It started with this news:

The Pentagon has again postponed a high-level meeting on the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship program that was due take place on Oct. 29, a spokeswoman said, citing scheduling issues.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said no new date had been set for the meeting of the Defense Acquisition Board, which was expected to pave the way for the Navy to award a $5 billion contract for its new class of coastal warships.

The only reason the Navy would push the date back for selecting a winner of the LCS competition is if the Littoral Combat Ship is on the chopping block for POM 12. Well, as Bloomberg quotes Admiral Mullen discussing future defense budget cuts, that appears to be exactly what is happening.

“We’re going through that process right now,” Mullen said. “Major programs from all the services which aren’t performing well, which can’t get themselves under control in terms of cost and schedule, they’re going to be looking at either being slowed down dramatically or being eliminated…”

“If LCS is unable to contain itself in terms of cost and schedule, then I don’t think it has much of a future,” he said.

I explain in greater detail on the home blog why I believe the LCS program is about to get the axe in POM 12.




Posted by galrahn in Uncategorized


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  • Benjamin Walthrop

    There are other possible explanations as well. For instance, on a down select of this nature one has to wonder just how much the fact that there will be a winner, and there will be a protestor plays into this type of decision making.

    V/R,

  • Derrick

    According to this link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littoral_combat_ship) most of the functions of this ship will be done by the helicopters or unmanned aerial drones it will be carrying…

    Would it be cheaper to make longer range helicopters for aircraft carriers?

    Also, if the total cost for this ship exceeds even $400 million I think it is too expensive…can a LPD-17 (http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/navy/amphibious/lpd17.html) do the same?

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Waiting with fingers crossed…

  • sid

    LCS=Too Big To Fail, DOD Version….

  • Byron

    Best news I’ve heard all day. Shame they couldn’t have killed LPD-17 about 5 years ago…

  • Aaron Johnson

    Regarding whether Joint or Congressional decisions delay or cancel LCS, the odd thing is that explaining how the LCS fits within Navy’s planning and how LCS will be delivered is completely within Navy’s control and for some reason is not getting its message across.

    Navy’s shipbuilding plan implies these ships are needed from a fiscal perspective so that the Navy can afford to have the largest fleet size possible and still afford the large ships it needs. Whether or not the fleet size is adequate is a different debate.

    From and operational perspective, the design and logistics support scheme for LCS implies a distinct divergence with the past. Defining and explaining these issues, which relates to the question about whether the fleet is large enough, needs to happen to avoid judging the program by metrics suited for battlegroup operations.

    Programmatically, explaining the consequences in financial terms of redefining requirements and delays would at least serve notice to naysayers that if the concerns are fiscal, delays and changing requirements only add to cost.

    If Navy wants ships, these explanations need to be clear in my opinion.

  • ken

    Kill the LCS “Bait Boats” at 4 hulls and get on with either a new build FFG or SELP the FFG-7’s! A manpower dockside footprint larger than the PHM’s! Good Grief!
    It’s bad enough we have “representatives” (all but one from the same party) that want to take the Navy to 230 ships, but that is was lead by the same person who brought us the housing/mortgage crisis should ring alarms.

  • Derrick

    Off-topic but: where does this 230 ship number come from?

  • Ken

    In a report from “The Sustainable Defense Task Force” at the request of Rep. B.Frank. In a “nut”shell: 9 aircraft carriers with 8 air wings, 7 strategic ballistic missile subs, 4 guided-missile subs, 37 attack subs, 85 large surface combat ships, 25 littoral combat ships, 27 amphibious combat ships, and 36 logistics and support ships.
    The LCS ships are just 21st Century versions of Thomas Jefferson’s gunboats. Lightly manned & armed, useful in limited situations and chained to land based support.

  • Byron

    And we built Six Frigates, which for the time ended up being fast light cruisers, ships that had an enormous impact on the future of the US Navy. Almost all of Jeffersons’ gunboats were sunk. The Six Frigates were such outstanding vessels, that one of them is the oldest ship in the US Navy: The Constitution.

    And we want to build gunboats….

  • Chuck Hill

    Byron,

    I think the 6 frigates, particularly the three larger ones would be closer to battle cruisers or at least Deutschland-class armored ships like the Graf Spee–able to outrun anything they could not out-gun. Even the three smaller ones would have been “heavy cruisers” since typical frigates had as few as 28 guns and ship sloops that were even smaller sometimes filled the role of light cruisers.

  • Byron

    I know they surprised the hell out of British frigates that thought they had the colonials out gunned and out manned :)

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Sometimes quality has a quality all its own, the quality of “NOT easily defeated in detail”.

    Look at Old Ironsides’ box score vs the gunboats of the Chesapeake Bay defense flotilla. Undefeated vs helpless to prevent the occupation and burning of the nations Capitol.

    Why is it the new SSN’s come in ahead of schedule and under budget? What does the submarine service do different from the surface navy?

  • Byron

    Step by step rigid quality control, Grandpa. Add to that a culture of excellence in shipbuilding.

  • Chuck Hill

    Grampa asked, “Why is it the new SSN’s come in ahead of schedule and under budget? What does the submarine service do different from the surface navy?”

    Same thing that has been done with the Burkes, consistent incremental improvement vice “transformational” purchases of huge quantities of unproven concepts ala LCS.

    “Build a little, learn a lot.”–but you knew that.

  • Byron

    More properly, why has the Virginia class done so well, while all other new-build projects are going in the expensive crapper?

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