LTJG Mabus

LTJG Mabus

In trying times, you have to find your guilty pleasures where you can (and in keeping with the right spirit, of course).

Along those lines, over the last few days we have had some fun over at my home blog with the new SECNAV’s political background. Make no mistake, that is a very important skill to have, and one we all hope the SECNAV will put to very good use. However, sometimes you need to hit the rewind button, diagram and parse a sentence to get the meaning.

Heisman or fried air, you decide. One way or another, nice verbal juke.

Levin had just finished remarking about the LCS program’s cost growth. Although he did not mention that one of the first two ships had passed the $700 million mark, he questioned if the service can meet the $460 million cost cap imposed by Congress on the ships the Navy is asking for in 2010.”Is there a realistic prospect that you’ll be able to do it?” Levin asked.

I think there’s a realistic prospect we can strive toward that goal,” replied Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who cited the lack of a cost escalation provision in the congressional spending limit on LCS, despite rising labor costs and inflation, which “have frankly made that less realistic.”

You need to go back and read that again to fully soak in the Beltway Beautiful of it all. Do you think the warhorse Sen. Levin really knew that once that was over, that from the other side of the room the SECNAV was holding the good Senator’s jock under the table?

I’m not sure what a good comeback by Sen. Levin would be, but one of my readers “Old H-2 Guy” gets about as close as you can get.

Do, or do not….there is no strive.”
(With apologies to Yoda)

Remind me not to argue with the new SECNAV face-to-face; I don’t think I have the skilz.




Posted by CDRSalamander in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Byron

    LCS has a whole lot of political push (by the milcorps). Stopping it is going to be impossible, and when push comes to shove in the South China Sea, or the Straits of Hormuz, fine sailors will be screwed, no other way to put it.

  • Byron

    Oh…and that aluminum superstructure is going to cost the Navy a ton of money over it’s life cycle, much more than it would had it been steel. I really don’t want to discuss it with anyone, either. I’ve been repairing ships with this crap for over 25 years now, and I have good reason to know which is better.

  • Scott B.

    Byron said : “Oh…and that aluminum superstructure is going to cost the Navy a ton of money over it’s life cycle, much more than it would had it been steel.”

    Waterjets are yet another item that’s going to cost a bunch over the entire lifecycle, especially on the LockMart design since :

    a) All four waterjets are predicted to have significant cavitation erosion damage.

    b) Large transom overhang hampers waterborne removal Waterjets must be replaced in dry dock.

    c) Oil lubricated thrust and radial bearings located inside waterjet hub outside the vessel.

  • Scott B.

    And Jane’s reported a couple of weeks ago that they had to replace one of the two diesel engines on LCS-1, a mere 7 months after she was commissioned. Here is the non-subscriber abstract :

    —————————————————————-
    Freedom overcomes machinery snags to start gunnery trials

    Jane’s Navy International
    Publication date : May 22, 2009

    Following delays caused by technical problems with its main machinery, Littoral Combat Ship 1 USS Freedom began a second round of at-sea acceptance trials during the week commencing 18 May.

    The US Navy phase two trials were due to have started in April, however the timetable was disrupted when one of the frigate’s two Fairbanks Morse Colt-Pielstick diesel engines had to be replaced.

  • smitty

    “I think there’s a realistic prospect we can strive toward that goal,”

    This is an example of what I call “bureau-etry”, that intersection of the stuffed shirt and free verse which, if not viewed as art, could induce severe indigestion.

  • Insider

    FYI, the Fairbanks engines on LCS 1 are running fine and neither have been replaced. Stand by for a correction from Jane’s…

  • Byron

    Well, Insider, you care to explain how a ship went from $200 million to near $700 million? Dying to hear that obsfu…answer.

  • Scott B.

    Insider said : “FYI, the Fairbanks engines on LCS 1 are running fine and neither have been replaced. Stand by for a correction from Jane’s…”

    I’ve been waiting for LockMart to react for about two weeks now. Nothing so far…

    If they ever decide to make a move, they may also give us an update on a couple of relatively minor things reported in the lastest GAO study on Major Weapon Programs :

    First this (page 106) :

    “The overhead launch and retrieval system in the LCS-1 design [and the aluminum structure in the LCS-2 design] are immature.”

    Then this (also page 106) :

    “According to the Navy, this weight growth contributed to a higher than desired center of gravity on LCS-1 that degraded the stability of the seaframe. In fact, an inclining experiment performed during acceptance trials showed LCS-1 may not meet Navy stability requirements for the damaged ship condition.”

  • Scott B.

    Oops, linky not worky apparently.

    GAO study on Major Weapon Programs here (March 2009, PDF – 8.12 MB) :
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09326sp.pdf

  • Byron

    Joy: “-1 may not meet Navy stability requirements for the damaged ship condition.”

    Just what we wante to see in a ship that plans to go into the deadlies zone of the battlespace, where every gomer in the world has truck mounted Exocets, skiffs with RPGs, and diesel subs.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Byron,
    That quote of yours above and ““According to the Navy, this weight growth contributed to a higher than desired center of gravity on LCS-1 that degraded the stability of the seaframe. In fact, an inclining experiment performed during acceptance trials showed LCS-1 may not meet Navy stability requirements for the damaged ship condition.””

    … I may that wrong, but didn’t you make those points commenting on my home blog back in …. what … 2006?

    Someone owes you money … or beer … or sump’n.

  • Byron

    I’d rather they buy a clue…SINCE THEY OBVIOUSLY CAN’T AFFORD ONE, at $700 million apiece for a freakin’ GUNBOAT.

    Must.Not.Upset.Stomach.

    CDR, I’m just an old shipfitter. If I can figure this stuff out, someone please tell me how all those gee-whiz boys with the colletch degrees (which I did not take the time to get)missed this wee little point?

  • Byron

    Damn, almost forgot…

    SLEP the FIGS!
    SINK the LCS!
    BUILD A REAL FRIGATE! (even if the design wasn’t invented here, you idiots)

  • Scott B.

    Byron said : “SLEP the FIGS!”

    Here is what the CNO said during the Senate Hearing on June 4, 2009 (bold emphasis mine) :

    “”The frigates have served our Navy and Nation very well. I was a young officer when we first introduced those into the Fleet and they are great utility players. But they’re, as you mention, getting on in years.

    We’re programming improvements to their Hull, Mechanical and Electrical, however, we’re not making any investment in advancing the combat systems to those ships.

    The replacement for the frigates will be the Littoral Combat Ship, which is why it is so important to get those introduced.

    We’re making investments so that the ships can continue to operate safely, but we will also be taking them out of service as they are replaced by the Littoral Combat Ship.”

    This sort of reminds me of the famous passage of the Wall by The Pink Floyds :

    “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”

    Anyway…

  • Byron

    That’s…almost a lie. Starting about 4 years ago, various upgrades were done. Most notably, two: a swap out of the old Stewert Stevenson Aux diesels for Cats (because parts were becoming an issue) and Force protection (addition of more .50 cal mounts, more space for small arms and ammo for all the crew served and individual weapons, a result of the Cole. Most of the figs are undergoing analysis of the hull thickness, to determine if they are thin in the wrong places (guess they were reading CDR Salamander!)Various other shipalts are also being done, but nothing on the scale of the two mentioned.

    Combat systems? Whatever happened to the Mk. 13 swapout for Sea RAM? I KNOW that was on the books, I talk to the BIW folks who do all the designs for the upgrades. Could we have gone the RAN direction, kept the launcher, upgraded the hardware/software/electronics to handle a new missile? Put an 8 cell VLS forward of FR 84? Works for the boys from Oz, why not us?

  • Byron

    Oh, and before we buy a bunch of animals in a poke, I want to see one of those Tiffany gunboats go north of 40 in December, and spend some time in the Bay of Biscay in March. THEN tell me they’re seaworthy!

  • http://www.informationdissemination.net/ Galrahn

    The overhead launch and retrieval system in the LCS-1 design [and the aluminum structure in the LCS-2 design] are immature.”

    This is true, immature is a good word. It is a unique system that allows for the mechanical movement of module materials in the bays. On the GD version, all that heavy gear gets moved by the crew. I asked about it, and the crew on Freedom said it takes some getting used to, but it is better than the old fashion way.

    “According to the Navy, this weight growth contributed to a higher than desired center of gravity on LCS-1 that degraded the stability of the seaframe. In fact, an inclining experiment performed during acceptance trials showed LCS-1 may not meet Navy stability requirements for the damaged ship condition.”

    I wish I knew more about this. The Navy accepted the ship after the fact, so where did this issue disappear to and why?

  • Michael C.

    I wasn’t very clear to the focus this blog entry was trying to make. Was it supposed to be about the ability of the new SECNAV to trade political jabber with congress, or was it about the merits of the LCS. I have never been quite impressed or found a good purpose for the LCS in my mind. I have wondered why when looking for an LCS we didn’t say it should have had USCG in front of it. It seems like the Virginia class of fast attack submarine was designed for taking the fight close in, and serves as a true replacement for the Sturgean class. The true LCS’s. Or what about the Cyclone PC’s? Now that seems to be a good program that seems to fulfill the mission of littoral combat with regards to Navy Doctrine. I don’t know enough about the LCS to make that informed of a decision. But, in my opinion keeping the LCS program makes about the same sense as the Navy closing down the San Diego and Orlando RTC’s and keeping only Great Lakes open. I would rather see coordinated activities with SBU’s, Cyclone patrol craft, and Virginia class submarines along with the rest of the Navy’s fleet of course to fulfill the requirements of littoral combat. The LCS class ships just don’t makes no sense to me, but neither do most of the major decisions the Navy has made recently. Littoral combat seems more like a function of doctrine using our existing assets rather than making a new class of ship that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the fleet. I don’t see how these ships fit into Navy Doctrine and how they will be integrated into the fleet. I don’t see the need for the LCS myself and feel that it will become a dinosaur like NMCI. It may work, but what does it do for the Navy and it’s ability to fulfill its mission. And at what cost.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Byron:

    May I suggest something a little more traditional?

    Round the Horn in July or August, cause the ditch has been known to clog from time to time.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Byron,

    You clearly have some valuable “boots on the ground” experience, so given the current structural condition of the FFG-7 class (including the fact that many of them have lead based coating systems both internal to the spaces and the tanks) what does a SLEP of the class buy us and at what cost? On average the remaining active ships are at 24 years of a 30 year design service life (and the class maintenance plan has not been followed), so what is the opportunity cost of SLEPing the remaining hulls.

    Also, what does a “new frigate” design bring to the fleet?

    V/R,

  • Scott B.

    Galrahn said : “This is true, immature is a good word.”

    The GAO is a little more specific in its latest report on Major Weapon Programs (bold emphasis mine) :

    “The Navy identified the watercraft launch and recovery concept as a major risk to both seaframe designs. This capability is essential to complete the LCS anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures missions.

    According to the Navy, industry watercraft launch and recovery designs are unproven. To mitigate risk, the Navy is conducting launch and recovery modeling and simulation, model basin testing, and experimentation and is encouraging the seaframe industry teams to adopt similar approaches.”

  • Scott B.

    Meanwhile, Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) ratchets up the pressure on the LCS program and the Industry teams.

    Megan Scully has the story on GovExec :

    “House Armed Services Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee Chairman Gene Taylor, D-Miss., wants to give the two contractors on the Littoral Combat Ship a “take it or leave it offer” when his panel marks up its portion of the fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill later this week.

    Taylor, who has long been frustrated by the cost increases that have plagued the LCS program, said he will require that the ship’s two makers, Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Inc., adhere to the $460 million cost cap set by Congress in the fiscal 2008 authorization bill.

    If the contractors are unable to meet that limit, Taylor wants to reopen the program to competition, he said in an interview Friday. The Navy had originally hoped each of the shallow-water vessels would cost just $220 million.”

  • Byron

    Mr. Walthrop, your information is dated. There is next to no lead based paint on FFGs. I know this to be true because of the requirements we have to abate any paint and the test samples we have to send out for analysis. All FFGs have had their bottoms re-done in the past 5 years as well.

    SLEP buys us time, keeps both the numbers of vessels at an acceptable status, and in numbers of salty sailors who’s understanding of, “When home falls under the horizon, it’s just US to get it fixed and continue the mission”. You can’t buy that, you have to earn it.

    We need a real frigate design because LCS is a pig with lipstick. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’ve read my objections to the class and others who are surely more knowledgeable than myself.

  • Scott B.

    Re: LCS and the $460 million congressional cap

    The hearing went almost unnoticed, but here is what the CNO said before the Senate Committee on Appropriations (Defense Subcommittee) on June 2, 2009 :

    “I am committed to procuring 55 LCS, however legislative relief may be required regarding the LCS cost-cap until manufacturing efficiencies can be achieved. (emphasis added).

    The CNO made the exact same statement before the House Armed Services Committee on May 14, 2009.

  • Scott B.

    Re : LCS and the $460 million congressional cap

    Complementing the CNO’s testimony is what RADM McCullough (Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources) told Inside The Navy on June 1, 2009.

    A couple of quotes from the article entitled “MCCULLOUGH: FIVE OF EACH LCS TYPE NEEDED TO CALCULATE PRICE TAG” :

    “Until the Navy buys “about” five of each type of Littoral Combat Ship hulls, the service cannot determine a realistic unit cost, the three-star requirements chief said last week, adding that meeting the $460 million congressionally mandated cost cap for the vessel in fiscal year 2010 will be a “challenge.””

    “You don’t have a realistic view of what the cost will be, the recurring expense, until about the fifth ship of any type,” he said. “That doesn’t mean five LCS’s, that means five of each kind. And that’s pretty much where you figure out what the recurrent cost is going to be.”

  • Nigel

    Far more knowledgable people than myself on this site, but it appears to me that with the removal of the FFG MK13 they have had their ‘teeth’ pulled. Do they have an aluminium superstructure? If so, then now they are now just old LCS’s without the shallow draught and with a single shaft?????? Where is the redundancy in that? As for the RAN boats, yeah sure the have had an interesting upgrade, new VLS and generators, but at the end of the day it is all still installed in hulls which are in a poor material state and was driven by an urgent need for an escort that had some chance of survival in a hostile environment, goodness knows the ANZACs would be in real trouble.
    With the LCS, as seems to be the norm, rather than commission one hull of a new design and run it hard for about a year to weed out all the gremlins, fix up any issues, and only then go with series production, the top guys push push push to pump out hulls which then need more money spent on them to carry out essential modifications to the original flawed design. DOH! Hey Byron, nice to see someone from the ‘ground floor’ on one of these sites, I myself am just an old fitter and turner with just over 25 years experience repairing/building warships, so I guess you could say we are two of a kind, good on ya!

  • Byron

    @Nigel: Mate, LCS is, in your quaint Oz vernacular, buggered. An old FFG with just the Oto and Phalanx could cut an LCS in half and do it in a timely manner.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    FFG-7 76mm Oto Melara: Range: 19km
    FFG-7 CIWS Block IB PSUM: Range 2km

    LCS NLOS PAM: Range: 40km

    A teenager with a torch could cut either one of these ships in half, but they would have to get close enough first.

    R/

  • Byron

    Ben, let me know when your missile actually gets deployed. The FFG is ready NOW.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Muzzle loading muskets, cutlasses, and sailing ships are also ready now, but that fact does not necessarily inform the direction future path the USN should follow.

    R/

  • Byron

    Anyone here want to give odds on whether or not LCS will sail with at least 50% of her “modules” that transform it (wow!, that’s a great word!) from an uber-pig to a warship? And where do those PAMs get installed? Flight deck? Forward of flight deck on top of deck house? Inquiring minds and all that..

  • Spade

    Ben,

    Muzzle loading muskets have been fired from ships.
    I don’t believe NLOS has.

    I think LCS has potential (I love the LCS-I for no good reason). I think NLOS has potential. But let’s not make the current systems into something they aren’t isn’t.

    Hell, ton for ton a World War 2 Destroyer Escort probably has more hitting power than the LCS.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Potential is interesting.

    A history of completely adequate performance when it counts, however, is a good thing to have to fill the gap until potential matures.

    Which is why Coaches trade some of their rookies (with potential), who look a little shaky, for a draft pick and a reliable old utility infielder with a few good years left, in order to get through a rebuilding season.

    Because the next game is this week, not next season.

  • Byron

    AMEN, Granpa!

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Byron,

    My time horizon is 7 years. Name your terms. The weapon module stations for LCS-1 are aft of the stacks and forward of the Sea RAM launcher. The weapon module stations for LCS-2 are forward of the house and aft of the 57mm gun.

    Spade,

    The PAM seeker head has been tested in a representative enviroment and proven the capability of detecting and tracking naval targets in sea state three.

    That said, launching a guided missile from a surface ship at another surface target is hardly transformational technology and making it work is not in the realm of rocket surgery. UAVs are no longer on the bleeding edge of technology either. The running gear entanglement system again is not trying to break any of the laws of physics when used against small boats.

    The folks with clubs thought the first folks to use cutlasses were pretty transformational. Same with the cutlass and pike folks when someone introduced the musket from the tops. Somebody has to do it first and attempt to manage the risk associated with that change.

    V/R,

  • Byron

    So a ship with serious top hamper issues (see Scott B.s quote above) is going to add MORE weight above the metacenter. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    You know, there’s a reason why ship architects try to keep the weapons mounts as close to the waterline as they can get…

    And the “horizon” is 7 years? How full will that poke be? And if it turns out that LCS has less than stellar success (much less), just were will we be? How many times can the Navy go back to the taxpayer with their hands out to fund “transformational” and “evolutionary” projects that are 1 part dream, 1 part bluff, 1 part good salesmanship, and 1 part desperate hope?

    Cards on the table: I work for a ship repair company. Got no dog in the hunt. God knows the Navy makes sure we have plenty of work as it is. What kind of cards do you have, Ben?

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Is it above the metacenter or the center of gravity? Quite honestly I don’t know, but I understand your point. I really don’t know how critical the reported weight issues are on LCS-1, and the evidence presented here and other open forums doesn’t have me wringing my hands in angst quite yet. Is it a problem? Probably, but it may not be quite as critical as the level of rhetoric suggests. Are the FFG high weight issues any better. I suppose so after the removal of the MK-13, but I was always under the impression that relatively high KG and low GM were an issue on that class (as well as the Spruance class).

    A ship repair company out of Mayport that does not have a dog in the hunt during a discussion about a SLEP for the frigates. You probably don’t, but your CEO might just have a different opinion.

    My background: A couple of engineering degrees. SWO with FFG experience. Public shipyard experience. Some DC experience. No involvement in the past or the immediate future with any of the program offices that I have discussed to date. I am still on the DoD side of the fence. Certainly not a blind apologist for General Dynamics or Lockheed Martin if that’s what you are asking (inferring?). I guess my main interest in this discussion is that there are vocal critics of the LCS that are operating at some level based on opinions not supported by the facts as I see them. There are enough decisions that get made in the five sided puzzle palace that are not made based on technical merit, so I guess I’m trying to fight the tide with my bucket. There is certainly room for an informed debate on the direction that the Navy is taking, but I am failing to see that at times in the emotional rants that call the LCS a “Little Crappy Ship”, a pig with lipstick, or any number of essentially ad hominem attacks on the platform. Lead ships are hard, and there was no exception to this “truism” in the Virginia, Burke, and Los Angeles programs. Some of those programs are viewed (through the rose colored glasses of 20/200 hindsight) as wildly successful. We’ll see if that holds true for LCS.

    V/R,

  • Byron

    Actually, we’re a pierside outfit. If there was a SLEP, we might get a nibble of the pie, but the outfit with the dry dock and all the tech reps would get the big money. Instead of nice SRAs where we’re the prime, we’d get a little chunck of a big contract, and be a sub-contractor to the prime. If there were any combat system upgrades, the most we’d see is supplying a fitter and a welder and firewatches; Companies that specialize in CS upgrades would do all the rest. I know this, because I got pimped out one time to do just this thing. And the CDR will vouch for where I work at.

    I go a bit over the top in my descriptive imagery, but by no means are the attacks ad hominem.

    Aluminum: A lesson learned on the Burkes thrown away, because of top hamper (excessively high metacenter, read center of gravity, which if too high can allow a ship to turn turtle)

    Reports of high metacenter from the Navy, before any of the combat system upgrades like NLOS PAM. Remember, adding weight above the ships center of gravity is like adding weight to a teeter totter. Get too much, one decent shove (like a beam sea) and over you go. Red side up, grey side down.

    Compared to European designs, our frigate replacement is a) too expensive, and b) organically toothless for weapons. What do you do if you’re doing the MIW mission and a missile/gunboat comes around the corner of the headland? I know it’s supposed to be about the fiscal end and manning, but the real cost that hurts more than all of them is the loss of sailors. If we’re going to send sailors to sea with the intent that one day they may be ordered to go into harms way, we need to give them a fighting chance to come home. That’s American.

    Modules. If the design and test had been done prior to instead of parallel to, I’d be a little happier. Now we’re talking about converging technologies, and that is a crap shoot at best. In my book, the Navy is betting a fair chunch of its shipbuilding budget on wishful thinking, all because they could talk Congress into it, and with the backing of the two large ship builders.

    Where did we go wrong? Simple: we lost oversight over the design end and didn’t insist on sound analysis. NAVSEA wasn’t on the deckplates with their noses in everything, watching all the I/G checkpoints like the do in repair. Everyone thought this was going to be the coolest thing since sliced bread.

    Now, the chickens are going to come home to roost. The Navy HAS to hang on to this program, after the disaster of DD-2000, DD(X), CG(X), SC-21, and all the other money pits that never once became a commissioned ship in the United States Navy. And if that ain’t bad enough, every day for the past three years, I’ve seen more and more work that should be done today for a reasonable price, get deferred to a “later” date, where it will cost a lot more. The REST of the Navy is making do, because of the money sunk into lost programs. Can you begin to understand why I’m a little exercised?

  • Nigel

    Thanks Byron, that was refreshing, but despite my once real ‘bonza’ Queens English being ever so slightly ‘buggered’ I am not quite ‘true blue Antipodean’ just yet. Worked in Her Majesty’s Royal Naval Dockyard Devonport, Plymouth, England, for over twenty years on RN ‘Leander’, Type 21, 22, 23, 42 escorts before going ‘Walkabout Downunder’. Then did a stint at HMAS Stirling, Perth, Western Australia on RAN FFGs, ANZACSs, and COLLINS SSGs, so have a reasonable hands-on. Still can’t grasp the single screw two main engine concept of the FFG though, RN tried that on a couple of post-war frigate classes but rejected it as being a ‘jolly bad idea’ for a warfighting vessel. Still, why waste expensive propulsion on an FFG with a missile magnet flat sided ali superstructure I suppose. Chin chin old bean

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Mr Walthrop:

    We indeed shall see what holds true for the LCS.

    Facts are indeed hard to come by, and hence informed debate equally hard to achieve.

    What is known is that the cost growth is very large for the first of the classes, which does not engender confidence in the caliber of management to date.

    Reports of inadequate or borderline stability in a damaged condition for one of the two designs are troubling, if correct.

    The extensive use of materials shown to be undesirable in the most recent available combat experience (aluminum) is even more unsettling.

    The logic of committing to serial production for both designs before construction and fitting out are complete, much less trials, is hard to fathom.

    The operational concept of using a common hull and ships systems, and switching weapons suites at need, implies an ability to predict the capabilities and presence of whatever threats the ships’ operational commanders may face from day to day and hour to hour over the life of the ship, with an accuracy and timeliness which flies in the face of a lifetime of experience, for a number of concerned individuals of wildly varying background, in this blog alone.

    The crew size seems insufficient for a number of reasons. Maintenence expertise or manhours available, depth on the bench in terms of skill sets for Damage Control or tactical resiliance in the face of personnel and battle damage casualties, fatigue under combat conditions, or basic health and sanitation when the crew is shorted handed and (as seems likely to some) chronically overworked come to mind for those of us with long sea experience.

    The fiscal and technical risk of introducing so many newly designed systems appears very high, given the track record of management success in the configuration control, cost control, and general contract management to date, to the extent it may be determined. Simultaneous success in all would not be the prediction I would make based on the Navy’s general historical record in recent decades.

    The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Perhaps it would be wise to digest the first serving before making it a major part of the daily ration for the foreseeable future.

    Particularly since the bouquet seems a bit off when still half baked to a number of annoying old fuss budgets with a lot of time in the kitchen (not that half baked old fuss budgets aren’t plentiful, as well, to be fair).

    Any reassurance with reference to the matters discussed above from any credible source would be most welcome. Just the facts, folks, just the facts.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    The fact of the matter is that the surface force has been underfunding maintenance for quite awhile, and the procurement programs don’t really have much to do with that travesty. The DDG-1000 is going to deliver, and we just have to wait and see just how much cost risk has been taken with that program. The NAVSEA 05C INITIAL INDEPENDENT cost estimators placed the cost of the LCS sea frame in the $470-$490M range. They were not right, but they were a hell of a lot closer than $220M. Where did the $220M come from? There might be good reasons why that number was forwarded to Congress. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. That said, I suspect that we can agree that we need a Navy in numbers to be prepared to protect our way of life, so I will give the USN a pass on going back to Congress with their hands out for that mission (as embodied in the Constitution) until the USN “bailout” equals the outlays from AIG, PPIP, TARP, etc., etc. I actually believe we won’t have to recapitalize to the tune of $1.0-$2.0T (numbers approximate) across the DoD in a single FY to adequately defend our way of life. CNN is currently running a story about the House of Representatives passing a $4B dollar “Cash for Clunkers” program. They are proposing that the taxpayers shell out $3K-$5K for people who drive cars that get less that 18 mpg and are less than 25 years old (the cars not the people) if you buy a new car. YGTBFSM! I would turn that $4B into about 8 sea frames before I would pay people to turn in their old cars.

    It is entirely possible that the weight and distribution of the mission module packages were factored into the inclining experiment that Scott B. references as indicating a higher than desirable KG. I would be VERY surprised if that were not the case, although I don’t really know. If those weights were factored in, then the mission module additions should not be viewed as “upgrades,” but as part of the design from the beginning.

    I agree to a certain extent with Galrahn that the sea frame for this incarnation of the “mothership” for unmanned vehicles is probably too small, but the CONCEPTS being put into place through the sea frame and mission module programs are likely the way forward in my opinion.

    The “chickens” are indeed “coming home to roost” because the USN essentially sold Congress a bill of goods on the sea frame cost, and they are going to make us suffer for that bit of creative accounting. There will be appropriate hearings (in order to check the box), but on balance the LCS and mission module packages appear to be going forward. Every bit of this program was a short fused development (probably in the right direction IMHO), and a forward looking supporter of the USN would soon begin to ask themselves how these platforms will be supported once the ship begins hitting the fleet.

    Scott B. points out that the water jet drive (for LCS-1) will probably go through some growing pains, but if someone were to develop a way to service this system while the ship was still in the water (rather than dry dock) there would probably be some honest money to be made for a forward looking repair provider. The organic USN capability to address these (as well as all of the other challenges facing the Navy in general) is past its organic capacity.

    As far as being “organically toothless,” I agree. The difference we have is that I see this as a feature and not a bug. I might be wrong, but based on some experience in this business I don’t think I am. Open architecture is a proven concept in the SSN world (from a Combat System perspective), and while there will be growing pains this will be a net positive when looked at from the future.

    You are correct that the SoS organization was not adequately staffed to provide the right oversight early, but that is a far cry from the only reason there are early troubles in this program. NAVSEA insisting on at least ABS NVR (rather than the less restrictive commercial survivability requirements that helped get the “official” cost estimate down to $220M) is one example where the technical authority attempted to bring a higher standard to the fleet (in order to give our American sailors the best chance at coming home) all the while fully understanding the cost risk involved. That is a good news story that is not reported widely (and now it appears that the budgeteers have proliferated out of the Pentagon and into the general public).

    I totally understand why you are exercised. You are a patriotic American, and a true partner in the Navy’s mission. You and I are both cogs in the military-industrial complex that has shielded our fellow citizens from all manner of unpleasantness over the last couple of decades. The folks at LM and GD are a lot like us as well. From a corporate perspective (and off their SEC 10K report) Northrop Grummen actually lost about $3B dollars in their ship building portfolio last year. Freedom isn’t free and that truism applies to the metrics of both blood and treasure.

    V/R,

  • Bill

    “I really don’t know how critical the reported weight issues are on LCS-1, and the evidence presented here and other open forums doesn’t have me wringing my hands in angst quite yet. Is it a problem? Probably, but it may not be quite as critical as the level of rhetoric suggests.”

    My .02 on that is..having been directly involved in the design/build/trials of more than 50 high-speed ships and craft, and seeing the weight of LCS-1 grow by more than 1000 tons since detailed design and construction, but without attendant changes to hull and propulsion to acommodate same….there is nothing rhetorical about how big a problem that will be,,is. Historically, hand wringing begins when a high-speed ship design such as LCS-1 exceeds 110% design FLD…wailing begins at 120% and contracting folks scurry to review the fine print and performance requirements..but LCS-1 is well beyond 130% overweight and literally in uncharted territory, even for me. I do not know what the appropriate involuntary emotional response is in this case, but we passed hand wringing some while ago.

  • Scott B.

    Byron said : “Anyone here want to give odds on whether or not LCS will sail with at least 50% of her “modules” that transform it (wow!, that’s a great word!) from an uber-pig to a warship? And where do those PAMs get installed? Flight deck? Forward of flight deck on top of deck house? Inquiring minds and all that..”

    This reminds me that 15 PAM missiles got lost somewhere in the process, because the NLOS-LS Mission Package will now have 45 PAM missiles (instead of 60 previously) in 3 CLUs (instead of 4 previously).

    1) Check for instance page 2 of the LCS datasheet available on NSWC Dahlgren’s website :
    http://www.nswc.navy.mil/ET/LCS/LCS.pdf

    Non-Line of Sight Launch System Mission Module :
    * Joint Army/Navy NLOS-LS Program
    * Three Container Launch Units (CLUs)
    * Forty-Five Precision Attack Missiles (PAM)
    * 2 Shipping Containers

    2) Check for instance the 4th paragraph in this Raytheon press release dated May 4, 2009 :
    http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=1261&pagetemplate=release

    “The LCS Mission Module can fire as many as 45 NLOS-LS PAM missiles from three container launch units.”

    I guess these 15 PAM missiles are just another item in the list of *stuff* that keep disappearing (discretely) from the LCS scope (seaframe + MP)…

  • Byron

    Going to be interesting to be aboard LCS-1 when she gets in some real blue water action.

  • Bill

    “Going to be interesting to be aboard LCS-1 when she gets in some real blue water action.”

    mmm hmmm. Then we’ll probably hear more about her roll stablization system too, and how well that works..or doesn’t.

  • Spade

    “The PAM seeker head has been tested in a representative enviroment and proven the capability of detecting and tracking naval targets in sea state three.
    That said, launching a guided missile from a surface ship at another surface target is hardly transformational technology and making it work is not in the realm of rocket surgery”

    So the short answer is, no, NLOS hasn’t actually been tested and hit anything at sea.
    No offense to modern technology, and maybe I’m old fashioned, but you haven’t “proven the capability” to kill something in sea state 3 until you have actually fired a missile, had it fly through the air, and blown something up in Sea State 3. And launching a missile at sea isn’t anything new, true. Well, it wouldn’t be new if LCS had Mk41s or any other currently deployed and tested system.

    Onto other things:
    “the CONCEPTS being put into place through the sea frame and mission module programs are likely the way forward in my opinion.”

    I agree here. I just think you should do that in a prototype, or tech demonstrator. Which then leads to a ‘real’ ship that you buy 55 of. They’ve got orders out for more LCS right now, after all.

    ” The difference we have is that I see this as a feature and not a bug. I might be wrong, but based on some experience in this business I don’t think I am.”

    It’s not a feature when you’ve got your MCM gear aboard and you suddenly need your SUW gear really badly. Looking at the LCS-I concept I don’t see any reason the thing can’t have more organic weapons while keeping the whole mission module concept.

    I wouldn’t be that concerned if this wasn’t being billed as a FFG7 replacement. I mean, it’s not like our current MCM ships have any guns besides .50s. But it sure looks like they want to send LCS to places where they’d never send an Avenger.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Scott B,

    There really is no real mystery in the 45 vs. 60 PAM questions that are being asked.

    The design while building model that the LCS used led to re-baselining the program in step, and in a fairly short time frame. The other 15 PAM missiles were meant to be carried on the USV. That didn’t work out within the technical constraints and the budget (for now). If I recall correctly, the original LCS concept called for 2 CLUs on the sea frame with another two on the USVs. That has evolved to three on the sea frame. Your objection to an evolution in the design is . . . . . .? There is no real drama here IMHO.

    Take the DDG-1000 as another example. The platform started as the arsenal ship, then DD-21, then DD(X), and finally DDG-1000. If you go look at the original concept (arsenal ship), I am sure that anyone with access to Google could point out scores of differences between the original concept and the essentially completed design of DDG-1000. The difference is that the DDG-1000 program evolved over the course of 15 (or so) years, so those changes don’t seem to be such a surprise. It’s a catch-22 for the USN in explaining changes. The LCS concept development, design, and construction was done essentially concurrently which has contributed to some of the outcry against the program. The DDG-1000 concept, design, and eventually construction followed the JCIDS process, the Acquisition process, and the Systems Engineering process almost to a fault. 15 years later the USN ends up producing a ship that some believe is no longer relevant.

    Bill,

    The continued evolution of the sea keeping capability of the LCS will indeed be interesting to observe. I’ll just point out that the much lauded FFGs were back fitted with a roll stabilization system (the fins) after the initial design was complete, produced, and fielded. Any 3000 ton ship is going to be “lively” in the North Atlantic in the winter.

    Regarding the 130% overweight. The devil is in the details. How much margin did the original design have? Are you sure that the hull and propulsion plant have not changed to account for the growth? Are you sure that the hull and propulsion plant did not have any margin for growth in the original design? I don’t have the answers for any of these questions, but they go directly to some of the assumptions that are inherent in your argument. I do know that the ship has been to sea, and the technical community in NAVSEA has considered these issues. I remain confident that the ship would have not been operated in the environments that it has unless the technical authorities thought it was prudent to conduct those operations. Are there questions about the future? Sure, but again I remain confident that those questions will be addressed as necessary.

    V/R,

  • Scott B.

    Bill said : “Then we’ll probably hear more about her roll stablization system too, and how well that works..or doesn’t.”

    During his trip onboard LCS-1 on the Lakes in November 2008, Philip Ewing of Defense News reported this comment made by CMDR Doyle (Freedom XO) :

    “She rides nice when she’s going fast. When she’s going slow, not so much.”

    More recently, here is what the same Philip Ewing wrote in his May 2009 article entitled Refueling tops list of LCS crew challenges :

    “Even though it’s the fastest ship in the Navy, the flat-bottomed Freedom has a decided roll at slow speed.”

  • Scott B.

    Benjamin Walthrop said : “There really is no real mystery in the 45 vs. 60 PAM questions that are being asked. The design while building model that the LCS used led to re-baselining the program in step, and in a fairly short time frame. The other 15 PAM missiles were meant to be carried on the USV.”

    1) Take a look at this presentation on the SUW Weapon Modules made by Mike Canaday (NSWC Dahlgren) during the 41st Annual Armament Systems in March 2006 :
    http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2006garm/tuesday/canaday.pdf

    As you can see, in March 2006, the NLOS-LS Mission Module had 4 CLUs with 15 PAMs each, i.e. 60 PAMs in total.

    2) Now take a look at the LCS datasheet available on NSWC Dahlgren’s website and dated April 2009 :
    http://www.nswc.navy.mil/ET/LCS/LCS.pdf

    As you can see, in April 2009, the NLOS-LS Mission Module had 3 CLUs with 15 PAMs each, i.e. 45 PAMs in total.

    Therefore, some time between March 2006 and April 2009, one of the 4 CLUs (i.e. 15 PAM missiles) simply disappeared from the NLOS-LS Mission Module, and, on the contrary to what yourself and others are trying to suggest, this has nothing to do with what was meant to be carried on the USV.

  • Scott B.

    Benjamin Walthrop : “Are you sure that the hull and propulsion plant have not changed to account for the growth?”

    In a brief dated August 2004 (i.e. about 3 months after Flight 0 design contract awards), RADM Spicer stated full load displacement was 2,839 tons for LCS-1.

    In a January 2009 article written by Chris Cavas for Defense News and entitled LCS 1 and 2; Much Progress, Much To Do, it says that *they* want to be at 3,140 tons at full load and that Freedom was delivered 190 tons overweight, which puts her *theoretical* displacement with fuel and the mission package on board at 3,330 tons.

    The propulsion plant hasn’t changed between August 2004 and January 2009.

    The paragraph that I find particularly worrying in the January 2009 Defense News article is this one :

    “Engineers are still studying what’s causing the weight growth and identifying potential solutions, Murdoch said. “We don’t know all the answers yet.”

  • Byron

    Another 670 tons, you’ll have an FFG ;)

  • Scott B.

    Byron said : “Another 670 tons, you’ll have an FFG”

    Another 670 tons and she’ll be a submarine.

  • Larry Schumacher

    “The replacement for the frigates will be the Littoral Combat Ship…” That is appalling. I do not understand why the Navy planners see a reduced need for escorts in an era of capable diesel subs in the hands of countries whose leaders need major doses of Prozac. LCS 1 can only sustain 15kt under diesel. If she has to escort a 20 kt ship she will either have to use a sprint- cruise profile or augment her diesels with the turbines causing major logistical considerations. As for LCS2 she might very well be suited as to cruise but will her complex hullform allow her to keep up with her charges in the confused heavy seas following a typhoon? Historically escort sailors spend as much time under the water as on top in heavy seas and the abrupt transition from the stilleto bow to the sponsons on LCS2 might be an issue. Lets get her in the water and see what she can do before we bet the farm on her. Until then: SLEP THE FIGS!

  • Natty Bowditch

    So much misinformation, so little time.

    Where did the $225M price tag come from? That’s the number the USN came up with to sell the LCS to Congress. That’s also the number LM and GD agreed to build the ship for. So, you have two sides not being completely honest.

    A lot of speculation about handling systems in the RMZ and inclining experiments that’s baseless and do little except expose the ignorance of its purveyors.

    SLEPing the FFGs? Uh uh. One question: which helos do you intend to fly on and off your SLEPed FFG in 2015? Guess what? It won’t be the 60B. And it won’t be the new 60R ’cause it won’t fit on the SLEPed FFG. I suppose you could get 1 Romeo onboard. But when that goes down, your stern section becomes ballast.

    Don’t fear change, embrace it.

  • http://xbradtc.wordpress.com XBradTC

    A Romeo won’t fit on a FFG? How?

  • Bill

    “Regarding the 130% overweight. The devil is in the details. How much margin did the original design have? Are you sure that the hull and propulsion plant have not changed to account for the growth? Are you sure that the hull and propulsion plant did not have any margin for growth in the original design? I don’t have the answers for any of these questions”

    Sorry for long reference copy..

    To his credit, Don Blount’s hull design is/was very forgiving when it comes to weight margins BUT the parent hull design had a huge installed power and power margin when comparing the original deisgn to LCS using simple Froude scaling. Modern single-stage mixed-flow waterjets are quite unforgiving of overload..their cavitation boundaries are very often quite close to the drag curve at moderate speeds, especially when it comes hull like LCS-1 where there is a break or ‘hump’ in the speed-drag curve.

    LCS-1 went in to detail design for construction at 2250 tons full load. I do not remember what the service life growth margin was on that..but guarantee you it was nothing remotely close to 1000 tons.

    I’ve been around this stretch of ‘boat design; race track many times…and won more than a few too.

  • sid

    Slow the LCS down, and you take away what (specious) little sliver of Survivability that the original design speed was supposed to afford.

    Time to bring this back above the fold….

    RADM Hamilton: 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?

    We have some modeling and simulation of the designs and know what effects different weapons might bring to those particular designs. But again, because our desire for speed gets us to alternative and lighter materials, the damage tolerance for large cruise missiles for example are not the same as those on a DDG 51.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Bill,

    Do you view the coming cavitation erosion problems or any other issues associated with waterjet cavitation to be a fatal flaw in the design? I ask because you seem to have some valuable insight on this subject, and I really don’t know.

    V/R,

  • sid

    What I said about the LCS just shy of a year ago over at Galrahn’s place is still worth slappin’ a Jackson on the table over…

    It is a ship that can’t be bought in adequate numbers because it is too big and expensive (largely due to the silly speed “requirement”), and is not adequately survivable as an individual unit to engage in “Littoral Combat”…its supposed primary mission.

    And it will most likely be miscast (an be put at significant risk) as an ersatz Frigate.

    Any takers?

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Bill,

    I went over to the DLBA website, and did a quick scan of his paper titled “Design of Propulsion Systems for High Speed Craft.” I am not an expert, but if I am reading the paper correctly, your concern regarding the weight issues on LCS-1 relate to the fact that the thrust margin of the waterjets when transitioning from displacement to planing (and any cavitation thrust losses) may not be sufficient and could result in an LCS-1 (at full load) that may not be able to get up on plane. Is this a correct read?

    V/R,

  • Bill

    Ben;

    To both questions you raised..since they are related.

    The jet sizing is not a ‘fatal flaw’ necessarily but it certain is a major one given that the problem canot be fixed by changing impeller pitch and requires a larger overall jet diameter.

    For a fully-planing monohull, hydrofoils and surface effect ships, the cavitation limit as nearly 100% all about getting past hump without more than intermittent or brief period of cavitation at worst..and none preferred. The magnitude of the hump for any of the aforementioned vessels is very (VERY) sensitive to weight exceeding critical loading on whatever means of sustention we’re talking about.

    For a semi-planing hull like LCS-1 is..it can and does get a little uglier because the hump is not as distinct and you don’t get a clean break and digression between WJ cav limit and the drag curve as functions of speed. So when you miss your sums in the jet selection or overload the design you based you selection on..you can cross in to the cav zone and sorta just ‘stay there’ even as your speed increases.

  • Scott B.

    RADM Hamilton said : “We have some modeling and simulation of the designs and know what effects different weapons might bring to those particular designs.”

    If I am not mistaken, RADM Hamilton made this statement during the Q&A session of LCS Media Forum on 14 June 2004.

    However, despite all the modeling and simulation (hint : PPT slidewriting doesn’t qualify ;)), the DOT&E noted in his annual report for FY2007 (dated December 2007) that :

    “The Navy still needs to complete the risk assessment to confirm that Level I survivability is sufficient for a class of small combatants”

    I didn’t get a chance to read the DOT&E annual report for FY2008. Is this recommendation (first made by DOT&E in FY2005) still in there ?

  • sid

    I didn’t get a chance to read the DOT&E annual report for FY2008. Is this recommendation (first made by DOT&E in FY2005) still in there?

    I’m not sure Scott. You are better at sleuthing these sources out than me ;-)

    However, the CRS Report from last Nov. had this to say…

    The survivability standard for the LCS was increased as part of the issuing of NVR to one that would be sufficient to save not only the ship’s crew, but the ship as well. (Other U.S. Navy combat ships are built to a still-higher survivability standard that is sufficient not only to save the crew and the ship, but to permit the ship to keep fighting even though it has sustained damage.)

    So, it still appears the LCS designs are bascially still Level I ships even after the incorporation of NVR.

  • Scott B.

    Sid said : “So, it still appears the LCS designs are bascially still Level I ships even after the incorporation of NVR.”

    Well, what the GAO says in its latest report on Major Weapon Programs, is exactly this :

    “In fact, an inclining experiment performed during acceptance trials showed LCS-1 may not meet Navy stability requirements for the damaged ship condition.”

    So as it stands currently, LCS-1 may not even achieve Level 1.

  • Byron

    And did that inclining experiment (which are a pain in the ass to do) add in the weight of NLOS PAM modules? If it did not then the situation is even more problematic.

  • Byron

    P.S: Sid, glad to see you back ;)

  • sid

    And did that inclining experiment (which are a pain in the ass to do) add in the weight of NLOS PAM modules? If it did not then the situation is even more problematic.

    Glad to be back amongst friends Byron…

    So…How much weight will NLOS add?… Will there be any splinter protection for the system?… Like perhaps armored power cables to the box?… Any kevlar blankets for the module huts?…What will happen when splinters find that cluster of hydraulics tucked away there starboard aft?…Or they find the barrels of lube oil?

    And what is the need of semi-planing hull if the ship is too slow to get on a step?

    Just askin’…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    So, lemme get this straight….

    We have a ship that, when sufficiently armed, has severe stability issues, doesn’t even meet the survivability requirements to save the crew and ship (let alone, *gasp*, remain in the fight), costs more than three times initial estimates, but is designed to venture into the most lethal of envelopes to perform its primary mission? A Littoral Combat Ship that should avoid both the littoral AND combat?

  • sid

    i would recommend taking a gander at the reports here

    The most catastrophic instances of battle damage, and a consistent factor in ship losses, occurred when internal ammunition stores were breached by splinters.

    For you folks who want to arm the less than Level I Survivability LCS hulls with all kinds of neat stuff like NLOS and helo launched torpedoes…

    Where are you going to put this stuff where it can be adequately protected?…

    And what will that protection cost in terms of weight?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sid,

    No matter. Put me down for 55!

  • Systems Adict

    Greets folks !

    Lovin this “discussion”, so had to join in….

    “SLEP THE FIGS!”…. ??

    ‘Tis a “viable” option, but do YOU really wanna throw squillions of bucks on extending the life of a 24 yr old hull, so it will last 6-10 years ?

    I’m sure that the European navies will willing flog you some of their ex-FFG’s & DD’s, instead of punting them to our colonies in the Asian Pacific, or South America, but you’ll have to do a lot of begging to jump the queue…

    After all, they ARE better ! (watching Leanders / Type 21 FFG’s being sold onto their 3rd owners after 30 – 40 years service is proof of that !)

    BETTER idea, come to Europe, BUY the designs to say the UK’s Type 23 Hull, or the German Type 124’s, take them home & BUILD em !

    Yes, the designs are getting on for 30 yrs or more old (1st Type 23 was built & launched in the mid to late 80’s), but take them, fit US equipment for commonality with the rest of the fleet, (x2 Diesels / x2 GT’s – BUT DON’T FIT AEIGIS! / Buy a European Radar like SMART-L or Sampson).

    Hull designs are capable of over 30 kts, would accept the Mk41 Gun & there’s plenty space for VLS, a crew of 170 approx & a Sea Hawk Helo.

    However, they’re limited in the Littorals, esp. if ya fit the Hull Mounted Sonar dome !

    But getting back on Topic…

    LCS / Aluminum / Corrosion – speak to our friends from Oz.

    WHY ?

    Haven’t they been running fast ferrys & CAT’s for years.

    Oh, that’s where the Austal idea came from….

    Then again, maybe you should have learned from the Swede’s, the Norwegian’s & the Brits, going down the “composite” route for a light hull, then corrosion wouldn’t be an issue (GRP doesn’t rust !). After all, the Brits learned the hard way in 82, that Aluminum hulls + fire = DEATH.

    As for weight vs costs…

    Mmmm.. you’re in a right tight bind there, & the recession isn’t gonna help. LCS 3 onwards WILL NOT cost less the $500M (in my opinion), unless someone, somewhere cooks the books….

    …& as for comments about “issues” with Design/Build/Testing, all being run in parallel, well, it works on paper, is hard to achieve WITHOUT additional costs / delays / design problems, but in the end you get a hull that will be in the water with sailors onboard in LESS THAN HALF the time of a 1960’s or 70’s contract(3 – 5 years, instead of 7 – 12 years).

    Only way you’ll improve on it, is by having another WWII scenario, where the designs were forced thru, modifying hulls “on the hoof”, so you have a batch of 3 – 6 hulls, all using the same hull form, but each with minor improvements / changes over it’s predecessor. (& YES I KNOW that’s wot’s “happenin” with the Burke’s, but not on the same scale / level!)

    Anyways, that’s enuff of a rant from Blighty’s shore’s, I’ll be back in a day or 2 to see what y’all are saying…

    Systems Adict

  • Scott B.

    UltimaRatioReg said : “No matter. Put me down for 55!”

    Here is what Robert O. Work suggested in his report for the CSBA dated February 17, 2009 and entitled The US Navy: Charting a Course for Tomorrow’s Fleet, page 73 :

    “By continuing to produce four LCSs per year after reaching the TFBN requirement of fifty-five ships, replacing the oldest four LCSs on a one-for-one basis, and then selling or transferring the decommissioned ships to US allies, the Navy will have a small combatant shipbuilding plan that is perfectly suited for its new maritime strategy.”

    In effect, what this potentially implies is that, on average, each LCS would have a service life of about 15 years in the US Navy.

    In other words, assuming a cost of $550 million for one seaframe + one mission package, what this recommendation means is that each LCS would require a $1.1 billion investment over a period of 30 years. (you might be able to recoup some of this sum IF you manage to sell, rather than simply transfer, the decommissioned ships to US allies).

    As most people here already know, Robert O. Work was confirmed as the Under Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 2009.

  • sid

    As most people here already know, Robert O. Work was confirmed as the Under Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 2009.

    An exchange I with “evenmorework” over at Springbored’s place.

    That the good Colonel -now UnderSecretary- didn’t blow me off like an (emotional, ankle-bitin’) insignificant piece of lint says alot about the man’s patience…

  • sid

    An exchange I with “evenmorework” over at Springbored’s place.,/i>

    Oh yeah…

    Didn’t realize until after the fact who I was sparring with.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sid,

    He’s (Col Work) a smart cookie, ain’t he? (Of course he is, he’s a Marine Artilleryman!) Made some good points, as did you.

    The proof will be in how the sensor-shooter “network centric” approach stretches the fundamentals of war at sea.

    Perhaps this IS a new age where 300 ships can dominate the blue and brown waters. But the enemy is much better at finding our vulnerabilities than we are, and with less to lose, much quicker and more willing to adapt. They have/will have sensor networks, too. Maritime denial assets, anyone?

  • sid

    The proof will be in how the sensor-shooter “network centric” approach stretches the fundamentals of war at sea.

    Point I was trying to make was vividly illustrated here just weeks after that exchange.

    And SJS’s post above, along with the what happened to the Pueblo and the EC-121 the next year, all speak to the dangers inherent to network nodes with little “Staying Power”…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sid,

    You got that right, re: Pueblo and EC-121. All the sensors in the world don’t help you when you haven’t got enough shooters to go around. And if your eyes are your strength AND your vulnerability, it won’t take the enemy long to figure out how to poke ‘em.

  • http://engineerinsurance.blogoak.com/ Michele E. Graham

    You can’t operate a company by fear, because the way to eliminate fear is to avoid criticism

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest
7ads6x98y