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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:34 pm 
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I suspect if the command spaces had gotten the nod over the 16" guns, once some politicians found out they couldn't be used, the money would have to active the guns.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:46 pm 
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How much was actually needed to rehab the guns?

I mean, is it something that required dockyard work, or was it disassembly/cleaning/lubrication/reassembly that could mostly have been done underway? Assign a 50 sailor crew with a Chief and a few POs to do it in the first year or so while in service.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:56 pm 
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KDahm wrote:
How much was actually needed to rehab the guns?

I mean, is it something that required dockyard work, or was it disassembly/cleaning/lubrication/reassembly that could mostly have been done underway? Assign a 50 sailor crew with a Chief and a few POs to do it in the first year or so while in service.


It was a dockyard job even though the guns wouldn't technically be removed. they had to be dismantled, cleaned etc seals replaced, all the wiring in the turrets had to go. AFAIR, it was a lot of work even though none of it was particularly complex.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:12 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Nightwatch2 wrote:
Agree except for the guns comment. They were very effective when paired with the RPV for shore bombardment. In the Gulf War they tied down and then took out 4 Iraqi divisions.
This is true of course. However, when the rebuild was being formulated, the cost constraint overrode everything else. the job had to be done under the cost of a new FFG-7 or they wouldn't be funded at all. Essentially, anything that required major structural changes was unaffordable.

It should be pointed out once again that the value of gun-fired ordnance has not yet been rigorously evaluated in the context of what role it might play in a future war at sea, either for purposes of supporting land forces operations which have a seaward flank, for standoff land attack in power projection operations, for supporting brownwater-greenwater littoral operations, or for supporting bluewater operations against a peer naval adversary as an anti-ship weapon.

This is so whether the gun-fired ordnance is launched by an electromagnetic railgun or whether it is launched by a system based on chemical propellants.

A similar situation exists with VLS-launched ordnance types if we look at non-nuclear land attack offensive missions versus the traditional air & missile defense missions and the anti-ship missions.

IMHO, the cost-benefit value of VLS land attack ordnance types versus what can be done with aircraft and with aircraft-launched standoff ordnance types has not yet been given enough analysis to give us the warm and fuzzy that investing in ships with greater VLS-launched firepower would be useful in supporting offensive land attack operations.

lt is my view that in a future war at sea, volume fires will be just as important as precision fires, but that every ordnance type must have some form of onboard guidance if it is to be effective at the greater ranges dictated by geographically large combat zones.

To my personal knowledge, little has been done to look more closely at these kinds of questions to see what kinds of technical and doctrinal options we realistically have for shifting some portion of the burden we now place on aircraft onto other kinds of platforms, e.g., surface combatants, arsenal ships, whatever.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:10 pm 
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So - roughest back of the envelope calculation - how much would it cost just to put in the nuclear drivetrain on an Iowa, disregarding any of the other wish-fulfillment fantasy or plain old rehabbing that would have to be done?

Is anything less than a billion dollars too optimistic?

And what's with the obsession with essentially a complete rebuild of the Iowas instead of new ships? (Obvious. But how do we get the message out that refitting old ships makes no sense economically or capability-wise?)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:43 pm 
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Back of the envelope calculation -

Around $2 billion for the actual construction, $1-2 billion for the parts, and a mere $250 million in design services. As a minimum.

You would be looking at putting in two A1B reactors*, replacing the turbines, and redoing all of the steam piping and controls in the compartments.

That would involve:
Removing the existing midsection decks, including armor, to get to the boiler and turbine compartments.
Asbestos remediation of the compartments. Then doing the rest of the ship, because it would be untenable to leave the asbestos everywhere else.
Pulling the existing machinery and piping.
Dropping the reactors in, with the careful calculation of weights so that the point loads are distributed to the existing spread load of the boilers.
Same for the turbines.
Putting the midsection back together, including deck armor and superstructure.

Then add in another $2 billion for refurbishment of the rest of the ship. And $2 billion for contingency.

If there were ever a desire to put 16" guns back into service, it would be cheaper to take a Ford class hull, redesign everything from 10-20 feet above the waterline, and build barbettes to drop four of the Iowa turrets into a new topsides design. It would be more survivable as well.

*There is no way to design new reactors for the job, and the Virginia sub reactors are only good for about 40k hp each. That means five S9G or two A1B. If the latter, severely restricting steam production, because the reduction gears are only good for the original 212k hp plus overload. New reduction gears and shafts would easily add another billion to the cost.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:45 pm 
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Baker Easy wrote:
So - roughest back of the envelope calculation - how much would it cost just to put in the nuclear drivetrain on an Iowa, disregarding any of the other wish-fulfillment fantasy or plain old rehabbing that would have to be done? Is anything less than a billion dollars too optimistic?


A nuclear drive train is about $400 million (oddly, its almost size-independent which is why small nuclear-powered ships are not cost-effective). We'd probably need two of them so that's $800 million right there. Then, we'd have to strip the engine rooms and machinery spaces (I'm not sure that's even possible but it will cost a lot). there's a sort of rule of thumb that indirect costs are three times direct cost so that would give us $2.4 billon plus the $800 million for the direct costs gives us $3.2 billion. that's probably a very low-ball estimate.

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And what's with the obsession with essentially a complete rebuild of the Iowas instead of new ships? (Obvious. But how do we get the message out that refitting old ships makes no sense economically or capability-wise?)


People want the Iowas back in the fleet so they try and think of justifications for that end. As to your last line, we're been trying to get that over (us and them what came before us) for centuries.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:50 pm 
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Look at this shiny ships bell; oh isn’t it shiny. Look over there at that pretty thingy [insert picture of pretty shiny thing here]

*slides new ship underneath the ships bell*

Oh look, the refurbishment is complete :D

And that’s how you insert a reactor into the Iowa :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:03 am 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Baker Easy wrote:
So - roughest back of the envelope calculation - how much would it cost just to put in the nuclear drivetrain on an Iowa, disregarding any of the other wish-fulfillment fantasy or plain old rehabbing that would have to be done? Is anything less than a billion dollars too optimistic?


A nuclear drive train is about $400 million (oddly, its almost size-independent which is why small nuclear-powered ships are not cost-effective). We'd probably need two of them so that's $800 million right there. Then, we'd have to strip the engine rooms and machinery spaces (I'm not sure that's even possible but it will cost a lot). there's a sort of rule of thumb that indirect costs are three times direct cost so that would give us $2.4 billon plus the $800 million for the direct costs gives us $3.2 billion. that's probably a very low-ball estimate.

To be honest, the way I'd do it would be to pull the shafts and armour, cut out the entire section of the hull containing the machinery, and skid a new block in. Doing that without destroying the structure of the ship would probably mean replacing the superstructure too. And no doubt major structural work would be required on the bow and stern sections; it might well be easier and cheaper to replace them with new structural blocks. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:15 am 
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Rather than going in through the top, why not go in through the bottom?

Take whatever drydock you plan on doing the conversion in, and dig a large hole in the bottom of it.

Build your reactors on a new section of hull bottom and keel in the hole.

Waterproof it after construction.

Flood the dock, float the ship in, pump dry.

Cut the bottom out of the ship, remove the turbines and boilers, and use hydraulic jacks to lift the new reactors into position.

Weld everything up.

It can't cost more than 8 or 10 billion, AND you get the added capacity of being able to work on ships without destroying the superstructure for major engine repairs!

/* remove tinfoil hat

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:43 am 
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Belushi TD wrote:
It can't cost more than 8 or 10 billion, AND you get the added capacity of being able to work on ships without destroying the superstructure for major engine repairs!

Actually, I'd do it from the side. Dock down an IOWA on the east side, build the reactor module on the west side whilst you're scrapping the undesirable bits, then skid the two together. The CVN docks are wide enough to do it, just about.

You'd scrap the superstructure because when you cut the bottom and sides out of the ship there's probably not enough strength in the remaining bits of hull girder to keep it from coming crashing to the dock bottom. You may as well make that evolution a safely planned one.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:48 am 
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Doing it from the side means you have to remove and replace the armor. We can, I suppose, actually remove the existing armor and reinstall it, but I'm sure a great deal of it will get damage while we're doing that. As I understand it, we do not have the capability to produce armor of that thickness anymore. If we're going to be silly about it, lets be silly about EVERYTHING.

I am fully aware of the folly of cutting the main support structures of a ship, such as the keel. Hence the tinfoil hat comment at the end there!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:49 am 
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Might as well do it arthroscopically.

Demo the bottom of the stacks, where the boiler uptakes are. Carefully remove internal bulkheads between the engine rooms. Then remove everything up the stacks, lower the new equipment down the stacks, and assemble in place. They do it for knees, so why shouldn't ships be any different. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:56 am 
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Is there a battleship equivalent of Godwin's Law, i.e., that sooner or later, any discussion about returning the Iowa Class to service will inevitably turn towards thinking about replacing the steam propulsion plant with a nuclear one?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:07 am 
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Scott Brim wrote:
Is there a battleship equivalent of Godwin's Law, i.e., that sooner or later, any discussion about returning the Iowa Class to service will inevitably turn towards thinking about replacing the steam propulsion plant with a nuclear one?


There is now. We'll call it Scott's Law.

It would probably be cheaper to build a whole new ship from scratch. I'm not sure anyone rolls armor any more, though.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:13 am 
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edgeplay_cgo wrote:
Scott Brim wrote:
Is there a battleship equivalent of Godwin's Law, i.e., that sooner or later, any discussion about returning the Iowa Class to service will inevitably turn towards thinking about replacing the steam propulsion plant with a nuclear one?
There is now. We'll call it Scott's Law.

It would probably be cheaper to build a whole new ship from scratch. I'm not sure anyone rolls armor any more, though.

In today's world, why would you build a warship carrying a lot of heavy armor plate when all that displacement could be used much more effectively for carrying radars, weapons systems, ordnance, fuel, and a variety of logistical stores?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:25 am 
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I'm not saying you should, just keeping faithful to the Battleship meme.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:54 am 
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Scott Brim wrote:
edgeplay_cgo wrote:
Scott Brim wrote:
Is there a battleship equivalent of Godwin's Law, i.e., that sooner or later, any discussion about returning the Iowa Class to service will inevitably turn towards thinking about replacing the steam propulsion plant with a nuclear one?
There is now. We'll call it Scott's Law.

It would probably be cheaper to build a whole new ship from scratch. I'm not sure anyone rolls armor any more, though.

In today's world, why would you build a warship carrying a lot of heavy armor plate when all that displacement could be used much more effectively for carrying radars, weapons systems, ordnance, fuel, and a variety of logistical stores?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:03 pm 
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Scott Brim wrote:
edgeplay_cgo wrote:
Scott Brim wrote:
Is there a battleship equivalent of Godwin's Law, i.e., that sooner or later, any discussion about returning the Iowa Class to service will inevitably turn towards thinking about replacing the steam propulsion plant with a nuclear one?
There is now. We'll call it Scott's Law.

It would probably be cheaper to build a whole new ship from scratch. I'm not sure anyone rolls armor any more, though.

In today's world, why would you build a warship carrying a lot of heavy armor plate when all that displacement could be used much more effectively for carrying radars, weapons systems, ordnance, fuel, and a variety of logistical stores?


Depends on the mission. If you're away from land or mid ocean you'll need that. If you're in sight of land and taking artillery fire, then you'll want the armor.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:05 pm 
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Is there any life left in the hull and the propulsion system?

I kinda like 16" guns in a shore bombardment scenario with some armor to backup the general durability of the vessel to the things that might be fired at them. I'm thinking shore batteries that aren't missiles. Does anyone still defend their coasts with batteries of guns anymore?

I'm not advocating for the Iowa's reactivation. My question is in a "worst case" scenario where we need hulls, could we reasonably expect to reactivate any Iowa class ship (not thinking price tag) and get some useful hull life out of the ship?


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