Well if that's true, and they could be armed with 32 ESSM's and 8 LRASMs, a potential adversary might start to take them seriously.
Yes. I've played around with the LCS 2 that way in-game, though with harpoons instead of LRASM.
The real LCS 2 class actually has space for 3 modules: one is just behind the 57mm (might not have enough below-deck space for Mk 48, but big enough for Griffins), and two are in the superstructure, port and starboard, just behind the radar mast. You could mount your Griffins (I used Spike NLOS instead) in the front one, with the ESSMs and LRASMs in the superstructure modules. Appropriate sensors and datalinks to support ESSM/LRASM would also need to be fitted.
The Navy could certainly do something like that if they wanted to, but it would cost quite a lot. If the Australian Adelaide class is any guide, something like 200-300 million each. So instead of 500-600 million per ship, it would be more like 700-900 million.
If price is no object, another more speculative possibility is using up a bit of the flight deck just aft of the hanger, and installing two Mk 48 sized modules, one port and one starboard. The mission bay is immediately under the flight deck, so there would be plenty of below-deck space, and access the hanger doors would still be clear.
I like this idea, but can it be done? Can the modules be set up so part of them is below deck? It looks like the deck is solid at that point and you just load the module into place. Or can that part of the deck just be removed if necessary? And are the weapon pods directly above the mission bay so they could be used that way?
Another option...does it matter if the VLS cells stick up in the air? Do they have to be flush with the deck? Would it make them unstable to be so tall--15 feet or so, it looks like, to have the full length missiles? If not, then it would probably not be hard to design a canister version of the VLS cells that simply gets loaded onto the weapon pod station like the 30 mm. gun pod, but somewhat taller. You would probably have to limit each one to a 4- or 8-cell VLS, but that would give you a lot of options. Would this work?
Yes, that's how the weapons bays are designed. Most US surface weapons require below-decks space for the mount machinery, electronics, ammunition, etc. It isn't just a piece of deck, it goes one or more decks down into the hull.
Anyone please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it:
- The LCS weapon mounts are already set up with below-decks space allocated underneath them.
I don't know if there's enough for room "strike length" VLS tubes (the kind that can take standards and cruise missiles instead of ESSM). I would like to know, but haven't found any info yet.
In addition to the the 57mm and SeaRAM mounts, the LCS 2 has three weapons mounts, and the LCS 1 has two. I've read speculation that the third, "forward" mount on LCS 2 may have limited space underneath due to the hull configuration, but that's not confirmed.
- The part of the deck over the weapons mounts is designed to be removed as necessary on the LCS 2. You can see the "patches" if you look at overhead pics. The LCS 1 has two "bathtubs" in the superstructure roof that already have the deck removed, similar to the Danish Absalon class and Iver Huitfeldt class.
The weapons mounts are not directly over the mission bay, in either LCS 1 or LCS 2. They have their own below-decks space separate from that.
- "Mission modules" are not the weapon mounts, nor are they the mission bay. A mission module is a set of equipment for a specific type of mission that may make use of the mounts, and/or the bay, and/or the hangar.
For example, the antisurface mission module plans to include two 30mm autocannons (weapon mounts) a couple of unmanned surface vehicles and some RHBs (mission bay), a hellfire-equipped MH-60R and a couple of MQ-8 Fire Scouts (hangar). I'm not sure where they're planning on putting the Griffins. Probably in the third weapons mount for LCS 2, but dunno for LCS 1.
As to how much it matters if the VLS cells stick up in the air, I'm not sure. But here are some thoughts:
- Below-decks space is already allocated for the mounts, so they shouldn't stick up unless you're trying to use something too deep for the available space (i.e. strike length mounts if they don't already support those) or something that's designed to stick up (like harpoon launchers).
- The Mk 56 VLS system (12 ESSM tubes) is designed to stick up into the air (a bit), like harpoon mounts. But in both cases there's a below-decks component too. Check out the two Danish ship classes mentioned above to see pics of the Mk 56.
- I don't know whether you could install long VLS tubes at all, if there isn't enough below-decks space. "Strike length" VLS is about 26 feet tall, as opposed to 17 feet for the "Self Defense" ESSM version, so even if you could, the extra topside weight (in the superstructure no less) might hurt stability.
Interestingly, Lockheed is marketing a modified (and up-gunned) LCS 1 as the "Multi-mission Combat Ship" which they claim "features the proven Aegis combat system with the SPY-1F (V) radar and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System."
(Oops, fixed typo)
< Message edited by IWS -- 2/19/2014 12:05:55 AM >