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Road to 350: What Does the US Navy Do Anyway?

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
It's a cool idea, but before giving it the green light, there would have to be questions answered on the legal ramifications, how that would impact operational employment, and finally several technical issues. In other words, think through what you'd do with it, before we even start framing the technical problems that need to get solved (because for many missiles carried, this isn't just a bolt on solution).

But it is a given that merchant traffic will be greatly impacted by any war involving China or Russia, and Russia has already developed containerized cruise missile systems (and no doubt China would do the same), so it's certainly something worth thinking about.
Concur.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
It's a cool idea, but before giving it the green light, there would have to be questions answered on the legal ramifications, how that would impact operational employment, and finally several technical issues. In other words, think through what you'd do with it, before we even start framing the technical problems that need to get solved (because for many missiles carried, this isn't just a bolt on solution).

But it is a given that merchant traffic will be greatly impacted by any war involving China or Russia, and Russia has already developed containerized cruise missile systems (and no doubt China would do the same), so it's certainly something worth thinking about.
Any thoughts on the survivability of double hulled tankers or as quoted here: Ships in the 30–50,000 dead-weight ton range would possess cargo capacity well in excess of that needed for the combat systems. Even a small container ship will have hundreds of empty containers. The Navy could experiment with different types of fill to absorb the energy of enemy weapons— anything from large sandbags to expanding foams. Much as World War II Q-ships sometimes carried buoyant cargoes to make them survivable, the Navy today could mount the outer rows of containers as inner hulls. If only the inner two rows carry weapons, up to four on each side could be configured as protective layers and perhaps reserve buoyancy.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Against what? A torpedo, large mine or ASM? Zero. Something else not generally found on MVs is a watertight integrity scheme or the ability to do real DC.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Any thoughts on the survivability of double hulled tankers or as quoted here: Ships in the 30–50,000 dead-weight ton range would possess cargo capacity well in excess of that needed for the combat systems. Even a small container ship will have hundreds of empty containers. The Navy could experiment with different types of fill to absorb the energy of enemy weapons— anything from large sandbags to expanding foams. Much as World War II Q-ships sometimes carried buoyant cargoes to make them survivable, the Navy today could mount the outer rows of containers as inner hulls. If only the inner two rows carry weapons, up to four on each side could be configured as protective layers and perhaps reserve buoyancy.
It sounds interesting but containers tend to sit relatively high up. As pointed out, that doesn’t help much against a torpedo or mine. Against a missile? Might be able to do something to help absorb the impact and blast, but the ship still needs to be able to deal with the resulting fire, which is another thing most merchant ships aren’t real great at.

Seems to me that in the event of a “real” war in a large theater like the Pacific, transport vessels would be better used delivering war material to widely dispersed bases of operations. Logistics and all that.
True, but several dozen missile carrier conversions would barely put a dent in the number of cargo ships required. If nothing else, more targets in the area complicates the other sides attempts to hit High Value units.

The other question is what happens to maritime traffic in the war zone. If SE Asia becomes a maritime exclusion zone, a LOT of cargo ships will be out of work. The Navy is also looking at how to rearm those ships forward deployed but away from port facilities...converting some of those with cranes into missile carriers for reloading would be interesting. If not, again, interesting legal questions.

One thing the proponents of the idea also need to address, going down the armed cargo ship route, is where we get all these missiles.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
It sounds interesting but containers tend to sit relatively high up. As pointed out, that doesn’t help much against a torpedo or mine. Against a missile? Might be able to do something to help absorb the impact and blast, but the ship still needs to be able to deal with the resulting fire, which is another thing most merchant ships aren’t real great at.



True, but several dozen missile carrier conversions would barely put a dent in the number of cargo ships required. If nothing else, more targets in the area complicates the other sides attempts to hit High Value units.

The other question is what happens to maritime traffic in the war zone. If SE Asia becomes a maritime exclusion zone, a LOT of cargo ships will be out of work. The Navy is also looking at how to rearm those ships forward deployed but away from port facilities...converting some of those with cranes into missile carriers for reloading would be interesting. If not, again, interesting legal questions.

One thing the proponents of the idea also need to address, going down the armed cargo ship route, is where we get all these missiles.
Thank you for the reply concerning the container ships - any thoughts on the double hull tanker conversions mentioned? Another article in Proceedings mentioned the same idea https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2015-01/more-flexible-fleet with a few interesting statistics such as The Persian Gulf Tanker War demonstrated a significantly better survivability rate of larger ships. Of 17 large (over 50,000 tons) tankers hit by Exocet missiles in 1984, none was sunk, 11 were significantly damaged, and 6 were only slightly damaged.

Also mentioned was the 1987 Bridgeton incident. Experience in the Persian Gulf also shows larger ships’ reduced vulnerability to mine strikes. A single Iranian mine nearly sank the 4,000-ton Perry -class FFG Samuel B. Roberts in 1988, whereas the 20,000-ton Tripoli (LPH-10) was able to resume her mine-hunting mission a day after hitting an Iraqi mine in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. A more telling example was the M/V Bridgeton , which not only made port after striking an Iranian mine in 1987—she actually led her escorting U.S. Navy warships out of the minefield because she was judged to be best able to absorb another mine hit. Of note, these survival rates were on ships built to commercial standards with no accommodation for battle damage, and without crews trained for damage control. It is reasonable to suppose that ships of the same size but built to the same Level I+ standard as the LCS and with crews with damage-control training on board would perform even better. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeton_incident (Note: The Bridgeton was a double hulled supertanker with a length of 1,158 ft, beam 229 ft and displacement of 400,000+ tons)

As competing budget pressures limit the ability of the Navy to get more hulls into the water, it is good to see the Navy thinking in unorthodox ways.
 
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Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
As competing budget pressures limit the ability of the Navy to get more hulls into the water, it is good to see the Navy thinking in unorthodox ways.
This is written by a Bunch of retired dudes. This article does not represent official DoN thinking in any way, shape or form.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
This is written by a Bunch of retired dudes. This article does not represent official DoN thinking in any way, shape or form.
Because only official DoN personnel ever have ideas worthy of discussion. If it doesn't have it's genesis in official DoN offices, an idea is DOA. We all know retired guys, free as they are from group think and unknown official influances, become stupid and irrelevant once they retire. Well, unless you are criticizing the president, but that is another thread.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Just how much classified knowledge must inform the debate over the concept in question?

To prove I am not a blind proponent. I think a major consideration is that an arsenal type ship becomes a capitol asset and would demand escorts and other protection upping its true cost.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Because only official DoN personnel ever have ideas worthy of discussion. If it doesn't have it's genesis in official DoN offices, an idea is DOA. We all know retired guys, free as they are from group think and unknown official influances, become stupid and irrelevant once they retire. Well, unless you are criticizing the president, but that is another thread.
I made no judgement (in that post) about the merits of the article. Randy said he was glad that the Navy was considering this. They aren’t.
 

Recovering LSO

Suck Less
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Because only official DoN personnel ever have ideas worthy of discussion. If it doesn't have it's genesis in official DoN offices, an idea is DOA. We all know retired guys, free as they are from group think and unknown official influances, become stupid and irrelevant once they retire. Well, unless you are criticizing the president, but that is another thread.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that in many (most) cases the ideologically unemcumbered retired guys you allude to are writing/thinking/speaking while cashing checks from Lockmart, Boeing, Huntington Ingalls, etc.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
I made no judgement (in that post) about the merits of the article. Randy said he was glad that the Navy was considering this. They aren’t.
Perhaps a better description would be I am glad these ideas are getting visibility in Proceedings.

As for accompanying an CSG, that is one avenue to study. I would think another avenue to consider would be to accompany the ARG to provide fire support for the Marines, where the lower speed of the cargo vessels is not as much of a handicap to the generally slower Gator Navy.
 

ATIS

Well-Known Member
Take all the old BB hulls (very well armored), strip off the superstructure, fill the hull with a few hundred VLS’s, automate the Nav and make them arsenal ships. Since we are all sitting around this Saturday night drinking scotch and making stuff up.
ATIS
 
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