Two from Chuck

Our friend Chuck Hill has a couple of great recent posts, well worth a read

What is a corvette;

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A post about the US Coastguard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter and its possible overlaps with the US Navy LCS

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Chuck Hill
December 5, 2013 5:21 pm

Wow, suddenly I have more readers in the UK than the US.

This is the correct URL for the post about new class of cutter, “Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC), the other LCS”

Chuck Hill
December 5, 2013 5:58 pm

TD, no problem, thanks for the mention. It has given my blog a big boost.

Those interested in these two post might also be interested in others at where we have been having “Corvette week” now extended into a second week and not finished yet.

Rocket Banana
December 5, 2013 8:02 pm

I rather like this link. Which discusses the rating system of the Royal Navy.

Just look at the “guns” and replace it with “VLS”.

1st rate = Ticonderoga (cruiser)
2nd rate = Arleigh Burke (destroyer)
3rd/4th rate = Daring/Horizon (destroyer)
5th rate = Duke/Cassard (frigate)
6th rate…

Notice here that is spans frigates and post-ships.

I think this is the modern day corvette.

If you wiki post-ship you get:

…They had a high center of gravity, which made them slow and unweatherly, but they were seaworthy. In peacetime the Royal Navy frequently used them as substitutes for frigates, especially in distant foreign stations. In wartime their slowness meant they were used mostly as convoy escorts.

December 5, 2013 8:03 pm

@ Chuck

You can have a house-point for The cutters will emphasize seakeeping and will….

(Yes I know not grammatically correct. It is how I read it………….)


December 5, 2013 8:33 pm

@ SImon

That doesn’t work for me. A VLS silo is just a magazine it isn’t a complete system like a muzzle loading cannon. The latter is a discrete unit can be loaded, aimed, and shot.

Chuck Hill
December 5, 2013 9:10 pm

@Simon December 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm, “I rather like this link. Which discusses the rating system of the Royal Navy….Just look at the “guns” and replace it with “VLS”.”

“1st rate = Ticonderoga (cruiser)
“2nd rate = Arleigh Burke (destroyer)
“3rd/4th rate = Daring/Horizon (destroyer)
“5th rate = Duke/Cassard (frigate)
“6th rate…

I would agree in general, except that I would put only the Kirovs in the 1st rate category and move the Ticos into 2nd rate with the Burkes.

I also suggested a different typology, that was published here:

VLS analogy has worked pretty well, but it is starting to fall apart as all sorts of weapons are starting to be be launched vertically from different sized cells. CAMM requires much smaller cell than Standard. Quad packing missiles under counts compared with systems that have individual launch cells.

but …substitutes for frigates is accurate enough.

Rocket Banana
December 5, 2013 9:18 pm


I can’t argue with that but if you look at the predominant numbers in commission:

3rd rate (destroyer): 64-80 guns/VLS
5th rate (frigate): 32-40 guns/VLS
unrated (sloop): 16-20 guns/VLS

It just matches too well ;-)

Furthermore, the reason the RN didn’t build many 1st and 2nd rate ships is that they were too heavy and cumbersome. They eventually found a 74 gunner was best compromise of firepower and maneuverability. Shame T45 hit the water with only 48 guns. Fortunately she can be upped to 64 to make her a proper destroyer.

Perhaps the French are correct with their classification of Horizon.

December 5, 2013 10:16 pm

@ Simon

Really? How about this then……….

First Rate; Ships over 450m in length.

Second Rate: Ships less than 450m over 350m in length.

Third Rate: Ships less than 350m over 250m in length.

By this system the Nimitz are third raters…….

Rocket Banana
December 6, 2013 9:10 am


Change meters to feet and you’re about there ;-)

I know it’s a little silly, but I’m not really harping on about the definition, more the fact that a) most of naval classification comes from the French, and b) I think it’s all ingrained at a psychological level rather than a formal “specification”.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
December 6, 2013 9:51 am

@ Simon (and Chuck) – How about this system?

“Bob Work’s Battle Force Missile Ship Rating System For Surface Combatants

First-rate battle force ships (battleships): Ships armed more than 100 battle force VLS cells, and/or more than 100 battle force missiles;

Second-rate battleships: Ships armed with 90-99 battle force VLS cells, and/or 90-99 battle force missiles;

Third-rate battleships: Ships armed with 60-89 battle force VLS cells, and/or 61-89 battle force missiles;

Fourth-rate battleships/frigates: Ships armed with 48-59 battle force VLS cells, and/or 48-60 battle force missiles;

Fifth-rate battleships/frigates: Ships armed with 20-47 battle force VLS cells, and/or 20-47 battle force missiles;

Sixth-rate frigates: Ships designed specifically for the protection of shipping role, armed with either VLS cells or legacy missile systems, and armed with local air defense SAMs and anti-submarine and anti-ship cruise missiles for convoy defense; and

Unrated Flotilla: Warships optimized for a single role, usually either anti-submarine or anti-surface warfare, or for general-purpose naval missions. The distinguishing feature of these ships is that they carry only terminal missile defenses—either in the form of rapid fire guns or short-range terminal defense SAMs.

The following range break points are used to distinguish between SAMs: area air defense SAMs have ranges greater than 48 kilometers (km; approximately 30 miles); local air defense SAMs have ranges between 16 and 48 km (10-30 miles); and a terminal defense SAM has an effective range of less than 16 km (10 miles).

A “battle force missile” is a missile approximately 13 inches in diameter or greater, which covers area SAMs, ASCMs, anti-submarine rockets, and land attack missiles. As PVLS is 28 inches in diameter, for the time being PVLS cells count as 1.5 battle force missiles for purposes of highlighting the combat power of ships with PVLS. Under those terms, the DDG-1000 would be a first rate battle force ship with 120 battle force missiles. AGS and other weapon systems are not rated at this time.”

December 6, 2013 10:33 am

The truly lazy folks write their stuff once on a blog and then only link to it once the same topic is being discussed elsewhere:

Chuck Hill
December 6, 2013 9:19 pm

Classification systems can only give a quick overview, always subject to refinement by looking closer. I still think the a classification for surface combatants based on tonnage would be most useful. Not only does it suggest offensive capability, it also stands in for an approximation of the toughness of the individual ships. My own proposed system ( broke down cruising surface combatants (cruisers) into five classes from smallest (as small as 1000 tons) to largest (over 16,000tons).

As far as aviation ships are concerned there are four very distinct types: CATOBAR (catapults and arresting gear), STOBAR (ski jumps and arresting gear), STOVL (ski jumps but no arresting gear), and VTOL (no catapults, ski jumps, or arresting gear).

Amphibs fall out into several classes but they could also be classed by displacement in the same way I classed surface combatants. There is the possibility of some overlap here with the same ships being both amphibs and aviation ships.

Submarines fall into at least three classes SSBNs, SSNs, and SS.

If we assume four classes of Aviation Ships, five of Surface Combatants, five of Amphibs, and three of submarines that is seventeen different types without even considering MCM and auxiliaries. That should be complicated enough for anyone.