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Thread: USN CG(X) Guided Missile Cruiser (Ticonderoga-class Replacement)

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    USN CG(X) Guided Missile Cruiser (Ticonderoga-class Replacement)

    An interesting article about the vision the current CNO has for the new cruiser design. If they plan on basing it on an existing hull, they're going to have challenges, will they wind up saving money in the end?

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...onderoga-class

    Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral John Richardson, has put forward his vision and strategy to field such a vessel and it's bound to be a controversial one.

    In an interview with Defense News' David Larter, the CNO explained that he wanted to model the next generation cruiser project on the FFG(X) frigate program that is currently underway. That program, which is as much a referendum on the stumbling Littoral Combat Ship as anything else, aims to procure an existing, mature hull design and modify it with the Navy's preferred sensors, combat system, and weaponry.

    The difference between FFG(X) and the new cruiser initiative is that there are few existing large-hull surface combatant designs available to chose from. The Flight III Arleigh Burke has already maxed-out the class's hull and power generation capacity, so that's not an option. There really isn't anything from an allied country that could work without massive modifications either.

    This leaves the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class's exotic hull form and the LPD-17 San Antonio class design which has already been pitched for use as a missile defense picket ship, as well as a slew of other configurations.

    The problem is that the San Antonio class ships are huge with broad hulls and displace roughly 25,000 tons. For comparison, the Ticonderoga class is shy of displacing 10,000 tons. Most notably, these ships cannot keep up with a carrier strike group, lacking a third of the speed to do so.

    In addition to being an existing hull design, the vessels also have to possess the ability to produce large amounts of power. Richardson told Larter:

    “Power plant and power generation, you need to really pay attention to that because its very hard to change after you buy it... And if you think about the kinds of combat systems and weapons systems we’re going to have on future ships, they have got to be able to generate pulsed power and those sorts of things... So, lots of power. Buy as much power as you can afford because it’s like RAM on your computer, you’re going to need more as soon as you buy it.”

    The CNO is clearly thinking of lasers, railguns, electronic warfare systems, and very powerful radars and other sensors here, and he is right to do so. The Zumwalt class, in particular, has the most capable power generation system of any U.S. Navy surface combatant, but the San Antonio class, with all of its room, could be modified to handle any of the Navy's future power needs as well.

    The third requirement Richardson puts on the future cruiser program will be its most controversial—modularity. His idea, which he has vaguely alluded to before, involves building the cruiser with a number of critical hardwired systems, like those pertaining to navigation, propulsion, and sustainment of the ship's compliment. But others, including sensors and weapons launchers, could be swapped out with much greater ease than they are today. Richard proclaimed:

    “Everything else, though, is swappable, and that has to be designed into the DNA of the ship so you can come in on a short upkeep and swap out your radar system, or your combat system, or put this weapons system in... It has a lot to do with designing standards so that everybody can build to those standards so it’s a much more dynamic, swappable type of a thing... We’ll get this design done. And because some things will be permanent and some things will be swappable, let’s just get that thing out there. It will be 100 percent better than the current cruiser... And then [when] we get smarter, we’ll put the next iteration out there.””

    That may sound great at first glance, but the truth is the Navy has an absolutely miserable track record when it comes to a much less ambitious but similar program in which modularity was supposedly a key selling point—the Littoral Combat Ship. That program originally saw various mission modules that could be swapped-out pier-side in a number of hours before the ship was sent back out to see. Fast forward a decade and the mission module concept has largely failed not just in terms of ease of swapability, but also in terms their effectiveness and deployability. Keep in mind that this concept wasn't nearly as far-reaching as the one Richardson is proposing here, in which even the ship's combat system and its primary sensor arrays would be exchanged cost-effectively in just a short maintenance period.

    It seems as if this cruiser, or 'large surface combatant' initiative would not only replace the Ticonderoga class, but it would also replace at least a portion of the Arleigh Burke class destroyers as well, the first of which were commissioned in 1991.

    It really seems as if the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class design may have an opportunity to make a comeback of sorts here. It already has the power generation that Richardson is looking for and the open-architecture network technology that could work as a base for a more modular approach to future combat systems. Above all else, its unique command center, known as the Ship's Mission Center, acts like a floating combined operations center of sorts and has all the room required for high-level command areas. This feature alone could prove to be invaluable for directing future anti-air warfare operations.

    With the removal of the ship's twin Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), which currently have no purpose anyway due to a total lack of ammunition, maybe an area for a modular weapons bay could be fitted as well as additional vertical launch cells to at least meet the number found on the Ticonderoga class, which is 122 cells. Currently, the Zumwalt class vessels have 80 Mk57 vertical launch tubes arrayed around the ship's periphery.

    Some modularity could be designed into a new version of the ship's deckhouse as well, with extra apertures and cooling available for future systems to be installed. The hangar bay and flight deck is large on these vessels. So some of that room could also be turned over to an area for a weapons module or two.

    But Zumwalt's tumblehome hull design could remain an issue. Cruisers have to accompany the aircraft carriers under their protection anywhere they travel, and sometimes that includes transits through very rough seas. Maybe it could be redesigned to include a traditional bow if the low-observable requirements placed on the DDG-1000 design were largely dropped or at least relaxed. The truth is that the Navy has already greatly watered down the ship's stealthy signature anyways due to a long string of laughably short-sighted cost-cutting decisions. Considering cruisers often work as air warfare battle management nerve centers alongside the aircraft carriers they protect, low observability shouldn't be a high priority.

    Still, that's one big list of modifications, and the Navy will have to study just how feasible doing so would be. But the service could also go another direction and just field a Zumwalt class follow-on in the cruiser role with minimal modifications, making tweaks to the deckhouse, network, and combat system for future modularity and removing its guns in exchange for more VLS cells and room for future expansion. This would be similar to the long-canceled CG(X) that originally gave birth to the Zumwalt's current configuration.

    Doing so would be more economical than an extensive redesign and it would help the existing but tiny fleet of three Zumwalt class destroyers survive what is going to be a very costly future sustainment initiative in order to keep them viable.

    We will have to see if the CNO's plans for a ship that is supposedly so easily transformable but also based on an existing design come to pass. But hopefully, the Navy can blend some of those ideas with the Zumwalt class that the service has already paid over $10B to develop. Otherwise, the Navy would have to start from scratch, which would be hugely expensive and considering the last decade or so when it comes to the service's procurement track record of developing and fielding ships with modular capabilities, it could end up being a mess that never really delivers what was promised.

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    Interesting and economical concept, already being pioneered with the San Antonio Flight II: Take the basic DDG-1000 hull form, remove some of the more exotic (and stupidly expensive) crap and put back in what really works/what you really need.

    As for the FFG(X), the solution is blindingly obvious: Modify the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate design to USN specifications.

    The Navy will, of course, go with either the enlarged Independence-class or Freedom-class. Or, knowing the Navy, they'll choose both!
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Interesting and economical concept, already being pioneered with the San Antonio Flight II: Take the basic DDG-1000 hull form, remove some of the more exotic (and stupidly expensive) crap and put back in what really works/what you really need.
    I found it interesting that he mentioned the sea-keeping of the DD-21 hull:

    But Zumwalt's tumblehome hull design could remain an issue. Cruisers have to accompany the aircraft carriers under their protection anywhere they travel, and sometimes that includes transits through very rough seas. Maybe it could be redesigned to include a traditional bow if the low-observable requirements placed on the DDG-1000 design were largely dropped or at least relaxed.
    Are there serious concerns about the tumblehome hull shape in rough seas?

    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    As for the FFG(X), the solution is blindingly obvious: Modify the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate design to USN specifications.
    I think the Álvaro de Bazán-class is overkill for what the Navy wants. They should select the Ingalls frigate design, fix the Independence-class to be the pickup trucks of the Navy they were intended to be, and scrap / stop building the Freedom-class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    I found it interesting that he mentioned the sea-keeping of the DD-21 hull:
    Are there serious concerns about the tumblehome hull shape in rough seas?
    Yeah that was a little disturbing. I have not heard anything about their sea-keeping abilities. Likely as not, something will eventually come out about it.



    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    I think the Álvaro de Bazán-class is overkill for what the Navy wants. They should select the Ingalls frigate design, fix the Independence-class to be the pickup trucks of the Navy they were intended to be, and scrap / stop building the Freedom-class.
    This is a great article on that from last year, and this is another, even though I'm not a fan of Jerry Hendrix

    As the Bazán-class is now, it's certainly overkill. But remove Aegis and some of the more expensive features and you have a solid multimission frigate built on a proven hull design.
    The Aussies picked the Bazán-class as the basis Hobart-class frigate and it seems to be working out quite well.

    As for the Ingalls frigate, I'd definitely favor it over the enlarged LCS designs, but Hendrix's article states that it has some drawbacks:

    The blunt, square deckhouse and blunt hull are not ideal in an anti-access, area-denial environment where low “radar cross-sections” are desired so the ship can evade radar detection by enemy vessels as it penetrates defended zones. Nor is the Huntington Ingalls design ideal within an anti-submarine warfare arena, where its square hull contours produce higher ambient noise levels, making it more difficult to detect submarines. In addition, the Coast Guard did not impose a requirement that all internal systems be shock-mounted, a standard characteristic of Navy battleforce ships. As such, the ship’s internal layout will need some redesign. In the end, Huntington Ingalls’s National Security Cutter is a work horse, and perhaps not ideal for the open-ocean, blue-water track.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    As for the Ingalls frigate, I'd definitely favor it over the enlarged LCS designs, but Hendrix's article states that it has some drawbacks:

    The blunt, square deckhouse and blunt hull are not ideal in an anti-access, area-denial environment where low “radar cross-sections” are desired so the ship can evade radar detection by enemy vessels as it penetrates defended zones. Nor is the Huntington Ingalls design ideal within an anti-submarine warfare arena, where its square hull contours produce higher ambient noise levels, making it more difficult to detect submarines. In addition, the Coast Guard did not impose a requirement that all internal systems be shock-mounted, a standard characteristic of Navy battleforce ships. As such, the ship’s internal layout will need some redesign. In the end, Huntington Ingalls’s National Security Cutter is a work horse, and perhaps not ideal for the open-ocean, blue-water track.
    Very interesting, and it all makes sense. I will point out that a picture or mock-up wasn't associated with the Ingalls bid, at least that I am aware of. So while everyone is assuming that it will be based directly on the Legends-class hull, I do wonder if it won't be a more purpose built hull and superstructure design.

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    They could use the hull of the new Chinese large DDG/CG hull, which is supposed to come in at around 10k tons, as the basis for the new design.

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    The best I can tell, as of today, there is no CG(X) program. The CNO recently gave an interview with some nebulous, pie-in-the-sky discussion about needing something to replace the Tico's with, and how it might be done, but there are no future plans regarding the cruiser force beyond modernization of the 11 newest ships with the goal of extending their service lives to around 40 years. In the end, the Navy has fallen behind the curve in providing a fleet necessary to serve the perceived requirements of the present and future. I don't think there is yet an accurate prediction for just what that threat will be, and meeting it will be like hitting a moving target. A large part of the Aegis development is now geared toward theater ballistic missile defense. What to do about the Chinese and Russian navies is a big question mark because they seem to be newly (re)dedicated to becoming world powers and challenging the US. What capabilities they might have 25 years from now is anyone's guess. Any new cruiser design will have to specifically address those as-yet non-existent threats.

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    Well, if the tumbledown hull is changed to a more conventional design, could the number of peripheral VLS cells be increased?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    Well, if the tumbledown hull is changed to a more conventional design, could the number of peripheral VLS cells be increased?
    that and remove the deck guns (the ones with no ammo) and replace them with something more conventional.

    would free up some space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post
    They could use the hull of the new Chinese large DDG/CG hull, which is supposed to come in at around 10k tons, as the basis for the new design.
    Definitely looks like a serious piece of business...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    Definitely looks like a serious piece of business...

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    I was just about to start a thread on the 055.

    What is the consensus on this class? Chinese media think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    I was just about to start a thread on the 055.

    What is the consensus on this class? Chinese media think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
    Three good articles I read this week:

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the...y-battle-23149

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...and-its-allies

    http://www.navyrecognition.com/index...destroyer.html

    Basically it's a pretty slick design and a big upgrade on the Type 052D in a lot of areas (land attack cruise missiles, better area air defense radar and missile capacity, two helicopters), and is clearly intended to act as the flagship for Chinese battle groups. Yet still not as capable in certain areas as modern western ships at this point.

    Another interesting point is that China has moved beyond copying systems that are in use like the RAM launcher, to copying ideas that are not yet in production in the USN (for whatever reason) like the dual frequency/array air defense radar on the Type 055 (similar to the upcoming SPY-6 in the USN).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JA Boomer View Post
    Another interesting point is that China has moved beyond copying systems that are in use like the RAM launcher, to copying ideas that are not yet in production in the USN (for whatever reason) like the dual frequency/array air defense radar on the Type 055 (similar to the upcoming SPY-6 in the USN).
    The dual radar setup was eliminated due to cost. I believe the FORD has something like this, but it's considered a one-off and the follow-on carriers will not have this radar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    that and remove the deck guns (the ones with no ammo) and replace them with something more conventional.

    would free up some space.
    Keep one for a railgun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    Keep one for a railgun.
    It looks like the USN has moved away from this and towards direct energy weapons (ie lasers). From all reports, they've stopped work on their railgun, but still are developing the directed energy weapons. They had one fielded in the Gulf on teh PONCE for testing. Probably see how'd it standup in an operational environment.

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