Warships: Interational Fleet Review

HMS Liverpool, a Royal Navy Type 42 Batch 2 ai...

HMS Liverpool, en-route to Libya

I’ve just picked up the latest copy of this fascinating magazine. As usual it makes for a measured, insightful but pointed read.

Iran has recently sent warships through the Suez Canal, after signing a defence pact with Syria. Transit through the canal is governed by the Egyptian Government, and the post-Mubarak leadership broke a tacit agreement with Israel and the US to not allow Iranian vessels through. The pact with Syria and the prospect of Iranian vessels in the Mediterranean – especially off the Israeli coast -changes the strategic picture in the Middle East somewhat.

The Magazine also highlights the folly of the Government’s Defence Cuts, in that the Royal Navy Frigate leading the British contribution to the sea blockade of Libya, HMS Cumberland, is due to come home to decomission soon. The ship we are sending to relieve her, HMS Liverpool, is an elderly Batch 2 Type 42 Destroyer, which is also due to be scrapped within a couple of years. France, meanwhile, has sent its Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle, and Italy has been using its significant amphibious capability. Britain appears increasingly impotent, especially when consider that even China has sent a Warship. However old and labour intensive they are, the Type 22’s are extremely capable ships, and they are not being replaced. An editorial takes Cameron’s SDSR to pieces, arguing that its credibility has been torn to shreds by events in Libya. Britain is now a second rate player on the European-international stage.

Elsewhere, the new Australian Aircraft Carrier HMAS Canberra has been launched at the Navantia yard in Ferrol, Spain. Based on the Spanish ship Juan Carlos, she and her sister HMAS Adelaide are officially termed Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD).  They have enough space to operate two dozen helicopters, a ski-ramp and the potential for operating VSTOL jets (Australia is purchasing Joint Strike Fighter), and an amphibious dock to the rear. At well over 20,000 tons she is much larger than anything the mother country has built for years, and represents a quantum leap for Australia, both in terms of size and capability. Something Britain could really do with.

Finally – and some might say amusingly – we get a round-up of the UK independence party‘s Defence manifesto. And interesting reading it makes too. They propose to retain British Forces completely under national control, and to maintain a fleet of – wait for it:

  • 3 Aicraft Carriers
  • 4 Ballistic Missile Submarines
  • 12 Nuclear Attack Submarines
  • 11 Destroyers
  • 20 Frigates
  • 6 Amphibious vessels
  • 21 Minewarfare vessels
  • 7 Offshore Patrol Vessels
  • 55 Strike Fighters
  • Retain 3 Commando Brigade

This sounds impressive. But remember, this is essentially what we had only 10 years ago anyway. This extensive building programme would cost a lot, but would generate jobs and boost the shipbuilding industry, and would guarantee the future of jobs at bases such as Portsmouth, Devonport and Rosyth. How to fund it? Well, UKIP suggest stopping our annual international aid bill of £10bn to countries that have space programmes, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. Sounds loopy, but there are grains of truth therein.

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82 Comments

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82 responses to “Warships: Interational Fleet Review

  1. John Erickson

    DO you know that the US still sends subsidies to Russia and China? We even support the Japanese government – above and beyond the special aid we are supplying in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami. All leftovers from DECADES ago. Ridiculous, isn’t it?
    I hope that there’s an F-35B for those lovely new Aussie carriers/landing ships to use. If our Republicans continue with their scythe-like slashing of defence costs, the F-35B will be the first of the F-35s to be completely canceled – followed shortly by the F-35C, unless the Navy can over-ride Congress. And if the “Next Gen Bomber” takes as long as the “Next Gen Tanker” has (and still is), we’ll get it in time for the US tricentennial!

  2. James Daly

    I’m starting to feel more and more that ALL international aid, in all directions, needs a serious moratorium in these challenging economic times. We’re still paying out to prop people up who were poor but no longer are, and to old Cold War allies. The world has changed and aid needs to reflect that.

    The Aussies could always buy our mothballed Harrier GR9’s, and get them upgraded – they could do a decent job in the absence of the F-35B.

  3. SDSR said nothing would happen this decade. It has. Ergo, it is on the wrong side of history… and the events in the Middle East are far from over.

  4. x

    Funding defence is all about political will.

    The increase in IAF from £7bn to £11bn is out of step with the think of the majority. £4billion is the price we tax payers are paying for stable government. It sounds high but when you consider how much can be wiped off the Stock Exchange in a day if a country’s economic future looks doubtful (which can happen if a country has an unstable government) it is a small price. On a tangent really how the LibDems have acted since being in government shows exactly why coalition government, proportional reputation, etc. would be bad for UK. Last May the UK electorate were held hostage by 69,000 members of the LibDems; there is democracy for you. As for helping the poor of the world well £4billion per year would bring an end to child poverty in the UK. I for one believe charity begins home.

    As well as International Aid there are UK contributions to the EU. Figures for how much this costs range from £7bn to £19bn pounds per year. Feel free to play fantasy fleets with those amounts. £7bn is approximately the RN’s and RAF’s budgets for a year. (The US Army spends a similar amount on its helicopters per year.) £19bn would buy the Trident replacement.

    There is another source of potential income if HMG government could be persuaded not to build the new high speed rail link. This will cost £30bn. The high speed rail link won’t carry freight so won’t do anything to get lorries off our roads. It is being built when the world is on the cusp of revolution in IT and communications where virtual meetings will replace business travel in many circumstances. The £30bn would be better spent on a country wide glass fibre back bone and more rolling stock. The remainder could be then spent on a third carrier, giving T45s all the toys they are missing, some carrier aircraft………

  5. x

    I have never really like IFR. Too little reading. And I hate the design which often sees text laid out across double spread photos.

    I was subscriber to Warship World for a long while. Then after leaving Sea Cadets I didn’t want to be reminded of things naval so I didn’t renew my subscription.

  6. A lot of what Warships IFR says needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt, e.g. OV10X Broncos being considered for use with the Adelaides. What nonsense!
    The Adelaides are not aircraft carriers and only cost about the same as a modern frigate (less than half the price of a Type 45). Incidently, there are no current plans to use the F35s with these ships.

    If it wasn’t for the obsession with CVF, the RN could have had 4 ships like this (or better, e.g. Cavour) in the fleet, as well as additional Type 45s/Type 26s and Astutes. That they refused to accept any alternative will probably prove to be a mistake of historic proportions.

    • x

      To be honest the RN has only really operated one carrier for a long while. The one in deep refit was in real deep! And the second was only nominally available with crew and important bits of kit “missing.” Even back in the ’70s the old fixed wing carriers took a heavy toll on RN manning. And I believe I am right in saying that back in those days carriers weren’t a favourite draft for fresh out of the box new entrants…..

      So we would have struggle to man (person?) so to fully utilise 4 of the lovely, wonderful Cavour (ciao bella!) in a similar cycle to which the USN uses their carriers.
      Through life costs have to be considered too. For the moment forget the sizes of CVF and Cavour just think about the bits, the GTs, the RADARs, sensors, the systems, etc. Thought about in those terms you will see there is nothing much different between the vessels. Yes I grant you CVF will have a more modern design for its principle engineering fit. But by the same token if you look at what Cavour you will see she is in some ways more complex than CVF, especially weapons fit. Now if you think about size you will see that what really separates CVF from Cavour isn’t anything technical, but just more cable, sheet metal, and pipework. Of course the matter of the traps and cats complicates that picture slightly but not by much.

      As for more T45s and Astutes that is more about political will as I outlined above; we could easily buy another much needed pair of T45s and Astute 8 (to fill the V-boat replacement gap.) I would rather have spent the design and concept money for T26, some £126million I believe, giving the Darings all the bits and pieces they are missing; a proper sonar, the ability to operate Merlin at night, a CIWS, a shipborne torpedo system (Yes! Why not? :) ) and perhaps even a ASM. As for T26 well we could do one of three things; buy FREMM (Aster and Merlin capable,) buy Absalon (we could buy 2 for every FREMM and it is Merlin capable,) and lastly dust off T23’s blue prints and give them to talented architect like Stephen Payne to “breath on.”

      Adelaides are better ship than the Mistral. Shame the idea of the mini-LHD wasn’t about at the time the UK started to look at building Albion/Bulwark. Oh well……

  7. x

    And how do you come up with 11 destroyers? 11?

  8. chriss

    I must say, as not being an expert, but 13 years of labour, and the royal navy [as others] suffered badly, the conservatives spent all that time with [clegg] running them down and demanding more-better, for the forces, they promised to withdraw from he ECHR and a referendum on Europe, but as soon as they got to power , the referendum disappeared, the ECHR was forgotten, and the forces were and are being destroyed, how soon did we all forget there promises, that amounted to nothing, the defence minister, who joined SAVE THE ROYL NAVY , has done what, nothing, but added to the destruction, and yet UKIP has not really budged on its promise as you read above ,,what they would retain for the navy, perhaps those who believed the media-papers-crappy politicians, are now thinking what a fool you may have been, I said at the time to give UKIP a chance, well perhaps now you may be thinking , perhaps we laugh to soon, this government has made the UK a laughing stock of the world, the military are also disappearing faster than crumbs of a table, perhaps if we ever get another chance at an election [if we have not been sold to Europe] you may yet get another chance , watching what is happening to the British military, im hoping that next time, people will just consider giving them a chance, then perhaps we can have a navy to be proud of, instead of hiding in embarrassment while others laugh, just a thought .

    • x

      Hello chriss!

      I don’t know if your reply was directed at my “11?” comment or not. But just in case it was I will explain.

      Naval ships are operated in cycles. A ship can be deployed, training to be deployed which is called “working up”, what I will term “alongside” (either returned from deployment or in self-refit or oddly these not on ops,) and finally in refit (out of the water, big bit missing, holes in the side, being painted, having equipment installed, etc. etc. and so on.) So to keep one ship on station means more than one hull. The minimum number of hulls for a front line task to be maintained unsurprisingly is three. Submarines which are very complicated are best bough in units of 4; by the time number 4 is in the water, number 1 will be ready for a good refit. Sometimes even 5 hulls are need. The USN says to maintain one carrier forward it needs 5. When Polaris was purchased such was the complexity of the design it was intended to purchase 5 so that a 24 hour, 365 day a year patrol could be maintained. 11 being prime doesn’t have either 3 or 4 as factors. If UKIP had said we 12 destroyers it would have sounded more credulous. 11 just sounds like a random number, selected without thought to a ship’s operating cycle, and so debases the whole document.

      BTW I am UKIP voter.

      • James Daly

        People seem to forget that hull numbers really do matter. Aside from all the rubbish about the T45’s being the ‘most capable warships afloat’ (notice how every warship nowadays is routinely given that title), the inference is that they are so good then can do the jobs of 2 or 3 T42’s. Which really isn’t true is it – one hull represents a ‘one hit and gone’ scenario. Whereas with 2 or 3 T42s, if one was hit – ie, Sheffield – you still have Coventry and Glasgow there. Conventional wisdom is that you need at least 3 ships to keep one active, preferably 4. 6 Type 45’s suggests that we would be doing well to have 2 working at any one time.

        x’s observations about deployment cycles – what the army might call roulements – is spot on. Living in a dockyard town I see everyday the work that goes on to get ships ready for deployment, and then sort them out when they get back again. The importance of refits, operational sea training etc should not be underestimated.

  9. criss

    hi [x]
    I understand what you say, perhaps they were as you say number picking, I just don’t like governments or opposition patties that spend their time condemning others, to what they fully intended to do them selves, they seem to rule the place, instead of running it for the country, 99%-
    say one thing, , and they go of and do the exact opposite, the truth is [I think] we the British people have to make a decision, if we want a bigger stronger military, or a reduced coastal military, the government cons’ us into thinking we are a world leader, but in fact a smaller military than some European countries, and getting smaller, but giving the impression that we can deal with all comers, when in fact we cant even deal with a Libyan leader,
    all the TV radio and newspapers giving the impression that the RAF was doing this, the RAF was doing that, but all the time only [4] RAF planes were there, the same with subs, the astute may be good, but not that good, and we end up with les and less,
    I agree that we have high end power, but we get less and fewer as time goes on, very soon we are not going to be able to defend ourselves, let alone others,
    the worlds best destroyers [according to British government] we have [6] and not even armed, astute subs, again reported by the m.o.d. to be the best, we get [7] if we are lucky, more frigates being scrapped, but no new ones on order, harriers scrapped, tornadoes on the way out, and we will be left with about 70 give and take, Euro fighters, probable the worlds most expensive white elephant, incompetence on top of incompetence’s, it seems to be getting worse not better, labour failed, condemns failed, now the conservatives/pact, seems to be failing, perhaps if UKIP strengthened its hand now, she might stand a chance later on, give the British people what they want in part, referendum on, 1, erope-2, ECHR-
    3, immigration, is it really to much to ask ???

    • x

      Well you seem to have a grasp on the state of things!

      As James as said the most active unit in any conflict is the RAF’s PR department. The raid on Libya from Norfolk was more a demonstration of how far we have fallen not how well we can project power.

      I think what upsets me greatly is that in terms of RN spending we really do “spoil the ship for a hapeth of tar.” You mention Daring be umarmed. Well now SeaViper is working the Darings are capable of fulfilling their primary role of area air defence. But missing a proper sonar (say £20 million per ship) and away of fighting submarines (either torpedoes, say £5m per ship, or Merlin ASW which means another million per ship) it will always need to be escorted. SeaViper on paper is brilliant, but like all complex IT systems can’t be trusted not to crash so Darings should be fitted with a CIWS; they are fitted for, but not with Phalanx, but Phalanx’s update brother Sea RAM costs only £5m per copy (£10million per ship. So for £216million pound or 3 Eurofighters(!) Britain’s superships are capable but very, very flawed. It may sound a lot £216million but in terms of the whole project and if not a jump in capability at least protecting what we have bought it is a tiny amount. (Darings don’t have NBC defences either I wouldn’t like to guess how that could be rectified.) Then again this is from the MoD(N) that leased the Rivers without flightdecks, built Astute without VLS tubes for TLAM, doesn’t think Merlin needs an ASM (even though since GW1 states that didn’t have the capability went and got it; mainly because they were impressed with how well Lynx and Sea Skua did!)

      So you are preaching to the choir my friend!! :)

      Bonkers. If I were twenty years younger I would be bogging off to New Zealand or Canada…….

      • James Daly

        The Darings are a paper tiger in many ways I feel. No anti-surface weapons as yet (could the Harpoons be fitted from the decomissioned T22’s?), no sonar and no ASW. 2nd rate CIWS. Nothing compared to the Arleigh Burkes. The potential is there with a few upgrades, which sadly we cannot afford.

        • x

          I don’t count the human controlled guns as even second rate CIWS.

          In theory Sea Viper is a whole generation ahead of Aegis. But I think we would have been better off with a dozen De Zeven Provinciën class with all the toys. One Sea Viper might be able to subdue a saturation attack better than any other comparable system. But I think two Aegis or two DZPs would do just as well. What ever happened to spreading weapons around hulls? A UK DZP working as part of a carrier group would (hopefully) a good battle space picture thanks to the organic airborne ASaC asset which would reduce the “surprise” factor. We shouldn’t have gone with the French; why was working with our primary maritime European ally (and Europe’s biggest and stablest economy too) discounted by HMG?

          • James Daly

            I like the De Zeven Provincien class a lot. As far as I can see they are far superior to the T45. There are some other good examples of Aegis platforms out there too.

            I too question this sudden military alliance with the French. I think it would make much more sense to build EU based defence around framework nations – say take one of the larger countries, then cluster around them where it makes geographical or cultural sense. The UK-Netherlands amphibious link-up has been a great example. And during the Cold War we had Dutch, Belgian and German units under command.

            Not only that but, with all due respect, some countries have very different military cultures… some fight, and some run away…

            • x

              EU anything defence wise is a none starter. The Italians may be playing now off the coast of Libya but at the very start where were they? Look also how Germany have opted out of Libya. How can a EU military alliance work? More to the point how can an EU super state work?

  10. criss

    Hi [x]
    you put it perfectly, we do have problems, if we are going to buy something, if we don’t have all the equipment then it takes the shine of it,
    i have noticed some people saying that to fill the empty [carrier gap] we should [now] buy /and do a deal with the Americans to obtain a carrier, with full complement of F18 I think that’s right, , as this would serve its purpose give us back a carrier and sea born planes, but more importantly it will help to train up servicemen to operate a bigger carrier, ready for the Elizabeth when it gets here, perhaps we should leave well alone,, or go for it, might give us some pride back ???

    • x

      To be honest I don’t know what to do about the carrier gap. F35 is rapidly turning into another money pit. Not sure if buying SuperHornet is right either; I know its not but I see Hornet and think yesterday’s tech’. Talk of turning T3 Typhoons into Sea Typhoons seems the height of stupidity as it means handing more money to an organisation that has failed to deliver. How many more years of testing would it require to get flying right? Buying Rafael M to my mind is the best option as long as the MoD and the services don’t mess about with the design requiring yet more testing. CVF should be “tweaked” to fit Rafael M and not the other way around; saying that you could certainly bet if that route was taken the specifications of ‘plane and ship would diverge and then need some reconciling! In WW2 British air power went from Swordfish and Gladiator to Metor in 6 years; yet I doubt we could set a production line for Rafael M running in that time. Perhaps we should just build the ships, try to limit costs by letting the French and the US use their aeroplanes from our decks (much the same has gone on since FAA lost SHAR and JFH has been busy in Afghanistan) and wait to see what comes of X-47b and BAE Taranis?

      Sometimes I have even more radical thoughts about forgetting fixed wing altogether. I see a modified CVF fitted with SeaViper (imagine the greatly increased RADAR horizon with Sampson so high,) a hanger built for’ard at current flight deck level taking up about half the deck area, leaving a flight deck aft (with a secondary flight deck on the hanger roof,) VLS silos placed for’ard (there would be enough space for 100 missiles or more including Aster 15, Aster 30, and a cruise missile preferably TLAM,) and the current designated hanger space modified as accommodation for a commando and a hospital (the current lift spaces would give lots of options for troop and casualty movements.) For an air group I would use Merlin in its various forms. There would easily be enough space for a sea control group of say 12 ASW Merlin (fitted for and with a large ASM) and 4 + 2 of a Merlin ASaC variant. If needed 12 Merlin HC could take place of the ASW variants. I won’t babble on about buying BrahMos missiles as I am already way off the reservation……..

    • John Erickson

      I’m not sure if the US Navy would be willing to let a carrier go – it depends on which group of idiots would be in power, and how badly our Navy could screw yours! ;) Super Hornet is actually a pretty good bird, with plenty of upgrade life. The cat-launch F-35C is doing okay (getting expensive, but not horrifically so – YET), the STOVL F-35B is barely one step ahead of the headman’s axe. I think the UK could do well with F-18 E/F flying off France’s carrier as an interim. I think STOVL will die on this side of the pond, and be far too expensive for y’all.
      Can I throw out a weird idea? What about a CVL? Where the F-18 can go fighter or attack, why not a ship about half the size of a US supercarrier, with say 30 Hornets plus assorted E2/C2 and helos? Or am I just stuck too deeply in World War 2? :)

      • x

        As I said I know Super Hornet isn’t the old Hornet; I just see it that way!! :)

        F35c is climbing in cost. Rafael M isn’t cheap either. And I never ever use the dollar-pound exchange rate because it seems we always buy “whatever” for the same number of pounds as dollars. Um. I will try again on that! If the ticket says $70million you bet we will buy it for £70million……..

        I sometimes have wild ideas about container ship based carriers. That isn’t to say using a containerised system but using the same weights and loads to build modules within frames. Google Maersk Triple-E………

        • John Erickson

          No worries, X, I knew what you meant with the prices! (I never understood why the UK would pay a higher price than quoted.)
          I know the US Army is toying with container-based C3/C4 systems. They were also working on a system called N-LOS (sort of a VLS on land) that packed neatly into containers, had their own integral fire-control, and set up in minutes – but it got the hatchet some months ago. I have to dig a little more on the AV-8B’s future, since F-35B is SUPPOSED to be the replacement but is getting pushed back. F-35C is indeed going up in price (as is the A, though less quickly), though much more slowly than B, and SecDef Gates is trying his darndest to kill the B altogether.
          I’m about ready to chuck it all and move to Switzerland, and just be neutral. All this defence talk is making my head hurt (worse)! :D

          • x

            When the idea of using container ships comes up people just seem to think keeping stuff (and people probably) in containers. When most people who proffer the idea are really talking about using a giant floating box stressed to take modules of 20tons in a random loading (that is in the weight not the order they are placed onboard the ships.) That is to say build discrete structures within the hull frames.

            If memory serves it takes 70 containers (basic TEU) of kit to serve one plane……

          • John Erickson

            Sorry, X, I didn’t make myself clear. The C4 structure is to be used as is, with chairs, lights, and everything. Drop the box where you need it, open the door, hook up power (one design had an integral generator) and start working. There’s also experiments going on for a UCAV control centre in a box. And the containers are now the hottest thing in chic housing – weld a couple together and use them as a house! Basically an armoured version of that US staple, the mobile home (which usually isn’t)! ;)

            • x

              Hello John!!

              Yes lots of stuff is being made now in ISO standard containers. You (well countries!) can even buy armo(u)red containers.

              What I am saying though that is the wrong approach if you want to convert a container ship into a warship. Use the 40ft width and the loadings of the containers as the overall dimensions to build inside. Using containers would be too limiting. Fill the voids with empty shipping containers (perhaps themselves filled with empty oil drums.) These spaces would be just plated over and so if more space was needed they could be opened up and the containers removed.

            • John Erickson

              Okay, I understand now. Shoot, you could design stuff to fit with two containers’ worth on every side. Then put in armoured containers full of sealed water or oil drums – armour AND shock protection! Plus the spare room you mentioned. Good idea, X!

              • x

                Yes. Can you imagine how complicated it would be making everything fit together if container modules were used? What if you needed a space to run athwarthsips? Or a pipe needed to go I don’t diagonally across several containers? Better just to build everything into a 40ft wide big box. Of course the other benefit is that you would have none of this making stuff to fit a ship business which always adds on to the cost of the work. It would be more akin to fitting out an office block. Using those big dock yard cranes perhaps the modules could be pre-assembled shoreside and fitted out using the system found in modern cruise liners where cabins come ready built from a factory and just slid into place.

                • James Daly

                  I notice there’s been a lot on ThinkDefence recently about containers. If all the ifs and buts can be addressed it seems to make sense to me. Surely its the next logical step – after all, could anyone have imagined 50 years ago that 60,000 ton carriers would be built in sections in six places around Britain then bolted together?

  11. Or, perhaps more realistically…. (as if we could run a US size carrier)

    Since LUSTY will be in service until 2014, and QUEEN ELIZABETH after that… (see http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/431997-decision-axe-harrier-bonkers-26.html#post6361901)

    Offer the US Marine Corps the chance to embark their Harriers for a couple of perios a year, where they don’t have to play second fiddle to helos, in exchange for a lease of a dozen or so AV8B+s.

    AV8B+ has a radar (unlike Harrier GR9), Beyond Visual Range missiles (AMRAMM, and a cannon. It would be great! We’ get many of the advanced capabilities we lost with the dear old Sea Harrier.

    • x

      Yes that is an idea. Lend the USMC Lusty and perhaps Daring, a T23, and a Wave (and a Fort? Do we have a spare one of those? ;) ) for a year or two as a mini-marine strike group…..

  12. And in the SUN today:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/3532222/750m-Harriers-idle-as-Top-Guns-struggle-in-Libya.html

    Personally I think there is potential in the idea of leasing back AV8B+s in a quid pro quo arrangement in exchange for letting the USC embark en masse AND letting them access some (sadly redundant) GR9s for training/spares.

    Write to your MP….

    • x

      My MP is a slippery LieBore twonk.

      It will be interesting to see the pro-RAF lobby ridicule the cost of £40million. They have gotten quite vocal recently.

    • James Daly

      My MP – a naval reservist no less – seems more interested with the width of seats on commuter trains.

  13. [Resists comments abou fat bums....] DOH!

    If you write to hr, she hasn’t got a choice but investigate the issues…

    See also http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/431997-decision-axe-harrier-bonkers-33.html

    • x

      I have had a read. But it is just another RAF bashing RN tirade of the “look now RN is moaning again which is good because the public aren’t evaluating how sh*t we are” type.

      The reason why fixed naval aviation is in the position it is in is because successive generations of air staff have managed to convince successive governments that land based air is the way to go. The fact that is apart from during the Cold War the RAF was a force in being it hasn’t done much since WW2. And when it has it has been sitting on American coat tails. For me the pro-RAF crowd seem to think the lack of a proper fixed wing FAA capability equates to the latter being a poor or under performing option. But how can you base your argument on saying one thing is good because the alternative doesn’t exist? If the Labour government hadn’t cancelled CVA in the 1960s and FAA fixed wing had continued then there would be a basis for a comparison.

      Then there is that other half truth. As soon as CVA cancelled the FAA started to widn down and became dependent on RAF pilots to fill squadron slots. This is touted by many pro-RAF pundits as proof that the RN always depended on the RAF to get stuff done. And this is a patent lie. If naval fixed wing had continued with CVA then FAA pilots would have been recruited too with no need to draw on the RAF. Pro-RAF bods have a near Soviet-esque skill at reconstructing history to suit themselves.

      I am waiting them soon to start touting themselves as strategic power projector. Or will that be a return to strategic power projection? Popping off to the other side of Europe with a few A-bombs makes you a regional power projector. Being able to saddle up and go across to the other side of the world makes you a strategic power.

  14. x

    Re Containers

    The new Triple-E’s will be too big for American container ports. That astounded me. They also are twin screw which for military purposes would be a boon for survivability (float, move, fight.) Though how dependent they are for steerage on the screws I don’t know.

    There are reasons why warships are designed the way they are. But I don’t if there isn’t an opportunity being missed to think a little outside the box. Yes it is good Daring can do a tight figure of 8 so quickly the foam from prop wash is still clearly visible. But really is that any use against a supersonic ASM? Part of me sincerely believes in basic naval warfare principles; a big gun, speed, endurance, etc. etc. But perhaps to protect CVF in the most economical way a missile system like ESSM installed on a cheap biggish hull able to soak up damage and also mount a simple ASR up high is the way to go. You can’t hide a carrier, so need for stealth. If the Stark and Sheffield can float after an Exocet or two something larger that is nothing more than an empty box should be able to float too. And these big modern containers ships are economic too.

    • John Erickson

      X, you have SO got to set up that SpringSharp program! While it doesn’t address maneuverability in things such as your weaving example with Daring, it will show you the seaworthiness of a hull, the effect of hull shape on speed, and relationship of size and shape to recoil absorption. Yes, it doesn’t do missiles, but it’s a great learning tool.
      As to the container warships, I was thinking of the containers with liquid-filled drums being like a WW2 torpedo defence system (TDS). The drums absorb the energy, the sealed containers contain surplus flotation as well as space to spread the explosive shock wave.
      Then again, having studied WW2 tech for 35 years, I’m kinda biased to a big armoured ship. Can’t stand these consarn young whipper-snappers with all their fancy missiles and doodads! :D

      • x

        I don’t know about liquid filled containers……

        Lets say you had a stack of containers filled as I said with empty oil drums. And this stack was fixed in. An ASM comes in through the side. Lets leave aside how far it penetrates as I am only really interested in the explosion. And as a conceit I will let it explode exactly in the middle of a drum. The steal obviously won’t contain the blast but will be carried away on the blast. The surrounding drums exert pressure both laterally and longitudinally, but there movement is constrained by the container which is constrained by the containers above and below and to the side. (I am thinking of TEUs) These containers are strengthened by their own drums. Remember the cylinder is a good shape for conveying force away both vertically and horizontally. I am not trying to armour the ship, more slow the explosion, and provide some mechanism to prevent free surface movement. Um I think actually strengthening the containers by welding in the drums and double welding the containers’ seams would be a mistake. To dissipate force you need for it go somewhere and not give it something to act on. Perhaps I would loosely strap the containers into place to stop the floating away if the hull was breached.

        What I am driving at is just because you have space there is no fill it. And on the whole I am envisioning a ship when the hydrodynamic elements (hull and engines) are separate from weapon systems and “hotel services.” Not a ship for independent action but one that would always move as part of a group. The weapon sensor fit may not be more than that of a frigate. But imagine having the space to operate say a Chinook or two with ease? Or being able to deploy something like MLRS but without the complication of shrinking, bending, and fettling it to fit into a ship? (It wouldn’t be too difficult to design a stabilised pad for a MLRS launcher. Drive it on. Strap it down and shoot.) It is all about space……

      • John Erickson

        X, I was looking at the drums being liquid-filled (to act as armour) but not so tightly sealed that they don’t fail under impact. A “containerised” variation of the Pugilese TDS used on WW2 Italian ships. Yeah, it didn’t work anywhere NEAR as well as the Italians thought it would, but this would be a “kit-bash” form of both above and below waterline protection. Probably not sealed container units – as you said, you’d want them to fail to absorb the energy.
        Bear in mind, I’m a landlubber. The biggest boat I’ve ever piloted is a 2-man canoe. So be gentle! :D

        • x

          I hear you John. I have thought about all sorts of stuff being used in the containers and drums. Filling the drums with with foam. Filling the spaces around the drums with foam. Doing that but leaving the drums empty. Filling the middle slice of a drum with a slab of reinforced concrete. Lining the walls of the container with concrete. Putting aggregate into the foam in the various configurations above. All the concrete isn’t about “armour” more about slowing the missile down and slowing explosions down too. And not filling the container to its maximum loading either, but leaving lots of reserve buoyancy.

        • John Erickson

          Well, I’ll give you a warning on the foam. Do you watch Top Gear? Remember the amphibious cars they built? Jeremy and Richard foamed their engine compartments. The expanding foam BURNS, and does so with highly toxic smoke. Great idea, though I’d suggest something even stranger – ping pong balls in concrete. The balls give you buoyancy, the concrete acts as fireproof armour, AND absorbs energy as it fractures. Fill drums 3/4 full of this, or 1/3 at top and 1/3 at bottom of the drums? We’ll figure this out yet! :D

          • x

            Um. I am assuming the foam is of the flame retardant type…..

            Now I know that ping balls had been used in salvage work. But I hadn’t thought of them mixed into concrete/cement for this.

  15. You can containerise weapons without any real difficulty – the difficulty is in providing the command/control, with various radars, sonars, electronic warfare equipment, and integrating it to work.

    Then there is the human aspect…

    • x

      Yes true. But as I said above I am not on about stuffing things into containers in the ways the Danes do. I am talking about using the container ship as a big empty box. And then building appropriate structures in between the hull frames. As for systems integration I have been talking about using existing proven systems from established designs.

      I am not sure what you mean by the human aspect…..

    • John Erickson

      I would think your added-in weapon system would need some accommodation facilities. Container ships tend to be rather thinly crewed, no?

      • x

        Well I said I am not about putting things into containers and dropping them into a ship to make some sort of Lego warship. What I am on about is constructing modules that fit within hull frames.
        So for accommodation there would be accommodation modules! The advantage to using a large hull is that this accommodation could be spread around at distances greater than the lengths of most modern escorts. Ideally I see 4 modules for both officers and ratings 2 on each beam all with at least two frames separating them. As a guide HMS Ocean has a crew of 285 with an air group of about 200. One of the reasons why naval crews is large is for damage control; especially for fire fighting. Spreading “stuff” around in a large hull would allow fires to be tackled from multiple directions. A big hull would allow space for bigger pumps (as long as they don’t eat far too into the budget, big pumps are expensive) tanks of foam, large hose reels to allow water and foam to be transported around the hull avoiding damaged pipework. By having widely separated modules smoke will not be able to move through ship displacing the crew. Redundancy of equipment, bigger equipment, and being able to space out equipment, crew etc. to protect them would all help in damage control.

      • John Erickson

        Be sure to train a large part of your crew in fighting aviation fires. Otherwise, you get what happened on USS Oriskany off ‘Nam – all the fire crew in the front line, a bomb cooks off, and now you have no fire crew. (I’m sure you knew that, X, this is more for the spectators gallery. :) )

        • x

          Good point. That is why I believe in lots of space. One of things I like about the Zumwalts is that the VLS silos follow the perimeter of the 1/01 deck. Though I know the silos are proofed for sympathetic detonation I can’t help thinking if one missile went and then another etc. it would be like a giant can opener.

          I see this sort of vessel more as an auxiliary or “commercial standards” warship in the mould of HMS Ocean. If one of Maersk’s Triple-E’s cost $190million, a ship like Cunard’s Queen Victoria about $440million (a lot of steel there, think of this as the cost of pumps, pipes, etc.) and the combat systems off one of the “cheap” Eurofrigates say $250million you are looking at a very big ship for the price of a Burke (probably a bit less.)

        • John Erickson

          I’m gonna concentrate my replies here, I’m getting squished up above.
          Sorry about the foam/fire thing, X. I should’ve known you’d know better.
          Not sure how the RN works, but a large part of US Navy cost is everything has to be “mil-spec” to be used, and the certification process is long and expensive. I read something years ago that a CG Cutter, if using off-the-shelf parts (except for weapons, obviously), could be brought in for something like 60% the cost – and that most of the parts would meet or exceed mil-spec, but hadn’t been run through the certification. If you could avoid the mil-spec costs (make the ship an RN auxiliary like you mentioned?), you could get a LOT of ship and bang for the buck … er … pound. (Or am I all wet again? :D)

          • x

            There are very good reasons why something have to be “milspec;” explosive shock, electrical hardening, etc. But I am sure there are items where the heavy duty civilian equivalent would work just as well and be cheaper because it hasn’t been tested to death. In times past things were specially made for the military because they needed to be survive the rigour of the battlefield. But they were expensive because the techniques needed to produce the items (and the materials they were made of) were expensive. But modern production methods mean that high quality equipment (and materials) can be produced far, far more easily and so reducing cost. Um. Something that took a skilled machinist a day to produce can not be produced in a few hours thanks to CAM. Exotic materials that had to be produced “by hand” now can produce much more easily due to electronic sensors, timers etc. without much human intervention. Even common steels today are of much higher quality than the specialist steels of a few decades past.

            The UK is very guilty of reinventing the wheel. We don’t have the industrial and technological base we once had but “we” still behave so. So for example “we” custom build an air defence destroyer from the bottom up. Instead of doing as the Dutch and Germans have done and go and buy the necessary substsyems and then blend them into a whole. Consequently not only have the Dutch nearly as many AAW destroyers as we do (a much larger economy) but their ships have all the modern equipment (CIWS to SONAR) that are destroyers are missing. The British Army has a requirement for an 8×8 vehicle. Does the MoD(N) go to the various manufacturers of these vehicles and pick the best price/best fit for UK needs? No. It spends enough money to equip a brigade with off the shelf vehicles in testing for ideals it won’t every reach.

          • John Erickson

            No worries, X, I do indeed understand the reason for mil-specing items. I was just thinking of the lower costs for your container-ship/warship if you could get around that.
            As to shopping around, I wish the US would do more of that. The Stryker is a European design, and it has served our infantry well. Its’ only failings were due to misuse – putting it up against threats it was never built to handle. Unfortunately, we’re more pig-headed about “buy and build at home” than you British folk, so I don’t see much hope. With the costs and problems our LCS program is suffering, maybe the Dutch DZP would’ve been smarter!

  16. x

    Well as much as like the idea of a “container-war-ship” it really is a flight fancy. I don’t think many navy commanders would want a ship they couldn’t throw around like a sports car. The Nimitiz class are quite punchy for their size; though whether 100,000 tonner is a manoeuvrable enough to avoid a super sonic ASM is question I hope which never has a definitive answer. Um. But to be trusted with millions of pounds worth of cargo those ships have to be safe sea boat. Unlike a large bulk carrier they can’t rely on their mass to keep them in the water.

    Further I think the idea of such a large ship not being filled with “stuff” would be a difficult idea for some, many, to get their minds round. Um. An air group of 12 ASW helicopters, 6 ASaC helicopters, and 12 Harriers would barely “fill” a hull larger than a Nimitz (the latter’s air group consists of 80 very large airframes.) Of course my container ships would cost less than a quarter of a Nimitz and would have different roles. I think there is a gap for a suitable ship for operating the larger helicopters such as Chinook, Ch53x, and Osprey.

    • John Erickson

      I think the San Antonios are supposed to fill the “large helo” carrier concept. I could see rigging up a large module that could be dropped into a VLCC to function as a close-to-home back up carrier,for non-military purposes like the relief efforts in Haiti, NZ, and Japan. That way you could keep dedicated combat ships where you need them for warfighting, while being able to respond to humanitarian crises with heavy military-style assets. Keeping them for non-combat purposes would make them an easier sell, to your point of maneuver.
      But then again, I’m weird. One of my favourite ship-types were the grain and liquid carrying freighters in WW2 they slapped a flight deck on to protect convoys from submarines. Not as insane as shooting a land-based hurricane off a catapult! :D

  17. x

    Oh yes LCS. Sorry I can’t comment that because I don’t get the idea at all. Nelson said never set a ship against a fort and I think the great man as always is right. The idea of a land attack frigate is silly.

    • John Erickson

      Don’t worry, you’re not alone on LCS. I was on a board with ex-Navy (US) guys. Most of ‘em LOVE the idea of LCS. I kept warning about the failure of modules, as they have repeatedly in testing, or the lunacy of having to drop out of battle, run to base to grab the RIGHT module, then run back to complete the battle. To me, it’s the living breathing example of “jack of all trades, master of none”. And ONE 57mm gun armament when one of the key scenarios is a small boat swarm? No, thank you! Actually, there are rumblings out on the Net (among us armchair admirals) of a limited return to gun-armed ships, thinking of a DD-size with 2 turrets, 1 fore & 1 aft, plus heavier CIWS (30mm Goalkeeper) or secondary Bushmaster 25mm (from LAV and Bradley IFVs), plus VLS. That would make more sense for swarm defence, but the US Navy isn’t talking about it …. yet.

      • x

        I think the Danish StanFlex system is damned clever but as you say it is flawed idea. It may work for a coast guard vessel if you wanted a pollution control module which 99% of the time you wouldn’t need. Or perhaps decompression chamber or perhaps hydrographic duties in coastal waters. But in a war scenario? Would you want to hunt mines in a non-sepcialised ship? How do you pick which module? I am only going to fight submarines today? Would you want to go hunting for a modern SSK using a module in a shipping container? I wouldn’t. So you are restricted to surface (and limited air warfare) warfare so you might as well build them into the hull from the start.

        As for swarm attacks well hopefully the RADAR would be able to pick out the targets before they came too close in. Then there are passive sensor like electro-optical wonder gadgets. Using modern air-burst munitions I think the 57mm would be good for these small targets. But you are correct there needs to be two mounts or more. Surely the designers of the Independence could have found some space on each beam for a mount?

      • John Erickson

        Don’t quote me, but I believe there’s talk of hand-operated 25mm Bushmasters, basically strapped to the rail (yeah, better than that, but no power mounts or turrets). I know the General Dynamics model has a 50-cal at each rear corner, in squared-off guntubs – that’s their secondary. Even hand-held 25mm seems kinda lame, but supposedly there’s a small-boat module that “takes care of that” (I think it carries a large number of small missiles, as opposed to guns, but the stats haven’t been released yet). It’s just the specs seem strangely anemic to me, when one of the original design scenarios was specifically close-to-shore interdiction of Iranian-style RPG-armed speedboats. The supporters claim the helo complement will make up for the lack of guns, but helos take time to launch, and in littorals, you can have terrain (off-shore islands or coves) to reduce detection range. (Which, of course, you already know, X. I’m writing out my thoughts to make sure I’m not missing something painfully obvious! :) )
        Hey, if all else fails, there are several late-WW2 destroyers in museums, right down to the twin 5″/38s. Suppose we could activate them if need be? :D

        • x

          You have to out range 50cal or Russian 14.7mm I suppose. And the next weapon family up then are the 20mm weapons….

          I suppose we could ask how often such an engagement would occur.

          And I suppose the helicopters would be in the air if the ship was approaching a choke point.

          The weather would have to be good too. The Gulf like most little seas isn’t always a mill pond.

          More questions than answers……

  18. Surely a 25mm weapon needs to be stabilised if its to have a chance of hiting anything?

    • John Erickson

      WEBF- I haven’t heard mention of specifically how the mounts are to be laid out, but from what people were saying, it sounds a lot like the 20mm Oerlikon mounts from WW2 – basically, a glorified pedestal stand. No hydraulic power, no turret was specified. I know the Bushmaster is a “chain gun”, cycling electrically, so they have to provide juice to fire it – maybe some combination of electric motors and gyroscopes? I’ll nose around and see if I can find any more details.
      And, to all of you out there, Happy Easter! :D

      • James Daly

        All this talk of low tech guns takes me back to the days of New Wars. Can’t see the admirals buying into it tho, it doesn’t fit into their policy of finding the most expensive and most techy solution to any problem

        • x

          During WW2 the lack of powered mounts in RN ships was one of “our” major failings.

        • John Erickson

          There’s been a fair amount of talk about ship-board guns, in light of the Somalia pirates. Everybody seems to want a return to the armed merchant ships, as well as the Liberty and Victory ships from WW2. Not sure how supportive our Navy brass will be. Bear in mind, though, that our Navy assumes the turret in front is your “gun weapon system”; everything else is considered small arms, even 50-cals on the rails! So a “bolt-on” 50-cal or even 20mm/25mm would not count for needing power aim or traverse. Strange, but you know how us Yanks like to be different! :D

          • James Daly

            The post-1982 decisions about NGFS are interesting. Prior to the Falklands an all missile navy was on the cards. Yet after the Falklands classes were hurriedly redesigned with 4.5ins for bombardment and CIWS for anti-air. An example of a navy reacting to lessons, yet modern navies refuse to rethink on events such as the USS Cole incident.

            • x

              But as Brown points out in The Future British Surface Fleet the amount of shells fired by the Taskforce was tiny. And evidence from Argentine forces suggests that they became inured too it after a few weeks (Bomb Happy perhaps?) And look at how many shots were need at Goose Green to total that one Pucara….

              I am fan of big guns. And I don’t think an escort should go to sea with anything less than 76mm/3in gun. But hand heart I am not sure how much use they actually are in reality. I think multiple CIWS/RWS would be more useful.

              Again I have been thinking about these swarm attacks. Unless the escort was really, really close inshore or in a high traffic area I am not sure that a swarm attack would work. And I think the opportunity to undertake would be few and far between, even in the upper Gulf. Further I don’t think even LCS answers the problem.

              Let say our escort is patrolling 5 nautical miles off shore which would be well within territorial waters of the shore side state. To fire a machine gun with any “accuracy” from a small platform on the sea would require mill pond like conditions. When I say small platform I mean the small open boats that appear in Iranian Republican videos. When I say accuracy I mean holding the machine gun level and steady. Now I don’t think that could be achieved at speeds over 20kts. (I know I can’t map read at those speed in RIB.) Now our frigate is 5nm out which at 20kts is 15 (one five) minutes away. Even at 30kts the frigate would be 10 minutes away. Enough time for the bridge look outs, ops, probably the gun teams already closed up to spot one approaching boat. But surely a swarm infers 10, 20? Surely this would be enough time for firing solutions to be calculated and for fire to be opened. Lets not forget that the escort herself will be moving and could make for open water if needs be. As I mentioned above the CIWS/RWS would probably be my weapon of choice. Remote controlled weaponry does reduce situational awareness; but RADAR controlled gun gives you accuracy that the human can’t deliver. I think even 30 boats wouldn’t be much of a match for an escort with a CIWS/RWS on each beam. And don’t forget I have allowed my escort one big too. ;) If the ship were 15nm out (which would be outside the shoreside state’s territorial waters) I think the chance of a swarm attack succeeding would be even less. Um. Just because I think CIWS/RWS are the answer it doesn’t mean I don’t think there isn’t a need for human-layed cannon or heavy machine guns on the upper deck. Depth of fire is important too.

  19. Or perhaps technology is need to solve problems like firing a wapon mounted on a moving platform and hitting another moving platform?

    • James Daly

      I’m thinking out loud here, but to what extent has the development of naval technology caused a neglect of basic seamanship and skill at arms? Witness the Iranian hostage fiasco. The stats for how many sailors failed their basic fitness test is an eye opener.

      • x

        Young James Daly when did you last go to Navy Days?

        How many Father Famines did you see out and about around Pompey? More than there should be……

        You are right it is an utter disgrace about fitness levels are so low. To my mind you shouldn’t be allowed in a crew if you can’t get through a kidney hatch. I am not going to win any points for political correctness here but the lower deck Wrens are the worst offenders…..

        Seamanship levels are actually quite good. Several ex-cadets who came back to my old unit would quite good at even the more esoteric areas of ropework. But what I think we are seeing now since the Peace Dividend has been cashed is a lack of depth in what I call corporate knowledge. The RN is what a third of the size it was 1980 give or take. I have been watching my Sailor DVD and one of things that struck me was how old everybody was in the video. The Captain was old. The Commander was old too. There were sub-lieutenants too in great numbers and some of them were old. And the killicks, chiefs, and “fleet chiefs” were old too. In today’s navy anybody serving afloat older than about 35 is old. (I know there are some older rating out there but not many.) Actually the RN of Sailor seemed a lot more grown up. I wouldn’t say more professional, but more mature. Um. Can’t think of the word……..

        As for F99 debacle well it should have been an entirely RM affair. RIBs are good for rescues and personnel transfers, they are certainly not a boat to go to war in. If HMG were committed to long term ops in the upper Gulf proper boats should have been purchased for the purposes of “police work.” A dangerous mix of a lack of imagination and a can do (with what we have) attitude from Their Lordships.

        (Me? I would have got representatives from the Indonesian and Pakistani navies to help mark out the Iraqi side of the Shat-al-Arab. I would have placed large non-standard buoys (clear day marks to show which side you were looking at) every 2nm which would have been clearly visible even from a RIB. And at a convenient point where the waterway met the open ocean I would have moored the Sir Galahad (surrounded by barges stack high with containers) to act as a floating base for patrol boats, helicopters, and as sea/air traffic observation platform. Not rocket science really….)

        • James Daly

          It is undoubtedly a problem. While people will say that the service – particularly the RN – is not as active as it used to be, I still think that the ‘healthy mind, healthy body’ adage applies – if you’re carrying a few pounds over, you’re just not on top of your game. Its also called self-pride.

          Remember when Monty instituted daily cross country runs for all ranks? One Colonel presented a doctors certificate stating that he would have a heart attack if he was made to run. Monty asked him to go ahead and get it over and done with so he could find a new Officer!

          At the very least anyone in the forces should be able to run and shoot.

          • x

            The RN prides itself on its damage control prowess. But if a sailor is overweight how can he perform that arduous task? How can he keep himself going through long hours at action stations?

            I often wonder whether the RAF and RN should do more than become range qualified. But soldiering is a perishable skill and I don’t think with such a small navy HMG can afford to send 150 bods off into the wilds during (before) work up for a 4 weeks to a learn a skill set that won’t be used. This is why God created Marines.

            I know the RAF do some work on base security for the OR not in the police or regiment. And I know stations have sangars on perimeters etc. Perhaps they could be trained up a little more, but then I again I don’t suppose the risk makes it worthwhile.

            I do believe infantry soldiers should get an ammunition allowance of a few thousand rounds a year and be encouraged to practice their shooting beyond their training. But as you know I have lots of weird ideas that don’t bare much relation to reality.

  20. The trouble is basic seamanship – what does that mean? Seamanship is generally considered to be ship handling, achoring, mooring, rigging, RASing, boat work and survival equipment. All important things but not “engaging the enemy”!

    Skill at Arms? What arms? The RN has (in the last year) had a complete overhaul of the weapon (by which I don’t mean missiles or 4.5″ gun) training given to its personnel. Neither batter marksmanship nor better seamanship would have prevented the hostages being captured by the Iranians – it was deeper than that and involved failings that went all the way to whitehall. They are being addressed – many lessons were built into the way boarding teams are trained – and certain (not commenting too much) equipment aspects. Not to mention conduct after capture and media awareness stuff. Come to think of it, the media didn’t behave thmselves did they?

    The way recruits aree trained has been looked at: http://www.navynews.co.uk/news/1150-nine-new-commandments-for-trainee-sailors-to-master.aspx

    But, the bottom line is shown by the loss of HMS ARDENT in San Carlos Water on 21 May 1982. Without the right technology (sensors, wapons, communications) a ship will not survive in combat.

    Also – it is unfair to say that the Western Navies did nothing in response to the COLE attack. Close range firepower has been increased (in the RN’s case more GPMGs, Miniguns, and helicopter mounted 0.50 cal Heavy Machine Guns) and a significant level of effort goes into dealing with assymetric threats..

  21. John Erickson

    X- I’m gonna reply here, since (once again) we’re getting margin-crushed. I’m not sure how possible the swarm attack on one ship is, I was just mentioning it since it is one of the LCS design criteria. I absolutely agree with your design thoughts. I’d really like to see the US Navy upsize the CIWS – Goalkeeper, using the same ammo as the GAU-8 in the A-10, is a sweet design. I think 57mm on the LCS is too small, I’d rather see 2×3″ like the 76mm OTO Breda. A 5″ front and 3″ rear would be really good, but logistics rears its’ ugly head. Even just a limited package of 2×3″ and 4x20mm CIWS would be better, since even our DDGs don’t carry more than 2x20mm CIWS.
    And I just do not like the “module” concept of LCS. I foresee a lot of hulls with only one module ever used, in essence becoming permanent fittings. I’d rather have a number of frigates, with specialised versions for AAW, ASW, and MW, than have to bet that the right module can be found and plugged in (with attendant specialist staffing) before I need that LCS wherever.
    Okay, X, now you can show how somebody who knows what they’re talking about would do it! :D

    • x

      I was just carrying on the conversation John don’t worry. :)

      Despite what I said above about the real utility of big guns I can’t see how the USN managed to sell the lovely, but small, 57mm to Congress. A body in times past (better informed times too) that struggled with the idea of VLS and thought the navy wanted to buy ships without weapons……

      I forgot in ramblings above about guided artillery munitions. Perhaps these could be the saving grace for the big gun? Cheaper than missiles, but without the range so only really for fire support missions not really anything covert (another supposed reason for LCS.) But why would you need something other a conventional escort? Today’s frigate designs are stealthy too. Perhaps not as fast as LCS but really is that an issue? 30kts is just as slow as 40kts to an ASM. And surely once the shooting starts……

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