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Is a modern battleship feasible?

This is a discussion on Is a modern battleship feasible? within the Strategic Defense forums, part of the China Defense & Military category; Imagine a super large cruiser as large as a Nimitz-class supercarrier, armed with many types of advanced missiles and other ...

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    F40Racer is offline New Member
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    Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Imagine a super large cruiser as large as a Nimitz-class supercarrier, armed with many types of advanced missiles and other types of weapons. How effective will such a ship be? If people didn't realize the effectiveness of aircraft carriers, battleships would probably continue to evolve. The Kirov-class cruiser is probably the closest thing to a modern battleship. It is as large as a battleship, but much lighter due to its lighter armor.

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    hongkongpride is offline New Member
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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Well currently, a ship of your specifications is not feasible because it may suffer from survival issues due to its extremely large electromagnetic signature, physical/radar signature which renders it vulnerable to advanced supersonic anti ship missiles such as the Russian Yakhont, Indian Brahmos, US RATTLERS, Taiwanese Hsiung Feng-III etc. which all have evasive flight patterns and advanced seeker heads that will easily lock on to a ship of battleship size (greater than 50,000 tons displacement) and put it out of action or sink it. Anti Submarine warfare will also be a no-no for the battleship as the wake turbulence generated by such a ship will make ASW warfare almost impossible without ASW helicopters or planes-unless the battleship is accompanied by escorts.

    However, new air defense technology such as the "laser phalanx" that is said to be extremely effective vs cruise missiles/antiship missiles and may well prove such a concept feasible and in the future a ship like this may be built if funding permits and if it is suitable for naval requirements-although not reaching the size of a supercarrier for sure.

    Such a "battleship" will be the best type of ship available for naval support for the Marines when they hit the beach as well as being able to engage enemy ships with guns (new Excalibur projectile allows pinpoint strikes) and super/hyper sonic antiship missiles. Air defence for a Nimitz Class ship is a serious issue which being unable to launch fleet defense interceptors of its own, the battleship is at a serious disadvantage-explaining why the USN has opted to build more supercarriers.

    The Kirov class cruiser wasn't such a bad idea for its time, but in the present age, has serious survivalbility issues as it cannot withstand more than one Mk48 ADCAP strikes or supersonic AShM hits.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    With a hull thick enough and using our modern grades of steel, its possible for a battleship to withstand the direct impact of an AshM at the side.

    Remember, AshMs tend to fly near the water and hit a ship on the side in the belt line. In World War II, battleship shells often weigh more than an AshM, sharpened and hardened to provide an armor piercing quality, which many AshMs don't, since the nose is used for a radome that has a radar. And yet quite often even these shells fail to penetrate the side armor. The greatest damage against battleships are shells that fall on the deck, penetrating the thinner upper deck armor. Battleships have to be vigorously attacked, over and over, until finally they are sunk. Baring incidents like the Hood, sinking a battleship has proven to be a slow process.

    Sure a modern battleship can be hit, but will it sink? I think the greatest danger is that the ship may be "mission killed" instead. The damage caused by the AshM would render the ship useless for the mission, due to damage on components like the radar and the missiles, requiring the ship to return back to port.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    missiles didnt make BBs obsolete, but aircraft did, and those arent gone away, but became even more deadlier...

    Battleships were mastodonts wich only purpose to exist was other battle ships of ones enemy. They were big, becouse you always need to have more armour to survive enemy guns and bigger guns to destroy the enemy ships...They were all tied to to the naval race and really were single purpose ships, to sail in the line against enemy's line

    So would it be feasible in modern days? No. it wasent really feasible even in the old days, and the penis-extension contest of them is now taken by another weapons....

    To build big ship with lots of missiles...Why? Its lot cheaper to instal them on smaller platforms. No one really has capacity and resources to build one.

    Should naval armour come more to play in the future? Why not, but the two main weapons of modern naval warfare, torbedo and missile poses difficoult issues to ship's protection. There never were quite ideal protection against torbedoes (and mines), but active defence (CIWS) against missiles packed with passive ECM suite is more usefull than armour, and doesent require the ships to grove in size, simply to take more and more armour....Missiles doesent come in salvoes (they come, but not presenting the fire power by mere TNT ammount of old battlelines, where three to twenty battleship firing boardsides to concentrated targets....) so there are more clever ways to protect against them

    Basic shipbuilding thump rule is when to make heavy ship fast, it needs to be long...and to make it stable, it needs to have considerable beamy or draugthy....and that means volume and when you start armouring it, it blows into your hands....

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Of course you could have a modern-day battleship - but why would you want to? The point of them, as Golle said, was to take on other battleships. But because the distance between fleet engagements has now expanded so much, they're just an expensive platform for the same weapons you have on a much smaller ship.

    They need a lot of manpower, are expensive to build, are large targets, etc. If you're going to build something the size of a Nimitz carrier, why on earth waste the money on it when you would get a good portion of the cost of a large carrier? Then you can pound your enemy outside of his AShM range from the air.
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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by F40Racer View Post
    Imagine a super large cruiser as large as a Nimitz-class supercarrier, armed with many types of advanced missiles and other types of weapons. How effective will such a ship be? If people didn't realize the effectiveness of aircraft carriers, battleships would probably continue to evolve. The Kirov-class cruiser is probably the closest thing to a modern battleship. It is as large as a battleship, but much lighter due to its lighter armor.
    From the US Navy perspective, the closest thing to this, outside of the refitting of the actual Iowa class battleships in the 1980s, was the study done in the 1990s for the arsenal ship by the US Navy.

    Let's talk briefly about both.

    The Iowa class battleships were modernized and refitted and then used in modern combat. They were awesome ships for their entire service life. Their heavy guns were excellent for fire support, accurately firing a 2,000 lb projectile over twenty miles. Their heavy armor was even feared by the russians because they were not sure that modern torpedoes or the ASuM of the time would penetrate it.

    As modernized, they were armed with 32 cruise missiles (a lot at the time) in armored box launchers (no longer capable of launching todays Tomohawks), 16 haproon missiles and four CIWS. For the 1980s this was a heavy Anti-surface and self defense armament. They were protected by other cruisers and destroyers for ASW and umbrella AAW coverage, being treated as very important capitol ships much like the carriers in that regard.

    They were also fast and are one of the few ships that were capable of coming close to keeping up with a modern carrier if the carrier pulled at all the stops. The Burkes and Ticos cannot.

    Because of their WW II construction, these vessels VERY man power intensive and simply too costly to continue to operate. So they were decommissioned again. Today, they would now cost more than than the full construction cost of a new Burke destroyer to modernize again. They were beautiful and they were used in combat throughout their careers, having actively served in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, off the coast of Lebannon, and in the first Gulf War against Iraq. As I said, all four were decommissioned again between 1990 and 1992.

    Here's a picture of the USS Iowa firing a full broadside in 1984. Note the armored box launchers and the harpoon launchers. The second is of the USS New Jersey firing a boradside in 19984 as well, note the CIWS in that picture.





    Now, the arsenal ship.

    In the 1990s the US Navy investigated constructing a large vessel that would be armed with a very large number of VLS cells (up to 500) for crusie missile and anti-air work, as well as multiple, modernized guns (along the lines of what will ultimately be on the DDX using Excalibur like features) for long range fire support missions. They wanted to develop a modern day equivalent to a battleship for the role of providing fire support on shore, well beyond the range of what the conventional, older battleship had been able to do.

    The Arsenal Ship was a joint US Navy and DARPA program at the time, meant to acquire very high firepower vessels, that were not terribly expensive, with as low a manpower requirement as possible. Four to Six ships were envisioned and were to be built for delivery starting in the 200-2001 time frame.

    The design went through several phases with phase two contractors being selected which included Lockheed Martin, Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding in 1996. But the program was cancelled in 1997 being judged redundant to the twenty first centruy surface combatant (SC-21) program which later produced the DD-21 program to produce up to 30 destroyers with similar capabilities (albeit smaller numbers of VLS cells and guns per ship).

    In other words, the leadership, and probably understandably and appropriately so once the new plans for the smaller vessels began to mature, decided to do the same job with similar functions on smaller vessels and to build more of them.

    Having said all of that, to this date however, the DD-21 (which had now evolved into the DDX progam) has not produced a single ship ten years later, and the overall numbers for that program have been reduced to 8-12 ships, not many more than the original Arsenal Ship plans.

    Here's a picture of what the Arsenal Ship was depicted as looking like.

    Last edited by Jeff Head; 03-10-2007 at 01:38 PM.

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    F40Racer is offline New Member
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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Head View Post
    From the US Navy perspective, the closest thing to this, outside of the refitting of the actual Iowa class battleships in the 1980s, was the study done in the 1990s for the arsenal ship by the US Navy.

    Let's talk briefly about both.

    The Iowa class battleships were modernized and refitted and then used in modern combat. They were awesome ships for their entire service life. Their heavy guns were excellent for fire support, accurately firing a 2,000 lb projectile over twenty miles. Their heavy armor was even feared by the russians because they were not sure that modern torpedoes or the ASuM of the time would penetrate it.

    As modernized, they were armed with 32 cruise missiles (a lot at the time) in armored box launchers (no longer capable of launching todays Tomohawks), 16 haproon missiles and four CIWS. For the 1980s this was a heavy Anti-surface and self defense armament. They were protected by other cruisers and destroyers for ASW and umbrella AAW coverage, being treated as very important capitol ships much like the carriers in that regard.

    They were also fast and are one of the few ships that were capable of coming close to keeping up with a modern carrier if the carrier pulled at all the stops. The Burkes and Ticos cannot.

    Because of their WW II construction, these vessels VERY man power intensive and simply too costly to continue to operate. So they were decommissioned again. Today, they would now cost more than than the full construction cost of a new Burke destroyer to modernize again. They were beautiful and they were used in combat throughout their careers, having actively served in WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, off the coast of Lebannon, and in the first Gulf War against Iraq. As I said, all four were decommissioned again between 1990 and 1992.

    Here's a picture of the USS Iowa firing a full broadside in 1984. Note the armored box launchers and the harpoon launchers. The second is of the USS New Jersey firing a boradside in 19984 as well, not the CIWS in that picture.

    [qimg]http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/images/bb-61-8505379.jpg[/qimg]

    [qimg]http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/images/bb-62-8406362.jpg[/qimg]

    Now, the arsenal ship.

    In the 1990s the US Navy investigated constructing a large vessel that would be armed with a very large number of VLS cells (up to 500) for crusie missile and anti-air work, as well as multiple, modernized guns (along the lines of what will ultimately be on the DDX using Excalibur like features) for long range fire support missions. They wanted to develop a modern day equivalent to a battleship for the role of providing fire support on shore, well beyond the range of what the conventional, older battleship had been able to do.

    The Arsenal Ship was a joint US Navy and DARPA program at the time, meant to acquire very high firepower vessels, that were not terribly expensive, with as low a manpower requirement as possible. Four to Six ships were envisioned and were to be built for delivery starting in the 200-2001 time frame.

    The design went through several phases with phase two contractors being selected which included Lockheed Martin, Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding in 1996. But the program was cancelled in 1997 being judged redundant to the twenty first centruy surface combatant (SC-21) program which later produced the DD-21 program to produce up to 30 destroyers with similar capabilities (albeit smaller numbers of VLS cells and guns per ship).

    In other words, the leadership, and probably understandably and appropriately so once the new plans for the smaller vessels began to mature, decided to do the same job with similar functions on smaller vessels and to build more of them.

    Having said all of that, to this date however, the DD-21 (which had now evolved into the DDX progam) has not produced a single ship ten years later, and the overall numbers for that program have been reduced to 8-12 ships, not many more than the original Arsenal Ship plans.

    Here's a picture of what the Arsenal Ship was depicted as looking like.

    [qimg]http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/arsenal_72.jpg[/qimg]
    Thank you very much for the information.

    The Iowa-class is such an awesome ship. I think it would be cool to keep at least one Iowa in service, even if just for training purposes. Modernizing just one Iowa and make it the flagship of the US Navy would be awesome. The USS Constitution was kept in service more than 200 years after it was built, so why not keep an Iowa-class ship in service for the same purpose. It is a pride of the US Navy and it is an awe-inspiring ship. Most people who are familiar with navies are well aware of Iowa's reputation. It played significant roles from WWII all the way to the first Gulf War, no other ship that large could rival its service length. Iowa's sleek design makes it the best looking battleship. I think it is even better looking than the sleek modern destroyers like the 052C.

    The arsenal ship, I wonder what will its displacement and dimensions be.
    Last edited by F40Racer; 03-10-2007 at 12:48 PM.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by F40Racer View Post
    Thank you very much for the information.

    The Iowa-class is such an awesome ship. I think it would be cool to keep at least one Iowa in service, even if just for training purposes. Modernizing just one Iowa and make it the flagship of the US Navy would be awesome. The USS Constitution was kept in service more than 200 years after it was built, so why not keep an Iowa-class ship in service for the same purpose. It is a pride of the US Navy and it is an awe-inspiring ship. Most people who are familiar with navies are well aware of Iowa's reputation. It played significant roles from WWII all the way to the first Gulf War, no other ship that large could rival its service length. Iowa's sleek design makes it the best looking battleship. I think it is even better looking than the sleek modern destroyers like the 052C.

    The arsenal ship, I wonder what will its displacement and dimensions be.
    Two of the Iowa battleships are serving as museums and are open to the public. The other two, the USS Iowa and the USS Wisonsin, although decommissioned earlier and then striken from the Naval Vessel Registry in 2006 (up until that time they were berthed as part of the reserve fleet), the 2007 House Defense Bill (Battleship transfer) conference report (H. Rept. 109–360) accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act, included instructions regarding the transfer of the battleships USS Wisconsin and USS Iowa to the Commonwealth of Virginia and State of California, respectively, and the President’s reversion authority pursuant to a national emergency.

    This clarifies that USS Wisconsin and USS Iowa must be regarded as potential mobilization assets and both the recipients and the U.S. Navy are instructed to treat them as such. Though they may be used by the respective states as a museum, still the following measures must be taken:

    1. The ships must not be altered in any way that would impair their military utility;

    2. The ships must be preserved in their present condition through the continued use of cathodic protection and dehumidification systems and any other preservation methods as needed;

    3. Spare parts and unique equipment such as 16 inch gun barrels and projectiles, be preserved in adequate numbers to support the two ships, if reactivated; and

    4. The Navy must prepare plans for the rapid reactivation of the two battleships should they be returned to the Navy in the event of a national emergency.

    Now, on to the arsenal ship. It was going to be 600-800 feet long, would have held 500 VLS cells, would ahve been capable of cooperative engagement (ie. either slaving other AEGIS vessels to itself, or being slaved to them...in such a role they could have been significant participants in BMD. They were going to be highly automated, designed to take multiple ASuM or torpedo or mine hits, and hvae a crew of fifty personnel.

    As to the displacement...the only figures I saw were that they were to be less than a Iowa class battleship...so I would imagine 40,000 tons or so..
    Last edited by Jeff Head; 03-12-2007 at 06:37 PM.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Head View Post
    Their heavy armor was even feared by the russians because they were not sure that modern torpedoes or the ASuM of the time would penetrate it.
    I must nitpick an otherwise excellent post. Torpedoes have had working magnetic fuzes for decades. I strongly doubt even Iowa's back could sustain the strain of single 21 inch torpedo, not considering even large 65cm torpedo. Then there's the missile issue. Soviet ASM's had massive shaped charge warheads. I doubt superstructure or deck armour (if not the belt) could sustain a hit from them.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Also to continue this nitpicking, Iowas are albeit their offical term of battleships, really battlecruisers. Their best advantage was the speed as they were considered to operate alnogside the carrier taskforce, not in the battleline. Hence the light and "all or nothing" armour. During their construction Americans knew quite well of the capabilityes of the Japanese Yamato class and that their new ship wasen't able to withstand its powerfull 18' main guns.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon K View Post
    I must nitpick an otherwise excellent post. Torpedoes have had working magnetic fuzes for decades. I strongly doubt even Iowa's back could sustain the strain of single 21 inch torpedo, not considering even large 65cm torpedo. Then there's the missile issue. Soviet ASM's had massive shaped charge warheads. I doubt superstructure or deck armour (if not the belt) could sustain a hit from them.

    Mvh,
    Jon K
    No doubt that a ASuM hitting top side would do exactly as you say. However, during the 80s the Russians nonetheless publicly wondered about the belt armor on the hull and their ability to penetrate it.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    My best recollection says the armour bet on an Iowa class is 16in(40cm) thick.

    My personal feelings are that BBs are completly out moded for modern naval combat. The cost for manning one of these levithans is astronimical.

    Perhaps a nation may venture into the realm of a battleship or battle cruiser. But why? Smaller CGs and DDGs with deadly accurate missiles are more proficient at modern naval warfighting.

    These are the general statsitics of an Iowa class as reconfigured
    Displacement Light Displacement: 45231 tons
    Full Displacement: 57271 tons
    Dead Weight: 12040 tons
    Length Overall Length: 888 ft
    Waterline Length: 860 ft
    Beam Extreme Beam: 109 ft
    Waterline Beam: 108 ft
    Draft Maximum Navigational Draft: 38 ft
    Draft Limit: 37 ft
    Max Speed 35 knots
    Power Plant Eight boilers, four geared turbines, four shafts, 212,000 shaft horsepower
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    9 - Mk 7 - 16-inch / 50 caliber guns
    12 - Mk 28 - 5-inch / 38 caliber guns
    4 - Mk 15 - 20mm Phalanx CIWS
    Combat Systems SPS-49 Air Search Radar
    SPS-67 Surface Search Radar
    4 Mk37 Gun Fire Control
    2 Mk38 Gun Direction
    1 Mk40 Gun Director
    1 SPQ-9 [BB-61]
    SLQ-25 NIXIE
    SLQ-32 EW system

    Aircraft None embarked
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    4 SH-3 or
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    58 Marines
    Builders New York Navy Yard -- BB 61, 63
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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Just to go a little further. Away from battleships, -cruisers, are guns for fire support completely outdated? The DDX has "only" 2 155mm guns for NFS. Couldn't it be helpfull to have at least one "batterie of artillerie" on a ship? I'm thinking of navies that don't have an armada of supercarriers, LHAs and LPDs at their dispossal here.
    CMs are expensive, and with modern systems such a gunboat/ -ship could probably work with a really low manning.

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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Naval Gun Fire Suppourt is almost completly oumoded. There may never ever again be ,by the USMC, a direct frontal assult on a beach such as Normandy or Inchon. Modern tactics call for a flanking manuever away from enemy strongholds and a flanking move to attack the enemy.

    Attack aircraft can soften up enemy strongholds better than Naval gun fire.
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    Re: Is a modern battleship feasible?

    Iowas belt is 310 mm thick...For example Yamato has a 410 mm. But Iowa can do remarkable 33 kn against Yamatos 27 kn....

    Battleships are not mented for fire support of coastal targets, they naturally are able to do it but they are way too expensive to be build for that role solely (which is however to sole role of heavy artillery in seas today).
    There are cheaper alternatives. Ever heard about monitors? Its a shipclass with small, slow and clumsy hulls with usually one turret (which takes most of the space) of battleship caliber guns. They are cheap but could bring the same ammount of "fire" to the shores as Battleships did.

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