Thursday, August 23, 2007

The return of the Battle Cruiser?

Call it what you want, but this is a Battle Cruiser, CBGN.
Navy officials have been hinting that a 20,000-ton-plus ship could be in the works.

Sources said early analyses of the CGN(X) showed a 25,000-ton ship, which the Navy said was too large. More realistic, one source said, would be about 23,000 tons.

Another cost for developing a new power plant for the nuclear cruiser, even if an existing reactor was used, would be time to design a new propulsion system.

“Five years of research and development would be needed to come up with the turbines, reduction gear, shaft and propeller,” said one experienced naval engineer. The Navy now plans to order the first CG(X) in 2011, with the last ship included in the FY 2023 budget.
I am warming to the idea....
Under pressure from the Navy to develop a new cruiser based on the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class hull form, and from Congress to incorporate nuclear power, a group of analysts working on the next big surface combatant may recommend two different ships to form the CG(X) program
One ship would be a 14,000-ton derivative of the DDG 1000, an “escort cruiser,” to protect aircraft carrier strike groups. The vessel would keep the tumblehome hull of the DDG 1000 and its gas turbine power plant.

The other new cruiser would be a much larger, 25,000-ton nuclear-powered ship with a more conventional flared bow, optimized for the ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission.
Here is something to get Chap and Bubblehead all excited.
According to sources, the AoA looked at two possible nuclear powerplants based on existing designs: doubling the single-reactor Seawolf SSN 21 submarine plant, and halving two-reactor nuclear carrier plants.

Doubling the 34 megawatts of the Seawolf plant would leave the new ship far short of power requirements — and not even match the 78 megawatts of the Zumwalts.

But halving the 209-megawatt plant of current nuclear carriers would yield a bit more than 100 megawatts, enough juice for power-hungry BMD radars plus an extra measure for the Navy’s desired future directed-energy weapons and railguns.
Yep, Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) is all over this.

Anyway, 25,000 tons sound familiar? Of course it does. Remember this?

Another cruiser alternative studied in the late 1980s was variously entitled a Mission Essential Unit (MEU) or CG V/STOL. In a return to the thoughts of the independent operations cruiser-carriers of the 1930s and the Russian Kiev class, the ship was fitted with a hangar, elevators and a flight deck. The mission systems were Aegis, SQS-53 sonar, 12 SV-22 ASW aircraft and 200 VLS cells. The resulting ship had a waterline length of 700 feet, a waterline beam of 97 feet, and a displacement of about 25,000 tons. Figure 27 is a painting of that ship concept.
This time the focus will be BMD with a BIG missile.
Details of the AoA have been closely held, but sources have confirmed that two different designs are being considered. They also say the analysis will recommend dropping the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) from the CG(X) program.

The KEI is a large ballistic missile-defense rocket under development by Northrop Grumman as a ground- or sea-based weapon to intercept ballistic missiles in their boost, ascent and midcourse flight phases.

The KEI is much larger than the SM-3 Standard missile developed by Raytheon to arm Navy cruisers and destroyers for the BMD role. The 40-inch diameter KEI is nearly 39 feet long, while the 21-inch diameter SM-3 stands just over 21 feet tall. Both missiles use a kinetic energy warhead, intended to ram an enemy missile.

Sources said a missile launch tube for a KEI would need to be so large it would take the place of six SM-3 launch cells.

“That’s a poor exchange ratio,” said one naval analyst familiar with the AoA.

Tactics generally call for at least two interceptors to be launched for each incoming target. Just how many missile cells the AoA is considering for each cruiser variant remains under wraps.
How about two flights? One with SM-3 and the other with the KEI - if it works. Plus guns. I would bring back the MK-71 - but the 155mm will due - if they can get it to work.

In the end though - unless the $$$$$ fairy shows up - I don't see it.

Here is a SAT question: Spruance is to Tico - as - Zumwalt is to ________.


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