02 August 2005

Long time, no post

Alrighty, I apologize, it was longer than I expected before I managed to post. Call it a confluence of events. Between trying to catch up after 10 days out of the office (darn f'ing laptop would not connect remotely - I hate NMCI), trying to get a new lab organizational plan set up, finishing the latest Harry Potter (my wife read it while I was gone, I *had* to read it this weekend lest she burst from not telling me all about it before I was done), well, you get the point.

However, the trip to HI was quite good. Good sun, beautiful locations, and ripped a bunch of still-viable sonar equip off an old surface can (~5 tons of gear, sheesh). I have to admit, while sinking a surface target was always an ambition, pulling them apart piece by piece is rather sad, as is seeing a lot of our once-proud warships basically rotting at anchor. However, I did get some interesting knowledge refreshers while I was there:

(see Full Post for picture-based knolwedge checks!)

First off, under "Sometimes the Navy makes smart decisions":
Compare the two 'cans below. Take a good look. Why do I say that the ship on the right is an example of the Navy making a smart decision, and using the ship on the left to show this?
Scroll down for the answer.

Kudos to you who can identify the ships as a Spruance and a Tyco. Now why would I say the Tyco is an example of the Navy doing things right? Yes, the class is the first to carry the Aegis system, which is still one of the most dominant systems on the ocean. However, how does that relate to the Spru-can? Ahh, yes, the hull. With the Aegis system being amazingly expensive, the Navy found a way to keep the Tyco class from being too outrageous (it still cost $1B a hull) - use the Spruance hull. The Hull already had known design characteristics and performance, wouldn't require a new design or new tests, and the Spruances were big for destroyers, so a cruiser package actually fit rather neatly into the hull shape. Wow, reusing designs instead of designing a new one just because we can. What a concept.

Bonus points for the first one to tell me what is wrong with one of the above pictures.

Secondly, under the, "Huh? Ooooh, yeah, that's why!" category:
Who can tell me what that wierd thing is sticking off the front of this 'can?

Ahhh, yes, a Newport-class LST (Large, slow target). With clamshell doors in the bow instead of the traditional bow-ramp, a ramp was need to offload equipment - hence the arms over the bow - they support the bow ramp. I knew seeing it it was an amphib, but the rest I needed time (and a good look at the boat, errrr - ship, to recall.

So there is your photo-quiz. And yeah, all three pics are ships that were anchored out at the same facility where I was working (I was actually working on the Spru-can). It was rather eerie, actually, all these ships just sitting there, mostly stripped down to the hull of useful equipment, just hulks. It is not quite like walking through a morgue, but still, rather sad. Especially considering some of the hulls have been languishing there for 10 years+.

However, I will say this - seeing what just sitting there has done to the ship's components, like the cableways, tube stuffings, all the little mechanical pieces/parts, has pretty much convinced me that anyone who thinks taking a ship out of mothballs (and yes, I know they will be better taken care of, but some things will still bear true) for anything other than a dire emergency is smoking the good stuff. Refurbing a ship that has been out of action that long would be about as hard as building a new hull.

Read the Full Post


At 8/03/2005, Blogger Vigilis said...

PBS, roughly how long since the old hull had been first launched? Can we expect a wave of further recycling? At $1-B savings it works for me.

At 8/06/2005, Blogger chaoticsynapticactivity said...

USS SPRUANCE (DD-963) was commissioned in 1975. A total of 31 SPRUANCE Class units were sent to sea as SPRUANCES. The original plan was for 30. The USS HAYLER (DD-997) was originally planned to be a DDH (Helicopter carrier), with plans to handle 4 LAMPS Helos. At some point, they obviously decided to make it a "regular" SPRUANCE.

Now, if you do the math of 963 + 31, you get DD-994.....so what's up with DD-997 as the 31st hull?

Back a long time ago, a guy title "The Shah" ran this middle eastern country. He wanted cool ships and we offered him, via Foriegn Military Sales (FMS), a SPRUANCE the way we would have liked to have built them. It was a SPRUANCE, but with the weapons and command and control to also play hard in the Anit-Air role, not just ASW ans ASUW. The put the AN/SPS-48E (a 3D rotating phased array radar) as the main air search, vice the 2d AN/SPS-40B the SPRUANCES had. The NATO SeaSparrow of the SPRUANCE became 2 Mk-26 double railed launchers for the SM-1 an -2 surface to air missiles. In 79, when The Shah fell, we still were in the process of building those 4 units. The Navy bought them and did some conversions (they actually were buing built with "goat lockers," but that was for livestock...and I'm not kidding.

The first ship of the four ship class was the USS KIDD (DDG-993) and, yes, we did call them the "Ayatollah Class" in the fleet. The class were all named after Admirals killed in WWII in the Pacific. They were well armed ships, and with the ACDS Block 0 and later Block 1 Combat Direction Sysytem software, very formidable in AAW and ASUW. They were nver backfitted with the AN/SQR-19 towed arrays, but the spaces were there.

Correction to your post: It's "Tico", short for USS TICONDEROGA (CG-47). Tyco is the toy company...:)

Same hulls, 2500KW generators vs the 2000 KW Allison K-501 on the SPRUANCEs (the AN/SPY-1s need some serious juice), otherwise, the engineering plants were essentially the same. Good use of good engineering.

So, the basic SPRUANCE hull was used for three classes of ships, four if you want to count it was selected for what may have been our first DDH class vessel.

I'm a plank owner on USS LEFTWICH (DD-984) (Missile Officer, and SupShip Liasion), and later was Engineer on USS CONOLLY (DD-979). CONOLLY is the only 963 with a ship's seal that is not oval shaped, and the only hull that will be a museum. LEFTWICH is now a fish reef north east of Hawaii.

I wandered the Ingalls shipyard for two months in pre-comm, and for 5 month in Post-Commissioning Availability. The construction process was ground breaking and well laid out.

This class of ships defined my 20 years of service.


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