The LCS is one of the most misunderstood ships in the history of the Navy. Why? Because it is an entirely new type of combat vessel. Not only is it new, we are not exactly sure how it will finally operate in the fleet. But here is what I have to tell you. There is a requirement for a ship that can go into littoral waters, which means it has to have a shallow draft; and it must be able to hunt mines; and it must be hunt diesel submarines; and it must be able to beat off swarm boats. Those are threats that exist today.

Now, the Navy made what I consider to be a momentous decision. It is essentially going to replace our patrol coastal craft which support our special ops; that’s a 350 ton vessel. It replaces the Osprey which is a 950 ton vessel, which is the old MHC, and it is replacing the old Avenger class which is about a 1,400 ton ship; and it is replacing the Fig7 – which is about a 4,000 ton ship.

What the Navy decided to do, they said we need these three missions, and we are going to try to do it in a single hull with mission packages. It was a bold decision to make, and I am confident – I am confident – that it will prove out to be a smart decision.

- The Honorable Robert Work, USNI/AFCEA WEST, January 26, 2011

In his January 2011 Proceedings article The Wrong Ship at the Wrong Time, CDR John Patch opens his argument with his opinion “it is clear that the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program cannot live up to expectations.” I consider CDR John Patch a friend of mine, and I strongly believe my friend CDR John Patch is wrong. The only expectations the Littoral Combat Ship program isn’t living up to today are the expectations of those who believe the Littoral Combat Ship is a failed frigate design. In his article CDR John Patch lists 11 criticisms – below are my direct responses to his criticisms.

Unaffordable. The near tripling of the expected hull price tag and unrealistic Navy cost estimates are well documented in current literature, but they become a stark program stigma amid current Department of Defense fiscal austerity. Life-cycle costs of the two “orphaned” LCS hulls after the down-select decision are also a factor.

The cost of building navy ships is always important, but I think the details of the dual-select caught everyone, and admittedly me as well, by surprise. Based on the contract details as released by the Navy, the hull prices for the Littoral Combat Ships come in at around $440 million per ship, but when we factor in all costs including the amortized cost of all 64 modules the Navy intends to buy, the cost for ship and module total package is around $530 million per. The pricing for these ships falls well below the escalated average Congressional cost cap of $538 million, and the number used by Congress is for hull only.

If we go back to the history of the Littoral Combat Ship, we know certain numbers. The original hull cost estimate was $220 million, a number I think all of us believed was ridiculously low in the first place. The mission module estimate was $180 million, which turned out to be ridiculously high. It was the combination of the two numbers that got everyone to $400 million. $400 million was also a derivative though, because if you recall the Navy had to build three Littoral Combat Ships for the cost of one DDG-51 at the time – which cost $1.2 billion. Bottom line, the cost estimate history of the Littoral Combat Ship more likely came from the Bermuda triangle than it did from a professional program management process at the Pentagon, and yet the LCS program has had to live with these numbers anyway.

The first in class ships were expensive, no question. By my math they were at least 300% over the original unrealistic estimate cost of $220 million. How does that stack up with history? Well, of the nine previous ships, four had overruns of greater than 100% (MCM-1, MHC 51, DDG 51, LPD-17), three had overruns between 40-60% (FFG 7, CG 47, LSD 41), and only two had overruns less than 20% (LHD 1 and VA 774/75). NONE came in lower than expected. But I think everyone agrees first in class are prototypes – indeed the Navy paid for the first LCS with R&D budget money. The key in new ship classes is always whether the Navy learns and improves over time.

Admiral Clark may have been guesstimating costs for the LCS program but his guesses were good, because the US Navy got fixed cost contracts that insure the Navy can buy 3 Littoral Combat Ships for well below the cost of a single DDG-51 today, and by percentage the cost growth of the entire Littoral Combat Ship package estimate of $400 million was only 33% higher for what is today a much more capable ship than the $400 million commercial design Admiral Clark envisioned.

Too complex. All the higher-end, multi-mission capabilities not only increase costs, but also could make the crews’ tasks unmanageable.

Each ship is broken down into three crews. Core crew = ship. Module crew = module. Aviation crew = Helo det. When I visited USS Freedom (LCS 1) last week Commander Edwards made explicitly clear that when a module crew comes on his ship, they are part of his crew. During RIMPAC several of the module crew earned certifications in areas outside their speciality. Operationally there are no signs that the Navy is running into complexity operating a single mission ship during any single period of time. It might look complex for folks looking outside in, but when they are speaking about LCS from an inside perspective there really isn’t a lot of complexity there.

Excessive technical risk. Incomplete designs at production start exacerbated risk. Some LCS components are also technically unproven or exhibited problems during acceptance trials, such as water-jet tunnel pitting and corrosion and the need for additional buoyancy tanks.

Yep, and first in class ships are prototypes. There is trial and error taking place all over the Navy on first in class ships. Since none of us can go back in time, the question is whether there is evidence that lessons learned from the first in class ships are being incorporated into future designs for a better class of ship throughout the block. Again, talking to Commander Edwards last week one thing that became very clear is how lessons have been and still are being folded into LCS 3, and LCS 5+. The process seems good on the Navy side, and I think the contracts suggest the industry side is comfortable enough with the process they are willing to commit to fixed cost contracts.

Impractical. Expectations of seamless integration of the many mission modules, unmanned vehicles, core hull systems (57-mm gun, radars, etc.) and net-centric capabilities were exceedingly unrealistic.

I think expectations of ‘seamless integration’ of many moving parts is indeed impractical, but I am not sure where that expectation was evident in the Navy. Since I first stayed on USS Freedom (LCS 1) for two nights back in November 2008 there was a clear understanding that interfaces between ship and systems was going to be a challenge with lessons learned through experimentation. Most of the engineering has been good, but as expected, there have been lessons learned. The integration of the platform and the systems is by no means an “exceedingly unrealistic” objective, it is the legitimate goal of the LCS package in sum – as it should be.

Impractical, in my opinion, would be to ignore the benefits networks contribute to our naval capabilities and not purposely designing our ships with networks in mind. I completely reject the premise of the “impractical” criticism, because developing naval vessels with the intent to support networks that integrate unmanned systems with combat systems in a hull specifically built to support those capabilities should be the objective of every new ship class the US Navy builds in the 21st century.

A lot of people want to keep on keeping on in the guided missile era of naval warfare with traditional designs and nominal evolutions, but new technologies are emerging and a networked battlespace is being developed by potential adversaries. The US Navy is well positioned today to take the existing advanced generation guided missile combat fleet, network that fleet, then expand the network with next generation unmanned technologies deployed by platforms like submarines and LCS. In my opinion, what is being criticized as the impractical integration of LCS parts to form a whole is actually the evolution from where the Navy is today towards the networked integration of emerging capabilities and existing combat power.

Inefficient. The failure of the Coast Guard and Navy to conduct a combined effort to design a new cutter/corvette-sized vessel remains perplexing.

The Coast Guard and the Navy have different requirements. I spoke to RADM Blore many times on the subject when he was Assistant Commandant for Acquisition and Chief Acquisition Officer for the United States Coast Guard, and he told me the Coast Guard had looked at both designs. Since there is still no medium endurance cutter replacement selection today, perhaps the US Coast Guard still may pick one of the designs. As modern designs in production, I have no doubt that a version of a Littoral Combat Ship hull more aligned with the requirements of the Coast Guard could be designed, but as far as I am concerned, I believe the Coast Guard needs to pick the vessel most suited to their requirements – LCS or not.

Vulnerable. Many experts argue that the vaunted speed factor will not protect LCS from littoral antiship-missile or torpedo threats.

I would hope every expert would argue that the “vaunted speed factor” of LCS will not protect the LCS from anti-ship missiles, or they aren’t much of an expert in my book. The vulnerability criticism of LCS is made in the latest DOT&E report on LCS, and I have a separate post for that discussion.

Poor endurance. Both LCS versions rapidly deplete fuel stores—especially at the higher speeds envisioned for anti-access missions and with heavy MH-60R/S helicopter operations—requiring frequent bunkering in port or replenishment at sea.

From the letter from CBO to the Honorable Jeff Sessions (PDF):

The moderate-fuel case—which CBO considers the most likely of the three scenarios—assumes that the LCS-1 operates at 30 or more knots for about 5 percent of the time, at 14 knots to 16 knots 42 percent of the time (a range that might be typical when the ship was traveling from its home port to a deployment location), and at less than 12 knots for the rest of its time under way. In that scenario, O&S costs total 34 percent of the ship’s life-cycle cost: 15 percent for personnel, 11 percent for fuel, and 8 percent for other O&S costs. The moderate speed profile would result in fuel usage of about 35,000 barrels per year, slightly less than the 37,600 barrels that the Navy assumed in formulating its 2011 budget request.4 By comparison, the FFG-7 class frigates consumed about 31,000 barrels of fuel per ship in 2009.

I had an opportunity to talk to the folks on the ship about this, and there are some interesting things here. First, there is already a design change specific to a fuel improvement adjustment from LCS 1 to LCS 3 of 14% efficiency, and CBO used estimates from LCS 1. Lets do the math. 35,000 x .14 = 4,900. 35,000 – 4,900 = 30,100 which is less fuel than “the FFG-7 class frigates consumed” of “31,000 barrels of fuel per ship in 2009.”

In the same document, CBO outlines a low fuel case that LCS does very well in and a high fuel case which the LCS performs very poorly. It should also be noted that the CBO letter to the Honorable Jeff Sessions came before RIMPAC, which I think was a very important test for LCS 1. What they are finding is that the fuel use for the Lockheed Martin version of the LCS, during high operational tempos like RIMPAC when they are being asked to do a bunch of things just for the sake of trying new things, the LCS uses a greater delta of fuel than other surface warships normally do between refueling. For example, if a ship typically refuels at 50%, the LCS might refuel at 30%, but then again RIMPAC was all about making the LCS do things it may or may never actually do because it is the first time it has ever been ordered to do anything.

There is a lot of operational development taking place, and CONOP isn’t defined yet, so I think it is still too early to tell. What we do know is that LCS is very, very efficient at slower speeds (and LCS 2 even more so), and comes with bursts of very high speeds. As systems come online with modules how all of this comes together will be something that will be developed through experimentation, and something folks should keep an eye on. I am not discouraged yet.

Readers of my blog know I have been discussing mothership operational concepts in the 21st century for years, so in my mind the CONOP of a mothership is one of a station ship platform that is constantly providing surveillance in spaces with deployed systems. Now granted, I always thought motherships should be big, but what happens when multiple Littoral Combat Ships are operating together at 200nm spaces able to use the extended range of platforms for ISR over a collectively broader region. Keep in mind the LCS is capable of reacting with speed when physical presence is required, so a 200nm dash is like a 4 hour run. When you go down that road there are a lot of questions, and only with more ships will this stuff work out.

The worst case scenario is this: the LCS contracts the Navy signed are so good that Navy was able to put 3 T-AO(X) ships into FY14, FY15, and FY16 respectively to replace the Henry J. Kaiser class replenishment ships, so if the Littoral Combat Ships of the first block have serious fuel issues, at least they will have three shiny new oilers to fill em up.

Unstable. Excessive high-end requirements have driven up hull machinery and combat system weight, negatively affecting displacement and stability.

The first in class USS Freedom (LCS 1) has had to be adjusted, but after speaking directly to the folks on USS Freedom (LCS 1) about this, I’m not convinced this is as big a deal as it has been made. The Navy-industry team has done a very good job incorporating this issue into design changes for LCS 3, LCS 5+, etc… and I imagine the same process is at work on USS Independence (LCS 2). What is interesting to note is how everyone discusses how there is no smoother ride on the seas than when USS Freedom (LCS 1) gets going at high speed, and if we presume this is the speed the ships will have during combat, stability might actually be a tactical advantage for weapons delivery LCS has over everything else.

Logistics-heavy. Staging of the mission modules and associated personnel requires a forward sea base or shore facilities.

The Navy plans 55 ships and 64 modules, so I am unsure how much swapping is going to be taking place outside of normal crew rotations – which will take place at known, existing facilities anyway. Personally, I like having a Navy forward deployed and closer to theater, but that’s another discussion.

Imprudent. Insufficient analysis before program design and acquisition resulted in spiraling costs to address unanticipated problems.

I don’t think anyone disagrees there is a period early in the Littoral Combat Ship program where there was a lot of fail. I don’t think that accurately measures where the LCS program is today though.

Insufficient hotel services. Berthing and support requirements for expanding aircraft, unmanned vehicles, and module detachments have exceeded ship capacity.

I’m not convinced that’s true, and I base that on conversations with the folks on USS Freedom (LCS 1) last week. The ship was designed for 40 crew. That number may or may not change. It may be the LCS requires additional technology to support 40 crew, or the ship may need more than 40 crew, or the ship may require both new technology and more crew members – that still hasn’t been decided. I think everyone around the problem believes the number is going to be somewhere around 40, maybe a little higher, but not by much. There will be some hotel services added in LCS 3, LCS 5+ etc as this works itself out, and these services will be put into LCS 1 during the ships first major availability. Keep in mind these decisions will be made very soon, and getting the all the crew issues right has been an issue the Navy has been working on.

There doesn’t seem to be any concerns with the hotel services for the aviation detachment, that has all been worked out.

However, the modules are more interesting. We know the Navy is going to develop an attachment for the third mission zone on LCS 1 that can support hotel services for additional ‘customers’ for VBSS, and for the ASuW module that space can support that function as part of the baseline module. LCS 2 has a much larger mission bay zone so space isn’t even an issue there. In my opinion, if we are talking about additional crew for specific modules only, then modular addition of services is how it should be.

My contention for years has been the Littoral Combat Ship represents, by design, an unmanned system mothership. In those same writings on my blog, I have also been encouraging the Navy that the ASuW module should also be a manned mothership capability. In the ungoverned shadow zones of the sea where piracy and other illicit maritime activities are present and naval forces are not, even if we had the capability today to fly around with a UAV and blow stuff up with a Hellfire – that isn’t the RoE. Ultimately, it takes sailors to be the peacemaker at the point of contact in the shadow zone. So in my opinion, adding a modular capability to the ASuW module that includes Navy/Marine/CG detachment hotel service support for various levels of boarding operations is a natural evolution of what a Littoral Combat Ship manned mothership capability should be, and that is working itself out on schedule according to RADM Frank Pandolfe’s very excellent SNA brief.

That really is the beauty of a ship with a ton of space like LCS; if you are insufficient in some capability, with a modular design one can simply develop a plug-n-play the solution somewhere and when it is ready, bring it on the ship and get to work.

Photograph by Raymond Pritchett, January 26, 2011




Posted by galrahn in Uncategorized


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  • pred

    A good argument, as always. In defence of LCS, the concept as a whole may be sound, but I still do not buy that these hulls are a suitable implementation. The themes vulnerable, endurance, unstable and hotel services in particular are areas of improvement. Our definitions for “very, very efficient at slower speeds” may differ. Comparison with a 30+year old FFG 7 may be positive (caveats apply, say in the 15-25 kt speed regime), but against a contemporary surface combatant design not so much. But then you have to pay the price for the extra 15 kts sprint speed somewhere. If that price is worth paying to get much needed new vessels in service soon, so be it. In the long run, this is not good enough for an unmanned system mothership.

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

    LCS is the worlds first dedicated unmanned system mothership, sort of like LANGLEY was the worlds first dedicated aircraft carrier. No one ever argued LANGLEY was as good as it gets long term, and no one is arguing the same about the first block of Littoral Combat Ships.

    And according to the folks I have spoken with, both LCS designs may be the most efficient ships in the entire fleet at slow speeds, so what definition would you like to use? That comes at a cost, like you say, of being the least efficient ships in the entire fleet at high speed – but the speed is very high.

    Comparing LCS to a “contemporary surface combatant” is an apples and oranges comparison – they are two completely different types of ships. No one runs around comparing destroyers and aircraft carriers. Why, because 100 years later we know the difference between the two ship types. Same with amphibs.

  • Byron

    What modules? Are any ready after all this time? Will there ever be a serious ASuW capability?

    What damage control capability? (other than automated, which will surely fail when you need it the most and will NOT fill a hole that’s letting water in the engineering spaces)

  • Aubrey

    Gal, in your post’s section on efficiency you focus on the yearly use of fuel. What you do not address is the LCS’s astonishing RATE of fuel use.

    Quite simply, the LCS needs to go to the gas station (or have it come to them) A LOT. Given similar missions, how often does an LCS need to top off the tanks versus an FFG?

    You also focus on the LCS-1 as a test bed. If that is all it was, that would be fine. But the current leadership is putting a large number of eggs in that very small, and very unproven, basket. You and others are assuming that it is fully capable and functional, and are ignoring the legitimate criticisms that are being raised.

    Really, the LCS appears more and more to simply be the current version of Optimal Manning. It will be declared perfect and a smashing success (in spite of evidence to the contrary) until the politics of the situation dictate a change in attitude.

  • John

    Gal, I agree with you on most things, however, on LCS I find it hard to have the as much faith in the program as you.. I am all for experimentation and that would be fine if this was a platform for proving technologies, which were then used to create a single design. Where I have trouble is blindly going forward with the purchase of an entire class of vessels.

    As Sec. Work suggests, this ship is a mine hunter, an ASW platform, it needs to operate in the littorals unsupported. Can it do these things? The mission modules that are required to perform these tasks are not yet operational. How well will it be able to hunt diesel electric subs and vulnerable will it be to attack by these subs? Place an LCS in the swarming situation like we saw with Iran. Can it defend itself without having to rely on air assets.

    I think that these types of questions should have been answered before we ordered 55 hulls. As Sec Work said, “Not only is it new, we are not exactly sure how it will finally operate in the fleet.” Are we going to have use for 55 hulls?

    I fear that LCS is not “The right ship at the right time,” but rather the only timely option we have to maintain fleet numbers and ship building capability.

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

    Aubrey,

    “Quite simply, the LCS needs to go to the gas station (or have it come to them) A LOT. Given similar missions, how often does an LCS need to top off the tanks versus an FFG?”

    To date this is absolutely true, and RIMPAC was a perfect example of this. RIMPAC was also the first time the ship ever operated with other ships, and was being asked to do just about everything to see what LCS could do. Yeah, LCS used a bunch of fuel running goalkeeper for a CVN at high speed. Maybe the LCS will never do that for a carrier strike group in the future, but during RIMPAC the Navy tried it out.

    Bob Work called it, “we are not exactly sure how it will finally operate in the fleet.” For the most part, the Navy spent 30+ days sending the ship off to places at 40 knots over and over and LCS 1 kept needing a refill. There is a learning process – for everyone, and I believe this is an issue to watch.

    Optimal manning is different, with optimal manning the Navy took a ship like DDG-51 designed for 300+ people, added a little tech, and took off scores of sailors. Clearly that was fail. LCS is a ship designed for 40 crew, and may or may not require maybe… 10% more crew – which is only 4 additional sailors. The difference is enormous.

    Did you really just accuse me of “ignoring the legitimate criticisms that are being raised” in a 3000+ word blog post that is a direct response to 11 specific criticisms? You have got to be kidding me.

  • Byron

    What modules? Are any ready after all this time? Will there ever be a serious ASuW capability?

    What damage control capability? (other than automated, which will surely fail when you need it the most and will NOT fill a hole that’s letting water in the engineering spaces

  • Aubrey

    Gal, I was not accusing you specifically – my apologies for poorly expressing my thoughts. My reference was intended for the leadership of the navy, and of the project itself.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Gal, here’s what experience and observation of “modularity” has shown me: Platforms become tied into a specific module/mission. The mission-specific module only comes off when the aircraft/hull is down/pier-side for extended maintenance or at the end of a deployment. The sales and marketing myth of “it can do all these splendid missions so we need less of the platforms because they are cross-dedicated” is just that, sales and marketing. Time off station as you switch the magic boxes will not sit well with tactical commanders in-theater, nor may their return to station be at all timely enough for the use of the newly fitted magic box.

    I suggest we will see some LCS become dedicated to mine warfare, some dedicated to SPECOPS, some to inshore patrol and interdiction, etc. The modules will become virtually welded to the specific vessels and brought pier-side only at the end of cruise for refurbishment, repair and upgrades. I think we’ll see ball caps (oops, sorry, those were banned with the intro of the blueberry suit) hull designations like LCS(C), LCS(M), etc. to designate their permanently assigned missions.

  • Byron

    That sounds very likely…

  • Malph

    Galrahn,

    Your point regarding the Langley is a good one. We did not attempt to build 55 Langleys though. Experimentation is good and to be encouraged but planning on 55 of these while admitting “we are not exactly sure how it will finally operate in the fleet.” is really a bad idea.

  • sid

    “. No one ever argued LANGLEY was as good as it gets long term, and no one is arguing the same about the first block of Littoral Combat Ships.”

    They had the very good sense NOT to replicate the Langley 20 times over.

  • Big D

    ISTR that a previous time when you brought up the LANGLEY comparison, one of the regulars pointed out that we didn’t proceed to buy 55 LANGLEYs with the intent that they would serve as the only carrier class for the next 50 years.

    Indeed, our next two carriers, due to their heritage, were something like *3* times the combat displacement of the LANGLEY. After tinkering with ~4 designs (depending on how you count them), we finally settled down with something that was considerably different than the LANGLEY in terms of design, capabilities, and CONOPS (and, again, much larger and designed–unlike the LANGLEY–to fight hurt); and, even then, only stuck with that through the end of the war.

    This is cart-before-the-horse silly. I don’t know who you think is rejecting the very concept of a mothership, but I haven’t seen much of that here or at your site; the complaints have centered mostly around how LCS *fails* as a mothership, and even as a warship. We’ve already bought and paid for the prototypes, at great expense for their value; let’s use them as prototypes, and not commit ourselves to their structural deficiencies (particularly the ones you are “setting aside” for later discussion).

    Speaking of deficiencies… did they ever fix the improperly-sized pumpjets, or the insufficient pantry? What about the surface craft deployment/recovery systems? The sensor and weapon shadows? How about the part where somebody had to brave the foredeck to clear the main gun for action during a swarm scenario? More importantly, the sensors, weapons, and survivability in general appear unsuited towards being caught by surprise, which has been known to happen in the crowded littorals.

    We need to keep the baby–but throw out the bathwater that has been made out of these prototypes.

  • Big D

    I should really start refreshing the page between typing and submitting. :)

  • John Patch

    Wow. Rapid, robust debate. Exactly what is needed.
    Regards, john patch

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

    Andy,

    “Platforms become tied into a specific module/mission. The mission-specific module only comes off when the aircraft/hull is down/pier-side for extended maintenance or at the end of a deployment.”

    I think there might be some truth to this. The configuration of a ship will be determined by COCOM demand, so if there is a 2.0 MIW requirement, they may keep 2 LCS always configured with MIW modules. But we can also look at it this way.

    COCOM annual demand is for 2.0 MIW, 1.5 ASW, and 1.5 ASuW. With LCS, 4 ships meet this requirement by allowing 1 LCS with ASuW module to swap out for the ASW module half the time a year. Without modularity, this would actually require 6 purpose build vessels, because you would still require 1 additional vessel for each .5 requirement every year.

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “The original hull cost estimate was $220 million, a number I think all of us believed was ridiculously low in the first place.

    Certainly NOT all of us, and certainly NOT those of us who have followed this FAILED program since inception.

    Early in the program, the LCS was envisioned as a seaframe built to CIVILIAN standards (equivalent to ABS HSC rules), with the rather austere combat systems it possesses today.

    Back in those days, they looked around and figured out that such a seaframe would cost about $100 million, which is more or less the price paid by commercial operators for such high speed monohulls as NGV Liamone or Aeolos Kenteris. (see post below)

    The program office conducted a similar analysis for the combat systems and came up with the conclusion that this would cost another $50 to $100 million.

    They ended up with a cost bracket comprised between $150 million (the original target price in then-year USD) and $200 million (pretty close to the original threshold price of $220 million in then-year USD).

    Therefore, proclaiming that the original estimate of $220 million was *ridiculously low in the first place* reveals some solid ignorance of what the LCS program was supposed to be in the first place.

  • Byron

    The world wonders…

    “What modules? Are any ready after all this time? Will there ever be a serious ASuW capability?

    What damage control capability? (other than automated, which will surely fail when you need it the most and will NOT fill a hole that’s letting water in the engineering spaces”

  • Scott B.

    Here is something I posted on the same subject at Mike Burleson’s place in October 2009 :

    ***************************************************

    Take a quick look at the real world instead :

    1) back in 1998, the price paid by SNCM for the fast ferry NGV Liamone (a Corsaire 13000 monohull) was FF 422 million, i.e. about $80 million based on the FF/USD exchange rate at the time.

    2) back in 1999, the price paid by NEL Lines for the fast ferry Aeolos Kenteris (a Corsaire 14000 monohull) was €75 million, i.e. about $85 million based on the Euro/USD exchange rate at the time.

    Both NGV Liamone and Aeolos Kenteris might be considered representative of what a commercial monohull design with steel hull and aluminium superstructure might have cost at the beginning of the LCS program : let’s say about $100 million.

    Assuming a threshold cost of $220 million per unit for the seaframe meant at the time that you had about $120 million left for the combat management system and organic sensors/weapons, and for the seaframe modifications required to meet some of the critical design parameters (in terms of sustainement mostly, e.g. range without refuel, provisions, accommodations, RAS).

    Real world examples also suggest that for about $100 million (or less actually), you can get :
    * a combat management system for a corvette-sized vessel (TACTICOS, SENIT, 9LV, IPN-S,…)
    * a 3D radar (e.g. TRS-3D/16ES from EADS)
    * a navigation radar (e.g. Sperry Bridgemaster)
    * a stabilized EO/IR system (e.g. Sea Star SAFIRE III)
    * an ESM suite (e.g. WBR-2000)
    * a decoy launching system (e.g. SKWS)
    * a medium-caliber gun (e.g. Bofors 57mm)
    * a self-defense missile launcher (e.g. Mk-31 RAM)
    * various C4I gear (EHF / UHF Satcom, VHF / UFH LOS, HF, CDL, LINK 16, INMARSAT)

    That leaves at least $20 million to pay for such stuff as increased fuel bunkerage, crew accommodations for 75-100, watercraft handling equipment, hangar / flight deck equipment, RAS equipment,… that you don’t find in a commercial HSV design. Quite feasible actually.

    So why is it that they failed to meet the original $220 million threshold ? Simple answer is this : poor concept, poor execution.

    Look no further.

  • Scott B.

    On the combat systems side of the cost equation, this is what Ronald O’ Rourke reported back in December 2010 :
    http://armed-services.senate.gov/statemnt/2010/12%20December/O'Rourke%2012-14-10.pdf

    1) Page 8 : “CBO’s December 10 letter report states that the existing combat systems on the two LCS designs cost about $70 million per ship.”

    2) Page 2, footnote 3 : “The LCS combat system referred to in this discussion is the ship’s built-in collection of sensors, weapons, displays, and software, and not the LCS mission modules that can be placed on or taken off the ship.”

    This is pretty much in the middle of the $50 – $100 million bracket I mentioned earlier.

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “The mission module estimate was $180 million, which turned out to be ridiculously high”

    The original estimate of $180 million (or was it $150 million) was for THREE mission packages per seaframe, as discussed so many times in the past on your own blog.

    I specifically recall a discussion on this very topic with Bob Work (the current UnderSec), where he conceded that the original estimate was indeed for THREE mission packages per seaframe.

    Since the archives of your own blog have vanished for one reason or another, the only thing I can offer in the short term is this link @ Defense Industry Daily :
    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-usas-new-littoral-combat-ships-updated-01343/

    Where it clearly says :

    Mission modules would be bought separately at about $100 million per module. This contrasts with the original hope of $22 billion at $400 million per ship, which included just $220 million for construction, and 3 mission modules at $60 million each.

    So basically, the original plan was THREE mission packages per seaframe for a total cost of $180 million (i.e. $60 million per package on average).

    The current situation is a tad more than ONE mission package per seaframe (64 MPs for 55 seaframes) at a unit cost of $90 to $100 million (on average).

    This alone reflects the entire reality of this failed program : MORE BUCKS, LESS BANGS.

  • Mike M.

    I’m of two minds on LCS these days.

    On the one hand, I think the critics are right. We’re shelling out what seems like an awful lot of money for a 57mm gun, a RAM launcher, and a flight deck. And the idea of not providing crew accomodations for at least one mission module was just plain silly.

    On the other hand, they are hulls. Sure, we could do another design competition…and wind up mired the way that the Air Force did with KC-X. THAT mess has dragged out for nearly a decade. And LCS can clearly do a lot of the low intensity missions that NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, and AFRICOM must do…freeing up more capable combatants for the hot spots.

    And eventually, we will get mission modules that are useful. I agree that they will wind up being semi-permanent installations, but it’ll make upgrades easier.

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

    BigD,

    Vulnerability is discussed in the DOT&E report on LCS; detailed and current. We can revisit that discussion in time.

    Why does the LCS fail as a generation one mothership? Because the Navy is building 24 of them? Lets think about it in the context of history for a second.

    The first four “all big gun” battleships built on the dreadnought principle were the two South Carolina class battleships (USS South Carolina and USS Michigan) and the two Delaware class battleships (USS Delaware and USS North Dakota). The South Carolina class designed in 1902 displaced around 16,000 tons each and the Delaware class (1906) displaced about 20,000 tons each. In other words, when the United States Navy decided to make the jump to the “all big gun” battleship, the Navy invested about 72,000 tons into the first generation.

    Look at the first aircraft carriers. USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first carrier built from the keel up as aircraft carriers, so when we observe USS Langley (CV-1) at 11,500 tons while USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3) around 36,000 tons. In the case of aircraft carriers the United States invested about 84,000 tons in the first generation.

    Here comes the Littoral Combat Ship, a completely new type of ship. They run about 3,000 tons each, and the Navy is building 24 in the first generation. By my math that is about 72,000 tons in the first generation. Why do I pick 24 instead of 55? Because Bob Work spoke about the first block of LCS at WEST as the generation 1 Littoral Combat Ship, and from conversations with everyone afterward – including CDR Salamander – everyone in San Diego was given the impression there will be an evaluation period after the first 24. In my book, 24 Littoral Combat Ships – 12 of each class – makes for a solid first generation mothership.

  • JackO

    Amazing,overall, just when you think the things get better , the trap door opens.
    One question, and it does show my age, where are the big binoculars for eyes on the horizon, and how to you man them with that crew.
    Oh, that is old school and we now have sustems that do that!
    Seems to me it used to be 20 minutes on the scope and 10 off. No halyards for flags and no signalman?
    What do you do for radio silence communications?

    Where do you store the replacement units, in the yards on the east coast , west coast, westpac?
    Kind of like driving a car with a trailer, and when you need to replace the trailer you have to go 3,000 miles to get a new trailer,hoping there is a new trailer available, and then 3,000 miles back to your vacation stop.

    Not a very technical discussion , I admit, but that is just the way old men think.

  • Byron

    And do we have any of these mission packages ready to deploy NOW?

    The world wonders….

  • Spade

    “and it is replacing the Fig7 – which is about a 4,000 ton ship.”

    Anybody remember when LCS wasn’t going to be a FFG-7 replacement? I think somebody with stars on said that. I know for a fact that Galhran agreed with that assessment a couple weeks ago.

    Hell, this: “It is essentially going to replace our patrol coastal craft which support our special ops; that’s a 350 ton vessel. It replaces the Osprey which is a 950 ton vessel, which is the old MHC, and it is replacing the old Avenger class which is about a 1,400 ton ship; and it is replacing the Fig7 – which is about a 4,000 ton ship.” whole statement confuses me.

    We need a 3000 ton ship to do the work of a 350 ton ship?

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

    Spade,

    The trades are in hull numbers, the missions of those ships are either being folded into LCS or no longer exist. The PCs, minesweepers, and frigates are about to retire, and the Navy is replacing those numbers with LCS.

    It has been mentioned by both RADM Pandolfe and Undersecretary Work, the FFG7s have been doing for the last 8 years exactly the same mission the LCS will be doing in the future. Exactly the same mission, no different, but at a higher cost and without the mission modules – just using the a gun, RHIBs, and Helos.

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

    Byron,

    Did you even watch the SNA brief by RADM Pandolfe? He addressed the mission module aspect of the discussion very well.

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

    JackO,

    These are good questions. There are issues with LCS that don’t get attention, for example, the ship is paperless. What happens if the servers go down? There is no paper chart. What happens if the ship loses GPS?

    There are several practical issues with LCS that the crew of LCS 1 and LCS 2 are dealing with, addressing these issues one hammer and one nail at a time.

  • Byron

    Galrahn: No, I did not. I asked a simple question: Are any modules ready to go aboard today?

    And you’ll never convince me that we couldn’t take the money spent on one LCS to do a thorough overhaul, modernize, add teeth and more sensors until we could come up with a design that simply made sense…. like (cough, cough) Nansen.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Gal,

    Yes, in San Diego I did get the impression that we will check and look after a run of 24 ships.

    24 ships. 24 ships in a shrinking Fleet. A 24 ship experiment?

    OK.

    We have come a long way from “transformational” to get to “we’ll make it 10% of our Fleet and then give it a ponder.”

    You stated, “Not only is it new, we are not exactly sure how it will finally operate in the fleet.”

    That is not a statement ever used to justify Flight 1 vs Flight 2 evolution of a class of ships – as in the BURKE, or additions – as in the SPRUANCE. It is “observe and improve” not “ponder and pontificate.” No one ever claimed “they didn’t know” about the BURKE and SPRUANCE WRT their role in the fleet. “Not exactly sure” may be a true statement – but it does not build confidence in a class of warships.

    Also, LCS is not a new kind of ship. It is a Corvette with a buzz-word generated name built around a concept that many pro-LCS people are already backing away from (hence while some now say LCS was never meant to get close to shore, only its sensors – others say, correctly, that its exceptionally shallow draft is there because it will get very close to shore, by design and concept).

    It is no more a new kind of ship than a FORD Class CVN, IMAO.

    Will the USN survive with LCS? Sure, we’ll make do. But as we talk about opportunity cost WRT EFV, F-35B, FCS, etc — we should probably examine the LCS program with the same eye.

    Hmmmm …. I think I might have to put up a LCS post here early next week.

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

    Scott,

    You are acting like the requirements doc for the LCS was written in ink at some point in time and became gospel. It didn’t, you know the history of this program well enough to know the target moved constantly, even after construction began. The history of the LCS program development is, in my opinion, a train wreck. Are you advocating the Navy should have bought corvettes or frigates instead? That isn’t this discussion…

    The discussion is what the LCS is now – today. It is a generation one ship that meets three specific mission requirements. It is cost effective. It is capable. It isn’t perfect.

    In my opinion there is a lot to like about the concept, and more importantly, there is a lot to like regarding the direction LCS drives the US Navy into the future.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Gal,

    “It is capable.”

    Word review:
    _____________________________________________
    ca·pa·ble  /ˈkeɪpəbəl/
    –adjective
    1. having power and ability; efficient; competent: a capable instructor.
    _____________________________________________

    I think the jury is still out on that. “Potential to be capable.” “Expected to be capable.” “Projected to be capable.” Yes, those statements are accurate. I would offer that it is WAY too soon to make that declarative statement, “It is capable.”

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

    Where are all these pro-LCS types Sal? I need to find allies.

    Seriously, most people (even very informed folks in these comments) who bash the LCS don’t even understand what the primary weapon the LCS was designed to deploy is, and now you are going to explain how the LCS is old hat corvette?

    I can’t wait.

    Don’t bring wimpy stuff, or I’m throwing you under the bus… a pink fuzzy bus, but a bus nonetheless.

  • Byron

    Galrahn, do you find it odd that the people who are replying to your article (with the exception of myself) are professional Naval Officers with experience at sea and with “new systems”, are by and large at odds with your opinion of LCS? Should they not be the ones explaining the “big words” to the likes of this humble civilian, instead of questioning YOUR big words?

    And I’m dying to see what LCSs main batter will look like. That 57mm pop gun on the bow just makes me feel sick. Then again, LCS is not really a “warship”…since it’s built to commercial standards and has been exempted from the standard shock trials because… wait for it… they have deep concerns? BTW, that stupid looking corrugated bulkhead they have at the aft (and I assume the forward bulkhead) of the MER got kicked to the curb by the commercial world years ago. It’s one of the reasons why they won’t put the LCS to shock trials…the bulkheads can’t tie efficiently to the longitudinal stiffening, and is “stiff”. Critical structures on a ship that are “stiff” are bad…very bad.

    But what do I know? I don’t listen to Bob Work and I don’t have a clue what the Admiral says. Kinda goes with my philosophy of buying things: I never listen to the salesman, I go look for reviews….

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Gal,

    Did I say “old hat?” Goodness me.
    ________________________

    cor·vette   /kɔrˈvɛt/
    –noun
    …2. a lightly armed, fast ship … ranging in size between a destroyer and a gunboat.
    ________________________

    We can call it a “ham sandwich” if you want. A Transformational Ham Sandwich (THS) vice Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – doesn’t matter really and makes about as much sense.

    … and what is this “bus throwing” all about? What about the new tone and civility? ;)

  • JackO

    I sit here and try to think of where the ships would be used.
    Littoral, next to shore, or shallow water.
    Too small for the shallow waters away from our shores?
    But do you need such a big ship for our shores.
    Numbers, numbers, numbers.Short range,high consumption, under manned, subject to easy damage from fire, and sounds like it is hard to repair with aluminum plating.
    Would you buy it if offered to you?

    Our shore littoral defense, simple, same as Isreal, small fast boat and plenty of them.

    PT.s in sourth pacific sample usage and effectiveness.

    Long range war, by naval forces, seems impossible now due to effective defenses available.Kamakszies demonstrated that! Missiles much better than planes for kamakazi attacks.

    Solve problem, smaller nuke motors, make all ships nuke powered, long range solved, speed solved, aluminum eliminated.

    Real problem! People to serve, and people to pay for the ships.

    “Old Ironsides” symbols for modern Naval forces needed, we need to people to love the Navy, want to join the Navy, and support the Navy.

    Take example from US Marine Force, spit, shine, excel, and demonstrate value of Navy by showing personnel excel at what they do.

    Emphasize sailors, chiefs, forget officers as the Navy needs the sailors and chiefs to demonstrate ability. MInimize exposure of pilots, maximize crew worth, show world that their children are worth believing in even the mess cooks.

    Parents don’t give a darn about the Admiral, they want to know the kids are doing the job.

    Enough of the ranting by this old sailor.

  • sid

    “Vulnerability is discussed in the DOT&E report on LCS; detailed and current. We can revisit that discussion in time.”

    One thing is certain…

    When it comes to a scrap in the Littorals, you can pretty much expect the enemy to set that agenda Ray.

    It won’t flow nicely in neat phases like a Crystal City .ppt….

  • Byron

    Another thing…I’m not sure about LCS-1…But I do know that the hull and superstructure aluminum is 6000 series aluminum. Galrahn, ask a materials engineer about why you’d build a warship with 5656 series in the ASTM-B-928 grade, but never in 6000 series. 5456, not great, but not bad. 6000 series, just bad.

  • Byron

    Ahem…the above would be regarding LCS-2. Old age, mea culpa. Granpa, you ready to stick your oar in the water?

  • sid

    “In my book, 24 Littoral Combat Ships – 12 of each class – makes for a solid first generation mothership.”

    That tonnage argument is downright silly…

    The Sara and Lex were two hulls that were available on the ways when the need arose to build more carriers.

    Read your Friedman please.

    Oh. I forgot, when it comes to the LCS, historical facts need not necessarily apply.

    Somewhere around 10 percent of the available combatant hulls in 2020…which by your own statements, are not really combatants…is far away from a “first step”

    [The Clueless-Backwards Looking-Uninformed,]“who bash the LCS don’t even understand what the primary weapon the LCS was designed to deploy is”

    Next point as already broached several times above…Show me where any LCS critic has bashed your mothership concept in principle Ray.

    If its ALLL about being a mothership, then why on earth constrain yourself to two hulls which will unnecessarily restrict the weight and size margins of the unmanned loads you so want to see deployed?

    Oh yeah…

    As these Turkeys Trot To Water…Where ARE Those Mission Modules…The World Wonders?

  • sid

    “As these Turkeys Trot To Water…Where ARE Those Mission Modules…The World Wonders?”

    And this love for -needless- speed…

    Show me an abnormally fast -and yes these seaframes have been designed for speeds well above any norms- that has lived up to its promise.

    Which is still flying…The SR-71 or the U-2?

    I have already discussed the USN’s experience with the RA-5C.

    Ask Gerry Miller -he is still around- where it got them in 1968.

    Fisher’s Battle Cruisers….

    Again. Show me where excessive speed has lived up to its promise -and worth the penalties- on the battlefield.

    And, the idea that a 3000 ton ship will be charging about at 40 kts in most of the littorals…other than the well gamed Hormuz… is a real pipe dream.

  • sid

    “Did you even watch the SNA brief by RADM Pandolfe? He addressed the mission module aspect of the discussion very well.”

    All that was there were some wishful timeframes in pretty .ppt.

    The man said it at 29:19…We need the hulls now…mission models or no.

    Per your point about main battery of these ships.

    Whats the point of these scarce resource sucking hulls with no working “mission modules” other than those already available on a WMEC?

  • Chuck Hill

    LCS fuel economy with the FFGs is deceptive. It certainly does not approach the fuel economy of the MCM ships or the PCs.

    When you look at the FFGs, Unlike contemporaries like the Hamilton Class Cutter, they are ships that have no cruise engines, but they could go well over 20 knots on one of their two gas turbines, and they had sufficient fuel to feed them. Not efficient but effective.

    On the other hand the LCS-1/3/5+, as an ASW ship or even just as part of an ARG, cannot keep up with 20 knot amphibs or fleet train ships without frequent refueling because to keep up, it has to go on turbines and quickly consumes its limited supply. Not efficient and not effective.

    You have to expect that the LCSs have will increase both the Navy’s thirst for fuel and the need for tankers–Not a good direction.

  • malph

    Byron — “And I’m dying to see what LCSs main batter will look like. That 57mm pop gun on the bow just makes me feel sick. Then again, LCS is not really a “warship”…since it’s built to commercial standards and has been exempted from the standard shock trials because… wait for it… they have deep concerns? BTW, that stupid looking corrugated bulkhead they have at the aft (and I assume the forward bulkhead) of the MER got kicked to the curb by the commercial world years ago. It’s one of the reasons why they won’t put the LCS to shock trials…the bulkheads can’t tie efficiently to the longitudinal stiffening, and is “stiff”. Critical structures on a ship that are “stiff” are bad…very bad.”

    Don’t worry Byron, your concerns will be addressed once the “warship” module is available. The module will include a survivability package consisting of forty kevlar vests and eight life preservers (for the survivors of the first serious action this thing sees).

    All kidding aside… A shallow draft mothership might eventually prove usefull, but in an era of declining ship numbers, budgetary preasures and growing threats in the Pacific, can we afford to build a large number of hulls that can’t fight if needed? We could have and should have done better.

  • Byron
  • Spade

    If it’s going to adequately do the same mission as the FFG-7s have been doing for the past 8 years, then why did they spend the last couple years saying it wasn’t a FFG-7 replacement? Or, in your case, spend December 22nd saying, “The Littoral Combat Ship is also not a frigate replacement.”

    Did somebody wake up one day last month and go, “Holy hell! I just realized what the FFG’s have been doing for 8 years! Why, LCS could do that!”

  • Islander

    Count me as one Active Duty Officer who is pro LCS.

    - The US Navy does not need the Nansen, as one poster suggested. I’ve toured a Nansen class Frigate when it came to Norfolk. It is a fantastic ship, but it is also a mini DDG 51 (SPY 1F, ~5300 tons, ~25 ft draft, ~26 kts). We will soon have more than sixty DDGs with more coming – we don’t need more.

    - Where are the mission modules? They are funded and they are being tested. The PCs, MCMs, and FFGs that they will replace aren’t scheduled to leave the fleet until later this decade (in some cases even later). The mission modules are coming. RADM Pandolfe’s SNA presentation lays it out quite well. And that is not just power point – I have been to Panama City and seen much of the hardware he described.

    A better question is where are the replacement Patrol Craft/minesweepers that everybody else wants to build? If we start from scratch now, it will be very difficult to get two or more new shipbuilding programs authorized and through the JCIDS process in an acceptable timeframe to meet requirements.

    - Look at what a large portion of the US Navy is doing today. Africa Partnership Station in 6th Fleet, OPLAT defense in 5th Fleet, and Drug Interdiction in 4th Fleet. LCS is ready to do those missions right now.

    - I’m convinced that an unmanned sled towing a minehunting sonar working with a MH-60S will be much better way of operating than driving through a minefield. I’m convinced that a fast ship with a variable depth sonar, Multi-Function Towed Array and a MH-60R dipping helo will hunt submarines in the littorals much better than FFG-7. I’m also convinced that a 57mm gun firing at 220 rpm, mounted 30 mm guns, and Griffin missiles combined with an armed helo (not always available, I know) will be exceptional at defeating small boats – especially when they work in packs.

    - LCS is not going anywhere. It has overwhelming support from Congress and OSD. The debate is no longer whether or not we should buy LCS, that is settled. The debate is how we can use it best in the Fleet and spiral new capability into later hulls. I would hope that some of our top maritime enthusiasts can turn their attention to those questions, rather than simply write off what will soon be a large portion of our surface fleet.

  • sid

    “- Where are the mission modules? They are funded and they are being tested.”

    Same thing was said about NLOS.

    “Look at what a large portion of the US Navy is doing today. Africa Partnership Station in 6th Fleet, OPLAT defense in 5th Fleet, and Drug Interdiction in 4th Fleet. LCS is ready to do those missions right now.”

    So is a Coastie WMEC. For FAR less money, and arguably more effectively from a reliability point of view.

    Which brings up another point. Raymond often touts the employment of these ships as something “new”

    Simply not so. If he ever took the time to deign to read the sources often offered, he would see that his idealized missions for this ….”warship that is not a combatant”. Even though “Combat” is literally its middle name…are no different than the USN’s multi-decade effort on the China Station.

    (Yeah. I know. Historical facts do not necessarily apply to the LCS…But for those who may take a passing interest)

    As for that whole, “Global Force or Good” non combat with the -non warship-that-sports-Combat-as-its-middle-name- ship that won’t ever be threatened beyond its capabilities plan….

    Where and when was that USN first ship sunk in the troubles leading up to WWII?

    Oh yeah:

    http://www.usspanay.org/

    Such is the potential for trouble when operating as you describe Islander

    “I’m convinced that an unmanned sled towing a minehunting sonar working with a MH-60S will be much better way of operating than driving through a minefield.”

    How convinced are that the reel problems are fixed on the H-60S?

    In what sea states will these ships be able to conduct flight ops?

    Some of the very roughest seas I’ve seen were in the “Littorals.”

    “…will be exceptional at defeating small boats – especially when they work in packs…”

    Whoa…The “word” now is these ships will be all but permanently configured in various SINGLE (call it “focused” if it makes you feel better) mission configuration. Will a commander risk his only MCM ship in a small boat knife fight?

    (Remember Fletcher’s hard choice at Savo?)

    “I’m convinced that a fast ship with a variable depth sonar,”

    LOL!!! Islander thats one of the funniest oxymorons I’ve seen in a while.

    Fast? + VDS? (snicker)

    “I would hope that some of our top maritime enthusiasts can turn their attention to those questions, rather than simply write off what will soon be a large portion of our surface fleet.”

    I would hope that someone currently on watch would have the…temerity…to stand up like Sims did a century ago, and point out the travesty that is the LCS being heaped upon our incredibly shrinking fleet.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70D15F83C5A15738DDDAA0A94DF405B888CF1D3

    “- LCS is not going anywhere.”

    Yah know Islander, I wish I could say its a positive that I can agree with you here…But I simply can’t find it in my heart to do so…But your are dead on right about that particular point more than you ever should be:

    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2011/01/sunday-funnies_23.html

  • navark

    “I’m convinced that a fast ship with a variable depth sonar, Multi-Function Towed Array and a MH-60R dipping helo will hunt submarines in the littorals much better than FFG-7.”

    Well, you’re going to need a new ship then, because neither of the designs can accommodate the sonar or the tail. I suppose the helo will be ok… until the less-than-generous supply of JP-5 runs out.

  • Al L.

    The last comment of Byron brings up something that irks me about those who are critical of LCS. They often point to other ships that supposedly cost no more or less than LCS.
    Well… lets start with this:

    http://www.ocnus.net/artman2/publish/Defence_Arms_13/Norwegian-Navy-Receives-Last-of-Five-Fridtjof-Nansen-Class-Frigates.shtml

    Nansen’s class cost as of this month is $3.25 billion dollars. For 5 ships. Thats $650 million a piece. That’s just the start. Thats the total class cost. The class was started in 2000. Now lets assume amortization over 10 years 2000-2010 and adjust for inflation over those years. That would mean the total cost in 2011 dollars is about $3.7 billion. Wait! I’m not done. The exchange rate between N. Kroner and dollars has evolved substantially over that time. If we use an average of the exchange rate over that period we find the actual cost of the Nansen class in 2011 dollars is somewhere around $4.5+ billion. Or $900,000,000 per ship. Thats BEFORE it’s run through the US Military/Industrial/Congressional Complex. Likely its a $1- 1.15 billion US ship.

    So what does the Navy want. A flexible ship that adds numbers to the fleet, that can be effective in areas that are DDG distractions or another VLS ship in half the numbers with missile cells that will never be filled under current budgetary conditions. In short if you want more neutered FFGs then by all means build a Eurofrigate. It will likely have a life trajectory similar to the Perrys. If you want something to fill in the fleet gaps on the low end in numbers then build LCS.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Late to the party I see.

    First of all the Navy is paying too much for too little.
    We need. to. do. much. better. to. reach. good. enough.

    The ships won’t last. Aluminum, can’t take the beating in peacetime ops. Ask about the aluminum mod LCM8 ferry in La Maddalena maintenance headaches, a place which is inshore littoral. Bad.

    In a battle all aluminum ships are a deathtrap. Flat statement.
    Delude yourself as much as you like. Or do your homework. Byron has 40 years building ‘em and seeing what comes back broke in peacetime service and he knows it stinks. He doesn’t have a rank or a fancy title, or any reason to even participate, except professional curiosity and patriotism. He is a master craftsman, the ultimate unimpeachable expert witness.

    As for Mr. Work and the rest who impress you so much, well rank, charm, status in the moneyed ruling class don’t trump what most of a lifetime at sea and on the waterfront have taught me or invalidate what my eyes see. Besides, not enough contractors fear ‘em. They slide through too easy and, to me, that’s not a vote of confidence. Uncle John Bulkeley they ain’t.

    The hull mounted (seaframe is a word used by arrogant ignoramuses from the airplane builders – just silly) guns… one very light naval gun and two heavy auto cannon. No reliability by duplication and inadequate arc of fire. No good reason for it. The replacement missile is not good enough, see Salamander’s back numbers. Good money after bad, for too many shortcomings and headaches. No good reason for it.

    ASW module. Robot boat mounted towed arrays and the boat launch gear has trouble. Totally sea state limited. No quick reaction ltwt torp ship launch, no good reason. No active sonar, so no snap shot defense. Shallow restricted water is not optimum for towed arrays but is very good for small modern AIP SS’s. Why give up the ability to get a fish in the water quick when you detect it late, at or near the firing point? Passive arrays take time and water depth to stabilize and hold down own ship noise. Ignoring the sonar equations isn’t revolutionary, it’s dumb. Roaring around sounds, bays, deltas, archipelagos at high speed in shallow water won’t work for hull mounted arrays. So how you going to get 24 hour 7 day endurance out of 30 foot or so robot boats. You won’t. Boats are like airplanes, need lotta maintenence, need capable shop, techs, special tools, spares, and many units to keep a few units off the ship doing the job. With quiet air independent propulsion and long range homing torpedoes a small conventional submarine in shallow/restricted waters will likely be extremely effective, and the ship is a one shot one kill target.

    Mine hunter? Overpriced, can get better, cheaper. Talk to the Dutch. Hyper specialized ships and this is a TFX concept. Just not cost effective.

    DC. Hopeless. Flat statement. I know, you don’t (sorry).

    Helo. No double hanger, no good reason. No haul down gear for recovering helos, no good reason. So you beat it up, maybe lose it in rough seas and what (or who) do you have on board to fix it? Hrmph.

    Fuel capacity/endurance. Too low for a ship, much less a helo basing one. The endurance of a patrol craft. RAS/FAS gear not good enough. A helo with no gas to put in it is useless.

    Module distribution, change out, shuffling fast talk? Powerpoint induced mental incapacity and loss of common sense. A con. Don’t think so? Buy one of those little toys with 15 sliding blocks and one empty space. Now reverse the order from 1-15 to 15 thru 1. Complex, takes a lot of time? Child’s play. The point? The whole idea is too logistically complex and takes too much time. So why pay extra to design a overpriced ship with it? If any module ever reaches IOC.

    The “we need the numbers/it’s the ship we got in the hand/it’ll do for the marginal but must do crap” argument. Wrongheaded. Timid. We don’t need fangless eunuchs that can’t take a hit, just to get command tours for O5′s to make enough O6′s to generate into flags, who think this is a good ship or the decision history behind it is good management. In combat they will just sink. So why buy one?

    Crew size. Exhaustion is a major issue in combat or just very active patrolling in a combat zone. Everybody in a Repair Locker has a vital job and fighting hurt uses people up fast. Just not enough for a fighting ship. Flooding accumulates FAST. Fire spreads FAST.

    This thing will lose battles and kill our sailors. That alone is reason enough to junk it and get better. What we need to transform is the system and culture that would do this. If it takes a decade, well, every day we don’t start is another day with a decade of reform and redesign we have ahead.

    LCS delende est.

    Yes, I am am old and long out of the loop. I could be wrong. Maybe.

    Peanut Gallery?

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    For me… The guy who would be the attack team leader (Or, in a ship of 40 personnel, would the CMC have to fill that role and YN2(SW) is the plugman… Or, is the Pulgman position automated now?) in the DC locker… I would hope and pray for that extra 10% (4 Sailors) to be abord. I would hope that they would all be E1-E4 too.

    Every Sailor aboard is going to end up coming from DDGs, Amphibs, CVNs et al. last info I got was that the most junior aboard LCS was a PO2. Having just left LPD 17, I can tell you with no exageration, that the PO1s aboard suffered from massive culture shock from how things had to work aboard LPD 17 than they did aboard any other class of ship. SAN isn’t even half as different from the rest of the Fleet as LCS (either of them) is.

    I wasn’t lucky enough to see if anyone addressed this at WEST or SWA. But, I hope they did; to have someone indoc’d into the Navy aboard a tried-and-true hull and then PCS into a ship vastly different, isn’t a good thing. The SORM exists for a reason.

  • Byron

    Everything that Grandpa Bluewater said is on the mark. First and foremost, LCS is a WARship. That means the expectation is this ship will be in battle one day. How we design, build, outfit and prepare the crew will determine whether or not the ship is still alive on day two of the war. A crew of 40 (you really can’t count the module duty section, they’ll be busy enough) is simply not enough to fight the ship and perform damage control to save the ship at the same time. This one point, from day one nearly four years ago has been my first and most important objection. We don’t build ships to be kamikazes. We’ve never had a platform (except for the PT boats) that we knew up front had almost zero chance to bring her crew home. You see, the most expensive equipment aboard any ship is her crew. Their knowledge and experience are priceless; they have always been the ones that nutured the youngest sailors and prepared them for their profession..

    I’ll agree that LCS doesn’t need to be all that Nansen is…but Nansen is well equiped to operate inside the 10 fathom curve and not only defend herself but also do some heavy lifting. She has a helo that can operate around the clock to look for subs. She has a bow mounted sonar. She has ASMs and SAMS. She is a WARship.

    The FFGs wouldn’t have been neutered had they not taken the Mk 13 launcher off. Antiquated? Tell that to the RAAN. Not only did they keep the launcher with updated SM-1, they also dropped an 8 cell VLS in the Bos’ns office and filled it with ESSMs.

    Al, not having a module for the first LCS to work with (or the second, now) is sort of like not having the dealership install the radio, the air conditioner and a radiator. The damn silly over-expensive modules should have been waiting for the first ship. No frickin’ excuse. They had a LOT of time. Instead the screwed the Navy and the taxpayer and they’re STILL doing it.

    KILL LCS NOW!!!!

  • USNVO

    @Galrahn,

    “And according to the folks I have spoken with, both LCS designs may be the most efficient ships in the entire fleet at slow speeds, so what definition would you like to use? That comes at a cost, like you say, of being the least efficient ships in the entire fleet at high speed – but the speed is very high.”

    To put it bluntly, the people you are talking to are either ignorant or talking apples to oranges. As Chuck Hill indicated, the PCs, MCMs, and most probably the LSDs are more efficient at slow speed. Why? Because they have propellors that are turned by diesel engines which is inherently more efficient than waterjets in that speed range. If the FFG7 used diesel cruise engines or better yet, diesel powered Integrated Electric Drive, it would be far more efficient than a LCS. Compared to a DDG51 or CG47, they are more fuel efficient, but we are not replacing those ships are we?

    I get the concept. I even support the concept! We want to replace the PCs and FFGs that currently do the low end maritime security role, and the single purpose (and low apparent utility until you really really need it) MHCs and MCMs with something that has broader utility, and hopefully survivability, in the maritime security role. So we need to do
    1. Maritime Security
    2. ASuW against low end threats like boats
    3. Maritime Security
    4. Littoral ASW (sort of)
    5. Maritime Security
    6. MCM (sort of)
    7. and oh yeah, Maritime sScurity

    So why do we need 45kts? What in the mission set requires 45kts? I ask because that is what is making them so expensive. New engines, new transmissions, new waterjets, new hull forms, lighter materials, low payload, etc. How often do the DDGs, CGs, and FFGs currently doing these missions say, “If only I could go an extra 15kts!”? If we had built the ships like a modern Bear class WMEC with integrated electric drive instead, they could easily make 25kts which is probably fast enough (the Bears only make 20kts but wouldn’t need much more power to make 25kts), have a fraction of the price tag, be rugged as hell with good seakeeping, have two to three times the endurance, and far more weight available for mission modules and defense. And what would you give up?
    1. 20kts of speed. So what? You won’t even use it 5pct of the time and usually then just because you can not because you have to. I have a helo or RHIBs if I need speed, they can go 100+ kts and 40+ knots respectively.
    2. 4ft of draft. Again, so what? Think we are sending them into water 15ft deep very often? That is what Rhibs and such are for.
    3. probably 1000tons of displacement. Yet again, so what?
    4. the requirement to support five new types of engines (LCS uses the same gas Turbine as DDG-1000). Instead you would only need one new engine.
    5. the headache of aluminium construction?
    6. the poor seakeeping?
    7. the incredibly bad (for what is basically an OPV) fuel economy?

    I dealt with the MCM mission modules for several years (admittedly several years ago). When the program manager celebrates because they found 800lbs per container by using a different door and can now meet weight requirements and don’t have to further reduce the amount of stuff carried in the modules (last I had heard they don’t even carry replacement oil for the WLD-1 engine let alone repair tools), you have the wrong type of hull form.

    What we need is a modern day Destroyer Escort; cheap to build, cheap to man, and able to handle the low end missions so the main fleet units can concentrate on the high end missions. What we are buying is a modern PT Boat/PHM; fast but with limited payload and range, but man they look good on recruiting posters.

  • Sperrwaffe

    Hello to everyone,
    I’ve been following the discussions concerning LCS inside this Blog for some time now.
    I would like to give some comments coming from an outsider from over the Atlantic. Some of the points may have already been mentioned. A special “Thank you” to Grandpa Bluewater . A very nice collection you presented. Sorry if I repeat some.

    Concerning the program itself:
    It reminds me of the typical procurement “behavior” which seems to apply for a lot of countries now: “Forget the operational requirements, they are bloody military…we know how it’s done…” Not to mention the qualification of the procurement guys.
    Some issues of the LCS program remind me of a certain frigate program being under development in my country. “What’s the use of this? Don’t know…Don’t care…It’s in the budget, DO IT…But why is it so expensive???DAMN”

    Concerning the operational environment:
    Well, I certainly cannot find a reason for designing a vessel, with the main task of operating in a littoral environment or even confined and shallow environment, this big. Being this big the speed advantage cannot be played in a fjord like environment. You will not be able to maneuver. And what about Speed vs. LCS-Draught/-Tonnage and available Water Depth? Have a look at the Baltic. Good luck….
    Which leads me to a rather provoking idea: Could it be that a vessel below 100m (sorry, that must be around 330ft) and speed below 30kts is considered as not suitable enough for Career Commands? The size and speed requirements are a “machismo-thing”?
    Besides, it’s not the underwater hull design which is expensive. It is the Engine and Propulsion needed for those extra knots which makes it really expensive.

    Anyhow, someone seems to know why people at NAVSEA (just one example, of course you know better which people are the decision makers) made all these decisions. But from reading your comments, I see that you also don’t have all explanations for design and other concepts.
    As someone stated in another discussion: Well defined operational capabilities for the Missions in a Littoral environment provide the first advantage (remember the FPB’s like Class 148, 143?..which evolved into new Corvette Designs? damned, I think I just lost my cover which country I come from…). Why else do countries which are familiar with Littorals/Confined and Shallow Waters tend to certain mandatory capabilities of their Vessels operating there?
    @Islander: Europe is a place to look for existing designs for small (from USN perspective) vessels, which could be replacements But I don’t think buying from shipyards outside US would be acceptable for your industry lobby. Or even that this idea would survive “americanisation” So back to the drawing board…

    Concerning the Modularity:
    I am not sure if this will work at all. LCS is already facing a lot of problems in the development of the modules. Not to mention the fulfillment of operational requirements for a lot of the components. And what about the mandatory documentation needed for all modules being tested on the vessels ready for swapping?

    What about the AUV’s? At last year’s “Symposium on technology and the mine problem” at the NPS a lot of “highly sophisticated program management ppt bull***t” was presented. Apparently, some problems for the logistical support sites for the Modules and minor stuff. But no real issues about the development of the components. Nothing about performance or even outstanding developments. It all came down to the statement: “Well, we don’t need to think too much about new developments for MCM or ASW. We have the Solution. The LCS! Mission accomplished….” “And not to mention the outstanding performance of the PEO’s involved…” Oh that’s just great, thank you very much for making my day…

    I will give you three examples.
    Change of Mission Role:
    You will not swap modules as originally planned. It will not work. A LCS will stay in MCM Role for some years. It will not change for every deployment. It’s a variety of problems: e.g. Logistics and Documentation for Modules, O&S for Modules and Specialist Training for the Modules iaw crew availability. Why has a swapping of Weapons Modules for a MEKO and even the Change of Mission Role for STANFLEX never been done? I admit, you will change components (like one component for simulation sweep instead of hunting), but more? mmmhh…not sure

    NMCM Role:
    What about disposal? Both LCS-designs pay absolutely no attention towards signature management (from a shipbuilding point of view). Disposal with the AUV/ROV remotely outside the minefield? At some stage, YOU WILL ENTER the Minefield, if you are not already in it because of bad or no INTEL. Good luck. I want to see the CATF/CLF who relies on these Clearance Reports. By the way, it’s not only the US Navy which believes AUV’s are the solution for everything. Well, they are certainly not! Grandpa mentioned SeaState. Yes Sir! and a lot more…Just my two cents as a Naval Mine Warfare Idiot, having left the service…changed the sides but still working on Naval Mine Warfare.

    ASW Role: Concerning just the Signature issues mentioned above. Be assured, Submariners already love the acoustic signature (like a good old friend of mine, a former Class 206A and Class 212 CO does).

    You discussed the fuel issue here. And Galrahn pointed out that some of the high consumption values came from extensive use during RIMPAC. I have a question: Why did the LCS have to be integrated into a CVN group? I just don’t get it. It’s a LCS! It was designed to operate in the Littorals, the place where the CVN and his group get very nervous when knocking at the door (like coming near the Baltic, entering THE NORTH SEA…sorry…). It is not an Escort. Or is that the reason to make a ship that big so fast? To be able to go with a carrier group?

    But I will stop know. Must have already bored you to death…

    Well, I just wanted to give you some personal impressions from an outsider point of view and I certainly lack a lot of detail concerning all aspects of the LCS Program. It is challenging and time will tell how things will work. I think it will be very interesting to see.

    If I may add this postscript off topic : I really enjoy all topics you discuss inside this blog. Especially the recent discussions about Leadership/Command. I hope the USNI Blog and you guys will continue this for a long time.

    Best regards to all the men and women and their families, having done their duty and still doing their duty for your country.

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “You are acting like the requirements doc for the LCS was written in ink at some point in time and became gospel.”

    You’re missing the point completely.

    1) You’ve proclaimed that the original target prices (objective = $150 million; threshold = $220 million) were *ridiculously low in the first place*.

    2) As I’ve tried to explain earlier, these target prices were actually quite *reasonable* for what LCS was supposed to be in the first place, i.e. a seaframe built to civilian standards.

    3) Then, some time in 2004, someone *up there* decided that LCS could no longer be what it was supposed to be in the first place. This is well explained in the following 2008 article in the NY Times :
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/us/25ship.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    “But as Lockheed and the Navy were completing contract negotiations in 2004, the rules changed drastically. Commercial ferry standards, the Navy determined, would not do.

    The underlying principle behind the decision, Admiral Sullivan said, was that the new ships had to be able to “hang tough in a storm and take some battle damage and still survive long enough” for the crew to be rescued.

    A military expert said the Navy had badly miscalculated.

    “They were eager to take advantage of commercial practices and the lower cost of buying off the shelf, but they did a lousy job of understanding the war-fighting requirements,” said the military expert, who asked not be named because he was involved with the program. “It was like, ‘You mean you want to put wheels on that car?’ ”

    Adm. Gary Roughead, the current chief of naval operations, said: “We had thought that the commercial variant would not be that far away from what we needed. I’ll tell you, that was underestimated.””

    4) Problem is that *they* somehow *forgot* to revise the cost targets accordingly, and that these *not-up-to-date* targets were those on the basis of which Congress had approved funding for the program.

    5) This situation somehow *lingered* for about 3 years, until someone *up there* finally conceded that the Navy was *having considerable cost overruns* on this program. See for instance :
    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/01/dfnLCScostsweb07011/

    Note that, in the same article, the people *up there* continued to proclaim that the cost of the trimaran would remain *well under $300 million* and that *the estimate for the second GD ship will be around $240 million to $250 million*.

    Riiiiiiiight…

    To me, this shows a clear problem of LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY, which, for some reason, you don’t seem willing to discuss in the context of this specific program.

    And, for some reason, you now expect people in this audience to take at face value every rosy thing the Navy says about this program ?

    You cannot be serious…

  • pred

    24 vessels of the class are a few too many for an experiment in my book, but now that they are signed for it is time to make the most of them. Out of all the vessels they replace they are bound to be an improvement on at least one. The LCS 1 crew seemed very enthusiastic about what they could do with the ship but were also still learning massive amounts (suppose that process has come a long way since 2009). I hope the results from RIMPAC did not surprise too much though. Unless they forgot to think about some of those what ifs during the accelerated acquisition process.

    Gal, on efficiency I am agreeing that they will be rather efficient at low speeds compared to the larger gas turbine driven units. The hybrid drive path for DDG 51s means these are due for a major efficiency gain at low speeds. A naval architect or someone with better memory than I will also be able to go into more detail on how both LCS variants are actually much more efficient at high speeds and not so much at low speeds. The hull form and waterjets combination means somewhere in excess of 50 per cent (I remember a much higher number)of propulsive power at 15 kts is wasted since waterjets are operating in a suboptimal speed regime. Go above 20 kts and the situation changes, but LCS 1 for instance cannot without turbines. Anyone have the patience to work out how much fuel/$$$ this waste at low speeds over 95 per cent of its service life works out as? Those 5 per cent spent above 30 kts are very expensive, and not just in immediate fuel burn (enter stage left rolling/motions at less than rock steady speeds). I only bring up the contemporary surface combatants since I expect my ideal LCS seaframe looks a lot more like them.

    Oh, someone mentioned Towed Array Sonar. Yes, they can fit one. The biggest Thales active source you can get (as fitted on 4-6,000 t) Euro frigates and an existing hydrophone array are due to be trialled (on LCS 2 if I remember correctly). The USV fitted one came up short. But there will be no hull mounted sonar.

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “Are you advocating the Navy should have bought corvettes or frigates instead?”

    The discussion is about LCS right now, and more specifically, about some specific facts you offered in your opening post.

    What I’m saying is that on the very first topic you mentioned, i.e. acquisition costs, you got NONE of your facts right. NONE of them.

    Furthermore, I observe that you seem to decline discussing the costs of the mission packages, after proclaiming that the *mission module estimate turned out to be ridiculously high*, which clearly isn’t the case.

    1) Like I pointed earlier, the $180 million (or was it $150 million ?) was initially for THREE packages per seaframe, meaning a unit cost of $50-60 million.

    2) Later on, based on USN budget figures, Ronald O’ Rourke observed back in December of 2004 that *the first 13 LCSs
    would cost an average of $215 million each, and the first 23 mission modules would cost an average of $82 million each.*

    see pages 3-4 of the following report :
    http://www.ndu.edu/library/docs/crs/crs_rs21305_23dec04.pdf

    3) This has a couple of implications :

    a) the average cost of $82 million each is pretty close to the amortized cost of $90 million you suggest, thus defeating your claim that MP initial cost estimate *turned out to be ridiculously high*.

    b) 23 mission packages for 13 seaframes means 1.77 MP per seaframe, which is significantly higher than the current 1.16 MP per seaframe.

    The truth is that a significant portion of the cost overruns on the seaframe side was absorbed by the mission packages, which not only got individually downsized, but also less numerous in total.

    IOW : MORE BUCKS, LESS BANGS.

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “Lets do the math. 35,000 x .14 = 4,900. 35,000 – 4,900 = 30,100 which is less fuel than “the FFG-7 class frigates consumed” of “31,000 barrels of fuel per ship in 2009.””

    To add to the excellent comments made by Chuck Hill and USNVO, I’d like to post a couple of numbers :

    1) LCS-1 is expected to have a range of about 2,500 NM @ 16 knots.

    I posted more data on this over at Sal’s place in the comments section of this post :
    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2011/01/slow-staggering-death-of-lcs-continues.html

    2) FFG-7 has a range of more than 4,000 NM @ 20 knots (see for instance Norman Friedman’s US destroyers, page 485).

    Now, before you continue to focus on the wrong metrics, you have to ask yourself such questions as :

    a) which class will place the heaviest burden in terms of logistics while underway ?

    b) does one gallon UNREP really cost the same as one gallon in harbor as the *knowledgeable* folks at CBO seem to believe ?

    On a sidenote, I’d also like to see a source for the 14% fuel efficiency improvement you suggest, because, in my books, such a claim doesn’t hold water at all.

  • ex-EM1(SS)Clark Ward

    I’ve tried to be polite in discussions on the LCS, because I know that there are some otherwise intelligent people who for some unknowable reason really, really like LCS. But lately, listening to Galrahn go on about it is like being at a party with a slightly-drunk friend who goes on and on about how hot a particularly ugly girl is. It’s off-putting and uncomfortable. Among the many critisms levelled against LCS by her detractors, I will focus on 2, based on my enlisted perspective. First is manning; I respect Galrahn’s opinions in most cases, but it’s become clear that he’s not been on watch after being awake for 30 hours doing special evolutions. To say that 40 crew even approaches adequate, that 10% more would approach ‘good’, is simply a staggering failure to understand life at sea. Let alone combatting casualties or doing emergent maintenance at sea. I have not once in my time at his blog thrown the ‘I’ve been there, you haven’t’ flag. But I’m throwing it on this. Respectfully.
    Second, Grampa’s covered pretty much my bullet list of ‘why I don’t like LCS’, but I want to harp on DC. Over-reliance on automated DC will cost us lives and ships. Like Grampa said, all the automated systems in the world won’t plug a hole in the hull. I’ll add, won’t use a band-it kit, either, nor use years of experience and lots of strong backed sailors to do tasks that only well-directed teams of strong-backed jack tars can do in a casualty.
    I will roger up and admit that I am not surface, I am a bubblehead. But if you think about it, do not submarines place a premium on manning, and require all sailors aboard to cross-qualify outside their rates? I, as a nuclear electrician’s mate was the battlestations port torpedo tube battery captain, firing Tomahawks off the coast of what was once Yugoslavia. The stbd battery captain was a nuke machinist. I know a thing or two about highly-trained crews and tight manning. LCS is undermanned to the point of Pre-emptive FAIL. V/R, ex EM1(SS) Me

  • Islander

    Navark –

    I would encourage you keep pace with program developments. The LCS ASW Mission Package (Spiral B) will contain a Variable Depth Sonar, and a Multi-Function Towed Array. The Variable Depth Sonar is an off the shelf purchase, and the MFTA is similar to the backfit that will be given to the Flight I DDGs at DDG MOD.

    Plug and Play. Spiral Capability into mission packages as it develops…

  • Byron

    Islander: Is.It.Ready.To.Deploy.Today?

    There are two LCS’s delivered. Why do they not have the modules that are one major part of this class’s core functions? Why is LCS not currently deploying this module to validate operational parameters?

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “What is interesting to note is how everyone discusses how there is no smoother ride on the seas than when USS Freedom (LCS 1) gets going at high speed,”

    This is far from unusual for a semi-planning monohull to offer that kind of smooth ride at high speed, so this is at least one topic where the pro-LCS folks can’t claim to re-invent the law of physics.

    However, it has to be understood that LCS will most likely spend at most 5% of its time as such extreme speeds, and probably well over 80% of its time at speeds of 20 knots or below.

    Despite her enthusiasm, CDR Kris Doyle conceded about a couple of years ago that the seakeeping qualities of the monohull design were *not so good* at moderate speeds, even in the calm waters they experienced at the time.

    In the same vein, the much-regretted Phil Ewing described some not-too-dissimilar experience with the trimaran design back in April of 2010 :
    http://militarytimes.com/blogs/scoopdeck/2010/04/02/the-drunk-walk-and-the-peacock-tail/

    “The answer: It rolls. A lot. Independence had clear skies, calm seas and only moderate winds for its transit from Key West to Naval Station Mayport, but the ship rolls and pitches like a drunken whale. Early after it sailed from Mobile, Ala., the ship hit heavy weather and eight-foot seas, and wallowed so much that life was miserable for many crew members and riders. “I’ve never seen so many people get seasick,” one sailor confided; the Night of the Living Vomit is already a crew institution.

    (emphasis added)

  • Scott B.

    Islander said : “The Variable Depth Sonar is an off the shelf purchase”

    This entire thingy is something worth watching over the next months or so, for a variety of reasons :

    1) The LFA VDS, namely CAPTAS-4 / UMS 4249 / S2087 by Thales, so far only exists as a fixed installation on the French / Italian FREMMS and the British T23s. Turning into a *plug-and-play* modular package may not be as easy as you seem to believe.

    2) The CAPTAS-4 is a pretty big animal : 39 metric tonnes, 84 square meters on the quarter deck, with two separate winches. As a matter of fact, the datasheet currently available on the Thales website clearly says that CAPTAS-4 is meant for platforms over 3,000 tons, and both the T23s and the FREMMs displace well over 4,000 tons.

    3) In the contract announced in July 2010, it says that the LFA VDS must be able to “work in deep water at combatant flank speeds“, which supposedly means 40+ knots in the case of LCS.

    When I look at the Thales documentation, the CAPTAS LFA VDS is said to have a maximum tow speed (i.e. survival) of 30 knots. So if they really intend to push it to 40+ knots, they’ll probably have to make some very significant changes to the design of the tow body and cables.

    I’m also also very skeptical about the performances that can be obtained from a towed sonar at speeds in excess of 25-30 knots.

    Wait and see…

  • Scott B.

    BTW, I seem to remember of a certain discussion over at ID where some people proclaimed that a sonar was a prohibitively expensive piece of equipment.

    Take a quick look at the contract annoucement on the VDS :
    http://www.defense.gov/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4315

    Does $9.7 million (up to $12.7 million) sound like prohibitively expensive for what probably represents the most advanced LFA VDS currently available for surface combatants ?

    Just trying to set the record straight here…

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “Insufficient hotel services : I’m not convinced that’s true”

    Here is one quote from the latest [FY2010] DOT&E annual report (pages 144-145) :

    “LCS-1 : The crew appears to be operating at nearly full capacity during routine operations, and the Navy is still assessing whether the crew is “right-sized” to cope with the workload. The ship does not have sufficient installed berthing to accommodate the nominal crew complement, nor is the installed refrigerated food storage capacity sufficient to meet the prescribed provision endurance.

    DOT&E annual report available here :
    http://www.defensenews.com/static/defense_fy2010_dote_annual_report.pdf

  • sid

    I currently have a more lengthy fisking of Islander’s comments above stuck in the moderation locker…

    Islander, you have come up with one of the funniest oxymorons I’ve seen in a while.

    A “fast VDS” ship.

    As usual, proponentsof the LCS believe that historical facts…and immutable laws of physics…do not apply to them.

    Like that drivel that either the two designs ride well at low speeds.

  • sid

    (breaking this out of moderation…)

    “- Where are the mission modules? They are funded and they are being tested.”

    Same thing was said about NLOS.

    “Look at what a large portion of the US Navy is doing today. Africa Partnership Station in 6th Fleet, OPLAT defense in 5th Fleet, and Drug Interdiction in 4th Fleet. LCS is ready to do those missions right now.”

    So is a Coastie WMEC. For FAR less money, and arguably more effectively from a reliability point of view.

    Which brings up another point. Raymond often touts the employment of these ships as something “new”

    Simply not so. If he ever took the time to deign to read the sources often offered, he would see that his idealized missions for this ….”warship that is not a combatant”. Even though “Combat” is literally its middle name…are no different than the USN’s multi-decade effort on the China Station.

    (Yeah. I know. Historical facts do not necessarily apply to the LCS…But for those who may take a passing interest)

    As for that whole, “Global Force or Good” non combat with the -non warship-that-sports-Combat-as-its-middle-name- ship that won’t ever be threatened beyond its capabilities plan….

    Where and when was that USN first ship sunk in the troubles leading up to WWII?

    Oh yeah:

    http://www.usspanay.org/

    Such is the potential for trouble when operating as you describe Islander

  • sid

    “I’m convinced that an unmanned sled towing a minehunting sonar working with a MH-60S will be much better way of operating than driving through a minefield.”

    How convinced are you that the reel problems are fixed on the H-60S?

    In what sea states will these ships be able to conduct flight ops?

    In what sea states will the much smaller H-60 be able to tow sleads…ASSUMING the reel problems are resolved?

    Some of the very roughest seas I’ve seen were in the “Littorals.”

    “…will be exceptional at defeating small boats – especially when they work in packs…”

    Whoa…The “word” now is these ships will be all but permanently configured in various SINGLE (call it “focused” if it makes you feel better) mission configuration. Will a commander risk his only MCM ship in a small boat knife fight?

    (Remember Fletcher’s hard choice at Savo?)

    “I’m convinced that a fast ship with a variable depth sonar,”

    LOL!!! Islander thats one of the funniest oxymorons I’ve seen in a while.

    Fast? + VDS? (snicker)

    “I would hope that some of our top maritime enthusiasts can turn their attention to those questions, rather than simply write off what will soon be a large portion of our surface fleet.”

    I would hope that someone currently on watch would have the…temerity…to stand up like Sims did a century ago, and point out the travesty that is the LCS being heaped upon our incredibly shrinking fleet.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70D15F83C5A15738DDDAA0A94DF405B888CF1D3

  • sid

    “- LCS is not going anywhere.”

    Yah know Islander, I wish I could say its a positive that I can agree with you here…But I simply can’t find it in my heart to do so…But your are dead on right about that particular point more than you ever should be:

    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2011/01/sunday-funnies_23.html

  • Byron

    Yup, she sat at Mayport since two weeks before Christmass and then about the middle of January migrated over to BAE (formerly Atlantic Dry Dock). There’s been a steady stream of GD folks moving in and out. The top of the superstructure is staged, as is the “foc’sl” and the helo nets appear to be covered. That leads me to believe the non-skid is being worked on. Lord knows what else is being worked on, as other reports say that LCS-2 showed up here short a few items on her acceptance trials…

  • sid

    Yup, she sat at Mayport since two weeks before Christmas and then about the middle of January migrated over to BAE (formerly Atlantic Dry Dock).

    Thats because she was accepted before she was complete…

    As for LCS 2—built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and shipbuilder Austal USA—the DOT&E notes that the ship was found to be incomplete during acceptance trials. “Several spaces and critical systems were incomplete and had not been accepted by the government,” the DOT&E says. “Spaces and systems that were accepted had various levels of documented material deferrals.”

    The Navy says it needs a second acceptance trial, which is tentatively scheduled for early 2011.

  • sid

    What we do know is that LCS is very, very efficient at slower speeds (and LCS 2 even more so), and comes with bursts of very high speeds.

    By what vaporous metric I wonder?

    Anyone who owns a garden variety center console boat can talk about how a semi planing hull rides at slow speeds in a seaway, and how much they have to pay at the pump

    And will call that a bunch of bunk for LCS-1.

    I take it you are getting this inside dope from the same folks who still insist these ships were named after midsized cities perhaps?

    And Scot has already posted the Scoopdeck reference about the LCS-2 standing into Key West doing her little rolly polly dance.

  • sid

    What we do know is that LCS is very, very efficient at slower speeds (and LCS 2 even more so), and comes with bursts of very high speeds.

    I have yet to see a rational explanation on the need for all the Stupid Speed.

    Get rid of that albatross, and you can come up with some viable hulls for the first gen unmanned systems. It isn them that speed will matter. Not in the boat.

    As mentioned above, speed as an effective operational and tactical platform attribute has fallen short of its promise every time…

    But it sure is sexy….

  • sid

    “What is interesting to note is how everyone discusses how there is no smoother ride on the seas than when USS Freedom (LCS 1) gets going at high speed, and if we presume this is the speed the ships will have during combat, stability might actually be a tactical advantage for weapons delivery LCS has over everything else.”

    For shipdrivers that of late have been having trouble maintaining SA in the vicinity of the sea buoy of their homeports at bare steerageway…this is an outright joke right?

    Lets just see how that will work in the Bonga Field…Or off the Orinoco, or in the vicinity of the Spratleys….

  • sid

    oh yeah…

    What are the limiting speeds for opening all those spiffy doors?

    What is the limiting sea state and speeds for deploying the not yet ready for prime time modules?

  • DOC ZEE

    Mission-Specific, the Littoral Combat Ships are the smartest thing the Navy has done since the PT-Boat … Extreme Capability and Predictable Results from Combat Rediness and Intelligent Design are the very objectives we need to keep a Forward-Moving Navy strong, efficient, successful, and ahead of all the others, to Rule the Seas intrepidly and come out on Top in every engagement … Non-Combat-Seasoned personnel need have no comment on any issue regarding the Design Development and proving of U S Naval Fighting Craft … Better left to Real Veterans

  • Chuck Hill

    This could actually work out reasonably well.

    For the next four or five years the Navy works on the modules and builds 20 more LCS.

    In the meantime the Coast Guard is working on their Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC).

    http://cgblog.org/2010/11/13/new-renderings-of-proposed-opc/

    The same year that the Navy is ready to start issuing follow-on contracts for the remaining 31 LCSs, the Coast Guard will be ready to award contracts for the first of 25 OPCs.

    We build 56 ships to the same basic design. Relatively simple, all steel, diesel electric powered, 25(+) knot, approx 330 foot, 3,000 ton ships.

    The Navy permanently installs towed array on 16 of theirs and leaves the remaining 15 open for MCM installations.

    The Coast Guard has towed arrays installed on some of their ships so that they can track down drug smuggling submarines and leaves the remainder open for MCM installations.

    http://cgblog.org/2011/01/31/bring-back-the-coast-guard-asw-mission/

    The 24 LCS 1 and 2 class ships specialize as “swarm destroyers” which has been their reason for being all along (even though I have never found any of the scenarios credible).

    The country ends up with 80 LCS in three classes, some optimized for ASW, some MCM, and its 24 “swarm destroyers.”

  • Scott B.

    Al L. said : “The last comment of Byron brings up something that irks me about those who are critical of LCS. They often point to other ships that supposedly cost no more or less than LCS.”

    1) The $3.25 billion figure you mention is not just for 5 frigates, but also include such stuff as drydock expansion, NH-90 helos, naval strike missile,…

    The value of the deal signed June 2000 for 5 Nansens was NOK 14,066 millions. Some *adjustments* drove the contract value to something like NOK 19 billions.

    2) Your comment about USD/NOK exchange rates doesn’t make much sense, since :

    a) the value produced in Norway accounts for a minor percentage of the contract. Why even bother with NOK then ?

    b) US-made equipment accounts for almost 40% of the overall contract value. Lockheed Martin alone accounts for over 1/3 of the total with AEGIS/SPY and Mk-41 VLS. Other US-made stuff include the LM 2500 gas turbine, the CS-3701 ESM,… Why would exchange rate fluctuations even impact this significant share of the costs ?

  • Scott B.

    Post above should read :

    “The value of the deal signed June 2000 for 5 Nansens was NOK 14,066 millions. Some *adjustments* drove the contract value to something like NOK 16 billions.”

  • Islander

    A fast VDS ship is not an oxymoron. Anyone with ASW experience knows you can’t search with active sonar at very high speeds. The speed is not used while searching, it is used in transit, to limit the furthest on circle of a submarine. Imagine an LCS sprinting between CVOAs rapidly sanitizing waterspace with multiple sound sources prior to arrival of the HVU.

    And, remember all the FFG 7 critics back in the seventies?

    “The FFG-7 program has met with considerable criticism in recent years on several accounts. It has proved far more costly than originally planned: estimates of its unit cost rose from about $65 million to $168 million in constant dollars in just three years. At the same time, serious questions have been raised about its capabilities. Critics claim that the FFG lacks firepower and redundant sensors for operations in high-threat areas; that its single screw propulsion renders it vulnerable to attackers; that it lacks size and capacity for low-cost, mid-life modifications. Other critics have suggested that the FFG is too slow for conducting ASW operations against modern Soviet submarines. The House Armed Services Committee was particularly critical of the FFG program…”

    In thirty years I’m confident the next round of naysayers will complain that we’re not building ships as capable as LCS.

  • sid

    “Imagine an LCS sprinting between CVOAs rapidly sanitizing waterspace with multiple sound sources prior to arrival of the HVU.”

    Imagine indeed…

    After years abord both a VDS equipped DD…and more years later trailing all kinds of stuff working in the offshore seismic survey biz (primarlily in the very littorals a hapless non warship LC(?)S may find herself in a fight)…I KNOW that won’t be happening at 40 kts.

    Not in the real world anyway.

  • sid

    “Imagine an LCS sprinting between CVOAs rapidly sanitizing waterspace with multiple sound sources prior to arrival of the HVU.”

    Where is the oiler in this little “imagination” Islander?

    Out there, Alone and Unmolested? In the right spot at the right time?

  • sid

    Anybody remember when LCS wasn’t going to be a FFG-7 replacement? I think somebody with stars on said that. I know for a fact that Galhran agreed with that assessment a couple weeks ago.

    From 2009

    I do not know where the necessity to sell the Littoral Combat Ship as a frigate comes from, whether this is part of some larger capability requirements determined in a study somewhere, or simply a model for the sales campaign at Lockheed Martin, but if the US Navy need is central to more frigates, then that need will go unmet. The Littoral Combat Ship has nothing in common with a frigate, it is not fast enough to outrun enemy missiles and isn’t armed well enough to face off against most gunboats, corvettes, or other frigates; modern, missile, or otherwise. The LCS is not a warship, it is an unrated ship by any definition in Nelsons era, or this era.

    Words like warship and frigate matter, when the LCS is sold as a frigate or as a warship, it carries with the name an expectation the ship is best used as a warship or frigate. The LCS is neither best used or even well used as either. A modern warship that does not carry a single kill weapon of any kind is not a warship, and if the ship is intended to be used in theaters of war then it does so only as a support ship when it brings no offensive tactical capabilities during wartime. The function of the LCS is support, the tactical principles are exclusive to roles of scouting and C2, by every tactical metric as constructed and in CONOP when explained, the LCS is a support ship, not a warship. The intent to explain, describe, or sell the LCS as a warship is dangerous, dishonest, and deceitful.

  • sid

    The discussion is what the LCS is now – today. It is a generation one ship that meets three specific mission requirements.

    Today!?!?!

    Today….One of the two ships is in the yards being completed…Even though the USN bought it already…

    It is going slower than the poor, frigid cold manatees on the St. Johns.

    TODAY, it won’t counter small boat swarms.

    TODAY, it won’t hunt or neutralize mines.

    TODAY, it won’t find any subs.

    But even if the ship were truly complete, she couldn’t realistically do those things either….

    Because the mission modules…on track in a forcefully gesticulated .ppt supported brief by a FOGO though they may be…won’t be ready for the real world until the end of the decade.

  • Byron

    Oops…. Guess that’s my answer about the modules. You know, Galrahn, this whole mess is sort of like building an aircraft carrier…but the aircraft are still in developement…

  • RhodeIslander

    Byron, what IF … an aircraft carrier type ship had LESS propulsion horse power than LCS-1 ???

    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2008/060408_LCS1_GasTurbines_LightOff.html

    Look at the Horsepower (and MW conversion also) of EACH of the two gas turbines onboard USS FREEDOM !! Now, pull out your JANES ref book, and look up the total HP onboard LHD 1 class ! A better comparison would be, go look up the propulsion HP onboard USS MAKIN ISLAND LHD-8, since she also, like LCS-1, has one gas turbine for port and one for stbd “shafts”.

    Incredible that LCS-1 displays 3,200 tons and has MORE gas turbine HP than LHD-8′s gas turbines. LHD-8 is over 40,000 tons and has less HP than LCS-1.

    Soon to be posted, if I can locate it, will the FUEL capacity of LCS-1 vs. that of LHD class. It boggles the mind….

    LCS is like a Maseratti racing car: work on it carefully for 60 days, and then go race it for a week. Repeat. Loop forever.

  • All is not what it appears to be

    At SNA, RADM Pandolfe repeatedly said that mission package system after mission package system was “testing well.”

    Folks, someone should inform the testing community of this development–not to mention pass the kool-aid–because those who have seen the actual test reports know this is NOT the case.

    How many of the systems have passed OPEVAL anyway? Answer: ZERO.

    How many have tried to pass in the past 3 years only to fail miserably? Answer: SEVERAL.

    All is not hunky-dorey just because the Admiral with a vested interest in the success of the program gets up at a conference and basically says trust me, all is well (with little in the way of actual details)!

  • Al L.

    Scott B. said:
    “the value produced in Norway accounts for a minor percentage of the contract. Why even bother with NOK then ?”

    My point was to show that when comparing foreign ship cost to US ship cost some ignore all kinds of things.
    The more one ignores the farther one gets away from a business case and the closer one gets to “I just like the way it looks.”

    For the sake of saving typing I ignored another factor. US Navy ship building inflation runs 2% above general inflation. Which means that the Nansen class built with 2011 US dollars might cost $5.42 billion for 5 ships or $1.08 billion per ship. Deduct all the program peripherals included from that number if you have any info on what they cost to get closer to a true #.
    Inflation and exchange rates matter as do other factors.

  • RhodeIslander

    Byron, the LCS-1 also has two large Main Propulsion Diesel Engines MPDE installed. Fairbanks Morse Pielstick 16PA6B engines:

    http://www.fairbanksmorse.com/engine_colt_pielstick_pa6b.php?return=marine_power.php

    See the power given in KW. To convert to HP simply multiply the KW power by 4 and divide by 3 to get horsepower. 5600 KW of power equals 7467 HP per MPDE. Looking for the fuel consumption of these two 32 ton diesels on LCS-1. See above previous post for the HP of those 2 racing engines: MT-30 Rolls Royce Marine Trent gas turbines, which get thirsty at 16,000 lbs of fuel consumed per hour per engine. You know, for ALL the costs of these LCS, they should be nuclear powered since we’ve spent that much money including all the RDT&E. You know, the Total Cost of ownership figures that so-called program managers like to ignore.

  • Chuck Hill

    That much horse power should geve a ship of that length and size a speed of about 24 knots on diesels.

    From what I recall the LCS-1′s max speed on diesels is considerably less then 20.

    Anybody know the maximum speed of both LCS-1 and LCS-2 classes on diesel?

  • Al L.

    Scott B. said:
    ” Why would exchange rate fluctuations even impact this significant share of the costs ?”

    Let me illustrate.

    Let’s assume Nansen class cost 19b Kr. The program was 11 years long. 1/11th was spent in 2000 or 1.73b Kr. 40% of that was paid to US companies=.6920b Kr. In 2000 the conversion was .125 $/Kr. .6920x.125 =.0865b dollars went to the US.

    Its 2011 I want to buy the same piece of Nansen back with my 2011 dollars. At current exchange rates (.171) I now only get .5058 billion Kr. worth of Nansen for my money. If I want to get the same piece of Nansen back I have to spend .1183b dollars. 1.37x as much.
    Now let’s consider inflation. The Nansen piece I just bought back was 2000 Nansen. But I want to figure out what 2011 Nansen would cost me. An inflation calculator: http://www.halfhill.com/inflation.html
    will tell you your 2000 piece of Nansen will cost you .15b dollars if built in 2011.

    But wait! Have to add on that pesky 2% inflation the Navy pays above general inflation. Compound that over 11 years and your .15b piece of 2000 Nansen now costs you .18 billion dollars or 2.26 times as much as you sold it to the Norwegians for in 2000.
    Currency fluctuation matters. General inflation matters. US Navy ship building inflation REALLY matters.

  • USNVO

    @Chuck Hill,
    I am not sure, but I understand the top speed on diesels is over 20kts, probably in the same range as a displacement hull with similiar power. The number most seen for speed on diesels is the one for required endurance (18kts) although that is somewhat below the max speed on diesels.

    Appreciate the link to the drawing for a possible USCG OPC. The hull and engineering plant would seem to be a perfect fit for what the Navy should be looking for. Add a mission tailored superstructure with some rudementary RCS reduction features to support the mission and a water vehicle launch bay in back and you would end up with pretty much what the Navy should have asked for in the first place. Kill the whole 4:3 manning construct and increase crew size to 100 (I would have something like 60 crew, 20 air det, 20 mission det with at least 15-20% initial assession personnel) and throw in an extra 30 berths just because you never know. You would have all steel construction, good seakeeping, at least 2-3 times the payload available for things like fuel and modules, a 10,000nm endurance and margin for growth. With Integrated Electric Drive, you would even have 15MW or so of electrical power available to send ashore in an emergency! Given the size of a potential buy between the USCG and USN, you could have three shipyards compete to build them like the FFG-7 program.

    Nah, just makes to much sense.

  • War Eagle

    Two quotes stand out for me in his article:

    “I think expectations of ‘seamless integration’ of many moving parts is indeed impractical, but I am not sure where that expectation was evident in the Navy.”

    “That really is the beauty of a ship with a ton of space like LCS; if you are insufficient in some capability, with a modular design one can simply develop a plug-n-play the solution somewhere and when it is ready, bring it on the ship and get to work.”

    Sorry, but to me “plug-n-play” is seemless…

    The author is clearly a disciple of the LCS program. It is also clear that he either has a short memory or was not involved in the early days. Which leads to his best point:

    “Since none of us can go back in time, the question is whether there is evidence that lessons learned from the first in class ships are being incorporated into future designs for a better class of ship throughout the block.”

    Promises were made, hands were waved, and money was spent. We had a chance to throw in this hand, but instead we doubled down.

  • RhodeIslander

    MAX SPEEDS: LCS-1 on her 2 diesel engines (MPDE) had to struggle to get just over 15knots and that was without any SH-60 Helo plus some UAV’s (as the many propaganda drawings always like to show). Sometimes you see an SH-60 plus 3 tiny UAV’s crammed into the decent sized helo hanger. Unfortunately, since LCS-1 has only one (large) helo door, it will be difficult to operate 2 SH-60′s easily like an FFG or newer DDG can do.

    LCS-1 using her GAS TURBINES only, can quickly get up to just under 40 knots. Very smooth if the seas are glassy. 38 knots is wonderfully smooth and quiet and the NAVSEA goal was an unmanned engine room(s).

    Wouldn’t it be great if LCS-1 could do 18 knots on just her diesels ? Wouldn’t it be ideal if all the bays, gulfs, sea’s, oceans were always Sea State=0 so the LCS-1 crew could travel so fast whenever they wanted ? Wouldn’t it be great if you doubled the amount of fuel carried onboard and those 15kt and 38kt max speeds did not drop off ?

    Wouldn’t it be great if Diesel Fuel Marine (DFM) would only weigh much less than 7.1 lbs per gallon ? LCS-1 is a wrong ship for any Navy to operate on this planet.

  • Sperrwaffe

    Nice,
    it’s getting better and better.
    Too bad my first “outsider contribution” got stuck in the needed admin clearance process for newcomers. No chance left to find a gap between the rapid fire from sid and RhodeIslander yesterday…damn..
    Very good discussion and interesting perspectives.

  • sid

    Rhode Islander…

    Just how many MT30 ship installations…Outside the USN… are there?

    I can’t seem to find any at all, other than the Brit/French CVF.

    Well. Check out who has a money stake in those MT30s, as director of Rolls Royce North American.

    Peruse that link some more, and you will see the same gent has a vested interest in the selection of the Griffin as well.

    And, just who was the Sea Daddy of the LCS?

    Said it was needed, “yesterday”?

    But all that is not surprising with this epci French comedy of how not to build a class of warships (which are really not WARships)

  • sid

    Also, about the MT30 plant on LCS-1…

    In that San Diego spiel, RADM Pandolfe made a big deal about how these ships will remain deployed at a much higher rate than previous ship classes.

    Beginning with the Perry’s and Spruances 35 years ago, the USN has had extensive experienc3 with gas turbine ops in ships.

    So, how come the decision was made to remove the rails off the LCS-1 -to save weight in order to protect that all important Stupid Speed presumably- and obligate an extensive pierside evolution to change out a motor?

    Is that the RIGHT characteristic to have in a (non)warship which pukes an engine at the wrong time?

    And you just think you have looming logistics issues with the F-35 engines….

  • John Patch

    Galrahn, I would not be quick to suggest any missions have disappeared, if you mean for good (I presume here you mean FFG-7 missions). LCS cannot really do open ocean convoy escort very well for many reasons noted above. You might reply that we do not have that requirement, but any shooting match with China will involve guerre de course–i.e., against both sides and regional states. Do we provide convoy escort with DDGs? One of my arguments for a low end, simple ship is for those kinds of missions in blue and green water. LCS is in no way a FFG-7 replacement, though in fairness, I sense you also agree that it is not.

    I have a response to each of your counterpoints, but perhaps we should email offline … or even better, collaborate on an LCS article for Proceedings (i.e., both sides of the issue)?
    Regards, john patch

  • Aubrey

    John,

    A debate style article would be a GREAT read

  • Byron

    Would be even better if it were at USNI Blog…

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    By the way, in WHICH littoral was this thing supposed to combat WHAT? Specifically.

    And how is it better than a FRAM can with no CasReps outstanding.
    THERE. Against THAT.

    Just askin’. Nobody elso seems to have.

  • Chuck Hill

    USNVO,

    The reference to 20 knots was because if the LCS is going to transit with an ARG or fleet train units, much less escort them, it will need to cruise as fast as they do and when the pressure is on, all these units can cruise at 20 knots. I think I’ve even seen reference to a NATO standard that recommends this as standard for Amphibs.

    If the LCS is forced to go on turbines to keep up it quickly runs out of fuel.

    By comparison the Coast Guard National Security Cutter, which has a CODAG powerplant with one turbine and two diesels, can do (RhodeIslander correct me if I’m wrong here), I believe I heard 18 knots on one diesel and 24 on two. 28+ on all three.

  • Scott B.

    Al L. said : “Let me illustrate.”

    1) I don’t understand your fixation on NOK whereas the Nansens were built in Spain.

    2) Assuming repeat Nansens built in Spain by the same shipyard, most of the equipment and material would be sourced from US companies, with contract prices in USD. That’s over 70% of the ship’s value not subject to exchange rate fluctuations.

    3) The inflation thingy is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t systematically apply to all naval projects. E.g. the Stan Patrol 4207 built by Damen in 2008 for the Albanian CG ended up costing 20% less than the same Stan Patrol 4207 built by Damen in 1998 for the NA&A CG. And that’s after a correction for 3% inflation (annual) is applied. This can be explained by such things as diminishing engineering costs per ship, diminishing warranty costs per ship, learning curve,…

    4) Another thing that you’ve completely missed in your analysis is economies of scale, which, as you may imagine, increases as quantities built increase.

    The bottom line is that your calculations don’t make sense at all.

  • Scott B.

    Chuck Hill said : “By comparison the Coast Guard National Security Cutter, which has a CODAG powerplant with one turbine and two diesels, can do (RhodeIslander correct me if I’m wrong here), I believe I heard 18 knots on one diesel and 24 on two. 28+ on all three.”

    Numbers I have for NSC are :

    one diesel : 16 knots
    two diesels : 22 knots
    full CODAG : 28 knots

  • Scott B.

    Byron said : “Would be even better if it were at USNI Blog…”

    +1

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

    John,

    I think the requirement for open ocean convoy protection/escort has gone up outpacing the FFG7 model. The US Navy has or is building 94 CG and DDGs, plus 3 DDG-1000s. Our treaty allies operate 9 major warships and 74 large frigate class vessels.

    That is 180 ships altogether.

    If the US finds itself in a war requiring convoy escort from our 97 major surface combatants, it will almost certainly be big enough to involve treaty allies.

    In that context, why would we build our low end vessel for that role? Wouldn’t ships dedicated to MIW and ASW and littoral and ASuW make more sense if those are the threats and exists as a requirement?

    When you add the radar and weapon systems necessary for modern defense of convoys, I think the cost of the small ship model becomes prohibitive, but that’s my opinion.

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

    John,

    We’ll take this offline and figure something out.

  • sid

    Numbers I have for NSC are :

    one diesel : 16 knots
    two diesels : 22 knots
    full CODAG : 28 knots

    Which points to the gross INefficiency of the LCS-1 semi-planing hull.

    Why is it that way?

    Because of the Stupid Speed requirement.

    Ditto for the problematic, lightweight -arguably too lightweight- aluminum tri design of the LCS-2

    (how is its overhead crane system coming along BTW?

    Work’s Network v. Network concepts have merit.

    The idea of the mothership has merit.

    The concept of modular weapons loads has merit.

    What wrecks everything in this program is the silly goofy speed.

    Other than the ridiculous “tonnage per experiment” strawman floated, I have yet to see any close to rational reason to replicate these two (one day) fatally flawed hull designs several score times over.

    And because they are so complex…and therefore way more expensive per per ton to get the mission done than need be…there will always be too few of them on station ready to go to make those concepts truly workable.

    Anyway, what I was saying seven years ago today, I am still stickin’ with.

    Last point first. If a commander doesn’t have the requisite number of hulls available, then he will have to pick and choose which “focii” he needs carefully. Once on station he is stuck with what he’s got. No reconfiguring unless he sends his LCS’s off to some distant place to reconfigure. Thats if a distant place within range is available. LCS is an operationally inflexible concept-unless there are plenty of LCS
    hulls. Its doubtful that will happen in the best of circumstances, and really doubtful if the selection is a 400 ft ship that will be regarded as a major combatant.
    Also, no one seems to want to broach the significant chances of LCS hull losses. Maybe because that dirty little fact helped kill
    Streetfighter. You morph this into a frigate, then it will turn multimission just to protect the investment and things will be back at square one.
    The core missions are of the type that are conducted in either a
    completely benign environment or which require covering protection
    from other forces. In short, the LCS isn’t worth the money without its mission packages.

    Now, tell me where that still isn’t “timely” TODAY?

  • Scott B.

    Raymond *Galrahn* Pritchett said : “When you add the radar and weapon systems necessary for modern defense of convoys, I think the cost of the small ship model becomes prohibitive, but that’s my opinion.”

    I cannot make any sense out of such a *generic* statement. In the interest of the debate, it would be valuable if you could be more specific, e.g. :

    What does *modern defense of convoys* means ?

    What sort of *radar* (no *s* in the end) and *weapon systems* do you believe such a *modern defense of convoys* would require ?

  • sid

    Wouldn’t ships dedicated to MIW and ASW and littoral and ASuW make more sense if those are the threats and exists as a requirement?

    Nothing “new” here either…

    Same question the Brits wrestled with at the beginning of WWII when faced with the choice of pursuing “offensive” ASW or “defensive” in the form of convoy escort…

    Offensive cost them dearly early on…

    It was not until there were sufficient numbers of ships and aircraft to attain dominance over the heavily attrited U boat force…And the cracking of Enigma…that it worked.

    Numbers are what you will not have come next scrap…

    And we can wax eloquent about how fragile our networks -built as the sensitive trip wire “effector grid” in the nuke era and little changed since- are later.

  • sid

    If the US finds itself in a war requiring convoy escort from our 97 major surface combatants, it will almost certainly be big enough to involve treaty allies.

    Can we blithely expect them to buy in?

    Really???

  • Big D

    Particularly the ones that are halfway around the world from the conflict?

    Geography matters. Our numbers available will always be a fraction of our totals, because of time, distance, and required maintenance and leave. The availability ratio of a nation looking to disrupt or dispute our control of the seas will, in general, be much closer to 1, because of inherent advantages in the first two and a de facto advantage in the last, assuming that they take the strategic initiative… which, for a number of reasons, we usually grant our enemies.

  • Chuck Hill

    G said, “The US Navy has or is building 94 CG and DDGs, plus 3 DDG-1000s. Our treaty allies operate 9 major warships and 74 large frigate class vessels.

    “That is 180 ships altogether.”

    As if 180 would be enough. At the end of June 1943, when the U-boat had finally been defeated and the Battle of the Atlantic won, but not yet over, the US Navy and Coast Guard had 1281 vessels of all sizes used in anti-submarine warfare and escort duty world wide. (The British Commonwealth and the European Governments in exile, probably had even larger numbers, so close to 3,000 vessels)

    Start counting all the places you need ships: escorting carriers, escorting ARGs, BMD, escorting fleet train, escorting convoys, keeping subs or even surface ships from mining off your ports and those of your allies. Protection of offshore assets. Blockade. Making sure enemy merchant ships aren’t up to mischief.

    Upon my heart is write the want of frigates.”
    (or something like that)

  • sid

    Folks have to remember though…

    When it comes to the LCS, historical precedent has no bearing.

    Things are different now…

    More timely and all.

    Speaking of which, just got the new Proceedings….

    Great article which has some bearing on this notion of “Right Ship…Right Time”

    It’s Not All About the Littorals

    The term “littoral” seems to dominate today’s naval vocabulary. Some believe we should focus on blue-water supremacy, while others say that when the time comes to fight in the littorals, our blue-water fleet will be at great risk from anti-access weapons. How did we get into this fix? Will we soon need a littoral submarine program to protect funding for our seaborne strategic deterrent?
    At the end of the Cold War, those who were ignorant of 50 years of history (and the Maritime Strategy) apparently concluded the Navy was optimized for a cataclysmic engagement with the Soviets somewhere in the Atlantic. What followed was a “new” reality…

    For those who don’t subscribe…Highly recommend you do so, and read the rest.

  • sid

    In my opinion, what is being criticized as the impractical integration of LCS parts to form a whole is actually the evolution from where the Navy is today towards the networked integration of emerging capabilities and existing combat power.

    So…

    We need to configure 10 percent of the surface combatant ship force with NONCOMBAT hulls (“seaframes” if it makes you feel more “timely”), that can’t go far, can’t carry much, won’t have much of anything to carry for years anyway, but can go fast for just a little while…Perhaps…But not as fast as planned…

    In order to “evolve”….?

    Thats the only RIGHT way?

  • JackO

    It may be a great ship, but, tell me please, what is it supposed to do in a combat situation?

    Pick a scenario, and describe how this thing will be able to fight for the time before it runs out of fuel.

  • JackO

    Why can’t you pull the nuke out of sub, pull the propulsion system, graft in all in a hull, and start from that.

    All tested systems, then load the hull with armament for missile defense, and a couple of 5″ turrets, front and rear for surface action, forget the ship to ship missile , depending on other ships for missile offense, and use hull for missile defense.

    But, that may be too simple for this all.

  • Byron

    Jacko, as much as I dislike the propulsion system on LCS, we’ve already been down the nuke on a small boy road before…and we didn’t like it.

  • John Carraway

    JackO has the right idea, nuke and defense only.

  • sid

    COCOM annual demand is for 2.0 MIW, 1.5 ASW, and 1.5 ASuW. With LCS, 4 ships meet this requirement by allowing 1 LCS with ASuW module to swap out for the ASW module half the time a year. Without modularity, this would actually require 6 purpose build vessels, because you would still require 1 additional vessel for each .5 requirement every year.

    Along with its own way of history and physics, I see the LCS comes with its own unique way of math now…

    Do you split your kids up into fractions so they fit in the back seat of your car?

    A partial mission period over the course of time will still suck up a whole hull(or seaframe if it makesyou feel better).

    So this parsing means nothing in terms of any effeiciencies.

    But I guess it looks good on some .ppt

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    At this juncture I would like to point out that 50 kts is signicantly slower than the speed of ammunition, with the possible exception of some heavywt submarine torpedoes, and vastly slower than the speed of radio waves, as well as being slower than any attack winged or rotory wing aircraft.

    I trust the tactical implications are somewhat obvious, stemming as they do from the fact that speed is no substitute for the weapons on board’s power to damage the enemy with a single hit (or throw weight, to use a fine old term).

    Patton’s first principle refers (Nobody wins a war by dying….).

  • JackO

    always amazes me that some many things cause so many things to go wrong!

    What do you think that average life of a lightly armored ship would be in today’s world?

    Consider this, unless I am error, the average life on a DD on screen off of okinawa was what, 25 minutes after the atteck started on the fleet when the attacking weapon was a 250-350 mph airplane, coming in a flight of 15-30 at a time.

    Now visualize the life span of an aluminum hull faced with 1500 mph missile coming in from 100-150 miles away.

    Is there sufficient battle group protection for this sort of attack
    Oh, I know it is all be fought by computers.

    But, was the war game handed like the Japanese handled their war games and adjusted to assure victory for the local side.

    Has any of our war games shown the failure of air defense, forget sub defense?

    I suspect it might be a losing situation for attacking force!

    Review carrier-carrier attacks in latter stage of WW2 and see how the defense was over-whelmed.

    But, then it was Patton who thought attack was the best defense, and that might be the solution, but not political accepable.

  • Chuck Hill

    I have developed my thoughts on combining the last 31 LCS with the 25 ships of the Coast Guard OPC program in a new class that is optimized for ASW and MCM while the Navy can use its first 24 as dedicated swarm destroyers here:

    http://cgblog.org/2011/02/06/shipbuilding-my-grand-plan-navy-and-cg-work-together/

    24 LCS 1 and 2 class ships is a perfect match for the 24 ASuW modules planned.

  • Scott B.

    Islander said : “The debate is no longer whether or not we should buy LCS, that is settled.”

    *Only* 6 *seaframes* have been ordered and/or delivered so far : the LCS train wreck can still be stopped !!!

    IOW : the fight is NOT over yet…

  • Rich B.

    Sorry for joining the conversation late but as a recently retired SWO I have large number of concerns.

    LCS intended manning does not support the maintenance required for a ship this size. One of the principle problems within the fleet is corrosion control. Ships with dedicated deck divisions are struggling and losing this battle even after farming out significant portions of the ship to other departments.

    Corrosion prevention requires Money, Manpower and Time. Fleets are already suffering and feeling the crunch from the current budgetary limitations. LCS will be limited in manpower when you combine requirements for equipment maintenance; PMS; security (heaven forbid force protection goes from Alpha to a higher state.) Combine the crew spread thin translates into less physical time spent doing the work. There is a loss for the appreciation of the science behind preservation; the time it takes for prep, break down, application and detail to do the job right.

    Our infatuation with aluminum; Conduct a study of the cracking concerns we are already seeing in many of the other classes. Aluminum is difficult to repair and is proving unreliable in platforms peforming at much lower stresses and speeds. People do not understand we are not building the LCS for today, tomorrow or next week. We are building ships which must last 20 years.

    It was said previously; at the end of the day these are WARships meant to sail into harms way, and yet we build them out of material which cannot protect critical internal components from small arms or crew served weapons fire. Shall I take you on a tour and show you a ship on the east coast to show you how far an M16 round travels through a superstructure? Within the littorals; the average threat will be small boats or Low Slow Flyers… opposition will be using RPGs, small caliber weapons and crew served weapons… Take an LCS and see what happens internally from a single mounted .50 caliber strafing. How many internal systems will be damaged? Combined with the nature of burning aluminum you suffer doubly. Do you believe we can maintain 100% sea control in the days of irregular warfare and such a simple attack will not occur? I am less worried about submarines and aircraft attacks; those will not be required to neuter this ship when a less costly option will do as much damage.

    The armament is paltry; having done many high speed small arms/crew serve weapon engagements for training the weapons are not sufficient. The budget to train the crew is inadequate. We do not fund the existing fleet to practice with the tactically recommend rounds and when we have the funding we have so constrained our operating areas; constrained the number of sailing days; constrained the operating speeds during training for fuel concerns and then limited ships due to Right Whales or previous generation of COs shooting the wrong damn direction. Crew proficiency at high speed will be suspect, and I am being kind.

    We should have built a mondernized Tin Can. Something with an 11M draft; multiple 5″/54 batteries where you could swap out one of the 3 triple batteries and replaced it with a one arm bandit for self air defense. It would have given you volume of fire for inshore; a better operational draft; and then the space you saved from modernation would have supported sweep gear or an unmanned system.

    Seems to me people need to spend more time walking deckplates; and less time walking hallways.

  • sid

    24 LCS 1 and 2 class ships is a perfect match for the 24 ASuW modules planned.

    Even with the exceptionally expensive for the very little gain in Survivability that the belated addition of NVR added to these two designs…neither can be expected to live through even a fight with swarming small boats

    Meanwhile, survivability has become an issue on 3 fronts. One is the slim margins created by a very small crew, leaving little margin for tasks like damage control if automated systems are damaged or fail. The others are the questions of shock/survivability testing, and of aluminum structures. The original concept for LCS was a ship whose damage resistance could save the crew, but not the ship, in the even if a significant strike. That was changed to potentially saving the crew and the ship, but not continuing to fight while doing so. As the Exocet missile strikes on the HMS Sheffield (sank) and USS Stark (survived, barely) proved, even steel warships designed to keep fighting may see those margins tested. Navy revelations that the LCS ships would not meet even Level I standards, let alone the OPNAVINST 9070.1 Level II standard of the frigates they’ll replace, has caused some consternation.

    Ray, you planning on posting on the DOT&E report any time soon?

    Or is this debate being taken someplace LIMDIS back channel now, where real questions won’t get asked in front of otherwise unsuspecting taxpayers??

  • http://www.informationdissemination.net Galrahn

    As time allows, been busy.

  • sid

    Take an LCS and see what happens internally from a single mounted .50 caliber strafing. How many internal systems will be damaged?

    When considering the modular approach to weapons systems, how internal protection will be considered is critical.

    It sure is a shame that NAVSEA took down their links to the WWII UNCLAS Damage reports, as the precedents set in the hangar fires on the cruisers and carriers apply today.

    Yes. Even for the LCS, the physics of kinetic and thermal impacts will be no different…

    And, lets throw in the added dimension of cyber ones as well..

    Islander was all about “imagining”…

    Well imagine an RPG burst up in the middle of this hydraulics cluster

    Where so you think it would leave that ship…TODAY?

    (waiting for the usual: Survivability= Battleship Armor=Backwards and “Untimely” arguments… along with any hit MUST mean a kill in these “modern” times…)

  • sid

    (apologies for the dupe Mary, but as its after business hours on the Severn, I have elected to break out my rants…err…comment from the moderation locker…my bad html manners. sorry)

    Take an LCS and see what happens internally from a single mounted .50 caliber strafing. How many internal systems will be damaged?

    When considering the modular approach to weapons systems, how internal protection will be considered is critical.

    It sure is a shame that NAVSEA took down their links to the WWII UNCLAS Damage reports, as the precedents set in the hangar fires on the cruisers and carriers apply today.

    Yes. Even for the LCS, the physics of kinetic and thermal impacts will be no different…

    And, lets throw in the added dimension of cyber ones as well..

  • sid

    Islander was all about “imagining”…

    Well, imagine an RPG burst up in the middle of this hydraulics cluster

    Where so you think it would leave that ship…TODAY?

    (waiting for the usual: Survivability= Battleship Armor=Backwards and “Untimely” arguments… along with the, any hit MUST mean a kill in these “modern” times notion…)

  • Chuck Hill

    These are the original LCS:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_Craft_Support

    We could do worse.

  • Chuck Hill

    Note they had a range of 5500 miles too.

  • JackO

    It makes me wonder if the people ever wonder why they developed battleships that could hit 30 knots?

    somehow or another the basic premise of bigger is better has gotten lost in the financing of security issues

    You , or I should say, I wonder why the idea of armor was so lightly considered, unless, I suppose, the designed figured that the ship would never encounter large caliber gunfire. But , perhaps, even worse is that they thought aluminum could protect anything from anything.

    Hey, a thought has struck my mind.

    Perhaps we can not longer produce enough of the armor plating in big enough sizes, ergo, we really don’t need it! sarcasm!

    But, I understand the possible problems of the designers trying to comply with PC, EPA,Society Problems,lack of competition at sea, and the feeling that what is available now is all we need as there is not need to gild the lily!

    But, honestly, I can see absolutely no need for a trimaran warship, and you have to wonder if the LCS could beat the new carriers in flank speed.

  • sid

    You , or I should say, I wonder why the idea of armor was so lightly considered,

    Actually JockO…I will argue that whats NOT needed on any stripe of “LCS” (I kinda like CDR Sal’s THS idea…) is tons of Krupp steel.

    Ever wonder how the Fletchers stayed combat effective at Samar for as long as they did…even though shot through by numerous major caliber hits?

    It wasn’t by extensive side armor, but instead by judicious use of armor where it mattered most (the IC and fire control system cabling in particular), judicious component placement and redundancy, and robust scantlings of the hull.

    In videos of the LCS’s, you will see those systems unarmored and draped along the sides of the hull…just like any other ABS spec ship…unprotected barrels of lube oil-ask the folks who managed to survive to swim at Savo about unprotected flammables in the interior of the hull (“seaframe” if it makes you feel more “timely”)…and other flotasm and jetsam which would be grist for a nice little combat damage induced fire.

    Is there provision to protect the containerized components of the modules?

    Is there provision to protect the all important electrical and data cabling?

    How much would all that weigh…And how much will that added weight affect the al ready too thin weight margins in regard to stability, ability to reach that mythical high speed (or get anywhere near close), and ride characteristics of these built only go fast hulls?

    Oh! But Wait!!! Automated DC you say?

    Yeah. Sure that’ll work when the control systems are riddled with shrapnel I’m sure…

    What provision is there for the internal magazines of the modular guns way up high there in the superstructure? How many folks responsible for that installation read about the carnage wrought by the 5″ ready service magazines on the cruisers at Savo?

    What was timely then..is timely now.

    You want to lose a ship in a hurry during a battle action…Provide poor protection to internal magazines and flammable fluids.

    Can either design actually fight…TODAY?

  • sid

    These are the original LCS:

    I am glad you brought that up…But for a reason other than you might expect….

    The guy that got the concept of the LCI(G)’s up and running, is one of the most overlooked icons of Naval Leadership the USN ever produced…

    One that that the LCS bubbahs would do well to find out about and study….

    To support that claim, checkout what he managed to accomplish in the most trying of circumstances.

    In his book, “The Cincinnati”, he details how, after returning to the states from Australia and “be-medalled and praised”, he was ushered in for a debrief with Admiral Leahy (gotta remember there was scant word of any details about the crushing defeats in the far east at that juncture…).

    Even prior to entering boat school, Morrill had been keenly interested in land warfare, so you can imagine his surprise when, instead of asking for details of what he knew of the naval actions, the admiral asked, ‘Tell me how the Japanese army went about capturing the Philippine Islands.’

    Morrill wrote that they talked for three hours, and “developed a rapport based on mutual interest with regard to joint operations…”, but also they both shared a belief, “that not just the top echelons, but all up and down – from top commanders to the lowest ranking soldiers and sailors – should be trained together and fight together!”

    For Morrill, “it was a vision of the future.” Instead of taking a plum job as a navigator on a cruiser, he insisted to be put in command of a flotilla of LCI(L)’s.

    This is not the most politic of books, as Morrill has some scathing criticisms aimed at some WWII figures, but it is a good study in what it took to put together a littoral fighting force -against the odds and resistance from Big Navy- lead that force half way around the world unaccompanied, and wage an intense littoral campaign in the far Pacific.

    Its hard to find. I think I bought the last loose book out there on the intertubes a couple of years ago. But if you run across a copy, take the time to read it.

  • sid
  • Scott B.

    Sid said : “Which points to the gross INefficiency of the LCS-1 semi-planing hull.”

    Another interesting datapoint for (non-)comparison purposes is the MEKO A200 SAN bought by South African from the German TKMS :

    Main Particulars :

    * Length O/A : 121 meters
    * Beam O/A : 16 meters
    * Design displacement : 3,500 mt

    Propulsion : CODAG-WARP with :

    * 2 x MTU 16V 1163 TB93 diesel engines @ 5,920 kW each (driving two CP propellers)

    * 1 x GE LM 2500 gas turbine @ 20,000 kW (driving one WJ)

    Speeds :

    * with one diesel engine : 18 knots
    * with two diesel engines : 23 knots
    * full CODAG : 27+ knots
    * max speed in SS6 : 24 knots

    Other :

    * range : 7,500 NM @ 16 knots
    * seakeeping : effective weapon engagement and helicopter operation including SS6

    Now back to LCS-1 :

    1) What’s the max. speed it can sustain in SS6 (best heading) ?
    2) What’s the max. sea state for weapon engagement and helo ops ?

  • JackO

    Switching to the opposite tack,perhaps, yes , perhaps, small warships are not defensible at all today, due to modern weaponry and explosives
    And, as a counter-balance, thinking is that you have minimum ships, minimum crew, and minimum defense, and run your plans on HOPE, FAITH, AND Charity.

    Figuring that a DD or less , being lost , absorbed a weapon hit that could have destroyed a large ship.

    Pawns in the game of battle chess.

    Maybe, maybe, maybe , based on the loss of DDs etc, at Okinawa which took pressure off of the carriers. If the pilots had skipped the small stuff and just went for big stuff, it is possible that all of the carriers could have been damaged and removed from the attacking fleet.

    Hmmm,maybe there is a point in that thinking, maybe not.

    Defending force might have succeeded in eliminating air cover.

    then it would follow that small weak warships would be safer from attack if defense attacking was concentrated on large units.

    Problem after problem to be solved, perhaps all thought of in war college, who knows, not I.

    But it resolves itself to this, I would rather be on a Bismarck than a LCS, and an IOWA rather than a Bismarck.

  • sid

    Figuring that a DD or less , being lost , absorbed a weapon hit that could have destroyed a large ship.

    But JackO…With the notable exception of a torpedo hit…A hit is NOT necessarily a “kill”.

    Ray is going to ding me when I talk about the Hanit…But a variety of factors conspired to thwart the catastrophic kill that the C-802 was supposed to cause to a ship that size…

    Whatever the details, that is right obvious….

    When you look, most hits are not immediately catastrophic. its about careful design details (but more later on all that), good DC, and making your own luck with an operationally and tactically savvy crew.

    As for the Hanit. Perhaps if she had some been built with some of the design details I noted above, she may have even been able to stay on station with at least partial mission capability if needed…

  • sid

    When you look, most hits are not immediately catastrophic. its about careful design details (but more later on all that), good DC, and making your own luck with an operationally and tactically savvy crew.

    Forgot to add…Effective operational doctrine and tactics are the first key elements.

  • Rich B.

    A basic construct remains whethor on sea or shore; If I am stronger than my enemy I should attack; if we are equal I maneuver; and if weaker I withdraw. Do we assume this ship will exist in a threat free environment or that it’s speed will perpetually give it an advantage (although I haven’t found anyone that can outrun a well fired round)

    We are building ships around capability; what they can carry. How fast can they carry it. How do we network what they will carry. Almost seemingly without looking at what will oppose the process of carrying.

    We look at every risk; risks to schedule, risks to cost, risks of materials and yet we do not seem to do as well an analysis of risks to mission during development stages. It is not whether or not the ships may take a hit; you may always present a weapon system lethal to the platform. However, what is the most common threat? If my threat in the littorials is a 40knot capable fast inshore attack craft how much speed advantage do I have within a littoral environment? What else besides speed have we done to mitigate it?

    Automated DC processes may minimize the spread of damage; but does little from stopping it from occurring. Unhardened COTS hardware while inexpensive by comparison is so because it was never meant to sustain damage. It is not enough to merely survive; we have to be able to execute the mission at the end of the day, which means protecting those systems critical to that mission.

  • John Patch

    Rich B.’s deckplate comments above about “optimal manning” WRT corrosion/maintenance and thin-skinned aluminum ships are compelling. Bimetallic corrosion (LM design) is also a big deal Navy has suffered through with other ship classes.
    Regards, john patch

  • Byron

    “Bimetallic corrosion (LM design) is also a big deal Navy has suffered through with other ship classes”

    Having supported an ex-wife, current wife and a mortgage off the lovely way aluminum reacts while in contact with salt air, ANY sort of metal placed in contact with it and especially ventilation plenums to weather, I can attest that this does happen. Just multiply me by a few thousand or so, you can get an idea of the effects I’m talking about…

  • Michael

    What are the odds of sufficient political capital being mustered to kill the LCS program at this late a date AND find ships to fill the needed roles before the current ships wear out AND fix the procurement system that got the Navy into this mess in the first place?

    If the odds don’t play out, where do you set your priorities and muddle through?

  • Rich B.

    Better to kill it after 2 ships than 40. The specs for the current ships are most likely still on file at the Washington Navy Yard or with the original shipbuilders.. We could replace the aging fleet through a rebuild of existing designs as a temporary fill; or (heaven forbid) purchase an anti mine or littoral corvette platform (probably far cheaper) from swedish/norwegians as a temporary measure until a reasonable LCS is built.

    You could revisit the argument LCS isn’t fullfilling the roles she was built for now; or even in the near future. We have a ship but none of the associated capability that was promised. So what do you really have?

  • Byron

    “So what do you really have?”

    A very expensive hole in the water? Corporate welfare?

  • sid

    So what do you really have?

    You have two ill conceived hull designs that are so wrapped up in the politics of big money relations with the big primes…fostered by an all to incestuous relationship between with those who once signed off the project and who now have a significant financial incentive to see the program continue as it is…and exacerbated by an entirely dysfunctional requirements process within the USN…That nobody can figure out how to put the humpty dumpty together, so the process is bumping along in a state of bureaucratic horror.

    If this program is to be about networks and a further incubator of unmanned offboard systems in naval warfare, then a more wrong course of replicating the two hull designs into the largest single surface combatant component, cannot be found.

    Stop the current hull buys … NOW!

    Push the money that can be saved into component development of the warfare areas -MIW, shallow water ASW- which would need the most R&D investment.

    For small boat swarms the solution is relatively simple…Borrowing from Warren Zevon, the fix there:

    Bring Numbers…Guns…and Lawyers if you must….

    Again I ask…Will a commander risk his only in theater -all too fragile- MIW asset on a close in knife fight with a bunch of small boats?

    For “Langley’s”…Build some follow on Whidbey Islands….Two or three perhaps for now.

    “Navalize” the NSC and build perhaps 10.

    Its time to get the requirements business out of OPNAV. For the last decade and half, every change of command has meant a sharp zig or zag in what “the plan” is.

    Bring back a modern analogue of a the system which set the requirements for the most powerful navy the world has ever seen.

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