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Save Money and Get a Big Ship

Halifax Tar

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So I read this article in Esprit Des Corps:

http://curtisreports.blogspot.ca/2016/05/save-money-and-get-big-ship.html

I find it very interesting.  It is something I have been bringing up in conversations in C&POs when we chat about capability.

Missiles are great and all but we really don't carry enough on CPFs to more than shoot and scoot home.  And I would imagine our stockpile isn't big enough sustain a conventional war.  This is why I believe that guns will be more important than most realize should we engage in a conventional surface war.

I tend to agree that our RCN should be centered around 2 Capital ships that have large caliber primary guns and a selection of smaller guns and cruise missiles.  This tends to support my belief that the RCN should make itself the "preferred taxi service" of the Army.  Thus also incorporating 2 ships similar in capability to the Minstrels.

This would let us move soldiers to a conflict/humanitarian zone, employ them effectively and support them with everything from naval gunfire to medical support. 

Of course this is all just a pipe dream.  But could be an interesting discussion.

So my optimal combatant fleet composition for the RCN would be:

East Coast:

1 X Capital Ship (Big Gun, Cruise Missiles)
1 X "Minstrel" Class Ship
2 X DDH
4 X FFH
4 X MCDV
2 X AOPS
3 X SSN
1 X AOR *

West Coast:

1 X Capital Ship (Big Gun, Cruise Missiles)
1 X "Minstrel" Class Ship
2 X DDH
4 X FFH
4 X MCDV
2 X AOPS
3 X SSN
1 X AOR *

* = As well 1 additional AOR would move between the coasts, as required, to cover off any refits or long out of operation periods by AORs.

That is a 37 combatant ship Navy; and one that I believe is well balanced and hard hitting enough to be a solid middle power player.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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That is one of the stupidest article I have read in a long time (not your post Halifax Tar, but Mr. Curtis' article).

Ajax, Achiles, Exeter and Graf Spee each faster and more powerful than current Canadian warships. Come on: A single HALIFAX sends all four of them to their doom in a single engagement, before any of them even has an inkling that HALIFAX is around. Long range surface radars and observation system on the Halifax will reveal what She is up against almost hours before any of these ships spots her. And then, they don't even have the means to know they have been detected. Finally, you just lob two Harpoons at each, which they have no way of stopping or even detecting and they are dead before they know anything happened.

And that is just a simple frigate taking on three battle cruisers and cruisers - capital ships of WWII, but insignificant ship's today.

If such capital ships were still useful, you can be sure that other, more important, navies would still have them. Even the Americans have concluded that their IOWA class battleship's are not worth the money they cost anymore.

 
J

jollyjacktar

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A more modern  example would be what happened to the General Belgrano in the Falklands, an antique in modern day naval combat and I am sure made the USN a little nervous about their BB's.  But, OGBD, to be fair isn't the Rail Gun going to be a more up to date version of what the Capital ships of yore's rifles provided and why they're doing it?  I saw a video of where the Admiral from the project was describing how he can have hundreds and hundreds of projectiles in his magazines vs a combat load of comparable missiles.  Cheaper cost per shot, no worries of powder in the magazines and a very respectable reach and kinetic punch.  Ergo, going back to the possibility of NGS as in the past.

Have not read the article, but I am guessing he is a non-SME type just throwing it out there in sprit if not in a more educated reality basis of cold hard fact.

 

Gorgo

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Agreed.  The gentleman wrote a pretty article, but the facts were wrong in several areas.  Much that I've often liked EdC as a good way for the lower ranks to get a chance to vent on things, I honestly wish that a little more research was done.
 

GR66

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Halifax Tar said:
...

Missiles are great and all but we really don't carry enough on CPFs to more than shoot and scoot home.  And I would imagine our stockpile isn't big enough sustain a conventional war.  This is why I believe that guns will be more important than most realize should we engage in a conventional surface war.

...

This may be true vs. an opponent that is equally limited in the number of missiles they have available.  More likely we'd run out of missiles before the enemy (Russians/Chinese) and be left facing their missiles with guns.  Like the proverbial "bringing a knife to a gun fight".

Not saying large caliber guns don't have a role...but should they be viewed as an alternative to missiles?
 

Loachman

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Halifax Tar said:
"Minstrel"

They would sail into battle with a great musical accompaniment...

Damned Autocorrect.
 
J

jollyjacktar

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Loachman said:
They would sail into battle with a great musical accompaniment...

Damned Autocorrect.

Yes of course, Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries".  :)


 

Loachman

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That is culturally linked with airmobile assaults, thanks to Apocalypse Now. You could have bigger speakers, though.

Paint-filled ammunition a la Kelly's Heroes could add a nice visual splash to the music. How much paint could be packed into a cruise missile?
 

Kirkhill

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Loachman said:
That is culturally linked with airmobile assaults, thanks to Apocalypse Now. You could have bigger speakers, though.

Paint-filled ammunition a la Kelly's Heroes could add a nice visual splash to the music. How much paint could be packed into a cruise missile?

What would be the effect of a missile load of metallic paint on the ship's sensors?  (Fast Drying - needless to say).
 
J

jollyjacktar

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Loachman said:
That is culturally linked with airmobile assaults, thanks to Apocalypse Now. You could have bigger speakers, though.

Paint-filled ammunition a la Kelly's Heroes could add a nice visual splash to the music. How much paint could be packed into a cruise missile?

Or, you could use actual Minstrels ala the Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  After all, were not the various bands under threat?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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We thought it did, until we got wind of your post.

(See what I did, there  [:D).

But do ponder these words from "Le Mistral" by Roger Whittaker:

Ce vent qui fait danser la mer est violent comme le tonnerre;
Ou alors ils se calme et devient le plus doux de tous les musiciens;
Le Mistral ressemble à l'amour car il est fou et si tendre.
 

NavyShooter

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I'm not holding my breath for anything more than a few AOPS at this point.

The intended Defense Review will probably discover that we (Canada) has little need for anything more than a constabulary Navy.

At that point, the Victoria class will end up disappearing, the Halifax class will end up reverting to national taskings and not be replaced, there will be no need for the AOR's, and the Frigate replacement project will become an MCDV replacement project.

Or we could get lucky and end up actually seeing new ships.

During our best years, I didn't think I'd realistically see a BHS in Halifax harbour.  Now I have my doubts about any future class for which steel has not yet been cut.

NS


 

Underway

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NavyShooter said:
I'm not holding my breath for anything more than a few AOPS at this point.

The intended Defense Review will probably discover that we (Canada) has little need for anything more than a constabulary Navy.

At that point, the Victoria class will end up disappearing, the Halifax class will end up reverting to national taskings and not be replaced, there will be no need for the AOR's, and the Frigate replacement project will become an MCDV replacement project.

Or we could get lucky and end up actually seeing new ships.

During our best years, I didn't think I'd realistically see a BHS in Halifax harbour.  Now I have my doubts about any future class for which steel has not yet been cut.

NS

I have similar misgivings except for one niggling thought. 
I think the army will take the cuts more than the navy.  The Navy is an invaluable tool for the government, especially Liberal governments all the way back to WWII.  Mac-King committed so much emphasis on the navy because it would avoid the casualties of the WWI with ground troops and was very resistant to committing an army to Europe.  Chrétien was similarly happy with the naval effort for the *Gulf War 2.0.  The Cuban missile crisis, 911 response, etc...  The navy gets us more political brownie points with the US than ground troops usually do.  It gets more domestic brownie points as well (jobs jobs jobs).  And it's easily ignored nature doesn't bring up the nasty "combat" thoughts in the general media.  Trudeau's statement that he wants to "spend the money" on the navy is important.  It also makes much more strategic sense from a Canadian foreign (sorry GLOBAL) policy perspective when thinking about Canada's core strategic interests.  But we will see I suppose.  I expect there will be things we dislike and things we like in any policy review.

*edit: thanks OGBD
 

Lumber

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jollyjacktar said:
But, OGBD, to be fair isn't the Rail Gun going to be a more up to date version of what the Capital ships of yore's rifles provided and why they're doing it?

The issue is actually getting into gun range. Yes, the rail gun is toted to have huge range, but will it be accurate against a moving warship? We don't have the capability to conduct over the horizon engagement with third party "active" targeting, so you're basically lobbing shells based on speed and direction, both of which change drastically during an engagement.

Right now, missiles are developing in capability much faster than missile defences. We don't have any actual engagement data involving modern missiles with which to assess our modern anti-missile defenses. So far, it looks like a case of MAD. You lob your missiles at me, and I lob my missiles at you, and we both die. The fleet with the most ship's wins. Bigger ships might also be able to eat a few missiles without being right offs.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Lumber said:
The issue is actually getting into gun range. Yes, the rail gun is toted to have huge range, but will it be accurate against a moving warship? We don't have the capability to conduct over the horizon engagement with third party "active" targeting, so you're basically lobbing shells based on speed and direction, both of which change drastically during an engagement.

Right now, missiles are developing in capability much faster than missile defences. We don't have any actual engagement data involving modern missiles with which to assess our modern anti-missile defenses. So far, it looks like a case of MAD. You lob your missiles at me, and I lob my missiles at you, and we both die. The fleet with the most ship's wins. Bigger ships might also be able to eat a few missiles without being right offs.

I attended a lecture given by Gwynne Dyer a number of years ago and Dr. Dyer surmised that any big conventional war today would involve the powers that be lobbing missiles at each other with everyones high tech tanks, ships and planes destroyed after about two weeks.

After that, warfare would revert to something like what we saw in WW1 with every side equipped with relatively lowtech weaponry but able to be produced en masse.  I can't help but think he was/is right.
 
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