What are classes of ships and submarines and why are they pigeonholed like that, even accross different countries?


What are classes of ships and submarines and why are they pigeonholed like that, even accross different countries?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Most ship designs have an original ship, and then several ships based on the same design manufactured after. While some refinements may be made or variation for different specializations the general purpose, size and capability will be the same.

The “class” is traditionally named after the first ship of that design. The first Nimitz class carrier was the Nimitz, for example. It’s sister ships are very close in construction and capability so it’s safe to simply describe them all as their class for most purposes. Much like you can count on an F-150 to have certain stats and capabilities even with a bit of variation between option packages and such.

It you mean like…destroyer vs cruiser, that’s a more generalized description of their size, capability and purpose but is useful in the same way: for discussing capabilities, general purpose, etc..m without having to dive into the exact details of each vessel.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Classes of ship, like cruiser, destroyer, battleship, carrier, are more descriptions of their function. It’s helpful for a navy to specialize their ships, so that each ship can be very good at one thing or role, while being supported by other ships that can provide other support. It so happens that there are a number of very general, nearly universal roles that most, if not all, navies find optimal.

A destroyer is a small, lightly armed ship that focuses on being fast/agile. The larger or more heavily armed, the slower it would be, so there’s a general trend for destroyers around the world to be built along similar lines.

A cruiser is a ship that is meant to be capable of independent operations far from local bases, a bit of a jack of all trades. It has more firepower and armor/defenses than a destroyer and longer operational range (fuel, supplies necessary to deploy for long periods of time, far from friendly bases). It might not be as fast as a destroyer, but it can punch harder and fight farther away.

A carrier is a ship focused on deploying and resupplying aircraft. Cruisers and destroyers can often do this as well, to a limited degree, but carriers are all-in on aircraft. As such, they are slower (carrying all that jet fuel and bombs/missiles for the planes, as well as the planes themselves) and often less well-armed. But carriers have the size and space to launcher full-size fighter/attack aircraft, so they play a different role than cruisers or destroyers.

Submarines are capable of controllably submerging themselves, so they can be sneakier than other ships. But this means they’re specialized to operate submerged; no aircraft, no guns, only torpedoes and specialized missiles that can be fired from underwater. And since water drags a lot on a ship’s hull and surfaces, submarines generally can’t travel as fast as surface ships can.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ship classes are just a group of ships with similar or the same design. Like the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticonderoga-class_cruiser](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticonderoga-class_cruiser) If you what more than one ship with similar capabilities it cost a lot less, is faster, and simpler to make 10 identical ships compared to 10 completely different when they should do the same task.

It is not just for construction, You can have the same training of crew and move them between ships. You can have a single logistic system for all of them instead of needing different spare parts for each.

It is fundamentally no different from anything else produced. Carm manufacturers do not design a completely new car for each customer, the design a car model they make many of, it can have variations and optional parts but it bases on the same fundamental part.

If multiple countries have the same class it is because the purchase them from another country instead of designing their own class or the licensed the design and building it themself.

Ship types are descriptions of ships with similar capabilities like a destroyer, carrier, etc They exist because the task a navy need to do is similar between different navies. There is fundamental physics and technology limitations so the result is a similar design. Speed, range, armament, armor, and cost are all dependent on each other.

Compare that to cars where you can group models from different manufacturers because you have something similar. A pickup truck is a useful design for many situations so people purchase it and car manufacturers build them.

Just like with cars one company has a good idea and creates a new design another will copy that idea. Countries look at what other countries build and copy what they think is a good idea. For naval vessels especially back in the day when combat was shooting cannons on the other ships you had a design that was made to counter other ships’ potential enemies.

Ships back then were general design to handle hits from the caliber of guns they had. Smaller guns and less armor also mean the ship can be faster, so the goal was that you could outrun anything with larger guns

There have also been international treaties like the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Naval_Treaty that define classes and the amount of tonnage and even the number of that type that countries was allowed to have. The idea was to stop a repeat of the naval arms race that happen before World War I.

That defines what a capital ship (battleship, battle cruises), light and heavy cruisers, and destroyer are with max displacement, and gun calibers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ship classes are not very well defined, even if the same term is used between different countries and different navies. Japan, for example, has no aircraft carriers. Yet they have the F-35B deployed on “helicopter destroyers”. In the US, they would be referred to as amphibious assault ships. For pretty much every other country, they are aircraft carriers.

What doesn’t help is that the ship roles have changed over time as technology and naval tactics changed. Destroyers are called destroyers because they were small and fast boats that just had torpedoes. Initially they were basically speed boats with torpedoes strapped to them. They were designed to swarm and destroy capital ships like battleships. Later, destroyers took on the role of hunting submarines. Today in the US navy they’re used for everything from carrying missiles, acting as an anti air/missile screen for carriers, and hunting subs. And they’ve grown in size, basically looking like the cruisers from WWI/WWII.

In general though, the various ship/sub classes tend to have similar roles. A destroyer in the US navy and in the Chinese navy will have analogous roles. It’s basically what naval doctrine/technology mandates. They’re designed to counter certain types of threats which both sides have. Like aircraft, subs, and anti-ship missiles. You don’t want big/expensive ships filling that role because you need a lot of them to cover your fleet. They also need to be big enough to carry all the missiles/ammo/radars to find and intercept incoming threats.

You also have treaties. The US and Russia for example limit the number of nuclear armed subs each can have deployed. The US modified some of their boomers to be non-nuclear armed cruise missile carriers to adhere to the treaty. Imperial Japan converted some of their battleships to carriers to adhere to the restrictions pre-WWII on battleships. Nazi Germany built some of borderline “cruisers” that were basically just slightly smaller battleships with massive guns.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’ll assume you are talking about ship types and not classes. They are not pigeonholed, those terms changed a lot in meaning over history and today they kind of lost a lot of their meaning (not all).

For Submarine it’s pretty easy. You either have attack submarine or ballistic submarine. Attack Sub are smaller, cheaper and more maneuverable and will have torpedo and possibly missile as their weaponry. Ballistic Sub are bigger, more expensive and they carry nuclear weapons as a deterrent. You also have Cruise Missile Submarine, they only exist in the US, they took a bunch of Ballistic Sub and replaced their nukes with several cruise missile. Finally you have coastal submarine, those are very small and usually operated by nation will a less developed navy or countries with a large presence in an interior sea like the Baltic.

Destroyed used to Torpedo Boat Destroyer. Their role was to be highly maneuverable, small ship with smaller guns able to rapidly engage the smaller torpedo boat. Fast, highly maneuverable small ship are pretty good at escorting bigger ship and used as screen. So the destroyer evolved to become a general purpose escort ship by WW2.

In the time of Sail ships were rated based on the number of guns and gun decks. The bigger ship with 2 or 3 gun decks were Ship of the Line, while ship with 1 gun deck and between 24 and 50 (roughly) were frigates. Smaller than this would be corvette or sloop of war depending on the country. Then you had cruiser, this was more a term to describe how the ship was used than to describe the ship itself. Cruiser were used as escort and patrol and those could be as big as a two deck or smaller than a frigate.

By the time ships were made of steel instead of wood, the names change a bit of meaning. During WW2 Destroyer were fast medium escort ship while corvette were smaller, slower escort ship. Destroyer could escort a fleet for Battle and serve as scout, while Corvette were mostly used to escort convoy or coastal patrol. Frigate had kind of felt out of use by that point, but the British readopted the term to mean an anti-submarine escort ship. Frigate were smaller, had less weapons and were slower than destroyer. Later some anti-air frigate appeared, but again they remained slower and smaller than destroyer. By that point the nomenclature of frigate started to change a lot between countries. The American had the Destroyer Escort (basically a slower Destroyer), for the Royal Navy those were frigate. By that point Cruiser were simply ship bigger than Destroyer, but smaller than Battleship.

After WW2 and the start of Guided Missile Ship, the us went the other way around. Guided Missile Frigate were bigger than Destroyer, which was different than most other Navy at the time. But by the 70s the US came back to the general consensus of size. Corvette, Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser from smaller to bigger. With Modern technology, the differences between the ships other than size kind of became irrelevant. It’s so much easier today to make a frigate as fast as a destroyer and frigate don’t need to be as specialized as they used to be. Every size of ship can be general purpose or have a specialized role depending on what the country need.