Future of surface units?

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Karl Heidenreich
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Future of surface units?

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:03 am

After reading the posts about the Falklands a question must come forward:

Which is the role of surface units nowadays in a combat enviorment where aircraft and submarines prevail? The only warship that can be ofensive, combat worthy and can defend itself (no by it´s own means but with the help of her combat navalborne aircraft) is the CV or CVN.

What role a nuclear battlecruiser as the Kirov Class or the USN cruisers or destroyers can play in such an enviroment apart from being "just" escorts? Even with all their Aegis and AA weapondry, stealth technology and submarine-borne missiles and torpedos can penetrate their defenses.

Is there a future for surface units at all?
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Postby Bgile » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:40 am

I disagree with your premise, so I can't reply. What you have done is like saying to a defendant before a trial "Since you are guilty, what do you think your sentence should be?".

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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby RF » Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:53 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:After reading the posts about the Falklands a question must come forward:

Which is the role of surface units nowadays in a combat enviorment where aircraft and submarines prevail? The only warship that can be ofensive, combat worthy and can defend itself (no by it´s own means but with the help of her combat navalborne aircraft) is the CV or CVN.



This is a question that could have been asked in 1939.......
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Postby Bgile » Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:59 pm

When the Soviets introduced missiles into N Vietnam, I thought "ok, that's the end of the air war". It didn't happen, because these weapons don't perform in real situations like they do on paper.

In modern naval combat you need several different types of ships to cover all the eventualities, and they all have their place. Modern destroyers, for example, are utility ships. They form part of the CVNs defensive screen, they can attack targets on shore, inspect ships for contraband, intercept pirates, operate independently in relatively low threat locations, and so on. They aren't worthless. In fact, they are indispensable.

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RF
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby RF » Fri May 16, 2008 12:42 pm

In a world of changing technology aircraft and missiles may soon become completely obsolete for example, to lasers and/or weapons based in outer space.

But I think some sort of surface ship will always remain, both in conventioal and in stealth roles.

Another facet is that the developing sophistication of navies and naval weapons hasn't prevented pirates from operating.... one of the reasons for navies starting in the first place.....
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neil hilton
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby neil hilton » Mon May 17, 2010 3:29 pm

One point about the superiority of air power is its inability to stay on station day after day, week after week. Air power can't take or hold territory. Ground forces do so on land and surface ships do so at sea. Modern AAA weapons (naval SAMs) are approaching a very effective and lethal capability when used with modern integrated FC systems.
And future systems will be even more effective.
Aircraft technology will also improve to keep pace or try to get ahead as it always has.
The eventual introduction of laser weaponry (as true weapons, not just blinding ones) will cause the next big revolution IMO. And the first platforms they will be installable on will be surface ships, due to the size requirement. At that point all aircraft will become cannon fodder.
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby Bgile » Mon May 17, 2010 4:53 pm

I remember during the Vietnam war when I heard that the NVA had surface to air missile batteries I thought "well that's the end of the air war". The modern antitank missile was supposed to mark the end of the tank on the battlefield. One never knows.

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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby RF » Tue May 18, 2010 8:37 am

I think really it falls down to the weight of air attack and the technology behind it. If the air defences can be knocked out or degraded, then attack will win.
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby neil hilton » Tue May 18, 2010 11:26 am

RF wrote:I think really it falls down to the weight of air attack and the technology behind it. If the air defences can be knocked out or degraded, then attack will win.


This is true. Modern warships don't carry as big a magazine as ww2 ships did. But they are a great deal more accurate. Also modern aircraft are very expensive and so no nation can keep many in its inventory, compared to say ww2 aircraft numbers. So large scale airstrikes are very rare and hidiously expensive. Only the US can afford to keep supercarriers and I doubt they would be willing to risk a full airgroup in a single strike.
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby Legend » Sat May 22, 2010 2:55 am

As it has been since the first warship, as the artillery gets larger, the armor gets thicker. Now, we have to realize that lately it has been more focused on preventing damage, rather than absorbing it. As missiles become larger, or more accurate, or more maneuverable, expect that the CIWS will become more and more sophisticated. Why do you think the US Navy and other navies have begun to adopt the newer RIM-115 instead of the older Phalanx? I personally believe that the Phalanx's capabilities are roughly equal to the RAM's, despite not using expensive high performance missiles. But someone believed that the Phalanx was obsolete, or that modern missiles became significantly deadlier. For every new development there is a solution.

There will always be a place for surface ships. Now, personally, I believe that the current mentality of what we are developing could use some work... but nevertheless the destroyers are still there.
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby neil hilton » Mon May 24, 2010 10:01 am

When unguided shells were the standard offensive weapon then armour and manoeuvre was the approriate defence. Now that guided missiles are the primary weapon then electronic warfare and active anti-missile defences (flares, chaff, AMMs and CIWS) are used. Its not the number of weapons that should be considered when determining how powerful a modern warship is but the number of antennas and aerials. The detection and guidance systems and ECM, ECCM etc.
When true laser weapons make an appearance it will be almost like a return to the old days of gunnery duels IMO.
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby lwd » Tue May 25, 2010 4:54 pm

The paradigm for armored vehicles is the onion. IE
1) Avoid being seen to the extent possible
2) If you are seen avoid being targeted.
3) If targeted avoid being hit.
4) If hit avoid penetration.
5) If penetrated minimize casualties and damage.
Ships are pretty much the same it's just a matter of where you get the most leverage. Guided weapons have made 3 harder but that's also where a log of EW and things like antimissile devices are directed.

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Legend
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby Legend » Tue May 25, 2010 10:45 pm

At this point they have just given up on four and five.
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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby Bgile » Tue May 25, 2010 11:56 pm

Legend wrote:At this point they have just given up on four and five.


Stark, Princeton, and Cole all sank, then?

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Re: Future of surface units?

Postby lwd » Wed May 26, 2010 1:50 pm

Legend wrote:At this point they have just given up on four and five.

My impression is rather than giving up on 4 they have simply chosen reasonable goals (ie small arms and possibly small caliber cannon and fragments).
As for 5 a lot of the engineering and layout in ship design is to minimize damage and casualties at least from what I've read.


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