PLAN Future FFG design

Discussion in 'Navy' started by Bltizo, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    Yeah, I can understand that. I suppose I view the prospect of a high end air-naval war near China as one where China's defences may constantly be fluctuating even if they do not yet fully "collapse" which may allow small forces to slip through between "cycles" of surveillance/strike.


    I think one could spot a helicopter in transverse when tied down immediately behind the hangar (aka most forward part of the helipad) while providing enough room for the rest of the more aft portion of the helipad to conduct flight operations, and to move the "extra" helicopter on deck around a bit if you want to move others in and out of the hangar.

    Obviously such a configuration wouldn't be possible for simultaneous landing and take off from two positions, and it would be stretching the helipad to some of its limit. It is more of a minor benefit of adding slightly more flexibility.


     
  2. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Captain
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    I think if we are talking about a "fluctuating" Chinese coastal defense verging on collapse, even a group of 056s will not be any safer. But yes, if Chinese coastal defense was on the verge of collapse, grouped 056s would be better than nothing. On the other hand we have not been talking about near-collapse scenarios but rather routine patrol and ASW scenarios.

    I'm not sure what kind of benefit would be derived from a transversely tied-down helo that blocks both hangar doors at the same time. If you have to move that helo around to get at the hangars you have already lost whatever benefit of keeping that helo there that you may have had, which I guess is apparently simultaneous on-deck storage and flight ops??? I seriously doubt the helipad even has this capability, since while it would certainly be wider than your average helipad, it would not necessarily be any longer, or if it is longer, longer enough for you to squeeze an entire helicopter onto it sideways while still being able to safely conduct flight ops. Also, no flight ops would be happening while you move that 'stored' helo around on the helipad. Incidentally I have never heard of the Independence helipad mentioned in this light as some kind of positive. I cannot imagine why anyone would even think to attempt something that causes this much hassle.
     
  3. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    Well, when I talk about fluctuating defence I'm not exactly referring to defence verging on collapse, and I wasn't thinking of coastal defence, though we may have differing definitions of what that means.

    I was more thinking about outer layers of defence say 200km beyond China's shore. This could mean friendly supporting AEW&C/MPAs and strike fighters which may be occupied with other missions or not be able to achieve sufficiently constant time on station that could result in temporary gaps in coverage, or temporary lulls, temporary damage or temporary jamming of communications and datalinks between the arrayed naval forces and air forces in the outer layers of defence that may cause leakers to temporarily get through due to improper coordination of forces.


    The benefit would be that the ship has the ability to accommodate another helicopter, or something equivalent like a couple of VTOL UAVs, on the helipad.
    Such an arrangement would not be a viable long form of operations, as it means helicopters would have to be "cycled" between the helipad tied-down position to the hangar for maintenance between flight operations, but depending on the pace of ASW helicopter operations this larger helipad to accommodate an extra helicopter could mean the ship being able to field an additional helicopter that it otherwise could not.



    Well I did say that the added flexibility of a larger helipad was a minor benefit.

    And yes, no flight operations would happen if the stored helicopter on the helipad is trying to be moved, obviously.
     
  4. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Captain
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    Again, what kind of "leakers" would want to temporarily get through that a pack of 056s could handle but not a single 056?

    Frankly, I just don't see this ever happening in real life. If you can produce a photo of any ship in any navy that has ever tried to pull off something so obviously burdensome, that would be different. But this idea as a benefit sounds extreme to the point of unbelievability, to be honest.
     
  5. Skywatcher
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    Skywatcher Senior Member

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    So is the 2,450 ton load figure for the light load?

    Now, the tricamaran frigate is about 15 meters longer than the LCS-2, has a deeper draft (6 meters vs 4 meters) and roughly the same beam. For what its worth, the LCS-2's light load displacement is around 2,300 tons.
     
  6. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    Something like an FAC or an opposing small surface combatant like a corvette, I imagine a single 056 could potentially handle such an opponent, but I'd feel much more comfortable if they operated in pairs or preferably two pairs


    I think calling it extreme to the point of unbelievability is putting it a bit heavy, but yes obviously such an option would be burdensome and not part of the ship's standard practice. Which is why I called it a minor benefit, because the extra flexibility it does offer is not one that could be used routinely.

    Or putting it another way, I interpret the flexibility of the larger flight deck as taking the trimaran frigate's flight deck area (length rather, for the purposes of this discussion), and minus away 054A's flight deck size (which I interpret as the minimum safe area and length needed for flight operations of a medium sized helicopter), and the remaining length that is available is extra length/area that can be used to store a folded up helicopter in transverse or maybe a VTOL UAV or two during landing or take off of a helicopter, and between flight operations the rest of the flight deck normally used for a helicopter to land or take off can be used to shift helicopters in and out of the hangar for maintenance or what not.

    I think I'm making a reasonable case to suggest that such a way of fielding the flight deck is possible, and larger amphibious assault ships like LPD-17 class have fielded a large number of helicopters on the forward half of their flight deck while conducting flight operations on the rear half of the flight deck, suggesting to me a minimum flight operations footprint exists for helicopters (depending on the type of course), and I believe the size of the trimaran frigate's flight deck may have a flight deck whose extra length over its minimum footprint can be used for other uses... like storing an additional helicopter, or VTOL UAVs. Or indeed, storing any other equipment in that additional space.
     
  7. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Captain
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    And what would an FAC or a corvette hope to accomplish, having now slipped through behind enemy lines?

    Let's play this out. You have a trimaran out at sea, with a helo tied down transversely right up against both hangar doors. Now you want to do helo ops. Move the deckside helo around to get a helo out of the hangar? What's the point? Just untie the deckside helo and use that one first. That way the hangar doors are unblocked for the other two helos to be used. In which case, why even tie down the helo transversely in the first place? Why not just tie it down right in the middle of the helipad like a 056 (or really any other ship) would if it embarked a helo? Were you planning to land a fourth helo from another ship onto to a trimaran that's already carrying three??? There is no reasonable scenario where you would use three helos but need the "extra" space (that you have not proven exists in the first place) to tie down the third helo against the hangar doors. You have also not shown that any ship does anything like this in practice now. As for the LPD-17 example, there is a massive difference between that and the trimaran, so let's not get loosey goosey with the comparison here. The LPD-17 helipad actually has the ability to spot FOUR helicopters (two starboard, two port), so if one of the spots is being used to store helicopters instead of flight ops, no one will bat an eyelid, especially as this storage would not impede access to the hangar. This is not even remotely similar to your idea with the trimaran, requiring a helicopter to be squeezed into a space that most definitely blocks both hangars.
     
  8. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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  9. Iron Man
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    Iron Man Captain
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    You now have to speculate FOUR helicopters on a 2,300 ton ship to make your scenario seem reasonable??? That's FOUR helos on a ship almost half as small as a 054A. Sorry, there will not be four helicopters embarking on this ship no matter what you say. To be perfectly honest there will not even be 3 helicopters embarking on this ship. I have no doubt this trimaran will not in any way possess the fuel, munitions and maintenance capabilities to embark 4 helos operating at full tempo.
     
  10. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    And no, I don't "now" have to speculate four -- my original idea was always for four, but in absence of listing a number you assumed four. However you can assume three helicopters if you want either. The point is that the greater helipad affords greater flexibility for helicopter or VTOL UAV operations from the ship.


    Well, we do not know if the 2450 ton ship is the one that the Navy is supposedly interested in (could the Navy version be bigger, or maybe it might be smaller?), nor do we know if the 2450 ton displacement is for standard or full displacement (especially considering the model trimaran's dimensions is very similar if not a little bit greater than that of the Independence class LCS which displaces over 3000 tons full)...

    If displacement is the primary objection to the conops I've laid out, I think that is a viable counter to make, but it doesn't by any means sink it as we do not know what the displacement of the Navy's supposed interested version will be, and I think we also have a reasonable case to wonder whether the displacement of the model that they've shown is for its full displacement or not.

    I would also argue that there is not necessarily a correlation between the number of helicopters that a ship can support with its displacement, as the design of different ships can afford for different use of displacement for different purposes -- endurance vs armament vs helicopter embarkment vs sensors vs whatever.
    I think it is reasonable to consider whether they would design a ship with a significantly larger than normal helipad to also have designed a greater ability to accommodate a faster pace of helicopter operations as well. So even with the real ship displacing significantly less than an 054A I do not consider the prospect of a greater helicopter embarkment and operation capability to be an unreasonable one.
     
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