Yes, cost per missile launch is the right metric.The long range radars and electronics are what makes things really expensive. Thus you want this cost of firing each missile to be spread out more over a larger number of missiles. Cost of radars+electronics/number of missiles.
On a tactical scale, for offensive antiship or land-attack missiles (which will have to use the battle network for offboard targeting anyway) the cost per launch is only dependent on being on the cheapest platform.
And for defensive SAMs, yes, there is a fixed cost for radars and electronics on the ship, so it is better to have more VLS cells available.
But from a strategic perspective, the stock of missiles is going to run out before all the launch platforms are destroyed.
A stock of 300 missiles is going to be used up quickly anyway
Say 2 reloads (2weeks) for a Type-55 and 4 reloads (4weeks) for a Type-52
So on the strategic scale, a lower cost per missile launch comes from the smaller, cheaper Type-52D than the larger Type-55.
A Battlecruiser would have a very small production run.I am not really so sure. You have to make two ships at the cost of one. You will require more engines in total, and more crews in total, more salaries to pay, more mouths to feed.
The production learning cost curve is especially steep for the first 4 ships, but has settled down after 10 ships.
We may only be looking at 4 Battlecruisers, which would be prime targets as capital ships.
In comparison, for the combination of (1x Type 55 multi-role) + (1x Type-55 Arsenal Ship / ASW destroyer)
1. The Type-55s would already have benefited from the production learning curve
2. The Type-55 Arsenal Ship / ASW destroyer has much lower operating costs.
a) Because that it has a much smaller crew and fewer systems to maintain
b) It spends most of its time in port in peacetime, because it is simply a platform to launch missiles and helicopters.
c) Labour costs aren't significant, especially with Chinese wages
So I reckon a Battlecruiser would be more expensive.
True, but after a hit, is it better on a single Battlecruiser hull or 2 smaller hulls?On the other hand, a large hull can be made to be more survivable.
It would also be preferable for the cheaper and more expendable Arsenal Ship to be hit first.
A number of points on the Russian Lidar Destroyer:That was the idea for the Arsenal Ship. Yet despite this, cash and resource strapped Russia, which has weighed much of its doctrine in anti-shipping and offensive strike, isn't considering the Arsenal Ship when they could be the ones that would most benefit from it.
Do remember that their Lider class destroyers are shooting for 17,000 tons now, making them larger than the Zumwalt?
In all likelihood, the Lidar is never going to be built. They're struggling to build new frigates, never mind anything larger.
Plus the Lidar was designed around the following missions:
1. Cutting the sea lanes between Europe and the USA. Those sea lanes are 5000km+ from Murmansk
2. Long range missile strikes. But remember that missiles launched from Mother Russia can cover most of Europe anyway, which includes many ports.
In comparison, all the core objectives for the Chinese Navy lie within the 1st Island Chain, which is within 1300km of mainland China.
So they can just wait for ships and aircraft to approach a small number of fixed chokepoints (seaports/airports) then attack using land-based aircraft and missiles.
Then there is nothing but empty ocean until the 2nd Island Chain (Guam) which is some 3000km from China.
This is at the limits of land-based aircraft and missiles.
But a Chinese fleet can sail for just 3 days under air cover, launch missiles, then head back to rearm.
Then more empty ocean until the 3rd Island Chain (Hawaii), which is some 8000km from China.
This is just too far for a Chinese power projection fleet to get to.
Best to use submarines to sink convoys in the area.
It's also too far for even B-2 bombers to operate against China without aerial refuelling.
But even B-2 bombers will have to approach to 2000km of the Chinese coastline to be effective.
So you can see that if the Chinese Navy wants to cut off the USA from Asia, it doesn't have to venture far from mainland China.
That negates most of the argument for ships with long range.
Is there any reason why a Type-52E couldn't be built to similar specifications as a Type-55?Given that the "Red AEGIS" on the 055 is likely to be much better than the one on the 052D, Option 1 would have much more superior sensor power over Option 2. It is also likely Option 1 will have superior networking power over Option 2, even if the 052D has CEC. That's better icing over better cake.
(I pointed out previously in other posts that some 052D has small circular antennas on top of the bridge they might be using for CEC --- these are retrofits so not all ships have them yet. The ones of the 055 might be a set of four small phase arrays on top of the mast. However the ones for the 055 might be a generation ahead, not to mention they are built into the ship on the get go. The ones on the 055 are also set higher than on the 052C/D, so they have more of an extended horizon and range.)
Another disadvantage for Option 2 is that Option 1 is far stealthier per ship, both actively and passively. 055 appears stealthier than 052D, not much explanation needed given their appearance, but I would also add that the 055 going all AESA even in its secondary radars means these radars can go LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) unlike the 052D, whose secondary radars are still mechanical and use parabolic designs (Type 344, 364, 366.) These means that the secondary AESA radars on the 055 are less likely to be picked up by ESM, and are more resistant to ECM measures.
Remember sensor performance is irrelevant given the limitations of the radar horizon and offboard sensors from the battle network
The radar performance of a Type-52D is more than sufficient for long-range SAMs.
Plus there shouldn't be any difference in networking power between the Type-52D/E and Type-55.
Most of the processing will be done locally, and only the final results would be shared in a datalink.
And the options I presented were an example.
You can rework for any mix of (Type-55 and Type-52E) versus a mix of (Type-55, Type-52E, Arsenal Ship)
You still get the same result, because an Arsenal Ship has a lower cost per VLS launch.
But this only works if you have large enough overall navy size and large enough SAGs - which lets you rebalance capabilities across a larger number of platforms.
Only the US Navy and Chinese Navy are large enough to do this.
If we're talking about a Type-55 in a carrier escort role, remember that there is supposed to be a quad-packed MR-SAM in development, like the ESSM.I am not sure which is cheaper, a Type 05X Large Surface Combatant, or a 055X + 055 arsenal ship. I am not sure but I don't think the two ships are cheaper to operate than one. Nor am I sure that building two ships will cost less, and will be faster to construct overall, than a single large ship. Nor does it matter with China Speed, pounding it a 40,000 ton LHD like a hamburger. Add to the time for trials for each ship, add the cost of the crews per ship, wages, keeping them alive, and so on.
These battlecruisers are not meant to replace aircraft carriers, but to escort them in air defense. As much as the large antiship missiles on the Slava and Kirov class tend to eclipse everything else about these ships, don't forget that the Slava class has 64 VLS for the RIF-M (S-300 missiles) and the Kirov has over 150 VLS for the same. On top of that, the Slavas has another 40 VLS for short range SAMs, while the Kirov class has about 168 total short range and point defense SAMs. RIF-M also equips the Type 051C, which is the smallest ship to use that complex, and which has 48.
So a Type-55 could end up with the following loadout:
1. 96x LR-SAMs and 64 MR-SAMs
2. 64x LR-SAMs and 192 MR-SAMs
Remember that the Kirov BattleCruisers were supposed to operate alone at long distances with little resupply, against enemy shipping lanes.
Even then, it was debateable whether they could survive if there was an aircraft carrier in the vicinity.
Nowadays, in an era where there is almost constant optical satellite coverage over every point of the globe, it's impossible.
So Chinese navy doesn't have a requirement for lone surface ships to cut off distant shipping lanes.
I always mentioned that the Type 052C/D, the Type 055, the Ticos and the Burkes, all have secondary radars are placed on top of a mast for spotting antiship missiles. Respectively, the Type 364 on the 052C/D, the four sided X-band radar unnamed on the 055, the SPQ-9A or SPQ-9B on the Tico and the SPS-67 on the Burkes (Flight III gets SPQ-9B.)