(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
The U.S. Navy has been in discussions with shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls about the possibility of building a missile defense variant of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-17). The new vessel could eventually be equipped with new radars, railguns and lasers.
The massive 25,000-ton troop carrier has the size and weight margins for the mission, according to industry officials. “You can put a lot of additional weight on the ship and you can put … some modern technologies like ballistic missile defense radars that are very heavy,” Huntington Ingalls vice president Brian Cuccias told reporters at the Surface Navy Association symposium this week, according to National Defense Magazine. See video
Deleting the ship’s well deck would greatly add to the vessel’s weight and stability margins. That, in turn, would allow the LPD-17 hull form to accommodate the enormous weight of a next generation ballistic missile defense radar—which are usually very large and extremely heavy.
In fact, the LPD-17 hull form would allow designers to mount the radar high on the vessel’s superstructure to give it the widest possible field of regard. “When you close in the well deck of the LPD ship you expand that capability to take a lot of weight, and the stability on LPD is such you can actually put weight up high,” Cuccias told National Defense. Read more
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