Navy Awards Split LCS Buy

Navy Awards Split LCS Buy

The U.S. Navy gave itself along with Lockheed Martin and Austal USA a last minute holiday gift today, giving both companies contracts to build 10 of their respective Littoral Combat Ships.

The service is kicking off the dual buy with a $430 million, fixed-price contract to each company to build one apiece of their ships, followed by an option for both firms to build nine more ships through 2015 for a total of roughly $7.1 billion, according to a Navy announcement. Congress must appropriate cash for the remaining nine ships in each of those five years.

The Navy predicts each ship will cost an average of $440 million.

Lockheed makes the Freedom Class LCS while Austal USA makes the Independence Class vessel.

The sea service revealed its hopes to buy both classes of LCS last month, claiming that competition between Lockheed and Austal had resulted in both company’s bids being far lower than what the Navy had expected. Navy officials insist that the split buy will save $2.9 billion over the next five years and allow for the purchase of 10 ships from each class versus 19 of a single class as previously planned.

Money saved by the dual-buy will now be redirected into other shipbuilding programs, according to the Navy.

Service officials insisted they needed Congressional approval for the deal before Dec. 31, otherwise, they would have to move ahead with the original plan to award a sole source contract for 19 ships.

Congress gave the Navy the green light to buy both classes of LCS so last week, despite the objections of Arizona Sen. John McCain who recently called the once-troubled LCS program an embarrassment and urged his fellow lawmakers to study the Navy’s proposal for several more months.

As part of the contract, both teams will give the Navy a “technical data package” about their designs. This will let the Navy start a new round of competition to build the remainder of the planned 55 ship program after 2015.

A Lockheed official downplayed concerns over the fact that the two classes of ships have unique combat systems, which could lead to incrased costs should the Navy someday decide to install a common combat suite on both classes.

Paul Lemmo, vice president of Lockheed’s mission systems and sensors division told reporters during a Dec. 29 teleconference that the Lockheed ships come with the same command and control suite found on the sea service’s Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers.

“Certainly, for our part, we believe that we’ve offered a very cost effective solution from a combat systems standpoint,” said Lemmo.

Still, “we follow the Navy’s lead and if they would like us to move down that path we’d certainly be open to that,” said Lemmo, referring to the idea of building a common combat suite for the two ships.

Lockheed expects to begin work on the ship awarded under today’s contract in June 2011, with its keel being laid six months later. The company expects a contract for the next ship after that to come in the “first half of 2011,” with construction starting six months later, said Joe North, director of Lockheed’s LCS program during the same teleconference as Lemmo.

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Good Afternoon Folks,

How much are the LCS’s estimated to costs:

Lockheed Martin 10 Ships, Contract #N00024-11-C-2300, Face amount of contract, $4,520,604,367.00, Add ons to contract $491,595,278.00, estimated cost per ship $440,000,000.00 not to exceed $538,000,000.

Austal 10 ships, Contract #N00024-11-C-2301, Face amount of contract $4,368,301,775..00, Add ons to contract $465,468,881.00 same not to exceed price of $538,000,000.00.

It is noted that both contractors have option packages that the Navy didn’t opt for in the contracts but most likely will but, the are in the $55,000.000.00 range per contractor, or about $5,500,000.00 above contract prices.

The first 20 LCS’s are now a done deal.

Byron Skinner

Not a done deal IMO. There was high expectaction that the loser, in what recently was a pending down-selection, would challenge the contract award, delay the procurements, and risk the loss of needed congessional support in the political furball that would come from that. Awarding to both delays the down-selection, avoids the problem. There is little to prevent the truncation of Freedom class LCS in 2012, and then the argument would be about that truncation, not so much about a down-selection challenge.

Also the Saudi LCS deal hasn’t closed yet. My wild guess is that they will buy the more conventional steel monohull Freedom class LCS, and have them built at BIW. Recall that BIW didn’t get a slice of the pie in the 20 ships discussed in the article.

Well now we have some some nice, fast hulls on order with large hanger bays. Now lets just put something more on those hulls than a single 57mm autocannon and single RAM launcher.

“Large” bays? How do you figure?

Supposedly the hanger bays of both LCS designs are large for ships of their size. Much larger than the bay on the old OHP class frigate at least.

wait and see

Sounds like good strategy to me!

I believe the Independence class has a record amount of internal volume, handily beating out the Freedom class in total space available, and has the highest flight deck (higher deck = more seastates you can fly in) of any ship but a carrier. However there would be lawsuits everywhere if the Navy let anything but baseline requirements and cost determine the winner.

I believe they’ll curtail the Freedom in favor of more Independences once Lockheed has export partners lined up, can you hear me Israel? The trimaran hull form research and development will be protected at all costs, the advantages are numerous and I would expect the entire surface fleet to adopt derivatives of it over time.

Good Evening Folks,

The LCS is now officially done, contracts issued, the fight won or loss depending on the position you took, time to move on.

What next for the Navy?

The Daily Teaspoon.

A book just out this week “China, The United States and 21st. Century SEA POWER: Defining a Maritime Security Partnership. This book is a collection of monographs/essays from the “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st. Century Sea Power” in 2007 in Newport RI hosted by US Adm. Michael Mullen, currently the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This conference was about the use of sea power in a combined national forces mostly with in the littoral waters. I don’t have the time to here to go into all that it covered but the main point was cooperation between the US and China in doing joint missions.

In short what is being called for here is two US surface fleets. The battle fleets of carriers, Cruisers, destroyers, SSN’s and SSBN’s. Then a second fleet if you like of LCS’s and smaller sub 3,00 gt. vessels that would operate with in the 200 mile contiguous waters of the world and do what is really law enforcement duty in Pyracy prevention, terrorists raids, smuggling, drugs etc. Most of the ship in this fleet would carry law enforcement teams that are non military from groups such as the USCG and the PAPCG of The PRC.

Th first issue is what ships next for the USN to buy. The answer of course is the replacement of the Perry Class FFG’s and the Ticonderoga Class CG’s.

The Perry’s are very near the end of their service life wit only 20 of 51 built for the USN still in service. Quote Adm. Berry McCullough “…worn out and maxed out.” in describing the condition of the Perry’s still in the fleet.

The Drug bust by the USS Doyle FFG-39 (USNR) off Panama shows the value of the Frigate, its time to start replacing the Perry’s. The Frigate would also be a transitional vessel between the Battle Fleet where it would do a Frigates traditional duties of scout and flank running, and picket duty. With the littoral fleet it would be the “Big Boy” that served as command ship, tender, and what ever else was required.

In the 30 years plus the technology into the Frigate haul has advanced way beyond where it was in 1983 and the Perry’s are beyond upgrading. The Navy should forgo the usual 5–10 year R&D and take the best of the numerous Frigates under construction around the world and build a new Frigate for the USN. This utility vessel is need now not in 2030.

The second ship in great need of replacing is the Cruiser CG. Here is where nuclear power should be revisited by the USN. A nuclear would give both long tern value and a longer on station for the Carrier Strike Group.

The value of the Carrier Battle Group was shown this past November when the GWBG went into the Yellow Sea and cooled everything down. That week provided the economic return for the entire GWBG for its operational life.

The investment in the GWBG of what $25-$30 billion most likely prevented a war or a conflict between SKorea and NKorea that would have cost the American taxpayer several times that investment in fighting and the rebuilding the Koreas that even a small conflict would cost.

Even small war cost over a $100 billion. The United States is the only country that can do this and the heavy cruiser is a central part of a Carrier Battle Group.

My time is nearing so I will pick this up later with what was discussed in Newport in November of 2007. In short its a who new way of looking at sea power.

Byron Skinner

So does anyone know what other armament will be installed on LCS?

The Indy has a better configuration for the multi-mission, given the need for space to grow. Sadly, the USN has realized that their crew size for both ship configurations is too small, so now they are looking for ways to retrofit racks and habitability into the ships.

I wonder if any of our folks have figured out that yet again, combat survivability will have to be retrofitted…the Indy class has no Kevlar armor (aluminum construction), and as previously pointed out, this silly mission modules concept (none of which have proven out, yet)…as if there wouldn’t be simultaneous sea, subsurface and air threats in the littorals.

One would think they would at least have torpedo tubes, RAM and CWIS.

SW 614,

Check out William C’s comments. That is the armament right now. Different mission modules were supposed to add ASW, ASUW, AAW capabilities, but the modules are behind schedule, have not met specs, and way over budget. Plus the Army canceled one of the baseline missiles the Navy was planning to use. (BLOS)

maybe ther a platform for the electmag rail guns speed and punch

A railgun uses electricity to do its work. To be useful, a railgun would need to deliver a large number of high power shots in a short time interval. Higher levels of electrical power are needed to increase the number of shots within a time interval and to increase the energy level of those shots with higher velocities and higher projectile mass. So a ship with a railgun would likely have much higher power electrical generators than usual, and would also likely use those to power motors to move the ship. USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), currently under construction at BIW, is such a ship. But neither class of LCS uses electrical drive, rather they use conventional, simple, and much less expensive mechanical drives between the water jets and the gas turbines and diesel engines powering them.

The US Navy and US Congress love the Arleigh Burke DDG51s. And they know that learning curves are expensive and risky hills to climb. So I think the next cruiser will likely be a stretched AB redesigned for the needs and uses of a cruiser, but retaining enough of the AB design that builds would be like follow-ons.

Though I would like to see nuclear/electric powered trimaran heavy cruisers operating with the CVNs.

Very interesting. Though the Navy has been leaning toward defining “cruisers” as ships optimized for engaging air targets. However this could change, especially as such a large nuclear power cruiser could have sufficient energy for railguns and high powered lasers.

Great two little ****** ship types instead of one. The chicomms sure love the Barry Obama regime. Same goals. — cut america down.

Ships built out of aluminum. I thought we learned that lesson in the 70’s.
It seems at least of this money should be going into something to deal with
the DF-21.

Now the US Navy will have 20 new hulls, but the mission configurable concept is not workable.
Still, new hulls can be used in multiple simultaneous configurations to perform the same mission
as one Arliegh Burke class destroyer. What are they thinking?

Navyair — Yes, was aware of Army NLOS-LS cancellation but also heard that USN might press on with a derivitive of the program. Just wondering if any progress has been made.

Another intersting article I read examined a recent headquaters exercise where LCS was ‘deployed’ to the Somalia/Persian Gulf region. The exercise showed that LCS is supposedly able to beat off pirates and Iranian small craft, it also showed that when the threat changed LCS needed towithdraw and swap out mission packages. A possible flaw in the LCS system?


It will be interesting to see if, 10–15 years from now,
these ships will have managed to evolve beyond
the little more than high-speed cutters in USN livery that they are now.

The Indy has SeaRAM (think RAM launcher on CIWS mount/radar base) and the UAVs/Helos do all the ASW work — at a very nice standoff from the actual ship.

Also, the Freedom has an Al-construction superstructure so bullets will pass through both ships just as easily…

“it also showed that when the threat changed LCS needed towithdraw and swap out mission packages. A possible flaw in the LCS system?”

No, that’s the design and it’s the CONOPS (Concept of Operations) that the Navy developed and gave out to the contractors to fulfill. What no one seems to get is that these ships are designed to work in squadrons of 3–5 ships, not sail around solo like CGs/DDGs can (though they mostly don’t).

It should also be mentioned that Austal’s trimaran design for the Independence class LCS included more than enough capacity to carry a second mission package. Independence also has a mission bay lift connecting the hangar to the mission bay below, has a very large stable flight deck, and will have a Mobicon container handling system, leaving open the possibility of swapping a mission package at sea.

That extra capacity and capability was not included in the requirements and is not accomodated by LM’s/Fincantieri’s monohull Freedom class LCS, which is also currently the more expensive of the two classes under the new fixed price contracts, and smaller, and more fuel hungry.

I hope you, as well as the fortunate ones that spend that money have a good new year.


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