Thursday, January 16, 2020

From DDG-1000 to CA-154?

So, we have a rump, 3-ship class of land attack destroyer, the ZUMWALT Class, that was designed about a bespoke 6.1-in (nee 155mm) naval gun that we are not going to use because we did not have an economist or historian on the program team.

As such, and we don't have to even go in to the problematic manning and other issues, we have your classic white elephant tooling around with the most expensive 30-mm batteries in Christendom with nothing forward of bridge of any lethality unless you are an unfortunate Cetacean that can't get out of the way of its bow on the few occasions it gets underway.

Well, we spent billions of dollars borrowed in the name of children yet unborn to get these in the fleet ... what can we do with them besides relegate the trio to technology demonstrators, CAPT Commands, or missile possible sponges as we try to keep the Chinese Fleet from moving east of Oahu?

It seems smart people with hard jobs have been looking at options and they may have found a way to get something moving forward.

To get a better idea we'd need a few artists rendering informed by competent marine engineers - but before we start getting the blow torches and blueprints out, let's see what they have to say.

The Navy’s newest destroyer may fire a not-yet-to-be fielded Conventional Prompt Strike conventionally-armed missile engineered to hit anywhere on earth within an hour, service program managers said. The weapon, now being considered by Navy weapons developers for the emerging USS Zumwalt, will bring new attack options to the stealthy destroyer being prepared for combat as soon as 2021, Capt. Kevin Smith, Zumwalt-class destroyer Program Manager
OK, let's unpack this a bit. First of all, let's define the most sparkly item; CPS;
Navy Starts Conventional Prompt Strike Missile Program Evidence of the growing Pentagon interest in hypersonic missiles, several exploratory programs have been shifted into engineering development over the past year. In 2019, DARPA relinquished control over the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, with the effort transferred to the Navy’s Strategic Systems Program. Now called Conventional Prompt Strike, the effort became a program-of-record in late 2019. The aim of the program is to examine a new intermediate range missile that can be fired from Ohio-class missile submarines that have been converted to launch cruise missiles (SSGNs) and Virginia-class attack submarines equipped with the Virginia Payload Module.
On 30 October 2018, the Navy flew the first CPS test, designated Flight Experiment 1, more than 2,000 nautical miles from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands. ... The Navy expects to conduct the CPS Flight Experiment-2 in 2020 and FE-3 in 2022. So far, there is no estimate regarding an introduction into service.

The CPS missile is not called a ballistic missile since it employs a hypersonic maneuvering body to carry its warhead, called the Common Hypersonic Glide Body(C-HGB). On 30 August 2019, Dynetics Technical Solutions (DTS)of Huntsville, AL, was awarded a $351.6 million contract to build at least 20 Common Hypersonic Glide Bodies for both the Army and the Navy. The Army’s counterpart to the CPS is the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW). Lockheed Martin was awarded a $347 million contract in September 2019 for this program.
So, that is what we are looking at. First step, we need to find a way to shoehorn the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) in to the Zumwalt.

Not sure you will be able to do that by the end of FY21, but we'll see.

There is limited real estate - believe it or not - in this Graf Spee sized "destroyer." As such, what presently is fallow ground looking for highest and best use?  That's right kiddies, those mothballed 6.1" gun mounts. Let's extract those.

How many VPM can you fit in that space?

Each VPM is 87" wide. I can't seem to find a good open source diagram to ponder with, but let's make some assumptions using these two as reference points.

For planning purposes, let's remove both 6.1" mounts. In place of the forward, lets say you can install 3 VPM. Where the aft mount is, because it gets a bit wider, you can fit 5; 3 down the centerline like you did with the forward mount, and then two to the side between the two closest to the bridge.

The VPM can hold 7 TLAM. Will CPS use up the same space as a TLAM? If we assume so, that will give you 8x7=56 CPS if you did a full load out.

That ain't nothing. That is something. Could we do that ship modification for the cost of a LCS? If so, I'd approve that ship modification if for no other reason than not buying more LCS ... but for my approval you'd have to do the right thing and classify this pocket battleship sized warship to what it actually is; a cruiser.

As this would not be an air defense cruiser, but a cruiser designed around surface and land attack, then let's call it what it is; an attack cruiser. CA-154 is the next available number. If you insist on keeping the redundant "G" then fine, CG-74 - but that is lame.

This has the potential of salvaging something of use. Also, being that the VPM was designed for submarines, it will be more than fit-to-purpose for the bow of that tumblehome hull. That thing will be wet.

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