From a Congressional Research Service report filed at the end of November:

LCS was designated by the Navy as a Level I survivability combatant ship, but neither design is expected to achieve the degree of shock hardening as required by the CDD [Capabilities Development Document]. Shock hardening (ability to sustain a level of operations following an underwater explosive attack) is required for all mission critical systems, as required by a Level 1 survivability requirement. Only a few selected subsystems will be shock hardened, supporting only mobility to evacuate a threat area following a design-level shock event. 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 subsystems.

The LCS LFT&E [Live Fire Test and Evaluation] program has been hampered by the Navy’s lack of credible modeling and simulation tools for assessing the vulnerabilities of ships constructed to primarily commercial standards (American Bureau of Shipping Naval Vessel Rules and High Speed Naval Craft Code), particularly aluminum and non-traditional hull forms. Legacy LFT&E models were not developed for these non-traditional factors, nor have they been accredited for such use. These knowledge gaps undermine the credibility of the modeling and simulation, and increase the amount of surrogate testing required for an adequate LFT&E program.
The LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment as evidenced by the limited shock hardened design and results of full scale testing of representative hull structures completed in December 2006.

The whole document is here. Read it and weep. H/T to sid.

So, we have a warship design that is not expected to fight and survive in the very environment in which it was produced to do so. Poorly-armed, poorly-protected, with an over-abundance of speed that will eat through a fuel supply in half a day.

Yet, the Navy leadership on whose watch this abomination was delivered is hypersensitive to criticism of either their performance or the LCS itself. That such a questionable and limited capability will cost taxpayers UNDER $500 million per copy is a seeming source of pride for them.

Warships remain the single most expensive combat system a nation can buy. Has been so since the beginnings of the iron warship. Those who run the United States Navy (not just NAVSEA) are entrusted with billions of this nation’s treasure. And this is the result. A half-billion dollar counter-drug and counter-piracy platform.

Combat in the littorals is characterized by fierce and unexpected engagements, from small and fast surface vessels, submarines, shore-based weapon systems, missiles, mines, and aircraft. Putting US Navy Officers and Sailors on a platform such as LCS borders on criminal. It is an act of sheer folly, or one of desperation.

The lessons of littoral combat were learned and written in the blood and sacrifice by the thousands of our Sailors and Marines in the Solomons, New Guinea, the Admiralties, the Gilberts and Marshalls, off the beaches of Italy and France, the Philippines, and Okinawa. They are there for all to see, on the old pages of damage reports, battle reports, and combat histories written by survivors and shipmates.

The result of those lessons were classes of tough, powerful, fast, survivable units capable of dishing out and absorbing tremendous punishment. These lessons were reinforced in Korea, Vietnam, and the Falklands, where ships that did not possess those qualities paid dearly.

All of which makes the Littoral Combat Ship so inexplicable. Unable to do precisely what its name implies. Risking the vessel, the Sailors, and the mission.

The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

Not Diversity, not social experimentation, not being an Employer of Choice, and not far-flung Humanitarian Missions at the expense of combat readiness and forward presence. There will be screams of protest regarding that last sentence, to be sure. But none of those peripheral distractions mean a hill of beans if the US Navy cannot execute the words printed in bold above. When Navy leadership ignores those words, and fails to heed them, the result is the LCS, and an emperor with no clothes.

Littoral Combat Ship is not a part of a combat-ready Naval force capable of winning wars. Perhaps those who championed and continue to champion it shouldn’t be, either.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Foreign Policy, History, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Navy, Soft Power

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  • sid


    But, don’t you see URR?

    Its -different- now.

    Those old rules do not apply because this concept is brand new!

    However, defeat in battle is not.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    The biggest sin that can be committed today is to be “untransformational”.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

  • You really ought to have pointed out that Ron O’Rourke of CRS was quoting the annual report of DDOT&E from December 2009. The same quote, raised as a potential oversight issue for Congress, appears in the CRS reports of October 14, September 27, September 8, August 25, June 21, June 10, April 8, and February 18, 2010. This is not a new revelation.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Were you to dig through the pages of Proceedings past, you’d find similar laments on the 1052s and later the FFG-7s. Simple truth is that the surface navy wants but one ship-type: the best destroyer-cruiser it can imagine within the current state-of-art. That would be a first-rate warship … and everything else second-rate.

    Lest this be thought an anti-skimmer rant, the same affliction can be seen in submarine designs … except second-rate submarine designs never get to the starting gate.

    At some point quantity has its own quality. Zumwalt argued for the low end of his high-low mix. LCS comes from Art Cebrowski’s street-fighter. The merits of task-tailored men-of-war inexpensive enough to be bought in quantity is unarguable … except when the destroyer mafia congregates. In that precinct nothing but the all-singing all-dancing destroyer is acceptable. Affordable, no. But all or nothing none the less.

    Two points: there’s nothing new here. And nothing unexpected.

  • john patch

    Double Amen. This is exactly why the dual award from late December is no victory at all and not the end of the story by any means. If anyone is popping the champagne on the LCS program, they need their head examined. Regards, jpp

  • sid

    “This is not a new revelation.”

    And…This makes it somehow a more acceptable total fail in the concept…How?

    Oh. And Ken you owe me beer on that shock testing.

  • I do? I seem to recall saying something along the lines of “5th in class would get a shock trial.” That bet hasn’t been settled yet.

  • We need a Go Fast boat! Yeah, a Big Go Fast!!!
    NOTHING else mattered. Full stop.

    And it’s the same re: F-35. go fast. kill a perfectly fine craft (A-10) for a GoFast.

    and fuel is going to kill them both, long before combat will.

  • sid

    “I do? I seem to recall saying something along the lines of “5th in class would get a shock trial.” That bet hasn’t been settled yet.”

    hey…yah can’t blame a guy for tryin’ 😉

    Actual quote:

    “sid, I’ll betcha a beer or three that shock trials will happen before the 5th ship deploys.”

    Still on.

  • pk

    many many years ago (possibly before many of the readers of this rant were born) i read a hard back book published by a
    british outfit (they’re the font of all wisdom concerning all things that have a hull don’t you know) about “destroyers”.

    in it there was a discription of one of the early “torpedo boat destroyers”. it bore many features that LCS defenders would clasp to their booooosoms.

    these were small ships (they were going to build oodles and boodles of them) fast enough to outrun a scared seagull, (something like 23 kts which was about twice the number anything else at the time could get) built out of five pound plate, had a fineness ratio of about 212 or so with a turtle back forcastle and an open conning station (NO pilot house).

    They gobbled coal so voraciously that getting steam up to move to the coal docks and then back to the pier, about a mile and a half, used up about 60% of the bunkers.

    lots of features on LCS that remind me of them and they had that remind me of LCS.

    no one remembers that class (there were a very small number of them) i believe that the group buy was killed when the first of the class hit the water or shortly thereafter. possibly LCS will suffer the same fate.

    to tell you the truth it appears as though the LCS program is a deal to build ships that would be extremely good to chase drug smugglers in the gulf of mexico. it is traditional for USN to wholesale dump entire classes of “less than successful” small ships onto USCG as a “gift” and then build something for their own use that actually works.

    maybe they should get on with that phase of the program now.

    (maybe navsea should take the prints for the Bronsteins, cut and paste a couple of LM2500’s with cp propellors and thunder on){probably has to wait til some guys retire and others die though}


  • Wharf Rat


    I want in on the bet. I just want a free beer….just sayin’.

    Seriously, this has me seriously concerned.

  • … that fact has been one we have been pounding on – with Sid on the bass drum – for years.

    More and more people are starting to focus on it as they gather that this thing will actually have to fight – with Sailors; American Sailors.

    Not designed to fight – and not crewed sufficiently to contain and repair damage when it happens and still be able to operate.

    This disgrace of a ship not only can’t fight hurt – it can’t float hurt.

    It was designed this way. Why? Because someone had a speed fetish and bought poorly vetted manning theory that gave them a mirage of peace-time manning savings.

    Keep pounding it URR – and then when that hand get tired – pound the NLOS NSFS drum.

    It isn’t old news because many have not heard it yet. “Pound them, (URR). Pound them. God help the men who lie under that.”

    When done – we can give LCS to the USCG as a quasi-effective medium-endurance cutter. We can license build a run of ABSALON/NANSEN/SEVEN PROVINCES until we can get a domestic design up and running.

    Either that – or we can above all other things protect grown men’s tender egos, pride, and reputation at the end of their superannuated dotage so that that young American Sailors can go in harm’s way in a substandard ship designed without an enemy in mind – and saddle a Fleet and a nation with the Edsel of the seas for a generation.

    I vote for the lives of the young over the egos of the old any day – but that is just me.

  • P

    The LCS seems more akin to a Naval Special Operations Boat, something the Patrol Coastals “Cyclone” class lacked in terms of armament and endurance. SPECWARCOM would be proud :-).

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    I’m old. I’m proud. I’d like to think I had a decent rep.

    I say, and I have said since I got my first look at the concept and the specs:


    No way do I want my grandkids caught in that deathtrap. Or anybody else’s. Not in a fight, not in a storm, not in a fire.
    No way.

    Not that anything I say will change this in the least, doddering old retired has-been that I am.

    You want reasons why, check the Salamander’s back numbers.

  • Ken

    These LCS “Bait” boats are no “steet-fighters”. They are an accident/incident waiting to happen. May God bless all who sail upon them…because they’re going to be a casualty or a hostage in some third world prison.
    Jefferson lives! His worthless gunboats are back.

  • Sam Kotlin

    The vulnerability of the various SWO commands are relative, but every one would have its back broken by a single submarine-launched torpedo … and few if any have the current ASW skills needed to defend themselves. 42 other nations currently have operating attack submarines.

    One can summarize the full set of laments on the LCS in one sentiment: “It’s not as big/gnarly/fancy as what we wanted.” To which the Rolling Stones replied…

    No, you can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    And if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need

  • Paul

    Is this ship being kept alive because NAVSEA is incapable of admitting that they messed up, or because the contractors are hand in hand with multiple congressional types that refuse to kill funding for it because that would mean a loss of jobs in their districts?

    Will this ship be war-gamed with a real threat and not a made up, canned scenario that’s designed to give them a win? Be interesting to see what the result of that would be.

  • Old Salt

    “Warships remain the single most expensive combat system a nation can buy. Has been so since the beginnings of the iron warship.”

    Has been so since wooden warships put to sea…triremes, MARY ROSE, CONSTITUTION, DREADNAUGHT, NAUTILUS…warships are the most expensive combat system a nation can buy.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Has been so since wooden warships put to sea”

    Old Salt,

    Before ships were made of steel, the greatest cost to the realm was the building of castles/fortifications.

    But ships have always been near the top, yes.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Mr. Kotlin,

    I do believe that DE-1052s and FFG-7s underwent shock testing. And weren’t intentionally designed with what we now call “optimal manning”, but were instead crewed by sufficient sailors to perform the necessary operations and maintenance.

    So, no, there were not “similar laments”. Whatever criticism there was (and there was a good deal for each hull), none of it was documented evidence of a failure to meet minimum specifications in testing, as we find with this class of “ships”.

  • Sam Kotlin

    Re optimal manning and the FFG-7s: the manning model for this class had built into it a high degree of shore-based maintenance support that the surface navy never funded, making these ships a huge manpower sink for ship’s company. You might call the result ‘sub-optimal manning.’

    In general, the manning model for any class must take into consideration the maintenance philosophy and expected maintenance load for the gear aboard, watchstanding requirements underway, and the manpower requirements of battle stations. Every manning plan is ‘optimized’ for those conditions, whatever buzzwords get attached to it.

    If you were around the Bureau or in the fleet when the Navy Manning Plan (NMP) was instituted, you saw there a deliberate action to gap billets Navy-wide, the other meaning of NMP being ‘no more people.’

    As personnel is the biggest chunk of military spending, costs rising continuously, intelligent attempts to cut back on unneeded billets at sea would seem prudent. But we know that blog writers are always a lot smarter than those paid to manage the fleet.

    As to shock test, the SSN-593-class tests were carried out on the USS THRESHER. That sure turned out well.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Mr. Kotlin,

    Your condescending tone aside, some points at issue:

    I have great questions about the understanding of “total cost of ownership” by those very people paid to manage the fleet. In an equipment-intensive competitive environment, an attempt to implement such highly dubious concepts as stretching maintenance cycles, and reducing user-level services would either get one fired, or if somehow implemented, have near-immediate (within two maintenance cycles) adverse effects on equipment availability and SECREP/maintenance costs for follow-on cycles.

    A maintenance manager of any consequence that insisted on the types of “cost savings” shell game that would produce the INSURV results on major end-items that the Navy is dealing with would be out of a job, if not under investigation.

  • Byron

    Sam, I’m not a bright person, but I know enough to understand that a 40 man crew on a 3,000 ton vessel can either fight the ship or save the ship but not both at the same time. I expect this does make me smarter than the Navy.

  • K

    Destroyers are traditionally disposable assets. My father had 2 sunk under him in WW2. They are designed for speed, not survivabilty.

    The problem is when they cost so much that you can’t afford to lose some.

  • Bill White

    This article is all based on fiction.

    No ship, up to and including todays destroyers can sustain a modern missile or mine hit and continue to fight. Evidence is contained with every single military missile, or mine hit since WW II. The ships can usually survive to be repaired and fight another day. But, the damage control effort and shock to crew members, make continued fighting operations highly problematical. Even Carriers have had a very poor record in this area as well. Successful, tactics require multiple ships, so those not damage can continue the fight.

  • Paul


    A 40 man crew can either fight the ship, save the ship or drive the ship– pick any two.

    No matter how you cut it, unless the other side anchors and hangs a target over the gunwale with a bullseye it’s not going to work. Too few weapons, no redundancy, and too few people lead to problems. What if it’s swarmed, boarded and captured? With forty crew members not impossible if the other side is willing to take losses. Our current crop of adversaries certainly don’t fear losing numbers, right? Or a boghammer squadron with noses full of TNT playing chicken suddenly swinging in from all points of the compass to hit them. One gun doesn’t give them enough time to react to all of them. I’ve seen the videos of Aegis cruisers being shadowed by Iranian boats. Not much time to react given the range.

    I’ve said it before– a half billion dollar ship is not something any prudent commander is going to place “in harms way”– what would be the implications/consequences of such a ship damaged or even sunk by low-tech adversaries? The simplest thing to do is keep them out of the front lines where both they and careers won’t get hurt. Hark back to WWI– dreadnoughts were risked in few fleet actions because of the loss of prestige if one was sunk. The fear of mines and the loss of such an investment of national capital kept ships swinging at anchor.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Byron: I’m reasonably bright, though (curse the rotten luck) no genius, and I quite agree.

    URR: don’t mind Sam, he’s always been a legend in his own mind.
    The Navy, he ain’t.

    SAM: Thresher was the first, but not the last, and the others served long to very long, and well, AS YOU WELL KNOW. You also know the scenario for Thresher’s loss and the likely chain of causality. Just step away from the crack about Thresher. It’s more than a cheap debate ploy, it distorts the record of the accident and the performance of the Force. Your enthusiasm for the joust has overcome your good sense.

  • Byron

    Paul, the crew of the Starke ate not one but two missile hits…and survived. The Samuel B. Roberts hit a mine that damn near blew her in half….and survived.

    You CAN save your ship, and as every DC shop has said, Rule #10 is: DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP! Are we now to ignore the immortal words of the father of the Navy?

    Sam: what Granpa said.

  • Retired Now

    Seriously, why not primarily build lots of relatively inexpensive frigate sized warships for our Navy ? And don’t gold plate them with 3 of everything ! In fact, build them with only some of the damage control, but plenty of weapons (numberous types). And then have the USN crews train more doing practice defense, shooting rehearsals, etc. Actually spend MORE time doing GQ anti-ship missile defense practice than doing HIT ALFA, damage control drills. Seriously, spend more time training to DEFEND the frigate than reacting to missile strikes doing damage control drilling.

    And then only keep these many frigates for 20 years and replace them. Keep them cheaper and more modern than present day destroyers and frigates. If you never let these low cost frigates get over 20 yrs old, then you will be ensuring that America’s shipbuilders will be busy replacing all 80 or so frigates constantly. Given them practice to get quality up, and costs to build down. If we constructed 4 of these frigates every year, and never kept any beyond 20years old, then eventually, the Navy would always have a total of 80 relatively modern, not too expensive frigates. And if we lost some in battle or accidents or terrorists, the loss would not so tragic compared to a $1.5 billion dollar DDG-51.

    How’s this for a LOW END plan ? And weld at least 200 racks onboard each frigate, just in case you wanted to add a few extra crew just before they deployed into harm’s way. And give them enough fuel for 2 weeks underway without worrying about finding an oiler.

    oh, and also, “86” the entire LCS program immediately.

  • Paul

    Hi Byron

    I meant for the crew of 40 on the LCS– not for the Stark or any of the other “legacy” ships that have taken hits and lived to fight another day. Both ships you mentioned had crews of close to 200 so doing all three was possible.

    Another point in favor of Retired Now’s idea– think of all the command billets that 80 frigates would generate. Isn’t the biggest dream of most naval officers is to attain the command of a ship? With 80 hulls floating around then Lt. Commanders can get their ships and junior officers can spend a lot of time at sea building up skills for their transition to command of first a frigate and then a larger ship. Nothing like learning by doing. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for an officer to command three or even four ships in their career– a frigate, a destroyer, a cruiser and then finally an amphib before breaking out their flag or pennant.

  • Sam Kotlin

    “Just step away from the crack about Thresher.” Actually I’ve always thought that the shock testing and its latent effect could well have been connected with the later rupture of the seawater system that sank the boat. Having lost four shipmates in her, guys I qualified with, there’s no cheap comment intended or made.

  • Old Coastie

    I want to say thank you for all the hand-me-downs the USN has given the Coast Guard in the past. Once you chew all the juice out of those ships, we keep them running for another 20-40 years until their hulls literally wear through.
    Sure, blow the wad on whatever you like, then dump it on us. We’ll re-vamp or re-purpose them and suitable or no, use them to defend the nation until you’ve long since spent your first retirement check. We always have.

  • sid

    “Evidence is contained with every single military missile, or mine hit since WW II.”

    You are simply wrong about…

    Just one example here…

    You need to check your facts and assumptions Bill.

    Not every hit is a kill…

  • Byron

    So tell me Paul, we build these useless expensive boondoggles that stand a good chance of getting their crew killed and the best you got is it’ll give more command pins out?



    I would much rather see Marinette marine build 10 FRITJIHOF NANSENs for the USN, rather than Least Capable Ships. There are still WWII LCSes out there in small navies, real LCSes, that someday a Least Capable Ship will encounter, and be promptly sunk by.

    NANSENs would give us a superb DEG at the same price as a Least Capable Ship. Or, as Mongo and I have mentioned at Lex’s place, put the JOHN C BUTLER class back into production, with a modern powerplant and weapons. SAMUEL B ROBERTS proved that the BUTLER hull could take a great deal of damage, and still fight. But Please, Please, stop the Least Capable Ship. Why on earth are we building something 2/3 the size of a CLEAVELAND, that is armed with a single optically aimed 57mm gun?

  • John Patch

    “Retired Now’s” above comment from 3 JAN is on the mark! Lots of low end single mission (primary) ships with respectable defensive weapons and crew numbers and solid helo capability. Regional COCOMs would love to have these to do the theater engagement and presence missions, as well as the ash and trash missions like antipiracy (which for now, looks an awful lot like convoy escort). On the latter mission, we will likely need that capability ina WESTPAC conflict and we found in WWI and WWII you cannot build a fleet of destroyer escorts overnight. Bring back an improved FFG-7–the Aussies did, with VLS! Regards, jpp

  • Paul


    I’m not talking about the LCS design for commands, but something else, perhaps something from another country or another design entirely and I think Retired’s point was the same. This design, the LCS isn’t the right one for the mission.

    An influence squadron has been discussed by other folks– I’m not talking about simply command pins, but ships that are mission-capable, can fight, can stay on station and can also be manned by a crew that can accomplish all missions while training officers at the same time. It IS an issue when I see the Navy moving towards civilian manning of US warships due to a lack of qualified deck officers. That is a problem.

  • Michael Antoniewicz II

    CRS just outlined how any hostiles can get the LCS’s to “withdraw”. Set off a mine nearby and watch then limp away while using cell phones to call for a tow.

    ~$7B, 20 *very* basic hulls, ~5-10 years … ye gods.

  • Byron

    Paul, the Navy doesn’t have a problem with people qualified to command…it’s simply cheaper in the long run to put contracted civilians in the MER and machinery rooms. Single biggest line item in the Navy’s budget is purely paying for their people and all the benefits. “Influence” squadrons is a buzzword for little boats that can show the flag. We need ships that can defend themselves (to a reasonable degree), be able to hit the enemy and to be able to conduct damage control. LCS does not fit this description.

  • ZSME

    LCS and DDG 1000 designs have already been beaten to death on CDR Sal’s blog…nothing new here either. You all can bang the drum as loud and as often as you like but that isn’t going to change the budget issues that force the services to go “on-the-cheap” when design and building ships. Fact is, if the Navy wanted the LCS class to be “survivable” in the context described here, then it would’ve been spec’d for heavy armor protection systems and a focused AAW capability. It would have had requirements for stealth (lower RCS = lower probability of seeker detection/lock-on) and requirements for increased crew manning for all those repair lockers needed to combat damage. However the fact is that those requirements don’t exist in the LCS design hence “it is what it is.” You all can gripe about LCS desigh (and DDG 1000 for that matter) but remember it was the U.S. Navy brass that defined the ORD and the requirements that is building these ships. Granted if we had big budgets and unlimited funding we could build “the Homer mobile” of ships to meet and exceed all perceived mission requirements but in the end it would be too costly to construct in the needed numbers. If you all really want that super-duper survivable littoral combat ship, recommend taking the BB 61 class out of mothballs…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Granted if we had big budgets and unlimited funding we could build “the Homer mobile” of ships to meet and exceed all perceived mission requirements but in the end it would be too costly to construct in the needed numbers.”

    Nope. Survivability was sacrificed at the altar of speed. Development of new hull designs cost a fortune in order to obtain that speed. But what did 50 knots vs 35 or 38 knots buy?

    A design such as the Gearings survived in the littorals, and they were hardly BB 61-class battlewagons. And they weren’t budget busters. A solid, tough, survivable ship is NOT out of budget capabilities. LCS was built based on assumptions that did not prove valid. Certainly not valid for the characteristics of littoral combat.

    And yes, Navy brass defined the ORD. They punted into the grandstands. Because of considerations political and transformational.

  • Byron

    ZSME, no one here ever said the Navy was without fault. I’ve always said that the buck stopped there. Unfortunately, everyone that had a chance to tell the emperor he was nekkid had already undergone Pentagon mandatory spine and guts removal. Damn the sailors. Damn the taxpayers who deserve more from those tasked to defend us.

  • Paul


    I think we’re talking at cross purposes. I do not, have never not, and will never support the LCS– not enough guns, crew or anything else to do what it’s supposed to do.

  • Byron

    Paul: Gotcha 🙂

  • leesea

    Scott don’t you think Marinette Marine (a part of Fincantieri Marine Group) would/could build a Finicantieri warship or OPV vice something from ANOTHER company. Take a look at the Italian website and pick one. How about their Multipurpose Corvette just as a for instance?

    I would rather have MMC build many more and somewhat smaller combatants for the USN (for instance the 70 mter Fast Attack Craft) and leave the frigates to say BIW? The point is there are literaly dozens of existing or proposed designs, its just a matter of picking one and building it here.

    Ahh but all of this is daydreaming since we all know that LCS is the directed program of record~~~

  • George William Herbert

    Query – For someone with a naval architecture background but who hasn’t been following LCS super closely, is there a publicly available scantlings drawing (even just midships scantlings…) out there somewhere for either, preferably both hulls?…

  • I was quite interested in the Littoral Combat Ship program when it first started. Having seen the results, I have only one thought:

    Good job I retire this year.

    This is one of those times when I wish the Navy would follow a lead from (gasp!) the Coast Guard. Basing the LCS on the Legend Class (National Security) Cutter’s design would have slashed development costs for both services, and given the U.S. Navy a far more practical, robust and survivable product.

  • Truthful James

    The LCS survives only with a CBG mama offshore to do the protective work. Here is the problem. The Navy’s weapons platforms take the longest to plan/design/build of any of the armed services. Missions have shifted at a quicker rate than the ship construction programs can adapt.

    The LCS was an attempt to make the ship system adaptable for a variety of missions, singularly rather than all at the same time. At the same time, personnel costs skyrocketed, reserving bunks for crews in semi-comfort cost dollars for space and amenities. Crew minimization became the byword. The LCD can not fight and damage control at the same time.

    We have got to design and build ships to face down the opposition not today but five years to a decade ahead. Can we do that? What will be the threat to our nation in that time frame? Will we be fighting at the borders of what the PRC calls the “Second island Chain?”

    And if you module aboard the minesweeping capability and the sucker gets sunk by an acoustic screw counting time delay mine — what do we do with the ASW module and the shore bombardment module left at the home base?

    WW II DD and DE got up to 2100 tons, no larger, and they went into harms way expecting to be targets for Nippon Air after the larger ships were bombed, and also from submarines.. Damage control was more than a fetish, it was a way of life and water tight compartments plus firefighting were skills learned by damn near all of the crew. We lost several off Okinawa to the “Divine Wind” but our anti-air prevented a lot more from going down. Don’t see any LCS with that much anti-air on a ship a helluva lot larger.

    We could program DDs for fighting and losing because we built them fast and cheap. We can’t afford to lose an LCS in the limited politicl wars our nation has chosen to fight.

    One needs to ask — as LGEN van Riper posited in running his opposition team — can we survive and win against a mass unconventional attack by disguised and primitive IRGC run units. And finally, would the Cole had survived had it been at sea and enagaged against multiple small boat units? Could it have done DC and fighting at the same time?

  • A while back the Secretary of the Navy announced that one of the new littorals would be named the USS Liberty. They obviously quickly noted how embarrassing that would be and removed that announcement from their website.

    Wonder if the guy that made THAT suggestion still has a job in the DoD.

  • LT Rusty

    Under 500 million?


    We only paid 700 million for DDG 80, IIRC. How many LCS does it take to match one DDG 80?

  • J Bar

    First! From the future….