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Showing posts from February, 2018

The Cost of a Warship and Some Thoughts on FFG(X) (2018)

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As the US Navy's FFG(X) program heats up, I've been digging through the Navy's FY19 budget submission to get an idea of various costs trade offs involved in designing a modern "medium end" warship. While none of the information that I have found is particularly revolutionary, I thought I would post my conclusions were still worth posting. Today, the Navy only has two active production lines for surface combatants - the DDG-51 Flight III  Arleigh Burke  and the LCS Flight II Freedom / Independence . However, since these two designs are on opposite ends of the spectrum (one widely acknowledged as the most capable warship in the world and the other routinely criticized for its lack of capability), comparing them directly is remarkably valuable. A DDG-51 Flight III has an official Gross Unit Cost of $1,747 million while an LCS Flight II is $565 million (all figures in this post are an average of the 7 DDG or 6 LCS in FY17-19). However, the actual amount spent p

Missile Loadouts: USS Long Beach (1961-1995)

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USS Long Beach (CGN-9) was a truly one of a kind ship and not solely because she was the only ship of her class. Long Beach  holds many records including being the world's first purpose built guided missile warship, the first nuclear powered surface vessel, and the first ship to use missiles to shoot down an airplane in combat (two MiG kills in Vietnam). She also has the dubious distinction of being the only US Navy surface combatant to be built without any guns (although two 5" mounts were later added). Finally, Long Beach was America's last cruiser, with all succeeding cruiser classes being originally designed as either frigates or destroyers and subsequently redesignated. Long Beach originally commissioned with a mixed battery of one twin Talos launcher (52 missiles), two twin Terrier launchers (one with 40 missiles and one with 80), and an eight-cell ASROC box launcher with twelve reloads. This gave her an impressive armament of 192 missiles. However, even this was n

2016 Yemen Missile Attacks - My Thoughts

Because of the highly speculative nature of this post, I thought it better to upload it separately from the factual description of the events. Link to the original post on the 2016 Attacks. What missiles did the Houthis use? As far as I have been able to determine, the only antiship missiles present in Yemen before the civil war were the twelve C-801 missiles on the three Type 021 missile boats and the SS-N-2 Styx missiles on the Tarantul I and Osa II  missile boats. However, the Styx missile uses a corrosive liquid fuel and cannot be kept in a ready state while the C-801 uses a far simpler solid rocket. Given the chaos in Yemen I find it difficult to believe that Styx could remain operational. Further, C-801 weighs only a quarter as much as Styx, likely making it far easier transport the missiles and devise a ground launch system. The other option is that the missiles were imported after the conflict began. However, antiship missiles are large and expensive items and not the ki

Modern Naval Battles: 2016 Missile Attacks in the Red Sea

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Surprising observers around the world, in October 2016 the waters off Yemen saw some of the most intense missile combat in naval history. Yemen - the events described all occurred in the Red Sea off the west coast After years of steadily worsening political crises, in 2015 Yemen collapsed into full blown civil war between government forces and the Houthi tribes of the west. Shortly after the fighting broke out in March, a Saudi-led coalition of Middle-Eastern and African nations intervened on the side of the government. This coalition was supported by the United States and made wide use of weapons (such as F-15 Eagle fighters and M1 Abrams tanks) purchased from America. However, under the leadership of President Obama, who had promised to end American wars in the Middle-East, America did not become openly involved and the conflict in Yemen went mostly unnoticed in the United States. The prewar Yemeni Navy had consisted of several missile boats including two  Tarantul I ,  eigh

Missile Loadouts: US Cruiser Conversions (1955-1980)

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This installment in my Missile Loadouts series will cover the United States Navy's first four classes of guided missile cruisers. These ships were conversions of WWII-era gun cruisers of the Baltimore , Cleveland , and Oregon City -classes and were armed with the first generation Terrier, Talos, and Tartar missiles. While short lived and and ultimately a dead end in warship design, these vessels were revolutionary when commissioned. The Boston-class The two ships of the  Boston -class were converted from Baltimore -class heavy cruisers to become the world's first operational guided missile warships. They retained much of their original gun armament, losing only their rearmost 8" and 5" turrets. These two turrets were replaced with a pair of twin rain Mk 4 launchers with magazines for a staggering one-hundred and forty-four Terrier missiles. Boston in 1955: 144x Terrier The Galveston-class and Providence-class The next round of cruiser conversions switched to th