NLOS-LS Dies; Just Cost Too Much

NLOS-LS Dies; Just Cost Too Much

The Pentagon is almost certain to kill the Non-Line of Sight Launch System, leaving little left of the once enormous Future Combat System and raising questions about how the Navy and Army will deliver highly accurate steel on distant targets.

“This thing just costs too much,” said a source familiar with the decision. “It really has come down to affordability.” The technical side of the recommendation to kill the program came from two studies that considered the Army’s precision fire needs and capabilities. “If you look at if from precision fires only we’ve got some helo rockets, Excalibur artillery, MLRS and precision mortars. But, can you get those into an environment that’s mountainous and difficult to get to and self deploy them and resupply them, then the answer is no. So if you look at it from the operational capability standpoint the waters get a little more muddied,” said the source.

As we’ve reported, the NLOS-LS failed miserably in its most recent series of tests, carried out earlier this year. This story was first reported by InsideDefense​.com.

In 2004, the Army signed a six-year, $1.1 billion development contract for the NLOS-LS with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. That same year, the Navy signed a memorandum of understanding with the Army to buy the missiles for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Taxpayers had spent $1.21 billion to date and we were on the hook for another $431 million for development and procurement in fiscal 2011.

The Army’s cancellation of the program could have serious implications for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program as the NLOS-LS was to provide a substitute for the ship’s lack of vertical launch system cells — which can handle anti-ship, anti-aircraft or land attack missiles — that larger surface ships carry. The only weapon the LCS currently carries is single 57mm rapid-fire cannon that can range out to nine miles.

A decision should be made in the next week or so by Ash Carter and the Office of Secretary of Defense about the decision to cancel. The Navy is aware of the Army’s likely decision and probably would not oppose it, the source familiar with the debate said.

Analysts have pointed to the LCS’ lack of organic fires as a serious shortcoming that might limit its operational effectiveness. One of LCS’ primary missions is to screen battle fleets and help them fight off fast attack boat “swarms.” That’s where the NLOS-LS was supposed to come in, with a Loitering Attack Missile that could range out to 124 miles.

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Colin and Greg, it’s been confirmed by Inside Defense that NLOS-LS is DEAD. Use Javelins with a datalink, extend the range and get it on the NIK. Now missiles are nodes like the NLOS was supposed to be and you’ve got an organic fire support system for troops at the company or even platoon level.

Now the USN has a good argument to install the Mk41 VLS (which is still manageable within the LCS hull), and that means of course AEGIS. So the tiny ship that was becomes suddenly the heavy frigate the USN always wanted — hopefully.

If not, then there is more money wasted than just on the NLOS-LS…

if they want another suitable replacement for NLOS that would likely be much cheaper they should contact Aerovironment and place huge orders for the Switchblade killer micro UAV.

See here:http://​www​.avinc​.com/​u​a​s​/​a​d​c​/​s​w​i​t​c​h​b​l​a​de/

Enter tThe ONLY weapons system on the LCS is a 57mm cannon? Whose idea was that? I know the Navy is a pack of button pushers, but were they really going to use a NLOS missile to destroy a speedboat? Doesn’t the missile cost more than the farging speedboat? Good thinking all around guys.ext right here!

The missiles in a box concept is still sound. Hopefully they can make it work in try #2.

The PAM was an oversold concept. Autonomous missiles using optical pattern recognitionare are not capable of doing the complex job of finding targets, not to mention distinguishing friends from clever foes. Optical fiber guided missiles that put a man in the control loop along with a more powerful computer have demonstrated the they could hit both moving ground and airborne helicopters twenty years ago. They give the remote operator a chance to see the target from up close and abort the mission in the last few seconds if in his judgement undesireable collateral will be caused. Special interests have percluded the US Army from procuring them but not so for the Israelis, who take their defense seriously.

Back to the drawing board.

I guess the Russian have bidded on air refuel altenative on us in the past. I guess they may also bid on some S-400 SAM. It could be cheaper.

Thanks a lot Lockheed and Raytheon! Our navy sure could have used this system. Great job.

From what I have read in the trades, this particular article got it slightly wrong. NLOS-LS jettisoned the Loitering Attack Missile several years ago. The PAM was the missile being launched from the CLU. Solid fuel, no loitering. And to the guy who sort of spat out Boorda’s Law — it is a whole heckuva lot better to kill a terrorist with an RPG or a boat packed with C4 from 40 klicks out if you can; ask the sailors on the USS Cole. That said, the 30 mm and the organic 57mm are superb weapons in the hands of very capable warfighters and will truly do a great job.

Lateral Patriot missiles and Patriot cruise missile could do the same job w/o the additional cost.

The SPIKE missile would work great, but at this time Israel isn’t so thrilled with Obama so I doubt they will sell it.

they say this costs way to much but they sure dont mind spooning 100-to 1 billion dollars a piece for aircraft and that does not include study and development.

This is quite a shame because this system had quite some potential. The Precision Attack Missile may have been a failure, but perhaps the Loitering Attack Missile was worthy of continued development?

Hopefully the Navy and possibly Army can get a new system that provides similar capabilities in the near future.

Spike NLOS is a multi-purpose, electro-optical missile system with a real-time wireless data link for ranges up to 25km.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is presenting the JUMPER System – missiles launched from a vertical launcher pack to precisely strike targets at ranges of up to 50 Km

Mk41 VLS won’t fit on either LCS without a great deal of work. In fact, LM’s conceptual export version of LCS-1 only accommodates an abbreviated VLS after giving up some hangar space. To fit a full-length VLS would require a rather large design change, and further impact hangar/module space.

There are alternatives. IAI’s Jumper is out there (would need a new guidance package) or you could potentially modify JAGM for vertical launch with some work.

Joint Air-to-Ground Missile Specifications
Weight: 108 lb
Range: >16 km
Diameter: 7 in
Length: 70 in
Shelf Life: >15 yr

It’s a good technology. Just freeze it for now until we have a budget for it. Aegis missiles technology and Patriot missile technoly are still the best there is.

JAGM will probably then be f’ed up as well (for lack of a better word), as it’s also supposed to be using tri-mode seeker tech.
Same basic people behind it (Raytheon, etc).
Ditto for Lockheed’s P.44 missiles, an in-house development that packs 10 guided rockets of 7″ diameter each on the same pod cell dimensions as the 9″ diameter 6-round MLRS rocket pods.
(Geez, can’t ANY US defense contractors create anything anymore on time and within budget that actually WORKS as was advertised?)

If those tri-mode seekers are proving so torublesome, maybe then we should be working on something more reliable, and leave the troublesome tech for another 5–10 years, when the lab geeks at DARPA or wherever figure out tri-moding a lot more reliably.

LCS: 3000 tons and a single 57mm gun. Awesome (waste of taxpayer money).
Israel’s Jumper? Which US defense contractor are we going to trust to design it into a Mission Module for LCS, who won’t f’ up the Jumper system in the process?

Ok, my other solution besides getting Switchblades would be for the Army to adopt the Air Force/Darpa program called AMSTE. It’s a networking program designed to help GPS guided weapons engage moving targets via data tracking and sensors that would be equipped on JSTARS or could conceivably be using current UAV sensors.

Here’s the link:http://​www​.globalsecurity​.org/​m​i​l​i​t​a​r​y​/​s​y​s​t​e​m​s​/mu

So picture AMSTE working in conjunction with UAV’s, equipped with AMSTE talking to arty units equipped with Excalibur.

So with 1.2 BILLION dollars worth of budget they couldnt make an IR seeker that can recognise a heat signiature from a tank???????? What is this, the 1970’s?

Scrap the program, fire all the people who were working on the targeting software because they are obviously functionally retarded.

The Army and Navy articulated a valid requirment for NLOS-LS, however CORPORATED GREED, mis management and ultimately poor testing results force Army leadership to make the call to end the program!

Please keep in mind when bashing the contractors that the CLU (container launch unit) which was Lockheed Martin’s contribution, worked every time. It was the missile which ultimately dragged the program to its death.

This program has been a failure for years and only was kept alive because of FCS. The PM shop was probably allowing its people to sign off on performance waivers without studying their cumulative impact on the systems performance. There are other systems out there now doing the same thing.

TASM’s had friend or foe capability, watched a number of training videos where it went around decoy ships to hit it’s target. Granted it is to large for speed boats but if the could merge the anti ship with the Delta (subminitions variant) it would be devastating on small boats and large. Single and quad, deck mounted launch tubes work well with tommahawks, the LCS could be somewhat saved as a semi combatant. At the same time this old technology could be retrofitted to a smaller missile it would seem. At the same time why is the NAVY ignoring torpedos which are even cheaper yet and carry massive warheads to do more damage, Nothing on the ocean can get away from a MK48 once it acquires you.

War Scientist definitely has a point. We’re now more than 30 years in developing new iterations of IR seekers. What the hell was Raytheon doing with this one?! They could have used an off the shelf system and tweaked the software or added a larger focal plan array or whatever. I can’t understand how they could botch this up and just deliver for a HANDSOME price a system that our troops need.

What would it take to integrate an existing missile that can do the job?

Looking at seeker tech,
if this tri mode configuration isn’t working as expected, how about this:
so far as reported from battlefield use, Javelin works (at least, it works against bunkers and mud huts. Obviously there weren’t a lot of enemy AFVs in these two theaters to attack…).

Why not use something like an INS (Inertial Navigational System) and internal route-mapping/GPS to get the Netfires to the target area,
then let a Javelin seeker in its nose do all the terminal guidance?
That seems like it should be a plenty-effective system, and certainly can be made to fit inside the NetFires LAM’s body diameter.

…Or is Javelin in reality not as good as we’ve been told?

Hell, even the new-generation optical seeker array of the AIM-9X, in a 5-inch diameter missile, it’s suggested the AIM-9X could be software-programmed to work against surface targets.
Why not put that seeker into NetFires?

I beg to differ, Systems Guy, it’s not JUST the CLU or the missile, it was also failure of the system to integrate with the Army’s network AFATADS, which caused the failures that ultimately killed the program. I know-I was there during the last testing of the system at White Sands. So maybe before you make a blanket statement like you did, you might want to present some facts to justify waht you say.

If the issue is swarms of boats I say just fry them with Microwaves. You could say “Hey guys, will you all please step into this microwave there are 700 virgins in there”. You can get a cheap microwave for $59.00.

I can’t even think of spending a billion dollars on a system that works as well as my 700 virgins!

We really need to get our act together. America should be #1. The Russians, French, Chinese and Israel are all in front in one area of technology or another.

Next we’ll be giving our warfighters sling-shots.…

I know we can do better than this. This system is a crying shame.

Shail, WTF? If you know so much about “internal” programs, why can’t you get the facts right? And if it’s “internal”, why are you talking about it? The tri-mode seeker does work when done right…it already does for one of those contractors.… And DARPA is good at figuring out how new tech works…but no so much in making things “reliable”…that’s called manufacturing. I’m sure you can spend your time in better ways.…

The real truth is that the program was accelerated twice by the Army (for free), the Army directed flight tests and LUT be conducted prior to the completion of qualification testing in order to meet dog and pony show commitments, and constantly changed its top level requirements (for free), including contradictory performance vs safety requirements which ultimatley let schedule instead of technical completness drive the program. The seeker is state of the art as are the algorithms and with any development program are constantly being tweaked with flight test results. The army is backing out on a 1.2 billion dollar program that needs less than $100 million to deliver a fully qualified system. The army wanted state of the art technolgy for next to nothing and was unwilling to compromise performance for a reduction in cost and then cancelled the program because of cost.

In addition, the program was a joint venture with Raytheon and LM in which LM designed parts of the missile and Raytheon desinged parts of the CLU. Yes, someone thought that was a good idea! The LM designed missile components had significant technical issues that drove cost and schedule. It was mentioned above to use LMs P44, which makes you wonder why they would be at all in interested in the sucess of the PAM when they have an option “ready” to go. The Army’s inexperience running an SDD program and the formation of an LLC between competitors killed this program.

A little boat can do serious damage A**HOLE, think of the USS Cole, those sailors wouldve used anything to stop that little boat, trust me. Its never about money when it comes to saving lives YOU IDIOT. ask the families of those lost if they wouldve given any amount to have their fathers and brothers back-so self centered. your the part of the reason great systems are cut. it could be used in patrol bases in Iraq and Afghanistan dropped in by helo and resupplied the same and it wouldnt take a large crew to man and lug 155 shells around. I really hope you have never served-because you really sound stupid.

You are wrong about that.

Mk 41 VLS was included in GD’s MMC (Multi-Mission Combatant), an optioned out design variant of GD/Austal’s LCS-2 USS Independence. VLS occupies a small fraction of mission bay space in the forward outboard corners of the MMC’s mission bay.

See GD’s MMC brochure at the link:


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