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Reviving Cruisers? (And cruisers from non-US naval doctrines)

This is a discussion on Reviving Cruisers? (And cruisers from non-US naval doctrines) within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by ngatimozart I would argue that the cruiser, per se, may be a class of ship looking for ...


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Originally Posted by ngatimozart View Post
I would argue that the cruiser, per se, may be a class of ship looking for a mission in some navies. From my POV I think that the cruiser as a class of ship in the USN is a dying class, because most, if not all, of it's capability sets and raison d' etre have been acquired by other classes of ships.
The US cruiser should be given the opportunity to evolve, and it must evolve.

Last edited by Torlek; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:03 PM. Reason: Course of discussion
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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The US cruiser should be given the opportunity to evolve, and it must evolve.
But into what is the question.

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These are what I had in mind for American-designed warships operating within a Ford carrier strike group / carrier battle group, as well as independently of such a group.



American-designed heavy aviation cruiser

Assumption 1: No catapults unless the flight deck is large enough to accommodate them and the number of aircraft below.

Crew requirement: 800-1,000

Fixed-wing aircraft: At least 30 F-35Bs, up to 36
Rotary aircraft: At least 16 manned helicopters (like the Kiev), up to 24 (like the Kuznetsov)

Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SSMs: 144 (assuming one can fit 12 of them for each P-700 launcher)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SAMs: 48 (assuming one can fit 3 VLS tubes / cells and up to 12 ESSMs for each pair of 8-cell 3K95 SAM systems)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for ASWs: 20u (where u is the factor for how many can ASROCs be fit for each 10-barrel Udav-1 anti-submarine rocket launcher)

Torpedo launchers: At least 8 triple tubes, up to 10 (more than comparable to the Kiev's 10 twin tubes)
Close-in weapons systems: 8
Anti-aircraft guns: At least 4, up to 6

Laser weapon systems and other directed energy weapon systems: ???

The total number of Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells is at least 212.



Smaller American-designed aviation cruiser

Assumption 1: No catapults

Crew requirement: 600-800

Fixed-wing aircraft: 24 F-35Bs
Rotary aircraft: 16 manned helicopters

Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SSMs: 120 (assuming one can fit just 10 of them for each P-500 launcher)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SAMs: 48 (assuming one can fit 3 VLS tubes / cells and up to 12 ESSMs for each pair of 8-cell 3K95 SAM systems)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for ASWs: 24b (where b is the factor for how many ASROCs can be fit for each 12-barrel RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launcher)

Torpedo launchers: At least 8 triple tubes, up to 10 (more than comparable to the Kiev's 10 twin tubes)
Close-in weapons systems: 8
Anti-aircraft guns: 4

Laser weapon systems and other directed energy weapon systems: ???

The total number of Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells is at least 192.



American-designed heavy guided missile cruiser

Crew requirement: 600 at most (compared to over 700 for the Kirov)
Nuclear powered: Yes
Rotary aircraft: At least 3 manned helicopters (like the Kirov), up to 4

Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SSMs: 240 (assuming one can fit 12 of them for each P-700 launcher)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SAMs: 36 (assuming one can fit 9 VLS tubes / cells and up to 36 ESSMs for every four 8-cell 3K95 SAM systems)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SAMs: 96f (where f is the factor for how many can be fit for each long-range S-300FM launcher)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for SAMs: 40o (where o is the factor for how many can be fit for each OSA-MA launcher )
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for ASWs: 20u (where u is the factor for how many ASROCs can be fit for each 10-barrel Udav-1 anti-submarine rocket launcher)
Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells for ASWs: 12r (where r is the factor for how many ASROCs can be fit for each 6-barrel RBU-1000 anti-submarine rocket launcher)

Torpedo launchers: At least 4 triple tubes, up to 10 (more than comparable to the Kirov's 2 quintuple tubes)
Close-in weapons systems: 6
Anti-aircraft guns: 8

Rail guns: 2 initially for anti-aircraft and surface warfare, up to a maximum for new battleship warfare of???
Laser weapon systems and other directed energy weapon systems: ???


The total number of Mark 41 VLS tubes / cells is at least 444.
This is total fantasy. What purpose would these vessels serve? Note the way this thread started. With a discussion of the role and purpose of cruisers. You're just creating random fantasy warships with lists of weapons for them. What makes your expensive and complicated monstrosity any better then 6 Arleigh Burke class destroyers? They will likely be cheaper, while some are down for maintenance the others are available for service, and together they carry a similar number of Mk41 tubes, while offering more flexibility. Not to mention you dodge the ridiculous R&D cost and huge build time.

The VMF's current cruisers are a Soviet inheritance and the 1164s in size are comparable to current US destroyers. The 1144s are, like was said, in a class of their own. But originally they were so huge because they had to accommodate the monstrous Granit AShM. Today's missiles are much smaller and even the new hypersonic Tsirkon is supposed to fit into standard UKSK (the closest Russian equivalent to a Mk41) launch cells. The reason OKR Leader turned into a heavy cruiser while starting out as a destroyer project is because the VMF forced ABM and ASAT requirements onto it. However there's a good chance this is a mistake (Russia badly needs a mass-produced destroyer that they can get 16-20 of across multiple fleets and it doesn't have to be on par with US counterparts). As is it's a paper concept with no final version yet published. While it's overwhelming likely that the program will go ahead in some form, it's in no way an argument in favor of the USN following suit.

Again, the question you need to ask yourself is this. What purpose would it serve? What would it do that smaller ships can't? That's what this entire discussion has been about. Please refrain from video-game like fantasy ships.

EDIT: One more point I forgot to address, the reason the Kirov's are being brought back is because the VMF faces a shortage of modern ocean-going vessels. They would be far better off with half a dozen ships in the 7000-10000 tonn range with theater-level airdefense capabilities and a decent missile arsenal but they just don't have any. Upgrading the 956s is a dead end because of their powerplant issues and upgrading the 1155s to carry both serious air defense and the Kalibr is too complicated (though it's likely they will get upgraded anyway because there simply isn't anything else available but the upgrade will be a cheaper one). Thus they're only left with the Kirovs as a convenient option for removing existing launchers and refitting them with UKSK cells.
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What purpose would these vessels serve? Note the way this thread started. With a discussion of the role and purpose of cruisers.
I've edited those out, then, to keep the discussion open. Nonetheless, what I originally posted was an elaboration of the last paragraph in my OP. One doesn't express reservations with weaknesses in the three US Navy-related reports without trying to put forward alternatives.

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What makes your expensive and complicated monstrosity any better then 6 Arleigh Burke class destroyers? They will likely be cheaper, while some are down for maintenance the others are available for service, and together they carry a similar number of Mk41 tubes, while offering more flexibility. Not to mention you dodge the ridiculous R&D cost and huge build time.
They're of higher quality in general, but more important they've got much higher survivability. It's no different than the difference between green-water navies throwing a bunch of frigates and corvettes at a blue-water navy's traditional cruiser. It's also no different than green-water navies being supported by land-based long-range missiles designed to keep aircraft carriers out of striking distance.

The aviation cruisers referred to in my last OP paragraph are meant to do two things in a supercarrier CSG / CBG: replace all proposed light aircraft carriers in the works, and serve as an inner escort-of-last-resort. Outside a supercarrier CSG / CBG, their range of functions would be flexible: anyway from those of the four then-reactivated Iowa-class battleships to the ballistic missile submarine protection provided by aviation cruisers to being the core of a light aircraft carrier strike group.

The heavy guided missile cruiser would restore the cruiser's spot in a supercarrier CSG / CBG, a spot which was snatched from it by a destroyer. Wikipedia's article on the Iowa-class battleship has a cool 1980s picture of the Iowa and Midway together in Battle Group Alpha.

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The 1144s are, like was said, in a class of their own. But originally they were so huge because they had to accommodate the monstrous Granit AShM. Today's missiles are much smaller and even the new hypersonic Tsirkon is supposed to fit into standard UKSK (the closest Russian equivalent to a Mk41) launch cells.
It will be very interesting to see the specific listing of Admiral Nakhimov's refitted armaments once it's released. Thanks for the lengthy description of the history behind the Kirov's development.

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Thus they're only left with the Kirovs as a convenient option for removing existing launchers and refitting them with UKSK cells.
Backed into a refit corner, huh?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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They're of higher quality in general, but more important they've got much higher survivability. It's no different than the difference between green-water navies throwing a bunch of frigates and corvettes at a blue-water navy's traditional cruiser. It's also no different than green-water navies being supported by land-based long-range missiles designed to keep aircraft carriers out of striking distance.
Except it is different. In this day and age survivability is not just about size or damage control. We're in an age where frigates are blue-water vessels, and tiny guided missile corvettes can project force from the Caspian into the Mediterranean.

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The aviation cruisers referred to in my last OP paragraph are meant to do two things in a supercarrier CSG / CBG: replace all proposed light aircraft carriers in the works, and serve as an inner escort-of-last-resort. Outside a supercarrier CSG / CBG, their range of functions would be flexible: anyway from those of the four then-reactivated Iowa-class battleships to the ballistic missile submarine protection provided by aviation cruisers to being the core of a light aircraft carrier strike group.
It's not clear that a universal role of that nature is desirable, achievable, or even possible. You're looking at sticking everything but the kitchen sink on a single ship and assuming it will work well. The operational history of similar-designed Soviet ships says otherwise.

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The heavy guided missile cruiser would restore the cruiser's spot in a supercarrier CSG / CBG, a spot which was snatched from it by a destroyer. Wikipedia's article on the Iowa-class battleship has a cool 1980s picture of the Iowa and Midway together in Battle Group Alpha.
That's a very vague statement. There are reasons why things went the route they did today. Simply turning back the clock with a modern cruiser doesn't explain why this is necessary or desirable. The minor advantage of being able to take a few more missile hits vs the issues of cost, maintenance, complexity, and very limited flexibility (instead of say 50 destroyers you'd have 10 monstrous heavy cruisers) don't seem to make sense. And there's the issue of coverage. Current destroyers in the USN travel a considerable distance apart, allowing their sensors to cover a bigger area, and working together with the carrier's air group to provide situational awareness. This is something that would be lost when dealing with a single large cruiser.

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It will be very interesting to see the specific listing of Admiral Nakhimov's refitted armaments once it's released. Thanks for the lengthy description of the history behind the Kirov's development.
Here you go. Use google translate.

Análisis Militares: Sobre la modernización del Nakimov ... (actualizado)

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Backed into a refit corner, huh?
Most Russian deployments consist of a single large surface combatant plus support vessels. It's rare to see two VMF combat ships in the same place, until the Syrian mess started. The VMF has managed to gather impressive task forces, when it's preplanned, but it's likely they would be hard pressed to put forth such a showing on short notice. They can't afford to let the Kirovs rot.
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Except it is different. In this day and age survivability is not just about size or damage control. We're in an age where frigates are blue-water vessels, and tiny guided missile corvettes can project force from the Caspian into the Mediterranean.
Every naval age is different, but there are a few unavoidable constants. Two of them are politics and accounting. The Reagan administration wanted a 600-ship Navy, and today's Navy said that the absolute ideal number of ships is 653. There are far less problems reaching those inventory numbers if a country were to produce just missile boats, corvettes, and frigates.

I can totally understand the US Navy rendering the cruiser obsolete, if and only if there were to replace their supercarriers with smaller, more numerous carriers.

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It's not clear that a universal role of that nature is desirable, achievable, or even possible. You're looking at sticking everything but the kitchen sink on a single ship and assuming it will work well. The operational history of similar-designed Soviet ships says otherwise.
It's possible and achievable because of two things: every naval age before has seen a universal warship in one form or another, and because the three US Navy-related reports themselves don't assume too many budget constraints. It took them this frickin' long to raise their hands up officially and say, "We need light aircraft carriers."

The last time something like this was considered was during the era of the Medium Aircraft Carrier idea.

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That's a very vague statement. There are reasons why things went the route they did today. Simply turning back the clock with a modern cruiser doesn't explain why this is necessary or desirable. The minor advantage of being able to take a few more missile hits vs the issues of cost, maintenance, complexity, and very limited flexibility (instead of say 50 destroyers you'd have 10 monstrous heavy cruisers) don't seem to make sense. And there's the issue of coverage. Current destroyers in the USN travel a considerable distance apart, allowing their sensors to cover a bigger area, and working together with the carrier's air group to provide situational awareness. This is something that would be lost when dealing with a single large cruiser.
Right now a CSG / CBG has six large surface combatants surrounding the supercarrier. Nobody is suggesting a quantitative increase, or an increase in the number of these surface warships. Likewise, nobody is suggesting a quantitative decrease; I certainly am not suggesting a one-for-two or one-for-more replacement.

Thanks for the Spanish website link, by the way.
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The thing I thought you could do with a cruiser is increase the helicopter capacity thus alleviating the cv's to carry them giving them more space for offensive armament. I also think because of the power available to Cv's that's the platform that should be armed with the first lasers
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The thing I thought you could do with a cruiser is increase the helicopter capacity thus alleviating the cv's to carry them giving them more space for offensive armament. I also think because of the power available to Cv's that's the platform that should be armed with the first lasers
CV's?

if its carriers why follow the failed russian model?

all of which has been comprehensively discussed in here already
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The thing I thought you could do with a cruiser is increase the helicopter capacity thus alleviating the cv's to carry them giving them more space for offensive armament.
In other words, a cruiser between a Moskva-class helicopter carrier and a Kiev-class aviation cruiser? That's interesting.
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Wasn't there a study of a variant of the San Antonio warship maybe something along them lines with a capacity of 4-6 helicopters.
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Wasn't there a study of a variant of the San Antonio warship maybe something along them lines with a capacity of 4-6 helicopters.
I think you are referring to the planned LR(X) amphibious ships.

https://news.usni.org/2014/10/20/mem...eration-amphib
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I think you are referring to the planned LR(X) amphibious ships.
They're too light for the cruiser role, though.
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They're too light for the cruiser role, though.
Light??

they're more than double the displacement of the Ticonderogas, and are double the displacement of the Moskva

cruisers are not about weight anyway - its about role - and most of those roles are now done by the heavier guided missile destroyers such as the Burkes (which is why there's no rush by the USN to build role replacements for the Ticos
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #28
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Light??

they're more than double the displacement of the Ticonderogas, and are double the displacement of the Moskva

cruisers are not about weight anyway - its about role - and most of those roles are now done by the heavier guided missile destroyers such as the Burkes (which is why there's no rush by the USN to build role replacements for the Ticos
Just because they have double the displacement doesn't mean they're built to perform the multi-purpose roles performed by cruisers.
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Just because they have double the displacement doesn't mean they're built to perform the multi-purpose roles performed by cruisers.
Perhaps rereading the quoted comment again would be helpful. I marked the relevant portion in bold.

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cruisers are not about weight anyway - its about role - and most of those roles are now done by the heavier guided missile destroyers such as the Burkes (which is why there's no rush by the USN to build role replacements for the Ticos
It is very much about role. Is there a particular role which the USN's cruisers perform/performed, which is;
  1. Still needed?
  2. Not performed by other vessels?
  3. And/or performed better by a cruiser?

Given that the USN has not ordered a replacement for the Ticonderoga-class CG, that does strongly suggest that there is nothing specifically unique or advantageous to the USN to introduce a new/replacement class of cruiser to the fleet. The roles which need to be covered are still being met, but by other platforms and through other means.
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Late last year the USN submitted its Fleet Architecture Study to Congress which discusses the move toward a Distributed Fleet capable of executing the Distributed Lethality Concept. There is mention of up to 6 notional DDGH hulls being acquired by 2030 which some might see as a New Age cruiser.

https://news.usni.org/2017/02/14/doc...itecture-study

•DDGH: This ship has characteristics generally similar to the DDG Flt III including a robust air and missile defense radar (AMDR). The differences from current DDGs are that it: 1) has only has a forward missile launch system which can be rearmed at sea, 2) is High Velocity Projectile (HVP) capable, 3) has an increase in aviation assets for up to six vertical takeoff aircraft –notionally 2 helos and 4 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) due to the absence of an aft missile launch system. This provides organic continuous long range ISR, and 4) ASW system that leverages the LCS ASW mission module capabilities.
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