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publius
2010-Jul-20, 02:48 AM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19192-navy-laser-roasts-incoming-drones-in-midair.html

We're getting closer and closer to sci-fi weapons. :) Raytheon just successfully put a 32kW IR laser on a ship and was able to fry some drones. Now, we can these things in the MW output range, we'll be talking.


-Richard

kleindoofy
2010-Jul-20, 02:56 AM
... We're getting closer and closer to sci-fi weapons. ...
http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/7509/addamsdeathray.jpg

Atraveller
2010-Jul-20, 06:33 AM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19192-navy-laser-roasts-incoming-drones-in-midair.html

We're getting closer and closer to sci-fi weapons. :) Raytheon just successfully put a 32kW IR laser on a ship and was able to fry some drones. Now, we can these things in the MW output range, we'll be talking.


-Richard

To have that kind of effect with only 32Kw isn't bad - but the article didn't say how close the drone got before "it plunged into the sea". (Why can't they just say it crashed - and forget the spin?)

publius
2010-Jul-20, 06:58 AM
32kW in a tight enough beam is pretty impressive, really. For example, consider typical welding power levels. For stick, you're talking roughly 100A at 25-30Vish, which is just 3kW. That's enough to keep a little puddle of molten metal going for 1/4"+ base metal, and will burn a hole through thin sheet metal in no time.

I don't know what the beam cross section is, but if ten times bigger than a welding puddle and can transfer all the energy to the target, that's still the same power per area and enough to really burn up thin material.


-Richard

Larry Jacks
2010-Jul-20, 01:53 PM
You don't need megawatts to fry an attacking airplane or missile. Going SuperSize would result in a weapon that's too large and has too high an energy draw for use on ships. This effort is working to field a practical weapon that could be retrofitted to existing ships, not require a completely new fleet. The key is that it's powered by electricity, not those nasty chemicals used on the airborne laser lab. From what I've read, that airborne setup requires a 747 to carry enough chemicals for about 20 laser shots. A working laser defense weapon needs to be able to fire repeatedly fire to protect against a swarm attack (e.g., anti-ship missiles) with little warmup time. I don't know if this is intended to replace CIWS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS) or merely augment it.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-20, 02:26 PM
You don't need megawatts to fry an attacking airplane or missile. Going SuperSize would result in a weapon that's too large and has too high an energy draw for use on ships. This effort is working to field a practical weapon that could be retrofitted to existing ships, not require a completely new fleet. The key is that it's powered by electricity, not those nasty chemicals used on the airborne laser lab. From what I've read, that airborne setup requires a 747 to carry enough chemicals for about 20 laser shots. A working laser defense weapon needs to be able to fire repeatedly fire to protect against a swarm attack (e.g., anti-ship missiles) with little warmup time. I don't know if this is intended to replace CIWS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS) or merely augment it.

It seems the US Navy is moving to integrated electric drive for their new ships (at least their nuke ones), so presumably they would be able to divert power from the propulsion unit to the laser when needed.

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/cno/n87/usw/issue_9/power_system.html

Nick

Drunk Vegan
2010-Jul-20, 03:35 PM
so presumably they would be able to divert power from the propulsion unit to the laser when needed.

Next up: inventing the photon torpedo.

Fazor
2010-Jul-20, 03:46 PM
Interesting. So when are they going to have some sort of balloon or satellite based laser that can mow my lawn for me?

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-20, 03:51 PM
I don't know if this is intended to replace CIWS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS) or merely augment it.
It is meant to augment it. As I understand it, the earlier prototype devoted the entire mount to just the laser (http://media.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/ORD_CIWS_Laser_Phalanx_Centurion_Demonstrator_lg.j pg), but they were later able to make a combined mount with both the original 20mm gatling gun armament as well as the laser armament.

DonM435
2010-Jul-20, 03:58 PM
Interesting. So when are they going to have some sort of balloon or satellite based laser that can mow my lawn for me?

I don't know, but I'm sure that we can destroy your lawn any time . . .

Larry Jacks
2010-Jul-20, 04:00 PM
It is meant to augment it. As I understand it, the earlier prototype devoted the entire mount to just the laser, but they were later able to make a combined mount with both the original 20mm gatling gun armament as well as the laser armament.

That sounds pretty slick. You could leverage the CWIS tracking system to operate the laser and have the fallback capability of going 20mm. I wonder how they protect the laser optics from the vibration of the cannon.

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-20, 04:07 PM
I wonder how they protect the laser optics from the vibration of the cannon.
I don't know, but I can take a guess. The laser appears to be bolted onto the large dome which houses the radar. My guess is that the radar system already needed to be protected from the vibration, so the problem was already solved.

Grypd
2010-Jul-20, 11:35 PM
The problem with laser weapons has always been the energy needed to inflict damage compared to there efficiency. Laser efficiency is improving but so is energy storage. If someone invents a realy effective superconductor then laser weapons will appear routinely on naval ships.

Still before we have laser weapons we will have mass drivers and those are the future. They will be the weapons that replace the main guns of naval combatatants.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-21, 01:17 AM
The problem with laser weapons has always been the energy needed to inflict damage compared to there efficiency. Laser efficiency is improving but so is energy storage. If someone invents a realy effective superconductor then laser weapons will appear routinely on naval ships.

Still before we have laser weapons we will have mass drivers and those are the future. They will be the weapons that replace the main guns of naval combatatants.

The biggest problem with lasers has been they use up their energy on every molecule of air (and spec of dust, or moisture) between them and thier target. For a long time it was believed they would only be useful in space. Good to see they are making progress.

Do naval ships still have guns? It seems they have almost been completely replaced by missiles.

Van Rijn
2010-Jul-21, 01:19 AM
Interesting. So when are they going to have some sort of balloon or satellite based laser that can mow my lawn for me?

I don't know, but you might eventually be able to buy a mosquito tracking laser system:

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/video-laser-zaps-pesky-skeets

Fazor
2010-Jul-21, 01:30 AM
The problem with laser weapons has always been . . .
See, *I* thought the problem has always been that they don't actually shoot visible line segments and make a *pew pew!* sound. Hmm. . .


I don't know, but you might eventually be able to buy a mosquito tracking laser system:
http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/video-laser-zaps-pesky-skeets

Now that will really be interesting when pitted up against laser equipped mosquitos (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=1765157#post1765157)!

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-21, 03:32 AM
The biggest problem with lasers has been they use up their energy on every molecule of air (and spec of dust, or moisture) between them and thier target. For a long time it was believed they would only be useful in space. Good to see they are making progress.

Do naval ships still have guns? It seems they have almost been completely replaced by missiles.

US Navy destroyers still have a 5in/54 caliber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-54_Mark_45) gun.

Nick

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-21, 04:52 AM
Interesting. So when are they going to have some sort of balloon or satellite based laser that can mow my lawn for me?

You've been reading my old posts again? ;)

This could bring back the age of the airship. Muhahaha!

Jens
2010-Jul-21, 06:29 AM
Do naval ships still have guns? It seems they have almost been completely replaced by missiles.

I'm definitely not the right person to answer this. But from my extremely limited knowledge, I seem to remember that a signal for a ship to warn another ship to stop is to shoot across its bow. I think that they would probably rather have a gun to do that rather than using missiles. So if for no other reason, they probably still keep a gun.

Eta C
2010-Jul-21, 12:52 PM
Most ships still have at least one gun although it is rare to find one with more than a 6-inch bore. The standard these days is a 76mm such as the one on the US Perry class frigates. The Burke class destroyers have a 5-inch gun. Pretty much every ship has some sort of close-in weapon system. In general the laser systems are intended to replace these. The problems with beam spreading, blooming (de-focusing caused by the heating of the air by the beam), as well as absorbtion by sea-spray and humidity limit the effective range of a laser. Picking the right frequency is hard since the quantum mechanics of available lasing media limit the choices. The US Navy's current research on this is working on a Free Electron Laser (http://www.onr.navy.mil/Science-Technology/Directorates/office-innovation/~/link.aspx?_id=1696B13048A443889047280E25E961EF&_z=z). Since these use the energy of an electron beam and synchrotron radiation to form the beam you can build one to an advantageous frequency. It does mean putting a small electron accelerator onto the ship, which may be problomatic.

publius
2010-Jul-21, 09:32 PM
Reading some more about this, the range was apparently 2 miles and the drone was moving at 300mph.

Speaking of naval guns, they don't have ships in service any more with those big 16" guns they used on the Iowa class battleships?


-Richard

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-22, 04:23 AM
Speaking of naval guns, they don't have ships in service any more with those big 16" guns they used on the Iowa class battleships?


-Richard

No.

Nick

Doodler
2010-Jul-22, 11:15 PM
The biggest problem with lasers has been they use up their energy on every molecule of air (and spec of dust, or moisture) between them and thier target. For a long time it was believed they would only be useful in space. Good to see they are making progress.

Do naval ships still have guns? It seems they have almost been completely replaced by missiles.

The other problem with lasers is Line of Sight. No over the horizon bombardment like you could do with the old ballistic weapons.

pzkpfw
2010-Jul-23, 12:17 AM
The other problem with lasers is Line of Sight. No over the horizon bombardment like you could do with the old ballistic weapons.

So you send up a drone, first, with a mirror on it and... oh... hang on...

korjik
2010-Jul-23, 12:44 AM
The other problem with lasers is Line of Sight. No over the horizon bombardment like you could do with the old ballistic weapons.

Thats what railguns are for!

Doodler
2010-Jul-23, 12:47 AM
So you send up a drone, first, with a mirror on it and... oh... hang on...

Cruise missiles will probably do fine for those times when you need to "Reach Out and Touch Someone".

publius
2010-Jul-23, 01:29 AM
Speaking of bombardment, I got worried about the fact the biggest guns the Navy has in service now are the 5" ones. What about naval gunfire support for an amphibious landing and the like, I worried, and I got to reading. Apparently I'm not alone, as there are factions in the Marines and to a lesser extent the Army that worry about this as well. Nothing can beat those 16" guns on the Iowa class for that. The Navy brass didn't want to keep up the battleships as they considered them way too expensive for the benefit.

They say it would cost $500M to bring the Iowa and Wisconsin back to duty. The Secretary of the Navy stuck those two ships from the naval registry back in 2006, but Congress, in the 2007 Defense bill, put in a provision that required the Navy to be ready to bring Iowa and Wisconsin back to duty if needed. This required them to not modify the two old girls in any way that would prevent them from military duty, maintain preservation systems to keep them from detirioration, and preserve spare and unique parts for them.

-Richard

Atraveller
2010-Jul-23, 04:51 AM
Speaking of bombardment, I got worried about the fact the biggest guns the Navy has in service now are the 5" ones. What about naval gunfire support for an amphibious landing and the like, I worried, and I got to reading. Apparently I'm not alone, as there are factions in the Marines and to a lesser extent the Army that worry about this as well. Nothing can beat those 16" guns on the Iowa class for that. The Navy brass didn't want to keep up the battleships as they considered them way too expensive for the benefit.

-Richard

I would have thought a few flocks of predators armed with hellfires would have worked just as well...

Wasn't there a study about twenty years ago that found targeted munitions were 20 times more effecctive than bombardment? Wasn't that used as the justification to bring in hoards of tomahawks and retire the old lady (B-52) ? I'll have to check General Dynamic's web site to see if that study is still available.

Jens
2010-Jul-23, 05:15 AM
I would have thought a few flocks of predators armed with hellfires would have worked just as well...


A lot of times, capitalizing words is English is fairly superfluous, but when you're using names like that it helps to know that you are using product names. I wasn't sure what you meant by "predator" until I googled it and found there's an unmanned plane with that name, so a Predator.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-23, 06:54 AM
A lot of times, capitalizing words is English is fairly superfluous, but when you're using names like that it helps to know that you are using product names. I wasn't sure what you meant by "predator" until I googled it and found there's an unmanned plane with that name, so a Predator.

Sorry Jens, my bad

I thought that all those weapons systems were so well know that everyone would know them - working in the industry has given me a bit of a bias I guess.

Predator, Tomahawk, Hellfire and Old Ladies are all weapon systems...

:lol:

Jens
2010-Jul-23, 07:05 AM
Predator, Tomahawk, Hellfire and Old Ladies are all weapon systems...


Tomahawk I knew. Hellfire maybe I've heard of, but I think I remember mostly the fighter plane from WWII. Or the name, since I wasn't alive at the time! Old Ladies is an interesting one. It sounds like something from a Monty Python skit. :)

ETA: I just looked it up, and there is no plane by that name. I must be thinking of something else. Ah, Hellcat. Well the first four letters are pretty similar.

publius
2010-Jul-23, 08:39 AM
I would have thought a few flocks of predators armed with hellfires would have worked just as well...

Wasn't there a study about twenty years ago that found targeted munitions were 20 times more effecctive than bombardment? Wasn't that used as the justification to bring in hoards of tomahawks and retire the old lady (B-52) ? I'll have to check General Dynamic's web site to see if that study is still available.

It's a matter of debate, mostly with the Navy being against it, and factions of the Marines being for it. The Marines want the massive firepower of the Iowa class backing them up. I don't know enough to argue one way or the other, so look it up if you're interested, but basically, I'll go with the wishes of the guys who have to storm the beach.

The firepower of an Iowa battleship is awesome. Look up some pictures of one firing a full "broadside" with all nine 16" guns. They used an armor piercing shell that weighed 2700lbs which was capable of penetrating 20" of steel and over 20' of concrete. Then they had a regular shell that weighed about ton as well for unprotected and soft targets. That sucker would make a crater 20' deep and 50' wide. IIRC, they used some of them to clear out Helicopter landing zones in Vietnam out of the dense foliage. They even had nuclear tipped shells for the things. Range was around 25 miles.

So if you're a Marine about to be a wading in a hostile shore, you can see how they'd like to have that backing you up if things went south on them, which they often do.


-Richard

pzkpfw
2010-Jul-23, 09:10 AM
...I'll go with the wishes of the guys who have to storm the beach.

Does anyone actually storm a beach any more? (I know you didn't mean it that literally, but still...)

The Marines made a show of practicing landings before the first* Gulf war, but that was largely to tie down Iraqi troops, wasn't it?

I read an interview with an American leader (I forget what level) around that time who pretty convincingly stated they'd never be storming the beaches again like in Normandy... cost in lives just too much.


(* or second, according to a book of mine that numbers Iran-Iraq as first).

Larry Jacks
2010-Jul-23, 01:39 PM
It's a matter of debate, mostly with the Navy being against it, and factions of the Marines being for it. The Marines want the massive firepower of the Iowa class backing them up. I don't know enough to argue one way or the other, so look it up if you're interested, but basically, I'll go with the wishes of the guys who have to storm the beach.

If you look at WWII history, the Navy would use battleships and cruisers to lay down a heavy bombardment before an invasion. In some cases, that bombardment lasted for hours and even for days. Yet, despite all of that ordanance, it proved largely ineffective against a well dug in opponent like the Japanese on Iwo Jima. One problem is that the guns on those ships fired in a relatively flat trajectory. That's great when you're shooting at another ship but not so good when trying to penetrate dug in opposition.

Larry Jacks
2010-Jul-23, 01:44 PM
Does anyone actually storm a beach any more? (I know you didn't mean it that literally, but still...)

The Marines made a show of practicing landings before the first* Gulf war, but that was largely to tie down Iraqi troops, wasn't it?

I read an interview with an American leader (I forget what level) around that time who pretty convincingly stated they'd never be storming the beaches again like in Normandy... cost in lives just too much.

The Marines still train and equip for that mission. They did use it as a diversion in the '91 Gulf War to pin down several Iraqi divisions. It worked. Since helicopters entered the inventory in a big way, the Marines use them a great deal but they want to keep the ability to go ashore the old way just in case. For one thing, with some of the modern amphibious craft like the LCAC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-cushioned_landing_craft) (Landing Craft Air Cushion), they can carry heavy equipment like tanks that can't be carried by helicopters.

Eta C
2010-Jul-23, 02:30 PM
The problem with re-activating the battleships isn't just the cost of bringing them out of mothballs. It's the cost of manning ships that were built in an era before automation. Each gun turret required a crew of a couple of hundred men. Total complement is close to 1500 mostly operating obsolete machinery that will have more and more frequent breakdowns.

Re-activation in the 80's was a stretch, but the ships were only 40 years old then. They're close to 70 years old now and even if they haven't operated for all of that time, things still age. Also, it's not as if there's a lot of 16" shells and powder ready for use, and even if there were it's probably not safe. A contributing cause of the Iowa explosion was the old powder. So, to be useful, you need to start up 16" round production again. Not cheap.

Anyway, to get back to the OP, lasers aren't likely to be used for anything resembling shore bombardment. The problems with using them in the sea level environment limit the range of even the highest energy and most intense ones to a few miles at best. Their most likely use is close in defense against cruise missiles or large numbers of small unmanned attack drones.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-24, 06:04 AM
Well, perhaps Star Trek wasn't that unrealistic if we're giving up ballistic weapons for Line-of-sight beam weapons. Personally, I think there is still an argument to be made for engaging a threat with indirect fire. The 16" guns may be old and less than perfect, but long range navel bombardment might work if we can use shells that have active seeking/targetting capabilities. Missiles can do a lot, but if the threat also has lasers, then they might just neutralize those missiles come into laser range by exploding their fuel or melting/burning their control surfaces.

BTW, didn't the Marines storm the beaches in Somalia? I seem to recall grunts wading ashore and belly-crawling to "secure" position as the networks stood out in the open filming them with cameras and lights and microphones and all that assorted hoopla.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jul-24, 09:24 AM
The 16" guns may be old and less than perfect, but long range navel bombardment might work if we can use shells that have active seeking/targetting capabilities.
There are projectiles intended for the 5" guns that have that.

Larry Jacks
2010-Jul-25, 12:35 AM
BTW, didn't the Marines storm the beaches in Somalia? I seem to recall grunts wading ashore and belly-crawling to "secure" position as the networks stood out in the open filming them with cameras and lights and microphones and all that assorted hoopla.

For the most part, those were Navy SEALs (http://science.howstuffworks.com/navy-seal12.htm). If it had been me, my first order of business would've been to shoot out those camera floodlights. There are some people in life that just aren't worth messing with, and SEALs are definitely on that list.

In Somalia, on December 2, 1992, during Operation Restore Hope, Navy SEALs were needed to clear the path for a Marine landing to secure the Mogadishu airport. SEALs from Team One swam to shore, measuring water depth, shore gradient, and beach composition to create maps and secure the landing. A few days later, they explored the Mogadishu Harbor to determine if an adequate port for supply ships could be found. Unexpected problems came when they found that the water in the harbor was contaminated with raw sewage and other wastes. The SEALs completed their jobs, but some became sick from the mission.

The following day, when the Marine landing was taking place, SEALs, along with Marine Recon Units, swam ahead of the landing forces as scouts. What they found was media representatives, bright lights, and television cameras in their faces as they emerged from the water and walked onto the beach. The Marine landing went on, televised for all the world to see.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-25, 12:41 AM
Well, perhaps Star Trek wasn't that unrealistic if we're giving up ballistic weapons for Line-of-sight beam weapons. Personally, I think there is still an argument to be made for engaging a threat with indirect fire. The 16" guns may be old and less than perfect, but long range navel bombardment might work if we can use shells that have active seeking/targetting capabilities..

But the Tomahawk can do that, it can fly around and engage from any direction with a huge variety of ordenance. And if the other side has lasers, why would they not be able to engage and destroy a 16" shell? Even if it is travelling super sonic it can be tracked by RADAR, and targetted. And the source of the shell is not agile, so quickly becomes a target...

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jul-25, 06:21 AM
But the Tomahawk can do that, it can fly around and engage from any direction with a huge variety of ordenance. And if the other side has lasers, why would they not be able to engage and destroy a 16" shell? Even if it is travelling super sonic it can be tracked by RADAR, and targetted. And the source of the shell is not agile, so quickly becomes a target...
The Tomahawk is a lot more vulnerable to being stopped that a 16" shell, specially if the 16" shell isn't actively guided but rather ballistic, since the laser would have to make it explode to stop it rather that just take out the guidance. Actually, the laser would have a hard time with the 5" shell too.

BigDon
2010-Jul-26, 08:37 PM
So if you're a Marine about to be a wading in a hostile shore, you can see how they'd like to have that backing you up if things went south on them, which they often do.


-Richard

The trouble with going to war with humans. No matter which group you pick they are going to contain brave and resourcefull people you are going to need an Iowa class battleship to root out, that is if casualties are an issue back home.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-26, 11:54 PM
Well, the Tomahawk can follow a circuitous route to avoid known threats, but I'm unaware of the ability for a Tomahawk to actively detect and avoid unexpected threats.

And Henrik made the point about ballistic ordnance being more robust. A powerful enough laser with enough time might cause a dumb ballistic artillery round to go off course a little or it might cause it to blow-up, depending on explosive load and type of fuze. But if a laser is a known threat, it might be neutralized by placing some extra ablation shielding on the front or using a rear-mounted fuze of some sort. This assumes that the defense laser is near the target and lasing it headon. Lasing from the side or behind as it passes overhead (or underneath) presents increasing problems of targetting and beam dwell time and mitigation by the atmosphere.

Readly
2010-Jul-27, 02:04 AM
The Tomahawk can follow a circuitous route to avoid known threats, However, it is slower than laser (http://www.gadgettown.com/Green-Laser-Pointers/), also affect by external environment.

mugaliens
2010-Jul-27, 02:36 AM
The Marine landing went on, televised for all the world to see.[/I]

The 1994 takeoff of 36 C-130s from Pope AFB fully loaded with men and equipment from the 82nd at Ft. Bragg was televised for all the world to see, as well, and the result was a quick acquiescence of the intended target within two hours. The mission was aborted mid-air, but flights began almost immediately to airland the men and their equipment rather than conduct air assault operations.

Sometimes, a little media can help out a lot.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-27, 04:25 AM
Well, the Tomahawk can follow a circuitous route to avoid known threats, but I'm unaware of the ability for a Tomahawk to actively detect and avoid unexpected threats.

And Henrik made the point about ballistic ordnance being more robust. A powerful enough laser with enough time might cause a dumb ballistic artillery round to go off course a little or it might cause it to blow-up, depending on explosive load and type of fuze. But if a laser is a known threat, it might be neutralized by placing some extra ablation shielding on the front or using a rear-mounted fuze of some sort. This assumes that the defense laser is near the target and lasing it headon. Lasing from the side or behind as it passes overhead (or underneath) presents increasing problems of targetting and beam dwell time and mitigation by the atmosphere.

The Tomahawk carries a camera, and send telemetery back to it's controller. It can be reprogammed in mid flight to avoid threats it sees, or senses. It will also fly a complex ground hugging route to target, and can deliver a 1000lb munition with relative accuracy.


A major improvement to the Tomahawk is its network-centric warfare-capabilities, using data from multiple sensors (aircraft, UAVs, satellites, foot soldiers, tanks, ships) to find its target. It will also be able to send data from its sensors to these platforms. It will be a part of the networked force being implemented by the Pentagon.

”Tactical Tomahawk” equips the TLAM with a TV-camera for battlefield observation loitering that allows warfighting commanders to assess damage to the target and to redirect the missile to an alternative target. Additionally the Tactical Tomahawk is able to be reprogrammed in-flight to attack one of 16 predesignated targets with GPS coordinates stored in its memory or to any other GPS coordinates. Also, the missile can send data about its status back to the commander. It entered service with the Navy in late 2004.

In May 2009, Raytheon Missile Systems proposed an upgrade to the Tomahawk Block IV land-attack cruise missile that would allow it to kill or disable large, hardened warships at 900 nautical miles range.

The advantage to a balistic is it is rugged as noted. And yes it would be difficult to kill. But once it is picked up on RADAR you know exactly where it is going and how fast. There are a lot of weapons that can take RADAR information and target a fast moving object. ie R2D2 (Phalanx CIWS)

Ofcourse if it is hard held target with a bunch of smart and determined defenders, there is nothing like a W80 to ruin their whole day.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-27, 04:57 AM
The Tomahawk carries a camera, and send telemetery back to it's controller. It can be reprogammed in mid flight to avoid threats it sees, or senses. It will also fly a complex ground hugging route to target, and can deliver a 1000lb munition with relative accuracy.Is that capability current, or just being planned?

The advantage to a balistic is it is rugged as noted. And yes it would be difficult to kill. But once it is picked up on RADAR you know exactly where it is going and how fast. There are a lot of weapons that can take RADAR information and target a fast moving object. ie R2D2 (Phalanx CIWS).and one of those weapons is not likely to be a laser. In the scenario you are suggesting, munition attrition is likely to become a major factor. In other words, which is more likely to run out sooner: expensive, high-tech ABMs or inexpensive, dumb artillery shells? Of course one could argue that the cost is made up by having such an expensive weapons platform as a battleship. So, in such a scenario, the main goal will be to knock out the weapon platform itself, i.e. the battleship. However, the ABM platform is not likely to be cheap either. At this point, the issue is the ability of the weapon to either absorb punishment or avoid it. An ABM platform, if it's heavily fortified underground to defend a static target, is going to take a lot of punishment, but is immobile. If the ABM platform is mobile, such as multiple ground vehicles set up in a hasty bivouac, it will likely not be very rugged. So, a defender's ABM platform is likely to be either rugged or mobile, but not both. A battleship, on the other hand, is both.

A battleship is old tech. Lots of people say it is outdated. These are often people who believe that old is bad and try to live and fight by the mantra of "not preparing to fight the last war". However, one should look at a battleship simply as a tool. It's good for some jobs and not for others. If you enhance a tool or the manner in which it is used you may make it relevant to a new job. For example, most people think of a shovel is a tool for making a basement, not for fixing a roof, but we can and do. So, refit or build anew a battleship with a longer-duration powertrain, longer range weapon systems that have a lower rate of interception and give it even better armor, and you may have a multi-role force multiplier, a game-changer. If you recreate a battleship as such, it will become relevant again, so relevant that it may become a major target upon which a threat will need to focus a lot of time and energy in defeating, which saps their resources while freeing up your own... if you can afford it.

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-27, 05:23 AM
In the scenario you are suggesting, munition attrition is likely to become a major factor. In other words, which is more likely to run out sooner: expensive, high-tech ABMs or inexpensive, dumb artillery shells?
The example weapon given is a 20mm gatling gun. 20mm shells are far less expensive and far more available than 16in battleship shells--which are not your everyday artillery shells.

A battleship is old tech. Lots of people say it is outdated.
It is indeed outdated.

If you recreate a battleship as such, it will become relevant again, so relevant that it may become a major target upon which a threat will need to focus a lot of time and energy in defeating, which saps their resources while freeing up your own... if you can afford it.
The USN figured out how to update the battleship concept to a modern day version, and the result was DDX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zumwalt_class_destroyer). Its AGS gun system will have a sustained rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute, for a total of 20 rounds per minute, which compares well with the 18 rounds per minute of an Iowa battleship's main armament--especially since AGS will be capable of firing guided rounds.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-27, 05:54 AM
The example weapon given is a 20mm gatling gun. 20mm shells are far less expensive and far more available than 16in battleship shells--which are not your everyday artillery shells.Do you think a 20mm CIWS would defeat a ballistic inbound?


The USN figured out how to update the battleship concept to a modern day version, and the result was DDX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zumwalt_class_destroyer). Its AGS gun system will have a sustained rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute, for a total of 20 rounds per minute, which compares well with the 18 rounds per minute of an Iowa battleship's main armament--especially since AGS will be capable of firing guided rounds.

as I was saying... but it's not big enough.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-27, 06:20 AM
Do you think a 20mm CIWS would defeat a ballistic inbound?



as I was saying... but it's not big enough.

The 20mm rounds are made from depleted uranium, and tungsten. Have you seen what a depleted uranium shell can do to 6" thick armour plate? Now imagine 75 of them per second firing rate. Apparently they have been using this system to protect the green zone from artillery since 2006.

http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/003558.html

And the telemetry/tv feedback system has been opperational on the Tomahawk since 2006. In flight program changes have been opperational since about 2001.

BigDon
2010-Jul-27, 06:49 AM
All this reminds me I have a good story my father told me. Time to add another story to the Flightdeck thread.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jul-27, 10:06 AM
Ofcourse if it is hard held target with a bunch of smart and determined defenders, there is nothing like a W80 to ruin their whole day.
Or a BLU-82.

BigDon
2010-Jul-27, 10:11 AM
Or a BLU-82.

And less "fall out" from that choice as well! :)

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-27, 02:01 PM
Do you think a 20mm CIWS would defeat a ballistic inbound?
That's one of the targets it is designed for. The land version, Centurion C-RAM, defends against rockets, artillery, and mortars.

as I was saying... but it's not big enough.
Why not? The USN deems AGS to be big enough. They had previously studied the MCLWG prototype on the USS Hull, but concluded it was no more effective than 5" guns.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-27, 02:43 PM
The 20mm rounds are made from depleted uranium, and tungsten. Have you seen what a depleted uranium shell can do to 6" thick armour plate? Now imagine 75 of them per second firing rate. Apparently they have been using this system to protect the green zone from artillery since 2006.

http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/003558.html

And the telemetry/tv feedback system has been opperational on the Tomahawk since 2006. In flight program changes have been opperational since about 2001.

I see that I am behind the time a little. Still, I'm also thinking ahead to kinetic artillery rounds, if not launched on railguns than perhaps a sabotted system. Intercepting a such an inbound would still cause trouble because the fragments are still going to hit somewhere.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-27, 02:55 PM
That's one of the targets it is designed for. The land version, Centurion C-RAM, defends against rockets, artillery, and mortars. but what size of ballistic inbound is it useful against?


Why not? The USN deems AGS to be big enough. They had previously studied the MCLWG prototype on the USS Hull, but concluded it was no more effective than 5" guns.The wiki article you linked to also said the USN was considering a bigger version, the CG(X). I foresee an even larger version if the dictates of mission planning and technology allow it to be realized. It may just be a matter of bean counting, measuring the risk of losing a smaller expensive vessel versus losing a larger more expensive vessel that may have less likelyhood of being lost. The same causes that resulted in warships getting larger at the beginning of last century could cause a similar increase at the beginning of this century.

Nicolas
2010-Jul-27, 03:10 PM
About this DDX: Wikipedia list the technologies they'll have on board:


an integrated power system, which can send electricity to the electric drive motors or weapons

Not for weapons, but our dredge vessels have had something like this for a loooong time (we have to power for example a 6 megawatt cutterhead...). When we explained this system to a major Russian military contractor, they couldn't comprehend it. We had to stress over and over again that it was not the same type of engine powering all these consumers, but the same engine.

Now we're just a commercial company so we don't intend to push the edge of technology too far; if possible we have an engine (at constant RPM) to drive the main generator that doesn't also do direct drive powering of equipment at varying RPMs at the same time as a nice fixed base frequency helps things a lot. But as far as electrical consumers go, it's all from the same engine. Your cabin light, your dredge pump and your 6 megawatt cutterhead. And this same engine can also be clutched over to direct drive the propellors. If the propellors were electrically driven as is apparently the case for DDX, it wouldn't even require clutching. But then again, we have no use for electrically driven propellors.

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-27, 04:01 PM
but what size of ballistic inbound is it useful against?
It's apparently useful against any artillery rounds that are available, but it is not deemed to be sufficient against some of the bigger and faster anti-ship missiles (like the SS-N-22, which is faster than a 16" shell and four times as massive). Nor would it be sufficient against possible anti-ship ballistic missiles.

The bigger and faster anti-ship missiles make 16" shells look pathetic, but they had to be bigger and faster to kill supercarriers (much larger targets than anything afloat in WWII). The USN never had to deal with enemy supercarriers, so they never developed weapons optimized for them.

The wiki article you linked to also said the USN was considering a bigger version, the CG(X). I foresee an even larger version if the dictates of mission planning and technology allow it to be realized.
Sorry, I thought you were complaining that the gun wasn't big enough.

Still, the same question applies--why isn't DDX big enough? The justification for CGX has nothing directly to do with size, and everything to do with different mission capabilities. The CGX was never supposed to just be a bigger version of DDX.

The same causes that resulted in warships getting larger at the beginning of last century could cause a similar increase at the beginning of this century.
Why? The causes that resulted in warships getting larger in the early 20th century had to do with weapons range and speed. There were some mistaken lessons learned from the Battle of Tsushima that drove warship design during this period.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-28, 01:29 AM
Or a BLU-82.

A very impressive weapon. But it won't fit in a Tomahawk. A W80 will... And the W80 ver 1 is a "clean" bomb - although I probably wouldn't want to be downwind of it...

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-29, 07:58 AM
It's apparently useful against any artillery rounds that are available, but it is not deemed to be sufficient against some of the bigger and faster anti-ship missiles (like the SS-N-22, which is faster than a 16" shell and four times as massive). Nor would it be sufficient against possible anti-ship ballistic missiles.Right, but are those missiles coming in sideways? I'm concerned about plunging fire, because a ton of ballistic mass falling towards a target will still tend to hit the area whether or not it is still in one piece. The important issue is how far uprange the interception can occur.


The bigger and faster anti-ship missiles make 16" shells look pathetic, but they had to be bigger and faster to kill supercarriers (much larger targets than anything afloat in WWII). The USN never had to deal with enemy supercarriers, so they never developed weapons optimized for them.This may be a tangent, but I thought that supercarriers had less armor and more suceptibility to missiles than a heavily armored battleship.


Sorry, I thought you were complaining that the gun wasn't big enough.

Still, the same question applies--why isn't DDX big enough? The justification for CGX has nothing directly to do with size, and everything to do with different mission capabilities. The CGX was never supposed to just be a bigger version of DDX.I was thinking about mission. While a dedicated artillery ship for Fire Support could be a dedicated barge with some howitzers on it, the navy tends to want it's ships to have multi-role cabability. I'm thinking that advanced artillery weapons might drive the need for a nuclear-powered vessel that could perform on it's own without a taskforce, similar to a sub. With a possible range of hundreds of miles or more, its presence or suspected presence, might drive international diplomacy more so than subs armed with nuclear weapons or conventional weapons whose launch may be indistinguishable from nukes. (Oops! Sorry, General Seretary, that SLBM is only High Explosive, not a nuke. Just because we're launching an attack towards your country doesn't mean you can't trust us.)


Why? The causes that resulted in warships getting larger in the early 20th century had to do with weapons range and speed. There were some mistaken lessons learned from the Battle of Tsushima that drove warship design during this period.That too, but it was also an issue of national prestige and it kept the naval-industrial-complex employed. Other countries might re-think their quest for nuclear weapons if they think they could just as easily decapitate their enemy's government with a well-timed salvo from hundreds of miles out at sea in such a way that it won't result in nuclear armageddon. In other words, it could serve as a better deterrent because it is more likely to be used.

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-29, 11:22 AM
Right, but are those missiles coming in sideways? I'm concerned about plunging fire, because a ton of ballistic mass falling towards a target will still tend to hit the area whether or not it is still in one piece. The important issue is how far uprange the interception can occur.
Traditional anti-ship missiles can come in sideways or they can come in from above for plunging fire. They can even come in from directly above, which might be an advantage because few CIWS can shoot exactly straight up. The threat of debris is indeed a problem, and it's the main reason why the 20mm Phalanx is not considered sufficient for the larger and faster anti-ship misiles.

Ballistic anti-ship missiles are theorized to be able to have significant terminal maneuver capability, enough to come in from any angle. However, it may be more plausible for them to come in from a high angle because even if such a missile is capable of violent terminal maneuvers, those maneuvers would reduce the velocity.

This may be a tangent, but I thought that supercarriers had less armor and more suceptibility to missiles than a heavily armored battleship.
They had less armor, but this wasn't really relevant because battleship armor was never sufficient to protect against anti-ship missiles. Battleship armor was designed to protect against gun shells, which meant thick armor to the sides but thinner armor from above. This was a delicate compromise as there was a heck of a lot more area to armor from above, but you could count on long range plunging fire being inaccurate enough to miss beyond plausible battle ranges. Unfortunately, missiles could be counted on to hit even if they were coming down from above.

Battleships were never tested against missile attack in combat, but they were attacked by unguided bombs, which anti-ship missiles were somewhat based on (in order to determine the required mass and warhead). Wartime experience showed that the top armor was no protection against even the relatively slow (but heavy) bombs.

I was thinking about mission. While a dedicated artillery ship for Fire Support could be a dedicated barge with some howitzers on it, the navy tends to want it's ships to have multi-role cabability.
The DDX is the only ship the USN "wants" with a heavy fire support role. The proposed CGX would have reduced the gun armament in favor of increased missile armament, because its primary role would have been air defense (including ballistic missile defense). The proposed CGX was supposed to replace AEGIS air defense ships.

I put "wants" in quotes because the only reason DDX has such heavy gun armament is because Congress mandated it. Battleship nuts in Congress mandated that the USN replace the fire support capability of the Iowas if they wanted to retire them. The USN, of course, absolutely wanted to retire them because they were more expensive with less capability than more modern ships.

I'm thinking that advanced artillery weapons might drive the need for a nuclear-powered vessel that could perform on it's own without a taskforce, similar to a sub.
Why? What's your logic here? Why does it need to perform on its own rather than in a taskforce?

With a possible range of hundreds of miles or more, its presence or suspected presence, might drive international diplomacy more so than subs armed with nuclear weapons or conventional weapons whose launch may be indistinguishable from nukes. (Oops! Sorry, General Seretary, that SLBM is only High Explosive, not a nuke. Just because we're launching an attack towards your country doesn't mean you can't trust us.)
Huh? Subs have cruise missile armament. So what? We still have other warship types, including ones which can attack targets hundreds of miles away...with cruise missiles. Some nations even have aircraft carriers, which were indeed the first naval weapons capable of attacking targets hundreds of miles away.

That too, but it was also an issue of national prestige and it kept the naval-industrial-complex employed.
Huh? The question was never one of keeping the naval-industrial-complex employed. The problem was the opposite--that the naval arms race was too expensive to keep up, which would lead to the first arms control treaties as an attempt to moderate the spiraling costs.

Other countries might re-think their quest for nuclear weapons if they think they could just as easily decapitate their enemy's government with a well-timed salvo from hundreds of miles out at sea in such a way that it won't result in nuclear armageddon. In other words, it could serve as a better deterrent because it is more likely to be used.
Umm...we already have this. We have used air strikes and cruise missiles this way. To mixed effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_Bombing_of_Libya). No doubt we'll try to use guided gun rounds in the future, but there's no reason to expect them to be fundamentally more or less effective.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jul-29, 06:29 PM
That too, but it was also an issue of national prestige and it kept the naval-industrial-complex employed. Other countries might re-think their quest for nuclear weapons if they think they could just as easily decapitate their enemy's government with a well-timed salvo from hundreds of miles out at sea in such a way that it won't result in nuclear armageddon. In other words, it could serve as a better deterrent because it is more likely to be used.
You do realize that there are cannon fired nuclear rounds, don't you?
Delivery system doesn't absolutely determine payload these days.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-30, 04:49 AM
You do realize that there are cannon fired nuclear rounds, don't you?
Delivery system doesn't absolutely determine payload these days.

Of that I am aware, but they are not currently deployed and potential rivals know this. SLBMs, on the other hand, have until recently been exclusively nuclear-armed. The current state of armament would leave an SLBM launch highly ambiguous. Besides, future tech that would allow naval gunnery to range over hundreds of miles would almost certainly consist of accelerations that a nuclear device would not survive. Hence, less ambiguity.

Githyanki
2010-Jul-30, 05:24 AM
A laser's cool and all, but it's designed to take out slow-moving Anti-Ship Missiles; if a fast moving (several times mach speed) kinetic-kill missile struck, there's little the laser can do; at that speeds, destroying the guidance system wouldn't stop the missile from hitting.

As for the 16" battleship, well, it all depends on who you're fighting; if you're fighting a bunch of low-moral troops that are going to run at the first sign of heavy fire, then go with the 16" shells vs. the pin-point Cruise missile strikes. Also, if you want to stop shipping, 16" cannons are more cost-effective than a million-dollar ASM.

Ara Pacis
2010-Jul-30, 06:15 AM
Traditional anti-ship missiles can come in sideways or they can come in from above for plunging fire. They can even come in from directly above, which might be an advantage because few CIWS can shoot exactly straight up. The threat of debris is indeed a problem, and it's the main reason why the 20mm Phalanx is not considered sufficient for the larger and faster anti-ship misiles.

Ballistic anti-ship missiles are theorized to be able to have significant terminal maneuver capability, enough to come in from any angle. However, it may be more plausible for them to come in from a high angle because even if such a missile is capable of violent terminal maneuvers, those maneuvers would reduce the velocity.Are you referring to sea-skimming missiles that pop-up near the target to come down vertical? I'm not really talking about ship-to-ship bombardment, but ship-to-shore bombardment, using naval gunnery for tactical fire support or for strategic bombardment. The C-RAM uses self-destructing High-Explosive rounds instead of armour-piercing Tungsten rounds due to collateral damage concerns, but we could ignore that for the moment. So, do you think C-RAM could protect against 16" plunging fire or the electromagnetic naval guns with hyperkinetic rounds being experimented with?


They had less armor, but this wasn't really relevant because battleship armor was never sufficient to protect against anti-ship missiles. Battleship armor was designed to protect against gun shells, which meant thick armor to the sides but thinner armor from above. This was a delicate compromise as there was a heck of a lot more area to armor from above, but you could count on long range plunging fire being inaccurate enough to miss beyond plausible battle ranges. Unfortunately, missiles could be counted on to hit even if they were coming down from above.

Battleships were never tested against missile attack in combat, but they were attacked by unguided bombs, which anti-ship missiles were somewhat based on (in order to determine the required mass and warhead). Wartime experience showed that the top armor was no protection against even the relatively slow (but heavy) bombs.Okay, but what's all this got to do about aircraft carrier armor?


The DDX is the only ship the USN "wants" with a heavy fire support role. The proposed CGX would have reduced the gun armament in favor of increased missile armament, because its primary role would have been air defense (including ballistic missile defense). The proposed CGX was supposed to replace AEGIS air defense ships.

I put "wants" in quotes because the only reason DDX has such heavy gun armament is because Congress mandated it. Battleship nuts in Congress mandated that the USN replace the fire support capability of the Iowas if they wanted to retire them. The USN, of course, absolutely wanted to retire them because they were more expensive with less capability than more modern ships.When did a two 6" guns become "heavy fire support"? (I can understand the combined arms doctrine that may have arrived at that conclusion, but I disagree with it.) If a DD(X) is attacking a site with C-RAM/CWIS defenses or (to get back to the OP) laser defenses, wouldn't a 6" shell and TLAMs have a harder time getting to target unmolested?


Why? What's your logic here? Why does it need to perform on its own rather than in a taskforce?The same reason subs routinely patrol on their own, for stealth and because auxilliary ships may need fossil fuel replenishment. It may not always deploy in such a manner, but it might be useful to have that capability.


Huh? Subs have cruise missile armament. So what? We still have other warship types, including ones which can attack targets hundreds of miles away...with cruise missiles. Some nations even have aircraft carriers, which were indeed the first naval weapons capable of attacking targets hundreds of miles away.Which gets us back to the point of the OP/thread, laser defenses may make the use of cruise missiles and aircraft-delivered ordnance less effective and more expensive in men and materiel than ballistic methods. Add to that the possible performance of advanced artillery designs, and we might see a paradigm shift back towards long-range naval gunnery.


Huh? The question was never one of keeping the naval-industrial-complex employed. The problem was the opposite--that the naval arms race was too expensive to keep up, which would lead to the first arms control treaties as an attempt to moderate the spiraling costs.How does the latter negate the former? Having part of the legislature not wanting to spend excessive amounts of money on weapons doesn't mean that there aren't those who are attempting to to maintain the pork barrels rolling to their home district. And it wasn't just about costs, but about restraining rivals to maintain a certain level of superiority. Why are you even arguing this? It wasn't meant to be a red herring.

To get back to the point, I say that a larger gun requires a larger platform, plain and simple.


Umm...we already have this. We have used air strikes and cruise missiles this way. To mixed effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_Bombing_of_Libya). No doubt we'll try to use guided gun rounds in the future, but there's no reason to expect them to be fundamentally more or less effective.See OP re: airstrikes and cruise missiles. As for guided gun rounds, I don't know if they will be more or less effective, but tech tends to get better over time. In the last several years bomb guidance has gotten better as has penetration and even the basic metallurgy of their casing. If you go with larger bore sizes, there is more volume and mass to use.

Atraveller
2010-Jul-30, 11:31 AM
As for the 16" battleship, well, it all depends on who you're fighting; if you're fighting a bunch of low-moral troops that are going to run at the first sign of heavy fire, then go with the 16" shells vs. the pin-point Cruise missile strikes. Also, if you want to stop shipping, 16" cannons are more cost-effective than a million-dollar ASM.

This is a good point. If it is a low moral enemy, the big bangs would scare them off. But I would wonder if a 16" shell works out cheaper when you take into account the cost of keeping a battle ship war ready. $500 million USD (to maintain and staff the battle ship) before you can fire a single round - $50,000 each after that.

Tomahawk with 1000lb munition is $580,000.

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-30, 04:25 PM
Are you referring to sea-skimming missiles that pop-up near the target to come down vertical? I'm not really talking about ship-to-ship bombardment, but ship-to-shore bombardment, using naval gunnery for tactical fire support or for strategic bombardment. The C-RAM uses self-destructing High-Explosive rounds instead of armour-piercing Tungsten rounds due to collateral damage concerns, but we could ignore that for the moment. So, do you think C-RAM could protect against 16" plunging fire or the electromagnetic naval guns with hyperkinetic rounds being experimented with?
I think it could protect against 16" plunging fire, because it would be similar in speed, size, and mass to the anti-ship missiles Phalanx was deemed effective against. The path of the 16" rounds would make them even easier to detect and track, while providing even more time to engage.

I do not think it would be effective against hypothetical electromagnetic hyperkinetic rounds, because they would be at least as fast and smaller than the high velocity anti-ship missiles Phalanx was deemed ineffective against. These concerns prompted the development of more potent CIWS, like the 30mm Goalkeeper and the missile based RAM.

Still, if a 20mm round managed to get a lucky hit, that hypervelocity incoming would be toast. Its own high velocity works against itself, and its small size means it lacks the sheer bulk to shrug off the damage.

Okay, but what's all this got to do about aircraft carrier armor?
It says that the armor is a moot point. Aircraft carriers were, in practice, no more or less vulnerable to air attack. At the time, aircraft carriers and battleships were of similar size, but to kill a supercarrier would require a bigger heavier warhead.

Actually, it's arguable that aircraft carriers were actually harder to kill than battleships, because a severely damaged aircraft carrier could be repaired and brought back into service more readily than a battleship. (Although, a severely damaged battleship or unfinished battleship could also be more rapidly brought back into service...as an aircraft carrier.)

When did a two 6" guns become "heavy fire support"?
Since the rate of fire on those 6" guns was so awesomely high. Those two guns have the firepower of three artillery batteries.

If a DD(X) is attacking a site with C-RAM/CWIS defenses or (to get back to the OP) laser defenses, wouldn't a 6" shell and TLAMs have a harder time getting to target unmolested?
Due to the high rate of fire, DDX might attempt to us Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact to try and swamp the defenses, but cruise missiles would be a better choice against well defended targets in the near to mid term.

Cruise missiles can use familiar stealth, flares, and chaff techniques developed for aircraft to aid survivability. Guided gun rounds, at least in the near to mid term, will not have any countermeasures at all. They're meant to be used against lesser technology enemies.

The same reason subs routinely patrol on their own, for stealth and because auxilliary ships may need fossil fuel replenishment. It may not always deploy in such a manner, but it might be useful to have that capability.
Fossil fuel replenishment has proven not to be a serious limitation in modern navies--the massively decreased costs of conventional propulsion have proven compelling. Submarines use nuclear propulsion because air breathing underwater isn't an option.

Supercarriers have used nuclear propulsion because conventional propulsion has meant severely reduced volume for aircraft and supplies...so far. Turbine electric propulsion is changing the game. I hope it should be obvious that supercarriers require a lot of refueling and resupply, even with nuclear propulsion.

Which gets us back to the point of the OP/thread, laser defenses may make the use of cruise missiles and aircraft-delivered ordnance less effective and more expensive in men and materiel than ballistic methods.
Which is, in and of itself, a bit strange to assert since cruise missiles and aircraft-delivered ordnance can attack a target ballistically (if there's an advantage to it).

In theory, guided gun rounds could be less expensive than missiles, but in practice the slight extra cost of a rocket motor is overwhelmed by the large extra cost of a guidance system that can survive the shocks of gun launch. At best, the cost issue will be a wash. That just leaves the issue of size/mass. Rocket motors may be cheap, but they are bulky and heavy. As a result, a warship could carry a larger number of gun rounds than missiles (although, this advantage is less than one might imagine due to the overhead of magazine handling).

Add to that the possible performance of advanced artillery designs, and we might see a paradigm shift back towards long-range naval gunnery.
It's possible, but I would expect this to be a far term trend prompted by decreased size and mass of guided rounds rather than laser defenses. In the near to mid term, survivability is going to be driven by countermeasures. A fancy CIWS system isn't going to nab the incoming if it can't detect/track it regardless of whether the CIWS is based on lasers or guns or missiles.

At least in the near to mid term, guided gun rounds will not have countermeasures. The raison d'etre for guided gun rounds is reduced size and mass compared to missiles, which isn't helped by trying to load them down with fancy countermeasures.

How does the latter negate the former? Having part of the legislature not wanting to spend excessive amounts of money on weapons doesn't mean that there aren't those who are attempting to to maintain the pork barrels rolling to their home district. And it wasn't just about costs, but about restraining rivals to maintain a certain level of superiority. Why are you even arguing this? It wasn't meant to be a red herring.
I'm arguing it because you said the reasons for needing a bigger warships would be the same as the early 20th century--rather than simply stating what those reasons were outright. Since the reasons for the naval arms race in the early 20th century don't seem applicable, I called it out.

To get back to the point, I say that a larger gun requires a larger platform, plain and simple.
Okay, so you are arguing that a larger gun is needed. But why? The USN has determined that 155mm is the ideal size. As I noted, they did test out a larger gun and determined that it was no more effective than the smaller ones.

If the goal is to penetrate enemy defenses, then in the near to mid term cruise missiles will be superior. In the far term, it's possible that today's countermeasures will no longer be effective (due to smarter enemy sensors). In that case, the best way to penetrate the defenses will plausibly be to swamp the defenses with more targets than they can handle. That calls for more munitions, not bigger ones. You would have a much better chance of penetrating the defenses with a thousand 6" rounds than fifty 16" rounds (a thousand 6" rounds would be the same mass and volume as fifty 16" rounds).

I anticipate that future advances in guided gun rounds will favor smaller rounds. Against most targets, a 40mm round would be superior--it gives you precise effects with minimal collateral damage. The big advantage of 40mm is that the gun is small enough to put on platforms close to the battle. That way, it only takes a few seconds for the round to hit a designated target rather than half a minute (which is how long it would take for long range naval gunfire to arrive).

See OP re: airstrikes and cruise missiles.
There's no reason to think a laser would be any better than any other CIWS when the sensors are confused by countermeasures. In the near to mid term, various countermeasures are the way missiles and aircraft will penetrate enemy defenses.

As for guided gun rounds, I don't know if they will be more or less effective, but tech tends to get better over time. In the last several years bomb guidance has gotten better as has penetration and even the basic metallurgy of their casing. If you go with larger bore sizes, there is more volume and mass to use.
If you go with larger bore sizes, then the ammunition consumes more volume and mass. This might have made sense back in the old days when guns were the only long range weapon option. But the development of missiles meant the death of big guns. The size and mass of rocket boosters is favorable compared to the size and mass of big guns.

As far as the target is concerned, there is no difference between an incoming which was initially boosted by a gun and an incoming which was initially boosted by a rocket.

IsaacKuo
2010-Jul-30, 04:37 PM
As for the 16" battleship, well, it all depends on who you're fighting; if you're fighting a bunch of low-moral troops that are going to run at the first sign of heavy fire, then go with the 16" shells vs. the pin-point Cruise missile strikes. Also, if you want to stop shipping, 16" cannons are more cost-effective than a million-dollar ASM.
If you're fighting a bunch of low-moral troops that are going to run at the first sign of heavy fire, then there are plenty of options cheaper than a 16" armed battleship. This includes the cruise missile option. You don't want to be anywhere vaguely underneath a TLAM-D releasing clusters of submunitions.

Githyanki
2010-Jul-30, 09:53 PM
If you're fighting a bunch of low-moral troops that are going to run at the first sign of heavy fire, then there are plenty of options cheaper than a 16" armed battleship. This includes the cruise missile option. You don't want to be anywhere vaguely underneath a TLAM-D releasing clusters of submunitions.

There's no kill like an over-kill.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-02, 06:50 AM
I think it could protect against 16" plunging fire, because it would be similar in speed, size, and mass to the anti-ship missiles Phalanx was deemed effective against. The path of the 16" rounds would make them even easier to detect and track, while providing even more time to engage.It really comes down to assumptions of the weapons systems, I suppose. If an HE warhead is posited, then a CIWS might be more effective against it than against a more inert or more active warhead. If properly targetted, a kinetic warhead from a 16" gun could be sufficient to inflict the appropriate damage to the target. Or a more active warhead might distribute bomblets prior to entering CIWS effective-range to destroy soft targets. But these are adaptations that may not have been and may never be used on a 16' gun. But I was never married to the 16" gun of the Iowa class BBs, just aspects of the role naval gunnery.


I do not think it would be effective against hypothetical electromagnetic hyperkinetic rounds, because they would be at least as fast and smaller than the high velocity anti-ship missiles Phalanx was deemed ineffective against. These concerns prompted the development of more potent CIWS, like the 30mm Goalkeeper and the missile based RAM.

Still, if a 20mm round managed to get a lucky hit, that hypervelocity incoming would be toast. Its own high velocity works against itself, and its small size means it lacks the sheer bulk to shrug off the damage.Right... if. I think it will depend not just on the ability to hit the inbound, but to hit it before it is so close that even it's destruction causes damage. All that kinetic energy has to go somewhere and a near-enough blast from an interception could still cause damage to the target.


It says that the armor is a moot point. Aircraft carriers were, in practice, no more or less vulnerable to air attack. At the time, aircraft carriers and battleships were of similar size, but to kill a supercarrier would require a bigger heavier warhead.

Actually, it's arguable that aircraft carriers were actually harder to kill than battleships, because a severely damaged aircraft carrier could be repaired and brought back into service more readily than a battleship. (Although, a severely damaged battleship or unfinished battleship could also be more rapidly brought back into service...as an aircraft carrier.)Fair enough, large size and proper compartmentalization could absorb a lot of damage, but damage to critical areas could cause the asset to be rendered as combat-ineffective as if it were sunk and that might be more easily accomplished with smart weapons against a CVN, say through the aircraft bay hangars or lifts, than against a more enclosed warship. but I'm interested in the role of armor in general, not just the older style used on the Iowas. But do you have any information on the combat effectiveness of Iowa class BBs to anti-ship missiles?


Since the rate of fire on those 6" guns was so awesomely high. Those two guns have the firepower of three artillery batteries.

Due to the high rate of fire, DDX might attempt to us Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact to try and swamp the defenses, but cruise missiles would be a better choice against well defended targets in the near to mid term.What is their rate of fire? I've heard that 155mm artillery can now reach 3 rounds in 15 seconds, but that was for an initial barrage suprise effect and was not described as a sustainable rate of fire.


Cruise missiles can use familiar stealth, flares, and chaff techniques developed for aircraft to aid survivability. Guided gun rounds, at least in the near to mid term, will not have any countermeasures at all. They're meant to be used against lesser technology enemies.Perhaps "lesser technology" targets is more appropriate, which is more to the point. You use the tool best suited for the job. Sometimes it may be a cruise missile, sometimes it may be a ballistic gun round.


Fossil fuel replenishment has proven not to be a serious limitation in modern navies--the massively decreased costs of conventional propulsion have proven compelling. Submarines use nuclear propulsion because air breathing underwater isn't an option.

Supercarriers have used nuclear propulsion because conventional propulsion has meant severely reduced volume for aircraft and supplies...so far. Turbine electric propulsion is changing the game. I hope it should be obvious that supercarriers require a lot of refueling and resupply, even with nuclear propulsion.It's not just about range, it's about liability. Aviation fuel, rocket motors and explosive warheads are all sources of potential secondary explosion damage from an attack. That's the reason for research into EM launched hyper-kinetic rounds.


Which is, in and of itself, a bit strange to assert since cruise missiles and aircraft-delivered ordnance can attack a target ballistically (if there's an advantage to it).The OP showed a airborn drone being intercepted, not a ballistic inbound. It's not just about the ballistic warhead, but about the delivery platform. Cruise missiles and aircraft have more limited flight regimes that put them within interception range for much of their flight envelope, whereas gun rounds can fly out of range overhead. In addition, they are softer targets compared to artillery rounds and more expensive too. (BTW, are there any cruise missiles that are ballistic too? And what is the range for a ballistic bomb dropped from an aircraft performing an Idiot's Loop?)


In theory, guided gun rounds could be less expensive than missiles, but in practice the slight extra cost of a rocket motor is overwhelmed by the large extra cost of a guidance system that can survive the shocks of gun launch. At best, the cost issue will be a wash. That just leaves the issue of size/mass. Rocket motors may be cheap, but they are bulky and heavy. As a result, a warship could carry a larger number of gun rounds than missiles (although, this advantage is less than one might imagine due to the overhead of magazine handling).A lot of this is in theory depending on various assumptions. Perhaps sabotting rounds will make accelerations easier to handle. If the naval guns are EM launchers, then storage is simplified and there is no explosive material stored onboard, unlike chemically powered guns and rockets/cruise missiles.


It's possible, but I would expect this to be a far term trend prompted by decreased size and mass of guided rounds rather than laser defenses. In the near to mid term, survivability is going to be driven by countermeasures. A fancy CIWS system isn't going to nab the incoming if it can't detect/track it regardless of whether the CIWS is based on lasers or guns or missiles.

At least in the near to mid term, guided gun rounds will not have countermeasures. The raison d'etre for guided gun rounds is reduced size and mass compared to missiles, which isn't helped by trying to load them down with fancy countermeasures.I agree that gun rounds probably won't have countermeasures... in the same shell. If the guns are quick firing or fired from multiple guns in battery, then there might be one or more countermeasures fired in each salvo, if necessary, and when timed properly, several salvos from the same guns may impact at the same time. The argument for guns isn't just about cost, it's also about volume of fire. EM launchers currently seem to have issues with turnaround time which would mean reduction in the volume of fire, but advanced, chemically-powered guns might suffice for that role in many situations within their range. I can understand how you might want to turn a missile into a swiss-army knife, but it's not really required with artillery since you can switch out the load so much more easily and save the weight and complexity penalties a self-powered missile would suffer.


Okay, so you are arguing that a larger gun is needed. But why? The USN has determined that 155mm is the ideal size. As I noted, they did test out a larger gun and determined that it was no more effective than the smaller ones.Yes, for the role of tactical fire support. I'm thinking beyond that to strategic target bombardment, which goes beyond warfighting to power projection in international relations and general deterrence.


If the goal is to penetrate enemy defenses, then in the near to mid term cruise missiles will be superior. In the far term, it's possible that today's countermeasures will no longer be effective (due to smarter enemy sensors). In that case, the best way to penetrate the defenses will plausibly be to swamp the defenses with more targets than they can handle. That calls for more munitions, not bigger ones. You would have a much better chance of penetrating the defenses with a thousand 6" rounds than fifty 16" rounds (a thousand 6" rounds would be the same mass and volume as fifty 16" rounds).That depends on tactics. with smaller rounds, they may saturate the targetting or force the CIWS to expend all its ammunition while many inbounds are destroyed or forced off target. The ones that get through could do some damage. A larger diameter inbound might be inert and absorb more hits with less damage and less deflection and cause more kinetic damage to the CIWS and the target. Once the CIWS becomes combat ineffective, the larger diameter guns can switch to more appropriate rounds that have more penetration, if the target/fire mission requires it.


I anticipate that future advances in guided gun rounds will favor smaller rounds. Against most targets, a 40mm round would be superior--it gives you precise effects with minimal collateral damage. The big advantage of 40mm is that the gun is small enough to put on platforms close to the battle. That way, it only takes a few seconds for the round to hit a designated target rather than half a minute (which is how long it would take for long range naval gunfire to arrive).Or a minute and a half, which is how long it takes 16"/Mark 2 rounds to arrive. Proximity can be good, when you are advancing, but bad if you are retreating. In mobile land warfare, divisional/field artillery can be over-run with a change in fortunes, but a ship-based gun isn't going to be taken out by a end run with some tanks.


There's no reason to think a laser would be any better than any other CIWS when the sensors are confused by countermeasures. In the near to mid term, various countermeasures are the way missiles and aircraft will penetrate enemy defenses.Sure there's a reason: time of flight; you see it, you shoot it, you smoke it. There's also ammunition limitation. Even if we don't postulate a limitless laser, a laser with finite lasing time or shots will only expend a little of that resource in reaching out to touch a decoy, a CIWS may have sent a long stream of gatling gun rounds to a target before identifying the target as not being a target. There's also line of site and range issue that will tend to work better for lasers. A laser will probably be effective to a greater range than a CIWS round since there's no gravity drag.


If you go with larger bore sizes, then the ammunition consumes more volume and mass. This might have made sense back in the old days when guns were the only long range weapon option. But the development of missiles meant the death of big guns. The size and mass of rocket boosters is favorable compared to the size and mass of big guns.I was referring to payload capacity of gun rounds being able to accomodate additional mechanical add-ons, such as guidance and control surfaces for maneuverability. If you're referring to guns versus rockets in general, then wouldn't the rocket equation work against you?


As far as the target is concerned, there is no difference between an incoming which was initially boosted by a gun and an incoming which was initially boosted by a rocket.Right. The difference is in the response to those assets that defend the target.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-02, 06:52 AM
This is a good point. If it is a low moral enemy, the big bangs would scare them off. But I would wonder if a 16" shell works out cheaper when you take into account the cost of keeping a battle ship war ready. $500 million USD (to maintain and staff the battle ship) before you can fire a single round - $50,000 each after that.

Tomahawk with 1000lb munition is $580,000.

Compared to what missile platform? Tomahawks don't just pop out of the sky on command. They need to be launched from something.

peterf
2010-Aug-02, 07:42 AM
you really are a bunch of hopeless and utterly disgusting technocrats!

i do hope that one of those lasers hits everyone of you square in the knee with no hospital or painkillers anywhere near you. let's see if your military fetish still gets you aroused under those circumstances!

happy language!

Swift
2010-Aug-02, 01:40 PM
peterf will not be responding back for several days. The rest of you may continue your discussion.

BigDon
2010-Aug-02, 09:34 PM
If Peter wants to maintain internal consistancy, he best burn his computer. That's higher technology than most of what we are talking about here.

Amazing how the ignorant have no use for the higher sciences, and the people that employ it, that keep them from becoming the extension of someone else's will. Classic slave fodder.

Okay, back the the present.

I've read most of this posting and I come up with different conclusions.

I don't know if it's because I was once a crew member of a supercarrier, and have been fired on three times by silkworms or if I'm just way behind the times.

(And I understand the reason for calling out the decreasing range, but Good Lord, even in movies that raises the stress level much less when a real honest-to-God cruise missile with a fifteen hundred pound anti-shipping warhead is closing with your position. Made me find out the hard way that I'm still functional even when terrified.)

Destroyers brought one down with their 5" 54's at about the twelve mile mark, from us, not the firing destroyer. The other two broke the ten mile bubble, where the bosun doing the range call out goes from five mile increments to one mile increments. And both were taken out at five miles, also with the five inch guns. They would have used either a line of continious air bursts or if the missile is really low, shell hits in the water in front of the missile to raise water columns in it's path. Both still work nowadays I'm sure. Even better, with the more capable computers and sensor systems.

And guided arty rounds were old news by the end of the 80's. Copperhead heat seeking five inch rounds. People cried boohoo when the five grand each price tag was announced but shut the hell up when they found a destroyer could kill a moving tank with three to eight rounds from twelve miles away, as opposed to the "cheaper" method of twenty to thirty rounds, IF you had a good artillery spotter.

Atraveller
2010-Aug-02, 11:58 PM
If you're fighting a bunch of low-moral troops that are going to run at the first sign of heavy fire, then there are plenty of options cheaper than a 16" armed battleship. This includes the cruise missile option. You don't want to be anywhere vaguely underneath a TLAM-D releasing clusters of submunitions.

TLAM-D became illegal to use as of Sunday August 1st, 2010.


Cluster munitions are prohibited for those nations that ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin, Ireland in May 2008. The Convention entered into force and became binding international law on 1 August 2010, six months after being ratified by 30 states; as of April 2010, a total of 105 states have signed the Convention.

So it would be a war crime to use them...

BigDon
2010-Aug-03, 03:05 AM
TLAM-D became illegal to use as of Sunday August 1st, 2010.



So it would be a war crime to use them...

Only if you are a signer of the accord.

This also means the signing countries have to resort to using napalm again. CBU's and napalm have the same primary function. Rooting out entrenched troops. When the US started using CBU's heavily, napalm use plummeted as unnessasary. Plus US pilots don't like using napalm for a lot of reasons. Some obvious and some not so obvious reasons.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-03, 04:02 PM
It really comes down to assumptions of the weapons systems, I suppose. If an HE warhead is posited, then a CIWS might be more effective against it than against a more inert or more active warhead. If properly targetted, a kinetic warhead from a 16" gun could be sufficient to inflict the appropriate damage to the target.
What sort of target, and what sort of damage? Solid shot at these sorts of speeds won't do significant damage to anything not directly along the impact path. That's why even the armor piercing shells had a modest explosive warhead.

Or a more active warhead might distribute bomblets prior to entering CIWS effective-range to destroy soft targets. But these are adaptations that may not have been and may never be used on a 16' gun. But I was never married to the 16" gun of the Iowa class BBs, just aspects of the role naval gunnery.
What aspects of the role of naval gunnery are you married to, and why?

Fair enough, large size and proper compartmentalization could absorb a lot of damage, but damage to critical areas could cause the asset to be rendered as combat-ineffective as if it were sunk and that might be more easily accomplished with smart weapons against a CVN, say through the aircraft bay hangars or lifts, than against a more enclosed warship. but I'm interested in the role of armor in general, not just the older style used on the Iowas. But do you have any information on the combat effectiveness of Iowa class BBs to anti-ship missiles?
Iowa class BBs were never put to the test, but their armor protection was vaguely similar (if inferior) to the protection of the Yamato class. They were both sunk by carrier aircraft, after soaking up many hits.

Interestingly, the Yamato actually engaged in a firefight with a small escort carrier, the USS Gambier Bay. It wasn't a fair fight, of course. The Gambier Bay's only gun was a puny 5", againt nine 18" guns. Still, the Gambier Bay survived the 18" shell hits and only sank after being riddled with point blank range fire from three cruisers. Another small CVE, the USS Kalinin Bay, also took hits from battleship and cruisers, but survived the battle.

It's not just about range, it's about liability. Aviation fuel, rocket motors and explosive warheads are all sources of potential secondary explosion damage from an attack. That's the reason for research into EM launched hyper-kinetic rounds.
It is a potential bonus, but not the primary reason.

The main reason for research into hypervelocity EM guns was to vastly improve the range and flight time compared to traditional guns. This technology has been proving expensive, difficult, and time consuming to develop, though.

The OP showed a airborn drone being intercepted, not a ballistic inbound. It's not just about the ballistic warhead, but about the delivery platform. Cruise missiles and aircraft have more limited flight regimes that put them within interception range for much of their flight envelope, whereas gun rounds can fly out of range overhead.
No. Aircraft can lob bombs ballistically from beyond the horizon or from behind terrain. Cruise missiles can "lob" themselves ballistically from beyond the horizon or from behind terrain.

JDAM can be tossed from at least 28km away (that's the range they will admit to). This exceeds the range of the 5" guns currently used by the USN, and it greatly exceeds the range of the Copperhead guided artillery round.

The argument for guns isn't just about cost, it's also about volume of fire.
Guns can't match missiles for volume of fire. With vertical launch systems, it takes very little time to launch as many missiles at a time as desired.

Yes, for the role of tactical fire support. I'm thinking beyond that to strategic target bombardment, which goes beyond warfighting to power projection in international relations and general deterrence.
We already have the tools for strategic target bombardment, as I noted--we have cruise missiles, which plausible enemies can't plausibly stop. There are still defenses against them, which mostly involve not advertising your location, that will still work just as well against any sort of fancy guided gun rounds.

That depends on tactics. with smaller rounds, they may saturate the targetting or force the CIWS to expend all its ammunition while many inbounds are destroyed or forced off target. The ones that get through could do some damage. A larger diameter inbound might be inert and absorb more hits with less damage and less deflection and cause more kinetic damage to the CIWS and the target.
If you absorb any hits, then you can kiss your guidance good bye. Any damage you do will be due to blind luck. For a particular throw weight, multiple small rounds will do more damage than a single large round.

You seem to love this idea of sending a big dumb slug at the enemy, but this will only do damage to something that is directly along its path.

Or a minute and a half, which is how long it takes 16"/Mark 2 rounds to arrive. Proximity can be good, when you are advancing, but bad if you are retreating. In mobile land warfare, divisional/field artillery can be over-run with a change in fortunes, but a ship-based gun isn't going to be taken out by a end run with some tanks.
40mm guns are mounted on fast vehicles like the CV90.

I was referring to payload capacity of gun rounds being able to accomodate additional mechanical add-ons, such as guidance and control surfaces for maneuverability. If you're referring to guns versus rockets in general, then wouldn't the rocket equation work against you?
No, the rocket equation is very favorable in favor of rockets. If you use the rocket equation, you'd think that rocket ammunition would be superior to gun ammunition all around.

However, the rocket equation does not encompass the fact that a real life rocket needs to devote mass to the fuel tank and rocket motor. For solid fuel rockets, the motor is lightweight but the fuel tank is heavy (it needs to contain the full pressure of the motor).

So, for reasons that have nothing to do with the rocket equation, practical rocket weapons will have a greater mass and volume than the equivalent gun round (not including the gun weapon system, of course).


As far as the target is concerned, there is no difference between an incoming which was initially boosted by a gun and an incoming which was initially boosted by a rocket.
Right. The difference is in the response to those assets that defend the target.
Huh? What are you talking about?

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-03, 04:13 PM
I've read most of this posting and I come up with different conclusions.
What are your conclusions? I'm not sure I understand the gist of your story.

And guided arty rounds were old news by the end of the 80's. Copperhead heat seeking five inch rounds. People cried boohoo when the five grand each price tag was announced but shut the hell up when they found a destroyer could kill a moving tank with three to eight rounds from twelve miles away, as opposed to the "cheaper" method of twenty to thirty rounds, IF you had a good artillery spotter.
Copperhead was 155mm, so it could never fit in a 5" bore. It would have been too long and heavy anyway. As it was, Copperhead had a severely limited range compared to normal 155mm rounds.

There have been a number of proposals to provide USN warships with guided gun rounds, but so far nothing has been fielded. If a USN destroyer wants to kill a moving tank from twelve miles away, it'll do it with a Hellfire missile launched from a helicopter.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-03, 09:10 PM
This seems like a decent site for information regarding the performance characteristics of the 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 naval rifle:
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-50_mk7.htm
I'll use this as a source unless you or I find a better one.


What sort of target, and what sort of damage? Solid shot at these sorts of speeds won't do significant damage to anything not directly along the impact path. That's why even the armor piercing shells had a modest explosive warhead.Correct. Hence, the need for Fire Control versus flight control. An inert/kinetic warhead would need to either hit the target directly or close enough that impact debris would neutralize the defense system, which I assume would be rather soft, but perhaps you can tell me how robust is the R2D2 radome of a CIWS or other radar system. Of course, a single heavy round might need a lot of repeat shots to hit the target, hence the need for good fire control. This does not rule out the concept of a single large round that separates into multiple kinetic inbounds either, like ye olde can of grapeshot or the more modern Beehive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_(ammunition)) rounds that contain flechettes that could impact at speeds of mach 1.6 to mach 2 at impact (see source). Several submunition rounds were actually used and planned for the 16" guns.

Alternately, the dumb round need not be completely kinetic, but could have an explosive charge, assuming the nose and sidewalls of the warhead had enough material to protect the explosive from detonation by impacting CIWS rounds during its short flight through the CIWS range bubble (~7 seconds or less).


What aspects of the role of naval gunnery are you married to, and why?The multiple modes of use of a single weapon using different loads on a highly mobile and defensible platform.

Missiles of various sorts are good weapons, but they are hard to adjust for new uses in the heat of battle. You either have the correct missile or you don't, and changing out the warhead may not be feasible due to loading assumptions and constraints. Missiles are also rather soft targets due to those weight limitations and the fuel storage. Ballistic missiles can have similar flight and performance characteristics to gun rounds, but cruise missiles and aircraft are, unfortunately, less robust and more suceptible to interception by Lasers or CIWS.


Iowa class BBs were never put to the test, but their armor protection was vaguely similar (if inferior) to the protection of the Yamato class. They were both sunk by carrier aircraft, after soaking up many hits.You're describing a weakness in battleship design, not a failure of armor per se. I thought you were going to compare battleship belt armor performance against AP rounds and missiles directly.


It is a potential bonus, but not the primary reason.

The main reason for research into hypervelocity EM guns was to vastly improve the range and flight time compared to traditional guns. This technology has been proving expensive, difficult, and time consuming to develop, though.Considering how many historic warships blew up after their magazines were hit, its important. But I have no argument here, I've already pointed out those other potential advantages upthread.


No. Aircraft can lob bombs ballistically from beyond the horizon or from behind terrain. Cruise missiles can "lob" themselves ballistically from beyond the horizon or from behind terrain.

JDAM can be tossed from at least 28km away (that's the range they will admit to). This exceeds the range of the 5" guns currently used by the USN, and it greatly exceeds the range of the Copperhead guided artillery round.At what altitudes? Low altitudes were assumed for the Idiot's Loop because the planners assumed effective anti-aircraft capability for higher altitudes. What is the speed, accuracy and survivability of cruise missiles that lob themselves? The same question for aircraft-tossed bombs.
BTW, I'm thinking of artillery more advanced in range or size than the 5" naval guns you mention.


Guns can't match missiles for volume of fire. With vertical launch systems, it takes very little time to launch as many missiles at a time as desired.True, but how many VLS missiles can be carried aboard a vessel compared to gun rounds?


We already have the tools for strategic target bombardment, as I noted--we have cruise missiles, which plausible enemies can't plausibly stop. There are still defenses against them, which mostly involve not advertising your location, that will still work just as well against any sort of fancy guided gun rounds.Before I respond to this, can you define "plausible enemies" and why they "can't plausible stop" cruise missiles?


If you absorb any hits, then you can kiss your guidance good bye. Any damage you do will be due to blind luck. For a particular throw weight, multiple small rounds will do more damage than a single large round.It doesn't have to be guided, that's merely one option out of many, and the alternative need not be dumb luck, but the historically highly-rated accuracy of US naval fire control.

The performance of an artillery round will depend on the target. Soft, widely dispersed targets may suffer more from multiple small-diameter shells, especially if they all arrive at once so that protective action (seeking shelter) that is effective against later rounds becomes moot. However, penetration into protective shelter (e.g. reinforced concrete) is more greatly achieved with a larger round (20-27.5 ft with an appropriate 16" round). Even for use against soft targets, a single round doesn't have to worry about the synchronicity of a multiple round salvo to be effective as an airburst, if the target is not too widely dispersed. (According to the source, a single 16" HC round could clear an area for a helicopter LZ of 600 ft diameter with defoliation effects for an area 2400 ft in diameter.) A 16" gun has rounds capable of both modes of operation.


You seem to love this idea of sending a big dumb slug at the enemy, but this will only do damage to something that is directly along its path.Yep. with enough of them, you're bound to hit something. But that need not be the sole role of artillery. Let the flechette rounds take out the defenses, then the guided HC or AP rounds can proceed to reduce the target to rubble uncontested, all within a few seconds.


40mm guns are mounted on fast vehicles like the CV90.Sure, and it has its use, but it's not going to do the job of heavy artillery, nor is it going to outrun any anti-vehicle rocket or gun round.


No, the rocket equation is very favorable in favor of rockets. If you use the rocket equation, you'd think that rocket ammunition would be superior to gun ammunition all around.

However, the rocket equation does not encompass the fact that a real life rocket needs to devote mass to the fuel tank and rocket motor. For solid fuel rockets, the motor is lightweight but the fuel tank is heavy (it needs to contain the full pressure of the motor).

So, for reasons that have nothing to do with the rocket equation, practical rocket weapons will have a greater mass and volume than the equivalent gun round (not including the gun weapon system, of course).Nitpick much? Did you think I wasn't referring to pragmatic reality? Thank you for making my point for me.


Huh? What are you talking about?This is two-fold, First, I mentioned upthread the unfortunate possibility that a conventional ballistic missile launch could be mistaken for a nuclear ballistic missile launch, hence the international flack over the current plans to do just that. Second, defense systems may be more effective against soft cruise missiles and aircraft than against gun rounds. Lasers and other weapons may be able to stop aicraft and cruise missiles en route and well before they are within effective range, but will have trouble with ballistic inbounds, espectially if they are kinetic rounds. Even ballistic missiles may be stopped during launch phase with lasers. Ballistic gun rounds need not have such frailty. Sure, a warship may have it's own vulnerabilities, but those are unlikely to be exploited by long-range lasers. Moreover, the political repercussions of shooting at a warship are greater if the ship has not initiated hostilities, and once it has opened fire, it may be too late to do anything effective to the inbounds. In other words, the window of opportunity for legal pre-emption is much shorter for a warship using naval gunnery. This could be important in future international relations.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-03, 10:42 PM
Correct. Hence, the need for Fire Control versus flight control. An inert/kinetic warhead would need to either hit the target directly or close enough that impact debris would neutralize the defense system, which I assume would be rather soft, but perhaps you can tell me how robust is the R2D2 radome of a CIWS or other radar system.
At the speeds of a 16" battleship round, there won't be significant impact debris. The solid slug would just punch into whatever it happens to hit like a classic cannonball. Either it directly hits the CIWS mount, or it doesn't damage it one bit.

The historical reality is that solid shot had a hard time doing serious damage even to wooden battleships. The thick wood sides of ships-of-the-line were strong enough that early explosive shells bounced off. That just left solid shot which could penetrate them. These penetrating shots would kill any person unfortunate enough to be in its direct path, but damage from debris was not deadly.

Of course, a single heavy round might need a lot of repeat shots to hit the target, hence the need for good fire control.
Fire control? Do you mean you're thinking of these 16" battleship rounds being unguided? Fire control shouldn't really matter if the rounds are guided, but if you're thinking that unguided rounds have a chance to hit a CIWS mount from 20km away...

The multiple modes of use of a single weapon using different loads on a highly mobile and defensible platform.

Missiles of various sorts are good weapons, but they are hard to adjust for new uses in the heat of battle. You either have the correct missile or you don't, and changing out the warhead may not be feasible due to loading assumptions and constraints.
Actually, modern missile weapon systems are more flexible than gun weapon systems. For example, a Tactical Tomohawk can attack different targets in different ways, even switching targets in mid-flight. You can have several different types of missiles, each of which is ready to go at a moment's notice. Guns are limited in comparison, and it takes time to load up a different type of ammunition.

It takes a lot of time and effort to develop different types of gun ammunition, and the problem of choosing the right type of ammo before knowing what target you're up against severely limits the benefits of developing alternate types. For example, the 120mm gun for the M1A1 Abrams had a sabot round for anti-tank use and a dual purpose HEAT round for use against softer vehicles and personel. In practice, the troops used sabot almost exclusively against all types of vehicles, even though it was sub-optimal against lightly armored vehicles. In the heat of battle, you never knew whether you were going to go up against another tank, and it takes 8 more seconds to unload the chambered sabot round and replace it with a HEAT round than it would to just shoot the sabot round at the target. In retrospect, it would have been better to develop an HE round instead of the HEAT round--it would have been a superior fire support weapon.

Why not just develop HE in addition to the HEAT and sabot rounds? Limited ammunition capacity. The large 120mm rounds meant that the tank could only store so many of them...so choices had to be made.

In comparison, today's missile systems are very flexible. Standards can be mixed and matched with Tomohawks, and each missile is capable of multiple modes against various targets. Since there's no issue with loading/unloading, all types are available at all times.

Missiles are also rather soft targets due to those weight limitations and the fuel storage. Ballistic missiles can have similar flight and performance characteristics to gun rounds, but cruise missiles and aircraft are, unfortunately, less robust and more suceptible to interception by Lasers or CIWS.
No, as I already noted the faster larger cruise missiles are faster and MUCH heavier than even battleship gun rounds. They're the toughest things to stop, other than ballistic missiles. And ballistic missiles are so fast that they're in an entirely different league. Gun rounds do not come close.

You're describing a weakness in battleship design, not a failure of armor per se. I thought you were going to compare battleship belt armor performance against AP rounds and missiles directly.
Why, when the belt is unlikely to be hit by a bomb or missile?

At what altitudes? Low altitudes were assumed for the Idiot's Loop because the planners assumed effective anti-aircraft capability for higher altitudes.
I'm not sure what you're talking about when you say "the Idiot's Loop". The Idiot's Loop was a tactic to lob a bomb backwards, after pulling up past vertical.

What is the speed, accuracy and survivability of cruise missiles that lob themselves? The same question for aircraft-tossed bombs.
A Moskit missile would have a speed of up to 1000m/s, and its mass is about 4.5 tons (makes a 16" shell look quaint). Because it is a guided missile, it has good accuracy--a high chance of hitting. (I have no idea why you even consider unguided gun rounds, because they would have a high chance of missing--the historical hit rate was about 1%.)

An aircraft lobbing a bomb would plausibly have a speed of around 300m/s (much faster is possible with afterburners, but that's not likely to be used for simple bombing missions). Assuming it's lobbed from the deck and the bomb used a pure ballistic trajectory (rather than extending range with some gliding), it would return to the ground up to 45 seconds later some 9km away.

True, but how many VLS missiles can be carried aboard a vessel compared to gun rounds?
This depends on the size and mass of the gun rounds. The AGS was originally going to be a pure vertical gun in a box-like module as a drop-in replacement for a 61 cell VLS module. I don't remember the ammunition capacity, but it would have been at least twice as much as the VLS ammo.

However, you seem to like the idea of a larger bore size. The mass and volume of the ammunition scales with the cube of the bore. So, for example, 16" ammunition capacity would be 1/18 as much as 155mm ammunition capacity.

Before I respond to this, can you define "plausible enemies" and why they "can't plausible stop" cruise missiles?
"Plausible enemies" includes the nations currently on Earth--including the USA and Russia. They can't plausibly stop cruise missiles because by the time they know the attack is underway it's too late. A submarine launched cruise missile would come with essentially no warning. Second rate military forces don't have defense systems capable of defending against a cruise missile, and none of first rate military forces have deployed sufficient levels of paranoid bristling air defenses around their heads of state.

It doesn't have to be guided, that's merely one option out of many, and the alternative need not be dumb luck, but the historically highly-rated accuracy of US naval fire control.
Seriously? The historical rate of hits was about 1%. That's the reason why battleships had so many guns--you needed a bunch of them just to get a hit. And that's the hit rate against entire ships. You're thinking that they could target a CIWS turret?

However, penetration into protective shelter (e.g. reinforced concrete) is more greatly achieved with a larger round (20-27.5 ft with an appropriate 16" round).
You get more penetration and much more destructive effect from an appropriate bomb or cruise missile.

Nitpick much? Did you think I wasn't referring to pragmatic reality? Thank you for making my point for me.
You were very specific--you talked of the rocket equation.

But I didn't prove your point at all. I described the mass and volume per round. This doesn't count the mass and weight of the gun itself.

This is two-fold, First, I mentioned upthread the unfortunate possibility that a conventional ballistic missile launch could be mistaken for a nuclear ballistic missile launch, hence the international flack over the current plans to do just that.
As far as the target is concerned, the ballistic incoming will look the same whether it comes from (a low performance) rocket booster or a gun.

Second, defense systems may be more effective against soft cruise missiles and aircraft than against gun rounds.
Which is completely irrelevant to the example I was giving of a (low performance) rocket boosted ballistic payload. This payload could even be a 16" gun shell. Whatever is used to give it 800m/s of initial velocity--whether it's a heavy expensive gun or a cheap lightweight rocket--the target sees the same thing.

Note that this would be a low performance rocket booster. Guns can't boost things nearly as well as a long range ballistic missile. Those ballistic missiles are in a completely different class.

Lasers and other weapons may be able to stop aicraft and cruise missiles en route and well before they are within effective range, but will have trouble with ballistic inbounds, espectially if they are kinetic rounds.
So you keep claiming, but in fact missiles are a lot tougher to deal with.

Even ballistic missiles may be stopped during launch phase with lasers.
Good luck with that. Clouds and the relatively thick lower atmosphere get in the way if the enemy uses a flat trajectory (already a prefered tactic for SLBMs due to the decreased enemy reaction time).

Also, if we're talking about low performance ballistic missiles (like ones which simulate the capabilities of a 16" gun), then the boost phase simply doesn't take very long. The famous Nike Sprint missile had an acceleration of about 100 gees. At that rate, it takes less than one second to reach 800m/s! A more plausible rocket would have an acceleration of, say, 10 gees so it takes 8 seconds to get up to speed.

If you want to lob some big ballistic slugs at the target, look at something like MLRS.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-04, 09:00 PM
You seem to be cherry picking. I'm not favoring larger bore sizes specifically, but I am using the 16" as an example of what is historically used and could be used again.


At the speeds of a 16" battleship round, there won't be significant impact debris. The solid slug would just punch into whatever it happens to hit like a classic cannonball. Either it directly hits the CIWS mount, or it doesn't damage it one bit.I didn't find data on AP shell area damage used against land targets (my source lists penetration only), so I did the next best thing and used an asteroid impact calculator. since it subtracts atmospheric energy loss, I entered in the muzzle velocity with a 30 degree hit (similar to a stand-off distance for a BB) and an iron impactor. The result was a crater over 15 ft in diameter. Depending on the durability of a CIWS radome, it may survive close to that range or it might be neutralized at a farther distance from over-pressure or debris. The debris need not destroy the CIWS system, but merely render it combat ineffective long enough for other shells to have their effect. How effective would it be if there was a tree laying atop it or if dirt and rocks were jamming it's gatling gun?


Fire control? Do you mean you're thinking of these 16" battleship rounds being unguided? Fire control shouldn't really matter if the rounds are guided, but if you're thinking that unguided rounds have a chance to hit a CIWS mount from 20km away...That is certainly one mode of operation out of many. I consider it because CIWS might damage onboard guidance systems, as you pointed out earlier. Let us look at the data: During WWII, the accuracy at standoff ranges was 2.7% for a ship presenting its broadside to the BB and 1.4% for a ship presending its bow or stern to the BB. At the 20km you mention above, the percentages climb towards 10.5 and 4.1 (for 18.288km). Recall that ships move. Later refinements to the battleship guns, propellants and fire control, tested at Crete in 1987 gave better results: at around 32km, 14 of 15 landed within 230m of the center of the pattern and 8 of 15 landed within 140m of the pattern. Later shots get more accurate as radar tracks the inbounds and the guns can addjust for atmospheric effects.


Actually, modern missile weapon systems are more flexible than gun weapon systems. For example, a Tactical Tomohawk can attack different targets in different ways, even switching targets in mid-flight. You can have several different types of missiles, each of which is ready to go at a moment's notice. Guns are limited in comparison, and it takes time to load up a different type of ammunition.
....
In comparison, today's missile systems are very flexible. Standards can be mixed and matched with Tomohawks, and each missile is capable of multiple modes against various targets. Since there's no issue with loading/unloading, all types are available at all times.Right, but a tomahawk with a submunition payload can't morph into a unitary payload en route. How long does it take to remove one payload from a Tomahawk and put in another? Do vessels that carry the Tomahwak have the capability to do that? I accept the fact that a Tomahawk can do things that artillery can't, but the reverse is also true. Hence the need for different tools.

Gun rounds are simpler and cheaper, even if the battleships isn't. (I'm not married to current vessels, for we could start from scratch to create warships that require less in terms of personnel and materiel.) I find listings for their price from $569,000 to $1.3 million. During Desert Storm, they had roughly a 93% hit rate, 9 failed to launch, 6 fell into the water after launch, and up to 6 were shot down. Those 21 that failed to reach their target may have cost us from around $12 million to over $27 million.


=For example, the 120mm gun for the M1A1 Abrams ...A tank is not a warship. Mobile warfare on land is a different theatre than what a battleship experiences. Apples and oranges. I have been positing battleships for fire support and for strategic bombardment.


No, as I already noted the faster larger cruise missiles are faster and MUCH heavier than even battleship gun rounds. They're the toughest things to stop, other than ballistic missiles. And ballistic missiles are so fast that they're in an entirely different league. Gun rounds do not come close.Heavier in what sense? Are cruise missiles armored to the extent that a CIWS won't stop it? How many US cruise missiles travel at Mach 2? The Tomahawk isn't one of them. How heavy is a Mach 2+ cruise missile? If you're referring to explosive load, then yes, a cruise missile that carries more than 154 lbs of Ammonium Picrate is heavier in that sense, but that explosive is surrounded by 3.26 inches of steel that weighs ~1720 lbs. Yes, ballistic missiles are in a different league, hence the nuclear ambiguity, the higher cost, the larger size of the launch vehicle, and the fewer numbers that can be carried aboard a warship.


Why, when the belt is unlikely to be hit by a bomb or missile?Unless it's a sea skimming missile. Or do you assume that all missiles launched at it would have a pop-up approach?


I'm not sure what you're talking about when you say "the Idiot's Loop". The Idiot's Loop was a tactic to lob a bomb backwards, after pulling up past vertical.Yes, after skimming the tree-tops to avoid radar and Anti-Air defenses.


A Moskit missile would have a speed of up to 1000m/s, and its mass is about 4.5 tons (makes a 16" shell look quaint). Because it is a guided missile, it has good accuracy--a high chance of hitting.Yeah, Mach 3 at high altitude, which increases detection range and response time. Its explosive charge is only ~4.25 times that of a 16" shell and it's range is only 2 to 4 times, depending on altitude of flight. Its guidance system could be damaged by air-defenses, like any other inbound, greatly reducing it's accuracy and effect, and it is probably a lot more expensive. It is also used to attack ships, though I suppose you might be able to use it to attack land targets within its 80-120km range.


An aircraft lobbing a bomb would plausibly have a speed of around 300m/s (much faster is possible with afterburners, but that's not likely to be used for simple bombing missions). Assuming it's lobbed from the deck and the bomb used a pure ballistic trajectory (rather than extending range with some gliding), it would return to the ground up to 45 seconds later some 9km away.I asked about the speed of the bomb, not the aircraft. I want to compare its performance to that of artillery rounds.


This depends on the size and mass of the gun rounds. The AGS was originally going to be a pure vertical gun in a box-like module as a drop-in replacement for a 61 cell VLS module. I don't remember the ammunition capacity, but it would have been at least twice as much as the VLS ammo.

However, you seem to like the idea of a larger bore size. The mass and volume of the ammunition scales with the cube of the bore. So, for example, 16" ammunition capacity would be 1/18 as much as 155mm ammunition capacity.You don't know or can't be bothered to look it up? According to sources, the DD(X) would carry 80 missiles in 20 modules of 4 each, and 920 6" AGS rounds. For comparison, an Iowa Class BB carried over 1200 16" rounds. The issue may be apples versus oranges, because BBs are bigger. Simply comparing the size of a shell and its propellant against a missile should be sufficient to realize it's a big difference.


"Plausible enemies" includes the nations currently on Earth--including the USA and Russia. They can't plausibly stop cruise missiles because by the time they know the attack is underway it's too late. A submarine launched cruise missile would come with essentially no warning. Second rate military forces don't have defense systems capable of defending against a cruise missile, and none of first rate military forces have deployed sufficient levels of paranoid bristling air defenses around their heads of state.No? There are reports that Tomahawks were shot down in Desert Storm almost 20 years ago. Do you think the Russians, Chinese and others don't have similar or better levels of threat detection and response? Can you demonstrate that the a Sub launched land attack cruise missile would necessarily defeat radar and sonic detection via seawater and that auditory and visual confirmations reported from the ground wouldn't get to the target's defenses ahead of a 550mph cruise missile?


Seriously? The historical rate of hits was about 1%. That's the reason why battleships had so many guns--you needed a bunch of them just to get a hit. And that's the hit rate against entire ships. You're thinking that they could target a CIWS turret?You keep repeating this figure of 1%. I countered it earlier. Add to that, the possible use of submunitions or HC rounds with a wider diameter of damage than AP rounds and it becomes more likely that a soft defense system would be neutralized in short order.


You get more penetration and much more destructive effect from an appropriate bomb or cruise missile.A bomb, possibly. But a cruise missile? Got data? A 16" AP shell at stand off distances could penetrate 15-20 feet of reinforced concrete, depending on obliquity.


As far as the target is concerned, the ballistic incoming will look the same whether it comes from (a low performance) rocket booster or a gun.

Note that this would be a low performance rocket booster. Guns can't boost things nearly as well as a long range ballistic missile. Those ballistic missiles are in a completely different class.You say this and then go on to explain how a ballistic missile likely won't resemble a gun round. Again, thank you for making my point. A ballistic missile will likely be faster, come in from a higher altitide, and may leave behind it a trail of components from its earlier stages and bus for radar to see.


So you keep claiming, but in fact missiles are a lot tougher to deal with.So you keep claiming. Many cruise missiles are slower and have control surfaces, guidance, and fuel that can be damaged more easily than the 3.26" of metal-wrapped 16" HC shell. For the price of 1 Tomahawk, you could launch a lot of 16" shells and simply overload the defenses.


Good luck with that. Clouds and the relatively thick lower atmosphere get in the way if the enemy uses a flat trajectory (already a prefered tactic for SLBMs due to the decreased enemy reaction time).So, Mr. Isaac "Lasership" Kuo is dissing the abilities of lasers? I need to record this for posterity. (and from what I've read, a depressed trajectory is actually a corkscrew in order to bleed off propellant for the short flight, at least for SLBMs.)


If you want to lob some big ballistic slugs at the target, look at something like MLRS.I have no problem with short range ballistic missiles like that, it's the SLBMs that are indistinguishable from nukes that worry me. Moreover, I'm interested in the potential of long range and hyperkinetic rounds from a railgun.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-04, 09:07 PM
What are your conclusions? I'm not sure I understand the gist of your story.I don't want to speak for BigDon, but is sounds like his experience on the frontline shows that an antiship missile can be stopped because he has stopped 3.


There have been a number of proposals to provide USN warships with guided gun rounds, but so far nothing has been fielded. If a USN destroyer wants to kill a moving tank from twelve miles away, it'll do it with a Hellfire missile launched from a helicopter.Do destroyers routinely deploy helicopters with anti-tank weapons? I thought they were mostly for ASW and SAR work. Also, might not the helicopter be shot down? I seem to recall a movie that revolved one or more helicopters being shot down with RPGs.

Githyanki
2010-Aug-05, 01:28 AM
Hmmm, I think we're fighting tomorrow's war with yesterday's weapons. The ships of the future will probably be able to operate on the surface and submerge below; be invisible to radar and IR and also leave no sonar signature; most of the ship will be run by machines and computers.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-05, 03:29 PM
I don't want to speak for BigDon, but is sounds like his experience on the frontline shows that an antiship missile can be stopped because he has stopped 3.
But what is the conclusion? Even the older slower missile he specifies would be about as difficult to shoot down as a battleship shell.

Honestly, I'm puzzled by his story, because it doesn't match up with any incident I'm aware of. Obviously, no anti-ship missile has ever been shot down by 5" shells. A Silkworm missile was destroyed by a British destroyer during the Gulf War, but that was with a Sea Dart missile. A Styx missile may have been shot down by the USS Sterett, but that was with a Terrier missile.

But combat is full of uncertainties and it's hard to be sure exactly what is incoming. It's extremely common to get the facts wrong--thinking that you've hit an enemy ship which wasn't even in the area, or mistaking an airliner for an enemy fighter bomber. In an era where the "enemy" you see is nothing more than radar blips, there may even be no enemy in the area at all.

The real world of combat has Tonkin Ghosts, IR655, and President Bush's famously congratulating, "Patriot is 41 for 42: 42 Scuds engaged, 41 intercepted!" (in fact, the combat record was likely 0% but these Patriot missiles were pressed into service against targets they weren't designed for).

So, I don't fault Big Don at all for misreporting an incident which he may be recalling with perfect accuracy--given what he and his shipmates thought at the time. I'm guessing that his experience involved incoming Mig 17 jets rather than missiles, and most likely they were taken down by Terrier missiles rather than gunfire.

Do destroyers routinely deploy helicopters with anti-tank weapons?
Not if they can help it. That's normally the job of helicopters from the amphibious assault ships. But they can do it if required; their helicopters are rated for Hellfire.

Also, might not the helicopter be shot down? I seem to recall a movie that revolved one or more helicopters being shot down with RPGs.
You might do better by not going with what you see in the movies.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-05, 05:58 PM
I didn't find data on AP shell area damage used against land targets (my source lists penetration only), so I did the next best thing and used an asteroid impact calculator. since it subtracts atmospheric energy loss, I entered in the muzzle velocity with a 30 degree hit (similar to a stand-off distance for a BB) and an iron impactor. The result was a crater over 15 ft in diameter.
Why do you think this is at all appropriate? An asteroid impact calculator will assume the asteroid is falling from above the atmosphere--which is obviously not the case for a battleship.

Anyway, we have real life examples of ships hit by AP battleship shells, so we don't need such speculation. They don't produce craters on impact, they do what they were designed to do--punch through. The exception, of course, is when they hit armor that's too thick to penetrate. In that case, they more or less bounce off.

Later refinements to the battleship guns, propellants and fire control, tested at Crete in 1987 gave better results: at around 32km, 14 of 15 landed within 230m of the center of the pattern and 8 of 15 landed within 140m of the pattern. Later shots get more accurate as radar tracks the inbounds and the guns can addjust for atmospheric effects.
Half of the shots getting within 140m is only going to hit a CIWS turret by blind luck.

Right, but a tomahawk with a submunition payload can't morph into a unitary payload en route. How long does it take to remove one payload from a Tomahawk and put in another?
You don't. They are different models of Tomahawk. You use whatever round is appropriate for the mission.

I accept the fact that a Tomahawk can do things that artillery can't, but the reverse is also true. Hence the need for different tools.
Artillery still exists, but not the large calibre artillery you seem to be married to. The world's military forces have decided that they aren't worth it. But even today's 155mm artillery systems are having issues trying to justify themselves.

A tank is not a warship. Mobile warfare on land is a different theatre than what a battleship experiences. Apples and oranges. I have been positing battleships for fire support and for strategic bombardment.
155mm is good for fire support. Cruise missiles are good for strategic precision strikes.

Heavier in what sense? Are cruise missiles armored to the extent that a CIWS won't stop it? How many US cruise missiles travel at Mach 2? The Tomahawk isn't one of them.
None, because none of them need to be. The USN considers range to be more important than speed.

How heavy is a Mach 2+ cruise missile?
The Moskit I have referred to has a mass of 4500kg.

Yeah, Mach 3 at high altitude, which increases detection range and response time.
Actually, it was quite a shock to the USN at the time because its sheer speed would allow it to penetrate Aegis between scans. It's one of the reasons they were desperate for the improved CIWS capability of RAM.

I asked about the speed of the bomb, not the aircraft. I want to compare its performance to that of artillery rounds.
The speed of the bomb upon release IS the speed of the aircraft.

You don't know or can't be bothered to look it up?
I was not able to find resources on a cursory search.

According to sources, the DD(X) would carry 80 missiles in 20 modules of 4 each, and 920 6" AGS rounds.
The DDX will not use the original vertical gun system, which is the system I was referring to.

No? There are reports that Tomahawks were shot down in Desert Storm almost 20 years ago.
Less than one percent of them were shot down, and those were flying straight and level all the way to the target (those Tomahawks needed to be preprogrammed and sometimes there wasn't time). A larger number of Tomahawks failed upon launch!

You say this and then go on to explain how a ballistic missile likely won't resemble a gun round. Again, thank you for making my point. A ballistic missile will likely be faster, come in from a higher altitide, and may leave behind it a trail of components from its earlier stages and bus for radar to see.
Real life ballistic missiles will be faster and come in from a higher altitude because that's what makes them so good at what they do.

But if there were some magical advantage to going slower, like a battleship round, then it's perfectly possible to provide this lower performance with a rocket booster.

So, Mr. Isaac "Lasership" Kuo is dissing the abilities of lasers? I need to record this for posterity.
What do you think my attitude is toward lasers?

I am a big fan of a particular "lasership" concept which works alongside a "lensship" in order to accelerate laser sails for interstellar propulsion. This could be used as a long range space weapon system also, but that's not my main interest in the concept.

I know you'll get a bigger chuckle out of my attitude toward guided gun rounds--I'm a fan of them and I think they have the potential to eventually replace missiles as primary armament, if things develop a certain way. Just not for the reasons you state, and not in a direction that favors "battleships".

I have no problem with short range ballistic missiles like that, it's the SLBMs that are indistinguishable from nukes that worry me.
As already noted, we have cruise missiles. We use them. They have not yet strated a nuclear war--despite the fact that they are nuclear delivery systems.

Moreover, I'm interested in the potential of long range and hyperkinetic rounds from a railgun.
Hypervelocity rounds have some potential, but they are very technically challenging to develop and it's not clear that the advantages would be worth it.

mugaliens
2010-Aug-06, 11:41 PM
Meanwhile, the Chinese plan to field a new missile (http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Chinese-missile-could-shift-Pacific-power-balance-603572.php)capable of penetrating a carrier's defenses and sinking it in one blow.

Hopefully, the ship-based laser can be tweaked to counter the missile, as well as drones.

Githyanki
2010-Aug-06, 11:59 PM
I'm not too sure about that new Chinese missile; from the article, all it really has is range (1500KM) and accuracy and possible numbers. I don't see how it's Vulcan proof.

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-07, 12:15 AM
That AP article makes no mention of Aegis BMD, a weapon system which has already been deployed by the US and Japan.

Aegis BMD has performed well in tests (which contrasts with most every other BMD program so far), and famously shot down a satellite.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-07, 06:22 AM
Why do you think this is at all appropriate? An asteroid impact calculator will assume the asteroid is falling from above the atmosphere--which is obviously not the case for a battleship.It was the best I could come up with on short notice. I don't know how accurate the calcuations are, but I input data from 16" shells as best I could, but this is only in response to the inert shell minimum effect argument. I don't expect that would become doctrine.


Anyway, we have real life examples of ships hit by AP battleship shells, so we don't need such speculation. They don't produce craters on impact, they do what they were designed to do--punch through. The exception, of course, is when they hit armor that's too thick to penetrate. In that case, they more or less bounce off.I wasn't referring to ships hit with AP shells, but reinforced concrete (from the table at the source I linked upthread) to a crater into sedimentary rock calculated from the asteroid impact site. I assume that structural steel with hollow cavities would react differently than dirt. BTW, you earlier mentioned that AP shells use explosive to punch through, but upon further research, it is for causing a ruckus after they punch through the armor.


Half of the shots getting within 140m is only going to hit a CIWS turret by blind luck.That's why tactics matter. Fire several rounds, fire too many rounds for the CIWS to engage (the CIWS would not be the main target), and fire existing shells with submunitions, or Beehive shells with flechettes, or advanced shells with guidance systems, or advanced shells that might even shoot back at the CIWS (explosively-formed projectile), etc.


You don't. They are different models of Tomahawk. You use whatever round is appropriate for the mission.Right, that's my point. For the same amount of time and money as a Tomahawk, you could fire many salvos of artillery for potentially greater effect and penetration of defenses and overall success, as long as it's within gun range.


Artillery still exists, but not the large calibre artillery you seem to be married to. The world's military forces have decided that they aren't worth it. But even today's 155mm artillery systems are having issues trying to justify themselves.Can you explain that assertion and support it with data?


155mm is good for fire support. Cruise missiles are good for strategic precision strikes.Like I've been saying, right tool for the job. I think advanced long-range-capable guns could be one tool that would conceivably do both. I don't mean to replace one with the other. A naval gun is relatively safe offshore, whilst land-based artillery is subject to all sorts of enemy actions.


None, because none of them need to be. The USN considers range to be more important than speed.That could come back to bite them in the rear if effective CIWS become common at their targets.


The Moskit I have referred to has a mass of 4500kg.An what does that mean in comparison to 16" shells? You said it was heavier, but you didn't explain how that was an advantage.


Actually, it was quite a shock to the USN at the time because its sheer speed would allow it to penetrate Aegis between scans. It's one of the reasons they were desperate for the improved CIWS capability of RAM.Really, Aegis was that vulnerable to something moving at Mach 3? Got data? BTW, a 16" shell can travel over mach 2 at shorter ranges and only falls off to mach 1.5 at standoff ranges with historic data. Advanced gun designs might exceed both speed and range.


The speed of the bomb upon release IS the speed of the aircraft.But what is the striking velocity, after you subtract aerodynamic and gravity drag losses. What is the speed of an aircraft performing the Idiot's Loops? You suggested lobbing a bomb at 300m/s, just about mach 1.


Less than one percent of them were shot down, and those were flying straight and level all the way to the target (those Tomahawks needed to be preprogrammed and sometimes there wasn't time). A larger number of Tomahawks failed upon launch!Like I said, a waste of money right off the bat. I'd be interested to see how a more formidable foe would compare, such as China.


Real life ballistic missiles will be faster and come in from a higher altitude because that's what makes them so good at what they do.And that's what makes them indistinguishable from nuclear weapons. I'm not sure if you're debating me or if you don't actually see the potential for disaster here. The original proposal was for 2 of two dozen SLBMs on Ohios to be converted to conventional munitions. Not only would it be launched from a vessel formerly wholly devoted to nuclear weaponry, but which still carries the bulk of its missiles tipped with nuclear weapons. Moreover, the expense of such a launch compared to aircraft dropped munitions or even cruise missiles is not merely in the cost of a very expensive launcher, but the revelation of the location of a vital strategic asset whose safety and deterrence depends on its position remaining secret. Maybe the boomer would only launch a single missile, but that doesn't necessarily alleviate the tension about a nuclear first strike, because many scenarios start with a high altitide EMP attack. Even a single missiles with multiple warheads that sneaks through by such a ruse as claiming it's a conventional strike could cause severe disruption in the rival's command and control neutralizing their response. Maybe their CinC is redundant and they feel secure that they would still maintain a second-strike capability in the event that we're lying to them about the SLBM launch. Or maybe years of poor maintenance, poor pay, and other internal factors have made them less sure about their retaliatory capability and they might actually be afraid that one missile could decapitate them or cause enough delay that a later wave would arrive immediately therafter.


But if there were some magical advantage to going slower, like a battleship round, then it's perfectly possible to provide this lower performance with a rocket booster.It's not just about performance, it's about cost. A missile might be better and cost a lot, a gun round might cost less and be good enough.


I know you'll get a bigger chuckle out of my attitude toward guided gun rounds--I'm a fan of them and I think they have the potential to eventually replace missiles as primary armament, if things develop a certain way. Just not for the reasons you state, and not in a direction that favors "battleships".Good, I see that we're on the same page. I'm not married to chemical propellant or large bore sizes. When I said bigger, I was referring to the system as a whole, which might have a longer, if narrower barrel, but also a large powerplant for an electromagnetic launcher, unless we look at Ram Accelerator instead.


As already noted, we have cruise missiles. We use them. They have not yet strated a nuclear war--despite the fact that they are nuclear delivery systems.Right, but they were never exclusively nuclear tipped. Moreover, the constraints on a cruise missile make it less immediately threatening. It may not be detected. Detection may determine that its en route to another target. Detection may determine that it is not in range of strategic assets.


Hypervelocity rounds have some potential, but they are very technically challenging to develop and it's not clear that the advantages would be worth it.Time will tell. I wonder if they will consider using the Busemann Biplane design. I saw a study that considered using it for rife rounds.

mugaliens
2010-Aug-07, 10:48 AM
That AP article...

I've learned to take articles by AP and CNN with a grain of salt, as neither are particularly adept at checking their science.

BigDon
2010-Aug-07, 08:02 PM
Hey Ara, Isaac,
Got a question for the both of you.

Are either of you this knowledgeable when the power's off and you can't Google or Wiki anything? Or are you two just pulling a Robinson?

IsaacKuo
2010-Aug-09, 12:38 PM
Hey Ara, Isaac,
Got a question for the both of you.

Are either of you this knowledgeable when the power's off and you can't Google or Wiki anything? Or are you two just pulling a Robinson?
No way. If it weren't for the internet, my knowledge in these matters would be mostly stuck in the mid to late '90s. Since then, I mostly haven't really been keeping up with advances in military technology. Still, it's kind of sad how little advancement there has been in the last decade...F35 is still in development...DD21->DDX is still in development...LCS is still in development...various programs have been canceled...

I won't get into the obvious reason why these programs have had funding and effort sucked dry in the previous decade (violates this board's no politics rule).

Anyway, I used to follow military technology in magazines, books, and such. This wasn't as good of an information source as the Internet, because you'd get a lot of misleading, slanted, or just plain wrong information.

BigDon
2010-Aug-10, 08:36 PM
Sorry Isaac, Ara.

I was in a bad mood when I posted that and that question was rude and hostile. As neither of you two have ever blown me any crap over anything, I'd say it was jerkish of me.

Thanks for the honest answer though, Isaac.

mugaliens
2010-Aug-14, 03:17 AM
Still, it's kind of sad how little advancement there has been in the last decade...F35 is still in development...DD21->DDX is still in development...LCS is still in development...various programs have been canceled...

THAAD is still around:

1. Cool YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69uXXiJan_o&feature=fvw).

2. Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THAAD).

It has been deployed to Hawaii in case Mr. Il decides to commit a boo-boo. Between THAAD, Aegis BMD, and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3), MEADS, the KEI, the ABL, NCADE, and the Arrow, I think the issue is faily well covered.

Ara Pacis
2010-Aug-17, 05:22 AM
Hey Ara, Isaac,
Got a question for the both of you.

Are either of you this knowledgeable when the power's off and you can't Google or Wiki anything? Or are you two just pulling a Robinson?

I didn't take the question as rude. I wasn't even sure if you meant it was good, bad or neutral. I used to read Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Omni Magazine, and Discover Magazine a lot in the 80s and early 90s and also read a fair amount of science fiction and military fiction and non-fiction. A kid can buy a lot of old used books for 10 cents apiece. I rememer a lot of stuff and use the internet to refresh my memory and tweak ideas I got from between then and now. In 7th grade I "invented" optical stealth for planes by putting lights on them so that you wouldn't see a dark dot against the light blue sky... and later discovered that the allies had done that in WWII when that information was declassified after I had thought it up on my own. I was wrong as often as I was right, and I've been synthesizing since I was a wee one.

Atraveller
2010-Sep-09, 05:29 AM
I found video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj3HorbCEzM

okay - just a cgi re-enactment - but still...