Did'nt we think of that in the Second world war?
Iconoclastic Pentagon paradigm-mangler boffins at DARPA have done it again, unveiling plans for cunning floating modules which could be tipped off cargo ships out at sea and then drive about and snap themselves together to form floating offshore bases. The new DARPA plan is called Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP …
I think Lord Mountbatten had a plan in WW2 to build giant ice aircraft carriers out of ice-crete (or some silly name like that). It was comprised of sawdust mixed with water and frozen and was a lot stronger than ice alone. So, aircraft carriers made from frozen chipboard.
"Firstly, there will be a relatively normal effort to create a snap-together instant ISO-box kit which would turn the host ship into a useful platform"
Then paint it green and call it Thunderbird 2.
Paris, she’s a thunder bird too.
Close, it was called Pykecrete after its inventor Geoffrey Pyke. It was a mixture of wood pulp and water which was then frozen into blocks that took ages to melt. The pulp not only made it harder to melt, but made it less brittle. There's even a story that Pyke demonstrated its durability by shooting a block of the stuff in front of some top brass. The bullet not only failed to penetrate the Pykecrete, it ricocheted off and injured an American officer.
Churchill and Mountbatten were huge fans of the idea, and it even got a Codename - Habbakuk - which not only sounds like the noise you make when choking, but its even all Biblical and apocalyptic: "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told to you.” Which as a mission statement, is pretty awesome.
A small plant was set up in Canada (home not only of lots of trees, but truly ball-busting cold) and a demonstration pykecrete barge was built. It survived several summers before actually melting.
Habbakuk itself was cancelled when long range bombers were available and the German Navy pretty much abandoned the Atlantic war.
A nice idea in theory, but apart from covert special forces usage, this is a far fetched pipe dream. Aircraft carriers are big for a reason, you need the height above the waves to launch jets/helis, enough space for fuel and even more space for the crews to service them. Low slung container made runways do not cut it!
Parking that much expensive kit on an unprotected cargo ship which is worth considerably less than the kit itself is also a big no no. Now having an non-descript cargo ship sailing through a disputed strait, dropping off containers for those sneaky spec ops guys to go and launch some missions, hidden under the radar... Sounds like just the sort of thing they would want to do. The evidence would have to be sunk after the mission though.
It is actually wrong because of different reason. What's the point of shipping all those containers already in full shape? Flat pack them, IKEA style. Then add huge balloon inside and drop them to water. I don't really think propulsion and self-building capabilities are really so important. It's more about having some kind of machinery to haul them together so they can be joined.
Then when you have first layer, add some cranes and build second one. It will be high enough over waves and stable enough. Then you can add customised parts like comms, weapon systems, etc. Also building from cheap containers will make it really hard to destroy. Fire the torpedoes and destroy side containers. Big deal, drop few more and attach where destroyed ones were. At the end of operation, just take expensive stuff with you and let cheap floaters go down.
Generally brilliant idea, although needs little refinement. Maybe Blighty should start doing it?
Surely the point of this is, that its not meant for combat operations and its not expected to be fired on. It's for situations like Haiti where the airport was clogged up and the sea port damaged.
Aircraft can't carry vast amounts of cargo and they needed to use shallow draft barges to get into the sea port which don't move fast enough at sea get there quickly. So deploy a floating port in deeper water that normal ships can use and use aircraft from there to ferry cargo the short distance inland. The temporary base doesn't need to provide full service maintenance for the aircraft they can be rotated out of the area as needed. Much easier and more efficient than deploying an aircraft carrier.
And there was also the Swiss Roll
During WWII the British had plans to build a massive aircraft carrier out of ice blocks because we were running out of steel. It's quite fascinating. The ice blocks are actually a composite material mashed up with wood. It's so tough that a bullet from a service pistol bounces straight off of it.
I like the overall concept, save taxpayer money, reduce logistical challenges, hasten asset deployment, but there are a number of huge issues with the entire concept.
Technical issues aside, my money says they won't be able to use OTS containers, they'll have to have specially designed units that cost 75x more than OTS parts.
Plus it'll look really stupid.
The runway/ ski ramp - is not a very big problem. On a large vessel, you'd only need to hydrolic 'decks', or even one may be enough. Alternatively, if the main unit had a crane or lift deck, and a floating run way was added, this would be fine for harriers. All this assumes you have a stabel area and dock so still has limits.
Aircraft carriers are big for a much more fundamental reason - namely that aircraft are big, so a ship carrying multiple aircraft needs to be large. They don't actually need to be that far above the water for the planes to take off and land.
No, the reason this ain't such a good plan is a bit less technical. It's called waves. The average ISO container is 8ft high, and waves are often bigger than this. A lot bigger. Not only does that leave this lash-up with the problem of how to deal with waves crashing over the top (which won't do much for the airworthiness of aircraft on it), but there's the structural integrity problem. If your containers don't ride over the wave like a caterpillar (a workable solution, but one that won't give you a flat deck up top), you'd need your containers bolted firmly enough together that when a wave goes through, the containers in the middle can support the weight of all the containers outside them, and vice versa. On a real ship, this is done through proper structural engineering with big bits of steel. I can't see it working so well with bolted-together cargo containers, somehow.
I was thinking the same thing. Can the welds and joints on a standard container withstand the force of a several-ton aircraft slamming into it at 120 mph? Especially the corners where they connect together? And can it withstand that force hundreds of times without breaking? And, um, where are most of the containers made nowadays?
Seems like a big risk to take with aircraft that costs millions of dollars. But hey, we American taxpayers have tax money to burn nowadays...
Providing they can find missions for this which are within its capability.
No doubt one of these will be an elint container for a discrete monitoring of comms and radar signals.
But remember standard ISO containers are *not* bullet resistant. They do have incredible strength to mass ratios (c 10:1 payload to empty weight is *not* uncommon).
If they can do this for much less money than building ships and aircraft carriers then this is good.
Also they can be dismantled and put beyond use if no longer needed.
It's just a shame that it's the septics doing it, as if the world need's more reach from america. I'd like to see some useful non-war usesfor this too. We could build a town in the middle of the ocean for enviromental research, tourism opertunities etc...
A few containers on top of a container ship would give it a useful bit of self-defence--something like a Phalanx system bolted on top of an ISO container. But what sort of war needs that sort of protection?
Oh, it must be the whole thing about floating self-assembly. Now that's an idea that meets DARPA standards.
Take a fraction of the money spent on this, give those "pirates", clean water, food and jobs and there will not be any more pirates left. (oh and stop overfishing and polluting their seas), but of course no body wants to get to the root of the problem. if they'd bothered to do a little research they'd find that the pirates in the horn of Africa originated from a self organized community coast guards tackling polluters and western fishing boats, but soon enough their seas became so polluted there we're no fish to get and they were left having to rob merchant ships, (and if you'd bother ask them they will all say they'd rather not be pirates but have no other choice).
of course we only know how to deal with symptoms of social problems by using the military, and never the causes by using common sense.
Just maybe this isn't about ISO containers, runways, modern day Mulberries, no. It's about global mega shipping corps whose global mega container ships aren't shipping quite so much gubbins round the world no more. So they need alternate uses for the global mega container ships that are laying idle in so many calm, safe havens.
"The TEMP program will investigate and develop modular technologies and macroscopic modular systems that leverage ubiquitous International Organization for Standardization (ISO) containers and the intermodal transport system to deliver flexible operational capability from unmodified commercial containerships ..."
We will using container-LEGO, plains, trains and automobiles to make machines of war because what the world needs now is war, sweet war: We've got no money, but a war will give us more, What the world needs now is war, sweet war, not just for some but for everyone.
....the descriptions of Operation Prime Chance and Operation Nimble Archer making use of converted civilian Oilbarges for helicopter/gunboat bases for US Special Forces and Navy Seals in the 1980's, surely a way to stem the flow of pirate activity of the east africa coast and middle eastern waters is to ressurect one of these vessels.
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Admiral Sir Percy Scott was one of the most most inventive and iconoclastic British naval officers in the decades leading to WW1, though overshadowed in history by Jackie Fisher. Early in that war he differered with Fisher over the value of battleships, saying that they were not cost-effective, being hugely expensive and too vulnerable to aircraft and submarines. Instead, he proposed developing aircraft carriers that could be used for commercial shipping in peacetime. Given the state of aviation at that time, his proposal looks impractical, but history proved his analysis to be correct. ( "Fifty Years in the Royal Navy" http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pbtyc/50_years/FP.html )
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