With all the talk about the space on the LCS-1, remember, the LCS-2 prototype is the Benchijigua Express, a 127-Meter trimaran that can carry, according to the Austal fact sheet, 341 cars. The LCS-2 is a little different, but it will have lots–and lots–of room–boasting, like LCS-1, a hangar for two SH-60s but also, as I understand things, a mission bay of about 11,000 cubic meters. That’s an enormous amount of space for various toys. On the right, I’ve pulled in a picture of the Benchijigua Express, so you can get a better idea of just how much space the Navy has to play with in LCS-2…

And…what are the dots between the Yellow funnel and the white, you ask?

Those are passengers. The playoff between these two platforms is going to be fun! (Photo Fred Olsen)

Springbored!




Posted by Defense Springboard in Uncategorized


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  • Byron

    Nice ferry.

  • SSG Jeff (USAR)

    Will the trimaran platform be more stable in the likely rougher waters of the littorals than a single-hull design?

  • Byron

    (bangs head on the keyboard)…Nice.Ferry.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    But, Byron…it can carry so many…cars..

    Heh.

  • SeniorD

    It’s also a trimaran hull form which is, indeed, more stable in rougher seas. Notice I do not say HEAVIER seas but refer to the more confused sea states common to littoral areas.

  • sid

    Wasn’t that oneof the ferries that had structural issues a year or two back?

    (honest question)

  • Bill

    Which of the crop of large fast ferrys has NOT had structural issues a ‘year or two’..or ten..back?

  • Byron

    Is it made of aluminum? (Dishonest answer)

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    sid, do you mean this one?

  • sid

    No Ken. And I am not referring to the Hawaii Superferry either.

    I seem to remember something about one of these big “Express”s having some problems a while back.

  • WTH

    The trimaran design will be more stable and yield a larger internal volume, one thing I’m not sure folks have really thought about is if it will be too stable. One problem with a multihull platform is that it can generate so much righting moment that it provides something of a jerky ride. People and equipment do not like jerky. Cruise ships for example have been know to purposefully move weight higher so they have a nice long slow motion. People get less sick that way.

  • leesea

    The trimaran design is a new hull form for Austal. But they are learning lessons from the Benchijigua Express. LCS2 does appear to have more internal cargo volume, BUT the key thing is LM claims the hull has higher weight reserve. That is a key parameter in any HSV. I have been saying for some time that LCS2 should be turned into a tactiical sealift ship crewed by MSC. It of course would need cargo gear topside and better sideport ramps. But the potential is there and its use would not be tied to expensive (& to few) mission modules.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Byron–The Express certainly had problems getting delivered. If I recall correctly, the ship broke it’s (aluminum? Hi techy composite?) stabilizer during trials. Had to be redesigned and rebuilt using steel.

    WTH–I thought the trimirans were an easier ride than the catamarans?

    Leesea–I thought that the ideal procurement spiral for these things would have been to tie the JHSV, NSC and LCS platforms to a similar seaframe. The flight 0 would serve as a JHSV, moonlighting as a tactics-test-bed for more complex design spirals. That way we could quickly get numbers of ‘em built, figure out stuff we want in these things, and build decent “modules”.

    Then-and only if the JHSV model seemed robust enough–we could move into the more complex (and possibly divergent) NSC and LCS requirements–It’d have been a slower yet cheaper route.

  • SSG Jeff (USAR)

    Hey, the Spruance hull made for both a nice destroyer and a nice cruiser – who’s saying that this design couldn’t fit many different missions as well.

    I can see stripping off some of the more expensive bits and turning it into one heck of a USCG cutter, for instance.

  • sid

    LCS2 does appear to have more internal cargo volume, BUT the key thing is LM claims the hull has higher weight reserve.

    This is what I was wondering about as well.

    Although that big ferry can hold alot of cars, thats not a dense payload. I guess no matter how big, multi-hulls are inherently weight sensitive.

  • Byron

    Gonna give the oil and water kings fits keeping an eye on free-surface affects…

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    True, it’s not a platform for a dense payload, but (obvious joke aside) just how dense is a small Marine detachment? The thing could carry enough to haul a pretty good raiding party.

  • WTH

    Springboard,
    tri vs cat will be an ongoing debate, as far as motions go the tri will be a bit less rough than a cat, but still something entirely different for folks to get used to.

    That said, I think we need to figure out how to deal with multihulls as they offer a lot of flexible possibilities for our future.

  • sid

    It will be interesting to see if the Littoral COMBAT Ships, as it is officially placed in the “Combatant” category by the USN will undergo shock testing…

  • Byron

    Bites on tongue, “Bad Byron, bad Byron!”

  • leesea

    The development spiral WAS supposed to have been SeaFighter, then HSV Swift, then LCS. But since the ONR design was successfull and it and Swift were cats nether of NAVSEA chosen LCS hulls, that idea sorta flopped.

    NCS and most CG rqmts are not consistent with USN. If the Coasties had not been burned by FRC-A and NCS, they might already be using a SeaFighter derivative for OPC? Just speculation here?

    JHSV is a morphed set of US Army (LSV) and USMC (HSC) lift rqmts. So while the basic HSV type is same, the detailed specs are quite different.

    The Marines are quite happy with the WestPac Express thank you. And if politics had not entered the equation they would have gotten the Austal 125 meter cat HSV design on this last charter, but noooo the Navy wanted only the JHSV. Go figure?

    Is it just by happenstance that the warship LCS is similar to the sealift JHSV? I don’t know.

    If you want real flexibilty pay Austal to upscale their MRC design.

    When it comes to sealift ship specs, my experience says its the cargo consist which counts (not the wishes and desires of ship drivers be they USA TC or USN blue suits). Show me a load list which has NOT been tailored to a specific ship!!

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    sid, I’ll betcha a beer or three that shock trials will happen before the 5th ship deploys.

  • sid

    ken, now that NAVSEA recognizes, “there was a fully informed decision process arrived at in the development of LCS”, the number of (quite ill-concieved) current hulls won’t get to five…

  • sid

    bad pull on the quote…

    “I don’t think there was a fully informed decision process arrived at in the development of LCS”

    is what the good Admiral said.

  • leesea

    I was at the IHS meeting in Sep 04 when the PO briefed the LCS about two yeas into the program. The meeting was attended by AMV engineers, former NAVSEA engineers and program managment types and many industry reps. The consensus of the assembled experts was LCS was a very ambitious program with questionable specs and a convoluted axcquistion plan. So much for NAVSEA’s dream and PR about how they fumbled the ball on the LCS.

    goto:
    http://www.foils.org/01_Mtg_Pres%20dnloads/LCS_SNAME_IHS041023.pdf

    It sounds like new management at the WNY may now be seeing the faults of their design decisions?

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    So are you taking the bet or not?

    And let’s not overload RDML Eccles’ words too much here. He was speaking specifically about fuel consumption at an ASNE conference on Advanced Naval Propulsion.

    He cited the littoral combat ship, which was designed with a top speed of more than 40 knots, but which also uses a lot of fuel. Navy planners should have asked whether the ship needs to be so fast, he said, given the quantity of fuel that the planned fleet of 55 LCSs will consume.

    “The value of the speed is high, because I need it to go places we couldn’t normally go as rapidly and flexibly, and there’s really some value in that, and maybe that’s the price we want to pay. But I don’t think that there was a fully informed decision process arrived at in the development of LCS, in which somebody answered the question the way we might go after it today,” Eccles said.

  • leesea

    A more basic ship design issue which I and Galrahn differ on about the LCS is this: I believe a mothership is primarily a tactical logistics and support ship. He and other believe a mothership should be a warship (I hope I have characterized that properly?).

    So I see an LSD as a fine mothership becuase of its following features: helo deck size, wet well for boats, accomodations for crew and embarked dets, superstructure which can support more/higher sensors and C4SI spaces, tankage for POL and storerooms for provisions (i.e. long on-station time).

    It should be realized that such a ship has possibilies as GFS support ship, MSO command ship, “pirate policing platform” and probably some other missions I havenen’t mentioned?

    The LSDs are particularly appropro because older ones are leaving service, newer ones are needed, their designs are mostly inplace and their acqusition costs are known.

    Caveat 1 – I do NOT propose taking any amphib from current force, I am talking about additional platforms.

    Caveat 2 – almost all of the above functions can be provided by a sealift ship such as my concept for a dockship as GFS support ship.

    Bottom line: the Navy has to decide how to support littoral missions with the most cost effective platform AND that is neither the LCS or a destroyer! to paraphrase FDR “try something”!!

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    I agree with leesea on this — LSDs, specifically the LSD 41 class, would make a very effective mother ship. It has twice the well-deck capacity than the LPD 17 class, and it gives up things that are not needed for the mission like the enclosed SPS-48 radar. The open well and beefy crane capacity (60-ton, 20-ton kingposts and a 15-ton gantry) give it lots of flexibility to support other craft and ships.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    They’re cheaper than the LPD-17, too, right?

  • Byron

    If you’re doing anti-pirate operations, what kind of organic air support will you have, given that you don’t want to tie a CSG to the AO? Will you have LCACs?

  • sid

    ken, you should’ve continued with the good Admiral’s remarks…

    “The value of the speed is high, because I need it to go places we couldn’t normally go as rapidly and flexibly, and there’s really some value in that, and maybe that’s the price we want to pay. But I don’t think that there was a fully informed decision process arrived at in the development of LCS, in which somebody answered the question the way we might go after it today,” Eccles said.

    “Maybe the right answer is that I need to chase down pirates that I’m going to be going after with those high-speed ships. On the other hand, I could just send my helicopter, so I’m not sure I need to get to that 40-something knots when I’ve got a helo that’ll do better than that. A lot better. Or a missile,” he joked, “which tends to be even faster than a helo.”

    Its that whole overvaluation of speed.

  • sid

    Take 10 knots off that silly (way over)”valuation”, and a much more viable…Affordable…hull can be built for the mission.

  • sid

    Will the paramters of the test fit this definition… “Level I represents the least severe environment anticipated and excludes the need for enhanced survivability for designated ship classes to sustain operations in the immediate area of an engaged Battle Group or in the general war-at-sea region.…which is the survivability level to which the ships are being built?

    Or will the test more replicate what can occur in a no joke MIW environment, which sure can’t be defined as the “least severe”?

    After all there are shock tests, and then there are shock tests

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    No doubt a more fuel-efficient hull could be designed for the mission, if the folks who determine the requirements – N86 – decide that they value economy more than speed. So if we change the requirement today, and bust our butts to come up with a new design that complies with that new requirement plus all the other lard that will be heaped upon it, we’ll have one more ship in about nine years.

  • sid

    we’ll have one more ship in about nine years.

    It needn’t be that way Ken. You provide a key here…

    plus all the other lard that will be heaped upon it

    Been saying it for a few years now. The decision process in defining requirements is fundamentally broken. The most broken its been since the dominance of the moribund Bureau system in the 1880’s. Lots of the same problems then too. Poor designs. Yard problems. Cost overruns. For the same fundamental reason too; the USN couldn’t make up its mind on what to build.

    What it took to fix the problem was a fundamental organizational change which led to the creation of the General Board. While not perfect, this organizational system established a coherent shipbuilding plan that served quite well past WWII.

    Of course, today there is the DOD and Goldwater-Nichols. However, like then, the USN needs to develop a coherent Strategic and Operational course…one not prone to the sudden zigs and zags that occur after the band gets done playing at the latest Change of Command…before there is any hope that sucessful designs will come down the ways. There needs to be a body that sets that course that is apart from the consuming exigencies of the operational commands stay absorbed in.

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    The shock test will, I’m sure, evaluate the ability of the design and its individual components to withstand a realistic threat. Various components and their installation on the ship have been specified for grade A shock, and some are grade B, each depending on their criticality to the mission. Analytical predictions of ship performance in that area already exist, but for obvious reasons aren’t discussed in public.

  • sid

    if the folks who determine the requirements – N86 – decide that they value economy more than speed.

    Here is the expected worth of the LCS’s speed

    As you know from reading the requirements documents, the survivability piece on LCS is different than DDG 51 or DDX or several of our other combatants. And what we’ve chosen to do here is couple high speed and maneuverability and situational awareness in ways that allow LCS to be in the right place at the right time and to be out of the right place at the wrong time. Okay?

    1. We need speed to bring combat power to bear, and to avoid a hit.

    2. We will have the visibility to ascertain an enemy’s intentions and fully utilize that speed.

    From Capt Hughes’ “Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat” (p 60-61):

    “The period from 1865 to 1914 rivals even our present age for sweeping technological development in peacetime. Questions of tactics, technology, and command could not be resolved by battle, [and], all became subjects of great debate.

    Tactical analysis failed in two significant respects only: overvaluation of speed, and failure to forsee the effects that poor visibility would have on major fleet actions.

    Boy-howdy! That shoe sure does fit!!

  • sid

    but for obvious reasons aren’t discussed in public.

    Rightfully so. So I never ever enter a bet when I can’t know the rules of the game up front.

    A very good point was brought up by the very blog host…

    Over the past eight years mines have–at least in some circles–become the trendy “threat of the day.” In the same period of time, we’ve sacrificed at least 88 naval vessels in “fleet training exercises.”

    So…quick! How many of those 88 exercises have been used to collect shock testing data? Data that might have helped inform, say, this test with the USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19)? (And how did LPD-19 do, by the way?)

    Hmm? Anybody got any answers?

    Or is funding fancy “shock” computer models that much better than exploitation of real data?

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com/ Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    Springbored did bring up a good point, and there was an answer to his question in the comments. Exercises frequently collect effectiveness data in some form or another.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Yeah, we do get some data, but I don’t think there’s been enough of an effort. Each of these hulls–each SINKEX–is a real resource, and I’m just not satisfied that the SINKEXES of late offered as much data as they could have.

    Some of this SINKEX flurry has just been “clean out the shelves by this date” reduction of inventory, and nothing more. It would have been nice to have had a more systemic plan for using the Navy’s leftovers in the most value-added fashion possible. Instead it’s been really distressingly ad hoc.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Where is that wonderful analysis of average–ddg-51 speed? The graphic was just worth a thousand words too…published a few years back in Proceedings, if I recall correctly..

  • sid

    sid, I’ll betcha a beer or three that shock trials will happen before the 5th ship deploys.

    I need no such pretext to swill beer ;-)

    Where is that wonderful analysis of average–ddg-51 speed? The graphic was just worth a thousand words too…published a few years back in Proceedings, if I recall correctly..

    Dug thru the “libarry” and found it in the Dec ’05 Proceedings…My take in the comments over at CDR Salamander’s post “LCS: honesty creeps in at last”..

    pk, unfortunately the Professional Note in the Dec 2005 Proceedings, entitled “How Fast is Fast Enough”? by CDR Steve Surko, is not online.

    Cdr Surko provides a graph that shows the wartime and peacetime Top Level Requirements (TLR), along with actual observed operating speeds as apercentage of total time for the DDG-51s.

    While the wartime TLR profiles projected a ~54 pct amount of steaming time above 20kts and ~41 pct in peacetime, the actual amount of time observed speeds for the class (as of 1998 ) above 20kts was ~18 pct.

    (if I’m reading the graph correctly)

    CDR Surko also notes that a study of 40 Fletchers and Sumners with data collected in 1944 and 1945 found that while training and trials constituted 7.2 pct. of employment, those evolutions accounted for ~75 pct of underway ops over 30 kts.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    That was a great essay. A real neat piece of work. USNI overlords, scan and post! Scan and post!

  • leesea

    Ken we old gator sailors know a good ship when we sail one!

    We need to start a thread on how to modify the LSD41 to be a GFS or mothership (assuming the warship vice logistic ship design battle gives the former the nod).

    I would add more weapons and sensors, more POL storage, shorten the wet well, maybe even ? somehow make it deeper or raise the underdeck height so taller FAC/OPVs could get in? Does the helo facilities need improvement?

    Add RHIB quick launch SLAD, also boat fueling rigs as well as astern refueling.

    From my flo/flo days, are the ballast tanks coated?

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