Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Once again - there is nothing stealthy about DDG-1000

OK - I'll do this if no one else will.

Who in industry continues to feed this stuff to the media - and why do they keep publishing it?

I'm sorry Eric Talmadge - I don't want to rehash
six years of DDG-1000 posts ... but ....

Good googly moogly - we're going to have to take this apart bit by bit.
A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. Navy's China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic "railguns" right out of a sci-fi movie.
Nothing the size of the pocket battleship Graf Spee is going to be stealthy. Have you see that superstructure? DDG-1000 is actually more visible than the Graf Spee. Also, this has 6.1" (155mm) guns, not rail guns. I love rail guns ... but we are way off from having an operational one on a DDG-1000 class ship. Come on Eric - you're reading like a teenager who thinks he discovered s3x.
But at more than $3 billion a pop, critics say the new DDG-1000 destroyer sucks away funds that could be better used to bolster a thinly stretched conventional fleet. One outspoken admiral in China has scoffed that all it would take to sink the high-tech American ship is an armada of explosive-laden fishing boats.
Economies of scale. Given the technology risk - in the end I think it will be north of present estimates; but if we built a couple of dozen it would be less per copy. Then again - with technology risk all over the place - putting that buy in would make LCS look prudent. All three ships, even if they formed a gun line together, are really not going to stop China from doing anything it doesn't want to do. As part of a larger naval presence, yes ... but good luck getting 100% of any class of ships to sea at one time. Even if you did, you better make your timing right, because they can't stay out there together forever - and three this year means one to zero the next. As for sinking one, my vote would be a submarine for the sink or super-sonic ASCM for the mission kill.
With the first of the new ships set to be delivered in 2014, the stealth destroyer is being heavily promoted by the Pentagon as the most advanced destroyer in history _ a silver bullet of stealth. It has been called a perfect fit for what Washington now considers the most strategically important region in the world _ Asia and the Pacific.
The people spouting that in the Pentagon take you for a fool. There is so much to be worked out technology wise that the first ship will spend the first half decade as a test platform, and the second half trying to make it all work together. It will be lucky to be able to fight its way to a successful INSURV, much less create effects ashore. Look at the delta between when LCS-1 joined the Fleet and what it is expected to do ... who knows what when. Also, can we be adults here? A pocket battleship sized warship is not a destroyer - it is by any definition a light cruiser, CL. Make it a CLG if you must - but DD? Child please. Perfect fit for the Pacific? Perhaps - but in the tyranny of distance that is the Pacific - three ships are not enough to do much, ask the crews of the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse.
Though it could come in handy elsewhere, like in the Gulf region, its ability to carry out missions both on the high seas and in shallows closer to shore is especially important in Asia because of the region's many island nations and China's long Pacific coast.
... and that huge visual signature makes submarine skippers as giddy as a school girl at a Justin Bieber concert. The closer you get to shore - the less your stealth will help you.

Wait a minute - will the Old Cold Warriors please come to the front? Thank you gentlemen - in comments will you please school everyone on EMCON (within UNCLAS lines) and what it takes to actually do that ... if you can ... especially when you need to do what needs to be done close to shore? Silly people.
"With its stealth, incredibly capable sonar system, strike capability and lower manning requirements _ this is our future," Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said in April after visiting the shipyard in Maine where they are being built.

On a visit to a major regional security conference in Singapore that ended Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Navy will be deploying 60 percent of its fleet worldwide to the Pacific by 2020, and though he didn't cite the stealth destroyers he said new high-tech ships will be a big part of its shift.
Stealth doesn't buy you all that much, the sonar on that hull needs operational experience with non-permissive, non-scripted exercises first, the 6.1" will be nice to have (+1), but .... didn't we just start a conversation over the last year or so about from habitability, maintenance, and damage control, that there are a significant problems with the low manning models? Also - please outline to me what "low tech" ships we will have in a few years once the FFnot-so-G are gone? Ticos and early DDG-51s may not be cutting edge ... but they ain't low-tech.
The DDG-1000 and other stealth destroyers of the Zumwalt class feature a wave-piercing hull that leaves almost no wake, electric drive propulsion and advanced sonar and missiles. They are longer and heavier than existing destroyers _ but will have half the crew because of automated systems and appear to be little more than a small fishing boat on enemy radar.
All three of them? Any discussion of sea-keeping capabilities? Define "no wake" as in compared to what (no bioluminescence too)? Visual size again ... and any ESM gear ... oh never mind.
Down the road, the ship is to be equipped with an electromagnetic railgun, which uses a magnetic field and electric current to fire a projectile at several times the speed of sound.
Well, down the road I am going to run 5 miles every AM before breakfast five days a week.
But cost overruns and technical delays have left many defense experts wondering if the whole endeavor was too focused on futuristic technologies for its own good.

They point to the problem-ridden F-22 stealth jet fighter, which was hailed as the most advanced fighter ever built but was cut short because of prohibitive costs. Its successor, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has swelled up into the most expensive procurement program in Defense Department history.
Wait ... Eric, I owe you an apology ... is this the same article? Better ... better ...
"Whether the Navy can afford to buy many DDG-1000s must be balanced against the need for over 300 surface ships to fulfill the various missions that confront it," said Dean Cheng, a China expert with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research institute in Washington. "Buying hyperexpensive ships hurts that ability, but buying ships that can't do the job, or worse can't survive in the face of the enemy, is even more irresponsible."
Yes Dean - for the last six years here we have called it the "Tiffany Navy." Glad to have you on the team. I like your last quote there - talking about LCS I assume.
The Navy says it's money well spent. The rise of China has been cited as the best reason for keeping the revolutionary ship afloat, although the specifics of where it will be deployed have yet to be announced. Navy officials also say the technologies developed for the ship will inevitably be used in other vessels in the decades ahead.
Look at a map and the amount of 6.1" ammunition a DDG-1000 will carry. If it all works, nice - but game changer, no - we're talking about three ships; and it takes three to make one. Too much exaggeration and your credibility decreases. Last sentence - unquestionably true and good. Hopefully we will recapture some of the sunk costs especially with the engineering, electrical, and gun.
But the destroyers' $3.1 billion price tag, which is about twice the cost of the current destroyers and balloons to $7 billion each when research and development is added in, nearly sank it in Congress. Though the Navy originally wanted 32 of them, that was cut to 24, then seven.

Now, just three are in the works.
Which may or may not have been the right call ... but it is what it is. I am glad we are getting three - if for no other reason than to test the technology to see what can be used and is useless.
"Costs spiraled _ surprise, surprise _ and the program basically fell in on itself," said Richard Bitzinger, a security expert at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. "The DDG-1000 was a nice idea for a new modernistic surface combatant, but it contained too many unproven, disruptive technologies."
That is Richard's way of saying, "Sal was right about technology risk. We overreached."
The U.S. Defense Department is concerned that China is modernizing its navy with a near-term goal of stopping or delaying U.S. intervention in conflicts over disputed territory in the South China Sea or involving Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.

China is now working on building up a credible aircraft carrier capability and developing missiles and submarines that could deny American ships access to crucial sea lanes.
No, you know what we need to face China? Aircraft on our carriers that actually have long range strike capabilities. We need real organic tankers. We need a 21st Century supersonic ASCM. We need solid NSFS on all our ships. Right now we have decks full of nipple feeding light fighters, no organic tanking (buddy tanking doesn't count), and 40-yr old ASCM technology in way too few numbers.

We don't need to pound China so we can engage them in a land war in Asia. We need a Fleet that will keep their Fleet in the same position the Imperial German Fleet was in WWI, more or less in its box.

So, before everyone calls me Debbie Downer and Mr. Negative ... again, let me provide the answer. A few years too late to execute - but it isn't my fault myself and others were ignored last decade.

1. We should have engineered DDG-51 from the start with the ready-to-go 8" MK-71.
2. The new 6.1" (modified) should have been built in to older DDG-51 hulls as they went in to a yard period (painful but doable with modifications from what told) or fully tested ashore as a test bed first - then work could be made on the new engineering/electric and newer hull forms being designed for CG(X), ahem, then you would have a ready weapons system to go in them - cutting both systemic technology risk and increasing probability for programmatic success.
3. Build a little, test a little, learn a lot. Worked for cruiser development between the World Wars - worked even better for guided missile development during and after the Cold War. It could have worked the last couple of decades, but instead - in our arrogance - we thought we knew better than the wisdom of centuries of shipbuilding experience behind us. We loved seeing "revolutionary" on our FITREPS, and didn't like "evolutionary" because to do that we would have to share credit with others.

No comments: