Author Topic: A very subtle alternate RAN  (Read 8541 times)

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2014, 06:10:57 PM »
By the time Ikara was in service and a replacement was being considered, the next wave of technology was making traditional launchers obsolete anyway. Ikara doesn't need to be fired from a trainable launcher at all in principle. A solid-state Ikara with folding wings that could be treated as a round of ammunition could be fired from a simple deck container in exactly the same way as Harpoon or Exocet and then steered onto whatever bearing you want. It's not like the speed/reaction requirement is as extreme as a point defence SAM that needs pointing exactly at the target.

In terms of giving a warning, I don't know how good/bad the Aussie electric Ikara launcher was, but apparently, the British hydraulic launcher was so noisy that sub crews knew when an Ikara Leander had a good solution on them because they could hear the hydraulic pumps run up...  :-[

I did some reading on Ikara repalcements last night. The basic Ikara with folding wings and container launch was called Basset and was proposed in 1981. The RAN then approached the Italians to produce a completely new missile using the airframe and mid-couse guidance system of the OTOMAT AShM, but that deal fell through, the Italians going on to develop MILAS on their own. Britain and Australia then developed the Super Ikara with solid-state electronics, folding wings, a turbojet engine and container launch, and this got as far as early flight tests before being cancelled in 1988.

Super Ikara had a flight range of 60 miles, although it was unlikely to be fired at that kind of range in practice, the range being really a reflection of endurance. If the ship lost the contact during flight, the missile could orbit that last datum for a while, giving the ship a chance to re-acquire. Control of the missile could also be handed off to a helicopter, giving a helo with a contact but no weapons left an attack option, or alternatively, allowing it to trade weapons for fuel before take off. I've never seen a pic of Super Ikara, but if it was the the same basic shape as Ikara, then the launch boxes would be short and fat, unlike Harpoon/Exocet, which is another advantage, since it saves deck space and might allow more rounds to be carried.

MILAS does pretty much all the same things as Super Ikara and is probably the best ASW missile in the Western world right no. It doesn't get much attention because only the Italians use it, the French seeming to have gone back on using it despite being involved in it's development. You don't notice it on ships because it uses the same containers as OTOMAT. I see no reason in principle why MILAS shouldn't be adapted to vertical launch.

Re integration of different systems, I think the problem really comes in integrating Russian and Western systems due to their differing standards and philosophies. Integrating Western systems from different countries seems to be much easier, indeed it's rare to find a non-American Western warship that doesn't have some degree of "internationalism" in it's equipment fit. The RN has successfully mixed Canadian sonars, hybrid British/French sonars, American torpedoes, Australian ASW missiles, Italian radars, hybrid British/Dutch radars, American and Dutch CIWS, French and American anti-ship missiles, and Italian guns before now. Mixing and Matching is the rule, rather than the exception.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 06:17:20 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
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Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2014, 11:25:37 PM »
My old boss was a lead on the Super Ikara project, what killed it was none of the potential customers had actually planned to fit it to the next generation of escorts.  The MILAS contains more than a little Super Ikara DNA and shows what could have been achieved.  The rocket motor on Nulka is derived from Super Ikara as well, the weapon died but many of its component parts live on.  Can't lay my hands on it but I did have a magazine with a photo of it being launched from its container.  It looked like Ikara but had wings that folded down against the missile body and the container was oval in shape and about as wide and as high as a double stacked Otomat mounted on what looked like the same launcher base.  Basically each Super Ikara would have taken the same space as a pair of Otomats.

The only reason I am not putting Ikara on these ships is because they lacked the space and weight for it and although Super Ikara probably could have been fitted in place of som0e or all ASMs it was never deployed.  My thinking on Sea Sparrow instead of Sea Wolf is nothing against Sea Wolf but rather the RANs preference for the US / NATO system and the development path through ESSM which dramatically increased missile load outs.  The ideal would be a Mk-41 and a notional repackaging of Super Ikara as a VLS weapon, just depends how realistic I want to be.  At the end of the day I want SM-2/3/6 fired out of a Mk-41 for the T42 replacement so it only makes sense to have standardised on Mk-41 and ESSM as well.

What would be interesting is a Type 22 "Command Cruiser" with a strike length VLS forward, point defence length VLS flanking the hanger or funnel, or forward superstructure, with VLASROC (or Super Ikara), quad packed ESSM, Harpoon (or Otomat and MILAS or Super Ikara) RAM and Phalanx / Goalkeeper.  All pure fantasy as I lack the skill to scratch build a T22, or the funds for an Orange Hobby resin copy.

Been thinking on the back story as well.  It goes back to WWII and the legacy escort fleet, 3 Tribal, 5 Q class, 4 Bay (modified River), 8 River and 2 Battle (under construction), 4 Daring (planned). 1 County and 1 Modified Leander were also planned to be retained as combat capable training platforms, both were retired when the government decided to kill off the carrier fleet and made HMAS Sydney available as a training ship.  Four of the Qs were converted to Type 15 frigates and 2 of the Tribals were converted to ASW destroyers, the Rivers and Bays were converted to various roles including hydrographic survey and oceanography or placed in reserve.  One of the Darings was cancelled and the build of the remaining three was drawn out due to the priority given to the frigate conversions and the construction of new Type 12 River Class Frigates (later reclassified as DEs).  My understanding is up to 12 Type 12s were planned with six initially ordered but initially only 4 completed with a final pair following in the early 70s.  These ships passed into and out of reserve and various roles through the 50s, 60s and 70s.  One of the key features of the time was Australia looked to their allies for their defence and as such did not spend near as much on defence as their main allies and continually cut back on numbers and capability then occasionally got a bit of a reality check and tried to catch up for a bit.  My back story is Australia pulls their weight and builds on the legacy fleet.

First all existing destroyers receive the ASW conversions, 8 of the Rivers and Bays are used as regional gunboats / sloops especially for COIN and interdiction through SEA waters and a total of 6 Darings are completed at CODOC forming a Destroyer Flotilla with the 2 Battles.  Both old cruisers as well as Shropshire are retained as combat capable training ships and NGS platforms.  Progressively the Rivers / Bays are relaced with a flotilla of 8 of a variation of the Type 81 Leopard Class frigate built at Williamstown, these are followed by 8 Leanders replacing the ASW destroyers and Type 15s.  Four of the Darings are upgraded with Tartar with the Battles and remaining pair replaced with Batch I Adelaide (CODOC) class DDGs (Tartar T42) before the Tartar Darings are replaced with Batch II Adelaides (Batch III T42 hull).  Amazons (Williamstown) replace the Leopards and T23s (Williamstown) replace the Leanders.

*The following is a stretch but fun anyway

During the late 50s the RN is increasingly concerned that the shortly to be delivered Tigers, Victorious and Hermes would be obsolete when delivered and would absorb resources required to build and operate a needed new generation of carriers and escort cruisers.  At the same time Australia was growing concerned about Indonesia's military expansion and move closer to the USSR with it becoming clear that larger more modern carriers were needed as was a counter to Indonesia's Sverdlov and its planned sister.  While the current and planned fleet was adequate for the previous strategic environment the influx of so much state of the art Soviet equipment tipped the balance against Australia.  As such Australia cancelled Sydneys modernisation and bought the 3 Tiger Class cruisers as well as Hermes and Victorious from the UK with both Melbourne and Sydney being converted into helicopter carriers.  The Tigers are almost immediately modernised with Tartar replacing the 3" mount in B position and upgraded radars as an interim until the completion of a trio of escort cruisers which followed the construction of 3 County class Terrier DLGs, 3 County class Tartar / Ikara DDG carrier escorts at CODOC.  Concern over the escort cruisers ability to adequately defend itself if deployed independently led to the order of 3 Mk-26 GMLS / Standard armed modified Type 82 DLGs (Australian Ikara type installation in place of Limbo, Mk-26 in place of Sea Dart and original Ikara installation).

Stupid number of big ships with large crews is unsustainable so following Indonesia's move back towards the west the RAN starts to rationalise the number and type of surface combatants.  More modern types with smaller crews replace older manpower intensive ships earlier than would have been expected with the County DDG being replaced with a Type 22 GP destroyer and the County DLG being retired without replacement (some argued that the Sea Harrier F/A.2 and Sea King AEW flying from the escort cruisers was a more than adequate replacement).

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2014, 04:20:39 AM »
It looked like Ikara but had wings that folded down against the missile body and the container was oval in shape and about as wide and as high as a double stacked Otomat mounted on what looked like the same launcher base.  Basically each Super Ikara would have taken the same space as a pair of Otomats.

Wasn't it much shorter though? Standard Ikara was 3.43m long while MILAS is 6m.

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The only reason I am not putting Ikara on these ships is because they lacked the space and weight for it and although Super Ikara probably could have been fitted in place of som0e or all ASMs it was never deployed. 

Fair comment. Most navies forced to choose helos or ASWMs have gone for the versatility and peacetime usefulness of helicopters.

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What would be interesting is a Type 22 "Command Cruiser" with a strike length VLS forward, point defence length VLS flanking the hanger or funnel, or forward superstructure, with VLASROC (or Super Ikara), quad packed ESSM, Harpoon (or Otomat and MILAS or Super Ikara) RAM and Phalanx / Goalkeeper.  All pure fantasy as I lack the skill to scratch build a T22, or the funds for an Orange Hobby resin copy.

The hangar on a Type 22 goes right to the edge of the hull at one side and only has a narrow walkway on the other, so if you wanted Van Speijk style launchers (which are Mk.48, not Mk.41 BTW), you'd have to re-build the hangar block, possibly losing one helo in the process.

I respectfully suggest that this is a case of Irish Directions, i.e. "I wouldn't start from here if I were you". By the time you've hacked a Type 22 about to include weapons whose basic shapes, let alone technologies, it wasn't designed for, you're going to have no "Type 22" left, other than the hull form and the engines, and the Olympus/Tyne or Spey/Spey setup is hardly unique: it's the major western alternative to LM2500s. You'd be better starting with a clean sheet of paper and designing an Olympus/Tyne powered platform that suited your choice of weapons from the off.

If I wanted a new large platform in the mid 1980s, I'd be very much inclined to double up the Type 23's excellent CODLAG system: have two Speys and two electric motors on each shaft, and two banks of diesel gennies on isolated rafts to give reversing, cruising and really quiet ASW ops.

"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2014, 01:29:31 PM »
I am just going of the imagine I saw, I don't know what the length of the missile or it container was. Maybe multiple Gabriel type containers could have been an option.

Fair call on the Type 22, I just like the Batch III so will need to think of another way to wife them into the RAN

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2014, 06:38:14 PM »
What killed Ikara in the end was the proliferation of small choppers onboard all ships.  You could do what Ikara did, plus a whole lot more with a chopper.  However, that was really until the mid-1970s.  Before then, small ships need an ASW missile launcher, otherwise they had no means to prosecute a contact over the horizon.  The RAN's Daring class showed how you could put an Ikara launcher on a small platform.   It was quite an engineering achievement.

The advantage the RAN's launcher had over the RN's was that it used electric motors, whereas the  RN's used hydraulics.  The electrics were much quieter in operation, whereas the hydraulics were as noisy as all hell (and slower in operation).   The Submarines apparently could hear the hydraulic pumps start up and the launcher train whereas they couldn't hear the electrical ones.

Putting missiles on a launcher is simpler than adding multiple launchers of different types on a ship hull, with all the associated magazines and handling rooms, which is why I'd suggest adapting the Ikara launcher to fire the SAM of choice.   All the system then has to do is gather the missile and guide it and the magazine and handling paths are eased.


Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2014, 07:07:30 PM »
What killed Ikara in the end was the proliferation of small choppers onboard all ships.  You could do what Ikara did, plus a whole lot more with a chopper.  However, that was really until the mid-1970s.  Before then, small ships need an ASW missile launcher, otherwise they had no means to prosecute a contact over the horizon.  The RAN's Daring class showed how you could put an Ikara launcher on a small platform.   It was quite an engineering achievement.

Ikara wasn't on the Darings, it was on the Rivers and the Perths.

I'd suggest that a helo is not a perfect substitue for an ASW missile, and the fact that navies who can afford both continue to do so (principly the USN and the JMSDF) bears that out.

1. The very versatility that makes a helo so attractive may mean that it's off doing some other mission, with the wrong weapons in the wrong place, when you urgently need it to attack a submarine. The fact that an ASW missile can't do anything else means it's always available for it's primary mission.

2. The helo's reaction time is very variable, even if it is available. If it's on top of the contact then it's very quick indeed, but if it's 10 miles away, or it's just run out of fuel and/or weapons, or it's packed up in the hangar at 2.00am, then it can't compete with an ASW missile.

3. The helo's availability is poorer than an ASW missile. It needs regular maintenance, it breaks down, and it can crash or get shot down. If you fire an Ikara in atrocious weather and it crashes or fails, then you can fire another one. If you launch your one-and-only helo is the same conditions (assuming you can even do that) and it crashes, then you're down to your triple lightweight TTs. Good luck with that...

Don't get me wrong, helos are a good ASW weapon, but they're a different ASW weapon from a missile: helo and missile are actually very complimentary. I think the "triumph" of helos over ASWMs has more to do with priorities in the face of shrinking budgets. The helo is genuinely more versatile and can do useful (and photogenic  ;) ) things in peacetime too.


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The advantage the RAN's launcher had over the RN's was that it used electric motors, whereas the  RN's used hydraulics.  The electrics were much quieter in operation, whereas the hydraulics were as noisy as all hell (and slower in operation).   The Submarines apparently could hear the hydraulic pumps start up and the launcher train whereas they couldn't hear the electrical ones.

The "reason" for the the different RN launcher and magazine arrangements was because they thought they were going to get a nuclear depth bomb payload for it, which never actually materialised. Their lordships didn't like the idea of a nuke fired "in roughly the right direction" from the simple Aussie launcher, so they demanded the pointlessly precise Vickers one, that added no practical benefit and made more noise. An idiotic decision.

The RN magazine setup makes a bit more sense for carrying nukes. The Aussie one was a horizontal "hanger" on the same level as the launcher and assembly room, with little or no practical access to the missiles once they were inside. To carry nukes, the RN insisted that the magazine be below the waterline and that a magazine crew have access to the weapons in it in order to swap a torpedo for a nuke should the need arise. The arrangement on Leanders (and I presume on Bristol) had the missiles stowed vertically on shockproof pedestals in two rows in a deep magazine with access in between them. They were picked up by an overhead grab running on a rail and transfered to a hoist which took them up to the assembly room. 

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Putting missiles on a launcher is simpler than adding multiple launchers of different types on a ship hull, with all the associated magazines and handling rooms, which is why I'd suggest adapting the Ikara launcher to fire the SAM of choice.   All the system then has to do is gather the missile and guide it and the magazine and handling paths are eased.

The Ikara missile is such an odd shape, and the launcher operates in such an odd way, that I can't imagine what other missile could use it without major modifications to either or both. The Ikara launcher wasn't particularly reliable either (maintenance difficulties were cited as one reason for retiring it) and sometimes actually damaged rounds, leading to a particularly tasty safeing job for the armourers. It must be significant that all three attempts to update or replace Ikara have started frim the position of making it containerised.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 07:20:41 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
  • Chaos Engineer & Evangelistic Agnostic
Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2014, 07:34:54 PM »
I am just going of the imagine I saw, I don't know what the length of the missile or it container was. Maybe multiple Gabriel type containers could have been an option.

Fair call on the Type 22, I just like the Batch III so will need to think of another way to wife them into the RAN

Me too, so stop trying to spoil it!  ;) ;D

Random thought: if you want a RAN frigate with British engines and US weapons, have you looked at other navies' designs? The Dutch Kortenaer pretty much fits the bill, and the RAN was familar with Dutch radars because they were used on the Improved Rivers and the Daring refits. It had Sea Sparrow, Harpoon, triple TTs, a 76mm gun and two Lynx, and you could always replace it's Golkeeper with Phalanx if you wished. Unfortunately, there isn't a model of it that I'm aware of.

An even better design might be the Japanese Hatsuyuki class (and yes, there is/was a 1/700th kit of it). This had a 76mm, ASROC, two Phalanx, Harpoon, Triple TTs, Sea Sparrow and a Sea King all on a 3700 ton hull, and it was powered by Olympus/Tyne. The following Asagiri class was an enlarged version powered by four Speys. The Japanese constitution would probably forbid them from selling you the actual ships, but I bet they'd be able to cooperate on a modified design to be built in Aus. You might even be able to sell them Ikara in return!

A Hatsuyuki modified for Aus would be fairly straight forward:

1. Move the Sea Sparrow launcher to b-pos, on a deckhouse so that it superfires the 76mm.

2. Fit Ikara in X-pos behind the flight deck, with the handling room and magazine under the flight deck.

3. You might be able to save some cash by having a single Phalanx on top of the hangar, depending on the resolution of interference issues with the Ikara tracker.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 07:51:07 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2014, 08:18:42 PM »
What killed Ikara in the end was the proliferation of small choppers onboard all ships.  You could do what Ikara did, plus a whole lot more with a chopper.  However, that was really until the mid-1970s.  Before then, small ships need an ASW missile launcher, otherwise they had no means to prosecute a contact over the horizon.  The RAN's Daring class showed how you could put an Ikara launcher on a small platform.   It was quite an engineering achievement.


Ikara wasn't on the Darings, it was on the Rivers and the Perths.


My error.

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I'd suggest that a helo is not a perfect substitue for an ASW missile, and the fact that navies who can afford both continue to do so (principly the USN and the JMSDF) bears that out.


I didn't claim it was a perfect substitute, merely one that provided similar utility with added benefits.  I agree with most of your comments but it seems when given a choice between a chopper with one or more torpedoes versus an ASW missile, invariably the chopper has won out.
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The advantage the RAN's launcher had over the RN's was that it used electric motors, whereas the  RN's used hydraulics.  The electrics were much quieter in operation, whereas the hydraulics were as noisy as all hell (and slower in operation).   The Submarines apparently could hear the hydraulic pumps start up and the launcher train whereas they couldn't hear the electrical ones.


The "reason" for the the different RN launcher and magazine arrangements was because they thought they were going to get a nuclear depth bomb payload for it, which never actually materialised. Their lordships didn't like the idea of a nuke fired "in roughly the right direction" from the simple Aussie launcher, so they demanded the pointlessly precise Vickers one, that added no practical benefit and made more noise. An idiotic decision.


As you point out, an idiotic decision.  While the RAN wanted nukes, it never received them so was never faced with the need to make that sort of decision.

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The RN magazine setup makes a bit more sense for carrying nukes. The Aussie one was a horizontal "hanger" on the same level as the launcher and assembly room, with little or no practical access to the missiles once they were inside. To carry nukes, the RN insisted that the magazine be below the waterline and that a magazine crew have access to the weapons in it in order to swap a torpedo for a nuke should the need arise. The arrangement on Leanders (and I presume on Bristol) had the missiles stowed vertically on shockproof pedestals in two rows in a deep magazine with access in between them. They were picked up by an overhead grab running on a rail and transfered to a hoist which took them up to the assembly room. 


Actually there was AIUI access to the missiles.  Afterall, they had to be removed from their armoured containers and moved to the handling room where they were assembled, where the wings and other bits and bobs were added before it was sent to the launcher.  Again, we are discussing aren't we an alternative RAN, not RN, so what the RAN did with their magazines is as far as I am aware what we need to be discussing, not what the RN did.

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Putting missiles on a launcher is simpler than adding multiple launchers of different types on a ship hull, with all the associated magazines and handling rooms, which is why I'd suggest adapting the Ikara launcher to fire the SAM of choice.   All the system then has to do is gather the missile and guide it and the magazine and handling paths are eased.


The Ikara missile is such an odd shape, and the launcher operates in such an odd way, that I can't imagine what other missile could use it without major modifications to either or both. The Ikara launcher wasn't particularly reliable either (maintenance difficulties were cited as one reason for retiring it) and sometimes actually damaged rounds, leading to a particularly tasty safeing job for the armourers. It must be significant that all three attempts to update or replace Ikara have started frim the position of making it containerised.


The only "odd way" the launcher operates that I'm aware of is that it loads the missile effectively backwards, pushing the missile tail first into the launcher whereas most other naval launchers push the missile forwards, from the rear.  I've also never heard of larger numbers of accidents with the Ikara where missiles have been damaged in loading onto the launcher.  Again, it may be something peculiar to the RN's version, rather than a general fault with the weapon design itself and how it was deployed on RAN ships.

Loading other missiles would require some form of "universal launcher" arm to be designed.  Loading missiles backwards would not IMHO represent much of a problem, whether it be Ikara or some form of SAM, merely a change in procedures once the universal launcher arm had been created.  Having the magazines and handling rooms grouped around the one launcher would be more efficient that having, as I've pointed out multiple launchers, each requiring their own magazines and handling rooms.

There is, interestingly an Ikara launcher available in 1/72 scale from Fleetscale - http://www.fleetscale.com/store/weapons/147-1-72nd-ikara-missile-system.html


Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
  • Chaos Engineer & Evangelistic Agnostic
Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2014, 01:16:34 AM »
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I'd suggest that a helo is not a perfect substitue for an ASW missile, and the fact that navies who can afford both continue to do so (principly the USN and the JMSDF) bears that out.


I didn't claim it was a perfect substitute, merely one that provided similar utility with added benefits.  I agree with most of your comments but it seems when given a choice between a chopper with one or more torpedoes versus an ASW missile, invariably the chopper has won out.


My point is that it doesn't offer similar utility, it offers different utility. If the chopper makes ASW missiles obsolete then why do navies that don't have to choose one or the other elect to keep both?


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The RN magazine setup makes a bit more sense for carrying nukes. The Aussie one was a horizontal "hanger" on the same level as the launcher and assembly room, with little or no practical access to the missiles once they were inside. To carry nukes, the RN insisted that the magazine be below the waterline and that a magazine crew have access to the weapons in it in order to swap a torpedo for a nuke should the need arise. The arrangement on Leanders (and I presume on Bristol) had the missiles stowed vertically on shockproof pedestals in two rows in a deep magazine with access in between them. They were picked up by an overhead grab running on a rail and transfered to a hoist which took them up to the assembly room. 


Actually there was AIUI access to the missiles.  Afterall, they had to be removed from their armoured containers and moved to the handling room where they were assembled, where the wings and other bits and bobs were added before it was sent to the launcher.  Again, we are discussing aren't we an alternative RAN, not RN, so what the RAN did with their magazines is as far as I am aware what we need to be discussing, not what the RN did.


The missiles wern't stored in armoured containers in the magazine. They just sat on cradles and were picked up by by an overhead travelling crane, which dropped them onto a trolley, which then carried them into the assembly room.

Agreed the thread is about the RAN, but since it's basically the same weapon, the RN way of handling it provides an interesting alternative to consider. In some ship layouts, the "tall & deep" RN layout might be an advantage over the "long and flat" RAN one.


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The Ikara missile is such an odd shape, and the launcher operates in such an odd way, that I can't imagine what other missile could use it without major modifications to either or both. The Ikara launcher wasn't particularly reliable either (maintenance difficulties were cited as one reason for retiring it) and sometimes actually damaged rounds, leading to a particularly tasty safeing job for the armourers. It must be significant that all three attempts to update or replace Ikara have started frim the position of making it containerised.


The only "odd way" the launcher operates that I'm aware of is that it loads the missile effectively backwards, pushing the missile tail first into the launcher whereas most other naval launchers push the missile forwards, from the rear.  I've also never heard of larger numbers of accidents with the Ikara where missiles have been damaged in loading onto the launcher.  Again, it may be something peculiar to the RN's version, rather than a general fault with the weapon design itself and how it was deployed on RAN ships.


Most naval missiles hang from an overhead launch rail onto which they slide. Ikara was sent to the launcher on a trolly that rode on rails mounted on the deck. It was then picked up by the two rectangular "jaws" that you can see protruding from the triangular shroud that forms the top of the launcher. The two jaws parted to let the missile slide in between them and then closed the grip it. The method of gripping it was that each jaw had two pins which engages with conical holes in the side of the missile. The jaws then parted to let the missile go once it's motor had fired up.

What I've read is that if the missile was slightly misaligned when the launcher grabbed it, either due to malfunction, wear and tear or the action of a heavy sea, then the jaws would drive the pins into the body of the missile, puncturing the rocket motor casing and then jamming so that they couldn't be withdrawn.

This is most definately an "odd" system in that I can't think of any other missile system or launcher that used anything similar, so my comment stands about the difficulty of adapting it to fire other weapons. Since the Ikara missile could be usefully improved by redesigning it, and the launcher was somewhat unsatisfactory, the only way of achieving what you want that I can see is to redesign all of it at the same time, i.e. a brand new launcher, a Mk.2 Ikara with a more conventional loading system, and a new or modified "other weapon" to match. That might have been a useful exercise starting in the 1960s, but by the time Ikara was up for renewal GRP containers and/or VLS had arrived, so those looked like a better bet. 

Diagram of the RAN Ikara system:



"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2014, 01:57:01 AM »
An ASuW missile that fit the Ikara launcher would have been interesting.

It is my understanding the RAN Ikara outfit was designed to fit in the space of a single Limbo and its magazine and therefore was an easy upgrade on any Type 12 frigate.

Revell did a 1/300 Kortenaer and a Bremen in the 80s.  They are interesting but I alos quite like the Tromps, which apparently were considered early on as a possible alternative to the DDL.

I'm basically thinking of a RAN with three escort groups, each based around an escort cruiser, a high end air defence ship and one or two high end GP destroyers with a decent ASW capability.  There will also be two carriers able to swing from CVS to CVA depending on air-group's composition and three combatant flotillas covering border protection and interdiction, ASW and air defence that support the escort groups and carriers as required.  The two Majestics will serve as training ships and transports also providing a embryonic amphibious capability until replaced with a pair of Wasp class LHDs in the mid 90s.

Maybe my Leanders could be replaced in the 80s with Batch III Broadswords, the Amazons with Type 23s in the 90s and the Adelaides with AEGIS Darings in the 2000s with the Broadswords in turn replaced with Type 26 in from the late 2010s.  A continuous build stretching back to WWII, in one yard of eight major combatants a decade creating economies of scale and a highly experienced and competent workforce that actually wins a few export orders as well as supplying qualified and capable trades and professionals to the rest of the economy.

The other yards builds fewer but bigger and more complex ships as well as the AORs and transports the RAN also needs.  The escort cruisers are built there, as are the County variations and the Bristols.  Maybe it could build an escort group including an AOR and a commando carrier a decade.  Maybe both Majestics could be converted to duel role helicopter carriers to swing between ASW and LPH with an escort cruiser being built to form the third group.  Sydney is replaced with an improved escort cruiser in the 70s and Melbourne with a modified Invincible in the 80s.  The Counties are retained and upgraded and Bristols continue to be built and are evolved over the years into a unique Australian design including NTU and Mk-41 for SM-2 powered by four RR Speys that eventually is redesigned around AEGIS.  The Escort Cruiser is eventually replaced with Hyuga type but using RR MT30 GTs.

Interestingly on the Ikara, apparently one of the biggest issues with its retention in the RAN was its primary use was intended to be against submarines identified by the Sea Kings dunking sonar at range.  With the retirement of the carrier the Seakings no longer went to sea in the ASW role and the Ikaras use was reduced to what the DDGs and DEs could identify themselves, which was also in range of the light weight torpedoes which were quicker to fire once a sub was identified.  The Ikara became dead weight.

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2014, 05:06:15 AM »
Interestingly on the Ikara, apparently one of the biggest issues with its retention in the RAN was its primary use was intended to be against submarines identified by the Sea Kings dunking sonar at range.  With the retirement of the carrier the Seakings no longer went to sea in the ASW role and the Ikaras use was reduced to what the DDGs and DEs could identify themselves, which was also in range of the light weight torpedoes which were quicker to fire once a sub was identified.  The Ikara became dead weight.

Well that's a perfect argument for building my proposed modified Hatsuyuki in the 1980s: they can used the Sea Kings and carry Ikara. The first one was delivered to the JMSDF in 1982, just in time for Melbourne's retirement. (Annoyingly, no one's done a shipbucket profile for me to modify...)

The lightweight torpedoes might have been quicker to fire, but they were slower to get to the target and outranged by the sub's heavyweight weapons. This is why ASROC is retained: it has similar range to a submarine torpedo and it's MUCH faster. Containerised Ikara would have round the launch delay problem nicely.... ::)

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2014, 06:49:46 PM »
Been looking at my Type 23 and thinking of options such as Phalanx port and starboard on an enlarged deck house forward of the funnel (also replacing the 30mm), 21 round RAM launcher on the hanger roof, a 16 cell Mk41 VLS in place of the Seawolf VLS forward, Mk-45 5" replacing the Mk 8 4.5" and 8x Milas ASW missiles in the break between the forward and aft superstructure blocks.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2014, 11:26:06 PM »
Been reading more Brown and was surprised at the price of the Type 82, 16m Stirling vs 12m for a Sheffield (don't have a pound key) with the price expected to drop for follow on hulls.  Switching from the RAN to the RN for the moment it got me thinking that the RN would have been better off continuing with the more capable Bristol even if it did result in a reduction in hull numbers.  This would especially be the case if the UK had built all 6 planned through deck cruisers or had previously gone for the Escort cruiser design before switching to the Invincible (perhaps improved as a result of lessons learned) with a total of eight carriers covering ASW and Commando roles.  I like the idea of a double ended Batch 2 Type 82 with a hanger and a switch to the RN style Ikara launcher in place of the Limbo.

To support the Bristols and escort cruisers / Invincibles the RN could have gone for a cheaper (still) Type 42 (single 909 etc.) as a replacement for the Tribal class sloops and built additional, improved Type 21 while cancelling the Leander modernisations and selling them.  With the escort cruisers in production the Phantomisation of Ark could have been cancelled as well as the conversion of Hermes into a Commando / ASW carrier, with Ark, Eagle, Hermes and Victorious all being sold from the late 60s through to mid 70s as viable conventional carriers (including one of them to Argentina ;D).  Harriers could have been used from the Escort cruisers from the early 70s resulting in a much more sorted Sea Harrier being available earlier. 

The Counties could be modernised as ASW cruisers with and enlarged flight deck and hanger replacing the Sea Slug director and existing small hanger, RAN style Ikara in a built up quarter deck in place of the Seaslug launcher, Seawolf replacing Seacat with launchers fitted in B position between the Exocets and on the new hangers roof.  The crew would have been reduced significantly by these changes.  Type 22 would still have been developed but due to the ASW capability of the Bristols, Sea King helos from the carriers and Counties they could have been delayed and developed from the start as a more capable GP platform to replace the modernised Counties.  They would have basically been similar to the Batch III but with Ikara in B position and the forward Seawolf launcher deleted in favour of a pair on the hanger roof.

The Falklands still happens with Argentina believing they have the edge with the ex Ark Royal flying Super Etendards and modified Knox class FFGs (Balearles class) but the RN with Sea Harriers flying from 4 Escort Cruisers and 1 Invincible deployed to the South Atlantic.  The result is basically the same except there are more Seadart and Seawolf ships and fewer Seacat, there are also more Seaharriers, Harriers and helicopters embarked making the UKs job easier although it is realised that there is a need for specialist Commando Carriers and larger ships to replace the Escort Cruisers.  The RNs losses are all Type 21, Type 42 and STUFT.

Type 23 follows pretty much as it did in the real world as a replacement for the Type 21 and remaining Leanders, the Type 43 is built as a replacement for the early Bristols, and thee Type 44 as a replacement for the Type 42.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2014, 09:47:08 PM »
Ok decided what to do with the Type 23. 

The Type 23 is successful for the patrol frigate tender that became the ANZAC class over the actually selected Meko 200.  Instead of a shortened hull the RAN opts for the full size platform identical to that of the RN, but with economies achieved in systems fit, on the basis steel is cheap and air is free.  The basic ship is tailored to suit the RAN spec with the Mk8 4.5" gun replaced with eighter a 3" Oto Melara (licence produced in Australia) or a 5" Mk45 (the Oto Melara 5" being too heavy).  The Seawolf deckhouse is the same as the RNs but only 8 cells are fitted with space and weight remaining for the other 24.  Harpoon is not fitted, nor are torpedoes but space and weight is reserved for both.  As the hanger was large enough the class was able to employ the refurbished RAN FAA Sea Kings as well as the Seahawks, with the Sea Sprites never being ordered.

The sensor suite and combat system is pretty much the same as the real ANZACs.  During the late 2000s HMAS Perth trialled a CAE phased array radar system, this proved a success and formed the core of a mid life enhancement for the class that included replacement of Seawolf with either CAAM or ESSM and the retrofit of an additional 24 cells forward and 12 adjacent to the hanger for CAAM and a 16 cell point defence length Mk41 for 64 quad packed ESSM (which I go for depend on what I can find to fit). Harpoon had been retrofitted earlier as had torpedoes.  The biggest change visually was the tall mast housing the new phased array radar and capped with a Vampir IRST as part of the ASMD upgrade which also upgraded the combat system.  For the ESSM variant I am thinking of deleting Harpoon and fitting RAM on a new structure between the bridge and the VLS deckhouse and another on the hanger roof.  Phalanx 1B would be fitted forward of the funnel port and starboard.  The Upgrade would also include a TAS and upgraded facilities for a Merlin helicopter.

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
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Re: A very subtle alternate RAN
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2014, 11:34:26 PM »
I am getting a little bit frustrated having decided to modify my 1/600 County, Amazon and possibly Suffolk, as there are literally no accessories available to use.  You can get almost anything in 1/700 or 1/350 in the way of weapons, launchers, systems, fittings etc. but not the ships I'm after to modernize.  I have, or can get the ships in 1/600 but not the accessories  :icon_twisted:

Anyway looking at a number of Veteran Models accessories for my Type23 ANZAC and am trying to decide whether to go for the initial for but not with ship or the latter ASMD equivalent. 

Back story is RAN gets their way and the Type 23 is selected as the new patrol frigate, one of the deciding factors is the designs ability to operate the RANs Sea Kings.  There is a lot of for but not with used , for example only eight Sea Wolf and one director are fitted and the Vickers Mk8 has been replaced with a Mk-75 3" gun.  A lot of ballast is used to reserve weight for future upgrades.  The biggest visual difference to the RN version is a new forward deckhouse, containing the Sea Wolf rounds, extends all the way to the bridge.

The new deck house is designed with sufficient depth into the hull to take 32 strike length Mk-41 VLS in place of Sea Wolf.  The gun can be upgraded to a Mk-45 5"/62, there is space for a 21 round RAM launcher forward of the bridge and another on the hanger roof, two Phalanx 1B forward of the funnel p&s, Harpoon (or similar) between the forward superstructure and funnel, a pair of Mk-38 25mm guns aft of the bridge wings and Nukla on the starboard side of the hanger.  A new mast incorporates CEAFAR and Vampir.