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Showing posts from May, 2018

Missile Loadouts: USN Missile Cruisers (1959-1999)

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After the initial introduction of guided missile systems on converted gun cruisers, it became clear that a new type of warship was needed as the existing designs were either too small or unnecessarily large. These new ships were assigned the hull designation DLG and dubbed “frigates” after the famous sailing ships such as USS Constitution. That the USN applied this name to powerful guided missile ships while the European navies used it to refer to cheap submarine hunters reflects a historic difference - in the nineteenth century, the frigates were the most powerful vessels in the small American navy, while in Europe the frigates were seen as minor combatants that lived in the shadow of the ships of the line. However, the American use of this term did not survive long, and, in 1975, the USN dropped the DLG designation as part of a wider simplification of its hull numbers. The frigates were redesignated as either cruisers (CG) or destroyers (DDG). Simultaneously, the ocean escorts (DE)

Standard Missile 2 Midcourse Guidance

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The RIM-66 SM-2MR in its boost phase One of the less appreciated aspects of naval warfare is how the same weapon can have rather different capabilities depending on the combat system controlling it. The neglect of this point is somewhat remarkable given that the importance of combat systems was made obvious well over a hundred years ago with the introduction of centralized fire control. But this post is about the RIM-66/RIM-67/RIM-156 SM-2 - the mainstay of Western naval air defense. This missile has been integrated with a variety of combat systems including Aegis, Terrier, and Tartar, as well as several foreign systems, but it actually functions in rather different ways depending on which system is controlling it. As is widely known, SM-2 represented a massive advance over its predecessor (SM-1) because of its use of a programmable autopilot. This allowed SM-2 to fly a more efficient ballistic trajectory, almost doubling its range, as well as time share illuminators, allowing a

Understanding JMSDF Hull Numbers

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A JMSDF Helicopter Destroyer (140 series hull number) and Missile Boat (800 series hull number) The JMSDF utilizes a hull designation system that is, on the surface, quite similar to that of the USN. However, a second look will reveal that it does not follow the same rules. Hull designations are not unique (there have been two of DD-101 through DD-119) and numbers are assigned out of order (DD-101 immediately followed DD-158) But on closer examination one will discover that it actually conveys more information than the USN system. The principle that must be remembered is that, in contrast with the USN, it is the numbers that are the key while the letters are actually somewhat redundant. All JMSDF ships, regardless of letter designations, follow the same set of rules for number designations. The first rule is that the leading digit of a ship’s number (when combined with the total number of digits) reveals her general class - for instance, all destroyers have a number in the 100 r

Looking for the Average Frigate (2018)

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USS Coronado (LCS-4) conducting training off Malaysia in 2017 I recently decided to look at the armament of all the world’s frigates and here are the results. First, some notes on methodology. I took frigate to mean warships of between 100 and 150 meters in length. While these numbers and form of measurement are somewhat arbitrary, so are all forms of ship classification and this range seems to fit fairly well. The definition of warship is more difficult. I only included ships operated by navies (no coast guards) and tried to exclude pure patrol ships. However, the line between an OPV and a frigate is somewhat blurry and there were several judgement calls involved. The same can be said about my dividing surface to air missiles into three categories. While some division was obviously necessary as a Crotale and an Aster 30 are definitely not comparable, deciding which category a particular missile falls into is not clear cut. I generally stuck with point defense missiles having