57mm Mk110 Video

 

“…footage of USS Detroit (LCS-7) firing its 57 mm gun in a series of tests that sank an inbound surface target and destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle on March 6 and 7, 2017. US Navy/Lockheed Martin Video”

Our weapons are tools we don’t get to use very often. lt is good to have confidence in your tools. The video is encouraging, but there is very little information here. What was the range to the targets? How big was the UAV? How fast were they moving? How many rounds were required to achieve the effect.

If anyone has specifics I would love to hear them.

Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security–Russian Style

NavyRecognition is reporting a Project 21980 Grachonok-class anti-commando boat of the Black Sea Fleet, the Yunarmeyets Kryma, has joined the Russian Navy’s standing naval force in the Mediterranean (Presumably in Syria).

The Yunarmeyets Kryma is a special boat built by the Zelenodolsk Shipyard in 2014. The Vympel Design Bureau in Nizhny Novgorod had developed the class to guard water areas and fight enemy naval commandos in the waters of naval bases and on close approaches to them. The boats in the class carry heavy machineguns, antidiver grenade launchers and man-portable air defense systems. Their radio electronics allow searching for underwater objects – both static and moving – while their diving system allows several divers to dive simultaneously.

It looks like a WPB so I looked up the class. They are 138 tons, 102 ft (31 m) in length, 23 knots, and a crew of eight. The Russians have built twelve and are building ten more.

Described as being anti-saboteur and anti-commando boats these are in intended for “force protection” which is included in the Coast Guard’s Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security mission (PWCS). It is also one of the missions of the new US Navy MK VI patrol boat. We have detachments at Bangor and Kings Bay to protect Fleet Ballistic Missile subs while in transit that also perform this function.

Despite the similarities in mission, the Russian boat is armed and equipped much differently from their USN and USCG counterparts. It has a couple of sonars. In addition to a 14.5 mm (.60 cal.) machine gun, they have point defense anti-air missiles. Defense against swimmers is apparently much on their mind. They have two anti-swimmer weapon systems, the DP-64 a shoulder fired mini-depth charge thrower and the DP-65, a ten barrel, automated, sonar controlled mini-depth charge thrower.

File:DP-64.png

DP-64 anti-swimmer grenade launcher. Artist: Jason Biggs

“The 55mm DP-65 remotely controlled…grenade launching system is designed for protection of ships against attacks of underwater combat swimmers at external roadstead open anchor stops and bases, for protection against attacks of underwater combat swimmers at water-development works, sea platforms and other important sea and coastal installations.”

The US had a lot of trouble with Viet Cong combat swimmers during the Vietnam war. They even manage to sink a small WWII built aircraft carrier (CVE) being used as an aircraft transport. It is unclear how well prepared we are for this type of attack now.

Laser Added to Mk38 Mod2

Navy Recognition reports that BAE now offers a 60 kW Laser addition to the Mk38 mod2 gun mount currently on the Webber Class Fast Response Cutters and planned for the Offshore Patrol Cutter.

“The addition of a 60kW TLS would provide true selectable and scalable effects ranging from non-lethal to lethal. This would allow for new response options in both conventional and irregular conflicts.”

Note the laser on the USS Ponce is only 30 kW.

Late addition: 

How it might be useful: It could be used in a less than lethal mode. It could probably be used for disabling fire against outboard motors with greater precision than a gun. It could be used to destroy UAS (drones) inside ports without worrying about where misses might land.

H-60s Convertible to Gunships

Not that I see us doing this any time soon, but if we ever decide we need to arm our H-60s against smaller targets such as fast inshore attack craft, it looks like it might not be too difficult.

The APKWS guided 70 mm rockets and Hellfire systems that are included in the program,appear appropriate for countering small vessels.

Technicians install the Arnold Defense LWL-12 lightweight 2.75-inch (70mm) rocket launcher.

Photo: Technicians install the Arnold Defense LWL-12 lightweight 2.75-inch (70mm) rocket launcher.

My Unfunded Priority List

An earlier post reported a plea by Representative Duncan Hunter, Chair of the Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, for the Coast Guard to provide an unfunded priority list to include six icebreakers and unmanned Air System.

Thought perhaps I would list my own “unfunded priorities.” These are not in any particular order.

PLATFORM SHORTFALLS

Icebreakers: We have a documented requirement for three heavy and three medium icebreakers, certainly they should be on the list. Additionally they should be designed with the ability to be upgraded to wartime role. Specifically they should have provision for adding defensive systems similar to those on the LPD–a pair of SeaRAM and a pair of gun systems, either Mk46 mounts or Mk38 mod 2/3s. We might want the guns permanently installed on at least on the medium icebreakers for the law enforcement mission. Additionally they should have provision for supporting containerized mission modules like those developed for the LCS and lab/storage space identified that might be converted to magazine space to support armed helicopters.

110225-N-RC734-011 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 25, 2011) Guy Mcallister, from Insitu Group, performs maintenance on the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). Scan Eagle is a runway independent, long-endurance, UAV system designed to provide multiple surveillance, reconnaissance data, and battlefield damage assessment missions. Comstock is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, which is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility during a western Pacific deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

110225-N-RC734-011
PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 25, 2011) Guy Mcallister, from Insitu Group, performs maintenance on the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). Scan Eagle is a runway independent, long-endurance, UAV system designed to provide multiple surveillance, reconnaissance data, and battlefield damage assessment missions. Comstock is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, which is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility during a western Pacific deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

Unmanned Air Systems (UAS): We seem to be making progress on deploying UAS for the Bertholf class NSCs which will logically be extended to the Offshore Patrol Cutters. So far we see very little progress on land based UAS. This may be because use of the Navy’s BAMS system is anticipated. At any rate, we will need a land based UAS or access to the information from one to provide Maritime Domain Awareness. We also need to start looking at putting UAS on the Webber class. They should be capable of handling ScanEagle sized UAS.

File:USCGC Bluebell - 2015 Rose Festival Portland, OR.jpg

Photo: The Coast Guard Cutter Bluebell sits moored along the Willamette River waterfront in Portland, Ore., June 4, 2015. The Bluebell, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year, is one of many ships participating in the 100th year of the Portland Rose Festival. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.)

Recapitalize the Inland Tender Fleet: This is long overdue. The program was supposed to begin in 2009, but so far, no tangible results. It seems to have been hanging fire for way too long.

Expand the Program of Record to the FMA-1 level: The Fleet Mix Study identified additional assets required to meet the Coast Guard’s statutory obligations identifying four asset levels above those planned in the program of record. Lets move at least to first increment.

Alternative Fleet Mix Asset Quantities

————–POR       FMA-1      FMA-2      FMA-3       FMA-4
NSC                8             9                 9                 9                  9
OPC              25           32               43                50               57
FRC              58           63               75                80               91
HC-130         22            32               35                44               44
HC-144A       36            37               38                40               65
H-60              42            80               86                99             106
H-65             102         140             159              188            223
UAS-LB           4            19                21                21              22
UAS-CB        42            15                19               19               19

At the very least, looks like we need to add some medium range search aircraft (C-27J or HC-144).

Increase Endurance of Webber Class Cutters: The Webber class could be more useful if the endurance were extended beyond five days (currently the same as the 87 cutters, which have only one-third the range). We needed to look into changes that would allow an endurance of ten days to two weeks. They already have the fuel for it.

MISSION EQUIPMENT SHORTFALLS

Seagull_torpedo_trial_1

Ship Stopper (Light Weight Homing Torpedo): Develop a system to forcibly stop even the largest merchant ships by disabling their propulsion, that can be mounted on our patrol boats. A torpedo seems the most likely solution. Without such a system, there is a huge hole in our Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security mission.

121211-N-HW977-692

Photo: SeaGriffin Launcher

Counter to Small High Speed Craft (Small Guided Weapon): Identify and fit weapons to WPB and larger vessels that are capable of reliably stopping or destroying small fast boats that may be used as fast inshore attack craft and suicide or remote-controlled unmanned explosive motor boats. These weapons must also limit the possibility of collateral damage. Small missiles like SeaGriffin or Hellfire appear likely solutions.

40 mm case telescoped gun (bottom) compared to conventional guns.

40 mm case telescoped gun (bottom) compared to conventional guns.

Improved Gun–Penetration, Range, and Accuracy: The .50 cal. and 25mm guns we have on our WPBs and WPCs have serious limitations in their ability to reach their targets from outside the range of weapons terrorist adversaries might improvise for use against the cutters. They have limited ability to reach the vitals of medium to large merchant vessels, and their accuracy increases the possibility of collateral damage and decreases their probability of success. 30, 35, and 40 mm replacements for the 25 mm in our Mk38 mod2 mounts are readily available.

Laser Designator: Provide each station, WPB, and WPC with a hand-held laser designator to allow them to designate targets for our DOD partners.

CONTINGENCY PLANNING SHORTFALLS

Vessel Wartime Upgrades: Develop plans for a range of options to upgrade Coast Guard assets for an extended conflict against a near peer.

 

30mm “Swimmer” Round

30x173mm ammunition for Mk44 Bushmaster II

30x173mm ammunition for Mk44 Bushmaster II

Ran across an interesting new type of ammunition, the 30 mm Mk 258 mod 1 APFSDS-T, which appears to be designed specifically to counter Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC). It uses a unique configuration to allow it to maintain high velocity after entering the water. Being an armor-piercing, fin stabilized, discarding sabot, tracer round, I suspect it might help us attack the engine rooms of larger ships. if we upgrade our Mk38 gun mounts to use the 30mm. Might be able to disable propellers and rudders as well.

In a test “…it destroyed a representative FIAC target travelling at 30kts at a range of 4.8km with the first shot.”

It would probably be good against radio controlled boats like the one in the recent attack off Yemen. General Dynamics is advertising that this “swimmer version” is currently available. This might explain why the Navy replaced the 57mm on the DDG-1000 class will 30mm guns. 

There is a bit more in the 2014 NAMMO Bulletin, on page 8 (5/13 on the pdf), under the title “The Navy’s Best Ammunition”;

The nose-shaped configuration was originally patented by the U.S. Navy and NSWC Dahlgren, but was never turned into functional ammunition. Nammo, NSWC Dahlgren and FFI (Norwegian Defense Research Establishment) carried out a comprehensive study that resulted in the final design configuration of the penetrator nose. Today, Nammo’s Mk258 mod 1 ammunition is used on board the LPD-17 and LCS class of U.S. Navy ships. This has significantly increased the fleet’s capability to defeat aerial and surface threats, as well as submerged threats like torpedoes and mines.

At the very least the 110s in Bahrain (or their Webber class replacements–whenever?) probably should have these. I’d like to see them on all the Webber Class WPCs.