# Battleship revival?

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Posted (edited)

Could the advent of long rage ramjet powered artillery shells, Laser point defense, nuclear power, and light weight armor as used in aircraft carriers be used to bring back the battleship? New technologies would seem to indicate that a powerful battleship platform could again be an important part of the Navy, the idea of either redeploying old battleships and or redesigning the old battleships has been around a long time but vulnerability to air power and missiles has always stopped the idea from fruition. New technologies could turn that around. This development might be part of this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophy_(countermeasure)

Edited by Moontanman
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GPS is a 'local' receiver of time/location information from the orbiting satellites. You might be able to 'swamp' the local receiver so that it can't detect the satellite signals, but a military sys

The Kirov ? Really ? If the Russians had gotten that right, it would have been the only one, as they failed miserably with their carriers, and had to sell them for liquid funds to India and China

Wars without human casualties tend to go on as long as money/resources last. My opinion on the matter was formed by an episode of Star Trek:TOS, 'A Taste of Armageddon'. Read the plot here

Hardly. The development of military technologies is moving in the direction of removing living soldiers from the battlefield. Unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks without crews......

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2 minutes ago, SergUpstart said:

Hardly. The development of military technologies is moving in the direction of removing living soldiers from the battlefield. Unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks without crews......

I would say you could be correct, the newest aircraft carriers do seem to be going in a direction that needs fewer men. But I haven't seen any huge shift towards those technologies in war ships. Can you provide some information on that?

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Wars without human casualties tend to go on as long as money/resources last.

My opinion on the matter was formed by an episode of Star Trek:TOS, 'A Taste of Armageddon'.
Read the plot here     A Taste of Armageddon - Wikipedia
And I think it is the wrong direction to be heading.

As for battleships, they have evolved.
A small aircraft carrier can be as short as 600 ft, with a displacement of 15000 t, and in addition to cannon/missile armament, can field 8-12 L-M F-35B off a ski-ramp deck, for self defense. So who needs a battleship ?

Here is a typical example        Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi - Wikipedia

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

Wars without human casualties tend to go on as long as money/resources last.

My opinion on the matter was formed by an episode of Star Trek:TOS, 'A Taste of Armageddon'.
Read the plot here     A Taste of Armageddon - Wikipedia
And I think it is the wrong direction to be heading.

As for battleships, they have evolved.
A small aircraft carrier can be as short as 600 ft, with a displacement of 15000 t, and in addition to cannon/missile armament, can field 8-12 L-M F-35B off a ski-ramp deck, for self defense. So who needs a battleship ?

Here is a typical example        Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi - Wikipedia

A taste of armageddon was a good episode, it did show that possibility for sure.

A battleship was once supposed to be used for fighting other ships but that seldom happened, only once or twice in WW2. Mostly they were used for shore bombardment and in that role battleships excelled but long range weapons now require them to be too far offshore to really be a threat. A big gun that is accurate out to as much as 120 miles (some reports indicate it's more like 250) would put them further out of danger and not endanger aircraft pilots. Increased accuracy would make this a devastating weapon while new close in defense weapons would allow the battleship to survive in modern ship to shore and ship to ship battles.

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To answer the question about the return of battleships, it is necessary to answer the question, and what combat tasks are these ships supposed to solve? If this is a fight against enemy carrier strike groups, then there are more promising solutions for this. For example, there have been reports on the Internet that China is developing ballistic anti-ship missiles with a range of 2,000 km

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, SergUpstart said:

To answer the question about the return of battleships, it is necessary to answer the question, and what combat tasks are these ships supposed to solve? If this is a fight against enemy carrier strike groups, then there are more promising solutions for this. For example, there have been reports on the Internet that China is developing ballistic anti-ship missiles with a range of 2,000 km

I would think as a platform for shore bombardment, air defence, ABM, and anti ship missiles.

Edited by Moontanman
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The term 'ballistic' implies little, or no, terminal guidance.
That makes them very ineffective against targets that can move.

Even at Mach 12, the missile would need 15 min to reach the target ( M 3 is approx 2000 mph ).
Which at 20 mph, would be 5 miles away from its original position.

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7 hours ago, Moontanman said:

I would think as a platform for shore bombardment, air defence, ABM, and anti ship missiles.

For this purpose, submarines with cruise and ballistic missiles are more suitable. They have an advantage over aircraft carriers and battleships, which is the ability to covertly go to a given area on the line of attack.

6 hours ago, MigL said:

The term 'ballistic' implies little, or no, terminal guidance.
That makes them very ineffective against targets that can move.

Even at Mach 12, the missile would need 15 min to reach the target ( M 3 is approx 2000 mph ).
Which at 20 mph, would be 5 miles away from its original position.

From the point of view of the strictness of the terminology, we should say "semi-ballistic". The head of such a missile must be able to maneuver and be homing on radiation from the aircraft carrier's electronic equipment. According to this scheme, it is possible to make a long-range surface-to-air missile against flying AWACS radars.

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4 minutes ago, SergUpstart said:

For this purpose, submarines with cruise and ballistic missiles are more suitable. They have an advantage over aircraft carriers and battleships, which is the ability to covertly go to a given area on the line of attack.

I suspect ballistic missiles and cruise missiles from submarines are not very cost effective and will be limited in number.

Artillery shells are cheap, accurate, plentiful and effective.

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12 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Artillery shells are cheap, accurate, plentiful and effective.

The shells are cheap, but the guns will be expensive. The firing range does not depend on the projectile and depends only on the length of the gun barrel. German super-guns "Colossal" and "Dora" were almost useless.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, SergUpstart said:

From the point of view of the strictness of the terminology, we should say "semi-ballistic". The head of such a missile must be able to maneuver and be homing on radiation from the aircraft carrier's electronic equipment. According to this scheme, it is possible to make a long-range surface-to-air missile against flying AWACS radars.

To maneuver it needs propulsion and control surfaces.
Even active homing  ( with built in terminal guidance radar ) were notoriously ineffective, because the rocket fuel was usually spent getting the missile to a high enough speed which the target could not evade.
Newer missiles, like the MBDA Meteor, use a rocket to get up to speed, and then a ramjet to sustain and maneuver to the target.
So it is not a 'ballistic' missile any longer, and could probably be shot down, or defeated by countermeasures ( simple as turning off your radar ), at the much lower terminal speed.

Edited by MigL
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8 hours ago, SergUpstart said:

The shells are cheap, but the guns will be expensive.

As opposed to a submarine?

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10 hours ago, SergUpstart said:

For this purpose, submarines with cruise and ballistic missiles are more suitable. They have an advantage over aircraft carriers and battleships, which is the ability to covertly go to a given area on the line of attack.

Very much not cost effective for amphibious landing support.

10 hours ago, SergUpstart said:

From the point of view of the strictness of the terminology, we should say "semi-ballistic". The head of such a missile must be able to maneuver and be homing on radiation from the aircraft carrier's electronic equipment. According to this scheme, it is possible to make a long-range surface-to-air missile against flying AWACS radars.

Anything that homes in on radar can be confused by radar jamming and in a time of attack ships can also go radar silent (as can awacs). ABM's do exist and a battleship sized platform, possibly nuclear powered could be fitted with things like railguns, Lasers and other power hungry systems and could be fitted on a large ship and used to defend the Carrier group. While these systems can be mounted on smaller vessels they do demand huge amounts of power and ABMs would need a large magazine to hold multiple missiles.

10 hours ago, SergUpstart said:

The shells are cheap, but the guns will be expensive. The firing range does not depend on the projectile and depends only on the length of the gun barrel. German super-guns "Colossal" and "Dora" were almost useless.

No, the new guns do not depend on the length of the barrel, the shells are self propelled please see the links in the OP.

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• 2 weeks later...

I suspect the cited Wiki article is complete cr*p. Either written by a waco or intentionally by some state agency to fool the enemy.
Dynamic_armour
I want to see the hyperfast electricity source capable of evaporating even a tank flechette - much bigger is possible. Worse, I want to grasp why a vaporized flechette is less penetrating than a solid one. The metal's strength plays no decisive role when a kinetic impactor penetrates an armour. If electricity shall disperse the flechette's mass over more area within tenths of microseconds, it demands more speed hence energy than the round has provided, in itself difficult, and vaporisation increases the pressure of the impact too.

The other proposed protective measures, including the cited Trophy
Trophy
all need a slow small flechette launched by a battletank, but against a valuable battleship, faster bigger rounds would be used.

I've been telling for years that fast big kinetic impactors can be built. Just a truck can launch a low-tech 20t missile that flies above the atmosphere and falls on the target. 16t of safe powder give 3.8km/s to the remaining 4t metal that have 700km range, prior to any optimization and staging. That's 20* more squared speed and 200* more mass than the battletank flechette. Or the truck can launch many missiles like a Katiushka did, and each one can be mirved, and the impactor designed to spread when piercing the first metal, so the holes below the waterline are bigger. More efficient, because a ship's armour doesn't need such a huge impactor.

Maybe this is the kind of missiles the Chinese built after I suggested it. Anyway, this is the style of weapons against which I want to read an armour of any kind, because a big ship deserves such big weapons, and even bigger ones.

The defence against the impactors should also be cheaper than the weapon. Presently, anti-missiles are hugely more expensive, because their target is more difficult to aim at. In a race between dumb mirved kinetic impactors and many supersmart aiming antimissiles, the assailant wins.

Until this threat is neutralized, all big surface ships are complete nonsense to my opinion. They were weapons in the mid-20th century, in the 21st they are only targets. This includes aircraft carriers. Insofar submarines aren't detected yet, they still make sense.

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On 4/23/2021 at 8:52 AM, Enthalpy said:

I suspect the cited Wiki article is complete cr*p. Either written by a waco or intentionally by some state agency to fool the enemy.
Dynamic_armour
I want to see the hyperfast electricity source capable of evaporating even a tank flechette - much bigger is possible. Worse, I want to grasp why a vaporized flechette is less penetrating than a solid one. The metal's strength plays no decisive role when a kinetic impactor penetrates an armour. If electricity shall disperse the flechette's mass over more area within tenths of microseconds, it demands more speed hence energy than the round has provided, in itself difficult, and vaporisation increases the pressure of the impact too.

The other proposed protective measures, including the cited Trophy
Trophy
all need a slow small flechette launched by a battletank, but against a valuable battleship, faster bigger rounds would be used.

I've been telling for years that fast big kinetic impactors can be built. Just a truck can launch a low-tech 20t missile that flies above the atmosphere and falls on the target. 16t of safe powder give 3.8km/s to the remaining 4t metal that have 700km range, prior to any optimization and staging. That's 20* more squared speed and 200* more mass than the battletank flechette. Or the truck can launch many missiles like a Katiushka did, and each one can be mirved, and the impactor designed to spread when piercing the first metal, so the holes below the waterline are bigger. More efficient, because a ship's armour doesn't need such a huge impactor.

Maybe this is the kind of missiles the Chinese built after I suggested it. Anyway, this is the style of weapons against which I want to read an armour of any kind, because a big ship deserves such big weapons, and even bigger ones.

The defence against the impactors should also be cheaper than the weapon. Presently, anti-missiles are hugely more expensive, because their target is more difficult to aim at. In a race between dumb mirved kinetic impactors and many super smart aiming anti missiles, the assailant wins.

Until this threat is neutralized, all big surface ships are complete nonsense to my opinion. They were weapons in the mid-20th century, in the 21st they are only targets. This includes aircraft carriers. Insofar submarines aren't detected yet, they still make sense.

Let me if I understand you, you are saying that kinetic impactors cannot be defended against in a reasonable way? Are such kinetic impactors as effective against a target that moves? How much more powerful would a laser defence have to be that what we already have to defend against such a weapon?

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Posted (edited)
On 4/23/2021 at 8:52 AM, Enthalpy said:

Presently, anti-missiles are hugely more expensive, because their target is more difficult to aim at.

That is essentially correct.
However, making the case for cannonballs is not very productive.
The fact remains that missiles/impactors ( or whatever you wish to call them ), have to have some sort of guidance.
It is not easy to hit something 1-2000 km away, much less explode at height, and re-enter with multiple MIRVs.
The one clear advantage defensive missiles have, is that they know exactly where the incoming missile is going to be ( or hoping to be ), and an intercept course is much easier to solve for.

Think of it like bsaeballs.
It is very difficult to hit an outfielder with a baseball.
Yet, if you know that baseball is coming across home plate, it isn't tto difficult to tag it with a bat.

good to hear from you, Moon.

Edited by MigL
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13 hours ago, Moontanman said:

[...] you are saying that kinetic impactors cannot be defended against in a reasonable way?

As a student or young engineer, I used to answer "impossible", for instance about Reagan's directed energy weapons. Meanwhile these weapons exist, and as my beard is white now, I say instead "I don't see how" or "Seems difficult to me".

13 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Are such kinetic impactors as effective against a target that moves?

An aircraft carrier or a battleship aren't quite agile. The 700km range (just a natural figure from a single stage with safe smokeless powder) is covered in 4min. This gives a battleship time to change its course (an aircraft carrier has other constraints), not to flee far away. It has time to steer 90° away, and at 20m/s, be 5km away from the targeted location.

An expensive impactor would try to follow the movement. This needs much fuel, as the impactor must follow the target's acceleration.

Or a salvo of cheap impactors can rely on chance. One truck can launch 20+ missiles, 20 trucks can fire simultaneously, and each missile can release 20 impactors, totalling 8 000 impactors. Against an aeronaval group of ten 150m*20m ships, impacts spread on R=5km hit 12 times as a mean. Even a single carrier or battleship is probably hit twice.

The salvo method is low-tech, far below what Iran or North Korea already achieve, and it is much cheaper than both the targets and the protective means.

Among the static targets are nuclear power plants. No affordable shield stops such an impactor. Countries with reactors everywhere, like France or Japan, would get uninhabitable by the mere released radioactivity. If you think at what an impact does at the core's side of a fast neutrons reactor (and possibly an epithermal neutrons reactor too), it's terrifying. Angela Merkel (PhD for nuclear physics) closed all fast neutrons reactors in Germany after I suggested this on the web.

13 hours ago, Moontanman said:

How much more powerful would a laser defence have to be that what we already have to defend against such a weapon?

I've heard about three trials. A 747-borne laser destroys a missile starting 500km away. A combat ship turret (an F-35 maybe too) destroys a drone few km away. A truck destroys Hamas-styled rockets few km away.

These targets were soft, with thin casings absorbing light and fragile to heat. A kinetic impacts is a solid piece of metal - the design can keep the rocket engine's casing or not.

The available time is similar, in the 1mn range if the defender notices the missile start and can act at long range.

The number of incoming impactors makes a difference. From a salvo of  8 000 impactors, you want to destroy many more than the 12 in the previous evaluation, but one present laser can't destroy many impactors successively.

I suppose the demonstrated laser weapons are nearly the state of the art, so let's say an impactor needs 10* the heat for being resistant, it reflects 10* as efficiently, that's 100* more power density for each impactor, and then the defender must destroy at least 100 impactors, rather 1 000. Achieving that takes decades if feasible, and meanwhile the very cheap salvo progresses too.

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9 hours ago, MigL said:

[...] The fact remains that missiles/impactors [...] have to have some sort of guidance.

A single impactor needs guidance, possibly after the initial acceleration if the target has some agility and detects the missile start. A salvo of mirved missiles by a single truck could release dumb impactors against some targets and guide only the initial acceleration. A salvo of 8 000 impactors against an aeronaval group can use impactors of plain solid metal, which can't be fooled and offer some resilience.

9 hours ago, MigL said:

[...] The one clear advantage defensive missiles have, is that they know exactly where the incoming missile is going to be ( or hoping to be ), and an intercept course is much easier to solve for. [...] Yet, if you know that baseball is coming across home plate, it isn't too difficult to tag it with a bat. [...]

It has been demonstrated against ballistic nuclear missiles, yes.

One advantage of kinetic impactors is that they are dense and fast, hence difficult to destroy and deflect. Shrapnel will do little against them. Think of them as a long thin cones of plain steel, chromium plated, like 1m long and 0.1m wide, slightly hollow at the rear, arriving at 4km/s.

The other advantage of the assailant against the defender is cost. The salvo of 8 000 impactors costs maybe 50M$in series production. At that price, a laser or antimissile doesn't destroy a single impactor. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Posted (edited) Impactors in MIRVs are not allowed. The US suggested using them but Russia said no because there is no way to distinguish from a nuke and will be treated as a nuke. Rather, I should say, they can't be used under the 'conventional weapon' designation in an MIRV. Edited by StringJunky ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Since you're introducing possible scenarios, consider the following. A small fast/agile aircraft carrier with a complement of 8-16 F-35s, possibly with AWACS radar coverage, and 'buddy' type re-fueling assets. The F-35 has an operational radius of about 500 km, which can be extended with buddy re-fueling, or even stealth-defeating external fuel tanks, such that 700 km is not an issue. The current US inventory anti-radar missile is the Raytheon AGM-88 HARM, which tracks enemy radar up to 150 km , back to its source. The only way to defeat, is to turn off your radar, but then you are blind, and cannot fire missiles at the carrier. The HARM's successor, HDAM, has a built in GPS and fiber-optic gyro, such that when the target is aquired, switching off the radar will not defeat the missile. Your only hope is to get out of there faster than a M5 missile can cover 150 km. No US aircraft has ever been lost to surface-to-air missiles when HAR|M has been flying cover/SEAD mission. The big if, which only larger Navies are able to provide, is network-centric warfare, or greatly improved situational awareness, provided by networking every electronic asset in the field, from AWACS, JSTARS and the parallelled radars of individual F-35s into the C3, command and control system. The systems have become the largest expenditure in modern warfare. Bombs, missiles, aircraft and even ships, are just the 'scalpels' in the modern operating theater; the systems and electronic assets are the surgeons. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 2 hours ago, MigL said: Since you're introducing possible scenarios, consider the following. A small fast/agile aircraft carrier with a complement of 8-16 F-35s, possibly with AWACS radar coverage, and 'buddy' type re-fueling assets. The F-35 has an operational radius of about 500 km, which can be extended with buddy re-fueling, or even stealth-defeating external fuel tanks, such that 700 km is not an issue. The current US inventory anti-radar missile is the Raytheon AGM-88 HARM, which tracks enemy radar up to 150 km , back to its source. The only way to defeat, is to turn off your radar, but then you are blind, and cannot fire missiles at the carrier. The HARM's successor, HDAM, has a built in GPS and fiber-optic gyro, such that when the target is aquired, switching off the radar will not defeat the missile. Your only hope is to get out of there faster than a M5 missile can cover 150 km. No US aircraft has ever been lost to surface-to-air missiles when HAR|M has been flying cover/SEAD mission. The big if, which only larger Navies are able to provide, is network-centric warfare, or greatly improved situational awareness, provided by networking every electronic asset in the field, from AWACS, JSTARS and the parallelled radars of individual F-35s into the C3, command and control system. The systems have become the largest expenditure in modern warfare. Bombs, missiles, aircraft and even ships, are just the 'scalpels' in the modern operating theater; the systems and electronic assets are the surgeons. GPS can be drowned out by blocking noise interference. And next to the radar, you can put several transmitters as bait, simulating a working radar. You can put several radars working in flickering mode next to each other. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Posted (edited) 8 hours ago, Enthalpy said: A single impactor needs guidance, possibly after the initial acceleration if the target has some agility and detects the missile start. A salvo of mirved missiles by a single truck could release dumb impactors against some targets and guide only the initial acceleration. A salvo of 8 000 impactors against an aeronaval group can use impactors of plain solid metal, which can't be fooled and offer some resilience. It has been demonstrated against ballistic nuclear missiles, yes. One advantage of kinetic impactors is that they are dense and fast, hence difficult to destroy and deflect. Shrapnel will do little against them. Think of them as a long thin cones of plain steel, chromium plated, like 1m long and 0.1m wide, slightly hollow at the rear, arriving at 4km/s. The other advantage of the assailant against the defender is cost. The salvo of 8 000 impactors costs maybe 50M$ in series production. At that price, a laser or antimissile doesn't destroy a single impactor.

Rods from god? Not to be confused with "The Rod of God Ministries

What I am seeing is that a huge well armed, well armored with both passive and aggressive defences, nuclear powered platform might be viable. It could also carry fuel in very well armored storage and even make fuel with electricity provided by it's reactors, to fuel surface ships to extend their range.

Edited by Moontanman
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1 hour ago, SergUpstart said:

GPS can be drowned out by blocking noise interference.

Try that with a military GPS.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, MigL said:

Try that with a military GPS.

Apparently, Putin's security messes up the GPS signal wherever he is for some distance around him.

Edited by StringJunky

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