As the Littoral Combat Ship program faces an abrupt down-select to a single hull, the Navy must brace for some nasty litigation. The spurned party–either Lockheed or General Dynamics–will be poised to contest the selection process.

With little in the way of “real world” operational data available, advocates of either platform will have ample grounds to poke holes in the down-select’s Record of Decision (ROD).

If the Air Force’s $35 Billion dollar tanker down-select is any guide, this LCS down-select is going to be ugly.

It is a pity. With more resources, the Navy would have been busy building and evaluating two separate LCS squadrons, and the down-select years away.

Looking back, the outline for a “data-heavy” LCS down-select was put forth in 2004. Read Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work’s essay from 2004, “Naval Transformation and the Littoral Combat Ship,” where he says:

“…the Navy would be advised to build at least two different operational prototypes. However, choosing two different prototypes will not completely resolve many of the operational issues. It seems clear that only by testing squadron prototypes will the Navy be able to fully resolve some of the outstanding issues surrounding the LCS and its support structure…”

Work isn’t going to get a firm test between LCS-1 and LCS-2 squadrons. By the time all four ships are available, the decision will be made.

That’s a little scary. Aside from the challenge of making a down-select decision with little data, the accelerated selection risks distorting LCS-1 operations.

I fear that the rapid down-select puts a lot of pressure on the deploying LCS-1 sailors to treat their platform gently. The opposite should be the case–the first model “Flight 0″ platforms must be run hard, beaten up and, quite simply, broken. Broken early and often.

Put bluntly, the Navy won’t learn much if problems are covered-up and the ship treated like a museum piece. (As an example, aside from keeping the production line going, what, exactly, did two years of babying the USS San Antonio (or hiding INSURVs) do for the LPD-17 program? I mean, how’s that USS New York treating ya’ll?)

With enough hulls to form two LCS squadrons, the pressure to “take care of the showpiece” gets reduced. But with no squadron to share the risks, the Navy’s risk-averse chain-of-command needs constant reminding (along with some additional public top-cover and, on occasion, some prodding) that the first two LCS are test platforms–nothing more, nothing less. Break ‘em and–for goodness sakes–tell folks you’re gonna break ‘em!

And, just as an aside, barring obvious dereliction of duty, no penalty should be inflicted upon crew and commander, who, in the event their platform is not up for the mission at hand, goes and breaks the vessel.

That said, even when the Navy selects either LCS-1 or LCS-2 as the “LCS-of-record”, and the lawsuits get settled, I’d posit that the LCS down-selection still won’t be done.

Robert Work will get his squadron prototypes–and, again, in a couple of years, as the fiscal picture gets grimmer, the pressure to compare the LCS with the JHSV is going to be irresistible.

And that, simply put, is going to be an interesting battle.

My thoughts? If LCS-1 wins the initial down-select, the JHSV catamaran becomes a viable platform. (And given the minimum-cost focus of the LCS RfP–LCS-1 may well end up winning the LCS contract.) In that case, the JHSV gets a wide-open niche to go and exploit. Eventually, we’ll see a contest between a LCS-1 combat specialist and a do-anything up-gunned utilitarian JHSV.

It’ll be fascinating–and yes, as one of the first JHSV cheerleaders, I’m biased–but, as the civilian-crewed JHSV gets encumbered by more “combat-lite” duties, I can’t help but get a little anxious. Call me crazy, but I just don’t believe our model of using civilians for combat duty is gonna work very well. (Watch for more studies…)

If the LCS-2 wins, I don’t see why the Navy might want to keep the JHSV production line going for anything other than for risk-reduction. The JHSV and LCS occupy a similar sort of “truck-like” niche (Or, to use a “Workism”, their “boxes” are pretty similarly-sized). A civilianized LCS-2 is just a trimaran JHSV, right?

Look, a civilianized model of the LCS-2 is available right now. Rent it. If the LCS-2 hull-form works for the Navy, then wouldn’t it be appropriate to leverage savings that would stem from using the same hull-form, similar plant, identical layout and matching broad-based operational template?

If we use the same hull-form for both the JHSV and LCS-2, would it not be super-easy to, if necessary, swap out civilian crews? As the line between “combat” and “combat support” continues to shrink, it might be really useful to have the ability to seamlessly swap out civilians with a combat-ready Navy crew.

All in all, it’s going to be an interesting year. (And, just FYI, I’m betting the LCS-1 breaks on its upcoming deployment.)

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

    Of course stuff is going to break on deployment, it always does. The real questions will be (1) how bad? and (2) how long to get back in battery?

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

    Ken–Heh. I’d posit answers to both your questions depend on how much fun the sailors might expect to enjoy at the “port of refuge”!

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    You said…
    If the LCS-2 wins, I don’t see why the Navy might want to keep the JHSV production line going for anything other than for risk-reduction. The JHSV and LCS occupy a similar sort of “truck-like” niche (Or, to use a “Workism”, their “boxes” are pretty similarly-sized). A civilianized LCS-2 is just a trimaran JHSV, right?

    You did not explain why you think that the LCS-1 doesn’t occupy the same niche. Aren’t they both built to fulfill the same roles?

  • Anon

    LCS has BEEN breaking. I know of several jobs performed aboard LCS in the past 4 months. One affected safety of helo ops (no details, please).

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

    Anon–Yeah. I hear ya. But can you, in future, specifiy which LCS you’re talking about? There’s a habit going ’round where the worst characteristics of one LCS or the other get conflated into this “LCS” blanket term. LCS-1 and LCS-2 are separate vessels. There’s always going to be some issues to work out…Even the LPD-17 had some helo safety issues when she first got on scene…

    Solomon–Exactly right. They both operate in the littoral niche as it were. As far as the niche that the JHSV and LCS-2 share, it’s their “pickup truck” characteristics, coming from their fast ferry legacy. Within limits, there’s a lot of stuff one can sorta throw in there, which, as a guy who sees the current fleet as a nursemaid to emergent tech, that’s the niche I’m interested in.

    With LCS-1, well, that vessel is a bit more of a performance-based craft–the margins are far tighter, there’s less space (and, I suspect, more restriction on that space) than the LCS-2. So with LCS-2 I feel like you can get about the business of testing technology whereas with LCS-1 you’ll be spending more time working out integration issues. That help?

  • Anon

    LCS-1, sorry.

  • Anon

    Oh, one more thing: it was incredibly stupid to build a ship that uses Italian diesels and Brit gas turbines, and all the rest of the fleet uses LM2500’s and Cat’s. Kind of throughs that “commonality of material” in the crapper.

  • Cap’n Bill

    I had a dream. Charlton Heston dressed in tattered rags, shouting out “Repent You Sinners!”

    I wonder what the odds are that Big Navy’s Power Point Team would repeat their misguided actions if given the chance to make ammends for this disaster.

  • leesea

    First off of course it makes NO sense to select one design later this year when the LCS-2 has not even completed trials and the LCS-1 will only have gone on one test deployment.

    There is NOT really a comparison between the LCS and the JHSV, while both are HSVs the former is a warship and designed as such while the later is a tacitcal sealift ship designed to be a Ro/Pax transport – i.e NOT designed to be in direct combat situations. JHSV is also a self-sustaining ship unlike the LCS.

    DS your comparsion of the two HSV suffers greatly in many details, so is dismissable.

    Given the LCS-1 significant overweight condition and many shakedown problems, the LCS-2 at this point in time is the ONLY reasonable selection. BUT the Navy has screwed up advanced marine vessels selections in the past.

    There is NOTHING wrong with CIVMAR crews naval auxiliaries that has come to light in the last 50 years, what are you insinuating?

    BTW I worked the first charter of an HSV for the Marines back in 2002 and have been advocating for similar inter-theather sealift ships ever since.

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

    Anon hits the bullseye—“it was incredibly stupid to build a ship that uses Italian diesels and Brit gas turbines, and all the rest of the fleet uses LM2500’s and Cat’s.”

    Ever wonder just what the basis was for that decision? Solely lowest bidder or did somebody have a plan?

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

    Leesea–

    If you believe that the “LCS-2 is the only reasonable selection” why get all uptight about the downselect? If one ship is an obvious blunder, than why not just end the loosing model now, at two hulls?

    I’d have expected that you, with all your wide-ranging and deep experience in this field, would know the LCS-2 prototype is a (gasp) civilian ferry. And yep, the LCS-2 might be a warship now, but it sure as all heck wasn’t originally designed as such.

    Applying the term “self sustaining” (at least in terms of cargo) is of little relevance. For the LCS-2, RO-RO is good enough.

    CIVMARS are great. But the platforms in question (have you seen the spiral development suggestions for the JHSV?) are gonna put the JHSV into the battle (if not the thick, then the fringes, AT LEAST). So yeah, I get a little concerned about roles and job expectations…

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

    Hey anon, what’s your beef with the Isotta Fraschini diesel generators? Or are you still in the camp that thinks those are the propulsion diesels?
    As for the MT30, that’s also on the DDG-1000 — LCS-1 was not the first to choose it as prime mover, just first to take it to sea.

  • Anon

    No beef, just wondering why we had to diverge from established diesels AND the logistics/support already in place. I believe the buzzword Big Navy is so fond of is “commonality”. Just something else to cost the Navy a ton of money on this contract…

  • Bill

    A lot of the equipment selections were pretty clearly based, at least partly, simply on the (understandable) interest on the part of the key/primary team contractors to maximize the content of their own equipment. In the absence of an specific requirements otherwise..that is certainly no surprise.

  • leesea

    DS the LCS-2 design while based on the latest trimaran design by Austal with not only on NVR and many MILSPECS laid on top but also combat systems. The resultant ship is far from a ferry as a stock car is from something you and I drive. Its all in the details you know.

    LCS-1 is not a Ro/Ro. In cargo handling terms it is Lo/Lo. IF the LCS are to carry multiple modules many centered on ISO containers, then that is “cargo” and each design needs to be able to move that cargo on and off the ship WITHOUT having to use a shore crane. That is why I used a sealift term of art. You know ships have been moving cargo for centuries, it isn’t like the mission packages are a new concept except maybe to warship drivers? Watch for MHE changes to LCS-1.

    The LCS-1 is so over-weight that major naval architecture changes must be made to fix it, that would seem to be acceptable to the Navy but not to me the taxpaying ship acqusition type.

    BUT the USN is committed to this selection path because its the ONLY way they can get the number of hulls needed past the lobbyist influenced politicians.

    I have been talking about the JHSV as an Armed Naval Auxiliary for about 9 months, and obviously agree that JHSV can serve provide close logistics support to Navy units as well as being tactical sealift ships for which they are being built. ANA have been serving naviies in support roles and around the “fringes” as you put for centuries. What’s your concern?

    JHSVs can certainly support HS/DR missions less expensively than naval warships. To wit: The warships are leaving Haiti while the HSF and sealift ships will be there for months to come until full commercial services can be restored.

  • Bill

    And LCS-1 is based on a.. *gasp*.. high speed megayacht. And..unlike the LCS-2 ferry basis, the LCS-1 ‘baseline’ hull was MUCH smaller than LCS-1 is, so arguably (at least arguable as a devils advocate) it presented higher risks in scaling and extrapolating from that baseline design thatn did LCS-2 from the ‘same sized’ Fred Olsen ferry.

    RNoN Skjold is based on fast passenger ferries. Just sayin.. ;-)

    Leesea already said it well with his NASCAR anaology but I’ll repeat it differently..a set of hull lines is not what makes a vessel a ferry or a naval platform. Hull lines are only skin deep..quite literally.

    Speaking of risks..since the risk for weight growth is the single greatest risk area for a succesful HPMV design and build (with structure a strong second place) …how did mananging that risk work out for the LCS-1 v. LCS-2?.

  • http://www.hisuperferry.blogspot.com Mauibrad

    Wow, there’s some free thinking in this one, Springboard. You lost me at the end. Liked the history up front, though.

  • P Ward

    I say scrap the whole program; neither vessel will ever work as intended. Others have recommended looking at corvettes used by other navies; that makes sense. The requirements team also ought to go back and see what worked in terms of vessel design and work assignments for Operation Market Time in Vietnam. Navy DER’s and USCG medium endurance cutters anyone?

  • Charlie Gowen

    If the down select is made this year, it will have to be made irrespective of any rigorous examination of each ship’s ability to meet the operational and maintenance requirements in the ICD (Initial Capabilities Document), CDD (Capabilities Development Document), CPD (Capabilities Production Document) (which, in DoD, replaced the Mission Need Statement (MNS) and Operational Requirements Document (ORD)), Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and are the basis for Required Operational Capabilities/Projected Operational Environment (ROC/POE). In other words, who cares if either platform can do all of the jobs, some of the jobs, or very few jobs? Who knows how big each squadron’s footprint ashore will have to be? The PHM shore footprint was 350 billets! So, that means the determination will have to be made all most exclusively on cost, and just the cost of the platform itself irrespective of shore footprints, contractor support requirements, and/or training infrastructure requirements. AND, particularly, the manpower costs. As GAO note recently (Littoral Combat Ship: Actions Needed to Improve Operating Cost Estimates and Mitigate Risks in Implementing New Concepts, GAO-10-257 February 2, 2010), Navy has little idea what the “real” or “rational” manpower requirements should be afloat and/or ashore. As a former manpower lead for LCS-2, I know the LCS PM chose to ignore and bury any of the rigorous analysis that was performed early in this century for LCS-2 System workload and manpower. The crew answer was 40, PERIOD. While it might be a nice euphemism to say that Hybrid Sailors can do the tasks of two or three different ratings, if there are two or three buckets of work, there will still need to be two or three Sailors needed. My group also teamed with Naval Postgraduate School in a NAVAIR project to determine various Analyses of Alternatives (AoA) for an aviation det of all-military, all-civilian, or combo mil/civ (Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Civilian Aviation Alternative Support Study, NPS-GSBPP-04-004) . That work also indicated that the artificial limit of a 15-man det could/would severely limit accomplishment of the required aviation operations, i.e., it might take two LCSs to accomplish the desired single-package fight hours in the mission statements. In summary, there is only one word to describe making a selections soon…LUDICROUS.

  • Mike

    The LCS will not be able to recover/lanuch in remotely-piloted surface vehicles in sea states greater than 3. I was told at an AFCEA conference they really hadn’t demonstrated the ability to launch/recover unless DIW. I don’t see how the LCS really is a viable concept/warfighting platform.

  • http://N/A Mark Loebl

    The only logical way to select an LCS winner is treat them as “X-Ships”, deploy the initial pair together and “beat the operational daylights” out of them in tandem in as many different climates/sea states as possible, with Mission Modules or without. Recall the “Plywood Derby” for PT designs before WW 2.

    Unfortunately there is neither time nor money to do so. A nasty confrontation resembling the KC-X fiasco is sure to follow a procurement decision. The program will drag out and cost more. There’s a 50% chance we’ll buy the less capable design with the decision based on political rather than operational considerations. There’s even a chance the program will be scrapped.

  • Byron

    Well, there goes that Firescout thing…Hey, we know they work on FFGs! ;)

    @Charlie: I saw that crap four years ago in an All Hands magazine on the mess decks. When I saw the numbers and the hybrid crews stuff, I damn near gagged. And me, just a yardbird

  • Paul

    Call me a dumb civvie but why are we building two platforms to go into “harm’s way” when they’re never going to get there?

    What commander is going to risk a half billion dollar warship to go hunt pirates when they’d have to destroy a lot of targets just to equate the cost? Simply by cost, is the Navy going to allow some LTcmdr or even a CDR to go out and fight the good fight when it would cost so much to replace either one?

    If it’s littoral, shouldn’t almost be, well, expendable, or even scratchable? Has anyone figured out what happens some some dumb loser with an RPG during board and search operations puts a rocket through that 57mm turret? Then what? M-14’s at the ready?

    Why does this have to have so many whistles and bells– what’s so wrong with a seaworthy, capable platform with fore and aft gun turrets, a couple of chain guns and a launch ramp for an RHIB? Build a lot, flood the area and let some junior officers get some sea time and some command time to boot.

  • Michael Harris

    The two platforms are cutting edge. There are high risks if LCS does not perform as advertised. I was able to observe both platforms and both have pros and cons. The scariest thing about the program in general is the fact the crew has to rely upon shore support to conduct most of the maintenance. Since both platforms are using COTS, there is little to no system maintenance training. With only a crew of 40 personnel, something has to give. They will be able to stand watches and operate, but I question if emergent repairs have to be conducted, will they be able to take care of it?

  • DJ

    “Mulling the LCS “down-select” ” ???? …oh brother…can anyone in blue write a sentence? Or is that “Could we ever” write a sentence?

  • DJ

    nice to see we’re actively buying equipment to better train for WW2

  • Charlie Gowen

    Michael, our LCS-2 original HSI CONOPS called for the on-coming crew to perform mission-specific training on simulators prior to boarding the ship immediately before getting underway. The crew would “fly” the ship for two weeks and then return to their forward operating base. Upon arrival, they would depart the ship for fatigue mitigation and training for the next mission. In the meantime, a “grooming” team would groom all ship systems, performing preventive and corrective maintenance, system updates, and transitioning tasks for the next mission module. A “logistics” team would clean and reprovision the ship. This general concept was endorsed by COMSURFOR, but I don’t believe it’s been incorporated as doctrine, policy and SOP. In fact, the original LCS PM scoffed at the idea that the ships would need a squadron or any shore support. Even with the squadron concept, I don’t believe anyone has figured out what level of effort would/will be required to support the deployed ships. Also, the word “mothership” was strictly forbidden in any LCS context.

  • Byron

    So that would make it two crews of high dollar hybrid sailors, plus one cleaning crew/oil changers? Yup, sounds like a bargain to me. This begs the question though: who will fix stuff when it breaks down at sea? Does LCS have a “stress card”?

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Charlie McGowen:

    Thanks for clearing that up. Now I understand that the whole concept isn’t merely flawed.

    The Navy needs to deep six these losers, ASAP. It shouldn’t waste any more money on the ships, either.

    Paul: The solution is called a Frigate, guided missile. Or, at worst, a Corvette, guided missile.

    Then a project manager and his comptroller, each each dedicated to building an adequate, austere, cost effective class and each an obsessive compulsive penny pincher. And each committed to eye on the sparrow level attention to detail.

    No great leaps forward allowed.

  • Paul

    Grandpa Bluewater

    I saw what the Aussies did with their FFG-7 platforms with updated engines, generators and installing a MK 41 VLS system to take the place of the MK 13 single rail launcher. Plus with upgraded electronics and sensors, it seemed to make a lot of sense. Did we ever consider doing such a thing to our FFG-7’s? Or was there a sense that since we didn’t come up with this it isn’t a good idea?

    Truly, these ships sound as if they were designed to fleece the taxpayer and the Navy out of as much money as they can– support crews, hospitality crews, signing on and off the ship? What happens when one of these takes a hit? Do they call a “time out” for the crew to get to home base, have the loggie crew fix it and then send it back out with the referee calling time in? Did a real naval officer sign off on these? Really?

  • Michael Harris

    Mr. Gowan,
    I understand the concept. In the real world, when deployed, Mr. Murphy manifests himself in the middle of a deployment where repairs are beyond the crew’s capability and the logistics of deploying a “flyaway repair” team will not be able to arrive in a timely manner. By giving the platform a “softball mission” will not stress the platform and the support structure to conduct a real deployment to show if this proof of concept will work.
    I was able to see both ships go through their paces. Some of the concepts are very interesting and cutting edge. I see the command, control and display systems concepts being carried over to the next generation of ships. Of course, they are not without glitches, like all new systems, they will have to be vetted out, although one platform’s network seem to do much better than the other.
    Funny thing Paul mentioned about FFGs. When walking through both platforms, I thought minor modifications to an FFG would give the Navy a ship that could do the same mission sets (including loading mission modules in one of the hangers) at a fraction of the cost. The only thing an FFG would not be able to do is go 40+ knots.
    FFGs are getting long in the tooth and are not without problems, but they can be a very versatile platform.

  • Byron

    Mr. Harris, you are hereby entered into the Loyal Order of the SLEP The FFGs! I’ve worked on FFGs since they were brand spanking new, with no tails, no fin stabilizers (helped put four of them in!) and before anyone knew they should have had an expansion joint(I also did the first shipalt on the S.E. Morisson). It didn’t take much time to figure out that for the price of ONE LCS we could upgrade and fix damn near every problem the Perrys have for at least TWENTY of them. For that we’d have a ship that is used to going littoral, can do 30 knots, can deploy Firescout successfully, can land a helo in really nasty weather and is a proven platform in all respects. The only problem is that the poor FFG is evolutionary…it is not revolutionary like the LCS.

    Trust me, when it’s all said and done, the LCS will be the A-12 of the Surface Warfare community.

  • Ken

    It is time to cut lose these two “Bait boats” and move on. The LCS program IS the A-12 of the Surface Warfare community. The stars and civilian leadership have gone all-in on the LCS program without having fully evaluated the prototypes, being behind schedule, over budget, and killing or not looking at alternatives.
    Sound familiar…like the F-35?
    I am a full member in the Loyal Order of the SLEP the FFGs! After reading about what the Australians have done with their FFGs, I am convinced a FFG SLEP program provides the U.S. Navy with a more effective platform at a better value in an era of scarce funding. Since we beached the MK13 on our FFGs, how about a SeaRam forward along with the VLS and other upgrades?

  • Paul

    In actuality the Grandpa Bluewater mentioned FFG’s first. Was there any rationale for not considering s SLEP for the FFG’s? Granted, they’re getting old, but as I recall the Aussies zeroed the miles on them.
    Is there some kind of institutional bias against FFG’s? I know they were part of the “low end” of the Zumwalt plan, but they seemed to have done, and are doing the job, right? Should the criteria be that it can stay on station, find targets and then put rounds on target when needed?

  • Byron

    They’re not “transformational”. And since I work in the “guts” of the FFGs doing structural repairs, I’ll tell you that there isn’t much wrong there. They’ve had a lot of the upgrades (read ‘shipalts’), a UAV has been field tested (Firescout on FFG-8)virtually all have new ships service diesel generators (though it would be smarter to have gas turbine generators).

    Simply put, SLEPing Figs while we come up with a REAL replacement (cough, Visby) or a license build (cough, F100) doesn’t keep congressional constituents busy misappropriating the taxpayers money.

  • Michael Harris

    Thanks Byron. I would be honored to be a part of the Loyal Order of the SLEP FFGs. I was stationed aboard USS DUNCAN (FFG-10) before extended flight deck, fin stabilizers and SQQ-89 towed array sonar installations. I am a plankowner of the THACH (FFG-43), was stationed on GEORGE PHILIP (FFG-12), JOHN A MOORE (FFG-19) during their Operation EARNEST WILL deployment, and served in the Chief’s Mess on CLARK (FFG-11). I have grown up and learned a lot about life serving on that platform and understand what they can do.
    Unfortunately, the surface navy has endeared themselves on AEGIS. A good platform, but very expensive. Does it make sense to spend that much money and assign them anti-piracy or OPLAT defense? It does not seem very cost-effective to me.
    Until someone with enough horsepower look at exactly the mission sets the surface force is carrying out, they will continue to force these expensive platforms to carry out the low-tech missions, but cut manning and maintenance funding to save money (another subject that could be discussed forever). The beginning of the end of the FFGs was when it was decided to send them to the Naval Reserve Force (NRF=Not Real Fun). Another nail in the coffin was to take the MK-13’s off (I want to cry every time I see a neutered FFG).
    I believe the Aussies kept the MK-13, but modified them to handle SM-2’s. The VLS is an 8-cell launcher that carries ESSMs. Again, because it wasn’t AEGIS, FFG’s get the table scraps that will continue their lifespan until they get more money to spend on the high-dollar platforms.

  • Byron

    The Figs were supposed to get a RAM launcher where the Mk. 13 was. Not an even trade, but better than nothing. I’ve worked on both the Clark (in the deep way back) and Thach (when she came into Mayport a couple of years ago from the West Coast. And as far as I know, none of the current FFGs are in the NRF, even the Groves and Hall, the two former Pascagoula FFGs (odd ducks, they have their own block of drawings for some reason).

  • Paul

    The Aussies did keep their Mk 13 launchers on board and did upgrade them as well as their sensor systems. Even though it cost them about a billion all told, we can learn from what they did and go from there. Be cheaper and probably a lot more faster to do this than build new platforms.

    How many FFG’s do we have in service still that we haven’t scrapped or sold off? It’d be interesting to see if any admiral skulking in these here forums might want to comment a bit on this issue– even as a hidden writer.

    Also be interesting to begin to pull together ideas for an article for Proceedings outlining this stuff and then see what the general population has to say as well.

  • Michael Harris

    Paul & Byron,
    I guess there aren’t RAM launchers to go around. I was aboard REUBEN JAMES (FFG-57). They built a platform over the top of the launcher ring and installed a 25MM Bushmaster on it. At least it is something they will be able to use for some self-defense.
    I believe there are 30 FFGs still in commission. Not sure exactly how the NRF fits with the FFGs now, but I heard there are a few reserve units still assigned to support them.
    It would be interesting to see how much real money it would take to upgrade FFGs to provide a stop-gap for the LCS mission and really put the two platforms through their paces without the political push to force them into a deployment prior to their INSURV Final Contract Trial.

  • ANATOMY JONES

    Both of these hulls are a BIG waste of tax payers money. They are floating pieces of crap. I have been on both and they are crap.

  • http://www.class3weapons.com Robby Pineiro

    I always get a huge kick out of posts like this.

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