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Zinegata

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  1. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Domus Acipenseris in Overrated Allied Weaponry in World War II   
    Fireflies were definitely overrated. Trading more gunpower for poorer accuracy doesn't really help very much.
     
    Mustang is way overrated. There is a general idea that the P-51 was better as a fighter than the P-47, but in reality the later-model P-47s pretty much outperformed the Mustang in every way while the P-51 couldn't be anything more than a long-ranged light fighter. They were complementary systems.
     
    The Pershing's pretty overrated; as its engine issues were still a problem in the Korean War.
     
    I don't think the SU-152s were really considered for heavy anti-tank work except for the rush job at Kursk; and in any case the tank destroyer that was reknowned for cat-killing was the SU-100. Of course with Panzer General logic the Su-152 is the bestest TD you can upgrade to. 
     
    On the reverse side of things, the Mosquito really needs more credit even though everyone already sings it praises - it was just that good and it demonstrates what really kept bomber pilots alive instead of the silly "self-defending" delusions. Armoured vehicle-wise the one everyone keeps forgetting is the T-70 / SU-76.
  2. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Zyklon in Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond   
    So this is a bit of an outgrowth of my comments on the LCS...
     
    Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond
     
    The year 2015 is an interesting time for the oft-forgotten surface combatants - corvettes, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers - which are used to operating under the shadow of aircraft carriers that have dominated naval combat. On the Western side, you have numerous sources in the Internet reporting doom and gloom for the American Navy, citing warship shortages compared to a growing Chinese Navy. Even the Russian Navy, which mostly remains underfunded, is featured in sensationalist articles like this one:
     
    http://theweek.com/articles/583294/tiny-russian-warship-just-shocked-world
     
    Which question how small Russian warships are able to carry many more missiles than much larger American warships.
     
    The problem, unfortunately, lies with the lack of naval knowledge among the general news media and the public. Sensationalism and trivia tend to override context and timelines in the search for more viewers and clicks.
     
    Fortunately, that's why this article exists to set things straight.
     
    The Myth of the Declining American Surface Fleet
     
    One of the most enduring and popular misconceptions on the Internet is the idea that the American surface fleet is declining. Too much focus is placed on the problems of the navy's two latest ship designs - the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship - while commentators whose naval knowledge is limited to playing Harpoon wax nostalgic about the days of a massive US Navy that had dozens of cruisers and frigates.
     
    All of this tends to disguise a startling revelation: The US surface fleet is in fact incredibly strong now; and is more powerful than it was in the 90s.
     
    The key really, which everyone doesn't seem to notice, is the US Navy's concentration on a single, proven warship type: The Arleigh Burke class. There are now 62 of these powerful warships serving in the US Navy, half of which only joined the fleet after the year 2000. This production run in fact exceeds the production run of any US warship for the past 30 years - the Knox class frigate for instance had only 36 units, while only 51 of the "cheap" OH Perry class were built for the USN,
     
    And that's not even the end of the run yet. An additional 14 units had already been authorized - to make up for the cancellation of most of the Zumwalts - with potentially thirty more to be ordered. It may in fact come to pass that the Arleigh Burke's production run would exceed a hundred; which is quite an investment given that these are 10,000 ton warships that are more equivalent to World War 2 cruisers than the 2,000 ton destroyers from the same era.
     
    Yet even with the existing run of 62 ships the production of Arleigh Burkes had in fact already outweighed the production total of the OH Perry class (which was half the weight of a Burke) and the Spruance class - the two ship classes they were really meant to replace. So while the total number of ships may have decreased, in terms of tonnage the fleet's overall weight in fact increased - while lowering manpower cost.
     
    The Burkes are also simply much better ships than the old frigates and destroyers because of the improved AEGIS sensors and the versatility of its VLS system; which can load many different types of missile depending on its mission. A single Burke for instance could theoretically carry 96 SAMs for air defense or 96 Tomahawk missiles instead - the latter loadout being four times more cruise missiles that the Russians fired on Syria using their four small ships. An old OH Perry by contrast could only carry 40 short-ranged SAMs and a handful of anti-ship missiles in its main missile magazine.
     
    Moreover, the numbers of Arleigh Burkes available - alongside the twenty-two original AEGIS cruisers, give the US a grand total of eighty-four top-of the-line escorts. Compared to the nineteen US Navy Supercarriers and Marine carriers, the USN in fact has enough to provide four of AEGIS escorts per carrier. China by contrast has a mere dozen Type 51 and 52 destroyers that come close in weight class - but not in capability - as the Burkes. Indeed, their only match unit per unit are the six Kongo and Atago class ships of the Japanese SDF - who are of course American allies!
     
    In this context, it also becomes easier to see why much of the "controversy" around the Littoral Combat Ship is misplaced. Many of its critics want it to be as capable as the outgoing OH Perry class frigates. What these critics don't realize is that the replacement for these ships were in fact the dozens of new Arleigh Burkes. The LCS was instead meant to fill the roles that the Burkes could't perform - and in doing so they spelled the doom of the 4,000 ton frigates.
     
     
    The Death of the 4,000 ton Frigate
     
    A perennial problem in amateur warship discussion is the insistence of many commentators on the need for particular ship types. "We need cruisers/destroyers/frigates", often uttered without realizing what the particular ships were actually meant to do. This applies to the 4,000 ton "multirole" frigate - which is an enormously popular type of warship worldwide and the OH Perry is an exemplar of this type. In essence, the multirole frigate promises decent all-around capability at an affordable cost.
     
    However, for the present-day US Navy, there is no place for the multi-role frigate. The Burkes served as carrier escorts and independent cruisers for showing the flag in dangerous hotspots. The LCS meanwhile was a utility ship in a carrier battle group, or a low-intensity combat ship for showing the flag in safer waters. There was no space in between for a multirole frigate.
     
    And that's because the well-loved frigate was in fact always riddled by compromise. It simply could not be good at anti-air combat, anti-submarine combat, and surface combat with only 4,000 tons displacement. Specialist ships meanwhile - such as the Knox - could not operate independently because they could not deal with all possible threats they encountered.
     
    Even the idea that they could serve as "backup" for the primary carrier escorts proved problematic, particularly in anti-air combat. Experience in the Falklands showed that having multiple average SAM systems operating independently was problematic - you had mere minutes or even seconds to coordinate your defense volleys which proved impossible with multiple ships; leading to the possibility that some of the enemy aircraft/missiles were left un-engaged. Long-ranged SAM systems also tended to be radar-guided leading to the possibility of the escorts interfering with each other's radar.
     
    The solution was a centralized and computerized SAM system on a single ship with a powerful radar - the AEGIS system on the US cruisers and the Burkes. Indeed, so powerful was this system that the Americans quickly scrapped their remaining non-AEGIS air defense cruisers while the OH Perry class was allowed to lose their SAM systems - it was better to have a handful of AEGIS ships doing air defense than a lot of lesser ships.
     
    Interestingly, the only type of SAM system that would complement AEGIS was the short-ranged RIM; which was an IR-guided weapon that did not interfere with other ship's radar while providing last-ditch defense against an enemy missile that got through the long-ranged SAM volleys of AEGIS. It was probably not a coincidence that RIM was the only SAM system equipped on the LCS; while all of the US Navy's remaining carrier escorts were large AEGIS ships.
     
    Meanwhile, anti-submarine combat had also progressed. The Knox and OH Perry class were designed with the idea that the warship itself may have to engage an enemy submarine in direct combat; which is why it had its own anti-submarine torpedo tubes and the ASROC launcher. The speed of nuclear submarines and their own guided torpedoes had long made this approach suicidal however, hence the switch to using helicopters to attack submarines without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, the only contribution of a multirole frigate in anti-submarine warfare was its helicopter pad - a helicopter pad also present on the LCS.
     
    In short, the problem with the multirole frigate was that too much of its systems had become dead weight. Its SAM systems were more of a liability if it were not up-to-date, and the anti-submarine weapons redundant in the context of using the helicopter for submarine hunting. Indeed, it could be considered wasteful to use multirole frigates in carrier battlegroups since some of their tasks were so mundane - such as the "plane guard" whose mission was to pick up any pilots who may have crashed into the sea while trying to land on the carrier. Is it really necessary for a 4,000 ton frigate with a large number of weapons (most of which it cannot use while so close to the carrier) to be saddled with this role, or is better for a smaller, cheaper vessel like the LCS whose sole anti-air weapon can be used to defend the carrier?
     
    Quiet New Dreadnoughts: Corvettes and Cruisers
     
    Put together, the Burke and the LCS both point to two emerging trends in surface combatants; as well as the dangerous continuation of many navies down the path of the multirole frigate.
     
    First, the Burkes showed it was possible to have a powerful surface combatant theoretically capable of surviving heavy air attack (theoretical as the system has never been tested fully in combat) that nonetheless retains sufficient anti-surface and anti-submarine punch. However, this design requires the ship to be nearly 10,000 tons. The Chinese Type 52D for instance is now around 7,500 tons in weight compared to the original Type 52's 6,000; and the future proposals are definitely looking at a 10,000 ton design. The British Daring class had an even more dramatic size increase, doubling in size from the previous Type 42s. All of these ships are equipped with VLS with actual or theoretical capability to load multiple types of missiles for different missions.
     
    These 10,000 ton "Destroyers" are more rightly classified as "cruisers" given they are also capable of independent action in addition to serving as escort; and their presence spells the obsolescence of the 4,000-5,000 ton "multirole" frigate. The new 10K Cruisers can simply do everything the frigates are supposed to do and better except in terms of acquisition cost; which is why the frigate will remain primarily with budget-stricken navies trying to pursue paper advantages at a discount. The higher-end Corvettes like the Sa'ar V, which are even more cash-strapped implementations of the multirole frigate that also sacrifice seakeeping, may also soon suffer the same fate.
     
    Meanwhile, new 1,000-3,000 ton corvettes like the LCS will be developed to fill the existing gap in warships suitable for low-intensity conflict or mundane tasks with a battlefleet. Given the cost of the 10K cruisers these smaller ships will focus not on packing as many weapons or capabilities as possible, but focus on a handful of roles at the most efficient possible cost. These ships will be characterized by omitting features seen by traditionalists as "standard" pieces of equipment - kept "just in case" - but for the most part really only add to the operating cost of the ship in the long run.
     
    Of course future technological developments may result in new ship types and capabilities - including perhaps a renewed interest in long-ranged naval gunnery. However, I suspect that many of these new technologies will simply be incorporated in the large cruisers and then the smaller corvettes as necessary; and that these two core types will serve as the basis of future surface combatants for the world's fleets.
  3. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from AdmiralTheisman in French Bayonets: A very rough draft   
    Just another note: Studies of Napoleonic eras revealed that bayonets only caused about 2% of the casualties, and that bayonet charges were largely mythical in nature.
     
    And when I say mythical I don't meant that entire battalions didn't charge with bayonets drawn - they certainly did. However, the charge was usually conducted when the defender was already wavering and the charge itself was just one massive bit of posturing to put them to flight. If the defender didn't run then the result was the attacker usually taking an entire volley at point-blank range resulting in the attacker getting routed instead.
     
    In fact, Jomini - one of the big Napoleonic references of the period - claimed that he in fact never witnessed a battalion ending up in a melee with another battalion. One side or another always broke first. The bayonet injuries, when they do happen, tend to happen to men who are running and are caught by the pursuit charge; or they occur during smaller charges by skirmishers (usually of only a few dozen men) fighting each other for good positions. That the French had to study the Civil War to find out the dubious utility of bayonets when their own Grand Armee actually hardly relied on it goes to show how institutions can easily end up mythologizing its own past into unsound doctrines for the present.
  4. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Bronezhilet in Cavalry Charge Myths Courtesy of Paintings   
    One of my little historical myth buster dissertations over in the Paradox Forums...
     
    Movies tend to depict cavalry as charging in massed formations. It looks cool especially if you add some orchestral music to it:
     

     
    And it is especially sad when you gatling gun all the men and horses in slow motion:
     

     
    To an extent, the reason for this is because most paintings of cavalry depict them in such poses, such as this painting from the Battle of Beersheeba in 1917:
     
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Palestine_Gallery_at_the_Australian_War_Memorial_(MG_9693).jpg
     
    There's a little problem with this painting though. It was drawn during the age of photography, and as it turns out we have some actual photos of the battle:
     
    http://www.rfd.org.au/site/beersheba.asp
     
    And immediately we can go into mythbuster mode and make some key observations:
     
    There are four photographs of the Australian Light Horse in the site, three of which depict the cavalry on the march and the fourth depicts them during the charge. The fourth is particularly significant - it might be the sole photograph of an actual cavalry charge ever taken. 
     
    What's striking here is that the Beersheeba painting in fact bears most resemblance to the three photographs of the cavalry on the march - meaning they were in column, riding nearly knee to knee
     
    Meanwhile, the "charge" photograph is very different - you can in fact see that rather than charging as a massed force, the cavalry had spread itself into three distinct waves - each of which is so sparsely manned that you can still make out individual riders on the most distant third wave. The spacing between each wave is also quite generous - several horse-lengths at least - at complete odds with the painting wherein the cavalry are basically charging as one huge column.
     
    Why is the charge formation so different from the painting? Why is real war so different from Tom Cruise getting machinegunned? (No matter how amusing that may be).
     
    And the answer, it turns out, is relatively simple: Cavalry charged in sparse waves for the same reason that automobile drivers maintain a minimum safe distance from the car ahead of them: In the event that the car ahead of you suddenly stopped, you want to have enough distance to either evade the car or brake yourself to a stop.
     
    Cavalry were no different. If a cavalryman in the first wave got killed, then the troopers in the second wave want plenty of space to be able to avoid his corpse and that of his horse - not for sentimental reasons, but because failing to do so would likely cause your own horse to slip and lead you crashing into the ground.
     
    The problem, as we know now from the history of cavalry paintings, is that most of these paintings were not drawn based on battlefield accounts. Instead, most of these paintings were drawn by artists witnessing parade-ground maneuvers (the famed painting "Scotland Forever" was drawn by someone who was not present at Waterloo, as an example) - hence the cavalry could safely gallop in massed columns due to the fact that it was unlikely anyone in the front was going to suddenly stop and cause the rest to pile up.
     
    Additionally, painters tended to paint cavalry from the side view - as it seems to be a more impressive vantage point that maximizes the effect of a few horses. The painting at Bersheerba and the photographs on the march in fact seemed to have come from this school of thought.
     
    Funnily, much as we want to make fun of The Last Samurai, they actually get this bit right when you look at 0:11 of this video:
     

     
    Although the cavalry are charging towards the left (away from the guns and the guy we're supposed to hate), the line is actually only very sparse and contains only "our" brave white man, Ken Watanabe, and a few other extras. This gives each man plenty of space to pretend dying dramatically in slow motion without resulting in any unfortunate tramplings that could cause real injury.
     
    That said, we then find out why the cavalry charged to the left and away from their intended target by 0:30 - That way we can now switch to side-view shots of the cavalry dying in slow motion, which again allows the filmmaker to maximize the impact of a handful of riders. There are perhaps just 10 guys in the scene at 0:30 - yet it seems a lot more since so much action is happening in the entire screen.
     
    So there you have it, a fun little snarky piece on why people should never, ever believe pieces of Napoleonic "art" depicting cavalry drawn by artists commissioned by governments for the glorification of their armies - artists who by and large never witnessed combat. That last sentence in fact should have already been proof enough why paintings are such bad sources of historical truth, but one can never underestimate how stubbornly some people cling to what "military history" tells them.
  5. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from AdmiralTheisman in Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond   
    So this is a bit of an outgrowth of my comments on the LCS...
     
    Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond
     
    The year 2015 is an interesting time for the oft-forgotten surface combatants - corvettes, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers - which are used to operating under the shadow of aircraft carriers that have dominated naval combat. On the Western side, you have numerous sources in the Internet reporting doom and gloom for the American Navy, citing warship shortages compared to a growing Chinese Navy. Even the Russian Navy, which mostly remains underfunded, is featured in sensationalist articles like this one:
     
    http://theweek.com/articles/583294/tiny-russian-warship-just-shocked-world
     
    Which question how small Russian warships are able to carry many more missiles than much larger American warships.
     
    The problem, unfortunately, lies with the lack of naval knowledge among the general news media and the public. Sensationalism and trivia tend to override context and timelines in the search for more viewers and clicks.
     
    Fortunately, that's why this article exists to set things straight.
     
    The Myth of the Declining American Surface Fleet
     
    One of the most enduring and popular misconceptions on the Internet is the idea that the American surface fleet is declining. Too much focus is placed on the problems of the navy's two latest ship designs - the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship - while commentators whose naval knowledge is limited to playing Harpoon wax nostalgic about the days of a massive US Navy that had dozens of cruisers and frigates.
     
    All of this tends to disguise a startling revelation: The US surface fleet is in fact incredibly strong now; and is more powerful than it was in the 90s.
     
    The key really, which everyone doesn't seem to notice, is the US Navy's concentration on a single, proven warship type: The Arleigh Burke class. There are now 62 of these powerful warships serving in the US Navy, half of which only joined the fleet after the year 2000. This production run in fact exceeds the production run of any US warship for the past 30 years - the Knox class frigate for instance had only 36 units, while only 51 of the "cheap" OH Perry class were built for the USN,
     
    And that's not even the end of the run yet. An additional 14 units had already been authorized - to make up for the cancellation of most of the Zumwalts - with potentially thirty more to be ordered. It may in fact come to pass that the Arleigh Burke's production run would exceed a hundred; which is quite an investment given that these are 10,000 ton warships that are more equivalent to World War 2 cruisers than the 2,000 ton destroyers from the same era.
     
    Yet even with the existing run of 62 ships the production of Arleigh Burkes had in fact already outweighed the production total of the OH Perry class (which was half the weight of a Burke) and the Spruance class - the two ship classes they were really meant to replace. So while the total number of ships may have decreased, in terms of tonnage the fleet's overall weight in fact increased - while lowering manpower cost.
     
    The Burkes are also simply much better ships than the old frigates and destroyers because of the improved AEGIS sensors and the versatility of its VLS system; which can load many different types of missile depending on its mission. A single Burke for instance could theoretically carry 96 SAMs for air defense or 96 Tomahawk missiles instead - the latter loadout being four times more cruise missiles that the Russians fired on Syria using their four small ships. An old OH Perry by contrast could only carry 40 short-ranged SAMs and a handful of anti-ship missiles in its main missile magazine.
     
    Moreover, the numbers of Arleigh Burkes available - alongside the twenty-two original AEGIS cruisers, give the US a grand total of eighty-four top-of the-line escorts. Compared to the nineteen US Navy Supercarriers and Marine carriers, the USN in fact has enough to provide four of AEGIS escorts per carrier. China by contrast has a mere dozen Type 51 and 52 destroyers that come close in weight class - but not in capability - as the Burkes. Indeed, their only match unit per unit are the six Kongo and Atago class ships of the Japanese SDF - who are of course American allies!
     
    In this context, it also becomes easier to see why much of the "controversy" around the Littoral Combat Ship is misplaced. Many of its critics want it to be as capable as the outgoing OH Perry class frigates. What these critics don't realize is that the replacement for these ships were in fact the dozens of new Arleigh Burkes. The LCS was instead meant to fill the roles that the Burkes could't perform - and in doing so they spelled the doom of the 4,000 ton frigates.
     
     
    The Death of the 4,000 ton Frigate
     
    A perennial problem in amateur warship discussion is the insistence of many commentators on the need for particular ship types. "We need cruisers/destroyers/frigates", often uttered without realizing what the particular ships were actually meant to do. This applies to the 4,000 ton "multirole" frigate - which is an enormously popular type of warship worldwide and the OH Perry is an exemplar of this type. In essence, the multirole frigate promises decent all-around capability at an affordable cost.
     
    However, for the present-day US Navy, there is no place for the multi-role frigate. The Burkes served as carrier escorts and independent cruisers for showing the flag in dangerous hotspots. The LCS meanwhile was a utility ship in a carrier battle group, or a low-intensity combat ship for showing the flag in safer waters. There was no space in between for a multirole frigate.
     
    And that's because the well-loved frigate was in fact always riddled by compromise. It simply could not be good at anti-air combat, anti-submarine combat, and surface combat with only 4,000 tons displacement. Specialist ships meanwhile - such as the Knox - could not operate independently because they could not deal with all possible threats they encountered.
     
    Even the idea that they could serve as "backup" for the primary carrier escorts proved problematic, particularly in anti-air combat. Experience in the Falklands showed that having multiple average SAM systems operating independently was problematic - you had mere minutes or even seconds to coordinate your defense volleys which proved impossible with multiple ships; leading to the possibility that some of the enemy aircraft/missiles were left un-engaged. Long-ranged SAM systems also tended to be radar-guided leading to the possibility of the escorts interfering with each other's radar.
     
    The solution was a centralized and computerized SAM system on a single ship with a powerful radar - the AEGIS system on the US cruisers and the Burkes. Indeed, so powerful was this system that the Americans quickly scrapped their remaining non-AEGIS air defense cruisers while the OH Perry class was allowed to lose their SAM systems - it was better to have a handful of AEGIS ships doing air defense than a lot of lesser ships.
     
    Interestingly, the only type of SAM system that would complement AEGIS was the short-ranged RIM; which was an IR-guided weapon that did not interfere with other ship's radar while providing last-ditch defense against an enemy missile that got through the long-ranged SAM volleys of AEGIS. It was probably not a coincidence that RIM was the only SAM system equipped on the LCS; while all of the US Navy's remaining carrier escorts were large AEGIS ships.
     
    Meanwhile, anti-submarine combat had also progressed. The Knox and OH Perry class were designed with the idea that the warship itself may have to engage an enemy submarine in direct combat; which is why it had its own anti-submarine torpedo tubes and the ASROC launcher. The speed of nuclear submarines and their own guided torpedoes had long made this approach suicidal however, hence the switch to using helicopters to attack submarines without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, the only contribution of a multirole frigate in anti-submarine warfare was its helicopter pad - a helicopter pad also present on the LCS.
     
    In short, the problem with the multirole frigate was that too much of its systems had become dead weight. Its SAM systems were more of a liability if it were not up-to-date, and the anti-submarine weapons redundant in the context of using the helicopter for submarine hunting. Indeed, it could be considered wasteful to use multirole frigates in carrier battlegroups since some of their tasks were so mundane - such as the "plane guard" whose mission was to pick up any pilots who may have crashed into the sea while trying to land on the carrier. Is it really necessary for a 4,000 ton frigate with a large number of weapons (most of which it cannot use while so close to the carrier) to be saddled with this role, or is better for a smaller, cheaper vessel like the LCS whose sole anti-air weapon can be used to defend the carrier?
     
    Quiet New Dreadnoughts: Corvettes and Cruisers
     
    Put together, the Burke and the LCS both point to two emerging trends in surface combatants; as well as the dangerous continuation of many navies down the path of the multirole frigate.
     
    First, the Burkes showed it was possible to have a powerful surface combatant theoretically capable of surviving heavy air attack (theoretical as the system has never been tested fully in combat) that nonetheless retains sufficient anti-surface and anti-submarine punch. However, this design requires the ship to be nearly 10,000 tons. The Chinese Type 52D for instance is now around 7,500 tons in weight compared to the original Type 52's 6,000; and the future proposals are definitely looking at a 10,000 ton design. The British Daring class had an even more dramatic size increase, doubling in size from the previous Type 42s. All of these ships are equipped with VLS with actual or theoretical capability to load multiple types of missiles for different missions.
     
    These 10,000 ton "Destroyers" are more rightly classified as "cruisers" given they are also capable of independent action in addition to serving as escort; and their presence spells the obsolescence of the 4,000-5,000 ton "multirole" frigate. The new 10K Cruisers can simply do everything the frigates are supposed to do and better except in terms of acquisition cost; which is why the frigate will remain primarily with budget-stricken navies trying to pursue paper advantages at a discount. The higher-end Corvettes like the Sa'ar V, which are even more cash-strapped implementations of the multirole frigate that also sacrifice seakeeping, may also soon suffer the same fate.
     
    Meanwhile, new 1,000-3,000 ton corvettes like the LCS will be developed to fill the existing gap in warships suitable for low-intensity conflict or mundane tasks with a battlefleet. Given the cost of the 10K cruisers these smaller ships will focus not on packing as many weapons or capabilities as possible, but focus on a handful of roles at the most efficient possible cost. These ships will be characterized by omitting features seen by traditionalists as "standard" pieces of equipment - kept "just in case" - but for the most part really only add to the operating cost of the ship in the long run.
     
    Of course future technological developments may result in new ship types and capabilities - including perhaps a renewed interest in long-ranged naval gunnery. However, I suspect that many of these new technologies will simply be incorporated in the large cruisers and then the smaller corvettes as necessary; and that these two core types will serve as the basis of future surface combatants for the world's fleets.
  6. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from AdmiralTheisman in China using civilian Ro-Ro barges for power projection.   
    For almost everything in the Southeast Asia region really. Ro-Ros are really common in Indonesia, the Philippines and other nearby countries because you can have them dock on pretty port rudimentary facilities - no need for a pier or a large crane. The Philippines and Indonesia use them so much because we have a huge number of islands and most of them can't support a proper port - with the Ro-ros generally carying both passengers and freight. It took us only about 2-3 years to setup a Ro-Ro network for most of our 7,000 islands for instance; when previously most of those relied exclusively on smaller wooden vessels.
     
    Problem is Ro-Ros are not really that seaworthy, and the article frankly misses the real story - which is that China in fact has pretty terrible sealift capability if it has to rely on civilian Ro-Ros and needs them ready for mass mobilization in case of war.  
     
    If you had actual military sealift capability you'd rely instead on LSTs - which operate in a similar manner to the civilian Ro-Ros with a large forward opening; but the LSTs are generally more seaworthy and they have the added advantage of being able to offload cargo on a beach without even a rudimentary dock (some beaches can also support Ro-ros directly, but not all).
     
    This is why the Philippine Navy still has an LST that literally saw action on D-day even though we're never going to do an amphibious landing. And that's because despite their age they're still more seaworthy (one - the Benguet - was a veteran of Operation Dragoon, suffered a grounding in 2004, and yet is still in service today) than most of the flimsy civilian ro-ros plus they can offload supplies in case the dock is destroyed by a disaster as was the case in Yolanda.
  7. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from cm_kruger in Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond   
    So this is a bit of an outgrowth of my comments on the LCS...
     
    Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond
     
    The year 2015 is an interesting time for the oft-forgotten surface combatants - corvettes, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers - which are used to operating under the shadow of aircraft carriers that have dominated naval combat. On the Western side, you have numerous sources in the Internet reporting doom and gloom for the American Navy, citing warship shortages compared to a growing Chinese Navy. Even the Russian Navy, which mostly remains underfunded, is featured in sensationalist articles like this one:
     
    http://theweek.com/articles/583294/tiny-russian-warship-just-shocked-world
     
    Which question how small Russian warships are able to carry many more missiles than much larger American warships.
     
    The problem, unfortunately, lies with the lack of naval knowledge among the general news media and the public. Sensationalism and trivia tend to override context and timelines in the search for more viewers and clicks.
     
    Fortunately, that's why this article exists to set things straight.
     
    The Myth of the Declining American Surface Fleet
     
    One of the most enduring and popular misconceptions on the Internet is the idea that the American surface fleet is declining. Too much focus is placed on the problems of the navy's two latest ship designs - the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship - while commentators whose naval knowledge is limited to playing Harpoon wax nostalgic about the days of a massive US Navy that had dozens of cruisers and frigates.
     
    All of this tends to disguise a startling revelation: The US surface fleet is in fact incredibly strong now; and is more powerful than it was in the 90s.
     
    The key really, which everyone doesn't seem to notice, is the US Navy's concentration on a single, proven warship type: The Arleigh Burke class. There are now 62 of these powerful warships serving in the US Navy, half of which only joined the fleet after the year 2000. This production run in fact exceeds the production run of any US warship for the past 30 years - the Knox class frigate for instance had only 36 units, while only 51 of the "cheap" OH Perry class were built for the USN,
     
    And that's not even the end of the run yet. An additional 14 units had already been authorized - to make up for the cancellation of most of the Zumwalts - with potentially thirty more to be ordered. It may in fact come to pass that the Arleigh Burke's production run would exceed a hundred; which is quite an investment given that these are 10,000 ton warships that are more equivalent to World War 2 cruisers than the 2,000 ton destroyers from the same era.
     
    Yet even with the existing run of 62 ships the production of Arleigh Burkes had in fact already outweighed the production total of the OH Perry class (which was half the weight of a Burke) and the Spruance class - the two ship classes they were really meant to replace. So while the total number of ships may have decreased, in terms of tonnage the fleet's overall weight in fact increased - while lowering manpower cost.
     
    The Burkes are also simply much better ships than the old frigates and destroyers because of the improved AEGIS sensors and the versatility of its VLS system; which can load many different types of missile depending on its mission. A single Burke for instance could theoretically carry 96 SAMs for air defense or 96 Tomahawk missiles instead - the latter loadout being four times more cruise missiles that the Russians fired on Syria using their four small ships. An old OH Perry by contrast could only carry 40 short-ranged SAMs and a handful of anti-ship missiles in its main missile magazine.
     
    Moreover, the numbers of Arleigh Burkes available - alongside the twenty-two original AEGIS cruisers, give the US a grand total of eighty-four top-of the-line escorts. Compared to the nineteen US Navy Supercarriers and Marine carriers, the USN in fact has enough to provide four of AEGIS escorts per carrier. China by contrast has a mere dozen Type 51 and 52 destroyers that come close in weight class - but not in capability - as the Burkes. Indeed, their only match unit per unit are the six Kongo and Atago class ships of the Japanese SDF - who are of course American allies!
     
    In this context, it also becomes easier to see why much of the "controversy" around the Littoral Combat Ship is misplaced. Many of its critics want it to be as capable as the outgoing OH Perry class frigates. What these critics don't realize is that the replacement for these ships were in fact the dozens of new Arleigh Burkes. The LCS was instead meant to fill the roles that the Burkes could't perform - and in doing so they spelled the doom of the 4,000 ton frigates.
     
     
    The Death of the 4,000 ton Frigate
     
    A perennial problem in amateur warship discussion is the insistence of many commentators on the need for particular ship types. "We need cruisers/destroyers/frigates", often uttered without realizing what the particular ships were actually meant to do. This applies to the 4,000 ton "multirole" frigate - which is an enormously popular type of warship worldwide and the OH Perry is an exemplar of this type. In essence, the multirole frigate promises decent all-around capability at an affordable cost.
     
    However, for the present-day US Navy, there is no place for the multi-role frigate. The Burkes served as carrier escorts and independent cruisers for showing the flag in dangerous hotspots. The LCS meanwhile was a utility ship in a carrier battle group, or a low-intensity combat ship for showing the flag in safer waters. There was no space in between for a multirole frigate.
     
    And that's because the well-loved frigate was in fact always riddled by compromise. It simply could not be good at anti-air combat, anti-submarine combat, and surface combat with only 4,000 tons displacement. Specialist ships meanwhile - such as the Knox - could not operate independently because they could not deal with all possible threats they encountered.
     
    Even the idea that they could serve as "backup" for the primary carrier escorts proved problematic, particularly in anti-air combat. Experience in the Falklands showed that having multiple average SAM systems operating independently was problematic - you had mere minutes or even seconds to coordinate your defense volleys which proved impossible with multiple ships; leading to the possibility that some of the enemy aircraft/missiles were left un-engaged. Long-ranged SAM systems also tended to be radar-guided leading to the possibility of the escorts interfering with each other's radar.
     
    The solution was a centralized and computerized SAM system on a single ship with a powerful radar - the AEGIS system on the US cruisers and the Burkes. Indeed, so powerful was this system that the Americans quickly scrapped their remaining non-AEGIS air defense cruisers while the OH Perry class was allowed to lose their SAM systems - it was better to have a handful of AEGIS ships doing air defense than a lot of lesser ships.
     
    Interestingly, the only type of SAM system that would complement AEGIS was the short-ranged RIM; which was an IR-guided weapon that did not interfere with other ship's radar while providing last-ditch defense against an enemy missile that got through the long-ranged SAM volleys of AEGIS. It was probably not a coincidence that RIM was the only SAM system equipped on the LCS; while all of the US Navy's remaining carrier escorts were large AEGIS ships.
     
    Meanwhile, anti-submarine combat had also progressed. The Knox and OH Perry class were designed with the idea that the warship itself may have to engage an enemy submarine in direct combat; which is why it had its own anti-submarine torpedo tubes and the ASROC launcher. The speed of nuclear submarines and their own guided torpedoes had long made this approach suicidal however, hence the switch to using helicopters to attack submarines without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, the only contribution of a multirole frigate in anti-submarine warfare was its helicopter pad - a helicopter pad also present on the LCS.
     
    In short, the problem with the multirole frigate was that too much of its systems had become dead weight. Its SAM systems were more of a liability if it were not up-to-date, and the anti-submarine weapons redundant in the context of using the helicopter for submarine hunting. Indeed, it could be considered wasteful to use multirole frigates in carrier battlegroups since some of their tasks were so mundane - such as the "plane guard" whose mission was to pick up any pilots who may have crashed into the sea while trying to land on the carrier. Is it really necessary for a 4,000 ton frigate with a large number of weapons (most of which it cannot use while so close to the carrier) to be saddled with this role, or is better for a smaller, cheaper vessel like the LCS whose sole anti-air weapon can be used to defend the carrier?
     
    Quiet New Dreadnoughts: Corvettes and Cruisers
     
    Put together, the Burke and the LCS both point to two emerging trends in surface combatants; as well as the dangerous continuation of many navies down the path of the multirole frigate.
     
    First, the Burkes showed it was possible to have a powerful surface combatant theoretically capable of surviving heavy air attack (theoretical as the system has never been tested fully in combat) that nonetheless retains sufficient anti-surface and anti-submarine punch. However, this design requires the ship to be nearly 10,000 tons. The Chinese Type 52D for instance is now around 7,500 tons in weight compared to the original Type 52's 6,000; and the future proposals are definitely looking at a 10,000 ton design. The British Daring class had an even more dramatic size increase, doubling in size from the previous Type 42s. All of these ships are equipped with VLS with actual or theoretical capability to load multiple types of missiles for different missions.
     
    These 10,000 ton "Destroyers" are more rightly classified as "cruisers" given they are also capable of independent action in addition to serving as escort; and their presence spells the obsolescence of the 4,000-5,000 ton "multirole" frigate. The new 10K Cruisers can simply do everything the frigates are supposed to do and better except in terms of acquisition cost; which is why the frigate will remain primarily with budget-stricken navies trying to pursue paper advantages at a discount. The higher-end Corvettes like the Sa'ar V, which are even more cash-strapped implementations of the multirole frigate that also sacrifice seakeeping, may also soon suffer the same fate.
     
    Meanwhile, new 1,000-3,000 ton corvettes like the LCS will be developed to fill the existing gap in warships suitable for low-intensity conflict or mundane tasks with a battlefleet. Given the cost of the 10K cruisers these smaller ships will focus not on packing as many weapons or capabilities as possible, but focus on a handful of roles at the most efficient possible cost. These ships will be characterized by omitting features seen by traditionalists as "standard" pieces of equipment - kept "just in case" - but for the most part really only add to the operating cost of the ship in the long run.
     
    Of course future technological developments may result in new ship types and capabilities - including perhaps a renewed interest in long-ranged naval gunnery. However, I suspect that many of these new technologies will simply be incorporated in the large cruisers and then the smaller corvettes as necessary; and that these two core types will serve as the basis of future surface combatants for the world's fleets.
  8. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Sturgeon in Overrated Allied Weaponry in World War II   
    German LMG tactics weren't overrated, but the MG-42 itself is. People keep forgetting that the MG-34 served for much longer and was still heavily used all the way to 1945 even by the infantry. 
     
    There's actually an OSS video from 1943 or 1944 on Youtube which describes German infantry squad tactics. And they correctly noted that the German LMG was very likely to be an MG34 rather than the 42. By contrast pretty much all games and Ambrose-level "documentaries" or "history books" will plug the MG-42.
  9. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Collimatrix in Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond   
    So this is a bit of an outgrowth of my comments on the LCS...
     
    Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond
     
    The year 2015 is an interesting time for the oft-forgotten surface combatants - corvettes, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers - which are used to operating under the shadow of aircraft carriers that have dominated naval combat. On the Western side, you have numerous sources in the Internet reporting doom and gloom for the American Navy, citing warship shortages compared to a growing Chinese Navy. Even the Russian Navy, which mostly remains underfunded, is featured in sensationalist articles like this one:
     
    http://theweek.com/articles/583294/tiny-russian-warship-just-shocked-world
     
    Which question how small Russian warships are able to carry many more missiles than much larger American warships.
     
    The problem, unfortunately, lies with the lack of naval knowledge among the general news media and the public. Sensationalism and trivia tend to override context and timelines in the search for more viewers and clicks.
     
    Fortunately, that's why this article exists to set things straight.
     
    The Myth of the Declining American Surface Fleet
     
    One of the most enduring and popular misconceptions on the Internet is the idea that the American surface fleet is declining. Too much focus is placed on the problems of the navy's two latest ship designs - the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship - while commentators whose naval knowledge is limited to playing Harpoon wax nostalgic about the days of a massive US Navy that had dozens of cruisers and frigates.
     
    All of this tends to disguise a startling revelation: The US surface fleet is in fact incredibly strong now; and is more powerful than it was in the 90s.
     
    The key really, which everyone doesn't seem to notice, is the US Navy's concentration on a single, proven warship type: The Arleigh Burke class. There are now 62 of these powerful warships serving in the US Navy, half of which only joined the fleet after the year 2000. This production run in fact exceeds the production run of any US warship for the past 30 years - the Knox class frigate for instance had only 36 units, while only 51 of the "cheap" OH Perry class were built for the USN,
     
    And that's not even the end of the run yet. An additional 14 units had already been authorized - to make up for the cancellation of most of the Zumwalts - with potentially thirty more to be ordered. It may in fact come to pass that the Arleigh Burke's production run would exceed a hundred; which is quite an investment given that these are 10,000 ton warships that are more equivalent to World War 2 cruisers than the 2,000 ton destroyers from the same era.
     
    Yet even with the existing run of 62 ships the production of Arleigh Burkes had in fact already outweighed the production total of the OH Perry class (which was half the weight of a Burke) and the Spruance class - the two ship classes they were really meant to replace. So while the total number of ships may have decreased, in terms of tonnage the fleet's overall weight in fact increased - while lowering manpower cost.
     
    The Burkes are also simply much better ships than the old frigates and destroyers because of the improved AEGIS sensors and the versatility of its VLS system; which can load many different types of missile depending on its mission. A single Burke for instance could theoretically carry 96 SAMs for air defense or 96 Tomahawk missiles instead - the latter loadout being four times more cruise missiles that the Russians fired on Syria using their four small ships. An old OH Perry by contrast could only carry 40 short-ranged SAMs and a handful of anti-ship missiles in its main missile magazine.
     
    Moreover, the numbers of Arleigh Burkes available - alongside the twenty-two original AEGIS cruisers, give the US a grand total of eighty-four top-of the-line escorts. Compared to the nineteen US Navy Supercarriers and Marine carriers, the USN in fact has enough to provide four of AEGIS escorts per carrier. China by contrast has a mere dozen Type 51 and 52 destroyers that come close in weight class - but not in capability - as the Burkes. Indeed, their only match unit per unit are the six Kongo and Atago class ships of the Japanese SDF - who are of course American allies!
     
    In this context, it also becomes easier to see why much of the "controversy" around the Littoral Combat Ship is misplaced. Many of its critics want it to be as capable as the outgoing OH Perry class frigates. What these critics don't realize is that the replacement for these ships were in fact the dozens of new Arleigh Burkes. The LCS was instead meant to fill the roles that the Burkes could't perform - and in doing so they spelled the doom of the 4,000 ton frigates.
     
     
    The Death of the 4,000 ton Frigate
     
    A perennial problem in amateur warship discussion is the insistence of many commentators on the need for particular ship types. "We need cruisers/destroyers/frigates", often uttered without realizing what the particular ships were actually meant to do. This applies to the 4,000 ton "multirole" frigate - which is an enormously popular type of warship worldwide and the OH Perry is an exemplar of this type. In essence, the multirole frigate promises decent all-around capability at an affordable cost.
     
    However, for the present-day US Navy, there is no place for the multi-role frigate. The Burkes served as carrier escorts and independent cruisers for showing the flag in dangerous hotspots. The LCS meanwhile was a utility ship in a carrier battle group, or a low-intensity combat ship for showing the flag in safer waters. There was no space in between for a multirole frigate.
     
    And that's because the well-loved frigate was in fact always riddled by compromise. It simply could not be good at anti-air combat, anti-submarine combat, and surface combat with only 4,000 tons displacement. Specialist ships meanwhile - such as the Knox - could not operate independently because they could not deal with all possible threats they encountered.
     
    Even the idea that they could serve as "backup" for the primary carrier escorts proved problematic, particularly in anti-air combat. Experience in the Falklands showed that having multiple average SAM systems operating independently was problematic - you had mere minutes or even seconds to coordinate your defense volleys which proved impossible with multiple ships; leading to the possibility that some of the enemy aircraft/missiles were left un-engaged. Long-ranged SAM systems also tended to be radar-guided leading to the possibility of the escorts interfering with each other's radar.
     
    The solution was a centralized and computerized SAM system on a single ship with a powerful radar - the AEGIS system on the US cruisers and the Burkes. Indeed, so powerful was this system that the Americans quickly scrapped their remaining non-AEGIS air defense cruisers while the OH Perry class was allowed to lose their SAM systems - it was better to have a handful of AEGIS ships doing air defense than a lot of lesser ships.
     
    Interestingly, the only type of SAM system that would complement AEGIS was the short-ranged RIM; which was an IR-guided weapon that did not interfere with other ship's radar while providing last-ditch defense against an enemy missile that got through the long-ranged SAM volleys of AEGIS. It was probably not a coincidence that RIM was the only SAM system equipped on the LCS; while all of the US Navy's remaining carrier escorts were large AEGIS ships.
     
    Meanwhile, anti-submarine combat had also progressed. The Knox and OH Perry class were designed with the idea that the warship itself may have to engage an enemy submarine in direct combat; which is why it had its own anti-submarine torpedo tubes and the ASROC launcher. The speed of nuclear submarines and their own guided torpedoes had long made this approach suicidal however, hence the switch to using helicopters to attack submarines without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, the only contribution of a multirole frigate in anti-submarine warfare was its helicopter pad - a helicopter pad also present on the LCS.
     
    In short, the problem with the multirole frigate was that too much of its systems had become dead weight. Its SAM systems were more of a liability if it were not up-to-date, and the anti-submarine weapons redundant in the context of using the helicopter for submarine hunting. Indeed, it could be considered wasteful to use multirole frigates in carrier battlegroups since some of their tasks were so mundane - such as the "plane guard" whose mission was to pick up any pilots who may have crashed into the sea while trying to land on the carrier. Is it really necessary for a 4,000 ton frigate with a large number of weapons (most of which it cannot use while so close to the carrier) to be saddled with this role, or is better for a smaller, cheaper vessel like the LCS whose sole anti-air weapon can be used to defend the carrier?
     
    Quiet New Dreadnoughts: Corvettes and Cruisers
     
    Put together, the Burke and the LCS both point to two emerging trends in surface combatants; as well as the dangerous continuation of many navies down the path of the multirole frigate.
     
    First, the Burkes showed it was possible to have a powerful surface combatant theoretically capable of surviving heavy air attack (theoretical as the system has never been tested fully in combat) that nonetheless retains sufficient anti-surface and anti-submarine punch. However, this design requires the ship to be nearly 10,000 tons. The Chinese Type 52D for instance is now around 7,500 tons in weight compared to the original Type 52's 6,000; and the future proposals are definitely looking at a 10,000 ton design. The British Daring class had an even more dramatic size increase, doubling in size from the previous Type 42s. All of these ships are equipped with VLS with actual or theoretical capability to load multiple types of missiles for different missions.
     
    These 10,000 ton "Destroyers" are more rightly classified as "cruisers" given they are also capable of independent action in addition to serving as escort; and their presence spells the obsolescence of the 4,000-5,000 ton "multirole" frigate. The new 10K Cruisers can simply do everything the frigates are supposed to do and better except in terms of acquisition cost; which is why the frigate will remain primarily with budget-stricken navies trying to pursue paper advantages at a discount. The higher-end Corvettes like the Sa'ar V, which are even more cash-strapped implementations of the multirole frigate that also sacrifice seakeeping, may also soon suffer the same fate.
     
    Meanwhile, new 1,000-3,000 ton corvettes like the LCS will be developed to fill the existing gap in warships suitable for low-intensity conflict or mundane tasks with a battlefleet. Given the cost of the 10K cruisers these smaller ships will focus not on packing as many weapons or capabilities as possible, but focus on a handful of roles at the most efficient possible cost. These ships will be characterized by omitting features seen by traditionalists as "standard" pieces of equipment - kept "just in case" - but for the most part really only add to the operating cost of the ship in the long run.
     
    Of course future technological developments may result in new ship types and capabilities - including perhaps a renewed interest in long-ranged naval gunnery. However, I suspect that many of these new technologies will simply be incorporated in the large cruisers and then the smaller corvettes as necessary; and that these two core types will serve as the basis of future surface combatants for the world's fleets.
  10. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from LostCosmonaut in An easy way to improve the LCS program?   
    I'm not terribly impressed by the Saudi ships honestly, because as usual the article talks all about the toys added into the hull without talking about operating range.
     
    It's relatively easy to load a small hull to the gills with various toys and weapons so long as they're only meant to operate very close to your coastline. The Israelis already did it with the Sa'ar V and what nobody ever points out about these boats is that they've never operated far beyond Gaza and their operating range (and crew endurance) is a lot of theory. 
     
    Moreover I really have to question the utility of most of the added toys to begin with. A launcher with 64 Sea Sparrows sounds really nice except that the Sea Sparrow is really short-ranged and can never replace an AEGIS as an air-defense platform (and this is before we get to the fact the real solution to an air superiority problem is to deploy a carrier - SAMs are just a stopgap).
     
    Despite what the article claims, the Sea Sparrow realistically is just a self-defense system with an overly excessive ammunition count, since Sparrows aren't fire-and-forget and need shipborne guidance (limiting the number of missiles in the air). If faced with a really heavy air attack, the Saudi LCS won't be able to put up enough guided missiles into the air to survive. When faced with a small air attack, it may be sufficient but renders most of the high ammunition count pointless. Indeed, I'm extremely leery of a VLS missile system that can only engage enemy targets 30 miles out - an Exocet can travel that distance in about 2 minutes and needing every intercepting missile turn mid-flight before engaging the vampire is probably going to end with the defending ship blown up.
     
    It's also telling that they repeat the same mistake as the Israelis - who also installed a 64 missile SAM pack on the Sa'ar V (Barak missiles). Despite this impressive theoretical defensive capabilities a missile still got through in 2006 and nearly sank one of the Sa'ar Vs. The LCS actually makes a lot more sense just having a much smaller number of RIM SAM onboard for CIWS. Had the Saudi boat gotten a CIWS gun system on top of the RIM, I'd be more impressed - because that would make much more sense for a boat capable of self-defense against low-intensity surprise air attacks.
     
    Most of the other ASuW capabilities are kinda meh. Harpoons are kinda old and I doubt that they can go through the missile defenses of the combatants deserving to be fired at by one of them (e.g. a modern Chinese Destroyer). A lot of smaller missiles like the Hellfire actually made more sense because the LCS didn't have delusions of surface vs surface actions against major enemy surface units; it was always meant to pick on smaller craft. The bigger gun is more interesting, but there hasn't been an abundance of scenarios requiring the navy to use its guns to begin with.
     
    ASW capability was improved, but without a proper towed sonar array like in the bigger destroyers and cruisers it will have limited detection capability and adding those six anti-submarine torpedoes are pretty much a complete waste of weight as no surface vessel wants to get within torpedo range of an enemy submarine. The helicopters are there for a reason - they can hunt subs without risk of retaliation - and that's the one capability the LCS has.
     
    In short, the Saudi LCS is trying way too hard to be a mini Oliver Hazard Perry; which sounds really good for an underdeveloped export market that has no real navy yet and wants all the shiny new toys on their ships. Problem is the OHPs were meant for a pretty specific Cold War scenario - which is blue-water convoying of merchies across the Atlantic in the face of Soviet submarine and air threats - and the Saudi LCS is only as good or even worse compared to the OHPs in virtually all regards. Worse, it doesn't recognize that the OHPs were deeply flawed ships in an age of supersonic anti-ship missiles where the tiny range of the SM-1 (even with upgrades) simply doesn't give it enough time to engage and shoot down the vampires. What you need is really long-ranged and accurate fire control radar on top of longer-ranged missiles. Only AEGIS and maybe the Horizon/Daring class gets you that in the West (and the Russians theoretically have this also on the old Kirovs).
     
    So why didn't they just get actual frigates to begin with (I'm pretty sure the Saudis have the money for them) that would have resolved all the shortcomings and maybe fit an actual good air defense system?
     
    The problem with the LCS program is that people keep trying to make these ships into full frigates or destroyers. That's not what they're for. All you really want from the LCS is that they get somewhere (accounting for the long distances the USN has to travel), and deploy its mission-specific helicopter. If it gets into trouble it has the minimum needed for self defense and evasion - not to stand up there and try to fight it out as though it was an Arleigh Burke (the Burkes would probably run too anyway). Bringing all of the other stuff like air defense when you're just fighting Somali pirates is a waste of resources. Every non-essential system removed adds to reaching its cost-effectiveness objective; even if it leads traditional thinkers to worry that they won't have a SAM system to defend the ship with "just in case".
     
    This is why the most important stat and benchmark of the LCS had always been operating cost - which is the bulk of the USN's cost. It was always about making the ship as cheap as possible to do the mundane jobs that didn't require an AEGIS (of which the USN has eighty-four in service - a mix of Ticos and Burkes - and anyone telling me there is a shortage when there are at most 19 US carriers on the roster including the Marine mini-carriers is crazy). And the jury is still out on that - if the operating costs end up being very high then and only then can the program be considered a waste.
     
    Oh, and I still have no bloody idea what the hell the 40 knot speed is actually for.
  11. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from LostCosmonaut in Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond   
    So this is a bit of an outgrowth of my comments on the LCS...
     
    Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond
     
    The year 2015 is an interesting time for the oft-forgotten surface combatants - corvettes, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers - which are used to operating under the shadow of aircraft carriers that have dominated naval combat. On the Western side, you have numerous sources in the Internet reporting doom and gloom for the American Navy, citing warship shortages compared to a growing Chinese Navy. Even the Russian Navy, which mostly remains underfunded, is featured in sensationalist articles like this one:
     
    http://theweek.com/articles/583294/tiny-russian-warship-just-shocked-world
     
    Which question how small Russian warships are able to carry many more missiles than much larger American warships.
     
    The problem, unfortunately, lies with the lack of naval knowledge among the general news media and the public. Sensationalism and trivia tend to override context and timelines in the search for more viewers and clicks.
     
    Fortunately, that's why this article exists to set things straight.
     
    The Myth of the Declining American Surface Fleet
     
    One of the most enduring and popular misconceptions on the Internet is the idea that the American surface fleet is declining. Too much focus is placed on the problems of the navy's two latest ship designs - the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship - while commentators whose naval knowledge is limited to playing Harpoon wax nostalgic about the days of a massive US Navy that had dozens of cruisers and frigates.
     
    All of this tends to disguise a startling revelation: The US surface fleet is in fact incredibly strong now; and is more powerful than it was in the 90s.
     
    The key really, which everyone doesn't seem to notice, is the US Navy's concentration on a single, proven warship type: The Arleigh Burke class. There are now 62 of these powerful warships serving in the US Navy, half of which only joined the fleet after the year 2000. This production run in fact exceeds the production run of any US warship for the past 30 years - the Knox class frigate for instance had only 36 units, while only 51 of the "cheap" OH Perry class were built for the USN,
     
    And that's not even the end of the run yet. An additional 14 units had already been authorized - to make up for the cancellation of most of the Zumwalts - with potentially thirty more to be ordered. It may in fact come to pass that the Arleigh Burke's production run would exceed a hundred; which is quite an investment given that these are 10,000 ton warships that are more equivalent to World War 2 cruisers than the 2,000 ton destroyers from the same era.
     
    Yet even with the existing run of 62 ships the production of Arleigh Burkes had in fact already outweighed the production total of the OH Perry class (which was half the weight of a Burke) and the Spruance class - the two ship classes they were really meant to replace. So while the total number of ships may have decreased, in terms of tonnage the fleet's overall weight in fact increased - while lowering manpower cost.
     
    The Burkes are also simply much better ships than the old frigates and destroyers because of the improved AEGIS sensors and the versatility of its VLS system; which can load many different types of missile depending on its mission. A single Burke for instance could theoretically carry 96 SAMs for air defense or 96 Tomahawk missiles instead - the latter loadout being four times more cruise missiles that the Russians fired on Syria using their four small ships. An old OH Perry by contrast could only carry 40 short-ranged SAMs and a handful of anti-ship missiles in its main missile magazine.
     
    Moreover, the numbers of Arleigh Burkes available - alongside the twenty-two original AEGIS cruisers, give the US a grand total of eighty-four top-of the-line escorts. Compared to the nineteen US Navy Supercarriers and Marine carriers, the USN in fact has enough to provide four of AEGIS escorts per carrier. China by contrast has a mere dozen Type 51 and 52 destroyers that come close in weight class - but not in capability - as the Burkes. Indeed, their only match unit per unit are the six Kongo and Atago class ships of the Japanese SDF - who are of course American allies!
     
    In this context, it also becomes easier to see why much of the "controversy" around the Littoral Combat Ship is misplaced. Many of its critics want it to be as capable as the outgoing OH Perry class frigates. What these critics don't realize is that the replacement for these ships were in fact the dozens of new Arleigh Burkes. The LCS was instead meant to fill the roles that the Burkes could't perform - and in doing so they spelled the doom of the 4,000 ton frigates.
     
     
    The Death of the 4,000 ton Frigate
     
    A perennial problem in amateur warship discussion is the insistence of many commentators on the need for particular ship types. "We need cruisers/destroyers/frigates", often uttered without realizing what the particular ships were actually meant to do. This applies to the 4,000 ton "multirole" frigate - which is an enormously popular type of warship worldwide and the OH Perry is an exemplar of this type. In essence, the multirole frigate promises decent all-around capability at an affordable cost.
     
    However, for the present-day US Navy, there is no place for the multi-role frigate. The Burkes served as carrier escorts and independent cruisers for showing the flag in dangerous hotspots. The LCS meanwhile was a utility ship in a carrier battle group, or a low-intensity combat ship for showing the flag in safer waters. There was no space in between for a multirole frigate.
     
    And that's because the well-loved frigate was in fact always riddled by compromise. It simply could not be good at anti-air combat, anti-submarine combat, and surface combat with only 4,000 tons displacement. Specialist ships meanwhile - such as the Knox - could not operate independently because they could not deal with all possible threats they encountered.
     
    Even the idea that they could serve as "backup" for the primary carrier escorts proved problematic, particularly in anti-air combat. Experience in the Falklands showed that having multiple average SAM systems operating independently was problematic - you had mere minutes or even seconds to coordinate your defense volleys which proved impossible with multiple ships; leading to the possibility that some of the enemy aircraft/missiles were left un-engaged. Long-ranged SAM systems also tended to be radar-guided leading to the possibility of the escorts interfering with each other's radar.
     
    The solution was a centralized and computerized SAM system on a single ship with a powerful radar - the AEGIS system on the US cruisers and the Burkes. Indeed, so powerful was this system that the Americans quickly scrapped their remaining non-AEGIS air defense cruisers while the OH Perry class was allowed to lose their SAM systems - it was better to have a handful of AEGIS ships doing air defense than a lot of lesser ships.
     
    Interestingly, the only type of SAM system that would complement AEGIS was the short-ranged RIM; which was an IR-guided weapon that did not interfere with other ship's radar while providing last-ditch defense against an enemy missile that got through the long-ranged SAM volleys of AEGIS. It was probably not a coincidence that RIM was the only SAM system equipped on the LCS; while all of the US Navy's remaining carrier escorts were large AEGIS ships.
     
    Meanwhile, anti-submarine combat had also progressed. The Knox and OH Perry class were designed with the idea that the warship itself may have to engage an enemy submarine in direct combat; which is why it had its own anti-submarine torpedo tubes and the ASROC launcher. The speed of nuclear submarines and their own guided torpedoes had long made this approach suicidal however, hence the switch to using helicopters to attack submarines without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, the only contribution of a multirole frigate in anti-submarine warfare was its helicopter pad - a helicopter pad also present on the LCS.
     
    In short, the problem with the multirole frigate was that too much of its systems had become dead weight. Its SAM systems were more of a liability if it were not up-to-date, and the anti-submarine weapons redundant in the context of using the helicopter for submarine hunting. Indeed, it could be considered wasteful to use multirole frigates in carrier battlegroups since some of their tasks were so mundane - such as the "plane guard" whose mission was to pick up any pilots who may have crashed into the sea while trying to land on the carrier. Is it really necessary for a 4,000 ton frigate with a large number of weapons (most of which it cannot use while so close to the carrier) to be saddled with this role, or is better for a smaller, cheaper vessel like the LCS whose sole anti-air weapon can be used to defend the carrier?
     
    Quiet New Dreadnoughts: Corvettes and Cruisers
     
    Put together, the Burke and the LCS both point to two emerging trends in surface combatants; as well as the dangerous continuation of many navies down the path of the multirole frigate.
     
    First, the Burkes showed it was possible to have a powerful surface combatant theoretically capable of surviving heavy air attack (theoretical as the system has never been tested fully in combat) that nonetheless retains sufficient anti-surface and anti-submarine punch. However, this design requires the ship to be nearly 10,000 tons. The Chinese Type 52D for instance is now around 7,500 tons in weight compared to the original Type 52's 6,000; and the future proposals are definitely looking at a 10,000 ton design. The British Daring class had an even more dramatic size increase, doubling in size from the previous Type 42s. All of these ships are equipped with VLS with actual or theoretical capability to load multiple types of missiles for different missions.
     
    These 10,000 ton "Destroyers" are more rightly classified as "cruisers" given they are also capable of independent action in addition to serving as escort; and their presence spells the obsolescence of the 4,000-5,000 ton "multirole" frigate. The new 10K Cruisers can simply do everything the frigates are supposed to do and better except in terms of acquisition cost; which is why the frigate will remain primarily with budget-stricken navies trying to pursue paper advantages at a discount. The higher-end Corvettes like the Sa'ar V, which are even more cash-strapped implementations of the multirole frigate that also sacrifice seakeeping, may also soon suffer the same fate.
     
    Meanwhile, new 1,000-3,000 ton corvettes like the LCS will be developed to fill the existing gap in warships suitable for low-intensity conflict or mundane tasks with a battlefleet. Given the cost of the 10K cruisers these smaller ships will focus not on packing as many weapons or capabilities as possible, but focus on a handful of roles at the most efficient possible cost. These ships will be characterized by omitting features seen by traditionalists as "standard" pieces of equipment - kept "just in case" - but for the most part really only add to the operating cost of the ship in the long run.
     
    Of course future technological developments may result in new ship types and capabilities - including perhaps a renewed interest in long-ranged naval gunnery. However, I suspect that many of these new technologies will simply be incorporated in the large cruisers and then the smaller corvettes as necessary; and that these two core types will serve as the basis of future surface combatants for the world's fleets.
  12. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Belesarius in Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond   
    So this is a bit of an outgrowth of my comments on the LCS...
     
    Corvettes and Cruisers - Surface Combatants in 2015 and Beyond
     
    The year 2015 is an interesting time for the oft-forgotten surface combatants - corvettes, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers - which are used to operating under the shadow of aircraft carriers that have dominated naval combat. On the Western side, you have numerous sources in the Internet reporting doom and gloom for the American Navy, citing warship shortages compared to a growing Chinese Navy. Even the Russian Navy, which mostly remains underfunded, is featured in sensationalist articles like this one:
     
    http://theweek.com/articles/583294/tiny-russian-warship-just-shocked-world
     
    Which question how small Russian warships are able to carry many more missiles than much larger American warships.
     
    The problem, unfortunately, lies with the lack of naval knowledge among the general news media and the public. Sensationalism and trivia tend to override context and timelines in the search for more viewers and clicks.
     
    Fortunately, that's why this article exists to set things straight.
     
    The Myth of the Declining American Surface Fleet
     
    One of the most enduring and popular misconceptions on the Internet is the idea that the American surface fleet is declining. Too much focus is placed on the problems of the navy's two latest ship designs - the Zumwalt and the Littoral Combat Ship - while commentators whose naval knowledge is limited to playing Harpoon wax nostalgic about the days of a massive US Navy that had dozens of cruisers and frigates.
     
    All of this tends to disguise a startling revelation: The US surface fleet is in fact incredibly strong now; and is more powerful than it was in the 90s.
     
    The key really, which everyone doesn't seem to notice, is the US Navy's concentration on a single, proven warship type: The Arleigh Burke class. There are now 62 of these powerful warships serving in the US Navy, half of which only joined the fleet after the year 2000. This production run in fact exceeds the production run of any US warship for the past 30 years - the Knox class frigate for instance had only 36 units, while only 51 of the "cheap" OH Perry class were built for the USN,
     
    And that's not even the end of the run yet. An additional 14 units had already been authorized - to make up for the cancellation of most of the Zumwalts - with potentially thirty more to be ordered. It may in fact come to pass that the Arleigh Burke's production run would exceed a hundred; which is quite an investment given that these are 10,000 ton warships that are more equivalent to World War 2 cruisers than the 2,000 ton destroyers from the same era.
     
    Yet even with the existing run of 62 ships the production of Arleigh Burkes had in fact already outweighed the production total of the OH Perry class (which was half the weight of a Burke) and the Spruance class - the two ship classes they were really meant to replace. So while the total number of ships may have decreased, in terms of tonnage the fleet's overall weight in fact increased - while lowering manpower cost.
     
    The Burkes are also simply much better ships than the old frigates and destroyers because of the improved AEGIS sensors and the versatility of its VLS system; which can load many different types of missile depending on its mission. A single Burke for instance could theoretically carry 96 SAMs for air defense or 96 Tomahawk missiles instead - the latter loadout being four times more cruise missiles that the Russians fired on Syria using their four small ships. An old OH Perry by contrast could only carry 40 short-ranged SAMs and a handful of anti-ship missiles in its main missile magazine.
     
    Moreover, the numbers of Arleigh Burkes available - alongside the twenty-two original AEGIS cruisers, give the US a grand total of eighty-four top-of the-line escorts. Compared to the nineteen US Navy Supercarriers and Marine carriers, the USN in fact has enough to provide four of AEGIS escorts per carrier. China by contrast has a mere dozen Type 51 and 52 destroyers that come close in weight class - but not in capability - as the Burkes. Indeed, their only match unit per unit are the six Kongo and Atago class ships of the Japanese SDF - who are of course American allies!
     
    In this context, it also becomes easier to see why much of the "controversy" around the Littoral Combat Ship is misplaced. Many of its critics want it to be as capable as the outgoing OH Perry class frigates. What these critics don't realize is that the replacement for these ships were in fact the dozens of new Arleigh Burkes. The LCS was instead meant to fill the roles that the Burkes could't perform - and in doing so they spelled the doom of the 4,000 ton frigates.
     
     
    The Death of the 4,000 ton Frigate
     
    A perennial problem in amateur warship discussion is the insistence of many commentators on the need for particular ship types. "We need cruisers/destroyers/frigates", often uttered without realizing what the particular ships were actually meant to do. This applies to the 4,000 ton "multirole" frigate - which is an enormously popular type of warship worldwide and the OH Perry is an exemplar of this type. In essence, the multirole frigate promises decent all-around capability at an affordable cost.
     
    However, for the present-day US Navy, there is no place for the multi-role frigate. The Burkes served as carrier escorts and independent cruisers for showing the flag in dangerous hotspots. The LCS meanwhile was a utility ship in a carrier battle group, or a low-intensity combat ship for showing the flag in safer waters. There was no space in between for a multirole frigate.
     
    And that's because the well-loved frigate was in fact always riddled by compromise. It simply could not be good at anti-air combat, anti-submarine combat, and surface combat with only 4,000 tons displacement. Specialist ships meanwhile - such as the Knox - could not operate independently because they could not deal with all possible threats they encountered.
     
    Even the idea that they could serve as "backup" for the primary carrier escorts proved problematic, particularly in anti-air combat. Experience in the Falklands showed that having multiple average SAM systems operating independently was problematic - you had mere minutes or even seconds to coordinate your defense volleys which proved impossible with multiple ships; leading to the possibility that some of the enemy aircraft/missiles were left un-engaged. Long-ranged SAM systems also tended to be radar-guided leading to the possibility of the escorts interfering with each other's radar.
     
    The solution was a centralized and computerized SAM system on a single ship with a powerful radar - the AEGIS system on the US cruisers and the Burkes. Indeed, so powerful was this system that the Americans quickly scrapped their remaining non-AEGIS air defense cruisers while the OH Perry class was allowed to lose their SAM systems - it was better to have a handful of AEGIS ships doing air defense than a lot of lesser ships.
     
    Interestingly, the only type of SAM system that would complement AEGIS was the short-ranged RIM; which was an IR-guided weapon that did not interfere with other ship's radar while providing last-ditch defense against an enemy missile that got through the long-ranged SAM volleys of AEGIS. It was probably not a coincidence that RIM was the only SAM system equipped on the LCS; while all of the US Navy's remaining carrier escorts were large AEGIS ships.
     
    Meanwhile, anti-submarine combat had also progressed. The Knox and OH Perry class were designed with the idea that the warship itself may have to engage an enemy submarine in direct combat; which is why it had its own anti-submarine torpedo tubes and the ASROC launcher. The speed of nuclear submarines and their own guided torpedoes had long made this approach suicidal however, hence the switch to using helicopters to attack submarines without fear of retaliation. With this in mind, the only contribution of a multirole frigate in anti-submarine warfare was its helicopter pad - a helicopter pad also present on the LCS.
     
    In short, the problem with the multirole frigate was that too much of its systems had become dead weight. Its SAM systems were more of a liability if it were not up-to-date, and the anti-submarine weapons redundant in the context of using the helicopter for submarine hunting. Indeed, it could be considered wasteful to use multirole frigates in carrier battlegroups since some of their tasks were so mundane - such as the "plane guard" whose mission was to pick up any pilots who may have crashed into the sea while trying to land on the carrier. Is it really necessary for a 4,000 ton frigate with a large number of weapons (most of which it cannot use while so close to the carrier) to be saddled with this role, or is better for a smaller, cheaper vessel like the LCS whose sole anti-air weapon can be used to defend the carrier?
     
    Quiet New Dreadnoughts: Corvettes and Cruisers
     
    Put together, the Burke and the LCS both point to two emerging trends in surface combatants; as well as the dangerous continuation of many navies down the path of the multirole frigate.
     
    First, the Burkes showed it was possible to have a powerful surface combatant theoretically capable of surviving heavy air attack (theoretical as the system has never been tested fully in combat) that nonetheless retains sufficient anti-surface and anti-submarine punch. However, this design requires the ship to be nearly 10,000 tons. The Chinese Type 52D for instance is now around 7,500 tons in weight compared to the original Type 52's 6,000; and the future proposals are definitely looking at a 10,000 ton design. The British Daring class had an even more dramatic size increase, doubling in size from the previous Type 42s. All of these ships are equipped with VLS with actual or theoretical capability to load multiple types of missiles for different missions.
     
    These 10,000 ton "Destroyers" are more rightly classified as "cruisers" given they are also capable of independent action in addition to serving as escort; and their presence spells the obsolescence of the 4,000-5,000 ton "multirole" frigate. The new 10K Cruisers can simply do everything the frigates are supposed to do and better except in terms of acquisition cost; which is why the frigate will remain primarily with budget-stricken navies trying to pursue paper advantages at a discount. The higher-end Corvettes like the Sa'ar V, which are even more cash-strapped implementations of the multirole frigate that also sacrifice seakeeping, may also soon suffer the same fate.
     
    Meanwhile, new 1,000-3,000 ton corvettes like the LCS will be developed to fill the existing gap in warships suitable for low-intensity conflict or mundane tasks with a battlefleet. Given the cost of the 10K cruisers these smaller ships will focus not on packing as many weapons or capabilities as possible, but focus on a handful of roles at the most efficient possible cost. These ships will be characterized by omitting features seen by traditionalists as "standard" pieces of equipment - kept "just in case" - but for the most part really only add to the operating cost of the ship in the long run.
     
    Of course future technological developments may result in new ship types and capabilities - including perhaps a renewed interest in long-ranged naval gunnery. However, I suspect that many of these new technologies will simply be incorporated in the large cruisers and then the smaller corvettes as necessary; and that these two core types will serve as the basis of future surface combatants for the world's fleets.
  13. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from LeuCeaMia in An easy way to improve the LCS program?   
    I'm not terribly impressed by the Saudi ships honestly, because as usual the article talks all about the toys added into the hull without talking about operating range.
     
    It's relatively easy to load a small hull to the gills with various toys and weapons so long as they're only meant to operate very close to your coastline. The Israelis already did it with the Sa'ar V and what nobody ever points out about these boats is that they've never operated far beyond Gaza and their operating range (and crew endurance) is a lot of theory. 
     
    Moreover I really have to question the utility of most of the added toys to begin with. A launcher with 64 Sea Sparrows sounds really nice except that the Sea Sparrow is really short-ranged and can never replace an AEGIS as an air-defense platform (and this is before we get to the fact the real solution to an air superiority problem is to deploy a carrier - SAMs are just a stopgap).
     
    Despite what the article claims, the Sea Sparrow realistically is just a self-defense system with an overly excessive ammunition count, since Sparrows aren't fire-and-forget and need shipborne guidance (limiting the number of missiles in the air). If faced with a really heavy air attack, the Saudi LCS won't be able to put up enough guided missiles into the air to survive. When faced with a small air attack, it may be sufficient but renders most of the high ammunition count pointless. Indeed, I'm extremely leery of a VLS missile system that can only engage enemy targets 30 miles out - an Exocet can travel that distance in about 2 minutes and needing every intercepting missile turn mid-flight before engaging the vampire is probably going to end with the defending ship blown up.
     
    It's also telling that they repeat the same mistake as the Israelis - who also installed a 64 missile SAM pack on the Sa'ar V (Barak missiles). Despite this impressive theoretical defensive capabilities a missile still got through in 2006 and nearly sank one of the Sa'ar Vs. The LCS actually makes a lot more sense just having a much smaller number of RIM SAM onboard for CIWS. Had the Saudi boat gotten a CIWS gun system on top of the RIM, I'd be more impressed - because that would make much more sense for a boat capable of self-defense against low-intensity surprise air attacks.
     
    Most of the other ASuW capabilities are kinda meh. Harpoons are kinda old and I doubt that they can go through the missile defenses of the combatants deserving to be fired at by one of them (e.g. a modern Chinese Destroyer). A lot of smaller missiles like the Hellfire actually made more sense because the LCS didn't have delusions of surface vs surface actions against major enemy surface units; it was always meant to pick on smaller craft. The bigger gun is more interesting, but there hasn't been an abundance of scenarios requiring the navy to use its guns to begin with.
     
    ASW capability was improved, but without a proper towed sonar array like in the bigger destroyers and cruisers it will have limited detection capability and adding those six anti-submarine torpedoes are pretty much a complete waste of weight as no surface vessel wants to get within torpedo range of an enemy submarine. The helicopters are there for a reason - they can hunt subs without risk of retaliation - and that's the one capability the LCS has.
     
    In short, the Saudi LCS is trying way too hard to be a mini Oliver Hazard Perry; which sounds really good for an underdeveloped export market that has no real navy yet and wants all the shiny new toys on their ships. Problem is the OHPs were meant for a pretty specific Cold War scenario - which is blue-water convoying of merchies across the Atlantic in the face of Soviet submarine and air threats - and the Saudi LCS is only as good or even worse compared to the OHPs in virtually all regards. Worse, it doesn't recognize that the OHPs were deeply flawed ships in an age of supersonic anti-ship missiles where the tiny range of the SM-1 (even with upgrades) simply doesn't give it enough time to engage and shoot down the vampires. What you need is really long-ranged and accurate fire control radar on top of longer-ranged missiles. Only AEGIS and maybe the Horizon/Daring class gets you that in the West (and the Russians theoretically have this also on the old Kirovs).
     
    So why didn't they just get actual frigates to begin with (I'm pretty sure the Saudis have the money for them) that would have resolved all the shortcomings and maybe fit an actual good air defense system?
     
    The problem with the LCS program is that people keep trying to make these ships into full frigates or destroyers. That's not what they're for. All you really want from the LCS is that they get somewhere (accounting for the long distances the USN has to travel), and deploy its mission-specific helicopter. If it gets into trouble it has the minimum needed for self defense and evasion - not to stand up there and try to fight it out as though it was an Arleigh Burke (the Burkes would probably run too anyway). Bringing all of the other stuff like air defense when you're just fighting Somali pirates is a waste of resources. Every non-essential system removed adds to reaching its cost-effectiveness objective; even if it leads traditional thinkers to worry that they won't have a SAM system to defend the ship with "just in case".
     
    This is why the most important stat and benchmark of the LCS had always been operating cost - which is the bulk of the USN's cost. It was always about making the ship as cheap as possible to do the mundane jobs that didn't require an AEGIS (of which the USN has eighty-four in service - a mix of Ticos and Burkes - and anyone telling me there is a shortage when there are at most 19 US carriers on the roster including the Marine mini-carriers is crazy). And the jury is still out on that - if the operating costs end up being very high then and only then can the program be considered a waste.
     
    Oh, and I still have no bloody idea what the hell the 40 knot speed is actually for.
  14. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Collimatrix in An easy way to improve the LCS program?   
    I'm not terribly impressed by the Saudi ships honestly, because as usual the article talks all about the toys added into the hull without talking about operating range.
     
    It's relatively easy to load a small hull to the gills with various toys and weapons so long as they're only meant to operate very close to your coastline. The Israelis already did it with the Sa'ar V and what nobody ever points out about these boats is that they've never operated far beyond Gaza and their operating range (and crew endurance) is a lot of theory. 
     
    Moreover I really have to question the utility of most of the added toys to begin with. A launcher with 64 Sea Sparrows sounds really nice except that the Sea Sparrow is really short-ranged and can never replace an AEGIS as an air-defense platform (and this is before we get to the fact the real solution to an air superiority problem is to deploy a carrier - SAMs are just a stopgap).
     
    Despite what the article claims, the Sea Sparrow realistically is just a self-defense system with an overly excessive ammunition count, since Sparrows aren't fire-and-forget and need shipborne guidance (limiting the number of missiles in the air). If faced with a really heavy air attack, the Saudi LCS won't be able to put up enough guided missiles into the air to survive. When faced with a small air attack, it may be sufficient but renders most of the high ammunition count pointless. Indeed, I'm extremely leery of a VLS missile system that can only engage enemy targets 30 miles out - an Exocet can travel that distance in about 2 minutes and needing every intercepting missile turn mid-flight before engaging the vampire is probably going to end with the defending ship blown up.
     
    It's also telling that they repeat the same mistake as the Israelis - who also installed a 64 missile SAM pack on the Sa'ar V (Barak missiles). Despite this impressive theoretical defensive capabilities a missile still got through in 2006 and nearly sank one of the Sa'ar Vs. The LCS actually makes a lot more sense just having a much smaller number of RIM SAM onboard for CIWS. Had the Saudi boat gotten a CIWS gun system on top of the RIM, I'd be more impressed - because that would make much more sense for a boat capable of self-defense against low-intensity surprise air attacks.
     
    Most of the other ASuW capabilities are kinda meh. Harpoons are kinda old and I doubt that they can go through the missile defenses of the combatants deserving to be fired at by one of them (e.g. a modern Chinese Destroyer). A lot of smaller missiles like the Hellfire actually made more sense because the LCS didn't have delusions of surface vs surface actions against major enemy surface units; it was always meant to pick on smaller craft. The bigger gun is more interesting, but there hasn't been an abundance of scenarios requiring the navy to use its guns to begin with.
     
    ASW capability was improved, but without a proper towed sonar array like in the bigger destroyers and cruisers it will have limited detection capability and adding those six anti-submarine torpedoes are pretty much a complete waste of weight as no surface vessel wants to get within torpedo range of an enemy submarine. The helicopters are there for a reason - they can hunt subs without risk of retaliation - and that's the one capability the LCS has.
     
    In short, the Saudi LCS is trying way too hard to be a mini Oliver Hazard Perry; which sounds really good for an underdeveloped export market that has no real navy yet and wants all the shiny new toys on their ships. Problem is the OHPs were meant for a pretty specific Cold War scenario - which is blue-water convoying of merchies across the Atlantic in the face of Soviet submarine and air threats - and the Saudi LCS is only as good or even worse compared to the OHPs in virtually all regards. Worse, it doesn't recognize that the OHPs were deeply flawed ships in an age of supersonic anti-ship missiles where the tiny range of the SM-1 (even with upgrades) simply doesn't give it enough time to engage and shoot down the vampires. What you need is really long-ranged and accurate fire control radar on top of longer-ranged missiles. Only AEGIS and maybe the Horizon/Daring class gets you that in the West (and the Russians theoretically have this also on the old Kirovs).
     
    So why didn't they just get actual frigates to begin with (I'm pretty sure the Saudis have the money for them) that would have resolved all the shortcomings and maybe fit an actual good air defense system?
     
    The problem with the LCS program is that people keep trying to make these ships into full frigates or destroyers. That's not what they're for. All you really want from the LCS is that they get somewhere (accounting for the long distances the USN has to travel), and deploy its mission-specific helicopter. If it gets into trouble it has the minimum needed for self defense and evasion - not to stand up there and try to fight it out as though it was an Arleigh Burke (the Burkes would probably run too anyway). Bringing all of the other stuff like air defense when you're just fighting Somali pirates is a waste of resources. Every non-essential system removed adds to reaching its cost-effectiveness objective; even if it leads traditional thinkers to worry that they won't have a SAM system to defend the ship with "just in case".
     
    This is why the most important stat and benchmark of the LCS had always been operating cost - which is the bulk of the USN's cost. It was always about making the ship as cheap as possible to do the mundane jobs that didn't require an AEGIS (of which the USN has eighty-four in service - a mix of Ticos and Burkes - and anyone telling me there is a shortage when there are at most 19 US carriers on the roster including the Marine mini-carriers is crazy). And the jury is still out on that - if the operating costs end up being very high then and only then can the program be considered a waste.
     
    Oh, and I still have no bloody idea what the hell the 40 knot speed is actually for.
  15. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Donward in The Martian   
    The Martian was a much funnier movie than Interstellar for one thing. It speaks volumes that the funniest and most interesting characters in Interstellar - as in the ones the geek group I watched with actually talked about afterwards - were the two box-shaped robots.
     
    Given how screwed up mankind is in Interstellar and how unlikable the whole damn cast is, the robot with unfulfilled dreams of enslaving humanity and becoming king of his new colony wins "Best Character in the Movie" award easily.
     
    Also, The Martian was very clearly written with the geek crowd in mind. Leather Goddesses of Phobos as a reference? Project Elrond and everyone getting it (including Jeff Daniels who is still clearly playing his Newsroom character only he now heads NASA after Atlantis Cable went under) except the PR girl? These bits were clearly written with a specific audience in mind.  
  16. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Sturgeon in The Martian   
    The Martian was a much funnier movie than Interstellar for one thing. It speaks volumes that the funniest and most interesting characters in Interstellar - as in the ones the geek group I watched with actually talked about afterwards - were the two box-shaped robots.
     
    Given how screwed up mankind is in Interstellar and how unlikable the whole damn cast is, the robot with unfulfilled dreams of enslaving humanity and becoming king of his new colony wins "Best Character in the Movie" award easily.
     
    Also, The Martian was very clearly written with the geek crowd in mind. Leather Goddesses of Phobos as a reference? Project Elrond and everyone getting it (including Jeff Daniels who is still clearly playing his Newsroom character only he now heads NASA after Atlantis Cable went under) except the PR girl? These bits were clearly written with a specific audience in mind.  
  17. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from LoooSeR in MGS V Poopsocking Preparation Thread   
    I actually liked the ending. Better than Mass Effect 3, where the problem was the concept and the betrayal of the game's main themes. MGSV clearly suffered from a rushed ending, but conceptually it was actually sound.
     
    Spoilers ahead:
     
    Essentially, MGSV really has five separate endings (one not completed), which fits with the open-world structure in the sense that an open-world is meant to have multiple story arcs instead of having just one overarching plot.
     
    And I think the endings make enough sense standing on their own, but with a bit of thinking they can be considered to have coalesced into one overall theme which I feel makes for a satisfying enough ending.
     
    To elaborate, let me go through the five different endings and the subtle points each has:
     
    1) The "Revenge" Ending - in this ending Venom Snake and Kaz basically manage to take their revenge on Skull Face. This is often commented on as a rather unsatisfying ending, because after being built up as a super-evil special villain it turns out that Skull Face was, in a word, a loser. He was someone who held a grudge against Big Boss and Major Zero simply because he wasn't good enough to be anything but the clean-up crew. Which is why we don't even kill him in a boss fight - he just gets squished by some debris and ends up begging for death. Instead of being killed however, Kaz and Venom basically dismember him while leaving him alive in agony - and it's up to Huey to finally finish off with a pretty insincere-sounding celebratory cry of "Revenge!"
     
    That said, the whole narrative actually makes sense, which is surprising for an MGS game, if you consider that the theme here is not "revenge", but how "revenge is hollow". Revenge for its own sake brings no catharsis or satisfaction. Indeed, it often simply ends up being farcical, as demonstrated by Huey's rather pathetic mercy-kill of Skull Face. This is why it is different from justice - which is supposed to bring real catharsis to injustice.
     
    2)  Quiet's Love Story - surprisingly for all of the fan service, Quiet's story ends on a very beautiful bittersweet note that revolves around a lost love.
     
    Quiet drew a lot of controversy in the beginning, and she is over-sexualized for most of the game, but she does have two moments in particular that ended up humanizing her. The first was the "playing in the rain" scene, which at first seemed sexualized, until Quiet suddenly turns the tables and begins to play with a level of child-like innocence that Venom Snake responds to with warmth. It's the first real indication that Quiet and Boss are falling in love with one another.
     
    But what really sells it is her final mission and aftermath. As Quiet is guiding Pequod (the helicopter pilot) to save Venom Snake's, Pequod reacts with palpable joy when he realizes that it is Quiet who was guiding him. This is a very clever but subtle moment, as it's the first time anyone has actually reacted to her as a person other than Venom Snake. Always, she was treated as a weapon, as a danger, or as a freak. Pequod's reaction was in many ways giving the player permission to finally see her as a person too.
     
    And then she's gone. Permanently. With no way to bring her back. And it's as though videogames finally remembered that for a lost love to be meaningful, then it has to be permanent and not something that can be reversed with a DLC.
     
    3) The Phantom Episode - It's now well-known that there was a "missing" mission that was planned but never included, and a lot of people feel that its exclusion really made the game worse (I would argue the bigger problem is the repetition of older missions to pad the game out).
     
    However, on watching the cut mission's demo reel I can understand why it was the mission that was cut. At the end of the day, it was only reinforcing concepts already elaborated in the other four endings; particularly in the last two endings which really form the core of The Phantom Pain. The folks who got shafted were mainly those who wanted a "cleaner" continuity that showed how Eli - who was really Liquid Snake - ended up hating the Boss so much leading to the events of Metal Gear Solid.
     
    4) The End of Innocence - the most powerful scene in The Phantom Pain happens in the mission when you're forced to shoot your own soldiers. You have to shoot them or else the world pretty much ends. It reaches its climax when you get to the last group of soldiers - hiding in the basement - who decide to face death with dignity and allow themselves to be killed.
     
    It's a powerful scene not only because of the tragic devotion showed by your ordinarily nameless mooks, but by the added touch of having the soldiers humming a tune before they shoot them:
     
    It's the Peacewalker song.
     
    The song, which is a really upbeat tune otherwise, reflected the much lighter tone of the preceding Peacewalker game. Before Phantom Pain the Big Boss series of games was much more happy and innocent than the serious and often sad tale that The Phantom Pain had become. Killing the soldiers and ending their humming was in many ways a symbolic end of that era.
     
    Now, Kotaku complains that this ending was robbed of its meaning by the revelation that Huey had in fact infected the Mother Base soldiers; hence "absolving" Venom Snake from murdering his own men.
     
    The thing is, the ending showed not only the end of innocence, but how delusionally clinging to innocence can be so destructive. Huey, despite all the evidence showing that he was the cause of the massacre, denies his complicity to the very end. He denies murdering his own wife and trying to use his own son as a weapon despite recordings demonstrating otherwise. Kaz notes bitterly, upon Huey's exile, that people outside of Mother Base would likely even believe these outright lies.
     
    By contrast, Venom Snake doesn't cling to innocence. He doesn't take the easy way out and blame Huey. He instead takes responsibility for shooting his own men, and insists that the actions are his alone. In short, he shows that the end of innocence may not be a bad thing, but instead be the start of the acceptance of responsibility. And there's a measure of brillance to this approach as it shows why accepting responsibility is so hard - it's easier to blame others for something you did.
     
    5) The Truth - And this all ties with the final twist of the ending, that reveals that Venom Snake was in fact just an ordinary soldier who was used as a body double for the real Big Boss. 
     
    The ending is somewhat controversial for two reasons. First, there are those who felt that the "twist" was a cheap way to provoke reaction and screw with our minds. Second, it added to the perception that The Phantom Pain failed to show how Big Boss became the villain of the series - since this story wasn't about the real Big Boss at all.
     
    Both of these points of view, while having some merit, are mistaken. The "twist" was in fact a very subtle nod towards the player, because it is you, the player, who did all of the things that made the world think he was Big Boss. "You are Big Boss" was in fact a tacit, 4th wall-breaking congratulations from the Kojima team, rewarding the player for playing the game by affirming that it was their skill and effort that resulted in them becoming Big Boss.
     
    More importantly, from a plot perspective, it firmly establishes the real Big Boss' villainy: Because in the end Venom Snake was a victim of Big Boss. Venom Snake lost everything - his face, his love, and even his memories - all to serve the whims and wishes of another man. This is why Venom Snake, while initially smirking at Big Boss' affirmation, eventually comes to resent it before his final death in Outer Heaven.
     
    Now, those familiar with the series will probably complain that it didn't show how Big Boss went from being a hero to a villain. The problem, which relates to the "end of innocence" ending, is that most players don't realize that Big Boss had shown he was evil a long time ago: Namely way back in Metal Gear 3.
     
    At the end of that game, Big Boss defeats his mentor and love - the original Boss - and executes her in the field of white flowers.
     
    Compare and contrast this act to Solid Snake - who is considered by Kojima to be the real hero of the series, and who Big Boss declared as being the person who could have avoided all of the mistakes they had made in MGS4. Solid Snake, when faced with the opportunity to destroy Metal Gear, balked because he would also end up killing his friend Grey Fox. Even when commanded to by the player, Snake will repeatedly refuse and say he "can't do it". 
     
    And that really shows the difference in character between the two men. Big Boss is generally better-liked by the fandom (and even Kojima from a writing perspective) because he had a much more jovial personality than the grumpy and nihilistic Solid Snake. But when push came to shove, Big Boss pulled the trigger and killed his love and mentor. Solid Snake refused to do so when faced with the same situation. That is why Solid was always the hero, and Boss was always the villain.
     
    Venom Snake, the player-character in MGSV, does not have a defined morality - but many indications are that he is in fact a born out of a more heroic mold like Solid Snake. He showed mercy to Quiet resulting in their tragic love story. He refused to kill child soldiers. He refused to judge Huey and murder him outright. He took responsibility for his actions. Hence, Venom Snake (and hence the player) was playing the part of a truly good person sacrificed in the name of holding up the reputation of a bad one. It is this tragic irony that makes TPP have an ultimately satisfying ending.
  18. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Donward in The Everest Thread   
    More of based on a book written by a journalist (Krakauer) who was there during the disaster; which in itself apparently became pretty controversial in the mountaineering community because the author criticized one of the guides (Anatoli Boukreev).
     
    Essentially, Krakauer claimed the Boukreev turned tail and ran while his clients were still on the mountain. because Boukreev was trying to be macho and climbed without supplemental oxygen, leaving him too exhausted to help his clients. Boukreev's defenders point out that none of his clients actually died, he actually went up the mountain later and saved several people, and that he didn't use supplemental oxygen because the weight of the bottles would have tired him out.
     
    I think both sides are missing the simpler and inescapable fact that everyone was supposed to turn around and run (screaming like a little girl) back towards base camp by 2pm - whether they reached the summit or not - because they all knew days in advance that a massive storm was coming in. If they didn't turn back by 2pm, then they ran a very real chance of being caught in the said massive storm. Boukreev was thus criticized for being sane enough to try and get off the mountain before the storm hit, even though he stayed at the summit until after the deadline up to 2:30pm.
     
    Problem is, most members of the expedition WERE idiots who kept climbing to the summit way past the 2pm deadline, including the two lead guides who should have known better and should have told everyone to start running. Instead the two leads stayed until something like 4pm. Unsurprisingly, they both died along with several other people who stayed with them that high up when the storm hit. 
     
    But Hollywood tends to shy away from pointing the finger at two dead guys, especially when one of them managed to call his pregnant wife to say goodbye so the audience can cry their eyes out. Drama beats reckless idiocy in Hollywood every time.
  19. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Walter_Sobchak in China using civilian Ro-Ro barges for power projection.   
    For almost everything in the Southeast Asia region really. Ro-Ros are really common in Indonesia, the Philippines and other nearby countries because you can have them dock on pretty port rudimentary facilities - no need for a pier or a large crane. The Philippines and Indonesia use them so much because we have a huge number of islands and most of them can't support a proper port - with the Ro-ros generally carying both passengers and freight. It took us only about 2-3 years to setup a Ro-Ro network for most of our 7,000 islands for instance; when previously most of those relied exclusively on smaller wooden vessels.
     
    Problem is Ro-Ros are not really that seaworthy, and the article frankly misses the real story - which is that China in fact has pretty terrible sealift capability if it has to rely on civilian Ro-Ros and needs them ready for mass mobilization in case of war.  
     
    If you had actual military sealift capability you'd rely instead on LSTs - which operate in a similar manner to the civilian Ro-Ros with a large forward opening; but the LSTs are generally more seaworthy and they have the added advantage of being able to offload cargo on a beach without even a rudimentary dock (some beaches can also support Ro-ros directly, but not all).
     
    This is why the Philippine Navy still has an LST that literally saw action on D-day even though we're never going to do an amphibious landing. And that's because despite their age they're still more seaworthy (one - the Benguet - was a veteran of Operation Dragoon, suffered a grounding in 2004, and yet is still in service today) than most of the flimsy civilian ro-ros plus they can offload supplies in case the dock is destroyed by a disaster as was the case in Yolanda.
  20. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from LoooSeR in China using civilian Ro-Ro barges for power projection.   
    For almost everything in the Southeast Asia region really. Ro-Ros are really common in Indonesia, the Philippines and other nearby countries because you can have them dock on pretty port rudimentary facilities - no need for a pier or a large crane. The Philippines and Indonesia use them so much because we have a huge number of islands and most of them can't support a proper port - with the Ro-ros generally carying both passengers and freight. It took us only about 2-3 years to setup a Ro-Ro network for most of our 7,000 islands for instance; when previously most of those relied exclusively on smaller wooden vessels.
     
    Problem is Ro-Ros are not really that seaworthy, and the article frankly misses the real story - which is that China in fact has pretty terrible sealift capability if it has to rely on civilian Ro-Ros and needs them ready for mass mobilization in case of war.  
     
    If you had actual military sealift capability you'd rely instead on LSTs - which operate in a similar manner to the civilian Ro-Ros with a large forward opening; but the LSTs are generally more seaworthy and they have the added advantage of being able to offload cargo on a beach without even a rudimentary dock (some beaches can also support Ro-ros directly, but not all).
     
    This is why the Philippine Navy still has an LST that literally saw action on D-day even though we're never going to do an amphibious landing. And that's because despite their age they're still more seaworthy (one - the Benguet - was a veteran of Operation Dragoon, suffered a grounding in 2004, and yet is still in service today) than most of the flimsy civilian ro-ros plus they can offload supplies in case the dock is destroyed by a disaster as was the case in Yolanda.
  21. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Collimatrix in China using civilian Ro-Ro barges for power projection.   
    For almost everything in the Southeast Asia region really. Ro-Ros are really common in Indonesia, the Philippines and other nearby countries because you can have them dock on pretty port rudimentary facilities - no need for a pier or a large crane. The Philippines and Indonesia use them so much because we have a huge number of islands and most of them can't support a proper port - with the Ro-ros generally carying both passengers and freight. It took us only about 2-3 years to setup a Ro-Ro network for most of our 7,000 islands for instance; when previously most of those relied exclusively on smaller wooden vessels.
     
    Problem is Ro-Ros are not really that seaworthy, and the article frankly misses the real story - which is that China in fact has pretty terrible sealift capability if it has to rely on civilian Ro-Ros and needs them ready for mass mobilization in case of war.  
     
    If you had actual military sealift capability you'd rely instead on LSTs - which operate in a similar manner to the civilian Ro-Ros with a large forward opening; but the LSTs are generally more seaworthy and they have the added advantage of being able to offload cargo on a beach without even a rudimentary dock (some beaches can also support Ro-ros directly, but not all).
     
    This is why the Philippine Navy still has an LST that literally saw action on D-day even though we're never going to do an amphibious landing. And that's because despite their age they're still more seaworthy (one - the Benguet - was a veteran of Operation Dragoon, suffered a grounding in 2004, and yet is still in service today) than most of the flimsy civilian ro-ros plus they can offload supplies in case the dock is destroyed by a disaster as was the case in Yolanda.
  22. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Belesarius in China using civilian Ro-Ro barges for power projection.   
    For almost everything in the Southeast Asia region really. Ro-Ros are really common in Indonesia, the Philippines and other nearby countries because you can have them dock on pretty port rudimentary facilities - no need for a pier or a large crane. The Philippines and Indonesia use them so much because we have a huge number of islands and most of them can't support a proper port - with the Ro-ros generally carying both passengers and freight. It took us only about 2-3 years to setup a Ro-Ro network for most of our 7,000 islands for instance; when previously most of those relied exclusively on smaller wooden vessels.
     
    Problem is Ro-Ros are not really that seaworthy, and the article frankly misses the real story - which is that China in fact has pretty terrible sealift capability if it has to rely on civilian Ro-Ros and needs them ready for mass mobilization in case of war.  
     
    If you had actual military sealift capability you'd rely instead on LSTs - which operate in a similar manner to the civilian Ro-Ros with a large forward opening; but the LSTs are generally more seaworthy and they have the added advantage of being able to offload cargo on a beach without even a rudimentary dock (some beaches can also support Ro-ros directly, but not all).
     
    This is why the Philippine Navy still has an LST that literally saw action on D-day even though we're never going to do an amphibious landing. And that's because despite their age they're still more seaworthy (one - the Benguet - was a veteran of Operation Dragoon, suffered a grounding in 2004, and yet is still in service today) than most of the flimsy civilian ro-ros plus they can offload supplies in case the dock is destroyed by a disaster as was the case in Yolanda.
  23. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Donward in Food and Putting it in Our Faces   
    Fish head Filipino-stye requires a sour base to counteract the oil. This is also why Singaporean fish-head has a red curry base, while Chinese has a salty soy-based sauce.
     
    I'm guessing you can't find tamarind in Alaska, as that's the traditional souring agent.
     
    Also, the best Filpino dish isn't fish head. It's chopped pork face:
     
    https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8025/7898043890_7034e91deb_b.jpg
     
    ========
     
    Oh, and until Guy Fierri suffers a heartattack, America is going to have to endure terribly-cooked over-complicated food that's based on gimmicks rather than solid, fundamental cooking.
     
    Actually, scratch that and until all Guy Fierri-style shows suffer horrible ends you're going to end up screwed. The difference between Masterchef America and Australia in particular is like night and day. Masterchef America is about making drama out of cooking food. Masterchef Australia shockingly enough is simply about cooking food.
  24. Tank You
    Zinegata got a reaction from Belesarius in World of Warships THRED   
    I have my New York. Having six gun turrets is so liberating.
     
    And then I proceeded to completely misuse my new battleship by joining a full-scale charge up the middle of Two Brothers. As in every battleship went up the slot. 
     
    The enemy team (who had a carrier for scouting), staring unbelieving at the spectacle of 7 battleships and a couple of cruisers and destroyers charging up the slot, actually bothered to message us if we were seriously about to commit mass suicide. 
     
    We charged anyway. And died one by one gloriously. A few managed to sink an enemy battleship before going down. One sank an enemy and then proceeded to ram another before going down. My Captain's last words, in between my giggling, was "It's a trap!"
     
    Clearly, it's time to bring out young Christian Bale singing:
     

     
    As a final comedic touch, the only person in my team to argue against the mad charge - a Cleveland driver - then proceeded to flank the enemy fleet and sank four ships solo before going down. Apparently, the enemy was laughing so hard that they had trouble hitting him while he mumbled "Idiots" over and over under his breath.
  25. Tank You
    Zinegata reacted to Walter_Sobchak in Are IFVs A Good Idea?   
    Ask and you shall receive.  I have created a fire support variant of the Bradley equipped with a 105mm howitzer.  Behold!
     

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