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What the U.S. Navy Could Learn from Danish Frigate Design

The Danish frigate, Iver Huitfeldt (F-361). Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

The Danish frigate, Iver Huitfeldt (F-361). Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

As the U.S. Navy’s requirements and engineering communities look at upcoming ship classes and attempt to build in flexibility, they first need to decide what it means to be a “flexible ship” and how much to prioritize that flexibility, one admiral said.

During a panel at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ ASNE Day 2015, Rear Adm. Bryant Fuller, chief engineer for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), said it is important to decide what flexibility means to each program early on, and how much of it is needed – is there a core capability that ship class revolves around, or should it strive for ultimate flexibility, like the Danish Navy’s StanFlex system and its Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate?

Several panelists compared American ships to the Danish frigates, including panel moderator retired Vice Adm. Paul Sullivan. He said he had the chance to see the ships up close last fall and was impressed.

The Danish navy took its Absalon-class support ship hull design and reconfigured it to include a 76mm gun. Both the support ship and the frigate subscribe to the Danish navy’s StanFlex modular mission payload system, which Sullivan said allowed the navy to put legacy weapons systems on the Iver Huitfeldt-class instead of having to develop new systems right away, like the Navy did with the Littoral Combat Ship.

“The StanFlex buzz was you could put the new gun in and 24 hours later you’re ready to go to sea,” he added.

This ultra-flexible system may not sound like it would be relevant to some American ship classes, such as cruisers and destroyers, but Capt. Thomas Halvorson, deputy director of the Navy’s surface warfare directorate for Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis and Destroyers, said there were still lessons to be drawn for future surface combatants.

Halvorson said the Aegis Baseline 9 upgrade effort had been a great accomplishment for the Navy’s cruiser fleet, but it was also a work-intensive accomplishment. A more flexible ship design could allow the Navy to upgrade the computers on a future surface combatant more routinely, rather than having to wait for a massive midlife upgrade.

“One of the other ideas I heard [the Danes] talk about, Adm. Sullivan, was they can change out the computer program completely in 90 days,” Halvorson said. “We all have a little bit of a part to play in the two-year upgrade that involves ripping out pieces massive pieces of ship infrastructure to change out every server in the room. We need to get closer to that Dane mentality.”

Also during the panel, Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. David Gale explained the importance of building in enough flexibility from the beginning of a program. With the Mobile Landing Platform design being used as the basis of the Afloat Forward Staging Base design, the latter ship only has as much flexibility in it as the former – which in this case is a lot of flexibility. Gale praised the AFSB team for achieving “80 percent of the requirement for 50 percent of the cost by just going to MLP and adding an aviation capability to the ship.”

In fact, the ship design has so much flexibility and extra margins built into it that Gale said, “in aviation and in [special operations] warfare areas, we’re already writing change documents to improve these ships.”

  • One thing the US Navy can learn from the Danish is to NOT build a Ship that is gona break the bank

    • Thomas Borgsmidt

      Yes and no! What really costs is the weapons on board. Slapping together sheets of steel – that is not a problem. The trick is to get a good hull and reasonable engines. A sort of military “Liberty-ships”.

      The disaster that has already happened for the USNavy is the Zumwalt-class which is one big contradiction in terms. The Huitfeldt class is BOTH a green and brown waterhull. Most of the USNavy’s ships are useless in the Baltic f.i.

      The USNavy is still fighting the Japanse at Midway – with dreadnoughts!

      • Secundius

        @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

        The Liberty Ship, not only took the cargo to where it was need. But also took itself there too, the Liberty Ship itself was also the Cargo. It was a One Way Only Ship, once the cargo got delivered the ship itself was scrapped from raw materials. That’s why the ship could be built in only a WEEK’s TIME…

        • Thomas Borgsmidt

          Well there were quite a lot of Liberty Ships around after WW2. The trick is that the hull and the weaponssystems are today two different things.

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            At the end of WW2, the USN boasted a total Ship’s Strength of 71,009-ship’s of various classes. Most of them Support and Transport (i.e. Cargo Ship’s too). By the Korean War that number dropped to ~1,000-ships. The Navy was literally giving away Liberty/Victory ship’s to anyone who wanted one. The USN version of the Russian AK-47…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Well…. what is the difference between offering to build a frigate at 1/3 of the price the American taxpayer is being robbed of at the moment?

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            The Absalon class is a 6,600-tonne LCS/FF on steroids. For its size it mounts a 3-inch deck gun, that ~2,425.08-short tons per 1-inch of gun caliber compared to the ~1,336.9-short ton per 1-inch of gun caliber of the Freedom class LCS/FF…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Well, it can be fitted with 5″ as far as i recall. The point being: The lady dresses according to circumstances.

          • USNVO

            It can only be fitted with a 5in gun if you purchase the gun, train crews for it, and buy ammunition and spares for it. None of which the Danes have saw fit to do.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            And?…..

            If You believe You are thinking -. you are very wrong!

          • MikeKiloPapa

            The MK45 might possibly be one of the most overrated naval weapons in the western hemisphere….yes its a decent weapon system, its reliable and thanks to the USN it has excellent support.
            But it is much less capable in the AAW role than the Oto 76/62 SR and at a cost of $50M it is also horribly overpriced for what it does, even compared to its direct competitor the Oto Melara 127/64 LW that is not only cheaper but also superior in every way.

          • USNVO

            Quite possibly true, but it is not relevant to the argument. You can only install it if you have it to install.

          • MikeKiloPapa

            On the contrary…it is extremely pertinent to the discussion, because it shows we are evaluating cost vs capability and need.
            The MK45 is already in service on the Absalon and her sister ship, so we do have spare parts and ammo in inventory(though , i’ll grant, probably not enough)
            But for the AAW focused Huitfeldts the capability it brings is simply not worth the money…, especially when our existing gun mounts are better suited for the role anyway.
            Should requirements and priorities change, a 5 inch can quickly and easily be purchased and installed.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Focused??? What do You mean?? What configuration of boxes are You talking about?

            Anti aircraft in the Midatlantic – those Bears would have died a long time ago. Those Focke-Wulf 200 Condors were retired ages ago.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            In fact the Oto Melera is standard – you just take it from a ship, you retire!

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            You forget: The gun has been bought ages ago! The crews are trained on the gun. The ammunition is in the depot – and resupply is available at garagesale prices.

            You really, really do not have an incling of what You are babbling about.

          • James B.

            What are you getting at? Are you suggesting that the firepower is a direct comparison to the bore of the guns?

            The 57mm on the LCS fires a 6lb shell, the 76mm fires about a 30lb shell, so five times the shell weight. Fire rate and range also apply, but neither gun is large enough to sink real ships, so it’s kind of pointless.

            More to the point, I’ll bet the Danish designs could mount Harpoons or VLS.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            The Bofor’s 57mm is a 13-pound shell ~6.2-Kilos. Not 6-pounds…

          • James B.

            The shell which leaves the ship is 6lbs, propellant is the rest.

            Regardless, even a 3-inch is merely less worthless in true gun combat.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            Traditionally Naval Guns, are High-Velocity and Longer-Ranged than there Army counterparts. I think a 3-inch Naval Gun at stand-off range, could easily take out a Russian Main Battle Tank…

          • James B.

            Where are you getting this?

            Naval guns tend to run a bit heavier, because ships can take the extra weight. They are not, however, magic.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            I’m am what is called a Confirmation Reader, which means I do a lot of reading and get valuable information from those readings. I read anything and everything, that interests me…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            In the RDaN the concept of hitting the towed target got to boring – so they cut the towing cable with the gun.

            Much more fun, and pisses the commander off!

          • Curtis Conway

            We used to do that with Mk15 CIWS. Now they penalize you for it.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Probably do that in Denmark as well. Penalize You – I mean. One of the tricks about Denmark is that the country is so small that you can gather the crew at be at sea at very short notice in the Baltic.

            The small Homeguard cutters that regularly perform in SAR missions normally have 2-3 volunteer crew and can put to sea with 2-3 men (depending on mission) – they have the phone numbers at the Naval Command should they need them. People just leave their desk and drive down to the port.

            The best one was back when the Soviet broke up the Homeguard suggested a visiting mission to the Baltic nations. The Admirals were horrified; but the secretary of Defence was delighted.
            So they sailed 3 ships under samme command shot at some targets with HMG and “rescued” some floatseam. The point being: However small they were a Fleet and the Russians forgot to protest, so Denmark is now in its uncontested right to operate a Fleet just outside the main port of the Russian Navy!

            Very few people understand: Denmark OWNS the Baltic – normally it is nothing but being a traffic cop, but these days……

          • Curtis Conway

            Experienced the Danish Home Guard when we were invited to the home of someone who took the tour of the Tico, and I was the tour guide. He had his machine gun at home, with full battle pack, grenades and a rocket launcher (didn’t have the rocket). Response time was the issue. When you study the HiStory of Denmark and Belgium during WWII, you can understand their attitude. Their navy had a “Battle of Britain” command center, where I got to put on the headset and push the hockey pucks around on the table. Not only was I not as good as it as the young lady who did it, she was a lot better looking than I was too.

            Learn from your HiStory or you are bound to repeat it.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Sounds like You’ve visited a Luftmeldekorpset LAVAC – has been disbanded since then, when the Baltic nations joined Nato. There is some controversy as to the weapons at home after the terrorist attack on the jewish community.
            And yes! After the break-up of the Soviet Union some of their officers paled when they saw the scruffy lot.

            But yes, plotting with a stick is tricky, which was why I (that have exceptionally long arms) alway got those observers at the center of the table.
            But You are right – as long as it existed – there was a long and cordial liaison with the Royal Observer Corps.

            The other thing is, that today they don’t fight primarily in squads but in platoon and company formations.

            Today the naval homeguard is perhaps the one seeing most action. As soon as they leave port they are under the direct operational command of the Navy. The main problem is drunken Russian merchant men running against the bridges.

            The Baltic nations have formed Homeguards as the first thing after re-independence.

          • Curtis Conway

            I was unaware of the Baltic Homeguards. That actually explains a lot, because Putin has not been as successful in the Baltic trying to subvert the governments via the Russian speakers. Always liked the ‘Little Countries”, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I suspect after graciously allowing the Soviet’s to use their Port Facilities during WW2, and then NOT leaving after the war. They have had as much as they could stomach of Russian-kumbaya Home Rule…

          • Curtis Conway

            What is your take on Kaliningrad?

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Depends, it’s a beautiful Port City NOW. But I suspect your talking about is near Evisceration by the Red Army in 1945…

          • Curtis Conway

            Do you know what an Iskander Tactical Nuclear Missile is?

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I’ve heard something about a Multi-Mode Tactical Nuke Missile System, a Next-Generation Scud. But I didn’t know what is was called…

          • Curtis Conway

            Well they are in Kaliningrad today, and new long range radars are going up next to them. Wonder what that is all about. The Poles are not happy!

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Personally, I think Putin is trying “A Half-Ass Approach” too destabilizing the area. He’s try to Create and Incident, “Rattling the Cage” so to speak. See NATO’s resolve and see who BREAKS from the pressure…

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I don’t know weather or not you received my answer, but I have noticed several times in the past. That if you Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, and through the Additional Comment Section, and then “slowly” Scroll back up to your Posted Comment. You’ll find you answer Starring You In the Face (no pun intended). I suspect it is a Software Glitch…

          • Curtis Conway

            We knew they were closing soon because the replacement was already in existence. The Home Guard was going to persist.

          • Curtis Conway

            One of my goals that trip was to control the local F-16s, but the Mess Deck Master at Arms tour assignment before we got underway for that trip ended that.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            As a Choke and Puke Scullery Goon, how did that work out???

          • Curtis Conway

            Outstandingly naturally. Can you imagine an ace air controller black shoe running the mess decks. I was already the DMAA, Quarter Deck OOD, Guard Force Captain, and a few other I can’t mention. I was a geographic bachelor living on the ship, and everything seemed to come my way. Like a good little boy scout I took it all on. At one time we held a security alert and I was supposed to be in 5 places at once.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            With the Exception of the Steel Gun Barrel and the Steel Gun Breech, the Supporting Gun Structure can be made of Titanium, Aluminium-Lithium Alloy, or any other Lightweight Corrosion Resistant Metal…

          • James B.

            That will save some weight, but it will cost a lot.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            I can give a “Rough Cost Projection”, and that because there’s NO actual count of units to be produced. The USMC M777 unit price is ~$4.48-Million USD. apiece and total weight is ~10,500-pounds. The Navy’s, comes in two versions. Lightweight and Standard, the Lightweight is ~112,435.8-pounds and the Standard is ~233,690-pounds. Rough Projected Cost is ~$19-Million USD. per gun system including the ~300-round Magazine. I based these calculations on the possible 32-hulls distribution plan…

          • James B.

            Aluminum would be a good choice for most parts. Most of an M16 is aluminum, but barrels are still steel. Given the weight difference, the Lightweight Mk 45 probably is mostly aluminum already.

            Steel is ~8g/cm3, and about $0.40/lb
            Aluminum = 2.7g/cm3, and about $0.80/lb
            Titanium = 4.43g/cm3, and over $8/lb

            Titanium is only worthwhile when high strength at temperature is essential.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            Titanium is Rigid (Non-Flexible), it can support the Gun, but it Can’t be the Gun…

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            You could also probably use Carbon Fiber or Graphene, to cut-down the weight even further…

          • James B.

            Carbon Fiber is certainly an interesting idea; I have seen AR-15 parts made of it, but maintenance might get expensive. One of the great benefits of steel is the ease of welding repairs and availability of spare parts.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            Same here, except a ProMag Synthetic Stock for a 7.92x57mm 98k Mauser, Springfield M1E5 Tanker/Garand and Springfield M1E6 Sniper/Garand…

          • James B.

            It definitely does depend on the polymer material used. I think M16 buttstocks are synthetic as an easier replacement for wood. Plastic stocks on modern M4s are probably cheaper than metal.

            On the other hand, I’ve seen carbon fiber aircraft propeller blades delaminate when operated in rain.

            The issue for larger assemblies is that carbon or polymer parts are largely replacement items; repair is either a process of re-molding or re-laminating, rather than hammering or welding.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            The only issue I have with Carbon Fiber, is the Carbon. Any “Carbon” product having long time exposure with a Saltwater Environment is going to have problems. I wonder if that was one of this issues concerning Grumman-Northrop X-47B Pegasus UCAS program…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            They can!

            As to gun firepower – the 5″ gun can fire ACROSS the country to the opposite coast and hit a dingy – NB! The right dingy.

            As to sinking a “real” ship? Well that presupposes said ship CAN sink – which it can’t in the Baltic – it will just stand on the bottom! I’m not even mentioning the large hole blown in the bottom of the ship by a mine!

            Question: How do you defend a Polish landlocked city with air-defence missiles?

            Answer: You relieve a Huitfeldt class of unnessesary stuff like Harpoons, sail it up river emptied of ballast and park it in the center of Downtown Stettin.

            Much easier, and there will be entertainment facilities by the curtesy of the Stettin Municipial Trade Association, so you won’t have to swim on board – you can crawl!

            Look: Invading a country is MUCH easier if you are welcome there – learned that a thousand years ago.

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            He’s probably talking about a 5-inch Coastal Batter Gun, Not a Coast-to-Coast gun. Just to have a 5-inch (127mm) Shell go from coast-to-coast, even if it was feasible. The Barrel Caliber would have to be at least 10,107-caliber or a Barrel Length of 4,211-feet 3-inches long…

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            For a 6,600-metric ton ship, a single 3-inch naval gun system is awfully “weak” weapon choice…

          • USNVO

            What you could do is just change the way the USN accounts for money to the way the Danes account for money. Instant reduction in price! Lets review

            Danes buy ships without combat systems or weapons (quoted price of $325 million) government shipyard installs weapons and combat systems (Different pot of money, it’s all free!). US Navy accounts for every dime and charges it back to the program office.

            Danes don’t charge for initial crew training or initial crew living expenses at the new construction site (US navy charges for both, it’s a big country).

            Danes don’t charge program office expenses, etc, to the ship cost, USN does.

            Bottom line, the Absolon, according to the Danish Navy, would cost over $800 million apiece, and the by the Danish Navy estimate for the Iver Huitfeldt-class is well in excess of $1 Billion.

            What the Danes have done really well is define what they want and are reasonable in their expectations.

            LCS had two major purposes.
            First, most of the time it would be an inexpensive patrol ship (MIO, Maritime Security, counter piracy, etc). This would free up the DDGs for other missions and get rid of the really expensive (for a patrol ship) FFGs.
            Second, in times of serious conflict it would be able to supplement the other ships in high end combat by doing MIW (getting rid of the MCM and MHCs that were slow, expensive, and of limited utility outside of the MIW realm), ASuW (replacing single use PCs with a much more connected and capable platform as well as allowing DDGs to get out of that job), and shallow water ASW (replacing nothing but expanding capability).
            So what of these requirements needs 50kts? None. Reduce that one requiremewnt to a more reasonable 25kts and you could probably reduce costs to around $300 million (using US accounting) and simplify life. Smaller ship, all diesel power, longer range, all steel construction, displacement hull, no waterjets, etc.

            The USN had a clear vision of what the needed, and then set requirements that made no sense based on the need. The Danes looked at what they needed and may a much better trade-off in their requirements.

          • MikeKiloPapa

            “Bottom line, the Absolon, according to the Danish Navy, would cost over $800 million apiece, and the by the Danish Navy estimate for the Iver Huitfeldt-class is well in excess of $1 Billion”

            Divide your numbers by 2 and you’re pretty close to reality.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Accounting isn’t Your strong suit – either.

            Those fittings and weapons was already bought 30 odd years ago – they have been written off and are thus free!

            Replacement of f.i. the Canadian Halifax’es will be relatively cheap – they have the weapons – and the crew (the latter to an overcrowded extend). The Harpoons etc. just have to be re-boxed and plugged in.

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            “The best way to hide something, is to keep it in plain sight.”

            A Trap Door approach. The same can be done with the LCS’s, place Harpoon Launchers in Mk. 141 Launchers while within the Island Superstructure. In Non-Load Bearing parts of the structure, and have “Sweetjudy’s” covers/panels to look like the seamless part of the whole superstructure…

          • Curtis Conway

            The same can be done with an NSC which is an All Ocean hull. Look out Arctic, here we come.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            12 November 2012, Chicago Cubs, first baseman Mark Grace Quote: “If your not cheating, your not trying hard enough.”

            SUBTERFUGE! Give a Toothless ship’s TEETH, while at the same time making it look NO THREATENING…

          • Curtis Conway

            Secundius, I hope you are correct. Because if you are not, we are sending those boys & girls to a certain death. The Dragon has TEETH.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I’m just saying there are empty Non-Load Bearing surface area’s inside the Islands Superstructure. That can be utilized with Mk. 141 Canister Launched Missile Tubes, use a Piped Ducting System for the Missiles Exhaust Fumes or Air Launch them with a Pneumatic Ram or High-Pressure Compressed Air (similar to those on SSB/GN’s) too clear of the ship before the Booster Kicks In. Us a “Sweetjudy” covering that blends in with the Superstructure, so it looks like a (at least outwardly) like it’s seamless.

            A certain death is almost always certain of a Naval Vessel operating out Hostile Water’s or Wartime. And truth be told, it’s a Sailor’s Lot. At least this way it gives them a fighting chance. If were going to send them into the Dragon’s Teeth, like Taffy 1, 2 and 3. We can at least give that much, it’s better than NO CHANCE…

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            The difference between Henry John Kaiser and CEO’s of today. Is, Kaiser’s CEO paycheck bonus was $1-Dollar per ship built…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            You STILL don’t understand a flaming thing!

            Look: Eckstein is really talking the case of incompetent and overpaid American shipyards that recieve subsidies from the American taxpayer – or rather pointing out that in case said shipyards and USNavy drones don’t sharpen up there are people out there that can make things cheaper and better!

            Simple as that!

            Now the primary target of the Huitfeldt-class at the moment is the CANADIAN navy with their hopeless dozen Halifaxes (penetrating the Rockwool-layer of American admirals is beyond even heavy guns).

            Now the Halifax’es are overcrowed, short of range and underarmed. There is a real opportunity for the Canuck’s to make a killing – financed in savings on the crew.

            This opportunity is coming up as the CAD (Caribou-$) is following the USD up relative to the EUR for reasons relatively unconnected with the national security of the USA. We are talking massive amounts of defence money. Especially for the Canadians.

            Last summer you could get 1 1/3 of a USD for 1 EUR. Now we are talking roughly unity. The EUR has dropped 1/4 relative to the USD.

            We are with the Huitfeldt-class talking prices roughly 1/3 of the price of a ship with comparable performance of a Sachsen-class. With or without armament – same difference, as the Huitfeldt-class can reuse items such as the Harpoons and Sea Sparrows – because they have already been bought years ago – probably when the price ratioes were inverted.

            The result being the Canadians will be able to get a top notch ship outfitted for 1/4 of comparable ships. The mere switchover will save even that difference in I know not how long – because for comparable missions the Huitfeldt has half the crew!

            Now that is what it is; The defence related fact remains that by ordering the Huitfeldt’s the Canadiens benefit from the standardisation across the Atlantic – and the RDaNavy benefits as well, as spares etc. fits on everything – engines, missiles and even the bloody helicopters both the Sea Hawk and the Merlin are already in the Danish inventory.

            So my dear Canadiens! What part of the word CASH was it You didn’t understand?

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            No sir it’s you. Apparently you have a reading problem or comprehension problem. The Jones Act of 1920, prevents the United States Government and US Navy from buy Naval ship’s of any kind for a, either Directly or Indirectly from a Foreign Government or Foreign Source’s…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Ok! That explains why the USA has no merchant marine left – for practical purposes.

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            There’s still a Merchant Marine Academy, and as far as I know a Merchant Marine Fleet. But flying registry Flags of Other Nations, most likely reason to Skirt the Ship’s Maintenance Records…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            It is not so much the Maintenance Records as the manning rules. F.i. Maersk – which is in fact and deed the USNavy’s sealift capacity – goes down to the minimum crew consistent with the safety of the ship (they have had fires – and have fought them successfully – with a 17 compelent on Emma Maersk). The berthing capacity is much larger, as maintainance on the move is performed by flown in specialists.

            What is also little known – and even fewer care – is that drawings to Danish naval ships do not exist for – i believe the Thetis- or the Flyvefisken-class were the first – older vessels. I think up to the robbery by Nelson of the fleet there existed models.
            Later than that the drawings were destroyed at the acceptance by the Navy of the ship. The maintanence documentation was all in the heads of the shipwrights on the naval yard and transferred to the apprentices by demonstration and word of mouth.
            The security was kept as a trade secret.

            Trade secrets by craftsmen are kept scrupiously – also little known and perhaps even less interesting – is that Denmark has a near world monopoly in the manufacture of church organs. One of the Japanese companies (maybe Sony) bought one – took it apart and tried to copy it – didn’t work. All is preserved in trade secrets.

            The real breakthrough with the Standard Flex concept is that these ships can be reproduced by any yard around the world – given the drawings are handed over. The point about the Huitfeldt-class being: It is build like a ferry which means it has prodigeous amounts of pumps to trim out vast lists etc. It also has variable draught – making tonnage somewhat misleading. In the Atlantic it lowers the draught and in the Baltic (with short choppy wawes) it pumps out ballast. That is why they can park a Huitfeldt-class in downtown Stettin and defend Poland inland with air defence missiles. In that condition it can’t take the brutal waweaction of the North Atlantic – which isn’t needed – secured in port!

            The fact is: The USNavy cannot – repeat cannot – operate in the Baltic: Ships are to large and they don’t know where the there is only a damp meadow (we’ve known for a millenium – litteraly). Mining such waters is not that difficult – it depends where you put the mines – f.i. among old mines from 2 world wars – should give the communists a nasty surprise.

            Now the real trick is that given that the Canadians replace their Halifax’es with Huitfeldts – and a sensible plan for the North Atlantic – there are all sorts of ports for victualling, refuelling and reloading from Newfoundland to Norway.
            You just fly in the stuff not at hand. Maybe – just maybe – there is a REASON for the Danish SeaHawks extra lifting capacity? You see – not all ports have all that much cranes up there! 😉

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            An interesting note that A.P. Moller Group, is the sole owner of F.I. Maersk Shipping Containers also built the Absalon class Danish Frigate. “What goes around, come around.”

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            The Absalon-class is as such not a frigate; but a command ship. The problem is:
            A minelayer must have concluded its mission BEFORE a shooting war starts or it would have failed. For the rest of the war it just sits in port.
            Now that means that a big costly ship just does nothing during war. The now scrapped Falster-class was a dedicated minelayer for the danish belts.

            The Huitfeldt class was the last ship build on Lindø shipyard incidentally also owned by the APM.

            To make things more complex: The late owner Maersk McKinney Møller was stationed in the US during WW2 and the ships of the line were ordered NOT to obey orders from Copenhagen and seek allied port. If Maersk is the US Navy or the US Navy is Maersk – well…. Maersk said repeatedly, that the shipping does not have its own foreign political agenda. (No, he bloody well made sure the Danish Government understood what would be acceptable).
            Actually Maersk keeps (as far as I know) a considerable number of ships on US registry. But whatever: Attacking a light blue ship with a seven pointed white star is to be considered about the dumbest move on earth.

            Another thing: The B&W yard in Copenhagen was a communist infested gang. Maersk could see the yard every day from his corner office: Hated the B&W with a vengeance – never had a ship build there – never. Finally it got closed down. Maersk had to donate an operahouse to Copenhagen (direct view from the Royal Palace as well) in order to get the damned place entombed in concrete like a Tjernobyl nuclear reactor: Just to make sure there would NEVER be a shipyard there again!

            If You take the Knud Rasmussen (no relation to several Danish PM’s) – class it is build on a Polish yard with subparts build in Estonia. But the final fitting out is by Karstensens in Skagen. These are not patrollers: They are icebreakers.

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            Actually I consider the Absalon class more like a Crossover. It does a little bit of everything, but it doesn’t do any one thing well. I also think that A.P. Moller Group is try to get there Size 30.5D in the US. Navy Shipping Door. By buy Naval Shipyards to make American Builds. After all our shipyards are not subsidized like their European counterparts. So they can Show and Make Bigger Profits.

            As a Side Note, the Jones Act of 1920. Doesn’t apply either to the US. Army or Air Force. I point this out, because the US. Army acquired an JHSV. Directly for the Australians in 2010, and subsequently transfer that ship to the US. Navy in 2 May 2011…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            What the APM is doing at the moment is a bit opaque. One thing is clear: They are in the process of disentangling themselves from Danske Bank! There was/is a considerable cross-holding. Apparently the Fund owner of APM Group is trying to buy back their shares from Danske Bank with Danske Bank shares.

            Shipyards are a dime a dozen. APM has interest dating back from the end of the cold war in Baltic yards. You need one or two yards on each side of the Danish Belts so substandard ships can be detained and repaired.

            The standard business model of APM was to load yards to the gills to keep the competition from modernising their fleet – before APM cornered the transports with high productivity ships that can live with low freight rates. As the volume of cargo is dropping there is no new-builds.

            Basically: All Danish warships have a double role. The icebreakers are used on Greenland in the summer (in the winter NOTHING moves). In the winter they are available for the Danish waters (needed about once every 10 years). Actually naval operations in the Baltic depends upon the availability of icebreakers.

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            US. Naval shipyards ARE NOT, Repeat NOT SUBSIDIZED. President Ronald Reagan, abolished the act in 1981…

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            Not really, only 2,710-Liberty Ship’s were built. Out of those ~57.34% (or 1,554-ship’s) were lost to enemy action. Your probably think of the C-class, which resembles the Liberty class. 5,777-C classes were built during WW2, they range from C1 through C4…

        • James B.

          The Liberty Ships were’t “One Way” to be scrapped, they were built cheap because at the height of the U-Boat threat we didn’t think most would survive more than a couple trips. Luckily, we were wrong.

          • Secundius

            @ James B.

            Henry John Kaiser, was a GENIUS. A proposal was made to him too deliver War Fighting Goods, Civilian Good, and Raw Materials to Britain, Russia, and other places as Cheaply As Possible. He came up with the Liberty Ship. Which not only deliver the goods, but were the GOOD’S themselves…

          • Curtis Conway

            I read somewhere of the Liberty Ships that had hulls full of ping-pong balls. Damn near impossible to sink.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I don’t know about Ping-Pong Balls, but out of 2,710 built. ~1,550 sank, a 57.2% loss rate. Liberty Ship’s were the first ship’s to be mass produced on a assembly line, with exception being that the line never moved. Their four rotational worker shift’s per ship in the construction of the ship. The problem was, unlike conventional ships that fitted with bolts. Liberty Ship’s were Arc Welded to save time, and Liberty Ship’s were of a Modular Design and each piece was welded into place. At the time, Arc Welding was in it’s Infancy and checking for improper welds was nearly impossible. At least twelve ship’s sank because of faulty welds and cracking in the Keels and Hull Plating…

  • des111168

    Lots of people said “Just license the Absalon class” instead of the LCS. Absalons were half the cost and formed the basis of the Huitfeldts. Maybe it doesn’t matter anyway. Maybe by the time DoD and US military industry shipyards get their hands on it, the costs would spiral anyway.

    • old guy

      Great idea, but It does not fit the ASWIPE (American Shipyard Welfare intensive Program Effort)

    • Tired_Libertarian

      Yep. Feature creep will prevail. Start hanging things on it like it was a Christmas tree. Now it’s too slow and heavy…lets upgrade the engines…now it’s too small for the new engines…we can stretch it a little…Hey! We now have room for more STUFF! All the while the cash register is ringing.

      • Thomas Borgsmidt

        Feature creep? Not that likely – either you change the boxes or build a ship with more rackspace.

        As it is the integration is not working as imagined. Maybe you should use two ships instead of one and integrate on the comand level.

        • Tired_Libertarian

          Feature creep is already showing up as the SSC variant. I find it amazing that nobody thought that a permanent SSM mount should be placed onboard what is supposed to be a fighting warship. If it were to be used like an Avenger-class MCM or a coastal cutter is one thing but they were supposed to be the equivalent of other navies’ corvettes.
          The things that I have read on the mission modules support what you say about the integration not working as planned. I like the amount of space that the Indys provide but am leery about the aluminum structure and lack of excess payload weight.

    • Secundius

      @ des111168.

      Why, so we can go from a 3,000-ton LCS/FF class to a 6,600-ton LCS/FF class…

    • Secundius

      @ des111168.

      The $64,000-dollar question: WHY. what can a 7,275-ton LCS do, that a 3,000-ton LCS can’t do. Be a Bigger Target…

  • Curtis Conway

    With Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) parts made for many pieces of common and normal equipment (particularly computer parts with embedded processors), made by some mass manufacturer(s) who may turn into belligerents in the future, the possibility is available for nasty things to happen. The argument for COTS configurations for rapid upgrades can open the door for mischief. Rules must be followed, and vigilance is required. Otherwise we end up with Chinese displays in C-130s flying into combat.

    AND . . . have you noticed an LCS is not slated to join the Standing NATO Maritime Group-2 (SNMG-2) or go to the Black Sea! There are not enough mature hulls and combat systems of that variety available, you may say. So why are we sending them into the teeth of the Dragon in the South China Sea?

    • Unable Pown

      While the LCS has flaws, why send a lower tier vessel to lead a SNMG when a DDG or CG would be better suited and show greater commitment to our NATO allies

      • Curtis Conway

        The Aegis Cruiser in the US Fleet is the preferred Centerpiece of ANY surface action group. I would not want to send the LCS anywhere where it could be shot at even by accident. It would not survive any determined effort to sink her.

  • 2IDSGT

    All is not what it seems with the Absalon-class… Google
    “LCS VERSUS THE DANISH STRAWMAN” by STEVEN WILLS

    • Ctrot

      Depending on the source the cost of an Iver Huitfeldt is $325-$400 million. Even taking into consideration all the short comings listed in Mr Mills article and assuming that a fully armed and 100% new build Iver Huitfeldt would cost twice that amount ($650m-$800m) it would still be a better choice than LCS given the vastly greater offensive / defensive capability you would have. I would rather have 25-35 real frigates than 50 toothless LCS’s.

      • Lazarus

        The bottom line is that the US does not need a mid-range surface combatant. Name a capability requirement that such a ship fills. We have a very good DDG 51 fleet that largely obviates the need for a traditional frigate like the Iver Huitfeldt. We need low end ships for patrol, minehuting, and general show the flag ops that have been executed by the aged PC, MCM and now retiring FF (sans G) 7 class.

        My old boss RADM Gale is right; flexibility must come at the front end of a program. LCS, with its large mission bays has that potential. Iver Huitfeldt, by contrast, has slots that can be filled by various systems. It will always be a frigate, and not much beyond that. StanFlex is good for the Danish Navy, but it does not deploy full capability packages. It appears more a way for the Danish Navy to recycle legacy weapons like the 76mm gun on to new platforms.

        • Gordan Evans Van Hook

          The flexibility in the Danish frigates is far beyond STANFLEX, such as the huge margins in Space, Weight. Power and cooling of up to 50%, large equipment removal routes, installed removal rails, gantry cranes, vertical and horizontal access panels. These are the characteristics we need to be able to articulate up front in our design and we desperately need relevant cost models to justify these up front investments that will pay off in lower maintenance, repair and modernization throughout the lifecycle of the ship. I think that was the central takeaway from RADM Gale and others at this conference. LCS has a few of these features, but most would agree we fell short. We have time tto get it right in LX(R) and ultimately the Future Surface Combatant (FSC) cut it’s not too early to start figuring out the metrics and business case.

          • Lazarus

            Those are useful characteristics, I agree.

      • 2IDSGT

        So ya didn’t read the piece then. Shocking.

      • Thomas Borgsmidt

        The trick is really, that there are a lot of good weapons on US ships; but they can’t be modernised without breaking up the ship.
        The Harpoon f.i. is excellent; but why not have them build into a container, that can be hoisted on board and plugged in?

    • Secundius

      @ 2IDSGT.

      What? Other than the fact that the Absalon class is a Scaled-Up 6,600-tonne LCS…

      • 2IDSGT

        Ah, an ESL troll.

  • old guy

    HISTORY. In 1977 the designers in SEA 03R developed the SEAMOD concept and the DDX. The first was to be the long term replacement for the FFG, the latter was to be a near term destroyer. OP 37 put together a team of Naval officers to help with the DDX. They wanted so much stuff on it that SEA 003 was forced to dump the design and redo it as the DDM. This, eventually became the DDG51, Though it still had so many unintended system that helo handling had to be sacrificed for the first flight. SEAMOD concept was picked up to some extent by the Germans with the MEKO. USN completely rejected it until lesser people reinvented it, POORLY, with the LCS.”nuff said.

    • Steve Skubinna

      Actually the DDX was the 1960’s program that produced the Spruance. And those were more or less modular. Witness the addition of Harpoon and CIWS as they became available, and the eventual installation of the Mk 41 64 cell VLS forward for lots of Tomahawks.

      • old guy

        No. The Spruance(DDG-111) was a DDG 51class. I was SEA 003 and Roger Dilts was Design Manager for both DDX and DDM. I agree on the modularity. It is what led to SEAMOD.

        • Steve Skubinna

          I mean the DD-963 Spruances.

          • old guy

            Ha, HA. One man’s DD963 is another’s DDG111. Both great ships!

  • Steve Skubinna

    Actually I would, were I Emperor of the Navy, go up and down from the LCS. Build something like the Absalon class as LCS squadron or division flagships, and lots of something like the Visby for the close in work. The larger ship provides command and control, logistics and maintenance support, can operate the helos and ROVs, maybe even carry swappable modules for reconfiguring the LCS analogue on the fly, and has heavier guns and missiles to back up the little guys.

    One fallacy of the LCS is the “one size fits all” approach, which drives up size and cost. Another is the standard USN tendency to gold plate a design, and a third is the blue water fixation of the senior officers who really want sexy big platforms for cool command at sea billets. I don’t see any evidence that we’ve really examined what we actually want the LCS to do in the real world, other than look cool and go fast. And the recent decision to magically declare them “frigates” without them actually being able to fulfill the frigates’ roles is further evidence.

    • Tired_Libertarian

      The one size fits all approach worked great for the Arleigh Burkes. It would seem as since the idea was to have a platform that was supposed to be able to reconfigure to the mission nobody really decided what the mission should be. From what I’ve read the changing out of those easy to swap mission modules takes months to perform while the Danes can do theirs in days if not hours.

      • USNVO

        Not sure what you read, but it’s wrong. Changing LCS modules takes less than 3 days, just as originally planned. But, just like the Danes figured out with STANFLEX back in the 80s, changing the modules is the easy part. You have to get the modules where you need them (which may include a new helo), get the new crew where you need them (again may involve new pilots and air det), complete all the required safety checks (like certify your new pilots on the ship, conduct flight deck firefighting training, weapons loading training, launch and recovery training, etc), conduct required alignment checks for things like guns, test all the new gear, conduct training with “sea frame” crew, mission module crew, and aviation crew who, at worst, may not have trained together for 6 months (and the mission module and aviation crews have specific roles to play on the ship in places like damage control teams, weapons teams, etc). Then you are ready, sort of. This is exactly what the Danes figured out and why they never moved STANFLEX modules around. The crews trained for a single mission.

        LCS had it somewhat easier since the majority of the planned modules used off-board sensors, so the majority of the crew could get by without knowing much of what was going on off the ship, just how to launch and recover the systems. While that is still true for MIW, the ASuW and ASW modules will require a much greater integration of the core crew and mission crews which takes time to build.

        • Thomas Borgsmidt

          You haven’t grasped the concept: You tailor the crew to the mission. Actually Danish Naval ships have variable crew sizes according to mission.

          • USNVO

            Yes, but Danish crews come home after their deployments and retrain before going out again on a new mission with a reconfigured ship. LCS does the same thing forward, But in both cases, the ship itself is the easiest part of the equation and can be ready in days.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            No – you still don’t get it!

            The arctic crews are among the ship crews in the world with most days at sea.

            In fact the RDaNavy has for its officeres more seadays than any other navy. That they also have (or had) more days in command than others is due to the fact that the RDaNavy has (had) so many relatively small ships. Today some of them don’t even need a CO – the ships that is.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            No! They have retrained specialist join the ship.

            Actually the Huitfeldt only recently joined the Navy with the full complement and A fullish assortment of fittings. They only bring along what they need for the mission – be it men (women) and weapons.

            It is like NOT loading the ship with the wrong brand of beer for the deployment. Oh… You are an American, so You can’t get Your small head around that one either.

            And NO they don’t have the exact same helicopter on board on two consecutive deployments.

            Of the four Thetis-class three are underway and one is always in port and yard. Crew training or rather not there. Officers doing staff duty. You might have four CO’s in the fleet and three crews.

            Actually the Knud Rasmussen-class is an icebreaker. It does not break ice when there is no ice – simple as that.

            In the summer it breaks ice at Greenland (Icebreaking in the winter on Greenland – well we are not Russians that take a reactor big enough to break 3 meters of ice – You don’t sail there and then. Have You ANY idea how much noise an icebreaker makes – braking 3 meters of solid ICE??? That idiot is found quite quickly – it is not a stealthy approach.

            In the winter they might break ice in the Baltic (You see no ice in the summer! – One primitive way of finding out the seasons). Most years there is no ice and thus staff duty and training goes on. If there is ice – you collect the crew. Actually they know where the ice will probably be.
            Years ago the crews of the Icebreakers were serving on the ferries across the Great Belt – only in the winter time there were not as many ferries sailing as in the summer.
            The chairman of the Icebreaking Council was Chief Navigation Officer of Danish Rail! (Sorry, but not all the staff on Danish Rail drove locomotives – in fact very few of the engineers drive locomotives – one of the problems of Danish Rail – they don’t work enough!)

          • MikeKiloPapa

            “You are an American, so You can’t get Your small head around that one either”

            Easy now there sailor!!…Attack the argument, not the man.

            There is no need for insults, it will only serve to invalidate what else you have to say , even the good points.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            The problem is that USNVO is so stuck in the concept that he

            is banging his head against the same boom every time.

            Listen – I’m not disrespecting American firepower and resources – only pointing out, that they are not doing it the smartest and most economical way (measured in USD and blood).

            That the song the US is playing for a Nato political audience is perhaps a bit out of tune – right. The money (considerable sum) spend on f.i. the Zumvaldt-class was a waste.

            There is a need for development of a successor to the Burke-class and Perry-class. Why not look out of the porthole and see what the competition (not the enemy) is up to.
            Maybe – just maybe – the need is for something to take over both roles – depending on what you put in the rack.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            As for American arrogance – some of it merited, some of it not! I have seen videos of an american Stryker banging against the trees in an Estonian forrest – not much progress there.
            That is not the interesting part: The Estonians got their skies out and moved on.
            (Old Finnish tactics – smashed the Russian during the Winter War)

            I saw it with the USAF some thirty odd years ago, when we used primitive (and cheap) visual observation against low flying aircraft. Half an hour into the exercise the Yanks saw the enemy getting butchered and the USAF reaction was: “WHAT????”
            Maybe the alternative approach has some merit?
            They switched the (then brand new Eagle) to the attacking side, as it was not needed on the defending.
            I date the military defeat of the Soviet Union to that day!

            The point is not one-upmanship – it is economical use of the resources.

            Every succesfull military force have a tendency to fossilate. Take it as a wakeup call. Denmark just fired their entire general staff – fortunately the replacement was in hand.

            I’m just saying: Maybe some US Admirals are due for an early retirement.

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            No. Simple as that – you are wrong.

            You are hoisting the reconfiguration on board and bunking the crew down – downloading the software.

        • Tired_Libertarian

          The report came out of Defense News or Defense Weekly. It talked about the 30 to 60 day module swap duration. The report addressed these time targets as unrealistic for CONUS locations and completely untenable for OCUNUS ports. I think that the logistics of trying to move mission modules around the world will prove to be prohibitive and will make more sense to detach a LCS and have it sprint back to a US port.

          I have not read any reports that matches your less than 3 day statement nor have I read that that short of a duration was even a target.

          I am a little leery of the entire LCS program. It is great in concept but due to program leadership poor in execution.

        • MikeKiloPapa

          ” This is exactly what the Danes figured out and why they never moved STANFLEX modules around”

          I have seen this statement from several, usually american, commentators and i simply dont know the source of this claim….it certainly isn’t the Danish Navy. Because they would tell you that it is absolute rubbish!!

          From the beginning the Standard Flex 300 Flyvefisken class was envisioned to be divided into 2 different sub-versions….combat(AAW/ASW) and auxiliary (MCM/Survey and later anti-pollution) ….These 2 (3)sub classes or roles were never meant to be interchangeable , as witnessed by their different (fixed)sensor outfit , with the combat role vessels equipped with the TRS-3D16 and the rest with the older and considerably less capable AWS-6 Radar. In addition there was also some differences in propulsion setup.
          While the combat role ships (but not the aux roles) eventually ended up in more or less fixed roles, that certainly doesn’t mean that modules weren’t changed regularly. The StanFlex concept isn’t just about switching roles ….its equally about ease (and cost)of maintenance,repair and upgrade(of modules) and also about readiness.
          As for your points about training, alignment,checks etc .all that takes place regularly on dedicated vessels as well so is less of an issue than people make it out to be. .

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Precisely!

            USNVO’s gibberish about accounting standards – well, maybe his accounting is as cooked as a bankers book.

            In fact: The Huitfeldt-class is perhaps the most tested vessel – and tested under operational conditions. When f.i. mine warfare and mine eksplosions wasn’t tested – well then the vessel wasn’t used for that. But I haven’t heard of serious problems in that area being revealed. At the same time – Denmark has had a superb anti-aircraft frigate (pincing weapons that might have to be replaced at a later stage from what is already in store).

          • USNVO

            Well, since it doesn’t have the planned 5in gun and the mk41 wasn’t initially activated, and they didn’t have CIWS on delivery, it would be hard to say they are fully “tested”. They are good ships, no question about that, but please don’t try to claim they cost $325million. To recap,
            1. Does Denmark price the cost of weapons into their ships? No
            2. Does Denmark price the cost of government shipyard labor into their ships? No
            3. Does Denmark price R&D of new systems into their ships? Program office overhead? Combat Systems trials? Post shakedown availability? Crew per diem? Training on systems where training doesn’t exist yet? Yard of record services from a naval shipyard (yes, US Naval Shipyards charge their customers money although it is just moving money from one account to another)?
            By Denmarks accounting, the USN paid $680million for DDG114 (what BIW was paid) but that includes installation of all Weapons, radars, combat systems, communications gear, and other GFM which is installed by the shipyard since they deliver complete ships.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            Another possible reason the Absalon class were build so Cheaply, is. That Odense Steel Shipyard (now part of the A.P. Moller Group) are Commercial Shipbuilders and not known for producing Military Ship’s…

    • Secundius

      @ Steve Skubinna.

      I agree with you, the Visby would make a great addition to the Fleet. But the only way to get her, is to buy the Design Plan. And build her here, and the Buy Only American Congress, if they buy anything at all. Keep’s getting in the way.

  • Dan

    Is a Frigate even necessary? Wouldn’t up grading DDG’s consistently by using limited fund’s be more responsible? Case and point, although the Zumwalt carries gun’s, I am sure people would agree she is not a Battleship. Perhaps the Frigate itself is obsolete like some people believe the Battleship class is thought to be.

    • RobM1981

      I think the real question is at the other end: Is a cruiser really necessary? Other than capacity (more ammunition, more aircraft) there’s not much a CG can do that a DDG can’t. The Burke’s and Zumwalt’s are on hulls that are really large for what is traditionally considered a Destroyer. Burke’s displace in the 8,000 ton range; Zumwalt displaces over 13,000 tons… that’s more than a WWII Cleveland class light cruiser. It’s getting near a heavy cruiser’s displacement.

      The Zumwalt was, IMHO, wrongly classified. If the ship delivers on its claimed capabilities then it really is going to be a 21st century capital ship.

      • Secundius

        @ RobM1981.

        Not really, if you think about it. A typical WW2 Aircraft Carrier weighed 40,000-tons, a Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier tip’s the scale at 100,000-tons. A Fletcher class Destroyer weighed 2,500-tons, and Arleigh Burke at between 9,166 to 10,800-tons. It the difference in Perception and the Changing Times…

  • Pingback: Mark Collins – RCN’s Planned Canadian Surface Combatant: Maybe We Could Learn From Danes Too | The 3Ds Blog()

  • Secundius

    Yeah, good luck getting the US. Navy to admitting too that…

    • Thomas Borgsmidt

      We tried! We had a rear admiral seconded to the Nato Atlantic Command – if I know Danish sailors – he must have told a four star American what a demented bacteriabrain of a landlubber he was (and not being to polite about it).

      Oh, he was fired and send back to Denmark. The damage was done, not so much by the upbraiding – but by being RIGHT!

      To win the next war: Couldn’t You persuade the Japanese to bomb a few naval HQ’s???

    • Zephon

      It is not the USN that I worry about – it is our politicians that seem to want to put their hand into every decision ie: weapons systems, where they do not understand what we need, or what we can do. But base their decisions more on who helped them get into office.

      The USN has a glorious history of innovation. That has served us well in wars past.

      I expect this tradition to continue if we can get the politicians out of the way.

      • Secundius

        @ Zephon.

        Actually it was a Rhetorical Statement, I live just outside WDC. And I see the Congressional Action, or Inaction on virtually a Daily Basis…

  • RobM1981

    For a platform as important as the FFG, construction has to be in the USA, and the platforms used should be American.

    With that said, I believe that everyone who has been commenting here over the last six months (or more) has envisioned a US Frigate that is very similar to Absalon.

    Absalon isn’t unique. There are a lot of really good frigates out there.

    We just don’t happen to have one…

    • old guy

      I disagree. I was closely involved with the Spanish F81 (Santa Maria) class, built by Bazan shipyards. They are the FFG7 design, but are so beautifully built that they are a full knot faster than our FFGs. Incidentally, their 16,000 ton helo carrier, Principe de Esturias, is one of the best built ships that I have known. Its relatively small displacement belies its great capability. Check it out.

      • Secundius

        @ old guy.

        For the price of one-Ford class Large Carrier, you could build six to eight SCS-75 design Light Carrier’s. And have them deployed in just as many Trouble Spots. Small Maybe, Versatile DEFINITELY…

      • RobM1981

        How is it that you disagree? The Santa Maria might be a US design, but it is built in Spain to a modified plan. The SM displaces less, and is a bit beamier – customized to Spanish needs, I’m sure. It also carries EU weapons where possible, but most of the systems are US… then again, there really weren’t Spanish counterparts at the time.

        The SM is a great ship for its day, and is still very useful, but I believe an Absalon (for example) is more capable. Given that it’s something like 30 years more modern, it should be 🙂

        • old guy

          Stop with the Wikipedia stuff. I had the Spanish ship support program from 1982 to 1988. The waterline beam was identical. The full load displacement was identical. The length was identical, except when we added a bustle to accommodate the SQR-19 tail. Ask ADM Pete Heckman. If you go under the F81 you’ll find my initials welded by the keel.

          • RobM1981

            I didn’t wiki, but of course I did have to look it up. What would make you think anyone other than you and a handful of other people know or care that much about the Santa Maria? I used the USNI’s Combat Fleets of the World, 1995. That’s a pretty reputable source, and it says that the SM is an OHP-class ship, built in Spain, using the longer hull length of the later OHP’s and a foot beamier.

            Is it wrong? I don’t actually care.

            My point, which you still seem to support, is that Spain built the ship. They didn’t buy the hull; they built it from the keel up. They acquired, retained, and maintain that capability and they outfitted the ship with as much native-technology as they could… but that’s not much.

            What is your point, vis’a’vis this? Are you saying that you shouldn’t have welded your name to the keel, but should have allowed someone in Newport News the same honor?

            Re: the Esturias… OK, and so? It’s a gator carrier. Helo/VSTOL. Nobody is saying that the USN needs better hulls in that regard.

            But if we are talking about Spain, remember this: it’s economic melt-down has left it with an old navy. Well maintained, perhaps, but we are still talking about 25 year old (and older) hulls.

          • Dan

            We here in the U.S. have many ship at or reaching 30 year’s of age, that’s why we modernize. Keep in mind the first batch of Tico’s, all being removed and layed up, oviously all being none VLS at extreamly young age’s considered obsolete. Nimitz, getting older so true, still as effective today as when she was built, consider Enterprise-she was pushed to the very end at age 52. I wouldn’t want to face a claimed obsolete Iowa at no point even at the age of 70 and I assure you, the Iowa’s are not afraid of you at 70 neither. Point, doing more with less seems to be the message.

          • RobM1981

            You know, I had that in mind when I wrote it – but there are some important caveats to keep in mind. The OHP’s weren’t built with a lot of future-proofing in mind. They’re Frigates… I don’t want to consider them disposable, but they certainly are at the low end of “strategic asset.”

            I seem to remember that they had capacity for up-arming… something about another 5″ mount, or something like that. But I don’t believe they ever could justify replacing the Mk13 with any kind of VLS, could they? <-too lazy to look it up.

            As of the last few years, did they have any kind of serious SAM capability? I don't think they did, but I could be wrong.

            The big hulls definitely have more flexibility, and age-proofing. And the DDG1000 have so much surplus power… it's good to see that kind of future-proofing built in.

            It would be nice to see a 4,000 ton hull with a lot lower radar/sonar profile, a good balance of sensors and VLS, a gun – even if just for SSM defense, and plenty of surplus power.

            You can feel beam weapons coming… we need to be ready for that.

          • Dan

            Agreed, building DDG’s for future armament is a great idea, can you say railgun, will replace one of the 155 MM. The Perry’s had no air defence since about 2003 except CIWS oviously and MK13 removed for VLS(yes) none cost effective apparently however. ASW was horrible and completely ineffective. Taiwan has our ex Perry’s armed quiet impressively, we just didn’t want to, sad.

          • old guy

            If you followed a thread here a while ago, you know that we (SEA 03R), developed an Electro-Thermal-Chemical (ETC) gun with DOE in the 70s that had much lower electrical needs, with equal performance than the Rail (all electric( gun. The “RAIL” concept was relegated to a catapult project, (which it is much better suited for) and moved to Lakehurst, NJ. We rapid fired the gun. It was great and could have been fitted to a DD963 or DDG51, both of which had sufficient power, without refit. The project ended when an UNSAVVY admiral convinced ASN that this “railgun” was better. SOOO, here we are, 40 years later with a PRE prototype BAE demonstrater with lots of unsubstantiated claims.

          • Dan

            I did know about ETC, if memory didn’t fail me-I thought that was a possible tank weapon. What do you think about this next thought/ do you believe in a article in 21st Century Battleship, a 16″ gun could reportedly fire a modified round 460-500 miles and if this is a believable thought why is this weapon system not currently deployed?

          • Secundius

            @ Dan.

            I don’t see how, the lightest 16-inch shell weighs ~1,900-pounds. The only to achieve this is to reduce the shell’s weight too under 100-pounds, if your using a 50-caliber 16-inch barrel…

          • Dan

            You are correct on a similar weight prediction, as I said-a modified round would clearly needed.

          • Secundius

            @ Dan.

            My weight estimate was closer to about 89-pounds, I used 100-pounds as a baseline guesstimate…

          • Dan

            89-100, as I said, similar. The size of the round wasn’t the issue, 460-500 mile range that was reported was the issue.

          • old guy

            The repeat fire gun was a small caliber, but was only a demonstrator. The objective was to convert existing 5″54 guns to Plasma shooters, which would have a range about the same as a 16″ gun (approximately 23 miles). With a RAP round we could get ~ 50 miles, but our trade offs then indicated that guided missiles would be preferable, for precision. That is about as far as we got when the screwballs intervened. Lots of things have changed since then, but it is still a very viable approach.

          • old guy

            SORRY, I DIDN’T MEAN TO BE INSULTING, ONLY HUMOROUS. The Spanish are truly in trouble due to an economy crushing socialist government. Juan Carlos, tried valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to bring Spain out of its languor. I hope his son can do better. It is still a solid ally and the southern patrol tip of NATO.
            Incidentally, (WAR STORY). I was aboard the Numancia on a sonar test of the SQR19, when a Guppy class sub, with full quieting, surfaced not 10 miles away and invited our Captain to lunch. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

          • RobM1981

            You sound like a very cool man to have a drink with… 🙂

          • old guy

            I am an aeronautical engnr, by birth. I have been on the Titan, Gemini, Apollo, and P6M programs.I was the Navy’s Director,. Science and Technology programs, I was NAVSEA 003, 03R and Dir. Spanish Ship Support program.
            In an earlier life (1951) I assisted in the original Auto Seat Belt work at Cornell Aero Lab. I ran my own advanced mfg Technology Co. specializing in Electron Beam welding.
            I was fired by Lehman because he wanted my design money to put armored box launchers on his battleships, DUMB.
            I did lots more and had more fun in my career than anyone should be entitled to. I am 87+, a WW2 vet and still do some consulting, mostly in UAVs. I consulted, most recently on NAVAIR’s Sea Scout UAV. Howzabout you?

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            I alway’s thought that the Seat Belt, was introduced by the Swede’s. Learning something nee everyday, Ohhh Well…

          • old guy

            Seat belts for autos were developed by Edward Dye of Cornell Aero Lab ( now CALSPAN). As a young engineer, I assisted in the 1951 report, “Use of Aircraft Seatbelts in Automobiles To Reduce Trauma”
            The Swedes ONLY did the 3 point belt, much later, but took credit for all. Incidentally, EVERY auto safety device (Unibdy, air bags, progressive crush, interlocking door locks, sealed beam headlights, crash dashes, no hood ornaments and many more,) were ALL developed in the good, old USA. Note All Mercedes in the 60s had to have US safety features added to be sold here.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            My parents owned a French made SIMCA in Indonesia in the late 50’s which had Seat Belts because of the Virtually Non-Existed Road System their. I didn’t see my first American Made car with Seat Belts until 1967. A Pontiac Catalina…

          • old guy

            The first DYE belts were manufactured by Hickok belt Co. The design had the belts threaded into Al L-beam, bolted to the seats, which, in turn was cabled to the chassis. The seats were only hastened to the floor with sheet metal screws. The set-up was good for a 15 G crash. I doubt if the belts in the Simca were really secure, but I don’t know. Hickok used to send me a dozen sets a month, which my scout troop and I would install in anyones car, gratis. When Ed tried to convince GM to put them in their V.P. told him that he told his kids to brace against the dash if there was to be a crash. The first factory installed bels were in the Nash. The people hated them and had the dealers cut them out.

          • old guy

            BOY, are we off-topic.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Ohhh Yeah, that’s the way it usually goes on these websites. Doesn’t it…

    • Thomas Borgsmidt

      Why build ships in the USA when any odd yard in the world can slap them together at 1/3 the cost?

      • RobM1981

        This is one of the few – maybe the only – field where I believe the capability has to be retained nationally. Strategic assets, and an FFG is about where that line is drawn, should be domestically built, repaired, maintained, and armed. All electronics should be US design and manufacture, etc.

        I can’t think of any scenarios where a drawn out naval war would happen, but that’s the thing: it’s the ones that you can’t think of that you have to be ready for.

        Just my opinion, but I’d vote it if I got the chance.

        • Thomas Borgsmidt

          That is precisely my point! When the US builds badly and expensively they undermine their own strategic position. The point is that a Danish frigate can be build and OPERATED at a third of the price of an American. Then – why should other Nato countries pay for the US overcharging their taxpayers. That is the essense of complaint the US has against the other Nato members: Do as we do: Be stupid!

          Having said that: There are lots of examples that the Europeans could be smarter and more efficient in the defense field. The A400M Atlas to mention just an example – a transport plane that has either range or load capability; but never simultaneously. It has greater speed, where it is not needed and is slow where speed matters.

          The point about being allies is putting brains together not banging heads. The USNavy could benefit enormeously from inspiration – nothing hinders the US in throwing a few fogey admirals overboard and producing cheaper and better! Similarly in aircraft: Why let incompetent generals specify lemons that an European industry produces – serving no strategic purpose.

          The war against the Russians is a battle of brains – let the Russians ruin themselves in idiotic projects we litterarely shoot out of the sky and have fleets rusting in ports as they are not seaworthy. The Russians are very much their own worst enemy – lets keep it that way: Whenever Putler comes up with one of his “brilliant” schemes – nothing is so disheartning as a small demonstration: “Oh, we thought of that possibility – a loooong time ago – and just waited for You to jump into that particular sewer!”

          • Secundius

            @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

            The reason that Denmark can operate it’s navy so cheaply, after the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807. Both the Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of Norway, decided to go from a Blue-Water Navy too a Brown-Water Navy with some Green-Water Naval assets. The only truly Blue-Water Navy Denmark has, is it’s Merchant Marine Fleet…

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            Yes and no! Up to WW1 there was the Virgin Islands and all the time there has been the Arctic. The trick for the US is that Denmark can sail where they can’t. Carriers and battleships have been tried in the Baltic – with pathetic results. But as such blue water operations have never been entirely relinquished.

            There are arguments for calling Maersk a Danish-American shipping company.

          • MikeKiloPapa

            Aaahh….so having 2 warships deployed permanently on station in the north atlantic and greenland + having had one or more vessels on operation in the mediterranean and indian ocean since 2008 does not count as being blue water ?

            Honestly …i think most people on here doesn’t have a frigging clue on the current danish navy.

      • Secundius

        @ Thomas Borgsmidt.

        Because the “Jones Act” of 1920, prevents the US. Government and the US. Navy from doing just that…

      • USNVO

        But they can’t. By the standards of accounting the Danes use, a DDG-51 costs around $500 million. The USN likes its ships to be delivered with weapons, watertight doors, and other stuff. The Danes seem to be good having these installed later. Pay me now or pay me later.

        • MikeKiloPapa

          Yeah riight!…actually …while i agree that danish accounting practices is at best opaque, at worst deliberately obfuscating, …the fact that you trot out the Arleigh Burke as a comparison is quite funny considering that even after a +60 production run, they still come in at close to 2 billion a pop. Only an american would consider that good value for money.
          Even if we add all the hidden cost to the Iver Huitfeldts AND add the planned BMD upgrade with a 2000km AESA radar , you’re still not above $650 million per vessel.
          Now i realise that an AB is a much bigger warship, has more VLS cells and is in some ways a more capable surface combatant……but it isnt 3 times as good as an IH …not by a long shot.

          • USNVO

            Well, DDG 114 was contracted to BIW for $680million. You are welcome to look up the contract. The balance of the cost is GFM, crew out of area expenses (a few hundred people on per dime really pile on the expenses), payments to the Yard of Record for drawings, etc (Naval shipyards are paid by the customer). Since the USN installs all weapons and GFM at the Yard, this is somewhat inflated over Danish practice since they install all weapons and military communications equipment, etc only after the ship is delivered to the Government yard where through the magic of fairy dust, everything is free! Also, since the USN ship has significantly more communications equipment as well as 3 times the VLS cells, the portion that would be subtracted from the $680million would be significant if the USN accounted for ships the Danish way. So yeah, $500million if you want to hide costs. Shoot, this is exactly what the USN did when the “overhauled” Civil War monitors in the 1870s and 80s. And only the first two came in at $2 Billion since they had to restart production. For instance, just the difference between construction costs on DDG113 and DDG114 was over $100million. Again, even if you use the laughable figure of $700million per ship for the Danish costs a $1500million DDG with superior capabilities is not so bad. And, all of the new DDGs are delivered with. The latest and greatest missile defense capability in addition to Tomahawk land attack capability, SM-6 capability, etc.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            Actually $697.6-Million USD., and she’s a Flight IIA. And only 32 were built…

          • USNVO

            You are correct, my bad. I quoted DDG115 costs which went to BIW, the low bidder, for just under $680million, DDG114 went to HII and cost more like $700 million.

          • Secundius

            @ USNVO.

            One of the Ironic thing’s I’ve notice, and am a little suprised that nobody else caught is StanFlex is a Modular Container System and Maersk is a Container Shipping Company. Solely owned by the A.P. Moller Group which Built the Abalson class Frigate…

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  • Secundius

    Yeah, that’s probably the reason the Dane’s only built TWO ship’s. A 6,600-tonne LCS class…

    • Steve Skubinna

      Or it could be because they’re… Danes. Small nation, small navy. No real global commitments although they have participated in antipiracy ops in the hOA.

      • We actually built 3, and sent 1 of them pirate hunting in the aden bay.

        • Guest

          Counting the Absalon-class: 5.
          Then there are the semi-icebreakers of the Thetis-class of 4.

          But Haasum: You are right! If the Polar region, the Baltics and the Arabian Gulf isn’t a global commitment – I do know what the globe is?

          • Thomas Borgsmidt

            I’ll let You into a secret!
            The trick about protecting the Atlantic is in the defensive line Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, Fairisles and the Shetlands to Norway. Having been alerted by the passage between Greenland and Svalbard and between Svalbard and Norway – some communist idiots are in for a very cold death.

        • Thomas Borgsmidt

          Counting the Absalon-class too : 5

          The Thetis-arctic frigates adds another 4.

          But You are right! If the Arctic, the Baltics, the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic is not global? Then I do not know what global means!

        • Thomas Borgsmidt

          Again: How long will it take a Polish shipyard to slap such a hull together, should the need arise?

    • Thomas Borgsmidt

      That is not correct. The Huitfeldt has been delivered after thorough testing. The trick is: They are quickly build.

  • airider

    If the U.S. Navy is serious about emulating the Danes, they can throw out the MIL-STD’s and other military requirements that were paid for in blood and just buy commercial.

    That’s how you accomplish what the Danes did. There is no secret to this. There is no special sauce. Just leadership following “shiny objects” thinking they’re better but who don’t know what they are talking about.

    • MikeKiloPapa

      “If the U.S. Navy is serious about emulating the Danes, they can throw out the MIL-STD’s”

      No they can’t!…contary to popular belief all Danish naval vessels, including Iver huitfeldt and Absalon, is built to full MIL-STD.

      “That’s how you accomplish what the Danes did.”….No it isn’t!….An efficient shipyard(compared to naval yards), cheap eastern european labour, lots of MOTS components, conventional design and accepting 95% solutions,, heavy reuse of existing equipment and a bit of creative accounting will do the trick…no special sauce needed.

      And anybody who believes you can actually get an Iver Huitfeldt for $330M …well then i have a bridge to sell you ;-)……however a more realistic 550 million dollars for a fully armed and equipped frigate is still cheap.

      • Thomas Borgsmidt

        Yes, You’ll have to do some tinkering. But then again – what do you have the greasemonkeys in the engine room for?

  • Thomas Borgsmidt

    The problem is not only the ships in themselves – it is that they have considerably lower manning – that is again flexible considering the what is needed.

    I think they are more of a successor to the Arleigh Burke class – fine ships that they are. If you can tailor the armament to the role and afford and man more ships.

    Another thing for the open seas is that if you can afford the double number of ships, you can put out the protective screan to double the distance from the carrier.

    • Curtis Conway

      And the LCS is not going to do that. Oh . . .they will ask it to.

  • Rob C.

    StanFlex system was great idea. If the US Navy goes ahead actually makes a completely new design. they should pursue trying use the StanFlex verse whatever mess their using for the LCS. Grant you, part problem is funding the modules.

    LCS tried to duplicate this, but whever system they’re using isn’t working out and leadership doesn’t have patience to let mature. LCS is victim of feature creep, but also a design not meant to be doing missions its under taking. LCS wasn’t suppose to be frontline ship! It’s a support ship. The true Frigate size ship wasn’t built, thus the problem why they can’t fit anything into the ship.

    • Thomas Borgsmidt

      Precisely!

      But really the Absalon-class is a minelayer. I did attract some attention from the Russian Navy, as a rear admiral entered to the Peter and Paul fortress in Sct. Petersburg – not entirely fitted out yet; but with the earthly remains of the zarina (not the one shot! They have spares.) – had returned to Denmark when Russians started a revolution.

      Just imagine: Entering into the main Russian naval port on the biggest bloody minelayer the world has seen.

      • MikeKiloPapa

        “But really the Absalon-class is a minelayer”

        …Ehh…are you on drugs ?….yes it has the capability to store up to 300 mines on the flex deck and deploy them, but not very efficiently.
        Of the Absalons many roles and attributes , minelaying is probably the least of them.

        • Thomas Borgsmidt

          Minelaying the least of the jobs? Well, that is what we told the Russians….. to do serious minelaying you need ferries. Some of them are still at hand. The Dronning Ingrid-class rail ferries are still in service. Besides what minelaying is needed in the Baltic?
          There are a lot of mines already in place – left over from two world wars. Just need a bit of supplement.

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  • Secundius

    FYI.

    Susumu Tanaka of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Line (a Ro-Ro Shipping Co.), pleads guilty and get 15-months in Federal Prison for violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890…

  • Ed L

    I still like the ROKN Incheon Frigate at 374 ft it is a bit smaller than the Perry class but the layout is better. 5 inch forward, Phalanx, a RAM block 1 launcher, 2 3x tropedoes, 4 harpoon type missles, flight deck for a Seahawk. America could mass produce them, sell them to Centam navies, Have them work in squadrons of 6 ships. If more CC whatever level it is at now a support ship carrying the FLAG but back away from the action. I would build a 108 for the U. S. Navy. Six per Carrier group and the rest for independent operations. But what really scares me is that almost all a Marine Expeditionary Force is stuff on 3 ships and one of those is carrying the majority of the Marines. Example fiction of course: Red Storm Rising USS Sapian get blow up with all hands lost.

    • Secundius

      @ Ed L.

      One Sticking Point, the “Jones Act” of 1920. Which prevents the US. Government and the US. Navy from buy Ship’s Directly or from Representatives representing a Foreign Governments.

      • Ed L

        I was thinking along the line of America buying the license to build the hulls here. The ROK’s get enough of our money as it is. or scrap the Jones Act

        • Secundius

          @ Ed L.

          Congress has been toying with the idea of modifing the Jone Act for at least the last 20-years, so far Nothing. Something about there Buy American Mindset. The is a Loophole in the Act though. We can either purchase the plans and build locally in the States. The other have the Air Force or Army by the Ship’s directly, there exempted in the Act. Example US. Army Corps of Engineers, have been buy from foreign governments for decades. But, honestly I don’t see it happening under any reason. “Pride Goeth Before the Fall”…

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    3 days to change an LCS module out? That is a long time. Trying to do too much with one platform. KIS not applied. Like the Military up or out policy. Not many still alive remember Enlisted with 20 years and still a 2nd or 3rd class. Those guys were experts in there rates. The Best Helmsman I ever saw was a Seaman who retired with 20 years.

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