What’s Old is New Again I

Written by Ryan Crierie on Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 11:35 am

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Navy quietly conducted studies of their own Sea Based ABM system (as in $3 million spent on studies; vs $4 billion on Nike-X); and proposed a purpose built, nuclear powered warship, of which an artist’s concept is below.

Navy Sea Based ABM - The Past

Navy Sea Based ABM - The Past

The SABMIS concept would have mounted the missile detection/tracking radars, fire control/guidance radars and ABM launchers on a single hull 700 feet long and displacing 20,000 to 30,000 tons full load. Propulsion was to be with two nuclear reactors driving two shafts.

Planned loadout was to be 40 to 60 ABM missiles in a centrally located silo farm; backed up by four Sea Sparrow launchers for point defense.

Like now, the Navy touted the mobility of SABMIS as well as it’s cost — claiming that a force of several SABMIS ships; even with nuclear powered escort ships, would cost considerably less than SAFEGUARD.

Fast forward to today; and even before the recent announcement of Sea-Based ABM as the future; the Navy had been looking at dedicated S-ABM as a mission for it’s next-generation cruiser — CG(X).

Much remains in the air about just what CG(X) is going to be; because the Zumwalt class has been cancelled, and even before it’s cancellation; there was doubt over whether the Zumwalt hull could support the BMD mission (not enough electrical power or fuel reserves to support running the radar a lot).

Notational specifications that have been tossed around in the past for a purpose built hull for CG(X) were 20,000~ tons and nuclear power.

What’s old is new again….™

Categories: ABM, Ships

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