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Guardian54

Why not go back to arm launchers for minor warships?

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Arm launchers, whether retractable for loading or not (i.e. autoloader must extend from missile handling room) have some advantages over VLS.

For example, you can carry more missiles in the same amount of space between watertight bulkheads. Yes, this does run the mag-det risk, but a VLS isn't that much better at blast venting as the VLS covers have to withstand waves coming over the bow in inclement conditions.

And if you are using what amounts to a cutter or sloop (i.e. the classes traditionally below corvette) to absorb a high-intensity attack where you actually have to shoot down more incoming missiles than the anti-missiles (reprogrammable for anti-small-craft as the Stinger-esque fragmentation warheads used to kill missiles can tear them apart) your arm launchers have loaded, you probably have bigger issues to worry about like the boat being deployed as a missile sponge.

By developing various missiles of equal lengths and variable diameters, you could be looking at an arm launcher with say 5 arms (the 6th space on a hexagon is occupied by turret machinery) that can be loaded with 5 thicker, relatively heavy missiles or 5 pods of small, compact point-defence missiles (4 or more to a pod in diamond formation to occupy the angular space availlabe).

The turret can be elevated to deck level after loading and retracted as needed (if you consider this too much maintenance, compare to the individual cell hatch drives on VLS, also never use elevators on ships... which I doubt would be reasonable). Missiles will need to be designed with reinforced handling bands/rings for the autoloader to grab onto, and can be slotted onto the arm rails as needed. However, this may mandate relatively short missiles of something in the neighborhood of 4 meters max if you want to keep the magazine only 2 decks tall (point defence missiles). Harpoons are shorter than that in air-launched versions, so it's definitely possible to build such a missile.

You can even fire dumb rockets using the same basic mechanisms for ground support if need be. Obviously back-blast can be a problem, so you'll have to come up with some way of handling that despite different missile lengths that can fit on the launcher and the need for a compact enough launcher to retract/extend from the deck hatch (which mostly pushes back in to re-seal around the base of the turret.

Something like this: (O) when closed, center part of hatch is rotated aside (with an arm attached to move it aside after it unscrews, basically like a remote-controlled arm holding and able to control a manhole cover) first, then the two arcs slide aside before turret emerges, arcs move back in under turret edges, turret sets down against them as basically a blast seal and the top portion (where the missiles attach) traverse/depress as needed. Reverse process for retraction. Yes, perhaps a bit over-complicated, but it reduces the amount the autloader has to move, allows better stealth than having the arm launcher standing out on the deck all the time, and can be done in a few seconds.

Imagine sticking several such mechanisms, or perhaps one or two mounted on rails so it moves out of the former hangar, where the obscenely huge helicopter deck is on an Independence-class LCS. Take that idea and apply it to a cheaper hull...

 

Conclusion: Arm launchers offer much greater ammunition capacity for small missiles on small ships, and thus should be far more economical than VLS on small ships while being far more capable than the kludge that is say the LCS's proposed anti-surface missile armament (24x Hellfires for the Independence Class LCS). Why not bring back ye auld fashioned arm launchers? After all, a technology is only obsolete when something else does EVERYTHING it can do, but better, and VLS... doesn't, in terms of economy of space for smaller missiles than their maximum size.

 

EDIT: Resupplying VLS is a tough, slow task of aligning the shaft and box. An arm launcher mounted in this fashion with adequate open space around it just means manhandling (or a small crane of some type, preferably with a robotic arm, working on the deck) the missiles into position on the launcher, letting it pull them below deck, and the autoloader transferring the missiles from the launcher to the carousels or perhaps racks in the magazine. Vertical movement to disengage from the anchorage points on the launcher should not be greater than 20-30 centimeters (design the rear of the missile to be narrower than the front to prevent any accidental flight clippings if you must with use of two separate anchorage points to prevent the need to use one long slot that makes the missiles need to be raised too far). Replacing unfired missiles can be done similarly by transfer back to the carousels.

 

EDIT 2: Yes, I realize this is hopelessly over-engineered for "stealth" purposes, but disappearing gun mounts on say the Zumwalt are worse. And you don't really need VLS to fight pirate boats. In fact you might as well armour up these cutters to withstand autocannon fire if you want them to stay on station for a while.

Edited by Guardian54
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We playing the same game? Ok I get it, your talking modern warships, my bad.

Edited by Sovereigndawg

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56 minutes ago, Guardian54 said:

Arm launchers, whether retractable for loading or not (i.e. autoloader must extend from missile handling room) have some advantages over VLS.

For example, you can carry more missiles in the same amount of space between watertight bulkheads. Yes, this does run the mag-det risk, but a VLS isn't that much better at blast venting as the VLS covers have to withstand waves coming over the bow in inclement conditions.

And if you are using what amounts to a cutter or sloop (i.e. the classes traditionally below corvette) to absorb a high-intensity attack where you actually have to shoot down more incoming missiles than the anti-missiles (reprogrammable for anti-small-craft as the Stinger-esque fragmentation warheads used to kill missiles can tear them apart) your arm launchers have loaded, you probably have bigger issues to worry about like the boat being deployed as a missile sponge.

By developing various missiles of equal lengths and variable diameters, you could be looking at an arm launcher with say 5 arms (the 6th space on a hexagon is occupied by turret machinery) that can be loaded with 5 thicker, relatively heavy missiles or 5 pods of small, compact point-defence missiles (4 or more to a pod in diamond formation to occupy the angular space availlabe).

The turret can be elevated to deck level after loading and retracted as needed (if you consider this too much maintenance, compare to the individual cell hatch drives on VLS, also never use elevators on ships... which I doubt would be reasonable). Missiles will need to be designed with reinforced handling bands/rings for the autoloader to grab onto, and can be slotted onto the arm rails as needed. However, this may mandate relatively short missiles of something in the neighborhood of 4 meters max if you want to keep the magazine only 2 decks tall (point defence missiles). Harpoons are shorter than that in air-launched versions, so it's definitely possible to build such a missile.

You can even fire dumb rockets using the same basic mechanisms for ground support if need be. Obviously back-blast can be a problem, so you'll have to come up with some way of handling that despite different missile lengths that can fit on the launcher and the need for a compact enough launcher to retract/extend from the deck hatch (which mostly pushes back in to re-seal around the base of the turret.

Something like this: (O) when closed, center part of hatch is rotated aside (with an arm attached to move it aside after it unscrews, basically like a remote-controlled arm holding and able to control a manhole cover) first, then the two arcs slide aside before turret emerges, arcs move back in under turret edges, turret sets down against them as basically a blast seal and the top portion (where the missiles attach) traverse/depress as needed. Reverse process for retraction. Yes, perhaps a bit over-complicated, but it reduces the amount the autloader has to move, allows better stealth than having the arm launcher standing out on the deck all the time, and can be done in a few seconds.

Imagine sticking several such mechanisms, or perhaps one or two mounted on rails so it moves out of the former hangar, where the obscenely huge helicopter deck is on an Independence-class LCS. Take that idea and apply it to a cheaper hull...

 

Conclusion: Arm launchers offer much greater ammunition capacity for small missiles on small ships, and thus should be far more economical than VLS on small ships while being far more capable than the kludge that is say the LCS's proposed anti-surface missile armament (24x Hellfires for the Independence Class LCS). Why not bring back ye auld fashioned arm launchers? After all, a technology is only obsolete when something else does EVERYTHING it can do, but better, and VLS... doesn't, in terms of economy of space for smaller missiles than their maximum size.

 

EDIT: Resupplying VLS is a tough, slow task of aligning the shaft and box. An arm launcher mounted in this fashion with adequate open space around it just means manhandling (or a small crane of some type, preferably with a robotic arm, working on the deck) the missiles into position on the launcher, letting it pull them below deck, and the autoloader transferring the missiles from the launcher to the carousels or perhaps racks in the magazine. Vertical movement to disengage from the anchorage points on the launcher should not be greater than 20-30 centimeters (design the rear of the missile to be narrower than the front to prevent any accidental flight clippings if you must with use of two separate anchorage points to prevent the need to use one long slot that makes the missiles need to be raised too far). Replacing unfired missiles can be done similarly by transfer back to the carousels.

afysOlK.gif

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And this applies to World of Warships how?

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We seem to have this discussion every time a new thread starts in the Modern Warships discussion group.

:fish_panic:

-R

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I have often thought that arm launchers would be better than VLS for a "Guided Missile Battleship," wherein having deck armor over the missile magazines would still be possible and rate of fire would still be high with 5+ arm launchers distributed around the ship like secondary gun mounts.

 

For today's modern armorless gee-whiz boats, I'm not as sure.

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Do you want explosive ordnance that will rip the ship apart w/o any type of protection? The good thing about the VLS launch system is that you can flush all the birds out in one swoop rather than loading and reloading missles. Flush all of them out in a missle massacre and you don't have to worry about exploding magazines if you take a hit.

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23 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

Do you want explosive ordnance that will rip the ship apart w/o any type of protection? The good thing about the VLS launch system is that you can flush all the birds out in one swoop rather than loading and reloading missles. Flush all of them out in a missle massacre and you don't have to worry about exploding magazines if you take a hit.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think all missiles can be launched from VLS simultaneously. I believe each exhaust vent services like 4 cells and only on missile can launch at a time per vent.

 

granted you can dump missiles faster that way, but either way it seems fairly irrelevant if you’re talking about avoiding catastrophic magazine detonation, because you’d never launch all missiles to empty magazines if an enemy missile gets past outer defenses in practice or theory because CIWS and soft kill measures can still take a missile(s) out before hitting and you’re not going to want to leave yourself defenseless if that happens, or if it hits somewhere that’s not the magazine and the ship is still capable of fighting you essentially mission killed yourself.

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The VLS holds more missiles in the same volume as an arm launcher's magazine, with a lower chance that something will stop the ship from firing something.

With an arm launcher, if a Missile fails to fire, you now have a questionable piece of ordnance stuck on the launcher that will need to be dealt with before you can fire another round. With a VLS, you can simply select another missile, and leave the dud to be handled when it's safer to do so. Also, a failure in the launcher or the magazine system renders the whole system useless. In a VLS, it's just a failure of part of the system, that can be handled later.

The only real drawback to a VLS is that it must fire guided missiles and that the length of the missile is limited by the depth of the ship. There have been horizontal magazines for twin arm launchers with a different set of problems involved.

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3 hours ago, Umikami said:

And this applies to World of Warships how?

Look at the sub-forum: https://forum.worldofwarships.com/forum/40-modern-warships/

"MODERN WARSHIPS" it says!

3 hours ago, Meeso_Thorny said:

For today's modern armorless gee-whiz boats, I'm not as sure.

This cutter is intended for anti-piracy where the other guy has at most an autocannon and some RPGs.

You can easily armour the hull against autocannon fire, and RPGs... won't be in range before your autocannon/missiles rip them apart leisurely. And in case of actual anti-tank missile, slap on some tank-based active defence system module tech around the important parts of the boat and call it a day. Quick Kill after all is able to pick up artillery shells coming toward firebases, so has the range to defend the boat, even fi you have to fit several modules with different arcs and networked for coordination (to reduce missile wastage... *nightmares of Supreme Commander Strategic Missile Defences wasting missiles*).

2 hours ago, Bill_Halsey said:

Do you want explosive ordnance that will rip the ship apart w/o any type of protection? The good thing about the VLS launch system is that you can flush all the birds out in one swoop rather than loading and reloading missles. Flush all of them out in a missle massacre and you don't have to worry about exploding magazines if you take a hit.

I am 100% sure no modern navy has a doctrine of throwing all their missiles overboard the moment they see a Somali pirate canoe.

1 hour ago, SgtBeltfed said:

With an arm launcher, if a Missile fails to fire, you now have a questionable piece of ordnance stuck on the launcher that will need to be dealt with before you can fire another round. With a VLS, you can simply select another missile, and leave the dud to be handled when it's safer to do so. Also, a failure in the launcher or the magazine system renders the whole system useless. In a VLS, it's just a failure of part of the system, that can be handled later.

VLS has a very dangerous potential problem: Missile motor malfunctions just after leaving the shaft, or a cold-launch pneumatic eject fails to light, and comes crashing back down. BOOM! (cause those other hatches and cell walls are not exactly armoured)

With this sort of arm launcher? If it randomly explodes while firing a missile, the surrounding superstructure on any actual anti-piracy cutter should be built to withstand autocannon shells and can stand it off. Sure, magazine detonations are a problem, but that's why you put that in an armoured box venting upward (think Abrams blow-off hatches) to try to not sink the ship if it goes up (probably a near TCL though, but most of the crew will live). Here's what happens if one missile fails to fire:

*While on a peacetime live-fire exercise, but you can do the same with less chatter in combat.*

"Mount 2, Missile 4 engine failure!"

"Fire the rest from mount 2!"

"Missile 3 and 5 are away sir, mount 4's turned up and traversing. Resupply has a grip, it's overboard sir!"

You put a resupply arm above deck to facilitate resupply, of the "supply ship crane deposits pallet of missiles on deck, resupply arm grabs from pallet and hooks onto mount, mount rotates as needed until full,  then retracts below deck to unload to autoloader, which puts the missiles or pods back on the carousels. Conveniently, the Resupply Arm is also able to throw things overboard through extending to full reach  at full speed and letting completely go just before the end.

Alternatively, if one resupply arm per arm launcher is too expensive, and you just have one guy driving a glorified golf cart with a crane attached for resupply, then perhaps the turret base doesn't actually occupy the whole central space of what would have been a hexagon of 7 tubes (2 occupied by need to pivot other tubes as needed). In the upper half (if you depress the turret) you can perhaps fit a pneumatic pushing device of some sort on that can turn to line up with any missile you want, connected to the center of the system and usually idle at the back, with some railings along the outside of the whole assembly preventing missiles from falling to the deck after getting off the two tiny 20cm rails they hook onto (to reduce vertical space needed for the magazine) you can simply jettison them overboard if the mount is on a flank (as it should be), somewhat like ye old torpedo tube launches but with a pushing piston instead of gas in a tube. Sure, it might not be the most brilliant thing to shove the back of a missile, even one not yet armed, but it's better than leaving it there.

 

The problem with VLS is that missiles of all sizes generally occupy a cell. 1m diameter missiles and 0.5m missiles take the same room. Only 0.4m or less can maybe fit 2 or more in a cell safely. In a magazine you can have several levels of shorter, smaller missiles and all of them can be packed fairly tightly.

Not to mention if you're using Tomahawks on piracy patrol or similar jobs, you're doing something wrong.

Edited by Guardian54

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If you’re talking about a vessel that’s simply hunting pirates you have 0 need for any such weapon system...

SEARAM and/or phalanx maybe, otherwise one or two 25mm guns is enough.

basically a cyclone class patrol ship with longer legs...

also the navy doesn’t really have any need for another vessel that large but that monorole.

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2 hours ago, Guardian54 said:

Look at the sub-forum: https://forum.worldofwarships.com/forum/40-modern-warships/

"MODERN WARSHIPS" it says!

This cutter is intended for anti-piracy where the other guy has at most an autocannon and some RPGs.

You can easily armour the hull against autocannon fire, and RPGs... won't be in range before your autocannon/missiles rip them apart leisurely. And in case of actual anti-tank missile, slap on some tank-based active defence system module tech around the important parts of the boat and call it a day. Quick Kill after all is able to pick up artillery shells coming toward firebases, so has the range to defend the boat, even fi you have to fit several modules with different arcs and networked for coordination (to reduce missile wastage... *nightmares of Supreme Commander Strategic Missile Defences wasting missiles*).

I am 100% sure no modern navy has a doctrine of throwing all their missiles overboard the moment they see a Somali pirate canoe.

VLS has a very dangerous potential problem: Missile motor malfunctions just after leaving the shaft, or a cold-launch pneumatic eject fails to light, and comes crashing back down. BOOM! (cause those other hatches and cell walls are not exactly armoured)

With this sort of arm launcher? If it randomly explodes while firing a missile, the surrounding superstructure on any actual anti-piracy cutter should be built to withstand autocannon shells and can stand it off. Sure, magazine detonations are a problem, but that's why you put that in an armoured box venting upward (think Abrams blow-off hatches) to try to not sink the ship if it goes up (probably a near TCL though, but most of the crew will live). Here's what happens if one missile fails to fire:

*While on a peacetime live-fire exercise, but you can do the same with less chatter in combat.*

"Mount 2, Missile 4 engine failure!"

"Fire the rest from mount 2!"

"Missile 3 and 5 are away sir, mount 4's turned up and traversing. Resupply has a grip, it's overboard sir!"

You put a resupply arm above deck to facilitate resupply, of the "supply ship crane deposits pallet of missiles on deck, resupply arm grabs from pallet and hooks onto mount, mount rotates as needed until full,  then retracts below deck to unload to autoloader, which puts the missiles or pods back on the carousels. Conveniently, the Resupply Arm is also able to throw things overboard through extending to full reach  at full speed and letting completely go just before the end.

Alternatively, if one resupply arm per arm launcher is too expensive, and you just have one guy driving a glorified golf cart with a crane attached for resupply, then perhaps the turret base doesn't actually occupy the whole central space of what would have been a hexagon of 7 tubes (2 occupied by need to pivot other tubes as needed). In the upper half (if you depress the turret) you can perhaps fit a pneumatic pushing device of some sort on that can turn to line up with any missile you want, connected to the center of the system and usually idle at the back, with some railings along the outside of the whole assembly preventing missiles from falling to the deck after getting off the two tiny 20cm rails they hook onto (to reduce vertical space needed for the magazine) you can simply jettison them overboard if the mount is on a flank (as it should be), somewhat like ye old torpedo tube launches but with a pushing piston instead of gas in a tube. Sure, it might not be the most brilliant thing to shove the back of a missile, even one not yet armed, but it's better than leaving it there.

 

The problem with VLS is that missiles of all sizes generally occupy a cell. 1m diameter missiles and 0.5m missiles take the same room. Only 0.4m or less can maybe fit 2 or more in a cell safely. In a magazine you can have several levels of shorter, smaller missiles and all of them can be packed fairly tightly.

Not to mention if you're using Tomahawks on piracy patrol or similar jobs, you're doing something wrong.

If you’re trying to use any missile for MIO you’re doing something wrong...however having TLAMs available while doing MIO tasking gives a ship flexibility and an area commander options.

is there a SPECOPs mission being planned in the area? Cool your TLAM armed ship on MIO tasking can be available to provide strike support if needed instead of pulling an escort from a carrier or an amphib to cover that, plus it’s a bit more low key that way...but why are you trying to shoot pirates with missiles?

just curious but have you ever taken part in any interdiction operations or observed interdiction operations?

Edited by JohnPJones

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Arm launchers have a very clear single point of failure potential compared to VLS in my opinion.  If the launcher is damaged, destroyed or otherwise disabled, you are unable to continue firing missiles.  That is not a good thing.  With a VLS if you have one missile fail to fire or a cell damaged in some way, you still have the ability to launch other missiles from other cells.

EXAMPLE:

Arm launcher is damaged due to a load going of kumquats going wild during an UNREP and bashing the ever living snot out of the launcher.  The system is down until repaired...no missile launching for you.

One or more VLS hatches are caved in or otherwise rendered inoperable because a pallet of kumquats fell out of a sling and landed on the cell during the UNREP...  All unaffected cells are still available for use, carry on with the mission.

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3 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

just curious but have you ever taken part in any interdiction operations or observed interdiction operations?

I wouldn't fit any missiles at all on an anti-piracy/smuggling cutter, unless you count Quick Kill APS anti-missiles...

But the USN seems to howl about having missile capability on everything so... *shrugs*

AFAIK 76mm gun + 20mm point defence guns = ENOUGH for a cutter, even if patrolling off Somalia or something. The point is to get large numbers of hulls with adequate firepower and survivability for a given threat out on the water.

2 hours ago, MM2ss said:

Arm launchers have a very clear single point of failure potential compared to VLS in my opinion.  If the launcher is damaged, destroyed or otherwise disabled, you are unable to continue firing missiles.  That is not a good thing.  With a VLS if you have one missile fail to fire or a cell damaged in some way, you still have the ability to launch other missiles from other cells.

EXAMPLE:

Arm launcher is damaged due to a load going of kumquats going wild during an UNREP and bashing the ever living snot out of the launcher.  The system is down until repaired...no missile launching for you.

One or more VLS hatches are caved in or otherwise rendered inoperable because a pallet of kumquats fell out of a sling and landed on the cell during the UNREP...  All unaffected cells are still available for use, carry on with the mission.

I'd prefer no missiles for a cutter, but if one insists, then arm launchers seem to me to be far, FAR more compact for a given missile count than VLS, and can afford more magazine protection (armouring the hull and magazines does matter when RPGs and autocannons from small boats are a serious threat).

How heavy are VLS doors and how much protection do they afford against splinters? Autocannon fire from the sides???

Arm launchers yield smaller, easier-armoured magazines.

And if you carry multiple launchers the economy of space over VLS in magazine volume becomes very obvious very fast for anyone who does the math and realizes that a Standard missile doesn't require the same magazine space as a big, heavy land-attack cruise missile, but would take up the same VLS cell.

Meanwhile, would you like to explain to me how you'd eject a Harpoon in one of those four-packs you see on various older USN ships that has an engine failure?

Edited by Guardian54

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I'd love to see a Quick Kill try to shoot down a Shipwreck, it'd be like throwing gravel in the face of a semi-truck before it runs your ar/se over.

1 hour ago, Guardian54 said:

Meanwhile, would you like to explain to me how you'd eject a Harpoon in one of those four-packs you see on various older USN ships that has an engine failure?

There is literally no need, the quad cell packs are throw-aways, de-bolt the entire assembly and push overboard after firing the other three.

 

 

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10 hours ago, JohnPJones said:

Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think all missiles can be launched from VLS simultaneously. I believe each exhaust vent services like 4 cells and only on missile can launch at a time per vent.

 

granted you can dump missiles faster that way, but either way it seems fairly irrelevant if you’re talking about avoiding catastrophic magazine detonation, because you’d never launch all missiles to empty magazines if an enemy missile gets past outer defenses in practice or theory because CIWS and soft kill measures can still take a missile(s) out before hitting and you’re not going to want to leave yourself defenseless if that happens, or if it hits somewhere that’s not the magazine and the ship is still capable of fighting you essentially mission killed yourself.

 

Each module of 8 has a central vent, so you can't launch all eight in one module simultaneously, but one from each module at the same time.  So if a ship has four modules, then you launch four.  

 

fPGdvf5.jpg

 

IJPCVrw.jpg

 

 

This doesn't stop cold launched systems however, since each missile is launched using a compressed gas canister popping under the missile.

 

lsQtxPE.jpg

 

rZ48psn.jpg

 

There is another variation of the hot launch that uses concentric canisters that can achieve the same effect of launching missiles quickly in a salvo from the same module.  

 

Hot launched VLS systems as we know it.

 

BDosTdb.gif

 

Concentric canister launch system or CCL.

 

CNhDyFe.jpg

 

How it looks when its launched.

 

dCfptWM.jpg

 

Universal VLS system combines both cold launched and hot launched using CCLs.  There are three current systems in the world, the Mk 57 VLS used on the Zumwalt, the UKSK VLS in Russian corvettes and frigates and the Chinese U-VLS found in Type 052D and 055 destroyers.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Guardian54 said:

VLS has a very dangerous potential problem: Missile motor malfunctions just after leaving the shaft, or a cold-launch pneumatic eject fails to light, and comes crashing back down. BOOM! (cause those other hatches and cell walls are not exactly armoured)

The problem with VLS is that missiles of all sizes generally occupy a cell. 1m diameter missiles and 0.5m missiles take the same room. Only 0.4m or less can maybe fit 2 or more in a cell safely. In a magazine you can have several levels of shorter, smaller missiles and all of them can be packed fairly tightly.

Not to mention if you're using Tomahawks on piracy patrol or similar jobs, you're doing something wrong.

 

We have already seen recently a failed missile launch on what happened to a German frigate recently .  The SM2 failed to leave the VLS and just burned up inside the cell.  However, the whole VLS didn't go up.   There is strong protection between each cell.  

 

With the case of cold launched systems, the problem is when the missile fails to ignite and the missile crashes down.  For this reason, cold launched systems are slightly tilted, so with a non-fire, the missile won't crash straight back into the VLS.

 

x1Hvlbr.jpg

 

However, the chances of such an event proved to be so low, that later cold launched systems no longer feature the tilt.

 

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3 hours ago, Guardian54 said:

I wouldn't fit any missiles at all on an anti-piracy/smuggling cutter, unless you count Quick Kill APS anti-missiles...

But the USN seems to howl about having missile capability on everything so... *shrugs*

AFAIK 76mm gun + 20mm point defence guns = ENOUGH for a cutter, even if patrolling off Somalia or something. The point is to get large numbers of hulls with adequate firepower and survivability for a given threat out on the water.

I'd prefer no missiles for a cutter, but if one insists, then arm launchers seem to me to be far, FAR more compact for a given missile count than VLS, and can afford more magazine protection (armouring the hull and magazines does matter when RPGs and autocannons from small boats are a serious threat).

How heavy are VLS doors and how much protection do they afford against splinters? Autocannon fire from the sides???

Arm launchers yield smaller, easier-armoured magazines.

And if you carry multiple launchers the economy of space over VLS in magazine volume becomes very obvious very fast for anyone who does the math and realizes that a Standard missile doesn't require the same magazine space as a big, heavy land-attack cruise missile, but would take up the same VLS cell.

Meanwhile, would you like to explain to me how you'd eject a Harpoon in one of those four-packs you see on various older USN ships that has an engine failure?

 

Mk. 41 VLS comes in three sizes --- 5.3m deep, 6.8m and 7.7m deep.  

 

If you are just going to be firing Standards and ESSMs, the 5.3m Self Defense version would suffice for the customer.   This can also fit a smaller ASROC.

 

The 6.8m Strike version is for those that would require the Tomahawk option.  

 

The 7.7m Tactical version is for even larger missiles like ABM work.

 

A smaller ship can simply use the Self Defense version, and a bigger ship, like a frigate, can use a combination of Self Defense and Strike versions.

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I can't speak for every VLS hatch in the Navy, there is also the matter of what is and is not allowed to be disseminated in terms of information.  But I can say, based on an incident in the SoH that VLA hatches provide some degree of protection.  Anyone remember the submarine that got hit by a Japanese tanker back in 2007?  I was there, only the hatches directly hit by the screw were damaged, the ones beside those cells were still water tight and operational.  That being said, getting run over by a supertanker is not fun.  However, there is substantial splinter protection provided by the design itself, splinters tend to travel out and up from the point of impact and the flush design minimized the danger to other cells.  The hatches on a submarine VLS are also designed to withstand water pressure up to the operating depth of the submarine as well, so they are a bit more substantial than just a piece of sheet metal.

 

Where arm launchers and a magazine would have the advantage is in situations where you are wanting to have greater versatility in terms of types of missiles carried.  But we get around that to a large degree by having different types of warhead for the same missile.  Using the Tomahawk for example we have several variants: 109A (nuke), 109B (anti-ship), 109C (conventional), 109D (submunition warhead) etc.  That compensates for the potential greater versatility of the arm launcher systems to a large degree (which are also limited based on what types of missile you load in the first place, just like the VLS).

 

Then, there are some of the "newer" concepts in the VLS world.  Like where we converted some of the boomers into SSGN's.  The MAC setup gives a great example of how one can alter the VLS concept for greater versatility.  A vessel with larger cells could be refited (perhaps with a modular system) to carry more but smaller missiles per cell in a similar fashion.

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1 hour ago, MM2ss said:

Then, there are some of the "newer" concepts in the VLS world.  Like where we converted some of the boomers into SSGN's.  The MAC setup gives a great example of how one can alter the VLS concept for greater versatility.  A vessel with larger cells could be refited (perhaps with a modular system) to carry more but smaller missiles per cell in a similar fashion.

Ummm...not sure how to tell you this, but that's already being done. Has been done for quite some time.

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17 hours ago, MM2ss said:

Arm launchers have a very clear single point of failure potential compared to VLS in my opinion.  If the launcher is damaged, destroyed or otherwise disabled, you are unable to continue firing missiles.  That is not a good thing.  With a VLS if you have one missile fail to fire or a cell damaged in some way, you still have the ability to launch other missiles from other cells.

EXAMPLE:

Arm launcher is damaged due to a load going of kumquats going wild during an UNREP and bashing the ever living snot out of the launcher.  The system is down until repaired...no missile launching for you.

One or more VLS hatches are caved in or otherwise rendered inoperable because a pallet of kumquats fell out of a sling and landed on the cell during the UNREP...  All unaffected cells are still available for use, carry on with the mission.

True, the arm launchers provide several points of failure per launcher that can take that entire launcher and magazine of 20 or more birds out of the fight where VLS does not.

On your other point about a "load of kumquats" bashing either an arm launcher or cell doors on a VLS, if you look closely you will probably note that the highline UNREP stations on surface combatants are positioned clear of any weapon station whether it be a gun mount or missile system precisely for the reason you talk about.  The destroyer I was stationed in rigged the dry stores transfer station amidships either port or starboard and thus well clear.  Fueling stations, 2 per side are also well clear of any major weapon mount.

In the 1st photo below you can see the starboard forward fueling station of the Burke class USS Dewey taking fuel from the oiler alongside.  No hookup anywhere near Mount 51 or the forward MK-41 or forward CIWS / SeaSparrow VLS.  The painted squard in the bows forward of Mount 51 is the VertRep landing spot for pallets of dry stores or ammo, the greater hazard is actually from mishap during VertRep IF the helo pilot looses control of his load and cuts it loose over the ship (very rare, but it happens.)  In that case Mount 51 or the VLS could be at risk.

In the Burke class the aft fueling stations are also clear of any weapons and the aft VertRep station is on the stern helo deck.  The Highline Unrep station derrick is on the midships port and starboard quarterdeck, the only weapons that could be at risk in an accident would be smaller self defense autocannon or machine gun stations added after construction.  In the 2nd photo you can clearly see the Highline Derricks (port and starboard) on the midships quarterdeck of USS Stockdale, between the forward and aft superstructures and uptakes (stacks.)  The midships stations haven't been rigged so Stockdale is preparing to only take fuel from the carrier she's running with.

Fueling at sea is normally done every other day or every third day when on deployment even though the ship's tanks can sustain her for anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks without refueling depending upon fuel use due to speed, double the speed required, quadruple the fuel demand.  The simple reason for fueling so often is "you never know" what the future will demand of you and 4 LM-2500 main turbine engines and 3 gas turbine electric generators at full power are mighty thirsty critters.  The ship can cruise at 17 knots on one main engine and one generator, flank speed of 32+ knots (real top end is classified) requires all four mains and if you add in the requirements of being at General Quarters you also bring up all 3 main generators even though your girl can operate radars and everything else just fine on two.

I earned my ESWS in an earlier generation Spruance class DD with a very similar deck and engineering plant layout.

 

 

Dewey refueling.jpg

Stockdale preparing for UNREP.jpg

Edited by CAPT_Rob
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The arm-type launcher has several disadvantages over VLS.

The big one is it takes a lot more regular maintenance by the crew when underway.  VLS systems are largely self-contained and for all intents maintenance free underway.

The launcher is slower firing than a VLS.

Overall, the VLS is actually cheaper and more reliable in the long run than an "arm" type launcher.

By the way, the reason the old Perry class frigates lost their launcher towards the end of their service life was the cost of maintaining it.  That was a big reduction in workload and parts having to be kept aboard the ship.

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8 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

The arm-type launcher has several disadvantages over VLS.

The big one is it takes a lot more regular maintenance by the crew when underway.  VLS systems are largely self-contained and for all intents maintenance free underway.

The launcher is slower firing than a VLS.

Overall, the VLS is actually cheaper and more reliable in the long run than an "arm" type launcher.

By the way, the reason the old Perry class frigates lost their launcher towards the end of their service life was the cost of maintaining it.  That was a big reduction in workload and parts having to be kept aboard the ship.

One disadvantage of the MK-41 VLS is the difficulty in reloading the cells.  When it was first introduced there was a retractable highline derrick included as part of the nest of cells to facilitate reloading at sea, the derrick took up as much room as 4 cells, but I THINK this derrick has been deleted and all reloading is now done pierside.  I may be wrong however, my last sea experience in a tincan was around 1990.  Yeah, I'm an old phart.  :Smile_Default:

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