Navy Starts Study to Re-Examine LCS Mission

Navy Starts Study to Re-Examine LCS Mission

The Navy is in the early phases of a new study designed to explore alternative proposals for the Littoral Combat Ship formally requested last week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Navy officials said.

The study will explore the realm of the possible regarding potential new platforms for LCS and modifications to existing LCS ships, per guidance from Hagel. It will be headed by Naval Sea Systems Command, or NAVSEA, and the Navy’s requirements community for surface warfare.

The current study is beginning to look at a range of options, including adding more armament and weaponry to the LCS, or designing a new platform able to accommodate more armor, weapons and vertical launch tubes for missiles, service officials said.

The alternative proposals for LCS were requested by Hagel on the heels of the announcement that the Pentagon would reduce the planned fleet of LCS ships from 52 to 32. Echoing some of the criticisms of LCS made by lawmakers, analysts and Navy officials,

Hagel questioned whether the existing LCS is survivable enough for combat.

“We need to closely examine whether the LCS has the independent protection and fire power to operate and survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies,” he said Feb.24.

Hagel has directed the Navy to provide these alternative proposals within a year.

“We must direct shipbuilding efforts toward ships that can operate in every region and along the full spectrum of conflict. At my direction the Navy will submit alternative proposals for a surface combatant consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. New ship designs and a modified LCS– proposal are due at this time next year to inform budget submissions,” Hagel said.

Referred to as a small surface combatant, the new platform or modified LCS is not yet known, a Navy official said.

The study is also looking at existing foreign variants of the LCS, some of which are larger and configured differently than U.S. versions.

“All of the things that are out there will be part of the market place of ideas,” a Navy official said.

The mission of LCS is a fundamental focus of the study, because the alternative proposals could lead to specs for a new, heavier and larger ship that is more heavily armed and closer to a frigate.

Or, the Navy could build upon the mine and submarine hunting technologies built onto the current LCS platform. In fact, the alternative proposal effort may seek to combine these attributes into a single ship.

“Not every ship can do everything, so what are the missions we want to focus on?” a Navy official said.

Speed is another key consideration of the study. The existing LCS can reach 40-knots, however if modifications add armor and weaponry, then that would slow the ship down.

Most Navy frigates are a heavier and longer than each of the LCS variants, the USS Freedom and the USS Independence. Frigates, many of them made of a steel hull and aluminum superstructures, can hit speeds of 30-knots and are not as fast as the LCS.

“We’re looking at the options. All the options are on the table as we begin to decide and tailor what it is we might need for this requirement,” another Navy official said.

The LCS mission module concept may be preserved for the alternative proposals, service officials said. As currently configured, the LCS has three different integrated sets or suites of technologies for surface warfare, mine-hunting and anti-submarine missions.

Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, Deputy Chief of Naval Operation for Integration of Capabilities and Resources, recently said the Navy will work on alternative proposals for the ship in light of guidance from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

“I view this as a chance for the Navy to re-engage on what’s important to us on the last part of the class. We know we need mine hunting, we know we need ASW (anti-submarine warfare), we know we need a few of what’s called the surface warfare module – but what do we really need? We are going to go back and take a hard look and respond to the Secretary of Defense in the fall,” said Mulloy.

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.

So far, the first three LCS ships have been commissioned and the fourth, the USS Coronado, is slated for commissioning in April of this year, Naval Sea Systems Command officials said.

LCS 5 and 6 launched in December of last year, and ships 7 through 16 are in some stage of production, Leonard added. The Navy plans to wind up delivering 4 LCS ships per year.

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This LCS crap just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Usually you build a ship for a mission. In this case the LCS was built first and now needs a mission.

Studying the LMS I couldn’t believe its light defensive armaments, and recommend at least an Oerlikon manually operated 20mm gun mounted on its stern. Gunboats these days go loaded for bear and provide substantial offensive capabilities. Putting our money on the lightly-armed LCS in areas of the world where they are expected to meet heavier-armed patrol craft means they’ll need back-up…like manually-operated 20-25mm cannons…

Even us folks in the blogosphere realized that the LCS was a woefully underarmed, undermanned, outgunned, piece of human waste–years ago! Yet DOD, the Navy, and Congress continued to pursue this monument to wishful thinking. What changed to allow sanity to penetrate the collective thinking?

This thing is a waste of scarce resources. It inspires laughter and derision among potential foes. It puts our sailors in harms way. Just admit the error and terminate the program. Give the existing platforms to the USCG.

A good start would be to look at designs similar to the Brit Type 26.

Navy Rear Adm. Samuel Perez wrote that the Littoral Combat Ship was “ill-suited to execute regional commander’s warfighting needs.”
I question the usefulness of adding more armament to a weak sea-frame. If we’re stuck with the current LCS designs, for the short term give ‘em each a box ‘o harpoons and send ‘em off on patrol in some boring part of the world.

If you’re going to build a ship for the littorals, start with the Cyclone class (1/10th the size, and armed to the teeth) as the basis — and design it to be as easily upgradable as possible. If you’re going to build a frigate, then use the ideas from the Zumwalt design, and a maybe a few from existing LCS that actually work (I think the idea of mission packages is sound — I think the platform stinks). And this time, lets resist the altering of the design all the way through construction (take pity on the taxpayers), and leave Lockheed out of it (their performance of late is questionable). Maybe we should seriously consider licensing one of our allies superior designs.

Regardless, as new ships become available, transfer LCS to the USCG so that the taxpayers get some value for the massive amount of money wasted. And lets see to it that those responsible on the navy’s side are assigned new offices, preferably with porceline fixtures and running water.

“or designing a new platform able to accommodate more armor, weapons and vertical launch tubes for missiles”

Oh, I know which proposal will be met with glee by the manufacturers!

You have to admit this much, we are stuck with 24 to 32 hulls. What can be done to improve them? To me they should be fast, armed minesweepers first, SUW 2nd, ASW 3rd. Without a hull mounted sonar the ship is vulnerable until it deploys its VDS which any sub skipper will take advantage of. Without an ASROC or MK 32 TT type weapon It cannot hold a sub at bay until it launches its LAMPS III (5-10min) even if VDS is online. (2) Fixed single tube Torpedo tubes would buy you some time. (1) Tactical Length MK41 8 cell VLS could hold 4 VLASROC and 16 ESSM. On LCS 2 the module bay behind the MK110 57mm mount might fit the MK41. For sensors install CEAFAR and use the Sea Giraffe as the volume search radar. Sonar systems from the ROV could be installed conformal on the hull and provide a second Datum line for ASW. (2) Typhoon & 4 Harpoon rounds mounted on deck space permanently would help SUW. The intent my guess is that the brass wanted to get more use out of the minesweeper & gunboat ship/crews. Let them take drug interdiction/ show the flag role of the fleet and get our money worth. Not perfect I know but with the hulls we are paying for might as well make them useful. What do you guys think?

This is a great time to re-examine the LCS mission. Funny how they weren’t interested in doing that when the contractor (Lockheed) was busy designing these pieces of crap. I know, let’s cancel these ships and give Lockheed another contract to design another ship, but this time we’ll do it right, because the next program is always better. Sing it with me now, “the next program is always better, we’ll do it right the next time!” Yeah, it feels so good.

A 57mm, two 30mm guns, and MH-60R with Hellfire.

You call that light armament? Also, the 30mm guns can be manually operated.

The article quotes Hagel as saying, “We must direct shipbuilding efforts toward ships that can operate in every region and along the full spectrum of conflict. At my direction the Navy will submit alternative proposals for a surface combatant consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.”

Mr. Hagel, you have it wrong. It is the DDG that is the full spectrum warship, not the FFG.

The difference among FFG, DDG and CG is not driven by size, but rather by capability. Capabilities drive the size and displacement. DDG is the full spectrum warship. Relative to the DDG the FFG is not full spectrum and lacks in at least one capability. Relative to the DDG the CG adds command and control (C2) capability to enable it to be used to command a surface warfare group, and also likely has increased capacity for air and missle defense.

If you want full spectrum warships, buy more DDG-51 in flight IIa configuration, and do so at a production rate that minimizes unit cost.

Thank you! Finally someone gets it. The LCS was designed for low intensity conflict. Which is the overwhelming majority of what we’ve been in since WWII. Additionally, the only way the US Navy is ever going to get to the required 306 ships is if they’re smaller. There just isn’t enough manning and dollars to support additional destroyers. It’s Frigates and LCS sized ships here on to make up the difference.

For a 3000 ton warship?

Yes — that’s light. Very — the navy’s own inspectors say so.

Besides — the other navies offerings all carry at least a few ASM’s, while the LCS has nothing.

I don’t think anyone questions the need for a smaller ship to fill in the gaps. LCS was being sold as something it isn’t and never will be. If they’d merely called it “Littoral Patrol Ship” or “Littoral Multi-Purpose Ship” (leaving “combat” entirely out of it) they might’ve gotten away with it.

By calling it a warship (which has a very specific meaning) and overstating its capabilities, they screwed themselves. The navy’s inspectors (amongst other agencies) looked at what they claimed it could do (and what it would be used for), and determined it incapable of performing those missions.

Thus, this sad saga leaves everyone unhappy.

Hell yeah, you could buy two Iowa Class Battleships (cost adjusted for inflation — yes, I know about inflation) for what one DDG costs. Oh wait, that’s the new one that tips over that costs as much as 2 Iowa class battleships. The older one is about the same cost as the Mighty Mo’, yet a helluva lot less scary given the choice of which to park off the coast of some crap hole like Crimea. Not that we really need to get involved in that mess. If we did, though, something sporting 9 — 16″ and 20 — 5″ guns with 13″ of armor plating would say a hell of a lot more regarding the kind of respect this country should command than some wimp ass DDG.

The Navy’s inspector does not understand the threat. It’s unlike anything the Navy has had to traditionally face in the past (with respect to SUW, it does just fine in MCM).

The LCS doesn’t need ASM’s. Why would you send an LCS to do the job of a DDG? The LCS is for minehunting, counter FAC/FIAC (the 100k boat, vs the 800k missile problem, again), and ASW escort (which admittedly the LCS is ill suited for).

Better plan and it would keep the navy’s carriers going.….. Scrap LCS!!!!! We don’t need a bath tub toy like this for Ocean going warfare. With the money saved by killing this and JSF we could have 12 carriers at sea and could save the A-10 and some money to spare for DDG-1000. face it its more DoD jokes here.

The LCS is just a pocket protector and a courier service for the Magic Modules and the drones which the Magic Modules operate. Don’t think about the boat…think about the modules first. By itself, the boat isn’t much to write home about, but to the pro– crowd that isn’t the point.

The pocket protector must self-deploy because we have no tenders and expect it to operate independently on “show the flag” missions (though people are unlikely to be impressed by the LCS’ flag unless it is operating in concert…which means it isn’t really operating independently).

There were promised moduleless LCS variants that never left the drawing board which would be the actual Littoral Combatants.

Didn’t realize DDG’s lacked C2 capability.

The size of a smaller vessel forces tradeoffs. If you want good capability then frigates must specialize. If you want all-around-ness it means the frigate suffers degraded multi-role capability. Indeed, LCS is only as good as its modules at a particular task.

So it’s semantics issue? That’s absurd!

And your second statement simply is not true. To quote admiral Perez:
The report found that the Littoral Combat Ship is “ill-suited for combat operations against anything but” small, fast boats”

That was the ships original mission! It never claimed to be able to go against anything else. And while I see the concern with Chinese ASMs, it doesn’t negate the need to counter the small craft threat. In fact, the pacific pivot lends itself more to the type of warfare that includes small boat swarm attacks. These boats thrive in the small island harbor scenarios. Armor is virtually obsolete. Unless you knock the ASM out of the sky or fool it, if it hits a ship it will penetrate. Warheads surpassed armor decades ago. Same goes for torpedoes and mines. This is literally what killed the entire concept of a battleship. Why are we regressing?

The Navy needs to get smart and focus on ASM defense systems like EW systems, directed energy ship self defense, and next generation decoys. Dollar for dollar it makes far more sense to approach it this way. A single upgrade to SEARAM can be distributed throughout the fleet. Meanwhile we just killed off 20 ships of a class because we want more armor (I’m sure that’ll come cheap and light).

Indeed, LCS doesn’t need anti-ship missiles if it isn’t expected to fight an actual navy. Then again, I’m not sure how well it does in ASubW, where it actually has to kill the target instead of defend against its attacks.

Personally I’m waiting for the next-generation DASH helicopter that can be used to engage targets far from the LCS. Something more compact than full-size helicopters.

I agree with your assessment on ASW. It’s traditionally a very difficult mission requiring a top to bottom design that specializes on the mission. It may not be very well suited to the modularity of LCS. The killing part isn’t as challenging as the detection and tracking. The MH-60R/S and the Mk54 are the same sub prosecuting platform/payload used by all surface ships in the US navy. Besides the P-8s and if you’re desperate VLA that’s how you kill.

And you’re spot on about engaging the threat well beyond the LCS. That’s exactly what Helos are for. Not just for ASW, but SUW too. The firescout, and it’s successor, will be very useful in detection, but I’m not sure how well they’ll fair carrying a Mk54. They’re pretty heavy for such a small bird.

The distressing part is that ASW and MCM are traditionally purpose-designed hull missions. The Navy’s workaround is to use purpose-designed drones attached to an all-purpose hull…but at that point, how important is the hull? Navy has mucked with a number of different prototypes, such as Sea Fighter et al.

Agree with you on ASW. My opinion is that they should push the mission onto the successor class to the LCS that they just made room for. Still modular, but modular with ASW more in mind (thinking hull mounted sonar, towed arrays, etc.).

With MCM though the major difference is that MCMs of yore HAD to be in the minefield and therefore had to be purpose-designed. We don’t need to put the sailors in the minefield anymore. Sweeping is dead. The all-purpose hull eliminates the need. Sea Fighter was always a test platform intended to support LCS and JHSV development. They all share a lot in common because of this.

Remember the Navy wants to fight a ground war now. They have for some time now forgotten about their true naval mission.. But don’t worry Navy Seals can do anything including defeating China’s and Russia’s Navy.… HAHHA LOL… Need to stop spending, and wasting, so much time figuring out how to deploy Seals in the land war… Bunch of idiots run amuck!!!!

We’re still reeling from all of the boneheaded decisions that were made in the past ten years by “leadership” where we are trying to fit the mission into what was bought. The LCS is just one of them.

Where’d the two 30mm cannon come in? I read that they only had two .50 machine guns in addition to the 57mm gun. I did see that it was considering a RIM-16 mount for some of the class.

The Navy’s inspector does not understand the threat.
You realize of course, how absurd that sounds?

Of course the navy is going to hire idiots to man the inspector general’s office who are incapable of understanding the threats that a given ship is designed to counter and defeat.

The LCS comes with a 57mm gun and 3 weapon stations (several .50 cals, but those don’t count in my opinion). Due to the modular design of the ship you can theoretically toss in any weapon into those weapon stations so long as it fits the size and weight requirements. At the moment the only weapon modules that have been deployed are the 30mm guns. LCS 1 deployed with (2) to Singapore.

Both variants have RIM– 116. Freedom has the basic RIM-116 while Independence has SEARAM.

I said they *might’ve* gotten away with it. The article on this very site commenting on the LCS states Admiral Perez says that the LCS is, (quote) “ill-suited to execute regional commander’s warfighting needs.”

That’s pretty unambiguous. And the navy’s report isn’t the only one that fundamentally says the same things. To you, for some reason, the authors of every report that have concluded the same are either clueless or incompetent, because only you (and a precious few others) are apparently capable of understanding what the requirements really are.

Sorry — as much as I realize the navy is capable of making mistakes, the odds that every watchdog agency is too stupid to hire appropriate expertise in given fields/projects/etc. they are assigned to evaluate are beyond astronomical, if not absurd. All of the other navies that were initially interested in LCS have walked away, all saying its far too much money for what you get in return.

I gather all the other allied navy’s evaluators are all clueless as well.

So what is it that made us the only smart ones?

The only problem I see, is that the program didn’t get killed earlier.

We are building 32 hulls and we don’t know what the mission is for these platforms.

Regional Commander’s warfighting needs vs original requirements are completely different issues. The only thing that can survive an evolving threat (in this case a change in relevant threat came as the pacific pivot). That’s the beauty of modularity. I understand, that you can’t add armor to a ship, but you can certainly give it more teeth. They’re not called weapon stations for nothing.

As someone who has worked on this for a very long time, I can assure you the overwhelming majority of people that review this program still don’t fully understand the concept of modularity and how to implement it from a CONOPS standpoint.

As for other countries. This just happened: http://​thediplomat​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​3​/​u​s​-​j​a​p​a​n​-​t​o​-​j​o​i​ntl

I expect more of it to occur as costs continue to drop (from $750 million down to $350 million ain’t bad): http://​breakingdefense​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​2​/​l​c​s​-​l​i​v​e​s​-​m​abu

Just yesterday from Secretary Hagel’s mouth:

Hagel said the LCS has met the mission it was originally given.
“That’s not in dispute. The bigger question is … if you build out the LCS system to 52 in a 300-ship Navy, that represents about a sixth of our Navy,” he said. “Every test we’ve seen – never designed to do otherwise, which I agree with – but it doesn’t have the survivability, capability, firepower of ships as we may well need to confront much more sophisticated adversaries.”

You don’t get a stronger case than this to support modularity. LCS is the only ship capable of relatively cheaply and rapidly upgrading. Try integrating a new missile into AEGIS.

When I read the headline, I immediately thought.…“first sane thing I’ve seen this week!” Turned out to be not so much. I think an ideal LCS would be somewhere between the Cyclones and the present design but I don’t pretend to be a Naval Architect.… Personally, I think a Frigate with the right design would be the way to go; large enough to operate with the fleet when necessary and small enough for Littorial Combat; something just a bit smaller than the FFG-7.…large enough for all the varied ‘mission packages’ they want. Like you, I agree with the concept but just don’t think the present design can cut it; a larger ship could allow for easier change-out of packages also. The manning does not HAVE to be that much more than the present design. I kind of doubt the USCG wants the LCS.… Finally, I think the present platforms are alright.…..but NOT for what they are expecting from it.

The navy actually has a requirement for something that will be able to handle working in the littorals — that part of the problem is what they got right. The problem is that the original concept turned into a wildly overpriced “Franken-Ship”.

They would’ve been better off starting with the Cyclone class, and enlarging/improving it. The original problem was the concern regarding fighting off attacks of swarming speedboats. So they built a $400M 3000-ton ship to fight off $25,000 speedboats — but added “mission packages” so it could do mine warfare (every ship can be a mine sweeper at least once!), and take on an ASW mission.

Designing ships to be modular so they are easily upgradable as technologies change is a great idea, and other navies were very interested in the concept. Then they saw what LCS turned into, what it cost, and walked away.

They all concluded that LCS was way to expensive for the money spent. The LCS is still lacking even one positive review by any auditing agency, or for that matter — the navy’s own auditor.

we have them now and they are not going away for quite some time. we need to think about making them work for us. the vessels appear to be something the USCG might have some missions that that type of ship can fulfill. there are lots of possibilities for this type of vessel.

Translation: Welcome to our new (grossly overpriced and less capable) minesweepers!

Where are all of the LCS fan boys? Perhaps they weren’t getting paid enough so they moved over to the F-35 fan boy club where they get $5.00 per word (there’s lots of money to be made in that program I hear).

we can put Iranian flags on them and use them for target practice

scrap them or sell them, any warship that can’t take even minimal damage is of no use whatsoever, the LCS can be taken out with a single 50 cal round

And that is utterly astonishing! Much of blame can be attributed the bureaucratic ass covering mentality that prevails in DC these days, no matter if its the Executive or Legislative. Accountability is a word people throw out, but no one practices. Even criminal investigations are politicized.

However, let a Disbursing Officer come up $20 short during a reconciliation and they’ll keel haul the offender!


Translation: Welcome to our new grossly overpriced and roomy Admiral’s yacht

better still, let’s stop building “sea frames” and start building warships again

What use would these ships be to the U.S .Coast Guard. No range.

who is a bunch of idiots, Paul? What is your service time?

I haven’t heard *anyone* dispute the concept of the mission packages, or that designing modularity into the ship being a good idea.

It’s the underlying platform thats inadequate. Its like mounting a diamond into a Cracker-Jack[tm]-box-prize quality ring. The mission package is almost worth more than the floating death traps its being installed in.

I just read the article from The Diplomat, and it was rather bluntly declared as follows:

“Additionally, the outcome of this project could lead to the development of an alternative version to the current (and expensive) LCS. The U.S. Navy is reportedly seeking such an alternative amid criticism that the platform, sometimes referred to as an “undergunned corvette,” doesn’t pack enough firepower and would be no match against the better-armed — and cheaper — surface combatants (including the PLAN’s 220-tonne Type 022 and 1,800-tonne Type 056) that would see action during combat operations in the Asia-Pacific.”

That quoted paragraph pretty well says it all.


Tomcat, you’ve got it all wrong, it’s not about ‘armor’ aka a Iowa class battleship, it’s about survivability. Just take at look at our low end Perry class ships, one took two Exocet missiles and didn’t sink, another hit a mine, The USS Cole took a blow that make a 40 foot hole in the waterline and it didn’t sink, the USS Princeton hit a mine and didn’t sink.

The LCS, even at 3,000 tons (the size of a WWII destroyer by the way) can’t take any damage what so ever, aluminum foil construction does not make a warship. A little history lesson, just look at any WWI destroyer account to see how much damage those ships could take and you’ll be amazed. Warships have to take a certain amount of damage and keep fighting (or not sink). The LCS are very very soft target and it’s a very quick way to loose $400+ million and crew

Lastly, there is no such thing as a “low intensity conflict” What are you going to do when the intensity is beyond the level of the LCS’s ability-run home and cry no fair? The number one design feature of any US warship is survivability, after all, you are floating on water and it’s a long swim with the sharks (if you’re so lucky).

The LCS is a failure — they are trying to junk it and start again by changing everything but the name and the corrupt organizations that lead to the failure.

The result is entirely predictable.

As one admiral pointed out the reality is that they are intended mainly for showing he flag and port calls — don’t need any weapons for that.

The most ironic part of this is that were worried if a Naval ship that is smaller than a frigate class can go 45 mph or just 35 mph because of weapons capacity; maybe we should turn what is left of the Big 3 Auto Companies in Detroit into building our Navy ships that drive like olde school Muscle Cars instead of an Electric Hybrid in optimum weather conditions.

LCS is perfect for training Sea Cadets at the dock, good work Yee wasters of American Tax Dollars!

“This bad news was on top of the 2012 Congressional Research Service Report titled Navy Littoral Combat Ship: Background and Issues for Congress, which itemized the LCS’s problems with combat survival, hull cracking, engine reliability, corrosion, failure of mission modules, and exploding costs.”

How many reviews do we need? We need to stop payment and investigate the PMO Office that oversees this project. No pun intended but the “exploding costs” does not provide us the “bang for the buck”.

“Let’s start with cost. The LCS was proposed as a relatively inexpensive ship ($220M), well suited to fighting in littoral waters. As of December 2011, the Department of Defense’s Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) estimated a total procurement cost of $33.74B for 55 ships – or roughly $613M each. Unfortunately, this does not include the mission modules. The Department estimates total program costs including R&D and mission modules will be $37.4B or $680M for each ship.”

Oh, sorry those capabilities are not on the base model!!! We can add mission modules but that is extra.

“The littoral combat ship (LCS) is the first of a new family of surface ships for the US Navy. The LCS is a fast, highly manoeuvrable, networked surface combat ship, which is a specialised variant of the family of US future surface combat ships known as DD(X). LCS is designed to satisfy the urgent requirement for shallow draft vessels to operate in the littoral (coastal waters) to counter growing potential ‘asymmetric’ threats of coastal mines, quiet diesel submarines and the potential to carry explosives and terrorists on small, fast, armed boats.”

Why not sell them to the HLS/DEA?

Every logical person here will say YES is lightly armed, but just for fun let’s take a look at a WWII destroyer was actually smaller than the LCS

Displacement: 2,050 tons (standard)
2,500 tons (full load)
Length: 376.5 ft (114.8 m)
Beam: 39.5 ft (12.0 m)
Draft: 17.5 ft (5.3 m)
Propulsion: 60,000 shp (45 MW); 4 oil-fired boilers; 2 geared steam turbines; 2 screws
Speed: 36.5 knots (67.6 km/h 42 mph)
Range: 5,500 miles at 15 knots
(8,850 km at 28 km/h) [1]
Complement: 329 officers and men
Armament: • 5 × single 5 inch/38 caliber guns
• 6–10 × 40 mm Bofors AA guns (early ships carried 4 × 1.1 inch/75 caliber guns)
• 7–10 × 20 mm Oerlikon cannons,
• 10 ×21 inch torpedo tubes (2×5; Mark 15 torpedoes)
• 6 × K-guns
• 2 × depth charge racks

now tell us Tomcat, how could the Navy way way way back them could put so much firepower, speed, endurance and a large crew and something that was 1000 ton smaller, but now we have a huge 3000 ton aluminum foil ship with no weapons (other than simple defensive weapons at best), no endurance and no survivability, is that progress?

I say convert these things to admiral yachts but then again we’d have to build about 3,000 more (one for each admiral)!

Not just LCS. Even the Perry:

Displacement:4,100 long tons (4,200 t) full load
Length:408 ft (124 m) waterline,
445 ft (136 m) overall,
453 ft (138 m) for “long-hull” frigates
Beam:45 ft (14 m)
Draft:22 ft (6.7 m)
Propulsion:2 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines generating 41,000 shp (31 MW) through a single shaft and variable pitch propeller
2 × Auxiliary Propulsion Units, 350 hp (260 kW) retractable electric azimuth thrusters for maneuvering and docking.
Speed:over 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range:4,500 nmi (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems:Radar: AN/SPS-49, AN/SPS-55, Mk 92 fire control system
Sonar: SQS-56, SQR-19 Towed Array
Electronic warfare
& decoys:SLQ-32(V)2, Flight III with sidekick,
Mark 36 SRBOC
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie
Mk 38 Mod 2 Naval Gun Systems installed on platforms over the removed MK 13 launchers
Two triple Mark 32 Anti-submarine warfare torpedo tubes with Mark 46 or Mark 50 anti-submarine warfare torpedoes
One OTO Melara 76 mm/62 caliber naval gun
One 20 mm Phalanx CIWS rapid-fire cannon
Aircraft carried:Two LAMPS multi-purpose helicopters (the SH-2 Seasprite LAMPS I on the short-hulled ships or the SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III on the long-hulled ships)

The slide in American ship capability has been going on for a while. WW2 era ships generally had very austere facilities and high density bunking, and used the torpedo as their primary long-range striking power against large ships. We could argue that the Bofors and Oerlikons could be overmatched by CIWS in plinking aircraft, but it’s hard to deny that torpedo tubes are a baseline standard in anti-surface work. LCS has no torpedoes because people didn’t actually want to send LCS to attack ships of equal size or larger. It is a Littoral Elementary School Playground Bully. Perhaps its helicopters will do that work, but it’s placing a lot of trust in the availability of rotary wing aircraft.

I think that you have hit the nail on the head!

Would have to be the luckiest .50 cal bullet in the world fired from a very short range to disable one of the gas turbines or diesel engines.

40+ knots is great, buts its helpful when you can do something more than deploy some helicopters once you get there.

Really the armament packages included in the “export” LCS proposals should have been standard on the real thing. A small VLS for Enhanced Sea Sparrows, 76mm gun in place of the 57mm, some sort of missile system with decent range to kill small boats.

Some variant of the Hellfire or the “Sea Spear” variant of the Brimstone missile would work here. Something larger like Block III Harpoon or the Naval/Joint Strike Missile would be good for dealing with bigger ships.


1. Send to USCG
2. Send to fight pirates
3. Slap on a welldeck, give them CIWS, supplement ARGs with a few of them to deploy LCACs and AAVs quickly.

There, they don’t have to really to used in combat anymore.

Lets see… frigates were too “big” for the littorals, so we created a whole new class of ship.

It turned out not to be tough enough, fast enough, or have enough weapons to accomplish the undefined roles we envisioned.

Oh, and it was actually TWO ship classes (for the price of four). Guess somebody forgot about that whole “down select” portion of the JCIDS flowchart).

So now we are going to create ANOTHER class of ship to fill the yet unknown role of the two classes of ship that we built that we still don’t know what to do with.

Chuck Hagel is a freaking genius. Those two years as a grunt in the military in Vietnam have really equipped him to lead the military into the future. Way to go!

Meanwhile, we still have two classes of ship with known missions (frigates and destroyers) that we need to build…

The whole LCS misadventure is criminal and heads should roll in the Navy over this, both in active and retired ranks.

You hit that nail on the head. We keep doing the same thing over and over again each time expecting a different result, and then we are surprised when things get worse instead of better despite an obvious trend.

And they keep reinventing the wheel. They used to be called PT boats back in the days. Then they were PBRs patrolling the Mekong Delta. SSDD.

The tail is wagging the dog again.

Pretty strange I thought that SEAL standed for sea air land. Who is the idiot?

Manually operated? You mean manually operated such as pressing the red button on he very same computer on which the auto mode(or whatever marketing term they used for it) depend or a genuine manual mode where a monkey in the turret got total control –whatever happen to the control room?

USN antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability in deep blue water is rather good. We had a lot of practice against the Soviets during that long Cold War. I think we should have kept up better efforts in advancing our capabilities there, regardless the variation in near term threats. We have a big investment in the CSGs, and we need to better protect that, as those CSGs will remain key in projecting conventional force at a distance. We win wars by putting boots on the ground, but first need to gain control of air, surface, and subsurface, and USN uses CSGs for that.

SSKs can hide in the shallows, and can leverage that capability to ambush a worthwhile target passing through a choke point. That is why USN is working at building ASW capability for use in the shallow green water of the littorals, where much higher ambient noise level obfuscates sonar, where numerous reflections interfere with sonar, where an SSK can hide behind shoals and reefs, where you have to get on top of something to find it.

Offboard sytems and especially unmanned offboard systems will allow one ship to cover more water, and allow it to operate at increased standoff distance for reduced risk. I think that LCS, especially Austal’s trimaran variant, may become very effective platforms for deploying, recovering, and operating those offboard systems, manned and unmanned, especially the latter. Regardless Navy’s sales pitch, I don’t see them as surface warfare ships. But several LCS working with one DDG could deploy a lot more offboard systems than could be deployed by several DDGs. LCS are not gunboats, but could be significant force and sensor multipliers in green water with offboard systems. DDG are full spectrum combat vessels. FFGs are for small navies operating near their own coastline, where their own land based radars and aircraft can save their arse in a real fight.

The 82 foot Mark V Special Operations Craft or the new 85 foot Mark VI Patrol Boat could be used to provide screening, perimeter defense, force protection, etc. for a small squadron of LCS working in the littorals with a DDG.

USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) class Dock Landing Ship has a well deck large enough to transport and deploy up to eight Mark V or Mark VI, as well as crews, support, etc.

It may make more sense to have a Sea Stallion or other helicopter carry and drop the drones near where you want them, rather than to whisk a boat far ahead of the fleet to then release the drones. That said, helicopters are indeed the faster solution to cover a lot of ground, and something like a DASH to find and fix submarine or surface targets would be a powerful force multiplier. Alternatively, with enough endurance you launch them from a ship with a well deck and have it move ahead of the fleet…littoral delivery boat not required.

LCS=Little Carrier of Stuff

I spent 25 years in the USN and I know we are not a shallow water force. I agree with several comments that we should finish the hull numbers currently under production and then turn them over to the Coast Guard. They are the experts in operating in shollow/coastal water, not the USN. USCG personnel served in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq war and did an excellent job. It would negate all the loadout packs needed. All they would need is a bigger brig to hold the bitches they catch running drugs.

The LCS program was ‘passed’ just like Obamacare

they said “Let’s build it first to find out what’s in it…”


Not sure where LCS is meant to be, but it’ll probably spend more time beyond the surf zone doing ASubW/ASpeedboatW/MCM than within the surf zone.

I say again I’d like from the secretary maybe get at today one of these new LCM yes that’s front tier I served on the front tier doing the Korean War and it served in World War II and Korean War I like prosector take it and Naymut on these new aluminum ships but I got maple architects should take a look at what the Fault now war is what about Fuck OR one Argentina done to England shut those lumen missiles and shut the aluminum boats or something waterline so I think they should look and be sure and today morning yes frontier Muskhogean the front Caroline I do hope it they put some metal in there to keep lumina from burning thank you so much Argentina is done to England those aluminum poles a built by shut muscles and he went down to the water Lynburn I think I would maybe should name one of the front tier because they own the front care of you quillwort stuff it would shoot them down to the waterline that Woodburn to the waterline so I would like to name one on the SS front tier thank you so much war done to England

“Slap on a welldeck”?

Regardless how an unmanned systems is deployed, it needs time to perform the mission and needs support. Air breathing systems need fuel. Submerged systems need battery swaps, data extraction, etc. Any hands on support has to be near enough and/or fast enough to minimize the offline fraction of the duty cycles of the unmanned systems to reduce the time needed for those to perform the mission.

They also need to be able to quickly recover a malfunctioning unit, else somebody else may take posession, enemy or thief. They need to recover units when the work is done on one piece of water and may need to reposition units to other water. A faster ship can cover more water in deploying, suporting and operating unmanned systems. A large mission bay and flight deck increases capacity for that.

Now if we can just get rid of that POS F-35…

Quote from a recent report on the LCS: “In particular, the DOT&E report questioned the efficacy and readiness of the LCS Mine Countermeasures, or MCM, mission-package.”

We have a great expeditionary mine hunting capability using Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) with follow-on EOD neutralization. The LCS MCM package will not come close to the capabilities that we already have with 3 RHIBs which can operate off an Amphib (L-Class) from over the horizon. The LCS MCM package has already been made obsolete.

Which reminds me: if an LCS is mothershipping multiple drones, what is the maximum number of drones over what surface area the LCS can keep tabs on/maintain/launch/retrieve before it gets overworked?

It’s very much a problem seen in carriers: there’s a certain wing size and parameters that determine how much area it can “control” and to a certain degree. Indeed, a small vessel to launch and retrieve is one thing, but they could at most maintain one or two drones and could probably only do one or two tasks at a time.

The real test we’ve been waiting for is to see if a LCS can run into a simulated minefield of indeterminate size, deploy drones and do its MCM mission, potentially in a simulated threat environment. Zipping around in disaster relief is interesting, but not why the Navy funded this project in the first place: even the lowliest frigate can accomplish disaster relief missions. LCS’ future depends on its reliable interoperability with drones, and if those drone programs get canned to free up money for LCS, then we have bought the horses without buying the cart.

Luckily they already have welldecks and CIWS.

Using them as a Marine Delivery Platform wouldn’t be a bad idea. They could provide support for the end-run towards the beach, where low draft and high speed comes in handy. They are stupidly expensive though, and could always use more guns and rockets if you are going to send them directly into a high threat environment. TOW launchers, MLRS, 81mm mortars, anyone?

tldr: Contractor that caused the problems in the first place roots around for the smell of repair and fixit cash.

Firstly that quote is completely out of context. If you read further you’ll read this:
” the service instituted a reliability growth program for the Remote Minehunting System in 2011, and “the system is now meeting its performance objectives.”

Secondly, our EOD teams use the Remus 600 UUV for minehunting off of those RHIBs. Maximum endurance for a Remus is 24 hrs (reality is far less when loaded with sensors). The RMMV by comparison, carrying a far superior AQS-20A, has already met the endurance of the Remus and is still climbing in it’s Reliability Growth Curve.

Lastly, the whole point of using the LCS is to keep the man out of the minefield. While the EOD teams are good at what they do, they’re slower, and specialize in certain environments. EOD is only one third of the mine hunting capability of the US Navy (the other two being MCMs and Marine Mammals).

Side note: The LCS launches and recovers the exact RHIBs the EOD teams use. Would you like to send a $1.5bil L-Class ship to launch a few RHIBs for mine clearance or a single $380mil LCS?

What?! No surface ships use torpedoes to attack other surface ships. The 12.75 inch Mk54 LWT Torpedo is for anti submarine work only. Meanwhile, the 21 inch Mk48 HWT Torpedo is the only anti surface ship torpedo in US Navy inventory. The only thing that can launch them are submarines. So yes, you can deny that that torpedo tubes are a baseline standard in anti-surface work. Don’t knock the LCS for not carrying something that doesn’t exist.

No I mean old school manually operated (as a backup of course, which is what the commentor was referring to). The gun is still operated remotely like every other gun these days.

Now, I really do not know his a lot about his history, but why would you bash Hagel when he inherited this screwed up program to begin with. Seems like he is just trying to figure out what to do, and how to best use these.….ships.
What ever they were originally designed for, and now that they don’t work right for those missions, it would seem prudent to find a purpose for them prior to building the rest, and spending all that money.
It is actually mind boggling,. when I read about the amount of money that is ill spent or wasted all over the military. Each branch, and hate to say it, even the marines as small as their service is, with that amphibious landing.….tank…troop carrier, what ever, that has been cancelled. How much was blown on that thing.…$30 billion or so.…..just a shame.


We should’ve started with an expanded/improved version of the Cyclone class, but smaller than LCS (Cyclones are ~370tons fully loaded, LCS is 3000 — almost 10X the size).

LCS was built too large/expensive for littoral use, too small for serious sea duty. A bona-fide naval misfit.

Tomcat is right in this case — knocking LCS for a lack of anti-ship torpedo armament simply isn’t fair.

Besides — LCS has sufficient deficiencies for the stuff it both does and doesn’t have — but shouldn’t or should.

If you thought LCS was bad just wait for the disaster that will be LCS 2.0

What?! How can Cyclone perform MCM duties? This is an absurd comparison. At the very LEAST you need a flight deck. Add in 11m RHIB launch and recovery. You’re easily up to a 3,000 ton displacement.

Hagel is the one that cut the LCS buy in half. He’s taking steps in the right direction, but ultimately I still want to see this program canned for good.

Can you clarify please, manual mode is remote or not? Because the videos I’ve watched showed a double 30mm failure (OK it’s was still being tested) where the second canon was incapacitated as a “safety precaution” just like alis grounded the f-35. The problem was dynamic and they couldn’t fire a single round per design.

Any override added?


Looks like you’ll get your answer this summer sometime.

These are the same turrets that are on the LPDs and the same gun was used in the EFV design. There are both a Manual mode and a Remote mode. The Manual mode is done in the gun. Remember when you see test events they’re being performed on prototypes not production versions. By virtue of being prototypes, they’re not built to robustness that production versions are.

Why not send a LCS to the Black Sea instead of a Burke class DDG pulled from a carrier strike force. LCS was built for these “littoral missions”. Would be a great way to justify the LCS program. Why not send one of them? What signal does the Navy send by NOT sending an LCS instead of a Burke .…

Just wait and see. The Navy will re-name and existing LCS design with only minor changes. The result the same ship with many of the same problems with a new name.

Just wait. The navy will come next year with a re-designed LCS. It will be the same ship, most of the same problems with a new name. They will say this is affordable, and we will repeat this entire process again until we have no money for ship building or one of these things is sunk by a patrol boat with an anti-ship missle.

According to the latest CNO interview, the US doesn’t have time to design a new frigate (which implies a “redesigned” LCS). Well, if one year is not enough time to design a real frigate (which I don’t believe), the US Navy should just take one of the current NATO designs and build it in a US shipyard. After all, we want them to buy our stuff for operational commonality. Shouldn’t that work both ways? It would certainly be cheaper, with no cost overruns.

Plus, when you have a lemon, you cut off production right now! At 18 LCS, if you include the 4 budgeted in FY14. Smarter would suggest no FY14 award (scheduled for March), resulting in 14 LCS. That would DRIVE the Navy to get on with a real frigate.

And if the US Navy can’t live with a NATO design, just lighten a DDG-51 hull design. It worked for going from the DD-963 to the heavier Aegis cruisers. Should work here, too.

Take away the “profit on development” carrot and we’ll go back to the Navy designing its own ships. That’s the only way you’re going to get real warships again. What we have now is nothing but welfare for the rich playing itself out in the usual way.

That’s not welfare for the rich. Those payments are made without question or accountability.

Those “cheap” DDG-51s already cost as much as an Iowa class battleship. They are only a bargain compared to the tippy DDG that costs as much as two battleships. Funny how the criteria for a program being a “success” changes over time, isn’t it? Now guess how much the follow on to the LCS is going to cost? I’ll bet it won’t be cheaper or better than what we have now. What’s your bet?


Problem wish bad designs, there not much you can do about them once they get into production as far they have gotten. Concept was interesting, but the hull choices were bad. Not enough room to modifiy them to handle changes as maturity of the design evolved and military along with it. Get small frigate handle those duties and use smaller Corvette for the coastal needs if thats the problem. Maybe we won’t have a fleet of 500, but least we’ll have something useful. Perry Frigates are reduced to patrol boats.

The original idea for a Navy Littoral Combat Ship was “can we add some arms & armament to a Coast Guard patrol Boat? Should be fairly quick and inexpensive to beef up a Coast Guard boat”.…..

The don’t want a Navy that can fight.… The LCS is part of the “Force For Good” Navy, and like its Commisar is Cheese, or Sleasze… Its more suited to his idela, like RUNNING AWAY. Thus the “need for speed” not durablilty, survivability and combat capability. Thought everyone knew that.

the F35 can be taken out with a single 50 cal round too, does that mean we should scrap it too?

Now you start to ask questions that you should have asked before you spent all that money on something that is worthless and you countinue to do this on everythibg you purchase then say the price keeps rising. You should have a line drawn in thhe sand before you start waisting our tax payers money.

Some of us older sailors can’t even fathom going 40 knots. But, to continue to build a ship that can’t properly protect itself is crazy. I’m not up on all the new weapons that are available (I used to be the left gun captain in a 5“38cal twin gun mount on a Gearing class destroyer), but it seems to me that with Phalanx and some of the other high speed multi barrel guns available that putting these along with a variety of missles makes a lot of sense. My youngest son got out of the Navy last year and is now a welder at the shipyard here in Wisconsin where they are building these LCS’s. So, for his sake I hope they continue to build them. But, if they come up with a better design or a new class ship that’s fine as long as it’s my kid building them.

One of the flaws in deciding that we “needed” the shallow draught of the LCS to perform ASW in littoral areas is that,
if the water is deep enough for ANY combat sub to effectively function in said littoral waterways,
then the water is sufficiently deep enough even for a Burke to be performing the ASW mission.

I would like to see the suggested submarine threat they (USN think tank?) decided could operate in shallow-enough waters that the current FFGs and DDGs could not pursue them there…oddly enough though, those ships’ main ASW systems are, again, the same Sea Hawk derivatives the LCS will use.

And if there’s some kind of tethered or untethered remote submersible vehicle used to conduct ASW as well as MCM,
well, if the water is so deep that it requires said UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle), then it is also more than deep enough for any current FFG or DDG to function in.

It was already established that a primary component of MCM will be UUVs. Why do we need a flight deck for those?

There are quite a few over-the-side UUV designs that can effectively be launched by the same gantry equipment that deploy the RHIBs, or less.
One does NOT ~need~ helicopters to deploy UUVs on MCM.
Helos are a nice additional asset that can increase your surveillance area, but unless they are surface mines detectable by the helo’s radar, then the locating and neutralization can be conducted by non-helo-deployed systems.
Why send $60M worth of maritime multirole helicopter to perform the same mission as a less-than-$1M UUV system?

You’re clearly not familiar with minehunting. I’m not going to teach you about every single system that’s required to clear a mine field, but I’ll point you towards to two most relevant ones in this case.

The Helo’s aren’t for deploying UUVs. They’re from scanning the surface with ALMDS


and neutralizing with AMNS

The operative letter in both those acronyms being “A”. “A” is for airborne. You need both. Your argument is illogical.

And yet no Avenger class minesweepers carried helos, yet when did the USN ever decry the ships were ineffective at MCM because they lacked organic helicopter support?

For that matter, what about those big sleds the Stallion derivativews towed behind them in the water? I was never aware those big helos were using their own onboard radar in the process.

Also consider how many foreign nations have numerous MCM-capable platforms conducting the mission with UUVs and WITHOUT helicopters.

How man decades was counter-mine warfare conducted successfully WITHOUT helicopters being part of the process?
My argument isn’t illogical, it’s fact-based.
Your cherry-picking to support your perspective is what’s flawed.

The ideal anti-surface weapon here would’ve been a seeker-equipped POLAR variant. POLAR (Precision, Over-the-horizon, Land Attack Rocket) was an MLRS-derived naval support weapon whose only real failure was being born at a time when the USN was adamant about getting its 155mm armed DDG1000s firing LRLAPs.
Having an overall stored dimension similar to an ESSM, POLARs could effectively quad-pack into a Mk41 VLS cell just like ESSMs can. So having any Mk41-equipped vessel capable of providing credible surface fire support would’ve been a counter to the Zumwalt/AGS program.
The ideal seeker today could be very similar to what’s currently mounted in the Brimstone, or better still the refined and matured tri-mode seeker tech developed from NetFires and JAGM and being implemented in future iterations of the SDB II.
Mounting a multi-aspect seeker would minimalize its ability to be jammed or decoyed, and the ~90kg/200pound warhead that the current G-MLRS rocket carries is nothing to scoff at.
We don’t need Harpoon-sized anti-ship weapons when fighting vessels generally LCS-sized or smaller.

The US “doesn’t have time” to design a new frigate?
They plan on instigating a war sooner rather than later?

We need only look to the MEKO family to see that modular, scalable success is achievable in corvette and frigate-sized designs.
Even the Israeli Sa’ars or the Russian Strereguschiiy (sp?) are prime examples of packing quarts of firepower into pint-sized containers.

We argue that there’s little sense in using hundred-thousand-dollar missiles to destroy thousand-dollar pirate boats…but waste tens of thousands of dollars in fuel to chase them at 40+knot speeds is acceptable?

Bashing Hagel because he hasn’t killed LCS entirely. He has been in the job long enough that he doesn’t get to bash the person he relieved anymore. He is part of the problem now.

“How to best use these…ships” is going to cost us a lot more money, and the contractor will be happy to guide us down that merry little path.

Again I saw: ACQ101. When a program is in trouble financially, throwing more money at it is almost ALWAYS the wrong answer. Time to kill it.

32 boats at $680M each (plus $600M for mission module) is a hell of a lot of money. Expecially since a proven blue-water frigate design with 2x the capability is half that price.

Where will they find the money? I know… lets cut the Army, while we are still in the middle of a war. Smart move. Just because we think we are done with that war doesn’t mean it is done with us…

Hell, we have the technology to make them go faster than 40 knots and make them better armed and armored. The designs you see know were chosen because they maximized profit, not performance.

the contractors gave the navy what they asked for. Can’t blame them for for building what the navy asked for. The navy need to rid itself of all the incompetents who kept this thing going for so and wasting so much money!


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