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Usn Frigate Program


Ol Paint

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7 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

If you want an AAW vessel, buy a destroyer. If you want a frigate, which is arguably a very different role, then buy a cheaper ship. The whole point of Frigates is they are cheap, low end ships, to fly the flag. Arming to the teeth, they may as well just keep pumping out Arleigh Burkes.

Considering how the USN wants to boost hull numbers, im not convinced they should buy gold plated. They already did that with the Zumwalt and the LCS and fell flat on their ass. Of course, If they want a high end ASW vessel, them they should buy one. Constellation will im sure fulfill that role fine. But it still commends buying a cheaper vessel too just to boost numbers.

Watch this space when the projected numbers get cut. And they will.

 

No one can afford the manning and seperate hull costs for multiple ships now. Especially to “fly the flag”. Those ships are also more or less useless alone in time of conflict. It’s no longer pre WW1 where a single ship can get the colonies to do what you want. So there shouldn’t be any reason to procure them.  Also I’ve been over this with you the “flying the flag” role is now taken over by coast guard cutters.
 

It doesn’t make sense to have dedicated frigates for ASW anymore. Unless you’re going to be building 1000 ton ships without much of anything not them.

 

Zummuwalt only failed because congress decided to cut the buy numbers by 10x. Due to the end of the Cold War

Edited by Cajer
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6 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Well, why not compare it? If the objective is to build something cheap and cheerful, to fly a US flag in all the regional shitholes of the world, why not build something similar? It was perfectly good in its day. Something cheap, cheerful, reliable, and with just enough firepower to defend itself against all but the most acute threats.

  If you want a destroyer, buy one. If you want a cheap alternative, build one. Dont build an alternative to a destroyer and arm it to the teeth, or your are just creating another Destroyer.  Its gold plating of capability, and damn me if that isnt going to be the death of the USN if they dont get it in check.

 A frigate was and still is, a marker on the map of the worlds seas. Its not a battleship. Why turn it into one? This is just the kind of trouble LCS got into, and turned out to be just as inflexible anyway and underarmed anyway.

 

Look, I bang on about this, and im sure im irritating. Ive nothing against the Constellation, im sure they will be fine ships. i just dont see it as the ultimate solution to the USN's requirement of 300 hulls in the water is it? Im sorry, I just dont see it.

Let's say that regional shitholes (including non-state actors) can have fairly advanced AShMs and drones nowadays, so you need quite serious air defence (including quantity) and EW. Even more so if you want the warship to operate alone (or alone-ish) to fly the flag nearby such shitholes. Damaged warships and dead sailors don't look good on TV. Since you're already in proximity of a said shithole, having some means of land attack would be nice, to potentially crack a few heads for Uncle Sam, in addition to AshMs and ASW capability that you wanted all along anyway. 

Destroyers are the same AND MORE, not only there's bigger/more of everything, it also should involve serious ABM capability, on the level much higher than frigates. The concept of a cruiser is practically dead, that's where the destroyers have to pick up the slack. Aaand... frigates have to pick some from the destroyers too. 

The threats have changed too compared to the Cold War. USSR had what, ~300 attack submarines by the end? China has a a ~fifth of that (comparable to Russia) and only a handful of nuclear ones among those. OTOH due to geography there's a much bigger threat from land-based BMs and aircraft, you want to address that problem too when designing a warship. So, while retaining ASW capability, we're going back to the necessity of a very serious AD/EW suite. Dedicated ASW in this situation would be... such a waste.

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8 minutes ago, urbanoid said:

Let's say that regional shitholes (including non-state actors) can have fairly advanced AShMs and drones nowadays, so you need quite serious air defence (including quantity) and EW. Even more so if you want the warship to operate alone (or alone-ish) to fly the flag nearby such shitholes. Damaged warships and dead sailors don't look good on TV. Since you're already in proximity of a said shithole, having some means of land attack would be nice, to potentially crack a few heads for Uncle Sam, in addition to AshMs and ASW capability that you wanted all along anyway. 

Destroyers are the same AND MORE, not only there's bigger/more of everything, it also should involve serious ABM capability, on the level much higher than frigates. The concept of a cruiser is practically dead, that's where the destroyers have to pick up the slack. Aaand... frigates have to pick some from the destroyers too. 

The threats have changed too compared to the Cold War. USSR had what, ~300 attack submarines by the end? China has a a ~fifth of that (comparable to Russia) and only a handful of nuclear ones among those. OTOH due to geography there's a much bigger threat from land-based BMs and aircraft, you want to address that problem too when designing a warship. So, while retaining ASW capability, we're going back to the necessity of a very serious AD/EW suite. Dedicated ASW in this situation would be... such a waste.

Well said.  I really liked the proliferation of shitholes.  Not to mention dedicated mostly ASW ships wouldn't even perform well as a convey escort.  As they wouldn't have area defense when a sub launches 4-8 ASM at the convoy, or when an enemy ship or aircraft is vectored in by SAR sats.

If you really want cheap ASW ships the only real answer is autonoums boats, so they can be a ton smaller, not bay large crew costs, and you don't really care about losing them.

In the future I can see manned ships sort of going by the wayside completely, as the people on the ship are really only there for damage control and maintenance.  If you can reduce the cost of the ship enough, then it begins to make sense to care less about losing them.

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8 hours ago, urbanoid said:

The cost of Constellation is still going to be ~half of a Burke, with ~1/3 less crew.

Constellation is probably as small as one can build a warship with Pacific capable range and sufficient self defense to survive a moderate threat level independently or a high threat area attached to Burke’s. There is also a much higher standard of comfort on modern warships and a need to allow for space, power, and cooling for growth.

The problem with it’s development seems to reside on the false premise that these ships were ever going to be close to FREMMs, given the USN requirements (particularly survivablility, with hundreds of tons of additional support structure added) and refitting of American equipment. It honestly seemed pointless to use an off the shelf hull unless a lot greater compromise was accepted.

I suspect eventually the problems will be corrected and they will be good ships, but there will be a large cost in money and especially time. Clearly the USN ship procurement system is broken.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Cajer said:

Well said.  I really liked the proliferation of shitholes.  Not to mention dedicated mostly ASW ships wouldn't even perform well as a convey escort.  As they wouldn't have area defense when a sub launches 4-8 ASM at the convoy, or when an enemy ship or aircraft is vectored in by SAR sats.

If you really want cheap ASW ships the only real answer is autonoums boats, so they can be a ton smaller, not bay large crew costs, and you don't really care about losing them.

In the future I can see manned ships sort of going by the wayside completely, as the people on the ship are really only there for damage control and maintenance.  If you can reduce the cost of the ship enough, then it begins to make sense to care less about losing them.

A manned ship basically needs to be able to defend itself against a vast array of air and submarine threats if it is going to be used in real combat of any kind. The Houthi and Hezbollah already have demonstrated what even a non state actor can do.

I think ASW will increasingly by offloaded to USVs, UUVs, and sensor/ mine fields along choke points. The USN has experimented with deployable persistent shallow water acoustic/non acoustic sensors and remote power production methods as well as deep water acoustic arrays. The only know active program I can point too is TRAPS, but there is a laundry list of other USN projects that used air or submarine delivered sensors with acoustic modems for communication and lifespans measured in weeks or months. I would bet anything a number of other programs exist. The USN has a couple different task forces solely designed around testing and deploying UUVs/USVs. I suspect that while FF/DDs will always need their own ASW sensors and weapons, unmanned networks and vehicles will be used to establish a persistent and expendable presence.

Edited by Josh
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6 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Well, why not compare it? If the objective is to build something cheap and cheerful, to fly a US flag in all the regional shitholes of the world, why not build something similar?

OHP had AAW for the time, it had a  Standard +50km range /Harpoon/Asroc for 40 missiles total in a single launcher at bow, a 76mm gun and a Phalanx in superstructure, ASW were the 2 helicopters and sonar. The hull, propulsion was made on the cheap, damage resistance  was compromised with only one shaft. We have here a ship good for ocean escort where Soviets could operate only by submarine or long range aviation. The superstructure was also aluminium, same as in some Euro frigates like Italians.

This at time Continental Europe had diesels for cruise and GT's for fast speed, US with cheap fuel made it all GT's a simple propulsion system ( the British were like USA, Type 21 and 22 all on GT's ).

Since today got more dangerous considering aerial threats it makes no sense to not be able to hit the archers instead of the arrows that are cheaper and in much bigger numbers...

To make things worse there are many less ships in every fleet so they will have to be multi mission capable: ASW, AAW, ABM, ASUW. Maybe needs another acronym for anti-cheap-drone be either aerial, surface, semi-submerged...

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22 minutes ago, Josh said:

Constellation is probably as small as one can build a warship with Pacific capable range and sufficient self defense to survive a moderate threat level independently or a high threat area attached to Burke’s.

Note that Constellation -if the weight increase don't cut it- will have larger range than the Burke, which is a gas guzzling ship and real practical range is around 4000nm. Burkes are not really a Pacific ocean ship having to refuel often to retain the range margin.

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10 hours ago, lucklucky said:

OHP had AAW for the time, it had a  Standard +50km range /Harpoon/Asroc for 40 missiles total in a single launcher at bow, a 76mm gun and a Phalanx in superstructure, ASW were the 2 helicopters and sonar. The hull, propulsion was made on the cheap, damage resistance  was compromised with only one shaft. We have here a ship good for ocean escort where Soviets could operate only by submarine or long range aviation. The superstructure was also aluminium, same as in some Euro frigates like Italians.

This at time Continental Europe had diesels for cruise and GT's for fast speed, US with cheap fuel made it all GT's a simple propulsion system ( the British were like USA, Type 21 and 22 all on GT's ).

Since today got more dangerous considering aerial threats it makes no sense to not be able to hit the archers instead of the arrows that are cheaper and in much bigger numbers...

To make things worse there are many less ships in every fleet so they will have to be multi mission capable: ASW, AAW, ABM, ASUW. Maybe needs another acronym for anti-cheap-drone be either aerial, surface, semi-submerged...

Sure, but it wasnt PRIMARILY an AAW ship. It had bare bones capability. And you can see that by what happened to the USS Stark.

OHP's were primarily ASW and general all rounders otherwise. If you want strong AAW, send a destroyer. If you want something cheaper, dont send it into a high threat zone unescorted.

Absolutely, it was a compromise. I remember reading Zumwalts memoirs, and he was talking about taking out the remnant of the WW2 destroyers to raise the funds to replace them with OHP's. They were a cheap replacement for a destroyer, even an aging one. But with the global presence the US wanted in the 70's and 80's, a necessary one. That global presence today is still necessary, and you arent going to fill it with expensive ships like Constellations.

Im not buying the world is more dangerous. The world the OHP was brought for had a range of SSGN's in Soviet service, SSN's, and a wealth of different antiship missiles in use by Soviet naval aviation. And as it turned out, they were often used in the Persian Gulf, where the Iranians still had some of the best equipment the US could bestow on them. The world is still dangerous, yet Id argue there is in fact more low end threats (Piracy, drugs trade, human trafficing) that can be dealt with by low end ships today than there were in the 1980's.

To me, the way to deal with the different threats is modularity. Something everyone has been talking about since the 1970's, but few if anyone (looking at you LCS) are any damn good at making happen.

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11 hours ago, urbanoid said:

Let's say that regional shitholes (including non-state actors) can have fairly advanced AShMs and drones nowadays, so you need quite serious air defence (including quantity) and EW. Even more so if you want the warship to operate alone (or alone-ish) to fly the flag nearby such shitholes. Damaged warships and dead sailors don't look good on TV. Since you're already in proximity of a said shithole, having some means of land attack would be nice, to potentially crack a few heads for Uncle Sam, in addition to AshMs and ASW capability that you wanted all along anyway. 

Destroyers are the same AND MORE, not only there's bigger/more of everything, it also should involve serious ABM capability, on the level much higher than frigates. The concept of a cruiser is practically dead, that's where the destroyers have to pick up the slack. Aaand... frigates have to pick some from the destroyers too. 

The threats have changed too compared to the Cold War. USSR had what, ~300 attack submarines by the end? China has a a ~fifth of that (comparable to Russia) and only a handful of nuclear ones among those. OTOH due to geography there's a much bigger threat from land-based BMs and aircraft, you want to address that problem too when designing a warship. So, while retaining ASW capability, we're going back to the necessity of a very serious AD/EW suite. Dedicated ASW in this situation would be... such a waste.

if its that dangerous, send a Destroyer. That answer to me is building enough Frigates of a lower capability to deal with the lower end threats, so you actually have enough Destroyers free to go and send into the high threat areas because they arent doing other stuff, like flying the flag patrols or port visits. Because those are still a think, and still necessary for maintaining America's presence around the world.

Besides, the USS Cole was an Arleigh Burke. All the advanced systems didnt matter a damn, because a guy with a bomb in his boat moored alongside. Sometimes you have to recognise, spending the extra money doesnt make a damn, if its a threat you arent building to meet. Look at the LCS. They gold plated those, and still ended up with less capability than a well designed frigate would have given them.

Tthe problems today are global, I quite agree. And you arent going to meet them by uprating Frigates till they have the same capability as destroyers. If its global presence you need, you need cheaper ships and lots more of them. The RN didnt exactly love the Flower class (or indeed any Corvettes it used during the war), but it needed them because it was cheaper and quicker to build and less crew than a destroyer. To me, this logic has not gone away just because we are not fighting wars yet. They need hulls in the water. If they are occasionally less optimal to the missions they have to undertake, so be it. At least there is a ship on hand to undertake a mission, perhaps even disuade someone from becoming a threat.

Is there is a risk of this resulting in more losses? Perhaps. I would argue the dwindling of US influence on the worlds oceans is probably a greater risk to American and Western security than occasionally losing warships.

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On 6/4/2024 at 1:48 AM, Ol Paint said:

He should stick to sonar. 

When he gets things as basic as the construction of the LBES wrong, the signal-to-noise ratio isn't good.

Doug

And Italian FREMM have already electric propulsion... 

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Agreed. Hence the reason why we put so much stock in Frigates.

Europe together I calculated recently, has 51 destroyers. The US hasn't any at the moment. Its got dwindling Ticonderoga Class Cruisers, lamentable LCS, and pretty wonderful, gold plated, AAW destroyers to fulfill roles other navies send Frigates to.

It's true the US has the Coast Guard. That arguably is the same role the UK fulfills with River class opvs. Its not the same role we fulfill with Type 23s, which arguably already were a bit high end. Hence the OPVs.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lucklucky said:

If RN put much stock in Frigates why they are not capable of AAW like USN, Italians, French, Germans, others?

It's because the aircraft carrier's planes are for anti-air. Our sea SAM's are designed for anti-missile work.

Edited by TrustMe
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13 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

if its that dangerous, send a Destroyer. That answer to me is building enough Frigates of a lower capability to deal with the lower end threats, so you actually have enough Destroyers free to go and send into the high threat areas because they arent doing other stuff, like flying the flag patrols or port visits. Because those are still a think, and still necessary for maintaining America's presence around the world.

Besides, the USS Cole was an Arleigh Burke. All the advanced systems didnt matter a damn, because a guy with a bomb in his boat moored alongside. Sometimes you have to recognise, spending the extra money doesnt make a damn, if its a threat you arent building to meet. Look at the LCS. They gold plated those, and still ended up with less capability than a well designed frigate would have given them.

Tthe problems today are global, I quite agree. And you arent going to meet them by uprating Frigates till they have the same capability as destroyers. If its global presence you need, you need cheaper ships and lots more of them. The RN didnt exactly love the Flower class (or indeed any Corvettes it used during the war), but it needed them because it was cheaper and quicker to build and less crew than a destroyer. To me, this logic has not gone away just because we are not fighting wars yet. They need hulls in the water. If they are occasionally less optimal to the missions they have to undertake, so be it. At least there is a ship on hand to undertake a mission, perhaps even disuade someone from becoming a threat.

Is there is a risk of this resulting in more losses? Perhaps. I would argue the dwindling of US influence on the worlds oceans is probably a greater risk to American and Western security than occasionally losing warships.

When even knuckleheads like then Houthis have AShM, deploying ships without robust self defence capabilities and at least limited ability to be AAW escorts is simply not viable.  Yeah, it costs more and you can't have as many.

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8 minutes ago, R011 said:

When even knuckleheads like then Houthis have AShM, deploying ships without robust self defence capabilities and at least limited ability to be AAW escorts is simply not viable.  Yeah, it costs more and you can't have as many.

Yes, that came up, when it was discussed to send Visby class corvettes to the Red sea. It was noted that they would not only be useless there (no SAM's to protect merchant ships) but also that radar and IR-stealth, doesn't work vs. drones and rocket artillery, so not only would they be useless, but they would also need a escort, making them a liability.

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2 hours ago, lucklucky said:

If RN put much stock in Frigates why they are not capable of AAW like USN, Italians, French, Germans, others?

Because back in the eighties when the current RN frigates (Type 23) were designed, AShM and drones weren't much of an issue at all.  Their replacements (Type 26 and 31) have a decent AAW suite based around Sea Ceptor.

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There is some use for OPVs and barely armed frigates, but their hardly replacements for real warships and I suspect the USCG can fill enough of that role that the USN doesn't need any of those ships.

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10 minutes ago, R011 said:

Because back in the eighties when the current RN frigates (Type 23) were designed, AShM and drones weren't much of an issue at all.  Their replacements (Type 26 and 31) have a decent AAW suite based around Sea Ceptor.

I am afraid you are not reading the whole topic.   For a start Type 23 have now Sea Ceptor.

Type 26 and 31 which have Sea Ceptor are not area aerial warfare.  So some drone can be 40km for the ship lobbing missiles and they cannot do anything about except intercepting those missiles. 

Instead other countries have 100km+ range SAM's in their ships even 2nd class frigates.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, lucklucky said:

I am afraid you are not reading the whole topic.   For a start Type 23 have now Sea Ceptor.

Type 26 and 31 which have Sea Ceptor are not area aerial warfare.  So some drone can be 40km for the ship lobbing missiles and they cannot do anything about except intercepting those missiles. 

Instead other countries have 100km+ range SAM's in their ships even 2nd class frigates.

 

 

My mistake on the Type 23.  I was commenting on the claim that RN frigates have no AAW capability.  Clearly with Sea Ceptor, they do and while it's not intended as an area air defence system, it can protect the ship and one or two merchants in close company. 

Adding the systems to use Sea Ceptor effectively still adds considerable cost and size to the ships  and losing them would mean that they'd be much less effective ASW escorts given that they couldn't do anything against sub launched AShM.  You could send a Type 31 to patrol the Gulf or the Red Sea whereas you'd be ill advised to send a River Class OPV.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, R011 said:

My mistake on the Type 23.  I was commenting on the claim that RN frigates have no AAW capability.  Clearly with Sea Ceptor, they do and while it's not intended as an area air defence system, it can protect the ship and one or two merchants in close company. 

Adding the systems to use Sea Ceptor effectively still adds considerable cost and size to the ships  and losing them would mean that they'd be much less effective ASW escorts given that they couldn't do anything against sub launched AShM.  You could send a Type 31 to patrol the Gulf or the Red Sea whereas you'd be ill advised to send a River Class OPV.

 AAW definition is  applied to longer range missiles than Sea Ceptor, , Yes maybe a Sea Ceptor might protect a merchant of two, but it cannot hit the enemy drone at 40km lobbing missiles.

For example your Canadian Type 26 will have Sea Ceptor for self protection and short range while ESSM and Standard missiles for AAW  with planar radars covering 360º simultaneously.

RN Type 26/31 instead will have merely a  rotating radar and Sea Ceptor missiles this in +8000t hull(for T26). With only 6 Type 45 able to do AAW RN is limiting themselves to only operate as a carrier task force and their frigates in middle of ocean.

Edited by lucklucky
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5 hours ago, R011 said:

There is some use for OPVs and barely armed frigates, but their hardly replacements for real warships and I suspect the USCG can fill enough of that role that the USN doesn't need any of those ships.

I doubt the Coasties will take kindly to being sent around the world on naval presence missions.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, lucklucky said:

If RN put much stock in Frigates why they are not capable of AAW like USN, Italians, French, Germans, others?

Dont know where you got that from.Type 23 had Sea Wolf, one of the few weapon systems to actually score kills in the Falklands IIRC. Its being retrofitted with Sea ceptor, which is one of the few ship mounted air defence missiles to actually prove itself in combat in the Red sea. Granted its largely a self defence capability, but put the ship in a screen, its probably going to be good for more than that. Recent variants have come up with a version that can reach out 45 kilometres, and one under development for poland can reach out 100 kilometres, which frankly isnt bad for whats projected to be point defence.

Once again, if you want more, buy an AAW destroyer. There is a reason why are buying Type 31, because gold plated comes at a cost, and isnt always necessary anyway.

3 hours ago, R011 said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrol_Forces_Southwest_Asia

It seems they already get posted well outside US coastal waters - something they've been doing for over a century including wartime.

What scares me is how unarmed they are. In the British understanding, these would be offshore patrol vessels, like the RN's River class, or the old HMS Endurance at the time of the Falklands crisis. There looks to be a fairly large hole between the coast guard, which have no air defence capability at all and at best a big foxtrot oscar 76mm gun, and above that there is going to be the Constellation class, which would seem to be so gold plated they are not going to be able to be available in the numbers needed to deal with the other threats.

Im also questioning whether the Coastguard carries marines? Or do they do they form their own boarding parties?

it doesnt invalidate the Coastguard. It to me commends something intermediate between them and the rest of what the Navy is using for intermediate threats. Something that could handle things like Iran does should be at the very the baseline of capability. You dont need a Constellation class to handle something like that.

I had a great uncle that died on a Coast Guard cutter that was defending the UK against U boats. So yes, they have been forward projecting a very long time.

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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