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karl0ssus1

21st Century Battleships

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Alpha Tester
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The general wisdom doing the rounds is that the age of the Battleship is over, and in fact was over long before they stopped making them. BBs were killed by the air launched bomb/torpedo, and then doubly killed by the guided missile. However, during the last 50 years, we've spent trillions of dollars working on technologies designed to counter and supersede those weapons. And in the last 5 years, the world (and the USN in particular) has started to roll out technology that could eventually lead to a gun armed surface combatant in the BB weight class. 

 

First up, lets take a look at the dakka, because all real boats need dakka.

The BAE Systems Railgun may be a smaller scale demo of what is basically a sci-fi weapon, and perhaps it wont come to fruition, but on the other hand it actually ****ing works! We could be seeing the full size variant within 20 years given the rate theyve been developing it. 

 

So theres the main cannon. But big ships need lots of guns, its not just about the main rifles, you also need smaller weapons to engage smaller targets like drugged up crazy people in RHIBs. Or actual serious threats like drone aircraft and cruise missiles. This one actually already exists and has been deployed for tests, thereby proving we live in the future: meet the USN LaWS.

 

And of course theres still the R2D2s for extreme close range work, look up CIWS if youve never heard of them.

 

A bonus feature of these new systems is that their ammunition is either non-existent, or inert, so less magazine space is required and magazines stop being massive powder kegs. Less space required means you can devote more of your internal volume to other stuff, like adding even more armor to the missile storage (Im assuming we still want missiles even in the sci-fi future navy).

 

So that covers the offensive armament of the near future. What about defensive systems? This is still a kinda sticking point, armor plate hasnt really developed all that far. The advances in tank armor for example arent really applicable, because the sorts of violence a warship is expected to deal out are on a completely different scale. Cruise missiles with 100s of kilos of explosives, or even nuclear weapons dont really care too much about your fancy Chobham armor designed to stop man portable rockets and 120mm kinetic rounds. Defense through sheer armor thickness isnt really so much of an option.

 

Aside from shooting down incoming trouble with fricken lasers, we probably want some other form of trying to stop incoming fire from hitting a ship. Building for stealth characteristics will help against some forms of guided weapon, but again BAE have decided that the present is not sci-fi enough and that they need to build invisibility cloaks. For a given level of invisible anyway.

 

So yes, that is a tank theyre using it on, but the same principle could be applied to a ship as well. At the very least youd be able to make the thing harder to spot, or give it the profile of another vessel in the IR spectrum.

 

Slightly more active measures might include a variant of a trophy system, although that feels kinda redundant because there are already lazors and gatling guns on board that are supposed to try shoot incoming missiles down. As for incoming railgun rounds... well thats a bit tricky. Although... Kinetic warheads actually do more damage if you try to resist them, because physics. Given their extreme flight profiles, it might be easier to just lightly armor most of the ship and let the rounds pass straight through. Not a comfortable thought if youre a sailor though.

 

So what might a ship with lazors and railguns and a thermal Klingon cloaking shield look like? The USN Zumwalt is one design avenue, that is actually being built with an eye towards upgrading with several of these toys as they become available. However that project has been fraught with cost overruns, and long term may be a developmental dead end. If stealth characteristics dont float your boat, then it could conceivably wind up looking a lot like a larger version of the modern DDG/CG with a few extra gun positions. A big issue with many of the sci-fi gadgets is their extremely high power draw. The full scale railguns BAE are developing towards will fire a 30MJ round, charging and firing 3 of these on a 10 second cycle would use 9MW, which is not an insignificant percentage of even a Nuclear Reactors power output. Add in power draw for lasers (more power is better, the current one is a baby compared to the several hundred kilowatt ones planned) and suddenly your ship is expending 10-20% of its total reactor output on weapons, while still trying to propel the vessel forwards, and run all the other combat and essential systems. And Nuclear Reactors require fairly large volumes, so our potential sci-fi ship is going to be on a similar scale to the Kirov class Battlecruisers. 

 

So what do you guys think? Is there some small shred of possibility for a large gun armed naval combatant in the near future? Dare we even dream that it will be big enough to get called a battleship? Or are Naval aviation and the guided missile still capable of preventing anything like this ever becoming a reality. 

Edited by karl0ssus1

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Beta Tester
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Oh Boy, I wonder when is a game where I can Customize a Iowa and Convert it into a Modern Battleship.

 

Imagine, Remove Main Turret 3 and put a MK41 on it and put even more CIWS on it. I am getting excited :trollface:

 

But back to topic - I don't see any "Big Guns" returning anytime soon:

 

- $$$ and not very efficient - every BB need like thousands of man to serve on yet no matter how good it is designed it's effectiveness is still just equal if not worst than a CV.

- The Zumwalt (DDG-1000) can do everything a BB can do basically. Fire support, AA ability, Long Range Artillery (Rocket Propelled shells)

- Lack of Stealthy-ness - It's like the essential part of any ship design now. You can't hide a 60 thousand tons ship so easily while still keeping the capability of a Battleship :unsure:

Edited by Alvin1020

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Senior Moderator
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Personally I doubt the BB will return.

More likely the hybrid ships like the Australian Canberra Class and Japanese Izumo Class LHDs getting fitted with these sort of systems for "self defence" (lol).

With the two main roles for naval forces being protection of shipping lanes and support for landings, the days of highly specialised platforms are dwindling.

It is more likely that future vessels will be hybrids, capable of being set for a variety of roles, either through modularity (USN LCS) or fitted out completely with the diverse options.

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Alpha Tester
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HOLY SHIT, that active camo.

 

Kinda like the one from the tactical espionage action game on PS3.

 

Wonder will they make one that blends in with the surrounding rather than just thermal.

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Alpha Tester
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I think perhaps the title was poorly thought out. What Im imagining here is not a really like the battleships of yore, but a large surface vessel more comparable to a Kirov class with guns. Still the same capabilities as a modern DDG/CG, but greater operational range and firepower. By the older measures (Washington Naval treaty) something of that tonnage would be a battleship in all but gun caliber.

 

And Alvin, you might want to look at the actual capabilities and costs of the Zumwalt class. Construction has already been slashed to 3 units, and most of the systems remain unfinished. The USN tried to get too much out of a single platform there, incorporating pretty much everything off their wishlist, and upgrade space for everything on the next 20 years wishlists. As for stealth... is active camoflage not enough for you? Its worth noting that surface radar is limited by the horizon, and airborne radar has to deal with certain surface effects that degrade its performance, as well as avoid any naval aviation that happens to be operating in the area. Stealth probably isnt really as important to warship design as you might imagine.

Edited by karl0ssus1

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Alpha Tester
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HOLY SHIT, that active camo.

 

Kinda like the one from the tactical espionage action game on PS3.

 

Wonder will they make one that blends in with the surrounding rather than just thermal.

 

Not much point in turning a warship invisiable in the visible spectrum. Its not used by autonomous targeting systems, so spoofing it wont really help defend a ship (tanks are another story). IR and Microwave band camouflage are where the effort is being put in because those are used by guided weapons. And because theyre a bit easier to make. 

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Alpha Tester
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Not much point in turning a warship invisiable in the visible spectrum. Its not used by autonomous targeting systems, so spoofing it wont really help defend a ship (tanks are another story). IR and Microwave band camouflage are where the effort is being put in because those are used by guided weapons. And because theyre a bit easier to make. 

 

Its not feasible for  a large ship but for ground vehicles or even human, It could really work.

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Alpha Tester
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Its not feasible for  a large ship but for ground vehicles or even human, It could really work.

 

Its more about range of engagement. People and vehicles shoot at each other within visual range, ships shoot at each other from as far away as possible.

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Member
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RECOM them Iowas, lol

Fat chance, good if they do, I want to see them in commision again

and fit them with these weaps

anyways, nice read +1 for u

Edited by Conkhead_12

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[SIF]
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Surface radar is not limited to the horizon,but its effectiveness is limited by the earths curvature.

 

Warship horizon is around 12 NM, whilst radar horizon can be out to 32nm. And some times it gets freaky, I have tracked a 12m maxi yacht at 120nm off San Diago.

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Alpha Tester
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Surface radar is not limited to the horizon,but its effectiveness is limited by the earths curvature.

 

Warship horizon is around 12 NM, whilst radar horizon can be out to 32nm. And some times it gets freaky, I have tracked a 12m maxi yacht at 120nm off San Diago.

 

Ionospheric reflection causes that, Id imagine it probably makes the return a bit fuzzy though, as there are some variables in there that you cant easily measure. Didnt know about the radar being able to see beyond the earths curvature, must be some sort of refraction effect.

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[SIF]
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couple of places on the earth were conditions are just right to do RADAR freaky stuff. There was a place in South East Asia that, after a weather event, bent the RADAR Wave in such a way that you had a blind spot from 1nm out to 10 nm, just plain freaky. But enough of this....

 

Go the Rail Gun

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Alpha Tester
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Until they found Huge Range Laser Cannon or Massive Rail Gun, I doubt Battleship will be built in anyway

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Super Tester
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HOLY SHIT, that active camo.

 

Kinda like the one from the tactical espionage action game on PS3.

 

Wonder will they make one that blends in with the surrounding rather than just thermal.

 

psssst~ watch your language~ :D

 

anyways..

 

I would be surprised if Japan wanted to resurrect Yamato just for historical purposes (or for future War time purposes) then add some modern weaponry and all~ it would be an awesome sight to see~ :great: 

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Member
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Go watch "zipang" manga, you will know why battleship guns are out dated, the battle has evolved from two dimensions to three (surface vs surface/ surface vs surface + air)

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Senior Moderator
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propagation of radio waves = 4/3rds earth

couple of places on the earth were conditions are just right to do RADAR freaky stuff. There was a place in South East Asia that, after a weather event, bent the RADAR Wave in such a way that you had a blind spot from 1nm out to 10 nm, just plain freaky. But enough of this....

 

Go the Rail Gun

 

Try ducting a frequency that just should not reach from Canberra through to the Persian Gulf lol

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Member
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I don't think the railgun-battleships would be remotly similar to WWII battleships. WWII battleships were designed to be a mobile fortress with heavy armor protecting big guns and powder kegs, but that wouldn't be true for railgun-battleships. Although railguns are likely to require a big space for generators, their ammunition can be inert slugs, and AFAIK it's currently implausible to build a ship so heavily armored that it stops railgun projectiles or active defense systems that can shot down such. 

 

However, there's still a way to counter, that is, to build these ships with very small silhouette that horizontal shells would likely miss, and only the guns stick out for firing. They would essentially be monitors in principle, not dreadnaughts.

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Beta Tester
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Oh Boy, I wonder when is a game where I can Customize a Iowa and Convert it into a Modern Battleship.

 

Imagine, Remove Main Turret 3 and put a MK41 on it and put even more CIWS on it. I am getting excited :trollface:

 

But back to topic - I don't see any "Big Guns" returning anytime soon:

 

- $$$ and not very efficient - every BB need like thousands of man to serve on yet no matter how good it is designed it's effectiveness is still just equal if not worst than a CV.

- The Zumwalt (DDG-1000) can do everything a BB can do basically. Fire support, AA ability, Long Range Artillery (Rocket Propelled shells)

- Lack of Stealthy-ness - It's like the essential part of any ship design now. You can't hide a 60 thousand tons ship so easily while still keeping the capability of a Battleship :unsure:

If they bought back the idea of a Battleship with today's technology I am pretty sure that they would not need that many men as much as they did in WW2

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Alpha Tester
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i can only think the Kirov Battlecruiser

and she is a big Missile Cruiser

 

The Necromancy in this one is Sooo damn powerful

Edited by Harpoon01

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