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ship armor: modern vs. WW2

 
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ship armor: modern vs. WW2 - 10/21/2000 7:20:00 AM   
Supervisor

 

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I know this is moderately off topic, but hopefully it's interesting enough no one will flame me too much. With the USS Cole attack corresponding with my re-visiting of Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" during a long flight... I wanted to ask the experts out there... how does modern day warship protection compare to ships built in the WWII era? I know they don't use the same materials any more. Are the modern day metals superior in stregth to steel as well as being lighter? I know a 500lb warhead delivered by missle is an order of magnitude more dangerous than an equivalent payload delivered via bomb due to the velocity increase. How would a WW2 ship of comparable tonnage to a modern warship fare under the same hit? Is there even a grounds for possible comparison to begin with? To me modern vessels seems much more "flimsy", for lack of a better word.

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- 10/21/2000 8:33:00 AM   
mogami


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Hi modern warships do not have "armour" but depend on their long range defense for protection. The USN calls it the "High, low mix" a high value ship "CV" is surrounded by low value ships "FFG" radar, missiles, cap, ciws is the armour of today. USS Fahrion FFG-22 (1982-1985), USS Halyburton FFG-40(1987-1992) ------------------ I'm not retreating, I'm attacking in a differant direction! [This message has been edited by Mogami (edited October 20, 2000).]

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- 10/21/2000 6:55:00 PM   
Nimits

 

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The last ships we used with real armor were the Iowa Battleships. I do think, though, that modern CVs have a little, altohugh I may be wrong. In a gun battle between a WW2 BB and a modern CG, the BB would probably win due to its armor and firepower. On the other hand, if the engagement was at long range, the CGs missiles would probably put the BB out of action, though they might not sink her.

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- 10/22/2000 12:01:00 AM   
RevRick


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IIRC, there is some kevlar enhanced armor at strategic places onboard most of the DD's, DDG's,and CG's - probably around the electronics spaces and (hopefully) the magazines. There is not a lot, because these are still light ships. I also think I read that some of the CV's have 3" or so of armor, to minimize damage from any non-nuke warhead over vital spaces. Can you imagine an exocet attack on an Iowa? I gamed one out in a missle attack against an Iowa in a Harpoon game once. It shrugged off everything except AS4 Kitchens (Nasty weapons - glad there weren't a lot around) - and got to within gun range of the Kirov. Goodbye Kirov - Quickly! Probably had to file an envirommental impact statement for sinking a nuke, but.... If you're talking a North Carolina against a Tyco - and start within gun range - I'd rather be on the N.C. Besides, the Tyco's don't carry THAT many tomahawks. ------------------ God Bless; Rev. Rick, the tincanman

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- 10/22/2000 3:06:00 AM   
andrewmv

 

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>>Can you imagine an exocet attack on an Iowa? << Likely to quite effective. Modern ASM home in on the centre of mass (ie superstructure in a BB). So while they might not penetrate, they'd play merry hell with all the delicate sensor aerials.

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- 10/27/2000 8:26:00 AM   
Sapphire

 

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I think I remember reading that the Arleigh Burke class (of which the Cole is a member) represented a minor change in design philosophy for the Navy. After the attack on the Stark, they decided maybe a bit beefier structure was a good idea after all. If I'm remembering right, the Stark was mostly aluminum, while the Arleigh Burke's are all steel. If so it was a darn good thing! Can anyone confirm any of this?

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- 10/27/2000 9:24:00 PM   
Doug Olenick

 

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My guess would be even a Harpoon with a 1,000 pound conventional warhead would do little damage to a WWII BB or CA. Primarily because they are not designed as AP weapons, but detonate on contact to destroy an enemies radar, etc. A WWII did depend upon electronic sensors, but could lay its guns manually. So my guess would be bye-bye CG, FFG, DD. This is an amazing historical turn of events. For generations ships have become more powerfully armed and armored, but now we build'em lighter.Just think, a WW1 BB, if it could catch a modern warship, could blow it out of the water.

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- 10/27/2000 11:04:00 PM   
Sapphire

 

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One thought: the CIWS system on modern US Navy ships may have been designed to shoot down incoming missiles, but I've been told it will engage shells too. I don't know how likely it is to hit and destroy a 16" shell but it certainly would annoy our anachronistic battleship if it did it consistently. The point is that the ships have become structurally frail because the best defense isn't armor, it's ECM, SAM's and point defenses.

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- 10/28/2000 9:01:00 AM   
RevRick


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Regarding Arliegh Burkes: They are a departure because they are also the first DD's which have a lot more beam in the Length to Beam ratio than conventional DD's. Of course, at about 8,000 tons, they really are more like cruisers, but..... The Burke's, as I think I state elsewhere, are supposed to have some Kevlar enhanced armor over strategic points (from some early reports - seems they're a bit silent on that now.) The big emphasis on changing from aluminum superstructures (which was where most aluminum was used in naval construction) began following the collision of the Kennedy and the Belknap. The Stark was, I think, already on the drawing boards when this decision made. Regarding cruise missiles and CIWS. There is a relatively large difference between 2700 pound dumb AP projectiles at 2600 FPS (roughly 1800 MPH) and a cruise missle no matter how fast. Shells are dumb. They go somewhere, hit something, and blow up. Cruise missles are much more fragile, and with a few notable exceptions (AS-4) travel much slower, and do not penetrate anything like the armor on an old BB, or an old CA possibly. The nature of combat has obviously changed. But the big guns, with RAP and fin guidance, can match most of the range and accuracy of a missle without the same fragility factor. The thinking which retired the BB's was crew cost, not strategic or tactical necessity. The Marines would probably love to have the Iowa's still available, and might even have paid for them from their budget if the congressional tightwads weren't so stuck on taking that money for their favorite pork projects. (Ah, I digress into the realm of politics - the fever is catching, hand me some aspirin.) ------------------ God Bless; Rev. Rick, the tincanman

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- 10/29/2000 2:48:00 AM   
Nimits

 

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It is really too bad they don't have Iowas anymore. I have always wanted to serve in one. If there were still some BBs in service, I would have probbably joined Navy instead of Air Force ROTC.

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- 10/30/2000 7:50:00 PM   
Tony Capriglione

 

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I work as a Q/A inspector at a plate mill where a lot of the steel for the DDG's is rolled. I'm the 1st person to inspect the steel and check the gauge. I can the you that they are built with some of the highest quality, precision rolled steel in the world. Strong stull with excellent weight to strenght ratio. But the builder's and navy's highest priority is keeping the weight down. The spec. for the steel is DH/36, it is control rolled for added strenght but it's gauge (thickness) is aimed under the ordered gauge. Example: a 1/2 inch plate .500 is aimed at about .475 and the heavier the plate the more it's rolled under. And if the ship was built by Ingall's we roll it lighter still. The other builder is Bath Iron. Newport also builds navy ships but I don't know if they build DDG's.(CV's and CA's) Their biggest concern is to keep the weight down and to have each piece rolled uniformly so when they launch the don't list and have to take on more ballast to evn out and lose speed. If you still awake, they are much more concerned with speed and fuel economy than armour protection. "Eggshells armed with hammers." ------------------ "Proper planning prevents piss poor performance"

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- 10/30/2000 11:24:00 PM   
Sapphire

 

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Can't get much more authoritative that that! Thanks, Tony.

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- 10/30/2000 11:28:00 PM   
mdiehl

 

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1. I don't know squat about modern armor or penetration characteristics of modern surface to surface missiles, but, ... 2. I once overheard an engineer in a bookstore in Louisville discussing this very subject, and I said something like "Wouldn't the Iowa class be extremely resistent to modern surface to surface missiles?" His response was "no" because, as I recall, modern sts missiles are much more powerful per unit weight than WWII munitions and because they have shaped charges. Anyone know any details about the missiles that can be cited with any authority?

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- 10/30/2000 11:58:00 PM   
RevRick


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Shaped Charges? The only info I have on shaped charges shows them exploding outside the armor they are supposed to penetrate. At the same time, most of the film I have seen on missle strikes shows a penetration of the missle into the hull of the target ship - which on a destroyer is no problem given the fact that they don't have armor to speak of. I love the description below calling tincans "eggshells armed with hammers" from Mr. Capriglione. Insofar as the Iowa's go, I had discussions some time ago with a person who was a naval architect in the pentagon who told of working on proposals to use the Iowa's as missle carrying ship precisely because they would be all but invulnerable to virtually all of the existing cruise missiles. This was in the early 1990's. We talked at some length, and he seemed to know a great deal about facts and figures of displacement changes, hability changes, and magazine loadout information for a conversion which would have taken place if the Iowa's hadn't been deemed too expensive to operate following the Gulf War. I would be very skeptical about shaped charges on missles designed for much more than busting tanks. Could be, but I don't know.... ------------------ God Bless; Rev. Rick, the tincanman

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- 10/31/2000 8:04:00 AM   
Tony Capriglione

 

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I'm not a naval warhead expert, but I was a 19D Cav Scout and I'm still in the National Guard. So this is what I know about tank armour. There are 2 ways to penetrate. Kinetic energy rounds like sabot that penetrate thru velocity and mass. They rely on the spall fragments to ignite the tanks fuel and ammo and kill crew. The other is HEAT rounds (High Explosive Anti-Tank) that do start to detonate before full contact with the target. They direct there blast to be like a blow torch and burn thru the armour. The shape of the warhead is critical to the penatration, hence the term shape charge. A round that relies on kinetic energy might pass thru soft target without doing much damage

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- 11/1/2000 4:53:00 AM   
Svar

 

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When the Iowa class BB's were recommisioned, I asked the designers of the Navy's 8" guided projectiles when they were going to start on a 16" guided projectile. They were too busy working on air launched weapons. Besides the Navy is run by CV Admirals, the BB Admirals are all gone. The 16" guided projectile would have had a range of over 100 miles and could have been guided by an anti-radiation seeker. Also no one designs weapons to penetrate ship armor, no one uses any. When the Forrestal burned off Viet Nam in 1967, 500lb HE bombs (Mk-82's) laying on the deck detonated from the heat and blew holes in the flight deck.

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- 11/2/2000 9:56:00 AM   
RevRick


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"Besides the Navy is run by CV Admirals, the BB Admirals are all gone." I was just reading one of the books I have around about the prelude to WWII in the Pacific, and the problems. Boy, does that statement ever look strange after reading the books about the Navy of the late 1930's. Then again, do we need to restudy our history. Not that anyone is ever going to build battleships again, but could a modicum of armor in a relatively heavy ship make a difference in that every changing realm of "survivability." ------------------ God Bless; Rev. Rick, the tincanman

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- 11/3/2000 2:03:00 AM   
Nikademus


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Cost was the primary motivator to the demise of 'armor' (armor as defined by WWII or earlier standards) that and the reasoning that was always the bane of the battleship in particular, that even with the most extensive and expensive armor system you could come up with, you still could'nt gurantee the survivability or more important these days, the operability of the unit in question should it incur damage. As to the Iowa's specifically, from what i've heard today's ASM's are not designed to penetrate armor (since only the Iowa's have any of note) and their citidals would be pretty much proof against them. However given the sensitive nature of the electronics that are now so vital for modern warefare, the incomings would'nt need to penetrate in order to take the Iowa unit in quesiton out of the battle. (unless the OPFORC is dumb enough to allow it to get within gun range) Personally i wish the navy would keep the Iowa's in service. They provide unique and invaluable features but i cant deny that they are very expensive to run, crew and maintain. A cost that only increases as the ships get older and older. [This message has been edited by Nikademus (edited November 02, 2000).]

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- 11/6/2000 7:26:00 PM   
showboat1


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Look no further than the Falklands War for demonstrations on the value of steel in naval construction. The British lost a number of frigates that were built with alot of aluminum to freefall bomb hits. That reason was simple, at a certain temperature aluminum BURNS. Sucked to be them.

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- 11/7/2000 4:08:00 AM   
andrewmv

 

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>>Look no further than the Falklands War for demonstrations on the value of steel in naval construction. The British lost a number of frigates that were built with alot of aluminum to freefall bomb hits. That reason was simple, at a certain temperature aluminum BURNS. Sucked to be them.<< The problem wasn't the aluminum. The aluminum construction offered insufficent resistance to detonate the warheads. It was the mix of aluminum and steel that was the problem. The steel was sufficent to detonate the warhead, which then set the aluminum on fire!

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