Author Topic: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic  (Read 11969 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Colin P

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 50,995
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 4,968
  • Civilian
    • http://www.pacific.ccg-gcc.gc.ca
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2006, 16:47:44 »
Well I got to spend 9 years working on our west coast Hovercrafts. They are good niche machines and give you some advantages over displacement craft.

I would not recommend the Griffons, generally to small and they don’t stand up well to green water impacts.

Our first hovercrafts were the SRN-5 & 6. The 6 being a longer version of the 5 which was the same as used in Vietnam by the US. They were powered by a 1100hp RR gnome gas turbine with power split between the lift fan and propeller. In fact one of our hovercraft CG 045 spent a good chunk of it’s life in the Arctic doing Seismic work before we got it.

Now we are running 2 AP1-88 400’s one on each coast and 2 API-88 200 one on each coast. Here is some detail information on the 2 west coast craft.

 http://www.pacific.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/fleet-flotte/fleetinfo/penac_e.htm

http://www.pacific.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/fleet-flotte/fleetinfo/siyay_e.htm

The AP1-88 400 can carry a fully loaded fire pumper truck, or a crane or have a shelter over well deck to carry passengers (troops)

The plus side is that they can take fairly heavy sea states, we regularly had to go through 10-12’ surf to get back to our base. They do not generally detonate mines, can land at most beaches and the are large enough to have a decent range and are fairly good on the crews.

The downside is that they are more maintenance heavy than a ship, especially the skirt takes a real beating going over ice, beaches, rocks. We were also disappointed with the Cats, there was a lot of failures of the peripheral equipment attached to them. They will need a base to operate from and can only operate away from that base for so long, they are also not cheap, I seem to remember 7 million each, but I could be wrong. The good news is that the class is now proven. Arming them would take some doing and would likely reduce their other abilities if you were going for anything bigger than 20mm.   

Offline GAP

  • Semper Fi
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 179,285
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,391
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2006, 16:54:49 »
What about winter artic conditions? Were they tried to any extent in the artic. Did you get any feedback on difficulties they had while doing the sesmic work? The USMC ones quoted having difficulty with icing and reduced performace, did yours?

REMEMBER SOME PEOPLE ARE ALIVE SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHOOT THEM

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

A young boy asks his father "Dad, where did I get my intelligence from?"

Dad replies "You must have gotten it from your mother, I still have mine."

Offline couchcommander

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • -60
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 531
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2006, 17:03:11 »
re: the armament - what could we feasibly put on these things for anti-ship/anti-air?

Is it even possible to give them an anti-submarine capability?

(I have no idea.... that's why I am asking)?

"Stranger! To Sparta say, her faithful band
Here lie in death, remembering her command!"

Offline Kirkhill

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 89,005
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,877
  • Just plain difficult
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2006, 17:32:24 »
In Finnish service she was known as the Tuuli and was an LCAC derivative.

In the 70s Vosper Thornycroft came up with a number of Patrol derivatives although they were never put into production AFAIK.

These are not long endurance platforms.  They are useful for point-to-point missions, as Colin P says, operating from a base.

The largest hovercraft was the Saunders Roe SRN4 which displaced 310 tonnes and carried 418 passengers and 60 cars across the English Channel (22 miles) at 50 knots.

Think of them as something between a landing craft and an old fashioned Motor Torpedo/Gun Boat or Fast Patrol Boat.  Light guns and missiles up to Sea Sparrow and Harpoons.

Quote
Aker Finnyards win contract to build hovercraft
09-July-99
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The joint venture by shipyard Aker Finnyards and composite expert FY-Industries have signed a contract with the Finnish Navy for the building of a fast hovercraft. The vessel to be delivered in September 2001 is a prototype for a future series of fast combat vessels.
Also another prototype for the new "Squadron 2000" was built by Aker Finnyards - the missile boat Hamina delivered in August 1998. The future composition of the squadron is planned to be two ships of missile boat type plus several hovercraft. FAC Hamina again is a follower to four Rauma-class missile boats, which were built in Rauma during 1990-92. The yard`s long cooperation with the Navy started already in the 1950`s.

The contract involves hovercraft tehcnology transfer to Finland from the US in connection with offset arrangements. The fundamental air cushion vehicle technics tested in the US will be used to help the designers in Finland to fulfil the requirements of the Finnish Navy for the year-around operation in the harsh coastal conditions.

The price of the vessel is over FIM 70 million. It will be constructed from welded panels of thin marine aluminium sheets and extrusions connected with light-weight composite constructions. The other part of the joint venture, FY-Industries Ltd, specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced reinforced plastic composites.

The length of the vessel is 27.4 metres and beam 15.4 metres, the height of the skirt being over two metres. The propulsion and hovering mechanism consists of four gas turbines, two driving with belts the two CP air propellers in the thrusters, and two driving the lift fans and the manoeuvring thrusters in the bow. The 4,500 kW engines give the vessel a maximum speed of 50 knots.

The wheel house and the cabins as well as the operation, service and machinery spaces are situated in the middle of the ship. The spaces for weaponry and fans are towards the sides. The main armament consist of missiles, or mines or torpedos. Anti-aircraft weaponry is also to be installled.

The special features of the vessel are good mobility, independency of waterways and fixed port equipment, year-around operation and, owing to the advanced technology a small crew of only ten.

http://www.akerfinnyards.com/press.cfm?ID=27


Interesting that the build yard is the same company (Aker) that seems to be at the front of so much ice technology (Svalbard again, Double ended tankers) as well as patrol vessels.
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.
"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Offline Michael O'Leary

  • The moral high ground cannot be dominated by fire alone, it must be occupied to be claimed as held.
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 259,865
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 9,525
    • The Regimental Rogue
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2006, 17:48:23 »
While the running assumption through this thead seems to be that hovercraft could be used as a theat response deployment vehicle, one aspect that has not been brought up is the hovercraft's vulnerability.

I expect most COTS hovercraft have a fine power to weight (+payload) balance.  What will be the likely reduction in payload to add sufficient armour for even a low threat environment (SAA?).  If they are too vulnerable they become a liability, either unable to get into an area, or unlikely to return.  Add protection, payload drops, as well as range, endurance and lifecycle.  Increase number of machines, or use larger machines, to compensate, and targets (for the threat force) increase in number and/or size.

Just beating the weather conditions may not be enough for hovercraft to be a viable solution.

Offline Centurian1985

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • -135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 697
  • Putting the 'P' in the gene 'ool'...
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2006, 18:06:02 »
Out of curiosity, how far north do the posters here think that sovereignty should be enforced?  I ask because in the past several countries have failed to recognize Canada's sovereignty north of 80 degrees and others still contest that the northwest passage is a sea route open to all countries. (There are also other disputes over the Dixon Entrance and other key areas along Canadian west and east coasts).

Examples: (ISUMA Dec 2001)
http://www.isuma.net/v02n04/huebert/huebert_e.shtml:

The melting of the ice that covers the Northwest Passage gives rise to questions about the impact this has on Canadian claims of sovereignty. There is no question about the status of the land territory that comprises the Canadian Arctic archipelago. All conflicting land claims were settled in the 1930s,[ 10 ] with the sole exception of a dispute over the ownership of a small island between Baffin Island and Greenland named Hans Island. The government of Denmark contests the Canadian claim of ownership. The only relevance of this claim is its impact on the determination of the maritime boundary line between Canada and Greenland in the Davis Strait. Canadian claims of sovereignty of its Arctic areas with respect to maritime boundaries have resulted in three disputes. Canada disagrees with both the United States and Denmark over the maritime boundaries that border Alaska and Greenland respectively. Neither dispute will be influenced by reduced ice conditions.

It is a third dispute, concerning Canada’s claim over the international legal status of the Northwest Passage, which will be adversely affected by a reduction of ice cover in the Passage. The Canadian government’s official position is that the Northwest Passage is Canadian historical internal waters. This means that Canada assumes full sovereignty over the waters and thereby asserts complete control over all activity within them. The Government of Canada’s most comprehensive statement to this end was made by then Secretary of State for External Affairs, Joe Clark, in the House of Commons on September 10, 1985. In that declaration, he included the following statement:

Canada’s Sovereignty in the Arctic is indivisible. It embraces land, sea, and ice. It extends without interruption to the seaward-facing coasts of the Arctic Islands. These Islands are joined and not divided by the waters between them. They are bridged for most of the year by ice. From time immemorial Canada’s Inuit people have used and occupied the ice as they have used and occupied the land.[ 11 ]

The United States and the European Union position is that, contrary to Canadian claims, the Northwest Passage is an international strait. The Americans in particular do not accept the argument that ice cover makes a difference for the international legal definition of an international strait. The Americans have always maintained that the International Court of Justice’s ruling in the Strait of Corfu case is applicable for the Northwest Passage. In that case, the Court ruled that an international strait is a body of water that joins two international bodies of water, and has been used by international shipping.[ 22 ] The United States argues that the Northwest Passage joins two international bodies of water and has been used for international shipping, albeit a very small number of transits.

Trivia - In 1999, the first non-American passage (note - surface vessel) for commercial shipping purposes took place when a Russian company sold a floating dry dock based in Vladivostok. Its new owners decided to move the dock to Bermuda. With the aid of a Russian icebreaker and an ocean-going tug, the dry dock was successfully towed through the Passage. This use of the Passage to avoid storms in the open ocean demonstrated its advantage for international shipping should the ice be reduced. The fact that the dry dock was then almost lost in a storm off Newfoundland seemed to confirm the benefits of sheltered waters of the Passage route.Also in 1999, a Chinese research vessel visited Tuktoyaktuk. While the Canadian embassy in Beijing had been informed of the Chinese plan to send a vessel to the western Arctic, local Canadian authorities were not informed. Consequently, local officials were considerably surprised when the Chinese arrived in Tuktoyaktuk. The voyage of the Chinese vessel demonstrated the limited Canadian surveillance capabilities. Canadian officials did not learn of the vessel’s entry into Canadian waters until it actually arrived.
The U.S. Navy has begun to examine the issue of conducting surface vessel operations in Arctic waters. In April 2001, the U.S. Navy organized a symposium on the subject. This strongly suggests that it perceives the possibility of an ice-free Arctic where it may be required to operate and has begun to give the subject serious thought.

Offline Kirkhill

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 89,005
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,877
  • Just plain difficult
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2006, 18:13:50 »
Quote
Out of curiosity, how far north do the posters here think that sovereignty should be enforced? 

How far North do we claim?  Isn't the answer to one, the answer to both Centurian1985?  Our claim is only as good as our ability to enforce the claim.

Quote
Just beating the weather conditions may not be enough for hovercraft to be a viable solution.

That is true.  But in the constabulary role the Mounties are using unarmoured catamarans, and other nations are using thin-skinned fast patrol boats.  Also the LCAC is used operationally by the USMC as a landing craft.





Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.
"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Offline whiskey601

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 5,270
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,766
  • Rye in the Sky...
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2006, 18:26:25 »
Here's a thought: rather than planning to deal with any percieved threats, why not be the ones who actually place the threat in the arctic? An armed icebreaker is no real deterrent-it is a platform to slowly react to an incursion. What we ought to do is raise the stakes so bloody high that nobody would risk antagonizing us over the arctic. 

But then again, we took ourselves out of the pro-active defence business a long time ago.

Offline Kirkhill

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 89,005
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,877
  • Just plain difficult
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2006, 18:34:59 »
Or is an armed ice-breaker a "mobile" platform on which you can mount a threat?
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.
"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Offline whiskey601

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 5,270
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,766
  • Rye in the Sky...
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2006, 19:15:24 »
Probably. The kind of threat I'm thinking of is the kind you don't want to be anywhere near when it goes "boom" before Miller Time.

Offline Kirkhill

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 89,005
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 7,877
  • Just plain difficult
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2006, 19:32:32 »
Miller Time - I'll have a Kilkenny Cream.   :)
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.
"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Offline Centurian1985

  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • -135
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 697
  • Putting the 'P' in the gene 'ool'...
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2006, 19:32:39 »
I'm sorry but you've given me some silly mental images; I'm seeing an icebreaker with a deck gun plowing at a breakneck speed of about 3 knots through the ice and yelling at a foreign vessel in Canadian waters to 'prepare to be boarded'.  

You still haven't clarified 1) who do you want to keep out and 2) what waters or ice-bound areas are you trying to protect?  

Are you implying that we should take up an armed position with armed ships to block the US from using the NWP?

This all falls under operational management, guidance and planning.  If the government wants to declare territorial sovereignty they have to actually dedicate some money and create forces to defend the territory, something which our government has yet to do, and cannot be done with the purchase of a few icebreakers or the placement of a land-based unit.              

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1755765,00.html (18Apr06)
A dispute between the US and Canada over rights to shipping lanes through the North-West Passage flared up again this year, with Canada promising to step up its military presence to protect what it regards as its territory and the US sees as international waters. Norway and Russia are squabbling over the Barents Sea, while Denmark is eyeing the north pole itself.  International law allows a country to claim the seabed up to 350 miles off its coast, which is judged from the edge of its continental shelf. Existing surveys show that no country's shelf extends far enough to give it a claim on the pole, so a neutral area around it is administered by the International Seabed Authority. To get round this, Denmark is trying to prove that Greenland - a Danish territory - is connected to a 1,100-mile underwater ridge that stretches towards the pole. Launching the effort in 2004, the Danish science minister, Helge Sander, said it was to give Denmark access to "new resources such as oil and natural gas". Canada and Russia are trying to make similar claims and it could take years to sort out.

Offline GAP

  • Semper Fi
  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 179,285
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,391
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2006, 09:07:44 »
Here's the Northwest passage...that's some inhospitable land out there!!

Everything aside...nobody has spelled out exactly what it is we are defending from...unauthorized passage, military passage excursions, invasion, or territorial claims. I would think each of these listed (and probably a whole lot not listed) require different specific equipment to perform.
REMEMBER SOME PEOPLE ARE ALIVE SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL TO SHOOT THEM

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

A young boy asks his father "Dad, where did I get my intelligence from?"

Dad replies "You must have gotten it from your mother, I still have mine."

Offline Thucydides

  • Army.ca Legend
  • *****
  • 134,420
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 11,464
  • Freespeecher
Re: Military pushing for hovercraft to guard Arctic
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2006, 11:24:11 »
As has been said, who or what exactly are we defending against?

Unauthorized incursions, violations of environmental regulations, claim jumping of oil or mineral deposits are really an RCMP/Coast guard thing. Even creating an airborn Task Force stationed in the high Arctic is really only a means of having a readily available "first responder" unit, since neither the RCMP or Coast Guard have well developed parachute capabilities. On the other hand, since we would like to be able to have someone physically present to observe the situation and have the ability to take action, a force configured to be able to jump in or land at austere landing zones would be able to rapidly cover a large land area like the arctic.

Hovercraft are just another way of getting around, we should be talking about snowshoes, skis, dogsleds, snowmobiles and BV-206's as well, since these are all proven and viable means of transportation. Realistically, hovercraft could be used to pick up and deliver a team of troops/constables with their transportation, but does it really offer that much of an improvement over a Chinook or transport aircraft?

Hovercraft have horrible fuel economy (especially the turbine powered ones), and are difficult to control, unless you have dodges like a surface piercing hull (the Surface Effect Ship or SES), or have wheels to provide steering and traction (hovercraft "trucks" which use the hovercraft feature to reduce ground pressure when carrying heavy objects or driving over very soft ground). They are useful in special niches, like getting 60 tons of military hardware from ship to shore post hast (the old USSR had hovercraft large enough to deliver mechanized infantry including BTR 60 APC's and PT-76 light tanks in platoon and company sized formations from ship to shore), but I don't think this is actually what is needed for Arctic Sovereignty missions.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.