“Enterprise Revisited: Titanium is the USCG Vessel Procurement Magic Bullet” –Marine Link

“Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Coast Guard Cutter Bear, homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia, finish an at-sea transfer while underway on a two-month patrol. Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to homeport on April 10, 2021.” (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

We all know, the Coast Guard will continue to use cutters long after there nominal life. Maybe we should act on that, by looking at using more durable material. Marine Link talks about how making hulls of titanium could provide significant savings in the long run.

The proposed rationale for maintaining the option of up-arming cutters is also interesting.

I will just quote their conclusion, but take a look at the whole rationale.

“The bigger the Navy (and USCG combination), the cooler it gets. It especially argues for building lots of USCG cutter hulls, but leaving them mostly unoutfitted for naval combat. One can build 20 titanium USCG cutters for the life cycle cost of 10 steel hulls, and make them ready for sea, but only install one ship with the best weapons package. The world will know that you can build something that can dominate the battle space, but there is no need to fit all 20 with the latest and the greatest (which saves enough money to build a couple of additional hulls) if there is no immediate threat of war. Meanwhile the “enemy” will know that when they start to rattle their sabers you will not have 10 (if built in steel) obsolescent hulls, but instead will have access to more than 19 hulls that can be fitted with the hottest weapons much more quickly. This is a much better result than having 10 old “fancy steel” units and actually will defer cost until it is needed. This thinking already works with steel hulls, but if the hulls do not waste away it becomes even more cost effective and further strengthens Dr. Daidola’s argument.

“So here we have three clever engineers who have developed two independent USCG procurement approaches, which each save incredible amounts of money, and, when combined, save even more money.”

13 thoughts on ““Enterprise Revisited: Titanium is the USCG Vessel Procurement Magic Bullet” –Marine Link

  1. This suggestion might be applied the USCG fleet, if the metal is available (and of course, that would help US companies). Since the CG has usually smaller vessels than naval warships, that might also go to survivability?

    I like the idea that the enemy would have to compete with MORE hulls made of a stronger metal.

    • That shouldn’t be a problem, because Canada is the third largest Titanium producer in the world after China and Russia. I just don’t see a usable application for it, being that titanium isn’t very flexible as a metal…

  2. Show me practical application in something else first. Every impulse in me thinks this is a dangerously bad suggestion. Show me a large part of some other ship using it successfully first. Then start with a small ship.

  3. While there’s a lot to like about titanium for ship hull construction since it combines most of the benefits of steel and aluminum in one material, I question their cost estimates. The Soviets built quite a few titanium submarines and found them far more expensive than steel vessels, so it seems unlikely construction methods have improved enough to provide the claimed savings. I’m also concerned about how the special working requirements of titanium will complicate major modifications or repairs and wonder how that will affect total lifecycle costs.

    That said, I still think it’s worth building a test ship out of titanium to see what the real-world costs and implications are. Even if it isn’t the cost saving silver bullet that article claims, the performance advantages may still make it worthwhile in some applications and we need hard data from a real ship to know what those applications are.

  4. I think it comes down more to thinking about where titanium can best be integrated into a ship and for what gain. Give it reasonable opportunities to grow as a material in marine use. Didn’t they put a peice of titanium hull on a Burke just to watch how it holds up over time?

    • How thick do you plan to make it? The Titanium Bathtub on the A-10 varies from ~13mm to ~38mm in thickness, with the ~13mm able to deflect an ~23x152mm and ~38mm be able to deflect an ~57x347mm projectile. Given that the focsle is between the Gun and whoever is aiming at the gun would be a difficult shot to make at sea level…

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