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JohnPJones

How small can the USN go?

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Realistically what’s the smallest the USN could go for a blue water combat vessel and still have it be of use?

could they go with something like a heavy escort corvette, or is the NSC based frigate proposal about as small as they can realistically do?

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If tenders are allowed, then PT boats; or being a bit more modern; the experimental Pegasus hydrofoils.

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I would not want to take a Pegasus out into blue waters in anything besides a calm day. But on simply a technical level, the Cyclone PB is probably as small as you can go, sea worthy wise, if not effective in a fleet engagement.

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as a vessel that can effectively integrate with the rest of the blue water combat fleet.

So would a 3000ton 380ish for long heavy corvette/light frigate be  a vessel that could be useful?

 

plenty of navies have their backbone in vessels like that but how useful to the USN and it’s mission would such a vessel be?

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24 minutes ago, Eisennagel said:

 

A version of this was offered by Thysennkrupp and its Atlas US partner for FFG(X), but was rejected.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valour-class_frigate

 

Could the for the current program I’m sure they’re going for something in the 4000-5000ton range, but if they wanted something even cheaper than the next FFGs to reach the president’s desired fleet size and still have it effectively integrate.

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I would venture about 2,000 tons in a large corvette or smallish frigate.  The problem with this size vessel, for the US is that it would necessarily have a limited crew size, probably not be readily deployable overseas meaning if it were used that way it would have to be stationed there pretty much permanently.

Anything smaller would be difficult to operate in open ocean in most weather conditions.  As a vessel it would have limited capability as a ship and be very dependent on other vessels or air support to deal with anything but basic threats.  It would probably be all but worthless as a task force escort as it would necessarily be limited on sensors and ability to link to other platforms.

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Jutland was fought in 1916. Midway was fought just 26 years later, in 1942. I doubt any of the captains or admirals at Jutland imagined how decisive air power would become in naval warfare within their lifetimes.

The world has not seen anything close to a serious naval war since the Falklands, in 1982 (and that was relatively minor). Anti-ship missiles fired from jet aircraft proved decisive there. That was 36 years ago - the same timespan as between Midway and the Falklands. I doubt Fletcher, Spruance, Nagumo, or Yamamoto could've imagined naval warfare being decided with weapons and platforms that had not even been invented in their time. So, too, predicting what will and what won't be useful in the next war is a total crapshoot. In an age when a barrage of shore-based missile batteries can (probably) take out a carrier battle group, submarines can be seen underwater by satellites in space, and laser weapons are under development, what's useful and what's garbage for the USN for tomorrow's war is anybody's guess.

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2 hours ago, TanakaR said:

Jutland was fought in 1916. Midway was fought just 26 years later, in 1942. I doubt any of the captains or admirals at Jutland imagined how decisive air power would become in naval warfare within their lifetimes.

The world has not seen anything close to a serious naval war since the Falklands, in 1982 (and that was relatively minor). Anti-ship missiles fired from jet aircraft proved decisive there. That was 36 years ago - the same timespan as between Midway and the Falklands. I doubt Fletcher, Spruance, Nagumo, or Yamamoto could've imagined naval warfare being decided with weapons and platforms that had not even been invented in their time. So, too, predicting what will and what won't be useful in the next war is a total crapshoot. In an age when a barrage of shore-based missile batteries can (probably) take out a carrier battle group, submarines can be seen underwater by satellites in space, and laser weapons are under development, what's useful and what's garbage for the USN for tomorrow's war is anybody's guess.

Hahahahahaha, you're funny. :cap_popcorn:

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4 hours ago, TanakaR said:

Jutland was fought in 1916. Midway was fought just 26 years later, in 1942. I doubt any of the captains or admirals at Jutland imagined how decisive air power would become in naval warfare within their lifetimes.

The world has not seen anything close to a serious naval war since the Falklands, in 1982 (and that was relatively minor). Anti-ship missiles fired from jet aircraft proved decisive there. That was 36 years ago - the same timespan as between Midway and the Falklands. I doubt Fletcher, Spruance, Nagumo, or Yamamoto could've imagined naval warfare being decided with weapons and platforms that had not even been invented in their time. So, too, predicting what will and what won't be useful in the next war is a total crapshoot. In an age when a barrage of shore-based missile batteries can (probably) take out a carrier battle group, submarines can be seen underwater by satellites in space, and laser weapons are under development, what's useful and what's garbage for the USN for tomorrow's war is anybody's guess.

Actually, if you look at what the USN was just starting to develop in 1945, almost everything we use today was on the list:

Airborne Early Warning:  Project Cadillac.  That one actually was flying in mid-1945 

AGIES type radar systems:  Project Typhoon.  That one went through a lot of iterations and it took higher power computers to realize.

Guided SAM's:  Project Bumblebee.  That became first Talos, then Terrier, then Tartar which led to the Standard SM series today

Guided ASM's:  The Bat guided bomb, and Gorgon guided missile.  Primitive by today's standards, but a start.

The USAAF was developing the first AAM's at the time (JB 3 Tiamat and the Ryan Firebird).

Several types of early attack drone were being tried... With little success, but the idea was already in place.

Homing torpedoes:  FIDO was already in use.

Sonobuoys existed (AN/CRT 1 to 4), scanning sonar was just coming into use, TWS radar, 3 D radar already were in use or close to it.

So, a lot of what's being used today has its origins in late WW 2.

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5 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

Could the for the current program I’m sure they’re going for something in the 4000-5000ton range, but if they wanted something even cheaper than the next FFGs to reach the president’s desired fleet size and still have it effectively integrate.

 

If they are looking at ships like the FREMM and the Navantia F100, those ships are up to 6000 tons.   The Italian FREMM is even up to 6,700 tons.   If you want to make something out of HII's Legend class cutter, you can be looking at 4500 to 5000 tons.  

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I believe the smallest ships we use are the Avenger class mine warfare vessels.  Something like 1,450 tons.  Not really "blue water" ships, but they do travel the oceans to get to where they are needed.  The LCS's can be as small as 2,543 tons.  I left out the Cyclones, they are in theory just for coastal work and don't recall any of them going anywhere that required crossing the seas.

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3 hours ago, MM2ss said:

I believe the smallest ships we use are the Avenger class mine warfare vessels.  Something like 1,450 tons.  Not really "blue water" ships, but they do travel the oceans to get to where they are needed.  The LCS's can be as small as 2,543 tons.  I left out the Cyclones, they are in theory just for coastal work and don't recall any of them going anywhere that required crossing the seas.

All of them traveled to the Persian Gulf to act as SF taxis.

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Fair enough, I was on a fast attack, didn't worry too much about the Cyclones down there.

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I’m thinking something even smaller than an OHP, but I don’t know if the necessary sensors and weapons can be fitted on a ship that small for it to be of any real use.

Edited by JohnPJones

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On 6/15/2018 at 6:59 AM, JohnPJones said:

I’m thinking something even smaller than an OHP, but I don’t know if the necessary sensors and weapons can be fitted on a ship that small for it to be of any real use.

 

The smallest you can probably cram an 8 cell Mk. 41 is probably a 3000 ton fully loaded frigate.  Take for example, this Naresuan class frigate.  These are Chinese made Type 053 frigates belonging to the Thai navy that were completely refitted with Western equipment.  8 cells of Mk. 41 can still give you 32 ESSMs.  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naresuan-class_frigate

 

Sensors you might be better off sourcing from Europe.  Even radars for the LCS are sourced from Europe, namely SAAB and EADS.   They do have the right size that will fit.

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On ‎6‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 11:40 PM, JohnPJones said:

as a vessel that can effectively integrate with the rest of the blue water combat fleet.

So would a 3000ton 380ish for long heavy corvette/light frigate be  a vessel that could be useful?

 

plenty of navies have their backbone in vessels like that but how useful to the USN and it’s mission would such a vessel be?

The thing is we don't really need ships that integrate well with the rest of the blue water navy, we need ships to do inshore work.  We've got friggin Arleigh Burkes doing anti-piracy patrols which is a huge waste of money, we need little tubs with just a single gun and maybe a helicopter (drones would suffice) for that sort of thing.  any boat would suffice for it, it won't have to endure heavy seas or anything because pirates cant either.

The Navy also needs some NGS ships, as it is the Navy's gunfire capabilities are laughable.  A single battery of 105's can provide more support than the Ticonderoga class.  Maybe stick some 127's on one of them catamaran looking LCS boats, make it shallow enough draught to go up river and project power up waterways.

Once upon a time the Navy knew these were important roles, most of the world's population lives near the coastline, and therefore within range of Naval gunfire.  The true purpose of a blue water Navy is to project power, but you still need to be able to get in close enough to go that last nautical mile so to speak to successfully accomplish this mission.

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31 minutes ago, Danyir_Amore said:

The Navy also needs some NGS ships, as it is the Navy's gunfire capabilities are laughable.  A single battery of 105's can provide more support than the Ticonderoga class.  Maybe stick some 127's on one of them catamaran looking LCS boats, make it shallow enough draught to go up river and project power up waterways.

Here's how you solve this problem: Take this 28m wide (32m beam, eyeballing) and about 40m long (eyeballing) helicopter deck...

1280px-US_Navy_100329-N-1481K-293_USS_In

And park some of these on the deck. You can fit 8 on (2x4) without them affecting each other, unless you mind not being able to shoot across the deck or want to use the hangar to park them in bad weather, in which case I advise 2 or 4.

450px-M777_Light_Towed_Howitzer_1.jpg

It's almost imbecile-proof a concept for operations in relatively calm seas, which means, very predictably, it is beyond the ability of the US military's fetish for herds of white elephants.

Higher wave conditions may require stabilized mountings, in which case I advise using the hangar as a garage for several M109A7s or other self-propelled guns that preferably come with stabilization and fire-on-the-move built in.

Edited by Guardian54

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13 minutes ago, Guardian54 said:

Here's how you solve this problem: Take this 28m wide (32m beam, eyeballing) and about 40m long (eyeballing) helicopter deck...

1280px-US_Navy_100329-N-1481K-293_USS_In

And park some of these on the deck. You can fit 8 on (2x4) without them affecting each other, unless you mind not being able to shoot across the deck or want to use the hangar to park them in bad weather, in which case I advise 2 or 4.

450px-M777_Light_Towed_Howitzer_1.jpg

It's almost imbecile-proof a concept for operations in relatively calm seas, which means, very predictably, it is beyond the ability of the US military's fetish for herds of white elephants.

Higher wave conditions may require stabilized mountings, in which case I advise using the hangar as a garage for several M109A7s or other self-propelled guns that preferably come with stabilization and fire-on-the-move built in.

I'm thinking the 109's would be best since they can traverse and get the best bang for buck with limited space.

Ironically that would give them way more range and Gunfire support that the cruisers, and they could fire the Excalibr which is the already working version of that really expensive navy boondoggle advanced gun system that got scrapped because it was too expensive.

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8 hours ago, Danyir_Amore said:

I'm thinking the 109's would be best since they can traverse and get the best bang for buck with limited space.

Ironically that would give them way more range and Gunfire support that the cruisers, and they could fire the Excalibr which is the already working version of that really expensive navy boondoggle advanced gun system that got scrapped because it was too expensive.

M109s are heavy though, so if you expect calm seas and no return fire, towed howitzers parked on-deck is where it's at for gunfire support. And towed howitzers are able to traverse to some degree too. And be air-lifted off the deck to go ashore if desired.

But yeah, if you expect even modest sea conditions, you'll want a stabilized gun.

 

On the OP subject of how small the US Navy can go:

You 100% do not want VLS for missiles. Ye Auld Fashioned arm launchers loading from a magazine is where it's at for a true compact multi-role craft. You can fit more missiles in magazine on a smaller hull, and if it's a serious shooting war, well, if your ready load of anti-missiles isn't enough, you probably shouldn't be sending those small combatants into the area. The only problem is that you need lengthwise compact or at least well-standardized missile designs that are also phsyically sturdy enough for an autoloader to grab and slot onto the launcher, possibly by means of C-shaped clips onto rails on the side of the launcher arms or vice versa, preferably with 2 stages (requires missile tail section slimmer than body) to minimize the autoloader vertical movement to install the missile on the withdrawn launcher.

Or you could do a revolving launch rack mounted on a rail or rails, that rolls out of the superstructure (splinter-armored blast doors close after the launcher passes either way) which holds the ready ammunition and autoloader mechamnisms. Think of a Buk or other missile system on rails (to ensure autoloader relative positioning is easy).

Simple, low-tech solutions are often still useful in certain contexts. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the US Navy has quite realized that we are still eating through our mouths just like Ye Auld Times.

Edited by Guardian54

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15 hours ago, Danyir_Amore said:

The thing is we don't really need ships that integrate well with the rest of the blue water navy, we need ships to do inshore work.  We've got friggin Arleigh Burkes doing anti-piracy patrols which is a huge waste of money, we need little tubs with just a single gun and maybe a helicopter (drones would suffice) for that sort of thing.  any boat would suffice for it, it won't have to endure heavy seas or anything because pirates cant either.

The Navy also needs some NGS ships, as it is the Navy's gunfire capabilities are laughable.  A single battery of 105's can provide more support than the Ticonderoga class.  Maybe stick some 127's on one of them catamaran looking LCS boats, make it shallow enough draught to go up river and project power up waterways.

Once upon a time the Navy knew these were important roles, most of the world's population lives near the coastline, and therefore within range of Naval gunfire.  The true purpose of a blue water Navy is to project power, but you still need to be able to get in close enough to go that last nautical mile so to speak to successfully accomplish this mission.

Unless you’re transporting those boats to a forward deployed duty station via a ship transport vessel they’ll still need to have solid endurance and sea keeping capability.

plus pirates use larger mother ships to strike further out to sea that can take rough seas and bad weather...

 

as for NGFS yes we definitely need something. Maybe just dust off the mk71.

original AB designs actually included the mk71 as a possibility, or just build a new CG finally and fit it with a pair of mk71s.

give it a stealthier superstructure but otherwise try to keep it as close to the proven Ticonderoga design as possible.

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2 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

Unless you’re transporting those boats to a forward deployed duty station via a ship transport vessel they’ll still need to have solid endurance and sea keeping capability.

Not really they would only need to make the journey there, and could wait for fair weather to do it, besides if a teenage kid could solo circumnavigate the globe in a 25ft sailboat I think a few dozen sailors could figure it the [edited] out on something that isn't quite dreadnought sized.  Once the boats get there they would remain and just swap the crews out like what used to be done on the Gunboats in China.  As for basing, there is a reason why the French and British seized all those Islands in the Indian Ocean way back when.

2 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

plus pirates use larger mother ships to strike further out to sea that can take rough seas and bad weather...

The mother ships are only for supplies to extend range (which is one of the reason we need more smaller ships), while they could take worse weather than the speed boats, they still need the speed boats.  Boarding a ship also requires good weather and besides if its weather that some ragtag pirates in old worn out tubs can take, once again I think a few dozen sailors ought to be able to figure it out.

2 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

 

as for NGFS yes we definitely need something. Maybe just dust off the mk71.

original AB designs actually included the mk71 as a possibility, or just build a new CG finally and fit it with a pair of mk71s.

give it a stealthier superstructure but otherwise try to keep it as close to the proven Ticonderoga design as possible.

So the problem with these rapid fire guns the Navy likes so much is that they are terrible for fire support.  RoF does not make up for Alpha strike, neither in the game nor real life.  What happens when the first shell lands is that your target immediately seeks cover.  Simply going prone greatly reduces the effectiveness of artillery fire.  Its a general rule of thumb that a single battery would have to fire three times the amount of shells as a battalion would to have the same effects on target.

A better NGS platform would be a dedicated gunboat, made like one of them funny looking Dunquerque French Battlecruisers with all guns fore to get the best bang for buck.  Bigger guns too, resurrect the 16"s and develop long-range Sabot ammunition, something that could make a mess of port facilities from a good 50-60 miles away and be well within the protection of Aegis cruisers and air cover.

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2 hours ago, Danyir_Amore said:

Not really they would only need to make the journey there, and could wait for fair weather to do it, besides if a teenage kid could solo circumnavigate the globe in a 25ft sailboat I think a few dozen sailors could figure it the [edited] out on something that isn't quite dreadnought sized.  Once the boats get there they would remain and just swap the crews out like what used to be done on the Gunboats in China.  As for basing, there is a reason why the French and British seized all those Islands in the Indian Ocean way back when.

The mother ships are only for supplies to extend range (which is one of the reason we need more smaller ships), while they could take worse weather than the speed boats, they still need the speed boats.  Boarding a ship also requires good weather and besides if its weather that some ragtag pirates in old worn out tubs can take, once again I think a few dozen sailors ought to be able to figure it out.

So the problem with these rapid fire guns the Navy likes so much is that they are terrible for fire support.  RoF does not make up for Alpha strike, neither in the game nor real life.  What happens when the first shell lands is that your target immediately seeks cover.  Simply going prone greatly reduces the effectiveness of artillery fire.  Its a general rule of thumb that a single battery would have to fire three times the amount of shells as a battalion would to have the same effects on target.

A better NGS platform would be a dedicated gunboat, made like one of them funny looking Dunquerque French Battlecruisers with all guns fore to get the best bang for buck.  Bigger guns too, resurrect the 16"s and develop long-range Sabot ammunition, something that could make a mess of port facilities from a good 50-60 miles away and be well within the protection of Aegis cruisers and air cover.

Well sailboats don’t rely on fuel like these vessels would so is an Oiler going to escort them all the way across the Atlantic or pacific.

i don’t think we’ll see any battleship sized guns ever again to be honest. Like I said mk71 is probably the best we’ll get.

 

as for the speed boats being required to pirate ships, you’re right but the navy’s goal is to identify and board the skiffs and/or motherships before they actually attack a ship, because chances are the pirates will be on the ship by the time the navy can respond, even with a helo. Once they’re onboard it becomes a standoff while the pirates hold the crew hostage and try to negotiate a ransom.

so a vessel that can actually cruise from Djibouti up and down the coast of Somalia for a while is actually pretty important...

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2 hours ago, Danyir_Amore said:

Not really they would only need to make the journey there, and could wait for fair weather to do it, besides if a teenage kid could solo circumnavigate the globe in a 25ft sailboat I think a few dozen sailors could figure it the [edited] out on something that isn't quite dreadnought sized.  Once the boats get there they would remain and just swap the crews out like what used to be done on the Gunboats in China.  As for basing, there is a reason why the French and British seized all those Islands in the Indian Ocean way back when.

The mother ships are only for supplies to extend range (which is one of the reason we need more smaller ships), while they could take worse weather than the speed boats, they still need the speed boats.  Boarding a ship also requires good weather and besides if its weather that some ragtag pirates in old worn out tubs can take, once again I think a few dozen sailors ought to be able to figure it out.

So the problem with these rapid fire guns the Navy likes so much is that they are terrible for fire support.  RoF does not make up for Alpha strike, neither in the game nor real life.  What happens when the first shell lands is that your target immediately seeks cover.  Simply going prone greatly reduces the effectiveness of artillery fire.  Its a general rule of thumb that a single battery would have to fire three times the amount of shells as a battalion would to have the same effects on target.

A better NGS platform would be a dedicated gunboat, made like one of them funny looking Dunquerque French Battlecruisers with all guns fore to get the best bang for buck.  Bigger guns too, resurrect the 16"s and develop long-range Sabot ammunition, something that could make a mess of port facilities from a good 50-60 miles away and be well within the protection of Aegis cruisers and air cover.

Well sailboats don’t rely on fuel like these vessels would so is an Oiler going to escort them all the way across the Atlantic or pacific.

i don’t think we’ll see any battleship sized guns ever again to be honest. Like I said mk71 is probably the best we’ll get.

 

as for the speed boats being required to pirate ships, you’re right but the navy’s goal is to identify and board the skiffs and/or motherships before they actually attack a ship, because chances are the pirates will be on the ship by the time the navy can respond, even with a helo. Once they’re onboard it becomes a standoff while the pirates hold the crew hostage and try to negotiate a ransom.

so a vessel that can actually cruise from Djibouti up and down the coast of Somalia for a while is actually pretty important...

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