the accompanying significant decrease in missile tubes.

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    10. As I have said, I'm just asking questions. I don't have the answers, and would appreciate a response from anyone who does.

      It does seem to me that turning the FREMM into an AEGIS platform does not best meet the needs of the USN. I'd much rather see the FREMM turned into something to fill the ASuw/ASW role that the WWII destroyers filled, and supplement that with a smaller, cheaper ASW-focused frigate, something like ComNavOps's ASW destroyer escort.

      If we could build a FREMM/FFG(X) for half the cost of a Burke, with half the missile tubes, and an ASW frigate for half the cost of a FREMM/FFG(X), then I think we could build in numbers to address a lot of holes and shortfalls in the fleet. Those would be my targets. The one thing I really like about ComNavOps's ASW destroyer escort is the side arrays, like the Virginias. I don't know how well those work with surface noise, and I don't know whether that would blow the cost up, but if we could get satisfactory answers to both of those, I think that would be a really useful concept.

      So replace the 22 Ticos with 20 real AEGIS cruisers, keep 40 Burkes (current building plans should have us at about that level for a few decades yet), build 60 FREMM/FFG(X)s focused on ASuW/ASW with a backup AAW capability using a different radar from AEGIS, and build 80 single-purpose ASW frigates. That strikes me as a fleet architecture that would be very useful, and I think it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than what the USN seems to have in mind.

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    11. "The Aegis issue is NOT a shortage of properly qualified maintenance personnel. The Aegis issue is complexity. We have acquired a system that is so complex that Navy sailors, even highly trained ones, are unable to maintain the Aegis system or, indeed, even recognize that it is degraded. The complexity is beyond their training. Instead, it requires teams of PhD specialists with many years of experience with the system to maintain it. We have 'complex'ed' ourselves into situation where the system can only achieve a degraded level of performance without extensive manufacturer support."

      We have a shortage of properly qualified maintenance personnel because the systems are too complex to be maintained by Navy personnel.

      "Conceptually, we'd be better off with a less complex - and on paper a less capable - system that can actually achieve its full capability."

      Hence my interest in things like APAR/EMPAR/SAMPSON and SMART-L/S-1850. Are those systems easier to maintain? I don't know, that's sort of what I'm asking. If they are, then even if they are slightly less capable on paper, that seems the way to go, at least on a ship that is going to be, at most, a secondary AAW platform.

      Delete
    12. "We have a shortage of properly qualified maintenance personnel because the systems are too complex to be maintained by Navy personnel."

      It's almost a matter of semantics but there is a difference. We don't have a shortage of people trained to the maximum extent possible by the Navy. Instead, we have a system that CAN'T be maintained because it's just too complex. We have plenty of people but it's just not possible to train them to the required level. It's not a shortage, it's an impossibility. If you want to call an impossible situation a shortage, sure, go ahead but a shortage implies we just need more people. An impossibility means we have the wrong system. We don't have a people issue, we have an equipment suitability issue.

      Delete
    13. "all have limited long-range search capabilities,"

      And, in any sane Navy (which precludes the US Navy!) why would any frigate need a long range radar? Frigates ought to be limited to local AAW which means horizon on in. We've also clearly demonstrated that the most likely AAW scenario, by far, is horizon range engagements. So why is the Navy building a frigate with Standard missiles and longer than horizon range radar? They answer, of course, is that they want the 'frigate' to be a do-everything ship - a mini-Burke - instead of a true frigate.

      While I completely discount your Tico replacement theory, the frigate is still vastly over spec'ed for a frigate.

      Delete
    14. Having an Aegis grade AAW radar on a frigate has two possible rationales to my mind:

      1) With the threat of hypersonic missiles, large ASCM salvos and antiship ballistic missiles, an AAW grade radar is the minimum cost of entry into the rising threat environment.

      2) The Navy's true intention with the Constellations is to run them as pickets for the CVN's escort squadron, positioning them further out and radiating, acting as the spotters for the DDGs in the "inner" cordon via datalink. Theoretically, this would allow the DDGs to remain silent and engage targets beyond the radar horizon. Being actively radiating, the Constellations would be prime targets for ASCMs relying on home on jam, being sacrificed to absorb the brunt of the enemy missile salvo, at which point the DDGs turn on their radars and continue the engagement.

      Your mileage may vary as to how likely the Navy may be pursuing these rationales.

      Delete
    15. The AIB class while beeing a AAW DDG is missing a LRR/VSR. This means at long range it will need radar data from other sources. That the navy is removing the LRR from the Ticos without replacement.
      Usually LRR/VSR are installed in cruiser like installations on larger DDGs like the Horizon an T45 class. The installation on the F124, DZP an the danish frigates are much less problematic as they are not as top heavy as the FREMMs.
      Such an installation on a FFG is not optimal as it ads cruiser like sensors to a frigate weapons and energy generation fit. The navy could really declare the FFG as a replacement of the Ticos with less weapons, less energy generating capabilities. The navy needs a new cruiser not an imitation.
      In my opinion the FFG should not be equipped with AEGIS (radar and CMS) but with a less capable CMS and radar. This emphasis on AAW diminishes the capabilities and resources against surface und subsurface targets.
      AEGIS absorbs lots of energy, somewhere around 2kV, much more than other systems, which coupled with at least on paper less generating capability than the Burkes could be a serious problem.
      That aside the italian FREMMs have had serius stability problems. The first ships had to leghtened after delivery, the others had to leghntened during construction. This added about 250 tons. These ships are alread top heavy, the Constellation will add further weight 300-400 tons as has been declared to a platform that has already reached it's limit. AEGIS has considerable weight above and below deck.
      So adding a LRR would just add more weight, creating stability problems. Further every pound you add for sensors means you can carry less of everything else.
      While the Constellation could support further VLS, missile launchers and other systems, it could mean that due to weight problems none of this will happen.
      Probably the same considerations forced the navy to request a single helicopter hangar. Probably during construction the number of anti ship missiles will be reduced from 16 to 8 just to reduce weight.
      For example Turkey has upgraded some of it's MEKO frigates. Some of this ships have 16 Mk41 cells, which could mean 64 ESSM, in reality they are armed with only 32 ESSM and 8 NSSM as the full load of ESSM adds to much weight an the ships will have stability problems.

      Delete
    16. We don't have a people issue, we have an equipment suitability issue."

      No disagreement, I think we just got caught up in semantics. The USN can't train the people it needs to maintain the systems it has. So isn't it better off with systems which it can train people to operate and maintain.

      I have for some time been interested in the APAR/SMART-L combination because the Dutch and Germans seem to be able to get them both on ships smaller (6000T) than the FFG(X) and I haven't heard anything about the kinds of downtime issues that the USN seems to be having with AEGIS. I don't know about weight or cost, nor anything definitive about reliability, which is why I have asked the questions above.

      I am guessing that the APAR/SMART-L combo are not quite as capable as AEGIS, but as ComNavOps says, reliability is more important than a potential capability that cannot be realized because the system cannot be maintained.

      I still just think the USN wanted to get rid of the Ticos, and a cheaper, less capable AEGIS platform was the way to do that.

      Delete
    17. "The installation on the F124, DZP and the Danish frigates are much less problematic as they are not as top heavy as the FREMMs. Such an installation on a FFG is not optimal as it ads cruiser like sensors to a frigate weapons and energy generation fit. The navy could really declare the FFG as a replacement of the Ticos with less weapons, less energy generating capabilities. The navy needs a new cruiser not an imitation."

      The F124, DZP, and Danish frigates are all smaller than the FREMM/FFG(X). So, how can they all do it? Did the USN pick the wrong model to emulate?

      The Danish Iver Huitfeldts are particularly interesting to me. They apparently have 32 Mk41s plus 48 ESSM plus 8-16 Harpoons (apparently have to give up some of the other missiles to get above 8 Harpoons). That seems an attractive platform. I have a few questions:

      1)They have a pure Diesel plant that gives them 30 knots, and their engineering spaces look pretty roomy. I would wonder if you could get a CODLOG or IEP plant with the same 30 knot capability unto the space for quieter running in ASW mode.
      2) I wonder if you could carry two helos (their sister ships, Absalons, on basically the same hull carry 2 H60s).
      3) I wonder if you could replace the second 76mm gun with something like a couple of RBUs.
      4) I would like to add 1-2 SeaRAM and 2-4 Phalanx.
      5) I would also like to add VDS and/or a towed array.

      If you could load out the Mk41s with 12 NSM, 12 VL-ASROC, and 8 Standard missiles, plus 2 helos, torpedo tubes, and a tail, you'd have a pretty decent ASuW/ASW platform, with some secondary AAW capability, even giving up the Harpoon canisters to save weight.

      They also reportedly built them for $325MMa pop. I know they are playing some accounting games, they re-used a bunch of weapons and equipment from decommissioned ships, and a lot of the hull construction was done in Eastern Europe. Still, it seems like we ought to be able to bring one of those in under $1B.

      Tell me where I am wrong.

      Delete
    18. I like the IH weapon density, HOWEVER, it's ALL clustered in one spot within, literally, feet of each other. A single hit there loses the ship's entire combat capability except for the 76mm guns. That's a major combat weakness to my way of combat-thinking.

      Visually, the ship looks top heavy in the extreme with a massive, tall and wide superstructure. I'm betting they have stability problems which makes me wonder about their open ocean sailing qualities.

      I like the two 76mm guns but, again, being both forward and close together, they're subject to loss from a single hit and they have only a forward firing arc.

      In short, the IH violates the separation of systems concept for combat.

      One thing we have to keep in mind is that EVERY ship and weapon system in the world has problems. We just don't know what they are. Some have more, some have less, but they all have problems. We just don't read about them because there is no equivalent of DOT&E reports and the like for foreign countries.

      As far as cost, it's a joke. Until you know what standards they were built to and then compensate for the US Navy survivability and damage control standards (the FREMM, for example, had to be beefed up to meet US standards), you can't even begin to compare costs. The same holds true for ASW quieting, fire fighting, and on and on.

      As you noted, they reused almost all the weapons (good for them!). Did they include the costs of uninstalling the weapons from the donor ships and storing and transporting them to the new ships? If not, then the costs are not true costs.

      Did the European block costs get fully accounted for (raw material costs, transport costs, and so on)?

      I think it's highly unlikely that the cited ship cost is even remotely correct. I suspect that if all the costs are fully accounted for and then appropriate adjustments are made for US combat requirements, we'd wind up with 'typical' frigate costs.

      Finally, I would remind you of the Norwegian Helge Ingstad which sank from what should have been minor damage. Was whatever money the supposedly saved on construction worth it?

      Beyond all that, you're once again trying to make a do-everything ship out of what should be a single purpose frigate. If you want a do-everything cruiser then build a do-everything cruiser. Just like the Burkes theoretically have ASW capability but never find time to train for it, the same applies to your design. The ship/crew will never be good at more than one thing so why load the ship with equipment (and costs!) that they'll never be good at? You're doing exactly what we criticize the Navy for: taking a single purpose frigate and gold-plating it with stuff they can't use effectively.

      Delete
    19. "Beyond all that, you're once again trying to make a do-everything ship out of what should be a single purpose frigate. If you want a do-everything cruiser, then build a do-everything cruiser."

      Actually, I kind of do want such a cruiser (and a battleship with even greater capability). But those are separate ships from this one, just as this one is a separate ship from a pure specialist ASW frigate which we also need. Going back to your post on fleet roles from last month, I see FREMM/FFG(X) as an escort to fill the niche of the WWII destroyer, ASuW/ASW with limited AAW capability. My targets would be to build an escort with half the VLS cells of a Burke, for half the cost of a Burke, and an ASW frigate, similar to your proposal, with 1/4 the cells of a Burke for 1/4 the cost of a Burke.

      My understanding of Helge Ingstad is that the packing glands along the shaft alleys did not hold and therefore the entire length of the shaft alleys flooded. That seems more a construction/execution (or possibly maintenance) problem than a design problem. In theory, IEP reduces or eliminates the shaft alleys problem, and the architecture of having big diesels or gas turbines driving huge generators and feeding current to storage batteries, main engines, hotel usage, and weapons systems seems attractive in the era of potential increased use of power-hungry weapons systems. Whether all-electric main engines can produce enough power for 30 knots is a question, although they seem to do so on the Type 45s.

      As far as weapons density, I agree that is the impressive thing to me about the IW's. I would disagree slightly with your comment about concentration of such much of it in one place. A direct hit on that area would destroy not its ability to fight, but rather its ability to stay afloat. It would be Hood v. Bismarck.

      I have agreed and acknowledged that the quoted ship cost is understated. What I don't have a feel for is HOW understated. Is it so far understated that we could not build an equivalent ship for 3-4 times their stated cost? That seems a bit extreme.

      Like you, I am also concerned about compartmentalization and damage control. We have WWII stories of ships getting their bows blown off but closing all water-tight doors/hatches and still making it back to Pearl. Helge Ingstad couldn't even make it across the harbor. Internal armored bulkheads are still IMO the great unheralded armor protection. And adding low weight with armored bulkheads can move the CG lower and help overcome top-heaviness. I also don’t like the amount of superstructure on a lot of the modern stuff. Move things, particularly CIC, down into the hull. I understand a need for habitability, but maybe you don’t need that much habitability. I wonder if in the age of 3D printing, can we 3D print a lot of non-critical repair parts onboard and cut down on the need for storage space?

      I’m an old weapons/damage control guy. I want to see more weapons and sensors and greater compartmentalization on USN ships. The all look under-armed to me. Ideally, I’d think of a conceptual layout, moving forward to aft, of bow sonar, 76/127mm gun (no 57mm popgun), 32-cell VLS, RBU, SeaRAM, EMPAR/APAR/SAMPSON, 16-cell VLS, SMART-L, SeaRAM, 2-helo hangar and deck, VDS/towed array, with 4 Phalanx (2 each P/S) along the way. I’d like a second 76mm gun somewhere, but can’t figure out where, and don’t want to give anything up. And have at least 7 fully armored transverse bulkheads, fore to aft. Take off anything that can’t make weight/space work but recognize the tradeoffs of doing so.

      "You're doing exactly what we criticize the Navy for: taking a single purpose frigate and gold-plating it with stuff they can't use effectively."

      Again, I am not doing that, I'm just asking questions. Can we make it a better ship? How much capability can we give it if we abandon the goal of a (much) less-capable AEGIS platform to replace the Ticos?

      Delete
    20. One other question. I wonder how much of the Italian FREMMs' high weight problem is because of the tall superstructure to get the EMPAR elevated so high, ostensibly to give it greater range.

      In turn, I wonder how much of that is to compensate for having no SMART-L. Maybe not as far as the latter, because the EMPAR is similarly elevated on the Horizons, with SMART-L, as is the SAMPSON on the Type 45s, with S-1850.

      I wonder what the high weight tradeoffs would be with SMART-L and APAR mounted lower.

      Delete
    21. "How much capability can we give it"

      You're just not grasping the concept of ship design. You don't give a ship as much capability as you can. That's called a submergible battleship with a full flight deck. You design a ship by giving it the LEAST mount of capability you can that meets the requirements of its role.

      Compare your 'frigate' to the destroyer I described in my fleet structure page. Mine is a MINIMAL design for the role which means it's a minimal cost and we could afford the maximum number for the money. Notice, for instance, the radar. It's the minimal required for the role. In contrast, you've described a cruiser level ship that's going to cost a cruiser level price and you won't get many of them. Of course, if you believe that you can get all that for half the cost of a LCS then I guess you can afford all you want but that price includes an enormous amount of wishful thinking!

      Delete
    22. "I wonder how much of the Italian FREMMs' high weight problem is because of the tall superstructure to get the EMPAR elevated so high, ostensibly to give it greater range."

      That's the wrong question. The right question is why does a frigate need excessive radar range since area AAW is not its role - or would not be in US service where we have plenty of Burkes/Ticos and carrier air?

      This is a combination of the 'frigate is a battleship' in foreign navies and the constant impulse to gold-plate and make every ship a do-everything platform.

      Delete
    23. I will repeat, I'd like to get an ASuW/ASW escort, the conceptual successor to a WWII destroyer, with half the VLS cells of a Burke for something like half the cost of a Burke, and an ASW specialist frigate with 1/4 the cells of a Burke for 1/4 the cost of a Burke. Those would be my targets. Are they attainable? I don't know, but those would be the targets.

      Comments like "submergible battleship with a full flight deck" or "half the cost of an LCS" are absurd mischaracterizations of my comments.

      Delete
    24. I think our challenge is each program builds its own little world. FFG-62 reqs were designed to keep LCS designs in the competition and make them look like less of a mistake. We need 1 answer "the fleet" and how that fleet will function with the sum of its parts.

      I look at FTI as the minimum best fit ASW platform in the works. Its best bet American answer is a modified NSC. It could be made to fit a bow sonar, full size MFTA and VDS with the towed decoy. It could fit 2x4 NSM and probably then get a mk 32 off ech side unlike the HII representations. 2 MH-60, 16 Mk 41 tactical, and then fight over the main gun and what CIWS for above the hangar. The compromise is living with 1 boat unless they figure a way to stack them. To me that design is a sure things vs the FFG unknown. It gives up AAW preference. We could have it for 750M a copy.

      For 1.5B a copy we could outfit a burke flight IV with the FFG gear and build the margin back in. Give up the bow sonar if need be and pull 2 LM2500s and add those 1.5MW motors we already sunk the cost to develop.

      Now make a real DDG-1000 Flt II high end cruiser designed to own a space and keep it clean of the infinite number of future munitions we are likely to face. It will do so with cheap cost per shot weapons while retaining a protected arsenal for strike.

      We still need something smaller than these 3 types, but to me we can fight over a few small hulls if we'd just focus on what we have in hand, right now.

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    25. "We still need something smaller than these 3 types, but to me we can fight over a few small hulls if we'd just focus on what we have in hand, right now."

      Andy, I like your idea of three distinct ships for the cruiser, ASuW/ASW, and ASW escorts. We might not agree on the proper starting points, but I think we agree in concept.

      Delete
    26. "The Navy's true intention with the Constellations is to run them as pickets for the CVN's escort squadron, positioning them further out and radiating, acting as the spotters for the DDGs in the "inner" cordon via datalink."

      If that's the case, seems to me it would make more sense for them to carry the LRR (SMART-L/S-1850?) piece than the AEGIS piece.

      Delete
    27. "If that's the case, seems to me it would make more sense for them to carry the LRR (SMART-L/S-1850?) piece than the AEGIS piece."

      I'm only speculating, but to me, if I'm going to put a warship forward to spot for my Aegis ships, then I need it to have a radar that's Aegis-grade, that's the only way it makes sense to me. In that light, the smaller VLS count also makes a certain amount of sense, if I assume that the FFGX picket ship is going to be actively radiating, actively baiting fire, and is therefore going to take the brunt of the salvo and die.

      Delete
  8. It was. Considered that is.

    Although probably more useful would have been the early patrol frigate that HI tossed about before the X frigate came about and produced concurrently. Armed enough and with the endurance to do the show the flag things in the black sea or Taiwan Strait or the black sea or messing with china militia navy to support our friends fishing rights. And thus not put hours on top class warships that maybe could have high end training and spend a lot ammo at being good in using in not ideal situations.

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  9. Too much ship for ASW.

    They should have a blue-water ASW frigate of no more than 5000 tons.

    Rafted machinery, prairie masker, torpedoes, RBU, ASROC, hull sonar, towed sonar, two helicopters, 76mm gun, 1-2 phalanx, SeaRAM, 8 VLS.

    Lutefisk

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  10. The Navy simply took advantage of the European tendency to use Frigates as capital ships. In smaller navies the Frigate will be their largest vessel. The Navy didn't want real ASW Frigates, they wanted more Burkes. The new Frigates are not ASW focused. The fact they have 32 cells proves that--that's an AAW set up. An ASW could get by with half that and even then require fielding the Vertical-ASROC on a large scale.
    At this point perhaps we should adapt the sailing Navy navys designations of 32 gun, 64 gun etc and start saying 120 cell 64 cell, and 32 cell ships of the line as they are otherwise the same ship.

    I'd like your opinion ComNavOps of one idea for solving the ASW deficit.
    instead of another multi-billion dollar ship of the line, we have the equivalent of Top Gun for ASW. We select a Burke crew on the result of some testing, and give them 3 months of intense ASW training in conjunction with US and allied submariners. And just as TOP GUN filters back a elite corps of pilots to drive the air component we have an elite corps of Shark Hunters to help keep the ASW component not only alive but skilled. The school would also add to the career advancement of the entire crew.
    I am aware that such a thing might technically exist. But if it does it must certainly lack much prestige or effectiveness as those of us outside the direct naval community are unaware of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Top Gun for ASW."

      There's nothing wrong with the idea, per se, but it can't work because it fails to emulate Top Gun in one very important, overwhelming aspect and that is dedicated, single functions. The pilots went back to 'their' aircraft and that's all that aircraft did, whether the pilots were Top Gun trained or not. The aircraft was still assigned one, and only one, task: air-to-air combat. Top Gun took that one, single task and made the pilots more effective at it.

      Now, let's compare that to the idea of a Top Gun for ASW. When the sailors go back to their ship, ASW is only going to be one of several tasks the ship has and not even high priority task. The ship will spend most of its time doing AAW, BMD, ASuW, HA/DR, etc. ASW will be a minor, occasional task, at best, regardless of how well trained the sailors are.

      This is the main argument against multi-function ships. You can't be great at something you rarely practice/do and a multi-function ship simply isn't going to allocate much training time to a bottom ten priority task. This is why you need dedicated ASW vessels. With a dedicated ASW vessel then your idea is viable and beneficial.

      Delete
  11. The Constellation Class will reportedly be armed with 16 deck mounted antiship missiles, each large enough to fit within a VLS cell. So, the Constellation Class has the equivalent of 48 VLS cells or 50% of what the Burke Class has. But, its still over-priced and under-armed.

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    Replies
    1. And Burkes have been and will again be armed with deck mounted anti-ship missiles if/when combat comes so, no, it doesn't change the conclusion.

      Delete
  12. The only plus is that the Constellation has a greater range 6000nm vs 4400nm. That does give greater endurance.

    The biggest issue is the cost. If the cost somehow stays at about $1bn per ship, then it's not too bad- less VLS, but more offensive ASM's and greater endurance. It's not meant to protect a fleet, it's meant to be working on it's own. So it doesn't need 25 VLS for tomahawks, and another 20 cells for SM3/6's. ASROC/SM2/3's /ESSM's should be it, for anti sub, and self defense and AAW.

    I guess we'll find out in 5 year's time.

    Andrew

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    Replies
    1. "The only plus is that the Constellation has a greater range 6000nm vs 4400nm."

      Those are the same range. They're spec'ed at two different speeds and, as you know, range decreases with increasing speed. The Constellation claims 6000 nm @ 16 kt. Burke claims 4400 nm at 20 kt. Those are close enough that if they're put at a common speed they'll likely be nearly identical.

      So, no, there is no range difference.

      "more offensive ASM's"

      I'm getting tired of saying this, Burkes have been and will again be armed with deck mounted anti-ship missiles if/when combat comes so, no, it doesn't change the conclusion.

      Delete
    2. I think the better way is to compare efficiency. Burke on trail shaft with 1 LM2500 has an economic speed at 14 knots. Connie will get 2 more knots at the cheap speed and I bet its more efficient since its going to 2 fixed pitch props and no bow sonar.

      Delete
    3. " Those are the same range. They're spec'ed at two different speeds and, as you know, range decreases with increasing speed. The Constellation claims 6000 nm @ 16 kt. Burke claims 4400 nm at 20 kt. Those are close enough that if they're put at a common speed they'll likely be nearly identical.

      So, no, there is no range difference."

      My apologies. I'm embarrassed I didn't see that. I usually do keep an eye out for the speeds the ranges are quoted.

      Andrew.

      Delete
  13. The MDA funds by far the majority of the Navy spend on the Aegis BMD program including the SM-3 missiles.

    CRS report - Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress Updated August 23, 2021, Table 1. FY2021-FY2025 MDA Procurement and R&D Funding for Aegis BMD Effort, $1,647.9 million, in the FY2022 procurement - Aegis BMD hardware and software (line item 40) $81.8 million.

    Presuming the $81.8 million is for the single Burke Flight III?, added to the $2,401.7 million ($384.9 million in prior-year Economic Order Quantity, EOQ, funding, FY2022 funding $2,016.8) funded under the Navy SCN to give total of $2,483.9 million for the FY2022 ship - $2.5 billion.

    As mentioned previously Congress highly likely to fund second ship for an additional $1,659.2 millions for total of $4,060.9 millions which will reduce procurement costs by $371 thousand per ship, including MDA funding, total build cost will be ~ $2.1 billon per ship, was puzzled and surprised to the extent the two ship buy reduces costs by such a large margin ~15%.

    Whether the cost of a two ship buy of Constellation would be able to match the 15% cost reduction unknown as yet, Navy so far keeping Constellation buy to one per year, maybe possible as FY2022 buy only the third ship and the learning curve kicks in and keep the costs on a downward curve, so holding costs to ~45% of a Burke.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Most (or all?) of Table 1 applies to Aegis ashore. There is nothing that indicates how much, if any, of it applies to ship procurement.

      MDA funding is for BMD efforts, not Aegis in general.

      The historical data quite clearly shows the average cost of a Burke to be around $1.8B. You appear to be trying to take a single Burke outlier cost data point to make the cost comparison seem better than it is.

      As you note, a second Burke would cost $1.659B which is right in line with the historic $1.8B. They mystery is not why a second ship would cost only $1.7B but why the single ship cost $2.4B when no ship prior cost anywhere near that.

      At this point, you're attempting to manipulate data to win a point and it's becoming tedious. The cost comparison stands. Move on.

      Delete
    2. Apologizes if coming across as tedious and ignoring any MDA costs just making the point the two FY2022 Burkes will be costing $4.06 billion, $2 billion each, not the historical figure of $1.8 billion your quoting if you believe the figures in the FY2022 Navy budget and the Unfunded Priorities List.

      As you was surprised at the $2.4 billion for the single ship.

      Delete
    3. Here's the Burke cost data from the Navy SCN budget docs going back to 2011:

      Year Qty Tot $ Unit Cost
      2011 2 $2.9B $1.4B
      2012 1 $2.0B $2.0B
      2013 2 $3.5B $1.7B
      2014 1 $1.7B $1.7B
      2015 2 $3.0B $1.5B
      2016 2 $4.5B $2.2B
      2017 2 $3.4B $1.7B
      2018 2 $3.4B $1.7B
      2019 3 $5.3B $1.7B
      2020 3 $5.4B $1.8B
      2021 2 $4.0B $2.0B
      2022 1 $2.4B $2.4B

      It is simple, historical fact that the average unit cost for a Burke is around $1.8B. The 2022 price is far and away the outlier of the data set. In fact, it's such an outlier that I suspect there's some kind of accounting game or budget maneuvering going on for reasons that elude me. Perhaps the Navy asked the builder for a very high bid in order to make an argument to Congress for a new multi-year deal?

      So, my cost comparison stands.

      Delete
  14. Here's a weird thought. If in fact the frigate is nearly the cost of a Burke, I wonder if it would make sense to just make a less expensive version of the Burke, for anti-submarine work. Maybe by replacing AEGIS with a cheaper radar, to focus on ASW rather than AAW.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As we've demonstrated, the major portion of ship construction cost is the basic hull. So, merely stripping some pieces of equipment won't hugely reduce the price. It will still be the same hull and, therefore, the same major cost portion.

      If you think about the MINIMUM that a ship needs to perform ASW, it would be a significantly smaller hull and that's where significant cost savings would arise.

      Delete
    2. I understand. But, as I believe you've quoted, AEGIS costs several hundred million dollars (maybe 300 mil or 400 mil). If you take that off 1.8 billion, you're pretty close to your quoted price for the Constellation. Is it the ideal solution? Probably not. But it also wouldn't require the time to develop a new "ideal solution".

      Delete
    3. I'm very concerned about the relatively near term (the next 5 years or so). Much more so than the Navy ("divest to invest") seems to be. I don't necessarily agree with you that war with China is INEVITABLE, although I do believe that it is increasingly likely, and that we need to take it VERY seriously. And I agree completely that THEY will be the ones to start it. Which of course means that THEY get to choose when and where. There's no guarantee that they'll sit around and wait for 15 years for us to build a new "ideal" fleet. Using an existing more austere Burke design, while clearly not ideal, would allow us to get ships into the fleet more quickly than a clean sheet design would.

      Delete
    4. As Donald Rumsfeld (who said many controversial things and made many dumb decisions) nevertheless once sensibly stated (I paraphrase from another context) you go to war with the Navy you have, not the Navy you'd like to have at some point in the distant future.

      Delete
    5. "would allow us to get ships into the fleet more quickly than a clean sheet design would."

      The issue is not getting ships into the fleet. Heck, the LCS is doing that! The issue is getting COMBAT-EFFECTIVE ships into the fleet. That's why the LCS is a failure and why a stripped down Burke would not be desirable. If all we want is hulls in the water we can just build more LCS or, even better, combat canoes.

      Delete
    6. "as I believe you've quoted, AEGIS costs several hundred million dollars "

      I don't recall saying that and the Burke cost breakdown data does not indicate that. The number I cited in the breakdown post was $220M.

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  15. @Bob Nagele "Here's a weird thought. If in fact the frigate is nearly the cost of a Burke"

    My contention with CNO is he is using historical cost of a Burke at $1.8 billion whereas as he shows in 2021 two ship buy was $2 billion each as it would be in 2022 for a two ship buy, as yet to be confirmed. The Navy figure for single Burke 2022 buy is $2.4 billion which both CNO and I think Navy played games with and maximized, my view is that the Navy thought if they could limit cost of second ship Congress would fund it, it might be that only one ship will be authorized in 2022.

    A single Burke buy would be somewhere between $2 billion and $2.4 billion so the single and only the third Constellation to be authorized at $1.1 billion will be half the cost of a Burke, "not nearly the cost of a Burke".

    Understand CNOs well founded skepticism of Constellation $1.1 billion cost based on Ford, LCS and Zumwalt history, but I'm more hopeful than him based on Fincantieri track record, always the possibility the Navy will screw things up.

    Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said on winning the FFG(X) contract "It the result of working well and showing you are serious, of delivering on time and on budget. All these aspects are strongly taken into account by the customer and they give you an advantage. This is fundamental and one of our characteristics, derived in part from our work on cruise ships, which are built on a turnkey basis. The discipline there is unique. You need to deliver on a specific day which is established years earlier, otherwise the penalties never stop. Being punctual is in our DNA. Add to that we are always prime contractor, and a cruise ship is no less complex than a naval ship."

    Understand cruise ships have to operate reliably at near 24/7 365 days a year at least cost and that is part of the expertize Fincantieri bringing to the Constellation design and it needs to remember operating costs can be approx three times build costs, sadly Navy does not release figures by class of ship.

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