Navy Still Expects to Build 52 Ship LCS Fleet

Navy Still Expects to Build 52 Ship LCS Fleet

Crystal City, Va. — The Navy’s acquisition executive said the service’s Littoral Combat Ship request for a 52 ship fleet is “solid” and on track despite recent media reports that the Pentagon has directed a reduction in fleet size to 32 ships.

Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley would not address specifics about the LCS program contained in reports on the issue, choosing to highlight the programs merits and not comment ahead of the anticipated 2015 budget drop expected next month.

“We won’t talk about the ‘15 budget process until the ’15 budget goes to the Hill. We have a valid requirement for 52 ships and the program is performing strongly in terms of cost. We’re conducting operational testing in accordance with the schedule,” Stackley told reporters June 16 at the Surface Warfare Association Annual Symposium, Crystal City, Va.

According to several press reports, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has instructed the Navy to reduce its planned buy of the new Littoral Combat Ship from 52 to 32 ships, substantially limiting the size and scope of the emerging multi-mission, shallow-water ship program.

A Defense News report mentions a Jan. 6 memo from Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox account announcing the decision, citing budget guidance from the White House on some large acquisition decisions.

Pentagon and Navy officials would not comment on the memo or the acquisition decision regarding LCS fleet size, citing budget deliberations as pre-decisional.

“We continue to work with OSD (office of the Secretary of Defense) on all our ship acquisitions,” a Navy official told Military​.com.

However, the LCS program has long been the center of some controversy and disagreement within the Navy as well as among analysts and lawmakers.  An internal Navy report released last year questioned the ship’s ability to perform its mission, and a number of lawmakers and analysts have raised questions, wondering if the platform is survivable enough, among other things.

The  $37 billion LCS program, in development since 2002, is a next-generation surface-ship aimed at delivering a fast, agile, near shore vessel equipped with technologically advanced “mission packages” engineered for surface warfare, anti-submarine and mine-countermeasure missions, among others.

Overall, the Navy plans to acquire as many as 52 LCS vessels. In total, this high ship number will comprise a large percentage of the Navy’s overall surface fleet.


The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom and Independence — designed and built by two industry teams, respectively led by Lockheed Martin and an Austal USA-led team. Contracts were awarded to Lockheed Martin and Austal USA on December 29, 2010, for the construction of up to 10 ships each.

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Looks like somebody didn’t get the memo.

Just as single one of the Little Crappy Ship is unforgivable, and they still want 52? Who is running the Navy anyway, apparently not anyone with any sense left.

“We won’t talk about the ‘15 budget process until the ’15 budget goes to the Hill. We have a valid requirement for 52 ships and the program is performing strongly in terms of cost.
I would agree that the navy has a valid requirement for 52 ships in this size class with a littoral mission. That said, LCS is most certainly not that ship. The many critics of LCS (and the navy own inspector generals office) all share the same concerns about the ability of LCS to fulfill its mission, or for that matter have a decent chance of surviving in a hostile environment. The LCS Cheerleading Squad have yet to address these concerns in any meaningful way (the published responses in that respect are truly lame).

The reductions to the mission profile is IMHO an open admission that these LCS designs are inadequate.

The program is and remains an utter FAILURE with respect to cost. At $400M per nearly civilian-grade sea-frame, these under armed and under protected vessels are criminally overpriced. If our allies (and other western nations) are able to build similar sized ships with stealthy designs, full military sea-frames, far more armament/protection, with mission packages for 1/3 less, then it isn’t hard to see why every other allied navy that was initially interested in LCS has since walked away.

Note that the $400M cost doesn’t include *any* mission package. Even with the “surface warfare” package installed, the LCS wouldn’t give a naval adversary the slightest pause, when even smaller ships (or the Skjold-class patrol boats) could clean the clock of LCS long before it was in range to use its woefully inadequate 57mm gun (which failed miserably in Canadian testing).

One dubious distinction the LCS shares with the F-35, is that both programs mission profiles have been cut back significantly, and neither is able to meet even the reduced profile. In both cases, the US taxpayer is paying gold-plated prices for tin-plated product, that fails to take into account any of the lessons of littoral warfare this nation paid for the hard way.

If our navy, Lockheed, and Austal USA can’t come up with a solid warship in this size class with mission packages for $400M, then the DoD should buy one of our allies existing designs, or otherwise license the construction thereof.

Contrary to popular believe, the military is still part of government, so stupidity, and the wasting of money should be expected.

Who the hell wants a $700 million dollar ship that does a half ass job, when we have the US Coast Guard’s National security cutter that dose a better JOB than the LCS. Maybe we should talk to the US Coast Guard on buying the National security cutter design and UPGRADE it to Patrol frigate standards.

He was a congressional staffer. They have weird dreams about buying everything and not having to pay for anything. Our children will oay them back by defaulting on the national debt, and wiping out all the congressional, military and civil service pensions.

And which World Class Navy are we worried about challenging our blue water fleet anytime in the near future? Yea.…

As an outside observer who’s never been in the armed forces…is this thing really the piece of crap people say it is? I have seen virtually NO comments saying any version of the LCS is mission capable, or even survivable in a hostile environment.

Let’s be realistic for a moment, without a significant increase in money and time there is no suitable alternative to the LCS. I find that folks with little understanding of the acquisition process feel it’s simple to just “pick” a different ship to build. It’s not. It takes years to get the design ready, and then years to solicit it for construction. The navy can’t afford to wait that long. The Avenger’s and Perry’s will all be gone by then and with them their unique warfare capabilities.

Skjold Class is a patrol boat. Not a blue water ship with a tenth of the tonnage. Apples and Oranges. By that logic we should follow Iran’s path and buy nothing but bogg hammers.

The mission profile has not been cut back on the LCS. It’s missions are, and continue to be MCM, ASW, SUW. The Seaframe can still perform all three. If you have issues with the Mission Packages dont’ blame Lockheed or Austal. It seems you didn’t realize this, but neither has anything to do with the design or construction of MPs.

And where are you pulling your $400 pricetag from? Are you some sort of ship construction cost analyst? If so, perhaps you could enlighten us all on the cost model for a modular ship should be, because last I heard one doesn’t exist. This is after all, the Navy’s first attempt at modularity.

The NSC is not a warship and has it’s own problems (heavy corrosion, structural cracking, and wayyy too drafty for the littorals). Not to mention the simple fact that it couldn’t perform any of the missions an LCS can.

Define hostile environment. Would it survive a firefight with a Blue naval force? No, but it’s not designed to. One needs to understand that the LCS is in fact two completely separate things. It’s a seaframe (one type built by Lockheed Martin and another built by Austal), and then there’s the Mission Package which it introduced as a separate system, by separate program, and a multitude of contractors contributing. The survavability falls on the seaframe and the mission capabilities fall on the MP.

The SUW MP was deployed on Freedom successfully. The caveat to that is the missile system is still a few years out. That’s not a bad thing. These mission packages increase in capability every year and it’s preplanned. The seaframe is designed to accept these improvements without change. THAT is the beauty of the design. The fact that I can introduce a new missile without having to layup the ship or modify it in a shipyard.

The MCM MP systems have been tested successfully on the Independence Variants and will be introduced in the next few months I“m sure. The driver here is the decommissioning of the Avenger Class ships that currently carry the Navy’s mine countermeasures capabilities.

The ASW MP is the furthest out and the Navy is focusing heavily on those systems to offset the decommissioning of the Perry Frigates.

The bottom line here is that the LCS is a new (believe it or not) cheaper approach to ship construction. By decoupling the combat system from the ship (Seaframe from MP), you keep the ship from getting early retirement because the adversary develops a means of neutralizing your system. $400 mil is nothing when compared to the life cycle cost of a ship or even worse having to restart a new design because they didn’t meet their 30 yr life expectancy.

There are none. Folks don’t understand that not every warship needs to be able to withstand an assault from a Destroyer or larger. The Avenger Class, one of the ships that the LCS is supposed to replace, has two machine guns. That’s it!!! People just want more Destroyers and Frigates because they feel that keeps the oceans secure. Not the case at all. A mine field will stop ANY navy dead in it’s tracks.

Little Crappy Ship? Yours or someone else’s? Funny

I think your an idiot cause we can build a Multi Role frigate based on the NSC design. Have done it before with the Spruance/Kidd class DDG that became the Ticonderoga class Cruiser. We can do the same with the NSC and use the NSC as a baseline to build a Frigate from.

In day and age we must not lag behind!!Fact is we need more..wel get them.. Dont want to be next Rome.!!

Way to keep it civil Nicky.

Anyways, what does modifying a warship (Spruance) of one class to make it a larger class (Ticonderoga) have anything to do with what you propose? The NSC is not built to warship standards. The LCS handles MCM, ASW, and SUW missions. At best the NSC could handle SUW. It can’t handle mission modules (the only way we can bring aboard an MCM capability), it has wayyyy to much draft for the littorals and undeveloped ports required, and has no bollard pull capability (no ASW for that ship), and doesn’t have the speed (again no ASW escort). All you would get is a hull form, and the usefulness of an NSC “rough seas” hull form in the littorals is nonexistent.

You don’t design a multirole frigate to replace an MCM ship. Not to mention it’s been well documented that the multirole frigate is no longer a feasible approach from a cost perspective. It’s too big for too little capability and a lack of flexibility. The cost of construction is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of refit when you need to change/update your combat system. It’s exactly what’s rendered the FFG’s useless, and what made the Navy retire the Spruances 15yrs early!!! Why build a ship that you know you can’t afford to upgrade? The LCS can continue to receive it’s upgrades at a fraction of the cost incurred by other ship classes. Without ever having to enter a shipyard!!! You want larger caliber guns? Done. You want to counter a new EW threat? Develop the MP and pop in on the LCS. Done. The navy can’t afford to layup ships for a year or more every time an adversary generates a new threat.

The NSC is not a platform suitable for use as a frigate. Frigates are warships. It remains to be seen if the NSC is a platform suitable for use as a cutter, much less a warship. Using Photoshop to paint a warship costume onto a cutter built to commercial standards and giving it a warship nametag in the PowerPoint slides doesn’t make it a warship any more than you can make a rabbit stew out of Bugs Bunny. The PowerPoint engineering cartoons are not real.

The Navy’s ship building plan has indicated that they do not want to buy any more FFGs in the next 30 years, but if they change course on that and decide to buy some FFGs, then they should buy some real FFG warships, and not something merely dressed up in an FFG costume.

Yeah another clueless clown in the spend spend spend w/o consequences Pentagon. time for a dose of reality pal.

An excellent response Tomcat. I hope that you are correct. I believe that there is an F-35’itus affecting all new military development — the plane, and the concept of modularity, has suffered as a result of the seeming “failure” of the F-35.

Maybe those in the military who are desperately attempting to pull the F-35 out of the trash can will succeed in turning it into the functioning fighter/bomber that we so desperately need. If/when that happens, perhaps the “posting posse” (myself included) will have some faith restored in the USA and its ability to produce capable, modern fighting systems.


Another clueless LCS fanboy.

It’s simple you idiot, you take the baseline design of the NSC as a basis to build your Multi role Frigate from. Upgraded it to Naval Frigate standards. Install common frigate weapons and systems, minus the Aegis. You make an NSC frigate that has room for future growth and has the capacity to carry a platoon of Marines. Cause one thing the NSC has that the LCS doesn’t have is SEA LEGS and can sail in higher SEA STATES. The NSC frigate can be built on the CHEAP and using off the shelf ready to go weapons and systems. All the NSC frigate has to do, is all the low end missions such as Escort Amphibious ready group, Naval Fleet Aux ships, Merchant Marine ships. Anti Piracy, limited AAW, ASW, ASUW & Naval Gun fire support for the Marines and Seals Ashore.

Thank goodness folks like you aren’t decision makers. You come off as a LEGO engineer. “install common weapons” (that’s the modular part of LCS fool), Upgrade it to Naval standards (free of charge and simple to boot!, this isn’t a videogame you don’t just hit the “upgrade” button), “make an NSC frigate with room for future growth” (check out my blank check and limitless manpower for sustainment), “the NSC can handle higher sea states and has legs” (Do I need to define “littoral” for you?).

Go back to your lazyboy. You’re clearly an armchair admiral with either antiquated or nonexistent experience in ship design. Leave the warship design discussion to those that know what they’re talking about.

Thanks for the positive words. And yes I agree the concept has been unfairly tarnished I’m afraid. I do however think that the growing budget restraints faced by DoD will make it the only feasible option. So regardless of it’s image the coming of modularity is inevitable. Or so I hope.

Sorry, Tomcat. We did leave it up to the warship designers and the can’t-even-fight-off-the-pirates LCS is what we got! If we wanted a small transport ship with no legs, we should have just stuck with an off-the-street ferry, like that junky JHSV.

What we need a real frigate. For the money, just pick one of the European designs and build it in a U.S. shipyard. Hopefully, we get it at only 150% of the European cost.

That’s why I’m all for going to Europe to buy the design rights for Frigates such as the Sachsen class Frigate, FREMM Frigate, Type 125 Baden-Württemberg class of frigates,Blohm + Voss MEKO Class ® A-200,Blohm + Voss MEKO Class ® 600 or the Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

People such as Tomcat are nothing but LCS Fanboys who think the LCS is shit when in REALITY it can’t even do JACK. Even the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter performs better than the LCS. Has even been proven to survive the roughest seas including sailing in the Bearing SEA. I Highly doubt the LCS can survive a cruise in the Bearing Sea.

Who hell would ever mine the Bearing Sea? What bogghammer would venture into the North Atlantic? Who are you fighting up there? The Soviets?! MEKO’s are great ships no doubt, but let’s get one thing straight. That’s a US Navy effort that Blohm + Voss took over. That same effort is what led to the LCS concept. You would NEVER use a frigate for MCM duties. That’s ludicrous. Too much tonnage, manpower, and concentration of capability.

Where do you get off calling it a transport ship? It’s a modular ship. That means when I bring a mission package on it functions as part of the ship as if it were there all along.

Why would you use a Frigate to do the work of a smaller ship? You’re talking about 6,000 tons for 800 Million (using the FREMM as an example here) vs 3,000 tons and 400 million (I’m no mathematician, but I think that works out in favor of the LCS). Don’t forget, these are being built to takeover the duties of Avenger Class MCMs, a portion of FFG work, and a portion DDG work (that the DDGs only inherited out of necessity).

i’m pretty sure this has to do with the new Chinese missile

Indeed, the Skjold is a patrol boat, that would clean the LCS’s clock before she even got within range to use it’s 57mm pop-gun (the Skjold, OTOH, uses a 75mm gun). I put that comparison there on purpose to make what should have been an obvious point.

While you are correct that the “mission packages” aren’t designed by either corporate welfare program recipients, the hugely overpriced sea-frames are. The anti-mine and anti-sub mission packages have been having their problems, but I think they’ll get those problems (eventually) worked out. The Surface Warfare package might be ok if you’re fighting off a handful of pirates driving Boston Whalers, but it will be useless against a naval adversary.

The IG’s report (still available, and the GAO report as well), amongst others, clearly indicate that the mission profiles have been cut back, but they are still going to use the same mission packages that were originally planned. Instead of being able to operate independently, now the LCS Cheering Squad says they’ll only be operating in groups of three, and more likely only under the protection of a level-3 design warship (i.e. a Burke, or better).

Furthermore, there was what LCS was supposed to be, which had a number of our allies (Israel and Saudi Arabia amongst them) interested in purchasing their own variants. But based on what it turned into, combined with the staggering cost, caused even Israel (for who these would’ve been gifts from the US taxpayers) to turn them down, saying it was cheaper to do it on their own. Every other nation came to the same conclusion. And all of their navies understand the fact that a new design is going to have its issues.

The $400M price tag has been published so many times even on this site by those who *are* ships construction costs analysts that I don’t have to be one to point it out.

If you want enlightenment, get yourself a swami — because that isn’t my pay grade. But other allied nations (including the British) are also building modular designs. I’m not complaining about the modular design — I’m complaining about a ship that has “Combat” as its middle name — but cannot protect itself or its crew in a hostile environment. When the guys running the program say that the objective of LCS is for it to take a hit, and either leave the area or not sink before the crew abandons ship isn’t what I call inspiring.

Our sailors deserve better.

The LCS sea frame is only built to the navy’s level-1 standard (slightly better than a civilian grade). Contrast that to a common fleet oiler, that is built to the navy’s level 2 standard — and isn’t being sold as a combatant of any kind.

Decoupling some of the weapons systems from the sea-frame isn’t the problem. The weak sea-frame IS the problem.

The comparison is completely unfair. Iran’s go fast boats carry the NASR-1 which has a range in excess of 30 miles. Does that render Burke’s useless? No of course not. Could they theoretically clean the clock of a 51? Sure, but that’s why you keep them at a distance with your helo and UAV (the LCS SUW MP). Or you can take the ridiculous current approach and hit them with a million dollar missile.

The seaframes are NOT over priced. The current cost model for costing out a ship is tonnage. That doesn’t work with modularity for two reasons. 1) Modularity adds weight. 2) Costing a ship by weight ignores well documented (and far more important) life cycle costs. I made the example earlier but FREMM Frigate is twice the size of an LCS and twice the cost. That’s spot on! You can’t purchase an LCS type modular ship for less.

The profiles have always been with LCS’s working in groups. Referenced as Surface Action Groups (SAGS) within the program’s earlier days (Sometimes of 3 or sometimes of 6). That’s ideal. It’s called a force multiplier. No naval ship EVER travels alone. That’s suicide. Ships are designed for specific tasks and therefore must augmented by other ships with other capabilities. That’s why you always have escorts (some below the sea, but they’re still there).

FMS should not drive a design ever. We’re not designing these ships for the need of other navies. We’re designing them for our needs. AUSTAL and Lockheed have each pitched variants to foreign countries that answer a lot of the concerns people seem to have (armed to the teeth, longer range, upgraded radar, and hull mounted sonar).

Show me a $400 million warship.

That’s completely false. No other nation has built this kind of modularity on a ship this big. The closest thing is StanFlex or the Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel at a tenth the tonnage. You’re confusing modular construction with modular mission packages. The US Navy implements modular construction on all warships. If anything, the US has led the way with the LCS concept. As often is the case, other nations will take the hardwork and lessons learned from the US Navy and apply it to their own designs. Remember, both shipyards are owned by foreign companies (Fincantieri in Italy and Austal in Australia).

As for the take a hit and swim home approach. The LCS isn’t the first to do this. It’s literally the definition of a “radar picket”. No one complains about those though. AntiShip Missiles have outpaced ship defense systems. That’s why the sun is setting on the larger tonnage vessels. It’s too much risk to have that kind of a target that can be taken out by a million dollar missile on a 500k dollar boat. Additionally, do you think an Avenger Class MCM ship could take a hit and keep clearing a minefield? Of course not.

Some people are just never satisfied.

hey Tomcat,
I’ve got some swamp land to sell ya, don’t worry it’s very modular…I’ll sell you the basic land for $400 million, but the trees, grass and bushes are extra, and so too are the mosquitoes, I’ll throw in the air for free… ;-P

wake up call, the MCM never pretended to be a warship like the LCS does

the LCS mafia is saying the LCS can do everything, clear mines (with vapor ware module), defeat other Naval ships with it’s 30mm ASuW module (can breaks and can hit anything), defeat submarines (by ramming into them), heck it can even take out he Death Star with it’s Anti Death Star Warfare module… ;-P

hey bpuharis, don’t listen to Tomcat, he’s a paid talking head of the LCS mafia
you absolutely right, the LCS is a piece of crap and no you don’t have to be an “expert” like Tomcat to determine that fact

Close on the analogy. Except I prefer to buy your swamp bare and bring my own trees, bushes, and water. I like to redecorate frequently.

It has the same ASW capability as any frigate in the world… A helo and sonar! All in half the tonnage. There is no anti swarm SUW capability in the Navy so how can you knock its SUW comliment? The same 30mm gun that’s entrusted to protect the LPDs from swarms. It’ll be directly replacing the Avengers and does a better job of it. You’re knocking the shortcomings of the LCS combat suite while trying to pin the blame on the ship. It’s The MP not the seaframe that performs all those duties. The seaframe can support all of those MPs just fine. The maturity of those systems is a different story.

My lack of satisfaction puts me in really good company, including the navy itself.

Because outside its cheerleading squad, there hasn’t been even ONE favorable independent review of LCS: Not from the navy, not from the GAO, not anyone — even when you take into account its a new class of ship that is inclined to have problems.

On a side note, even the radar pickets of old were better armed than the LCS is today, even with its surface warfare mission package.

The modular concept of the Little Chicken Ship isn’t the problem, it’s the implementation. We’re told it can be easily, quickly, cheaply upgraded, but many years after issues are identified we not only don’t have fixes but are buying two different systems that can’t do the intended job. The popgun and stabilization are obvious fixes that should have been on LCS-4 and later. What did Freedom do on deployment? Did she tail a Chinese carrier? Scare away any pirates in the Malacca Straits? Provide humanitarian assistance in the Phillipines? Kill it now, since it won’t work for years (today’s estimate…) we can design build and deploy a working solution faster.

What are the “unique warfare capabilities” of the Perry’s?

Wonder why none of my comments show up.….or my replies?

Being in the company of the clueless doesn’t make you any more correct. The GAO and others don’t understand how to leverage the LCS as it’s an unconventional ship. Designed for low intensity conflicts against threats that other classes can’t handle.

A lot of good all that armament did for the 20 crew who lost their lives aboard HMS Sheffield as she sunk from a single Exocet missile.

Nicky, I’ve been reading what you post and I don’t think you’re anything more than a name dropper posing as some kind of naval techie. Your constant reference tothe NSC is a good example.

I’m not anti-LCS but I fear we’re going to end up with a unit that does the job of many ships half as well.

Reading your post I have to wonder just what “frigate” you think is equipped with Aegis? It’s statements like that that make me doubt you do a lot of reading of naval subjects and only half as much comprehension.

Not to mention draft.…..

Who the fuck would want to sail on a ship with it’s only defense is to run away. Would you want to allow your kids to sail on the LCS. I would rather have my kids posted on a Burke than an LCS. You must be one of LCS hacks that is paid for by the LCS mafia

The NSC in my opinion is a stop gap between the Burke and LCS. At least with the NSC, it has the sea legs to keep up with an Ampibious Ready group. The LCS is one MASSIVE GAS HOG.

LCS is a JOKE. LCS is nothing more than a glorified US Coast guard Medium endurance cutter painted Haze grey.

Its employed as point SUW defense against small craft. Hence the LCS SUW MP receiving the 30mm guns. The Perrys have the Typhoon System which isn’t nearly as capable.

The NCS is the only option cause we all know we can’t buy a foreign ship. So the NSC is the only option that the US Navy has and can kill the LCS money and put it towards upgrading the NSC into a Patrol frigate.

The Spruance ships were designed to be upgraded, this was one reason they were so big; the Iranians ordered six of the to the USN DDG design, four of them became the Kidd class when Iran defaulted on the deal. The U.S.Navy never built the first DDG version because they had an andvanced DDG in the works.…DDG-47 that, for political reasons, was reclassed as a CG right after we started fabrication. Do you have any idea how long it would have taken to upgrade a DD-963 to it’s DDG (Iranian) mod? I also think you’re not well enough informed to be calling anyone else an idiot.

“Many years after the issues were identified” on a different contract!!! 1–4 are little more than prototypes that were intended to help the Navy get to a downselect. Different Primes on 4 and 6. Why would GD change LCS 4 if they know they aren’t building LCS 6? I don’t know what your point about Freedom is, but it’s deployment did just what a first of class’ deployment should do. It identified areas that require addressing (the diesel generators). Now Lockheed can work on fixing the design for the later ships and backfit to the ones with their diesels already set. This is how ship classes are made.

I hear the air force is having GREAT success with their new LCA (little crappy airplane) program, it’s all based upon building “air frames” instead of complete fighter aircraft.

Each “air frame” will only cost $400 million but it will be made of tin foil but have a very large but thirsty engine that breaks down all of the time, it’s designed to fight in the littoral air and since they expect no real opposition they can simply run away with it’s big engine if they see bad guys..

But the really cool this is that it’s modular, and some time in the next twenty years they will have a “pilot module”, an “air to air missile module” and a “bomb dropping module”. but I hear that they’ve had great success with their “dog-fight module” and it’s external bb gun.

none of the above, the USS Freedom did an amazing job of painting a radar picture, then they made it back to San Diego without sinking!

each member of the crew will receive a Navy cross and be promoted for their outstanding contribution to the relief efforts. The USS Freedom will get it’s first Battle E award to paint on it’s bridge wing!

What is the “Typhoon System”?? You’re not referring to the “Harpoon” anti-ship missile are you?

I’d sure hate to be ship’s company on an LCS that took an Exocet.……

Guess they heard me.…..

No. It’s also known as the Mk38 Mod 2 Naval Gun System. It’s a 25mm remote controlled gun on the Perry’s used for countering swarms.

As an aside, has anyone seen the Ambassador MK-III missile patrol craft that Halter Marine is building for Egypt? The carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles, RAM SAM’s, a 76mm gun and the Phalanx CWIS. 305′ length and 700 ton displacement. Top speed in excess of 40 knots.

BTW, which shipyard does Fincantieri own??

I have. It’s a mean little boat. There’s been a lot of great designs in that size around the world. It’s nice to see that kind of a design coming from a US shipyard.

Fincantieri owns Marinette Marine up in WI where the Freedom Variant is constructed. They claim that there’s a firewall between the US and Italian portions, but I’ve always been suspicious of just how well that works.

Not that one can put a price on a life, but I wonder if the fact that it’s significantly less manning for a ship that size than it’s actually a safer ship to serve on. From a density perspective.

As an aside, has anyone seen the Ambassador MK-III missile patrol craft that Halter Marine is building for Egypt? The carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles, RAM SAM’s, a 76mm gun and the Phalanx CWIS. 305′ length and 700 ton displacement. Top speed in excess of 40 knots.

Well, if you’ll recall, one of our FFG-7’s took an Exocet and survived to a ripe old age.

Yes, I realized it just as soon as I posted it; totally forgot the Israeli “weapon Station”; it’s a stopgap until the FFG-7’s leave the fleet.….in reality they shouldn’t be called FFG’s any longer.

First time I’ve ever heard of finalizing a design by deploying the ship and letting sailors tell you what your problems are.

Correct they were a stopgap.

“low intensity conflicts” ???

ok I get it Tomcat, when the LCS sails in HARMS WAY they will hoist the “low intensity only please” flag and hope that the enemy see it

Any and all Naval WARSHIPS (as the LCS claims to be) will be tasked during war, the LCS cannot pick and chose “low intensity conflicts” on their own

Just image the CO of the USS Freedom pushing back against orders from the Admiral “But sir, we’re only designed for low intensity conflicts, we should be in San Diego.” Just image what the Admiral would say in return

I’d rather be on a WWII PT boat than the LCS, at least it had some weapons and could fight back…

Yes, and the design is effectively useless for the USN. It cannot self deploy from the States. Unless you wish to build freighters to haul said micro ships to the theater. Remember in a real war your forward deployed units all got slaughtered as the political ponderous beast that is the government and pentagon gets the logistics pipeline in gear. I honestly have to wonder if a glorified PT/fishing boat is not what is truly needed.

Especially for mine work. Oh wait we had them, but since there essentially is no other navy and there has been no naval warfare to speak of, everyone has forgotten that mines and subs are the #1 and #2 ship types one needs for anti shipping requirements. Especially mines. Means the true #1 mission for LCS is mine clearing. Can it do it? Yes. But it is a steel hull making mine clearing problematical. Of course modern mines have their own passive sonar, so a non metallic magnetic hull is hardly effective defense against a modern mine field. Of course there are a lot of OLD mines around. So, all LCS requires are the sensors(UAV’s) and munitions to take out the mines. Effectively what I believe the brass really want the LCS for is for the ability for a mine hunter to be able to self deploy(well with an additional fuel ship…) Currently the micro mine hunting ships cannot truly deploy across a blue water ocean.

All of the other “modules” in LCS parlance just come along for the ride in lieu of the self deploy able mine hunting req. Ties directly into its civilian grade systems. If you KNOW you are hunting mines, all those redundant, expensive systems are not going to do you any good. Your defense is the rest of the navy.

Any real navy needs a LOT of Little Crappy Ships. It is called $$$. Now the cost of the LCS for a self deployable mine hunter is highly questionable. Take out that self deplyable req and the $$$ drops drastically for a mine hunter.

The Fleet built to sink, thankfully it will be in shallow water. Aluminum ships burn like Roman Candles, look at the Falklands War record. That is why they switched to all steel ships afterwards.

Hey Ship —

You’re right, my friend! However, the USS Stark was built to the navy’s level 2 standard — while the LCS is only built to the level 1 standard (slightly better than commercial).

Seriously? When I see that you consider the US Navy itself clueless/unqualified to evaluate the suitability of one of its ships, I have to admit: you got me there! :-D

If the service branch responsible for overseeing the construction of our warships is too clueless or incompetent to oversee, review, and inspect the very warships they are responsible for (let alone the strategy for using them), this nation is S C R E W E D.

Pretending that everyone else in *every* other reviewing agency, including the navy, is too stupid to hire qualified people (let alone the Saudi and Israeli governments, amongst others) to review the program, is simply ridiculous.

Aluminum pans didn’t burn on your momma’s stove when she was cooking little Johnny’s cheeseburgers. The materials science doesn’t change onboard ship.

Aluminum didn’t burn on HMS Sheffield in the Falklands War. Sheffield was hit with an Exocet missile that failed to explode. The missile penetrated the ship, severed a fire main (water pipe) and ripped open a diesel fuel tank, and it was that which burned uncontrolled for several days.

Aluminum didn’t burn on the cruiser USS Belknap in the fire that ensued after a collision with the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. In that collision Kennedy ripped open the deckhouse superstructure on Belknap, while Belknap ripped open an aircraft fuel oil tank on Kennedy, and that fuel sluiced into the opened superstructure of Belknap. It was that fuel that burned in Belknap.

The aluminum did not fuel those fires, but those fires were hot enough to melt aluminum.

There is no anti swarm SUW capability in the Navy so how can you knock its SUW comliment?
BRAVO SIERRA. The Cyclone class (PC-1) are far better suited for that task. Its smaller, for its size far more heavily armed, and has a shallower draft.

Can someone tell me what the actual mission of the LCS is?

Who are we fighting? Pirates?

Turn the LCS over to the Coast Guard and be done with it.

The Cyclones, or procuring the Ambassador V FAC’s that are made in America but exported to Egypt.

The alternative argument may be that “aluminum has a lower melting point than steel”, though at the end of the day it’s always a question of what specialized alloy of steel do you pit against any other material of choice.

There are also a number of aluminum alloys of choice. Marine ones are generally picked for corrosion resistance, not their ability to endure incredible heat from exploding fuel.

Amusingly, 5083 is not recommended for temps about 65C. Bad choice if you expect a fuel fire or an explosion, yes? There are other alloys of Al for rockets and aerospace that’ll take the heat and not need to get out of the kitchen…but a maritime alloy optimized for fuel fires? Don’t know.

I wonder who is it that has the responsibility find out just how hard it is to sink a LCS and keep track of the history. They are fast but they might sink even faster under real combat testing…

Sooner or later, the LCS sea-frame will have to go through shock testing (both variants). The LCS cheerleaders have been reportedly (or seemingly) been stalling on these survivability tests.

Yes, sometimes shock testing gets deferred. I’m still waiting for them to shock test the California Class cruisers. For the Virginia Class cruisers, the shock test was on the fourth ship and about 10 yrs after the first ship was completed.

I fail to understand moving forward with 52 of these!
I can understand putting a couple of these to the test.
In this time of our country being over burdened with debt, this makes no sense

A ship that fights up close and personal is a stupid idea to begin with, especially in this age of one-man weapon systems. PT’s, PBRs and Swift Boats would do a better job with modern electronics/armament. Ships should stay over the horizon and out of plain sight and let the little guys kiss the enemy. The boneheads at the Pentagon should ask the Coast Guard for guidance…or one of us Riverines..

The hulls of those ships are steel and the superstructures are aluminum. Several years ago the Navy invented a way to fuse aluminum to steel so that the upper/lower decks can be mated. Also, aluminum holds static and can spark a fire.


each of those ships have a fatal flaw, one round of a .50 cal can penetrate the hull…these are just as flimsy as the PT boats of WW2 with less offensive capabilities. Blue water? with how many support ships to make the crossing? the speed (which helped to save the PT’s ) will not avail the crews in tight quarters of a coastal op area…air defense? even a phalanx will only offer limited protection. Offensive punch? 57mm? really? if they had a smart round with extened range capabilities Maybe.…but do they make one for a 57 that will still have a strong enough punch? about the only mission I can see with any clarity is being drone carrier for small observation types.

.50 BMG AP would punch holes in most areas of the old Fletcher class destroyers of WW2, likewise most areas of the more modern Ticonderoga class (CG-47) cruisers and Arleigh Burke class (DDG-51) destroyers. Certain areas of the CG-47s and DDG-51s such as the bridge and combat information center are pretty well protected, but these are not armored ships, and most of the hull is less well armored than the armored portion of an up-armored HMMWV. The three new Zumwalts have a little more protection because they are optimized for land attack. But none of these warships are armored like battleships.

These frail overpriced craft are as survivable in naval combat as a PT boat.…A pirate with a well placed RPG rocket could sink one.….However they improve the number of Navy “ships”-at-sea.….….

Pitiful, Pitiful

they say they want a ship “aimed at delivering a fast, agile, near shore vessel equipped with technologically advanced “mission packages” engineered for surface warfare, anti-submarine and mine-countermeasure missions, among others.” Back in the 60s and 70s, and even earlier, didn’t they have ships like that? We called them Destroyers.……

Good luck manning them the way Secretary Hagel and the administration are cutting manning and benefits

One: Cutting the total by just 2 ships and “returning” those funds to the DOD general fund would provide enough for the DOD to re-instate proper COLA increases to Disabled Veterans.
Two: The ones that are already in service they should send to operate off the coast of Somalia to test how effective they are against fast moving low water targets manned by the Pirates?

The senior officers of the Navy don’t really want LCS ships, in much the same way the Air Force didn’t want ground attack aircraft (like the A-10). Nothing glamorous about an LCS platform ‚no recruiting posters will be showing an LCS firing its 37mm gun.… Tom Cruise wouldn’t be caught dead on one

That being said the LCS will be non players in carrier battle groups and fleet operations . Hard to refuel and replenish underway,limited range and no offensive punch. Fleet mission planners will realize that immediately. Then the funding cuts will begin…maintenance will be deferred or postponed…steaming hours cut. After 5 years the bulk will be transfered to NRF

Why do I say that? Historically the Navy has immediately taken “combatant” and patrol designated ships and began the decommissioning process almost soon as they joined the fleet. They did it to the PHMs( except they skipped the NR part and went right to the scrap yard.) the PCs and after the first ten hulls or so are delivered…to the LCS.

Bottom line , if it cant defend a carrier or give an aviator a deep draft command at sea.…..CNO and JCS doesn’t want it.

I have read all of the comments related to this issue and it is clear to me the many who thing they know the LCS Sea-frames and there capability are as clueless as those who propose to use the NCS ship to build a frigate. My background was the contractor responsible for LCS 2 class crew training and as such was involved with much of the early at sea shipyard testing. The LCS 2 hull is presents a mobile platform that has a flight deck that is large than an LSD that can handle and support 2 SH60 helo’s. Its stability at sea I believe could outmatch the NCS for sea state operating capability. It was designed for minimum crew manning and as a forward deployed unit using Blue and Gold crew swaps. I have read the reports on fuel consumption and it is true that LCS1 has short legs but LCS2 has a comparable distance capability to the FFG-7. True the armament is light at present , but lets not forget the hull is designed to be upgraded not only with mission packages but also with armaments. (example was the NLOS system) tested on LCS-1. This hull could easily be fitted with box launcher ESSM. I think the Navy know exactly what it wants in an LCS ship and only time will tell if the class was worth the money spent. You are never going to find a ship of this advanced design for less than the $400M you all have quoted. (Which is no longer the correct price when you consider design changes and hardware upgrades. Remember that the ship was not designed to compete with the AEGIS DDG or the FFG-7 for that matter. And as for Tom Cruise !! I wouldn’t diminish the reputation of our NAVY by having him serve on one.

Considering Fukushima and the possibility that the entire Pacific Ocean is now irradiated, I hope the hull of the LCS can be made out of lead. It may already be a foregone conclusion that having a Navy in the Pacific Ocean is now obsolete.

Save the money and build DDs and MSOs.

Of the 5 vessels lost during the Falklands War none had aluminum hulls; two had aluminum super structures and had no bearing in the lost of the vessels — as JRT mentioned; of the two vessels that were lost with aluminum super structures — one was a missile kill shot and the other was a un-exploded bomb that cooked off while being defused.

Targets, The standard PT boat had more firepower than these. My Dads Submarine had two 5“25 deck guns, a 40 MM cannon on the aft cigarette deck , a duel mount 20 MM on the other cigarette deck and some 12 .50 cal M-2 machine guns to stick in the stantions where needed. All that plus 10 loaded torpedo tubes with reloads. WTF does this thing have??? Hell mu SH-3D could carry four homming fish, depthcharges as well as a Special Weapon for making a really big hole in the water. In the end we we starting to shoot rockets too.

I don’t need to know LCS Sea frames. I know how the senior officers think. Ive also heard the argument you made before on many now defunct platforms. LCS was a Navy proposal to be player in the global war on terrorism after 9–11. Times have changed. The reduction in planned hulls is just the beginning of a slow death of the LCS.

Retired Navy here, remember when Kaiser could build out mission capable ships within 3 to 5 days? This LCS is another example of keeping an entrenched defense empire (Lockheed) busy building something. Served on both the Newport Class LSTs and the world war II class LSTs and I can tell you that we had less problems with the old class Ts then with the newport class…sometimes think that we get new ship types just to keep the military industrial organizations going.C

Help an Army guy out. I just took one of those sightseeing harbor cruises in San Diego and remember passing by some very new ships said to be for Littoral Combat. I know they or others are being built by one of the old aircraft companies. Would they be the ships under discussion here? One thing, what I saw is impressive to look at even with all those big ships lined up nearby. I thought the new ones were probably for the unconventional warfare we now see in places like Africa where terrorist like to roost.

Are you referring to the FMC?

Appreciate your insights on this. But we keep talking about the MCM and putting a ship into the litorals for MCM duties. Wasn’t the advantage of the FFGs their two helos and the mobility and accessability those assets brought? I recognize that more than likely the hulls of our few remaining frigates are past their time, but I see other nations buying and up grading Perry’s. Perhaps they have deeper pockets. I am worried that the 52 LCS decision is going to turn out to be a stopgap.

Now you have done it! Spoken the truth…I don’t know, and I do believe the jury is still out, if these vessels can be everything their proponents say. But the politics of promotion and influence will steer the future of these ships, like they have many others.

Yep!! My pop road a “tin can” back in WWII. If a typhoon came up, they would turn abreast of it and ride it out — hence they looked like a “tin can” riding a wave.

LCS was a bid by the Navy to be a player in GWOT right after 911. Those days are past.

Force “multiplier” platforms are wonderful concepts…many have been proposed and killed. Some were produced, cut and then killed like the PCs,PHM .…you name it. The fleet commanders will not change the way they operate to accommodate these type of platforms.

The over all strategy remains basically unchanged since WWII…carrier carrier carrier— oh yes, almost forgot— the occasional amphibious operation.

Other than delivering small groups of special forces in backwater areas, patrolling Marine beach heads…and , their new mission, picking up lots of LEO hours to support the Coast Guard to free up the Burkes and Tico class ships…they are done.

As a Retired Chief Sonar Technician (SW), what I’m hearing is a ship that is designed for many missions and doesn’t do anything particularly well. What’s wrong with the Spruance/Tyco class design, It could do most of these missions very well with a very high degree of survivability and an offensive punch. It was fast and maneuverabie and lasted 30 years.

The MK-105 sled is needed for quickly clearing mines. The H-53 is needed to tow the MK-105 sled, as it has been determined that the H-60 isn’t big enough to safely tow the MK-105. Only one of the two LCS variants has a flight deck large enough for the H-53.

The monohull USS Freedom (LCS-1) variant has a flight deck that is too small for the H-53, and the ship architecture won’t allow it to be modified with a flight deck large enough for an H-53. It also has a steel hull (magnetic), not well suited to MCM.

The trimaran USS Independece (LCS-2) variant has an aluminum hull (non-magnetic) well suited to MCM, and has a flight deck that is large enough for the H-53, but would need several support columns added in the mission bay to support the weight of an H-53 on the flight deck above. The columns could be removable, used only on missions that include an H-53. It also has a lift in the hangar that connects the hangar deck at flight deck level to the mission bay deck below, and the lift is large enough to move the MK-105 sled, ISO shipping containers, and UAVs between decks.

USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) joint high speed vessel is not a warship, but it does have an aluminum hull useful for MCM, has a flight deck that is currently certified for use with the H-53 (needs no modification to the flight deck), has a large RoRo vehicle/cargo bay below the flight deck. And it has a jib crane at the stern to move heavy items from/to a quay/pier or between decks.

What is the purpose of trying to get a large ship in up close for a fight anyway with the OTH capability we have to day on our surface targets.… sorry I am a retired submariner. for one of these ships we can fire hundreds of TLAMs for the same result without getting sunk by someone with a .50 cal rifle.

$37 billion program, in development for 12 years? Sounds like a dog to me.

I’m an ole navy dude. Vietnam era. I have been on an AOR-6, commissioned it. I’ve been on an ATF-162, an old “Fletcher Class Destroyer”, DD-890. So I’ve been around! I strongly believe that if we add more naval ships to our Fleets, that’s a good thing. As long as we have crews to man these ships then that’s what we do! Urs truly. Thank you!

Recommission the all powerful battleships and put one on the east coast and one on the west coast.

just imagine what it would do to the budget if they reduced that number instead of taking away our benefits. jack asses.

Totally seperate money. They won’t increase the benefits even when they reduce procurement as they did when they cancelled FCS, Commanche, A-12, etc

I would rather see a advanced US Navy. And US Marines than support welfare or send money to overseas country’s or pay people that do nothing for the USA. Those that don’t pay taxes or sit around collecting from this government. or you try to go to boot camp.

I think they had no good answers. Has anyone noticed the nine-courses of hell military goes through to get a BRAND NEW anything approved and built?? I wish the US Navy had decided on a sturdier, arguably slightly bigger seaframe for this modular-mission combatant. They should gone with two ships designs, one big a frigate and one small that could be changed out with Modules to handle coastal needs along with MCM, and arguably act as a Fast Attack Craft if need be. Independence and Freedom try to do too much with so little, the service already found that small crews are too small in different report. Modifying the existing ships maybe difficult. I hope the later batches of these two ships can be modified for the needs the service needs now.

As I said , LCS is done as a platform.

“—-the ship (LCS) could operate in combat areas, as long as it remained under the protection of real warships—” SECNAV April 2012

why are we putting all of our money into this class of ship? maybe we need some of these ship to fill in the gap where needed, but for my money I would stay with the DD type ship that is a proven deep blue water tested ship not a model that is not proven yet. (from what I have been reading about them they have equipment problem all ready)(you don’t want one that will go tango uniform on you when it needed)
just my opinion.

To be honest about it and with all due respect, I’ve never heard of finalizing a design while the new design was still in the shipyard. ;-)

All kidding aside, it was commonly done in my day, even in the Cold War submarine force and I can’t see any reason why this would change. Take the first of a new design out for sea trials and first deployment and let the crew, both officers and enlisted, give you the feedback after performing multiple tests and drills designed to ferret out the problem areas of the new design. Also a lot of information can be gained just by normal day to day performance of the ship.

Even on a brand new design there’s no better way to determine the problem areas than taking feedback from seasoned crew members even if they obtained their experience on other older designs. Give them the overall mission parameters of the new design, send them out to sea and you’ll get the best type of feedback possible and probably solutions as well. Real world performance of a new type ship can only be determined by the crew of said ship.

A frigate doesn’t need AEGIS, we can install APAR or ASEA radar that is common on European Frigates.

Hey nick, r u a navy veteran? How u doin pal? I’d like it if u would reply back. Thanks pal.

I think we should build our defenses. China is advancing it;s nuclear long range missiles deterrent.and the news was forcasting it was directed at US. I think there is a grave concern specially what is going on in Southeast Asia .


I don’t think anyone in any real position of influence is seriously considering (when sober) any effort to seek budget to refit and recommission the Iowa class battleships. I suspect that many flag officers would gladly accept reduction in rank for the opportunity to command a battleship before they retire, but they aren’t going to argue in favor of them in public. The battleships are now museum pieces, and they are never again going to sail under their own power, much less fire their guns in anger. They remain the greatest of all surface warships.

If we take that leap into an alternate reality and the US Navy suddenly changed course in their 30-year plan to include the four battleships and got Congress to provide funding, you would not likely see one with a home port on the West coast and another with home port on the East coast. Instead you would more likely see them in the Pacific fleet in a standard four ship rotation, with one BB deployed in a BBBG (battleship battle group including the BB, a CG, several DDG, a couple of SSN, etc.), one BB getting ready to deploy, one BB returning from deployment, and one BB in the shipyard getting major repairs and refitment.

The presence of a BBBG with a CSG nearby provides a level of battleship diplomacy like nothing else. There is nothing that better shows the flag. But it will never happen again.

This is a wave piercing fast ship with helicopter pad and hanger bay as well as the other top secret pieces of equipment.

And this is why the DoD gets a blank check to do whatever they want without really thinking about the money they are spending.

LCS checklist:

“common frigate weapons and systems, minus the Aegis”: Ericsson Sea Giraffe, Check

“make an NSC frigate that has room for future growth and has the capacity to carry a platoon of Marines”: Well-deck, interior volume and helicopter deck, check.

“The NSC frigate can be built on the CHEAP and using off the shelf ready to go weapons and systems.” Didn’t they spin this web of lies for us with LCS? Check. (“JSF can be built off the shelf using F-22 research to bring the price down…yaddayaddayadda”).

I guess the question is if you trust HII more than Austal USA and Marinette Marine.

Which is why the Navy chewed through single demonstrators between serial production. Sometimes they went big (for instance, limited production of the CGN’s instead of a single demonstrator), but committing to 52 ships before really understanding what it was going to be used for? Hrm.

How important is self-deploy if the ship is going to be hanging out mostly with other ships? If it’s tasked mostly to follow around tankers and protect them from submarines, or zip ahead of the carrier to attack targets…though if the question is fuel, then it’ll probably spend a lot of time fueling up.

Then again, the FAC may not be rated for blue water duty, at least not far from port: which is more ominous than self-deploy range.

Given range is 2,000 nm, less than LCS. Given endurance is eight days, less than LCS.

Anyone know what’s going on with RAN’s proposed Offshore Combatant Vessel?

Its kind of funny that you say that they’ve “committed” to 52 ships. Please find a contract or contract for 52 ships. There is a program GOAL of 52 ships but they have not ordered or contracted for 52 ships. The contract is for far fewer ships and they could end production tat that time with no penalties. As far as I know the number contracted for at this time is 20 and anything beyond that may show up in future fleet plans but is not locked in.

Your propaganda is amusing, but I am not buying it.

US Navy has ongoing need for ships/platforms for mine counter measures. The Navy’s current primary platform for that is the Avenger class MCM ships, which will soon be decommisioned, and LCS with the MCM mission package is slated to assume that role.

How important is MCM? Consider one example… According to the the US Energy Information Administration, in 2011 an average of 17 million barrels per day (roughly 35% of all seaborne traded oil and almost 20% of oil traded worldwide) were shipped through the Strait of Hormuz, a choke point roughly 21 nautical miles wide at its narrowest section off of the coast of Iran.

The Strait of Hormuz is ripe for mining if Iran decides to try to disrupt world oil supplies and pricing. The clearly displayed ability to quickly clear those mines with the presence of MCM platforms in the Persian Gulf region, significantly reduces probability that such mining would occur.

I guess it’s good we have canada and fracking for our oil.…

Its been a couple of years since I last looked up the data, but at that time US was importing roughly half its oil, and roughly half of that imported oil was coming from Canada. But that would be of little solace if world oil supply suffered a major disruption.

Oil exhibits rather low price elasticity of demand, is rather inelastic, the rate of change in price can well exceed the rate of change in demand. Speculators clearly understand that, so if there was significant disruption in world supply, speculators would quickly push up the prices of the futures contracts while world demand would be chasing after a smaller and far more precious supply, Canadian or otherwise. The threat of damage to US and world economies would be significant, and the pressures of Realpolitik would force immediate action.

What specifically is crappy about it???

All that is obsolete… Wire guide over the horizon sends back pictures of what it blew up…


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