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Arsenal Ships

Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by Quiller, Oct 13, 2014.

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  1. Quiller

    Quiller New Member

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    The notion for an Arsenal Ship -- part battleship, part LCS -- had a lot of supporters over the years, and naturally many detractors. It's genesis came from strategic assessments of what kind of power projection the Navy would need in the future. And clearly for lots of bush wars, the idea of having a platform (with associated C3 and integration) that could provide massive firepower in the first week of operations against a land-based aggressor is very attractive. The same vessel was imagined as being able to provide some fleet defense.... which becomes more significant with the so-called "carrier killer" ICBM's China is testing for sea denial to the US Navy in its local seas. But the idea was kicked to the curb with the DD(X) program. Or was it?

    Huntington Ingalls Industries has tried to revive the idea last year, proposing a variant of their Landing Ship Dock hull with over 250 VLS tubes installed. So far, no go apparently.

    The idea for the Arsenal ship also grew out of the idea that Navy vs Navy ocean combat was a thing of the past. However, China's efforts to upgrade and field a semi-blue water combat fleet could adjust, if not change, that equation.

    But the idea has been promoted once more to select members of Congress in a paper by the National Security Executive think tank, suggesting possibly two versions. The first would be like the standard Arsenal ship, carrying 600 VLS tubes with one reload, for a total of 1200 missiles. (Reloading the missiles would be done moving canisters within the hull. No cranes involved.) The bulk would be land attack cruise missiles, with a percentage for anti-ship cruise missiles.

    The second variant is for fleet air defense. It would be primarily stocked for IADS to counter ICBM's, cruise missiles, and aircraft threatening the fleet elements.

    Both variants might be connected at the hip with an Aegis combatant.

    Here is the question: does an arsenal ship still make sense in the strategic and tactical environment developing in both the Middle East and South East Asia? Or is it a ship whose time may have come and already passed due to changing world dynamics?
     
  2. CB90

    CB90 Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Nope, and it never really made sense. The main flaw to the Arsenal ship concept has always been that it is 100% dependent on its comm links to other assets to function in its role. The second is that it is still enormously expensive, and puts a LOT of eggs in a very vulnerable basket. From a capital investment standpoint, a fully armed arsenal ship is quite likely to be enormously expensive. The missiles alone are a minimum ~$600M investment, probably more depending on the missile mix.

    In the future, it may make a little more sense as remote engagement technology and network defense matures. But the very very important part of the problem is that any new shiny object ideas have to fit into the puzzle with all the other pieces currently in service and being procured. Nobody's ever really articulated how that may happen, what the other pieces would be, in a way that isn't completely redundant to existing systems or turns the Arsenal Ship into a single point of failure for success.

    Without the ability to predict the future, an enormously expensive, network dependent one trick pony that only performs redundant functions doesn't really make sense in a defense budget.
     
  3. My2Cents

    My2Cents Active Member

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    Honestly, the Arsenal Ship only makes sense;
    • If you need to generate a huge wave of land attack missiles, by launching the entire load as the opening move in a conflict.
    • As an alternative to an aircraft carrier using cruise missiles. However it lacks the sensor capabilities that the aircraft provide the fleet.
    2x to 10x the missile load of a cruiser (3x to 15x that of a destroyer). A lot of eggs in a fragile basket, and a prime target that will require an escorting force.
    Slow target. When and where is it every likely to be and survive long enough that would require that many cruise missiles?
    Sounds like a parking lot problem under the deck (you know, the one where you have to move x number of cars to get out the one in the middle). And 600 tubes(!) + reloads and room for handling equipment would require a huge hull, probably the size of a carrier, with enough speed to keep up with the fleet.
    • The Middle East -- No.
    • South East Asia -- Only if you assume a shooting war involving a conventional attack attempting to cripple mainland China. Not very likely.
     
  4. StobieWan

    StobieWan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The USN doesn't currently have enough missiles to fill all it's VLS cells in ships at sea - when there are ships leaving port with piles of missiles left behind because there's no room for 'em, then perhaps the position needs to be revisited but building arsenal ships wouldn't be the way I'd do it.

    If you wanted to keep some TLAM on station then I'd suggest the way to do it would be to get some late flight Virginia's on station, assuming an SSGN wasn't on tap.
     
  5. StevoJH

    StevoJH Active Member

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    And there lies the answer.

    The USN already has four Arsenal Ships. They are called USS Ohio, USS Michigan, USS Florida and USS Georgia.

    Slated to be replaced by Virginia class SSN's sometime next decade.

    Besides, as stated by Stobiewan also in that post, the USN doesnt have enough missiles to fill the VLS cells that it has, let alone a few hundred (or thousand) more.

    The USN currently has 8510 Mk.41 VLS Cells aboard its 84 active CG-47 Cruisers and DDG-51 Destroyers.

    Plus additional cells for cruise missiles aboard its dozens of active Los Angeles and Virginia class SSN's.
     
  6. Hazdog

    Hazdog Member

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    This idea is commonly called an Arsenal Ship.

    The USN has looked at creating such a ship but, due to budget cuts, the idea has not yielded fruitful results.

    I know this link is to Wikipedia but the page does give a good example of what has been done surrounding the idea; Arsenal ship - Wikipedia.

    The San Antonio class has been thought of as a potential hull for such an idea, but publicly disclosed information around it is yet to be released.

    Overall I'm sure a few other navies would jump on board with the idea if, the hull costs were low enough. (RAN, RN and other allied navies).
     
  7. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    One of the major problems with the Arsenal Ship concept has to do with costs, and these are not hull costs. After all the saying, "steel is cheap and air is free," still holds true.

    The real cost and benefit vs. risk issues have to do with the missile loadouts. For example, a FY2017 Tomahawk Block IV cost about USD$1.8 mil. each with 100 being ordered. If a single Arsenal Ship were loaded with 500 such missiles, the cost of the missiles alone would be ~USD$900 mil.

    That quantity could indeed carry out a devastating strike, but by concentrating so many missiles into a single platform, a navy would also significantly increase the potential risk of dramatically losing capability. Imagine how much of a reduction in strike capability the USN would suffer if it had an Arsenal Ship which was damaged in a collision with another ship, struck a submerged rock or reef, or suffered a shipboard fire? That same 500 LACM strike capability is I believe roughly equal to the land attack missile loadout of nine to ten Arleigh Burke-class DDG's, which can be deployed to many more places at the same time than a single Arsenal Ship could be.

    That really is too many 'eggs' to be putting into a single basket.
     
  8. cdxbow

    cdxbow Member

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    I wonder if the arsenal ships time may come as a way to supply extra air defence missiles in high intensity conflict. Good point about nine to ten Arleigh Burke-class DDG carry as many missiles as a large arsenal ship and avoiding the 'eggs in one basket' problem.

    Saturation attacks of ships with AShM seems a very likely scenario in the future and depletion of the defenders magazines will be an issue. A modest sized ship, possibly unmanned, with CEC control would be a way of adding depth to the magazines of current ships.

    To me there is a fundamental difference in the CONOPS of an arsenal ship launching a saturation land/sea attack and it's use in air defence, with the air defence scenario you are trying to protect a small physical region in space and time. Very different and maybe there is a role for an air defence arsenal ship, particularly with smaller navies like the RAN.
     
  9. Redlands18

    Redlands18 Active Member

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    I don’t think Hull costs would be the issue, filling 288 Cells with Missiles might be though, $500m+ ? Does Australia currently have enough Missiles to send even all 3 Hobarts on operations at once(though highly unlikely). That’s 120-132 SM-2 and 96-182 ESSMs.. of course we are still to order LACMs.
    A Burke carries more than 96 Missiles as the ESSM is quad packed, 4 per Cell. Only guessing here I would suspect a fully armed Burke would carry 64 ESSM and 88 other Missiles in varied numbers of SM-2, SM-3, Tomahawk, VL ASROC.
    If you want Arsenal Ships why not develop something based on the Columbia Class SSBNs, with the range of LACMs they could sit 100s of miles off the Coast and would be extremely difficult to find especially compared to a Tanker.
     
  10. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    If the only threats to a floating magazine/missile launcher were AShM, perhaps... However, a single sub-launched heavyweight torpedoe could easily break the back of a ship, and at least given how the Arsenal Ship is currently conceived, it could do SFA to protect itself from undersea threats.

    Depending on what Flight, the current Arleigh Burke-class DDG's in service have either 90 or 96 Mk 41 VLS cells, and IIRC the loadout is usually split between air defense and land attack missiles. This split missile load out allows the different destroyers to carry out different roles on deployments without necessarily requiring a port visit to swap out missiles. The other thing with the DDG is that the SPY-1 arrays and Aegis CMS enable the vessel to operate independently as well as integrate with other vessels in a task force. If a hypothetical Arsenal Ship was not also kitted out with something like the SPY arrays and Aegis CMS and instead just relied upon getting fed data on targets via CEC, then the Arsenal Ship would become blind, deaf and dumb if something happened to the offboard asset it was dependent on. This could be something as simple as an equipment malfunction to the offboard asset being attacked or destroyed, comms and sensors jammed, or the range between them becoming too great. All in all, the Arsenal Ship is too much of a specialist capability, and too vulnerable to a range of potential threats for that amount of combat power to be concentrated into a single hull.
     
  11. nightsight971

    nightsight971 New Member

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    Yes, the Arsenal Ship would be a prime target. But there are definitely a lot of eggs in one basket with an Aircraft Carrier as well.

    Indeed, the idea of an Arsenal Ship like this would be so expensive it would probably have to replace an Aircraft Carrier in a strike group instead of joining it.

    I'm sure the super tanker size is too much, but the whole concept of this ship would be a very big and expensive boat that is able to strike farther than our current aircraft are capable of flying. So instead of $6 billion in aircraft, an Arsenal Ship would have $6 billion in missiles so to speak.

    This thing would definitely be considered a capital ship for sure.

    But this is definitely the discussion I wanted to start.

    Could an Arsenal Ship this imposing be a better alternative to an Aircraft Carrier? At least offensively? Aircraft Carriers do so much more than attack and we would be losing the hospitals and helicopters it provides in a crisis.

    It just seems like the intimidation factor of a ship like this would be through the roof.

    Aircraft Carrier battle groups are used for diplomacy but hostile countries believe their air defenses offer a counter in these diplomatic situations since our pilots lives are at risk.

    Yes, our battle groups have hundreds of missiles. But these Arsenal Ships would be a message like our Aircraft Carriers.

    In diplomatic discussions in tense situations, say like Iran now, both sides know some American pilots could die. This gives the other side bargaining power and there is a reluctance to act. Which is probably quite good actually.

    Same diplomatic discussion, but now instead of an Aircraft Carrier, a capital sized Arsenal Ship with its thousand plus missiles has been deployed with its battle group to the area.

    Now there is the threat of many bases and infrastructure wiped out in an instant. No stopping it. Won't be hurting any pilots. Better make a deal.

    Intimidating.
     
  12. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Not really, because it can be found and eliminated at long range by a DF21 carrier killer for example before it got into range, or taken out by a SSN / SSK as others have already intimated or by a tactical nuke. It's not that viable an option now. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago, but not in the 21st century with 5th gen multi-domain capabilities already operational and many more of those capabilities to come online in the upcoming years. Once quantum radars and other quantum, quantum computing and computers, sensors, direct energy, electromagnetic and hyper velocity weapons come online, then it's a totally different kettle of fish and all of those capabilities are not that far away from being fully operational.

    Aircraft carriers are big floating targets waiting to be sunk. Ask any submariner or maritime strike pilot. They aren't immune to attack and can be sunk and have been by allied aircraft and warships on exercises. Everytime the USN have changed the rules in order to deny the sinking. I know that the RN, RAN, RNZAF and RNZN have sunk various USN carriers on exercise. The new Commandant of the USMC understands that big ships like carriers and LHDs make for juicy and very tempting targets which is why he wants to the amphib ships that the USN have to transport the marines across the seas and the ship to shore connectors. So I suggest that you do some reading and learning, because a couple of the people who have been replying to you actually know what they are talking about.

    Sacred Cows Die As Marine Commandant Changes Course On Amphibs
     
  13. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    The Arsenal Ship concept had been located and discarded for a number of reasons others have already mentioned. It was determined to be an inadequate replacement for an aircraft since it would automatically lack much of the capability and flexibility that an aircraft and it's associated air group provides. In terms of a capital ship replacement, an Arsenal Ship would IMO bear a greater resemblance to the role a battleship used to have. One thing I have noted when people have raised the Arsenal Ship concept (which happens every few years here on DT) is that they tend to overlook a carrier's actual role of a mobile, floating airfield and instead tend to focus on crewed aircraft delivering strike packages. In doing so, they are immediately overlooking all the other capabilities manned aircraft provide. For example, a CSG has an organic sensor footprint greater than that of many national air forces and navies due to embarked E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft. If a carrier were to be replaced by an Arsenal Ship, the whole task force would lose the ability to monitor the large volume of air and sea approaches surrounding the TF. This loss of SA would then increase the potential for damage to TF vessels, and/or loss of the TF itself. That would not be a good trade of warships worth billions.

    There is also the potential question of the cost of operations for an Arsenal Ship to consider as well. Given that modern, long-ranged PGM's can cost close to USD$2 mil. a piece, I can easily see situations where delivering a four JDAM strike package (costing ~USD$100k plus the operating costs for the aircraft) would be significantly less than a single TacTom Block IV. If the area requiring strike packages was distributed so that there were multiple, discrete targets, the costs could quickly become prohibitive.

    If crewed aircraft cease to be a feature of modern armed forces, then the Arsenal Ship concept might gain more traction, but for the time being I see it as a concept that is too specialized, concentrated and expensive to be worthwhile, since it would require support from assets it is supposed to replace in order for it to be viable.
     
  14. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    I admit I did not bother reading the article, once I saw what the site was. I have been sufficiently underwhelmed by the site's quality and accuracy in reporting on defence matters to no longer bother reading any of their clickbait, sensationalist or alarmist articles. To give others an idea of what I am referring to, at one point I looked at an article about a piece of US military kit and all the photographs were for a completely different piece of kit. I forget exactly which ones it was, it might have been M60 pictures in an M1 article, or an F-22 article with F-15 photos...

    If they are thinking that a carrier is only as good as the fighters and their armament, I am perfectly happy with them continuing to delude themselves. A carrier is essentially a floating, mobile short airfield, with all the flexibility and capabilities that includes. An Arsenal Ship, regardless of missile load, would not be able to provide a loitering detection capability out to 200+ n miles, but a carrier with embarked E-2 Hawkeye AWACS can, and of course there are other capabilities available as well.

    As for the improvements in missiles, there can also be (and have been) improvements in the ordnance aircraft can carry, like the JASSM-ER. Suggesting that Arsenal Ship missile improvements would make the concept more viable would seem to ignore that improvements are also made for aircraft ordnance.

    Honestly the closest I think we have come to having a workable, worthwhile missile carrier platform is the Ohio-class SSGN, since they are subs, they are difficult to detect and target, and also have the potential to get close to a target prior to launching a missile strike, which shrinks the OODA loop.
     
  15. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    That is the thing, an Arsenal Ship would be a niche capability, and an expensive one at that. The USN and in the future possibly the PLA-N could potentially afford such an expensive niche capability, but from what analysts have determined the capability is not worth it. The same goes for battleships at this point.

    An Arsenal Ship, due to the potential strike capability it would have, as well as the cost due to the missile loadout, would require escort vessels to protect the Arsenal Ship from hostile air, surface, and underwater attacks in the same manner that a carrier in a CSG requires an escort. A few of the major differences between the two would be that a CSG TF would have a significantly greater sensor footprint as well as having much greater flexibility in attack and defence, as well as being easier to sustain operations.

    An Arsenal Ship OTOH, once the VLS cells are empty, back to a friendly port it has to go to reload. The sensor footprint of a TF built around an Arsenal Ship would be significantly smaller and less capable, which means potentially hostile air and surface contacts could get much closer prior to detection, and the TF would have fewer options and less time to 'check out' an unknown contact. Lastly, the engagement capability of an Arsenal Ship would be set when the vessel is loaded or re-loaded at port. If an Arsenal Ship were to deploy with a LACM loadout, but during a deployment find it needs to launch air defence missiles, then the Arsenal Ship would be out of luck. Also if tasked with an air defence role, an Arsenal Ship would find it's engagement range limited to the onboard air defence missiles which would likely be of the same types as carried aboard the escorts, while a carrier with a CAP would have a much longer potential range to conduct air intercepts and/or engagement.

    Once again, this has been looked by analysts who have determined that the capability gained would not justify the costs and/or the potential risks.
     
  16. B.Smitty

    B.Smitty Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I like the idea of an arsenal ship primarily for its ability to launch a massive salvo of missiles, rapidly. In theory, a ship with 300-500 VLS cells could fire off its entire warload in the span of a few minutes.

    The opening stages of a major conflict with China would likely involve them launching massive ballistic and cruise missile strikes at US and allied facilities and assets in the region. This could very well knock out all of our air bases in the region, and perhaps the Reagan CSG (especially if it's in port).

    We would have no way to respond other than the handful of missiles carried on subs and whatever Burkes survived the initial salvo. Any response from CONUS would take days or weeks.

    If we had a dozen arsenal ships as part of deterrence strike groups around the 2nd island chain, we could at least launch a series of large counter-punches. How large of a counter-punch would be required to deter China? Impossible to say. A CSBA article a while back on defending Taiwan suggested that defeating a Chinese amphibious invasion force could require on the order of 1,200 anti-ship missiles (using historical effectiveness data). Arsenal ships carrying Maritime Strike Tomahawks (or a stealthy follow-on) could contribute some or all of them. All they would need is effective targeting. This could come from a combination of satellites (however many are left after Chinese ASAT), submarines, allied detections, and aircraft (how bout a maritime RQ-180). F-35s could be a capable contributor here, assuming they have somewhere to fly from.

    Having a large reserve of missiles to immediately strike high-value Chinese land targets could also change their risk-reward calculus. China is a huge country. There's no way we could afford to have a "country takedown" sized capability. But they only have a finite number of ships. They have resource constraints like oil. We could strike pipelines, refineries, and oil storage locations. We could target airbases to limit their ability to prosecute a war with their neighbors.

    3-6,000 offensive missiles within range of China won't win a war, but might increase their perception of cost to the point where they decide war is not worth it.
     
  17. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    How would this fit with the concept of Distributed Lethality (see: USN pdf on Surface Force Strategy)? Could you explain a bit more to a layman like me?

    Would an arsenal ship be a single point of failure? Or can this risk be easily mitigated by keeping them on the move, to evade targeting efforts? The US Marines are moving away from the 38 amphib requirement as they don’t want a single point of failure — from load port to delivery of US Marines on the beach.
    Edit: I note that China, successfully launched three additional Yaogan-30 tactical imaging/ELINT satellites aboard a Long March-2C carrier rocket from its Xichang Satellite Launch Centre on 26 July 2019. State media reported on the launch of the high-revisit satellite triplet, the fourth in the series. This means the USN is certain that China can make an attempt to find and try to attack multiple key capital ships once. I am asking as I don’t have enough understanding to grasp the details that may be self evident to a navy person.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  18. B.Smitty

    B.Smitty Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Distributed Lethality's intellectual basis comes from the work of Capt Hughes & Co. at the Naval Postgraduate School, with their salvo model. In a nutshell, the side with the greater number of ships has more combat resilience (aka "staying power"). Capt Hughes & Admiral Cebrowski went as far as proposing a small missile ship they termed "Streetfighter". The problem here, of course is they're talking in abstract about fleet vs fleet combat. They don't take into account the real issue of how you keep large numbers of small ships deployed forward, especially when you have basing limits and you're dealing with areas covering thousands of miles.

    The Navy took this in a different direction, though, arguing they can increase the "lethality" of the fleet by adding offensive weapons to more ships. To some extent this is true, but to me it seems like a cop out. They don't want to dramatically change the fleet architecture, so proponents call for just bolting weapons on anything that's currently floating. However, in practice, "Distributed Lethality" mostly means adding anti-ship missiles to LCS and the forthcoming FFG, and re-adding them to DDGs. Calls to add them to CLF ships, and amphibious ships have gone nowhere, to my knowledge. And by-and-large, many of these weapons will be relatively short ranged (e.g. NSM, Harpoon), though DDGs and FFGs could carry some Martime Strike Tomahawks.

    But what DL doesn't do is fundamentally alter the "staying power" of the fleet. We'll still only have a handful of LCS's/FFGs/DDGs in the Pacific. So even if they aren't completely helpless, they'll still be overwhelmed by Chinese numerical air/sea/subsea superiority.

    So, in summary, DL as it stands, is valuable but hardly revolutionary. Really it's just restoring capabilities that should've been there all along. True DL would require redesigning the fleet, which the Navy doesn't want to do.

    Arsenal ships, IMHO, really address a different issue. That is, simply having enough offensive weapons in theater, that can be launched quickly against preplanned or popup targets (e.g. an amphibious fleet heading towards Taiwan) and whose primary means of survivability is simply standing off far enough, at the edge of the Chinese A2/AD zone, and being able to dump their offensive payload in a short enough period, thus reducing the chance they'll be sunk before completing their launches. We simply can't afford to buy enough FFGs and DDGs to bring 6,000 offensive VLS cells, especially when each ship only devotes 20-50% of its cells to offensive weapons. It'd take 125 DDGs to bring that many offensive missiles (assuming 50% devoted to defensive weapons).

    Now from a salvo model standpoint, there's nothing saying a fleet of "arsenal ships" couldn't be smaller and more numerous. There are some interesting cost variables at work. In general, larger ships are cheaper, per unit of payload, to buy and operate. "Steel is cheap and air is free", and a 512-cell arsenal ship probably has a similar crew size and only incrementally larger operating cost to a 128-cell arsenal ship. But building more ships, at a higher build rate, reduces costs as well (both in terms of learning curve, as well as potentially employing multiple, competing yards, and simply having a larger, supporting industrial base). So i'm not personally wedded to any specific size of arsenal ship, more to a capacity of offensive weapons.

    But ultimately, I think we need to look at it from the standpoint of how many offensive weapons we can keep on station, the full-spectrum survivability/staying power of the overall capability (e.g.. number of ships, stealth, defensive systems) instead of the survivability of individual ships, and finally, the cost of said capability.
     
  19. B.Smitty

    B.Smitty Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Would it be any worse than losing a $2B DDG?

    Assuming each cell costs $2M to fill, on average, and an arsenal ship costs $1B to build.

    1 x DDG costing $2B + 96 VLS cells at $2M each = $2.2B
    1 x Arsenal ship costing $1B + 512 VLS cells = $2B

    The DDG can defend itself, for sure, but maybe carries 1/10th the offensive firepower.

    How long it takes to manufacture 500 missiles is entirely dependent on the missile build rate. If we want to build more, we invest in larger/more factories. At the height of TACTOM production, we build 496 missiles in a year (2008), but there's no fundamental reason we couldn't build ten times that many per year, if we wanted to.
     
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  20. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    I would argue that yes, it would be worse, because the arsenal ship would be essentially unable to defend itself (unless it was fitted with the appropriate systems like are found aboard a DDG) and would likely not even be aware that it was being targeted or engaged until it was too late. If the USN to operate a 500-cell arsenal ship within striking range of mainland China, the PRC would become aware of that fact. I would then expect them to make finding it a priority, and following that, finding a way to neutralize it before the missiles in the VLS cells could be launched. In order to prevent that, the USN would need to embed arsenal ships into CSG's to protect them vs. aerial, surface and undersea threats. I frankly think the cost too high, and potential strike value too little for it to really be considered worthwhile.

    If the USN really did wish to increase it's potential strike capability and add a conventional strike deterrent, then I believe that modifying some of the plans for the upcoming Columbia-class SSBN to make a SSGN variant, like was done with four of the Ohio-class subs, would be the way to go. The PRC would likely be able to tell where the USN had such subs based, and might be able to keep track of when they were in port, but once underway out at sea...

    The VLS cell count would likely be quite a bit lower than a concept arsenal ship, but being a sub would be much less vulnerable when deployed to air and surface threats, and honestly would likely be better kitted out to evade or engage underwater threats.

    Otherwise the only way I can really think of an arsenal ship being valuable would be if the vessel was disguised like a q-ship, if that is something that could even be done today.
     
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