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  • Your ideal ACG "gunboat" design.

    A few discussions have evolved around how or what should be needed to counter swarm attacks... primarily in the Persian Gulf, maybe also throw in PLAN coast guard fishing trawlers and waters where pirates have escalated attacks inside busy shipping lanes.
    So maybe a cheap, bulky 'gunboat' could be considered, purely for freedom of navigation ops... to free up the more expensive warships for more pressing strategic patrols.
    Perhaps we can each come up with our own boat design that can absorb a ton of damage while still passing through these areas with impunity.
    Instead of risking very expensive warships that have limited space onboard, maybe a gunboat designed with 'off the shelf' weapon systems, while at the same time being able to absorb multiple hits and maintain its primary objective.
    Or is a fast gunboat a more feasible alternative? Something with the ability to easily dash around swarm attacks or catch hostile trawlers at a moments notice.
    How big or small should it be? I'll leave that up to you.

    I have a few ideas in mind, one boat that is nimble and fast... being less than 150 metres long and no more than 250 tons in weight. Exact details later. As for a bulky gunboat that could absorb more damage... I'm thinking of having converting an ice breaker for that role, the hull is built considerably stronger and large ballast tanks with high-capacity pumps that can be used for rapid heeling and trimming in the event of hull damage. Not sure how big it should be. Again, exact details later.




    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

  • #2
    I would ask for off the shelf sensors and weapons. This does not have to have great speed, as sea conditions often limit max speed. I would ask for diesels as range would be important. There would be a few ranged missiles as the threat should not be larger ships. I would also ask for a large number of crewed automatic weapons. Notice I did not ask for autonomous weapons systems? A lot of these are often down for maintenance. Space onboard for men and upgrades.

    Pruitt
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    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      For my 'light' gunboat, I'm presuming that I'm the US Navy. As such I can't go really small because my 'gunboats' aren't coastal protection so much as they're littoral area force projection and convoy escort in an 'expendable-ish' package.

      I would go with a variation on the Tuo Chiang class out of Taiwan. The changes I would make would be thus:

      4 x Naval Strike Missile in place of all the ASM armament originally emplaced.
      1 x 21 cell SeaRAM
      1 x 57mm in place of the 76mm (mostly for uniformity with current US doctrine, I'd actually be fine with a 40mm that could dual-role)
      I'd also add a pair of 30mm Bushmasters for anti-boat use presuming that the weight holds out, which it should with 4 x missile systems being removed.

      This would give me a roughly 600t, 45kt ship that's pretty cheap overall and packs quite a punch. The weakness is endurance, which might wind up being too much of a weakness.

      Alternative would be to do something on the size of the Baynunah-class, which is a 1000t corvette. I'd again cut the ASMs down to 4 from the 8 mounted. 57mm in place of the 76mm. 30mm in place of the 27mm, and do what I can to increase the range, aiming for enough to do an Atlantic crossing without refueling being necessary.


      In short, there are any number of ships, like the Visby Class, the Sa'ar 72 class, and so on that would be quite functional in the role of 'light gunboat' with some changes to the ship. Primarily increasing defensive capability at the expense of half of the offensive missile armament as the base ships are currently more offensive vessels.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #4
        Me? I'd start with something like this:



        "Militarize" it some with better compartmentation and a double hull. This makes it survivable should it take a hit or three. Even one ASM isn't going to finish it. An good sensor package with a decent sonar would be added along with very good ESM equipment. Put a light cannon forward of the hold area along with say something like a Phalanx aft and add some .50 or 20mm "junk bashers" on the superstructure aft with light armor. Give these simple gyro-stabilized sights on the gun mount for the gunner to aim with.

        The hold area becomes a series of plug and play modules that can be added or removed as needed for specific missions. A helo / jump jet landing pad and hanger can be fitted over the hold area when needed along with a module for air operations control as one option.

        This ship can stay at sea for a month or more unreplenished. Sure, it does only say 15 knots at most but it's mission doesn't require speed, it requires endurance. Against fast pirate boats you carry some RHIB or other small boats that can be launched to deal with them while the gunboat acts as a mother ship. With an armed helicopter aboard, pirates are in real trouble. Since the ship looks a lot like a small freighter it would also have some Q-Ship qualities as well.

        For other nations, they couldn't be quite sure what the suite fitted to one of these is.

        Best of all, the basic ship is cheap to build and maintain. The engineering components are reliable, easy to fix, and require a minimal crew complement. Same goes for normal underway watchstanding. This makes normal operation cheap to do and the ship is on station far more than sitting in some port getting fixed because the crew can't handle the problem. Here, they can fix almost any problem underway and carry the spares to do it or have them flown out and vertreped to the ship.

        Your normal underway bridge watch would be like 2 or 3 people, one or two in engineering. That makes for an operating crew of say 10 to 20 and another 10 to 20 that man sensors, weapons, or other mission systems. Of course, more berthing can be installed as a module for things like a MarDet if you expect a need for that.

        A gunboat is for low intensity warfare and political intervention more like a SWAT team than some high tech, go-fast, Star Wars be-all, do-all ship. It is there all the time and has the capacity to do what needs doing in a mostly peacetime environment. That is it monitors everything going on around it, and can intervene against piracy, terrorists, civil unrest, and the like. If some knuckleheaded country like Iran sends out some little motorboats with machineguns it will tear them a new one in a second, but it isn't going to chase them down. They can come to the gunboat for their pasting.

        It doesn't need to be a ship killer. It also is very capable of the show the flag in smaller ports where the crew, preferably longer term service members who aren't going to act like kids ashore, make up the liberty parties. It can anchor out and run crew or SEAL teams, etc., to the beach using ship's boats.

        Another mission is it has room for cargo so it can act as a support ship for operations with other combatants. It can be a mini- ammunition, supply, and even tanker when needed.

        Sure, it isn't glamorous, but it gets the job done whatever the job is and best of all, it's more or less expendable should it ever come to that.
        Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 06 May 20, 11:34.

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        • #5
          purely for small boat, and possibly drone swarms and PLAN naval militia?

          here's what i'd do.

          either 3 mk110 or 3 40mk4 mounts F/P/S
          laser Fwd
          SEARam aft
          SVTT P/S
          2x2 ASM tubes

          i imagine you can fit that armament and necessary sensors on a hull of around 2500-3000tons as long as you avoid mission creep.

          so probably just retool the Independence class LCS a little bit...since thats about 1/3 of the LCS class' intended use any way...

          with a minimum of 40mm gun armament you'll likely out range any naval militia vessel or FAC/FIAC in regards to guns. with the 4 ASMs you'll be on equal terms as most FAC-M
          SVTT just because a torpedo will also mess up just about anything's day...even though they only have about a 5nmi range...so i'd be willing to forego SVTT to save size, and cost...i just like the idea of being able to use torpedoes against a surface vessel if needed, and help with ASW if working with a larger task group.
          Last edited by General_Jacke; 06 May 20, 12:56.
          the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

          A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
          A man dies and leaves his name,
          A teacher dies and teaches death.
          Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
            For my 'light' gunboat, I'm presuming that I'm the US Navy. As such I can't go really small because my 'gunboats' aren't coastal protection so much as they're littoral area force projection and convoy escort in an 'expendable-ish' package.

            I would go with a variation on the Tuo Chiang class out of Taiwan. The changes I would make would be thus:

            4 x Naval Strike Missile in place of all the ASM armament originally emplaced.
            1 x 21 cell SeaRAM
            1 x 57mm in place of the 76mm (mostly for uniformity with current US doctrine, I'd actually be fine with a 40mm that could dual-role)
            I'd also add a pair of 30mm Bushmasters for anti-boat use presuming that the weight holds out, which it should with 4 x missile systems being removed.

            This would give me a roughly 600t, 45kt ship that's pretty cheap overall and packs quite a punch. The weakness is endurance, which might wind up being too much of a weakness.

            Alternative would be to do something on the size of the Baynunah-class, which is a 1000t corvette. I'd again cut the ASMs down to 4 from the 8 mounted. 57mm in place of the 76mm. 30mm in place of the 27mm, and do what I can to increase the range, aiming for enough to do an Atlantic crossing without refueling being necessary.


            In short, there are any number of ships, like the Visby Class, the Sa'ar 72 class, and so on that would be quite functional in the role of 'light gunboat' with some changes to the ship. Primarily increasing defensive capability at the expense of half of the offensive missile armament as the base ships are currently more offensive vessels.
            posted my idea before reading anything past the OP. seems like we're not too far off.

            in my experience with the 25mm being kinda shitty overall at protecting against anything but suicide attacks, i'm not sold the 30mm would be much better which is why i would choose 3 57 or 40mm and have a uniform gun armament (of course some CSW for the real tight in situations like in and out of port and what not) but assuming like you did we're USN it would likely be mk110 it would have.

            the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

            A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
            A man dies and leaves his name,
            A teacher dies and teaches death.
            Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              Me? I'd start with something like this:



              "Militarize" it some with better compartmentation and a double hull. This makes it survivable should it take a hit or three. Even one ASM isn't going to finish it. An good sensor package with a decent sonar would be added along with very good ESM equipment. Put a light cannon forward of the hold area along with say something like a Phalanx aft and add some .50 or 20mm "junk bashers" on the superstructure aft with light armor. Give these simple gyro-stabilized sights on the gun mount for the gunner to aim with.

              The hold area becomes a series of plug and play modules that can be added or removed as needed for specific missions. A helo / jump jet landing pad and hanger can be fitted over the hold area when needed along with a module for air operations control as one option.

              This ship can stay at sea for a month or more unreplenished. Sure, it does only say 15 knots at most but it's mission doesn't require speed, it requires endurance. Against fast pirate boats you carry some RHIB or other small boats that can be launched to deal with them while the gunboat acts as a mother ship. With an armed helicopter aboard, pirates are in real trouble. Since the ship looks a lot like a small freighter it would also have some Q-Ship qualities as well.

              For other nations, they couldn't be quite sure what the suite fitted to one of these is.

              Best of all, the basic ship is cheap to build and maintain. The engineering components are reliable, easy to fix, and require a minimal crew complement. Same goes for normal underway watchstanding. This makes normal operation cheap to do and the ship is on station far more than sitting in some port getting fixed because the crew can't handle the problem. Here, they can fix almost any problem underway and carry the spares to do it or have them flown out and vertreped to the ship.

              Your normal underway bridge watch would be like 2 or 3 people, one or two in engineering. That makes for an operating crew of say 10 to 20 and another 10 to 20 that man sensors, weapons, or other mission systems. Of course, more berthing can be installed as a module for things like a MarDet if you expect a need for that.

              A gunboat is for low intensity warfare and political intervention more like a SWAT team than some high tech, go-fast, Star Wars be-all, do-all ship. It is there all the time and has the capacity to do what needs doing in a mostly peacetime environment. That is it monitors everything going on around it, and can intervene against piracy, terrorists, civil unrest, and the like. If some knuckleheaded country like Iran sends out some little motorboats with machineguns it will tear them a new one in a second, but it isn't going to chase them down. They can come to the gunboat for their pasting.

              It doesn't need to be a ship killer. It also is very capable of the show the flag in smaller ports where the crew, preferably longer term service members who aren't going to act like kids ashore, make up the liberty parties. It can anchor out and run crew or SEAL teams, etc., to the beach using ship's boats.

              Another mission is it has room for cargo so it can act as a support ship for operations with other combatants. It can be a mini- ammunition, supply, and even tanker when needed.

              Sure, it isn't glamorous, but it gets the job done whatever the job is and best of all, it's more or less expendable should it ever come to that.
              japan found that 20mm isn't great at stopping chinese naval militia boats, and .50s really aren't much against anything bigger than a 20' boat... so i'd definitely up the armament to generally be 2+ DP naval guns like the 40mk4 or the mk110
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...mi-%C5%8Cshima


              i think the plug and play concept has been kind of spoiled for the USN at least after the LCS module debacle.
              how cheap would expect the class to be after developing the various modules for this class?
              the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

              A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
              A man dies and leaves his name,
              A teacher dies and teaches death.
              Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Me? I'd start with something like this:



                "Militarize" it some with better compartmentation and a double hull. This makes it survivable should it take a hit or three. Even one ASM isn't going to finish it. An good sensor package with a decent sonar would be added along with very good ESM equipment. Put a light cannon forward of the hold area along with say something like a Phalanx aft and add some .50 or 20mm "junk bashers" on the superstructure aft with light armor. Give these simple gyro-stabilized sights on the gun mount for the gunner to aim with.


                at.
                Over all I like your concept.

                I'd go with a little heavier fire power, possibly the 57mm guns.

                I would make it capable of carrying, launching and recovering armed aerial drones as well as the helos you mentioned. A jump jet may be a little to high tech.

                Maybe capable of launching a boat a little heavier than the RHI with some light armor. And operating floating armed drones.

                What size freighter are you looking at?
                "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

                  Over all I like your concept.

                  I'd go with a little heavier fire power, possibly the 57mm guns.
                  Fit it as needed. I'd put something like a twin 57mm or a single 76mm forward with the fire control there. Aft a CIWS of some sort. Then 2 to 4 junk bashers as broadside weapons on the aft superstructure for cheap firepower.

                  I would make it capable of carrying, launching and recovering armed aerial drones as well as the helos you mentioned. A jump jet may be a little to high tech.
                  If it carried or operated one it would be just launch and land with refueling, no maintenance and only basic weapons loads for limited sorties. Sort of a range extender for a carrier. That is, the carrier or land base launches the plane. It flies out, lands, refuels, and then continues with the sortie. Coming back is the same thing.

                  Maybe capable of launching a boat a little heavier than the RHI with some light armor. And operating floating armed drones.
                  Definitely drones when necessary and small ones always. With a small crane aboard it can put something up to say LCVP size over the side when necessary.

                  What size freighter are you looking at?
                  This would be a 900 to 2000 ton ship. I'd say 1000 tons GRT would be about right. You make sure in the design it can ballast down or up as part of it. This way it can sit lower in the water making it a poorer target when necessary or it can lighten ship and pass over shoals and shallow channels.
                  With one or two screws using commercial diesel engines it is economical and cheap to operate.

                  You make it more survivable by putting more of the "stuff" at each end of the ship and duplicating systems. So, you have a small diesel generator forward as well as the normal and a back up aft. The firemain and electrical system are duplicated down each side of the ship for survivability. Take a hit to port and the starboard side remains intact meaning it can fight fire and flooding.
                  Make sure that not just the cargo holds can be plug and play but it can take containers on deck as an added option for more space.
                  Need NGFS? Put a 6" / 155mm or two amidships on added temporary platforms-- even lash down an M109 or such-- for this role. Plop a box of tomahawks aboard with another containing the fire controls and away you go. Everything is containerized to fit in the hold or on deck as needed.

                  The normal mission loadout would be fairly low tech except for snooping sensors and such. That should be reasonably high tech as the ship would act as an intelligence collector that could defend itself--unlike the Pueblo or Liberty. This ship would shoot back big time.

                  You can buy a 1000 grt freighter like this for around a couple million new right now. Used ones go for as little as $500,000 in decent condition. Let's say the navalized version costs $20 million. That's a total bargain.

                  Even if the modules in various forms cost say $100 million to develop, that's for the class and you only need a few of them at most since it's unlikely they are going to be in high demand all the time.
                  Make sure each one can be plopped into the hold or on deck, bolted down, plugged in, and is onlne with a minimum of technical support. This isn't going to be super high tech stuff or stuff that requires a lot of tech support if at all possible that is one of the fail reasons with the LCS. Lots of high tech means lots of support.
                  Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 06 May 20, 14:37.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post


                    If it carried or operated one it would be just launch and land with refueling, no maintenance and only basic weapons loads for limited sorties. Sort of a range extender for a carrier. That is, the carrier or land base launches the plane. It flies out, lands, refuels, and then continues with the sortie. Coming back is the same thing.
                    Definitely drones when necessary and small ones always.

                    Need NGFS? Put a 6" / 155mm or two amidships on added temporary platforms-- even lash down an M109 or such-- for this role. Plop a box of tomahawks aboard with another containing the fire controls and away you go. Everything is containerized to fit in the hold or on deck as needed.


                    .
                    The more I think about it if you have a armed helo you don't need armed drones. You can go with cheap light drones for recon.

                    Putting 155 howitzers on as needed for fire support would work, but only in a permissive environment against a low tech opponent. You could also put MLRS on as needed.
                    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

                      The more I think about it if you have a armed helo you don't need armed drones. You can go with cheap light drones for recon.

                      Putting 155 howitzers on as needed for fire support would work, but only in a permissive environment against a low tech opponent. You could also put MLRS on as needed.
                      This would be a ship for just that, low tech, low threat environments. You have to go up against the major league bring your A team. My thinking is this is more like a modern version of the old China gunboats. It's for general commerce protection and policing duties. It's all you need travelling near merchant ships in say the Straight of Hormuz when the Iranian's come out to play. They come out with some little boats with machineguns or a small cannon or ATGM-type launcher and you take care of business. You have them outgunned and if they do manage a hit or two, it can be shrugged off while you cream them with return fire.

                      If you need quick NGFS that's easily done and your gunboat can loiter off shore giving it. You have sufficient sensors and ECM aboard to counter something like a silkworm missile and the CWIS if that fails. You can even half submerge the ship making it harder to hit because of the ballast option.

                      Speed you don't need. Staying power both on station and from enemy fire is far more desirable.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
                        . You can go with cheap light drones for recon.

                        .
                        Maybe something like the RQ-7B Shadow with a little more range.
                        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                        Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by General_Jacke View Post

                          posted my idea before reading anything past the OP. seems like we're not too far off.

                          in my experience with the 25mm being kinda shitty overall at protecting against anything but suicide attacks, i'm not sold the 30mm would be much better which is why i would choose 3 57 or 40mm and have a uniform gun armament (of course some CSW for the real tight in situations like in and out of port and what not) but assuming like you did we're USN it would likely be mk110 it would have.
                          Maybe something along these lines. To note, I'm working on a presumption that you wouldn't want to build a 3000+ ton ship. So I'm basing this build on a 600t ship.

                          Hmm, using a hullform like the Visby class.

                          2x 40mm DARDO Fore and Aft as medium range CIWS. A helipad for Vertrep, no hangar. 4 x NSMs. 8 dual-pack ESSM for 16 missiles, and a 21 cell SeaRAM. And some .50cal stuff for the super short range stuff.

                          Going for a 35kt ship with a 3000nm range at 14kts

                          ESSM can dual role for air defense or anti boat at longer ranges if needed. 40mm is sufficient for both CIWS and anti boat work. And SeaRAM is a solid backup defensive missile system. I feel like 4 NSM would be sufficient for a threat to larger vessels. Alternatively you could forgo 8 ESSM in favor of ASW torpedo tubes maybe ot give it a general purpose threat against subs in littoral areas?

                          Thinking about this more, hence the edits, I think I'd actually make some changes as a nod to costs.

                          Ditch the ESSM in favor of 2 x SeaRAM. Cut back on some weight but still keep a relatively decent quantity of missiles aboard. Would also give you a 360 degree arc of fire for both 40mm and SeaRAM, which could be rather useful for close range short duration engagements in something like Hormuz. Plus, a double double gives you a bit more 'burst' staying power and I'm thinking of them operating as basically a 'forward set' and an 'aft set' for missile defense and boat defense.

                          Then I'd plan it with 8 x NSM. This gives you a little land strike or sea strike capability. Plus it seems that 8 missiles is the standard.

                          Finally, definitely put on a pair of launchers for ASW torpedoes. You're not hunting ships with these. But ASW is the major 'high' threat in a larger conflict, so your patrol vessel under normal conditions and your littoral fighting gunboat under small war conditions becomes your auxiliary ASW escort for convoys and such in wartime conditions.
                          Last edited by TacCovert4; 06 May 20, 19:11.
                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post

                            Maybe something along these lines. To note, I'm working on a presumption that you wouldn't want to build a 3000+ ton ship. So I'm basing this build on a 600t ship.

                            Hmm, using a hullform like the Visby class.

                            2x 40mm DARDO Fore and Aft as medium range CIWS. A helipad for Vertrep, no hangar. 4 x NSMs. 8 dual-pack ESSM for 16 missiles, and a 21 cell SeaRAM. And some .50cal stuff for the super short range stuff.

                            Going for a 35kt ship with a 3000nm range at 14kts

                            ESSM can dual role for air defense or anti boat at longer ranges if needed. 40mm is sufficient for both CIWS and anti boat work. And SeaRAM is a solid backup defensive missile system. I feel like 4 NSM would be sufficient for a threat to larger vessels. Alternatively you could forgo 8 ESSM in favor of ASW torpedo tubes maybe ot give it a general purpose threat against subs in littoral areas?
                            i have a hard time seeing a 600t ship being all that great for endurance. remember range and endurance are different. personally not 100% sure how endurance is figured but i doubt you'd get more than a week or two of endurance out of a 600t platform.

                            i'd aim for 2000t might be a bit of empty deck space topside, but the extra size will likely be needed for seakeeping, and stores to increase endurance...but you could always just toss on more weapons if empty deck space bothers you.
                            the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

                            A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
                            A man dies and leaves his name,
                            A teacher dies and teaches death.
                            Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                              This would be a 900 to 2000 ton ship. I'd say 1000 tons GRT would be about right. You make sure in the design it can ballast down or up as part of it. This way it can sit lower in the water making it a poorer target when necessary or it can lighten ship and pass over shoals and shallow channels.
                              With one or two screws using commercial diesel engines it is economical and cheap to operate.
                              900 to 2000 tons is on the small size for a freighter.

                              Did you mean 9,000 to 20,000 tons?
                              Last edited by 17thfabn; 06 May 20, 19:41.
                              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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