Here is something that has come at me from multiple sources – you can blame George Talbot for this post.

All of a sudden – everyone wants to talk about fuel and LCS – so let’s talk about fuel. I was going to do this on my home blog – but decided this was a better venue.

Join me in the LCS pain, because all of this discussion is based on a ship and CONOPS that still is in its changing infancy as emerging realities about the program manifest themselves. All we have to work with are vignettes, computer models, and the low-impact test drive going on in the Caribbean right now – none show a clear picture.

Estimates on line missions – MIW, ASUW, ASW – are even fuzzier as the Mission Modules are not ready for prime-time, and even after they “are,” there won’t be enough to swap-out to any meaningful extent during a deployment, much less the infrastructure and equipment to do so forward deployed to any meaningful extent. It will be years until you get a data sample worth anything – if then.

In that light – I request that everyone keep an open mind with this post – especially you engineers. Don’t fall in love with details – have a wide standard deviation when it comes to the numbers. Any numbers others, or I use are in very large pixels. That shouldn’t stop the conversation. Be flexible, and let’s dive in.

Note the bolded section below,

“But there are troubling indications that Austal’s bid could get scuttled by politics, potentially dealing Mobile a second devastating blow while the city is still recovering from the tanker tragedy.

One of the key advantages of Austal’s LCS is that it is far more fuel-efficient than Lockheed’s heavier ship, particularly at high speeds. The cost savings over a 30-year life cycle could exceed $2 billion per vessel, according to internal Navy documents.

That’s significant at a time when Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a former Mississippi governor, is trying to cut back on the Navy’s skyrocketing fuel costs.

It’s Austal’s contention, however, that the Navy’s Request for Proposals does not include life-cycle costs as a factor in the LCS contest.

While Mabus and other top Navy officials have disagreed, a top Pentagon acquisitions executive confirmed Austal’s assessment. “

SECNAV is not bluff’n about being Green. The RFP may not have included life-cycle costs, but that was then and this is now.

Take the SECNAV’s push towards Green – and then fold in the CNO’s Guidance for 2010;

We increased our focus on Total Ownership Costs (TOC) and are integrating that into every step of the Two-Pass Six-Gate acquisition review process.

We will inject discussion of TOC into all stages of program review stages ….

Total ownership and manpower costs will be key components of all programatic discussions and decisions.

Therefore – everyone needs to pivot, ponder, and discuss. LCS is going to happen – we can mitigate the pain (especially during the Terrible ’20s) by ensuring that we have the best value Tiffany; I would bet a P-3 JO’s per diem that this concern was a major driver in the CNO’s statement.

Go back to the bolded paragraph above. $2 bil per ship savings of one design over another if that ship is rode hard and left up wet through crew swapping and max time deployed. That would be with a 25kts+ avg – but let’s run with it to make a point. A lower estimate I have seen has a delta of $400 mil based on 3-months per year deployed on average.

Let’s cut the high estimate in half and call it $1 bil (no one knows what the price of fuel will be over the next 20 years, much less the effect of an overweight LCS and/or partial MMs installed) and let’s round down the platform costs (I am feeling nice today and won’t include the higher estimates over the run and the costs of MMs) and say that at the end of the production run, each ship costs $500mil. You could replace or build the ship twice with the dollars saved.

Harumph? OK, move the decimal place over one. $40 million. Enough to think about? Well, $40milx55= $2.2 billion.

We also have this from Defense Daily,

GD’S LCS BURNS LESS FUEL AT HIGHER SPEEDS, NAVY DOCUMENT SHOWS: The General Dynamics variant of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) uses less fuel per hour during higher rates of speed than the Lockheed Martin vessel, according to a Navy document. The one-page LCS Consumption Curves shows that both ships use about the same amount of fuel, or barrels, per hour between zero and 16 knots. At five knots, the General Dynamics aluminum trimaran uses 3.2 barrels per hour versus 3.9 for Lockheed Martin’s semi-planing monohull. At 14 knots, the General Dynamics ship uses 11.3 barrels per hour while the Lockheed Martin ship uses 12.7. At 16 knots, the Lockheed Martin ship uses 18.4 barrels per hour while the General Dynamics ship uses 15.5, according to the document. At 30 knots, the General Dynamics trimaran burns through 62.7 barrels per hour, while the Lockheed Martin monohull uses 102.9 barrels per hour, according to the document. At 40 knots, the Lockheed Martin ship burns through 138 barrels per hour while the General Dynamics ship uses 105.7 barrels per hour. But how often will the Navy operate either ship beyond 16 knots? According to Lockheed Martin, LCS won’t be spending a lot of time cruising at top speed. “Fuel economy is dependent on the operational profile of the ship. The Navy’s LCS mission profile, a significant criteria used to design LCS, results in the ship operating at speeds below 16 knots more than 90 percent of the time,” Kimberly Martinez, a company spokeswoman, told Defense Daily yesterday. “At this speed, Lockheed Martin’s analysis indicates its design displays better fuel efficiency due to its economical 16-cylinder diesel engines.”

And Lockheed Martin maintains that its semi-planing monohull design meets all of the Navy’s requirements. “Fuel efficiency is just one component of total ownership cost. Acquisition cost, manpower, maintenance, training and support costs are other key elements and Lockheed Martin believes its design provides the most cost-effective balance across all elements,” Martinez added. The Navy declined yesterday to comment for this article. Fuel consumption has become the focal point of efforts by Mobile, Ala.-based Austal USA and Sen. Jeff Sessions to point out that the General Dynamics-Austal USA-built LCS is more fuel efficient. At last week’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sessions raised the issue of fuel consumption during questioning of Navy leadership. Sessions asked (Defense Daily, 3/2)

Let’s chew some more.

On Baggett’s thesis linked to early on in the post, on page 38 you have this little graph – you can find the background data there.

So. Will the SECNAV want a more fuel efficient warship? Will the COCOMs want ships to be able to show up as needed throughout their AOR? Will the Maritime Component Commander want a ship that isn’t an unnecessary burden on what few replenishment assets he has available? Will the Commanding Officers of LCS want to carry the most fuel possible?

If the future is the Pacific, then with the practical nature of PACFLT ops, especially when we have so few “unsexy” replenishment platforms, is range even more critical?

From what I have seen, 5 knots gets you max range, with LCS-2 going significantly farther than LCS-1 at any speed (due to capacity). Don’t get wrapped up in the “why the h311 do it at 5 kts …”, but work with me here to make a point.

Using the Defense Daily numbers, at 5 knots LCS-2 can probably make San Diego – Pearl (refuel) – Tokyo without going below 50%; LCS-1 would be on fumes as she pulled in for the same transit, but would probably make it to Tokyo. The leg from Pearl to Tokyo is about 3,350 nm.

So, you’re SECNAV. Assume all other planning assumptions are a wash between LCS-1 and LCS-2 models – what call do you make?

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy

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  • Okay, let’s get this one out of the way quick: Start over with (insert foreign designed FF platform here) and get some design teams working on what’s incrementally better after that?

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    A vessel already stability challenged trying to make a transit which will result in arrival with less than 10% fuel on board. At this point there is a very real need to work up some numbers for combat load and do the stability calculations to determine a plan for ballast compensation as fuel is burned down. Does it even arrive within the polygon? Did anybody even do the calculations?

    LCS2 is derived from a multihull commercial design, which are usually inherently stiff as a church, and its lineage had to get a Coast Guard stability booklet and letter to document their seaworthyness.

    LCS 1, well, we can hope, not that anything much else has been done right.

    5 knot transit. Let’s see, that means that it might keep up with a with an guppy (fram’ed WWII fleet boat) class submarine conducting a submerged snorkel transit. Which would arrive ready to control a choke point for some usable period and return without refueling. While the LCS arrives C4 for fuel. Oh, that’s progress.

    For how much money? Carrying what offensive weapons? Capable of protecting a convey out to what range?

    God help us.

    Oh yes, I forgot. The one that has some range is all aluminum. Which will burn hotter and break up and sink faster than an Israeli DD off Suez when a cruise missile hits it. Joy.

  • Mark Toomey

    The NSC is worth a second look! Steel hull, range, speed same as an FFG. If built in conjuction with CG 25 OPCs and Navy 55 LCS would have an economy of scale of a total of 80 hulls would have cost savings!
    Length: 418ft.
    Beam: 54ft.
    Draft: 22.5ft.
    Full Load Displacement: 4,306lt
    Total Enclosed Deck Area: 54,139sq. ft.
    Fuel: 659lt
    Propulsion Plant: Combined diesel and gas turbine; with two 9,655hp diesel engines and one 30,565bhp gas turbine
    Max Sustained Speed: 28kts
    Range: 12,000nm
    Endurance: 60d
    Crew: 148

  • Byron

    As a shipfitter I am not happy with the idea of an all-aluminum hull. I’m not any happier with a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. Forget fuel life cycle costs, just take a peek at what it’s costing to repair aluminum on the FFGs and CGs these days, especially with all the critical weld requirement. And for those that say the LSC is commercial standards, you can bet your last dollar that the first time a fracture appears the critical weld requirment will be invoked.

    It takes a LOT longer to repair aluminum than it does steel.

  • navark

    Isn’t it a bit ironic that fuel consumption/efficiency would be a point of debate between the two designs?

    It seems they’re just asking for someone to point out that running four waterjets to cruise around at less than 16 knots is about the least efficient propulsion system one could possibly imagine…

  • Chuck Hill

    Relative to the National Security Cutter.

    Much greater range than the FFG or any of the alternatives.

    Add a towed array and 16 VLS and you have a true FFG replacement.


    The National Security Cutter seems to have a large enough crew that it MIGHT be able to sail, fight, and do DC at the same time. I think we would be better off buying NANSENs, and ABSALONs. They are real warships, capable of doing warship things.

  • Al L.

    Just finished reading the fuel consumption & endurance analysis section of Baggett. One important thing to know about that graph:The CLWP consumption projections are specific to each ship type, the PEO projections are for a GENERIC LCS.

    IF one therefor considers that the blue and pink curves may best represent the difference between the ships then the GD version really looks like a winner in range at the most used speeds say 7-30 knots. And at real potential cruising speeds (10-20 knots) its no contest.

    Also noteworthy is that Baggett’s consumption curve chart (page 37)
    doesn’t show nearly the difference between the 2 ships that the Defense Daily article quotes. If the defense daily info is more recent(and accurate) than that used in Baggett’s now 2 year old thesis then the difference between the 2 ships is significantly greater than shown on the range chart. In fact the GD ship would approximately follow the pink line up to 16 knots and then move closer to the green above 16 knots. The LM ship is near the blue line up to 16 knots and then moves onto the orange line and then is 60% below it by 30 knots and 40% below it by 40 knots.

    As for life time cost of fuel. That 2 billion SAVINGS figure per ship is nutty. Knock a zero off and I might buy it. That would be 10% savings on a life time cost of 2 Billion.

  • leesea

    On the one had all these ideas are good, on the other hand, the LCS is the POR and the downselect WILL BE one of these designs. So which is better is a valid discussion point.

    I and others submitted even more comments and data to CDR Salamander which did NOT make it into the post above. The LCS-1 is so far overweight, it will never be successful and will burn much more fuel especially at medium to high speeds. All assumptions about adding payload of whatever type (mission packages, other weapons, cargo, provisions, or POL) to either LCS hull form are highly problematical. (I am only going on published LCS-2 info). The payload capacity is simply not there! News flash the USN needs another ship type!

    The start point is that the NWDC CONOPS is probably out-dated now AND a more realistic projected CONOPS needs to be considered. Expanded operations will inevitably result in more high speed movements as suggested by Martin Murphy of CSBA. Far more FAS evolutions will be needed than there are currently NFAF ships to provide.

    How the fuel consumption data plays into the ship acquisition process will be very interesting indeed? Lower production costs vs. lower life cycle costs???

  • Retired Now

    I think you should remove 200,000 gallons of fuel from the Coastguard new Cutter and then see how fast it goes ?

    If you cut the weight of 200,000 gallons of jet turbine fuel off that new NCS Cutter, then it will have the same amount of fuel as full topped off LCS-1 has. And threfore weigh the same as far as fuel is concerned.

    conversely, add another 200,000 gallons of fuel to LCS-1 and see how fast it can go.

    this isn’t Rocket Surgery !! (or rocket science)

  • INDY fan

    On top of the already superior range of the Austal trimaran, she demonstrated during trials about 15% increased efficiency compared to the contract endurance numbers. This is partially due to very conservative resistance predictions in order to guarantee the contract endurance. She also has plenty of room and service life allowance for additional payload.

  • Retired Now

    Before final down-Select by Navy:

    Add concrete blocks inside well decks of LCS-1 equal in weight to around 200,000 gallons of fuel.

    So that it “carries” the same total weight of fuel that LCS-2 carries ( 4 times 50,000 = 200,000 gallons).

    See how fast LCS-1 goes carrying the weight of 200,000gallons of fuel (even though most of it will be concrete blocks).

    Would that be a “FAIR” Test ? level playing field for sell-off

  • Chuck Hill

    It does seem like we are going to get more of one of these two classes of ships. Given the limited options, the LCS-2 is obviously the better choice.

    Combine better fuel economy, range, endurance, and probably crew comfort with the ability to carry two modules (or one heavy module that may have out grown the LCS-1) and there is really no choice at all.

    If the LCS-2 can carry both the ASW and the MIW module simultaneously, it will simplify things to a great degree. There is a good possibility they will mount these two modules and never take them off.

  • Byron

    It’s.Aluminum. No disrespect to Lee, but aluminum has a lot of suckage.

  • Chuck Hill

    Lee said, “The start point is that the NWDC CONOPS is probably out-dated now AND a more realistic projected CONOPS needs to be considered.”

    I heard there never was a CONOPS–that may be part of the problem.

  • Jack Osborne

    it has been my opinion for some years now that the thought of dollars is scaring the hell out of the Navy!
    Things used to cost a million dollars or so during the WW2, and now the same things costs 100 million dollars, and the public, the military, and the politicos do not seem to realize that they actual cost the same amount according to real dollars, and the number of zeros scares everyone.
    So, in the interests of getting a zero off of a cost analysis they are willing to sacrifice almost everything that enabled the Navy to fight in all of the oceans of the world.
    I guess the modern Navy will have to learn to live with less, because what you are going to get is “cost savings” and not “ability”!
    What a horrible thought that is!

  • INDY fan

    To Byron, today’s marine grade aluminum is not the same as that used on the FFG’s and CG’s. ASTM B928 introduced testing in 2004 to ensure “sensitized plate” (ie. susceptible to stress corrosion cracking) is not sold from the mill. The mills have developed thermal processing controls to eliminate “sensitized” plate. In addition, modern finite element analysis tools and spectral fatigue analysis have decreased high stress hot-spots and increased attention on end connection details where fatigue cracks are likely to occur. As well, high performance passive fire protection and modern active systems have made aluminum ships safer and still lighter.
    There are numerous critical welds on LCS and extensive NDT has been performed. Also, aluminum is easy to cut with hand tools (circular saws are the norm), easy to machine, easy to extrude, and there are plenty of highly skilled aluminum welders around. You should come visit an aluminum shipyard someday. You might change your mind.

  • Byron

    Indy, I’ve been a shipfitter since 1971. Please don’t try to teach your grandfather how to suck eggs. And for your information, ASTM-B-928 that I’ve seen installed 18 months ago is already cracking. It has more to do with design than anything else. Cut aluminum? Piece a’ cake. Weld it under the standards the Navy requires? PT? UT? How low will the accept/reject criteria go on aluminum welding on LCS? Just sure as hell you’re going to start blaming poor welding instead of poor design anyday now.

  • RhodeIslander

    New Navy Oilers ?

    Before NAVSEA spends any more money on new construction LCS-1,2, perhaps the Fleet Commanders should think about where they are going to refuel any assigned LCS while deployed. Obviously, ever since USS COLE was attacked, we cannot send a tiny crew, lightly armed into a port like Aden, Yemen to refuel.

    Does ComFifth Fleet have enough oilers to feed LCS-1 every day and LCS-2 every 4th day ? Given that LCS-1 carries only one-fourth the total fuel of each LCS-2.

    Maybe NAVSEA should allocate more funds for T-AKE or LHD/LHA ships which are capable of giving fuel underway to LCS warships.

    Also, the US Coastguard could explain how they utilize all their large “fleet” of 87 foot long WPB’s, which also have about the same predicted endurance as LCS-1. (about a week if speeds are slow). USCG crew’s on each 87 foot WPB are 12 or 13 and they need to rest, refuel, replenish, anchor, tie up, etc. every so often. NAVSEA could possibly learn alot from asking about the USCG CONOPS for very short legged craft.

  • INDY fan

    The entire ship has been welded under Navy required standards (called NVR, used to be called 1689, and various other Mil-Specs) using the same accept/reject criteria of every other Navy ship. There has been plenty of PT, UT, and RT as well. And you will never catch me blaming poor welding in a shipyard with the some of the best aluminum shipfitters and welders in the states. INDY’s structure has been designed to ABS 30 year SFA. All I’m trying to say Byron is that you can’t give all aluminum a bad rap because of a few bad eggs (that I don’t care if you suck or not). If you want to go fast, and apparently the Navy does, then you gotta be light or your going to suck gas not eggs.

  • PK

    MT: we got our heads beat in on the NCS roughly last summer. main problems iterated were not enough speed, and a really weird thing about communications not working in the compartments provided. the uniterated things had a lot to do with the politically acceptable/unacceptable building sponsors.

    indy fan:
    about 20 years ago navsea told my yard that the future fleet would move away from high pressure steam because of the problems welding the high moly grades of the various steels and stainless steels. their opinion was that it was just getting to hard to accomplish highly sophisticated welding reliably. a case in point was their refusal to sponsor clad welding monel on the spruance/ticonderoga/fig 7 propellor shafts instead of sleeving them. the response to our proposal was that even though we could do it the other yards would not be able to. i also draw your attention to the lube oil piping weld goatf&*k that we just witnessed on the gator navy ships about three months ago.


  • Re: “say that at the end of the production run, each ship costs $500mil.”

    Each ship doesn’t cost $500 mil. One is running $600 mil and the other is running $700 mil.

    The suspect fuel consumption differences would take 2 to 3 years of operations to cover.

    $700 mil is just plain and simply too much for an LCS.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Aluminum transmits heat very efficiently by conduction. When heated by a large fuel oil fire it sags and becomes taffy. It also can (will at some point in the life cycle, for any practical purpose) initiate fires in places remote from the initial fire scene by conduction. It is soft and offers less resistance to penetration by flying debris and shrapnel from explosive rounds. It also suffers damage more easily from pier impacts while mooring or flotsam, and from boarding seas or pounding when operating at higher speeds in significant weather. The man hours for incidental repairs are not insignificant. Please review the photographs from the Belknap fire and the Falklands war.


    Aluminum is unsuitable as a major structural material in warship construction.

  • INDY fan

    Both ships contain large amounts of aluminum, both ships have fire resistance capability superior to the Belknap thanks to MIL-PRF-32161.

    And MauiBrad must have never seen the Navy’s published fixed price for LCS-3 ($549 million) and LCS-4 ($548 million). So LCS-4 is $1million cheaper and much less fuel costs to boot. Sounds like a winner.

  • MB,
    Remember my quote, “Don’t fall in love with details – have a wide standard deviation when it comes to the numbers.”

    Round numbers work well when you are making a point.

  • leesea

    You can argue against AL all you want either ship will have some or a lot in it structure.

    Some might have missed my lasts point. goto the RFP, the first and most weighted evaluation factor is Production Cost, Technical (i.e. design) merit is #3. Now I ask again, will the USN buy the monohull which is presumably cheaper to produce, or the trimaran which is more fuel efficient buy may cost more to build?

    In addition, the hull cost is capped at $480 mil in the SCN. I would have to assume ANY bid with more than that numer is non-responsive? Also don’t go by what the first two ships cost, the submitted design is presumably that of the 3rd & 4th ships which are pretty suredly different. We already know the LCS-2 has bustles built onto its transom.

  • INDY fan

    leasea correction: The LM ships (LCS-1 has the buttcheeks (bustles?) LCS-3 has been lengthened and will have hidden buttcheeks) are suredly different. The Austal ships (LCS-2 and 4) have not changed except LCS-4 will be much cheaper than LCS-2 due to the stable design.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    The topic is fuel capacity and fuel consumption as it affects capability and cost, so I’ll skip “a better grade of deathtrap is still a deathtrap”, in detail anyway.

    Kill it quickly and find an accepatable off the shelf replacement.
    Too much money, too little capability, too small a crew, textbook bad management, horrible design flaws… it’s all been said. All too true.

    The fuel thing is a symptom, another symptom, of a migraine class.

    There will be more headaches, since “we screwed up, we need to dump this and move on” is not in the flag lexicon.

  • Byron

    Indy, MIl STD 1689 is invoked all the time in our items both for quality of workmanship standards and for NDT. Aluminum? What Grampa said. It is at least twice as expensive, more likely three times as expensive as steel to work on. I have hands-on experience with aluminum; do you?


    Arguing the relative merits of the two ships is backwards. First you need to determine what you want the ships to do, then what they need to be able to do to perform the mission, then which potential design makes the best trade-offs to meet the missions. We’re putting the cart in front of the horse. As an experiment, LCS makes sense. Build a little, learn a lot. To buy anymore without seeing how they work out is just plain stupid.

    From the requirements and the reasoning in the 30 year shipbuilding plan, it would appear that the following goals are desired.

    – Provide MIW capability. First to replace the MHC-51 class and augment with limited MIW capability the MCM-1 class and later as the only game in town.
    Replace: MHC-51 class and MCM-1 class
    Design Requirements (as I see it):
    1. Long endurance, both for the crew and ship since MIW is very slow and manpower intensive even with the new equipment envisioned (which of course doesn’t exist).
    2. Good strategic and operational mobility, since you want to get there as quickly as possible. Tactical speed is largely worthless except to run away.
    3. Good payload, large flightdeck, and good water-ship interface since you need lots of remote systems.
    4. Good bandwidth since you need to potentially export and import huge amounts of data.
    5. Reasonable levels of stealthyness against mines. Not MCM or MHC levels but able to operate safely in a significant portion of the MTA. Say FFG level degaussing and noise signature reduction.
    6. Self-protection armament.

    – Provide Maritime Security. This includes but is not limited to MIO, show the flag, engagement with other navies, counter-drug, anti-piracy, infrastructure protection, etc.
    Replace: FFG-7s and Patrol Boats
    Design Requirement (as I see it):
    1. Long Endurance, to stay on station for long periods without support.
    2. Good strategic and operational mobility, since you want to get there as quickly as possible. Tactical speed is largely worthless, you have RHIBS and Helos to chase the bad guys.
    3. Helicopter and UAVs for surveillance
    4. Bandwidth to share intel products

    – Provide ASW Capability against diesel subs in the Littorals
    Replace: Nothing
    Design Requirements (as I see it):
    1. Long endurance, both for the crew and ship since ASW will be very slow and manpower intensive even with the new equipment envisioned (which of course doesn’t exist yet).
    2. Good strategic and operational mobility, since you want to get there as quickly as possible. Tactical speed is largely worthless except to run away.
    3. Good payload, large flightdeck, and good water-ship interface since you need lots of helos remote systems.
    4. Good bandwidth since you need to potentially export and import huge amounts of data.
    5. Reasonable levels of stealthyness against submarines. Say FFG level noise signature reduction.
    6. Torpedo defenses
    7. Reasonable levels of stealthyness against mines. You will have to continuously operate in the MTA. Say FFG level degaussing and noise signature reduction.
    8. Self-protection armament.

    – Provide ASuW Capability against small boat swarms.
    1. Good firepower, and lots of it, against small boats and minor naval combatants.
    2. Good strategic and operational mobility, since you want to get there as quickly as possible. Plus you potentially have to stay with the HVU for extended periods of time.
    3. High Tactical speed to maneuver to attack, evade and avoid the swarms. However, since you will usually be protecting something else, CSG, ARG, Merchant Ships, you will normally not be able to use speed since you will be tied to protecting the HVU.
    3. Helicopter and UAVs for surveillance
    4. Bandwidth to share intel products

    Feel free to add more, but I think that covers it well enough. Beyond what you have to do, there is also what you don’t have to do.
    – AAW beyond self-protection and HVU protection. So something more like ESSMS or RAM instead of AEGIS.
    – Open Ocean ASW. It would be great if you could add some capability in this area, but it is not really a requirement.
    – Naval Strike Missions. We can’t fill the cells we have, we don’t need more and it really drives up the size of the combatant.

    Notice any contradictions here? Now the big $64,000 question. Does it make sense to try to do all of that in one class of ship? I would say no. What you end up with is expensive ships without degaussing systems or TCMs, limited weapons, miniscule payloads, and no endurance. In other words, both classes of LCS.

    Here is what I think makes sense. For clarity, I have made up my own ship names.
    – 30 Littoral Support Ships (LSS). Focuses on the MIW and ASW missions with Maritime Security as a secondary. 2000 tons or so displacement hull, 20kt speed, helicopter, good degaussing system and TCM, payload say 3-4 times the LCS, Self-defense capability (much like LCS baseline), long endurance. An OPV on steroids. Crew 60 or so with ability to double that at least with mission specialists.
    – 30 Littoral Fighting Ships. Focus on ASuW with ASW and Maritime Security missions as secondary. 2500-3000 tons or so displacement hull, 27-30kts speed and I personally think 27 is a better target than 30, helicopter, degaussing system and TCM, focused ASuW armament (much like LCS ASuW package but with more missiles, better Self-defense capability (ESSMS), and endurance can be somewhat shorter than the LSS. Capability to add a towed array sonar when required. Kind of like an updated FFG-7 with longer endurance and more focused on ASuW. Crew 75 or so with ability to double that.

    The problem with both of the existing ships is that they make huge trade-offs to go fast. There is simply no reason for the speed requirements that justifies the trade-offs that you had to make. We want the utility of a pick-up trucks, not the speed of a sports cars.

  • INDY fan

    Byron I have plenty of hands on experience in both aluminum and steel all over the world (over 20 years). But this blog is not about me or aluminum, its about an RFP that does not consider lifcycle costs (the most predominant of which is fuel cost) at a time when the SECNAV and the CNO are espousing the importance of the Green Navy and Total Ownership Costs.
    What good is it to have a ship that can go fast, if you can’t afford to drive it fast. And per my original post, LCS-2 is more efficient than the Navy’s published estimates as demonstrated on trials.
    And as far as the need for speed, the father of the US Navy sums it up best when he wrote…

    “I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

    Captain John Paul Jones, 16 November 1778, in a letter to le Ray de Chaumont.

  • WTH

    RE: USCG ops of 87s an 110s, they don’t refuel underway most places, always tied to a base. Rotating sked, you need enough platforms to cover that downtime, 6 to make 3 or 4 if you’re lucky. 5th FLT and PATFORSWA have this down to an art, of course that is applicable in the Arabian Gulf and the Pacific is a whole other can of worms.

    LCS in/across the Pacific requires some planning. When we get real fuel burn #s I’m willing to bet that the GD design will be far superior. You simply cannot beat multihulls for a design that needs to combine space and efficiency.

  • Byron

    At todays market price, ASTM-A-36 5/16″ steel plate is around $6 a sq. foot. Same thickness ASTM-B-928 aluminum (the only kind you can use) is around $32 a sq. foot.


  • Al L.

    Byron said:


    The math has been done: LCS-3; realtively simple form steel hull. LCS-4 complicated aluminum hull form of larger volume. Price? Virtually the same. Anyone who has ever built anything of complexity knows that raw material cost doesn’t necessarily translate into finished product cost.

    Now if you could for once make an arguement that the life time cost would be more for an aluminum ship by a means other than “I’ve been doing this since 1971 and I say so” then I’ll listen but quoting plate prices is silly. It’s a kin to a home builder coming to me to tell me I should build a house out of wood instead of masonry because wood costs less per board foot than masonry.

    All that cracking and burning stuff, now you have a good point there.

  • Byron

    Quoting plate prices is NOT silly; it goes to eventual repair costs during the life cycle. Ask any welder which he would prefer to weld; almost all will tell you steel.

    LCS-1 and LCS-3 have aluminum superstructures. And to date, all aluminum involved in fires has not ignited; it has melted quite quickly though.

    Your comparison of wood vice masonary is apples/oranges; The real question is: Is steel stronger and will it hold up to a maritime environment longer during the life cycle of the ship?” My point about costs are directly related to life cycle costs.

  • Chuck Hill

    I like USNVO’s analysis. There is a US ship being designed now that is close to his concept, the Offshore Patrol Cutter. Cheaper than either an LCS or the National Security Cutter.

    Perhaps the Navy should become involved.

  • Al L.

    Byron said:

    “Ask any welder which he would prefer to weld; almost all will tell you steel.”

    Ask any worker which he would prefer to move and he’ll say aluminum.

    Welding and material cost are not the only components of life cycle cost.

    Aluminum has an advantage in coatings maintainace cost. Its easier to move (both before its in the ship and as part of the ship) due to its 3 to 1 density advantage. Because its much lighter, much thicker sections can be used where desired to provide a cushion against loss of sectional strength due to corrosion. It doesn’t have to be painted in many cases and it doesn’t need degaussing.

    For the same weight as 5/16″ steel plate one can install 1/2″ aluminum plate and about an inch of kevlar.

    All of which goes back to the original subject of this post. LCS-2
    has a fuel advantage because of design decisions made early on and one of those was to go all aluminum. The weight savings of aluminum could account for all of its fuel holding advantage.

  • Byron

    Dude, do you have any idea how heavy 1″ thick Kevlar is? You’re saying that it will take 1/2″ of aluminum plus 1″ of Kevlar to get the same protection? And at what net weight reduction (which translates to fuel consumption)?

  • PK

    and just what does an inch of kevlar do to overall building costs?????


  • INDY fan

    So how many of Byron’s $32 inserts could you buy for the fuel difference between LCS-1 and 2 over the course of a year (by the way you’re getting ripped off Byron, aluminum is much cheaper)?
    Let’s just say that over the course of a year, each ship will operate about half the year. And for arguments sake, they spend only 10% of their time above 30 knots. At a difference of approx 30 Bbls per hour, at a price of about $100 per Bbl of DFM, times 400 hours of operation at or above 30 knots = $1.2 million per year. You could buy 37,500 inserts for that Byron! Trust me – I did the Math!

    And that’s just one year of very conservative numbers and doesn’t count price of FAS or the fact that LCS-2 is more efficient than the published numbers, while the overweight ship is probably less efficient than the published numbers.

  • Al L.

    Byron says:

    “Dude, do you have any idea how heavy 1″ thick Kevlar is? You’re saying that it will take 1/2″ of aluminum plus 1″ of Kevlar to get the same protection? And at what net weight reduction (which translates to fuel consumption)?”

    Byron Dude, Kevlar: 1″ about 5-10lb/sf depending on type, 5/16″ steel about 13lb/sf depending on type, 1/2″ aluminum about 7lb/sf depending on type.

    The aluminum/kevlar combo offers more ballistic protection for a similar weight.

    Finally my point was the weight difference between steel and aluminum allows the flexibility to add a lot of things, be it Kevlar, fireproofing, fuel, cargo, steel or more aluminum etc. at the designers choice. I wasn’t pretending to design an armor system.

  • Michael Harris

    NSC is a very good hull for the Coast Guard’s mission set. A problem Mark Toomy’s idea with using NSC’s hull is the fact that they are not designed to US Navy Standards – especially in power generation and distribution. There are areas on that hull that do not have alternate power sources.
    Both LCS hulls have different problems – Since LCS-1 is at its weight capacity without the mission modules. LCS-2’s aluminum material have a different set of problems as the above blogs. Both LCS Combat System Suites (without mission modules) have a very limited ability for self-protection, using the 52mm Bofors Gun with an optical gun fire control system.
    USNVO made some great points by designing the ship to the mission set, but reality sets in when the costs are levied in maintenance and different logistic support chains (remember the good old days of supporting GARCIA, BROOKE, KNOX, PERRY class frigates, not to mention the different destroyer and cruiser classes that were in commission?) If we start from scratch, it will set this program back years in a time where the ships LCS has been planned to replace are quickly aging, not to mention the gross amount of money that has been spent on the two designs. I don’t know what the answer is, but it isn’t LCS….

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Flexibility, eah. OK, now you have my attention.

    How do you propose to “fireproof” aluminum structures against the following:

    large volumes of spilled and burning fuel oil released and ignited by:

    long burst strafing passes mixed load (any round you care to name and tracer) 20mm/30mm aircraft cannon (early Mig’s or better);

    mixed shore battery shrapnel and WP from towed or self propelled artillery;

    standard high explosive and WP rounds from any 3 or 5″ naval gun;

    any air to ground or surface to surface missile;

    helo crash on the helo deck, or helo fire associated with refueling a helo.

    Damage control starts with design, then outfitting, then training, then housekeeping, then PMS, all updated by lessons learned. The WWII damage reports are fascinating, particularly when you compare them with the old specifications for warships that resulted. It’s not about armor per se, it’s about survivability achieved by design, doctrine, training, housekeeping, maintenance and endless practice. It is the responsibility of all hands, and that means in or contracted by the Navy, not just the ship’s crew. You don’t add it as an option, you live it.

    What is the Mil Std to improve fire protection by shipbuilding and design practice for steel, because of substandard performance of steel structures in actual fleet casualties? How much does all the special effort to (partially, sometimes just bureaucratically) compensate for aluminum’s shortcomings (which require their own CYA
    Mil Std) add to cost?

    Why is “adding” fireproofing being discussed as an option for a warship? It’s a sine qua non design requirement.

    Additionally, aluminum does not like repetitive stress and shock, and there is the whole sea water environment electrolytic bimetallic corrosion thing…dude.

    Kevlar is not much help when the aluminum bulkhead behind it softens from the heat of the fire conducted from the pool of burning fuel two compartments away and collapses.

    Plus what Byron said.

    I’m still for option three. Scrap ’em and buy something decent for a coastal gunboat, then get a decent production run of an off the shelf real live frigate.

    Can’t afford it? Do the design work, get one decent prototype and realistic cost estimates. Be ready when things get worse and the cry is “we need more ships quick”.

    Come it will.

  • Derrick

    Out of curiosity and ignorance, I’ve noticed that there is no mention of this LCS being able to support ballistic missile defense systems. Would it be worthwhile to consider supporting such systems, since a ship like this which can get closer to shore should be able to get closer to a ballistic missile launch site, and hence increase the chances of shooting down the ballistic missile?

    • DontKnowMuchAboutCNN

      I suspect that LCS lacks the required space, weight, power and cooling growth capacity to host much more than it’s designed to host now, which is not much. Good thoughts, though.

  • INDY fan

    The answer to your question Grandpa is not a proposal, it is reality. Water Mist systems, FM-200, High Expansion Foam, AFFF, High performance light weight structural fire protection insulation. Do you really think the ships we design today are the same as the ones in WWII? Don’t you think we have advanced the state of the art in 50 years? Did you complain this much when they designed the FFG’s, CG’s, LHA’s, and LHD’s with aluminum superstructures?
    MIL-STD-3020 covers fire resistance of US Naval Vessels and applies to both steel and aluminum. Did you know (remember 9-11) that steel softens as well in a hydrocarbon pool fire and requires protection?
    I agree wholeheartedly that it’s about “survivability achieved by design, doctrine, training, housekeeping, maintenance and endless practice”.
    On the design side, there are updated specs that cover every material on the ship for flame spread, smoke index, toxicity, and combustion.
    Instead of complain about what happened 50 years ago, do some research to see what we’ve been doing to incorporate lessons learned. You are not going to get rid of aluminum on US Naval vessels. You can however get educated about what the US Navy has been doing to improve survivability on the future fleet.

  • sid

    On the design side, there are updated specs that cover every material on the ship for flame spread, smoke index, toxicity, and combustion.

    Indy dissemble all you want, but there is no way you are going to get around the fundamental -critically weak- design philosophy that has hobbled the LCS designs from the very beginning

    Question: Does your modeling simulation get into the area of survivability? Are you looking at some shock test with these [voice drop, word inaudible]?

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

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

    Question: And do you envision shock test at some point in the future?

    RADM Hamilton: I envision engaging with DOT&E to satisfy our statutory requirements.

    First off, all the improvements you speak of are great for a sparsely manned civil ship contending with fire…Not a WARship contending with damage by hostile fire.

    Next, this whole quite ridiculous focus on speed. As stated above, the ships as designed were to rely on it for their survivability. They are built lightly -flimsily as one leading authority put it recently- in order to achieve it. However, we already all know the LCS-1 design…even the follow ons…are going to be too heavy to achieve the mythical speed Hamilton spoke of, and even if LCS 2 is selected, the changing expectations of what these will be doing in the fleet will dictate they spend their time at speeds far below what the hulls were designed around.

    Or are you going to tell me that the LCS2 will be towing a tail at 40 kts while running from a threat it is not built to cope with?

    Oh, and that shock testing…Hows that coming along? For ship expected to engage in MIW and all?

  • sid

    And as far as the need for speed, the father of the US Navy sums it up best when he wrote…

    “I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

    I was wondering when this was going to be trotted out. Can’t blame JPJ for wanting a ship that could make a VMG of 10 knots vs one that could make 5….

    Tell me where-other than the (likely biased) highly stylized SOH small boat swarm scenario that is oft cited-does 40 plus knote get that 36 will not.

    Especially given that the LM design won’t make 40 and carry what it needs to anyway?

  • Chuck Hill

    Don’t think the Bonhomme Richard was a fast ship.

  • sid

    Don’t think the Bonhomme Richard was a fast ship

    Maybe thats the basis of his famous quote 😉

    Sure, speed has important tactical and operational advantages, but JPJ was almost certainly not asking for a 25 knot sailing vessel of the line.

    And thats the rub -biggest oxymoron in fact- of the LCS concept. Very High speed.

    Where does it get you?

    Into an overly expensive, overly vulnerable, overly compromised ship….

    Indy, care to speak of those deformed transverse beams LCS-2 suffered a while back?

    Makes one wonder how it would do in a grounding at speed.

    Or after a mine blast close aboard.

    How come that big, expansive flight deck cannot take an H-53?

    Now, that would be flexible

    At what sea states can it maintain 40 knots plus?



  • Mike M.

    All this makes one wonder what a DDG-51 would cost if you didn’t buy the Aegis system. I suspect that it might be very competitive with LCS costwise…with a lot more upgrade potential.

  • INDY fan

    The Hamilton bit from 2004 was before the spec change to invoke NVR. The ship has been designed to MIL-S-901D using NAVSEA 3010 and DDAM analysis. Lots of individual components have been shock tested. I have no idea when they might shock an entire ship, will not likely be for awhile.
    The beams were fixed. It was a construction tolerance issue that was blown way out of proportion imho. I know for a fact it happens in shipyards all over the world, just not under the microscope of LCS.
    The flight deck was designed to CH-53E loads, just a matter of time til the Navy needs to land one nearby and chooses LCS-2.
    And the wave piercing trimaran hullform with active ride control has full capability to SS5 and is survivable to SS8.
    This has been fun fellas, and you’re probably glad to see me go, but I think we’ve covered quite a bit on this blog that originally focused on the RFP that does not take into account lifecycle costs. I hope you invite me back sometime.

  • Byron

    Indy, when you pull a three hulled boat outside it’s building shop and you don’t notice the center hull keel blocks didn’t come with it for several hours…until everyone in the yard heard the groan…that’s a BAAAADDDDD thing. And good fitters and welders can compensate and prevent excessive distortion. Just ask me one day, I might pass on a trade secret or two.

  • Byron

    Aw, come on, Indy, Sid and I were just getting warmed up!!

  • Al L.

    By the way, has anybody noticed that should the Defense Daily numbers prove out, LCS-1 won’t meet the threshold sprint endurance requirement at 30 knots, never mind the required 40 knots?

  • sid

    The Hamilton bit from 2004 was before the spec change to invoke NVR. The ship has been designed to MIL-S-901D using NAVSEA 3010 and DDAM analysis.

    Even AFTER the inclusion of NVR, CRS says in their Nov 2008 report…

    25The LCS was earlier conceived as a ship that would be built to a survivability standard that would be sufficient, in the event of significant battle damage, to save the ship’s crew,but not necessarily the ship. The survivability standard for the LCS was increased as part of the issuing of NVR to one that would be sufficient to save not only the ship’s crew, but the ship as well. (Other U.S. Navy combat ships are built to a still-higher survivability standard that is sufficient not only to save the crew and the ship, but to permit the ship to keep fighting even though it has sustained damage.)

    Now the CNO has (finally) publicly stated the LCS is in effect the Frigate replacement. According to OPNAVINST 9070.1 FF type ships should be built to Level II survivability standards.

    Yet both LCS designs EVEN AFTER THE INCLUSION OF NVR don’t even meet Level I!

    That was more dissembling Indy.

    Lots of individual components have been shock tested. I have no idea when they might shock an entire ship, will not likely be for awhile.

    Yeah. Fair statement; that last part anyway… Given that the DOT&E said this:

    The report said the Navy intended LCS to be a Level I survivability combatant ship, but neither design was expected to achieve the degree of shock hardening required to meet those specifications.

    Shock hardening, the ability to keep operating following an underwater explosive attack, is required for all mission-critical systems under the Navy’s Level I requirements, but only a few selected subsystems will meet those, it said.

    “Accordingly, the full traditional rigor of Navy-mandated ship shock trials is not achievable, due to the damage that would be sustained by the ship and its many non-shock hardened systems,” said the report, which was submitted to Congress this week.

    The flight deck was designed to CH-53E loads, just a matter of time til the Navy needs to land one nearby and chooses LCS-2.

    Seems the PEO isn’t so certain…

    Q. What about a CH-53?

    A. That’s a different story; that’s not what the requirement was. There is no concern that I have seen in my programs nor in talking with the technical codes of that ship’s flight deck to handle the types of aircraft it was designed to handle.

  • Byron

    It’s one thing to be a fan; it’s another to examine a vessels characteristics under the cold light of reality.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    The press of urgent duty called me away (many Grandkids, parents with many urgent deadlines, many places to haul kids, Gramps has the duty minivan). Thanks to Sid and Byron for defending the right so well

  • ENS Willing

    “I would bet a P-3 JO’s per diem that this concern was a major driver in the CNO’s statement.”

    Jealousy does not become you sir 🙂

    Besides, most of our per diem goes to buying bottles for our skippers and instructors.

  • sid

    We’re putting the cart in front of the horse. As an experiment, LCS makes sense. Build a little, learn a lot. To buy anymore without seeing how they work out is just plain stupid.

    USNVO makes the most imminent sense…that is the least likely to be followed.

    To CDR Sal’s point: Which one should we buy?

    A? or B?

    At this juncture…E: None of the above.

    In his design studies, Friedman often makes the point that steel is the least expensive component in a ship. Why spend the precious few dollars to be had on either hull, as both as so badly compromised to go very fast?

    If its a matter of keeping the yards alive…Heck Congress can print up another billion to stave them from oblivion until a new, more rational omnibus hull can be designed.

    Oh, and what good is either hull if the much vaunted offboard systems that it is expected to carry are nowhere to be seen.

    Nobody would think that building a badly flawed carrier would make sense if there were no airplanes for its deck.

    How come that logic does not hold for the LCS?

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    computer glitched and sent the email in mid sentence.


    Indy: I’m glad you have over 20 years working with aluminum and steel. As it happens I had about 40 practicing and teaching shipboard fire fighting with merchant vessels and warships when I decided to walk inland with an oar over my shoulder. My recent Master any gross tons upon oceans license renewal is still valid to sail on and I’m (well)less than five years from my last time through the Advanced Fire Fighting fun in the fire and an SCBA course. So yes I know about about fixed marine fire fighting systems from magazine flooding, sprinklers and CO2 to HYFOG, Halon replacements and the rest. You ducked the point.

    They all assume a degree of structural integrity to work at all. They work fine in a sealed isolated space with delivery piping in place. ONCE, for the most part. In a running fight with multiple hits that is a rosy scenario indeed. Fire fighting in a battle on a battle damaged ship is done with hoses, hose teams, bunker gear (fire fighting clothing ensemble),
    AFFF cans, in line foam proportioners and pick up tubes, HV and LV fog and OBAs/SCBA’s. And Guts.

    You crawl down ladders that will scorch the skin off you without the gloves and fire suit, sqeeze through scuttles you can’t see for the smoke in spaces where ambient temperature approaches the inside of a toaster oven, lugging the very breath of life on your back. You wade through ponds of shifting scalding water you applied to the fire moments before and clouds of scalding steam from the same source. You use every firefighting tool you have as fast as you can get it to the scene, because the fire doubles every minute. The key is isolation, which assumes structural integrity, to stop the fire, force it back, force down, and force it out. You exhaust the sailors you don’t loose to burns, scalding, incoming ammunition, internal flareups, or
    heat stroke establishing and maintaining the fire boundaries and backup boundaries. Most of the gee whiz stuff you cite is used up, shot up, or screwed up and didn’t work. THAT is how you fight fires.

    And I was writing deficiencies on DE’s with aluminum deckhouses and steel main decks before anybody heard of the classes you mention. Not that it did much good.

    I could go on, but I think the peanut gallery gets my drift.

  • Warrant Diver

    As Admiral Tirpitz said:

    “The first duty of a warship is to stay afloat”

    Aluminum warship, close to shore, under fire from artillery, small arms, ATGMs, suitcase Saggers, etc…hope they are fitting her with salvage fittings and plenty of attachment points for salvage pontoons and lift bags. I think me and my boys might be raising some of these if they ever get into a shooting war.

  • Byron

    Granpa, it was a privilege and a pleasure to hold up the side. Everything you’ve said about fighting fires on board ships just sails right over the pointy little heads of the people that sing the joys of LCS.

    Indy, I started swinging a hammer for a living in 1971. I first worked aluminum superstructure on an FF in 1979. I rather doubt you have the scars you get from working with hot metal and sharp edges and heavy plate and beams to be able to convince me that aluminum is good for something else better than beer cans.

  • PK

    obviously indy has never seen a chainsaw catch fire.

  • sid

    Littoral Combat

    Many here are likely much better spooled up on this already…but sure looks like the littorals are proving to be the most lethal place to be at sea yet again

    shamelessly stealing from Baron Brassey again…

    An admiral with Freedoms and Independences in his fleet will be sure to put them in the line of battle, where their comparatively light protection would be at a disadvantage


    Well Said, Grampa, Sir! Well Said indeed! The anniversary of the FRANKLIN was just 2 weeks ago, and we should always remember what fire can do to a ship.

  • I would offer that, damage-control wise one might want to take a look at what happened to HMS Sheffield during the Falklands war.

    Sheffield was struck by an Exocet whose warhead failed to detonate. However, residual fuel from her motor continued to burn and started fires aboard.

    Sheffield was another ship whose class was designed to save money by doing more with less. Her fire mains were single, not redundant. Maintenance and upkeep costs were kept down by installing vinyl floor and wall covering. Her crew was a bit understrength, had completed a long transit, and maintained continuous combat footing in a war zone under threat of surface, subsurface, and air attack.

    When the missile struck, it severed the main water line for the fire fighting system. Residual fuel then continued burning and set fire to the vinyl floor and wall coverings. As a result, DC teams had to fight through large clouds of black, toxic smoke to get to the fire, and then re-route hoses from other section to connect to the fire main. Additional pumps had to be run from a long distance to counter flooding, due to the volume of smoke and resulting zero visibility.

    Further problems were encountered due to the loss of ship’s hotel power generation, again by impact when the missile struck. It was the perseverance of the crew which, after many hours, finally brought the fire under control and then extinguished it.

    The majority of the 20 KIA casualties were caused by toxic smoke inhalation due to the combustible vinyl materials widely used in the ship. It also caused such thick black smoke that many who became casualties were unable to find their way out of the compartments to safety. The lack of redundant fire mains caused delays in getting to the fire and commencing fighting it. Additional delays and, likely, casualties, were caused by the disruption of communication circuits by the spreading fire so that after compartments didn’t get timely information on the situation.

    In the end, Sheffield’s crew was able to put out the fires and begin to shore up the damage. She was taken under tow, and, on the 10th of May, 1982, sank in heavy seas due to flooding.

    Sheffield was a relatively fast destroyer, with all-steel construction. She suffered damage and casualties as a result of a missile impact, with no warhead detonation, and eventually sank as a result. She was built to do more with less, and save MoD money.

    Due readers honestly feel that LCS, with large parts of aluminum, a smaller crew, and larger amount of open space and fuel onboard would fare better?

    If nothing else, consider that the smaller crew would be unable to cope with any serious fire or flooding if they suffered any casualties. No automated system can pick up a hose, or a stretcher, or plug a hole or run a line from a pump.

    I completely agree that the best solution is to HALT the LCS program in it’s tracks, continue with the Burke class, and cast about for another vessel that could be built here under license to perform the littoral missions we seem so enamored of.

  • Nick

    Gentlemen, Ladies:

    Please enough with the National Security Cutter discussions. First off, the ship is NOT built to Grade A shock standards. Let me say that again…the ship is NOT built to Grade A shock. If you redesign it to meet Grade A, you will incur significant cost. Second, the ship’s combat system, CGC2, is basically a more robust CDS with LINK 16. That’s it. As for weapons? A 57mm BOFORS pea shooter, a CIWS B1B, NULKA, and that’s it. No room for anything else.

    Lockheed Martin was trying to push a derivative of LCS 1 on us and we were foolish enough to ignore them. This derivative had no mission modules, had 8 HARPOON launchers, forward VLS, SPY Radar, and AEGIS. Israel was considering purchasing it but didn’t want to be the only country to do so (they would have gone along for the ride if we led the way to help defray costs). What we needed was a replacement for the FFGs. What we got was a half hearted attempt at a new platform that we are yet to find a mission for.

    And the most troubling aspect about all of this is that CNO is now marketing the ship as a replacement for FFG 7 class after the standard navy line has denied this FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS!


    Poorly designed fire mains was one of the reasons the GANBIER BAY was lost. The CASABLANCA class CVEs had cast iron fire mains, that cracked under shock, rendering the ship dependant on stretching hose lines to intact parts of the main, and on Handy Billies.

  • eastriver

    Sorry I’m late to this one, but surprised there is not more reference to Belknap. I got the story from my brother, who was aboard her for the show. It wasn’t pretty, and would have been much worse were they being shot at at the time.

    For those who are unfamiliar,

    Aluminum? Next to shore-based offensive capabilities? Not a good idea.

    Grandpa, thanks. Spot on, as usual.

  • DontKnowMuchAboutCNN

    Holy smokes, I just noticed this is 5 years old! Doh! Not much has changed, has it?

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