Canard aircraft configurations

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23 thoughts on “Canard aircraft configurations

  1. Hmm … I wonder about that compound canard Eurofighter design – why was it abandoned? It looks like it might have done very well.

  2. Hi, I noticed you have a bunch of links from the “Combat Reform” website on your “Links” section. The CR website goes into some detail about the need for battleships in the modern age of warfare; is that a subject you’ll cover on this blog?

    A more modern take on the subject can be found if you search for “Battleship myths” (quotes included) on youtube. According to those sources, battleships can make for excellent sustained-short-range bombardment for amphibious or other forced-entry scenarios, and the nature of their firepower means that means that the fire support they provide arrives much sooner and can go on for as long as need be. Couple this with a battleship’s legendary resilience and you have something still very potent for “gunboat diplomacy” in this day and age that can bombard all week long for much cheaper than long-range missiles or aircraft sorties. I’d like to see you cover that subject if you could.

    • “Hi, I noticed you have a bunch of links from the “Combat Reform” website on your “Links” section. The CR website goes into some detail about the need for battleships in the modern age of warfare; is that a subject you’ll cover on this blog? ”

      Maybe, I don’t know. I’d very much like to do it someday.

      “A more modern take on the subject can be found if you search for “Battleship myths” (quotes included) on youtube.”

      I think I watched that video.

      ” According to those sources, battleships can make for excellent sustained-short-range bombardment for amphibious or other forced-entry scenarios, and the nature of their firepower means that means that the fire support they provide arrives much sooner and can go on for as long as need be.”

      Very much correct. Military analysts (North Vietnamese, I believe) have actually stated that a 2-day bomardment of harbor city of Haiphong by the New Jersey has caused more military significant damage than entire USAF strategic bombardment campaign did in two years.

    • Personally I think that it might be worth exploring. I am quite pro-battleship.

      1. Battleships actually don’t cost that much relative to the costs of high-tech cruisers today and strategic bombers if you keep it simple; notice the creep of ships today. Sustaining aircraft sorties too is very costly. Missiles are very expensive – perhaps prohibitively so if you want to use them like artillery.

      2. As shore bombardment, they are very useful and psychologically, they are very terrifying. Remember the moral impact of a battleship is quite large.

      3. They are pretty good against missiles and gun fire; which is the main threat from shore.

      4. Their biggest real weakness is to torpedoes (submarines today could be an issue) – note in WWII the proportion lost to torpedo bombers.

      5. They are not useful for sea domination though (submarines take that niche) because they are vulnerable to torpedoes. You would probably want to send minesweepers ahead of the battleship and your own submarines. That being said, they are undoubtedly much more durable than carriers for the job.

      6. Modern gunnery would probably be much more accurate than compared to WWII as well.

      In other words, they are useful for the transition from naval domination to ground invasion and for the first ~50km of shore they can deny the enemy the coasts. Basically they are like a very powerful artillery that can stand counter-battery fire.

      • “3. They are pretty good against missiles

        I keep reading this on the internet and yet there is no proof of it. There is however proof of the contrary. Look up Fritz X and the battleship Roma. Now fritz had a warhead half as big as a Harpoon, not to mention those Russian Supersonic 10 meter long monsters that carry warhead close to a ton at Mach 3 at a range of 400 km away.
        Now supposedly the Iowa class had a much better, armoring scheme then any other battleship but that doesn’t mean it was immune to missiles.
        Frankly I think classical battleship with big guns are a waste of money.
        Tell you what I like though. Let’s call it a strike cruiser. Armed with four of five turrets with automatic guns up to 10 inch (208 mm) caliber, with a Rate of Fire of 80 rounds per minute per turret (like the Russian AK 130 130mm naval guns – http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNRussian_51-70_ak130.htm ) and the guns made on Gerard Bull’s design,which would allow them to fire at up to 50 km with standard ammo, 70 with base-bled and 100 km with rocket assisted ammunition (see South African G6 howitzers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G6_howitzer and extrapolate to another 50 mm increase in caliber). At 80 rounds per minute per turret a single turret would fire as much as a WWII heavy cruiser (best rate of fire was about 1 round every 10 seconds per gun, at 9 guns that came to 54 rounds per minute at 12 guns it came to 72 rounds per minute), with four or five you could probably trow as much weight in a minute as a Battleship. Such a ship would be impervious to air-attack, 5 turrets firing 400 ,10 inch rounds per minute wouldn’t even need to aim to destroy any conceivable air-threat and would offer much more reliable naval fire support then any battleship, not to mention that it would have one tenth the crew and cost and you could build ten for the cost of a single reactivated Iowa.ù
        Seriously people Battleships were made for one thing and one thing only: standing in line at shooting at other battleships, that’s why they had such big guns and Armour. For Naval Fire Support I just gave you a far better solution, I don’t see any conceivable target requiring a 408mm shell in today’s world, and if you just want to trow weight around it’s much simpler to simply fire smaller calibers faster. I mean an Iowa could achieve a maximum fire rate of 2 rounds per minute per gun. Let’s say they could fire 3 times per minute per gun. At 9 guns that’s 27 shots per minute each weighing 2 tons I think, so a total of 54 tons per minute. A 10 inch shell is about 100 kg. So the strike cruiser I gave as example could fire 40 tons per minute.

      • That depends on type of the missile, most modern missiles are not designed to penetrate armored targets (since that would likely cause over-penetration in modern flimsy ships), meaning that battleship’s armor would easily stop them. But it wouldn’t be hard to design missiles with penetrating head that could defeat any practical amount of armor.

        BTW, “warhead close to a ton” isn’t that impressive, North Carolina class battleships fired 1.200 kg AP projectiles at speed of 700 mps, or Mach 2. But battleship still is a waste of money, it would be useful for shore bombardment, but can it survive that long?

      • “North Carolina class battleships fired 1.200 kg AP projectiles at speed of 700 , or Mach 2.l ”

        Yes but how much was explosive and how much AP cassing.

        Also Russian missiles are clasiffied as semi-AP. Probablly because Russians designed them when US still had BBs, and they were designed to sino those too.

      • AP casing was there because even a much larger quantity of explosive would have done little damage if it exploded outside the armor.

        “Also Russian missiles are clasiffied as semi-AP. Probablly because Russians designed them when US still had BBs, and they were designed to sino those too.”

        Which is why I said “most” modern missiles.

      • @Andrei

        I’d have to look but around 30% was probably explosive. That being said, the kinetic energy of casing may be of some use.

        Roma was poorly designed from a number of standpoints (poor underwater defense too).

        Can you elaborate on the strike cruiser idea? It would look a lot like a WWII heavy cruiser if I am not mistaken. ~10 208mm guns and a few other amenities, probably for self defense, maybe 3-4 OTO Melara? It would sail with a fleet of escorting cruisers?

      • ” It would look a lot like a WWII heavy cruiser if I am not mistaken. ”

        Pretty much. But my inspiration is not the Des Moines class heavy cruisers with 3×3 10 inch automatic guns, but it’s “light” cruiser companion with 6X2 8 inch automatic dual purpose guns, the Worchester class (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester-class_cruiser), which was light in name only seeing as it weighed in at 17000 tons .
        Unlike heavy and light American cruisers build during the war which had a main anti-ship battery either 155 mm or 208 mm (depending on the classification) a secondary dual purpose 5 inch battery of 8 or 12 guns and various other AAAs, the Worchester, because it had fully automatic guns, had just the main battery which was dual-purpose and some 3 inch guns also dual purpose. It was supposed to be used mainly in the Anti-Air role with the 12 155mm cannons putting up a curtain of fire. Unfortunately in the missile craze that followed the concept was abandoned which I think is a shame because it was much more versatile then missiles cruisers and I think also much more efficient in the AA role.

        “~10 208mm guns and a few other amenities, probably for self defense, maybe 3-4 OTO Melara?”

        10-15-20 208 mm guns. Depending on how many you can cram in a fully automatic turret. With modern metallurgy I think a 208mm barrel would weigh less then a WWII 125 mm barrel. For comparison take the Abrams and the TIger II both weigh 60 tons but the Abrams has a 120mm gun and the Tiger had a 88mm gun and if you put them next to each other the 88 looks a lot more beefier then the 120. I think four barrels per turret working on the Gast principle (which uses the recoil of one barrel to work the reloading mechanism of the other, used by the Russians in their 23 and 30 mm dual barreled guns and I think also in the 130mm AK 130 which I put a link above ) could deliver the rate of fire I suggested without overheating the barrels too much, and I think such a quad turret even armored (which it would not need to be because it would be unmanned) would weigh less then a WWII 5 inch turret. Secondary guns would be OTO Melara 76mm one turret per main battery turret (like the 5 inch turrets in late WWII American cruisers.).

        “It would sail with a fleet of escorting cruisers?”

        No. It would be a true cruiser capable of independent operations. Only escort necessary, one or two AIP submarines for anti-subamrine protection working in concert with a ASW helicopter. For anti-air, the strike cruiser would use it’s guns. It would have DART projectiles for it’s OTO Melara’s and also and enlarged DART projectiles for it’s main battery. The DART projectiles for the main battery could have rocket motors and enhanced maneuvering capabilities and a range in excess of 30 km. For shorter ranges standard HE proximity fused munitions would be used and for close-in the Oto Melara’s. I think it’s enough for even the most determined attackers.
        For Anti-Ship work the cruiser would use VOLCANO guided ammunition, again from OTO Melara. Currently they developed a land attack variant for their 127mm/64 gun with a range of 100 km, and they have under development anti-ship variants in the 127mm (100 km range) and 76mm (40 km range) calibers. Again I see no reason why a scaled up variant with a range of 150km at least (greater then a Harpoon) could not be developed in the 208mm caliber.
        For Land attack it would use guided munitions, base blade, rocket assisted standard, whatever necessary to get the job done.
        It would weigh in at at least 17000 tons, with most of the weight going in ammo storage and the Armour and whatever other protection necessary for the magazines, it would have to carry at least 800 rounds per turret with 7 types at least (DART, VOLCANO, base-bleed, rocket assisted, Standard HE, AA and thermobaric) 8 if we make so sort of guided Armour Piercing round for use against bunkers and if somebody sends a battle ship after it. 😀 With that much ammo (4000+ rounds) it would be a floating cigar without decent Armour and protection 😀

        What do you think Chris?

        • “For comparison take the Abrams and the TIger II both weigh 60 tons but the Abrams has a 120mm gun and the Tiger had a 88mm gun and if you put them next to each other the 88 looks a lot more beefier then the 120.”

          True, but M1s barrel can only fire few hundred rounds before it has to be replaced, while Tiger I’s could fire several thousand. So it is not as much advanced metallurgy as it is reduced requirements.

      • “True, but M1s barrel can only fire few hundred rounds before it has to be replaced, while Tiger I’s could fire several thousand. So it is not as much advanced metallurgy as it is reduced requirements.”

        Yes but few hundred rounds in 120mm caliber translates to almost the same length of time to as a few thousand in 88mm caliber. If you take into account that they both have/had human loader, that the 120mm round is considerably heavier then the 88mm round which would lead to higher fatigue for the loader and that the 88 mm round was a cased round while the 120 mm comes in two parts, round and propellant which lengthens the loading process and leads to lower rate of fire, then the time it takes to fire a few hundred rounds with the 120mm gun is about as much as that needed to fire a few thousand with the 88. Specifically I read some where that an trained Tiger crew could achieve at best 1 round per second while stationary, while an Abrams crew at best gets 1 round every five seconds.
        Also I think that the number of rounds fired by a barrel is inversely proportional to caliber. I read somewhere that 16 inch barrels had to be changed every 200 or 300 rounds.
        Obviously the barrels of the guns I propose for the strike cruiser would have to have to last at least 1000 rounds, but because I’m interested in rate of fire per turret, not barrel, there probably is an optimum of number of barrels per turret and life span of barrels, that gives us minimum weight for maximum time before maintenance for a particular turret.

        • “Yes but few hundred rounds in 120mm caliber translates to almost the same length of time to as a few thousand in 88mm caliber.”

          I was talking about the barrel wear, not the load time. Modern gun barrels aren’t relatively as resillient as they used to be in WWII.

          “Obviously the barrels of the guns I propose for the strike cruiser would have to have to last at least 1000 rounds, but because I’m interested in rate of fire per turret, not barrel, there probably is an optimum of number of barrels per turret and life span of barrels, that gives us minimum weight for maximum time before maintenance for a particular turret.”

          Agreed.

      • @Andrei

        I can see this type of ship happening. I will need more time to think about it though. Maybe moderately armor for the turrets would be worth considering though.

        In the case of your gun though, we are not talking about a human loader though, barrel life as noted would be short in exchange for lighter mass. Not a huge deal, as barrel changes would be more often. It’s a complicated relationship between barrel life and everything else. All other things being equal, faster muzzle velocity is bad on barrel life, as is higher calibre (there was a mathematical relationship, although I cannot remember it), while having a thicker higher quality barrel was of course good for life.

        It’s a concept that could I think replace the battleship as you note.

        @Picard
        The 88mm L71 guns interestingly had a 2-piece barrel.

        Look at the end of this barrel. The reason why was the second “half” of the barrel would be changed more often than the first half because the exiting projectile would be of higher velocity.

      • Image is not linking.

        [img]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_KwK_43#mediaviewer/File:PaK43-41_base_borden_military_museum_4.jpg[/img]

      • Or you could just use a submarine…

        There was a patent taken out for a 127mm vertical launch gun with a helical magazine designed to fit into a Trident missile tube. Since then the 155mm AGS has been designed around the Zumwalts.

        Weight is about 100 tonnes, plus it carries 1000 rounds with 300 ready to go.

        I’m thinking something along the lines of a Golf SSK with several vertical launch guns in the sail. Nothing fancy, basic diesel sub which can get get in close to the coastline and provide NGFS from the surface in benign airspace or precision strikes from periscope depth.

        Some sort of CIWS might not go amiss, in fact if you used a medium calibre like the Bae 57mm then it would be useable as an anti-piracy or even basic radar picket. Of course it challenged by an ASM wielding opponent it could just dive but small patrol craft might cause a problem. MPAs would be unlikely to be a threat as I suspect their bases and runways might well be the first targets hit.

        During WW2 deck guns were the primary armament of the German U-Boats, and attempts were made to fit old battleship guns to French and British subs. Monitors or battleships were useful for taking out bunkers and sea fortifications but the light cruisers ruled the roost when it came to NGFS. Timely weight of accurate fire is the key, hence the 12 or more rapid firing 6 inch guns on CLs could suppress positions better than anything else. Indeed Overlord probably couldn’t have happened without the red zone being in place, where no armoured or motorised forces were allowed within 30miles of the sea for fear of the Royal Navy plinking at them. On Italy’s exposed coastline the CLs were decisive.

        I’m guessing you could get at least three or four such subs for the cost and manning of a single significant surface combatant. As a relatively dumb boat it would be useful for peacetime duties such as fisheries patrol too ( the Canadians use the SSKs for just this duty).

      • Mike, that’s a concept worth exploring.

        Not sure it would be as cheap as you say (existing diesel AIP boats are already on the order of $500 million USD in many cases).

        There might be some difficulties in putting the gun in the sail though. I think the rotation too of the gun might be limited in some regards.

      • I’m not quibbling about the price so much, as you say a 214 doesn’t come that cheap. However if any country puts a significant sized surface ship ( over 10,000 tonnes was mentioned) for less than a billion and a half or so I would be surprised. The Zumwalts come in at well over twice this, with some creep yet possible.

        The VGS doesn’t need to train, it simply fires shells vertically with a rocket motor attached which veers them according to the GPS coordinates targetted. Apparently this is not far from an optimum firing solution. Extending barrels which could fire from periscope depth are a possibility, though I wouldn’t be too worried about the weapon system’s utility if this was not feasible.

        Currently carriers would be tasked with providing close air support, battlefield interdiction and deep strike as well as air superiority in the course of an amphibious operation. Thin skinned escorts would provide the NGFS through either 114 or 127mm single mounts. This is imperative as shown in the Falklands where South Georgia was retaken entirely by NGFS, Pebble Island was damaged beyond repair by NGFS ( the SAS raid was merely a recon which did minor damage, an FO hovering in a Sea King delivered the kill itself) and a frigate being late on station for NGFS resulted in the paras losing almost an entire company dead or injured.

        Add a couple of dedicated SSKs with sufficient ammunition ( range for a VGS varies however upwards of 70km has been demonstrated) and the carriers can concentrate on air superiority and possibly deep strike whilst freeing up vulnerable escorts which history shows are susceptible to land based ASMs.

        Hence carrier air can optimise towards high altitude interception along with something akin to Stormshadow for deep strike, which frankly is the maritime mission covered if you add a decent ASM. The tasking and even ability of carriers to provide effective CAS is doubtful in my view, given the need to preserve sea room and the limited number of aircraft carried makes a cab rank highly unlikely. Whilst escorts are suited for NGFS the sophistication of a frigate required to operate within close reach of a hostile shore is becoming prohibitive, as evidenced the dwindling numbers in most navies. In fact the Zumwalt is a response to this problem.

        A diesel boat able to operate in the shallows would also be able to insert 148 Bty or sneaky beaky types as part of it’s mission( reducing loadout by a few shells or so would free up plenty of space) , indeed HMS Onyx was taken south for just this reason as the risk of beaching an SSN was unacceptable ( Onyx did beach, but floated off at the next tide without being discovered).

        As to cost I see no reason why it should be prohibitive. A few torpedoes without the ability to reload tubes would help with training and remove the need for a torpedo room – not to mention the ability to engage targets of opportunity. AIP is hardly a necessity, frankly it might well advertise it’s presence given that it it fires everything within 10 miles will know about it. Hence simple diesel sub with snorkel and a CIWS ability suffices. A 57mm Mk110 or similar would be nice for dealing with small attack craft, ASW helicopters, unguided shore batteries and the like though the sub could simply dive if targetted by ASMs.

        2500-3500 tonnes, small compliment ( 214 has less than 30 which might be a bit iffy), uses existing tech, nick parts from SSNs where appropriate, dash speed on the surface might be advantageous but isn’t a necessity. In fact 1958 tech stats for the Golf class would be appropriate if not stellar. Just a basic diesel electric that could potter around 10 miles off a hostile coast under air cover and rain fiery death on the beach head or further inland. Designing a sail including a 57mm turret which is relatively stealthy shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man, even the Germans managed it by slapping rubber infused grease on their conning towers.

        For a few billion $ you could almost eradicate an aircraft type or speciality from a CV’s deck, optimise your frigates for blue water, provide a much needed dedicated NGFS platform which would be equally adept at everything from fisheries protection, anti-piracy to surveillance in peacetime, and most importantly free up SSNs for deep water rather than constantly having them run aground inshore ( google it, almost the entire RN fleet has been grounded at one point of other).

        Unrep, probably from a dedicated oiler which could provision shells if necessary would be very useful ( not sure how this would work though submarine tenders have been unrepping torpedoes for the best part of a century). Give it a bit of pace to keep up with a CV and you could even use it as a CIWS / short range radar picket – otherwise it would just trundle down with the amphibs ( which only average about 8kts).

        The only effective counter would be a large fleet of SSKs, though these would also be the most effective against escorts or Zumwalt style alternatives. Pinning them defensively to their own coast would be advantageous. Small attack craft or corvettes wouldn’t be keen on trying to detect something which could surface and lace them with 6 pound shells, MPAs would probably be without a runway to take off from, ASW helicopters might be a pain but wouldn’t operate within a hostile carrier’s reach, unguided shore batteries would probably be shooting at every bit of flotsam thinking it was a SSGK and would be vulnerable to the 57mm and frigates having to patrol inshore would be a mission kill anyway and something for the carrier or SSN to deal with from range.

        I’m not thinking of a deep diving, long endurance AIP, SSN lite here. It wouldn’t have to be truly silent or even a modern bottom crawling mobile minefield.

  3. @Mike

    I get what you’re saying.

    The advantages are:
    – Could send it into contested waters, although you’d want a decent AIP boat for that job
    – Easy to conceal
    – Usable for surprise strikes near the enemy coast
    – Probably more survivable when it’s not firing compared to a surface ship

    Issues I see are:
    – Accuracy of gun (enemy might use anti-satellite’s in war in which case you’ve only got the SSK’s gyro)
    – Whether it would be better for naval gun support versus a surface ship (ex: does it suffer from rate of fire penalties)

    You would need to have “submarine superiority” in order to use it of course, as it would be vulnerable to enemy subs in contested waters, and potentially coastal patrol craft, so friendly air cover might be needed. If the enemy has a lot of SSKs, that’s when this submarine could be very vulnerable.

    But otherwise, I can see this being a very viable platform.

    I agree that it’s a better substitute though than carrier bombing. I’ve never really considered carrier bombing to be a very cost-efficient platform and arguably even not an effective platform. Carrier launched CAS might be worth looking at though.

    It’s also a better buy than loading missile tubes into attack submarines (missiles are expensive and you probably are ammo constrained because you can only hold so many missiles unless you want a huge submarine).

    • Exactly,

      Accuracy and rate of fire, one being GPS dependent, could possibly be an issue. On the other hand the opposite may be true. Subs have accurate inertial guidance and if possible to fire from periscope depth then the barrels would effectively be water cooled.

      Rate of fire, given the above uncertainties would be no different on the surface to that of a Zumwalt – which needs advanced AAW, escorts against SSKs, armour and a huge compliment. From periscope depth I doubt anyone knows until it is tried.

      I agree that in a highly contested coastline the need for subsurface superiority would exist, though the number of nations that either have, or could afford this, is small. On the one hand it would argue for capable AIP hunter killers – I truly think trying to make a single class that could do everything would be a woeful compromise. On the other air superiority and carrier or escort based aviation would probably be sufficient in 95% of cases. Only major procurement items would be an effective counter so from an intel base the threat scenario would be relatively uncomplicated.

      Carrier based deep strike has been a purely nuclear mission in terms of justification. The US Navy’s A6s were initially designed around the concept of nuking from the Med and Bosphorous. Without that role I imagine the sea control ship concept would have easily won the day.

      Quite right about the SSN loaded with TLAMs etc, it is a diversion from their role, if a necessary one given the lack of other platforms. ATACMS is perfectly viable from a submarine, as are many other options assuming the sub surfaces. Nose in to the coast with a 57mm CIWS and only the sail presenting itself – that’s a tough target to detect or attack effectively. Comms are key here, no point having a subsurface firing behemoth which the humble squaddie can’t contact when in the mire. Not that the ability wouldn’t be useful, for surprise strikes as you said, but not key to the platforms place in an amphibious landing scenario.

      The prime advantage here of course is cost and manpower. Even in an environment where the firepower is not needed such a vessel would have innumerable uses. Pirates fancy having a crack at merchant shipping? Surface and put a few rounds across their bows. Foreigners nicking your fish? Document and prosecute.

      Hence for true all round usefulness a small compliment, long if not speedy range and the ability to unrep or load sneaky beaky type cargoes would be key. The savings purely in SSN fleet tasking and CV airwing role, not to mention precious escorts, would be large.

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