The Navy Vol_67_No_2 Apr 2005 - Navy League of Australia

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The Navy Vol_67_No_2 Apr 2005 - Navy League of Australia

ObservationsBy Geoffrey EvansCHANGES AHEAD FOR NAVIESTwo articles in the January 2005 issue of PROCEEDINGS,the journal of the United States Naval Institute, are ofparticular interest at a time when many nations are reviewingthe structure of their Armed Forces in the light of changedand changing international events. The first concerns a newwarship which it is claimed by the authors* will have a similareffect on world navies as the Royal Navy’s DREADNOUGHThad when the first turbine-driven, all big-gun battleship waslaunched in 1906.THE DD(X) PROJECTThe initials DD are normally used to distinguish (fleet)destroyers from, other classes of warship but the new surfacecombatant planned for the US Navy at 14,000 tons is wellinto the CA or heavy cruiser category. The ship will introducenew systems and capabilities expected to be passed on to newgenerations of surface warships; they include:• An integrated power system providing electric powerfor all the ship’s needs including the propulsion motors,combat systems, hotel services etc. (introduction of thesystem is likened to the shift from sail to steam). Theengine room will be unmanned.• An Advanced (155mm) Gun System firing longrange(85 nautical miles) precision-guided land attackprojectiles, together with a missile firing capability.• New cutting edge sensors and a combat system tocounter, threats from below, on and above the surfaceof the sea. Advanced command, control and computingsystems• Improved habitability and workplace standards forpersonnel.• Low signature design characteristics to reduce chancesof detection.The primary mission of the multipurpose DD(X) will beto operate in littoral areas and influence events on land. It isanticipated the critical systems will be installed in the leadship in the 2008-9 time frame. It might be expected that thedevelopments currently taking place in the USN will be keptin mind by those responsible for bringing into service theAustralian Navy’s (smaller) Air Warfare Destroyers, plannedto be available in 2013.AMERICANS LIKE AUSTRALIANCATAMARANSThe second article in PROCEEDINGS reported inenthusiastic terms on tests carried out on three Australianbuiltcatamarans, or HSVs (High Speed Vessels) as they aredescribed by the author of the article**.The three vessels involved – JOINT VENTURE,SPEARHEAD and SWIFT, the last-named incorporatingfeatures learned from earlier experimentation with the firsttwo – have created a great deal of interest in the US ArmedForces.Each component of the Forces sees a particular use forthis type of vessel; the Army as a support vessel able tomove personnel and materiel rapidly, the Marines agreeingand extending the use to non-combatant evacuations andriverine operations, while the Navy sees the HSV as a combatorientated platform. The three have been tested in a range ofmilitary operations in the Middle East.Because of the HSVs speed – SWIFT is reported to becapable of more than 46 knots – and their relatively shallowdraft compared to a conventional sealift ships and variety ofuses, they are well-suited to littoral operations.The newest of the three under test, SWIFT, is able toaccommodate two helicopters and the M-1A1 (Abrams) mainbattle tank as well as provide facilities for the operation ofsmall craft. Other activities envisaged include:• Command and Control• Anti-submarine Warfare• Mine Countermeasures and Mining• Medical Support for Land Forces.Armament is stated to be largely for self-defence.The RAN has had experience with HSVs, utilizing theleased catamaran JERVIS BAY for logistical purposes inthe 1999 East-Timor operation. As with the DD(X) onemust assume Navy and Defence are keeping a close eye onHSV developments and no doubt encouraging the Australianpioneers and builders, Incat in Hobart and Austal in Fremantle,to maintain their lead in this particular and important area ofmarine development.* Captain C. H. Goddard, Program manager in the Program ExecutiveOffice for Ships.Commander C H Marlzs, DD(X) Requirements Officer in the office ofthe Chief of Naval Operations.** Frank S Mulcahy, Civil Engineer Corps USN, former surface warfareofficer and Naval War College graduate.A computer generated imageof the USN’s DD(X).20 VOL. 67 NO. 2 THE NAVY

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