The Navy’s LCS missile woes

The Navy’s LCS missile woes

The Navy’s littoral combat ships were supposed to bring the era of missile warfare into its next generation. It was the perfect scheme: The Navy would sit back and relax while the Army did all the work developing its planned Non Line Of Sight missiles, a “box of rockets” that soldiers — and later, sailors — could use to bring precise and overwhelming force against tomorrow’s hard-to-find-but-easy-to-kill bad guys.

In the computer-animated “simulations” of yesteryear, a helicopter or cargo plane drops off an NLOS crate for a team of Army special operators deep in Indian Country. Let’s say the soldiers spot some bad guys fleeing in a pickup truck. No time to call in the dumb ol’ Air Force for CAS — instead, the soldiers push some buttons and launch a missile from their own crate, which sweeps down to deliver righteous punishment. Our guys stay under cover and they’re free to continue maneuvering forward and bringing the pain, either with additional NLOS strikes or their own weapons.

The Navy saw this brief and its eyes bugged out — just imagine what a small, precise missile could do for the LCS. Its human-sized dimensions meant it could ride up high on the ships’ aluminum superstructures, hit targets tracked by their Fire Scout unmanned helicopters, and most importantly, keep the LCS well away from knife-fight engagements with potential suicide craft. So in the Navy’s computer-animated NLOS simulation, an LCS used a missile to kill a man on a jet-ski. That is not a joke.

But of course NLOS went away – the Army couldn’t make it work and it was too expensive. That meant the LCS’ most potent weapon disappeared before the first ships even fully entered service, and since then, the brass has been scrambling to try to figure out what to do. This brings us to Monday’s post by our phriend Phib, which quotes a report saying that the Navy is already planning to replace its interim replacement for NLOS:

Even in its original forms of 60 then 45 NLOS missiles, the ASUW package was lame and fraught with technology risk. So much non-mitigated technology risk, that when NLOS predictably could not make it off the PPT slide — we defaulted to the even more than suboptimal Griffin missile that we discussed back in JAN of this year.Over at PEO LCS — or whatever they are calling themselves this FY — RDML James A. Murdoch and his band of merry folks are doing the best they can with the bucket of goo they inherited .. but this is just sad.

The program executive office for the Littoral Combat Ship has already identified capabilities that could replace the Griffin missile that will be utilized by the ship’s surface warfare mission package, and a competition will begin this fiscal year, Rear Adm. James Murdoch, head of the PEO, said here recently.

This is good news, really. Griffin is unquestionably unsatisfactory, but it is all that we have.

Griffin-B’s surface-launched range is less than 1/6th of the Raytheon NLOS-LS PAM’s planned 25 mile range, so replacing NLOS-LS with Griffin comes at a cost. This severe cut in reach, coupled with the warhead’s small size, will sharply limit the Littoral Combat Ship’s already-restricted ranged engagement options. Griffins would be suitable for engaging enemy speedboats, but cannot function as naval fire support for ground forces, or do much damage to full-size enemy vessels – most of which will pack large anti-ship missiles with a 50+ mile reach.

Let me help you with the math with that 13-lb warhead.. 1/6th of 25nm is 4.17nm. Let that soak in. Target 2nm inland … close shore … some goober pulls a 57mm AZP S-60 out from behind the goat shed .. etc, etc, etc … I guess we could just use that awesome speed to run away from a threat. That has such a wonderful pedigree in the Navy.

LCS advocates in the Navy would jump in here and say, now look, the whole point of this is that it’s a different kind of warship. Yes, it can’t get into a slugfest with a Sovremenny — but it was never built to do so. LCS is supposed to show up two days before the strike group and be sure the waters of interest are clear of mines, submarines and villains in small boats.

The problem, of course, is that this explanation — like the Marines’ insistance that their former Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle didn’t need protection against IED because, well, it would just never drive where there were IEDs, OK? — sounds embarrassingly rigid. “LCS doesn’t need a heavier main battery because it will never get into serious combat — we’ve CC’d all potential enemies on this doctrine so they’ll know to play by the rules just in case.”

Murdoch’s new missile could present the Navy with an opportunity to address this. Now all he has to do is get it funded, get it built and field it in large numbers. Easy, right?

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What about bolting a few Harpoon launcher tubes to these things while we wait for the new missile? Would they be too large?

The LCS is evolving from an program that over promised and underwhelmed, to one that disappointed and over ran all budget projections, to where we are now: a bust.

Give this thing up & buy more DDG 51s. The LCS is not only under armed, under manned, and woefully out gunned, its a risky proposition for those who will have to crew this travesty and go into harms way. To deploy this thing without “adult supervision” risks another PUEBLO incident.

And to think DOD is agonizing over where to cut! We need a big neon sign pointing to this thing saying “START HERE”.

Harpoon might be an answer to that “big bad” target (like the Sovermenii), but for the little, nasty, high speed and prolific targets, it might be the sledgehammer when a good mallet would work, and the LCS’s can only carry so many sledgehammers.

A better option might be any one of the laser guided mortars (did I say AMOS and CombatBoat 90 anyone?), or perhaps a turret mounted LAU-68 with some of the laser guided 2.75″ FFAR, or for a more serious statement that same turret with interchangeable LAU-68s and LAU-10s with the laser guided Zunis! Not as effective as a Harpoon against larger threats but for gunboats, Boghammars, and such, a Zuni or a handfull of 2.75s with laser guided CEPs could be very, very demotivating.. And a half dozen 120mm mortar bombs all flying for the same laser spot on the bridge window or an above deck box launcher on a bad guy could make for a REALLY serious mess topside! Did I mention that an Avenger turret could carry LAU-68s or LAU-10s, AND a four round Stinger pod as well! If you had an inkling that the neighborhood was particularly hateful, Id bet that the same Avenger turret could be upgraded to load a four round Hellifre launcher as well. ROTFLMAO! Sometimes its just too easy!

The USN faces a “destroyer shortfall” according to this AW&ST report.

Just another very good reason to can the overpriced and under gunned LCS in favor of more DDG 51s. Where are the leaders with the intellectual and personal integrity to say that the LCS was a “good try”, but is not working out? It is a safe bet that in today’s budget environment the USN won’t get more destroyers and more LCS’s. The LCS does not have the firepower to fight its way out of a wet paper bag let alone replace the vastly more versiitle, powerful, and cost effective DDG 51.

Scrap the LCS before we have to relearn the lessons of the Mk 14 torpedo again.

LCS will be a sitting duck with Griffin as its ASuW weapon. Harpoon would give real firepower but was considered too large for LCS. As mentioned, PAM may have been ok against fast boats but the IR/SAL/Datalink seeker would have made engagement impossible with a maritime layer. So it would only work part of the time. Still any ship with an anti-ship cruise missile would be an overmatch for the LCS.

So yes, they need a new weapon but they are a long way from having an MDD, an AoA, a CDD, and POM $ for that new system. Meanwhile they should be looking at adding Harpoon ASAP even if it is only a few weapons that can fit. Without a real ASCM LCS is only an expensive target.

All that said the Navy is finally doing an AoA for O-ASuW. Hopefully that will lead to a weapon that lets the US regain the lead in ASCM technolgies.

The truely sad thing is your simple statement that “any ship with an anti-ship cruise missile would be an overmatch for the LCS”. Its pretty much inescapably true. Even with an CIWS or two added, an Osa or a Komar (and how many different unfriendly nations own those!) can rip off at least two if not four ASCMs in salvo. Make it two or three of these nasty little boats, and the threat starts getting really nasty. Did I mention that a Komar runs about 66 tons and an Osa is about 200 tons and both are good for 35+ knots? Perhaps we need to look for some of those old Sumner class DDs to cover the LCS when it goes into unfriendly waters! :-( Wait all of those nasty old 5″ gun “cans” have been turned into beer cans.…

Bolt on WHERE?

MGM-157B EFOGM had a range of 15KM — at the time it was canceled (US Army Program), Raytheon was working on getting it to twice that range. It was based off the TOW missle which would do a number on a small craft.….…..Other nations are still looking at this type of system today, so we may want to take another look at it ourselves.

what’s the definition of insanity “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results:

My Navy is insane, we are building more and more LCS and expecting something “anything” to happen-instead we get getting more of the same results-crappy 3000 tons of do nothing bondoggle

Adm Greenhart, don’t be a Roughhead-cancel this travesty.

Figure a way out to put at least 2 Harpoon tubes on each boat(plus carry a few extra) and make them sail in wolf packs and put the griffins on there for small boats. What if in a future war LCS came across a destroyer, how can we seal our mens fate by not putting heavier weapons on these ships? There is no excuse for this boat being so undergunned, we all know that in war shit hits the fan and things don’t go as expected, and to send out our men with a pea shooter is down right ignorant.

Part of the reason the LCS is as pricey as it is, is because it has the hard points to mount a variaty of systems that aren’t actually mounted to it. If NLOS magically appeared today, it wouldn’t need structural modifications to support it. As far as “where” they were intended to be mounted modularly to the roof over the hanger.

Navy need to give these up to the Coast Guard and acquire more DDGs. Even some of the existing Frigates designs out there would be better for the littoral action.

The DDG 51, isn’t designed to do what the LCS is intended for. This is like saying we should replace Humvees with Ferraris. They are dissimilar to such a degree, that even if the LCS program isn’t salvagable and is canceled it will only be replaced with a whole new ship program and NOT a preexisting class of ship.

These are two entirely separate issues. I agree we need more destroyers, but we also need the capabilities the LCS was intended to replace. Canceling LCS without a true replacement plan to those capabilities is a loss that will have significant detrimental effects on the Naval strategy.

M-31 MLRS; in US Army service, with >60km range; 200# warhead or “Steel Rain” for small boats; IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and a GPS receiver; 9“x 13′ ; 1 box with six rockets; made by LM for the US Army.

10,000 delivered to US Army from Camden, Ark.

Larger than NLOS, but works.

The Harpoon was looked into and its simply too oversized for the intended purpose. Its 3 times the range and 4 times the weight of the NLOS on a missile to missile basis, and even heavier on a system level. There were also concerns with reloading that system. As a stop gap maybe Harpoon could work, but in the long run it has severe issues when mated with the LCS, you don’t need Harpoon missiles to hit ships smaller than the LCS.

I think the great oversight people make when looking at the LCS is the fact that its a ship designed to deal with the threats too small for other Naval ships to be immediately concerned about. Small cannon and small missile are adequate for that. For LCS whether justified or not everything beyond adequete are just hood ornaments. I think there is alot about LCS that goes into that category, but so do alot of what people here are “suggesting.” No one complains that a humvee can’t engage or survive against battle tanks… nor should the LCS be penalized because it can’t stand toe to toe with destroyers.

I fail to see the wisdom in prolonging a flawed program, particularly when there is a scarcity of funds for other urgent requirements. This thing is a procurement boondoggle at best. What mission is the LCS optimized for that the DDG 51 can’t do? The LCS can’t do anything well without its modules. As far as I know, none of them are ready.

Great for a stationary target, but not so good for one that is moving.

If you catch those small boats at their base, “steel rain” works without a doubt! If you have to wait and not shoot them until they show hostile intent, probably well within minimum range and moving fast! Personally a “mission module” with a few MLRS launchers makes a lot of sense to me, particularly if the LCS really is supposed to work in close to shore where shore targets might make up a major portion of its fire missions. Significant firepower, very good accuracy against fixed (GPS-friendly) targets, and very light weight for the amount of steel that can be put on target at long range! I like it! :-)

The day where you had to “match up” DDs with DDs and such is somewhat compromised by the offensive firepower of an ASCM. An Exocet or two can make a mess out of a DD sized combatant, or an LCS class ship, as the Brits proved in the Falklands, and very small patrol boats (or an Entendard) can carry a pair of Exocets. Get in close to a hostile shore and unless you are prepared to take a few ASCM hits, as the Iowa’s were in Desert Storm, and you had better be able to either take out the ASCM or take out its launcher before it can fire, no matter how big or little your ship might be.

You didnt even mention the fact that the Harpoon seeker might not fall in love with a very small, minimal-RCS target like a coastal patrol boat.…. .

Actually, thats one of the reasons that the ship (less the mission modules) is as CHEAP as it is! LOL! You end up paying the piper in the end but.….hard points are cheaper than the weapons that would otherwise be sitting there!

This one has its warts, but… with some real focus on the mission modules it could easily still come out a winner. A ship without weapons had better have nice pools and bars, or the ability to pull a skier, or a good fighting chair… but gotta have those mission modules to make it worth while for the USN.

TOW fly outs over salt water might be a bit sporty dont you think? Wasnt that a fiber optic thread that it played out?

In any war there will be “heavy hitters” and “pea shooters”. In WW-II, particularly in the Pacific there were the PTs and DEs and SOMETIMES they actually mixed it up with the BBs. If a BB got a hit, the pea shooter became a hole in the water with a large geyser of spray, but at the same time, if a PT could get a torpedo into the side of a BB, it COULD bite back. Its just that you dont NORMALLY design small combatants to to head to head with the heavies. US BBs, CVs, CAs, and DDs as well, were generally very averse, with very good reasons, to face up to a torpedo run by a group of Japanese DDs with their Long Lance torpedos!

The LCS is a gunboat, but it’s a gunboat that carries a helicopter. Beyond line of sight send the helicopter. When swarmed up close use “The remarkable 57-mm Mk 110 Naval Gun system” and all the other guns on board.

“The DDG 51, isn’t designed to do what the LCS is intended for.”

Considering that the LCS itself can’t do what the LCS is intended for,
isn’t that point kind of… pointless?

Whatever happened to the Israeli Jumper missile?
Too “jewish” to use against any predominantly muslim enemies?
And if JAGM has been showing such promise, how hard then to mod it to launch from Mission Module connexes?
Hell, Israel has an entire Spike family that is a disgrace to every US missile builder in that the small nation of Israel with comparably shoestring budgets has developed the successful Spikes, yet the mighty and proud US drags its feet and fails. Repeatedly.
Now we have news that Italy is developing a Vulcano for 76mm guns. Where are those Perrys and Pegasus hydrofoils now?

Original TOWs used insulated wires, a no-no over water.
EFOGM did use an optical fiber (which doesn’t electrically short out if it gets wet),
but why not switch to wireless like all new production TOWs use?
(Israel developed MAPATS from TOW, and now has the superior Spike family).
Surface to air missiles have been using encrypted radio datalinks for decades, and no one has ever really decried their vulnerabilities.

What about incorporating a millimeter wave seeker similar to the Brimstones that the UK employed so effectively in Libya?
Not all small naval FACs have access to sufficient radar detection suites and chaff countermeasures to throw off such radar seekers.
We could even further evolve the UK Sea Skua missiles (20kg warhead), light enough to be carried four-at-a-time by British Lynx helos during Desert Storm, and credited with multiple small combatant kills.
The RAM RIM-116 and Stunner (David’s Sling) missiles have shown multi-seeker systems work (radar, IR, etc), so making a small-medium weight SSM sized like a GMLRS rocket, and keep it mostly jam proof, is possible.
But is Navy leadership smart enough to make it work (put all the pieces and people together who know what they’re doing) ?

But one 57mm gun, a couple 30mm’s (MK44 @ 200 shots/min max), and MGs aren’t really sufficient “gunboat” armament against modern threats not in a littoral/coastal environment.

Add to that the major problems with the LCS fire control integration (one ship can’t handle swarms without outside help from other assets). The ship doesn’t even have the equivalent of a scaled-down Aegis suite. No, I don’t mean it needs ABM capability: Aegis invovles the ability to track a lot of targets over a large area, and control multiple engagements several at a time.
In littoral areas where concerns of civil and commercial maritime traffic safety is a concern, LCS can’t handle that potential level of surface traffic. Add in any need to monitor for air threats, and even possibilities of land-based fire coming at the ship: for its size, the LCS sensor systems and its integration into its CIC is lacking.
It won’t survive operating off the coasts of many modern areas without an Aegis-equipped ship off in the distance to monitor everything. There’s room in the ship for capable equipment that exists now to do it, but the USN opted for other stuff (and not all domestically manufactured, either).

We have a generation of young officers (my age and younger), who’ve grown up with video games and anime. Its really easy to animate missile spam barrages and/or code a game to magically “lock-on” to a digital target. Unfortunately its stunningly difficult to actually do it in reality. The impulse to reach 50 years down the development road, versus ten has been made that much more easy because frankly the folks at the pentagon operate without consequence. So money get’s spent on projects that are current technical impossibilities, because no career price will be paid. You don’t jump from unguided WWII rockets to Sparrows over night. Just like you don’t get to magically improve miniaturization, explosive capability and target recognition all in one step in one project. Physics is hard, Powerpoint and salesmanship is easy.

Surface to Air missiles (excluding MANPADS) are produced in the hundreds and thousands. ATGW like TOW are produced in the tens and hundreds of thousands over the course of decades and different improved generations. Trying to secure tens of thousands of encrypted radio datalinks for ATGWs might be difficult.

It’s too bad our version of soviet design bureaus can’t develop N-LOS. If only there were other options. Oh, wait.…

SPIKE NLOS — Simple problem, simple, off the shelf solution.

The LCS, without it’s mission modules, is a ship without a mission. All it can do is “walk point and take the first hit.“
With the shortage of funds that the Navy and all the services are feeling, it makes more sense to stop production of the LCS and transfer the funds to building more of the far more capable DDG-51.
If the LCS is supposed to combat small boats then it should have been equipped with more than one 57mm gun. I don’t care how great a gun system the MK 110 is, one barrel can only engage one target at a time.
STOP production, STOP wasting money. Are you reading this CNO?

The Germans tried really, really hard to navalise MLRS but there were just too many problems — most notably with the corrosive exhaust. Some Soviet ‘phibs had a BM-21 launcher, not quite on the same level of sophistication though.

MLRS with guided munitions sounds rather like the Brilliant Anti-Tank rounds for MGM-164 ATACMS Block II, which was cancelled in 2003, BAT turned into Viper Strike for UAVs.

If you’re wanting something light and navalised then the obvious option is the AMOS 120mm twin mortar found on some Swedish CB90 boats. You’d probably have to rename it as the Lightweight Vertical Gun System for the USN to be interested in funding it though…

Something with Sea Skua is an obvious thought (apart from the NIH problem) — a replacement, FASGW(H)/ANL is currently about to enter D&M.

There’s also various Brimstone derivatives in the works, and MBDA has mooted a truck-mounted version of Brimstone. Brimstone is also becoming more naval — IM is scheduled for the next spiral (SPEAR Capability 2 Block 1) and Brimstone derivatives will end up on the FAA’s F-35C’s.

It feels weird to be defending the LCS, but there’s a first time for everything. It’s worth remembering that the LCS are replacing not only 30 Perrys, but 26 minesweepers, Avengers and Ospreys. In fact the fleet minesweeper role is probably the one that makes most sense of all the compromises that have been made to get high speed — the LCS can speed ahead of the fleet and then get down to the slow business of minesweeping whilst the CVBG catches up. Except these days “mines” come in all shapes and sizes, and “minesweeping” now includes decontaminating an area of speedboats carrying RPGs etc. The LCS as super-Avenger does sort of make sense, albeit over-engineered.

You want to take a gun not a knife to a knife-fight, and you don’t send a surface ship armed with Harpoons to take out a FAC armed with Harpoons or similar. Instead you send aircraft — either fast air from the carrier or at a pinch the LCS’ helicopter armed with Penguin/Hellfire/JAGM. Once you’ve used aircraft to clear out the long-range antiship missiles, the LCS can start clearing mines and speedboats. Combined arms does work.

I’ve got more of a problem with the LCS as Perry replacement — personally I think the USN should just licence in something like BAE’s Global Combat Ship, but it’s unlikely to happen.


The only hope for this system is to simply buy one of the export versions both companies were thinking about years ago. Forgo this silly high speed spec and install some straight forward common sense weapons. Honestly it’s two most important missions are sub hunting and counter mine ops, and you don’t need to go 40 knots for those two jobs. Skip trying to stuff the pig that is these modules into this ship.

I love the DDG-51 class. It is a great ship, but we are talking about a much larger and costlier destroyer here.

The LCS was supposed to be something cheap and smaller for operations closer to shore, we still need something to fill that role even if LCS isn’t the answer.

People get confused because the Navy marketing makes it look like its role is WW2 in the pacific all the time.

But the reality is that their role is as a glorified ferry service and has been for 70 years. In the cold war it was a ferry service that needed to be defend a pretty fanciful sea-bridge to Europe — something we now know would have been still born. But still there was a sort of rational.

Today simple ferries will do and that is what the LCS is a ferry built by a well known ferry manufacturer. It will ferry stuff around and keep well away from anything armed with more than a bad paint job.

Fanciful ideas of facing enemy destroyers or arming with harpoons (in navy that has taken more harpoon hits then it has ever fired in anger :-) or funniest of all shore bombardment are all just lipstick on the bacon.

The old saying that “A ships a fool to go against a fort” is as true today as it ever was — no captain was ever going to take the LCS in close to the land, except to drop stuff off at a harbor. Using superior speed to avoid enemy fire is straight from the marketing department and simply farcical.

So what do you have when none of the fancy modules work and the ship is barely a match for a zodiac with an RPG — just a ferry which is all that is needed anyways. That’s why they are sticking with it.

LCS is the future of the US navy, as the mainly for display carrier battle groups shrink away to nothing LCS will be there, busy ferrying stuff around ie: doing something useful.

When the stuffed brass get all red and sprout nonsense on how they are defending the oceans then all you have to do is ask how many carrier battle groups does it take to defeat Somali pirates in wooden boats ? They have no answer.

Perhaps I’m showing my level of ignorance here, but why not use the ESSM to replace the NLOS-LS? It would give you enhanced anti-missile protection, a decent mid-range anti-air weapon (which the LCS lacks currently) plus the ability to engage fast moving surface targets.

Perhaps the radar on the LCS doesn’t talk with the ESSM or maybe the ESSM launch canisters are too heavy for the LCS? I’m guessing that’s why the Navy isn’t looking at the ESSM. Anyone have any info on this?

Actually “command guidance” with the guidance from the launcher is not really new. That was the guidance mode for the old “flying telephone poles” in Vietnam. I believe that Spike uses an onboard imaging seeker so its actually “fire and forget” and MAPATS is a laser beam guided (as opposed to laser spot guided) missile. With MAPATS the missile has an aft-facing laser seeker that just tries to guide to the middle of a laser beam until it runs into something. Its inherently less “jammable” than the old laser spot seeker, but less flexible, i.e. “anybody” can put down a properly coded laser spot and the missile/bomb with the laser spot seeker will go for it. There are good reasons for Hellfires, APKWS, all of the various GBUs, and Zuni’s with WGU-58B’s.

Try http://​www​.myaoc​.org/​E​W​E​B​/​d​y​n​a​m​i​c​p​a​g​e​.​a​s​p​x​?​w​e​b​cod… (good reading if you like command guidance! LOL!)

Hmm… well, lets just say that ESSM does give some significant capabilities, but… as you point out, it does require a pretty sophisticated fire control and radar suite, and it is really smacking a mosquito with a sledgehammer (cost wise) if you use it on Boghammers or the smaller surface ships/boats. Furthermore, the warhead is optimized for airborne targets and there is a pretty significant “minimum range” against a low altitude/surface target if you fire from a VLS.

ESSM is a missile that COULD very easily be installed on an LCS-sized ship (and was suggested once as a “mission module”!), but… not in large numbers, and if I had it I would probably save it for those airborne targets where it stands out, than for the other targets that can be much more effectively (tactically and economically) engaged with other systems.

NLOS-LS was, IIRC, solely for surface targets ashore and afloat.

My point is you can’t exchange one for the other. The alternative to LCS would have to be something new or some very very modified existing design.

I’m not saying we continue LCS, I’m saying if you cancel it you have to have a new plan for replacing the needed mine sweeping capabilities as well as some of the other features that they wanted for the LCS. They retired specialized ships early to make room for the LCS. If the LCS isn’t going to replace those jobs, some other ship has to.

Of existing missiles you’re probably right. The long range version of the SPIKE NLOS is ~15mi; not as good as NLOS might have been, but the best fit of existing alternatives.

Point taken.
But keeping in mind, the whole LCS concept seems to be one flawed thought after another.
What started as a Boghammer-fighting Streetfighter morphed morbidly into a frigate-sized,…“asset” that doesn’t have frigate-sized firepower.
The USN seems to have this notion of third-tier navies swarming with small missile boats and suicide craft, when in reality, even Dewey’s Great Grey Fleet didn’t have it as bad in a world that was proliferating torpedo boats, gun boats, destroyers, and turn-of-the-century cruiser types in numbers far in excess of what most navies can put to sea with today.
Since the ceasing of VietNam’s hostilities, we have what, 4 USN casualties? Two to ASMs, one to a mine, and the Cole. Where have those swarms been hiding all this time?

Just adding to William C. … A DDG 51 is $1.1B; each LCS is $450M.… so ~2.5 LCS per DDG-51. While a DDG 51 is probably more than 2.5 times the warship, that isn’t the goal of LCS. Its comparing apples to oranges. One is like a humvee the other like an Abrams tank. Sometimes the biggest armor and biggest weapon aren’t what’s needed.

Agreed on the Perry and Global Combat Ship analysis. LCS suffers because it tries to be too many things. It seems to really be a case of the Navy waited too late to start programs to replace all those ships and just crammed them all together with out a grasp of the technical compromises. One reason I agree with the Global Combat Ship choice besides price and commonality with an ally is that one of the larger issues the Navy faces is keeping the pace of ship building up to a level where it can meet mandated fleet size requirements. This would be built in another yard supplementing current limitations on that rate of construction.

Considering the abundance of ship-launched missiles in the size range of MLRS (Sea Sparrow, ESSM, etc), I find it odd that the problems of corrosive exhaust couldn’t be overcome (land-launched MLRS isn’t concerned of corrosion).
There was a surface-launched version of Sea Skua at one time, but I think it only had one customer on just a few boats (UAE maybe?).
Back just after Desert Storm, there were trials with a turbine-powered Maverick, tripling its range.
Smaller than Harpoon, it was seen by the USN as not to really offer anything that Harpoon couldn’t, other than being half the weight but maintaining a warhead of up to 300 pounds.
Judging by the NetFires LAM, small air-breathers like Tacit Rainbow, and a few others, a long-ranged (over the horizon) air breathing SSM sized like an ESSM or GMLRS/POLAR is perfectly achievable.
And everything needed to do it is currently on the shelf now. We just need the people that know the stuff, put on the team to get all those parts working together WITHOUT all kinds of gold-plated useless to muss it up.


Raytheon has already tested a suitable candidate: refining of the SLAMRAAM concept
into the SLAMRAAM-ER pretty much gives us
an ESSM with an AMRAAM type fire-and-forget capable seeker.
That’s a start.
There’s also actual SLAMRAAM missiles that are effective in the NASAMS.
Their physically smaller than ESSM (7inch diameter AMRAAM body instead of 10inch diameter ESSM body), but shouldn’t be too big for an LCS to carry them by the dozens in a VLS.
Sure, their warhead would also be smaller (AMRAAM’s 20kg vs ESSM’s 30-40kg?),
but in numbers, they should be more than a match against many coastal patrol types and other FACs.

Jeff, you’re out of date. The first of the new Burkes, DDG 113, cost US$2,234.4m and DDG 114–116 will average US$1,847.2m. It’s been suggested that the Block IIIs that will be contemporaries of the LCS will be more like $2.8bn. Even a Block IIa Burke = 4x the cost of a basic LCS, although mission modules will bump up that cost.

Burkes are great ships, but they can’t be in four places at once. And one of the reasons there is a destroyer shortfall is that the Burkes aren’t really destroyers, they’re cruisers. Quantity has its own quality, but below 8000 tons the USN’s only “fighty” ships are 30 clapped-out Perrys and as a result Burkes are having to do jobs for which they are complete overkill. Let alone the stupidity of sending $2bn cruisers into minefields to clear them. I think there’s a good case for the USN licensing a European frigate or destroyer design, possibly both, just to get hulls in the water at a reasonable cost, but that’s just so alien to how the USN works that it’s not going to happen. And that is part of the problem.

SLAMRAAM uses the basic AIM-120 missile. Good for medium range air targets, but… not sure that you could even get guidance against a surface target. ESSM is in about the same ballpark with a “nominal” capability against larger surface targets. Neither is really set up, warhead wise” to work against ships or boats,. but if you fly a big fast slug through the target SOMETHING is going to happen! :-)

Im certain that the propellant for the MLRS could be made acceptable for shipboard use but the issue then would be commonality…. .and of course, there is the issue of adding ANOTHER developmental program to what is already a developmental program in terms of cost, risk, etc.

AMOS, particularly AMOS with its high rate of fire, simultaneous impact capability and laser guided mortar bombs, looked really good 6 years ago during some of the early concept work, and it still does, but then I have this very myopic view that focuses on putting some high quality steel on a target and letting the finer points take care of themselves! :-)

Yeh, it was not optimized for that target set. Other issue with that is the cost trade and the fact that small boats would likely come in numbers too great to use that weapon. That said, Harpoon should be aboard use against other ships.
For small boats the JAGM (when and if fielded) would be a very good option with the tri-mode (mW/IIR/SAL) seeker and significant standoff range. It is a significantly bigger, longer ranged weapon that could be used off of MH-60 to engage earlier. Potentially it could be ship launched for leakers. However, that weapon is in source selection so IOC is still years away and the funding for it could get yanked in the DoD budget fiasco.

JAGM would certainly work. Have you by any chance checked out the originally Swedish-designed, blast-frag version of the Hellfire? Would be very sweet “medicine” for those small to medium boats, as well as the bridge of any hostile vessel or any stray missile box launcher you might be able to see. And remember, with laser guidance, put the spot on the thing you want to hit and. .. . :-) As compared to JAGM, call it an “interim solution” but… interim could be today!

Ive got to say that those pacifist Swedes do have some very good ideas.….

UAE went for Exocets, you’re thinking of the Kuwaiti Combattantes (and a Sea Skua shore battery IIRC).

The Germans had all sorts of problems apparently, from fire control to the tubes rotting in sea water, it wasn’t just the exhaust. By the time you’ve sorted all that out, JAGM, SPEAR Capability 2 and others will be in service.

As for using stuff on the shelf — that’s how you came to have Griffin.…

The other issue of course is targetting — another argument for just sticking things onto the helicopter.

IMO, Just sink the LCS program and start looking at buying Frigate designs and have them built here in the US. The Frigates I would have the US Navy look at are the Formidable class frigate, Valour class frigate,De Zeven Provinciën class frigate,Fridtjof Nansen class frigate,Sachsen class frigate and the Álvaro de Bazán class frigate. It’s time to End the LCS pipe dream because it’s not working and were pouring money into a money pit that is not working.

I’ll look into that but JAGM has significantly more range than hellfire and has the better seeker for a maritime environment. JAGM too has a multimode warhead which should be very effective against boats.

SAL is bad for engaging multiple targets quickly as you have to keep illuminating the moving target until impact to get a hit. With a JAGM mW/IIR it will lock-on and you can quicly shoot the next target. If you have to shoot 10–20 targets SAL would be unworkable. If there is a maritime layer you can’t shoot SAL period (of course that means enemy may not be able to shoot either). The Navy has been working LOGIR for this but it lacks the needed standoff and must have clear air also.

Kinematic range is good, but remember you have got to put that laser spot on the target AND the missile seeker has to be able to see it, ie LOBL. (LOAL is not really a good thing in congested waters or against fast, maneuvering targets) If you are using the MMW, thats probably a lot better in a hazy maritime environment but… now you have to put an Apache “ball” up on the masthead. :-)

Beg to differ on the 10–20 target thing. If you have either an equivalent number of illuminators and angular separation OR just set the codes and you have one missile per illuminator and walk through the inbound targets, first come first serve! :-)

If that maritime layer is FOG, you are right, but if its just the normal haze, it might not be that bad… it WILL decrease max range of course, but… R^4 is a powerful attenuator all of its own accord.…and if you raise the power on the illuminator just a tad.… :-) consider the illuminators on a Sovermenii or Peter the Great.…

Sometimes “good enough” has to be defined by as “good as you can get”! The Hellfire you most assuredly can get and its currently loaded on SH-60s so .… its in the inventory!

True about total cost, though my point though was more about hull cost… in a number of instances LCS was designed for modularity, which means the ships systems in any particular area have to be built to accept the most demanding of possible mission modules or weapon. In a traditional ship you have interfaces fixed to specific weapons and systems, between components and subsystems and the less demanding ones can have cheaper less demanding interfaces designed.

This is just an example, but if you have a module that requires 220v of power instead of 110v you have to install a power system in that section that can step down the supplied power. Now imagine designing the same interface for 5 different pieces of equipment all with different power neads, its more complicated expensive, and more of a custom piece of equipment. And of course that most significant module imparts requirements on the rest of the ship that aren’t necessarily aligned with the other modules. Thats power transmission, but what about HVAC or data transfer capabilities.

Unless you have the 220V “connector” at the port/aft corner of the universal module footprint, the 110V connector in the stbd/fwd corner, the 440-3p in the stbd/aft, etc. The original concept was to have a “c-van” sized, two dimensional equivalent of the PC “edge connector” with ALL interfaces, power, air, chilled water, etc, set up on a universal “layout” to ease the change out of modules. Grab a cvan and sit it on the pad and the connections all match. Ones it uses, fine, ones it doesnt use are just blanked off. Its called applying the KISS principle instead of trying to make smart transformers at every socket and for every purpose.

THAT concept got lost in the implimentation! Baby with the bathwater perhaps or did it just not cost enough lines of code? LOL!

I agree it has significant short comings, but its only a corvette sized vessel and once you design a ship around that small a foot print the compromises and design emphasis have much more prominent repercussions. Simply put the shortcomings of the LCS are really the shortcomings of the whole concept of corvettes, accentuated by the ships emphasis on asymmetirc warfare over surface warfare. I think if the Navy had made a concerted effort it could have built something in the vein of a DDG-51 in a corvette or frigate class ship, but replacing the DDG-51 was the goal of the DDG-1000 not the LCS. The LCS is suppose to opperate alone where it doesn’t need to worry about large threats or to supplement carrier battle groups to give those formations flexibility and options in dealing with smaller unconventional targets and enemies.

OOOOPS! Just saw and re-read your first paragraph… who exactly considered Harpoon “too big” for LCS and what exactly was it traded off against? Look at the previous ships in the USN (forget about foreign naval vessels) equipped with Harpoons! Consider for a moment the ill fated Pegasus PHMs? If they can carry twin quad mounts for Harpoons, on foils, it strains my feeble old mind to think that a displacement hull the size of an LCS can not carry at least the same loadout.… but then the PHMs also had a 76mm main gun…. :-) The OOOPS is not yours but still.… . . :-)

Bingo. DoD will repeatedly commit the taxpayer to developing immature technology & unproven & untested concepts based on contractor marketing promises. Then they expect to be bailed out for cost overruns again and again (“There are no alternatives”), and demonize anyone who criticizes the insane practices that lead to so much waste and a broken force structure.

Just a moment of stray musing, but.… if the LCS should have any reason for concern when a small flock of hostile patrol boats with RPGs, ATGMs and 107mm rockets come out to meet it; should not, for the same reasons, a Sovermenii or Petr Veliky have reason to “fear” a half dozen LCS’s coming out to meet them, each with a six pack or two of Harpoons on the fantail and perhaps a pair of AMOS turrets on each amidships to shell the smoking rubble as it settles into the sea?

If not… why not? Golly gee whiz, maybee this little connundrum will stir a neuron or two….

If its good for the goose.… . :-)

BUT if it is operating alone and away from the CBGs, it wont be running with a CAP. Without CAP, you have to deal with those little nasty coastal threats all on your own. Hmmmmm…… and you CANT out run all of them.… . :-)

Yep, AGM-114R (from MH-60) would be the best short term off the shelf solution but that means that you are very close to taking a shot from their MANPADS. With multiple moving targets and a relatively long engagement timeline the helo crew’s backside will be hanging out pretty good. Not the way you would want to plan it with a pretty expensive boat at risk as well as the crew and the helo guys trying to fight off the attack.

Nah, I was trying to point out that the ordnance, handlers etc were already there! All you need is launcher on ship and laser codes on the inboard flir’s laser (or a prone marine with a MULE!)

Sent from my iPhone

There was an incident years ago when two SeaSparrows hit the Turkish ship Muavenet,
and the damage was nothing to smirk at.


If the warheads of AMRAAM types (20kg) and ESSM (~40kg) are seen as insufficient,
then why, praytell, would anyone even consider NetFires types and Hellfires (~10kg warhead) ?

FWIW, a good bit of info on Desert Storm Sea Skua use is at Wiki.


Not a bad track record for a ~30kg warhead.

As far as guiding SLAMRAAMs or ESSMs into surface targets, Raytheon does say that’s one of ESSM’s roles, and modding a RIM-120 with a sufficient surface seeker isn’t beyond our technology.
See Nimrod:


Yep, 36 Harpoons would make a Sovremenny captain nervous if he was caught on his own — but would you ever see $2.5bn-worth of LCS massed together? And would it be worth it for just one enemy ship?

The Pyotr Velikiy is a completely different kettle of fish — he’d have the LCS’s Shipwrecked before they came anywhere in range, and even if they did manage to loose off some Harpoons, I suspect the Russians would fancy their chances against a pretty big salvo. Those things have a _lot_ of SAMs and CIWS to fire off — like over 3 Burkes-worth, although many of them are short-range, and their fire control is getting a lot better even if it might not be up to Aegis standards. Just send in an SSN.

A 20kg fragmentation warhead, particularly one designed for use against aluminum aircraft and a 10kg shaped charge meant to rip through heavy tank armor are very different animals. If you discount the warhead and the guidance package, the RIM-120 is little more than a rocket motor, so of course an appropriate seeker COULD be developed for it, and an appropriate warhead COULD be developed for it, then.… why do that instead of just use any one of the many quite servicable ASCMs because thats what you would have, not an air defense missile! :-)

Like I said that was just an example of how the highest demand can impose requirements across the entire ship, even when 99% of the time it might exceed what’s adequate, which brings up the baseline cost. I realize the reality is much different.

LOL! Afraid that this would be where Perry Mason smiles, and asks Mr Burger if he would like to cross-examine! :-) Is the name of the ship a Littoral Minesweeper or a Littoral COMBAT ship? If its a minesweeper, no problem, that is an honorable profession and a needed capability. On the other hand, .… . . Admittedly, a nest of Harpoon launch tubes sticking up might make the ship look rather offensive (which some have said was not desirable), but the underlying issue is that the LCS should not be a problem to justify for us, but SHOULD be a problem for the enemies to counter. If a puny little coastal corvette can “shoo” the LCS off of the minefield, the corvette’s mission is accomplished. If the bad guys need to send a DD or two to move the LCS along by sheer threat… then the mission of the LCS is accomplished.

:-) Thank you, sir, for making some of the points I was sort of fishing for with my pointed little question! LOL!

1. The LCS COULD be a credible warship with the proper ordnance loadout.
2. A well armed ship, like the Pyotr Velikiy, can actually take care of itself, even if it doesnt have staterooms and internet connections for each of the crewmen.
3. The Harpoon is NOT the end all of everything for ASCMs, and a Shipwreck IS well named.
4. If the threat is engaged and destroyed before it can get in range of its own weapons, mission accomplished! But.… you DO have to include weapons that can reach out to the threat before the threat can reach out to you!
5. If the LCS could play the same “sneak in” as small boats can, a salvo of harpoons from “min range” might even ruffle Pyotr’s robes as well… Its called tactics.

Can you imagine a couple of Russians sitting around a bottle of vodka debating the naval combat utility and lethality of either a Sovermenii or a Pyotr Velikiy? (And I would offer that this is perhaps the single biggest take-away!)

The helo is great and a needed capability on the LCS (and DDG-1000 as well), but… when the weather is lousy, when the helo is off to port and the threat is starboard, when the helo is just returning and is “BINGO”, when the helo is folded up in the hangar.… .you cant put all of your offensive and defensive capability on one or two(for DDG-1000) helos. If you want to reach out over the horizon, the helo is good but… not a panacea.

The ship needs to be able to actually defend itself credibly (not necessarily insurmountably, but credibly!) against the littoral threat (quick hitting attacks by shore threats, small boats, mines, subs, aircraft, missiles, etc) or it becomes little more than a target to be taken when desired. And it needs to have the approprite offensive capabilities (and I will even include mine-clearing as an offensive capability!), to make it worthwhile as a target or else a smart enemy would just ignore it and let us pay the price to keep it on station! :-)

Query JDRADM, Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile
now called NGM, Next Generation Missile.
Wiki entry is non-existent (no worthwhile info).
But the concept is to replace AMRAAM, HARM, and some others,
with a weapon useful for both air-to-air and air-to-surface use.

What’s to stop it from becoming a successful surface-launched weapon like Sea Sparrow and AMRAAM have?

But for the time being, there’s little reason these current airframes cannot adopt a surface-role specific warhead.
Or even the so-called smart directional warheads would even be suitable for a dual-use anti-air, anti-surface role.
There’s an older StrategyPage article about it here:–57236.aspx

Any number of effective solutions are doable, NOW.
It shouldn’t cost us no small fortune to bring it to fruition.
(JAGM successes with the multiseeker technology refined from the failed NetFires are proving it so.)

But there is that “tradeoff” that always has to be made and the parameters that get emphasized and ignorned. In this case, Id bet that there were more software guys in the study group than pipefitters, plumbers, and electricians. And stuff like “change over” time (from one module to another), and robustness (any slot for any module) and future expansion capability and.… were all minimized because THOSE were issues that could not be addressed directly with software! :-) Designing to the bare minimum, most optimum, point solution is NOT always a good idea.… .

Hopefully, software utilization was not the highest demand.… .

Combining AMRAAM and HARM is doable. (The target is virtually the same, i.e. thin skinned, aluminum/composite and relatively fragile. A few holes in an aircraft or a radar waveguide are pretty much all that is needed.) To “take down” a ship or a tank or a bunker… very, very different warhead technology is needed. The difference, at least for warhead technology, is NOT that the target is airborne, afloat or land based, its the nature of the target. With seeker techology, its generally a combination of the target and the environment, i.e. a land based target (or a low flying target) would pose a very different clutter (radar, IR or ????) than a big steel ship in the middle of the ocean or a high altitude aircraft. Different seeker/guidance requirements entirely.

Can they be combined into one system? Sure, if you are willing to pay the cost of trying to shoehorn all of that capablity into one missile airframe… and then I might have to ask… WHY? The ability to do a thing should never be confused with the NEED to do it! :-)

Álvaro de Bazán class frigate,
that’s the one already fitted with an “Aegis lite” system.
Critics back in the day argued that such a system created unncessary expense, and that LCS didn’t need that kind of capability in the littorals.
But in all actuality, that IS needed to maintain adequate surveillance of everything going on, especially if you are operating out there by yourself.
And those frigates back then, probably even now, are no more expensive than what LCS is costing us.
And plus, the frigates pack a lot more firepower, which means faster respect from any adversaries.
So what if they can’t sprint at 40+knots burning thru all their fuel in just a few hours. It’s already been argued that helos chase down speedboats better anyway.

My dad served on a Fletcher class destroyer during WWII. The Fletcher was approximately the same size (length and displacement) as the Freedom class LCS. However, the old Fletcher has some armament. Five 5″ 38 cal guns, 6–10 40mm Bofors AA guns, 7–10 20mm Oerlikon cannons, 10 21 inch torpedo tubes (2×5), 6 K-guns, and 2 depth charge racks. The Freedom class has 1 BAE Systems Mk 110 57mm gun, 4 .50-cal machine guns, 2 Mk44 Bushmaster II 30mm guns,21 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Surface-to-Air Missiles, but no NLOS missiles. It it supposed to carry 2 MH-60R/S Seahawk and MQ-8 Fire Scout. 57mm gun? Where’s the 5″ 54 Mk 45? At least an OTO Melara 76 mm/62. Someone mentioned Harpoon. Yes! As for the LCS 2 class, there doesn’t look to be room enough for anything larger than the 57mm gun up forward. I’m afraid to say it, but the LCS classes look to nothing more than glorified patrol boats.

May I disagree with you on one point.… “glorified patrol boats” might well be an understatement.

Unless something is done quickly to reassess and reprioritize the “requirements”, and put more real (not notional!) teeth to this not-so-little tiger, I’d make it “glorified, overpriced, oversized, unimpressive, non-threatening, and unsupportable patrol boats”.

That they are big enough for an O-4, or in todays Navy, even O-5 commanding officer, but capable of no more than “O-2 or O-3″ missions might be a sad epilog for what could have been a real, albeit small, combattant! Where, oh where is Adm Cebrowski when we so desperately need him! Whatever else you might say, at least he knew what a small combattant COULD do .… . before it sank under the weight of bureaucratically applied gold plate, technical over-sophistication, and “promotable correctness”.

The helo, with Hellfire, Penguin and other possible missiles (like Harpoon) would give the LCS the “over the horizon” offense, but.… in close, you still have to deal with the “leakers”. If nothing else, that MH-60 will only carry so many stand-off rounds, then he has to close to gun range or veer off.

The 57mm with 3P rounds is impressive for what it is, but its only a single system. Any misfeed or other mechanical/electrical problem, and… there would be no real backup. A pair of Avenger turrets on the O3 level with a pod of Stingers, LAU-68 w/ laser guided 70mm FFAR, self contained laser designator, and a .50 for effect would not sink the ship because of weight or cost and provide a REAL demotivational input to any small boat attack. Or an AMOS turret… or a bunch of hellfire rails.… (did you see the single rail version that the Swedish marines have for coast defense?) etc etc etc. Its just a matter of getting over the “I’m OK, you’re OK, and we wont hurt each other!” fear (and offensive concept) that some folks seem to have.

As I look at the Global Combat Ship, I see a hull about twice the size of an old RN Leander class frigate with the same basic sillouette and performance specs (at least updated a bit for new technologies and such). The Leanders might not be a bad model to follow. The proof of the pudding of course is in the eating not in the sales brochures! :-)

The Perry is another intesting point of comparison. Exactly which of the potential Perry missions is it that the LCS, at least in the form now afloat, could really perform? That’s aside from being the fleet’s designated, cheap to operate, cheap to berth, “port call” special, show-the-flag warship, of course?

Current F100’s are a lot more expensive than LCS — the latest one, F105, is costing about US$1.1bn and the Hobart derivatives are looking like US$1.5bn or more.

There’s an argument for buying two F105’s in place of one Burke, but something like an Absolon or Nansen or Meko or GCS would make a better replacement for the Perry. Given Navantia’s existing links to BIW, I guess a Nansen would be the easiest politically, although the GCS must be a contender given that BAE is arguably more USian than British these days and they would love to put their own Mk 41 tubes on GCS.

Are you talking about the Perry missions, “in the form now afloat”? The Perrys that have not had any missiles for the last 10 years? They’re not taking on any Kirovs any time soon — nor even back in the day.

The one thing the Perry got really right was the emphasis on great sensors over “Death Star” weaponry. Even if they didn’t have all the weapons on board themselves, the SPS-49 and SQR-19 gave them a great chance of knowing what the red team was up to, and calling for help if required. There’s been a lot of talk about using LCS as the first point of integration of remote sensors feeding in to the central network, I’m not convinced how it’s going to work out. Buying a 2087/CAPTAS4 is one hopeful sign, although it does say something about the current state of US sonar technology. Still, it’s a genuinely world-class solution and the USN desperately needs more ASW capability.

Of course the one thing the FFG-7 didn’t have was easy upgradeability, which meant that they tended to get discarded or sold before the USN had made the most of their hulls. The LCS fixes that, at least.

There’s a sense in which the GCS is going back to the Leanders, and there’s many in the RN would not be averse to that. About 1000t of the growth over the T23 is down to modern habitability and survivability standards, and another 300-500t is incurred by going for MEKO-style modularity rather than packing everything in “perfectly” for the RN, but in a way that doesn’t work for export customers. The focus on forward presence and SBS type missions also adds bulk — room for a Chinook to land on the pad, space to accommodate some ninjas for the night and then facilities for boats to send them on their way. That’s a real change in philosophy from T23-style sonar tugs, but is probably more relevant to today’s world than worrying how you would attack a Kirov.

That’s why I am in Favor of killing the LCS program and divert the LSC money to fund for a Frigate with Littoral capability such as the Álvaro de Bazán class frigate,Fridtjof Nansen class frigate,Formidable class frigate, Valour class frigate or even go with the Absalon class flexible support ship. I believe more realistically, The US Navy should be looking at buying into either the Álvaro de Bazán class frigate,Fridtjof Nansen class frigate, or the ‚Formidable class frigate.

As for the LCS, it is nothing more than a glorified patrol boat that is more suited for the US Coast Guard than the US Navy. I think the Navy should transfer the LSC program to the US Coast Guard and let them use the LCS as an OPC.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The USN naming system is manifestly crazy — how come the Zumwalts are called destroyers when they are the size of the Graf Spee? I don’t really care about labels, just what they do. Minesweeping is a combat operation, so is reconnaissance, if they want to call it a combat ship rather than a frigate or heavy patrol ship I don’t really care.

Part of it is that the balance of power is shifting, as in so many areas. Look at naval aviation — back in the day, the US Navy fielded Tomcats when all the Soviets had were Forgers. The blue team have advanced their technology but so have the reds, with the result that the gap has closed, now it’s (Super) Hornets against Flanker-D’s (when the Kusnetsov is working…). That’s an extreme example, but there’s lots of others. Back in the Cold War, a “coastal corvette” might mean a Tarantul or Grisha — and a Perry might reasonably have taken on 1 or two of those. Nowadays a “coastal corvette” might mean a Khareef or Sa’ar V which have armament equal to a full frigate, just in a hull with less endurance. The balance of power has changed, a lone frigate is not going to sink one of those easily (unless they turn the radar off…) Even a Burke would have problems against a flotilla of Steregushchys, each of which carry 8 Yakhonts.

It’s easy to obsess over even quite small ships carrying heavy anti-ship missiles. But the reality is that anywhere it matters, they’re traceable and get taken out by air before major navies arrive. The Harpoon has been in service for 34 years now, but when did a USN ship ever sink something with a Harpoon? The first day-of-war stuff is fun to talk about, but in the real world there’s a much greater need for low-end platforms to do all the sanitation work against mines and speedboats. It’s great if they’re fighty, but what matters almost more is that they’re cheap enough to have the numbers. It’s stupid sending $2bn cruisers into minefields.

You talk about an LCS enemy sending a DD or two — how many countries in the world actually have DD’s, that are likely to be facing the USN? Not very many — and the LCS is not really intended for those enemies, but all the lower-end ones. LCS is not intended for independent operations in World War III.

I’ll repeat — I’m no fan of the LCS. But given that the USN is where it is, I’d let the current orders run. Use 6 monohulls as ninja motherships, drug interdiction and flag-wavers in low-threat areas, give 6 monohulls 2087/CAPTAS4 as fleet ASW (it’s not enough but it’ll cover the areas of high sub threat), and use the trimarans as fleet minesweepers and general UxV platforms. Use the Avengers as “resident” minesweepers in the Gulf etc. Instead of building 3 Burkes every 2 years, build 2 Burkes and 1 F100/DZP to save $500m/year, or 1 Burke and 2 F100/DZP to save $1bn/year without cutting the number of ships. The shipbuilding budget is going to get cut, and that’s probably the least painful way of doing it.

Then when the LCS order ends in the early 2020s, licence in a proper frigate design like the GCS or if money’s really tight the Nansen or Absolon. Depending on what you choose and the general strategic picture, the LCS monohulls get rereroled according to what needs doing. If money’s really tight you might licence in the Anglo-French MHPC as a really cheap replacement for the Avengers in the resident minesweeping role (if the USN still has basing rights in the Gulf), Absolons get used in forward presence, and you still have lots of high-speed LCS to accompany the battlegroups. If you can afford proper ASW escorts, the LCS get pushed out to minesweeping and mothership duties.

ROTFLMAO! Short of re-habbing one of the Iowa’s I think that Pyotr’s crew will have nothing to worry about in terms of surface warfare threats for a long time to come.

The easy upgradeability of LCS IS that advantage that it brings to the table, and even plays into another thread here, i.e. the concept of making the mission module “sockets” as universal and standardized as physically possible, even if it DID mean adding some nominally unused connections, et al to each socket.

Perhaps that Global Combat Ship may have been the basic LCS concept, revisited, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight!

The Zumwalt is called a DD because its capability (not waterline or displacement) is in the same basic class as today’s DDs, ours or theirs. Used to have two “to scale” silouettes, one of the Zumwalt.… one of the battleship Massachusetts. Guess which one could hide behind the other with NOTHING showing!

You sort of sow the seeds of my arguement in your own discussion. Those “coastal corvettes” that will get whacked by airpower are from the era of the Tomcats and the Fishbeds. Now that its SU-37s and Super Hornets, the “whacking” will not be all one sided and those ships that are going to be out from under the “umbrella” of a CBG had better be ready to at least take on the “gulf of sidra” or Pueblo types of attacks on their own, even if it costs a few staterooms worth of ordnance instead of weight lifting gear.

An EO sensor only? Mabey if you added the right seeker but I don’t think this is the answer off the shelf. The range, though short of PAM, is pretty good at 25km advertised and I would think the warhead would be sufficient.

I retired from the navy several years ago. But it’s been a while since I was seaborne… 1998. My last few years were preparing for and then serving in the sand box. I was told last year by a surface navy officer that we’ve retired all the Harpoons. I said “WHAT?” He said yep. They’re gone. Pulled out of service without a replacement. We’ve pretty much disarmed our navy in a surface-to surface fight, except for a few Tomahawks, we’ll have to rely on submarine torpedoes and aircraft dropping iron.

Looks like we’ll have to bring back the New jersey, Iowa and maybe even the North Carolina BB’s.

Almost every generation of destroyer has done a different job, going right back to the original torpedo-boat destroyers. It’s just political — current Burkes are virtually the same as the Ticos in displacement and equipment and mission, but politicians might start asking questions if they were asked to fund 1.5 cruisers per year.

Same with the Zumwalts — they would never have got even this far if they had been sold as 32 pocket battleships — BBL? BBG? In fact given the way other names now encompass much bigger displacements than they did, the best description of them is monitors — carrying one or two guns for coastal bombardment. But then I always had a soft spot for the Lord Clives…

Again you’re missing my point — with 24 LCS, there’s no need for them to go outside the umbrella except in the most benign areas, they can afford to be swing-role specialists operating mostly with the fleet or under land-based air cover. With 55 LCS, they have to be able to stand on their own two feet more, but not with 24. Remember, they’re replacing 26 minesweepers before you even get to the missile-less Perrys

Your mention of the Pueblo is actually playing into the hands of the LCS fans — that’s a classic example where it might not have been a good idea to shoot, but an LCS could have used its high speed to outrun the red team and avoided the incident.

It’s supposed to be a “weapons platform” .….… that presupposes that you HAVE the weapons. As it stands now it is a “Platform”. If the Navy had ay brains they’d call the Israelis and ask them what they have laying around. You might be surprised.

WWII had barrage rokets that decimated the enemy in mass, no worry’s about precision and they had
planty of range. The LCS could use a similar tactic until if and when a precision strike weapon was available. If you are going inthe littorals, it makes sense to clear the eemy from the beach anyway.

And once an LCS gets its set of Mission Modules, what will that per unit end cost be?
I’m guessing we won’t see any initially-promised prices until both the two ship types and all the Mission Modules are in higher production.

Methinks a primary reason why US military hardware costs so damn much,
is because of a majority of it is built by union laborers.
In light of several issues we’ve heard on various new USN ship types, I’m wondering if those higher union wages really equate to higher manufacturing quality.…

Concepts for International variants of LCS have one or two MK41 VLS modules installed. Put those on the US LCS and use just about any missile currently on the DDG-51s… problem solved…

If you have the launchers, it opens up the POSSIBILITY of such things as the Mk-25 Quad pack for ESSM, even SM-2s and Tomahawks, or even potentially some kind of replacement for the old SubRoc to support an ASW mission. Adding VLS might not be a bad thing, but you also have to add on the fire control system and the necesary sensors as well as the crew to run those systems. THEN there is the issue of sending what is now a fairly expensive ship into harms way without the necessary “escorts”!

Certainly it is something that COULD be done, the question would be… does the LCS start looking like an Arleigh Burke thats been left in the dryer way too long, with little to no advantage in cost?

Actually, I dont think it would be much of a “surprise” at all, it just would not be invented here!’ar_5-class_c

The one, and certainly not inconsiderable, geographical advantage that the Israelis have with their ship designs is that the Med and Red Sea are essentially “fish ponds” and they dont have to worry about the wide stretches of the Pacific.

Since the discussion of the LCS keeps wandering back to the AWOL mission modules… take a gander at: http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​S​t​a​n​F​lex

We once adopted the 9mm parabellum for the sake of NATO “standardization” in spite of the fact that the.45 was a well trusted military sidearm round. Perhaps we should just step back, suck down a deep breath of humility, and take a lesson, as well as a few StanFlex modules, from the Danes! :-)

We might even come up with a few other “StanFlex” boxes that we, and even they, might find useful…

For example:

a. My personal favorite, an AMOS twin 120mm mortar turret and autoloader magazine
b. A US Army ISR aerostat
c. A modular SOF package (barracks, armory, special comm, etc) in one or more modules
d. A UAV package with a TCS for integration with large and medium UAVs and some smaller “live aboard” UAVs.
e. Get the idea?

First pulled from Subs then the Surface Fleet. Airlaunch anymore. Too bad. Glad I retired when I did. Spent my career testing Harpoon/SLAM/SLAM ER @ Point Mugu 1982 — 2007. God Bless The American Taxpayer!!!

Could easily be wrong, but I believe that even the remaining Tomahawks are the “land attack” variety. On the positive side, the SLAM-ER is a pretty good addition to the mix if attached to a “first stage booster” of an F/A-18F. The actual rocket motor and airframe (less the funky nosecone) might look very familar! :-) Unlike the old Harpoon, SLAM-ER also has a very good capablity against high value land targets as well thanks the the change in guidance/seeker packages.

Kirby, do you by any chance know where “Tucker” Horner (one of the China Lake SLAM crew) ended up?

OK, you made me look up the Lord Clives! Good on you!

So let me see, the thin skinned Zumwalts at 14,000 tons, 600 ft long, with two 155mm guns, two 57mm guns and a handfull of machine guns reminds you of a 6500 ton, 300 ft long micro-battleship with either a twin 12-inch or a single 18-inch main mount, and twin 3 inchers with battleship style armor to match? Im jealous of your imagination!

All that I can say is that at least the Zumwalt SHOULD be able to run away since the Lord Clives were not exactly fleet afoot (6–7 knots!!). But then again, the only thing that those noble vessels were designed to outrun was a revetted harbor defense battery, anchored on concrete, on the shoreline! LOL!

VLS is already interfaced with many fire control systems around the world… shouldn’t be a major problem… weight and stability could be an issue… but if they could be worked out you’d have a DDG ‘Lite’… sort of…

But a DDG Lite isn’t what you want — and better ones already exist in the form of the DZP/F100. The problem isn’t things that can be killed with a few big missiles, it’s finding a package that can kill lots of “little” targets. Hence 45 NLOS and the 30mm. You’re not going to fit 45 Tomahawks on an LCS. I guess ideally you could do with an anti-surface missile that quad-packs into Mk 41 — something for the longterm perhaps, but it doesn’t solve the immediate problem. if you feel you have to have some kind of missile on the LCS in 2013 or so.

The Clives are fun aren’t they? They’re an extreme example of the monitor type, but the mission is the same — dropping large amounts of HE onshore from a small number of very high-tech guns at the limits of what can be put on a ship, in a low-slung hull that was intended to be hard to spot from shore. Sound familiar? Didn’t you try to justify the Zumwalt’s DD label on the grounds of “never mind the displacement, feel the mission”?

And as I said, you’ve got to adjust for how other labels have changed over the years — back then a cruiser was a 5000 ton ship with at least 3″, sometimes a belt of 10″, of armour. Now if you take the example of a Tico, a cruiser is 10,000 tons with a superstructure that’s not just unarmoured, it’s made of aluminium. So things change, but they’re still recognisably cruisers.

The Ticos are “recognizably cruisers” because that is the label the USN plastered on them. Call it what you may, but.… when a purported warship of more than 15000 tons packs the firepower of a former class of 4000 ton DDs (Zumwalt 2 X 155mm (6in) guns + 2X57mm (2in) guns, Forest Sherman, 3X5-inch (127mm) + 4x3-inch (75mm)) you have to wonder who was offended by seeing all of that nasty old ordnance onboard! And if you say that the Zumwalt packs its capability in the VLS, I will do the comparison to a Burke! My point is quite simple, for 15000 tons we ought to be getting more “bite for the buck”!

Dont I remember from somewhere that the cost of building a ship is roughly proportional to the tonnage? As in a “todays warship” at 4000 tons is roughly 1/4 the cost of a ship of 16,000 tons? Thats a LOT of dollars for two 155mm gun tubes or anything less than a full blown AEGIS!

So what the heck do our ships carry now for anti surface combat? Harpoon was the. ONLY viable weapon against other surface ships. What now…?? Go back to throwing potatoes? Who was the idiot who made that decision and what is the point of even having a navy if they are weaponless against other ships?

As one who was intimately involved with the LCS program from its proposal solicitation days, I can attest to the fact that it has been an undermanned, under-armed, wet-dream high-school science fair from the very beginning. Its only real goal was to provide greater command opportunity for the surface warfare community. ull disclosure of all the shennanigans and falsities associated with pushing this program would send numerous high-level government and contractor personnel to prison.

Comparing a Zumwalt to a Sherman is a bit like comparing a F/A-18 to a Dauntless — they can both drop 500lb bombs after all. Those bare statistics hide as much as they enlighten. The AGS is an extraordinary bit of kit — I’d happily join you in criticising it as vastly overcomplicated, overengineered system, but that money does seem to have produced something is a lot more than just another gun. It’s not just about the gun and its 80-mile ammunition, it’s not just about the Tomahawks, it’s not just about the sensors — it’s the combination of all three that is potent.

Are Harpoon fans the equivalent of WWI cavalry officers who haven’t realised how the battlefield has changed over the last few decades? An 8-pack of Harpoons starts looking pretty irrelevant in a world where even quite small corvettes have VLS point-defence missiles. Just look at the current Russian corvette, the Steregushchy class. The latest version has 16 of the Redut VLS which can use S-400 missiles or quad-pack smaller ones in the same way as ESSM or CAMM, and has 8 Sizzlers to go on the attack with. The Russians plan to build over 30 of them.

They’re also exporting them under the Tigr name, the weapons fit is a bit in flux but lets say it was just 8 VLS tubes with 32 quad-packed point-defence missiles, and 8 Yakhont. They’ve agreed to sell 4 Tigrs to Indonesia, so by 2015–2020 they might have a flotilla carrying 128 VL SAMs and 32 Yakhont.

Then there’s an Islamic revolution in the most populous Islamic country in the Pacific, they decide to do something like interdicting the shipping lanes. If you wanted to take out those four little corvettes, costing $600m for four — what US Navy surface assets would you need — and how much would those USN assets cost to acquire?

I wouldn’t like to say, but it would take a lot more than a couple of quad-packs of subsonic Harpoons with a much inferior range to the Yakhonts. The balance has changed between attack and defence, just like cavalry was neutralised by the Maxim gun. The signs are already there, in the fact that the US Navy has never had a confirmed kill with a Harpoon in over 30 years of service.

The obvious solution to this scenario would be an SSK, but that’s another story.….

You were reading my comment about cuirassiers!

Let me add another recurrent anachronism to the mix. The Macedonian sarissa (long pike) was the doomsday weapon of its era, until it ran into the much more mobile Roman infantry. It fell into disuse for almost 1000 years, then resurfaced, as effective as ever, as the equally feared Swiss pike of the Middle Ages. Perhaps in a world of small ships and Yakhonts, the wisdom of a rolling salvo of 406mm projectiles at Mach 2 from over the horizon and from under 18 inches of hardened armor makes sense again! I think that even a Stergushchy would do well to make smoke, and chase the splashes! LOL!

Who needs an SSK if you have a BB!

Even if fired at maximum rate a pair of AGSs is about equivalent to a battery of M-777s. While not BAD, and definitely an improvement of the 5-inch, 54 cal of recent, a battery of manually served M-777s (or two AGSs) is not exactly a major offensive force. Tomahawks are good, but… deliverable by BUFF or SSGN much better than by DDG-1000, and the sensors.… . hmmmm. well at least they SHOULD be able to see the bad guys coming.…

The thing with the Hornet and the Dauntless is a bit different, my friend. The Hornet carries more ordnance of greater lethality, further and faster than the Dauntless, not less.

You do realize that the LCS is a bit bigger than a WWII Fletcher, has greater displacement, and yet can’t go toe-to-toe with a guy in rowboat with an RPG? You do recall what the “C” in LCS stands for? The Humvee wasn’t designed for combat. The LCS was.

Is that two holes on the side of the LCS boat?

Had a crazy thought… If you look at the “offensive firepower” vs displacement, at least US naval vessels would seem to be showing almost an inverse “Moore’s law” approach. My little comparison of the Shermans and the Zumwalts shows about a 3X increase in displacement and a roughly equal (gun) armament. Extend it just a little bit more and the next generation of DDs will be as big as the Nimitz and pack nothing more threatening than the saluting cannon (and that under a shroud so that nobody would get scared!!!) ! :-)

Missiles, at least those in VLS magazines, are almost “out of sight and out of mind”, but a gun turret sticking up above the deck is very hard not to see and identify as such, but they are multi-function useful things to have on a warship. The sensor suites are of course more extensive in capabilities, but where the Shermans had vacuum tube electronics, the Zumwalts have ICs and FPGAs, and at best, the sensors can see the bad guys coming. Could it be that we really do have an aversion to making warships look like warships to the point where we compromise the capabilities of the warships?

The LCS is a sad waste of time and scarce resources. It looks like a prop from a James Bond movie…if only it actually carried weapons… WHY does the US Navy (and the DoD in general) insist on designing everything from scratch generating billions in development costs???

We need frigates. Face it. More DDG 51s are nice, but doesn’t fill the niche the LCS was supposed to fill. Its ridiculous to see DDG 51s being wasted on anti-piracy patrols. They’re too under-gunned for offshore fire support (1 x 5″…really?). Convoy escorts, battle group outer screens.…inexpensive power projection. FRIGATES!!

Why can’t we just take a NATO MEKO design and build that to our requirements? I watched a Greek frigate pull out of Souda Bay last year…thing was armed from stem to stern WITH a Seahawk hanger. This is what we should be mass producing. Or, if we insist on something smaller, then what’s wrong with the Israeli Sa’ar 5 class of Corvettes that WE BUILT in US shipyards??? Things carry 8 Harpoons and 64 Barak SAMs. Slap a 3″ OTO on there instead of the 2 CIWS and now you’ll have an LCS that can do some hurt.

The Greek Frigate like the Greek Frigate NIKIFOROS FOKAS and Greek frigate Psara are amazing but I think the LCS missile boats and ships would be more amazing if they make one model work and make more if its working effectively for the country’s defense. Probably LCS need to use 4 MLRS — Multiple Launch Rocket System armed with RIM-116A Rolling Airframe Missile with automatic missile reload capability attach inside per LCS boat and ship.

Probably we need to compare our (USA) design to other countries defense like Russia and China anti missile boats and ships and comeup with a better design of anti ship missile boats and ships.

This is a Russian Stealth Frigate.
See: http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​E​k​p​j​b​d​P​6​C​H​o​&​a​m​p​;fe

For land defense this is Russian top secret WEAPON “TOS” BURATINO http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​z​S​9​h​K​8​Q​a​g​0​Y​&​a​m​p​;fe

This is the Chinese catamaran missile boat 022 http://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​J​d​2​q​l​8​4​-​UV0

I don’t think we’ve lost our ability to design good ships, the LCS just took a wrong turn somewhere, maybe it was the 40+ knot speed requirement, the small crew size, or the over-reliance on modules.

That said, we ought to order no more LCSs and instead start building a true frigate. Something with real firepower, just give it the large hanger and helicopter landing pad of the LCS.

However there would be a gap caused by this. The LCS was expected to be doing a lot of other missions. For example it was supposed to replace our current minesweepers for example. That will still be a requirement.

The Griffin missile is a very poor substitute for the NLOS-LS, they could have at least used the longer ranged Hellfire.

ESSM stuff for those who haven’t seen…


(they can’t seem to decide on the warhead weight: 39kg is not 66 lbs…)

And for those who don’t remember the now-defunct Lockheed Martin POLAR, derivative of the MLRS:…/factsheet-POLAR.pdf

A Jane’s article suggested POLAR had a 107 nautical mile range, but didn’t specify the warhead weight.
But why would we want a quad-pack-capable, 100+nm missile that even an LCS could carry, when we have all those Zummwalt “destroyers” waiting to be built to do surface fire support for us, firing 155mm gun-hardened LRLAPs that surely won’t ever be as expensive as guided missiles?

…oh, wait.…

Why use Hellfire when JAGM is in the works, with its tri-mode seeker.


Funny thing is, JAGM is everything NetFires PAM failed to achieve, to include its tri-mode seeker in a package and weight that’s pretty much a NetFires PAM anyway,..whose size and weight is pretty much…
a Hellfire.
Them contractors, I tell ya…certainly putting the “con” part in the word contractor.
Why they don’t just market all that crap as Hellfire upgrades, beats the heck outa me!

The check is in the mail….… Yes, JAGM would be nice, and probably will be navalized at some point in the future. The LCS designs are floating now and there are more coming. Do we send them out naked hoping that JAGM and all of the other vaporware comes to fruition, or with the best that we can find TODAY with the firm knowledge that something, JAGM or something entirely different, will be available for later upgrades? (Unless Im very confused, one of the basic requirements of JAGM was that it had to fit a Hellfire launcher! :-) )

Do you know what an LRLAP is? Its a 155mm diameter projectile in which about 2/3s of the energetic material is devoted to rocket propellant! In other words you are sacrificing “terminal effects” for range.

Yes, I do know.
And that’s why I made the sarcastic comment about them.
Keep in mind: the USN will get, what, 3, maybe 4 Zumwalts?
At 2 guns each, who here really thinks each of those ships will ever fire a complete magazine’s complement of LRLAPs over the ships’ lifetime?
And with budgets the way they are, these projectiles will be manufactured, at most, to the tune of a few thousand, not the several tens of thousands needed before we see any economies-of-scale (buy in bulk a better term?) lower prices that the AGS/LRLAP programs originally advertised.

When all’s said and done, POLARs/GMLRS Naval and further upgrades/enhancements to already established ESSM production would’ve yielded more affordable munitions (equates to more customers) that, in the case of POLAR/GMLRS-Naval, shoot farther than any AGS.
And foreign nations aren’t in the market for LRLAPs (Italy’s Vulcano program is actually showing more promise), or even some power-hungry future railgun,
but many of our foreign allies could/would certainly be able to utilize SSMs that can be loaded in place of SAMs.

And for the record, Lockheed Martin doesn’t use the phrase
“sacrificing terminal effects for range”,
they prefer the phrase “minimizing collateral damage”.
(see the pdf here:
lockheedmartin​.com/​d​a​t​a​/​a​s​s​e​t​s​/​m​f​c​/​P​h​o​t​o​s​/​M​F​C​_​L​R​L​A​P​_​p​r​o​d​u​c​t​_​c​a​r​d​.​pdf )

I don’t want something whose use is confined to a limited number of platforms; I want something that’s compatible with a large number of my surface fleet.
LRLAP isn’t it.

We could even do a variation of this:


If we could modify existing 8-cell SeaSparrow trainable launchers, we could possibly have one side holding 4 RIM-7s or RIM-162s, and the other side holding a pod of these LAR-160 derived precision rockets (if a thru-deck VLS cell won’t have enough room in something like the LCS).

Back in the old days when adults where in charge of the Navy, we used to design and build ships to carry weapons systems (for certain roles). Look at any successful class: Knox class-build to carry the SQ2-26 and ASROC. Burke class-design to carry the SPY-1 radar and SM-2. etc etc.

Now, as in the case of the LCS, we design and build ship ships in search of a weapon system and a mission

We’re doing it backwards. That’s why the LCS is such an absolute failure.

So here we have a monster sized 3000 ton, 50kt., built to commercial standards, huge, empty shell of a ship in search of a mission and a weapon system– is my Navy NUTS? apparently so

IF the LCS (and its mission modules) had been carried through IAW the original concepts,…. we would NOT be having these discussions, perhaps others, but not these. The “press” was apparently to get hulls in the water rather than warships and when problems showed up with the weapon systems, the hulls proceeded while the modules lagged. With the Burkes or the Knox ships, the entire ship (hull AND weapons), was hostage to the “longest pole” in the development cycle.

I might agree with your distaste for the “commercial standards”, particularly when it comes to damage control and such, but. ..… the objectives were apparently “hulls afloat” and there is more than a little precedence for lighter cheaper construction for naval vessels. Consider the Sherman’s of the WWII era.

a warship is more then the sum of it’s mission modules…

a LCS in the future is doing mine sweeping in the Persian gulf, all of a sudden an Iran air force bird shows up on radar the petty officers yells, “sir, we have a fast mover on the deck, inbound, 12 miles”, the CO says “light up the anti-air module” the chief replies sir, we don’t have one, we’re on a mine sweeping mission, we’re weren’t supposed to be in harm’s way.” “Ah hell” the CO say, “weapons free on the 57mm mount” another voice yells out, “sir there are now two bogies coming our way, which target do I choose,” The CO yells, “call in air cover,” just about that time the first bird fires off four zunni type rockets, the SeaRam launches a raam missile on the Iranian rockets but it misses and two of the rockets make direct hits, hitting a helo siting on the deck, and the second one penetrating the hull and hitting a fuel tank causing a massive explosions which instantly kills half of the crew, fire quickly engulfs the rest of the ship, the second bird strafs the bridge with 20mm rounds, killing all but a couple of the crew who then craw out the broken bridge windows and jump into the sea to awaiting sharks…Ten minutes later, a pair of F-18 Hornets arrive on the scene only to find an oil slick.

In WWII, up to half the ships in a convoy might be lost getting supplies and troops to theater. Now the Navy must think they are entitled to zero casualties by taking Army funds to finance AirSea battle. Name a single Navy ship sunk since Vietnam. If your scenario occurred, isn’t it preferable to lose part of a smaller crew rather than a larger one? A torpedo would kill a 300-Sailor destroyer just as readily as a 75-man LCS.

You give the Iranians far too much credit, and your own Navy too little. No AWACS or E-2B to see the aircraft lift off their home field? You assume they have two working aircraft and moderately trained pilots? No air cap ready to respond instantly? 57mm didn’t work? SeaRAM can take out a low cruise missile but can’t engage a low-flying old aircraft with poorly trained pilots unlikely to even find the target? No destroyer nearby with SM capability?

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your personal views), the current US public DOES expect to be able to fight a war without casualties. That expectation, i.e. total dominance over the enemy with superior (near magical?) technology, coupled with the unrealistic, but theoretically supportable, sales pitch pledges to achieve that goal, are perhaps the two most significant reasons for many of our procurement woes.

You don’t have to spin such a big fantasy, MF, my friend. Just play out the USS Stark scenario were a “blind spot” in the weapon system (CIWS) was inadvertently brought into play and the ship took the hit! If the CIWS had been located forward (like on the Sa’ar V) and an intentional “turn into the threat” had been initiated, likely the ship would not have been damaged. OR if the midship mounted CIWS had been augmented with a forward mounted CIWS to insure 360 coverage, or if the ship had just been turned broadside on to the developing threat, or.…if hoppity-toads had wings.… .

Warships will be sent in harm’s way. The best you can do is to try to arm them as best as possible against the most likely threats, let the sailors learn how to fight their ships, develop the proper tactics to support them, and then honestly, hope for the best.

The LCS’s just have the misfortune to have been hulls that could be floated before the reason for floating them (the weapon systems modules) were ready. “Haze gray and underway” does not a warship make.…unless it has the weapon systems to do something useful when it arrives on station. That much is totally independent of the weapon systems being in modules or welded to the deck.

maybe not a wrong turn if supplied a dedsat with multiple EFG-BNs and blue beam? a 4D/halo battlefield?

is that like one of them Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft cruises

on the lameness scale, this post get a “10”

Maybe we can ask help from the britons and germans for some good ideas.

Buy Isreal’s Jumper Missle in a box system!!! It’s already been deployed and Isreal is already marketing a maritime version to Pacific rim countries.

If small light weight missile system is the goal, why not use the EFOGM ? yes its old tech yes is itsexy no… it is simple uses well known components and has better range and ability then the mini missile from Raytheon .

Brazil is producing the thing for goodness sake!


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