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a
a
August 8, 2013 9:36 am

It kind of inches around the central point without saying it out loud, which is that steel and air aren’t cheap or free because it costs money to make them go anywhere. Steel is cheap, air is free, but engines are terribly expensive. And, in the LCS case, it costs vast amounts of money to make them go anywhere fast. Double the size of your ship and you quadruple the drag. Double the speed and you do the same. (Assuming the shape stays the same.) So for a patrol craft, it rapidly becomes cheaper to achieve the same coverage and response time with lots of small, slow ships scattered around the patrol area, than one big fast one that sits in the middle and can race to cover it all.

Bob
Bob
August 8, 2013 9:55 am

People who spout the stupid mantra “steel is cheap and air is free” are idiots who are merely advertising the fact they are idiots. Navy Matters is spot on.

I would also point out that any extra steel has to be fabricated as well as purchased- not a cheap exercise either.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 8, 2013 10:08 am

I’m sick of hearing that phrase on this site. It’s like a cancer, popping up all over the place. Think you’ve seen the last of it in one thread, and then it rears its ugly head in another.

If it was true, we’d be building the next GP frigates the size of aircraft carriers.

wf
wf
August 8, 2013 10:21 am

@Bob: I think when people use that phrase they assume it actually means “the marginal costs of additional steel, air and propulsion is low compared to the payoffs when it comes to operational utility and upgradability”.

On a related note, the 80k tonnes of steel for CVF cost 65m :-)

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
August 8, 2013 10:25 am

The US Government really need to switch their steel supplier. £350 million pounds for 3000 tonnes and 130M. Of course design and making it go very fast costs money.
Look at the cost of a container ship in comparison. The truth is that steel and air are relatively cheap. What is expensive is taking that steel and air and making a warship with all the design features, propulsion and internal requirements that come with it.
A large empty hold with a single screw diesel is cheap but that is not a warship.

Rocket Banana
August 8, 2013 10:32 am

Bob has started to explain the drag issue.

There is also the power issue which generally rises with the cube of the size (I deliberately haven’t said ships because it applies to aircraft, cars, tanks, missiles, bikes, just about anything).

However, there is no doubt that a larger ship is more efficient IF you measure efficiency in the tonnage it can transport per unit of fuel. This is because the fuel load required for a particular range rises with the square of the size and the displacement and load rises with the cube. It basically means that a smaller and smaller fraction of the ship’s load is needed to haul its own fuel (for a given range and speed).

Given that there will be a stability limit for when you have no fuel left (seems to be about 15% of displacement for some reason) there is therefore a limit to the smallest ship that can do a particular range. I think (and I’ll get shot down for saying this) that for a warship that does the 7000-8000nm and embarks about 200t of aviation fuel, this is a 5500t hull. The point I wish to make now is that if I want double the aviation fuel I only need to build an 8000t hull. So in our world an 8000t hull is almost exactly double a 5500t hull in terms of overall utility (replace aviation fuel with missiles, shells, etc at you leisure).

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 8, 2013 10:44 am

When the T45 was built, I thought it was said the hull cost less than 10% (4%?). The cost was in the engines, radars, computers, missiles, guns, etc.

a
a
August 8, 2013 10:54 am

So in our world an 8000t hull is almost exactly double a 5500t hull in terms of overall utility (replace aviation fuel with missiles, shells, etc at you leisure).

Looking at it in terms of cost makes Simon’s point rather well too. From Wikipedia:

“In 2005, the price for new oil tankers in the 32,000–45,000 DWT, 80,000–105,000 DWT, and 250,000–280,000 DWT ranges were US$43 million, $58 million, and $120 million respectively.”

DWT is deadweight tonnage – think of it as “total fuel and payload”. I’ve picked oil tankers because they’re probably the most easily compared.

So if I want to haul 250,000 tonnes of payload, I can pay $120 million for one big tanker, or over $200 million for a fleet of five smaller ones. And fuel burn will be smaller for the big tanker too.

I suppose it depends whether you think of your navy as a way to get presence, or a way to haul payload.

Think Defence
Admin
August 8, 2013 11:23 am
Reply to  a

Off topic, but Think Defence went well over ten thousand hits yesterday :)

Rocket Banana
August 8, 2013 11:28 am

a,

Indeed.

Unfortunately I’m a bit of a mathematician so I work on the optimum distribution of assets in powers of two. So if we have 12 x 5500t frigates, we should have 6 x 8000t destroyers and 3 x 12700t cruisers = 21 escorts.

We then get onto the heavyweights with one 65000t carrier, two 36300t LHDs and four 21000t amphibious support ships = 7 heavyweights.

3:1 escort:heavyweight ratio.

That way you can mix and match to provide either “presence” or “payload/efficiency”.

a
a
August 8, 2013 11:36 am

Think Defence went well over ten thousand hits yesterday

Imagine how well you would have done if you ran ten small blogs instead .

Tubby
Tubby
August 8, 2013 12:14 pm

Isn’t the US steel industry quite inefficient as well, I seem to remember they had feed in tariffs a few years ago to protect the US steel industry from being undercut by the European steel industry.

I have found this website that suggest depending on what you want stainless steel costs between $1,900 and $4,400 a tonne, but I have not found anything more concrete for other grades of steel other than a few blog posts that suggest $750 tonne is about right. Then in addition to the raw materials there is the cost of all the labour, which again I have heard that US shipbuilding is less efficient than European practice, so it easy to see how it all mounts up.

http://www.meps.co.uk/Stainless%20Prices.htm

Bob
Bob
August 8, 2013 12:50 pm

WF,

Even if they do, they are still wrong and still idiots.

Frenchie
Frenchie
August 8, 2013 1:59 pm

The steel is expensive or not, it will always ship, but if you want to buy some A319 MPA we are sellers :)

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 8, 2013 5:08 pm

Except that Mr Navy Matters is somewhat awry in his assumptions about what is and is not included in budgets. Which is a shame really, because the one thing that the US does quite well is publish budget data – see here.

http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/fmb/14pres/SCN_BOOK.pdf

Pages 121-130 give all the gory details, but essentially what he is suggesting – that the $450M unit cost covers just the “bare hull” is I’m afraid, flat wrong.

What he thinks is “the bare hull” actually comprises the hull steel (or ally) work, the propulsion machinery, the electrical generation and distribution system, the internal and external communications systems, search radar, combat system data networks, marine auxiliary systems (HVAC, HP air, fuel, firefighting, lub oil, hot & cold fresh water, chilled water, black & grey water), accommodation (inc offices, command spaces and workshops – such as they are), plus the RAM or SeaRAM and some small calibre guns.

He is correct that there is a separate funding line for the various operational modules – specifically the Surface Warfare (SUW), Mine Warfare (MCM) and ASW packages. However, those “modules” actually comprise primarily offboard vehicles and their associated sensors, with some control racks to be “plugged in” onboard.

Now those talking about the tagline being aimed at marginal costs are actually correct, but it’s difficult to apply that to LCS for the simple reason that in Froude number terms it’s a high-speed ship, which means that it’s speed relative to its size is high. What that means is that weight becomes more critical and so in order to maximise the payload (the actual mission packages, ammunition and fuel) the hull weight has to be minimised to a more stringent degree than normal, compounded by the loadings induced by high speed. That means you end up using thinner plate but more structural sections at less pitch, which means more labour input and that is some of what actually hurts in this case. That’s on top of whatever reversionary functionality, shock, blast, fire and fragment protection has been applied to the ships systems and equipment as well, since the original SeaFrame concept was proposed.

Just for a frame of reference, steel (material) can be assumed to be somewhere between £2-2.5 k per tonne, with the labour required to fabricate it at well over £9k/te for normal warship structure, depending on what assumption you use for labour and overhead rate. If you average the material cost of all the other “outfit” elements that tends to work out at well north of £30k per tonne, with the labour element at about £22k/te on the same assumptions. It’s not that the trades used are vastly more expensive, it’s just that there is more work content in outfit. Which is where the original tagline originates from. Interestingly, I’ve rarely met a warship builder who thinks that cramming as much outfit into the smallest space possible (the antithesis of steel is cheap, air is free) is a good idea for either build or through-life maintenance costs.

So people using the line are generally referring to marginal costs and (usually) far from being idiots.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 8, 2013 5:27 pm

” …a warship that does the 7000-8000nm and embarks about 200t of aviation fuel, this is a 5500t hull. The point I wish to make now is that if I want double the aviation fuel I only need to build an 8000t hull”

Hi, Simon. You are correct when you point out that, on paper, you can get disproportionately beneficial design outcomes when you build bigger. It’s often cropped up when we’ve discussed (angrily argued) about the carriers; like doubling the aircraft carried by a small carrier without doubling the tonnage.

But if I go into a shoe shop and buy a pair of shoes at £50, then the shop assistant offers me a third shoe for only £20, is that a good deal or not?
That’s 50% more shoe for only 40% additional cost… bargain!
Now, I would say that I had sufficient shoes for my needs with just the two, and I’d have saved money that I could then spend on socks. I suspect that many visitors to this site would buy the third shoe.

Rocket Banana
August 8, 2013 5:39 pm

BB,

As long as it’s a multirole shoe that fits either foot it’s okay ;-)

x
x
August 8, 2013 6:10 pm

£460 million and 30kts and well compare it to CVF and T45………..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary_2

Chuck Hill
August 9, 2013 1:56 am

The article is simply wrong. Steel is cheap and air is free. The largest ships in the world cost approximately $190M. These ships are 400 meters by 59 meters or approximately 1312′ long and 194′ of beam.

http://chuckhillscgblog.net/2012/01/03/daewoo-builds-20-largest-ships-in-the-world-for-maersk/

Additionally because of the way resistance to forward motion for displacement hulls is related to length for displacement hulls, if additional displacement goes into making the ship longer it is possible that the ship may require no additional horsepower to maintain a given top speed, it might even take less, although fuel consumption at lower speeds would go up.

British ship designers are notorious for being parsimonious with the size of their ships and generally it has come back to bite them in that the ships have little room for growth, become very crowded and ultimately have relatively short lives.

Rocket Banana
August 9, 2013 9:03 am

Steel is cheap (£30m for 15 tonnes) relative to an F35 (£150m for 15 tonnes).

Air is still free.

Although I firmy believe that a bigger ship is more efficient by many measures it is not the case all the time. You therefore have to sit on the fence a bit and listen to the rationale. A good example is a fixed budget and a need for three ships for continuous operation. So that’s three Invincible instead of a single Nimitz. Another example is when your predominant load is small. In this case there’s no point hauling a supertanker though the sea just to move two Buggatti Veyrons. The latter is my way of trying to explain why our frigates are what they are – as cheap to run as possible in terms of fuel and crew (i.e. small). If we need to take more to the “target” we pick a bigger ship (destroyer). If we need more still we pick an even larger ship. This is why the distribution of ship sizes is so important.

It becomes the classic “hi-lo mix” issue.

6 x T45
12 x T26
24 x 4000t Black Swan

There comes a time, however, where the smaller ship becomes practically useless. My view is that this happens at about the 2400t mark (still maintaining 7-8000nm at 15 knots). You then have to slow the ship down which means it can’t run with the fleet, which makes it part of something other than the Royal Navy.

a
a
August 9, 2013 9:47 am

There comes a time, however, where the smaller ship becomes practically useless. My view is that this happens at about the 2400t mark (still maintaining 7-8000nm at 15 knots). You then have to slow the ship down which means it can’t run with the fleet, which makes it part of something other than the Royal Navy.

That kind of rules out every MCMV in the fleet, for a start.

And is there really such a vital need for every ship to be able to sail 8000 nm without refuelling?

Rocket Banana
August 9, 2013 10:47 am

a,

Well, the MCMV fleet are not warships in the same sense as carriers, amphibs, cruisers, destroyers and frigates.

As for the 7-8000nm range. Probably not, but it seems to be the “spec” of our “warships”.

Dunservin
Dunservin
August 9, 2013 11:18 am

Navy Matters is wrong on this issue and LCS is a ludicrous example to support its argument; £350m for a 3,000 tonne bare hull? Someone is having a laugh. The 90,000 tonne cruise ship ‘MS Allure of the Sea’, 30 times the size of LCS, entered service in 2010 for only £640m fully fitted.

Huge passenger ships are built at a fraction of the cost of warships constructed with much smaller quantities of steel. Both require similarly capable propulsion plants and fuel supplies to move them through the water and auxiliaries providing life support and hotel services. The difference lies in the scale and scope of military technology contained within a warship in the form of weapons, sensors, combat information systems, combat management systems, communications, surviveability, etc. Where complex warships are concerned, steel is indeed cheap and air is free in the grand scheme of things.

From the authoritative and thoroughly enjoyable ‘Seapower: A Guide for the 21st Century’ (2nd edition) (London: Routledge, 2009) (http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0415480884) by Geoffrey Till (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/dsd/people/dsd-a-to-z/till.aspx):

“…Around the world, indeed, there is a marked tendency for all classes of warships to get larger, more expensive and fewer in number. Smaller navies such as Singapore are turning their fast attack craft (FAC) into corvettes or light frigates, and the tonnages of frigates and destroyers are generally going up. Frigates can be 3000 to 4000 tons, corvettes often exceeding 2000 and both types are likely to increase still further.

“Among the reasons for this are the fact that since steel is cheap and air is free, larger size allows for greater resilience (this could be particularly important for forces that might have to ‘take the first shot’ for political reasons), a greatly enhanced means of offence and defence at one time (both in variety and depth) and, provided that ship architecture has been kept open, considerable scope for development through the ship’s life. Large multipurpose ships allow the commander greater flexibility acoss the whole range of operational activity involved in high-or-low-intensity conflict and increases the range of facilities that can be offered in peace support and humanitarian operations. As far as surface combatants are concerned, big is increasingly beautiful…”

I now resign myself to some posters rubbishing Emeritus Professor Till as “an idiot” or similar in yet more examples of opinionated ignorance using self-defeating pejorative language and terminology to ‘back up’ their arguments. Please prove me wrong on this occasion.

a
a
August 9, 2013 11:27 am

Well, the MCMV fleet are not warships in the same sense as carriers, amphibs, cruisers, destroyers and frigates.

True, but you’d need to take them along even so. Especially if you’re taking amphibs…

£350m for a 3,000 tonne bare hull? Someone is having a laugh. The 90,000 tonne cruise ship ‘MS Allure of the Sea’, 30 times the size of LCS, entered service in 2010 for only £640m fully fitted.

These oranges are ludicrously overpriced. I can get apples much more cheaply.

Think Defence
Admin
August 9, 2013 11:37 am
Reply to  Dunservin

Perhaps the real phrase should be

Steel is cheaper than almost everything else on board but it still costs money

Air is indeed free but if enclosed by that cheap(ish) steel will increase costs across multiple areas

Doesn’t have the same ring to it though!

Observer
Observer
August 9, 2013 11:39 am

You might not want to go too big on warships, not because it is cheap etc, but because it is a target. The larger something is, the harder the decoys and ECM have to work to generate a miss, and something that might miss a small target might not for an oversized vessel. We could build frigates as big as oil tankers with lots of space, but what does that do for survivability? And the more space there is, the more you have to compartmentalise to ensure that any leak is non-catastrophic.

ComNavOps
ComNavOps
August 9, 2013 1:33 pm

Regarding “Not a Boffin”‘s (what the heck is that?) comment about the funding of the LCS, the contract is, indeed, for the bare hull. I never thought I would have to explain this but “bare” hull is not a literal description. Just as an “empty” or “bare” house includes wiring and piping inside the walls and so forth, so, too, does a “bare” hull include some basic housekeeping items. The point is conceptual, not literal. A bare hull is one that has not been outfitted with its armament, sensors, combat software systems, radars, etc. – all the things that make the ship functional and useful – and that cost a lot of money.

The items that are listed in the budget document that Boffin cites are, in most cases, for installation of the equipment not manufacture of the equipment. For example, it lists a cost for RAM (or SeaRAM) of around $8000. Well, obviously the RAM costs far more than that – probably many millions of dollars. Plus, the shipbuilder doesn’t build RAMs. The equipment is supplied to the shipbuilder FOR INSTALLATION from the government where it is paid for from separate account lines.

Some of you are comparing civilian ships to warships and claiming that steel is free and that the warships cost more because of (substitute your own reason here). That’s not a valid comparison. Warships are constructed of higher qualilty, denser steel in much greater thicknesses than civilian ships use. The steel on a civilian ship simply keeps the water out. The steel on naval ships also provides ballistic protection to some degree, hence the greater density and thickness – much more expensive. Also, the type of steel (I’m wandering out of my knowledge zone, here) is different. Naval steel tends to use different alloys to provide the required strength. Naval ships also tend to require more structure in the form of double hulls/bottoms, increased frequency of structural members, more compartmentation, and so forth. All of this means that a naval vessel uses much more steel per foot of length than a civilian vessel.

The point is that people who blithely suggest adding length to a ship design because steel is cheap and air is free are failing to realize the costs, both direct and indirect, associated with steel and air. They are neither cheap nor free.

All Politicians are The same
All Politicians are The same
August 9, 2013 2:05 pm

@COMNAVOPS

Tankers have double hulls. The QM2 is made from higher grade steel than the vast majority of warships.
What makes a warship expensive is what we put inside the air and steel in order to make it a warship not the air or steel to make the space the size it is.

Dunservin
Dunservin
August 9, 2013 2:53 pm

@ComNavOps (what sort of pretentious quasi-official nom de plume is that? ;-) )

As APATS has pointed out, the steel hull of the 76,000 ton passenger liner QM2, costing £460m complete, is thicker and stronger than that of most warships. Modern warships are not ‘armoured’. They are designed to prevent penetration by small arms fire but allow larger calibre projectiles to pass right through them. I’ve even penetrated the steel plating of a warship, albeit inadvertently, with a hand-held chipping hammer.

Take a close look at any RN warship from the exterior and you will see that the steel plates are flexed and dimpled where they are not welded to the frames:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/HMS_Daring_%28D32%29-Portsmouth-03.JPG

I know. Shocking, isn’t it?

Also, where RN warships are concerned, not even the 65,000 ton carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has a double hull as is evident from this photo:

http://static.worldmaritimenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BAE-Systems-Moves-Giant-HMS-QUEEN-ELIZABETH-Section-UK.jpg

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 9, 2013 3:12 pm

Oh dear.

Mr ComnavOps, you appear to be digging yourself a bit of a hole here. Someone on your blog tried to get you out of it, but you dismissed them with some reference to a defence journal. Let me try and help you out.

Let’s start with your assertions on the budget sheet, I’ll post the link again here.

http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/fmb/14pres/SCN_BOOK.pdf

Page 129 of the budget sheet deals with RAM. Helpfully, at the top of the sheet it contains the phrase “dollars in thousands”. This is a common presentational practice, which means that figures presented need to be multiplied by 1000 to get their actual value. So, for FY2012, there’s a line item which says “major hardware” 2 items for $11,961. What that means is that two RAM missile launchers and associated local control panels cost $11,961,000, lets say nearly $6m each. Which funnily enough is broadly in agreement with what I was quoted by Raytheon a few years ago. The line really does mean the actual kit, the clue is in the phrase “major hardware”. In a similar vein, you didn’t think that spares for those mounts just cost $114, or that programme management cost $342 did you?

The installation costs you refer to are held within the Basic const/conversion line on pg 122. On that page you will also see line items for Electronics, HM&E (which stands for Hull Machinery and Electrical) and Ordnance. These are the “separate account lines” you’re thinking of, which are buying the hardware (and elements like drawings, tech support, initial capital spares etc). In the UK we call that Govt Furnished Equipment. The point is that there is no other “hidden” bucket of money for the ship and it’s basic armament. As I outlined in the earlier post, the only other budget lines are for the specific modular packages for surface warfare, MCM and ASW, which are mostly offboard systems.

Now, you may never have thought you would have to explain a bare hull, but clearly you need someone to explain it to you. If you look at pages 125 through 127, you’ll see a whole host of equipment items (in a similar vein to the RAM entry) which are government furnished. They include things like SHF dual terminals, multifunction data networks, command support systems, global command and control system etc. Again these are the hardware costs for the items, the installation cost is in the basic Const/conv line on pg 122.

Please do not come back and try to bluster around this. I have actually built a number of warships and commercial vessels and was part of a team that had a good look at LCS in the early days. It is part of my day job to understand what is in these types of budget /cost lines, so I’m afraid that when I see people describe wiring / pipework etc as basic housekeeping items, my immediate impression is that they don’t actually know what they are talking about.

Which brings me to statements like ” Warships are constructed of higher qualilty, denser steel in much greater thicknesses than civilian ships use”, which I’m afraid is also somewhat removed from the truth. It is true that naval ships use “higher quality” steel than some commercial vessels. However, quality tends to be assessed against defined standards and you’ll find that Naval quality standards are no more demanding than Class Society standards for most shipbuilding (as opposed to submarine building) plate. A class society stamp on the mill cert is just as impressive as a naval one, provided you’re talking about the right grade and applied “extras”, which are in common use throughout the merchant shipbuilding world.

Density? No. Both carbon and alloy steels have a density of 7.85 te/cubic mtr. Much greater thickness? Absolutely not. If anything, the reverse and steel does much more than keep out the water in a merchant vessel, it provides the global and local strength against loads which tend to be higher than those for an equivalent naval vessel. The different alloys bit is also not specific to naval ships. Significant chunks of naval vessels are built out of what is often termed mild steel plate. There are areas of high-tensile, notch tough steel in high stress locations and indeed our more recent ships use notch-tough throughout, but that is more as a defence against fatigue cracking than anything else – and the same practice is used on many merchant ships. Double bottoms? Yep, on most commercial vessels you’ll see, in fact, the majority have double hulls in one form or another either to prevent cargo leakage or to improve survivability if grounded or in collision. Steel per foot length? Depends entirely on the type of vessel, but take a nice simple tanker of a similar size to a T23 and you’ll tend to get 18te/m on the tanker as opposed to 12te/m on the warship. Not that we should be comparing warships and commercial vessels in that fashion, I do agree.

I’m sorry if this stops a good polemic in its tracks, but you’re doing yourself no favours with this one.

Rocket Banana
August 9, 2013 3:38 pm

Love the pic of the T45, but we all know that the floppy panels are the radar absorbing stealth skin and the real 1/2 inch plate is behind. ;-)

a
a
August 9, 2013 4:01 pm

“Regarding “Not a Boffin”‘s (what the heck is that?)”

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=boffin

x
x
August 9, 2013 4:53 pm

I like double bulkheads. One of the lessons the Germans took onboard from the FI.

El Sid
El Sid
August 9, 2013 8:17 pm

@Simon
The criterion is not so much about range, as about things like transit speeds and stability. You can’t expect minor vessels to have 8000nm range – but if you want them to be part of a taskgroup then you will expect them to make eg 18 knots in SS6, and to survive in SS8. The stability/seakeeping requirements are covered by the likes of DEFSTAN 02-109 and STANAG 4154 if you have access to them.

That little lot may seem modest but they actually constrain you quite tightly – there’s a bit of a sweet spot around 90m (around 2,000-2,500t displacement) as the survivability requirements go down at that point, but you’re still big enough to cope with rough weather and carry a reasonable warload. Examples would be the Nakhoda Ragam/F2000 corvettes built for Brunei (now sold to Indonesia) or the Braunschweigs.

On the LCS, as of last August there were 43 left to build at a forecast cost in FY13 money (per GAO-13-294SP) of $22,963.3m procurement cost or $24,160.7m total funding for a per-ship cost of $534m ($562m) – about £360m. The 22 modules scheduled for FY13-17 are budgeted at $1261.3m procurement, $2,077.9m total funding so $57m ($94m) per module. At the time 1.18 modules were planned per hull.

In Bob Work’s history of the LCS he mentions the following examples in FY2005 dollars of per-ton costs of different levels of fightiness :
$115k/ton – JHSV (high-speed transport)
$165k/ton – National Security Cutter (coastguard)
$196k/ton – Perry (frigate)

You should probably multiply those by 50% (or convert 1:1 to £££) to get current prices.

@Chuck – I think the reputation of RN ships has now reversed, everyone complains the T45 has too few weapons for its size, and the Astutes were only built as big as Virginias (and much bigger than the T boats) because they had to fit around our SSBN power plant. I’m not sure that a frigate that’s pushing 6000t would be considered parsimonious either, much of the increase of the T26 over T23 is driven by modularity and improved habitation standards. We learnt our lesson with the T42 – as it seems you guys did with the Perrys, which were perhaps the worst for being upgrade-limited (and hence lifetime-limited) by being built down to a size.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 9, 2013 8:29 pm

Well my rant on “air is free & steel is cheap” is to have future frigate/destroyer hangars big enough to take an extra one or two helos in an emergency. Just carry one day to day, but have the room for two more if the proverbial hits the fan.

x
x
August 9, 2013 8:43 pm

@ Simon

Have at look at these beasties………

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenger-class_mine_countermeasures_ship

About as big as a MCMV gets and they have a range of only 2500nm.

Though they are not germane to the discussion here as they are built from wood and wood is expensive. :)

Chuck Hill
August 9, 2013 9:13 pm

@ El Sid, “@Chuck – I think the reputation of RN ships has now reversed, everyone complains the T45 has too few weapons for its size, and the Astutes were only built as big as Virginias (and much bigger than the T boats) because they had to fit around our SSBN power plant. I’m not sure that a frigate that’s pushing 6000t would be considered parsimonious either, much of the increase of the T26 over T23 is driven by modularity and improved habitation standards. We learnt our lesson with the T42 – as it seems you guys did with the Perrys, which were perhaps the worst for being upgrade-limited (and hence lifetime-limited) by being built down to a size.”

Agreed, I felt, afterward I had been a bit harsh. Always loved the Leander class frigates, most of the criticism had its roots in WWII designs.

El Sid
El Sid
August 9, 2013 10:27 pm

And this pic of four Avengers en route to the Gulf makes the point about deployability :
http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2012/August/images/Tern.jpg

There’s a reason why they went for LCS rather than a new Avenger (not even the prospect of a USS Joanna Lumley could tempt them)

IXION
August 9, 2013 10:43 pm

Bob and BB

I will happily stand up for steel is cheap and air is free because relatively it is. Longer ships are (pause for big generalization to avoid 30 pages of maths)… fatser for a given power per ton. Its why some very bigg ships make 20 + knots on the same power as T45. All big navel ship designers/commissioners) should be hit round the head with a set of plans for the QM2 (in the case of the commissioners for the Elephants wrapped round a baseball bat. With spikes in it).

Besides which IF there is a program that makes the Elephants look well run it is LCS, and ANY article based on it’s development trying to prove that ‘small is beautiful’ is frankly do-lally.

It is interesting that a lot of the derivatives of the Arliegh Burkes made by the far eastern powers, are getting bigger….

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
August 9, 2013 11:27 pm

What has not been mentioned on here is that Warships are designed to operate in a number of environments and this will drive size. They also have to worry about RCS,
The next features that drives a lot of operational issues are economy and acceleration. Warships can often stooge around at reasonably low speed but without getting into classified areas, responses to certain missile threats require the ability to accelerate to a certain speed within a time frame dictated by likely detection ranges. This is required to maximise soft kill integration. Can the IR signature be minimised by something like underwater exhausts in certain configurations.
We have not even touched upon acoustic signature or economic cruising speeds.
The number of different performance areas a Warship is asked to achieve in make comparisons with civilian propulsion systems simplistic.
That does not change the fact that bigger engine spaces are only a little more expensive.

Dunservin
Dunservin
August 10, 2013 9:18 am

@Simon

“Love the pic of the T45, but we all know that the floppy panels are the radar absorbing stealth skin and the real 1/2 inch plate is behind. ;-)”

– I like your thinking ;-) . However, from memory it’s more likely to be 3/8″ plate “behind” the RASH. 1/2″ plate, with correspondingly thicker scantlings, tends to be used for merchant vessels requiring greater strength and long term resilience. Think of the stresses induced in bulk ore carriers and tankers in heavy seas.

– As an aside, one of my tasks in a former life was to calculate and apply mership, warship and submarine damage curves based on characteristic shock factors and a range of TNT equivalent charge weights detonating at various distances, depths and bearings relative to the keel. The shock trials to capture the necessary data were quite dramatic and frequently produced unexpected results. One thing for certain, the bespoke resonant mountings for machinery and electrical/electronic equipment installed in warships and submarines might be costly but are highly effective in minimising natural and man-made shock and whip damage as well as reducing acoustic signature (provided that robust signature hygiene is enforced to prevent ‘noise shorts’ transmitting sound into the water via the vessel’s structure/hull).

Chris
Chris
August 10, 2013 10:06 am

Sorry this is a bit of a tangent, but on the subject of building bigger ships:

What I want to know is, if all the cargo sits on deck, apart from one ginormous engine and some really big fuel tanks, what’s in the hull? Is it all just left empty? Or are there deck hatches to allow more cargo inside?

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 10, 2013 10:22 am

That’s one of Mr Maersks finest, something like 18000 TEU (don’t let TD know!). There are no hatches – it’s whats known as a cellular container ship – the guides extending above the weather deck to keep the stacks together. Those stacks can be over 15 units high, the limit being the weight the lower boxes can absorb.

The container stacks will be 20 or so across and go all the way down to the tank top (~3m or so above the keel). The whole hull is arranged to maximise the number of boxes you can fit in. The only reason the superstructure has moved forward is for navigational safety (ie line of sight), but you’ll notice it’s very short, to ensure the loss of stacks is minimised. The donks are back aft to put them in an area where it’s less efficient to stack containers and to minimise shaft length (and hence interference with container stacks).

The plate used will be up to 2″ high-tensile steel, with rigorous QA by both shipyard and Class. The stresses in way of the hold openings are “challenging”, which means the structural detail to transfer those loads is complicated to put it mildly.

IXION
August 10, 2013 12:19 pm

NAB

I would like to thank you for pointing out that a lot of commercial ships are much more complicated to build and asked to do a lot more structurally and performance wise, than some ‘Sons of Nelson’ would like to accept. For example a lot of Rig Support Vessels operate in very differing conditions, speeds, etc. There are plenty of commercial ships that are still a simple low quality box with a rough point welded on one end and big noisy diesel at the back. But Rig supply vessels, modern deep sea ferries, cruse ships etc, are very complicated bits of kit in their own right.

As I pointed out in the past, The QM2 in particular was designed from the start as an ocean going Liner, NOT a cruise ship. It was designed to be quiet to keep the paying customers happy (although I accept nowhere near military standards). It cost penuts compared to CVF. I do get it that CVF has lots of very expensive dark blue stuff on it. But several thousand air-conditioned cabins and water parks and shopping malls don’t come cheap! (And Solas standards for passenger vessels include a lot of double hulls and bulkheads), and a lot of expensive civilian kit would have to be deleted from the unit cost of the QM2 before the cost of any military kit was added.

(Assuming of course we could find a use for 80,000 ton Ocean going high speed hull at less that half a mill a pop, now lets think….. I Know I will hum a little tune while I think… Nellie the elephant packed her trunk and said good bye to the circus…) Just saying..

I do take the point that shock resistance, and vibration isolation, take a big part in Naval machinery rather than commercial ships, and is a big cost driver of the hull- that wont go away, just cos the ship is bigger. And there is lots of reasons that acceleration might be useful – trying to get away for a torpedo comes to mind.

One of the reasons my idea for big patrol ships doesn’t sit well with other patrol ship ideas Is that a 1500 ton patrol ship with a mine countermeasures version (or in the case of Flex 300, 300 ton version) makes sense, a 17,500 ton MCM does not!

BTW I still remain dubious about stealth claims for warships, they are big emitters.

Rocket Banana
August 10, 2013 12:23 pm

Chris,

I love that “How it’s Made” prog on Quest but that vid knocks all that into a cocked hat :-)

NaB,

Are you implying that the container stacks go all the way down to the bottom (give or take)? If so she’s gone up in my estimation even more. That is one hell of a structure!

Rocket Banana
August 10, 2013 12:32 pm

Dunservin,

So looking at the link X posted of the Avenger class do you concur that oak is a good material?

So along with our silly dependence on fossil fuels we should really be discussing how big we can make one of these…

HMS Victory

:-)

Chris
Chris
August 10, 2013 12:39 pm

NaB – OK so its boxes all the way down. If there’s no weatherdeck (and the clue’s in the name here) then there’s nothing to prevent rain, spray or any other non-air substance dropping into the open hull. You have to say that is the world’s BIGGEST bucket… If the freeboard is pushed close to wave top (turning in heavy seas when fully laden, f’rinstance) the decision not to bother with a deck must weigh very heavy on the minds of the crew…

Rocket Banana
August 10, 2013 12:44 pm

Chris,

If the containers are lashed down then a 14t container at 38m^3 will float very, very well.

She’s the biggest bucket of corks in the world.

Chris
Chris
August 10, 2013 2:05 pm

TD – thanks for those. Why am I not surprised you had all this info to hand?…

Rocket Banana
August 10, 2013 2:16 pm

TD,

Obviously the mention of a TEU got you excited. Thank you. I think those pics demonstrate wonderfully the structure of the ships.

However, what is the last one? Are they container stack “caps”????

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 10, 2013 2:59 pm

Chris – there are scuppers served by pumps down there and by the time the hold is laden with boxes, there’s very little room for any water to make appreciable difference. As far as freeboard is concerned, there’s loads – you’re not talking laden tankers here.

Ixion – don’t forget that you’ve got several hundred tonnes of explosives of different classes to fit in there along with several thousand tonnes of aviation fuel. SOLAS standards are all very well, but the hard truth is that if damaged, the ship is not designed to be recoverable from that damage, that means many of the systems are somewhat simpler in terms of reversionary modes. I happen to agree with you on Stealth – you only have to look where DDG1000 went to see how barking that was. Personally, I’d be looking to track a wake from long range with EO/IR target recognition up close.

Simon – You don’t want the containers floating, you just want them to exclude water. The things in TDs last pick are stackable hatch covers, which tend to be for smaller ships with mixed cargoes. Something in the hold, containers on the hatch cover (or vice versa).

Rocket Banana
August 10, 2013 3:32 pm

So that’s both stealth ships and stealth aircraft a bit cock then.

Thanks for the info chaps.

x
x
August 10, 2013 5:08 pm

@ Chris

What you said reminded of more than a few occasions where I have been in a boat with inner city kids who have panicked when they see water in the bottom of the boat and believed us to be seconds from sinking. :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 10, 2013 5:33 pm

If steel is cheap, and air free (acknowledging various qualifiers that properly nautical types in the comments above make), then:

What is the practical limit for some form of super-ship? If I suggested a plainly ludicrous size@@@, then what would the real issues be?

@@@ OK, as a warmer into the bank:

2000 metres long trimaran, 200 metres wide. Big flat top for aircraft, 8 LCUs nestled underneath between the three hulls. Cavernous under deck space for aircraft. A whole brigade of Commandoes embarked, biggish hospital, lots of cargo storage. Whatever propulsion system works, including nuclear options.

Left hand hull for fixed wing, right hand hull for helicopters, central hull for amphibious, including some form of well dock.

Clearly, it’s never going into port (that’s what helicopters and LCUs can help out with), and it’s always going the long way around the Capes and not through canals, but in addition to that, the bad points?

Treat me gently – this nautical stuff is foreign territory to me…. ;)

Chris
Chris
August 10, 2013 5:50 pm

x – the kids was right – boats is for keeping the water on the outside!

But you remind me of a ferry crossing many years ago from Portsmouth of a nice little thing which was then called Pride of Cherbourg. It was an evening crossing and the weather was kicking up a bit. Lots of green-faced passengers hiding inside – I went on deck. No doubt these days the ‘Elf’n’Safety gnomes would lock the doors to stop people going on deck, but not back then. The ferry had one unusual feature – the accessible deck wrapped around the front of the superstructure beneath the bridge. I spent the voyage stood front & centre, watching as the pitching rolling vessel ploughed into the rollers with explosions of spray and foam – spectacular! By the time we reached the other side I was cold and wet and tired but buzzing from the experience of watching a ship working hard against rough seas. Sadly this ferry is long gone – only bigger dull slab-siders cross the channel these days, It survived until 2011, latterly called Samothraki on Greek Island ferry duty. But scrapped now.

x
x
August 10, 2013 5:53 pm

@ RT

Brown writes of discussion between himself, a Royal Marine, and a soldier over an “amphibious” ship design destined for NATO’s Northern Flank in Norway during WW3. Royal wanted a ship that could be “fought” close to the shore so landing craft and helicopters could move EMF to shore quickly. The soldier wanted a ferry of such proportions it would have been unable to turn about in most fjords. Movement of material and men by sea isn’t amphibious warfare. You need to define your question a bit more. What you are asking for is a ship that once it has disgorged its cargo on to the dockside remains alongside it sits there as a floating army base. That would be a waste of all those carefully designed vehicle decks. Steel and air may be cheap, but not that cheap that you can waste a carefully design ship sitting alongside.

Um. Another thought do you want drains for animal effluent? You are a cavalry man I am just thinking about all that horse pee. Don’t laugh. Serious question…… :)

PS: Ships have high utility, but ships designed for a single purpose or fewer purposes are better.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 10, 2013 6:02 pm

X,

no thought of it sitting alongside – as you say a waste of an asset. No, something that doesn’t think of coming closer to shore than 10 miles in hostile times. Helos and LCUs are perfectly adequate for us types in green.

As for the equine accommodation, 2000 metres long by 200 wide is adequate for a polo field and indeed a marquee for lunch and a post-match ball. I have once played against a surprisingly decent RN Polo team at Tidworth. Still beat them with our second 4, but they weren’t bad.

No, I’m being serious in my inquisitiveness. Leaving aside money issues (it would not be cheap, especially by the time you’d made the world’s biggest dry dock in a dead ended sea loch to build the ruddy thing), actually once built and launched, how useful could it be? Presumably the keel depth would be considerable, limiting inshore manoeuvre, and the Captain would need to plan a couple of days ahead for a turn, but it seems to me almost unsinkable given modern weapons, and laughing in the face of a hurricane.

This is an “envelope-pushing” line of thought.

Chris
Chris
August 10, 2013 6:18 pm

x, RT – I note another one of those spooky coincidences – here x states “Ships have high utility, but ships designed for a single purpose or fewer purposes are better” – on the thread about FRES exactly the same statement might equally have been penned, with the word ‘ships’ replaced with ‘armoured vehicles’. It strikes me that as a group we advocate equipment that is focused on and optimized for a definite role, unlike those that specify and procure equipment who demand multi-role adaptable reconfigurable growth-laden non-specific stuff. I am confident when applied to armour this means we get bigger heavier kit than the role deserves, I suspect the same is true of warships, possibly true in aircraft too. It would be interesting to compare (which I’m sure we can’t) two strategies – one that bought role-optimised equipment of many different types, the other that bought a few types of multi-role reconfigurable equipment, and see which route gave the better military capability for the budget. I can’t prove it, but I suspect all this designing for growth adaptability future-proofing guff has a significant cost penalty.

x
x
August 10, 2013 6:18 pm

@ RT

Um. Imagine a Wasp class LHD built to the same size as CVF. That is what you asking for I think. I would prefer the force spread across more hulls. I know I bang on about the vastness of the oceans and having to find the ship so you can sink it. But prudence would suggest you are betting off with 2 or 3 hulls.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 10, 2013 6:19 pm

Why a trimaran? The thing with the tri was to try and get some performance benefit in a particular size “sweet-spot”. Once you get above that point then it may not be the best hullform solution. Horses for courses and all that.

The thing that is most likely to catch you unaware is the impact of length on structural loading, particularly with wave loading, depending on what the thing actually looks like. VLCC, bulkers and some of today’s monster box-ships all found that at some point they were pushing conventional knowledge. All fixable given time, but it’s an iterative process.

If speed is part of the requirement, then monohull is probably best. If speed is less important but motions are, then some form of semi-sub might be better, or even a SWATH. Having said that, a monohull of those sorts of dimensions will be pretty hard to excite in most cases.

The thought had occurred to the USN…..

http://www.xtreme.hawaii.edu/research-projects/vlfs/

IXION
August 10, 2013 6:27 pm

Simon

Yes as in ‘a bit’ not totally.

Let’s stick with ships for a minute..

The see is a Mono environment – Salt water, its pretty featureless to say the least. (Ok it can occasionally get rough enough to interfere with electromagnetic propagation, but basically its a flat featureless environment.

1) Into that environment you introduce a ‘thing’, a ‘thing that moves primarily in straight lines and at non natural speeds .

2) This thing is made primarily of steel. The motion of that steel through the water generates an electromagnetic field. It also creates a wake of moving water. which current technology can detect from tens if not more than a hundred miles away.

3)This thing is propelled by accelerating water to high speeds and chucking it out the back in tribute to sir Isaac Newton. this is an inherently noisy activity.

4)This thing requires engines to carryout it’s tribute to sir Isaac newton, Heat engines, which are not much more than 50% efficient and the other 50% generally goes out a hole in the top of the ship, thermally lighting itself up like a Christmas tree.

5) The thing (which I remind you is in featureless a mono environment) Is also sending out electromagnetic signals via , Satellite uplinks, radio communications, and its own radar sets, each one of which is ‘a bloody great here I am come and get me Signal’.

Now all of the above can be minimized, quite a lot. By what is now called ‘stealth’.

But to state that a small ship of say 3000 tons is hugely less findable IN AN OPEN OCEAN than a ship of 30,000 tons, (for one thing if built to the same isolation standards the 30,000 tonner will be mechanically quieter, and its own passive detection systems longer ranged), is to say the least a ballsy statement.

Now our Scandinavian friends dodge in and out of fog banks, squalls, fjords and fishing fleets in plastic ships of a few hundred tons, in the sheltered Baltic, where their relative electromagnetic invisibility, seems a real boon. But we do not have such ships, nor will we. And attempts to make them real ocean goers has lead to the LCS buggers muddle.

ALL Navy Ocean going ships such as T45 should be built to be as stealthy as practical but these things are never going to disappear, and if they do the ‘ cloaking devices’ will need lots of power, which means big hulls.

So yea it is ‘A bit cock’, NOT totally but more than a little bit. The current obsession with it, by sea and by air (and we still have the 600 mile an hour seagull problem with aircraft, at least you can hide an RCS the size of a fishing vessel in a fishing fleet); is an infatuation which may not survive the century, remember we have yet to have a ‘stealth war’ between peers.

And as a sole justification for building small ‘expensive to pack in all the kit cos it has to fit in such small places’, just a bit desperate sounding.

Chris
Chris
August 10, 2013 6:31 pm

NaB – talking of long ships and rough seas, one of my ex-FAA colleagues told this tale. Out in rough oceans a Lynx Observer took a photo of a batch 3 Type 42. Air could be seen under the keel; the ship was supported by two enormous rollers one at each end of the hull. Once back in Blighty, this photo was brought to the attention of the Naval Architects at Bath – “Oh that’s fine,” they said, “we did all our stressing calculations and they showed the ship could easily withstand the stresses. What headway were you making – 2 or 3kt?” “About 20kt.” was the matter of fact reply, at which point all blood drained from Naval Architect’s face. Apparently T42 was *not* stressed for such speeds in such conditions. This tale may have something to do with the boxy strengtheners that suddenly appeared along the hulls of stretched 42s…

x
x
August 10, 2013 6:36 pm

I either missed the word trimaran or mind chose to block it……………. :)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 10, 2013 6:57 pm

NAB, re why a trimaran?

You’ll appreciate I apply no science to this – it was only an opening gambit.

3 hulls are better than one if a largish missile hoves into view and puts a large hole in the hull. 3 hulls give you separate work areas for unrelated tasks eg air ops and amphibious ops. 3 hulls gives you breadth and thus more flat top space. 3 hulls gives you “somewhat” protected space between the two hulls for extra LCUs. Also (and really no science at all on this one) 3 hulls gives you some extra diagonal rigidity over one long hull, or at least I’d have thought so. I’d also have assumed that at 2000 metres length, the inter-wave period means that no matter the size of the waves, there are going to be quite a lot of peaks supporting the length.

Also, and slightly cheekily, 3 hulls of stupendous size will cause the naval architects (not yuo, please understand, but generically) to go back to their calculations, as opposed to trotting out familiar answers for more normal sized boats.

as
as
August 10, 2013 6:58 pm

ok not a type42 but a similer sized frenchie vs big waves

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 10, 2013 7:03 pm

Ah yes, the batch 3 42’s. The reason they suddenly sprouted the box section girders (which were 1″ thick chunks of Q1(N) steel by the way – very HT) was that when the design was stretched, the silly b8ggers of the Arsey-Nancies left the scantlings as they were for the “stumpies”. Having just added another 40 foot or so to the hull (10% increase in length) the hull girder capacity to absorb bending moment was not adequate for what they might experience – didn’t mean they were going to snap, but the comfort zone was properly eroded.

Manchester was infested with cracks towards the end of her life, not helped by the somewhat unusual positioning of bits of deckhouse away from main bulkheads.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 10, 2013 7:10 pm

RT – Tri’s will actually induce worse bending moments (think pinching and prying of the sidehulls about the centre hull).

All the other claimed benefits you’ll get with a monohull of that size (with proper internal subdivision) anyway. Resisting the pinching and prying moments also makes the internal structure somewhat challenging for allowing people to move about athwartships.

internal layouts of trimarans were always a lot more challenging than people might think, as is getting the required grunt into the water for any decent speed.

x
x
August 10, 2013 7:13 pm

@ RT

When I said 2 or 3 hulls I meant ships.

The 2 outer hulls have to be supported by structure off the main hull. The stresses for a really large vessel would be not be trivial.

I think a larger monohull ship with a good number of watertight zones (separated by double bulkheads) would be just as survivable in terms of missile strikes. If a torpedo shattered the main keel of a trimaran the effects wouldn’t be without consequence. The sea would work the shattered structure causing further structural problems.

EDIT: Damage control is aided by distributing equipment (pumps, hoses, air) through out the hull. Not allowing smoke to move through the hull. And being able to fight the fire from more than one side. DC teams actually do “fight” fires. They are taught to see it in the context of a battle. A true fire fight.

x
x
August 10, 2013 7:33 pm

A hull’s buoyancy isn’t constant throughout the whole structure. Different parts of the hull exhibit different “levels” of buoyancy. Hulls can sag if there is too much weight in the middle for “buoyancy” at each end to counter. And hulls can hog if there is too much weight at each “end” and the midships section is more buoyant. Um. P*ss poor description.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
August 10, 2013 7:56 pm

X, NAB,

well I’d better not solutionise. 1, 2, 3 hulls is up to the naval architects. I’m still left wondering at my fundamental question – if steel is cheap and air is free, what really is the practical limit? If (a separate debate as to wisdom) you remove the need for the boat to ever come into port, and accept that the canals are too small, what COULD be done with a naval warship of enormous size?

Would it be useful to have an enormous floating troopship with well deck, loads of LCUs and the ability to host 10,000 soldiers and 500 vehicles? Sounds good to me. What about a floating airport? Disaster relief? etc.

Sod the money, it’s the physical feasibility I’m interested in.

Chuck Hill
August 10, 2013 8:23 pm

What are limits on size?

Where will you build it?
How will you get it into the water once you do?
How will you drydock it to do repairs?

Anixtu
Anixtu
August 10, 2013 8:37 pm

RT wants to build Project Habakkuk.

IXION
August 10, 2013 8:38 pm

RT

The practical Limits lie around the half a million ton mark, 2000ft long, because eventually the loads exceed the structural strength of steel – the only practical material;* and by something called Malacca max set by the straights of the same name cos otherwise you would have to transit Indian to Pacific ocean around Australia.

From Wiikibollocks—-

Malaccamax is a naval architecture term for the largest size of ship capable of fitting through the 25-metre-deep (82 ft) Strait of Malacca. Bulk carriers and supertankers have been built to this size, and the term is chosen for very large crude carriers (VLCC). They can transport oil from Arabia to China.

BTW viz the t42 and bad weather… The bigger a ship is, generally the less ‘bouncy’ when ‘floggin the hoggin’ one of those big something ‘of the seas’ Cruise boats – really great floating hotels with engines and not hydrodynamicly designed for bad weather, is reported by it’s officers to be surprisingly good in rough seas being 100,000 tons and 1200 ft long helps.

*You could build a sub continent sized ship out of wood fibre reinforced ICE – seriously suggested in WW2 BTW

x
x
August 10, 2013 8:38 pm

@ RT

If you don’t want to enter all (well most of them!) ports then I think this is about as far as you can go……

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maersk_Triple_E_class

If money is no object I would go for IEP with gen’ set per container bay. As for structure I would not breach the hull frame, not use containers, and instead build watertight “blocks”. There would be no need for the accommodation bridge structure to be where it is either. And I would go for multiple props or pods not just one propeller.

http://www.jeffhead.com/worldwideaircraftcarriers/Maersk-SClass-Conversion.gif

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn5v7tEBYn4

To be honest it wouldn’t cost a fortune……

x
x
August 10, 2013 8:40 pm

My comment is being modded…………

In summary, Maersk Triple-E is about as far as I would go.

AG
AG
August 10, 2013 9:59 pm

Like the Emma Maersk, may be it would make sence for the EU or USA to buy one or two, you would get 4 for the price of one type 45 destroyer. i guess they would need a few upgrades but £400m should be a good start for that process.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
August 10, 2013 10:19 pm

@Anixtu – It’s rather flat and potentially very wet in Wisbcwz – especially if the Climate Change Zealots are correct…@ RT is planning an Ark large enough to accommodate the Grand Duchy of Red Trousering, complete with it’s own Cossack Brigade…

GNB

as
as
August 10, 2013 11:51 pm

this is based on a class E not a triple but there is no reason the design could not be blown up to the larger design.

Chuck Hill
August 11, 2013 1:03 am

More likely the Chinese will do this first.

Observer
Observer
August 11, 2013 3:35 am

Chuck, as much as I like the Chinese to be clowns, I don’t think they will build floating staging bases. Not in their mindset. They don’t do expeditionary, or at least expeditionary from the sea, and neither is it their military’s forte. If the Chinese do go to war, expect to see heaps and heaps of infantrycoming over land, not ships. Which means that a water body between you and China is still a very good defence. Their amphibious capability suffers because of this mindset, but truth be told, they don’t really need it.

IXION, what happened to the old Panamax standard? Or did ships start boycotting the canal?

AG
AG
August 11, 2013 7:09 am

may be Panmax isnt going to be relevant in the long term, may be it wil be nicmax http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23058301

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 11, 2013 7:23 am

Panamax was never a standard, merely a dimensional limitation that might affect your design for a route. Plenty of ships are still built to Panamax, although decreasing in anticipation of the new locks opening.

With big boxships it’s simply a case of the economics of scale for container liner routes between Asia/ME/US West Coast and Europe resulting in cheaper freight rates for big ships. If your calcs show that, then big ships it’ll be. For commercial shipowners, economics are the one and only arbiter.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 11, 2013 8:32 am

Am I right in thinking that Panamax is not just the canal, it is the various port facilities around the world, built to take ships of that size?

Rocket Banana
August 11, 2013 8:37 am

Silly time…

1 million tonne aircraft carrier.

100m waterline beam
740m long
Approx 1GW power
Max speed of 50 knots

450 aircraft with option to embark doube the number for short periods!

IXION
August 11, 2013 8:45 am

JH

Yes a lot of ports worldwide are panamax

If we want make something deployable we should stick to that or even the Africa max or handymax dimmensions which are smaller. But still way bigger than our surface combatants.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 11, 2013 9:08 am

John. No – Panamax refers to the maximum beam of the ships that will fit through the locks. You may find port facilities described as being able to handle Panamax ships, but that is a descriptor, not a limit.

Alex
Alex
August 11, 2013 11:16 am

I’m afraid that when I see people describe wiring / pipework etc as basic housekeeping items, my immediate impression is that they don’t actually know what they are talking about.

AKA “there’s a reason Lech Walesa was an electrician at the Gdansk shipyard”.

RT, on the “really huge ship” subthread, in the 1960s GCHQ spent quite a lot of effort trying to put a complete overseas station, with substantial on-site exploitation capability, into a ship where it would be theoretically untouchable by politics on shore so long as it stayed out of the 12 mile zone. They looked at options including a CVA01 carrier hull, with the separately prefabricated super-secret spook element installed in the hangar deck, and also a Harland & Wolff tanker design, ditto in the hold. They considered using nuclear propulsion, or just going way down on speed to provide for really long endurance. The crew would have been either an RN ship’s company and a spook mission crew, or an RFA crew and a spook mission crew, but either way she would have been unarmed and the RFA option was preferred because no diplomatic clearance was needed for port calls.

Then the Israelis twatted the Liberty and everyone realised nobody would have been fooled and her name would have been RFA Huge Target

x
x
August 11, 2013 11:39 am

@ Alex

Once here I suggested we could can Cyprus and replace it with a GCHQ cruise ship. I didn’t realise it had actually been considered.

The Norwegians have…..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjata

Interesting.

Simon257
Simon257
August 11, 2013 12:05 pm

I can’t remember exactly when I read this. Though it would circa 1990/91. The BBC’s Focus Magazine had an article regarding a concept by Kavaerner for the Pentagon.

Basically it was an idea for a floating Megabase, which would be built around 6 to 8 modules all connected together. Each module would be the size of a Nimitz class Carrier!

The artist impression did show C-17’s operating from its deck!

x
x
August 11, 2013 12:25 pm
as
as
August 11, 2013 12:54 pm

quite a few navys still operate purpose built SIGINT/ELINT and reconnaissance ships.
the germans have the
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oste-class_fleet_service_ship
the French have
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_ship_Dupuy_de_L%C3%B4me_(A759)
we same to be the only country with a large navy not to have this type of ship

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
August 11, 2013 1:32 pm

@as

It is interesting that we do not operate such a platform. Though they are hardly subtle :).
The T22 B3 used to have a sigint capability via the fitted “outboard” suite. We also deploy aircraft for the task unlike other European Nations with Rivet Joint due enter service later this year.
Another area we tend to utilise is land based sites with both Gib and Cyprus amongst others hosting some interesting aerials. Finally we have more access to US Intel than other countries.
I guess that is my rambling explanation behind the thinking in not having a dedicated AGI hull.

ComNavOps
ComNavOps
August 11, 2013 2:18 pm

“Not a Boffin”, you appear to be confused about the Navy’s budget and contract process. Not surprising since it really is confusing. Let’s see if I can provide some understanding. The budget document you’ve referred to is just that – a budget. From that budget various contracts are issued by the Navy, as needed, to various contractors. Specificially, the Navy issues contracts to the two LCS manfs to build the ships. The contracts do equal the full budgeted amounts. For instance, Austal does not manufacture RAMs (I did, indeed misread the dollar amount in my first quick scan – thanks for pointing that out!). A separate contract is issued to another manf for that.

Here are actual construction contract amounts issued to the two manufacturers that I’ve been able to verify with the budgeted unit cost in parentheses for comparison.

LCS6 $432M (?)
LCS7 $376M (?)
LCS8 $368M (?)
LCS9 $357M ($458)
LCS10 $345M ($458)
LCS11 $357M ($458)
LCS12 $345M ($458)
LCS13 $348M ($446)
LCS14 $341M ($446)
LCS15 $348M ($446)
LCS16 $341M ($446)

You see the difference between contract and budget in the numbers? The contract is just for the “bare” hull, without most electroncis, weapons, sensors, etc. Further, even the budget amounts are understated. For example, the 57mm gun and the radars, among other items do not appear to be included and are provided from separate account lines that I’ve never seen.

The contracts contain clauses that provide for the manf and the Navy to split cost overruns up to a certain dollar amount and then are absorbed by the Navy after that. The contracts typically seem to wind up around $400-$500 with overruns factored in (the earlier contracts certainly had major overruns; I’m far less sure about the more recent ones). Overrun information is quite sketchy and hard to come by so I can’t quote exact numbers, only estimates from the bits and pieces I’ve come across.

So, remember that the publicly stated contract amounts are for the hull. Separate contracts are issued for the manufacture of computers, electronics, weapons, etc. and some equipment such as the gun, radars, and whatnot are totally unaccounted for in the budget but, again, are handled via separate contracts.
So, as regards the original premise about steel and air, the LCS contract is, indeed, for a “bare” hull and allows us to draw conclusions about the validity of the steel and air premise.

It’s a pleasure to converse with you. Hope this helps!

x
x
August 11, 2013 2:25 pm

@ ComNavOpsComNavOps

Um. Do you know what NaB does to earn a crust?

@ APATS re Outboard

I have seen it mentioned in bumf from over the Pond. But it rarely gets mentioned in bumf from this side. I thought for a bit it was an OS.

@ as re SIGINT/ELINT and reconnaissance ships.

Lately I have been thinking about these ships too. :)

IXION
August 11, 2013 5:06 pm

NAB

Don’t forget the air draft and err draft draft requirements, for PANAMAX

I answered JH’s question yes you answered no.

Many ports are built to handle Panamax: many but not all can handle bigger, but many have been built to that standard. To be honest more realistically anyway I can’t see a UK Millitary use for PANAMAX sized ships other than the Elephants, who’s beam is ‘Way of Beam’ for that anyway! :)

But given a number of limits 103 ft (roughly) beam is enough for most ships we are ever likely to need unless RT gets his way!

ComNavOps

Since LCS is rapidly becoming a 3 letter acronym for:-

Laughing stock of the Construction and Shipbuilding industry

And very little of either type is steel and the barrage of criticism is based around the fact it is to small to carry meaningful self defence kit but hugely expensive and big enough to be real target.

As a poster boy for the small ship it sucks.. Really sucks.

Dunservin
Dunservin
August 11, 2013 7:34 pm

@ComNavOps

To simplify things, I’ll cut to the chase first. In your Navy Matters blog, you made the following statement to support your argument that steel is not cheap:

“The contracted cost of the LCS, currently around $500M per ship, is just for the bare hull.”

According to the Congress Research Service’s report ‘Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress’ published on 26 July 2013 (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL33741.pdf):

“The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget requests $1,793.0 million for four LCSs, or an average of about $448 million per ship.”

Irrespective of any distinction between ‘contracted cost’ and ‘budget’, to all intents and purposes your $500m (actually $448m) ‘bare hull’ is actually the so-called ‘sea frame’, a fully functioning warship minus the mission package to perform specific tasks:

“The LCS in Brief

…Rather than being a multimission ship like the Navy’s larger surface combatants, the LCS is to be a focused-mission ship, meaning a ship equipped to perform one primary mission at any given time. The ship’s mission orientation can be changed by changing out its mission packages. The basic version of the LCS, without any mission packages, is referred to as the LCS sea frame…”

Acquisition Cost

Sea Frames

…The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget estimates the average cost of the four ships to be requested in FY2015 at about $456 million, and the average cost of the two ships per year to be requested in FY2016, FY2017, and FY2018 at about $499 million, $516 million, and $528 million, respectively. The $43 million increase in average unit cost between the FY2015 ships ($456 million) and the FY2016 ships ($499 million) might be attributed primarily to the reduction in annual procurement rate from four ships per year in FY2015 to two ships per year in FY2016. The increase in average unit cost from the FY2016 ships ($499 million) to the FY2017 ships ($516 million) and the FY2018 ships ($528 million) might be attributed largely to annual inflation…”

Your contract figures are not just for construction but also comprise the provision/acquisition, installation and interfacing of all CFE (Contractor Furnished Equipment) by either Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics. They do not included GFE (Government Furnished Equipment) and this accounts for the difference between your budget figures and contract figures. For interest, the US Navy considered “designing a new LCS combat system that would have a high degree of commonality with one or more existing Navy surface ship combat systems and be provided as GFE for use on both LCS designs” but this wasn’t pursued. Instead, each supplier (teams led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics) has provided a different version as CFE and this is yet another bone of contention.

Finally, this is from the report’s Summary:

“The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular “plug-and-fight” mission packages for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines, particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters. Navy plans call for fielding a
total force of 52 LCSs. Twelve LCSs were funded from FY2005 through FY2012. Another four (LCSs 13 through 16) were funded in FY2013, although funding for those four ships has been reduced by the March 1, 2013, sequester on FY2013 funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget requests $1,793.0 million for four more LCSs (LCSs 17 through 20), or an average of about $448 million per ship.

Two very different LCS designs are being built. One was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed; the other was developed by an industry team that was led by General Dynamics. The Lockheed design is built at the Marinette Marine shipyard at Marinette, WI; the General Dynamics design is built at the Austal USA shipyard at Mobile, AL. LCSs 1, 3, 5, and so on are Marinette Marine-built ships; LCSs 2, 4, 6, and so on are Austal-built ships.

The 20 LCSs procured or scheduled for procurement in FY2010-FY2015 (LCSs 5 through 24) are being procured under a pair of 10-ship, fixed-price incentive (FPI) block buy contracts that the Navy awarded to Lockheed and Austal USA on December 29, 2010…”

I have yet to determine the cost of the mission packages but they won’t come cheap. Rand has made a stab here: http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CEEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rand.org%2Fpubs%2Fmonographs%2FMG528.html&ei=t-YHUprQN5ODhQfXsoDADw&usg=AFQjCNF2Vtv_Z4m1-58NgmzCK1AGzaZpgQ&bvm=bv.50500085,d.ZG4

Although I have a naval background, I am an amateur compared to Not a Boffin where these matters are concerned. No doubt he will be along soon to put us both right. ;-)

El Sid
El Sid
August 11, 2013 8:24 pm

That RAND report is rather out of date. See that GAO document I linked to above – as of last August, the 22 modules scheduled for FY13-17 were budgeted at $1261.3m procurement, $2,077.9m total funding so $57m ($94m) per module, with 1.18 modules were planned per hull, although if you assume that the R&D should in fact be amortised across all the planned modules then you get a final figure of just over $70m/module in FY13 money.

That’s certainly plausible for the ASW module if you think that the 2087 project cost us £355m for 8 sets, that’s $69m/set. A lot of things are different – they’re starting with existing hardware (less a bit of packaging into modules) but are doing a fair bit of custom software development and have 10 years of inflation to add on. Swings and roundabouts, but it’s the right ballpark I’d suggest.

x
x
August 11, 2013 8:51 pm

Perhaps when they cancel F35b my dream of additional 2087 may come true. Not buying 2 modern jump jets would yield sufficient funding…………..

……………perhaps we could even squeeze an extra T26 out of HMG………

All Politicians are The same
All Politicians are The same
August 11, 2013 9:04 pm

@X

Considering we are not going to see the last T23 out of service until 2030 odd i would not get too hung up on 2087 etc. The world may look very different and there will be holes cut and space for the consoles, we may even have a better system.

x
x
August 11, 2013 9:16 pm

@ APATS

For 2087 read TAS, any TAS, I don’t care, I am busy spending the F35b budget.

What company car are you driving at the moment? I am sure I can get you an upgrade to a Focus…………. :) ;)

Opinion3
Opinion3
August 11, 2013 9:18 pm

Steel is Cheap & Air is Free ……. well certainly compared to composites. They have just awarded the superstructure contract for DDG1002 to Bath Iron Works. So the 3rd ship of the Zumwalt class will be very different, with a steel superstructure. Might add this box and another section will costs $212M

All Politicians are The same
All Politicians are The same
August 11, 2013 9:32 pm

Company car? I should be so lucky, pool or hire cars for this call sign.

All Politicians are The same
All Politicians are The same
August 11, 2013 9:44 pm

‘Op3

Much like the Sea Wolf SSN and the F22 even the US cannot justify the expense of building platforms a generation ahead of any possible threat.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 11, 2013 11:24 pm

Mr ComNavOps – whatever. Can’t actually be bothered now as it’s late and I’ve had a good day.

You can patch together whichever disparate sources you like. Fact is there is a budget which is in the navy budget documentation. The next question will be something like “have you ever been aboard a naval vessel either in service or in build?” and by that I mean a real visit as opposed to wandering around the upper deck?

I notice you haven’t come back on the denser, thicker steel elements yet.

I really don’t enjoy doing this.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 11, 2013 11:24 pm

Mr ComNavOps – whatever. Can’t actually be bothered now as it’s late and I’ve had a good day.

You can patch together whichever disparate sources you like. Fact is there is a budget which is in the navy budget documentation. The next question will be something like “have you ever been aboard a naval vessel either in service or in build?” and by that I mean a real visit as opposed to wandering around the upper deck?

I notice you haven’t come back on the denser, thicker steel elements yet.

I really don’t enjoy doing this.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
August 11, 2013 11:24 pm

.