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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:10 pm 
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edgeplay_cgo wrote:
I'm not saying you should, just keeping faithful to the Battleship meme.
The problem anyone faces these days in using the Battleship Meme as a conversation starter for getting a serious debate going concerning some naval topic is that fewer and fewer people understand enough about the historical context of these ships to spark the necessary passions.

We don't see that situation here so much on this forum because the people who post on this board have been here a long time and have memories like elephants. On other forums though, the Battleship Meme leaves many of the participants wondering what the heck you are talking about.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:58 pm 
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Sorivar wrote:
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?

No. The experience with running the steam plants is gone. The experience with making the guns work is gone. The hulls have laid up with basically minimal maintenance for 10-15 years, then another ten as museum ships. Every cable run, seal, and gasket would need to be inspected and checked. Every mechanical device, gearing, and computer lubricated. The entire hull would need to be surveyed for corrosion, cracking, and leaks.

It's entirely possible to spend a lot of money, reactivate one of them, and have it serve for another 25 years. It's also possible that in five years it will crack in half and sink.

In a 'worst case' situation where we need the guns at sea, it will cost less and be faster to razee a DDG-51, install one of the 16" guns as a centerline spinal mount with limited traverse, and use that.

(Do I get a Bonus Word Score for properly using a 18th century term for a modern ship?)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:28 pm 
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KDahm wrote:
In a 'worst case' situation where we need the guns at sea, it will cost less and be faster to razee a DDG-51, install one of the 16" guns as a centerline spinal mount with limited traverse, and use that. (Do I get a Bonus Word Score for properly using a 18th century term for a modern ship?)


Double point score . . . .

I'm not even certain that the 16 inch guns are usable. IIRC at least two of the Iowas had one-inch angle iron welded inside the breeches as demilitarization and that permanently destroyed them as functioning weapons.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:42 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
KDahm wrote:
In a 'worst case' situation where we need the guns at sea, it will cost less and be faster to razee a DDG-51, install one of the 16" guns as a centerline spinal mount with limited traverse, and use that. (Do I get a Bonus Word Score for properly using a 18th century term for a modern ship?)


Double point score . . . .

I'm not even certain that the 16 inch guns are usable. IIRC at least two of the Iowas had one-inch angle iron welded inside the breeches as demilitarization and that permanently destroyed them as functioning weapons.


Just pull the barrel liners and replace, Stuart. Problem solved. Them “demilitarisation” types knew what they were about!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
MikeD wrote:
This being said, was the Reagan-era reactivation of the Iowas a waste of money?

No, because the need was to get Tomahawk to sea as quickly as possible in a hull as seaworthy as possible to handle the far North Atlantic. Those Iowa conversions were about as austere as they got. The price ceiling was set so that each conversion should cost less than an FFG-7 class frigate. On that basis we got a decent battery of Tomahawks at sea quickly. The ships though weren't good for much else. They really were bare-bones conversion. At one point, it was even discussed leaving the 16 inch guns mothballed thus cutting the cost and the crew requirements. In retrospect we should have done that.

Now, we have a situation where we have more Tomahawk missiles than we can shake a stick at and they're in much more capable platforms. So there's no reason why we should bring the Iowas back again.

I have to disagree with this. The guns were absolutely necessary for two reasons:
1. Politics. A lot of the support came from the Marine lobby, and they wanted the guns. I doubt they would have gotten the money to bring them back sans the 16".
2. Presence. The Iowas were probably the best ships ever built for the presence role. Most of the gun shoots in the 80s ship's chronology were firepower demonstrations. Without the guns, they're a whole lot less effective at this role. Buying four extra capital ships for the cost of a Perry each was a hell of a bargain in the 80s when Reagan needed more of them. We don't any more.

I suspect that there's a strong connection between Iowa reactivationists and the A-10 fans. Both are incredibly charismatic platforms (with big guns), which makes people seriously overrate the need for them in service.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:52 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. Little story by the way; when the midships structure for 40mm quads was removed we found that the boat handling equipment that those guns replaced was still there; it hadn't been removed, just built-over. So, installing boat handling equipment was replaced by clean and renovate boat handling equipment. That freed up cash to do other things.

The choice was between renovating and returning the 16 inch guns to service or rebuilding and modernizing the command systems and that was heavily debated. What decided the issue was purely political; renovating the Admirals quarters and rebuilding the command facilities were thought to open the project up to accusations of "creating another Admiral's Barge". so the 16inch guns got the nod,. Actually, some command systems modernization was slipped in using money saved else where but those ships had nothing like the facilities they could have had.

I studied this very carefully a month or so ago, and found no evidence to support it. If you have documentation, or know where it can be found, I'd be eternally grateful. But I just don't think reactivation sans guns was ever in the cards.

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I've often wondered what would have happened if that decision had gone the other way. Perhaps, if they'd had those command facilities, they would have lasted in the active fleet a bit longer or the 16 inch explosion on Iowa wouldn't have happened and that would have allowed them to stick around a bit.

I don't think the accident was the key. It was the fact that the USSR was showing cracks, and we no longer felt we needed to have extra battlegroups. (That, and the fact that the Spru-cans were getting VLS.) My 1990-1991 World Naval Weapons Systems is talking about a plan to keep Missouri and Wisconsin in service longer-term.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:54 pm 
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If we needed big guns at sea for some reason it would be more to the point to design and build one from scratch. Artillery is not terribly complex.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:57 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
KDahm wrote:
In a 'worst case' situation where we need the guns at sea, it will cost less and be faster to razee a DDG-51, install one of the 16" guns as a centerline spinal mount with limited traverse, and use that. (Do I get a Bonus Word Score for properly using a 18th century term for a modern ship?)


Double point score . . . .

I'm not even certain that the 16 inch guns are usable. IIRC at least two of the Iowas had one-inch angle iron welded inside the breeches as demilitarization and that permanently destroyed them as functioning weapons.

That seems really implausible. There's enough people who think we should bring them back that I doubt they went around demilling them. Heck, Iowa isn't allowed to cut heavy armor for another two years because the Navy is mandated by Congress to keep them in a state that theoretically allows reactivation.

Sorivar wrote:
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?

Not really. In theory, there was 10-20 years of life left when they retired. In practice, the price would be exorbitant.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:55 pm 
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If you need ship based artillery fast, could you take some M777s, put them on the flight deck of amphib and start shooting?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:59 pm 
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Given that as I recall Stu was present and part of the group working on the actual project, Byron, I'd be inclined to take his word for it...

Sorivar wrote:
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 think Iran does. Probably the Norks...

What would 16" guns give us over a RAP 8", which would be more feasible to produce?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:15 pm 
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The Bushranger wrote:
Given that as I recall Stu was present and part of the group working on the actual project, Byron, I'd be inclined to take his word for it...

I'm not saying that nobody ever suggested it. I am saying that whoever did didn't leave enough of a paper trail for me or anyone else to have found, and because of that I don't think it was as serious as he says. We all know that organizations do all sorts of studies of alternatives, and that they're mostly just covering their bases. The plurality of evidence available to me suggests that's what this was, but I'm more than willing to change that given documentary evidence. I originally went out looking for him to be right on this.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:20 pm 
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Design and build a 155mm naval gun that's actually compatible with standard NATO munitions and incorporate it into future surface combatant designs. With modern guided munitions you get both good range and high accuracy, reducing the number of shells needed to destroy a target.
Installations that are hardened to the point that 155mm fire can't affect them can be dealt with by cruise missiles or airstrikes.

Actually you could trial the gun design by tearing out the AGS out of the Zumwalts and fit them with the new one instead, then they'd get a purpose of sorts even...

There, everything's sorted. The Iowas can remain in their museum capacity without being disturbed.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:31 pm 
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Micael wrote:
Design and build a 155mm naval gun that's actually compatible with standard NATO munitions and incorporate it into future surface combatant designs. With modern guided munitions you get both good range and high accuracy, reducing the number of shells needed to destroy a target.
Installations that are hardened to the point that 155mm fire can't affect them can be dealt with by cruise missiles or airstrikes.

Actually you could trial the gun design by tearing out the AGS out of the Zumwalts and fit them with the new one instead, then they'd get a purpose of sorts even...

There, everything's sorted. The Iowas can remain in their museum capacity without being disturbed.


That actually works both ways.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/130_mm_ ... _gun_A-222

There might be issues putting NATO standard 155mm shells on a ship. They might not meet HERO standards etc. 127mm is probably close enough.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:43 pm 
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drunknsubmrnr wrote:
Micael wrote:
Design and build a 155mm naval gun that's actually compatible with standard NATO munitions and incorporate it into future surface combatant designs. With modern guided munitions you get both good range and high accuracy, reducing the number of shells needed to destroy a target.
Installations that are hardened to the point that 155mm fire can't affect them can be dealt with by cruise missiles or airstrikes.

Actually you could trial the gun design by tearing out the AGS out of the Zumwalts and fit them with the new one instead, then they'd get a purpose of sorts even...

There, everything's sorted. The Iowas can remain in their museum capacity without being disturbed.


That actually works both ways.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/130_mm_ ... _gun_A-222

There might be issues putting NATO standard 155mm shells on a ship. They might not meet HERO standards etc. 127mm is probably close enough.

I think it'd mostly be a test and certification issue. Modern 155mm shells are generally manufactured to a high standard.
In any case it'll be easier to adapt shells - if adapation needs to be done - than to shrink them to 127mm like they've done with the Excalbur.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:51 pm 
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The manufacturing isn’t the problem, it’s bagged vs fixed. Modern naval ammunition is fixed. Modern artillery ammunition is bagged or semi-fixed. Pretty hard to square that circle without new naval-only ammunition and mounts.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:08 pm 
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drunknsubmrnr wrote:
The manufacturing isn’t the problem, it’s bagged vs fixed. Modern naval ammunition is fixed. Modern artillery ammunition is bagged or semi-fixed. Pretty hard to square that circle without new naval-only ammunition and mounts.

But even using a semi-fixed design, with the existing 155mm shells, bring a great many compatibility advantages. Since it has to be a new mount design anyway, I don't think there's a great issue. Opportunity for engineering, yes.

The biggest advantage would be in using the existing shell.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:18 pm 
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drunknsubmrnr wrote:
The manufacturing isn’t the problem, it’s bagged vs fixed. Modern naval ammunition is fixed. Modern artillery ammunition is bagged or semi-fixed. Pretty hard to square that circle without new naval-only ammunition and mounts.

Not necessarily, you have land use autoloaders that can mate charges and shells on the fly these days.
Check out the Archer system for instance, it uses modular charges that the autoloader brings together with the (NATO standard) shells at the firing moment;

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:21 pm 
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You’d have to redesign that for naval use and then build new ones. Is that worth that much more than the existing Mk 45 mounts that are the next thing to free?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:32 pm 
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ByronC wrote:
Francis Urquhart wrote:
I'm not even certain that the 16 inch guns are usable. IIRC at least two of the Iowas had one-inch angle iron welded inside the breeches as demilitarization and that permanently destroyed them as functioning weapons.
That seems really implausible. There's enough people who think we should bring them back that I doubt they went around demilling them. Heck, Iowa isn't allowed to cut heavy armor for another two years because the Navy is mandated by Congress to keep them in a state that theoretically allows reactivation.
IIRC, the demil of the guns aboard Missouri and New Jersey happened in Bremerton in the mid-1990's and was ordered by a local Navy officer without proper authorization from higher authority. Dick Landgraff told me in 2001 that removing the angle iron from the breeches and restoring the guns to working order was easy enough if done by a skilled welding technologist.

Dick always remained very skeptical that either Iowa or Wisconsin would ever return to service. Not that he wouldn't have been there to help out if the unexpected had actually happened.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:41 pm 
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drunknsubmrnr wrote:
You’d have to redesign that for naval use and then build new ones. Is that worth that much more than the existing Mk 45 mounts that are the next thing to free?

You always have technology shifts at some point. The AGS was obviously intended to be one but they made a hash of things, but I'd argue that the time has come to switch over larger guns for the USN, especially as ship sizes appear to be gradually increasing thus making the size and weight of a 155mm of relatively little concern.

I'd also add that development of a more conventional system does not need to be at all as costly as the AGS was. Although there are naturally differences between a land howitzer and a naval gun I note that the AGS seems to have cost at least $605 million in development, excluding shipboard installations, per the Navweaps site.
By comparison 48 Archer howitzers seems to have come out at about $225 million, including development costs.

If you handle it right you'll be able to save up in the long term by munitions commonality.

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