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"Redesign the Fleet" Topic

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459 hits since 11 Jan 2019
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Jan 2019 5:40 p.m. PST

The U.S. Navy's current fleet design does not match today's conditions, much less those expected over the next 20 years. Today's fleet—a mix of ship types that are simply evolutionary improvements and larger versions of designs from two or more decades ago—is too small, and the ships on average are too large. It is time for the Navy to make broad, significant changes in the fleet's design…


Do you agree?

NavyVet11 Jan 2019 8:57 p.m. PST

Changes in technology will force all nations to rethink many things when it comes to their militaries. I am sure that the United States Navy is hard at work trying to deal these coming changes.

Lion in the Stars11 Jan 2019 11:38 p.m. PST

I'm not sure smaller ships are going to be useful for all the missions the US Navy does.

Some of the missions, yes, smaller ships are going to be useful.

Others, no, you really can't make an effective carrier smaller than what we have now.

What, the new British Queen Liz class? That's about half as effective as a Nimitz. Maybe less, since all that the Lizzies can fly are F35Bs, when a Nimitz can fly anything from A4 to F18E, and F35Cs.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2019 8:08 a.m. PST

I think the Navy needs a mix of ships, but what the mix would be I do not know. Now that we are trying to predict the future of war instead of just preparing for the last war, we find our crystal ball is very cloudy. Being prepared to change as quickly as possible is probably the best thing to be prepared for.

emckinney12 Jan 2019 1:15 p.m. PST

I'm pretty sure you could retrofit the QE to take A-4s with little effort … Unless the F-18E is much less capable than the Russian naval fighters, I bet you could manage to get them off and back on the QE with sufficient modifications.

Striker12 Jan 2019 5:01 p.m. PST

The navy won't change until it's ships are sunk. The cries that go up when someone mentions carriers have been constant.

Winston Smith14 Jan 2019 3:33 p.m. PST

I can't help thinking that the current fleet is a floating Maginot Line.

And that it would be hideously expensive to build it up to the current fad theory.
It's what we have.
This isn't like 1942. We can't build an aircraft carrier in 9 months, making 8 at a time, or whatever the numbers are.
We're stuck with what we have, for good or bad.
How long would we have to get the theoretical "1/3 in drydock, out of commission for 2 years" changed.

Lion in the Stars15 Jan 2019 11:48 a.m. PST

How long would we have to get the theoretical "1/3 in drydock, out of commission for 2 years" changed.

It'd take a complete redesign of every class, and probably a couple re-designs incorporating lessons learned, too. Not to mention an immense shore-side support staff, both maintenance and training. Missile subs are built around the idea of two crews and being able to fix a LOT of stuff in the one month between 3 month deployments, and when the ship is out to sea, the "off-crew" has a LOT of training to do. Firefighting and other damage control, ship control, all the usual classes, small arms training, professional development classes… When "off-crew", we only had ~55hr work weeks. When assisting the other crew in their refit (the other crew officially got control of the boat about 3 days after we arrived in port), 70+hr weeks were normal. Underway, on the boat? I worked it out once to about a 95hr work week. Oh, and we saw about a third of the crew leave and be replaced by new faces every off-crew, too.

When the Navy tried multiple crews on, I think it was an FFG (or rather, 3 FFGs, two of which were getting decommissioned and sent their entire crews to the deployed ship after decommissioning), there was way too much stuff to fix between deployment phases, even with two ship crews and some shipyard support on hand for labor. Took too long to cut the holes in the hull necessary to get to the components. link link

Trident subs can actually pull out the entire escape trunks, going from a ~25" opening to about an 8 foot opening, plus the watertight doors between compartments aren't ~25" wide, they're ~4 feet wide, so you can move bigger things between compartments without cutting holes in 6" of armor steel. And then you drop the entire 'LET' (Logistics and Escape Trunk) back into place and hook up the air and drain lines, in a process taking about 30 minutes!

But the Tridents are the sixth generation of missile sub.
* The first generation ballistic missile subs, the George Washington class, were literally stretched Skipjack-class attack submarines. We built 5 of them, just to get a jump start on the Sea-based deterrent idea. First commissioned in 1959.
* The second generation ballistic missile subs, the Ethan Allen class, were designed from the keel up as missile subs. We built 5 of them, too, and commissioned the first in 1961.
* The third generation SSBNs, the Lafayette class, added a few more features and were a bit bigger than the Ethan Allens. We built 9 of them, first commissioned in 1963.
* The fourth generation SSBNs, the James Madison class, was nearly identical to the Ethan Allens, but built for Polaris A3 from the start. We built 10 of them, first commissioned in 1964.
* The fifth generation SSBNs, the Benjamin Franklin class, was an upgraded version of the Ethan Allen/James Madison classes. Quieter, a little bigger, and designed from the beginning to SubSafe specifications. Shared a lot of components with the Sturgeon/637 class. We built 12 of them, first commissioned in 1965.
* The sixth generation SSBNs, the Ohio class, are an enormous step up in size, capacity, and capability. Older boats only carried 16 tubes, the Ohios have 24. Older boats were 410-425 ft long and 33ft across, while the Ohios are 560ft long and 42ft across. Their missile tubes are bigger in diameter, too, with earlier subs having ~56" or ~80" tubes and the Ohios having 87" tubes. We built 18 of them, first commissioned in 1981.
* The seventh generation SSBN, the Columbia-class (named for the District of Columbia), is about the same overall size as an Ohio, a foot larger in diameter, ~20,000tons displaced (Ohios are 19ktons, so only a little bigger). Downside is that there were no engineers left at EB that had built the Ohios, so we lost a lot of institutional knowledge about the needs of that deployment schedule. Still in the engineering phases, first commissioning is expected for 2031.

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