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Thread: 25,000-ton cruiser under consideration

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    25,000-ton cruiser under consideration

    US. Navy consider nuclear cruiser again ?!

    25,000-ton cruiser under consideration

    Analysis of alternatives sees nuclear BMD vessel

    Under pressure from the Navy to develop a new cruiser based on the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class hull form, and from Congress to incorporate nuclear power, a group of analysts working on the next big surface combatant may recommend two different ships to form the CG(X) program.

    One ship would be a 14,000-ton derivative of the DDG 1000, an “escort cruiser,” to protect aircraft carrier strike groups. The vessel would keep the tumblehome hull of the DDG 1000 and its gas turbine power plant.

    The other new cruiser would be a much larger, 25,000-ton nuclear-powered ship with a more conventional flared bow, optimized for the ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission.

    In all, five large CGN(X) ships and 14 escort cruisers would be built to fulfill the cruiser requirement in the Navy’s 30-year, 313-ship plan, which calls for replacing today’s CG 47 Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruisers and adding a specially designed sea-based missile defense force.

    The ideas are taking shape as part of an analysis of alternatives (AoA), due to the Navy this fall from the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research center in Arlington, Va.

    Details of the AoA have been closely held, but sources have confirmed that two different designs are being considered. They also say the analysis will recommend dropping the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) from the CG(X) program.

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

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

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

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

    Tactics generally call for at least two interceptors to be launched for each incoming target. Just how many missile cells the AoA is considering for each cruiser variant remains under wraps.

    The Missile Defense Agency included money for the sea-based KEI in its 2008 budget request, although the program is concentrating first on developing the ground-based missile, with Northrop’s first flight test next year. No contracts have been issued for the sea-based KEI, said Northrop officials.

    Nuclear Cruisers
    The analysis group is said to be firm in its recommendation for the smaller escort cruiser. Details are less developed on the nuclear-powered variant, sources said.

    Reps. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., and Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. — the current and former chairman, respectively, of the House Seapower subcommittee — are strong proponents of nuclear power for surface ships, citing concerns about the future supply of oil. Navy officials testified earlier this year that the rising price of oil could soon make the more expensive nuclear option viable, and the House is expected to include language in the 2008 defense bills requiring nuclear power for the new cruisers.

    According to sources, the AoA looked at two possible nuclear powerplants based on existing designs: doubling the single-reactor Seawolf SSN 21 submarine plant, and halving two-reactor nuclear carrier plants.

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

    But halving the 209-megawatt plant of current nuclear carriers would yield a bit more than 100 megawatts, enough juice for power-hungry BMD radars plus an extra measure for the Navy’s desired future directed-energy weapons and railguns.

    The anti-missile cruiser also wouldn’t require the high level of stealth provided by the Zumwalt’s tumblehome hull, analysts said, since the ship would be radiating its radars to search for missiles. Returning to a more conventional, flared-bow hull form would free designers from worries about overloading the untried tumblehome hull.

    “There will be great reluctance to use the wave-piercing tumblehome hull form for the larger ship,” said one experience naval engineer. He noted the DDG 1000 stealth requirement is necessary for the ship’s ability to operate in waters near coastlines, but that the open-ocean region where a BMD ship would operate “means you don’t need to go to the extremes of the tumblehome form.”

    Splitting the CG(X) into two designs also makes political sense, sources said.

    “There’s a concern that the DDG hull has stability problems and doesn’t have growth margin,” said a congressional source. A nuclear-powered option, the source said, also would placate Congress, and “a cash-strapped Navy wouldn’t be fully committed to a nuclear ship.”

    Nuclear power, of course, comes with a price — in dollar amounts and in size.

    An appropriate plant for the ship might cost $1 billion, one source said.

    Another analyst, using very rough figures, guessed the cost for a CGN(X) would range from something just under $5 billion to as much as $7 billion.

    The Navy estimates its first two DDG 1000s will cost $3.3 billion each, although estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and others put the potential true cost at over $5 billion and as much as $7 billion.

    Ron O’Rourke, a naval analyst for the Congressional Research Service, was asked by Defense News to estimate the potential cost for a nuclear cruiser.

    “Depending on DDG 1000 construction costs and how the cost of the cruiser would scale up from the cost of a DDG 1000, and also taking into account the additional cost for a nuclear power plant, a follow-on ship in a class of 25,000-ton nuclear-powered cruisers might cost roughly $4 billion to $5 billion.”

    The nuclear ship also would need to be larger than the DDG 1000. In separate statements, Navy officials have been hinting that a 20,000-ton-plus ship could be in the works.

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

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

    “Five years of research and development would be needed to come up with the turbines, reduction gear, shaft and propeller,” said one experienced naval engineer. The Navy now plans to order the first CG(X) in 2011, with the last ship included in the FY 2023 budget.

    The Navy declined to comment on the current state of the CG(X) analysis.

    “The content of the AoA is predecisional,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Schofield, a Navy spokesman.

    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/0...se_cgx_070723/






  2. #2
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    Please god no. I realise the operational advantages of Nuclear powered warships but has anybody in congress actualy stopped to think how insanely expensive this would be. The USN has serious long term budgetary problems as it is without being saddled with some pork barrel political fantasy.

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    Agree, it seems a step backwards now that Turbines seem to be so reliable and relatively economicial to run. I guess they must be reckoning on some economies of scale with the cost of the Nuclear Carriers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Nimrod View Post
    Agree, it seems a step backwards now that Turbines seem to be so reliable and relatively economicial to run. I guess they must be reckoning on some economies of scale with the cost of the Nuclear Carriers
    This is all about congress, they have a massive axe to grind about 'energy security' at the moment. The result is that ethanol production is sky rocketing along with world oil prices and the USN is being told they need nuclear powered warships. IIRC there is also a very influential senator who has a nuclear capable shipyard in his state.

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    It is sad, because the fastest route to energy security is to approach the problem from multiple angles. Ethanol production will not be able to replace oil dependency. Synthetic fuels will not be able to either. Bio fuels (e.g. bio-diesel) will not be able to. Fuel economy certainly will not. However, if all these measures are applied, together they can make a massive difference. Bio fuels could be developed to replace around 20% of the use, synthetic fuels could replace another 20% or so, and fuel economy could effectively reduce use by as much as 10%. The result could be as much as a halving of overall oil-reliance. Since only 50% of oil needs to be imported from outside the US, Canada and Mexico, this could potentially eliminate dependence on overseas oil sources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Nimrod View Post
    Agree, it seems a step backwards now that Turbines seem to be so reliable and relatively economicial to run. I guess they must be reckoning on some economies of scale with the cost of the Nuclear Carriers
    It's more about they want to have LARGE amounts of electrical power on tap without having to frequently refuel. You figure all the capacity they're going to need for higher power radars, solidstate lasers, and railguns and it's going to make a pretty significant dent in range to power all that stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sealordlawrence View Post
    Please god no. I realise the operational advantages of Nuclear powered warships but has anybody in congress actualy stopped to think how insanely expensive this would be. The USN has serious long term budgetary problems as it is without being saddled with some pork barrel political fantasy.
    They are definitely in a conundrum. In today's political environment (likely to go hardcore democrat in the next election) a 25,000 ton conventionally-powered cruiser would be impossible to get funded let alone a nuclear one. However they want to put KEI to sea and it's far too big for the Mk41 VLS and even the larger Mk52 on the DDG-1000. And the 6-for-1 swap mentioned in one article fails to note that it's worse than that as the KEI is too friggin' long for the cell so it wouldn't fit no matter HOW many SM-2s you gave up. Also how about the radar necessary to fully take advantage of KEI. Is the radar going on Zumwalt going to be good enough? Would a THAAD radar even be good enough? No? Then tack on the cost to develope a new radar. Too bad they haven't standardized and modularized the current systems because AESA is really a good candidate for it. So just for kicks let's speculate what that 25,000 ton cruiser (most likely larger given the size of KEI) might be like. It'd have one reactor off a Nimitz class, who knows how many KEI rounds (oh and let's not forget the cost to develop another VLS because god knows they won't be smart about it and simply mount the twin-tube launchers in holes in the ship) it would have and they'd probably want to develope that IRBM ATK is working on (the KEI based one not the one for the Ohios) to help justify the cost. You'd want it defended well so probably some Mk41 cells as well with SM-2/3/6/ESSM and so on. Has the money machine broke yet? Oh and they'll only build one or two so it will be REALLY expensive per unit built (so they'll have to reduce the number of DDX/CGX bought driving the unit cost of THOSE up). Sounds to me like there are a lot of people on crack and/or a lot of people that need to be shot. (end of rant )

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdLaw View Post
    It is sad, because the fastest route to energy security is to approach the problem from multiple angles. Ethanol production will not be able to replace oil dependency. Synthetic fuels will not be able to either. Bio fuels (e.g. bio-diesel) will not be able to. Fuel economy certainly will not. However, if all these measures are applied, together they can make a massive difference. Bio fuels could be developed to replace around 20% of the use, synthetic fuels could replace another 20% or so, and fuel economy could effectively reduce use by as much as 10%. The result could be as much as a halving of overall oil-reliance. Since only 50% of oil needs to be imported from outside the US, Canada and Mexico, this could potentially eliminate dependence on overseas oil sources.

    Not to mention they need to switch over to nuclear for electrical generation and get serious about it. It's almost criminal that they haven't done it already.

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    Would it be possible to take the DDG-1000 hull, remove the AGS systems and replace them with VLS cells for KEI, at a vague guess it might be able to take 8-12 rounds, maybe more. It should be reasonably sufficient for a basic ABM task and offer commonality with the DDG-1000. Just an idea.

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    I think the main point here has been missed and that is- Does the USN really need ships of that size now? The cold war is over, the fleets of subs and bombers heading in to attack carriers is now nonexistant, thus give up on this class of vessel and produce more of the Advanced Burkes (no not the Zumwalts- the advanced Burkes that are after the Flt 2 design).

    As SLL has already stated, the USN has major budget problems and they also have major man power problems (people are leaving by the droves and not being able to be replaced for fear of having to go to the MEAO. On the flip side numbers have increased in the USCG).

    Smaller Destroyers are just as capable to carry out the work with the only draw back being less ammo to fling at the bad guys. This circles back to not knowing who the bad guys are anymore and there again smaller vessels are better to deal with this situation than having big CGN's sitting around using up money and people that could fill other more urgent positions.
    It's a good thing you are short, that way you don't have to live up to a high IQ!

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    I thought I'll never see a reincarnation of Project 1144:diablo:
    Soviet Union was stuck on anti-sub defence. It seems that US are stuck on anti-missile defence. If 5 such ships are built at 5 billion each (and they won't be cheap in service as well) it may mean that US is ready to sacrifice some of their CVs in exchange for AMD capability.

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    Congress seems to be the only organisation realy interested in Nuclear power. Depending on how much influence the Navy actually had over this study thid may well be an effort to create the most insane ship design they can in order to throw congress of the idea. Lets face it the only way you could get more extravagant than the 25,000 ton proposal is an anti-gravity powered laser armed star destroyer.

    What really frustrates me is that with the Flight 2 AB's the USN seems to have found the perfectly balanced and sized multi-role DDG, now all those lessons are being thrown to the wind in the pursuit of a plethora of other concepts.

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    Kirov style Strikes Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Don't know why this 25k ton boat reminds me of Austin Powers :diablo: :diablo:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ja Worsley View Post
    I think the main point here has been missed and that is- Does the USN really need ships of that size now? The cold war is over, the fleets of subs and bombers heading in to attack carriers is now nonexistant, thus give up on this class of vessel and produce more of the Advanced Burkes (no not the Zumwalts- the advanced Burkes that are after the Flt 2 design).

    Two problems. One is they want to take KEI to sea and it won't fit on a Burke (or likely even a Zumwalt). Two is there are several nations now churning out Burke equivalents and as in air combat you want to have BETTER than the other guy. Hell the Burkes don't even have a decent antiship missile which puts them down the totem pole in a one-on-one basis. It's been suggested that they should make a version of the POS LPD-17 into a missile defense specialist along the lines of the SURTASS boats in that they wouldn't sail with the fleets but operate in other areas.
    Last edited by sferrin; 28th July 2007 at 14:11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snake65 View Post
    I thought I'll never see a reincarnation of Project 1144:diablo:
    Soviet Union was stuck on anti-sub defence. It seems that US are stuck on anti-missile defence. If 5 such ships are built at 5 billion each (and they won't be cheap in service as well) it may mean that US is ready to sacrifice some of their CVs in exchange for AMD capability.
    Whatever you think of the Orlan/Kirov class I have to go on record as calling the class the most aesthetic of all.

    I just like looking at the sleak lines . That LST that is similar( the Ivan Rogov class) is pretty nice looking too .

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    nuclear+fuel

    I realise that the USN fleet must consume a lot of fuel, but in the grand scheme of US usage, is it anything compared to domestic usage (vehicle fuel, power gen, domestic heating, etc.)?

    Is the US self-sufficient in Uranium? Could just be replacing one dependancy for another - like the debate here about nuclear power stations. Granted, our supplier is probably a lot more realiable than the middle east!!!!

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    If they want a ABM ship why not just stick some ABM launch tubes in a basic hull with the launch control and targeting gear? Strikes me that such a ship doesn't have to be much of a military ship, just a powered barge that can sit somewhere between US targets and enemy launch sites to launch interceptor missiles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbinia View Post
    If they want a ABM ship why not just stick some ABM launch tubes in a basic hull with the launch control and targeting gear? Strikes me that such a ship doesn't have to be much of a military ship, just a powered barge that can sit somewhere between US targets and enemy launch sites to launch interceptor missiles.
    That's why one report suggested putting it on the San Antonio hull. It's large enough to house large radars, VLS for KEI (and the ballistic missile version that is being toyed with) and could operate as a theater command ship. The idea the you're talking about is more along the lines of the Arsenal Ship concept of 20 years ago or so. Problem is you'd still need room for the radars, self defense, etc. With that amount of capability you may as well use the resources and make it a command ship and park some IRBMs on it too.

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    why not use that money to buy a new class of SSBNs and then use the old Ohio class to mount the needed missile defense by attaching one each to a CVBG. It'll satisfy those senators too....they are nuclear powered anyways. Tonnage is about right. Missile tubes come with it too....maybe can fit a quad pack into each tube? That's 96 interceptors! It doesn't really have to dive (but why not launch while submerged too) and since the proposed battle cruiser is just as large I don't think "stealth" is really the first concern. As to someone might think it's a SLBM launch? An interceptor coming out from the sea into the outer atmosphere will look like an SLBM launch no matter what platform it is. I'm not so sure this "cruiser" need any long range radar or fire control...the escort AEGISs can provide that via hand off once launched. I think it's the cheapest yet most capable solution...and we get new SSBNs that are badly needed. Ohio's getting old.
    Last edited by Vortex; 1st August 2007 at 02:46.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phelgan View Post
    I realise that the USN fleet must consume a lot of fuel, but in the grand scheme of US usage, is it anything compared to domestic usage (vehicle fuel, power gen, domestic heating, etc.)?

    Is the US self-sufficient in Uranium? Could just be replacing one dependancy for another - like the debate here about nuclear power stations. Granted, our supplier is probably a lot more realiable than the middle east!!!!

    The US has some supplies however they could buy all the uranium they will ever need from one of their closest and most trusted allies, Australia.

    Australia sits upon some 40% of the world's known reserves (and a lot of the country has never been seriously surveyed),

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    Quote Originally Posted by sferrin View Post
    That's why one report suggested putting it on the San Antonio hull. It's large enough to house large radars, VLS for KEI (and the ballistic missile version that is being toyed with) and could operate as a theater command ship. The idea the you're talking about is more along the lines of the Arsenal Ship concept of 20 years ago or so. Problem is you'd still need room for the radars, self defense, etc. With that amount of capability you may as well use the resources and make it a command ship and park some IRBMs on it too.
    I always thought the arsenal ship concept had a lot of merit. I can see the argument for including C&C functions on a ABM carrier, but I think a front line nuclear cruiser with stealth technology would just make the cost astronomical for a vessel that just doesn't need nuclear power or front line features like stealth if the reason for building big is to carry large ABM weapons. A simple hull with diesel engines would do the job perfectly well.

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    The next logical step would be to stick some KEIs in a CVN-21, kind of ATAKR 1143.7:diablo:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vortex View Post
    why not use that money to buy a new class of SSBNs and then use the old Ohio class to mount the needed missile defense by attaching one each to a CVBG. It'll satisfy those senators too....they are nuclear powered anyways. Tonnage is about right. Missile tubes come with it too....maybe can fit a quad pack into each tube? That's 96 interceptors! It doesn't really have to dive (but why not launch while submerged too) and since the proposed battle cruiser is just as large I don't think "stealth" is really the first concern. As to someone might think it's a SLBM launch? An interceptor coming out from the sea into the outer atmosphere will look like an SLBM launch no matter what platform it is. I'm not so sure this "cruiser" need any long range radar or fire control...the escort AEGISs can provide that via hand off once launched. I think it's the cheapest yet most capable solution...and we get new SSBNs that are badly needed. Ohio's getting old.

    I agree. I wonder how many SM-6s you could mount in a Trident missile tube? Forget sailing with the fleet, they could just be in the theater and start lobbing them at targets in the que. :diablo:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbinia View Post
    I always thought the arsenal ship concept had a lot of merit. I can see the argument for including C&C functions on a ABM carrier, but I think a front line nuclear cruiser with stealth technology would just make the cost astronomical for a vessel that just doesn't need nuclear power or front line features like stealth if the reason for building big is to carry large ABM weapons. A simple hull with diesel engines would do the job perfectly well.
    Screw putting stealth on it. You're going to want to keep it WAY back and with that big honkin' radar spotting targets for KEI it's not like you're going to stay hidden from anybody.

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    Exactly. For a ship like this all of the cost is going to be the missiles and radar, the hull is just a neccessary evil you need to get the missiles and radar from A to B. A simple commercial derivative hull would suffice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbinia View Post
    Exactly. For a ship like this all of the cost is going to be the missiles and radar, the hull is just a neccessary evil you need to get the missiles and radar from A to B. A simple commercial derivative hull would suffice.
    I'd rather have a car alarm, double-pane hardened windows and a fire extinguisher in my $100k sports car, should be I ever be able to afford it.
    Seems unneccessarily risky to me to forego naval specification structure and damage control features on a ship fitted with $3-4 billion worth of equipment and systems just to save a couple hundred million.
    For all the defensive systems and countermeasures it might still suffer a hit, and that would be one almighty write-off if it cannot deal with that. Developments such as electric armour might help, but how much.

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