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Subject: USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust
Heorot    12/29/2005 3:43:24 PM
A sad day but apparently a boost to the DD(X). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/20/AR2005122001445.html
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Yimmy   1/3/2006 1:35:26 AM
Getting under (not beyond) the 1950's vintage radars of the Type 42 destroyer circa 1982 (especially the enormous sidelobes of the Type 965) in the heaving South Atlantic isn't terribly hard. Besides, Super Etendard's tiny, crappy little Agave can't compete in range with Type 965. They had to get in low and close. Again, this shouldn't be a problem since these pilots got to practice on nearly identical Type 42's in their own back yard. OTOH it is true that at least one of the two aircraft was picked up on radar briefly by Sheffield when it popped up to get a target fix, then dove back under the radar, but not long enough to get a track, or even determine if it was friendly, hostile or a ghost, let alone shoot at it. ?I do not believe you have enough evidence accumulated to say outright that longer ranges result in less missile hits,..? Sure I do. It?s called the combat history of the 1980-88 Gulf war, the Falkland?s conflict, the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the USN withdrawal of TASM... ?...especially given that the terminal guidance of the missile is the same at any range (or perhaps you are assuming the power supply to the missile sensor runs out?).? That?s not the point at all. What do we know about a target at close range, say within the horizon? Quite a bit, right? Course, speed, probably what type. We can track it on surface search radar, maybe even the TI set, electro-optical sensors, fire control radar, ESM, heck, maybe even the sonar. What happens if the target is beyond the horizon? What if its really beyond the horizon, say 60, 70, 100 km away? Your certainly not holding the target on any shipboard sensors. How do you know where the target is? ESM? That?s not going to be too precise. Datalink? Great. Where is that data coming from and how old is it? Passing aicraft? Wonderful. You know where it was, but you don?t know where it is or where its going with any degree of precision. Meanwhile the target is moving, changing course, mixing in with other surface traffic, launching decoys, shooting back... I mentioned TASM. It had a pretty big warhead - twice the size of Harpoon?s - and a very long range of 250 nm. But it could take up to a half hour for the weapon to reach maximum range. How far has the target moved in that time? In what direction? How many other ships have moved into the same area in that time that you don?t want to hit? Let?s say we are shooting Exocet from a surface ship. It takes a minute just to warm the missile up for firing, probably another minute to set the fire control solution, a few more minutes after launch to reach the target area. You don?t want to turn the missile seeker on too early or else the bad guys will see the missile long before the missile sees them. But you don?t want to turn it on too late either because the seeker is small and disposable (not too sophisticated), so has limited range and a very small field of view. If your just a few degrees off in the bearing you sent the missile down, it has virtually no chance at all. Especially if the target employs countermeasures or is hard to detect in its own right. There are ways to reduce the errors of course. Otomat Mk II has the capability for mid-course updates via a datalink with a helicopter which would (hopefully) be positioned between the target and the firing ship. This improves things but its far from perfect. The Russians tried to minimize the problem by various combinations of extremely high speed in the missile (Mach 3+), nuclear warheads, Bear D and RORSAT uplinks and so on - all hugely expensive. The USN relied on NTDS data filtered through massive shore-based command and control centers to keep TASM supplied with target data. Again hugely expensive and requiring a degree of cooperation from target and non-targets alike. Aircraft launch platforms can fare better because they can cover a lot of ground in a short span of time and usually there is more than one around so that more area can be searched or one can acquire target data for a shooter. Still, Argentina wasted 3 of her total inventory of 5 AM.39's on shots at extended range where only the most basic target data was acquired before launch (a quick radar sweep at extreme range). Even one of the two missiles that was successful missed its intended target.
 
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Arbalest    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/3/2006 3:53:33 AM
You seem to be missing my points. I think that they are clearly stated, but let me try one or two again. First, your paraphrase of "... warhead is ASSUMED to be a contributor ..." shows that you did not understand my point. My statement "The large warhead is the one thing that can be counted on." from a few posts back is clear, and does not include the word "assume" or any conjugate. Assumption is implied, but it is on the part of the launching force. The side that launches the missile can reasonably assume, due to doctrine, training, and the missile?s design, that the warhead is the primary kill mechanism, and will function. The published warhead sizes, and your sources, confirm this. That several of the Exocets in the Falklands were duds can be attributed to manufacturing problems, first operational use, or a host of other things. It seems unlikely that this level of failure will be repeated. We?ve been over the Sheffield and Stark. Had the Sheffield internal doors been functional ..., had the Exocet detonated ... Admittedly, these are probabilistic statements, but it is also true that the various experts have reason to sanitize certain parts of the public damage reports. The Falklands War was quite political. The Stark was able to successfully contain the damage from the one explosion and subsequent fire. I notice no mention of the internal doors being unable to close; the lessons of the Sheffield appear to have been learned and implemented. Recall that the experts that you quote about "... the damage done by the missile on its own without the warhead can make the detonation of it almost redundant." are using a concrete block as a basis, not the missile body. A recurring point is that the quotes you provide do not really support your conclusions, because they do not say what you seem to think they say. It seems self evident-that 100+kg of explosive is more than sufficient to light any remaining liquid fuel. Theoretically, one lit match would be sufficient. Better yet, 10 or 15 common automotive flares, lit 60 or so seconds before impact (while it can still be reliably done), or perhaps 5 or 10 RPG projectiles with time fuses. This would provide more liquid fuel, and possibly a fuel-air explosion. But AShMs are not designed this way. The various sectionals, drawings, descriptions, etc., available on-line, in books, magazines, etc., of modern AShMs (Exocet, Harpoon, Sunburn, etc.) do not support your contentions about the fuel being the primary kill mechanism It seems, then, that we simply disagree. To briefly address the doctrine issue, Galrahn?s points are well taken. The response, then, is to keep the range as open as possible and monitor everything at all times. Hence the long range of Standard Missile, deployment AWACS, CBG composition, etc., to destroy potential threats, force others to attack from less than ideal conditions, give commanders as much reaction time as possible, etc. Nothing new here. Having looked at your latest post for only a few minutes, I will point out that your "... maximum range with effective range ..." argument from a previous post is better applied to projectiles than missiles. Target behavior (evasion, sufficient chaff, ECM, decoys, etc.) could conceivably reduce a missile?s effective range to zero. A target failing to detect an incoming missile could mean a kill from max range. Adding target behavior, detection probabilities, etc., adds many variables that are external to the missile design and function. This is a different situation and question. That you have spent the last 8-9 years on other boards talking to experts is commendable. It is unlikely that they have divulged anything not already in the public domain, and you do not have an exclusive on public domain information.
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/3/2006 10:37:43 AM
Yes it is assumed (by the designers) that the warhead is the primary kill mechanism. That is why its there. EXPERIENCE, on the other hand has shown that detonation of the warhead, particularly on the typical western 7-800kg class weapons may make little overall impact on the total damage done to the target. The damage done by the fires started by the unburned fuel in the missile end up exceeding the damage done initially by warhead detonation. Exocet had a problem for years with warheads that would fail to detonate, a problem that has since allegedly been solved. HMS Sheffield succumbed anyway - detonation of the warhead was not essential. The impact alone, fed by unused missile fuel caused sufficient damage to burn the ship out to a hulk. If you are referring to the 3 Falkland's misses as malfunctions, you are incorrect. Those weapons did not malfunction, they failed to detect, lock on to and engage a target due to the circumstances under which they were fired - excessive range compounded by poor target data. The intended targets were not where they were supposed to be by the time the missiles arrived, causing them to miss, run out of fuel, and crash harmlessly in the ocean. As for Stark, bulkheads are bulkheads and doors are doors. They can be damaged by impact, shock etc. It's been that way since the first all-metal ship. There is only so much that can be done, and its not as if Sheffield was the first warship ever hit by an enemy weapon. Your ASSUMPTION that the Stark design must have benefitted from the experience of Sheffield because I didn't provide any details on bulkhead door damage is of course put paid by the fact the FFG-7 design is at least as old as the Type 42. Therefore there are no major structural changes that could have been incorporated in the FFG-7 as a result of events in 1982! Now if you would like a more detailed account of all the damage done Stark I'm sure I could dig it up. But damage to individual bulkhead doors on Stark (which almost certainly occurred) was not my point. Clearly the fires spread from the initial point of impact. If all the doors were intact and closed, how did that happen? Now on to test missiles with dummy warheads. The concrete slug simulates the mass of the warhead. Everything else is identical to a live, fully functional weapon. Therefore the concrete slab acts just like Exocet's infamously non-exploding warheads. The effects on the target using concrete filler instead of the warhead are identical to those of a missile whose warhead did not detonate. Remember, the missile motor is aleady lit and even if it were not, the impact by itself is enough to cause any remaining fuel to burn - no warhead is needed for combustion. Therefore, my points are absolutely, 1,000,000% valid about the destructive effects of the missile, on its own, with no help from the warhead. Missile fragments can tear many holes through structure and bulkheads, burning missile fuel spreading into those vented areas causes major fires that can take hours to extinquish, if they can be fought effectively at all. Sheffield was hampered by her broken unified fire main. Stark did not have that same issue but still burned for hours, the fire even returning at one point when they thought it was out. When the missile hits, the unused fuel keeps burning. Particularly on rocket propelled weapons weapons where the fuel contains its own oxidizer. If this were not true, Sheffield would not have burned out and this conversation would be over already. Ships hit by bombs (no fuel) tend not to burn out the way ships hit with missiles do. The big difference is the fuel. Think about what sort of damage was done to RN ships in the Falkland's that were hit by bombs that did not explode. Did any of them burn out because of those hits? What's the missing ingredient? Do the designs of Exocet/Harpoon/Otomat etc take into account the lethal effects of fires generated from unburned fuel. Of course the hell not! Remember what Friedman said about this effect being UNEXPECTED? Every one of those weapons were designed in the 1960's or early 70's - DECADES before that effect was understood, at least in the west! Context man, context. EVERY NAVAL EXPERT IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE AGREEES ON THE LETHAL EFFECTS OF FIRE FROM MISSILE FUEL. Please consult them if you don't believe me because I am done with this already! Clearly I lack either the capacity or the authority to drive the point home. I've given you plenty of reputable sources, you have given nothing conclusive in return other than your opinion and some rather strange interpretations of the information provided. I can only beat in these simple, obvious points backed up by ACTUAL COMBAT EXPERIENCE so many times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Same thing with firing anti-ship missiles at extended ranges, especially from ships. EVERY SINGLE NAVAL EXPERT IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE AGREES that accuracy will go down with increase
 
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Yimmy    RE:Re: Yimmy   1/3/2006 10:47:33 AM
"Getting under (not beyond) the 1950's vintage radars of the Type 42 destroyer circa 1982" I wasn't aware a ship entering service in the 70's had radars from the 50's? Or are you exagerating to try and back up your point? "Sure I do. It?s called the combat history of the 1980-88 Gulf war, the Falkland?s conflict, the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the USN withdrawal of TASM..." Sorry, but that isn't evidence supporting your opinion. You have manipulated those occurances to come to conclusions which work for you. There isn't even any firm eividence that says the missile launched at the Sheffield was fired from close range, for instance. The rest of your post was garbage, so I won't bother to quote from it. Quite frankly, I think you have completely missed the point that Exocet is a fire and forget missile. It does not matter how far away the target ship is - all the aircraft radar need to is give its heading and speed, so that the pilot can fire the missile down the proper bearing. The terminal guidance on the missile will only activate when the misile beliees it is near its target.
 
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Galrahn    RE:Re: Yimmy   1/3/2006 11:10:59 AM
Just looking at some of the general details, I think it is a very difficult arguement to make that somehow modern missiles and bombs would be less effective than WWII vintage bombs in sinking a Battleship. It just seems to me very unlikely it would somehow be 'more' difficult to sink a battleship today than in the past. Battleships today are less able to deal with threats (defensively speaking) than they were in thier day (WWII). In that period, Battleships had as much if not more Anti-Air defense capability than any other ship in the fleet during that time, where today they would be limited to basically 12000 rounds of CIWS distributed to 4 platforms against guided munitions able to adjust targetting track. Thick armor or not, Battleships weren't immune by any means in WWII, and would be less today against shaped charges and guided munitions. Would they be able to take more hits than a typical surface ship in the US Navy? Yes. They would also be less defensive than the typical surface ship in the US Navy, making them more vulnerable, thus a larger liability with even a scaled down crew of over 1100.
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Yimmy   1/3/2006 1:03:50 PM
No exaggeration. Type's 992 and Type's 965 were already on the verge of obsolescence when the Type 42 destroyers were designed around 1970. Type 965 was a contemporary to the U.S. SPS-6 - the first USN post-war air search set. By 1982 these radars were downright quaint. Because of limited budgets the Type 42's had to suffer with a radar fit not unlike that of their predecessors, the County's, until the mid-1980's when Types 996 and 1022 became available. The inability of the Type 42's ancient radars to deal with low-altitude targets - exacerbated by sea conditions in the South Atlantic - is what led to the pairing of the Type 42's with the Type 22's which had a very effective modern low-atlitude target indication set, the Type 967/968 pusle-doppler set with good clutter rejection capabilities. Type 909 - the Sea Dart fire control radar also had severe reliability issues, not currected for several years with the improved Type 909I. If you want confirmation of the firing range of the missile that hit HMS Sheffield, I belive I provided the quote earlier, from Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings. 6 miles. The rest of my post was not garbage to anyone who actually studies this stuff. If your are correct in your assessment, that means that the United States, Soviet Union and Italy needlessly wasted untold billions of dollars to overcome a problem that doesn't exist. That seems unlikely. Distance to target can make a huge difference, even for an air-launched weapon. You are correct, Exocet is a fire and forget weapon, fired down the bearing at the other end of which one hopes the target will be. The missile itself has a short-ranged seeker with a narrow field of view. To remain undetected the seeker will not turn on until the missile is close to where the target was detected. We are agreed in this so far, yes? Then waht if, when the missile arrives in that area, the target is no longer within the limited field of view of the seeker, either due to target movement or firing solution errors? Let's add another variable What if, by the time the missile arrives, there are now multiple ships within it's field of view. In either case, now you've got a problem. Either the missile falls into the ocean when it runs out of gas, or like the cases of Atlantic Conveyor and Venus Challenger it may hit an unintended target. At longer ranges targeting becomes less precise. The target may not be held in the launch platforms own sensors, or the target data may be rudimentary - based on a single radar sweep for example or a rough bearing based on ESM data. This introduces more possibility for error at the fire control side. The target will likely not be terribly cooperative and actually move between the time the launch platform detects it, works up a firing solution, sends instructions to the missile, fires the missile and the missile arrives in the target area. The greater the distance, the longer it takes the missile to arrive at its destination, the farther out of that area the target can move. Any errors made in locating the target initially will compound the problem. You could turn on the missiles own seeker earlier, so it can cover a wider area before it reaches the expected target destination. That will increase the chance of a succesful engagement, but it also increases the risk the missile will be detected and either decoyed, evaded or destroyed. In the 1971 war Indian Osa missile boats would fire P-15's at maximum possible range - and would hit all sorts of things they didn't intend. For example, during the attack on the destroyer Khaibar the cargo ship Venus Challenger was also hit by a missile aimed at the destroyer. During the naval engagements of the 1973 war the Isreali's provoked the Egyptian and Syrian boats into firing their P-15 missiles at close to maximum range - resulting in ZERO hits. The Israeli's then closed the distance and opened fire with the semi-active homing (line-of-sight) Gabriel and decimated the Arab flottila's. Theoretically, the Arab missile boats, with their much longer ranged fire and forget weapons should have had the advantage, but they didn't. In the Falkland's the Exocet aimed at the frigate Ambuscade ended up striking the container ship Atlantic Conveyor instead and the other missile missed entirely. Both were fired from fairly long range with the firing aircraft making only the most brief attempts and target identification, unlike the attack on Sheffield where target data was quite good.
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Galrahn   1/3/2006 1:07:35 PM
Precisely. The Iowa's only real defense against air attack today is its size. The armour scheme is either overmatched or avoided by many modern weapons. In that respect things are little different than 1943 when battleships proved plenty vulnerable to air attack. The Iowa's, due to the limitations of thier own offensive weapons, high signatures, and limited soft and hard-kill capabilities are far more likely to be hit in an air attack than any other USN surface combattant. Not being hit is always best.
 
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Arbalest    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/3/2006 4:15:02 PM
"Context man, context." First, as evident from my posts, I take all sources, yours in particular in this case, at their written meaning, intent and context. I also analyze them. Your statement "Yes it is assumed (by the designers) that the warhead is the primary kill mechanism." confirms this, as you have made an about-face from your earlier contention about the purpose of the missile warhead. To be clear, the designers design the weapon, and implicitly assume that it will work as designed (and eventually get it right); the users assume that the weapon will work, and usually in the specified manner. Second, by my use of the word "dud" I clearly refer to the Exocets that hit and failed to explode. The Exocets that missed are rather clearly a different event. Third, you seem to be mixing the behavior effect of solid rocket propellant and liquid propellant. Solid propellant will not drip or seep through cracks. It is not nearly as easy to ignite as kerosene, and it will burn; fuel vapor or mist (kerosene, etc.) may explode. Seeping kerosene can spread fire, and if not already burning, can easily ignite later if exposed to a satisfactory source. Once solid propellant ignites, it usually burns completely. But this is an event of minutes (1 minute, 15 minutes, etc.), not hours or days. That the Stark had continuing fire problems, points to other liquids/materials on the ship catching fire, not the SOLID fuel from the Exocet. Fourth, you seem to ignore the fact, which your sources tell you, that neither the Sheffield nor the Stark were prepared for attacks. In both cases, doors were open before the missile strike, making initial blast and fire containment more difficult. Do your sources need to explicitly say so for you to realize this? In the case of the Sheffield, many doors could not be closed satisfactorily, making containment of the fire (which might have been manageable, at least initially) impossible. The fire was started by the still-burning rocket motor, but the motor was burned out within what, 15 minutes or so? Other materials burned over the next 3 days. Your statement "Your ASSUMPTION that the Stark design ..." neglects the several years between the Sheffield and the Stark events. The Stark, as designed, may have been no better than the Sheffield, but after the Sheffield results were examined, and lessons learned, the Stark, and every other US and UK warship, was likely much better prepared. As for your most recent posting "The Iowa's only real defense ...", your statement fragment, "The armour scheme is either overmatched ..." has been shown to be incorrect. But continuing seems pointless, as you continuously misunderstand, misconstrue or fail to analyze the intent, context and wording of sources and postings.
 
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fitz    RE:Re: Arbalest   1/3/2006 5:41:36 PM
Trust me, I know you analyze them. You over-analyze them and read things into them that are not there. You keep chopping at trees as you try to tear apart minor details for hidden (non-existant) meanings without EVER getting the broader picture. Like this nonsense about the warhead for example. My ADMISSION that the warhead of a 7-800kg class anti-ship missile was INTENDED by the DESINGERS of the weapon to be the primary kill weapon IN NO WAY is contradictory with the evidence, discovered after the weapons were designed, that secondary effects from the missile could make the warheads contribution to overall damage largely irrelevant. It's called unintended or unforseen consequences. Why can't you figure out that timeline? Your debating this as if the experience of the weapons in use came before thier design! I also think I made it quite clear, that missile fuel is not the ONLy SOURCE OF FLAMMABLE material! The things that keep burning are in the ship, but something has to get them going. A warhead explosion alone won't guarantee that. Ships hit by bombs or missiles frequently don't burn. Ships hit by missiles ALWAYS burn, whether or not the warhead functions properly. "Fourth, you seem to ignore the fact, which your sources tell you, that neither the Sheffield nor the Stark were prepared for attacks. In both cases, doors were open before the missile strike, making initial blast and fire containment more difficult. Do your sources need to explicitly say so for you to realize this?" Absolutely freakin false!!! HMS Sheffield was at full action stations with watertight doors closed. This is why the death toll was relatively small. Men were at action stations, not in the mess or in thier bunks. USS Stark was at Condition 3 with 1/3 of her weapon and defensive systems fully manned and ready for action. She was in fact, actively hunting for mines at the time of her attack and fully capable of responding to the attack. That she didn't cost her Captain his career. Your statement "Your ASSUMPTION that the Stark design ..." neglects the several years between the Sheffield and the Stark events. The Stark, as designed, may have been no better than the Sheffield, but after the Sheffield results were examined, and lessons learned, the Stark, and every other US and UK warship, was likely much better prepared. Great, whre's the evidence for this? How many of the FFG-7 class were taken in, completely guttted, and fitted with new, fictional bulkheads that don't buckle under shock and pressure and whose watertight doors never fail? Whre is your evidence that these alleged changes prevented Stark's loss? In what fiscal years were these changes budgeted for and how much did they cost? When did Stark go into the yard and which yard did the work? What? You've got nothing? I thought so. Every time I post something, and back it up with hard evidence from reputable sources you come back with "I don't think so" and scant else. Do you have anything other than uninformed opinion about any of this or do we have to keep going around and around in circles? Frankly it's starting to get on my nerve's. "As for your most recent posting "The Iowa's only real defense ...", your statement fragment, "The armour scheme is either overmatched ..." has been shown to be incorrect." When? By whom?
 
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Yimmy    RE:Re:fitz   1/3/2006 6:30:36 PM
"Then waht if, when the missile arrives in that area, the target is no longer within the limited field of view of the seeker, either due to target movement or firing solution errors" That part of your post I completely agree with. However we are talking about missile accuracy remember, not whether the missile has a target found or not. The reason missiles such as Exocet can miss their intended target, but strike a second, is due to their being supposed to do that. Their seeker heads automatically home into the largets target they see, in the hope of skipping a picket ship and hitting a cargo ship or carrier etc.
 
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