Sunday, 22 March 2009

Something of Interest...Can anyone see whats wrong?

Friction at Sea Will Not Cause a Sino-U.S. Cold War

By Li JieTranslated By Ming Li20 March 2009
The standoff in the South China Sea between Chinese and American ships is just military friction being exaggerated against the backdrop of concern that the U.S. has had about Chinese military forces since the 2001 military airplane collision. This time, the action of the U.S. naval spy ship, in contrast to the cries of “threats by Chinese submarines” from senior American officials, is clearly a movement directed at China. Prior to the standoff, Lyle Goldstein, the director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College, pointed out in his book “China Goes to Sea” that the U.S. needs to calmly rethink its experience during the Cold War at sea with the Soviet Union, and try to avoid a “Cold War with China at sea” while dealing with the vigorously growing Chinese Navy. The standoff seems like proof for his concerns, but is it really? I don’t buy it.
The Disparity between the Chinese and American Navies Cannot Be Changed in Such a Short Time
It is undeniable that China’s increasing comprehensive strength helped China’s navy upgrade its armaments and markedly improve its degree of technology. Equipped with Chinese-made submarines, destroyers, frigates and warplanes, China’s navy has basically set up a weaponry system comprising of second-generation arms as its main body and third-generation arms as its backbone. This makes the Pentagon oversensitive.
In response to this standoff incident, an anonymous Pentagon official acknowledged that the U.S. spy ship was collecting intelligence in the South China Sea. This seems to indicate that China’s growing navy has posed or will pose a threat to America. Timothy Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said that the Chinese submarine force has made great improvements both in quality and quantity, and the U.S. must hold onto its superiority in submarine technology.
It is undeniable that China’s navy has improved greatly in its fighting capability, but the gap between the Chinese and American navies is unlikely to be bridged in such a short time, as the American navy is also expanding with the most advanced and largest amount of nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. Even Lyle Goldstein had to admit that the development of the Chinese navy cannot compare to that of the Soviet Union’s in the 1960-70s, as the latter had 380 submarines and was quickly making new ones in 1969. For the Chinese navy it would be impossible and unnecessary to build up that many submarines, either right now or in the future. And so there is no threat at all to the U.S.
The Strategy to Surround China Will Continue
The U.S. strategy to surround China will remain firmly in place regardless of how China moderates or restrains its military development. The U.S. has moved its military strategic core eastward in recent years, and built several island chains to blockade and surround China with the help of its allies in the Asia-Pacific region. Now almost all of the channels, except those located to the south and north of Taiwan, are controlled by the U.S., Japan, Korea and the Philippines. To further strengthen the marine blockade of China, the U.S. Army deployed not long ago B-2 strategic bombers, F-22 Stealth fighters and Virginia Class nuclear-powered submarines in Guam, the key hub for the second island chain. Moreover, the U.S. Army also invested a lot to rebuild Pearl Harbor into a strategic base for aircraft carriers and a base for strategic nuclear-powered submarines, which not only decreases the disadvantage of U.S. strategic forces being over-concentrated in their homeland, but also enables these strategic weapons to increase their deterrent powers and the ability to deal with all sorts of crises swiftly.
“Accidental Fire” is Difficult to Avoid Completely
The U.S. military deployments around China will not lead to a direct conflict between these two countries in the short term, but the strengthening of the U.S. military reconnaissance and military exercises around China might be an inducement that causes Sino-U.S. friction at sea. It cannot be ruled out that this standoff in the South China Sea is an event created by some members of the U.S. military forces who, taking advantage of the fact that the fresh Obama government has not had enough experience in military and marine affairs, produced a misleading impression among senior U.S. officials and in Congress that U.S. marine movements are often harassed, so that the forces would receive sympathy from the American people and support for military expenditure in this area.
It can be deduced that the U.S. Navy will continue its spy activities for military, hydrological and meteorological data in the waters near China or even in key Chinese waters and strategic channels. Therefore, similar “standoffs” will be hard to avoid, and some minor conflicts might occur. To deal with this, both Chinese and American military forces need to be adaptable and should increase communication with each other as soon as possible. They should also restrain themselves if and when an incident occurs, in order to leave room for diplomatic settlement. After all, neither China nor the U.S. would like to have their economies or politics affected by the friction at sea between them during a global recession. Both China and the U.S. should think clearly about this situation.

To whomever, has the time, inclanation, or interest to read this blog, and specifically this post
Now normally I am not one to quote from other sources...I prefer to stand completely on my own, but when this came back on a Google search, well I just found it interesting enough to critique...and correct...ever so slightly.
Whilst I agree broadly with the last paragraph, that much as in the last undeclared war between superpowers that the two sides militaries need to talk a little, give a little, make friends a little...just to try and prevent sudden and catastrophic escalation...I also think this piece has been living off chasing the dragon a little to much.
For starters whilst the Chinese navy is the Peoples Liberation Army Navy, the US Navy is just that; and I think both it and the US Air force would take great umbrage at the suggestion that they are being told what to do by the US Army....I seem to remember the latter only truly one its independence in World War II, and ever since has been trying to prove that you do not need the other two to fight wars. I would also like to point out the Hawaii has been a heavily armed, central focus point for American Military activities in the pacific since a while before Mao's Long March; so it is not anything new, in fact I think there were carriers and subs there before Mao's Long March. The truth of the matter is that Hawaii is American sovereign territory, the current president even comes from there, it has been a naval/strategic military base for a very long time, and if you are going to take umbrage every time anything is done to improve its capabilities; well you are going to expel a lot of oxygen, for a very pointless reason, from your body for no effect.
I am also sorry to point out that the threatening deployment to Guam was an exercise, such a deployment exercise is common, china herself has engaged in them to the border with Russia on occasion; it is an unfortunate twist of fate that the paranoid people on one side insist on such things to check it works, and the paranoid people on the other side see it as an overt threat gesture.
Also whilst Obama himself is new to military, I don't think his administration is, in fact he has a lot of people in it positively bristling with both military and international relations experience. I also reckon, and this is just probably me being a little naive, that as the USS Impeccable was in International Waters, and unless the author is trying to claim that the Chinese fishing boats were under the control of the CIA; it had to have at least a 50% origin in china. Sorry, but the claim just does not add up, and if you are going to write about the importance of truth speaking and trust to calm the waters, then trying to use a illogical and slight dead-ended argument/story in an attempt...I am not sure what but I hope it was not to divide the president from his own armed forces, you are only going to succeed in making yourselves look, to be honest a little desperate.
The last point to be made concerns this statement "And so there is no threat at all to the U.S." I wonder at this point if the author has ever searched "risk fleet" in an internet search engine, if they do they will find out that whilst in quantity the German High Seas fleet could never match the British Royal Navy, it was designed to be big enough that if the RN went after it, it could do sufficient damage to reneder it impotent for the near future; I would argue that this is what the PLAN seems to building itself into, large enough to influence world events, and large enough to do significant damage to the USN before the comence of any end game scenario.
yours sincerly

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Dream Carrier

this is something written as an idea, to start a debate and to provide a point of reference within that debate...

So here it is, this carrier is designed to not only project its own bubble of defence, but to also be able to launch a significant strike group; it is designed to survive and fight in all likely situations.

Displacement: 70,000tons (aprox)

Range: infinite

Speed: 32kts

Crew: 400 + Air group + Marines (minimum to be carried 400) + Command Staff


  • Saturation/Small Boat defence; 4* 57-mm Mk 110 Mod 0 Naval Gun System (mounted forward)

  • CIWS; 4* Phalanx + 4*RAM, these are paired up, in part to mimic the Kashtan system, in part because I do not believe 3 of one or the other can provide sufficient protection to make such an important and targeted vessel viable.

  • Multirole; 48/64 cell MK41VLS – mounted aft of the single island structure - these can be loaded with Tomahawks, Standard Missiles (2, 3, & 6) or Aster Missiles (15 & 30) and Asroc; all of which make the vessel potent, and capable of self defence against a myriad of threats; I am not of the school that believes you have escorts and carriers, especially in the case of the RN we do not have enough escorts, to have our carriers being barely armed.


  • Air Search: The same BAE Systems Insyte / Thales S1850M radar operating at D band as is installed in the T45 AAD -this is installed to allow it to act as its own destroyer

  • Air/Surface Search:

  • Command Control System: Suggestions please....I am not sure what to choose, and I know you lot will make some very good suggestions

  • ESM:

  • Sonar: this may have to be developed, because their does not seem to be one designed for ships of a carrier size

  • Communications:

  • Fire control:

  • all the blanks fit neatly in this, which would naturally be mounted at the top of the island; Thales integrated sensor mast -


  • Chaff launchers/flares

  • DLH active naval off board decoy system as has been fitted in Type 45 AAD


  • Fixed wing Aircraft; 4-6 AEW EC3-D, 36-48 JSF/F-22N/Strike UAV

  • Rotary wing Aircraft; 4-8 Apache, 6-8 Merlin MK3 Junglie, 6-8 Merlin ASW, 6-8 UAV ASW

  • total; 56-78 Aircraft + 6-8 UAV ASW


Propulsion: Nuclear power is best for vessels of these size, so I would pick two PWR as are installed in the RN's submarines...I am sure they would do the job nicely, and would provide enough power to split water into Hydrogen for fuel to power its escorts..Should they be switched to that as a power supply? Most importantly the Nuclear power will generate enough steam or electricity to operate catapults, for launching aircraft with far more powerful weapons load outs than a ski jump can provide.


  • All edges are to be sloped 7˚ as in duke class frigates, cause like with the corvettes, I feel its radar imaged should be minimised, but full scale stealth boat is pointless due to size and expense.

  • coated in radar absorbing paint

Estimated cost; £2.4billion (compare to current Queen Elizabeth Class costing £1.2billion), and do you want know what, I would build 3 of them!

***** (19/03/2009)

Sven you started without so much as happy birthday, ah well here we go;

My general understanding for future carriers is that they should be difficult to identify for aerial opposition and difficult to detect for subs.That excludes large size, operation of untypical or powerful radars and the use of loud nuclear power.A very silent engine running on kerosene for 5 kts + electricity generation in the area of operations plus a cruise diesel running on kerosene as well would be my choice.Nuclear power is quite pointless unless you use the ship as sea control cruiser or have a fully nuclear powered battlegroup.
Or if you want to launch aircraft of a decent size + payload weight, whilst a Ski Jump is lovely, catapults are better. plus a nuclear powerplant does not generate smoke, or require a funnel thus removing the RAFs ruling that the aircontrol platform has to be seperate from the mechanicals...there will be none for it to be seperate from allowing for just one Island structure and reduced drag.

The right use of aircraft (take off with ski jump, low landing speed) enables CV operation with much less than 30 kts.Power requirements increase much more than speed, so there's a lot of weight, space and also some crew and money to save with a slower ship.
actually nuclear power works out as net cheaper over 40 years of service, and it is also far better in terms of crew and capability, plus this might seem strange but a faster ship is more useful as it can cover a far larger area.

I would limit air defense to about a corvette's self-defence suite - lightweight and compact.
Helicopters will carry lightweight torpedoes, so a triple torpedo launcher fired from the hangar deck would be a cheap improvement, especially as there are now some torpedoes (like a MU90 version) that can allegedly hard kill heavyweight torpedoes.
you would limit air defence to a corvettes self-defence, well lovely, but I would point out even the Italian navy has started fitting Aster 15 and many other weapons, and the Americans, Russians and Indians are all beefing up their defences to deal with the next generation of missiles. added to this the RN is always short of escorts, so I reckon the carrier will need to fulfil that role to an extent itself.

"launches":Protector is pretty much crap imho, hyped up but crap.keywords: "Troika" system with "Seehund" ROV in Germany, add two SRBOC launchers, a jammer (to attract home-on-jam missiles), an IR sensor for air target detection/tracking/ID and a SeaRAM (7 missile launcher).

I like the protector myself, its nice and simple, and it works, you like the others, fine but I was just using it as an example, I myself would wager that by 2012/2014/2016 there will be better ones still, available for purchase.

AEW: An Erieye system on a Merlin (mounted like the Orchidée on Super Puma) would fly lower, but be superior in other regards; performance over land, ability to refuel (on escorts and picket ships) without disruption of CV deck ops, maintenance commonality with Merlin, no requirements for deck length and CV speed like Hawkeye.

I come from the nation thats produced the Sea King AEW and have seen a Merlin me I prefer the Hawkeye, it has a far better range of detection, and whilst you might like the idea of the AEW helicopter landing on a picket ship which was not designed to take it, I don't...I have watched the difficulties of landing them on an unprepared land base...(this next bit added in later...) however there are cost and their are advantages and disadvantages, the fact is Hawkeye is better if Britain can get it/wants to afford it because simply put it has a more powerful radar, greater range, greater speed, and longer endurance which combine to give it a larger radius of effect - but if its decided perhaps for logistical synergies as well as cost reasons that its best to have as fewer different types of aircraft as possible, then the merlin successor to the sea king is the obvious choice and the question becomes why don't we have them rolling off the production line already? afterall the italians have some, and rumours suggest we have a better radar than they do...

Greatest problem:CVs are useless for the defence of Europe or the UK. The range of land-based aviation increased too much with midair-refuelling - carrier aviation has no defensive purpose (helicopter ASW CVEs could quickly be built on container ships if necessary).

okey for starters, what about supporting troops abroad in foreign lands? or amphibious/naval task groups operating far away from Britain, I am sorry I don't care much about Europe. (this next bit added in later...) I would also point out that during the problems caused by a Volcanoe errupting the aircraft carriers were able to move and provide air defence whilst the land based aircraft were imobilised...furthermore during world war II the Royal Navy operated quite successfully in the mediteranean more often than not in range of enemy air - yes they took lossess and damage, yes they were not always successful, but they pulled off many very large and very precarious operations in the face of this threat, and whilst aircraft and their weapons may be better today, so are the weapons which the navy has to oppose them with.

Even three 70 kt CVs are merely good enough to weak small country. The "Dream Carrier" lacks a justifiable strategic raison d'etre.

the dream carrier has the strategic raisin d'etre, is that they are there for the visible projection of power on a strategic level, whilst also providing support and succor for forces figthing far away from home bases.

Sven, I hope this answers your questions

yours sincerly




I'm not much into small talk and such.Those who know me learn to appreciate my ways over time or break contact.

Sorry, that was a joke, british sense of humour, whilst it is my birthday, I certainly don't expect congratulations,

"the dream carrier has the strategic raisin d'etre, is that they are there for the visible projection of power on a strategic level, whilst also providing support and succor for forces fighting far away from home bases." That's pretty much what I call "not justifiable". It's not related to defence, neither self-defence nor collective defence in our alliance. Distant places are by definition no threat to our security. They cannot invade us and can hardly bomb or blockade us from afar.

North Korea is a distant place, so is Afghanistan, one is building missiles, the other was send terrorists all round the world... I am sorry sven but there is no such thing as local defence anymore in the global age, and whilst Europe might still be obssessed with the continetal strategy, the British have always been spread all over, and that requires we be able to postion ourselves all over.

A CV battlegroup with three carriers, about a dozen necessary escorts, participation in a special aircraft project for the carriers, keeping this force effective for decades, a workforce loss of thousands of people etc - the average annual cost to the nation is far in excess of a billion pounds.Far more than a billion pounds annually - for the mere capability to bully foreign, distant countries and to meddle in other continent's affairs instead of caring about domestic challenges? Or for prestige? Sorry, that's billions wasted as long as I could discuss domestic problems facing every country in Europe for hours without a pause. Your country is pretty much broke(n). The damage done to the economy is much greater than the mainstream media tells the people. This is no crisis for two or three years that goes away - it's a symptom of an economic structure that raced into a dead end for decades and crashed at its end. GDP about $2.8 trillion in 2008, trade balance deficit about $180 billion in 2007 - about 6.5% deficit. The military expenditures were about 2.5%. The efforts needed to fix domestic problems require a lot of the society's fiscal power, motivation, attention, brainpower and time. Expeditions and adventures overseas are simply a waste of these scarce resources.A CV can be a tool in a national security strategy - but it's a hollow shell with no purpose if it doesn't fit, and a British national security strategy needs to exploit our relatively calm times to spend resources on fixing domestic problems. The Spanish, Ottomans and Soviets demonstrated the effects of a ruined domestic economy on national security in the long term.

very nice fiscal analysis, I have many economic specialist though who are independent and tell me it is not as bad as it looks. however, I will get to this at the end. building a CVN+Battlegroup would actually help us, as the areas of employment we are suffering in is mainly car manufacture and other industries which have been closed down by their parent european companies in order for them to maintain the factories in their home countries please don't get me started on the europeans, and how brilliant they are for the british economy, this means these unemployed could be given work building the ships; a bonus of this is that as money spent in these areas would be spent locally it works as a more productive form of job seekers allowance... it would also allow us to build up our defence/manufacturing industry, the former is one of the few areas still bringing in large amounts of foreign currency - with the revamped ship yards I would request that the british shipping firms by their merchant ships/cruise liners in the UK offering them tax incentives to do so.

Added to this Britain is not just part of europe, Britain is also part of the UN Security Council and the Commonwealth; both of which require far flung deployments of troops, as well as other personal and material. These operations require support (it is often forgotten that Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and both of the Gulf Wars had large amounts - in some 85% of their air support flown from carriers, and of course British Forces in the Falklands were entirely reliant upon it). As for fixing domestic problems excetra which you seem so worried about, might I suggest that stop obssessing with so much you see on the news, I know from many friends all around the world and their reports to me that Britain is not doing that badly compared to some others, and I hope that with the next election the government will be changed and that the new incumbents will be more proactive with dealing with the current difficulties. Finnally I would also point out that leaving Europe would free up about 8% of our national budget, as well as another 4% spent on compliance, so that is 12% from European Union vs 2.5% on Defence, I know which I would cut first.


Your design would be a great target for SSKs, by the way.

This would be the SSK that would be the target of the 8 ASW helicopters on the Carrier itself, plus 10 more on the escorts and auxilaries in the battlegroup. Added to this you have the fact that whilst an SSK is very quiet once in place, it is not as quiet when it needs to charge its batteries, and is tied in place/operating era, so once it is discovered it either needs to move or is easily avoided/hunted to distruction. Even if the SSK does make it close enough to target the carrier, if it did fire it might hit a decoy, but its chance of being alive for that long would not be very great.

yours sincerly


***** (19/03/2009)


Be aware, a CV is an purely offensive unit. Do not use automatic self defence weapons, you don´t want to kill an aircraft returning with an emergency.You´ve got destroyers, frigates and submarines to protect you when the aircraft are on board. Forget the sonar, you´ve got ASW helicopters.

whilst I can see your point, I do believe the deployment of carriers can be a defensive strategic tactic and is always something worthwhile having up the sleeve.

as for the defensive cannons, whilst I have heard that argument before, in practice we still deploy these weapons on the RNs carriers and the US's carriers, because the benefits of such weapons far outweigh the negatives when you are facing a saturation level missile attack.

yours sincerly




Arrgh! Since its your birthday, I bite my tongue.Except to say, with a hybrid carrier/missile ship/amphib I think you will need a bigger budget. Oh, those choppers will need to be airborne constantly to deal with SSK's. maybe UAV's instead?

well I increased the budget, and added UAVs to supliment the choppers...mainly keeping the latter cause at the moment they carry better torpedoes.

and thankyou mike for your kindness

yours sincerly


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Carriers Fully Loaded - Vikradmaditya

2.2 Modified Kiev, Vikramaditya India (Russia)
Figure 15. Vikramaditya

Figure 16. Vikramaditya when it was the Admiral Gorshkov

The vessel was laid down in 1978 at Nikolayev South in Ukraine; it took four years to build the vessel, it was physically launched in 1982. However, it was not commissioned until 1987; due in primary to software bugs in the new command and control system. The vessel was originally called Baku, but was renamed after Admiral Gorshkov when the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the city of Baku as part of the newly independent Azerbaijan. Between 1991 and 1994 the Admiral Gorshkov was the principle aircraft carrier of the Russian navy. However, it was in 1994, following a boiler room explosion, that the Admiral Gorshkov was docked for a year of repairs. Although she returned to service in 1995, the vessel had lost its importance and she was finally withdrawn from service in 1996 and offered for sale in 1997.

On the 20th of January 2004, after almost 8 years of bilateral and trilateral(with china) negotiations, Russia and India signed a deal for the sale of the ship, the then- Admiral Gorshkov. In the end the deal from the perspective of both sides was sweet, for India the ship was free; for Russia, India agreed to pay US$800million for the necessary upgrades and refitting of the vessel. Russia also achieved the added bonus of at the very minimum an additional $1bn for the aircraft and weapons systems. This part of the deal included the purchase of 12 single seat MiG-29K 'Fulcrum-D' and 4 dual-seat MiG-29KUB aircraft, 6 Kamov Ka-27 "Helix" anti-submarine helicopters, as well as torpedo tubes, missile systems, and artillery units. The Russians also agreed to open their facilities and procedures for training pilots and technical staff; the delivery of simulators, spare parts, as well as the establishment of maintenance on Indian Navy facilities were also part of the contract.

Outline of Design

As the Admiral Gorshkov, the vessel was, as is shown by Figure 16, a cruiser with a runway tacked on to port side. Like the Admiral Kuznetsov, the Admiral Gorshkov was heavily armed. Its fore deck is dominated by the 6 twin SS-N-12 Sandbox SSM launchers. It was a heavily cluttered design unlike the successor of the Kievs the Admiral Kuznetsov. There is a reason for this in the Kievs the cruiser was dominant over the aircraft carrying, but in the Admiral Kuznetsov this was reversed; a difference not unlike to that from Admiral Gorshkov to Vikramaditya. With its new name, the vessel has become a carrier, no longer and Aircraft Carrying Cruiser.

Figure 18. Vikramaditya Plan

As can be seen from Figure 18, the upgrade plans for the conversion of Admiral Gorshkov to Vikramaditya have involved stripping all the weaponry from the ship's foredeck to make way for the revised Short Take-Off But Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) configuration. This will allow the vessel to operate far more capable aircraft than it did in its previous form; however it will still be restricted by its small hangar space, Figure 18. In fact according to that plan there is space in the hanger for just 14 fixed wing aircraft of the type selected (the Mig-29k), and 4 rotary wing aircraft (Ka-27 family). What is most interesting though about this early plan is that it shows just one take off position; whereas the more recent models (Figures 22 & 23) clearly show two; as the vessel is not yet finished this is hypothetical conjecture, but if it has the space for two such positions it would both simplify and accelerate air group operations.

Figure 19. Vikramaditya Deck Operations/Hangar Plan

Weapon Systems/Sensors

Figure 20. Admiral Gorshkov

As the Admiral Gorshkov the vessel had almost as impressive a range of firepower as the Admiral Kuznetsov, the mounting of 6 twin SS-N-12 Sandbox SSM launchers, 12 missiles, on its foredeck being a key part of this. It also had 24 of 8-cell SA-N-9 vertical SAM launchers, for a total of 192 missiles, and even 2 100mm deck guns; although whether it would have got near enough to its opposition to use them remains to be seen. Like the Admiral Kuznetsov it the Admiral Gorshkov had 8×AK-630 30 mm CIWS. Again like the Admiral Kuznetsov, and in the spirit of a battle group operating far from home and safety it was given an impressive ASW outfit; including 10 × 533 mm torpedo tubes (again like the deck guns – would it have ever been able to make use of these?), and 2 RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers. All this weaponry allowed the vessel to be incredibly self-dependent for an aircraft carrier; it also gave it a strength which most of the other navies that operate aircraft carriers seem to have been almost adverse to doing so with their own.

The big hitter of this weapons outfit, and the only system I will discuss from this list, as we are considering the Vikramaditya not the Admiral Gorshkov, is the SS-N-12 Sandbox SSM. These as can be seen from any picture of the Admiral Gorshkov (Figures 15, 19 & 20) was dominated by these huge silos mounted in pairs. This missile was both the numerical and the technological predecessor of the SS-N-19 Shipwreck, discussed previously. The SS-N-12 was physically bigger than the SS-N-19, however it was still dangerous with a range of 550km[1], and speed of about Mach 2.5[2]. It was then, and still is a weapon system which it is not easy to discount, especially when just one hit of its 950kg semi-armour-piercing high explosive warhead has been seen to break the back of both old warships and freighters in exercises.

Figure 21. Admiral Gorshkov to Vikramaditya

As is shown in Figure 20, one of the key features of the transformation of Admiral Ghoshkov to Vikramaditya is the elimination of its weapon systems in favour of a larger and far less restricted operational deck area. However, the Indian navy does not go in for sitting ducks or white elephants when it comes to its large ships; thus like the Admiral Kuznetsov the Vikramaditya is to receive 8 of the very capable, and still one of a kind (in that it combines both missile and gun under one)CADS-N-1 Kashtan CIWS[3].

Aircraft Carried

The Indian Navy looked at equipping the carrier with the E-2C, but decided not to, as the fitting of catapults, and their supporting apparatus would have been very expensive, and most importantly the lifts have not been built with such aircraft in mind; and the question of whether they would fit must most certainly have had an impact on the decision. The air group it is expected to be a either a mixture of British and Russian origin aircraft; the actual types are Sea Harrier, Mig-29k, and helicopters of the ubiquitous Ka-27/31 Helix family (both ASW and AEW).


Figure 22. Mig-29K taking off from Admiral Kuznetsov

This is the naval variant of the very successful Mig-29 the “K” does not stand for a new type by just for deck based; by this it means that the airframe has been modified with equipment such as folding wings, arrestor gear, and reinforced landing gear. The aircraft was originally intended for service upon the Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers; this did not happen however even though MiG received series production approval from Russian Ministry of Defence; however this was stopped in 1992 due to shift in military doctrine and state financial difficulty. MiG Corporation restarted the program seven years later on a semi-private basis making vital improvement to the previous design (specifically in the area of landing gear – which on original would have had a very high attrition rate). On 20 January 2004, Indian Navy signed a contract of 12 single-seat MiG-29K and four two-seat MiG-29KUB(training aircraft) with delivery to be between 2007 and 2009.

Further modification was made for Indian Navy requirements; now this is standard for all Mig-29 aircraft currently under production. These modifications included the installation of the Zhuk-ME radar, the newly developed RD-33MK engine, an increased combat payload up to 5,500 kg, 13 hard points (this number is inclusive of those provided by the multi-lock bomb carriers); most importantly additional fuel tanks have been inserted into the airframe, they are situated in the dorsal spine fairing and wing LERXs, these have increased total fuel capacity by 50% when compared with that of the first variant of the MiG-29. All these new capabilities are brought to bear through the use of the updated 4-channel digital fly-by-wire flight control system; Russia’s evolutional equivalent to that installed in the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Mig-29k has also been given the advantage of special coatings radar reflecting ‘paint’ which has reduced its radar presence to between 20% and 25% of that of the basic MiG-29. The MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB aircraft are equipped with an in-flight refuelling system and also have the facility (when fitted with extra tanks) to be used as in-flight tankers, if they are furnished with the UPAZ refuelling pod.

The cockpit has had pilot visibility/awareness improved through the installation a full-sized two-seater style canopy on both MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB aircraft. The Cockpit has also had its displays improved so that they now consist of wide Head Up Display (HUD) and three (seven on MiG-29KUB) colour LCD Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), in the Indian models only the French Sigma-95 satellite GPS module has been added, however all have been provided with the Topsight E helmet-mounted targeting system. The Mig-29K is fully compatible with the complete range of weapons carried by Russian Air Force’s MiG-29M and MiG-29SMT aircraft. However due to all these improvements it has received a new NATO reporting code, the Fulcrum-D; this in many ways is its ultimate accolade – it is such an improvement its ‘opponents’ have to give it a new name.

Sea Harrier

The Royal Air Force's Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1s had entered service in April 1969. In 1975 the Royal Navy ordered 34 Sea Harrier FRS.1s (later FRS1), the first of which entered service in 1978. In total 57 FRS1s were delivered between 1978 and 1988.

The Sea Harrier was largely based on the Harrier GR3, but was modified to have a raised cockpit with a "bubble" canopy (to give better visibility for the air defence role) and an extended forward fuselage to accommodate the Ferranti (now BAE Systems) Blue Fox radar. Parts were changed to use corrosion resistant alloys or coatings were added to protect against the marine environment.

Figure 23. 2 Indian Navy Sea Harriers, and an F/A-18 from the USS Kitty Hawk on exercise

The cockpit in the Sea Harrier includes a conventional centre stick arrangement and left-hand throttle. In addition to normal flight controls, the Harrier has a lever for controlling the direction of the four vectorable nozzles. The nozzles point rearward with the lever in the forward position for horizontal flight. With the lever back, the nozzles point downward for vertical takeoff or landing. The Indian Navy is in the process of upgrading up to fifteen Sea Harriers in collaboration with Israel by installing the Elta EL/M-2032 radar and the Rafael 'Derby' medium range air to air missile. This will enable the Sea Harrier to remain in Indian service until beyond 2012, and also see limited service off the new carriers it will acquire by that time frame.

The Indian Navy is currently interested in acquiring up to eight of the Royal Navy's retired Sea Harrier FA2s in order to maintain their operational Sea Harrier fleet. Which consists of 13 Pegasus 104-powered Sea Harrier FRS51s. If the deal goes through it will have to involve ongoing support from BAE Systems and Rolls Royce. The sale will not involve the Sea Harrier FA2's Blue Vixen radar, the RWR and the AMRAAM capability. Certain US software will be deleted prior to shipment. With the loss of another Sea Harrier on 24 December 2007 (attempting a vertical landing, pilot ejected to safety), the total number of Sea Harriers with the Indian Navy has fallen to 13. India purchased 30 Sea Harriers in 1983, using 25 of these for operational flying and the remaining to train pilots. Since then seven pilots have died in 17 crashes involving the Sea Harrier and more than half of the fleet is now gone, lost mostly to routine sorties.

History of Service

Figure 24. Vikramaditya (top)

Figure 25. Vikramaditya (front)

Not yet in service as Vikramaditya so no history to give.

[1] Pike, John. SS-N-12 Specifications. 22 April 2006. (accessed February 22, 2009).
[2] some sources say Mach 2.6, others Mach 2.4, and some say Mach 2.5, the latter was chosen as it is the middle so whatever it actually is, it is approximately right
[3] Please read the Admiral Kuznetsov report, specifically pages37-38, for more information on the Kashtan CIWS

for some reason not all the photos will load, will try and sort this out over the coming days




you might want to look at the video attached to the dream corvette post


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Dream Corvette

In responce to Mike Burelson's recent posts, I have decided to generate some specifications for a general purpose corvette, to service the Royal Navies requirements, what do you think?

Displacement: 1500-2000tons

Range:10000nm at 18kts

Speed: 29kts

Crew: 60


  • 1* 57-mm Mk 110 Mod 0 Naval Gun System (mounted forward)
  • 2* two 35 mm Millennium CIWS guns mounted towards rear on either sides of hangar - these have been chosen allong with MK110 (which can be used in the CIWS role), now the reason I have put two in is due the desire for these ships to be capable of surviving a heavy missile attack and as added defence against swarms of motor boats - something which could present in the modern littoral enviroment; however I must admit it would be cheaper to mount 1 centerline on the hangar - this combined with the MK110 would be purfectly servicable if not as powerful as I would personally prefer
  • 24/32 cell MK41/53 VLS – mounted between hangar & bridge - these can be loaded with Tomahawks, Standard Missiles (2, 3, & 6) or Aster Missiles (15 & 30) and Asroc - which if mounted then torpedoes might not be fitted to save costs
  • 2*two stanflex containers, initially to be loaded with 16 harpoon SSM – mounted forward of bridge in ‘B’ position
  • 2* TRIPLE torpedo launchers – to flank the vessel; as back up if the others fail


  • Air Search: The same BAE Systems Insyte / Thales S1850M radar operating at D band as is installed in the T45 AAD -this I would like too install because I think a corvette given a general purpose role will need a good air search radar, although this might make it too top heavy
  • Air/Surface Search: SMART-S mk2 is my first choice as this will also provide a measure of Air Search as is to be installed on the Project Khareef
  • Command Control System: TACTICOS - because it is good, of the shelf so not expensive, and has been proven to be a system of choice for corvettes
  • ESM: Vigile 400 ESM, after reading about it in the article on Project Khareef, I looked it up and felt it was the right choice
  • Sonar: Type 2050 medium-range bow-mounted active / passive search and attack sonar the same as is in the Type 23 F
  • Communications: Shaman communications-band electronic support measures (CESM) system
  • Fire control: Thales Naval Nederland - as is fitted on the German K130 corvettes


  • Chaff launchers/flares
  • DLH active naval offboard decoy system as has been fitted in Type 45 AAD


  • 1*Super Lynx & 1* UAV, or
  • 3* UAVs



  • Gas driven waterjet system. With instead of a conventional funnel, a waterline engines exhaust system will be used. This configuration will reduce the vessels thermal signature as well as benefiting operations by allow a 360° vision capability from the bridge.
  • From Sven; a combined Stirling-electric engine with a propeller (not as efficient as diesel, but very silent) and a sprint gas turbine with forward/center waterjet.
  • Hydrogen will be considered as an option


  • All edges are to be sloped 7˚ as in duke class
  • coated in radar absorbing paint
  • however will not be designed as a ‘stealth’ ship

Estimated cost; £55-65million - a bargin!

So what do you think?


This is the third draft taking into account all that has been discussed


That is a good corvette, but the is better in its range and capabilities, and I think they can be bettered still with the adition of decent VLS, and built of a slightly larger size than some which are built now - although although the Sigma class is more of the size I am interested in employing; Project Khareef is a prospectively good example of this, if the next three that are planned to have Type 41 or 53 vls installed are built.



in reply to your post;

My personal observation is that a netted architecture is invaluable when working with other ships, aircraft or sensors. It is a true force multiplier allowing one unit to share time/space/position data of the good and bad guys with others. Assume Link-16 at a minimum and maybe something more robust at the higher end.

this was considered standard, but there are a current number of specialist ones being developed for various corvette classes in production; I did not want to make a selection to soon - although the Royal Navy does have its own standard one, so a version of this might be installed

Other thoughts:

1. 60 is too small a crew. Try a work force analysis with all of the funtionality that you envision and these guys will never sleep. - I would point too the swedish visby class corvette, whose compliment is 43, but crew is only 20 - the other 23 are mission applicable

2. Get rid of the helo.

I agree with this, but I included it as a considered option because the reason the RN keeps giving for building frigates instead is that they need the 'force multiplication value' which comes from helicopter operation; I think personally if you need the helicopter send a bigger escort!

3. I like the USV, but there continue to be C2 issues with these guys: seemingly more complicated than a UAV to control.

have you seen the Rafael USV there are others like the Seastar ; these systems have been itegrated and up and working for a while, to my mind they are more useful than a helicopter for a corvette; as any vessel working in the littoral will need capabilities they will provide - the Protector is my favourite, as it is proven, and is very much off the shelf.

hope this answers your questions



Sven, I will attempt to answer your questions - there is no such thing as a pessimistic comment, I feel if you can not defend your ideas against all angles, they are obviously not as well thought out as they should be.

crew - likely much too small
I can see your point by, but as the swedish visby has a crew of 43, and the K130 class of the German navy ( is only 50, so I feel I actually gave it more than will be needed

Range - this is unnecessarily long. This is not meant to be a cruiser, after all.

I chose the range because whilst it might seem unnecessarily long, it will provide with a very wide range of independent unsupported action; purfect for Britains wide flung commitments, as well constant operations in the south atlantic.

guns - lacking a manually or remote-controlled autocannon or machine gun mount for very close encounters

The 57-mm Mk 110 Mod 0 Naval Gun System (mounted forward) combined with the two 35 mm Millennium CIWS should provide more than enough protection, however if you do go for only on CIWS, then the fitting of a couple of Rafael Typhoon's should make up for those deficiencies which would then be realised

SSM - twice as many as the internationally agreed standard. You might consider the more modern and countermeasure-resistant NSM

That is possible, but the 16 Harpoons is the same Absalon Class, most importantly with their land attack capability incorporated into the new version of Harpoon - added to all this is the fact that as a tried and tested system it will not be expensive to attach. remember the whole point of this corvette is that is cheap and sustainable escort for providing the bulk of future fleets as well as fulfilling water policing/flagshowing and guard ship roles. This is another reason for the heavy SSM capability, as in support of what you pointed out next.

VLS - the long strike version, a questionable choice for a corvette

VLS - was chosen because of its capability in providing the wide range of options; a limited long range missile strike from a corvette might be all you can put in area; but it might just be enough and is always better than nothing; besides for me the combination of

triple torpedo launcher - (lightweight 324mm?) saving that (see your VLS remarks) won't save any significant sum. The launcher is cheap and used examples are in arsenals. You need the lightweight torpedoes anyway for the helicopter (that's imo the primary reason why these launchers are so common).

well as I pointed out these vessells might not be running a helicopter; and if they are then it may be fitted; I have nothing against them - I would be using the lightweight torpedoes.

Sensors in general - FFG/DDG equipment in a small corvette that's also stuffed with weapons; I feel that this isn't possible (also see: SAMs).

that is a judgement call, I feel modern corvettes are getting more and more heavily armed, as they take on more roles which during the cold war were the purview of larger escorts; if you are going to fit these weapons to give it the advantages it needs, then you have to fit the sensors to match the weapons.

Sonar - outdated afaik. An modern active low frequency VDS like LFTAS would be a much better idea vs. SSK.

that as maybe true; but again instead of going for expensive new equipment, which is under development I decided to go for tried and tested systems which we know work, and we know how to make them operate to their best ability.

(LL)TV, IIR and LRF sensors - missing, but essential for object identification and passive surveillance

again I thought these would be considered standard; I know they are part of the Royal Navy's standard build so I just felt that is what would be put in, whatever anyone else said.

Communications suite - missing

not missing the same as above; Royal Navy have a standard system; however it will be affected by the command system chosen, which perhaps you will have a better understanding of which of them is best - I currently can only the see the SAAB system on the Visby; which is based on the RN's efficient ship project as a system with any lead over the competition but this is only marginal.

ESM - is Vigile 400 only ESM? Modern ships of that size need ECM, too.

yes, but what would you recomend, the Vigile is designed for corvettes - the German K130 only has the EADS SPS-N 5000 radar ESM.

SAM - that's the choice for an AAW DDG or FFG, not for a corvette. Mica VL, BAMSE and Barak SAMs are more suitable, or ESSM if an illumination radar capability is available

I knew people were going to say this; and I understand what you are saying; however I still believe that if they are going to operate on their own then a corvette deserves, no requires, the same capability of intercept as its larger counterparts.

Subroc - this is a sub vs sub weapon, I think you meant Asroc

sorry sometimes I do mix up the two; I have changed it

Boats - missing. Dinghy could be used as decoy especially with simple broadband ECM against home-on-jam missile modes, minimum: installation of decoy launcher and remote control/autopilot

for boat read 'launches' - sorry the Royal Navy call subs 'boats' and ships boats 'Launches'

Propulsion - gas turbines aren't very efficient & never silent, waterjet isn't as efficient as propeller IIRC. Gas turbines produce a lot of exhaust gasses, pressing all that into the water is loud and means loss of efficiency (not advisable as permanent measure).I would rather choose a classic CODOG installation or a combined Stirling-electric engine with a propeller (not as efficient as diesel, but very silent) and a sprint gas turbine with forward/center waterjet.

I like this the later one, hence it has been added above for consideration

Hydrogen - no support infrastructure in harbors, no support capability in support ships, requires huge volume and lH2 limits mission endurance due to vaporization or requires a re-liquefaction system

An interesting analysis, on the topic of Hydrogen, I would point out that before the Queen Elizabeth Class Super-Dreadnoughts there was no infrastructure for oil powered ships either; if this is the new propulsion you need then you have too build it; oil/gas fossil fuels in general are getting more expensive and its supply is coming under more threat as it is found in places which are less and less politicaly stable - Hydrogen is all around us; a nuclear powered carrier could generate the Hydrogen for its battlegroup itself; now that would be really good infrastructure

roll stabilization system - missing
harbor maneuvering system - missing (a simple retractable fin in the path of a forward/center waterjet would do the job)
external fire hose / fire fighting system / water projector - missing, but relevant for OPV use (I don't know the correct English word)

All of the above are fitted as standard; although my personal choice for roll stabilitzation system would be the RNLI's new system (I think its called 'glide' but not sure)

cost - unrealistic unless you build hundreds of these in PRC

Again I can see your point, but disagree, as if you do build using conventional off the shelf technology, and you use a convetional build system it is certainly possible; most importantly if I were in charge I would want about 48 of these in service, so that would make it possible for such a Per Unit Cost.

overall - add 100 crew, another Lynx and 4,000 tons and you've got a GP DDG.You've stuffed too much into it for a corvette and neglected ASW (especially sound stealth) and unspectacular components.

I have put in what you term unspectacular; what I call, cost effective tried and tested equipment - its the Sherman(upgunned) rather than the King Tiger. Whilst it is heavily armed, to be fair you haven't seen my destroyer specks yet. Added to this, I think that the sound stealth would suprise you - but that does not matter as much your remark about it having to much arnament for a corvette; this suprised me as I think the more capable a warship is the better armed warship, and a corvette in the littoral enviroment needs to be able to defend the Amphibious ships as well as defend itself.

@Mr. Johnson: Helicopters are extremely versatile and useful. UAVs alone cannot cover the mission spectrum yet. Corvettes are not really a good choice in strong battlegroups and operate rather outside of friendly helicopter support.

I disagree I feel a combination of destroyers and corvettes is a far better combination of escorts for a battlegroup - especially in littoral regions, than frigates; which are not as powerful as destroyers, and too expensive to build in the required numbers.



There's no way you'll fit all of this stuff on a 1500-2000 ton corvette. The equipment you've spec'd might fit on a 5000 ton frigate.

this is a range of equipment to fit in it, and I think it will, for starters without the helicopter but carrying smaller UAVs; I am also keen on making the vessel as simple as possible in design so that in can afford to insert these...oh and a corvette is any vessel up to 2800tons....I think with a little bit of skill and luck it could be fitted in

Look at similarly-sized corvettes such as the German K130 for a reasonable configuration.

Its a very interesting configuration, and I have gone for similar, I have just increased the load a little, and replaced its RAM system with a proper VLS.

The K130s cost around $300 million (USD) each, IIRC, so I think your estimated price is low.

I might well have to accept this, but I also believe that if you use conventional proven technology, and keep the design simple and build enough of them; plus limit the builders to an acceptable degree of profit, then is no reason why unit price could not be £60-80million; as I have said before I would plan on building a lot of these vessels thus reducing the price considerably; and due to the use of existing tech, would keep development costs down to a minimum.

yours sincerly



B Smitty

If you drop the VLS, the rest might fit. A warship can expect to carry 5-10% of it's light ship displacement in payload. If your corvette's light ship is 2000 tons, then that means 100 to 200 tons of payload. A loaded, 32 cell Mk41 VLS weighs around 100 tons by itself! (for comparison, a RAM launcher only weighs around 6 tons)

Smitty you are right, it is usually for it to be 5-10% of weight, so if you built the maximum 2800ton corvette, it would be 280tons in weapons at maximum - more than enough for the vls, which is key to providing it with the capability it requires.
Plus a strike length cell is 25 feet long, which will be tough to fit in a small hull, especially 24+ of them.

I know, so it will have to be a little on the long side for a corvette

yours sincerly




A 2800 ton light ship means over 3000 tons full load. Certainly this is more reasonable for a VLS, though there aren't any ships of this size with 24 or more Mk 41 cells. This is roughly the same size as a Type 21 frigate, btw.

I concur; but the sizes have moved up, and the Type 21 or Type 12 frigates were both very good designs, although the type 12 was posibly the most successful frigate design of its age.

IMHO, a reasonable armament for a future British 2000-2500 ton (full load) "corvette" would look something like this,
- 1 gun (whatever the RN wants in this class)

the BAE MK110 is about the best for this, as I don't think the 4.5in standard issue would be a good choice

- 8-16 Slyver A43 cells with Aster 15 & CAMM quad-packs

why did you pick the Sylver? why? I beg you - its awful, the Type 41 is cheaper, and has a better range of weaponry; also its made by BAE in britain, and I know this is going to sound stupid coming from a British person, but in times of financial crisis I think the government should try and sources these things from within the nation.

As for Aster 15 or CAMM, I prefer a CAMM/Aster 30 combination, as it gives the depth of defence whilst also providing the mass protection of the shorter range camms for dealing with saturation attacks.

The type 41 also has the advantage of packing Tomahawks; a useful force multiplier.

- 8 x Harpoon

a standard arnament, but I feel the Absalon class has shown that a vessel fighting in the littoral needs the extra fire power.

- 1 CIWS (or additional A35 cells for CAMM)

I prefer the option of two, however if one was fitted I would want to fit 2/4 Typhoons instead of the 2 x 30mm guns

- triple torpedo mounts (though one US Admiral said you might as well add a lifeboat launcher rather than torpedo mounts these days because if you're in range to use them, you're about to eat a torpedo)

I agree if its close enough to need them, then its to close, hence I like the ASROC fitted in the Type 41 gives far better depth

- 1 Lynx-sized helo pad and hangar
Well I can't argue with this, but I prefer UAVs to manned helicopters as they take up less space, I think at least one for fire spotting is of advantage along with the helicopter...although 3 UAVs are certainly more useful to my mind.

Just MHO.

why no USVs?

yours sincerly



B. Smitty

I chose Slyver only because the RN chose it for the Type 45. Being American, I certainly think Mk 41 is preferable, but the UK has hitched its horse to the Aster/Slyver wagon. It doesn't make sense to change for this class.

for starters the civil service are making a big deal out of the fact the Type 45s were built with a minimum of naval officers; another is that the Type 41 was turned down (and there is a report I have seen stating this) because it was felt the Sylver fitted better with the then governments political ideas. The Conservatives (the current opposition party, and the ones tiped to win the next election) have said they would change to a Type 41 vls in the the later Type 45 Destroyers, along with the 155mm gun.

B. it is also not unusual for the RN to have a range of different systems across its levels/classes in fact this is incouraged. With the number of submarines in service with the RN shrinking all the time, the corvettes with the Type 41 would also be able to fill the TLAM role nicely with Tomahawks; thus there would only be a minimum loss of capability.

A 3000+ ton ship could carry a small number of Slyver A70 cells, if you really, really want TLAM. Personally, I don't think it's worth the weight and cost for a low-end frigate.

I concur, but I personally feel that frigates are just to big to be made in the numbers requires, and to small to be able to justify that. A corvette/destroyer mix seems a better solution to me for the RN's problems with escort numbers/commitments.

How has Absalon shown that it needs more than 8 x AShMs? Has it fired any? It gets a lot of use out of its helos and boats in CTF 151, but hasn't had to fire a shot of any sort in anger, AFAIK.

No it has not fired a shot in anger, but my point was this with those mountings you can swap and change around; in reaction to the fact that we have not fitted AShMs to our Type 45 Destroyers, you may want to give the other escorts a boost in this area; on the other hand you might want to 4 pairs of exocet launchers (although there is apparently a version of this which can be launched from a Type 41 VLS, in which case I could legitmately say take them off all together, all we need is the VLS and some guns; however as I am not sure of this, I will not say that; although the Tomahawk those definitley have a AShM capability; which would render this with a point); the system can also mount (if put with no obstruction to the sea) two torpedo mounts and two Quads of Harpoon, it is a very goood system.

VL-ASROC is certainly an improvement over triple mounts over the side, but a torpedo-armed helo betters both. Until someone produces a UAV with a dipping sonar that can carry torpedoes (not to mention perform SAR), I'll stick with the manned helo.

I suggest you go on the BAE site, or the German equivalent whose name I can't remember (or sorry have time to research at the moment) but you will find the KC130 mounts three UAVs with dipping sonar, and can carry 1 helo torpedo; okey not brilliant but backed up by VL-ASROC and you could have two or even all three operating; then I would say at least as effective at most ranges as the manned helo.

Alex, I get the impression that you want to build a frigate here. Area air-defense, long-range surface strike and high-end ASW really aren't tasks for a corvette.

well you have to a certain extern rumbled me, I desiging here a mass production capable corvette which can replace the frigates, and cover for the diminishing submarine fleet, as well as be of use in protecting amphibious task groups. Oh and by the by; although our Frigates do have the high-end ASW, they don't have Area air-defence or Long-range surface strike (they just mount Seawolf & Harpoons); I did actually consider Seawolf instead of Aster 15 or CAMM until it was pointed out to me, that Aster was in a lot of trouble till BAE transfered all its SuperSeawolf team to it...and that the Aster missile looks a lot like seawolf; especially the new seeker unit it is fitted with.

yours sincerly



B. Smitty

It doesn't feel like a good idea to have multiple, similar VLS systems in service. You won't maximize your R&D money spent on integration, and will have yet another unique system to support. That being said, if the RN decides to go with Mk41 for future Type 45s, then by all means, use it here too.

Yes it doesn't seem like good money, but it is what has been happening, and looks like it could continue. besides which the RN's R&D money is always overstretched, so whats a little more.

The RN also doesn't use VL-ASROC, so that would be another new system.

A new system which even you have to agree is useful, besides America uses the Type 41 & VL-ASROC, so the RN could always just purchase it as one complete set.

I wouldn't expect a corvette-sized vessel to be a primary TLAM shooter. A ship of this size will likely only have 8 or 16 strike-length cells (and only if you make sacrifices elsewhere), some of which will have to carry ESSM, VL-ASROC or SM-2. So just carrying 2 or 4 TLAMs isn't much help, IMHO. Better to let your big ships carry TLAM in larger numbers.

Size is not the major cost driver in warships. "Steel is cheap and air is free", as they say. The big cost driver is the desire to pack a ship full of expensive combat systems. You can have a larger ship if you exercise restraint and keep the combat systems to the bare minimum. A larger ship has more room for upgrades over its lifetime, handles rough seas and combat damage better, and is generally more comfortable for its crew.

Yes, what you say is true, but a) the big ship will never be subject to such constraint - plus the Treasury would never allow the RN to build a ship which did not utilise every square milimeter of space, b) if you build corvettes you could build enough to allow to put a pair or even more on the operation, so whilst you might have only eight TLAMs loaded per unit, you could mount 32 between them, as well as a very flexible little force, c) whilst the larger units might be available for american ship yards too build, british shipyards have been so run down, that with the Astute program, the Daring program and the Queen Elizabeth II program, we only have yards left which can build heavily armed corvettes. Sorry this is a medium power, whose government has mismanaged industry to such an extent that it has been seriously undermined.

I'm not sure which UAV you mean. The one I've seen mentioned for the K130 is the S-100 Camcopter, which is way too small to carry torpedoes or a dipping sonar. Firescouts may one day carry a dipping sonar, but they are too small to carry current generation torpedoes. They may one day carry the smaller torpedoes under development. Regardless, a manned helo is still more flexible. You can't do this, with a UAV. At least not yet.

Well no, you can't, but you can do everything else. and the types of UAV I am talking about are like this one becoming more and more common; and BAE has a nice line of them coming along.

yours sincerly



if this was a dream corvette, and it was only allowed 1 CIWS, I think I would be sorely tempted by this system; - just watch, and think does this really compare with it?



Kobus, thankyou for that, I wish you could be made Sir Kobus for your actions, but you will have to make do with just my humble thanks, what a great video, and a perfect system for a Corvette.


Albason Class - the True LCS?

Absalon at Sea (click on the picture to see more)

Specifications should come first I suppose so I will start with those;


One 127 mm Deck Gun, two 35 mm Millenium CIWS guns,2 twin Stinger SAM launchers, 5* Stanflax containers (currently outfitted with);

  • two stanflex containers loaded with 16 harpoon SSM
  • three stanflex containers loaded with either 36 ESSM or 18 NSSM SAMs
added to this a number of 12.7 mm machine-guns - Up to 7, and an undiscoed number of Light machine-guns, with the bonus of 2 twin ASW torpedo launcjer with a limited number of reloads; just to make it a really 'fun' party


4 × 12-barrelled Terma DL-12T 130 mm decoy launchers, 2 × 6-barrelled Terma DL-6T 130 mm decoy launchers

Other deployable decoys can be fitted although this depends apon mission, what outfitting they take


2 helicopters currently: but crucially are fitted to be moded, so could well take UAVs one day or even sooner


2 small fast patrol boats; again though do have space to take more

The Flex Deck

It this deck which allows the Absolon class to be called "flexible support ships" or "combat support ships" (more rightfully so than the last considering their arnament). The class is a frigate, but it has a huge open space, called the 'flex deck', something which is made really flexible by its stern vehicle access ramp.

Due to this space, the ships can serve as task group command platforms for a staff of 75 persons (naval or joint staff) with a containerised command and control centre; or it could be both the transport and the dockside base of operations for a company-sized landing force of around 200 personnel with vehicles.

Alternatively the flex deck can be used for mine-laying operations with a capacity of some 300 mines, or the flex deck can be fitted out for mine-clearing operations and launch and recover mine detecting and clearing equipment via a retractable gantry crane, adjacent to the stern ramp, which also is used for launching and recovering the fast landing crafts.

Added to all this the flex deck can support a containerized hospital or simply transport a number of ISO standard containers or some 55 vehicles including, up to 7 MBTs.

So to coin the phrase of Scot is making on mike's post is proved possible; instead of building a complex system build a huge encolsed space, with an access ramp that a lorry or even a tank can get up.

Displacement: 6,600 tons full load
Length: 137.6 m (451 ft 5 in)
Beam: 19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
Draft: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)


Propulsion: 2 MTU 8000 M70 diesel engines; two shafts, 22,300 bhp (16.4 mW)
Speed: >24 kn (44 km/h)
Range: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)


Complement: 100 + aircrew and transients (accommodation for up to 300 in total)

Sensors and processing systems

Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D volume search radar
Terma Scanter 2100 surface search radar
Atlas ASO 94 sonar
4 × Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars
ES-3701 Tactical Radar Electronic Support Measures (ESM)

The Question

Is this ship the better LCS?


definitely; as you could build 3 dream corvettes and 3 absalon's for the price of 2 LCS, and still have plenty of change...that is what I would prefer.

after all then you could deploy 3 pairs to do jobs, instead of having to decide which two get one hull also allows for greater tactical flexibility.

yours sincerely


Sunday, 1 March 2009

My tips for the Future; but more importantly what do you think?

K130 Class Corvette of the German Navy

Now whilst I am beavering away on many projects at the moment, including the 'Aircraft Carriers; Fully Loaded' set of reports & analysis which is ongoing and may well lead to a few more entries soon, I wanted to lay out some points of view for your considerations (and whilst admitting they might in part be the rantings of an overly stretched mind, which is functioning on barely any sleep), to do with the future of sea power projection, and vessels it will be utilised from.


Now, it is not unknown how much I like these vessels, I personally like their power, punch, versatility, and price will make them a more and more common component of the world’s navies; especially in blue water roles. This is most shown by a recent definition of the corvette (mine, trust me it took a long time to perfect so I will make full use of it!);

A corvette is something of around 550 to 2,800 metric tons, and between 50-120 meters in length. They carry almost any armament going, although it is increasingly common - and advantageous, for them have multi-role capable VLS system which take any combination of surface to air, surface to surface, or even surface to sub-surface weaponry. They carry a small helicopter- the lynx is quite common, although the new German ones have unmanned air vehicles with dipping sonar’s and small torpedoes instead of them. As is expected from the fact they are operated by so many states they exhibit a wide variety of gun armament across the range of corvettes in use. This I know is a nice long list, and I am sorry its style is lacking but its purpose is to show what these vessels are capable of.

The German K130 Braunschweig class is a key example of the flexibility on offer, as is the Omani Project Kareef vessels which are being built in Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

Other Escorts

These are going to have to become General Purpose Guided Missile vessels, whatever their displacement and engine system classifies them as; frigate, destroyer or cruiser. I would also not be surprised if they tend towards being larger; in fact I envision a future where the corvettes make up the mass, whilst destroyer sized vessels provide the extra strength and firepower required for war. In the case of the Royal Navy this could be 2:1 with at least 15 Destroyers, supported by 30 corvettes (although this is probably a pipe dream knowing the Royal Navy’s success with politicians supporting it). Escorts which are a one trick pony (i.e. Area Air Defence) will be shown to be not only not value for money, but also dangerously inadaptable in the fluidity of the modern conflict area.

Aircraft Carriers

I read so many blogs, articles, books decrying these vessels and predicting there imminent demise; what is even better is that some of these date from the 1920s! Nearly 90 years later, you still have people rabbiting on about submarines, or new long range weapons annihilating the aircraft carriers. So whilst I will not state that aircraft carriers in their current form will probably not be so prevalent, especially the really large ones (100,000 ton ones), but the numbers of 60-70,000ton aircraft carriers will increase, especially with nuclear power, and lots of hangar space. Simply because whether it is manned or unmanned it still needs to be maintained and stored out of the weather at some time. They will have nuclear power, because will provide speed, limitless range, and catapults – to enable the operation of heavier aircraft/heavier payloads. Aircraft carriers will also need to be more heavily armed, CIWS only will not hack it in the modern world; Aircraft Carriers need the VLS loaded with SAMs, loaded with Cruise missiles and rocket torpedoes; in order for them to make it in the world with fewer and smaller escorts. They will make it, this is because Aircraft Carriers are needed; they are the most cost efficient, most deployable base for power projection as well as tactical air support/strategic strike ever made; and whilst they still hold this title (and let’s face it only a space station armed with fighters could beat it) they are going to be needed and thus they are going to be built.

Amphibious Warfare

This is possibly the area of greatest importance for future warfare; the light fast equipment which armies had been focusing on the procurement of, has been shown to be very weak in recent wars, in cities their speed counts for nought, and in mountains they are just not as capable. So they either have to be up armoured so much that they loose the speed, and the weight which was desired to make them air portable; and even worse this makes them even less capable at all terrain manoeuvres. The vehicles such as the Warrior and the Bradley APCs, as well Challenger 2’s and Abraham’s, are the vehicles which survive the fire fights best; but moving them buy air is just so expensive, so slow, so laborious, and mostly so difficult; moving them buy sea might not be any faster, but instead of arriving in one weak easily destroyed penny packet after another, they arrive together, ready to fight together.
Amphibious warfare is going to become more and more about the armour and the aircraft the Amphibious shipping can carry, not the numbers; however if a nation has a smaller capacity than a heavy brigade (about 6 battalions plus logistics, artillery and other supporting units) then that nation will not matter all that much.

So, I ask you, what do you think?
thankyou for your time and comments
I have to agree with you on the carriers, 100,000tons are just wastes of money, I know it doesn't sound that different but 70,000tons comes in at about half the price, with a decent airgroup; so why over build?
The Royal Marines have been obssessed with Helicopters for actually slightly longer than their US coleagues, having the first LPH's (Albion and Bulwark; conversly now the names of our LPDs!) and using them in Suez. The thing I see coming is a greater alamgamation of LPH/LHD and Aircraft carrier? why have have multiple types different aircraft carrying ships when you can one which can be easily reconfigured for a different role at a moments notice? the one trouble will be the armour requirment; although with Hovercraft assualt vessels, how big a problem that will be I can not accurately predict.
I personally think that the LCS is not the forebear of things to come in the small ship world, true corvettes with multi-missile capable VLS are; these vessels will thanks to the vls, and the stealth which comes naturally from being smaller, be able to deal with so many of the minor roles/peacekeeping & peace enforcement roles that really do not require their larger cousins attention.
thanks again Mike
yours sincerly
A hypothetical corvette design
They are doing this ultra high tech thing with ships as well, when what you really need is a corvette with only basic stealth (i.e. all vertical surfaces 7degrees of the straight as the Royal Navy have in the Type 23 Duke class), not the thing which looks like the ship from the weird bond movie. This ship needs to have either the type 53 or 41 vls, it because of its size, will probably only need one CIWS although 2 would be nice (mounted fore and aft), a small deck gun could be usefull although this could be a double 50mm radern cannon mount. finnally it will need torpedoes, because it should to save money, space, and to boost its capability carry 2-3 sonar dipping (maybe torpedo dropping) UAVs - like the German K130 Braunschweig class does. This ship would not be that expensive, and as long as it had a launch as well, then it would be able to doo all the jobs that could ever be required of it (if you really wanted to spend some money you might even fit with Harpoon, although you don’t really need to afterall most SAMs have a dual capability and with the type 53 or 41 it could carry Subroc and Tomahawk - both certainly capable of damaging a ship).
posted in response to Mike Burelson's post on corvettes
Your formula is very good ‘keep militaries affordable and relevant in the new hybrid warfare: dumb platforms+smart weapons’, the only problem is that for it to be implemented you need smart people in charge - but might I make a small suggestion; that you substitue simple for dumb, i.e. ’simple platforms+smart weapons’. This I suggest purely due to the lesson of world war II; the Germans built the King Tiger, one of the best tanks ever made, but it was complicated to maintain even by todays standards and very costly to build; on the other hand the Americans and the Brits fielded the Sherman and the Cromwell, two of the easiest to manufacture and maintank tank designs ever concieved and put into production. It was the Americans and Brits who won because they could keep those simple designs in the field for longer than the germans could their complicated ones. To my humble mind therefore there is nothing ‘dumb’ about this simplicity, it is fact the most intelligent and logical position. In fact I would go further to argue that the ‘dumb’ platforms of our modern age are the over-engineered, over-priced, and under-thought platforms such as the Zumwalts, the LCS, and the Type 45 destroyer - all of which are overly focused on one area of warfare and forget that others exist - as well as, due to their complexitiy, being prohibitively expensive.