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Document: Naval Sea Systems Command Next-Generation Frigate Briefing

The following are the Naval Sea Systems Command Jan. 9, 2017 briefing slides on the status of the Navy’s next-generation frigate competition.

  • Duane

    Well, this slide show answers a lot of questions and speculation and arguments posted in the comments thread here at USNI the other day on the FFG(X), as to sensors, weapons, etc. This is pretty explicit in naming systems.

    • ShermansWar

      it’s all the exact same stuff that’s in the RFI. only difference is this specifically calls for VLS

      • NEC338x

        Yes, but with color!

        • ShermansWar

          lol

      • Duane

        Yup – but most of the commenters here have never read the RFI, and are still speculating that the FFG(X) will have or do this or have or do that, contrary to what is contained in the RFI.

        Even in the RFI, the Navy said they wanted VLS, they just did not specify how many and what roles the VLS would perform. In the presentation this week, the Navy clarified that they want 16-32 full length Mk 41 VLS capable of handling any missile now fired in other USN VLS, meaning, they want it for TLAMs, SM series, ASROC, and ESSM. And the Navy clarified that they definitely want an area air defense capability which they said in the RFI was on their wish list, but not required. Now the Navy says that the area air defense, though short of full AEGIS, is actually a requirement.

        • ShermansWar

          You’re the one ranting about newfound clarity and how this supports your previous arguments when it does not.

          • Duane

            I’m not ranting. and I made it plain that the clarity is to those commenters in this thread who are still arguing over decisions already made long ago, including you. You’re still arguing that FFG(X) doesn’t have any ASW weapons, and you could not possibly be more wrong. I’ve corrected you multiple times in this thread and you still don’t accept it. Others here are arguing and recommending that the Navy use the 76 mm gun – sorry, no, that decision was made many months ago to specify the Mk 110 57mm gun as GFE. Etc. etc.

            The clarity comes from reading the darned slides. It’s in black and white. Read it and accept.

          • ShermansWar

            Have or doesn’t have isn’t the issue. None are SPecc’d. Do you understand the difference between it being feasible to carry a thing and being configued for it and contract bound? you don’t seem to and are convinced these benevolent contractor fellows will just be giving things away. Not to mention, yet again, NOWHERE does it mention ASW ATTACK< only detection. That's a significant fact you overlook.

            You're aware half of Europe has tactical length VLS silos to launch ESSM that can fit SM-2, but can't fire them because they aren't configured, yes? You do understand that involves additional expense, yes? You understand ASW weapons are neither requested or required, yes? I mean, they didn't even ask for them. Your assumption the weapons fairy will leave them under your pillow if you are a good boy is misplaced, sir.

          • Duane

            It is specified to deploy the MH/60R for ASW operations – that specifically incorporates ASW weapons in the form of lightweight torpedos, as well as the related gear (sonobuoys, periscope detection, integration with the ship’s ASW fire control system, etc.) The Navy admiral specifically stated that this week. The same admiral states specifically that the FFG(X) VLS MUST DEPLOY ALL WEAPONS CURRENTLY DEPLOYED ON EXISTING VLS. That all inclusive statement specifically includes ASROC.

          • ShermansWar

            Show me. I don’t believe you.

          • Duane

            Read the slide show, dude, and the comments in this post and in a slew of other posts on the national defense websites that reported on the SNA slideshow and the commentary provided by the admirals making the presentation.. Do I have to read it and paste it here for you to read, instead of, you know, reading the post that you’re commenting on?

            SMH

        • ShermansWar

          No they did NOT say they want VLS in the RFI. You just make stuff up.

          They said they wanted a self defense launcher for ESSM, and POSSIBLY other weapons. they didn’t say VLS. At that time they were open to other launch suggestions, none were forthcoming.

          • Duane

            The Navy stated in the RFI last year that they wanted VLS, but it was not a requirement – there is no such thing as a “requirement” in an RFI anyway. An RFI is a “request for information” – as such it cannot impose requirements. The RFI is meaningless now, the Navy has gone far beyond the RFI, with an actual RFP(“request for proposals” – which can and DO state”requirements”) that they described this week in the SuW association meeting, the topic of which we are commenting on here. The Navy specifically stated that a minimum of 16 cells, up to 32 cells VLS.

            You’re just being obtuse and argumentative to no purpose. I’m done responding to your pointless points.

    • DaSaint

      Agreed. But nothing really new here that we haven’t seen before. I think the decision to have 8-16 SSMs and 16-32 VLS cells as posted in another article, helps to round out the vision for this FFG.
      I do hope that the propulsion system is flexible enough for more than just propulsion. CODLAG or a hybrid-electric system must be a requirement for a vessel destined to be around for possibly 40 years. Otherwise we’re taking a step back in propulsive technology.

      I also make note of the explicit reference (again) of Parent Design – “..been through production and demonstrated (full scale) at sea.” That virtually rules out my Type 26 favorite…unless the RN can put one in the water before 2020, which is NOT happening. IMO, that leaves FREMM, Navantia’s F-100/F-105, the Danish Stanflex FFG, Dutch De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates as likely candidates, plus of course, variants of the Independence and Freedom-class LCS and variants of the National Security Cutter.

      With 5 to 6 design contracts to be issued, my bet is 3 US and 3 European.

      • Duane

        Yes, but it goes beyond even the other European designs. While they may be in production now, or recently, they have NEVER been in production in a US shipyard. People tend to think that moving production to a different yard is no big deal … it’s a HUGE deal, especially when moving from a foreign yard to a US yard. You essentially have to build a brand new production line from scratch, once the production contract is inked. New facilities, new workers that have to be trained (sorry – there won’t be allowed any mass migration of European yard workers to the USA), and new mostly domestic US suppliers who have to be evaluated, selected, contracted, trained, and integrated into the operation. That is a minimum 5 year operation, at least. The Navy does not have that much time – they want the first ship delivered a little over 5 years after contract award, and 19 more delivered in short order.

        So again, that is why both LM-Fincanteri and Austal-GD have humongous advantages over any competitive foreign builder. They’ve already invested in, designed, built, put into operation, and fine-tuned their production operation, with highly trained workers, with thoroughly integrated supply chains, right here right now, they can literally start building ships at a high rate of speed and quality starting day 1 after the production contract is inked.

        • DaSaint

          Same applies to Ingalls. You’re absolutely correct

          But keep in mind that the USCG’s Fast Response Cutter is a Damen parent craft design, built by Bollinger, and the new USCG OPC is a Vard parent craft design, modified for the USCG, and it will be built by Eastern. The OPC will start construction in 2020, essentially 3 years after award.

          The FFG contract won’t be awarded until 2020, and first vessel isn’t expected delivered until 2025. Similar overall timeframe to the OPC process.

          Point is, of they want a foreign parent design, it isn’t rocket science to do it, considering the timeframe allowances. And, some of your favorite yards may build it.

          • Duane

            Except that Ingalls isn’t building anything remotely like FFG(X) now. They would have a head start over a foreign yard, yes, but they will still be far behind LM-Fincanteri or Austal-GD, by at least a couple of years or more.

            You can’t use the OPC class cutter as a go by – it’s a cutter, not a warship. The original contract to Bollinger was awarded four years ago (February 2014) and the first ship will not be delivered (if it goes as planned) until 2021 – a seven year production cycle, already two years longer than the FFG(X), yet this vessel completely lacks ASW, or VLS or air and surface search/fire control systems, all of which make it a much more complicated vessel to design and build – add another 2 to 3 years more to the schedule – now we’re talking 10 years to delivery of the first ship … which precisely proves my point.

            A foreign designed ship, translated to a US shipyard, is going to require at least 8 to 10 years to deliver the first ship. The only ones who can deliver a first ship in 2015 with a reliable cost structure are the two LCS builders. Nobody else, foreign or domestic, can come close.

          • DaSaint

            Conflated some info there buddy. Bollinger has been building the FRC for years.

            Eastern is building the OPC. Contract issued 2016, construction starts August this year. Delivery due 2021. Some of my dates were off too.

            And no, the OPC isn’t a warship.

          • ShermansWar

            BIW with a Navantia design would have no issue building these.They have facilities looking for the work, facilities used to build bigger ships than these

          • Duane

            Not the same. They haven’t built a single Navantia design ship, ever. They’d be starting from scratch, the two LCS builders are years ahead of them, existing manufacturing lines building nearly the same ship. First in class will therefore come much faster and much cheaper, no learning curve on 80% of the ship. For BIW, it would be a 100% learning curve. That costs hundreds of millions and years of time to pay for.

      • ShermansWar

        ” I think the decision to have 8-16 SSMs and 16-32 VLS cells as posted in another article, helps to round out the vision for this FFG.”

        That’s the main difference, if you can call it that, and the biggest reason to hope they won’t settle for a glorified LCS.

        • DaSaint

          Google Naval Surface Warfare Association. There are 3 videos, all of which show some of the entrants for the FFG(X). Very informative! Even the Freedom class is much changed, as is the Independence class. Didn’t realize that TKMS submitted a MEKO 200-derived version.

          • ShermansWar

            Can’t find anything on it…

          • DaSaint

            Google SNA 2018 Day 1 and look for videos

          • ShermansWar

            got it, thanks.

          • ShermansWar

            Thank you, a lot of info in those videos, answered a lot of questions.

            Interesting that although not the highest number of VLS cells, the Austal entrant is the most heavily armed otherwise, with 16 SSMs and 16 Strike length cells.

            Also first time i got a good look and the Hellfire launchers., and i got a tiny peak at what the Navantia entrant will look like, at least as far as the mast goes.

            Both Austal and lockheed are way ahead on their designs than the other competitors, probably because theirs can be tweaked the least. They can’t do much about structure or engines, At the end of the day they are bulders, whereas all the other entrants are ship designers.

            I predict the US based companies take an early lead, then at least 2 out of 3 fall by the wayside. Interestingly HII doesn’t want to say anything to anyone about it’s entry.

          • DaSaint

            I was a bit surprised at the Lockheed configuration. The Austal design still has the perceived vulnerability of an all-aluminum design.

            Was very surprised at the fact that there was a Meko 200 submission. Didn’t expect that.

            The FREMM design clearly wasn’t ready, but they were touting their Marinette yard – playing politics. Have to tip my cap on that move. Basically saying we’ve invested so it can do more than LCS…select us and keep it going.

            But by all counts that’s only six: Lockheed, Austal, Ingalls, Navantia, TKMS, and Fincanteri. Need to figure out 2 more. Probably the Danes with their Stanflex, amd the Dutch, with their de Zeven Provincen class. But I’d be really surprised if BAE really didn’t submit the Type 26, irrespective of the requirements.

    • ShermansWar

      These are the same requirements as were posted in the RFI in July. none of this is news, beyond the concrete requirement for VLS, whereas in the RFI it said ESSM and possibly SM-2 without specifying the system. These were released just 10th and the only modification is for VLS as opposed to an undefined self defense launcher for ESSM and SM-2. You pretend to know what’s going on, so why with me posting this, even in the previous thread, are you pretending there is new information here???? There is not. You show me something here, and I will show it to you in the July 19th RFI, every jot and tittle specified exactly the same. None of this is new.

      Oh, and it still doesn’t spec any ASW weapons.

      • Duane

        You’re arguing over nothing. My comment had exactly zero to do with the RFI from half a year ago. My comment had precisely to do with what the Navy now says, in black and white, decisions made, specs written. Read it and weep.

        • ShermansWar

          And it still says zero about ASW weapons, Zero. What you mistakenly imply from that notwithstanding.

          • Duane

            MH-60 R is a Mk 54 platform, it IS the weapon. And the Navy Admiral interviewed this week at the association meeting where this slideshow was presented specifically stated that the FFG)X must deploy ALL weapons currently deployed in existing VLS which specifically includes ASROC. There is no implication – it is fact. You’re trying to argue the equivalent that because the Navy didn’t state specifically that the FFG)X must be painted gray, that therefore it will NOT be painted gray.

          • ShermansWar

            A ship isn’t a Helo. As far as deploying all weapons fired by VLS on the FFG(X), I don’t believe you. Show me.

          • Duane

            A ship is not just the hull. A ship is the hull plus all the weapons and aircraft and auxiliary vessels and boats that it deploys. Everyone knows that. You’re just trying to be obtuse.

            Read the interview with the admiral that stated exactly that.

  • Ed L

    interesting a combat frigate that will need to go up against shore installations and patrol craft, frigates and destroyers with 6 pound cannon (57mm) Now I can see a 127mm (for the 127mm develop a shotgun round similar to the Abrams 120mm which has a range over the ground of about 700 meters) as main gun and a 57mm as secondary armament. The SSMM hellfire longbow, searam, VLS. guess the ASW weapons will be on the helo or drones.

    • Duane

      For land attack use TLAMs, that’s what they’re for. They’re vastly more lethal and have vastly greater range than any naval gun in use today. Ditto for using ASCM in SuW against peer warships. That’s what the ASCMs are for, and they have vastly greater lethality and vastly greater range and vastly greater accuracy than any naval gun in use today.

      For small craft the 57mm gun is much superior to any larger naval gun. Vastly higher rate of fire, precision guided munitions, vastly higher number of rounds in the mount not requiring reloads. It’s range is plenty – 10 nm, far longer than an Abrams or any tank gun – tank guns are not optimized for range because they are ballistically aimed at targets that are obscured by terrain and vegetation, which are not issues for naval guns.

      Yes, the ASW weaps are on the Helos, but they are also in the VLS (ASROC). Torpedo tubes are old tech that just isn’t that useful anymore because air-launched torpedoes cover far greater range at much higher speeds. If the Navy wanted to mount a lightweight torpedo launcher on the deck of the FFG(X) they certainly have room to do it, but they don’t need it.

    • ShermansWar

      You found a land attack requirement? Please cite it, sir.

      • No land attack requirement = virtually useless in every military operation America has conducted for the past 35 years.

        However, I’m betting those VLS cells will be carrying TLAM most of the time.

        • ShermansWar

          They would have to adapt a design with strike length cells. that would rule out the US candidates off the bat, just saying. That’s actually why i want Navantia.

          To be clear, gentleman, I would love for this ship to have ASW WEAPONS, strike length cells, and a 40 year life expectancy. But i’d rather it had at least 32 cells FIRST.

          a 16 cell design isn’t going to carry ASROC, and they certainly wouldn’t be strike length. 32 cells right away gives it the ability to slip a few ASROCs into the loadout, even if it’s only 4.

          IF they give it strike length cells, and it has a decent number, I predict the ship will carry 8-16 LRASM by the late 2020s, which will by then have a dual land/sea attack capability. That is ideal.

          Tell me this isn’t a fearsome offensive weapons loadout based on 32 VLS ( half strike length) and the RFI :

          16 Naval Strike Missiles in cannister or box launchers
          16 dual role LRASM
          32 ESSM
          8 SM-2
          with a next gen surface search radar and Enterprise air search.
          That will wreck anyone’s day if it gets close. Chinese carriers become prey.
          This is ideal. Notice no ASW weapons. Does this all begin to make sense now?

          • I can’t track it down now but I’m pretty sure that Lockheed’s LCS variant has strike length cells.

            I’m pretty opposed to the whole frigate program but I agree that it could be an amazing ASuW platform if distributed lethality actually works out in practice.

          • ShermansWar

            So you like that load out and see an application?

          • I’d probably drop the SM-2 in favor of 32 long range dual role missiles but I think the general idea could be valuable.

            The problem I see is that distributed lethality will only work if the Navy can maintain an accurate and comprehensive sensor picture of a very large area. If not, commanders won’t risk firing their limited number of long range missiles until they can verify contacts with own ship sensors.

            Further, the proposed FFG(X) sacrifices the extensive helicopter and boat facilities of LCS, making it more dependent on other platforms to provide targeting information.

          • ShermansWar

          • Firing as soon as you think you have a target is a good way to waste missiles (see the carrier battles of the Pacific War). And even 32 AShM don’t go very far once you start allocating a half dozen plus to a contact.

            The reason I would leave the SM-2 behind is because 8 weapons just isn’t a real capability (it represents 4 aircraft at best) and ESSM is sufficient for self defense. In contrast, those 8 cels represent a 33% increase in my ASuW load or a 100% increase in my self defense AAW load.

          • Ctrot

            Waiting until you have more, better, undeniable posit on enemy vessels is also a way to invite being hit first. See Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, Kinkaid had an early report on the Japanese fleet but waited for an update and he then ended up having his fleet hit first by the Japanese who did not hesitate. The strike first / wait for better info sword cuts both ways.

          • ShermansWar

            Thank you. exactly what I was thinking about when I made the initial point.

          • Duane

            You don’t need a half dozen missiles for a target if you are using the latest smart OTH missiles like NSM and LRASM. They have extensive internal sensors, stealth features, and computing systems that allow them to evade detection, evade counterfires, and direct the missile only to the highest value target in sight. One hit to a vital spot (which is what these smart missiles do) and a ship is virtually disabled. And the warheads on LRASM and the TNAM (navalised version of TLAM) are huge, 1,000 pounds. They will do massive damage when directed to sensitive spots like the bridge or CIC or engine room.

          • If you see a Chinese SAG with Type 055’s and Type 052D’s with AESA radars and dozens of defensive missiles and CIWS are you really going to allocate 1 missile per target?

            And that’s before you consider what it might take to sink a 25k ton amphib or 70k ton carrier.

          • ShermansWar

            In the scenario you stipulate 8 missiles have a 50% chance of a hit. That rises to 90% with 16 missiles, studies show. Thats why all of a sudden here and there you are starting to see designs with 12 or 16 instead of 8

          • Duane

            Firing more missiles downrange does nothing to prevent missiles already fired, or about to be fired, from coming at you. The benefit of firing a large barrage of smart ASCMs (as compared to the dumb ASCMs that our enemies have today) would only exist in the event the enemy is pretty much non-existent. One or two is all it takes to hit and disable the target.

            With dumb ASCMs, there is a reason to fire a large barrage, because you are assuming the target’s air defenses will be able to attrite the barrage, but that at some point the sheer numbers fired will overcome the target’s defenses. With smart ASCMs, that is not an issue – they WILL survive the target’s defenses. That’s why we build and will shortly deploy smart ASCMs, and not fast (supersonic) ASCMs.

          • ShermansWar

            Well, at least you present a reasoned argument. I don’t agree with it, but it has it’s logic.

        • ShermansWar

          Long term we want LRASM which will be a dual role weapon, so no need for Tomahawks, eventually.

          • LRASM can’t really replace TLAM since it has half the range and is likely to be far more expensive. I think I would probably go with Maritime Strike Tomahawks for the surface fleet since 90% of the time they’re shooting at land targets and keep LRASM for aircraft (which can easily switch to dedicated land attack weapons when the mission calls for it).

          • ShermansWar

            i think i read ~900 miles for land attack.The maritime strike Tomahawks have several guidance issues making them significantly less effective than the LRASM, including target discrimination, selection and guidance. The LRASMs are autonomous yet can literally ” adjust on the fly” whereas the TLAM just goes where you send it, It isn’t going to take measures to avoid emergent threats en route like the LRASM does. Yeah, more money, sure. I still want em. Cost effective if you figure it halves the amount of silos needed, mebbe.

  • leroy

    If this class is going to be around for 40, 50 years (something CNO said they want from new ships – longevity) then it better have room for expansion in the way of power generation. Laser, EM weapons will be primary defensive and perhaps even offensive (EM-propelled shells) weapons not too long into the future. Will this ship have the power-generating capacity needed to handle those coming energy-hungry systems? They had better! Especially if we are going to be paying $950M per hull.

    • ShermansWar

      25 years is what’s requested.

      • Which makes FFG(X) an even worse deal.

        FFG(X): $1b / 25 years = $40m per year
        DDG-51: $1.8b / 35 years = $52m per year

        In strategic terms that means you’re getting 5 frigates for the cost of 4 (far more capable) destroyers.

        • ShermansWar

          25 years is standard for a frigate.

      • leroy

        I was off. So 25 years is what’s requested but here’s what Richardson said last year:

        “Build a hull to last 30 years, he said, but design the guts of the ships and the weapons so they can be improved on a regular basis.”

        From April 28, 2017 article in Breaking Defense titled; “Slash Ship Design Time In Half, CNO Says”.

        Seems like they need to toughen it up to last 5 more years.

    • Duane

      I agree with you, but the Navy wants it now, and there will be no time to develop the integrated, oversized power systems used on the Zums and Fords.

      It could be that after the first 10 ships, the Navy will then add some requirements for the second 10 that would address the upgraded power plants. It might require stretching the hull some more.

  • leroy

    Undersea and surface drones will also play a large role in future naval warfare. I’d like to see accommodation for deploying these upcoming “enablers”. This new FFG will have to act as a mother ship for launching air/sea/land autonomous systems which will greatly enhance sensor range and kill zones. Let’s make sure we are forward-looking and plan for those things too. Shipbuilders need to bring in ONR and DARPA and let them have their design input.

    • DaSaint

      Agreed. There’s an opportunity here, without breaking the bank, to make this a rather innovative vessel, and as future-proof as reasonably possible. Its got to be designed with at least a 40 year lifespan in mind.

      • ShermansWar

        25 years is specced

        • DaSaint

          That was the bone thrown to the LCS boys.

          • ShermansWar

            ya

  • leroy

    We have self-driving cars. Given recent collisions., it might not be a bad idea to incorporate systems that allow for a self-driving ship (along with enhancement to basic seamanship training ashore and at-sea). Safety has always got to be a top priority, and if we are able to build systems that improve it, let’s use them.

    AI is here and China will certainly be taking advantage of it. I understand AI and quantum-radar are on the radar of top PLAN Navy Admirals, industry and a vast government planning apparatus. The Chinese “long view” at work! They look far ahead. Farther than we do – unfortunately.

  • Rob C.

    I am unimpressed with the design specs. I know their restricted in some fashion, but the similar Frigates other navies are deploying going be sight better than this design’s equipment. They might well call this corvette (light frigate).

    • ShermansWar

      In what way are other frigates better? this has the best radar, best ECM, a new surface search radar, almost many VLS cells ( we have reason to hope), better command and control, CEC, whats lacking, besides ASW weapons and a bow sonar and a real gun? Electronics wise it’s fine for the mission set.

      • Duane

        It’s got the necessary ASW weapons – Mk 54 on MH-60R and ASROC. There’s nothing better in the world than that combo. Tubes are old tech, slow, and short range, while air launched is fast and long range.

  • Ed L

    The weapons almost match the 25 Chinese type 054A frigate with Exception of a 76 mm gun the Chinese 25 frigates are equipt with and a pair of 30 mm with a radar system and a passive system comprises a laser range finder, a color TV camera, and an IR camera, and the laser range finder can be replaced by a laser designator (for a laser beam-riding SAM), the TV camera can be replaced by a night vision camera, and the IR camera can be replaced by an ImIR, at higher cost. Development to incorporate the dual band IR, night vision c

    • NEC338x

      Minus the organic ASW torpedo and equivalent ASROC, of course. That kinda hardware is old school.

      • ShermansWar

        Until your helicopters gets shot down or breaks down or is away elsewhere looking for or chasing contacts. Then they are very handy indeed.

        • Duane

          ASROC takes care of that. Plenty of tubes to launch plenty of ASROCs. And yes, the choppers are highly reliable.

          • With only 16-32 VLS carrying ASROC means sacrificing something else. And we don’t have that many ASROC to begin with and the last one was built in 1997.

          • Duane

            It’s easy enough to build ASROCs, and probably significantly improve them too, before this ship hits the waters in 7 years. With the increased size of the fleet and the renewed need for ASW, we can be pretty certain that the Navy is not going to send our ships out to sea empty handed. They’ll build however many ASROCs are needed to fill these new vessels.

          • I just did some reading and apparently Japan took delivery of their 1000th ASROC in 2009 and their indigenous Type 07 New ASROC (designed for the Mk 41 VLS) was test fired sometime around 2010. So we might be able to get access to that program

          • Duane

            Yes, frankly it’s not something difficult to develop. ASROC is simply a one-stage rocket booster that launches a Mk 46 or 54 lightweight torpedo to some specified location, hits the sea, the torpedo separates, and then does what every other lightweight torpedo does – hunts for and kills submarines.

          • ShermansWar

            Man, you are dense. No one said it was hard to do, IT ISN’T SPECC’d.

            Stop citing weapons systems like you’re telling us something we don’t already know. I said yesterday the next time you tell me something i don’t already know will be the first time. You don’t seem to grasp that.

          • ShermansWar

            There is no requirement for ASROC. You deal soley in fantasy and modify requirements to what you think they should be and then pretend that’s what they are. Not only that, you do it in such a manner as to pretend no one else notices. it’s inherently insulting and offensive. If you’re going to call me an idiot be man enough to do it directly. I at least have that much respect for my fellow posters.

          • Duane

            No – there IS a requirement for ASROC. The Navy stated clearly in the slide presentation that the VLS must accomodate every weapon now fired from existing Mk 41 VLS. That most certainly includes ASROC.

            Can you not read?

          • Maybe I can’t read because I don’t see that statement anywhere in the above presentation.

            However, I do think it will eventually be qualified for ASROC.

          • Duane

            It’s a generic requirement that the ship be capable of deploying all missiles currently in service as launched from Mk 41 VLS. It’s in the post, in the discussion part. Frankly, it’s an argument over nothing. By defnition all Mk 41 VLS can and do fire ASROCs. ASROCs are part of the standard issue ASW armaments on all US Navy ASW warships.

            This is like arguing that because the RFP or the slideshow don’t actually say that the ship must by painted gray, therefore it won’t be painted gray. It is obtuse in the extreme to try and make that argument.

          • ShermansWar

            generic requirement??? Do you not know how contracts work, lad? Nothing is implied. it is spelt out under law or it isn’t. There is no obligation for the builder to include that which isn’t specced.

          • ShermansWar

            So do I, but it isn’t a requirement. You have all sorts of ships with VLS that can technically fir a missile in their MK 41 silos, especially in foreign navies that can’t use them because they aren’t set up for them. Just because I can fir a missile in a silo doesn’t mean the ships systems are set up to engage with them, or that they are properly networked and linked.

          • ShermansWar

            what slide?

          • Duane

            The slideshow that the Navy presented this week at the SuW association meeting, describing the RFP that is going out to industry.

      • Ed L

        Well the brits, French, chinese, ROK Navy, India, Australian’s Spain’s turkey etc don’t seem to think so. And helicopters can be hampered by weather and sea state

        • None of those navies currently deploy an ASROC equivalent.

          • ShermansWar

            No, but every last one deploys torps on its frigates.

    • ShermansWar

      There are requirements in the RFI for 360 degree IR/EO observation capabilities.

  • ShermansWar

    Question. Does the price of all the above systems count towards the 950 mil price cap?
    Does govt supply and contractor pays? or it’s 950 mil without all that stuff? if it is we’re talking what, a 1.5 bil ship at least?

    • Ctrot

      What I’ve read indicated $950 was all inclusive, including govt supplied equipment.

      • ShermansWar

        Thank you.

  • RobM1981

    Is anyone looking at Slide 4?

    Our DoD, once again, is finding a way to pawn second class equipment off as first class – and charging us for Premium Class.

    That is the LCS, ladies and gentlemen. Read Slide 4. There it is. Lonbgow Hellfire, 57mm gun, SeaRAM, eight Harpoons deployed in two canisters – does any of this sound familiar?

    Oh, they need to add a VLS. No mention of the loadout, or even the round to be fired.

    Hey, Navy, is it too much to ask for a few edits, like:

    MINIMUM OF ONE FIVE INCH NAVAL RIFLE, WITH A MAGAZINE HOLDING (X) ROUNDS

    VLS WITH 48 FULL SIZE CELLS, IN ONE OR MULTIPLE CLUSTERS, CAPABLE OF DEPLOYING THE FULL RANGE OF STANDARD SAM’S, ETC. (basically “about half of what a DDG deploys”)

    HULL MOUNTED MF/LF SONAR – PICK A NICE ONE – AND THE ABILITY TO USE IT, BECAUSE THE HULL ISN’T SO LOUD

    I’d also like to see the term “reelable and stowable” with the TB-37, because I simply no longer trust the DoD to do the right and obvious thing. A frigate should be able to *deploy* and *stow* the VLS, for obvious reasons. If this is a clip on, then it’s not good enough. Without the DoD specifying, I no longer trust that it will be done properly.

    Just this week we heard the price for these frigates – they are *significantly* more expensive than the LCS’s. About $300M more, per hull. That’s not the cost, that’s the delta. For that kind of money, we had BETTER see more than what is listed here.

    And if all of this can’t be squeezed into the noisy hull of the LCS? Oh, well. You don’t double down on a bad bet.

    Time to write my congressman, if just to make myself better. Maybe someone has to let POTUS know that, as a businessman, he is being scammed.

    • Duane

      The Navy specified these weapons systems for SuW because they are the best in the world at doing that task. None better exists.

      Five inch guns are losers – their firing rate is less than 1/10th that of the 57mm, and contain only about 10%of the same number of ready rounds as the 5-incher., and unlike the 57mm there are no proven precision guided rounds in the inventory today. In other words, with a 5-inch gun and you get attacked by a swarm of 10 or 15 small boats, and they carry ASCMs (as the Iranians’ do), you’re dead. You can’t fire fast enough, accurate enough, or just plain enough to fight them off. And that is the most realistic threat in the littorals, and the FFG(X) is tasked with fighting in the littorals.

      Hull mounted sonar is inferior to towed arrays and VDS. Not good enough for effective ASW sensing today.

      48 cells vs. 32 cells – sure, just add more and more cost to the ship. Somewhere a low cost small surface combatant just has to have limits. Removing limits gets you to 1.5 to 2 billion dollar warships. No can do.

      • ShermansWar

        You take your 57mm pop gun and give me a 5″ L/62, on land or sea, and we’ll see how blow the hell out of who. You are absurd, sir, absurd.

      • RobM1981

        These technologies are best at doing the whole SuW task?

        Then why aren’t the Burke’s retrofitted with the 57mm gun? They’re still building those, so it’s certainly something that could be done.

        The OTO 76 puts out the same weight of fire, with over a round per second – and each shell carries twice the weight. How is that inferior? Newer models put out even more fire, and they reach out further. How is that inferior?

        With the death of the AGS, maybe the USN can find a use for the 70 pound projectile weight of the 5″? That’s currently the “big round,” for better or worse.

        Since when does a chin sonar preclude the use of a VDS? The Burke’s mount a chin set – why?

        The FFG(X) has to be tasked with fighting in both the littorals and blue water. That’s always been the problem with the LCS.

        As has been pointed out dozens of times, the Perry’s shipped a five inch gun, PLUS a 20mm gun that was more than capable of keeping swarms away (at the time), PLUS both hull and VDS, etc.

        If they built a modern Perry, with modern sensors, modern weapons, and modern hull form, everyone would be fine.

        If, however, they try to force the LCS down our throats re-badged as an LCS? Yeah, that’s a problem. It is under-gunned for anything but what you describe, uses valuable deck and internal volume to ship anti tank missiles that are useless beyond the swarm attack that you describe, has effectively zero ASW or SuW capabilities beyond small craft and whatever you can hit with a SeaRAM, etc.

        We don’t need super speed. We need something that can keep pace with a CVN or a DDG. A quieter hull and plant is necessary for ASW, and for remaining a bit less detectable.

        • Umm… The Perry’s had a 76mm not a 5″ and they never carried a VDS. Their hull sonar was the budget version and for most of their life the Phalanx was not capable of engaging surface targets.

          Although I don’t love Hellfire as a ship mounted weapon, it is roughly the equivalent of a guided 6″ shell so it’s far from useless. Further, while people love to hate it, LCS does currently carry Harpoon, will soon have NSM, it’s helicopters are the world’s best ASW and anti-small boat weapons, and it will soon have a state of the art towed array and VDS.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Fair points all, but TODAY’S Phalanx is capable of engaging surface targets, or at least it is advertised as such. If a ship can carry a towed array, as the Perrys could, they can be outfitted to operate VDS as well. The Perrys did replace a couple of FF classes that employed 5 in. guns. So certainly the ability to mount one on a modern sized FF/FFG is there, IF the desire to do so is pursued. But the specs advertised by the Navy suggest a variant of the LCS, I personally fear that it is the F-111 all over again, in the Navy forcing the adoption of a common design for different, in some cases drastically so, requirements.

          • ShermansWar

            if they go Navantia we will be fine.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Maybe. I’m all for researching all of the possibilities.

          • ShermansWar

            I’d like to see you name a deployed LCS class ship that carries harpoon. none currently do. testing and subsequent removal don’t count. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I may be but i don’t think I am.

          • USS Coronado (LCS-4). She tested Harpoon back in mid 2016 then spent over a year in Singapore with them mounted the whole time. As far as I know the only reason the Navy hasn’t put Harpoon on every LCS is because it wants NSM and has to wait for the official competition to run its course before they can legally buy it.

          • ShermansWar

            I know she did, but it was a test. And i know about the NSM. I took issue with the fact you said ” currently carries harpoon”

            An interesting conversation would be why is the NSM a better choice than Harpoon? It is. Especially for this ship, and the LCS.

            It requires no mid-course guidance, which likely wont be available to either ship in a real combat situation. Harpoon does. That and you can jam/spoof a radar guided Harpoon. You can’t jam an NSM.

          • You asked about deployed Harpoon, I gave you a ship that spent 14 months in Asia with functioning Harpoons. To me a test is what Coronado did with NSM back in 2014 when the Navy put a launcher on her flight deck, fired a few missiles, then removed it.

            NSM is 35 years younger, weighs 30% less, has 50% more range, and a vastly superior guidance system. I’m not seeing any reason why someone would prefer Harpoon.

        • Duane

          The Burkes are not littoral combat ships. They are optimized for blue water escort duties. The FFG(X) is a compromise between the Burke and the LCS – intended to operate both as a blue water escort, with both area air defense and ASW (LCS does not have area air defense) AND it is intended to operate in the littorals.

          In the littorals you need exactly what the LCS has, and which is the same as what the Navy spec’d out for the FFG(X). A long range, extremely rapid firing gun with large numbers of ready to fire rounds in the mount and precision guided munitions. The 5-incher on the Burkes fails miserably at that role. It fires at less than 1/10 the rate of the Mk 110 57mm, carries only about 1/10 the number of ready rounds in the mount as the 57mn. It has no precision guides munitions yet that are qualified and integrated on the ship (the Euros claim to have a shell, but it has never been used on an US DDG).

          The FFG(X) does not have or need super speed, because it is not intended to be the equal of the LCS in littorals, particularly presence missions, anti-piracy, etc. So the Navy only spec’d 28 knots, not 40+ kts. And it is quite likely that the FFG(X) will end up with a deeper draft than the LCS, probably the final design will come in at something in excess of 18-20 ft draft.

          • RobM1981

            Of course the Burke’s can fight in the littorals. So can the Cyclones. And the two existing LCS classes, to the degree that they are armed.

            We need a Frigate, not a Corvette.

    • Ed L

      Especially when the Chinese type 54 frigate has a 76mm cannon and two 30mm cwiz that can be operated in local control and 2x triple torpedo tides

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I think the Navy could help itself by NOT imposing an ‘area air defense’ requirement. They already have 84 Aegis equipped ships and counting. There are plenty of Burkes and Ticos to provide area air defense, and their potential replacements are already being considered. We need ships that can provide much needed numbers and be capable enough to do SOME core missions. ASW and ASuW, as well as basic ocean escort responsibilities, should be the primary mission sets of an FFG, with a robust self defense capability built in. That area air defense requirement, no matter how limited, is going to jack up the costs quite a bit.

    Whether some amount of ‘expendability’ is factored in needs to be addressed. Such expendability was indeed part of the original LCS criteria, in that with the grouping of several LCS’s with the various modules installed among them they could sustain the loss of a few ships and still (hopefully) complete their missions and tasks. But having the task group escorts take the brunt of a concentrated attack is something the Navy has always appeared willing to live with and accept. Bad as some capitol ships had it in the Pacific late in WWII from kamikazes, their escorts paid a price too, and truth be told, I’m sure any modern day area commander would accept the loss of a frigate or 2 in a concentrated attack if the CVN comes out unscathed. Analogy here: with the Aegis ships, we have enough quarterbacks and WRs and RBs, we need more, MANY more, linemen. These FFGs should be among those linemen.

    • ShermansWar

      Area defense is defined as within SM-2 range, which fits in the tactical silos it will at least have, and it already has the Enterprise radar. It’s an inherent capability of the design. To drop it, you’d have to go with a lesser radar and self defense length mk 41 VLS. Where, prithee, sir, is the advantage in that?

      They’ve specifically stated they do not want Ticos and Burke tied up doing air defense for convoys. Those stay with the CBG, and it so happens that the enemy will use aircraft against targets other than a CBG, thus the need to defend them from air attack.

      Losing frigates is one thing, letting the enemy sink them at no cost or risk is something else entirely. As a taxpayer, If I’m spending a billion damn dollars I at least want it to be able to shoot at an attacking aircraft 100 miles away, before the issue is over and decided. I want my investment protected. You should too.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        All that is fine, IF one is not going to be concerned with the COST. Given the Navy’s recent history with costs for new ship programs, I confess to being highly skeptical that anything with the full capabilities desired or mandated will come in at under a billion per hull. Those Aegis equipped ships are doing more, MUCH more, than just air defense as it is. The idea is to FREE them from such tasks while still being able to adhere to their primary mission, which is area/fleet air defense. Ships that are positioned to provide maximum air protection against and along likely axis of attack might not be able to be sent off to help prosecute a suspected sub contact. But that aside, the sheer numbers of Aegis ships, which are only going to increase, allows for some opportunities at cost savings while developing other ship classes. I personally find it hard to believe that the Navy will send forth precious unrep ships and possibly tenders into any area that a peer or near-peer adversary might be able to contest without REAL air defense assets protecting it, which means an actual Aegis-equipped ship or ships.

        I’m all for as much capability as is possible being placed in any and all ships that sail in the US Navy. I’m personally not so concerned with costs so long as true ‘bang for the buck’ is achieved. Along those lines I advocate for a NON-Aegis equipped Burke derivative, or a NON-Aegis equipped destroyer design that could function as a true replacement of the Spruance class. Either type could field 90 plus missile cells of any missile in the Navy’s inventory, while serving as all important shooters within the Navy’s Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) as that comes on line. But all that aside, the fact is that COSTS ARE an important consideration with this new FFG, and the Navy has to be sensitive to that considering what transpired with the Zumwalts and the LCS’s.

        No one is advocating for ‘losing’ anything, regardless of what is or is not extracted from the enemy. The point is about what will be settled for in a worst case scenario. Losses are suffered in war. i say again that in such circumstances any commander would accept the loss of escorts if what they are escorting is spared. No one WANTS that, but they will accept it.

        • ShermansWar

        • ShermansWar

          A few issues I have with your thinking

          1) ” I personally find it hard to believe that the Navy will send forth precious unrep ships and possibly tenders into any area that a peer or near-peer adversary might be able to contest without REAL air defense assets protecting it, which means an actual Aegis-equipped ship or ships.”

          Am I to understand you don’t consider a ship with RAM, ESSM, SM-2, and an EASR radar to be real air defense? Few ships in the world have such capabilities.
          Again, once you have the silos and the radar already aboard, no sense to not carry at least 8 SM-2, your comment that it would limit it to 4 targets at most notwithstanding. For the ship this is, engaging 4 attackers is fine, I doubt it gets an entire squadron sent against it.

          2) From the RFI the AEGIS system components will be aboard, except the radar itself. The Navy claims the 3 face 9 module EASR has the same or better capability as the SPY1-D. The integration is certainly there and well specced, CEC, COMBATTS 21, MD4A, SEWIPII I mean, what else does it need to do convoy area defense?
          ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

          I Understand your underlying point, I just happen the think a few SM-2s spread about has a major deterrent effect and whilst expensive to install in peacetime, I think in wartime they will save a few ships, either through deterrence by their mere presence, ( isn’t that what the whole 3rd offset strategy is about?) or by direct action.

          I understand your attraction to an arsenal ship type idea, if i read you right, (seems to be what your advocating whether you realize it or not) but I want my frigates to be able to operate independently and protect what’s in the immediate area. I go back to the issue of the cost of investment, and think that I’d rather invest a few extra dollars to protect our overall taxpayer investment.

          I think we need a frigate, and a frigate that fulfils the missions set originally stated. For that honestly it shouldn’t have SEARAM, but rather 2 x 21 round RAM launchers, if they really want to send it to get actionable intel in contested environments . i don’t see how the 2nd launcher costs much more than the MM wave radar on the first, so it should be a wash cost wise , but what do I know.

          I think the specs are fine for the most part, but the range is lacking and I would want 32-48 VLS and 16 AShM in a perfect world. If we can get whats specced and 32 VLS and 8 AShM I’ll be fine with it if it comes in on budget.

          Philosophically I think we differ in that I DON’T want EVERY offensive asset centered on CBGs. I believe it needs SM-2 to operate independently, even if it’s a small load out, and they can use them against surface targets if need be.

          A frigate running around hitting Chinese tankers with one or 2 missiles apiece is something they have to respond to. A ship with SM-2 has to have a real attack made against it, as opposed to sending 2 aircraft with a couple of missiles apiece that approach with impunity and launch well outside the ship’s defense’s range. I like the idea the ship can detect the aircraft at least as far away as they can detect it, and that it can engage them.

          Honestly, looking over what you’ve said, you’re really talking about a totally different ship than what this is altogether as your preference. I think they tried that and what they delivered was the Zumwalts. Oddly, it fits most of your criteria pretty closely, except for the cost.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Now my issues with YOUR thinking here. This will be somewhat lengthy, for which I apologize before hand, but it can’t be helped.

            “Am I to understand you don’t consider a ship with RAM, ESSM, SM-2, and an EASR radar to be real air defense?”

            Not at all. A ship with ALL that would be quite impressive in my book. But what YOU are asserting makes a ‘real air defense ship’ is the inclusion of the SM-2. I’m assuming RAM and ESSM will be significant elements of that ‘robust self defense capability’ I mentioned. And all that you mentioned, including the SM-2s, do not substitute for actual Aegis, which I reiterate the Navy has and will have PLENTY of.

            “I understand your attraction to an arsenal ship type idea, if i read you right..”

            Nope, not even close. I am talking about a true multi-mission ship, but in the context I used when referring to ‘shooters’, my preference there is for a destroyer type, because of the size and hence number of VLS cells they can contribute. But that is an entirely different subject. For this FFG, ESPECIALLY if cost constraints are going to be adhered to, that won’t be accomplished if more tasks and hence the equipment those tasks will require are piled on. It is that simple. Not looking for an ‘arsenal ship’, I think the Navy will be better served by a real workhorse. Using the Perrys’ as a comparison, the Navy got superb service from them because they were workhorses that were not designed with redundant missions in mind. ‘Redundant’ in this case applies to what the Aegis ships provided.

            “I think the specs are fine for the most part, but the range is lacking
            and I would want 32-48 VLS and 16 AShM in a perfect world. If we can get
            whats specced and 32 VLS and 8 AShM I’ll be fine with it if it comes in
            on budget.”

            Indeed! 32 VLS and 8 ASMs would provide a ship with a bit more than what the Perry’s had weapon-wise. They had a forward missile magazine that held 40 missiles, which were comprised of Harpoons and SM-1s. With ESSMs, and with ASMs having their own launchers, these FFGs would thus be able to carry ASROCs (which the Perrys never had), and LRSMs, and/or some number of Tomahawks (if hull depth allows). I think the budget goals can be met with what is presented here IF that area air defense requirement is not part of the mix.

            “Philosophically I think we differ in that I DON’T want EVERY offensive
            asset centered on CBGs. I believe it needs SM-2 to operate
            independently, even if it’s a small load out, and they can use them
            against surface targets if need be.”

            Where did I state or imply that I ‘want every offensive capability centered on carriers’? Where did carriers even come from? We’re talking about the missions and capabilities of this FFG! While I like the idea of SM-2s having an offensive capability, it seems to me that if they are escorting convoys or unrep ships in a hostile environment, they wouldn’t want to be expending such rounds on surface targets, especially given the (probable) few rounds they will have of them.

            “A frigate running around hitting Chinese tankers with one or 2 missiles
            apiece is something they have to respond to. A ship with SM-2 has to
            have a real attack made against it, as opposed to sending 2 aircraft
            with a couple of missiles apiece that approach with impunity and launch
            well outside the ship’s defense’s range. I like the idea the ship can
            detect the aircraft at least as far away as they can detect it, and that
            it can engage them.”

            No argument here. BUT, you’re also assuming that the enemy will ‘play along’ and fly high enough to allow the ship’s radar to detect and track them at long ranges. And realistically, that applies to the Aegis ships as well. Planes and/or missiles that are flying low will be hidden by the curve of the Earth until they are near their terminal phase of attack. The longer range of an SM-2 thus might not be much of an asset. The ESSM, if what I have read about them is correct, is a very fast reaction weapon that can target such incoming attackers at ranges well beyond those of most point defense systems. Certainly ALL air defense systems that have any amount of range to them will benefit from offboard sensors that can detect air threats far away from the ship. But can that always be counted on?

            “Honestly, looking over what you’ve said, you’re really talking about a
            totally different ship than what this is altogether as your preference. I
            think they tried that and what they delivered was the Zumwalts. Oddly,
            it fits most of your criteria pretty closely, except for the cost.”

            I absolutely disagree with that conclusion. The ONLY thing I think should be discarded here is the area air defense requirement. I have no problem with the rest of it, except with the reliance on the 57 MM as its main gun. I don’t know where the Zumwalts come into this. Stealth was THE overall consideration as was anything else with them. The Zumwalts are for, supposedly, ‘land attack’. I think this new FFG should concentrate on ASW and ASuW, while being able to contribute to the classic ocean escort missions as well. One thing I did not see mentioned in the document above is whether a well deck will be included. That would be an interesting feature, and open up some other possibilities.

          • ShermansWar

            “But what YOU are asserting makes a ‘real air defense ship’ is the inclusion of the SM-2. ” I don’t know that makes it a real air defense ship, but it gives it the capability to provide area anti air, which is necessary to provide convoy escort and contribute to the CBG air defense in a meaningful way. 8 SM-2s do not make it an “air defense ship”. it would have some capability, but I don’t think that’s it’s main role. It just enables it to perform it’s main role.

            I don’t understand your hang up on AEGIS. what exactly do you think is the difference between what this ship has, and aegis, and why would this ship need it to do it’s mission. The fact is, it will be networked as well as any Aegis ship with a radar as capable. You’ll have to define the distinction for me. It’s job certainly isn’t to coordinate area anti air defense, if that’s what your getting at. I don’t see how having area anti air makes it an Aegis ship, or if it did or didn’t how that matters.I said area anti air. You seem to think that area anti air doesn’t exist outside Aegis, or that’s how it comes off to me.

            If the mission for the ship calls for limited area anti air ( which it does) then why don’t you want it to have it? Again, it seems you’re making an argument for a ship different than what this is, whereas I suppose I’m discussing how well the material requirements meet the budget and the mission. I’m not arguing for a different mission, rather will it have what it needs to fulfill it’s stated role.

            Aegis to me is irrelevant. It can shoot down aircraft at a certain distance or it can’t. It is networked or it isn’t. it can share and pass on intel and targeting information, and likewise receive it and engage targets it didn’t detect with it’s own sensors, or pass such data along to other ships to do likewise or it can’t. If it does all those things, I don’t really care what they call it, nor do i feel the need to slap a nametag on it and call it Aegis. Thats what it needs to be part of the battle group.

            Bottom line, YOU say the navy has plenty of Aegis ships, the navy says they DO NOT WANT TO TIE THOSE SHIPS UP DOING ESCORT WORK. That’s what they said. I will take the word of the navy over you. You say the requirement is superfluous, The navy specs a ship to do what you say they dont need because they say they need it. No offense I’ll take their word they need what they say they do, your protestations notwithstanding, sir.
            it’s unfathomable to me you want a ship as big or bigger with no way to engage enemy aerial targets beyoned self defense in this day and age, The fact is if they’ve already launched their missiles at you before you engage them you’re already half screwed.

            You’re arguing for a different ship. it’s stated clealry since they started talking about the ships role, even before the RFI came out, last spring, and as far back as January they want a networked sensors node to develop actionable intel in contested environments with a real surface attack capability. it can’t do that if it can’t defend itself against air attack, and ESSM is basically an anti missile missile more than anything else. Only a 3rd world power needs to get within 25 miles before launching. Everyone else has fired t 75 miles max and is long gone.

            Numbers mean nothing without a defined mission and a set of tactics to go with it.You want a ship as big as a destroyer with lots of VLS and limited air defense. That’s different than an arsenal ship how? Because it has a helo? Every ship in the navy has helos Either way the ship you want would cost a billion anyway..

            You say “Whether some amount of ‘expendability’ is factored in needs to be addressed” OK, I’ll adress it. You send a ship into a contested environment to dwell there and gather actionable intel( it’s primary stated mission) it needs air defense, air defense that can hit an attacker at 100-124 miles, possibly before they launch, assuming the ship had some stealth and wasn’t a;ready marjked farhter out. you dont write off a ship as expendable. thats the naviy’s current insanity and sympromatic of the much larger malaise that has left us bereft of qualifies SWO officers and ships crashign into each other left and right. if it was your son you’d want to know he was equipped to survive, no be expended. What are we, Soviets now?

            You mentioned earlier “But having the task group escorts take the brunt of a concentrated attack is something the Navy has always appeared willing to live with and accept.” the whole point is the LCS is a failure and they don’t WANT to tie up a burke defending ships gathering intel. They want the ship to be able to defend itself, that’s the whole point of buying a new ship and designating it an FFG.. They do NOT want the Burkes doign all these missiosn you want to allocate to them when they already have their plate full doing other stuff, and they said so.

            “with the Aegis ships, we have enough quarterbacks and WRs and RBs, we need more, MANY more, linemen. These FFGs should be among those linemen.”
            we already wasted over a decade with ships that can only perform half a mision, are only half equipped and you seem to be basically advocating that we repeat the same mistakes and just drop out capabilities, which these ships already do.
            Aegis is a tradephrase, nothing more. the ship can do and coordinate air defense or it can’t, Aegis does that. these don’t need to, so they arent aegis, they just need to handle their own weapons. Having missilles of a certain range does not make a ship Aegis. fact is the navy fields one kind of system these dyas, whatever they call it, and as far as the Navy is concerned they want commonality, they said so, and they said it keeps cost down and eases maintenance obligations.

            You go look up Aegis and it says”The Aegis Combat System is an integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. It uses powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.”

            The fact is it’s being replaced by CEC in function, and all the linkages and weapons and sensor coordination are done with systems that have evolved. What we have now has grown out of aegis, and they’re putting it everywhere anyway.

            You want a destroyer type, which is stealthy and operates in the littorals? or you just want to throw out the whole navy requirement set for this thing. Seems you do. fair enough i suppose, if that’s your point.

            You say “For this FFG, ESPECIALLY if cost constraints are going to be adhered to, that won’t be accomplished if more tasks and hence the equipment those tasks will require are piled on. It is that simple.”

            If the navy sent out an RFI, and stated since July what they want, and named a number ( I heard 950 mil far back as august), spelled out all the sytems, what makes you think these guys are walking in with no intention of staying within budget. if they didn’t think they could deliver I don’t see why they would have responded to the RFP. I’m a layman, and I can figure out that if they really wanted to and tried they could deliver everything that’s asked with 32 VLS . if it had at least 4500 miles range, then it’s worth the 950 mil. Seems very doable to me.

            I dont know how old you are but the Perrys where compromised from the start. The whole selling point of the Perry’s, if you were around then, was that they were made with “Modular construction” in mind, the first time the concept was peddled to Congress. easily upgradeable, and they never were. they simply lost capability over time, They weren’t so great. They were cheap and they were there, that’s about it.

            I’m going to respond to the rest of your post as I continue to read it, but we come to the heart of the matter here : “I think the budget goals can be met with what is presented here IF that area air defense requirement is not part of the mix.”

            That’s really the big question. I think it can be done, and I do not think any of the US entrants will even make an attempt to. Navantia, Maybe Fincantierri. Navantia and BIW will submit a proposal that covers the whole RFI and has 32 VLS that can take SM-2s if they want, at or very close to budget. The real question is will they ship we need and asked for be the one selected? I fear it may not, not being a US design. And not because it couldn’t be done, but because the US designers just wont do it as long as they think they can deliver less and get paid the same. They are corrupt.

            You wrote “While I like the idea of SM-2s having an offensive capability, it seems to me that if they are escorting convoys or unrep ships in a hostile environment, they wouldn’t want to be expending such rounds on surface targets, especially given the (probable) few rounds they will have of them. No, if they were raiding chinese shipping lanes, then they wouldn’t be escorting convoys that day, I imagine. My point is this design, this ship opne up , to my mind, dozens of possible missions that we haven’t even considered, or haven’t done in decades. Once they break off from the CBG there’s all kind s of fun they can have and havoc they can raise. Commerce raining was one idea. Baiting enemy forces. is another. Feints. Diversionary attacks.Cruise missile attacks, etc. etc.

            Far as flying the curve of the earth, you can do that once you have fixed the target in a known position, or another asset did it for you. If you are searching yourself for a stealthy relatively small frigate, you have to be high to make contact, and you can’t fly any distance if your down on the deck. Remember, they can’t see you if you can’t see them. not every engagement is a pre planned strike. meetings engagements, stumbling across contacts trying to confirm reports, possible sightings, etc. warfare will not go just as we plan I can assure you that.

            I believe this ship grants a tactical and operation flexibility that has been missing for a very long time. Just as surface commanders had to respond differently during exercise against LCS when they were simulated to be carrying SSMs, likewise have a 100+ mile range AA missile also calls for different tactics on the part of our opponent, and constrain them in their options. This is the true value of carrying them, and why even a handful makes a difference. far as firing them at merchantmen, thats was assuming they had already expended their dedicated SSMs and still had a target rich environment, they could continue commerce raiding until their SM-2s were exhausted, had they such orders. Point is it gives options. In warfare you do whatever you can to dictate the terms of the engagement, to create friction for your enemy, keep him responding, not allowing him to create.make him look for a frigate instead of a carrier battle group.Manifest a threat that must be dealt with, it’s just a thought.
            people find all kinds of applications for weapons that weren’t envisaged when they were created.

            Zumwalts mission is now ASuW, BTW.

            it should have a 3″ or a 5″ gun. the 57mm is a concession to the LCS lobby and an attempt to keep cost donw as they apply the funds to the anti-air requirement.

            I SO want a well deck. One that could handle 6 ACV 1.2, or a MK VI patrol boat

            Seems we are more or less in agreement, except i think it can be done for the stated cost, just not by a US design, and I think further the missions set you sign on for by saying ” I think this new FFG should concentrate on ASW and ASuW, while being able to contribute to the classic ocean escort missions as well.” needs the SM-2 to be successful at it, otherwise it becomes limited in it’s deployment options and needs an Aegis ship to protect it and can’t be deployed independently. . Great discussion. Thanks.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I guess we’ll be doing this for some time. So be it. I’ll continue to take your offerings point by point.

            You have presented some things here in a manner implying that it’s all about what I want. That’s not the case, my comments are all about realities, as I see them. I’m actually with you as far as this ship having that area air defense capability, IF it was to be armed and equipped well enough to do that. If that $950 million dollar limit wasn’t there, I would wholeheartedly endorse pursuing this. But that amount IS there, and I think it ensures that a lot of money will be spent on a very limited return.

            Your comments pertaining to what I said about expendability is but one example. I don’t know why anyone would feel compelled to ‘read between the lines’ of what I said, or have to arrive at some sort of interpretation of my words. I am endeavoring to be quite clear as to what I think would better address the situation. My comments here are based on my opinion, which is what EVERY other participant here has, including yourself. Nothing more.

            “But what YOU are asserting makes a ‘real air defense ship’ is the inclusion of the SM-2. ” I don’t know that makes it a real air defense ship, but it gives it the capability to provide area anti air, which is necessary to provide convoy escort and contribute to the CBG air defense in a meaningful way.”

            You’re bringing carriers and their groups into this again. I seriously doubt that this FFG with their small compliment of SM-2s will have much to offer in the way of air defense to a battle group, especially given the plethora of anti-air assets available within one courtesy of the Aegis ships that comprise such battle groups, not to mention their air groups. i will put what I have been saying in this manner: SHAME on the Navy if they do NOT provide the kind of air protection that ONLY Aegis offers if they decide to send in unrep and other such ships into area where a viable air threat is present. This ship will certainly be able to CONTRIBUTE to any task group in multiple ways, but area air defense should NOT be one. There are better assets for that.

            You made some comments about Aegis. Aegis is a battle MANAGEMENT system. It is a director. You yourself say this FFG, even with a (limited) area defense capability, will not do anything in the way of ‘coordinating area anti-air defense’. If it doesn’t ‘coordinate’ such activities, what good is it in such a capacity? What is gained? In this day and age of potential saturation attacks from multiple axis of attack, which could very well be supported by extensive electronic warfare elements, you’d better bring everything possible to the fore to defeat such threats. You sound like you dismiss Aegis at present because of the development of CEC. You correctly point put how CEC is in part an outgrowth of Aegis. So Aegis will be part of that, but an Aegis-equipped ship ship ALREADY is that when other such platforms and entities that contribute to CEC are not available.

            “Numbers mean nothing without a defined mission and a set of tactics to
            go with it.You want a ship as big as a destroyer with lots of VLS and
            limited air defense. That’s different than an arsenal ship how?”

            If that meets YOUR definition of an ‘arsenal ship’, guess what, this FFG is thus nothing else. You did say it will depend on the info it gets from being ‘networked’ and all that didn’t you? That ‘destroyer’ I mentioned will also be an active asset in ASW and other warfare areas. ‘Arsenal ships’ as they were envisioned were nothing but glorified self powered barges that fired whatever weapons at whatever it was ordered to, and did nothing else, and nothing but. The destroyer I mentioned absolutely would be a contributor to the data and information collected and disseminated to and throughout a network. THAT’s the difference!

            “it’s unfathomable to me you want a ship as big or bigger with no way to
            engage enemy aerial targets beyoned self defense in this day and age”

            No. Those targets will be engaged. They will be by that very same network you have mentioned repeatedly. Those area air defense assets that are already BEST suited for such tasks. You keep making this ship into some sort of super vessel that will be able to stand alone in hostile waters, can’t be detected by the bad guys, that will be able to reach out over a hundred miles and defeat all threats, etc. It’s a FRIGATE. With a maximum of 32 VLS cells, IF they do indeed actually build that many into it, there are not going to be enough SM-2s unless they empty other cells of missiles for other warfare scenarios.

            “Bottom line, YOU say the navy has plenty of Aegis ships, the navy says they DO NOT WANT TO TIE THOSE SHIPS UP DOING ESCORT WORK.”

            YES, exactly. Thus a modern FFG is a great idea, if it doesn’t turn into the boondoggle the LCS is. But an ‘area air defense’ requirement now turns this into something MUCH MORE than a mere ‘escort’. There are other assets better equipped to do THAT mission!

            “with the Aegis ships, we have enough quarterbacks and WRs and RBs, we
            need more, MANY more, linemen. These FFGs should be among those
            linemen.” we already wasted over a decade with ships that can only perform half a mision, are only half equipped and you seem to be basically advocating that we repeat the same mistakes and just drop out capabilities, which these ships already do.

            Aegis is a tradephrase, nothing more. the ship can do and coordinate air defense or it can’t, Aegis does that. these don’t need to, so they arent aegis, they just need to handle their own weapons. Having missilles of a certain range
            does not make a ship Aegis. fact is the navy fields one kind of system these dyas, whatever they call it, and as far as the Navy is concerned they want commonality, they said so, and they said it keeps cost down and eases maintenance obligations.”

            This is what I mean about you taking what I said and attaching your own interpretation to them. In no way am I advocating for a single mission ship, or as you put it, a ship that has ‘half a mission’. I am saying AGAIN that this ONE mission requirement is going to drive up the costs. To me, it is the ONE requirement that should be dropped, because with just a handful of missiles optimized for that role, combined with a hull that will no doubt be constrained by both length and displacement, all of that epitomizes YOUR OWN WORDS of a ship that is truly “half equipped’.

            “If the navy sent out an RFI, and stated since July what they want, and
            named a number ( I heard 950 mil far back as august), spelled out all
            the sytems, what makes you think these guys are walking in with no
            intention of staying within budget. if they didn’t think they could
            deliver I don’t see why they would have responded to the RFP. I’m a
            layman, and I can figure out that if they really wanted to and tried
            they could deliver everything that’s asked with 32 VLS . if it had at
            least 4500 miles range, then it’s worth the 950 mil. Seems very doable
            to me.”

            And yet again, you assigning your own translation to my words which are quite clear.to begin with. Where did I say that anybody who is going to be part of this will “have no intention” of staying within a budget” Hmmm? When and where? Let me turn this around on you for a money. Are you confident that the Navy WILL reach that $950 million dollar goal? If your answer is yes, what is that based on? You have brought up the LCS several times, and not in a flattering manner. Do tell, were budgets ‘met’ on that project? How about the Zumwalts? If a foreign design is chosen, which you are on these boards advocating for, where will any savings be realized that ensures a $950 million dollar price tag?

            “I dont know how old you are but the Perrys where compromised from the
            start. The whole selling point of the Perry’s, if you were around then,
            was that they were made with “Modular construction” in mind, the first
            time the concept was peddled to Congress. easily upgradeable, and they
            never were. they simply lost capability over time, They weren’t so
            great. They were cheap and they were there, that’s about it.”

            The Perrys might have been a posture child for modular construction, but they were built to replace a couple of then existing FF types, and to provide much needed NUMBERS to the fleet. They were workhorses that did a lot of the un-sexy dirty work that needs to be done. They existed to COMPLIMENT more capable ships, like the Spruances when it came to ASW, and to provide basic escort functions to task groups and convoys. They delivered marvelous service over their lives. That the Navy decided to defang them by removing their missile batteries had everything to do with providing money foe those pillars of financial efficiency the Zumwalts and the LCS than they did anything else. So of COURSE they ‘lost capability’.

            “That’s really the big question. I think it can be done, and I do not
            think any of the US entrants will even make an attempt to. Navantia,
            Maybe Fincantierri. Navantia and BIW will submit a proposal that covers
            the whole RFI and has 32 VLS that can take SM-2s if they want, at or
            very close to budget. The real question is will they ship we need and
            asked for be the one selected? I fear it may not, not being a US design.
            And not because it couldn’t be done, but because the US designers just
            wont do it as long as they think they can deliver less and get paid the
            same. They are corrupt.”

            Now you got me really confused. You are the one who accused me of believing that nobody would make any honest attempt to adhere to a budget. Yet here you are telling us how “they’re all corrupt” when it comes to the costs here in the USA. A foreign design is going to have a basic cost to it, that will probably vary depending on where they are builts. After all US Navy requirements are built in, I ask again where are the guarantees that the $950 million ‘budget’ is achieved?

            “No, if they were raiding chinese shipping lanes, then they wouldn’t be
            escorting convoys that day, I imagine. My point is this design, this
            ship opne up , to my mind, dozens of possible missions that we haven’t
            even considered, or haven’t done in decades. Once they break off from
            the CBG there’s all kind s of fun they can have and havoc they can
            raise. Commerce raining was one idea. Baiting enemy forces. is another.
            Feints. Diversionary attacks.Cruise missile attacks, etc. etc.”

            That all might be (as far as opening possibilities), and I state yet again that I am all in favor for capabilities that achieve that (but again, those costs are the wrench in the works!), but this hence brings up that ‘expendability’ question in itself. I mean, if you’re ‘baiting’ the enemy, it sure seems likely you are exposing yourself to some degree to draw fire. Just sayin’…

            But I agree, it’s been a good discussion. See your around campus…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Sherman, this is the post I wrote that was indeed posted, then disappeared. I wrote the other ones (the ones in 2 parts) to replace it, now it suddenly shows up. I cannot figure this site out for the life of me.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Damn this site. My (lengthy) response to this post is not on here. That sure seems typical these days. I will be revisiting this post.

          • ShermansWar

            OK, I will respond in part as well as I am otherwise involved.

            What I get from you is this:
            1) For all intents and purposes, you DO see Aegis and area defense as one and the same , for practical purposes. Thanks for clearing that up. My position is I don’t. It’s simply a function of missile range and coverage. Unlike you i can very much see this vessel acting alone to provide escort. In a real war I don’t see the navy being able to allocate much more than that. We simply differ on opinion there, that’s fine.

            2) Far as anti- air affordability, you simply do not take the word of the contractors that they can provide it within stated price costs. Taking into account your position on #1, that Anti-air and Aegis are synonymous, I can see how you would conclude it’s simply unaffordable for the price. whereas to me If I can hit out over 125 miles with SM-s and my radar is fine for the missions and I have CEC, then I’m content to call that area anti air. Bottom line, you don’t belive the contractors can deliver for the stated price and I do. Difference of opinion again, simple enough.

            3) You say ““Bottom line, YOU say the navy has plenty of Aegis ships, the navy says they DO NOT WANT TO TIE THOSE SHIPS UP DOING ESCORT WORK.”

            Exactly. Which a basic frigate would free them up from. And if you add an area defense requirement to that frigate, then those ships will NOT be engaged in just routine ‘escort work’.

            Again, we got back to number one. The ability to fire medium range AA missiles effectively does not make a ship AEGIS in my book, or require the same system. as to the second part, I don’t see how air defense is NOT part of “routine escort”.

            I understand the rest of your position here about responsibility towards protecting ships, and again, I run into what I see you adding as “qualifiers” to just about any posited scenario, which makes our understanding of each other complicated on just about every issue. Here, it’s the point of , what I’m calling your qualification of the ability to respond to what you define as a “sophisticated air threat “. To me that complicates issues. I don’t see a basic definition of escort escort duties as being REQUIRED to respond effectively to “sophisticated air threat “. you could then go on to add an attack by multiple squadrons as your definition of a “sophisticated air threat ” , thus REQUIRING Aegis. To me, defending against a sortie of 4-8 aircraft, say. Flankers, is sufficient to enable a definition of being capable to provide escort, far as air defense goes. It’s a mater of degrees, and what we interpret as a definition of area anti air. come as down to a difference of opinion again, this time as to what defines “escort”. to me it’s defense, and to what degree. I don’t expect an escort frigate to be able to provide an iron dome aegis type air defense. Apparently if it can’t, you don’t see it worth the effort and irresponsible. I respect your opinion, and again we differ.

            4) Missiles. You say esssm, houthis, ask the Israelis, blah blah, and then we come to the heart of the matter:

            ” Having a few, VERY few, missiles that can hopefully launch and take out targets a hundred or more miles from the ship is going to significantly increase its costs. ”

            Again, we disagree. here’s why. The ships is already specc’d to have EASR. it’s GOING to be there. It’s already specc’ed to have CEC. It’s GOING to be there.
            Even without strike length cells, it can handle SM-2. To my mind , at that point, it comes down to little more than simply loading the standards into the Silos, and area anti-air is a done deal at that point. I don’t see the additional expense you do, unless you , like I, wouldn’t bother with SM-2 unless it had at least 32 VLS as opposed to 16. Yes, 32 cells vs 16 costs more money, but I don’t think that’s what you meant. To be clear, I just stated what I meant. it all seems to go back to, once again, our differing interpretations of what constitutes an area defense capability, ( yours involves command and control function of all local anti air assets, what you define as an Aegis capability solely, I guess)

            5) Arsenal ship. You say ” Oh, and seeing how networking will be so important to this FFG’s operations, by your definition, doesn’t that make it an arsenal ship as well, even if its very limited in its firepower?”

            In a word, NO. if it doesn’t have a shitload of VLS, exceeding at least say, a Burke, then no, it isn’t an arsenal ship

            6) you said “This is exactly what I was talking about earlier in this post about you attaching your OWN interpretation to my words. I asked a relevant question. I did not nor am I advocating for such an approach. I rightfully pointed out how escorts have taken the brunt of attacks in the past, and that comes with the territory.”.

            right. Which is why I’d rather have a frigate do the job than an almost 2 bil a copy Burke, after all costs are added up.

            7) You say “With what is being presented in this proposal, I fear that is the case here. A few missiles for the area defense mission, with a lot of money expended to warrant carrying them.” in reference to the ship being expensive yet still under equipped. Hre we are in agreement, in part, not about the specific systems, but the overall conclusion, that the ship needs more capability. we differ on what that means. To me, simply eliminating the requirements that make LCS variants feasible candidates is enough, if ASW weapons were included.

            The ships needs ALL systems listed in the RFI, with 2 30mm turrets in addition, 2 searam, not 1 , minimum 32 VLS and 16 SSM and a minimum range of 5000 miles.

            Such a ship with a loadout of 16 NSM, 32 ESSM, 8 ASROC , 8 SM-2 and 2 SEARAM is a fine choice for a 5000-5800 ton frigate and the defined mission.

            ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

            As for the rest, we are largely in agreement, and clearly have personalities that clash, or are very much the same, can’t say which, but no need to respond to the rest point by point, I get your overall drift, which was your purpose. At this point i’m sure your smart enough to get mine. Yes, I think all US contractors are corrupt and dishonorable. Far as staying within cost, maybe I had a fantasy it would be a fixed price contract, seems to be what the navy is Shooting for. We can both agree the terms of any contract can establish cost control. whether such terms are adopted is another matter.

            Far as my vision of possible tactics enabled by such a ship, your snarky supership comments are not endearing, sir, in an otherwise respectful discussion, As mentioned previously, we may have similar personality types. To the point,no, not, not a supership, and I’ll concede what I want could come in around 1.2 bil as opposed to 950 mil. I’ll accept that and still rather have them as opposed to an equal value in Burkes. We need this ship, badly. I enjoyed the discussion, and thank you for your time. Looking forward to it again. Have a nice evening.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Obviously, we see things differently, from possible scenarios to costs. I do want to point this put to you, given what you have said on the subject..

            “Bottom line, you don’t belive the contractors can deliver for the stated price and I do.”

            Ummm, you did state out loud that “they are all corrupt”, did you not? You were talking about US shipbuilders, who would certainly represent contractors involved as well. But that aside, I do not think they can deliver on the stated price. My opinion about that..And if pointing out the obvious equates to ‘snark’, too bad. Significant parts of your posts dripped with such, yet I didn’t see any reason to lose sleep over them. So I guess we differ yet again.

            Adios..

          • Chesapeakeguy

            OK, I’m gonna try this again. We’ll see if this disappears as well.

            I don’t see why you or anyone else on here would feel compelled to have to interpret my words, or endeavor to read between the lines when I say, er, write them. I believe they are abundantly clear. Like yourself, and virtually everyone else on here, I offer my opinion on things. But I’m going to take what
            you write on here point by point…

            “I don’t understand your hang up on AEGIS. what exactly do you think is the difference between what this ship has, and aegis, and why would this ship need it to do it’s mission. The fact is, it will be networked as well as any Aegis ship with a radar as capable. You’ll have to define the distinction for me. It’s job certainly isn’t to coordinate area anti air defense, if that’s what your getting at”

            I don’t ‘have a hang up with Aegis, I’m just pointing out some things that SHOULD be obvious. If it’s job, or one of them, is to provide area air defense, then it SHOULD be ‘coordinating’ such efforts. Why would it not? A single FRIGATE standing out as the lone defense of a ship or ships in a hostile area with a handful of the missiles it would need doesn’t seem likely, so hence multiple ships would be providing such defense, and in this age of saturation attacks potentially coordinated with electronic warfare support needs a sophisticated response. The difference between Aegis and a ship not equipped with it is that Aegis, while certainly a contributor to any network like CEC, can stand alone from them if need be and provide the direction and battle management needed to other ships and assets. Aegis is ALREADY ‘the
            network’.

            “If the mission for the ship calls for limited area anti air ( which it does) then why don’t you want it to have it?”

            It has nothing to do with what I ‘want’. It has EVERYTHI NG to do with realistic capabilities, AND the dollars that are hoped (I think fantasized is a more apt term!) that will buy them. I’m all FOR them putting as much capability as is possible in these and any other ship, but I also know the track record for ‘budgets’ is a not a good one of late.

            “Bottom line, YOU say the navy has plenty of Aegis ships, the navy says they DO NOT WANT TO TIE THOSE SHIPS UP DOING ESCORT WORK.”

            Exactly. Which a basic frigate would free them up from. And if you add an area defense requirement to that frigate, then those ships will NOT be engaged in just routine ‘escort work’. I’ll say this: SHAME on the commanders involved if they send ships and/or convoys into hostile areas where a sophisticated air threat exists and they do not provide protection via Aegis equipped
            assets. I trust that the Navy is indeed smart enough to not allow that to
            happen. Supply ships are few and thus precious. A campaign can turn on the lack of just a few because they become casualties. It’s stupid to even contemplate that they would do so!

            “You’re arguing for a different ship. it’s stated clealry since they started talking about the ships role, even before the RFI came out, last spring, and as far back as January they want a networked sensors node to develop actionable intel in contested environments with a real surface attack capability. it can’t do that if it can’t defend itself against air attack, and ESSM is basically an anti missile missile more than anything else. Only a 3rd world power needs to get within 25 miles before launching. Everyone else has fired t 75 miles max and is long gone.”

            I am arguing for a more realistic approach. And while ESSM might be more for defending against missiles, it is missiles that will be the main threat. And Third World adversaries sporting increasingly sophisticated and lethal weapons is certainly a situation the Navy will encounter. Houthi rebels and Silkworms anyone? Ask the Israelis about Hezbollah some time. I say again the Navy already has the means and numbers to defend against long range air attack, in their carrier groups, with their Aegis ships, and with their networking. Having a few, VERY few, missiles that can hopefully launch and take out targets a hundred or more miles from the ship is going to significantly increase its costs. Period. If the Navy wants to pay that, fine. But common sense tells you it will be more than the price tag advertised on this board.

            “Numbers mean nothing without a defined mission and a set of tactics to go with
            it.You want a ship as big as a destroyer with lots of VLS and limited air
            defense. That’s different than an arsenal ship how? Because it has a helo?
            Every ship in the navy has helos Either way the ship you want would cost a
            billion anyway..”

            Wrong. I advocate for a realistic replacement for the capabilities the Spruance destroyers brought. That’s an entirely different subject than the one concerning this FFG. The arsenal ship proposals were all about a self-propelled barge that fired when and as directed. It was to do nothing but await orders to fire. It was not going to contribute to the ‘network’ that directed it, the other assets writing a task group would handle that. A destroyer does destroyer missions and tasks. Oh, and seeing how networking will be so important to this FFG’s operations, by your definition, doesn’t that make it an arsenal ship as well, even if its very limited in its firepower?

            “You say “Whether some amount of ‘expendability’ is factored in needs to
            be addressed” OK, I’ll adress it. You send a ship into a contested
            environment to dwell there and gather actionable intel( it’s primary stated
            mission) it needs air defense, air defense that can hit an attacker at 100-124
            miles, possibly before they launch, assuming the ship had some stealth and
            wasn’t a;ready marjked farhter out. you dont write off a ship as expendable.
            thats the naviy’s current insanity and sympromatic of the much larger malaise
            that has left us bereft of qualifies SWO officers and ships crashign into each
            other left and right. if it was your son you’d want to know he was equipped to
            survive, no be expended. What are we, Soviets now?”

            This is exactly what I was talking about earlier in this post about you attaching your OWN interpretation to my words. I asked a relevant question. I did not nor am I advocating for such an approach. I rightfully pointed out how escorts have taken the brunt of attacks in the past, and that comes with the territory. In the tradeoffs of war, and what is deemed as acceptable when worst case scenarios present themselves, any commander will GLADLY take the loss of one or some ESCORTS as opposed to the loss of a carrier they might be protecting, or the expeditionary personnel being carried on amphib ships they are escorting. Do tell, which ships would you prefer to survive, knowing that all of them might not?

            “we already wasted over a decade with ships that can only perform half a mision, are only half equipped and you seem to be basically advocating that we repeat the same mistakes and just drop out capabilities, which these ships already do.

            With what is being presented in this proposal, I fear that is the case here. A few missiles for the area defense mission, with a lot of money expended to warrant carrying them.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Part 2….

            “The fact is it’s being replaced by CEC in function, and all the linkages
            and weapons and sensor coordination are done with systems that have
            evolved. What we have now has grown out of aegis, and they’re putting it
            everywhere anyway”

            This is what I referenced earlier, that Aegis IS ALREADY ‘the network’ while CEC is being developed. It is NOT ‘everywhere’ at present. The Aegis ships represent a very capable element of it, and can operate independently of the total network, while still performing it’s main task of area air defense and management of the battle space.

            “If the navy sent out an RFI, and stated since July what they want, and
            named a number ( I heard 950 mil far back as august), spelled out all
            the sytems, what makes you think these guys are walking in with no
            intention of staying within budget. if they didn’t think they could
            deliver I don’t see why they would have responded to the RFP. I’m a
            layman, and I can figure out that if they really wanted to and tried
            they could deliver everything that’s asked with 32 VLS . if it had at
            least 4500 miles range, then it’s worth the 950 mil. Seems very doable
            to me.”

            And again a misrepresentation of what I said! Where, and in what way, did I say or imply that ‘nobody has any INTENTION of staying within a budget’? Hmmm? I KNOW that the Navy RARELY hits their stated mark. You have mentioned the LCS on here, and not in a flattering light. Is it your belief or opinion that they hit their cost goals on that? How about the Zumwalts? How about the F-35? Their TRACK RECORD is not a stellar one in such matters of late. I’m sure all involved have the very BEST of intentions (isn’t the road to Hades paved with such?). But when I see ANY stated figure being advertised as ‘rock solid’ when ot comes to Navy procurement, I am skeptical. I am not accusing anyone of anything, I am pointing out some undeniable facts.

            “I dont know how old you are but the Perrys where compromised from the
            start. The whole selling point of the Perry’s, if you were around then,
            was that they were made with “Modular construction” in mind, the first
            time the concept was peddled to Congress. easily upgradeable, and they
            never were. they simply lost capability over time, They weren’t so
            great. They were cheap and they were there, that’s about it”.

            The selling point of the Perrys was that they were built to replace TWO classes of FFs. They were built to provide much needed numbers to the fleet. They performed magnificently in their years of service. The fact that Navy made the decision to defang them and not keep them upgraded so that they could free up funding for newer designs does not detract from how valuable the Perrys were. In fact, it the Perry and its legacy that the Navy now seeks, with an upgraded and updated air capability. They were built to provide basic open ocean escort for convoys, unrep groups, and task forces. They proved themselves in combat several times. The causalities they suffered showed that they were indeed quite tough and resilient. I guess you and I have a different definition for that what “good” means.

            “That’s really the big question. I think it can be done, and I do not
            think any of the US entrants will even make an attempt to. Navantia,
            Maybe Fincantierri. Navantia and BIW will submit a proposal that covers
            the whole RFI and has 32 VLS that can take SM-2s if they want, at or
            very close to budget. The real question is will they ship we need and
            asked for be the one selected? I fear it may not, not being a US design.
            And not because it couldn’t be done, but because the US designers just
            wont do it as long as they think they can deliver less and get paid the
            same. They are corrupt.”

            I do not see how adapting a foreign design will result in a cheaper ship. Regardless of where it is built, once all the equipment is in and the standards adhered to, the costs will easily exceed what are hoped for. If it is built here, there will be additional fees over and above a domestic design, and if it is to be built overseas, I’m sure that will be a deal breaker as far as the Congress goes. I think the hope will be to build to a domestic design and then hope that there will be foreign customers for it.

            But you made the assertion that I didn’t think the intentions of those charged with trying to adhere to a budget will be honorable. Yet here you state that all of the US builders are ‘corrupt’. It appears that you don’t believe anyone involved with building it over here is honorable, and won’t make any effort to deliver per the costs. Looks like we both believe the same thing about those costs but for different reasons.

            “You wrote “While I like the idea of SM-2s having an offensive
            capability, it seems to me that if they are escorting convoys or unrep
            ships in a hostile environment, they wouldn’t want to be expending such
            rounds on surface targets, especially given the (probable) few rounds
            they will have of them. No, if they were raiding chinese shipping
            lanes, then they wouldn’t be escorting convoys that day, I imagine. My
            point is this design, this ship opne up , to my mind, dozens of possible
            missions that we haven’t even considered, or haven’t done in decades.
            Once they break off from the CBG there’s all kind s of fun they can have
            and havoc they can raise. Commerce raining was one idea. Baiting enemy
            forces. is another. Feints. Diversionary attacks.Cruise missile attacks,
            etc. etc”

            Well now, we’d better revisit that question of ‘expendability’ again. Now this ship is sounding like a super warship capable of extended endeavors in hostile waters and doing all that unaccompanied. If it’s going to be ‘baiting enemy forces’, which to me implies a very real threat of being fired on, then this ship will be woefully undergunned. I don’t see that myself. Again, this is making something much more than what is actually there. To me anyways…

            But i echo your sentiments of this being a great discussion. Looking forward to more of them.

  • Ed L

    Been reading quite a few articles about the lack of ASW helicopters. Plus low level fix wing and carrier based fixed wing. An new ASW aircraft Using variant of a V-22 tailor for ASW platform is possible. But there is a shortage of ASW helicopters. Now some out of the box thinkers feel that having a C-17 carrying a load of ASW torpedoes following a P-8 dropping ordnance on Command is an option. Especially against a wolf pack attack A Frigate with and organic ASW ability is needed. If people are skeptical at the latest forgets the destroyers that the Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, French, Italian, Japanese, South Korea, India, Russian have triple torpedo tubes, RBU’s aka hedge hog systems.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Here’s my MINIMUM that I would demand of a new FFG. For the sake of this, at this moment I will not be constrained by costs. So with that said, it would have AT LEAST 32 VLS cells. It would have at least 8 ASM launchers separate from the VLS. It would be able to carry the equivalent of up to 2 Seahawks (meaning a combination of helos and drones). It would carry a 76 MM gun. The gun and VLS would be forward of the superstructure. It would have at least 2 point defense systems, perhaps a RAM and a CIWS. It would have the very best sonar suite for ASW and other subsurface requirements that its size and mission parameters permit. Same would apply to AAW sensors and equipment. It would have ASW torpedo launchers. It would have the requisite ECM gear and decoy dispensers, and would have the very best equipment and engineering to facilitate quieting for the ASW mission, like that of Prairie Masker. It will be able to cruise at least 4500 miles between refuelings. A max speed of around 30 knots is a must. It should be at least 450 feet in length and have a beam of at least 50 feet. Draft and total tonnage I am not concerned about (at this time). Nor do I care about crew size, I’ll leave that to the experts.

    Here are some ‘nice-to-have’ items. A couple of 30 MM guns to cover both sides would be desirable. Steel construction or at least some degree of that would certainly be preferred. A well deck would be nice, at least as a variant. The same can be said for an enhanced missile variant.

    Now for some questions. Are ‘waist guns’ of a significant caliber ‘doable’ for such a ship (of under 500 feet). Would a couple of 57 MMs mounted on the waists to augment the 30 MMs in the anti-swarm capability be a good thing to have? I’m hesitant about the 57 MMs based on all the bad press they received via the testing of them for the Zumwalts. BUT, they are embraced by the Navy and CG, as well as other navies, and their caliber seems perfect for such a placement.

    I mentioned variants. A variant with a well deck would provide for the employment of surface and undersea unmanned vehicles. An up-gunned (meaning more MISSILES) version could be the basis for another variant that is a ‘double-ender’, with VLS cells aft (either forward of the hangar or aft of the flight deck). Obviously there would be no well deck in this version.

    About those waist guns (again, if they are possible), employment of them might make it possible to remove the 76 MM forward and add still more VLS cells there. 40 to 48 cells then seems reasonable up there. Such a missile magazine would facilitate missions like that of area air defense, which I am on record here on this thread being opposed to for this new FFG the Navy has specced. My opposition to it s based on costs and the number of missiles (specifically SM-2s) that can or will realistically be carried for that purpose.

    Time to review. Please make note of the terms I used, liker that of “at least” when it comes to quantities. Adding in the ‘nice to have’ items, we have a basic ship that carries 32 VLS cells, 2 helos, 1 76 MM gun, 1 RAM/SeaRam, 1 CIWS, two 30 MM guns and/or two 57 MM guns, and the requisite equipment and gear to fully utilize all that.

    Variant A has all of the above, with the addition of a well deck…

    Variant B has all of the above, with additional VLS cells aft. This variant would be a good candidate for that area air defense mission because enough missiles could be carried to do that and still perform and contribute to the other missions.

    Variant C would have the 76 MM removed, and replaced by more VLS cells. It could include the well deck, as the increase in missile cells over and above 32 would still be concentrated forward, thus allowing for the well deck aft. It would have two 57 MMs on the waist to compensate for the loss of the 76 MM. The option to add missiles aft (sans the well deck) is available with this as well.

    Some more questions here. Can any of this realistically be done for $950 million dollars? Certainly, not with all these variants. Some items will cost more to include. Enhanced capabilities that facilitate area air defense will no doubt cost more. But regardless, would any of this constitute money well spent? Would these capabilities be worth the money? Would these various capabilities be desirable? I assume that any of the variants mentioned would have some ample tonnage because they will be toting a lot of systems and hence weight. If electrical plants that are hoped to power future weapons like lasers and railguns are included, how much would that add to the total costs? Should that be included at all?

    Critique this. Comment on it. What say you? I know that it’s never a simple matter of just adding that and/or deleting this when it comes to designing something as sophisticated and no doubt complicated as a modern naval vessel. Ships, especially small ones, are almost always exercises in compromises. More systems and weapons requires more size, and this is a frigate we’re talking about.

    • Malph

      You can build to requirements. You can build to cost. This time the Navy seems to be saying to industry…I can afford 950 million per ship. What can I get for that much money?

      Multiple industry teams will all get a chance to present what they can do for 950 million per ship. Let the best proposal win.

      No…We are not likely to get a Kirov out of this process. Hopefully we get a useful 2nd tier combatant out of it. Something useful to the blue water fleet but cheap enough to be baught in numbers.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Fair enough. I will put forth that the Navy always has a desired price ceiling for new ships. In my lifetime they didn’t always achieve that, and they certainly haven’t done so with the LCS or the Zumwalts in recent times.