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Subject: DDGN-51
stinger    3/6/2008 10:42:05 PM
Could a nuclear-powered version of the venerable Arleigh Burke DDG 51-class destroyer become the next missile cruiser for the U.S. Navy? That's the vision of at least one influential congressman. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., chairman of the seapower subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, said March 6 he is seeking to add money to the 2009 request to fund an effort to build a nuclear-powered warship that would supplant construction of the DDG 1000 destroyers. Related TopicsAmericas Naval Warfare The new ship would be a slightly larger version of the 9,200-ton DDG 51s, powered by one nuclear reactor of the type developed for the new Gerald R. Ford CVN 78-class aircraft carriers. Taylor said he would end the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class at the two ships already ordered and cancel plans to build a total of seven of the ships. "I'm more frustrated than most with the slow pace of rebuilding the fleet," Taylor said. "The answer [from the Navy] always is, 'We're studying it.' So we're going to turn the equation around a little bit." The Navy is working to design a new CG(X) cruiser based on the 16,000-ton DDG 1000 tumblehome hull, but Taylor said he doesn't see the need for that effort. "Rather than all this fooling around with a new hull design, the 51 hull has been a great hull. Everyone likes it. So if it works at that size, we want to make the calculations to grow it big enough to carry that power plant," he said. Taylor said he doesn't see the need for the stealthy, tumblehome hull form of the DDG 1000s. Although Navy leaders speak confidently of the hull's properties, lingering doubts about the ship's stability persist among a number of engineers and naval architects. The conventional, flared hull of the DDG 51 is more seaworthy and, Taylor said, stealth isn't that important for the cruiser. "We know that stealth is not an issue," he declared. "The radars are going to be so powerful that there's no way on earth you can make that ship stealthy." Taylor also is one of a number of lawmakers displaying less than full confidence in the DDG 1000 program. "A lot of us have concerns about building the seven ships for the 1000," he said. The same day, Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, expressed doubts in the DDG 1000 program. At the committee's Navy posture hearing, Hunter rhetorically asked whether it was "prudent to buy destroyers that cost over $3 billion and more likely $5 billion apiece while we shut down stable, more affordable production lines." The Navy is asking for $3 billion in the 2009 budget request to fund construction of the third ship of the class. Contracts for the first two were issued in February, and although the Navy continues to express confidence in its stated $3.3 billion price tag for each of the first two ships, outside analysts are unanimous in forecasting higher costs that range to $5 billion and beyond. Taylor has joined previous subcommittee chairman Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., as a vocal champion of nuclear power for surface ships. Since assuming chairmanship of the seapower subcommittee in early 2007, Taylor has vigorously urged the CG(X) cruisers to be nuclear-powered. Navy Leaders Balk The Navy is not enthusiastic about going to nuclear power for its surface warships. A variety of factors are at work, including the increased costs of procurement, the cost of training and retaining nuclear personnel and the involvement of the Naval Reactors community in the surface warship realm. Not surprisingly, the Navy's top leaders balked at Taylor's suggestion of a nuclear Burke. "There's a significant challenge in and of itself of going nuclear on any surface combatant," Navy Secretary Donald Winter told reporters following the hearing. "To be able to do that within fiscal constraints on an existing platform that was never designed to accommodate a nuclear reactor further complicates the matter. Never say never - I'm sure there's somebody someplace who will figure out how to do it. The question is, does that wind up being a cost-effective solution?" Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who, as a commander, commissioned the second Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, doubted a reactor could be placed in the DDG 51 hull. "I built one, crawled all through it," Roughead told reporters. "I'm not a marine engineer, but to put a nuclear power plant in that hull, even if you scale it up - I question whether you can do it." The Navy plans to buy the first CG(X) cruiser in 2011 and build 19. An analysis of alternatives (AoA) is being conducted by the Center for Naval Analyses to determine the hull form and other characteristics for the ships, which are to replace current CG 47 Ticonderoga-class Aegis missile cruisers. Service leaders want the cruiser to adopt the tumblehome hull form of the DDG 1000, but the AoA, expected to be ready last fall, is not yet complete. Congressiona
 
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Herald12345    Short answer, NO.   3/6/2008 11:24:48 PM
You are asking for something that looks to be about the size between the USS California at 12,000 tons or USS Longbeach at 16,000 tons!

Do you realize how BIG a nuclear/steam electric plant is? Apparently Congress cretin Gene Taylor doesn't have a clue about this.

The nuclear reactor, an A4W, on an Eisenhower is one of TWO and its HUGE.

Herald
 
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benellim4       3/6/2008 11:34:01 PM
I gotta go with Herald on this. The ship would have to be redesigned completely. In effect, you're designing yet another destroyer with all the associated risks. The only thing it would have in common with DDG-51 would be the shape. 

If you want to evolve the DDG-51 design, I'm OK with it. But incorporating a new propulsion method isn't evolving the design; it's a redesign. And carries with it all the associated risks

Congressman from MS. Hmm. Bath ME got the contract for DDG-1000 and now the Gentleman from MS, Bath's main competitor, wants an alternative. 2+2=?...
 
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Charles99       3/7/2008 1:11:30 AM
More importantly, when you consider how big a role continual redesigns have played in the "slow pace" of rebuilding the fleet, comissioning an entirely new design, which would require an entirely new power plant, etc, etc, seems the best way to insure that we're still working on the next generation destroyers at around the time we discover anti-gravity. 

 If you want to speed up the pace, the best idea is to go for simplicity, not added complexity.


 
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doggtag    hull sizes: who can fit a nuclear powerplant:   3/7/2008 9:23:16 PM
For those of you willing to trust that Naval-Technology.Com can generally get things in the ballpark:
 
Length 377ft
Beam 34ft

PROPULSION

The main propulsion units are the GE pressure water reactor S9G, designed to last as long the submarine, two turbine engines with one shaft and a United Defense pump jet propulser, providing 29.84MW.
------------------------
 
Length 110.3 metres
hull diameter 10 metres
PROPULSION SYSTEMS
The ship is equipped with a 26MW nuclear pressure water reactor, model GE PWR S6G, developed and supplied by General Electric. The auxiliary prop motor by Magnatek supplies 242kW. The life of the fuel cells is approximately ten years.
----------------------------
 
http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/burke/specs.html  (Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer)
Length 153.8m
Beam 20.4m
Draught 6.3m
Propulsion 4 x GE LM 2500 gas turbines, 78.33MW
------------------
 
So, a DDG-51 hull has greater beam than any USN SSN class.
And it seems there is plenty of hull depth (Burkes sit just over 20 feet down into the water).
(Does the Virginia class SSN feature a double hull design?)
 
Either way, by sheer physical dimensions of a Burke vs an SSN, it seems feasible physically to replace the 4 LM2500s with two Virginia powerplants (I don't have the cubic dimensional requirements for a direct comparison).
 
Someone please enlighten me otherwise.
Not enough juice in the double SSN powerplant configuration to meet the suggested DDGN's growth potential (energy weapons, etc) ?
 
I do realize that the Burkes' 4 LM2500s still generate more overall power than 2 Virginia powerplants,
but how often do Burkes make use of all 4 engines running at 100% ?
 
And also, would removal of the ship's fuel bunkerage allow for additional nuclear powerplant space, or at least allow for a redesign of putting other components into the bunkerage area to allow for a larger reactor room(s) ?
 
I would think that, coupled to many of the latest advances in electric propulsive tech that will be packaged into the DDG1000 (and more modern electrical networks throughout the ship (aren't the Burkes generally going to sea with 10+ year old power distribution technol
 
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Charles99       3/8/2008 12:43:15 AM
Oh I'm certain it COULD be done. 

  But would it in any way, shape or form speed up the production  of US warships?

No.  He's also betraying some very serious problems with understanding Naval Technology-- he's right Stealth WON'T keep a powerful radar from picking up a ship-- at a given range, but it will reduce the range of that radar which means your ship may be able to fire first. It may make it harder for missiles to lock on, and given that in about 20 years I bet the average missile will be highly autonomous, that's important.

 If you want to get more hulls in the water, the thing is to build a incremental improvement of the Burke.  I'll leave it to others to decide if that's a good or bad idea, but trying to solve the problem by designing a new ship, from the ground up, isn't the way to go. 

 
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benellim4       3/8/2008 6:25:30 AM

I'm just winging it here.

By all means, everyone feel free to suggest the pluses and minuses of these suggestions.


If you've ever been on a ship, you know that the ship is made up of many watertight compartments. Each one's shape is affected by things like what type of power plant the ship has. What would be required is a total redesign of the interior of the ship, which is no small thing considering the design of the BURKE has most of its critical functions, like combat systems, in the hull in order to be more survivable.

What you're also not taking into account is that the BURKEs have 3 Allison 501-K17 or 501-K34 Gas Turbines that act as generators. The VA's powerplant is using its reactor to supply electrical power. So the actual power that the BURKE's require is much more than just 4 LM2500s. 

Could you shoe-horn two nuke reactors and the associated equipment into the BURKEs and make it work? Probably, but at what cost? A baseline BURKE is going for ~1.1billion dollars (That was a 2001 figure). The power plant itself will likely cost 400-600million. Not to mention you have to pay for the development costs of the powerplant and the redesign costs of the hull (if you can make it fit). The point is once you get through all of that, you'll have destroyers that are nearing the cost of DDG-1000, but have less capability.
 
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benellim4       3/8/2008 6:26:38 AM
Oh and ask the French about how easy and trouble free it is to scale up a submarine power plant for use on a surface vessel, e.g. Charles de Gaulle.
 
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jjeguy    You've to remember Who are we fighting these days   3/9/2008 8:40:00 PM
You've to remember Who are we fighting these days Will Eventually need A stealth Mode class DDG 1000 Not matter it is nulcear power or not It would be much more economicalto use nuclear power tin cans ships Stealth mode Will be need now Especially Fighting war on Terrorism  plus, Most our Naval conflicts will  be intra coastal warfare. No longer Inter coastal  warfare I am not saying it wil never happen inter coastal warfare You never know About Russia Or Communist China ? Plus Iran and North Korea Tin cans can tolerate 15 to 20 years of wear tear Yet with being actual war  conflicts This my make our Navy's Back bone  lose about 5 to7 years This what was told on my Navy Reserves weekend drill We need all ship to be silent. Especially with this war on terrorism. Nuclear power can be silent if it is  insulated properly. We have best technology in the world. We can create marvels, to make smaller, more portable nuclear power vessels, and also create  it stealth mode. Keeping in or under budget that is big question. Hell We flew men to moon and back over 30 years ago We  can preserver. I am not Republican,yet I believe America's Military does have military might.When we see America at it's worst we always come back being the best. History shows that.


 
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Carl D.       3/9/2008 10:53:39 PM
Heck, considering the mission exposure of these vessels, if the Congress wants to lower the fossil fuel foot print, I'd think that putting nuclear power on the T-AOEs would make more sense, barely.  Considering the manpower issues, keeping it with the submarine force and the CVNs makes the most sense, particularly when the USN is shedding personnel to pay for programs while the Congress and POTUS won't raise/target defense spending to the needs of the current situation.
 
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xylene       3/10/2008 1:45:13 AM
Don't really see the need to for nuclear powerplant on a destroyer. Also the hull for the Arleigh Burke has gas turbines. Try stuffing a nuclear reactor and steam plant in there and imagine how that completely changes the centers of gravity for the whole vessel.
 
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