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"Maybe The U.S. Navy Should Build Some Smaller Ships?" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 9:36 p.m. PST

"As a Navy "blackshoe" surface warfare officer, I saw firsthand how our fleet's leaders have more missions than they have ships to fill them. I watched flag staff in a command center wrestle with operational problems that would have been easier if they'd had more hulls, more ships, of just about any kind of surface combatant. The Navy's go-to workhorse destroyers are too expensive to fill the gap, and its recent small-ship programs have been plagued with problems.

There is one possible solution: Steal a page from the Russian navy's shipbuilding strategy and focus on raising a fleet of corvettes the diminutive warships, not the sportscars that newly minted ensigns dream of sticking in their driveways. Alas, the U.S. Navy seems to be going in the opposite direction, turning small-ship plans into big, costly headaches.

To understand the way forward, first you have to dig into how the Navy got into this fix…"
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SouthernPhantom02 Aug 2017 10:08 p.m. PST

Reasonable enough.

The Arleigh Burke really seems to me like the modern-day equivalent of a Star Destroyer- big, very capable, very expensive, and only able to be in one place at a time.

Not all missions call for a Star Destroyer. Fifty corvettes with a light gun, SeaRAM, a small VLS, and some crew-served weapons like machine guns or autocannon would be very handy to have. Stick a small flight deck on it for an MQ-8 and you've got a great little package for situations requiring presence but not overwhelming firepower. The Horn of Africa, for example, or anywhere else where gunboats are the primary threat.

SouthernPhantom02 Aug 2017 10:25 p.m. PST

Upon doing some research, the South Korean Incheon-class frigates are 2200-3000t-displacement (depending on configuration and subclass, it would seem) ships with extremely heavy armament, and offer a savings per ship of over $100 USD million compared to an LCS, with greater capability as well. It would not be too difficult to replace the ROK-designed ASM tubes with Harpoon launchers, or even omit them entirely in favor of VLS-launched ASMs.

LCS was and is a blindingly dumb program.

Tgunner03 Aug 2017 6:41 a.m. PST

Why not start building upgraded O.H. Perry frigates? It's a tried and true hull that can be updated here and there with off-the-shelf technology and built and fielded in whole squadrons!

The Navy is already considering bring back a few…

And other nations are doing pretty well updating them…

Yeah, they are not sexy like modern cruisers or "destroyers". Heck, they are MODERN DESTROYERS!! Tin cans! Their job is screening, ASW work, patrolling, and showing the flag.

Besides, the Perry can be sexy, occasionally…


Personal logo Andrew Walters Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 9:14 a.m. PST

I'm certain this approach is correct. But I'm also certain that to get congress to spend money it has to be in the best interest of individual officials. It's actually easier to get them to spend money for exciting, expensive stuff than boring, cheap stuff. But you need workaday stuff to get the job done.

Lion in the Stars04 Aug 2017 9:49 p.m. PST

Convince Congress that their district will be building ships for 20 years and you get a nice incentive to build small.

The problem with ship cost isn't the hull.

Hulls are relatively cheap. (IIRC, a Burke costs about $200 USDmil to build, but has about a billion dollars worth of electronics and weapons added to it.)

It's all the weapons and electronics that drives total costs up.

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