Originally Posted by General_Jacke
the sachsen class frigate is about what i'm advocating just a bit larger.
for 2000tons you'll get something like the braunschweig class corvette...it can protect itself with RAM launchers, but i wouldn't expect it to work well as an escort.
adding at least 8 VLS would put it well over 3000tons most likely and still be rather poorly armed for it's purpose.
my initial estimate was wrong after looking at the VLS weight the 8 cell would only add 13.4 tons on it's own, and the extra length would probably still put the overall weight at around 3000tons
so i'll concede that maybe something between 3000-4000 tons may work out fine, since i was thinking that the VLS systems would weigh significantly more. ( i thought the 8cell version would be more like 20-25tons)
but using the braunschweig's stats it's endurance is very low, listed as 7 days, 21 with a tender. i'd think you'd want at least 10 but more like 14+ day endurance without a tender for a serious combatant.
I spent quite a bit of time thinking about this before I posted, I wanted to actually put forth a reasonable proposal rather than something hasty.
Ok, basic hullform dimensions are drawn from the Fletcher Class Destroyer, which is a 2500t ship at deep load. So 115m length, 12m beam, 5.3m draft. For performance, we will for the moment use similar to the original performance characteristics, with a 35kt top speed, say a 22kt cruising speed, and we'll downgrade the range performance to 4000nm. Of course with advancements in engine tech and such, it would be highly likely to push a 40-45kt sprint speed with a 25kt cruise and maintain ~4000nm range, and still have a bit more internal volume to spend on things like crew quarters. But we're doing proposals, not naval architecture, so I don't think that any of us are being quite that technical.
As for the armament and so forth, starting forward and working aft:
1 x 76mm Oto/Melara SR (Super-Rapid, the dual-purpose variant able to shoot in Anti Missile Defense at 120rpm). Did the weights, this is 300lbs heavier than the Mk 110 57mm. Quite honestly, this gun is a debatable item, and 40mm, 57mm, and 76mm options could all fill the role. The real necessity is to fit the most capable gun within the space allowances as far forward as practical, and I'm not exactly sitting down with autoCAD and drawing this ship. Weight is a secondary consideration as long as it's within a ton of each other, which most of these systems are.
2m high Superstructure bulge fore of the bridge, for the mounting of Mk41 Tactical Version 8 Cell VLS. This would be mounted longitudinally as you need it to be narrow profile to allow the depth of keel and the superstructure to give you plenty of room. Primarily this is for ASROC in its primary ASW role. However, by going with this system, you do get the flexibility to go full-AAW and run SM-2 missiles.
Now, with the longitudinal mounting of the Mk41, you'll have space port and starboard. Here I'd mount 2 x Mk 48-1 VLS (2 cells each) port and starboard of the Mk41. This will give you 16 ESSM or 8 Sea Sparrow. This covers the 'primary' self defense for the vessel. An alternative would be to deck-mount a pair of Naval Strike Missiles (Kongsberg's Norwegian ones being tested currently by USN) launchers in each space, putting all of the ship's anti surface warfare armament forward-facing. However, I like the idea of if you're going to extend the superstructure, in a bulge just do it in one place to accommodate all VLS systems.
Aft of the VLS will be the main superstructure and Bridge, which will mount the radars and such. This will be a relatively short superstructure, however, as there's no hangar.
Atop the superstructure will be the CIWS, either the bone-stock 20mm or the 30mm Goalkeeper type. While I guess you could also put a SeaRAM system on the ship, with 16 ESSM, it would come down to weight, space, and is it really necessary to have more SAMs for self defense? If so, it would be the 11missile self-contained version.
Aft on another superstructure bulge aft and fore of the helipad, would be transverse mounted launcher for Naval Strike Missile. 4 minimum, 6 would be my optimum. Davits for ship's boats mounted to sides of bulge putting boats or RHIBs (for specops) at deck height.
No Torpedoes, period. Provision to carry torps onboard for a helicopter, however, with a magazine at the helipad able to safely store 6 LW torpedoes or Hellfires (or maybe NSMs if they get the JSM variant together for aerial use).
Other weapons would be a 2-4 total pintles on either side of the superstructure, or maybe on bridge wings, to mount and run your bog-standard .50cals, or .50cal gatlings for close in self-defense against suicide boats (once they get inside the defensive envelope of the CIWS and main gun system. Then of course the arms locker for the crew.
Crew size: ~65 (similar to the Braunschweig class) as the ship's crew, with space for additional 8 or so in modest comfort if a helicopter is carried and 16 SEALs in foldaway berthing (cramped berthing). What you don't want is the proverbial cook having to go guide in the chopper, so some provision for a flight crew and deck crew should be made. SEALs or Marines wouldn't be carried except as a mission requirement, so you could put them in spaces where it's not comfortable as it's only for a few days at most.
What I'm advocating is very much a stem to stern warship, with no wasted space at all. Helicopter wouldn't be a standard bit of kit, but there would be definite provisions to carry one and perform modest flight ops from the ship without requiring the ship to have a base or larger vessel immediately nearby.
What you get, in an admittedly very tight package (get your mind out of the gutter
) is the following:
8 VLS, primarily for ASROC, but able to carry SM-2, and possibly carry NSM in the future. This gives you guaranteed ability to perform ASW work and low-level convoy defense from air threats. If you were doing a special operations mission where maximum self defense was needed, you could even pack 32 ESSMs.....
8 VLS able to run either Sea Sparrow or ESSM (16 of the latter). Primarily I'd expect ESSM to be used. This is the primary self-defense AAW suite.
1 CIWS. Primarily for anti-missile defense, secondary for suicide boats.
1 'relatively' light gun. Like I said, options abound from 40mm to 76mm, and while one that has a role in missile defense would be preferable, it's not required. I'm not pushing for a gun able to do land attack stuff, and this ship isn't built to be a gunfighter, the gun system is there to allow it to do so in a pinch.
4-6 ASMs. The NSM looks to be lighter and an overall smaller and better balanced (for tophamper purposes) system to the current Harpoon setups. I did the math and you can't mount a transverse box launcher for Tomahawk....if it were possible I'd have pushed a no-helipad variant with a LOT more firepower.
A Helipad and space to run a helicopter (up to a Seahawk) for a little while. If drone tech allowed for the future to have ASW drones worth a crap, you might modify the ship to accommodate drone and service hangar, but for now a single place helipad would suffice.
Not one bit of wasted space, be it deck or internal. I was looking at my basic hullform drawing when I worked this up. I reasonably think that it's doable, albeit tight. Modern warships tend to have a lot more open space than older styles, and I am advocating a much more tightly packed ship to fit the capability onboard. But when you look at the magazine spaces and compare them and the gun and torpedo mounts to the weapons I've noted, it'll all fit. It won't be a luxurious ship to serve on, but it'll be a workhorse, and a workhorse with some punch. And yes, I think it's doable, barely, within the 2500t limit I set for myself.
As for endurance, I'm going with a base of 12-14 days, though if she's running about at a good clip she might only get 8 days of sailing time before she needs fuel. The 4000nm cruising range is based around getting from the US to Europe in a single hop with a couple hundred miles of fuel left over. Legs would be a tad bit short for Pacific service, but that's a compromise. I don't think that all the capability could be built in along with the ship able to sail the pacific, which would reasonably require a 6-7000 mile cruising range. To do that would probably require that 4000 ton ship. That being said, I'm working on the premise of affordable, not trying to build 1/2 of a Burke.