Battleship of the 21st Century.
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Whenever people think 'battleship' the first thing that springs to mind is
big guns. The second is 12"-16" armour plate. With todays precision cutting
tools the big guns are achievable without having to spend too much for
infrastructure. However the same cannot be said for producing large thicknesses
of armour plate. Nowhere in the world does the infrastructure for producing
large slabs of armour plate still exist. It would cost billions in todays money
to set up the infrastructure to produce belt armour. Quite frankly why would you
I have done a lot of reading lately on armour. The only large scale armour
around today is fitted to tanks. So I have been reading about Chobham,
Burlington, Dorchester, Reactive armours, Electric and Explosive versions, all
very easy to understand. Each armour type is designed to influence the effect of
a hit on the tank by different types of ammunition. Exactly the same type of
problem you have with a battleship. There is no doubt that the armour types
fitted to tanks could be adapted for use on a battleship scale and would need no
more infrastructure than what is already available.
How many types of munitions are available today that will be able to hit and
damage a battleship? You have missiles in various modes, ASM, SSM etc. The main
damage that can be caused to shipping is still the torpedo. A torpedo still
carries the heaviest explosive to the most vulnerable part of a ship, the hull
below the waterline. The other munition that could be a problem to battleships
in an upscaled version is the depleted uranium shells. From what I have read the
armour penetration ability of those shells is quite good.
The sheer size of a battleship allows for different types of armour to be
fitted in different places around the ship to achieve different levels of
protection for the type of munitions you may expect to hit the ship. A large
mouthful of a sentence but it does describe what modern day armour capabilities
can do in different places. You have two types of torpedo explosion to take care
of. 1 direct contact via the hull side, 2 magnetic exploder that sets off the
torpedos explosive underneath the hull. Number one is the same as any other
munition hitting the side of the ship and the armouring of the area is built to
withstand that type of explosion. Number two is a compression explosion that
also uses the ships own weight against itself. A composite armour that flexes to
absorb that explosion and returns to its original shape afterwards is now
achievable with the armour types available. Something of that nature is probably
already on the bottoms of the large US Nuclear carriers as that is the type of
attack that they are most vulnerable to. Reading Janes Fighting Ships gives no
indication of the levels or types of armour fitted to today carriers and
cruisers. For the Ticonderogas all it says is that there is kevlar armour over
Rocket Assisted Projectile:
is an artillery or cannon round
incorporating a rocket motor for independent propulsion. This grants
the projectile both greater speed and range than an ordinary shell,
which is propelled only by the ballistic force of the gun's
exploding charge. Some forms of Rocket Assisted Projectiles can be
outfitted with a laser-guide for greater accuracy.
Extended Range Guided Munition was a precision guided
rocket-assisted 5-inch (127 mm) artillery shell development by
Raytheon for the U.S. Navy.
From what I can find these have been produced for 6.1" / 5" guns.
While from other bits and pieces on discussion boards it seems the
Des Moisne class had an RAP produced for its 8" and possibly the
Iowas had them for their 16".
My forte is not modern day warships so I have no idea if the RADAR and weapon
systems I have fitted match each other. Please excuse any errors. I have gone
for a gas turbine installation rather than the nuclear route to try to keep the
cost of the beast within reason.
Why a mix of big gun and missiles? I have given this ship six 20" guns. Using
rocket assisted projectiles to increase the speed and range of the projectiles
should mean that whenever a call for fire support arrives the shells should
arrive in minutes. Using the longer range Tomahawk cruise missiles could take
many more minutes to arrive due to their subsonic speed. The difference between
life and death. The projectiles with a 20" diameter would certainly give enough
room for whatever electronics may be necessary for any given mission. This could
include laser guidance packages where the laser designator would give the
arriving shells awesome accuracy.
With a ship this size (1022 x 124 x 34 ft) the sheer amount of weaponry that
can be fitted is huge. From the aircraft hangar aft that can house up to 8
aircraft of different types (a selection is shown at the stern of the drawing).
VLS missile systems to carry all the different classes available and under
development. Anti-missile systems are fitted in the form of the four Phalanx
weapon systems plus I think (maybe?) I have fitted a missile and launcher for
this as well.
I have fitted an automatic 3" weapon as a low tech solution for CIWS against
the likes of the high speed combat boat that is deployed by those countries
without the resources to have more capable vessels. The Phalanx is capable of
this duty as well but the 3" has a longer range.
The all big gun battleship makes sense with the VLS tubes available to
replace the rocket launching systems I have put on the ship above. The VLS fires
virtually all of the rockets currently available and those that arent are
probably under development to be used by the VLS tube system. This then gives
twelve 20" in four triple turrets to fire the rocket assisted projectiles. There
is room in the design to add a further 40-50 feet to the end of the ship to
increase the hangar size which would increase the number of aircraft carried by
I hope I have given the people that follow my Alternate Universe site some
things to think about in the way of what could be possible for building a Future
Battleship. People say "Why build a dinosaur?". It is because the sheer power of
a battleship will always give your enemy pause for thought before he commits the
act of war. When you have a battleship parked off your coastline and you are
literally staring down the barrels, the first thing you reach for is the toilet
paper, the second thing is the peace treaty papers.
All of the above could only be built by a conglomerate of CSA/CUS defence
budgets as to build the 5 ships necessary for deployment world wide would be
a huge undertaking. Why five?, 1 in Mediterranean, 1 in Persian Gulf, 1 in China
sea, 1 working up (Pacific), 1 under refit (Atlantic).
For other countries much reduced ships with greater multi-role abilities
would be required as the expense would be beyond most. The battlecruiser below
is meant as a ship that the United Kingdom could build to fulfill the role of
Fleet Flagship, Shore Support, Long range support, plus other roles.
With the extended flight deck the ship is just on 700 feet, with a beam of 88
feet and draught of 24/25 feet. At standard the ship would be 24,500 tons with a
full load displacement of 29,750 tons. Propulsion is modest,
4 shafts Integrated electric
(IEP); 2× Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas
turbines, 21.5 MW (28,800 shp)
each, 2× Wärtsilä 12V200
diesel generators, 2 MW (2,700 shp) each, 2× Converteam electric
motors, 20 MW (27,000 shp) each, wich gives a total of approx 60,000shp for a
speed of 24 knots. With the Albion/Ocean types only making 18 knots this ship
would be fast enough. The ship is not a monster but carries enough weaponry to
be able to fulfill the roles asked of it. Armour is placed to cover the
machinery spaces, shell handling rooms and the aircraft refuelling tanks. The
UK's favourite 15" guns are fitted to the ship with two twin turrets carried
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