Navy Memo Details New LCS Replacement Task Force

Navy Memo Details New LCS Replacement Task Force

The Navy has launched a special Small Surface Combatant Task Force to study alternative proposals for the Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS, as directed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The March 13 memo, signed by Navy acquisition executive Sean Stackley and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, directs the new task force to consider alternative proposals to procure a “capable and lethal small surface combatant generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.”

The Small Surface Combatant Task Force, or SSCTF, will explore potential new designs as well as modifications to the existing LCS platform, according to the memo. Led by Marine Corps Systems Command, the task force will include large elements from Naval Sea Systems Command and the Navy’s surface warfare requirements office.

The memo comes on the heels of an announcement by Hagel that the LCS program would be reduced from 52 to 32 ships, leading the Navy to come up with these alternative proposals for the future of the LCS program.

The SSCTF will look at the full range of requirements for the small combatant to include speed, survivability, lethality, weapons and communications equipment.

“The direction is to find a more lethal and survivable ship. The task force is taking a hard look at the lethality and the offensive nature of the ship with survivability emphasized as well. Affordability is a common factor throughout this process,” a Navy official said.

Lethality assessments are directed to considered air, surface and undersea threats and take emerging threats into consideration. One of the principal reasons for this program is that the LCS was criticized for not being survivable enough.

Defenders of the program have pointed to its speed and weaponry, saying that the ship was intended for multi-mission shallow water assignments and was never meant to function as a destroyer. That being said, the task force’s exploration of a small surface combatant is heavily assessing survivability and lethality as key requirements parameters, according to the memo.

The SSCTF is directed to deliver an analysis plan to Stackley and Greenert by March 31 of this year and have their overall findings completed by the end of July, 2014.

The memo instructs the newly formed task force to perform a side-by-side trade space requirements analysis of the LCS and a frigate with a mind to determining what will be best for this new ship.

The mission of LCS is the focus of the task force 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.

Affordability is a consistent tenet woven throughout the memo and held up as a standard informing and guiding decisions regarding the development of the new small surface combatant being taken up by the task force.

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“capable and lethal small surface combatant generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate”

Done. Buy the Ambassador class FAC’s. Use the LCS as a tender to these FAC’s or build new tenders. This frees up LCS for missions the navy intended it to do instead of shooting up small speedboats while clearing minefields, especially now that we are down to 32 LCS.

It’ll be telling if any of the members of this task force are current card carrying members of the LCS mafia

I’m getting kinda leery about the Military’s ability to do any good logistics planning. Seems we have been throwing good money after bad for a long time. Why should I expect some new task force to do any better? Remember, some past task force got us the LCS in the first place. Hey, I love the military but I am kinda sick of the incompetence in the procurement and planning arena. I was an engineer for General Dynamics for many years. I worked on lots of DoD projects and wrote lots of DoD proposals. I studied all the DoD manuals for project planning and execution. All those manuals and still, we build the wrong things and we build them with gross cost over-runs.

The only option the US navy has is either the buying a foreign design such as Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate or the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate. The other is taking the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter design and turn that into a Patrol frigate.

Really Nicky? You are privy to the deisgn proposals that American yards have made before? The detailed ship designs that have been done but not built? Please tell us all the specific data about those designs since you have already fully analyzed the designs and performed an engineering analysis that shows specifically why they are not acceptable.

The way i see it, the LCS is one miserable failure. It’s why the LCS needs to be sent to the PC and MCM fleet.. The fact is the LCS is so short legged, that it can’t sail across the pacific without an oiler or supply ship. on top of that, the LCS is so underarmed that it will never survive combat.

It is 2500 statute miles from San Diego to Oahu. The Independence Class LCS has a range of 4300 nautical miles at 18 knots, considerably more at 16 knots. Range isn’t the issue.

Sea legs and Armament is. on top of that the US Navy is trying to make the LCS look like a mutant by combining a Corvette, Frigate and MCM into one. When in reality, that don’t work that way.

It appears that Sec. Hagel has been persuaded that too much has been sacrificed for sprint speed. The mission modules aren’t that quickly or easily swapped, organic point defense against antiship missiles might politely be described as limited, the ships have cost as much as any high-end frigate, and so on … In a word, he has doubts that the concept of operations is workable. OTOH the work is keeping several key Congressmen’s districts busy, so I’d bet the result is a modest reworking of the current LCS designs.

In what way is a craft capable of no more than a week at sea, armed with missiles that would require an offboard sensor (i.e., a helo) that it cannot embark to employ, consistent with the capabilities of a frigate?

My understanding is that Navy ships tend to avoid traveling in straight lines, which in turn tends to eat into a ship’s stated range…

Just buy a NATO frigate and save on design money and time. Can start building it in an American yard TOMORROW to keep jobs. We need firepower, not targets. Awarding the FY14 funds was a mistake. Give ALL these ships to Taiwan. They can load them up as expendable missile platforms for round one of any initial conflict with China. If anything, the LCS program shows how inept we have become in building a real navy. And we should definitely have learned multiple class surface warships is a done concept. Other navies build them as their high end warships because they can’t afford anything bigger. We don’t need to have frigates. For the money, just build more DDG-51’s.

If there’s a weakness to LCS it isn’t short legs.

It can indeed self-deploy over long ranges, as intended, but at the economy speed. Or it can zip at high speed and at the expense of range.

Mr. Osborn, you dodn’t mention why the Marine Corps System Command was put in charge. They’ve taken 23 years to design, build and test a successor amphibious assault vehicle, and are now on round three. Talk about dumb and dumber.

Depends on what the Navy wants. Or thinks it wants.

If the Navy is going to spend a lot of time pulled up at Bahrain endurance probably isn’t a big deal. But if it wants to be blue water again, then the FAC is the wrong choice, and especially without the Yellowstones and other tenders. With some kind of mothership the FAC’s could be kept parked off the coast of Somalia as long as required. If “showing the flag” in low intensity areas and mostly hopping from port to port, then the low endurance of the FAC isn’t bad either.

The lack of a helicopter is deleterious in wartime; and it would need mitigation with something small, like a VTOL UAV (DASH-sized?) to carry sensors ahead of the ship. Otherwise, like LCS it will be operating under someone else’s umbrella.

Also, someone else has already done an analysis (https://​www​.ida​.org/​u​p​l​o​a​d​/​r​e​s​e​a​rch notes/researchnoteswinter2003.pdf) that generally leans towards a larger ship, concluding:

From a more detailed perspective, we found that the two smallest small combatant configurations—
those at 500 and 1,000 tons—provided less capability than the larger versions (see Figure 2).
Because these ships lacked both gun and helicopter, they provided reduced capability in mine
countermeasures and presence as well as precision strike. The 500– and 1,000– ton small combatants would have to be modularized with a helicopter flight deck to improving their mine
countermeasure capability. However, since ships of this size would be too small to accommodate even a 5-inch gun and its magazine, they could only provide limited precision-strike capability. And,
although small combatants of these sizes offer the possibility of a larger fleet, their small combat
payloads would likely limit their presence contribution.

This study probably drove LCS considerably.


“The assessment also showed that equipping the
small combatants with modularized sensor and
weapon payloads with enhanced capabilities in a
specific warfare area was more effective than the
multi-mission configuration that included less
extensive capability in several warfare areas.
Realizing such a benefit in practice, however, was
considered problematical since it would require
Navy strike group commanders to have sufficient
advance knowledge of the specific threats to be
encountered that the small
combatants could be
configured with the
appropriate combat module.

Well said

The complement of the LCS is either going to be another modular boat, or a non-modular boat that will have to be less capable by implication. The FAC will never do well in blue water north Atlantic missions, but it’ll probably do for east africa and the persian gulf, and free up blue water forces that would otherwise be tied down there. Of course, this means there will really need to be some kind of blue water frigate…

A north-atlantic capable frigate would be an interesting challenge of its own. I suppose consultation with NATO members (or even some kind of NATO-standard frigate) would be the way to go. A standard frigate that could be repaired at any members facilities with interchangeable parts if damaged would be very helpful.

And yet the Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigate had just 4500 nm range at slightly higher speed and that was not an issue for most of the LCS bashers.
Armament is a problem with the LCS classes, as is survivability. But keep the argument on the facts, not the hyperbole. It is a mine counter measure ship not an FFG. The Avenger class mine counter measure ships have a much shorter range than the Independence Class.

Someone please turn off the internet. I need to vomit.

“A standard frigate that could be repaired at any members facilities with interchangeable parts if damaged would be very helpful..”

In theory only, it sounds good.
But we’re trying the same approach (international/partner support)
with an aircraft called the F-35. Look where that’s gotten us.
Now you wanna suggest we try something similar but with a ship?
Billion-dollar-a-hull pricetag when all is said and done, giving us a master-of-no-trades, mediocre-at-everything-else kinda platform.

The biggest issue would be that given nations involved will most likely want the option of “homegrown” weapons, sensors, and machinery systems rather than being predominantly reliant on everything-US-supplied. That expense is one factor in why more once-formerly-dependent-on-the-US allies have pursued increasing indigenous defense industry infrastructure.

There is another take on this story over at DefenseNews​.Com,

It does mention:
“Unlike the council [LCS], which was led by a three-star admiral, the task force [SSCTF] is being led by a civilian, and does not include a flag officer.”


“Six experienced captains, one commander and another civilian, all from OPNAV — the offices reporting directly to CNO, or the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) — make up the rest of the task force membership.”

I do seriously hope this new group will pay close attention to DOT&E’s LCS dossier since the vessels hit water, and I do hope their intellects are well enough versed in the worldwide trends that encompass all manner of frigate/corvette/FAC/OPV development and deployment.
Nothing worse for a program than a thinktank committee who hasn’t ever really studied the why-and-how developmental history of the system(s) they’re “thinktanking” about. We don’t need defense-industry-paid shills trying to market a specific concept a given contractor has been pushing.

Hey, come on now, you’re questioning the axiom upon which this whole house of cards is built. The next program will be better. We will do it right next time. Pay no attention to the fact that we screwed you last time and the time before that and the time before that. All you need to know is that the next program will be better. We have top people studying this problem right now. Top people.

“It is a mine counter measure ship not an FFG”

It is only a MCM with the appropriate modules. The Avenger uses a specialised set of drones to clear mines that perhaps could be deployed from the LCS with little difficulty.

However, the Avengers are < 2 ktons, so comparing a very small MCM to an LCS is probably a easy win for a much larger ship. Just like a smaller FAC lacks the endurance or range or speed (depending on class of FAC) of the LCS, a smaller MCM boat/ship has similar deployability issues.

Come on, people, sing it with me now! The next program will be better. We will do it right next time.

The Freedom class LCS has plenty of foreign content. Italian diesels for power, RR Trents, EADS surface radar. The Independence is running MTU diesels, American LM 2500 and a Sea Giraffe.

Thanks and welcome to the skeptics club.

Does it even qualify as skepticism anymore? I mean, after you’re been screwed for the thousandth time, does it qualify you as a skeptic to believe you are going to get screwed on the one thousand and first time? Maybe we should be the Club of the Less Delusional. I’m sure there’s some really good acronym there, but I’ve just never been good at that sort of thing.

But you said that the US’s ONLY OPTION was to buy a foreign design. Where is your analysis of OTHER US DESIGNS?? You sound so very knowledgeable so surely you must have examined the US’s options before you dismissed them.

The direction is to find a more lethal and survivable ship. The task force is taking a hard look at the lethality and the offensive nature of the ship with survivability emphasized as well…
If you need a frigate — get a frigate (maybe license one of our allied nations models — there are several very good designs). If you want/need something that will operate in the littorals, start with the Cyclone class, improve/expand on it, and design the platform to be as easy to upgrade as possible (target between 1500–2000 tons).

Use the current LCS as modestly armed minesweepers or patrol boats.

Yes but it’s LCS and pretty much a F-35 under armed on the sea.…which means it’s crap without half the things it’s supposed to have and completely out classed by anything but a fishing boat with a machine gun.

They got a better alternative in production DDG-1000 face it little toy boats meant for fighting in conflicts like Desert Strom or the Balkans isn’t needed to face the Chinese blue water navy we need real ships.

Hope they navy comes to its senses.

today its a mine countermeasures ship tomorrow its a ferry next week its a target barge a year from now its an artificial reef. The great thing about being the mufti-mission LCS is that you can adapt to any situation.

Hell yeah, they cost twice as much as an Iowa Class Battleship (cost adjusted for inflation, doncha know). They must good.

Johnny, the zig zag courses went away when the U-Boat/IJN submarine threat went away. Around 1945.

NO! Really???

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Seriously, though, does the navy have its ships do anything other than shortest distance routes? I thought they pretty much sailed point to point, avoiding any hazards of course.

They probably do in peacetime to save gas. Wartime? I really don’t know.

Good one!

The issue isn’t fully just the current two LCS’ foreign supplied bits and pieces,
as many of those individual components HAVE proven they’re capable,…just in other designs.
Ther major flaws the 2 LCS have is in the integration of all that stuff.
Both ships have a capable 57mm gun…but the poor integration of fire control (primarily electro-optical) and sufficient fire-on-the-move stabilization are a major handicap (MBTs and other AFVs are quite capable at staying on target while maneuvering across rough terrain at speed; neither LCS has shown they can adequately engage speedboats with accurate gunfire while the ship is at any worthwhile pursuit speed, in less-than-favorable sea states).

Also consider that the missiles suites are an utter disgrace.
The RIM-116 RAM is a perfectly-capable multi-target missile, but with the failure of NetFires and Griffin being the only accepted alternative so far, when so many other US-friendly nations have numerous more capable designs (Israeli Spike family?), to include capable SAMs (SPYDER, BARAK, NASAMS) that are ideally sized for the vessel, and even more-than-adequate SSM types (even various precious rockets like G-MLRS, ACCULAR 160), a LOT of capable armaments, but never considered because the design was never really fully explored as to what the Mission Modules Concept could fully exploit, and what should’ve been basic components of the ship to begin with.
That so many partner nations want more direct control over their F-35 variants (source codes, alternative systems integrations), would also be a major cost-driving factor of a naval frigate equivalent of the aerial F-35.

Perhaps it should be considered that, in its haste to make so many platforms “multi role”, maybe the USN LCS committee decided on too many missions into the same platform, that the same platform isn’t actually ideally suited to perform?

Shallow draught for MCM and high-speed coastal anti-piracy is fine.
Shallow draught is NOT needed for ASW: if submarines can operate in the area, then so can a Burke to hunt them.
If I am going to be much closer to a coastline than a full-fledged Aegis-equipped destroyer, then I am going to need my own capable air/sea search radar suite, suitably matched to a better point defense-to-medium-range SAM AND SSMs to be a more effective, quicker-reacting deterrent than needing to rely on larger ships farther away that will take minutes of time to respond to get support for air, sea, or even land threats I cannot effectively respond to; time I may not have in the nearer-shore waterways, time I may only have to measure in dozens of seconds, not several minutes waiting for help from someone else.

One of the possible outcomes is to up-arm LCS, which would upset the haters, but that’s directly reflected in Hagel’s comments and instructions. That being said, uparming it wouldn’t be a bad plan, but it would not address the survivablility factor. Because they’re classified, the Probability of Raid Assessments will likely not see the light of day — but I think most of us will be unpleasantly surprised to find that PRAs for most surface combatants, even hard-core ones like Arleigh Burkes, are not as optimistic as we’d like to think. Modern precision munitions, esp. first-strike, extremely fast and heavy ones favored by RUS and PRC are the primary threat, along with torpedos.

At the most, LCS could be uparmed to try and take on peer frigate threats, but that means rethinking the volume of weapons it can carry and move up the sensor suites. In the meantime, what to do with the 32 hulls coming off the ways? Kill MIW mission package and restart it — it’s a total waste given what LCS 2 workups have shown. Put the rest of the money into finishing off ASW and SuW Increment 2 (which would put something heftier than Griffin as an SSM — preferably the marinized version of Brimstone) and permanently assign those modules to the ships. If needed, reserve a number of hulls when MIW is figured out.

Or a presidential yacht.

“Navy details new Super Hornet replacement, uses JSF as baseline…”

The nightmare is coming

Yeah, but then they’d have to add an engine and totally redesign the thing, and once they were done it would be so heavy with all of the “must have” crap that it could only float if it were unoccupied. Besides, too much of this ship is made in the USA to be a presidential vehicle.

Up-arming LCS would be dubious at best, due to the weak sea-frame. LCS is only built to the Navy’s lowest standard (level 1), while common fleet oilers (non-combatants) are built to the level 2 standard. The idea, was apparently to give the crew enough time to abandon ship if LCS got hit with anything of substance (hardly inspiring, IMHO).

As any architect will tell you, adding another floor to a house with a weakly built foundation is a waste of money.

That’s why I am all for buying a frigate design such as the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate or the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate. Have it built in American shipyards and outfitted in America.

DDG-1000 wasn’t helped by the fact it was chopped down to 3 ships from 32 originally planned. That will make unit costs skyrocket for sure. There are a lot of R&D costs relating to the hull design, the 155mm AGS, new VLS, new radar, new propulsion/electric systems, and who knows what else. A lot more new features than what the LCS came with.

By comparison the Iowa class was the next development of US fast battleship design in a time when we had plenty of shipyards across the country building record numbers of ships. Pretty much everything on those ships was based off earlier system. Then our economy was geared towards wartime production and the builders knew their craft well. How many shipyards are we down to today? Look at LPD-17 to see all of the quality problems that really shouldn’t be occurring.

Yep, it’s just a coincidence though. Nothing to see here. These ships programs get cancelled just as they enter production, but it’s definitely not because the defense contractors would rather make money off of designing rather than building them. It’s just bad luck that keeps happening over and over and over again.

Make sure the task force members were not on the LCS Task Force.

The whole LCS program went further south when they awarded the contract to two builders and two hull types.

Is this “Task Force” in lieu of a formal JCIDS AoA? Do they not have to do DoD 5000.02? This is a pretty big procurement decision to just wing it. I don’t get this.

They screwed up LCS so now we are going to circumvent the procurement process and rush to a new aiming point?

Note — I’m not a big fan of JCIDS since it is obvious that the procurement outcomes are at least as bad, if not worse, since its imposition.

Since this “memo” was signed out by the senior DOD acquisition executive, ASN (RDA) Sean Stackley, who is actually in charge of managing the whole JCIDS doctrine, I am betting that it meets all the rules.

Stackley wasn’t in charge when the LCS went through acquisition the first time around, so I guess we should give him the benefit of the doubt until his office screws it up again. I look forward to seeing what additional TWO classes of ship we will buy with the next LCS acquisition…

Sean, if you are listening, please remember to DOWN SELECT this time around. Just because both hull options look tempting (and because Congressman want to build them both) doesn’t mean we should break the rules… again…

That was Navy’s intentional strategy to lock-in LCS so they didn’t have to cut their budget, or give a bigger share to Army or Air Force. It’s backfired. Now they are paying for ships that can be knocked over by a drug lord’s cigar boat with an RPV.

There may be some sensibility in this. Frankly I am not sure why we are not dusting off the OH Perry long hull plans, reworking them for SM3 integration and UAV integration and support and then build them. The design is very sound, highly seaworthy, they can obviously take hits and they serve the purpose. We seem to think that we have to reinvent the wheel every time. This is why procurement is so FUBAR. You get good idea fairies in a room and they lose all sensibility.

The US has a singular interest in maritime operations: secure access to the commons. Period. We need to build our capacity toward that goal and then adapt to the other missions in the spectrum with combatant platforms. LCS was always a good idea fairy boat. It is a boondoggle that needs to be shut down as a lesson learned.

Frigates are essentially naval cavalry. They patrol and slow down the enemy’s initiative until the big stuff can arrive to engage decisively. They are meant to be capable speed bumps. LCS, who knows what that is? It’s more like a globally deployable potential reef. Frigates are the forward eyes of a NAVY. That is why we need them and frankly a lot of them.

China if it comes to pass is a cruiser, submarine conflict. Sink China’s navy and you nullify them. It is not a carrier conflict. It is not a frigate conflict. It is a put fish in hulls war that needs attack subs and over the horizon targeting capability with speed and agility to avoid their land based anti ship capabilities until you can render their sealift, hulks.

But then again try telling the carrier mafia that.

When orders get canceled due to massive cost overruns the contractors then claim that the overruns were due to the cancellations.

Just re-activate the Iowas. Problem solved.

Back in the 1980’s, the assumption for a reduced armed LCS was the idea that an Aegis ship would assist in any force penetration or combat Marine deployment. Why build an Aegis on top of a LCS? Because, the reasoning was a battle group would be near by. Any ship to ship or air to ship or land to ship missile would be handled by the Aegis. Remember Libya 1985. Aegis turned back missiles and torpedo to the enemy. Not one missile or bullet fired and the enemy destroyed by its own weapons.

Taiwan is now building a new twin-hulled Tuo Jiang-class catamaran that weighs 551 tons (slightly more than 1/6th that of LCS), that would clean the LCS’s clock long before it even knew it was in range.

That Taiwan can build something that can kill aircraft carriers, has a 76mm gun, for littoral operations demonstrates that the job can be done.

Instead, the US gets stuck with LCS, six times the size, overpriced, underachieving, and under gunned/armed: this would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. Granted the Taiwanese model is built for a different purpose — but given that we’re open to building a larger ship — we should be easily able to increase the range, match the armament, and add space for mission packages and a chopper without difficulty.

Apparently, building a corporate welfare program was the better option. Here’s hoping we smarten up this next time.

An improved Perry or scaled down Burke should work out well.

I just hope the navy gives up entirely on the LCS designs!

A major arguing point here is, why do we need Standard Missile equipped frigates?
Granted, the Mk 41 VLS is very capable, able to house SM-2/3/6 variants, Tomahawks, and quad-pack ESSMs.
But there again, do we really need the expense of such firepower, when there already are suitable options for smaller hulls?

The single-cell ESSM-capable VLS systems, especially when matched to the 10″ body diameter ESSM, offer a newer envelope to develop suitable armament for additional anti air missile designs, but more importantly an unexplored/under-developed volume for a decent short/medium range SSM family.

And since the LCS’ inception, we’ve seen considerable development in naval EASA radars and combat suites just as capable as the early SPY/Aegis on Ticos, but in a much smaler volume.
Any chosen LCS replacement should have such capabilities as built-in features, not add-on afterthoughts in module form.
If I have room for connex-sized mission modules, why then am I not just going to sea with those spaces occupied by this new (theoretical) medium-class VLS array?

That’s just a FAC, which the navy doesn’t want (I am forced to reference the Ambassador FAC’s). Taiwan doesn’t need to deploy far, it just needs to swarm and destroy an amphibious force in the Straits.

Which came first?

It’s a self sustaining cluster f.

The wildcard in whatever the winning future design is whether modularity stays as a factor or we go back to hard-welding weapon systems into the hull.

Given CNO Greenert’s strategic plans — “payloads, not platforms,” it’s a good bet that the future design will include modularity. It is true that a good portion time and expense in yard-level refit can be spent doing deep pulls and installs of weps and associated systems.

However, the modularity system (such as it is) as build in LCS design is not the answer. Back to the drawing board. Or we use the Danish system, but that’s unproven in terms of forward deployment. The Danes have never swapped systems while forward-deployed, so we should be aware there are gaps in that design that could come back to bite us later.

CA to Japan, via the Aleutians. Shorter curve of earth. Once transit starts, main delay is in course changes for flight ops.

The work horse of the USN “destroyers” are being challenged by the lcs. I do not believe the statements that the lcs was never meant to replace the destroyer. The destroyer should be supported by more destroyers and drop the lcs. more bang for the buck. Just look at the draft difference and you will see a very small difference not enough to drop a destroyer which is the backbone of the USN.

No, we can’t do that. They are too expensive, even though LCS-1 cost more than a new battleship (COSTS ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION).

This is what I don’t understand. My only guess is they’ve been put in charge to take a look at this purely from a “what makes best programattic sense”. In other words think about a ship from a Marine Corps shoe string budget perspective. I’m not sure how wise that is though.

Kill the MIW package? It’s soon to be the only means of conducting MCM in the fleet. That would be suicide.

As for uparming? I saw go for it stick on some harpoons if that’s what makes folks feel better, but as you stated that doesn’t answer survivability considering the advanced nature of our adversary’s first strike weapons. I’ve said it countless times on here, if you seriously think any modern warship (save for MAYBE a carrier) can take a beating from modern weapons the way WWII ships took beating than you’re delusional. The simple fact is that weaponry development far out paced armor decades ago. Our best defense is knocking out the weapons before they hit. Advance the EW, Anti missile, and anti-torpedo programs.

Navy R&D Morons! Now the Marines have to bail them out again!

“The idea, was apparently to give the crew enough time to abandon ship if LCS got hit with anything of substance”

Bull! That was most certainly never the intention or the reasoning for building it to that standard. If the LCS is hit it’s designed to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. The original reason for building a portion (not all of the ship is built to that standard) of the ship to that standard was to open the bidding to tier 2 shipyards and lower cost.

While I agree that the downselect would have produced a better solution, I wonder if the drive to keep two didn’t also have to do with the speed to fleet that two shipyards offered. The Navy was faced with not only aging Avengers, but also the FFGs. They used the “creates more jobs, and is cheaper” rhetoric to support their decision, but neither of those seem like strong drivers.

They’re not all conex sized. The LCS weapon stations were designed to accommodate, as you identified the need for, a shorter ranged low cost missile (in this case PAM/NLOS). NLOS met the requirements it needed to engage the threat and it fit LCS’s weapon stations. ESSM doesn’t. You can design this follow on ship to handle VLS, but honestly I think it’s overkill. They add a ton of weight and space to a design, all of which equals dollars.

I’m predicting this follow on class to cost around $900 mil, weigh in at 6,000 tons, and we’ll get 10 total. It’ll get 76mm gun, 3 or 4 LCS Class weapon stations, an 8 cell VLS, and an organic tow/stream capability. It’ll be the direct frigate replacement relieving the LCS of the ASW mission.

You’re like parrot with that ridiculous statement.

Stanflex is is no different, from a function standpoint, than LCS modularity. The difference in the two is that LCS employed four times as many stations as the largest stanflex ship (Iver-Huitfeldt Class, 6 stations, and twice the tonnage). I agree with the logistics challenges that are uncharted for the most part, but I think the LCS modularity is a victim of unnecessary requirements. Why is it necessary to swap packages out in under 48 hours? With a class of 52 forward deployed and only a handful of additional mission packages not deployed, where is the urgent need for a rapid swap? As you mentioned the swap is important in lowering the cost of upgrades. Had the requirement been set at a week (threshold) and 4 days (objective) than I doubt folks would be so upset about it now. They promised the moon unfortunately.

$1.8 BN dollars for a DDG these days Doc. Right now that buys you nearly 5 LCSs. To put it another way a DDG costs $184k per ton an LCS is $123k per ton. Not to mention the costs incurred by operating, maintaining, and upgrading a Burke. They’re not sustainable. You want a 303 ship navy? Then you’ve got to do it affordably. Re-design the LCS up to 6k tons and you’re fine.

Destroyers are getting more and more expensive because of capability creep.

With the loss of the cruiser the destroyer is pretty much a cruiser in all but name in terms of capability.

Imagine WW2 without DD’s and DE’s and just CA’s. That is what the navy is turning into. Inexpensive ships are needed to protect support vessels and perform the cheaper missions that don’t need a SPY-1 and 100 VLS cells. Plus the fact that the Navy still needs to perform certain specialist missions such as MCM

I guess designing a ship (without tracks or wheels) is easier than building and testing an amphibious assault vehicle for the last 23 years without getting it right! NOT!

Alvaro de Bazan Class is basically another DDG-51 Flight II. Less-Tubes, same gun, smaller size and its Aegis. The US Navy wants to able to send a ship in without worry about loosing something high-profile like a ship that is packing Aegis system.

They need something like a improved Knox Class Frigate, multiple functional, reliable, and more affordable. Aegis vessel are in the billions.

Hopefully the panal can come up with a vessel concept that will be doable for the engineers to come up with.
Capacity creep is a problem, however its more so being able settle with a survivable design without getting to crazy about cutting corners.

LCS was basically a good idea initially, however too much was added and too much was cut out. They should split the missions of having a ocean-capable combatant with a general purpose Frigate (non-Aegis) and a Corvette size ship that can be transportable is a ocean-capable ship isn’t cost effective for Littoral combat environment. Modules are also a good concept, its work in smaller European navies, if US engineers can get hang of it.

I read an article recently that made a GREAT point about modularity. Even assuming that the mission modules were available, capable, and could be swapped out in a reasonable amount of time, how do you sustain operator proficiency? Unless you were able to train in all three mission areas in very rapid succession, time after time after time (say, a few days ASW, a few days MCM, a few days ASuW, lather, rinse, repeat, over the course of a deployment) — which you CAN’T without sailing back to port, stopping all training for (optimistically) a few days while the modules are swapped out, and then heading BACK out to sea — then what real value is there in modularity? At least without accepting the expense of having some portion of the crew as essentially part of the “module” (i.e. if the typical crew were 90, and 60 were needed to run the ship and 30 were needed to run a module, you’d need 150 sailors)???

The assumption is probably that the boat would essentially be cabdrivers/caretakers and the module specialists would operate the payloads. It’s a little compartmentalized…

> I wonder if the drive to keep two didn’t also have to do with the speed to fleet that two shipyards offered

I think that the drive to keep two was purely the grand old tradition of political port. Powerful senators, both being lobbied by the defense contractor and shipyard in their state, torqued the acquisition system to keep both alternate designs alive. Follow the money…

A clear violation of the JCIDS process. Should have been an acquisition foul. Two different designs from two different contractors = two completely different logistics chains. And logistics is 2/3 the cost of any acquisition, so this inefficiency could easily have caused 50% increase in cost over the life of the platform.

But that is ok, because the senators are getting generous contributions to their re-election chest from grateful citizens in their home state…

port=pork. :)

As good as some of the foreign Frigate designs are, taking one of them would be a massive logistics headache (spare parts, training, technical support, maintenance, etc). So it’s really out of the question.

Here’s what I propose

Take the existing Perry class frigate with it’s well know and understood plant and hull and make some mods to it which include::
–lengthen the ship but putting in a 40 foot plug where the current 75mm mount it, this would house a VLS system, for ESSM, V-ASROC and V Harpoon (when ready)
–take the one arm bandit off the bow and put a lightweight 127mm gun up front
–keep the Phalanx but add a RAM system
–put some modern electronics and fire control on (perhaps a mini Aegis SPY-D if it’s affordable), and put all of this on a composite mast
–everything else about the ship is fine

so there we have it, a super Perry, that can be build at reasonable costs and in large numbers

Such a bs! That is simply not true.

Great Circle Mapper is a cool web site. San Diego to Oahu isn’t quite in the Aleutians but the shortest distance definitely has a curve to it.

Honestly, this is the start of the JCIDS process. High-ups contemplating how to replace something that is barely out of the gate. I am glad that they are starting to look at alternatives so early in the LCS’s life cycle. Better now then waiting until everything starts breaking and can’t be replaced, and some new threat is emerging and we have to rush to build requirements, skimp on development, then let the laborious production process suffer its politics-driven life, then rush testing and force feed whatever comes out the other end to the sailor who actually has to use it.

A little over 2 centuries ago, Thomas jefferson touted replacing warships with barges carrying a large cannon.
Would have worked OK in Chesapeak Bay, I guess. Liberal thinking never really changes.

Australia tried an upgrade to their Perrys in the form of the Adelaides…upgrading 6 ships cost over a billion and a half dollars. http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​A​d​e​l​a​i​d​e​_​c​l​a​s​s​_​f​r​iga

Considering the cost of US shipyards’ union labor, a US-developed-and-funded Perry upgrade program would end up costing us as much per ship (full systems) as a Burke, but at considerably reduced capability.
And which shipyards even have the tooling and workforce knowledge base to new-build Perry hulls, when Burkes have been the standard for the past decade now?

If they had never stopped Perry production, and pursued Block/Increment updates like the Burke class, the newest Perrys could’ve been able to most likely handle 80–90% of LCS missions with hardware/systems built in, not added on as after thought.

Even XYZ affair didn’t really scare us into a naval buildup until 1812. And even then, the RN had enough ships to keep a reasonably effective blockade, preventing the six frigates (and revenue cutter sloops) from operating in real succession, and keeping the fleet down to size and operating at best, privateers, single-ship or very small units (frigate sloop, etc).

Even so, six frigates isn’t much of a deterrent. Remember at some point the Americans built a 74 to replace a French one damaged in service to the United States.

In 1814 Commodore Joshua Barney’s defense of the approaches to Washington illustrates another mode of riverine warfare from that early period. […] We had failed to build a strong Navy so we would now suffer the disastrous consequences along the seaboard. It was too late to correct this, but Joshua Barney laid before the government the next best course–a well-conceived plan to defend the river approaches to Washington with a force that could be quickly built and easily manned. His plan included such characteristic riverine functions as harbor and coastal defense, harassment and destruction of enemy units, and intelligence collection. “Barney’s flotilla,” however small and inconsequential in open battle, would threaten British lines of communication in their assault on Washington. The attackers would be compelled to reckon seriously with the threat. Thus, the riverine force would serve the primary purpose for which it was created–throw off balance and delay the enemy advance. It was the best we could do with what we had.

Barney’s plan was promptly accepted. Throughout the winter of 1813–14, as the British forces gathered at the mouth of the Chesapeake, Barney speeded construction and recruited men. Finally, in April he sailed from Baltimore on a brief shakedown cruise with 10 barges, the cutter Scorpion, the gunboat No. 138, and 550 men.


Or more to your point, that we were actually in the small gunboat Navy:

Most likely the gunboat force is similar to what was used at Valcour Island (and Erie?). Elsewhere, galleys saw use (in the Med, in French navy service). Too small to survive a ship v ship exchange in blue water, but enough to deter the British from casual action. Essentially the equivalent of a boghammar in that bigger ships could probably destroy them quite easily.

Hi hope that someone listens to Big-Dean. This makes sense.

Yes, it is ridiculous isn’t it? Not the statement, the fact that a f’ing 2 bit tub like the LCS could cost more than a battleship. Ah, the joys of low expectations.

Oh come on, dream big. Dream that a defense contractor doesn’t make a profit on every day the manage to drag out the design and jack up the cost of the next ship building program. The rest of your list will take care of itself.

You could have stopped at “cigar”.

Not surprisingly, the defense schill doesn’t like to play Guess How Many Battleships We Could Have Had For The Cost Of That Piece Of Crap Ship? Gee, I wonder why?

Hopefully the 3D radar is a modern non-rotating AESA (9-module AMDR Light or SPY-1F) with all the current capability increases it provides over rotating radar, although I would love to see a AN/SPQ-9B as the backup. Probably not going to get a decent 5″ gun.
Surface to surface is not just Harpoon. We now have the Naval Strike Missile tested July 10 in the Pacific.
The hull mounted sonar is significant question. Don’t know what that sonar will look like. If it’s on the NSC then probably an SQS-38 style sonar dome paired with a towed variable depth sonar array. Don’t see a bow mounted sonar in our future on an NSC hull.
The Mk41 VLS installation is the biggest question. Will it be able to carry donation SM-6 in strike length cells, or just SM-2/SM-3?
The ESSM and VLA are a given. If one helo hangar is present then more ESSM cells can go on the waist, leaving the long bow cells for the greater length weapons.
Which NSC hull will be used? I like the boats aft. This will help in the Littorals and during boarding, search & seizure operations when performing escort missions and anti-piracy operations.
The engineering spaces should look a lot like over US Navy combatants. The LM2500 is common. Not sure about the diesels. I’m a gas turbine man, but thing the diesels should be replaced with electric motors with GTGs on board. The GTGs (particularly 501K) provide enough power to power the ship and provide electrical load. Power is also available for Directed Energy Weapons that are just around the corner, and back fit to the platform is not out of the question. By that time larger capacity GTGs will be available in a 501K form factor.
Whatever the new vessel looks like, we will know the ‘tail is wagging the dog’ if either LCS seaframe makes the cut. Money must be spent just to get LSC-1/LCS-2 up to NSC standards (all ocean survivability) and the NSC is less expensive than the cheapest LCS, an already has a larger crew and more room for growth.

The specs to replace the AAV7A1 were near to impossible, same physical size, carry as much, better firepower and 30 knots on the water. Oh and initial estimate at $3M each. Then the vendor saw that price was no object and the price went to $12M each. MCSC was told to TEAM with the vendor and the team mate turned out to be a shark.


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