Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sneaky

USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean Dec. 7, 2015.
(U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works/Released)
So I've mentioned the paying gig a cuppla times in these spaces. Once upon a time I worked on the Zumwalt project, the lead ship in that class being depicted above. Talked about that here, but apparently what goes around, does indeed come around. At least some of the time. Yup, I'm back on that project again. (Well, I've been back on it for a couple of years, but that was mostly documentation, I'm back to staring at displays and pushing buttons again, much more fun that is!)

It's a good gig, yes there are elements of it which would drive a priest to hard drink and loose women for the frustration what's in it, but for the most part it's interesting work. Some of my colleagues have actually been aboard for long stretches to assist the crew in getting used to the various systems and how they interact. I'm not that smart yet, I'd fall into the "did you try turning it off then back on again" line of helpfulness.

But I do know a thing or two about stuff which keeps me gainfully employed.

(BTW, typing without using the left middle finger is no easier than it was last week. But at least it seems to be healing. Thanks for asking. 😁)

Anyhoo, I ran across a couple of cool videos yesterday which I thought I'd share with you. The first talks about what makes a ship stealthy...



While I've never actually been aboard the ship, I've heard tales of "what it's like" and this next video gives you a look inside USS Zumwalt. There are elements similar to other ships I've been on and some things are totally different. One of the things I find amazing is that the enlisted folks now have four-man staterooms and aren't all stacked together in a couple of big berthing spaces with one rack stacked upon another. Like sharing a bedroom with 50 other people. Not on USS Zumwalt.



Now if we can just find a couple of guns for the old girl or perhaps cheaper bullets for the ones she has now. That was a bit of pie in the sky optimism that was, gun rounds which are actually more missile than bullet and costing about the same as a Tomahawk missile. What were they thinking?

Oh yeah, they weren't.




54 comments:

  1. Interesting vids, this class is a bigger version of the LCS, imagine a carrier that can't launch/recover planes because of COST?!? What was/is the Navy thinking? Not railing against new, just stupidity. Good luck on the surgery Sarge.

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    1. Actually the Zumwalt-class has a functional weapons system, 80 missile tubes, LCS has got a pop gun and zero other capabilities. Zumwalt can do air defense and hunt subs.

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    2. Both ship classes resulted in cost overruns leading to reduced ships purchased. Zumwalt has a stealth design and surface/anti-aircraft roles along with primary role of naval gunfire. That primary was too costly so kaput to that. I know, ASROC, VLS, Sea Sparrow, Tomahawk, even a couple small guns for the Zumwalt, my poor initial statement was that the primary point of this class went away because of costs. Of course I don't know what I don't know. The LCS seems to have been a poorly designed ship, what with the breakdowns and inability to meet the Navy's requirement to operate for what....30 straight days under way? The American predilection for a weapons system to be a Swiss Army knife seems to repeat in DOD purchases IMO. Over four billion bucks for one Zumwalt...... seems too costly for me.

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    3. Far too costly, a lot of that cost comes from constantly shifting requirements. The Advanced Gun System (AGS) was a complete f**k-up. The initial idea was a good one, but somebody went nuts with the costs so the result was no AGS. Yes, LCS is a piss-poor design, why we haven't cancelled it outright is insane.

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    4. I don't know what was so hard about designing an auto gun to fire NATO 155mm projectiles and that cute Army guided round. Simple enough. Just navalize an existing weapons system (lots of our allies have auto 155mm systems.)

      But... Noooooooooooooo... The Truck-Up Fairies had to be employed. And they have yet to figure out how to fix it. Great.

      Meanwhile Red China has demonstrated a shipboard railgun, Red China has large caliber ship based guns, Red China has...

      Dumb bunnies.

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    5. As to LCS, it seems it is not a warship for the US Navy but a jobs program for the builders.

      A jobs program that would be better served building Frigates or Destroyers without waterjet propulsion, but then again, there's that jobs program thingy again.

      Sigh. So much cluster-truck. So much TrUBAR.

      (See how I've cleaned up my language?)

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    6. Beans the 1st - The auto gun thing wasn't the problem. The problem was delivering a significant amount of explosives on target from only two guns. That problem was essentially solved. Trust me when I say that the gun system is extremely impressive. The problem is economy of scale related, with 32 ships projected, the gun rounds would have been significantly cheaper per round. Drop that number to three and the cost of the ammo goes way up.

      Navalizing an existing gun system doesn't solve any problems. Then Zumwalt is just another ship with a short range gun. Remember, the goal was for Naval Gunfire Support (NGFS) as good as, if not better than, that provided by the Iowa-class battleships. Range-wise the Zumwalt wins that contest hands down, in weight of shot the Iowa has an edge, but with a rate of fire of ten rounds per minute from two guns, Zumwalt would have been impressive. Also remember, the rounds are actually missiles, they can be programmed to all land at the same time. Cost killed the AGS, three ships won't get you the economy of scale needed to bring those costs down. Not so much the Navy's problem as Congress, they're the ones who want to spend the so-called "peace dividend" on fripperies and free crap for their constituents.

      As for the Chinese? Fire Truck them, they can demonstrate all the fancy stuff they want as it's cheap for them, built by slaves using tech stolen from other nations. Like they used to say about us, they're paper tigers.

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    7. Beans the 2nd - Total agreement on LCS from me. The concept came from two naval officers who thought:

      The President of the Naval War College, Admiral Art Cebrowski, and others such as Capt. Wayne P. Hughes, have advocated the deployment of larger numbers of smaller ships to operate in "harm's way" in littoral waters. Cebrowski and Hughes talk of "tactical instability," where a navy is unwilling to risk its ships because the fleet is constituted principally of small numbers of expensive ships. They propose "re-balancing the fleet" by supplementing the currently planned large surface combatants with the procurement of smaller ships.

      Full article here.

      In reality, the "Streetfighter" concept (in my mind) was a great way to get American sailors killed. LCS was a BAD idea from Day One and hasn't gotten any better. Now it is a jobs program, which is one of those things Ike warned us about.

      I so hate LCS.

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    8. If you want to fight brown water, then build an actual brown water boat (with blue water capability, maybe not North Atlantic during winter gale capable, but at least able to transit) that has brown water weapons. Don't make a frigate light with no weapons.

      I coulda done better with a modified landing craft.

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    9. In my golden years (that means I'm spending any gold I may have had for Y2K), I'm finding myself not knowing anything about which-all you-all (or y'all, Beans) are talking about.
      Then I came across this:
      "Not so much the Navy's problem as Congress, they're the ones who want to spend the so-called "peace dividend" on fripperies and free crap for their constituents."
      I was going to just have a beer, but now I'm hitting the good stuff.

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    10. Well, we just drove Dave to drink.

      You're welcome. :)

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    11. We could have funded the Vietnam War and NASA, or the War and the Breads and Circuses, or Bread and Circuses and NASA. But not all three. Apparently NASA didn't affect the inner city enough, and was actually a positive thing, so LBJ pretty much killed it, then Nixon (in one of his more dumb moves) finished it off.

      LBJ also led the move to plunder the Social Security Trust to pay for votes and feels.

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  2. Interesting info - lots of R&D $$$ to end up with only three ships whose main guns'ammo was 'cancelled' ... hope the technical lessons learned was worth the cost of $22Bn. - but a better program than LCS for sure!

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    1. Not sure if it's worth $22 billion, but a lot of new stuff in those ships.

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  3. I still want to see how this hull form stands up in extended heavy weather operations (Try North Atlantic in Winter for a month or so) and how the plywood superstructure nears up over time. My view is that the ships are technology demonstrators (might should be AGDDG).

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    1. I won't disagree. I think in the first video it's mentioned that the 3rd ship in the class has a steel deckhouse, which kinda ruins the stealth aspect. BTW, I won't mention the name of that 3rd ship, a disgrace that anyone would name a ship after that asshole.

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    2. I thought the USS Lincoln was a carrier..... Oh, wait..... sorry.....

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  4. Looks like somebody was thinking about the creature comforts of those who actually make the ship work.
    The crew quarters look much like what officers country was like on the old Tin Can Navy.
    I remember, when we came out of the yard after FRAM, the tech reps continually debugging new gear we received.
    We had a Lockheed rep who practically lived with us sor about a year.
    He wasn’t a happy camper.

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    1. Yup, the new crew berthing is most excellent.

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    2. I went on a ride from Sasebo to Naha in '63 on the "Bonny Dick". The quarters shown today do remind me of the officer's quarters on that great ship. Even down to the locker where they can't keep the booze. Got my first cat and trap thereupon in a "stoof-with-a-roof".

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    3. Nice!

      That makes you eligible for the Tailhook Association, right?

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  5. I spent my only shore duty tour assigned to the Aegis Program at the Combat System Engineering Development Site in Moorestown, NJ. from mid '78 to the first part of '81.
    I was going to paraphrase the Otto Von Bismarck quote, "Laws are Like Sausages. Better Not to See Them Being Made," to say, "Military Combat systems are like laws and sausages. It's better for your peace of mind to not know how they are made."
    (I did my comment research and found out that Bismarck might not have said the quote.
    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/07/08/laws-sausages/)
    I watched the turf wars and urination contests for almost two and a half years, and at the end I wondered how any successful system ever got into the hands of the military.
    To say it was a disheartening experience is both true and an understatement. The experience was a part of my decision to leave active duty and go to the active reserves at the eight year point.
    I am still surprised that the Aegis ships were successful.
    https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/news/features/history/cornfield-cruiser.html

    On a less bitter and whiny note, the stealth ship video was great although the puerile part of my brain insisted on making the characteristics of radar stealth into the acronym ASSMAT. (The puerile part of my brain dwarfs the other parts, and often takes charge.)

    I was surprised to see what look like normal shower controls in the head on the Zumwalt. I remember going on Navy sea trials during the eighties and nineties and the showers were all fitted with a sort of hose and spray device that we nicknamed the shower egg. You had to push the button down on the egg to get water spray.

    Even though my blood pressure spiked a bit during my shore duty flashback this was a very good post, and as to "What were they thinking? Oh yeah, they weren't," I agree completely.




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    1. I was wondering if you had "been there, done that," I see that you had.

      Aegis is an interesting system, there are a number of defense contractors who would love that contract, it's the goose that laid the golden egg.

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  6. Hey AFSarge;

    Glad the the finger is coming back online, it probably cut your communications quite a bit with the finger "laid up". You can't flip people off right now, LOL. It is strange seeing the Zumwalt with the reversed bow design that was prevelant in the early part of the last century and around the end of the century before.

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    1. The other drivers in Little Rhody don't recognize me anymore...

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    2. MrGarabaldi. I looked at the ship profile, wrinkled my brow, but could not come up with the answer to why it looked familiar. I looked up Pre-Dreadnought battleships and sas you said, the hull designs look a lot like the bow of the Zoomie. Thank for relieving that itch.

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    3. Which was, at the end of the Victorian Era, supposed to give superior ship handling vs a more standard hull or even a clipper bow (like on the Iowa class BB) but... didn't do too well in the northern North Atlantic. So, exactly, where does most of the eastern shipping go? Oh, yeah, still to the northern North Atlantic, unless it's crossing the equator to go around Africa...

      But tumblehome does do better at cutting down radar signal.

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    4. Well, if Zumwalt has to fight other ships, she's screwed.

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    5. The light bulb finally brightened all the way and I realized the bow design on the Zoomie looks an awful lot like the Cruiser Olympia's hull shape. The Olympia is the lead photo in this USNI magazine article.
      https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2016/august/olympian-effort-save-olympia

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    6. Yup, Teddy's Great White Fleet!

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    7. What do they plan on using the ram bow on?

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    8. Yup, Teddy's Great White Fleet!

      I fear what we've spent so much treasure on and precious years on with Zumwalt class, LCS, and Ford is a Great White Elephant fleet. It's my understanding that the radar planned for DDG-1000 came in overweight, so an older, smaller model is (quite unstealthily) installed. The system is, if not crippled, then certainly degraded. I never quite understood the rationale behind the guns. We had quite good 8" designs out there that carry a lot more punch and more room for the modern electronic secret sauce. The 6" special shells not only were too expensive, they weren't meeting the stated requirements. I know there are concerns about that tumblehome losing stability rapidly if flooding occurs, but I hope that's never put to the test. LCS are simply useless, fragile, glorified speedboats (when they're working, that is). CDR Salamander's Terrible Twenties for the Navy are nearly upon us, and even a crash program starting immediately can do little to rectify it within a decade. :(

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    9. I fear you may be right, Larry!

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  7. Nice post. Some loudmouthed jerk said, and will probably say in later comments, everything I was going to say. Wonder who that loudmouthed jerk is? :)

    Curious question. If you say "Zumwalt, Zumwalt, Zumwalt" into a mirror at night in a darkened room, does a Defense Industry Lobbyist appear?

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  8. Thanks for the chuckle there Sarge

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  9. Sarge, if they really want to make those things stealthy, they should model them after my car keys!

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  10. Let's hope that 80 cell VLS is enough cause otherwise they are gonna be hoping that stealth superstructure really works.

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  11. Our ship building process is a total cluster. This Z ship might be cool and capable, but the cost is criminally negligent. LCS? Don't get me started. It doesn't do anything for us and we've had this ship for 10 years with zero to show for it.

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  12. Was able to catch DDG-1000 steaming into San Diego a few months back:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ttAtBN3bA0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag-nhzD5WVA
    Jim

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  13. The gun fired middle didn't work for the Sheridan tank, either.

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  14. One problem is that the current US legislature has very few members who have ever been in the armed services. Heh , sneak a law in you have to have military service before you can run for office.

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    1. Yes, they don't understand much of what we do.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)