Report: Navy considers cutting LCS fleet in half

Report: Navy considers cutting LCS fleet in half

It appears the U.S. Navy is preparing to buy only one of the two variants of the Littoral Combat Ship after 2015, according to a Defense News report.

Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, the head of Naval Surface Forces, issued a classified report at the end of 2012 called “Vision for the 2025 Surface Fleet” in which he recommended a “re-evaluation of the next flights of LCSs — beyond the 24 ships now delivered, under construction, on order or with contract options,” wrote Chris Cavas of Defense News.

The Navy had planned to build 52 LCS ships. If the services chooses to cut that order in half, the service will likely purchase only one of the LCS variants — either the Freedom-class or Independence-class designs, according to the senior Navy officials that Defense News cited.

LCS is a program that has often been targeted by critics for its delays and cost over runs. Navy officials have been on the defensive since J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, wrote in a January report that the LCS “is not expected to be survivable” in combat.

Many questioned the Navy’s decision to develop two variants of a class of ships that features two hull designs. The Independence class features an aluminum trimaran hull while the Freedom class utilizes a monohull.

Sequestration and the continuing resolution has pressured the services to consider how they will make ends meet with less planned defense spending. Service leaders have started to put together plans should the worst case scenario of sequestration hit and the Pentagon is forced to shrink planned defense spending by $500 billion over the next decade.

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The LCS should be cut in half at the scrapyard where they belong.

How about no? There are plenty of uses the ships already built or in construction can be used for.

Might as well cut production and start building a real frigate instead, with a decent armament. The LCS can be used in a supporting role.

That whole piece was good to read. There is at least a lot of the right questions being asked, even if they are behind closed doors. The whole analysis was apparently classified, but still good to read. Take away was that the LCS will be ended probably after this initial batch of 24 and that it will be primarily used for the MCM role. Some talk about expanding use of the MLP/AFSB vessels. Lots of good stuff discussed.

Another good piece of aviation week about the USN being stuck with the F35C for the good of the program as opposed to what would be good for the navy.

Bottom line is the right questions are finally being posed.

The Navy still wants something like the A-12 was supposed to be. But in this budgetary environment the F-35C is the best they’re going to get.

This is ridiculous. The Navy has been the only service making smart decisions regarding sequestration. (by that I mean they are the only one making cuts in the right places: against super tech weapons that don’t work, i.e. the LCS and F-35C) It is amazing how a shiny toy and lots of emotions can waste billions of dollars. On top of that the Marines have actually increased their spending for the F-35B and the Air Force… don’t even get me started on them.

No, the F-35C is the worst that they are going to get. The Super Hornet/Growler is the best and they need to drop the F-35C so they can get more of them.

…“Take away was that the LCS will be ended probably after this initial batch of 24 and that it will be primarily used for the MCM role…”

awfully damn expensive Osprey class replacement, ain’t it?

I remember years ago the various design studies of Flight-improved Perry class considerations.
Granted, Australia spent a fortune on upgrading theirs to the newer Adelaide configuration,
but we could’ve gone a Flight-improvement cycle on the Perrys (akin to how we improved the Burkes from initial builds) and readily come up with something that does everything they expected out of the LCS other than the limited-endurance high-sprint speeds.

Methinks that NG Patrol Frigate would be our best option for the here-and-now or foreseeable future, albeit with the last 5 years of technology curve rolled into it.
There are ample sufficient weapons and sensors out there that are suitably mature for the ship.

Will probably never happen = key word “CONSIDERING”!

Does “CLASSIFIED” not mean anything anymore? Does anyone ever get punished for leaking these reports?

I’m not in favor of building targets. 50% of a type that can’t defend itself is better than 100%. Now let’s think out of the box, 0% would be better still.

Let’s build more submarines — they are some of our most effective warships and would help control the sees and defeat the A2/AD threat.

Funny how all the right questions are finally asked once a ship or an aircraft is just about to go into production, but never before that. It is almost as if these defense contractors are more than happy to design new vessels, but don’t have any interest in producing them. A thinking person might even pick up on that trend.

Typical fast mover Navy centric comment.

Contractors build what they are asked to build by the services. The Navy created the requirements and decided that this is the ship they wanted to buy. There is blame to go around for performance on the contract but not what the concept was or the requirements were.

Yes, contractors are more than happy to get paid for building dumb things that the services decide that they need. Of course that is also true in the civilian market place too.

The Navy had this redonkulous set of Powerpoint textbytes that didn’t translate into an actual ship.

Build lots of prototypes until you have a handle on what you want, *then* go into production. And if you need something today, you buy it; from a foreigner if necessary, even if just to learn how to make something. Then build your own.

Light SSK’s that could launch USV’s and do minesweeping might do part of the LCS minesweeping mission. And if they figure out how to launch UAVs from torpedo canisters, there’s that too.

LCS is going to be a nice captain’s yacht, glorified whaleboat or Pinnace.

Build some more Cyclones or Cyclone replacements and pair them with the LCS?

Right, that’s why both suppliers’ LCS ships look exactly the same. After all, they were both designed to the same requirements. Way to keep your finger on the pulse of government contracting.

They both look the same? Holy Crap that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on here.
One is a conventional Single Hull ship while the other is a Trimaran. They just about couldn’t look more different.

LCS is a program that has often been targeted by critics for its delays and cost over runs.
Who wrote this article? The critics have also *scorched* the LCS for its lack of “littoral-ness” given the history of littoral warfare: i.e. nasty — what those battles didn’t have in size they more than made up for in intensity. None of the LCS sea-frames are shock-resistant (they are only built to the level-1 standard — and therefore can’t sustain a shock that a fleet oiler can withstand). The LCS lacks the capability/armament for long-range strike — nary even a box o’ harpoons, and the “surface warfare package” is only suitable for non-governmentally-sponsored foes (i.e. every other navy that has a relatively modern ship of this size can clean the clock of an LCS with ease). And that doesn’t count the lack of armor, or having sufficient crew size for damage control.

It might be fast — and it might have to be — to give wide berth to any serious or determined foe.

The US taxpayers got shafted on this one — the British designed a ship with mission packages, much heavier armament, to military specifications, for a lot less money (maybe 2/3’s the cost).

Go Navy, Beat Army. ;)

>There are plenty of uses the ships already built or in construction can be used for.

Yea name one ?

The irony is that they will need more Super Hornets to escort the F-35s anyways because the F-35 isn’t survivable

If you scrap the marines half the dumb procurement decisions go away with them. The contractors use them as the customer of last resort — if the idea is so bad nobody else wants it you know the marines will be keen.

If you want minesweepers you build minesweepers not ferries.

Indeed they see it as a yacht for sailing around the pacific. To quote one admiral — we don’t need weapons or survivability to do port calls in SE Asia.

The rational of the LCS was to defeat Iranian speedboats. When you look at the LCS you can only come to the conclusion that the Iranians have already scored a significant victory over the US navy.

Personally not bad news less little LCS crap more on DDG-1000s, we need more Blue Water navy not ships meant to fight in the Gulf five time over crap.

And we wonder why we have a sequester?

I agree it would be an expensive mine hunter, although that won’t be all it can do of course.

There was also mention of not doing the flight III Burkes, keeping them as is, new concepts for an ABM ship, some sort of cruiser replacement, a scaled down vessel using the San Antonio hull, a lot that was talked about and it wasn’t anyone particular idea l liked it was the acknowledgement of the way things are headed now is not acceptable.

The budgetary environment is why they don’t want the F35, the cost overruns are driving them crazy and the specs slipping and IOC dates being shoved back, sustainment costs, etc. Of course the budgetary environment is exactly why they are being made to accept it, because while it sucks for the navy it is better overall for the US. We sunk too many eggs into the F35 basket and involved too many nations so now we are stuck with this gilded goose of an aircraft.

The navy isn’t living the fantasy the USAF is with the whole day 1 stealth and enemy sir space, they are wanting to buy for the way we know we will fight, which means stand off munitions disassemble the fixed IADS sites and by the time manned tacair flies in there simply isn’t that much threat left. That’s how we play.

It’s amazing how cutting the money finally brings design and requirements clarity! That was the problem. Too much money chasing too few good ideas. (They never considered just builder newer versions of the already good stuff they had.) They wanted a frigate replacement and got a gooney bird. Not to mention the trimiran is a logistics nightmare. Plus, where are the fast tankers that are supposed to fuel both these gas guzzlers?

Cancel the Singapore deployment. They now have their own real frigates to protect themselves, and all the money from those factories and electronics manufacturers which were formerly in the US.

That was the first thing that popped out to me.

Both ships are compromises in one category or another and the Navy couldn’t make up its mind so it bought both. This article makes the official case for having both:

well, half common sense is a good start…full common sense dictates that all of them are scapped

Sometimes leaks are intentional, for political purposes. Hard to see that being the case here, though.

What’s funnier is that the Navy supposedly tried to get out of the F-35 program, but failed and ended up getting stuck with buying the jet in order to counter cost increases in the others. The CNO practically said that we are buying them so the other models don’t increase in cost. The USN really just wants Super Hornets: http://​www​.informationdissemination​.net/​2​0​1​3​/​0​3/n

Everyone else screws up and the Navy has to pay for it. Way to take one for the team, Navy.

On defencenews there was more to read about the LCS, so the Navy thinks also about to develop a real Surface Warship like a Frigate instead of more LCS.

“””Separate from the vision statement, the Navy has been strongly considering a downselect to a single LCS combat system in 2015, doing away with one of the program’s most glaring inefficiencies. Consideration of a downselect to a single design also has been underway.”””


“””The new ship, sources said, could have a 16-cell vertical launch system able to launch surface-to-air or surface-to-surface missiles, an improved sensor suite and more installed power. Such a ship might be 500 to 1,000 tons larger than the roughly 3,000-ton Freedom and Independence ships.”””

With other Words the Navy has begun to realize was all other have already realize and that is the fact that the LCS has no combat capability. In my Eyes the LCS is the worst combat ship what was ever build because why it cost more them a high end blue See Frigate and has just the combat capability of a harbor Patrol Boat. Let’s hope what this shame will end as soon as possible and the Navy start a program to replace is obsolete Frigates with a modern and also cheap design like the Danish Absalom-class support ship how cost less them a LCS but can transport 55 combat vehicles including up to 7 MBTs and defend at the same time the Air Space with is 48 VLS (ESSM) and attack other surface combatants with is 16 × Harpoon Block II Missiles and also conduct at same time ASW Misisons with is 2X large Onboard Helicopters. It is a shame for the USA what the Danish have already a ship how is widely equipped with US Technique and Armament and the mentioned skills and this at a lower price them an unarmed US LCS !

Thanks for the links — I read them with great interest.

If there is a choice to be had between the Freedom and Independence class LCS’s — should the navy decide to move forward with one variant — it’ll likely be the Freedom class. The Independence class doesn’t have enough room forward to mount a larger gun — unless the navy decides that ship has sufficient advantages that make it worthy of a serious redesign.

Common sense is not so common..

Looked on wki,The danes have come uowith one great mutipurpose ship.

A platform for the deployment of helicopters and unmanned assets. That large hanger deck and all of that free space are good for something. It could do mine-countermeasures, counter-piracy, and other tasks as well. Despite all of the flaws, it’s still a fast ship with a lot of usable space. It can be put to some good use. The ship’s armament could theoretically be improved somewhat, judging from the export LCS proposals.

What do you mean “IF” they figure out how to launch UAV’s from torpedo canisters…???…
Give Portsmouth, NH Navy yard a year, and any boomer could be retrofitted with 100’s of MIRV’d UAV’s…
…or 1,000’s, with scaled-back range, and micro-miniaturization…and an Independence-class for retreival & re-use, well back from combat zone…you guys are ALL brains, and NO VISION…

“””The new ship, sources said, could have a 16-cell vertical launch system able to launch surface-to-air or surface-to-surface missiles, an improved sensor suite and more installed power. Such a ship might be 500 to 1,000 tons larger than the roughly 3,000-ton Freedom and Independence ships.”””

Don’t see why it would require such a large increase in weight to incorporate said systems.
We do not have to standardize on Standard Missile-sized Mk41 VLS cells.
Smaller VLS have proven effective by various ship types/nations around the world.
For tne hull size in question, why not a smallform VLS cell capable of singular RIM-120 (Surface AMRAAM) or ESSM, naval GMLRS, and if we desire limited ABM capability, Raytheon’s Stunner.
Should allow for a decent number of cells with a good mix of weapons (but only 16 cells is rather low).
The naval GMLRS gets particularly interesting when we look at it not from the defunct POLAR concept, but towards the future ideas to integrate an SDB bomb as a stand off (long range glide bomb with multiple terminal sensor options) payload section attached to an MLRS-compatible rocket booster.

Are you a troll?

“(but only 16 cells is rather low). ”

I think not because why for example you can put 4 ESSM in one Mk41 VLS cell with other Words you can carry in your 16 Mk41 VLS cell around 64 ESSM Missiles more them enough for Air Defense . A more realistic Combination is 8 Cells loaded with VL-ASROC against submarines and the other 8 Cells with ESSM Missiles (32 Missiles) against Air targets. I think what it should be also possible to add a quad starter for Harpoon Missiles against Surface Ships.

The Danes ship is just a good example for what you can get for the price of an unarmed LCS based on Western Technology and Western Cost another good example is the Netherland “De Zeven Provinciën”-class or the Norwegian “Fridtjof Nansen”-class. All this ships use US Technology and cost less or the same like a LCS but they are real Warships with high firepower and they are also all high sea reedy.

Missed the sarcasm?

The Coast Guard needs new ships. The LCS or little *rapy ship would be an excellent fit for them. Fast, shallow draft, rear exit (for small boats, etc.), reduced manning, helo carrying, and a some what robust gun system for their needs. Problem solved, except for the Navy’s lack of ships. Oh well welcome to 1913.

The US Navy really wants more destroyers, but they are costly. LCS was supposed to “flesh out” the fleet by giving them options for when a destroyer isn’t needed. Problem is the LCS concept wasn’t very good one to start with and in real world is almost unusable. The old Oliver Hazard Perry frigates proved that putting too much weight on a hull in upgrades has real world consequences. The Perry’s lost the longer range antiaircraft capability to get better antisubmarine capability. Small hulls are not good for open ocean deployment or good for adding capabilities. Yet, a new class of frigate is still better than the LCS concept.

That was not the rational. Do your homework before you speak.

A PC-1 style boat could do that mission.

LCS is more Fast Assault Transport (FAT) than LCS.

The selling point of drones is low risk and high speed while being politically correct. Dolphins and divers can do minesweeps, but those activists are so whiny.

Vision is what gets the military in trouble when vision exceeds design capability and available R&D funds.

OK Mr Portsmoth cheerleader.

Whats the past performance of your favorite yard in designing and producing major systems integration tasks on SSBNs? Please show any work they have done in the past 20 years where they have done even a major subset of what you are proposing.

What UAVs have they worked with?

The problem with the LCS is that the mission program has changed and these ships are no longer able to execute the new objectives as neither LCS is able to use the new radar systems the US Navy wants to employ because of the energy constraints or be capable of handling the weapon systems and guns.

The US Navy doesn’t need to cut the LCS program in half as much as they need to stop it altogether and begin anew with a new ship especially as the LCS is simply too expensive to continue.

We do not need to cut any part of the military what so ever,we do and the United States of America will be in trouble and cought with the clothes off.We need a very strong military Not a weak one.We need good ships,outstanding subs and a powerful Armed Forces. We also need to keep things quit from the news and airwaves.Anything do with the military needs to stay classified and not let out. Here is a factor that was siad back durning Nam:IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THE UNITED STAES OF AMERICA,THEN GET THE HELL OUT”. Bottom line.I am proud to be a full american,believe in our Constatution and Amendments and what our forefathers have set and done for us​.BE PROUD of AMERICA and NOT cut any military.

Should would be nice if people learned how to write. It would make it easier to follow your train of thought.

Give them to the Coast Guard since they are not built for wartime use. The Navy needs warships not just coastal patrol boats.


LCS is a modern day destroyer escort. Except its long, top heavy, and cant really escort anything except dignataries.…

LCS is a great ship. My neighbor works for lockeed-martin and has gone the maiden voyage to test out sonor which is Top Secret.

Although you are right on the LCS and F-35C, I have one word that kinda destroys your argument.…lasers. Not that I dont support their development and placement on ships, but a laser is pretty much the deffinition of a “super tech weapon” and its being developed almost exclusivley for the Navy.

Excellent idea. When you consider the extent that USCGC’s are in poor shape and the fact that Coasties are not tasked with anti-submarine or expected to take on multiple missle threats this would be a great fit. But it won’t happen. The governemnt would rather build more drones to be flown over the US rather than equip the 5 Armed Forces properly.

Cut it all back like they did prior to WWII.….….….….…and when there is need we can pay the same
It took a lot to be brought up to speed after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor
It all started with slash and burn under Clinton.….….….… is just a continuation of that

The worse part of the LCS program is that the cost of each ship jumped from ~$220M to ~$500M back in the 2007 timeframe under the leadership of the CAPT who was the program manager at the time. That CAPT then gets rewarded for doubling the cost per ship by being promoted to RDML. How messed up is that!?

From Admiral Cebrowski’s original vision, “The Economy B force, composed of a family of smaller, less expensive ships, would counter access denial threats in the littorals.” LCS does this pretty good, with tailored system modules to optimize its limited space to the known threat. The great failure is the cost. A single platform would go a long way toward making this a true Economy B force. I personally don’t like how slow they are; sacrificing speed for efficiency is what consumers should do, not combatants. We have made a low-manning mine countermeasures platform, and nothing more. I like the idea above; give them to the Coast Guard!

What do you have against the USCG?
We’re trying to stick them with National Security Cutters and not get their hog swill.

If the USN can’t afford the LCS, the USCG ain’ t gonna to either.

Actually it is currently only in a 747 and being developed for the Air Force. The Navy is looking at a rail gun system to replace the dual purpose 5 inch mounts on various ships. The rail gun research is already paying dividends; the CVX catapults will be electro-magnetic not steam.

Go Navy, Beat Air Force. ;)

good point David, the LCS will suck the Coasties budget dry in no time

secondly, the Coasties don’t need a pier queen, they need something that can actually spend
a lot of time underway without breaking

I didn’t know Clinton was in office before WWII…

Here’s what the Navy needs to do

Slow and fast mix. the slow will be a Frigate, a modified National Endurance Cutter but with Naval weapons and systems. 5 in gun, Harpoon, ESSM, RAM, 25mm mounts, good electronics suite, 2 helos, ASW tail, etc

The fast will be a new Pegasus hydrofoil

The two will work together as a team, the larger Frigate will have superior sensors for long rang detection, and the Pegasus will be the hit and run package, sent out by the Frigate for hit and run attacks. The Frigate will offer ASW and AAW protection for the Pegasus, while the fast mover will be used for stealth high speed surface attacks, decoy, and misdirection attacks

Let Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Thailand and anyone else who desires to participate in the “Pacific Pivot” with Uncle Sam purchase them cash on the barrel. The Asian economies are robust and they can afford these latest and greatest toys. It is time to give the American taxpayer a break!

I’ve worked on USS Independence (LCS-2) as a Contractor and, building a ship from the Keel to the mast with aluminum is definitely not a good idea. I understand the aluminum lessens the weight of the ship to help achieve it low draft and hi speed, but the ship would not survive in combat. The aluminum cannot withstand the heavy sea states that these ship have to endure to get to their mission area. The aluminum gets fatigued and sensitized, which cause more maintenance costs later. Additionally, these ships are designed by Austral, an Austrailian Ship Builder. Whatever happened to American built? What is NAVSEA thinking? Get rid of these ships and use them as a Hi-speed ferry for Marines & Army and their equipment.

Saw this comming..

Are you kidding me? We spend more on the military than the next 13 countries combined. And they are our friends! Do you ever consider that 2.2 Trillion of the current deficit is due to the Iraq war and was not even included in the military budget by dubya and his gang! Our military spending is out of control and when you add nuclear (not DOD) and DHS, our need to pay an exhorbitant amount is ludicrous. the 9–11 attackers won, on one sense: they ripped apart our financial health and left future citizens with badly funded health care systems, elder care systems, education funding, etc. Cut the military — deep!

The LCS Program is in bad shape. Cost overuns with 4 ships in the water which are not what the Navy ordered. The proper thing to do is the US Navy NEEDS to cut one of the classes. The Lockheed Martin class is the worst of the 2 of them… An avaition company has no business building a ship!!

I don’t dispute the *need* for an LCS — I dispute the need for these underarmed, nearly defenseless, slightly better than commercial construction sea-frame based, and wildly expensive ships of a size that other nations have managed to build, with far more capability, for far less — to full military specifications.

This would be a great idea — except that all of the potential buyers of the LCS (who were interested in the concept when it was first announced) have since walked away. Apparently, the execution of the concept wasn’t nearly as good as any of the potential buyers hoped.

Anyone who looks at modern ships built by other nations of the same size/class are getting far more bang for the buck — even with mission packages. Virtually all of the competitions similar-sized ships would clean the clock of an LCS long before the LCS could fire its longest range weapons — current or planned.

Well, Austral got the deal because of the outstanding success of HSV-1 — a fast, and versatile platform.

Should have keep the Spruance class destroyers in active service instead of sinking them.

How are they supposed to be utilized? Most ships are “not survivable in combat”. With missiles, like cruise, an Air/Craft Carrier can easily be taken out. Hate to say it.

Now if only we could do the same with the F-35

I’d say the F35s track record will lead it there.

Recent reports indicate that LCS-1, USS Freedom, while on its way to its first official deployment (via Guam), has broken down/lost power TWICE.

The military has a vital role and it consist of having the means to protect and defend this nation from attacks we have little time to prepare for in this day and age. The PRC and the Russkies are intent on building and rebuild their military might, they too are in danger of threat but not necessarily from the US but they want to protect their expanding interest and be a major influence economically, the military is the key.

If we continue our tradition of being prepared and creating the weapons and tactics needed for advantage, the idea of some alliance domination will be always a second thought and not allowed as the primary intent…

Give them to the Coast Guard? They’d be great platforms, but heck, the coast guard can’t even afford to RUN the damn things even if they were 100% free. The Coast Guard can’t even afford to run 40 year old P-3’s that the Navy was willing to cough up. Why does the CG run diesels still? $$ Why can’t a brand new CG cutter keep up with a carrier group? diesels. Gas turbines = too expensive.

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