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Old 05-07-2020, 12:11 AM   #154
Blue Water Dev
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Hello again, everyone!

This week our newest addition is another USN vessel. The last ship that was added was the Sverdlov-class Soviet gun cruiser - and to break up the Soviet streak a little, we're now getting a USN Cruiser - the Belknap class.

It was a tough pick between the Belknap, Leahy, and Virginias. But ultimately, the Belknap won out, as it was slightly more numerous in the US Atlantic fleet than the Leahy, far more numerous than the Virgnias, and the single Mk.10 dual rail, as opposed to two dual rails, would make it a bit easier to balance in designing encounters.

While still limited by the curvature of the Earth due to being a Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH) SAM system, it boasts a considerable improvement over the Oliver Hazard Perry class'es Mk.13 launcher due to its ability to launch not just RIM-66 SM-1 MRs, but RIM-67 SM-2 ER's.

Two AN/SPG-55 radar illuminators make it possible to guide two RIM-67 missiles simultaneously to separate targets. The internal magazine carried 40 missiles.

The Mk.10 Mod 7 launcher could also fire RUR-5 ASROC missiles, so the internal magazine carried 20. Given the number of nuclear-tipped ASROCs produced, I wouldn't be surprised if the typical number of these that were armed with a nuclear depth bomb instead of the conventional Mk.46 torpedo was around 2-4.

Further back on the ship, three different weapon systems occupied the same space as the superstructure. A Mk.32 three-tube torpedo launcher sits underneath a platform with Mk.36 SRBC chaff/IR decoy launchers. Note that here on the port side, the Harpoon launcher sits on its own platform significantly fore of the port Phalanx CIWS gun, while on the starboard side, the Phalanx is fore of the Harpoon launcher and they share the same area. It's an interesting detail of an asymmetric design.

Below, the harpoon launcher is shown with two of its canisters fired.

But, as always, while torpedoes are a good backup for how little deck space they take, and ASROCs are nice, the true best weapon for ASW operations is the aviation facility.

And finally on the stern end, a Mk.42 5" naval gun. Although a much older weapon than the Mk.45 gun, it boasts almost double the firing rate at 34 rounds per minute. It was designed for 40, but frequent failures during Vietnam led to modification of the design. A reliable 34 is better than a very unreliable 40.

It could fire a range of different ammo types from HC Mark 41 Mod 0 to SP Common Mark 42, each of which could be fitted with proximity, timed or point fuses - it could even use RAP (Rocket Assisted Projectile) Mark 58 rounds for a range up to 30 kyds.

The Belknap-class ships carried a magazine with up to 600 rounds.

That's all for now. Thanks for joining us.

Until next time, clear sailing.

Last edited by AzureSkies; 05-07-2020 at 12:19 AM.
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