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Should we have recommisioned and modernized the Iowa class battleships?

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posted on Feb, 28 2007 @ 07:31 PM
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Hi, I have been wondering this for a long time.

The Iowa class battleships have now been decommsioned for a while and the navy and marines are trying to get them back. The navy argues that
support for an amphibious assault or onshore operations cannot be provided by existing weapons, and rocket boosters and guidance make modern shells much more effective, accurate, and cost effective.

Here is the subject of the thread:

The Iowa class battleships provided unmatched firepower and at the pinnacle of their life carried 9 16inch guns, tomohawk missiles, SAMS and CIWS.

Do YOU think that it would be beneficial to have them or something like them recommisioned or built?




posted on Feb, 28 2007 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by BlackWidow23


Here is the subject of the thread:

The Iowa class battleships provided unmatched firepower and at the pinnacle of their life carried 9 16inch guns, tomohawk missiles, SAMS and CIWS.

>>>Do YOU think that it would be beneficial to have them or something like them recommisioned or built?



posted on Mar, 1 2007 @ 10:22 PM
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Putting the Iowa-class ships back in service would be a huge waste of money and effort, and I say that even though I'm a battleship fan.

First off, your data is somewhat incorrect. The Iowas, even after the Reagan era refit, never did carry SAM, unless there were some man-portable ones stored somewhere for use by the crew. The ABL-capable Tomahawk was no longer in service with the USN (or anyone else) by the time the Iowas were decommissioned. That would leave the Harpoon launchers and the 16" guns.

The 16" / 50 Caliber Mk7 was arguably the best naval gun ever built. By modern standards, though, it's not exactly "All that and a bag of chips". The bombardment rounds weigh in at 1,900 lbs, roughly half of which is shell casing. Maximum effective range is around 28-30,000 yards, with a CEP of around 50 yards. Impressive, yes...until you compare it with PGM. The guns just are not the dominant weapon that they were sixty years ago.

Even beyond that, there are more problems. The ships are 70 years old (that's a *slight* exaggeration, but only a slight one). They are filled with unique, and in a lot of cases, antiquated systems that require specially trained crewmen to operate. In a lot of cases (like the fire-control tables for the main guns), not ony are there no personnel trained to operate them, but the schools to train them have been closed for years. There are no spare parts for key systems (most of the steam plant, liners for the gun barrels, optics for the range finders). Even the 'newest' systems aboard date from the 80's, and would be due for overhaul, update, or replacement.

In short, the Iowas represent the high point of a now-obsolete technology. They were and are engineering masterpieces, and they served their country well through four wars and six decades. They've earned their quiet retirement to lives of teaching a new generation about the past. Let them rest in peace. I'll lift a glass of whatever beverage you're buying in salute to the Iowas, and I take a certain pride that one of them carries the name of my home state. (Mighty Mo for the win!!), but I won't support their return to active service.



posted on Mar, 2 2007 @ 02:57 PM
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I do belive that you are right, the old girls were due to retire, BUT I do belive that we need something of the same type. I belive that we have cut ourselves short on defense. I think the next best thins is the DDG, but it just does not have the jaw dropping command that the Iowa class had. Those things commanded respect when you saw them. Now I'm not saying that we need a battleship just for looks, but I have afeeling that there is going to be that one day that we say "Man, if only we had a battlehip here."

-muzz



posted on Mar, 2 2007 @ 11:00 PM
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Battleships created that intimidation factor. But i agree with the others above,that it would be a waste to bring them back. Maybe we'll end up with something new to take its place. Instead of the big guns,our new battleships will carry the railguns that navy has been testing. That would definitely instill fear into the enemy.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 12:55 PM
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You have to think, are there really any ship-to-ship battles anymore. I think that it should be put back into sevice because it could prove benificial to support fire for the troops. There really haven't been any ship-to-ship battles since WWII.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 06:49 PM
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Originally posted by galm 1
You have to think, are there really any ship-to-ship battles anymore. I think that it should be put back into sevice because it could prove benificial to support fire for the troops. There really haven't been any ship-to-ship battles since WWII.


You've caught one of the major changes in warfare since World War II, namely the end of the era of major ship-to-ship engagements. That, in and of itself, spelled the end of the battleship era.

What you've missed is the change in the nature of fire support. The battleships were used in that role because they were the best available tools for the job in World War II, and in Korea. By Viet Nam, even though one of the battleships was there, and did some really excellent work, tactical aircraft and smaller surface ships were doing the majority of the support work. In fact, if you do a bit of digging, you'll find that the USS New Jersey answered more fire support calls with her 5" battery than with the big 16s.

By the 21st century, due to the changing nature of the land battle, the battleship is a system without a target. 'Soft' targets can be attacked using other assets (tactical or even strategic air power, missiles), and 'hard' targets (often cited as the real reason we need the battleships) can be engaged by precision-guided 'bunker buster' rounds that are more accurate and harder hitting than the battleships' guns.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 09:39 PM
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I agree with you. I think that it should be put back into service. It was a great class of battleships and it could still be used today for the military. I didn't think of this, how much would it cost the military to put the Iowa class Battleship back into service? How much would it cost to upgrade in every so often? If they put it back into service, I won't complain, because it is a classic that should be put back into service.



posted on Apr, 6 2007 @ 09:39 PM
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I agree with you. I think that it should be put back into service. It was a great class of battleships and it could still be used today for the military. I didn't think of this, how much would it cost the military to put the Iowa class Battleship back into service? How much would it cost to upgrade in every so often? If they put it back into service, I won't complain, because it is a classic that should be put back into service.



posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 09:12 AM
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Originally posted by galm 1
I agree with you. I think that it should be put back into service. It was a great class of battleships and it could still be used today for the military. I didn't think of this, how much would it cost the military to put the Iowa class Battleship back into service? How much would it cost to upgrade in every so often? If they put it back into service, I won't complain, because it is a classic that should be put back into service.


In round figures, about $500,000,000 just to bring them up to modern standards of safety and habitability. Add in $110,000,000 to produce and package new powder charges for the guns, and you're looking at serious cash, even by the standards of the military budget.

In addition to that, you'll have to rebuild schools to train crew members, find the cash to pay the crews, and pay even more to build new factories to build spare parts (As far as I know, we no longer have factories capable of rolling 14" armor plates, or manufacuring 16" gun barrels, just for two examples).

Add in the operational costs associated with keeping carrier-sized hulls in good repair, fuel costs (while we're at it, don't forget that you'll also need seperate tankers and / or fueling facilities, since the Iowas don't use the same fuel as their gas turbine escorts), and you have another big hunk of money.

In short, the answer to "How much would it cost?" is "One **** of a lot".


The big cost, though, is something called "opportunity cost". Once you spend all that money on the battleships, what do you have to give up? The battleships would be a really bad return on a really huge investment (for the reasons, see previous posts). Sentiment, however powerful, has no place in defense procurement.



posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 09:32 AM
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I do think that we should bring back one ship, the Iowa. They should gut out all the equipment from turret 2, and install a automatic, selectable vertical launch system.

The Iowa is very thick skinned, and would survive some heavy hits, and thou it can be sunk, it would be more survivable than most ships we have out there now.

With the VLS, you could select cruse missiles, anti ship, anti aircraft, and maybe anti sub munitions, and still have the 16 inch guns.

The only problem with this system is that you would have to cruse with a Aegis type cruiser to make the best use of some of the weapons, so the Iowa would be like a small version of the Arsenal Ship concept.



posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 11:21 AM
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Removing the turrets from the Iowa takes away the only unique thing they bring to a force mix (the 16" gun). Replacing one or more of the turrets with VLS systems has some really ugly effects on the ship's trim and stability, as well as requiring major structural renovation. Those turrets are, for all practical purposes, the 'penthouses' at the top of four story structures that go almost down to the ship's keel. Here's a good drawing to show what I mean:

Turret and Barbette cutaway

Even if you could overcome the stability and trim problem (perhaps by casting concrete slugs into the hull?), there's no shortage of VLS cells in the fleet, even without an Iowa-class battleship, so why spend all that money on something we don't need.

Last, but certainly not least, bringing back one of the Iowas is actually worse than bringing back all four. You still have to recreate the infrastructure to support the ship, you still have to renovate the ship....and then you have one ship, which means that she will only be available about 40% of the time (and I'm being very generous there). The odds of her being in the right place at the right time are rather small.

If you really want to add VLS capacity to the fleet, and provide fire support for our troops, a few more Arleigh Burkes might be a better way to spend the cash...or perhaps development of the 'Burkelship' concept?



posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 06:19 PM
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modernnizing the iowa battleships would cost loads of money. replacing and updating current sytems on the ships would cost large amounts, not to mention crewing these ships. 1 ship would carry about, including officers and enlisted, about 2788 crew. the russians have the same problem with the kirov battlecruisers, which, becuase of the large number of crew required, have spent short times at sea. that brings up another problem, operating costs. im not sure how much it would cost to keep at least 1 ship at sea, but its probably in the millions per year.look, im sorry, but the ships' duties could be performed by smaller, cheaper classes of ships coming in to service, like the arleigh burkes. the ships deserve to be put up as floating museums, teaching generations to come of the the grand age of dreadnought battleships and the battles they fought.



posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 09:23 PM
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And yet in 1999 the closest thing to a modern battleship that we would have ever seen was scrapped by Congress because they saw no need to fund it.

Introducing the Arsenal ship. Capable of launched 500 of any kind of missiles from ship-to-surface.

That would have been the modern battleship, advanced and very capable and with a skeleton crew of 50. Very automated.

It'd have an extremely low profile too for a ship of the size.

Too bad the program was scrapped before taking to the naval yards.

FAS article on Arsenal Ship

Shattered OUT...



posted on Apr, 9 2007 @ 10:38 PM
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The "Arsenal Ship" was not and will not be "the closest thing to a modern battleship". It's a missile launch platform, pure and simple, with minimal ability to do anything except fire a cloud of missiles into a battle zone. It has few defenses, limited damage control ability, In other words, it can deal out the damage, but it has a limited ability to *withstand* enemy damage....so it's not the tactical equivelant of a battleship. It's a modern version of the LCT(R) used to lob bombardment rockets at the Normandy beachead. It lacks the speed to serve as an escort vessel, or even as the core for a surface-strike task group.

The lack of versatility is only half of the reason the Arsenal ships got the budget axe. At the time they were being proposed, the US Navy actually had more VLS cells than it could efficiently fill. The idea of spending a good chunk of the budget to develop a single-purpose missile platform seemed like a bad idea under the circumstances.

If you want something along the lines of a modern battleship, I'd suggest looking at a ship a bit larger than a Ticonderoga-class CG, with about the same weapons load-out, that devotes the extra hull volume to survivability features, better helicopter facilities, and deeper magazines for the 5" (or even better, the 155mm) guns.


An even bigger challenge than coming up with a general overview of a 'modern battleship', though, is coming up with a reason we need one.



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 09:43 AM
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From what I've read the Arsenal ship would be double hulled and designed for survivability, but still not so much for retaliation. It did in fact lack the necessary defenses it required to go into combat. There were however some ideas for ranged guns to be installed on the Arsenal, but not sure how good that was.

The sheer size of the thing and capability of it in my opinion would rank as a Battleship. What do you think a modern battleship would have? 19 inch guns?

No, it would have a lot of missiles.

The Arsenal ship also was meant to be stealthy so that was one aspect to add to it's survivability, however it was doubtful that the stealth aspect would be all the ship needed for defense. Simply put it's a missile boat.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 10:03 AM
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I can tell you that if you want all work on a dock to stop, have an Iowa class battleship pull up and dock. The thing is huge.
But the day of that kind of ship, as it stands is over.
I would say if you are going to put that class of ship back into service, take and make a new class of battleship. It has to be huge and the awe factor has to be there, something that states by looking at it, when it is in battle, someone is going to be in a whole world of hurt.
Modern, and definately a new look, with big guns.



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 10:47 AM
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I dont believe some of you are thinking this through with sufficiency.

Do any of you know any manufacturers who make gun barrels in the 16 inch diameter?? How about sleeves for these guns. HOw about the very process for sleeving them. I realized that there are a certain number of them in storage along with ammunition. But who manufactures any of this stuff anymore. How about the basic skills and know how to do it??

The capital just for start up of this type of venture is huge.

Conversely ..how many companys anymore even produce armor plate of the thickness and durability of what is on these battleships??

I do know that when they took these ships out of mothballs years ago for updating they did not even have people in service who knew how to operate some of this olde equipement and yet they still had some of the manuals. THey wound up locating some of these olde sailors and retired vets and asking them how it was done. Many of these olde systems they wound up scrapping and installing newer systems.

THe USS Wisconsin is tied up at a pier across the river from me in Norfolk, Virginia. I have been on her a couple of times and in the museum at Nauticus. Very intresting tour.

HOwever.....having worked on every 688 Class boat built here in this local shipyard and also several of the Virginia class boats....I know that if so desired...this ship would be toast in the hands of a capable sub skipper and crew. Thats just the way it is.

Thanks,
Orangetom



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 11:43 AM
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Yes, but they should become aircraft carriers (read this: www.globalsecurity.org...), as battleships are irrelevant today, i.e. no one needs them.



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 11:48 AM
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Like I said before, the age of ship to ship battles ended in WWII, but there are still amny uses for battleships. they provide ground cover for the ground troops. they are armed with flank guns to take down enemy fighters. They are also armed to take down enemy military positions on the battlefield. there are still many uses for the Iowa class battleship, but there costly to upgrade. I think that they should put a few back into service, but not the whole fleet.



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