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Usn Frigate Program


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I like the FFGX, but the US is going to have to retire a lot of ships soon if the Flight I/II Burkes don't get SLEP'd. Is there any kind of delivery schedule available for the project? I know when the first is supposed to hit the water, but how many per year do they expect to produce? One? Two?

On page 5 and 6 are 5-year and 30-year ship building plans in the document linked in the earlier post: http://www.tank-net.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=44565&page=5&do=findComment&comment=1479295

In the 5 year plan, setting out the funds for procurement goes from 1 FFGX for last year and this year, 2 ships in the following years, and 3 for 2025. The 30 plan is last years and may not reflect the 3 in the 5 year plan's 3 ships for 2025 but for the 30 years, it has 2 SSCs (small surface combatants) going for the whole 30 years. The graphs are about the 355 goal and the document says the goal does not include unmanned surface ships. So assuming that the LCS production will end soon, that leaves only the FFGX and whatever successor design, 2 each year for 30 years. So at a rate of 2 a year over the long term, production would generally have to be kept at the same rate as procurement. That seems to be their thinking going by it.

New document says they want 20 of them. 18 of which by 2034.

https://news.usni.org/2020/07/10/report-to-congress-on-u-s-navy-frigate-ffgx-program-10

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I suspect politics has a fair game to play, though I personally would have no problem to have USN ships contracted and built in Japan.

 

I would not either, but if the size of the Toyota Motor Works complex in Kentucky is any indication, Washington might not agree. Have you driven a Ford/seen Detroit, lately?

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I rather like the FREMM design but I feel like the USN is missing a good opportunity to put a 5" (127mm) up front and then the 57mm above the hanger. Some of the Italian ones have such a layout although they use the OTO-Melara 76mm instead of the Bofors 57mm.

Considering all of the focus the threat of small boats gets these days a 5" is going to be a lot more useful than a few .50 caliber MGs added as an afterthought.

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I rather like the FREMM design but I feel like the USN is missing a good opportunity to put a 5" (127mm) up front and then the 57mm above the hanger. Some of the Italian ones have such a layout although they use the OTO-Melara 76mm instead of the Bofors 57mm.

Considering all of the focus the threat of small boats gets these days a 5" is going to be a lot more useful than a few .50 caliber MGs added as an afterthought.

 

There is no shortage of 5" guns in the USN. It is a tertiary weapon system and not a big issue either way. A second gun aft seems truly pointless, and additionally I think the 57mm has enough deck penetration that there is no way it could be mounted above the hanger. In terms of point of defense, RAM is a vastly superior point defense system and that is a greater need than any gun system.

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There is no shortage of 5" guns in the USN. It is a tertiary weapon system and not a big issue either way. A second gun aft seems truly pointless, and additionally I think the 57mm has enough deck penetration that there is no way it could be mounted above the hanger. In terms of point of defense, RAM is a vastly superior point defense system and that is a greater need than any gun system.

 

I may be overestimating the utility of the naval gun but against small craft in littoral waters it seems like they would be more useful than otherwise. I know there are many roles planned for these frigates but wasn't one of them doing the same missions LCS was supposed to be capable of?

 

I'd be surprised if the 57mm had more deck penetration than the Italian 76mm but I suppose that space below deck might used for something else in FFG(X).

 

aft%2Bgun%2Bturret.jpg

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I doubt many navies stock enough missiles for their entire fleet to be deployed at once and likely can't even reload them after the initial load is used up, it costs some 49 million to load up a Halifax frigate as far as I can tell. So a gun system gives you a lot more options engagement wise and economize on the missiles.

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Using the small SPY-6 radars and associated US combat system into Akizuki/Asahi-class ship may suit the bill for a new frigate. 6,800 ton full combat weight, 32 VLS with ESSM, 127mmL62, COGLAG propulsion, Type 17 SSM (to be introduced with JS Maya), 200-220 crew, hanger for 1 heli.

 

Whats the point? You are almost in Arleigh Burke range with that. US do not benefit to make a cut down Arleigh Burke. It still overkill for your typical fregatt misson, but "weak" in a high-intensity war.

 

It make more "sense" for Japan to have a cut down Arleigh Burke, becuse they cant afford a homogeneous fleet of Arleigh Burke destroyers and still have the numbers,

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There is no shortage of 5" guns in the USN. It is a tertiary weapon system and not a big issue either way. A second gun aft seems truly pointless, and additionally I think the 57mm has enough deck penetration that there is no way it could be mounted above the hanger. In terms of point of defense, RAM is a vastly superior point defense system and that is a greater need than any gun system.

 

I may be overestimating the utility of the naval gun but against small craft in littoral waters it seems like they would be more useful than otherwise. I know there are many roles planned for these frigates but wasn't one of them doing the same missions LCS was supposed to be capable of?

 

I'd be surprised if the 57mm had more deck penetration than the Italian 76mm but I suppose that space below deck might used for something else in FFG(X).

 

aft%2Bgun%2Bturret.jpg

If its big enough to warrant 5, its big enough for a missile. 57mm is good enough.

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Ref 57mm gun: it is worth remembering that during the Zumwalt construction the same US Navy said the 57mm was a piece of crap and was inferior to mounting 30mm guns:

 

The Mark 110 57mm gun, “was nowhere near meeting the requirements,” said Capt. Jim Downey, program manager for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class

 

We did a whole thread about it back in 2014, when the USN swore up and down that the 30mm was superior to the 57mm vs. small boat swarms (and that's superior on a 1-1 comparison basis, not superior per kilogram or any weighted measurement). The USN also complained about 57mm accuracy problems from the LCS, back when we were pretending that the LCS was a warship and might actually have to shoot something.

 

My take is that USN could have gotten a useful surface to surface capability and a point defense capability and at least some ability to shoot up shore targets with the off the shelf 76mm/Vulcano/Strales combination but screwed up and picked the 57mm (which will be awesome when it gets it's new gold plated ammunition just like the 155mm on the Zumwalts is) for the LCS. Now the 57mm is "in the system" and the USN can't procure a new dingy without ten years and a billion dollar cost overrun, so they are buying more of the wrong gun just to get iron in the water (to paraphrase the famous F35 goal of "iron on the ramp").

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The USN specifically chose the 57mm over improved versions of the 76mm despite that caliber having been used previously on several classes like the OHPs. How could they not have noticed all of these supposed problems before then?

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Because they're liars and cheats? It's not incompetence, it's malice.

 

I'm sure the Scandis who invented the 57mm would keep using it, even if it sucked, yes? Nonsense. It's all a swindle.

 

You get more of what you reward and less of what you punish. We have rewarded assclownery for so long, we get nothing else. S/F....Ken M

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Ref 57mm gun: it is worth remembering that during the Zumwalt construction the same US Navy said the 57mm was a piece of crap and was inferior to mounting 30mm guns:

 

The Mark 110 57mm gun, “was nowhere near meeting the requirements,” said Capt. Jim Downey, program manager for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class

We did a whole thread about it back in 2014, when the USN swore up and down that the 30mm was superior to the 57mm vs. small boat swarms (and that's superior on a 1-1 comparison basis, not superior per kilogram or any weighted measurement). The USN also complained about 57mm accuracy problems from the LCS, back when we were pretending that the LCS was a warship and might actually have to shoot something.

 

Yes that's what they said, hmmm, why didn't they install those oh-so-powerful 30mm guns into FF(X) then??

 

At the time it was suspected that decision to replace 57mm with 30mm was related to topweight issues. USN representive very vehemently denied it was due to topweight issues, thus it seems probable it was due to topweight issues.

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Ref 57mm gun: it is worth remembering that during the Zumwalt construction the same US Navy said the 57mm was a piece of crap and was inferior to mounting 30mm guns:

 

 

If we shall beleve in conspiracy theory, the 57mm gun did fall out of grace then the gun stoped being "American" and become British, through company acquisitions.

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What a swedish naval officer wrote on a swedish forum regarding the 57mm and guided ammunition:

 

"In this case, the Americans have (as usual!) Chosen to fix a simple problem with an incredibly advanced solution.

The whole reason why they chose 57mm / mk3B for their LCS was to be able to fight attacks from swarms of small boats (which eg Iran likes!). They therefore wanted a piece with a high rate of fire and large magazine capacity to be able to fight many boats in a short time. Since the threat was considered easy to meet, however, no real FCS was obtained for the ships, but only a simple and cheap optronically based solution. Now it has been shown in retrospect that without a real FCS it is not at all that easy to hit small fast maneuvering boats, and then they have chosen to solve it by producing expensive advanced target-seeking grenades, instead of providing the ships with a real FCS. Since we have a good FCS on our ships, and above all that the threat from swarms from small boats does not exist in our waters, we have no need for mk332. It is possible that MAD-FIRES could be interesting if they make it work (at a reasonable cost!), But it is more likely that we will invest in a further development of 3P together with Bofors. Many countries have chosen, or choose to acquire 57mm / mk3 pieces in recent years, which means that the opportunities for cooperation and cost sharing in the further development of both pieces and ammunition look very good in the future ..."

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"In this case, the Americans have (as usual!) Chosen to fix a simple problem with an incredibly advanced solution.

 

In a word: yes. The comments about the LCS lack of fire control are also spot on.

 

To address the issues with the 57mm, the USN is developing not one, but two guided rounds:

  1. The RF guided Advanced Low Cost Munitions Ordnance, or ALaMO
  2. Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES)

In other words, the USN is reinventing the Strales wheel, in a smaller projectile, which of course makes it harder and more expensive. Even then, we will have no equivalent of the Vulcano, but maybe we can run a whole additional program for that and spend even more money.

 

The two guided rounds issue is sketchy, it sounds like the USN intends to procure both, thus ensuring shorter production runs of highly specialized rounds that quite possibly only the USN will use . . . so 155m AGS all over again.

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In WW2, the British build the Valiant A38, a tank so bad that the only conceivable use for it was as a training tool to future officers so that they could behold its utter awfulness and make sure that nobody ever produced something so terrible again. An example for future generations, if you will, to marvel at and to speculate about how it might be possible to fuck something up so utterly and completely.

 

Perhaps the US is missing a trick with the LCS.

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Ref 57mm gun: it is worth remembering that during the Zumwalt construction the same US Navy said the 57mm was a piece of crap and was inferior to mounting 30mm guns:

 

The Mark 110 57mm gun, “was nowhere near meeting the requirements,” said Capt. Jim Downey, program manager for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class

 

We did a whole thread about it back in 2014, when the USN swore up and down that the 30mm was superior to the 57mm vs. small boat swarms (and that's superior on a 1-1 comparison basis, not superior per kilogram or any weighted measurement). The USN also complained about 57mm accuracy problems from the LCS, back when we were pretending that the LCS was a warship and might actually have to shoot something.

 

My take is that USN could have gotten a useful surface to surface capability and a point defense capability and at least some ability to shoot up shore targets with the off the shelf 76mm/Vulcano/Strales combination but screwed up and picked the 57mm (which will be awesome when it gets it's new gold plated ammunition just like the 155mm on the Zumwalts is) for the LCS. Now the 57mm is "in the system" and the USN can't procure a new dingy without ten years and a billion dollar cost overrun, so they are buying more of the wrong gun just to get iron in the water (to paraphrase the famous F35 goal of "iron on the ramp").

 

A ships gun is a tertiary system of little consequence. 76mm probably would have been superior but 57mm is in the inventory and good enough. 5" is already very available and similarly never used in practice. The most important thing is just getting hulls in the water. The second batch might change out the gun but I doubt it.

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Ref 57mm gun: it is worth remembering that during the Zumwalt construction the same US Navy said the 57mm was a piece of crap and was inferior to mounting 30mm guns:

 

The Mark 110 57mm gun, “was nowhere near meeting the requirements,” said Capt. Jim Downey, program manager for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class

 

We did a whole thread about it back in 2014, when the USN swore up and down that the 30mm was superior to the 57mm vs. small boat swarms (and that's superior on a 1-1 comparison basis, not superior per kilogram or any weighted measurement). The USN also complained about 57mm accuracy problems from the LCS, back when we were pretending that the LCS was a warship and might actually have to shoot something.

 

My take is that USN could have gotten a useful surface to surface capability and a point defense capability and at least some ability to shoot up shore targets with the off the shelf 76mm/Vulcano/Strales combination but screwed up and picked the 57mm (which will be awesome when it gets it's new gold plated ammunition just like the 155mm on the Zumwalts is) for the LCS. Now the 57mm is "in the system" and the USN can't procure a new dingy without ten years and a billion dollar cost overrun, so they are buying more of the wrong gun just to get iron in the water (to paraphrase the famous F35 goal of "iron on the ramp").

 

A ships gun is a tertiary system of little consequence. 76mm probably would have been superior but 57mm is in the inventory and good enough. 5" is already very available and similarly never used in practice. The most important thing is just getting hulls in the water. The second batch might change out the gun but I doubt it.

 

 

Actually, I believe they used the five inchers to shell Iranian oil rigs being used to cause trouble back in the day. I don't know how effective they were.

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Jeff the 5"/54 gunnery against the oil rigs looked pretty miserable. That's because they used their radar fire direction and many if not most shells flew through the latticework of the supporting structure, the center/mass targeted by the FCS. I don't know if they corrected this, but I suspect that nobody had trained much on direct fire under local control of the man in the mount.

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A ships gun is a tertiary system of little consequence. 76mm probably would have been superior but 57mm is in the inventory and good enough. 5" is already very available and similarly never used in practice. The most important thing is just getting hulls in the water. The second batch might change out the gun but I doubt it.

 

Don't disagree with you about the importance of hulls in the water or the second batch retaining the 57mm. Ref guns being tertiary . . . in blue water I agree, but in the littorals there's more opportunities for gunfire.

 

I think a big question mark is how effective Strales and the Vulcano IR guided rounds are: if they work well, the gun becomes an important CIWS layer and a gun, a 5" gun in particular, firing IR guided rounds and a drone would be a nightmare for small boat swarms. If the IR rounds work, they would provide an anti-ship capability out to more or less the radar horizon. Additionally, the availability of GPS guided Vulcano rounds dramatically increases the effectiveness of even 76mm rounds against shore targets.

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