Life Rafts

The warships of today's navies, current naval events, ships in the news, etc.
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Legend
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Life Rafts

Postby Legend » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:09 am

I was just thinking the other day and am curious about current naval life preserver/raft tech. i know they don't have rigid hulls anymore and im woundering if the canisters under the SPY-1 in this picture are the answer to my question.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... 060417.jpg

Thanks guys,
Matthew
AND THE SEA SHALL GRANT EACH MAN NEW HOPE, AS SLEEP BRINGS DREAMS.

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Re: Life Rafts

Postby Bgile » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:47 pm

Yes. Nice photo, by the way. I believe they can be released manually or by water pressure when the ship sinks. At least that is what we were told a number of years ago.

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Legend
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Re: Life Rafts

Postby Legend » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:54 am

Any guess oh how many they can hold?
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hammy
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Re: Life Rafts -- capacity

Postby hammy » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:39 pm

There isnt much difference nowadays between the rafts-in-canisters as fitted in merchant and passenger ships , and those supplied for warships , as the "packages" are deemed perfectly adequate for military use . It makes economic sense to use commercially available containered rafts too , because the periodic servicing is done by a man with a van calling at the dockside and swapping those "time-expired" ones you have for freshly serviced ones .
I think the capacities range from 12 --> 18 --> 24 persons , but in the event of an emergency that is an indicative figure rather than an absolute one . The capacity label is of course what each raft contains by way of food+water supplies .

Warships carry far more rafts than required for the number of crew aboard to cover the problem of rafts being damaged in action , and so that you can drop a raft off if there are survivors from some other ship in the water without leaving yourself short .

I believe most warships nowadays also carry full Immersion suits for everyone , and a good quantity of spares .
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Re: Life Rafts

Postby marcelo_malara » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:26 pm

Today´s warships are not prepared for war. I can´t imagine those rafts in one piece after receiving splinter damage in their canisters.

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Re: Life Rafts

Postby Bgile » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:17 pm

marcelo_malara wrote:Today´s warships are not prepared for war. I can´t imagine those rafts in one piece after receiving splinter damage in their canisters.


I completely disagree with this statement. I think today's ships are as prepared for war as reasonably possible in peacetime. Do you honestly expect them to armor the life rafts? I think today's sailors are much better trained and equipped to survive a sinking than they were in WWII.

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Re: Life Rafts

Postby marcelo_malara » Thu Nov 12, 2009 5:09 pm

Not armour them, but you can´t seriously think that an inflatable life raft in a plastic canister would survive an exploding shell or a straffing. I would say that the old cork rafts are much better in this sense.

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Re: Life Rafts

Postby hammy » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:58 pm

Well Marcelo , that is one reason why they tend to be dispersed around the ship , to avoid the situation that the majority will be damaged beyond use .
As you can see in the photograph , that ship is carrying them in at least four seperate locations .

As regards the old type of raft being "better" , I think you would be right IF they had some kind of Tent shelter arrangement ( its the cold wind on wet bodies that brings on hypothermia ) , and also weighted drop-down fabric "boxes" --- to fill with ballasting water --- as the inflatable rafts do , to try to stop them from turning over( capsising ) in rough sea conditions . Of course you would need more deck space , and there is the aspect of "stealth" , ie the need to present a flat angled contour to bounce radar impulses up into the air , not back to the emitter .
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Re: Life Rafts

Postby marcelo_malara » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:44 am

Hammy, I am in the process of reading Narvik by Dickens. I just can´t think of the containers surviving a battle like that one. Shells, AA cannon straffing, fire aboard, splinters of near shells. I am serious about the fact that whenever naval battles would be back, many things will change. The Malvinas/Falklands war´s lessons have not been properly understood. Ships like the Sheffield sunk by one missile that even failed to explode properly, or frigates damaged beyond repair by one bomb, all make me think that in a prolonged naval war that rate of attrition can not be sustained. So I believe that a different warship would be born of that, one closer to an old CL than to a modern destroyer, capable of sustaining some damage, with moderate armour at least.

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Re: Life Rafts

Postby RF » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:00 pm

marcelo_malara wrote:Today´s warships are not prepared for war....


I don't think this is true in any respect, let alone provision for life savers.

For a modern warship today heavy armour plating is an encumberance, and the experience of two world wars is that no amount of armour plating can make a ship unsinkable.
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hammy
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Re: Life Rafts

Postby hammy » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:49 pm

Hi Marcelo , well I think that in a situation where a ship is going to get thoroughly "shot up" then liferafts in fibreglass containers are going to be pretty vulnerable , although you would be pretty unlucky to have all of them rendered useless .

You are quite right to say that many of the warships today are not suitable for today's roles .
I think something along the lines of the Colonial Cruisers of the 1890 -- 1910 period is what is actually required , these in RN service always carried Marines , boats designed to land them ashore , and firepower by way of small field gun-howitzers and machine guns .
Todays equivalent would house troop-carrying/attack helicopters -- say four , and four small landing craft in davits to take 25 or so personnel or a vehicle load such as a couple of Humvees or a light armoured vehicle . The Troop unit would be about 80 strong , and these would be supported by the Naval personnel "Land action teams" , so you could put ashore say 100-120 as a coherent force .

The ship would carry the sort of weapons fit current on the type 42 destroyers , with deck space provided for "bolting-down" additional hardware packs on an as required basis .
The current Daring class "destroyers" , escorts for the projected new carriers , are an 8000 ton hull , roughly the size of the WW2 Exeter/York cruisers , that might do as a starting point for such a design , with the extra accomodation/hanger space in a "Jean-de-Arc " training cruiser style raised superstructure .

As regards the Falklands thing , the RN warships there were products of the Cold war , wholly optimised for the ASW role and to get troop convoys across the Atlantic in the face of a Soviet submarine offensive . Cut to the minimum cost by the Treasury , their AAA equipments were token efforts , and it is no wonder that they suffered in the air war .
NOT HELPED I can clearly recall , by the journalists at the time telling the world that the bombs were being dropped too low to allow the fuses to arm , or the jolly story about using the Islands telephone system between Bluff Cove and the Force HQ ( routed through the Port Stanley exchange ) , which revealed to anyone with a brain that there were troopships there -- cue the Sir Galahad attack .
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Re: Life Rafts

Postby Bgile » Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:25 pm

I just realized I made a post about the uses of modern ships under a topic called "Life Rafts" so I deleted it.

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Re: Life Rafts

Postby yellowtail3 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:21 pm

Legend wrote:I was just thinking the other day and am curious about current naval life preserver/raft tech. i know they don't have rigid hulls anymore and im woundering if the canisters under the SPY-1 in this picture are the answer to my question.

They are the answer to your question.
hammy wrote:I believe most warships nowadays also carry full Immersion suits for everyone , and a good quantity of spares .

we didn't have them when I was in, but that's been a few years
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Re: Life Rafts

Postby Rick Rather » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:00 pm

marcelo_malara wrote:Hammy, I am in the process of reading Narvik by Dickens. I just can´t think of the containers surviving a battle like that one. Shells, AA cannon straffing, fire aboard, splinters of near shells. I am serious about the fact that whenever naval battles would be back, many things will change. The Malvinas/Falklands war´s lessons have not been properly understood. Ships like the Sheffield sunk by one missile that even failed to explode properly, or frigates damaged beyond repair by one bomb, all make me think that in a prolonged naval war that rate of attrition can not be sustained. So I believe that a different warship would be born of that, one closer to an old CL than to a modern destroyer, capable of sustaining some damage, with moderate armour at least.


Sorry for bumping an old thread, but this quote caught my eye. Perhaps it was the ironic juxtaposition of these two statements:

"The Malvinas/Falklands war´s lessons have not been properly understood."
"So I believe that a different warship would be born of that, one closer to an old CL..."

When ARA General Belgrano sank in the frigid South Atlantic, the loss of life would have been much greater had she not been equipped with the very same type of containerized inflatable life rafts that Marcelo decries:

Image
Image

(When I joined the Navy 3 years later, I was comforted to see my ship carrying plenty of these proven life-savers.)

Of course, Marcelo's comment concerned the vulnerability of the containers to shrapnel in the event of a gunfight or missile hit. For what it's worth, I consider torpedoes a much greater threat than missiles.

At any rate, a few observations (what follows is distilled from discussions I had with my shipmates while standing around during "abandon ship" drills):

- As others have pointed-out, warships carry more rafts than are actually needed for the size of the crew.
- Missile warheads and gun rounds intended to sink warships are usually fuzed to explode inside the ship.
- Missile damage, even when severe, tends to be localized:

Image
Image

- Interior damage severe enough to damage most of the rafts on the outside of the ship will likely sink the ship so fast or kill so many crew members that the surviving rafts will probably still be enough for the surviving crew.
- Damage to the ship that perforates the widely-distributed rafts, but does not do enough internal damage to kill a significant portion of the crew. probably will not leave the ship in a sinking condition.
- It is possible (though very unlikely) that absolutely everything goes wrong, and a bunch of guys go for a swim. If you lie awake at nights worrying about this, maybe you should join the Army. :lol:
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
-- R. Rather


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