Arsenal ship

An arsenal ship was a concept for a floating missile platform intended to have as many as five hundred vertical launch bays for mid-sized missiles, most likely cruise missiles. In current U.S. naval thinking, such a ship would initially be controlled remotely by an Aegis Cruiser, although plans include control by AWACS aircraft such as the E-2 Hawkeye and E-3 Sentry.

Missile being launched from surfaced submarine
Depiction of an arsenal ship launching a missile
US Navy Surface Combatant for the 21st century 1995
1995 depiction of an arsenal ship


Proposed by the U.S. Navy in 1996, it had funding problems, with the United States Congress cancelling some funding, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) providing some funding to individual contractors for prototypes. Some concept artwork of the Arsenal Ship was produced, some images bearing the number "72", possibly hinting at an intent to classify the arsenal ships as a battleship, since the last battleship ordered (but never built) was USS Louisiana (BB-71).

The arsenal ship would have a small crew and as many as 500 vertical launch tubes for missiles to provide ship-to-shore bombardment for invading troops. The Navy calculated a $450 million price for the arsenal ship, but Congress scrapped funding for the project in 1998.[1]

The U.S. Navy has since modified the four oldest Ohio-class Trident submarines to SSGN configuration, allowing them to carry up to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles using vertical launching systems installed in the tubes which previously held strategic ballistic missiles, creating a vessel roughly equivalent to the arsenal ship concept.[2]

In 2013, Huntington Ingalls Industries revived the idea when it proposed a Flight II version of the LPD-17 hull with a variant carrying up to 288 VLS cells for the ballistic missile defense and precision strike missions.[3][4]

China has reported to begin testing model arsenal ships built by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industrial Corporation.[5]

See also


  1. ^ 'Micro' Drones, 'Arsenal' Plane, Railguns Funded in New Defense Budget -, 2 February 2016
  2. ^ "Guided Missile Submarines – SSGN". U.S. Navy. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  3. ^ Katz, Daniel (11 April 2014). "Introducing the Ballistic Missile Defense Ship". Aviation Week. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  4. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. (8 April 2013). "HII Shows Off New BMD Ship Concept at Sea-Air-Space (Updated with video!)". Defense Daily. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  5. ^ Lin, Jeffrey; Singer, P.W. (1 June 2017). "China is developing a warship of naval theorists' dreams". Popular Science.


  • Holzer, Robert. "Commanders May Share Arsenal Ship Assets." Defense News, (17–23 June 1996)" 10.
  • Holzer, Robert with Pat Cooper. "Warships May Use Leaner Crews: Report Recommends Additional Firepower for U.S. Navy Vessels." Defense News, (29 January – 4 February 1996): 4.
  • Holzer, Robert. "U.S. Navy Eyes Options as Arsenal Ship Takes Shape." Defense News, (5–11 February 1996): 20.
  • Holzer, Robert. "U.S. Navy's New Arsenal Ship Takes shape." Defense News, (8–14 April 1996): 4.
  • Lok, Joris Janssen. "Arsenal Ship Will Pilot Future USN Combatants." Janes Defense Weekly, 17 April 1996: 3.
  • Metcalf, Joseph III. "Revolutions at Sea." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 114, no. 1019 (January 1988): 34–39.
  • Pickell, Greg. "Arsenal Ship fails to Hit the Mark," Defense News, (16 October 1995 – 22 October 1995): 55.
  • Scott, Richard, ed. "Arsenal Ship Programme Launched." Jane's Navy International, 101, no. 7 (1 September 1996): 5.
  • Smith, Edward A. "Naval Firepower for the 21st Century." The Washington Post, 27 July 1996.
  • Stearman, William L. "The Navy Proposes Arsenal Ship." The Retired Officer Magazine, 102, no. 11 (November 1996): 39.
  • Stearman, William L. "A Misguided Missile Ship: Old Battleships Would Do a Better Job Than a Pricey New Boat," The Washington Post, (7 July 1996): C03.
  • Stearman, William L. "The American Scud." Navy News & Undersea Technology, 12, no. 41 (23 October 1995).
  • Truver, Scott C. "Floating Arsenal to be 21st Century Battleship." International Defense Review, 29, no. 7 (1 July 1996): 44.
  • U.S. Department of Defense. Arsenal Ship...21st Century Battleship. Brief prepared by OPNAV (N86). Washington, D.C.: 23 May 1996.
  • U.S. Department of Defense. Arsenal Ship Program. Joint memorandum signed by Larry Lynn, John W. Douglass and J.M. Boorda. Washington, D.C.: 18 March 1996.
  • U.S. Department of Defense. Promulgation of The Arsenal Ship Concept of Operations. Memorandum for Distribution by Daniel J. Murphy. Washington, D.C.: 11 April 1996.
  • U.S. Department of Defense. The Arsenal Ship. Brief prepared by OPNAV (N86). Washington, D.C.: 29 August 1996.

External links

Amenities ship

An amenities ship is a ship outfitted with recreational facilities as part of a mobile naval base. Amenities ships included movie theaters and canteens staffed by mercantile crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary service. These ships were intended to provide a place where British Pacific Fleet personnel could relax between operations.

Ammunition ship

An ammunition ship is an auxiliary ship specially configured to carry ammunition, usually for naval ships and aircraft. An ammunition ship′s cargo handling systems, designed with extreme safety in mind, include ammunition hoists with airlocks between decks, and mechanisms for flooding entire compartments with sea water in case of emergencies. Ammunition ships most often deliver their cargo to other ships using underway replenishment, using both connected replenishment and vertical replenishment. To a lesser extent, they transport ammunition from one shore-based weapons station to another.

Charles S. Hamilton

Charles Samuel Hamilton (born c. 1952) is an award-winning rear admiral in the United States Navy.

Hamilton is a native of Amityville, New York, and graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology in May 1974. He was commissioned in the Navy in May 1974 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Candidate (NROTC).

Hamilton’s sea tours include Electronics Material Officer and Combat Information Center Officer on board USS Hawkins (DD-873) (1974 to 1976); Fire Control Officer and Missile Officer on board USS Coontz (DDG-40) (1976 to 1978); Operations Officer on board USS Callaghan (DDG-994) (1981 to 1984); Executive Officer, USS Fox (DLG-33) (1986 to 1988); and Commanding Officer USS O'Brien (DD-975) (1991 to 1993).

Hamilton’s shore tours include Anti-Submarine Warfare Program Analyst and Administrative Assistant to Director, Program Resource Appraisal Division (OP-91), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (1984 to 1986); Head AEGIS Destroyer Section (OP-355F) and Financial Coordinator, AEGIS Cruiser Destroyer Branch, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (1986 to 1988); and Military Staff Specialist for Naval Warfare in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition & Technology) (1994 to 1996).

In May 1996, Hamilton became Program Manager for the Arsenal Ship, which was designed to provide massed precision fires in support of Fleet Commander’s warfighting requirements. After completing the first two design phases and passing significant acquisition reform lessons learned to the DD 21 Program Office, Hamilton closed down the Arsenal Ship Program in March 1998.

From April 1998 to February 2000, Hamilton served as Deputy for Fleet in the Program Executive Office Theater Surface Combatants (PEO TSC-F). In this position, he was responsible for Fleet Introduction and Lifetime Support of 120 surface combatants (DDG 51, CG 47, DDG 993, DD 963, FFG 7).

Hamilton served as Program Executive Officer for Surface Strike (PEO (S)) from February 2000 until November 2002. As PEO (S), he managed the Zumwalt-class DD 21/DD(X), Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS), Advanced Land Attack Missile (ALAM), Integrated Power System (IPS), and Affordability Through Commonality (ATC) Programs, as well as the Littoral Combat Ship initiative.

Hamilton became Deputy Program Executive Officer for Ships (PEO Ships) in November 2002 and in April 2003 was named Program Executive Officer for Ships. PEO Ships provides the Navy with a single, platform-focused organization responsible for the research, development, systems integration, construction, and lifecycle support of current and future surface combatant, amphibious and auxiliary ships to include: DD, FFG, DDG, CG, DDG 1000, LCS, MCM, MHC, LPD-17, LHD, LHA(R), Sealift Ships, CLF Ships, Special Mission Ships, Coast Guard Deepwater Support, Small Boats and Craft, Command Ships, and MSC vessels.

Hamilton’s graduate education includes Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, where he graduated with distinction, receiving a Masters of Arts in National Security Affairs (1981), and the National War College where he graduated with distinction and was awarded a Master of Science in National Security Strategy (1994).

Hamilton’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (oak leaf cluster in lieu of second award), Legion of Merit (gold star in lieu of second award), Meritorious Service Medal (with three gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal and various unit and service awards.

Coastal minesweeper

Coastal minesweeper is a term used by the United States Navy to indicate a minesweeper intended for coastal use as opposed to participating in fleet operations at sea.

Because of its small size—usually less than 100 feet in length—and construction—wood as opposed to steel—and slow speed—usually about 9 or 10 knots—the coastal minesweeper was considered too fragile and slow to operate on the high seas with the fleet.

Minesweeping, in conjunction with fleet activities, was usually relegated to the diesel-driven steel-hulled AM-type minesweepers, later to be replaced by the wood-hulled MSO-type minesweeper with aluminum engines.

Coastal submarine

A coastal submarine or littoral submarine is a small, maneuverable submarine with shallow draft well suited to navigation of coastal channels and harbors. Although size is not precisely defined, coastal submarines are larger than midget submarines, but smaller than sea-going submarines designed for longer patrols on the open ocean. Space limitations aboard coastal submarines restrict fuel availability for distant travel, food availability for extended patrol duration, and number of weapons carried. Within those limitations, however, coastal submarines may be able to reach areas inaccessible to larger submarines, and be more difficult to detect.

Combat stores ship

Combat stores ships, or storeships, were originally a designation given to ships in the Age of Sail and immediately afterward that navies used to stow supplies and other goods for naval purposes. Today, the United States Navy and the Royal Navy operate modern combat store ships. The Sirius and Mars classes (for the US) and the Fort Rosalie and Fort Victoria classes (for the UK) provide supplies, including frozen, chilled and dry provisions, and propulsion and aviation fuel to combatant ships that are at sea for extended periods of time. Storeships should not be confused with fast combat support ships or tenders.

Destroyer tender

A destroyer tender, or destroyer depot ship in British English, is an auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to a flotilla of destroyers or other small warships. The use of this class has faded from its peak in the first half of the 20th century as the roles of small combatants have evolved (in conjunction with technological advances in propulsion reliability and efficiency).

Floating battery

A floating battery is a kind of armed watercraft, often improvised or experimental, which carries heavy armament but has few other qualities as a warship.

General stores issue ship

General stores issue ship is a type of ship used by the United States Navy during World War II and for some time afterwards.

The task of the general stores issue ship was to sail into non-combat, or rear, areas and disburse general stores, such as canned goods, toilet paper, office supplies, etc., to ships and stations.

Guard ship

A guard ship is a warship assigned as a stationary guard in a port or harbour, as opposed to a coastal patrol boat which serves its protective role at sea.

Light aircraft carrier

A light aircraft carrier, or light fleet carrier, is an aircraft carrier that is smaller than the standard carriers of a navy. The precise definition of the type varies by country; light carriers typically have a complement of aircraft only one-half to two-thirds the size of a full-sized fleet carrier. A light carrier was similar in concept to an escort carrier in most respects, however light carriers were intended for higher speeds to be deployed alongside fleet carriers, while escort carriers usually defended convoys and provided air support during amphibious operations.

Mine countermeasures vessel

A mine countermeasures vessel or MCMV is a type of naval ship designed for the location of and destruction of naval mines which combines the role of a minesweeper and minehunter in one hull. The term MCMV is also applied collectively to minehunters and minesweepers.


A minehunter is a naval vessel that seeks, detects, and destroys individual naval mines. Minesweepers, on the other hand, clear mined areas as a whole, without prior detection of mines. A vessel that combines both of these roles is known as a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV).

Motor Gun Boat

Motor Gun Boat (MGB) was a Royal Navy term for a small military vessel of the Second World War. Such boats were physically similar to Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), equipped instead with a mix of guns instead of torpedoes. Their small size and high speed made them difficult targets for E-boats or torpedo bombers, but they were particularly vulnerable to mines and heavy weather. The large number of guns meant the crew was relatively large, numbering as high as thirty men.

Net laying ship

A net laying ship, also known as a net layer, net tender, gate ship or boom defence vessel was a type of small auxiliary ship.

A net layer's primary function was to lay and maintain steel anti-torpedo or anti-submarine nets. Nets could be laid around an individual ship at anchor, or around harbors or other anchorages. Net laying was potentially dangerous work, and net laying seamen were experts at dealing with blocks, tackles, knots and splicing. As World War II progressed, net layers were pressed into a variety of additional roles including salvage, troop and cargo transport, buoy maintenance, and service as tugboats.

Ocean boarding vessel

Ocean boarding vessels (OBVs) were merchant ships taken over by the Royal Navy for the purpose of enforcing wartime blockades by intercepting and boarding foreign vessels.

Repair ship

A repair ship is a naval auxiliary ship designed to provide maintenance support to warships. Repair ships provide similar services to destroyer, submarine and seaplane tenders or depot ships, but may offer a broader range of repair capability including equipment and personnel for repair of more significant machinery failures or battle damage.

SC-21 (United States)

SC-21 (Surface Combatant for the 21st century) was a research and development program started in 1994 intended to design land attack ships for the United States Navy. A wide variety of designs were created and extensively examined, including an arsenal ship with 500 cruise missiles. Eventually a "tumblehome" design of around 16,000 tons with two long-range guns and 128 missile tubes was selected as the DD-21, the Destroyer for the 21st century. The program ended in November 2001, with a version of the DD-21 emerging as the DD(X) or Zumwalt class destroyer. It was envisaged that the DD-21 hull would be used for a future air defense cruiser (CG-21), which then eventually evolved into the CG(X) program.

Submarine tender

A submarine tender is a type of depot ship that supplies and supports submarines.

Aircraft carriers
Patrol craft
Fast attack craft
Mine warfare
Command and support


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