Showing posts from December 1, 2013

Non-traditional Drone Motherships - Cheaper & Better?

Earlier this week, guest blogger Mark Tempest posted some interesting ideas on low cost alternatives to traditional combatants which could be configured to carry unmanned surface vehicles, playing on the idea that payload truly is more important than platform.  These concepts are unorthodox, though as Mark points out, not unprecedented.  In a time of shrinking budgets and smaller fleets, the navy should explore how to optimize various combinations of ships and the unmanned vehicles they will carry, with an eye towards both effectiveness and efficiency.  Mine counter-measures is an important, though often short-changed mission, with various trade-offs between payload and platform. Between the Littoral Combat Ship "seaframe" and mission modules, the U.S. Navy has invested billions of dollars in R&D and acquisition money to develop (though still not fully) the capability to conduct off-board, unmanned mine counter-measures.  LCS will carry the Remote Minehunting System ,

Cheaper Corvettes: COOP and STUFT like that

If the answer to the Navy’s future is robotics, then Admiral Greenert’s July 2012 U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings piece, “ Payloads Over Platforms, Charting a New Course ” opens up a whole new world of possibilities for using existing small ship platforms as “trucks” to deliver large numbers of modern weapons platforms to areas of interest. As former Under Secretary of the Navy Bob Work emphasized during his recent appearance on MIDRATS ,  the Littoral Combat Ship is such a truck–a vehicle for delivering unmanned weapons system. This post is meant to take that concept and cheapen it. What is a corvette? Something smaller than frigate but larger than a patrol boat, I guess. The LCS in either of its variants is large at about 380 feet in length and displacing 2800 tons. A Gearing-class destroyer from post WWII measured in 390 feet and 3400 tons.  The Perry-class frigates are over 440 feet and 4100 tons. Seems we have a lot of size and space to play with. It occurs to me that