Skip to comments.Destroyers Maxed Out, Navy Looks To New Hulls: Power For Radars & Lasers
Posted on 07/12/2018 7:25:06 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Navy DDG-51 Flight III modifications. SOURCE: GAO
ARLINGTON: The Navy has crammed as much electronics as it can into its new DDG-51 Flight III destroyers now beginning construction, Rear Adm. William Galinis said this morning. That drives the service towards a new Large Surface Combatant that can comfortably accommodate the same high-powered radars, as well as future weapons such as lasers, on either a modified DDG-51 hull or an entirely new design.
Its going to be more of an evolutionary approach as we migrate from the DDG-51 Flight IIIs to the Large Surface Combatant, said Galinis, the Navys Program Executive Officer for Ships. (LSC evolved from the Future Surface Combatant concept and will serve along a new frigate and unmanned surface vessels). (We) start with a DDG-51 flight III combat system and we build off of that, probably bringing in a new HME (Hull, Mechanical, & Engineering) infrastructure, a new power architecture, to support that system as it then evolves going forward.
Before the end of the year, well start reaching out to industry to start sharing some of the thoughts we have and where we think were going, Galinis told a Navy League breakfast audience. Well bring industry into this at the right point, but were still kind of working a lot of the technology pieces and what the requirements are right now.
Evolution, Not Revolution
This evolutionary approach is similar to how the current Aegis combat system entered service on the CG-47 Ticonderoga cruisers in 1983 but came into its own on the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers. (Despite the difference in names, the two classes are virtually the same size). The DDG-51 is now the single most common type in the fleet, a vital part of the hoped-for 355-ship Navy, with some ships expected to serve into the 2070s:
There are now 64 Arleigh Burkes of various sub-types in service;
nine of the latest Flight IIA variant are in various stages of construction; and
work is beginning on the new Flight IIIs in Mississippi (Huntington Ingalls Industries) and Maine (General Dynamics-owned Bath Iron Works).
The Navy is doubling down on long-standing programs to keep its older warships up to date and on par with the newest versions. But the current destroyers just wont be able to keep up with the Flight III, which will have a slightly modified hull and higher-voltage electricity to accommodate Raytheons massive new Air & Missile Defense Radar. A stripped down version of the AMDR, the Enterprise Air Search Radar (EASR, also by Raytheon) is already going on amphibious ships and might just fit on older Burkes as well, however.
But its tight. On the Flight III, even with the hull modifications, you kind of get to the naval architectural limits of the DDG-51 hullform, Galinis told a Navy League breakfast this morning. Thats going to bring a lot of incredible capabilities to the fleet but theres also a fair amount of technical risk.
The Navy is laboring mightily to reduce that risk on Flight III with simulations and land-based testing, including a full prototype of the new power plant being built in Philadelphia. But its clear the combat system is out of room to grow within the limits of the current hull.
So how different does the next ship need to be? How much more combat capability can we squeeze into the current hullform? Galinis said. Do we use the DDG-51 hullform and maybe expand that? Do we build a new hullform?
Were looking at all the options, Sydney, he said when reporters clustered around him after his talk. (Its in) very, very early stages to say itll be one system over another or one power architecture over another, its way too early.
Were still working through what that power architecture looks like, Galinis told the breakfast. Do we stay with a more traditional (gas-driven) system or do we really make that transition to an integrated electric plant and at some point, probably, bring in energy storage magazines to support directed energy weapons and things like that?
The admirals referring here to anti-missile lasers, railguns, and other high-tech but electricity-hungry systems. Having field-tested a rather jury-rigged 30 kilowatt laser on the converted amphibious ship Ponce, the Navys next step is a more permanent, properly integrated installation next year on an amphibious ship, LPD-27 Portland. (Subsequent LPDs wont have the laser under current plans). But Portland is part of the relatively roomy LPD-17 San Antonio class, which has plenty of space, weight capacity, power, and cooling capacity (SWAP-C) available, in large part because the Navy never installed a planned 16 Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes in the bow. By contrast, while the Navys studying how to fit a laser on the Arleigh Burkes, the space and electricity available are much tighter.
The DDG-1000 Digression
The larger DDG-1000 Zumwalt class does have integrated electric drive thats performing well in sea trials, Galinis said. (That said, the brand-new DDG-1001, Michael Monsoor, has had glitches with the harmonic filter that manages the power and, more recently, with its turbine engine blades). Weve learned a lot from DDG-1000 that the Navys now applying both to its highest priority program, the Columbia-class nuclear missile submarine, and potentially to the future Large Surface Combatant as well.
In other ways, DDG-1000 is a dead end, too large and expensive for the Navy to afford in quantity. The Navy truncated the class to just three ships and restarted Arleigh Burke production, which it had halted on the assumption the Zumwalts would be built in bulk.
Today, the Zumwalts very mission is in doubt. The ship was designed around a 155 mm gun with revolutionary rocket-boosted shells, but ammunition technology hasnt reached the ranges the Navy wanted for the original mission of bombarding targets ashore. With the resurgence of the Russian fleet and the rise of Chinas, the Navy now wants to turn the DDG-1000s into ship-killers, which requires even longer ranges because modern naval battle is a duel of missiles.
The guns place in ship-to-ship combat is probably not a significant role, at least not at the ranges were interested in, Galinis told reporters. While the Navy could invest in long-range cannon ammunition, he said, its paused work on several potential shells it test-fired last summer, awaiting the final mission review. If the Zumwalts do move to the anti-ship mission, which Galinis said they would be well suited for with minor modifications, their guns will be less relevant than their 80 Advanced VLS missile tubes or future weapons such as railguns drawing on their prodigious electric power.
That power plant might evolve into the electric heart of the future Large Surface Combatant or it might not.
Were going to have the requirements discussion with Navy leadership and then were going to want to engage industry as we start thinking about what options might be available, Galinis said. Frankly industrys probably best suited to try to help us with the technology piece, especially if we start thinking (that) we want an innovative electric plant
..Wed go to probably the big power electronics/power system vendors, who really work in that field and have the best information on where technologys going.
I say move to ALL CATAMARAN fleet!
Use sails to save on fuel when possible. Plus they look awesome.
Not only has the mission profile expanded, but the potential threat environment has grown to include orbital and hypersonic weapons that might be fired well beyond the former threat envelops. Also, many weapons they will face may have terminal maneuverability making them much more difficult to destroy. As you layer on each new threat you have two choices; make the ship bigger to hold more defenses, or make it smaller so it will be a more difficult target. I’m guessing the Navy will go with the former.
What the hell were they thinking?
All the $$$$$$$ and technology in the world wont overcome the lack of command leadership the US Navy has allowed to occur in the name of gender equality.
The construction of the Zumwalt feathered a lot of nests in the Midcoast region of Maine for quite awhile!
What’s the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story? There’s your answer.
Fairy Tale: “Once upon a time . . . .”
Sea Story: “This is no shit . . . .”
“...Power For Radars & Lasers”
Covering the deck and superstructure with solar panels won’t do it?
If the role was merely to defend ownship, sure, make it smaller and more maneuverable with a low cross section and robust self defense capacity. But the mission of these ships is to defend the battle group and/or other designated assets. Can't make the carriers smaller realistically. So either more defenders or more capable defenders are called for,
“So either more defenders or more capable defenders are called for, “
The US Navy appears to be the leader in swarm defense. By that I think they mean to defend against swarm attacks and to use swarm tactics in defense and offense. The answer may not be more and bigger ships, but smaller and more numerous unmanned ships spread out over a wider area. In reading about what the Navy is doing, I have a good feeling they are doing the right things. They appear to have a forward thinking group of mission planners.
Time for a catamaran design?
In the early 70’s, there was a humorous “recruiting poster” that showed a pair of WWII destroyers tied together with a pair of crossbeams and huge sloop-rigged masts, hiked up on only one of the hulls as if on a reach.
“...integrated electric drive...”
Bring in Elon Musk?
“... around a 155 mm gun with revolutionary rocket-boosted shells...”
Having worked on those rounds, they were a turkey from the get go. There is no mission for a sea based round that can travel 100+ miles. In order to achieve that range, the warhead is so small it’s practically worthless.
And the rocket motor ignition system so complex that it was expected to fail 20% of the time.
The Marines need beach blasters and inshore support; inshore, as in 20 - 40 miles.
There’s noting wrong with the concept of a 155mm high fire rate gun, it’s the compromises to get the 100+ mile distance that crippled it and made it worthless.
One would think some old and new designs could be combined to get the navy a class of true heavy cruisers. Room for current weapons and built for possible future weapons.
As for shore bombardment that could be done with the proven
8 inch gun from WWII. Yeah it is old but it works and was used through the Vietnam era.
The Zumwalt class, ahhh... what were they smoking?
IIRC, the 16”/50 caliber Mark 7 United States Naval Guns on the Iowa Class BBs were VERY effective in supporting USMC amphibious landings!
An up close view of full 9 gun broadside FRom an Iowa Class BB is a sight, once seen and, more important, FELT, never to be forgotten!
Nowadays, smart bombs do that kind of work.
HST, I always felt that the USN screwed up by mothballing the Iowas! Lovely ships!
A 16”/50 caliber Mark 7 United States Naval Gun trumps that 8” popgun, EVERY time!
I doubt the USA has the capability to build a ship that can carry a 16”/50 caliber Mark 7 United States Naval Gun, but it would be a fun exercise to resurrect the Montana Class BB and update it to modern times! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana-class_battleship#USS_Montana_(BB-67))
Using a current design essentially means a modified Arleigh Burke hull. I don’t know how feasible it would be to make these ships larger to hold more stuff. The big question is whether a longer and perhaps wider Arleigh Burke class DDG can handle much more in the way of advanced weapons and sensors as effectively as a new design can while being more capable of surviving in a combat zone.
They were thinking Rail Gun platform
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