Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A Frigate for your CSG

What a great opportunity for both our good friends in the Danish and the US Navy. As reported by Janes last NOV;
The Royal Danish Navy's (RDN's) new Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F 362) is to join a US carrier strike group for operations next year, and Danish officials expect to gain significant experience from the deployment.

Peter Willemoes is to begin integration exercises with the George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group (CSG-2) during the week commencing 28 November, Commander Senior Grade Kristian Haumann, Peter Willemoes ' commanding officer, told IHS Jane's during an 18 November port visit in Baltimore, Maryland.

The frigate is to then return briefly to Denmark and depart from Copenhagen in January to join CSG-2 for operations around the Mediterranean Sea from February through May, Cdr Haumann said.
It would be nice if we could have at least one EUROFRIGATE per CSG. Perhaps a Norwegian NANSEN next? Give our leaders an opportunity to see what these ships can do, as our practical institutional knowledge about what a sub-DDG-51 ship can bring to the toolbox is limited.

Some interesting notes about the IVER HUITFELDT Class. From a displacement point of view, they are right between LCS and DDG-51 and only 37' longer than the INDEPENDENCE Class LCS. The program has some smart details.

First of all, they are exceptionally affordable. A very modern design, Hull-1 was commissioned only in 2011 with a "list price" of $325 million per hull. Much of the savings were brought about through leveraging the successful ABSALON Class hull design and a creative construction plan that included building sections in cost-effective but high quality Estonian and Lithuanian yards.

Though defined as an AAW frigate, she is a true multimission platform with a modular capability along the lines of her ABSALON family members. Baseline capability covers AAW, ASUW and ASW capabilities. I also like the interesting dual 76-mm mounts forward.

Their MK-56 VLS can, I believe, be configured to carry a mix of RIM-162 ESSM and/or Harpoon as a natural byproduct of the plug-n-play STANFLEX system.
- 4 × Mk 41 VLS with up to 32 SM-2 IIIA surface-to-air missiles (Prepared for, but not purchased.)[7]
- 2 × Mk 56 VLS with up to 24 RIM-162 ESSM
- 8–16 × Harpoon Block II SSM
- 1 × Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun System CIWS
- 2 × OTO Melara 76 mm
- 2 × dual MU90 Impact ASW torpedo launchers
Aircraft carried:
- 1 × Westland Lynx Mk90B or MH-60R
This is the kind of ship we should have, and something approaching this platform, but no larger, should be the basis for the follow-on to LCS that hopefully we will be laying down in the next five to eight years.

A little side note about what can happen when, like the Danes, you only have 1.17% of GDP invested in your military capability, and compromises have to be made. In this case, the compromises manifest as empty MK-41 VLS cells. With the right funding, this ship could carry SM-2, TLAM, etc, but can't.

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