SAS12: The Navy’s happy warrior strikes back

SAS12: The Navy’s happy warrior strikes back

Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work sounded like a human being, not a trade show rack card, in his latest impassioned defense of the littoral combat ship on Wednesday:

“It is a WAR-ship,” he said. “A WAR-ship. It is going to make every [small attack craft] out there worry about coming out to sea, because it will kick their ASS — and you can quote me on that.”

Work is the only person in the Navy Department with the expertise and passion to say such things. The few others who speak about LCS usually just rely on talking points, when they talk at all, either disconnected from or apprehensive of the vein of deep skepticism that still persists about the Navy’s signature surface warfare program.

Not Work.

“I follow all the blogs like everyone else. I’ve heard all the arguments. I know all the skeptics,” he said.

Work tried (again) to allay worry about LCS’ endurance in the Pacific — when the ships are running on their diesels at normal speed, he said, they’ll be comparable to today’s frigates. Work offered his belief that LCS’ novel crewing model, in which smaller teams of veteran sailors share hulls, can work just fine; the Australians do something similar with their patrol craft, he said. And if the Navy needs to change the crewing or other arrangements on LCS by the time it gets into the fleet, it will, ya jerks.

“We’re not stupid — we’ll make that damn change if we need to,” he said.

The fleet has already made one concession: Work said LCS is now projected for four-month deployments, as opposed to the standard six month cruises for the rest of the surface force. The whole point of the ships is that they’re flexible, so the Navy needs to get its run of 55, play with them and not be afraid because they don’t look like anything the fleet has had before, he argued.

Work said the resistance to LCS reminded him of what people said about the Navy’s plan to convert its first four Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines to carry conventional cruise missiles and large teams of SEAL special operators.

“I can’t tell you how many people told me, ‘We have too many Tomahawk hulls, that’s a waste of money, don’t buy that ship. But they didn’t understand the fleet design decision … and now the COCOMs can’t get enough of the SSGNs.”

Unlike the SSGNs, however, LCS is still years away from operational relevance, and Work’s biggest accomplishment Wednesday may have been to make its future roles so murky as to free the Navy from any actual expectations for its performance.

Navy officials have characterized LCS every way you can imagine: Sometimes it’s a low-end, “non-survivable” baby ship that will take the place of the frigates visiting sleepy African and South American ports to play patty cake with the locals. Sometimes it’s as a “WAR-ship!” as Work put it, that will screen the strike group hunting enemy subs; clear mines better than today’s minesweepers, and do who knows what other missions with its ever-growing utility belt of mission equipment.

Work said that when Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert talked about LCS not being “survivable,” he only meant it wouldn’t be survival “in the strait” — though Work didn’t say which — in a time of war.

“But it’s not going into the straits. The only thing that could survive in the straits if a war started would be a submarine.”

Then Work said LCS also would “escort combat logistics force ships.”  Those ships, the oilers and supply vessels that keep Navy strike groups fueled, fed and ready, are some of the biggest targets in the fleet. So would assigning LCSes to them make them more or less safe?

Things got even more confusing: Work said the Navy wouldn’t send a cruiser on goodwill or partnership-building missions to South America; an LCS would go instead. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson said LCS would free up destroyers from having to do anti-piracy and counter-narcotics patrols. But the Navy seldom uses Aegis ships for those missions today — the frigates take them. But LCS isn’t a frigate — the Navy didn’t want a frigate. (“The National Patrol Frigate is a great ship — for the U.S. Coast Guard,” Work said Wednesday.) But Work says most of the time LCS will cruise on its diesels, not tear up the ocean at the 40 knots it was built for. So why did the Navy need LCS?

Work’s latest defense of LCS makes plain that the service has decided to make do with a program too far along to change or cancel, but which does not have clearly defined roles and missions for the future. LCS won’t make a real deployment until 2017 or beyond. That the Navy has already decided to make them four months, as opposed to six, is an early concession that the brass may already feel limited by its need to accommodate the ships it is inheriting.

Work is a true believer, though, and he said he remained confident the program would work as advertised: “We have to prove it. There are a lot of skeptics, so we have to get out to the fleet and we have to show it.”


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“But Work says most of the time LCS will cruise on its diesels, not tear up the ocean at the 40 knots it was built for. So why did the Navy need LCS?” –Because the top speed is for moving to intercept. Just because aircraft have after burners or capable of super sonic speeds doesn’t mean they use those abilities all the time.

Well it’s kinda hard for him to be the LCS expert when there is no such thing and it definately wouldnt be a Pentagon paper pusher. It will never be better at clearing mines than our current sweepers until they design a better system that will work ont the thing, and it cant currently screen convoys other than to act as a bullet sponge. He is only trying to protect it because his 6 is on the line for funding the thing in the first place. The NAVY does not build a ship with no known purpose (role) in the first place so his remark of they have not decided its role yet tells me it is a failure already. The only thing they are clear on is that it will be a flag waiver in cent/south america and africa _ they could had bought a lot of 100 foot yachts and painted them haze grey with a couple of twin 50’s mounted to it for the cost of one of these things. And to show how little he knows what he’s talking about, A nuclear submarine cannot transit the straights submerged because it’s doo darn shallow (you will either hit bottom or your sail will get hit by surface ship/boat) so how is it the only surviveable thing in a war of that region??????

From his remarks it sounds like they will always be in proximity of other surface groups so remove the helo hanger and line the sucker up with MK32 tripple torpedo tubes and box launchers for tommahawks and harpoons, then throw on some avenger ant air units and a submarine towed array system and BSY II fire control system from a sub to make it a true warship. the helos from the other ships in convoy or nearby groups can fly for them. Helos are not needed on every ship we have. Give up on trying to install systems that have not been developed yet.

Common sense is hard for some people to grasp. My car can do 130, yet I rarely get above 50.

“every [small attack craft] out there worry about coming out to sea, because it will kick their ASS — and you can quote me on that.” — Oh, I imagine we will.

“Too far along to cancel,” hmm, sounds a lot like “too big to fail” and we know where that led.

If all it’s doing is flag waiving in the lower Americas and hunting drug-runners…that sounds like the jobs where we use our frigates. This thing was named the “Littoral Combat Ship” YEARS ago, because it’d be going in close to shore to do the things that would tie down a more expensive (HA, *slightly* more expensive, it turns out) destroyer or frigate in dangerous, shallow coastal waters. Small boats, cheap and proliferating diesel attack subs, terrorists, helicopters…yet it doesn’t seem capable of doing any of that.

Washington’s getting like Hollywood, expecting us to have short memories.

Secretary Work is a real piece of work!

He’d make a great used car salesman-he knows how to shovel the s h i t

Its obvious that the LCS is nothing more than a “dumbed down corvette”, that won’t be able to defend itself should it get sucker punched like the USS STARK, nor fend off a swarm of boats that could result in capture or destruction of the vessel itself. This travesty ain’t nothing like the conversion of the 4 OHIO boomers to conventional warfare platforms; its in a class by itself.

When will the planned modules be ready? When will it get its full complement of guns and missiles? 2020? 2025? 2030?

The USN keeps requesting these little boats, the congress keeps approving the funding, and the ship yard(s) keep churning them out. Remind me again…how did Einstein define insanity?

How is this a “land” story?

majrod, its if its about someone trying to defend spending half a billion per LCS, then its “la la land”. ;-)

I forgot to mention earlier that every submariner I know (and thats a bunch) was all for SSGN conversion and wanted it even before the Ohio class boats were done (on the older 640 class boats). Most guys in the fleet right now would still like a partial conversion on the remaining fleet of Ohios so they could be multi platform and perform more missions when not in thier deterrent patrol box. converting 8 tubes for tomahawk still leaves them with 16 D5 tridents which is more than enough to keep other countries at bay.

Less LCS more DDG-1000 is the right way.

Ewing states “Work’s latest defense of LCS makes plain that the service has decided to make do with a program too far along to change or cancel, but which does not have clearly defined roles and missions for the future.“
Pretty sure that he is right. The question is how many do we need to buy? Stop at 10 of each design and move on to a more capable platform (FFG-X). Also see new CRS report on LCS dated 4/6/12 titled: Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program-Background, Issues and Options for Congress

Status of mission modules and development (start p. 10)
Review issues with both LCS designs (leaks, corrosion, engine issues, etc.) (start p. 28)
“The Navy plans to purchase 24, and deliver 9, LCS seaframes by 2016; however, it will not have a single fully capable mission module at that time.” (p. 38)

Surprised the current administration allows these uneconomical, fossil fuel burning, fuel hog speedboats to be purchased.

so, with a core crew of 40 total, that leaves maybe 20 for engine spaces, which contain 4 diesels for electrical generation, 2 giant propulsion diesels, and 2 of the largest gas turbines ever installed onto any sized ship afloat in 2012 or ever. That makes 8 engines to service, ensure that the day fuel tanks are always topped up and don’t run out of fuel, keep lube oil purified and recycled, moving fuel back and forth around the 22 different tanks onboard, changing the many, many fuel filters, not to mention refueling from and oiler every ___ days, constantly checking the fuel samples for the pilots of the helo’s each and every flight, as well as for UAV’s, etc.….…… forget the unimportant stuff like chill water systems, fresh water, air conditioners, waterjet pumps, and on and on.… this ship is Not manned up like an FFG but it has even more equipment than an FFG and so far, has proven to be able to survive at sea only a couple of months per year, while spending many, many months per year in expensive overhauls including multiple dry dockings, etc. 40 crew ? and that might mean 20 Snipes max. These little undermanned boats need a crew of 250 minimum for all the systems onboard.

your absolutely right, the whole concept is beyond stupid, it’s insane.

And sadly, there’s no one in leadership sane enough to stop the insanity.

because the LCS is a “land yacht”

I rally when I hear anyone rally for solutions.
But I have one caveat to offer in Work’s argument; “Work said the Navy wouldn’t send a cruiser on goodwill or partnership-building missions to South America; an LCS would go instead.“
Let the State Department buy it’s own ships and personnel. They abuse the forces and make demands with the slightest suggestion.

I do not agree with Work on this issue. I do agree with him on some other issues. And disagree with him on some more. But that is OK.
I disagree with him on LCS because I still have confidence that somewhere in the Navy, we are smarter than this. The LCS if anything, with all of its lack of current mission usefulness, is more like a prototype or test concept. There are so many other successful corvette designs out there that make it obvious that LCS is not the way to go. Pirates? Well it seems on-board security teams have solved most of that problem.

And, in order to bring any usefulness to a show-the-flag exercise with an ally, you need a multi-mission frigate. It shows up, you can do an ASW exercise; a radar picket exercise, a surface warfare exercise, and so on. Sorry Mr Work, I do no see the value in LCS.

The navy has recognized that crew manning is not sufficient and is planning to increase the core crew to 60. Remember all of the bad press on the FFG7 class. They proved there worth as will LCS.

The Spruance class took some bad press, too. Some critics complained about the lack of guns, not realizing the ship’s mission was ASW.

so, divide 60 into 30 for engineering spaces, and 30 for OOD/JOOD/CIC helm, lookout, radio central, cooks, mess cooks, gunners mate, ET and FC and IT doing repairs and troubleshooting, etc.

Gee, 30 Snipes. Several on watch, lets say 3 sections of 5 people per section. That leaves 15 people to do the myriad of A-gang, MPA, fuels handling, etc.

Still, way way way too small a crew. Unless you’re just getting u/w for a max of 5 days so that you can return to port to refuel, take on food, do your laundry, do PMS on your gear, .…. take on repair parts, get more fuel filters and other consummables, … and maybe even catch 8 hours of sleep in a row while inport. This LCS small crew = the endurance of an 87 foot WPB Coast Guard patrol boat, but costs $598,000,000.00 more ! A bargain ? I think not.

yes, but the FFG-7 had REAL weapons and REAL capabilities

they were excellent ASW platforms, with sonar, tails and two helos and even torpedoes
they could do ASuW with it Harpoon missiles and 76mm
and it could defend itself and the local area with the SM-1,Phalanx and ECM

and the electronics suite wasn’t bad either, with good surface and air search radars, SLQ-32(v3), good fire control for the gun and missiles, etc.

they were excellent picket and escorts ships
they had long range, endurance and they could also sprint when needed

AND mostly importantly, they were BATTLE proven to be very tough.

The LCS is being slammed because it has ZERO capabilities and ZERO weapons-it’s basically just a MASSIVE empty aluminum shell and nothing more

if the DDG-1000 turns out well, then that will be a big win for the Navy, they really need one with all of the miserable losses they’ve had lately

(1) The LCS is a poor attempt at a multipurpose ship. Something the Navy has NEVER done successfully in its entire history. Let’s see how it fares against some of those cigar boat pirates. Want to bet on a total Navy embarassment?
(2) Don’t worry about the too far along or too big to fail. The coming budget cuts will take care of that. Think accountants and LIFO–Last In, First Out. Despite all the “talk” by the politicians about their undying support, LCS will be “terminated.” This has happened before. Been there, done that.
(3) Nice insult to our South American “partners.” Really? A cruiser is not fit for South America port duty, but can pull port duty in Europe and Asia?

LCS utilization may very well follow in the footsteps of the PHM’s. The PHM’s were the LCS equivalents of the ’70’s as they were smaller combatants with small crews and a heavy technology dependence. Aside from the cost (lots) and maintenance requirements (lots again), the Navy upper echelons had no grasp on tactical employment of a vessel that didn’t fit into already standardized warfare policies that were useful on larger ships. Hopefully, the LCS community will fare better than the PHM’s but it’s likely to come down to demonstrated flexibility and that will be heavily dependent upon the modules and weapons systems that either aren’t being delivered on time — or at all or worse, cancelled. IMHO, the USS Swift HSV-2 is a better hull contender than the LCS. The U.S. Navy however, does not favor any smaller contractor. That could be because not many flag rank officers retire to become board members of them like they do Raytheon or Lockheed. Until a smaller company that performs well gets acquired by a larger firm, they’re really not in contention to supply the technology and manufacturing for Navy contracts. Boeing’s acquisition of Argo Systems comes to mind. Raytheon’s lackluster SLQ-32 was far outclassed by some of the Argo Systems hardware but Raytheon has lots of retired admirals on the payroll, Argo Systems didn’t, so the big contract goes to the good old boys club. That was the ’70’s. Nothing’s changed. At least Boeing picked up Argo Systems so the technology wasn’t lost in the haze of Navy system acquisition logic.

It is mildly interesting that of late we’re being inundated by stories of how ineffective/expensive the F-35 programs are; how stupendously expensive the new Ford is; how the F/A-18 is now well beyond its planned number of flight hours; how the Marine/Army/Navy helicopter fleets are barely operational; how the tilt-rotor is an accident looking for a place to happen; how the Navy is attempting to utilize ships that have long exceeded their planned lifespan; and on and on and on. At the same time, Congress is looking at massive cuts in defense spending. Coincidence?

The U.S. government has saddled its military with what is effectively responsibility for a world war. Every year, we ADDDDDD military bases overseas and eliminate some inside the U.S.; every year we run our aircraft, helicopters and navy ships beyond their expected lifespans. One day, real soon now, we won’t have enough fighters to man the $44 billion dollar Ford, and the Marines won’t have either Harriers, F-35’s or helicopters. I think that the flood of news articles and speeches are designed to prevent Congress from defunding procurement projects; but I also think that Congress has gone NUTS. N. Korea has nuclear weapons and that country is far less stable than Iran, whose government is in any event closing in on its own demise. Russia and China have both contributed to the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them; however, both are pikers when it comes to selling military weapons, and their combined budgets are dwarfed by the U.S. The world is awash in weapons, and peace is further away.

At the outset of WWII, the U.S. army ranked 17th in the world, we began the Korean war with WWII equipment; but somewhere, somehow, Reagan convinced America that all we need to do is outspend the rest of the world and we’d have peace. Since Reagan we’ve been fighting nearly continuously, but instead of securing peace, we’ve created and spread hatred; instead of being energy independent, we’ve become embroiled in constant warfare in the middle east, and paid middle easterners billions of dollars with which to fund the war against us, leading to Homeland Security, full body scans, the World Trade Centers, Iraq, Afghanistan, and trillions of dollars gone to join the thousands of dead Americans and their allies.

All that, but not a lot of peace. In its place, we have adopted the terrorists own tactics, although we call it the Tea Party. Instead of democracy by majority, a significant percentage of this country has decided that it’s their way or nothing. Norquist declared that the right has made it impossible for a democratic president to rule as a democrat.

We have become what we went to war to destroy.

Catamaran ship design is the way to go, for you can have a wider deck space, and longer ships.

Imaging a Catamaran Aircraft Carrier with 3 hulls — having the center hull as the longest, and supported by two shorter hulls on its’ side. If the center hull had a Bulbous Bow longer and wider, I question if it would help with its stability. And if the center hull also had a long bow support beam from the bow to stern on its keel, would it also be an ideal thing to have for longer ships of such type? Imagine such a mega carrier operating — one in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic. Imagine sub port in between the hulls. Imagine this city in motion for even the Army and Air Force can utilize with the NAVY. Imagine a ship of this kind being 2,000 feet long, or longer. Imagine later on — cruise ships could be design in similar fashion. Can you imagine the number of jobs such a project could be created. I remember the old movies that showed them Hawaii pontoon canoes, and how stable they were/are. Now, can you imagine what I am imagining?

Zumwalt will, unfortunately, fail her INSURV, TECHEVAL, and OPEVAL. Why ? Because later this year her giant deckhouse will float from Gulfport Miss. up to Maine and be installed next year. Except it won’t have the SPY 4 medium and long range radar. (which can n.e.v.e.r. be installed in the future). The good U.S. Navy Admiral leading the Board of Insurv will have to fail this first DDG-1000. No doubt this honest Admiral’s boss will change/spin the final Insurv report. Standby…

Work said the resistance to LCS reminded him of what people said about the Navy’s plan to convert its first four Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines to carry conventional cruise missiles and large teams of SEAL special operators.
Hmmm. THE LCS never reminded me about the Ohio conversion — I thought that was a great idea. With LCS, I liked the idea of the mission modules — but have a serious dislike for the lack of armament/punch/ability to really “reach out and touch someone”. During WWII, our PT boats weren’t that survivable, but were heavily armed and very dangerous in their element. And while an LCS might impress/show interest in some small ways, it cannot replace a proverbial capital ship when it comes to showing/demonstrating interest.

Norquist declared that the right has made it impossible for a democratic president to rule as a democrat.
Norquist is an idiot if he thinks that that will work more than once. Because the democrats can/will use the SAME tactics on what passes for a republican. And the republicans will howl with horror, explaining to their “supporters” and anyone else dumb enough to listen that “the democrats hit us back first<sniff>”.

You might recall Newt telling republican candidates to use terms like “dishonest”, “unethical”, “incompetent”, etc, to define their opponents. But then when his opponents used those terms against him during the nomination fight he complained about how mean the other candidates were (what a sniveling coward).

During the Newt years, the republicans passed the line item veto, thinking Bob Dole would be elected, only to have Clinton win by a landslide and use the LIV against THEM. Whoops. The republicans would do so much better if they could think about how their own tactics backfire and are ultimately self-destructive. They, above all others, put their party politics above the good of the nation and what made it great.

This is what makes them the very kind of politicians that George Washington warned about: “the true enemies of the United States are those who put their party politics above the good of the nation…”

hopefully the final OPTEVFOR report on this first of class destroyer, will not gloss over the fact that Lockheed Martin never delivered the SPY-4 radar on time and hence, will never, ever be installed on this $5 billion plus R&D test ship. Wow, what a “test ship” this first DDG-1000 will be, without any long range eyes to use during her years and years of upcoming tests by OPtevfor. Will this huge omission just be trivialized ? or hold LM’s feet to the fire ? Naaa. My money’s on some Admirals just muddying up the water so’s no one looks like a nimbicle to the US Taxpayers.

You are just jealous.…

More DDGs

If it wasn’t for a Democratic president forcing unpopular, unConstiutional legistlation on the American public, there wouldn’t BE a tea party.

What you fail to grasp is that the traditional watch standers that you may know do not exist. The watches are hybrids allowed by remote sensing, automation, and other advances in technology. So quit trying to shove the round peg in the square hole until you understand that the whole concept of how we man, operate, and maintain these ships is in transition.

After reading this the first thing that came to mind was the WWII PT Boat. Imagine using today’s technology to produce maybe a 100′ version of that WWII classic? Hey…just an idea.

and you must be his PR person, or something…

This is what the LCS should’ve been. A single hull would’ve had more firepower then the entire fleet of LCS were building now

Who should be more ashamed ? Gibbs and Cox for all the many large and small design flaws in LCS-1,3,5 ? Or the Navy bureaucrates in Washington DC who approved all the many changes that Lockheed Martin made before, during, and after construction of USS FREEDOM ? it seems that this Trio should all share equally in blame and outright shame.

Maybe the Navy should have put more effort into the Sea Fighter design. Have heard of no major efforts to arm it or operationalize it in any way. At 1000 tons, 50 knots speed, fewer than 30 crewmembers, up to two helos, RIB, and with a 4400 nm range, if forward deployed would make more sense than LCS for some missions (MIW, ASW). Have always assumed that this was a ship the Navy did not want but Congress forced it on them. So I guess it just tools around off Florida testing equipment and operational concepts.

What happened to the Sea Fighter (FSF-1)?. Have heard of no recent efforts to arm it or operationalize it in any way. At 1000 tons, 50 knots speed, fewer than 30 crewmembers, up to two helos, and with a 4400 nm range, if forward deployed might make more sense than LCS for some missions (MIW, ASW). Have always assumed that this was a ship the Navy did not want but Congress forced it on them. So I guess it just tools around off Florida testing equipment and operational concepts.

This is why the US Navy is making a huge mistake on the LCS that is going to get someone killed down the road. They should stop the program, cancel the LCS crap. Decom all the reaming LCS and sell the to the Philippines or Taiwan. I would at the same time look into either buying into the US Coast Guard’s National Security cutter and modify them as a Patrol Frigate or go right to Europe in either Spain, France or Germany and buy a Real Multipurpose frigate such as the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates, FREMM Frigate, Álvaro de Bazán class Frigate, De Zeven Provinciën class frigates, Absalons class frigate, The Iver Huitfeldt class frigate or even the F125 class frigate.

If the US Navy is still into the LCS pipe dream, then the could have gone with the Germany Navy’s Braunschweig class corvette or the Spanish Navy’s Buque de Acción Marítima.

Since it looks like we are stuck with LCS what can we do to give it a modicum of capability? (2) Fixed torpedo tubes amidships as part of the torp mag would be better than nothing. CEAFAR radar from Australia and a small conformal sonar suite, replace the Mk 110 w/ 76mm Oto Melara/ Vulcano ammo. On LCS#2 you have room for (4) Mk57 VLS modules on either sides of the flightdeck since we have decided not to build any more DDG 1000’s.
Any ideas?

add alot of Heavy launchers, etc ??? well, that aluminum LCS-2 will have to be greately strengthened first. Add much weight, and slow it down, and perhaps defeat its nice handling in heavy seas. You have an easy but Wrong solution.…..

It’s all moot. If obama continues with his plans, our navy, currently the envy of all our enemies and allies in both equipment and levels of competency, will be reduced to a few gunboats like Thomas Jefferson proposed, suitable for little more than defending Chesapeak Bay.

My intent was to seek solutions or alternatives for this seaframe. Example on LCS 2 the module location behind the 57mm could fit (1) Tactical MK 41 Module (8 cell).


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