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Thread: Which blue water FFG for use in USN CSG ???

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    Which blue water FFG for use in USN CSG ???

    Question: If you had the authority to make the choice, which ASW focused FFG would you buy for the USN to use in CSGs, and why?

    No use of mythical unobtannium allowed, nor use of ships already scrapped or sunk.
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    On a general thing, and without any NIH?

    FREMM IT-ASW, the ASW subclass of the Bergamini class. Mostly for the combination of CAPTAS-4 towed VDS, a current hull sonar and a multibeam echo sounder for sensors; Milas and MU90 for onboard and standoff effectors with automated torpedo handling system; two ASW helos; the Contralto torpedo softkill countermeasure system. Uh, and decent anti-air self defenses too.

    Then again at 474ft they're almost the size of a Burke too.
    Last edited by kato; 20 Apr 17, at 00:29.

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    Just did a Wiki on those FREMMs. Look like very good ships. I'd go for those. And the hangars look big enough to handle Seahawks.

    The OHPs were a good fit BITD but I think this class gives you a much better AAW capability while maintaining excellent ASW capability.
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    And the hangars look big enough to handle Seahawks.
    Might be a tight fit - the Italian FREMM hangars are not symmetrical, the starboard hangar is sized for an AW101 while the port hangar is only sized for a NH90. Height-wise a Seahawk would fit in the NH90 hangar, not sure whether it's deep enough though.

    Within the Italian Navy, the two carrier groups by homeporting are currently each laid out to ultimately include two AAW ships, two ASW frigates and two GP frigates each, with 10 of those 12 ships formed by variations of the FREMM (the other two are the larger Horizon class AAW destroyers). The French, a bit more AAW-centric, use two ASW and four AAW ships - two Horizons and four FREMMs - with the combined expeditionary groups at Toulon centered on Charles de Gaulle and the three Mistrals, while the other four ASW FREMM form the screening group for the French SSBN force.

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    ^^^need like button back!
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Kato already pointed out one of the most capable ASW "Frigates" available, so I'll take a different approach.

    Rather than rapidly blowing through the budget building a handful of destroyer sized ASW "frigates", I propose an approach that provides a lot more hulls. For better or worse, the USN has already bought a number of LCSs. With the ASW mission package they bring the following to the table:
    ASW Escort Module
    • Variable depth sonar (VDS)
    • Multi-function towed array (MFTA) acoustic receiver
    • Launch, handling and recovery equipment
    • Signal processing and systems control
    • Support containers
    Torpedo Defense Module
    • Detection/Alert: MFTA with Acoustic Intercept (ACI)
    • Countermeasures: Light Weight Tow (LWT)
    Aviation Module
    • MH-60R Helicopter
    Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS)
    Sonobuoys (Active/Passive)
    APS153 Periscope Detection radar
    MK46/50/54 Torpedo
    • One MQ-8B Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (1)
    • Support containers
    ASW Mission Management / Command and Control (C2) Center
    • Mission Package Application Software (MPAS)
    • Mission Package Computing Environment (MPCE)
    One of the biggest things going for the LCS in my opinion is that it sports huge aviation facilities. The 1,030 m2 (11,100 sq ft) flight deck on the Independence class can support two MH-60s (more than the FREMM-IT or even a Burke) on a ship that displaces less than 3000 tons.

    What I propose is that 2-4 ASW focused LCSs be assigned to each CSG, and given control of a few ACTUV drones each. With it's focus on modular capabilities I think the LCS is well suited to being setup for controlling independant drones. If each LCS is assigned 3 ACTUV drones, you'll effectively have 16 hulls and 8 helicopters all sweeping for subs/mines just from the frigates.

    While individually less capable than a FREMM-IT, this setup would allow HUGE volumes to be swept extremely quickly. Large numbers of available hulls also allow for some flexibility that isn't otherwise available. Part of the ASW escort could easily be detached or sent ahead as a screen without leaving the CSG naked or requiring Burkes to shift focus to ASW work.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 20 Apr 17, at 20:33.

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    Military Professional JCT's Avatar
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    Yeah, but they still do not have a ASW module for the LCS. The Navy still has not awarded the contract to build the Escort Mission Module (ASW module). Select something that is proven and not a money-pit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    What I propose is that 2-4 ASW focused LCSs be assigned to each CSG...
    Those are optimized for use in shallow water. The CSG needs ASW FFGs that can remain with the group in foul weather. Hostile opponent's submarines can operate submerged in deep water in the worst of weather. If the FFGs have to flee from weather, the resulting vulnerability could be exploited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
    Those are optimized for use in shallow water. The CSG needs ASW FFGs that can remain with the group in foul weather. Hostile opponent's submarines can operate submerged in deep water in the worst of weather. If the FFGs have to flee from weather, the resulting vulnerability could be exploited.
    According to Austal, it can handle up to Sea State 8 and launch and recover aircraft up to Sea State 5 which is on par with a Burke's ability to launch helos. It wouldn't be the first time that smaller ships have worked with the big boys, we haven't built Destroyer Escorts in a while, but they were comparable in size to the LCS or even smaller. That said it would certainly be a wild ride!

    Yeah, but they still do not have a ASW module for the LCS. The Navy still has not awarded the contract to build the Escort Mission Module (ASW module). Select something that is proven and not a money-pit!
    Sounds like the decision is imminent, and this is the USN we're talking about. Everything's a money pit! (except maybe the Virginia's)

    My thinking is that the USN is going to be ordering this stuff regardless so it's somewhat of a sunk cost already, and buying more of something that's already being procured is going to help reduce the price as opposed to buying or building a totally new type of ship. One other aspect to the LCS that's both good and bad is that it takes relatively few men to crew it. That's great for ongoing the operating costs which are arguably more important than initial procurement, but could be iffy with regards to damage control.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 21 Apr 17, at 18:35.

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    Senior Contributor JA Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Within the Italian Navy, the two carrier groups by homeporting are currently each laid out to ultimately include two AAW ships, two ASW frigates and two GP frigates each, with 10 of those 12 ships formed by variations of the FREMM (the other two are the larger Horizon class AAW destroyers). The French, a bit more AAW-centric, use two ASW and four AAW ships - two Horizons and four FREMMs - with the combined expeditionary groups at Toulon centered on Charles de Gaulle and the three Mistrals, while the other four ASW FREMM form the screening group for the French SSBN force.
    I couldn't get a good handle on the differences in the sub-classes on Wikipedia. Is it simply training and mission tasking, magazine load-out, or actual differences in the sensor and weapon suites?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    Is it simply training and mission tasking, magazine load-out, or actual differences in the sensor and weapon suites?
    It's actual differences in configuration on the same hull, mostly in the hangar, VLS, radar and sonar.

    FR-ASW : one helo; Herakles radar ; CAPTAS-4 TAS + torpedo defence ; 2x8 A43 VLS + 2x8 A70 VLS
    FR-AAW : one helo; Improved Herakles radar ; CAPTAS-4 TAS + torpedo defence ; 4x8 A50 VLS
    IT-ASW : two helos; Improved EMPAR radar ; CAPTAS-4 TAS + torpedo defence ; 2x8 A50 VLS ; (ffbnw 2x8 A70 VLS)
    IT-GP : two helos; Improved EMPAR radar ; stern boat ramp ; 2x8 A50 VLS ; (ffbnw 2x8 A70 VLS)
    IT-AAW : two helos; Improved Herakles radar ; stern boat ramp ; 2x8 A50 VLS + 2x8 A70 VLS

    The different Sylver VLS versions are basically what "self-defense", "tactical" and "strike" length are to Mk41. The A43 can only fit Aster 15; A50 can also fit Aster 30; and A70 can also fit Scalp Naval (MdCN) cruise missiles. There is also a A35 version which fits Mica VL missiles; the FR versions by design nominally allow for additional installation of 4x8 A35 on the port side of the hangar (the IT versions have an enlarged hangar and a 76mm gun in that place). The Italian versions - other than AAW - don't carry A70 partially because Italy hasn't bought MdCN (yet - their air force uses the air-launched version). The two French AAW will also be usable for ASW; the Italian GP and AAW versions make poor ASW boats without a towed sonar.

    Other than that there are minor differences (e.g. Exocet for France vs Otomat for Italy, also gun fit between countries).

    The carrier groups in the 2020s will basically be:

    Charles de Gaulle - 2x Horizon, 2x FR-AAW, 2x FR-ASW
    Cavour - 2x Horizon, 2x IT-GP, 2x IT-ASW
    Trieste - 2x IT-AAW, 2x IT-GP, 2x IT-ASW

    (Trieste is the planned replacement for Guiseppe Garibaldi; a 30kt light carrier with similar specs to Cavour)

    P.S.: The Horizons, for comparison, carry EMPAR radar + S1850 air surveillance radar; no towed sonar, one helo and 6x8 A50 VLS.
    Last edited by kato; 25 Apr 17, at 09:59.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    It's actual differences in configuration on the same hull, mostly in the hangar, VLS, radar and sonar.
    Thanks. That's an interesting way to outfit the ships instead of having them all multi-role.

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    For the French, the only thing the AAW version loses over the ASW version is the capability to fire cruise missiles, instead allowing a larger load of long-range surface-to-air missiles. If the squadron needs more than the 224 VLS cells + 4 towed sonars that group provides they could always retask some ASW FREMMs from the FOST SSBN group or attach some of the five FTI frigates (with ASW focus) also stationed at Toulon.

    For the Italians... well, their procurement is a mess anyway and in my opinion in recent years seems to be focused on putting shipyards to work with a large amount of large hulls; they've already started on the next class (PPA, 6300t FL displacement) with no less than 16 hulls, which will come in a frigate version (at least five ships) with similar specs to the FREMM ASW-GP - and a OPV/HADR version (up to eleven ships) without missiles fitted for possible later upgrade.

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    For the Italians... well, their procurement is a mess anyway and in my opinion in recent years seems to be focused on putting shipyards to work with a large amount of large hulls; they've already started on the next class (PPA, 6300t FL displacement) with no less than 16 hulls, which will come in a frigate version (at least five ships) with similar specs to the FREMM ASW-GP - and a OPV/HADR version (up to eleven ships) without missiles fitted for possible later upgrade.
    I thought Italy was having cash flow problems. Where are they getting the capital for a new carrier, MEADS, NH90S, a pile of destroyer sized frigates, and 90 F-35s in such a short time frame?

    Is Italy planning to kick over Croatia in 2022 or something?
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 26 Apr 17, at 02:00.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    Where are they getting the capital for a new carrier, MEADS, NH90S, a pile of destroyer sized frigates, and 90 F-35s in such a short time frame?
    They cross-fund procurement from the budget of the Ministry of Industry lately, basically for economic stimulus - and we're not talking about just small amounts, since 2014 they more than doubled the procurement component through that cross-funding - Italy now spends around 4.8 billion Euro per year on procurement, with the entire rest of the defence budget at a stable low 11 billion (meaning for defence expenditures procurement runs 30% of their budget - 20% are the NATO target number).

    Aside from the items mentioned they're also buying new surveillance satellites and - not yet funded - are looking to buy a brigade worth of Freccia IFVs (out of a planned final procurement for a full division).

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