November 12, 2021

Open Thread 91

As the USNI sale is upon us, it is time, as usual, for me to make my recommendations for what you should pick up if you want to build up your naval library. The big news this year comes in the prestige warship design books, as they're republishing all of the major volumes of Friedman's Illustrated Design History series in hardback (excluding Amphibious Ships and Small Craft, because who cares about those). All are excellent, and I'd recommend picking up any that look remotely interesting. The other notable arrival is the reprint of Stephen McLaughlin's Russian and Soviet Battleships. This book, which has been out of print for years, was the source for my series on the subject, and it's a gem. McLaughlin takes a close look at a warship tradition very different from the Anglo-American one most of us are familiar with, and it's enlightening to look at the different tradeoffs that were possible in this era.

Nor are those the only books worth picking up. If you're interested in what's going on at sea today, I'd recommend the 2022 Seaforth World Naval Review, along with any earlier volumes they still have in stock. (As of Thursday night, the link appears to be dead, but USNI has never had the most stable IT, so it might come back up.) While the price is up, the bundle of 14 volumes of Morison's History of US Naval Operations in WWII is still a good deal on one of the best series of narrative naval history ever. Other good choices are Freidman's World Naval Weapon Systems and Network-Centric Warfare, DK Brown's Before the Ironclad, Warship Builders, about the USN's construction program in WWII, and Brian Lavery's superb Nelson's Navy. But there's a lot of stuff I haven't mentioned, and I'd strongly encourage you to take a look through the catalog to see if anything catches your eye.

Also, this is the one time a year when I mention that Naval Gazing takes donations through PayPal, if anyone wants to donate and doesn't think I have enough books already. I have a good job and really don't need the money, but the option is open and all proceeds will go to expanding the library.

2017 overhauls are Iowa parts two, three and four, Fire Control Part 2, Ballistics, US Battleships in WWII and the Battleships of Pearl Harbor Part 1. 2018 overhauls are Russian Battleships Part 4, Operations Research in the Atlantic, the 45th Infantry Division Museum, Museum Ships Europe and Rest of World and Armistice. 2019 overhauls are Early Guided Weapons Parts one and two and Natick Labs. 2020 overhauls are Ship Resistance and Speed, Coastal Defenses Part 6 and the Alaska class parts one and two.

Comments

  1. November 12, 2021Eltargrim said...

    A testimonial for Naval Gazing: yesterday, on Veteran's Day, my wife learned that one of her coworkers "served on a boat with big guns in the 90's". Based solely on that information and what I've read here, I was able to correctly pin the ship down to either the USS Wisconsin or USS Missouri.

    Read Naval Gazing: impress your wife's coworkers with your naval trivia!

  2. November 12, 2021Neal said...

    Any idea what is going to happen to the USS Connecticut? Apparently ran across/into a seamount in the South China Sea although the Navy is, understandably, tight-lipped about it at the moment.

    https://news.usni.org/2021/10/10/assessment-of-damaged-attack-boat-uss-connecticut-begins-in-guam

    Great rejoicing across the breadth of the land that the propulsion plant was not damaged although this strikes me as one of those statements that says a lot by trying not to say much. One does wonder however, how much work in the yard is going to be required and the shuffling that goes on when

    Speaking of things Chinese, the DoD recently released its annual report to Congress on China. I found the executive summary to be quite interesting. Lots of detail in this report. The PDF is here: https://media.defense.gov/2021/Nov/03/2002885874/-1/-1/0/2021-CMPR-FINAL.PDF

  3. November 12, 2021bean said...

    @Eltargrim

    Thanks. Glad I've been useful.

    @Neal

    She'll almost certainly be repaired. She's new enough that it should make sense, although given the backlog in the maintenance yards, it's going to be tricky fitting her in.

  4. November 14, 2021Anonymous said...

    They repaired San Fransisco after it hit a seamount so probably quite doable.

  5. November 15, 2021Harry said...

    Re/book recommendations

    Watching Drachinifel's Guadalcanal series sparked a big interest in the WW2 Pacific naval war. I read Hornfischer's book on Guadalcanal and Ian W. Toll's trilogy, but want more on the early parts of the Pacific War (including Guadalcanal) and Japan's campaigns prior. Any reading recommendations?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Harry
  6. November 15, 2021bean said...

    Yes, that is definitely the kind of advice I can offer. Obvious recommendation is the relevant volumes of Morison's History of US Naval Operations in WWII, which would be Rising Sun in the Pacific, Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions and The Struggle for Guadalcanal. (Although I'd recommend picking up the whole series, because they're seriously good reads.) For a broader view of the early Pacific War, Tower of Skulls by Richard B Frank covers the Japanese and Chinese stories very well, although it's a general history and not a naval one. Frank also wrote a very well-regarded book on Guadalcanal, although I haven't read it. Glancing through my copy, there's plenty on the naval campaign, but also a lot on the fighting ashore. John Lundstrum, in his introduction to the Morison volume on Guadalcanal also recommends Eric Hammel's trilogy on the battle (all have Guadalcanal in the title). Said introduction also has other recommendations, but most are pretty specialized.

  7. November 15, 2021ike said...

    @Harry

    Drachinifel was the guy that did the (Russian) 2nd Pacific Squadron video, right?

  8. November 15, 2021Harry said...

    @bean

    Thanks! This is perfect. Once I'm done Kaigun (Evans & Peattie) I'll decided what next - I might go for Tower of Skulls then Morison's books.

    @ike

    Yes, that's him. I can't recommend his Guadalcanal series enough:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jET2M8yP4Jo&list=PLMK9a-vDE5zGRthqKrcdizbIrKc-9MQFk&ab_channel=Drachinifel

    The chaos of the night battles is truly something.

  9. November 15, 2021quanticle said...

    A Navy helicopter has a very bad day. Footage looks like it's from late-2017 or early-2018. Fortunately no one was hurt, and the only major damage appears to be to the promotion chances of the crew.

    (Original source)

  10. November 15, 2021quanticle said...

    Did we lose the ability to use Markdown, or did I make a subtle error in formatting?

  11. November 16, 2021bean said...

    I suspect it might be a markdown issue. I'm getting Parsing JSON request failed when I try to edit, which makes me think something has gone weird.

  12. November 16, 2021Eltargrim said...

    My initial post rendered the Markdown italics properly, but that seems to have disappeared in the last couple of days.

  13. November 16, 2021Said Achmiz said...

    I’m apprised of the issue. I’m working on a fix; will let you folks know when it’s solved.

  14. November 16, 2021Miles G said...

    How exactly does the WWII style armor stuck up against the modern anti-ship missiles (with conventional warheads)? On one hand if it were really useful navies would've continued using it, obviously. OTOH, in the Falklands series bean writes about how a single WWII cruiser would be a non-trivial threat to the better part of the entire British fleet if not for the nuclear subs.

    Is this something along the lines "If modern ships were armored it would've been relatively easy to design a missile that attacks from above and penetrates the thin deck armor, but since they are not missiles come in on a relatively flat trajectory preferable for other reasons, and can't penetrate the thicker belt armor of an occasional WWII relic"? Plus maybe something something mission kill something engagement range?

  15. November 16, 2021bean said...

    This is probably something that I should turn into a blog post. If you were to fire a typical modern ASM at a WWII-era cruiser or battleship, I think it would not do much to the belt armor, and probably wouldn't go through the deck of a battleship in pop-up mode either. (I should do some research into the exact penetration expected out of a modern ASM.) But that's because there are no armored warships to shoot at, so nobody bothers to design to kill them. If someone started building properly armored warships again, that would change, and it would be a lot easier to build a bigger missile with an appropriate warhead than it would be to build said armored warship. Or they could just go for the mission kill, because modern weapons and sensors are a lot harder to armor than those of the battleship era.

    Some of it is also that everyone got out of the habit of building armored warships in the late 40s and 50s, because they expected the standard anti-ship weapon to be nuclear, and armor isn't that useful in that case, and also drives up the size of the ship a lot. These days, there's no design experience and no industrial base, and you'd have to do all that from scratch.

    Oh, and there's the fact that one of the major threats to warships today isn't stopped by armor. (See General Belgrano, Sinking of the)

  16. November 16, 2021muddywaters said...

    Previously discussed (for older missiles - I don't know if newer ones are relevantly different) here and at this link. One battleship was sunk by a guided weapon, though a bomb rather than a missile.

    (Fantasy battle: 1991 Missouri and Wisconsin vs 1991 Iraqi Navy (~10 Osas, ~20+ other boats), no other help for either side, victory condition of whether the battleships get to the shore in a fit state to shell it (i.e. running away counts as losing). Potentially involving Pioneers as bad-but-better-than-no aerial scouts, otherwise-useless boats surrounding the Osas as Harpoon decoys (or surrendering/running away when they realize that's what they're being used as), and desperate 5"/38 shooting when a missile does approach the battleships (preferably not at the expense of remembering to turn on the actual CIWS and jammer). Probably favours the missile boats at least enough that it would have been obviously silly to actually do this.)

  17. November 16, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    Also, fitting into the mission kill aspect, there's ASMs and then there's ASMs, belike. A pop-up Harpoon might not penetrate the deck armor of Vanguard or Iowa, and might be a small enough boom to keep usefully fighting afterward. I wouldn't necessarily take bets on still being combat capable if that's a P-1000 Vulkan instead. (I actually wouldn't take bets that a Vulkan wouldn't either penetrate the deck armor, or else smash it in hard enough to badly wreck things under it, but that's a different debate.)

    Also, a modern armor belt would have to be a lot bigger than the armor belts of yore, since you can't predict a missile's trajectory the way you can a shell's. It's a lot of mass.

    What I wonder about, though, is armoring things like powder magazines and VLS complexes so that some zhlubs lobbing rockets and ATGMs from suicide boats don't golden-BB a billion-dollar DDG. You wouldn't be trying to stop anything as skookum as an Exocet, much less a Bazalt, Granit or Yakhont, and you'd have the volume to set up the kind of spaced armor that defeats HEAT warheads. (Which is generally how those small missiles defeat tank armor.) Maybe that's judged to be a case of the juice not being worth the squeeze, or maybe they figure the hull around those vulnerable bits is sufficiently armor-like that to get into the vitals, you need a proper ASM or major-caliber shell in the first place.

  18. November 16, 2021bean said...

    @muddywaters

    That sort of fantasy battle is what Command is good at, although I would point out that you should not use battleships that way. They're not designed to deal with that kind of threat, and never have been.

    @Jade

    Also a good point, and one I should have called out more explicitly.

    Also, a modern armor belt would have to be a lot bigger than the armor belts of yore, since you can’t predict a missile’s trajectory the way you can a shell’s. It’s a lot of mass.

    It might drive up deck thickness quite a bit. Belts were sized conservatively enough that I don't think it would affect them. But an inch of deck is usually something like 7x the mass of an inch of belt, so that's not much comfort.

    As for armoring against RPGs and ATGMs, I think the key there is that those systems are designed to kill tanks, which don't have a bunch of room inside. They're going to expend pretty much all of their energy on the first room they enter, and given how a warship is built, that is never going to be the magazine/VLS.

  19. November 17, 2021muddywaters said...

    It looks plausible that battleship armor relied on the then-available weapons coming in from the side (shells and contact-fused torpedoes) to limit the area and hence weight of armor needed, and stopped working when it became possible to attack from the top (sufficiently large bombs) or bottom (magnetic-fused torpedoes), suggesting that larger carrier planes and/or fast submarines would have obsoleted them even without guided weapons.

    Though guidance does help with simply smashing through the armor with a big weapon, since you don't need to carry as many of them to get a hit.

  20. November 17, 2021bean said...

    I think the key was guidance, as I alluded to in The Battleship and the Carrier. It took you from a position where you were going to need dozens of planes per battleship (hard to generate) to a case where you needed only a handful, like Roma. Likewise, you generally need a lot of unguided torpedoes to replicate the effects of a handful of guided torpedoes.

  21. November 17, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    Also, a modern armor belt would have to be a lot bigger than the armor belts of yore, since you can’t predict a missile’s trajectory the way you can a shell’s. It’s a lot of mass.

    It might drive up deck thickness quite a bit. Belts were sized conservatively enough that I don’t think it would affect them. But an inch of deck is usually something like 7x the mass of an inch of belt, so that’s not much comfort.

    I mostly meant that the belt would need to be taller, though that's only relevant if you really need the belt to keep missiles out entirely and not just to contain or mitigate damage.

  22. November 17, 2021Said Achmiz said...

    The Markdown problem has been fixed. You should once again be able to use Markdown in comments, as before.

    Please let me know if there are any further problems!

  23. November 17, 2021muddywaters said...

    @Jade: an Iowa's belt already goes up to the armored deck to form a closed box, i.e. all angles are covered (though not equally).

  24. November 17, 2021bean said...

    Thank you. I'll pass word if I see anything else go wrong.

  25. November 17, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    @muddywaters: Oh, fair point. I was mostly thinking that the deck would have to sit higher, and the belt be correspondingly taller in order to avoid missiles striking above the belt but not necessarily plunging into the deck, but that gets into the "armoring the upper works" problem, and more relevantly, armoring the bits that can't actually be armored, like radars.

    Some other bits and bobs:

    What do y'all think of Ryan Szimanski's critique of nuclear power on surface combatants here?

    If you were building a large modern surface warship (be it designated a destroyer, cruiser, battleship, what have ye), does the risk of shock-induced SCRAM affect whether nuclear or nuke turbo-electric propulsion makes sense?

  26. November 18, 2021Anonymous said...

    Is shock induced SCRAM even a thing with reactors designed under the assumption that they need to keep operating even if they are subjected to shock?

    Also the US Navy after Thresher made sure that safety systems could be overridden if necessary to save the ship so even if it does somehow happen the crew will have the reactor powered back up in minutes.

    The decision comes down to economics only, are the added capabilities worth any extra cost?

  27. November 18, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    I know there are photos around of USS Arkansas being subjected to shock trials, and I've seen shock trial photos for a carrier, too - possibly Ford. That would imply to me that we expect reactors to keep operating when subjected to some level of shock, but I don't know how much.

    Also, the Russian Kirovs have 76mm of splinter plating around the reactor compartment. That implies that they expected them to take hits that could generate splinters, and that the shock from that wouldn't automatically kill the reactor. (If it would, why bother armoring to keep splinters out, except maybe for rad containment, but for that, make the containment vessels stronger, don't armor the whole compartment.)

    That's why I was curious what other folks thought of the idea. I think he's probably overstating the hazard, except in the context of a battleship fighting like a battleship - that is, standing in gun range and taking multiple hits while returning fire. In the context of a modern combatant, I'm not sure it matters as much. Though I think I do agree with the Russian idea of "be extra sure to keep splinters out of the reactor compartment, since everything depends on that working".

  28. November 18, 2021AlexT said...

    Speaking of battleships, how would a ciws fare against an incoming battleship shell?

  29. November 18, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    I'd bet money that Phalanx/Goalkeeper could target and hit a BB shell, but I wouldn't bet that they could actually hit it hard enough to deflect it or trigger the fuze. A 57mm or 76mm gun might whang it hard enough to do that, but it'd take a direct hit, not a proximity burst.

    The Royal Navy has shot down 4.5" shells with Sea Wolf in testing, so I wouldn't be excessively shocked if RAM or ESSM could shoot down shells, but a 4.5" is a whole hell of a lot less skookum than an 8" AP, which is in turn much squishier and lighter than a 16" AP. So once again, hit it, yes; kill it, way less certain. ESSM or Standard are heavy enough that a direct hit would probably set off a fuze, though I'd bet it would take a direct hit.

  30. November 18, 2021bean said...

    The idea of adding nuclear power to the Iowas is mind-bogglingly stupid. This is obvious, and it's a good test of "this person is not worth paying attention to". I do not think his evaluation of the vulnerability of nuclear reactors is accurate. Naval Reactors, for all of its organizational pathologies, does impressive engineering. I don't see an Exocet/Harpoon/Styx causing a scram. A mine or a torpedo, sure, but those are going to mess up anybody, regardless of propulsion system. I did a bunch of reading on naval nuclear power back in the early part of the year, and ran across nothing at all about this. I did a bit of googling, and the shock standards for USN reactors might be 10x the earthquake standards for civilian reactors.

    Seriously, I have no idea where Mr. Szimanski is getting his information from. I suppose I could email him and ask.

    Re CIWS, hitting is unlikely to be the problem. I'm not sure how effective it would be unless it hit the fuze, as battleship shells in particular are very durable.

  31. November 19, 2021AlexT said...

    CIWS, hitting is unlikely to be the problem. I’m not sure how effective it would be unless it hit the fuze

    The armor piercing ones, yeah, but maybe a custom round packed with HE would have better odds to trigger the fuze? That and/or shoot very many of them.

    Of course, you'll still have to deal with fragments. But that's IMO what armor on a modern battleship would be for, primarily.

    The Royal Navy has shot down 4.5″ shells with Sea Wolf

    Sounds really cool, but expensive. And they'll run out of missiles long before BB(X) runs out of shells.

  32. November 19, 2021Alexander said...

    I think I heard it as Sea Dart, but it could well have been both. As for expensive, this is in a training context, where the 4.5" shell is being used as a cheap target representing an aircraft or missile. I don't think it was envisaged as a defence in a gun duel. I expect that Jade was using it as an example of what was possible, rather than a practical tactic.

  33. November 19, 2021muddywaters said...

    @AlexT: The land-based version of Phalanx explicitly claims to work on artillery shells, and does use HE ammunition (the naval version uses solid shot), but they presumably mean normal-sized ones.

    Breaking the windshield off a 16" could theoretically add enough drag to drop it short, but only if done at long enough range, possibly more than a CIWS has.

  34. November 19, 2021bean said...

    C-RAM doesn't use explosive shells for reasons of target effects. The primary reason it doesn't shoot the same kind of ammo as the naval version is that while it is generally OK to bombard the sea with bullets (although not always, as Missouri found out during Desert Storm) it is much less OK to do so on land. The bullets have a self-destruct mechanism in them.

    There's definitely no way you could get anything from a reasonable-size CIWS through an AP shell. HC might stand a chance, but in either case, you'll do a lot better against more conventional naval artillery shells.

  35. November 19, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    I can't remember where I saw it, but I remember seeing something to the effect that the load in Phalanx had been changed from all APDS to a 50/50 mix of APDS and SAPHEI for the greater effect of the latter on boats and such.

    What was the rationale behind using APDS in the first place? Penetrating armored warheads, or was it mostly about cranking up the muzzle velocity to make the gun shoot as flat as possible? (I'd think using SAPHEI would be the obvious first choice since that's what aircraft use in their M61s, at least most of the time.)

  36. November 19, 2021John Schilling said...

    APDS was specifically chosen for penetrating and immediately detonating the SAP warheads of typical antiship missiles at 1000 meters or so. 20x102mm SAPHEI will probably only have a penetration of 10-15mm at such ranges if it reaches the warhead at all, and since the warhead is behind the guidance section with a base-detonating fuse, destroying everything ahead of the warhead is not enough.

    35-40mm CIWS have enough range that destroying the guidance system and/or breaking up the airframe will prevent the warhead from reaching the target, so at that point proximity-fuzed explosive or shrapnel shells are preferred; I'm not aware of any dedicated CIWS of <35mm that uses anything but pure AP against missiles. A mixed load for occasional anti-boat use does seem sensible though.

  37. November 19, 2021Johan Larson said...

    Gun? Yes. Pants? No.

    Obviously, when invited to a shooting competition called Finnish Brutality, one shows up in a camo kilt. (link)

  38. November 19, 2021John Schilling said...

    @Johann: Yes, I saw that this morning. I'm skeptical about "Finnish kilts" being a real thing except for marketing purposes. And they seem a particularly poor choice for an event that requires fighting a mock battle from a trench filled with three feet of barely-unfrozen water.

    Simo Häyhä says "No Kilts!"

  39. November 19, 2021Lambert said...

    You could say the same about the (skirtlike incarnation of the) Scottish kilt, except that the marketing happened during the 19th century.

  40. November 20, 2021John Schilling said...

    18th century, actually, and the British Government did most of the marketing. The modern kilt was a novel and minor "casual" variation of the Great Kilt in the early 18th century. But after almost two generations of being prohibited from wearing any sort of kilt on pain of imprisonment, every True Scotsman was going to damn well wear some sort of kilt whenever practical, and the Great Kilt was never really all that practical for daily wear.

  41. November 22, 2021quanticle said...

    The idea of adding nuclear power to the Iowas is mind-bogglingly stupid. This is obvious, and it’s a good test of “this person is not worth paying attention to”.

    Okay, but you'd be lying if you said you didn't find the idea of a nuclear-powered railgun-battleship at least slightly intriguing, right?

  42. November 22, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    So I just had a debate offline with a fan of battleship reactivation, who was touting all the benefits of the 16"/50 for shore bombardment. We concluded the debate with an acknowledgement that there was no real chance of bringing back any of the BBs or for that matter, Salem, but with the notion that no, the current state of the art isn't really satisfactory. His proposed solution was building a new ship with a few autoloading 16" guns, while mine is resurrecting the Mk 71 or something like it plus a vertical-launch SDB (which the Army already has, IIRC).

    It seems to me that the things a 16" gun brings to the table that an 8" doesn't is basically the morale effect of a big shell landing with a big boom, a more range than an 8", and the ability to penetrate hardened bunkers. Also, the time of flight would be shorter than a missile-borne SDB, since that's pretty much necessarily a subsonic munition while the 16" shell is supersonic over almost its entire useful range.

    If we had an 8" rapid-fire gun, and a VLS-launched SDB bus, what cases would that not solve, that a 16"/50 would? It seems to me that if you really urgently need more than an 8" shell worth of boom, and there's no time for an SDB, that you've got a case where the expense of hitting a land target with a Standard almost makes sense. Yeah, it's not a huge warhead, but it's bigger than the bursting charge in a 16" shell, plus it's a more powerful explosive, plus nearly a ton of supersonic airframe any any remaining rocket fuel. One of those smacking into an enemy position will make a meck of a hess, and a salvo of SDBs or 8" shells can come in shortly after to take advantage of the chaos. It wouldn't come up super-often anyway.

    As for hardened bunkers, I'd think that Tomahawk with JMEWS would probably take care of that case, assuming that an 8" AP or an SDB doesn't cut the mustard. (And if that's not enough, then you dang well need an F/A-18 to truck in a laser-guided bunker buster, because that's one helluva bunker.)

    He also talked about rate of fire, but it seems to me that at best, a battleship could have put 18 16" shells on target in a minute. It would only take two Mark 71s or one turret on a Des Moines to beat that, and the cases where you really need nine shells dropping on a single point at once is probably another "this warrants a missile" case. Also, any new 16" installation almost certainly wouldn't be three or four triples - even without armor, that's just too dang much ship impact. You'd get one twin or two singles, at most, I'd think - and even with autoloaders, that's maybe 3 RPM at best.

    Does my thinking make sense here, or are there still cases where a 16" does the job better than a rapid-fire 8" plus missiles?

    I'm completely ignoring the feasibility of building such a platform - merely scheming in a vacuum.

  43. November 22, 2021bean said...

    I'm a bit skeptical of even an 8" in this day and age. For anything which actually needs big shells, you're probably better off with a missile. You don't need to hit those that often, and a missile has so much lower impact on the ship. If I had to pick a gun system, I'd be very tempted to tell the Navy that they're going to make it as compatible as possible with the existing 155mm system. Not sure if I'd let them even have a new tube, but ammo compatibility is non-negotiable. That at least limits what they can screw up.

  44. November 22, 2021bean said...

    Also, I've been in touch with USNI, and the 2022 World Naval Review has been pulled from the website due to a pricing error. They were willing to order me one manually, and I suspect it will be up on the website again at some point.

  45. November 22, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    I think I'd want a longer tube, if only to increase the possible muzzle velocity for munitions designed for it, but I see your point about inviting a visit from the Good Idea Fairy. I'd certainly condition whatever it is - 155mm or 203mm - on not relying on any kind of gee-whiz ammo. Give me a basic HE-PD, VT-FRAG and KE-ET, and that's all that's really necessary. Illum, SAP/AP, something like SAPOMER, something like DART and something like Vulcano, Excalibur or Copperhead would be on my "nice to have" list, but not as a requirement at all.

  46. November 23, 2021bean said...

    I'd be tempted to tell the designers "work around the existing M777 tube, but make it so it can take a longer one", and after they'd gotten far enough that the Good Idea Fairy couldn't get too excited, tell them they could build the longer tube in after all. After the nonsense with the AGS, I really don't trust any attempt at large-caliber guns.

  47. November 23, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    Maybe the thing to do would be to convince one or two European navies that they want it, commission OTO Melara or Bofors to design and build it, and then just procure that!

  48. November 23, 2021muddywaters said...

    Two European navies tried to design a 155mm based on existing Army designs. Both were cancelled.

  49. November 23, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    This is because they meant to mount it on a destroyer, and 6" gun destroyers are cursed. The obvious solution is to only mount it on cruisers and frigates, or at least to only plan to, during the design stages!

    More seriously and unrelatedly, does anyone know if the new SPY-6 AMDR subsumes the illumination functionality of the SPG-62?

  50. November 24, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    Huh. Somehow I'd never seen this before.

    Now that's pushing the definition of a destroyer! Though, the Russian release seems to say it's meant as a "destroyer, large ASW ship and missile cruiser", which seems to put it in the same "everything at once" category as something like the Kirovs. Or, equally, the Arleigh Burkes. Still, something about "DDGN" seems a little... odd?

    Methinks it almost makes sense to nix the frigate/destroyer/cruiser classification altogether. Not that there are any other terms readily suggesting themselves that aren't annoyingly wordy.

  51. November 24, 2021bean said...

    Assuming that this actually comes to fruition (which I rather doubt), I'm sure NATO will designate it as a cruiser, much as we do with the Chinese Type 055. But yeah, this sounds like a small Kirov, which puts it squarely in the cruiser category. But the Russians don't classify ships the same way we do, so I suspect the translation is screwing up.

  52. November 24, 2021Daib said...

    It seems like Ivan will need new large surface combatants eventually, since they haven't built any for a couple of decades, while their current fleet essentially went without serious maintenance for much of that time. Perhaps they might cut some of the more expensive capability from the Lider proposal, and slowly build 8-10 of them to replace the 15 current cruisers and destroyers in operation? With energy prices fairly high for the moment, now would be the time to start thinking about placing orders.

  53. November 24, 2021Philistine said...

    The claim is that the new ship will be "... smaller than the Project 1144 ships and carrying far more weaponry." So that should be interesting, if there's anything real to it at all, because the Kirovs were already pretty jam-packed with stuff.

  54. November 25, 2021bean said...

    I just ran "smaller than Project 1144 and carrying far more weaponry" through my Russian Military Marketing to English translator and got "capsized". Remember, all official announcements about Russian weapon should be treated as lies until proven otherwise.

  55. November 25, 2021Anonymous said...

    Putting civilian helicopters on a warship, I'd have expected anything other than a Ka-27 to be a Ka-29 if for some reason they need to transport Naval Infantry, then again Wikipedia isn't always reliable.

  56. November 25, 2021Daib said...

    I'm just assuming that the Russians mean the Lider will be far more capable than an 80s Project 1144. 3M22 Tsirkon seems to have reached a reasonably mature stage, and is definitely a formidable tool.

  57. November 25, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    The only way the "more weaponry" claim makes a lick of sense is if they're smaller or more efficiently mounted. Granted, most any other ASM is smaller than a P-700, and it wouldn't be hard to come up with a more efficient SAM installation than that weird revolver-VLS thing the Kirovs and Slavas have.

  58. November 25, 2021Jade Nekotenshi said...

    Also, it strikes me that the 19500 ton estimate isn't that much smaller than a Kirov - it wouldn't be impossible to shave off 6000 tons just by building a more efficient, smaller reactor, condensing down some of the radars and ECM antennas, and using a less beamy hull, and maybe omitting the steel splinter plate or replacing it with aramid or composite. (Kirov is pretty broad in the beam by cruiser standards, though not as beamy as even a relatively long and narrow BB like an Iowa.)

  59. November 25, 2021quanticle said...

    I just ran “smaller than Project 1144 and carrying far more weaponry” through my Russian Military Marketing to English translator and got “capsized”.

    Yeah, I got the same result, and it's reinforced by the "Pagoda Mast 2.0" look of the model.

  60. November 25, 2021John Schilling said...

    And in news that will hopefully be of no naval significance whatsoever, the Second Battle of Guadalcanal seems to be underway, with Australia deploying troops to the island while China and Taiwan compete for influence.

    The Solomon Islands has long been one of Taiwan's few formal allies in the region, and an ethnic Chinese merchant class aligned with Taiwan has played a key role in the island's economy. This has caused tensions in the past, particularly between Guadalcanal proper (seat of the nation's government), and the neighboring island of Malaita (richer and more prosperous). 2001-2006 saw prolonged three-way unrest between Guadalcanal, Malaita, and the Chinese minority, but things calmed down in part due to Australian intervention.

    In 2019, the PRC offered half a billion dollars in bribes, er, development assistance, in exchange for the national government switching its formal recognition from Taipei to Beijing. This did not go over well on Malaita, which figured they wouldn't get much of the money. It's not clear where the ethnic Chinese stand on the matter; presumably both Chinas have been courting their loyalty.

    Then during the COVID pandemic, the government of Taiwain provided informal and apparently illegal support to the provincial government of Malaita. Now that the lockdowns are coming undone, quiet unrest has suddenly turned violent. It's not clear to me what the trigger event was, but thousands of people traveled from Malaita to Guadalcanal to protest, which escalated to an attempt to storm parliament and depose the PM, and numerous buildings being set on fire.

    Hence, the urgent request for Australian troops, which seem to have done the trick last time. No word on whether the United States Navy will send an aircraft carrier out of habit; presumably if they do it will collide with Savo Island because of course it will.

  61. November 27, 2021bean said...

    No word on whether the United States Navy will send an aircraft carrier out of habit; presumably if they do it will collide with Savo Island because of course it will.

    Only if the carrier is Reagan.

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