A Study of Prompt Global Strike / Arsenal Warship and
Will Cruisers still exist in Western
Navies in 10 years?
This study is a spin off from a number of questions that came recently to my attention.
1. / what role in a modern Navy, if any, is there for a Prompt Global Strike and Arsenal Warship?
2. / will Cruisers still exist in Western Navies in 10 years?
In my mind I believe that the answer for both questions is linked so I have grouped the conclusions together. The time line is actually in reverse to the order of the questions.
to the question for the roll of ‘hull classification of Cruiser” it is in fact being absorbed by ‘DDG ‘ at this time, so to be Classified as a ‘Cruiser’ there has to be some new capability that a modern destroyer size vessel
is not able to 'ship' on board.
When refering to the Hull Clasfication o 'Cruiser' it should be noted that we are refering to Modern day Cruisers and not ships that have been constructed with the classical armored arrangement. Construction of that type
of Cruiser ceast stopped in the 1970's.
It whole question of type classification in the modern western navy has evolved from a classification of size & function to simply that of function alone. We have had for some time now ships of displacement
& hull size that use to be light cruisers designated as frigates (type 22 batch 3 at 5,000 ton) and it is rare to find any frigate below 3,500 ton. If you think that the older frigates were less than 1,500 tons. This increase is not limited to frigates
as all classes of hull types have generally being increasing in displacement to current designs displacements.
Maybe instead of the title of “Hull Classification” the classification of type should be called “function classification”
or “operational classification”.
When it comes to the only operational western cruiser class, the Ticonderoga class, it was actually lighter than the class it replaced, mostly to do with the use of aluminium in the superstructure and
the ‘all steel’ Arleigh Burke class batch 3 destroyers that will replace this class are similar displacement to the preceding class to the Ticonderoga class.
The fact is once hull designs stopped being built to the actual hull classification
the whole question of hull type stopped being a relevant factor so you could say that the cruiser classification CG has been, or will be, reclassified as and thereby absorbed by the 'DDG' clasification, much in the same way as Destroyer Escorts were reclassified
For this classification to stay in current usage some new capability would need to be deployed. Let us look at the current next generation of DDG.
An idea described as leading edge design in the advancement in the concept of naval warfare. Apart from the stealth characteristics of the hull shape, which I hazard a guess at been more to do with the composite material used than
the actual shape of the hull. As to the shape of Tumblehome wave piercing hull design is more akin to ‘Back to the Future’ syndrome than any “advancement in design”. I am being to think that there is no “history”
component in the qualifications of naval designers.
In addition I could not believe that the inherent instability issues were or are going to be swept under the carpet as it were. Especially as been aLittoral
Zone Combat Ship , that is to say, that to actually attack a land targets it will need to be situated in the littoral zone to do so yes? So.. she will encounter some of the highest sea states can exist in this region, I find it hard to understand
the reasoning. As far as having a stable gun platform the design requires to be ‘flooded down’ to use the main gun which is another way of confirming the reports that the design is not stable.
Personally it would be more accurate to place
this ship in the class of ship in the category of Littoral Combat Ship together with the USS Independence and USS Freedom as a all are ‘multi role’ designs and further sub classification of focus on land attack.
This beings into question
why there is being comparisons between the Zumwalt and Arleigh Burke classes in the first place as the Arleigh Burke is more focused on overall Fleet defence and fleets tend to avoid operating to close to land as it restricts defensive navigational manoeuvring
So it is with some relief that I see that not only are there some serious fiscal questions been asked in the comparisons reports to the Arleigh Burke class destroyers, but in the Operational
Capabilities content is also now being brought into doubt with the, and I quote here an Wikipedia article, “In view of recent intelligence that China is developing targetable anti-ship ballistic missiles based on the DF-21, this could be a fatal flaw.” by the future operators themselves. The need to launch from a greater disance is paramount due to the development of this weapon.
(Remember this quote as it
is one of the links to the idea behind the prompt global strike ship.)
In my opinion you end up with ship the costs about as much as a submarine to build, will spend what sounds like a inordinate amount of the
time Sub Surface ‘piercing waves’, why not just build a Land Attack Submarine and be done
Now I am not trying to say that Zumwalt class is a complete failure as a number of design features that are leading edge and worth pursuing, they are the AGS system, the Sensor suite and originally proposed propulsion system. All
of which are capable of been fitted to more conventional designs.
Advanced Gun System (AGS)
This is an interesting development in naval cannon /gun technology. Been derived
from the Vertical Gun for Advanced Ships (VGAS) and described as been as a more conventional arrangement mounted in a rotating turret. The turret is about the only ‘conventional’ part of this system as after viewing the video of the test firing
you come to realize that this gun is loaded in the vertical position instead of the more conventional horizontal position.
This is obviously to make the loading cycle faster as been designed primarily as a land attack weapon, the higher angle of elevation
in parts greater vertical penetration of any land target. In this I wonder if it is more accurately described as a “extra-long range breech loading Mortar”instead as that describes exactly its operational parameters.
fact that a light weight turret/ AGS proposal has been mooted for a upgrade to the Arleigh Burke class is another sign that the Navy is having second thoughts about the Zumwalt class.
Proposed Sensor suite
The question of the sensor suite is interesting as the U.S. navy is transitioning to ACTIVE array scanning as opposed to the PASSIVE scanning of the AGEIS system. All I have to say on this is a question; “Is it possible to combine the two types of
radar operating them on different bands?”
Engine (ducted internal pods)
The engine pods design is possibly the biggest brake thru in which is a workable method of shrouding the propeller
and shielding it from damage and is long overdue to be incorporated into normal designs, except for one little problem, the ducted drive awj-21 from Rolls-Royce were not used, excuse was too costly to develop to military standard.
What I do not
know is why not take the idea of an external duct propeller and just place it inside the hull of the ship itself?
For instance take the double end drive pod setup and duct it internally in the hull no control ducts simply two props in