LCS Wargame Reveals New Tactics Amid Controversy

LCS Wargame Reveals New Tactics Amid Controversy

Navy leaders are refining their concepts of operations for the Littoral Combat Ship on the heels of wide ranging criticism that led to the decision to cut the ship’s fleet size from 52 to 32, Navy leaders said.

At the same time, Navy leaders are exploring new mission possibilities for the controversial vessel in light of insights gained during a recent war game at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

The war game confirmed the LCS can bring additional protection, sensing and anti-submarine warfare advantages to carrier strike groups and guided missile destroyers engaged in conflict, Navy officials said.


“My initial impressions are that I think [the LCS] is going to play much more significantly in the open water than perhaps we had previously opined,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden, Navy’s director of surface warfare.

The announcement of the wargame comes after watchdog groups, analysts and lawmakers have expressed concern that the LCS could not meet its mission requirements. Designed as a shallow water vessel, the LCS is intended to bring new littoral capabilities and mission-packages engineered for anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and countermine missions.

However, in recent months, the Government Accountability Office and members of Congress have specifically questioned whether the platform is large and strong enough to thwart attackers and able to meet its intended mission.

One analyst cited survivability concerns with the platform, explaining that next-generation networking technology does not remove the need for protection.

“I don’t think it has an obvious mission. It is too vulnerable to do a lot of things that it was envisioned to do. The main problem is survivability,” said Benjamin Friedman, a defense research fellow in at the Cato Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank. “The LCS idea was predicated on this idea that if you can see enough of the enemy through surveillance systems and communication with your platforms, then you can have a ship that is more vulnerable. It has turned out this is not the case.”

News of the potential to expand missions for LCS also arrives as the Navy concurrently begins its Small Surface Combatant Task Force duties engineered to come up with alternative proposals for the last 20 planned LCS purchases.

Citing the survivability concerns and other problems with the LCS, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the planned purchase of the LCS would be truncated from 52 to 32 ships. He directed the Navy to come up with alternative proposals for the ship to possibly include a new platform or modifications to the LCS.

The current task force 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 wargame, which involved as many as 125 officers, commanders and warfighters from various locations across the U.S and globe, explored conflict scenarios focused on examining the missions and technologies of the LCS. Formal analysis of the results of the wargame is expected sometime in May.

The scenarios were designed to mirror the kinds of threats, tactics and weapons expected to be in existence and ready for conflict by the mid-2020s as a way to assess the ability of the LCS to operate in various threat environments.

A key insight from the wargame scenarios was that the presence of the LCS in the open water could bring key sensing and protective technologies to the carrier strike group, freeing up other assets essential to the conflict, Rowden explained.

“When we brought the Littoral Combat Ships in with the anti-submarine warfare, or ASW, package in support of the execution of support of carrier operations in a notional operating area, that freed up guided missile destroyers to go and do other things for the strike group commander because that ASW capability provided a significant boost. We could free up one guided missile destroyer to increase the lethality of the carrier strike group,” Rowden said.

Rowden also said that the LCS, configured with the ASW, integrates successfully with the towed array and hull-mounted sonar built on a guided missile destroyer.

“We are seeing remarkable capability demonstrated in our guided missile destroyers today when we take this system and pair it with our variable depth sonar that we will have on the Littoral Combat Ship. We see a significant increase in our ability to hunt submarines,” he added.

The concepts of operation and mission purview of the LCS is expected to continue expanding as new things are learned, Rowden explained.  For example, the ships could wind up being configured for special operations or information dominance missions in the future, he added.

Survivability of the LCS was also improved by the ships ability to disperse in shallow waters, the wargame discovered.

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.

”While we are very focused on getting the two classes of ships and the three mission packages to their initial operational capability and then driving through to full operational capability, there are a lot of additional things these ships can be used for. We are going to start to seek more for other things these ships can do,” Rowden said.

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Yes, new tactics are great but they won’t be of any use if the real-world LCS doesn’t get any of these planned modules like this one providing ASW capability.

“News of the potential to expand missions for LCS also arrives as the Navy concurrently begins its Small Surface Combatant Task Force duties engineered to come up with alternative proposals for the last 20 planned LCS purchases.” This will be the Navy’s justification for building a larger (and much more expensive) LCS that will be marginally more survivable and not as effective as a frigate. The Navy will not build anything else because the alternatives were not developed by the Navy.

They need to take the current LCS and put 3 more mark 57 guns on it. 2 up front at a minimum. Add a fire control that can target multiple moving targets at once coupled with the air burst round and you have a small boat killing machine.

The module already exists and works great.
https://​www​.facebook​.com/​m​e​d​i​a​/​s​e​t​/​?​s​e​t​=​a​.​3​3​7​7​882

Our current frigates are useless. Anything the Navy puts out at this point is step in the right direction. Countries that arm up frigates with tons of VLS do so because they have to. The US Navy has Cruisers and Destroyers to carry a strike groups missile loads. They don’t need another missile boat. They need help with ASW tasking (which apparently the current LCS is perfectly fine for) and they need protection from small boats. But there still isn’t a good (cheap, ranged, small) missile for the job. Anything that’s fired from a VLS system is overkill.

I’m fine with them constructing a larger ship to bridge the gap between a DDG and an LCS, but you need to identify a suitable combat system for the threat.

What’s a mark 57?

Is that the one that uses alien technology from area 51 that you mentioned in a private email ?

Yes the LCS sits home swatting flies so that the big boys can go fight the war.

I’m sure the 39 sailors lost on the USS Cole would have been thankful for a “fly swatter”.

Great, so the LCS is now a Torpedo Boat Destroyer.

If they’d fired deck weaponry the Cole would’ve been a non-issue, just like the suicide boat that sunk before it could hit the Sullivans (though that one was sunk due to flooding…or was it?)

There was some kind of abrupt change in powerpoint terminology. Modules are now part of “Mission Packages”, presumably because the hardware hasn’t miniaturized yet.

From the Navy: http://​www​.navy​.mil/​n​a​v​y​d​a​t​a​/​f​a​c​t​_​d​i​s​p​l​a​y​.​a​s​p​?​cid

Features
An ASW Mission Package is under development for delivery in the 2016 timeframe. Planned components include:

ASW Escort Module
�Variable depth sonar (VDS)
�Multi-function towed array (MFTA) acoustic receiver
�Launch, handling and recovery equipment
�Signal processing and systems control
�Support containers
Torpedo Defense Module
�Alertment: MFTA with Acoustic Intercept (ACI)
�Countermeasures: Light Weight Tow (LWT)
Aviation Module
�MH-60R Helicopter w/ALFS
�Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (2)
�Support containers
ASW Mission Management / C2 Center
�Mission package application software
�Networks that interface with the total ship computing environment

Not that much to write home about, but it’ll probably be cheaper than a DDG, so long as a ASW LCS can be brought with the fleet. I still think the aviation module is more important.

DID also reports similarly: http://​www​.defenseindustrydaily​.com/​i​t​s​-​a​l​l​-​i​n​-th

DID suggests that without torpedoes or ASROC, the helicopter will deliver the killing blow. A lot of hopes are pinned on the helicopter to do the killing, since there don’t appear to be any drones that can attack sub targets…yet. And much of LCS’ hardware is really submarine detection instead of destroying them.

And in another ppt from the Navy: http://​www​.navsea​.navy​.mil/​M​e​d​i​a​/​S​A​S​2​0​1​3/3. LCS Mission packages.pdf

Corroroborates the first link, which discusses the mission package breakdown into ASW Escort and Torpedo defense. Suffice to say, this clinches the LCS’ role as a detector and not something that will neutralize underwater threats. Presumably the helicopter brings the Penguins and lightweight torpedoes for “defeating” enemy submarines. Some kind of tag team where the drones and the LCS do detection and have the manned helicopter do the killing?

Aren’t there cheaper ways of dealing with small boats than the 300 ton LCS. How about the old Ashville class or a newer vision of it for the mission of sinking small boats?

The terminology has never changed. Mission modules are the components (vehicles, ISO containers, weapon modules, etc.) that occupy a station aboard the LCS. All the mission modules combined equal a mission package (mission specific SUW, MCM, ASW).

Ship launched torpedoes are always a defensive measure. If a sub is within range of ASROC or the over-the-side launched configuration, then you’ve been in range of that subs torpedoes for quite some time. Offensive sub hunting is always performed by Helos and P-3. You’re absolutely right about the Detect vs Engage. The MH-60R will track and engage (sonobuoys and Mk54s respectively) after the various LCS sensors detect a sub. The LCS doesn’t use penguins.

$360 million for a 300 ton warship is a steal. The problem with the Asheville Class is if you go smaller you don’t get range/speed.

I’ve not bought the argument that LCS systems can detect at ranges far enough away to protect the LCS from damage. The more standoff, the better. The drones should probably be doing most of the detection and destruction, especially since the helicopter might not always be available. If the LCS is going to be actively hunting instead of hanging back and using its drones, then it needs to defend itself. It looks like LCS does have torpedo countermeasures, but we seem to have omitted self-defense.

I wish the Navy would get away from talk of the small-boat problem. If anything, LCS is already too expensive to throw against small boats, especially with a reduced build.

Navy wants to make LCS solve everything…which will just make LCS look like it’s overpromised and under-delivering.

That VDS system by Thales is superb. Not only is the UK using it on the Type 23s and the Type 26s, but it’s on the FREMM ships as well. I agree with the more standoff the better, but ASW detection requires a lot of power which is something the unmanned systems tend to suffer in. The LCS does have self defense. See LWT and MFTA below.
http://​defensetech​.org/​2​0​1​3​/​0​5​/​3​0​/​l​c​s​-​p​u​r​s​u​e​s​-​nex

Presumably the LCS would take the hit and by sinking save the cole.

Not anymore its turning it into a poorly performing ASW ship to save face.

Carries a towed array solar but cant do anything about a contact for 20 minutes while the get the chopper ready — but that’s ok because apparently the LCS would be dead by then anyways.

Suddenly the “littoral” combat ship is rally good in the open ocean — presumably where it has a better chance of survival against anybody armed with anything from an ATGM up.

Just watch 20 ships become 10 then 5 an then they will find find their role as training ships — its only up from here.

But for the LCS which is a glorified ferry its a complete rip off.

Don’t matter the tactics if were fighting a real navy like Russia’s or China’s the LCS will be useless all of this ASW can be done by the DDG-1000 Destroyers so this little boat is not needed.

Decoys are not self defense

The Navy has also used simple trawlers in the past to detect subs as well, at a tiny fraction of the price.

Of course, you don’t need to spend $340M on a boat to carry ASW gear — not counting the cost of the mission package (which jacks up the price considerably).

No it isn’t a steal — its more like stealing.

LCS only looks cheap when you compare it to a Burke or Zumwalt. And its a 3000 ton ship — that isn’t built to real war-fighting standards — and suffers from a lack of armament (the Surface Warfare package is a joke, given the size of the ship).

The British Type 26, is $460M, 5900 tons, and is a full scale warship loaded with weaponry — and is almost twice the size.

Hence — a 3000 ton ship should cost well under $400M, fully loaded with weapons and sensors. The LCS in comparison is incredibly costly, and represents little more than a welfare program for Austal and/or LockMart.

NIXIE is a decoy. LWT and MFTA are not a decoy system.

You still need to track and engage it once you detect it. You’re not doing that without a flight deck. Hence, 300 tons is pretty close to your floor on how small you can go.

Why would a helo take 20 mins to take off?

All three of them?! In all AOs?! They must be REALLY high tech.

What are you talking about?! Your statement shows your lack of experience in shipbuilding. The first Type 26 hasn’t even been ordered yet, let alone built. Come back and talk to me about the cost of the ship once it’s been constructed. By your woefully flawed logic the LCS is a steal because it was proposed at $220 million 10 years ago. To clarify your estimate of the Type 26, that’s the low end “request” from the UK Navy. The high end “request” puts it at $480 million. There’s no way the UK Navy will get them for that cost. Name a modern ship program that comes in on cost on the first of class. You can’t.

Here’s some hard (comparable) numbers for you:
LCS, at $360 million (and still falling), 3000 tons, and modular comes out to $120k per ton.
The Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate, at 6640 tons, also modular comes out to $130k per ton.

Furthermore, the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate was based off the Absalon class which presumably saved it more money. The fact of the matter is even the Navy’s own budgetor just 6 weeks ago, who was previously a staunch opponent to the cost overruns of LCS, admits that the LCS costs less per ton than any other warship in service. So not only is it the least expensive modular ship per ton, but it’s the less expensive than traditional designs. Modularity has saved the US Navy money in the Virginia Class program and now it’s doing it again with the LCS.

There are plenty of effective, small frigates available. Problem is that while we will sell defense products to other countries and provide a production offset, we won’t buy effective products from other countries and accept a production offset.

The LCS “Freedom” class weighs 3000, not 300 tons. The PC class was ~370tons, and didn’t have sufficient space for a flight deck, unless is was a pretty small drone.

The British aren’t saddled with the same archaic/over-bloated acquisition system the US is stuck with, which by far gives the US taxpayer the lousiest deal for the money spent in the western world. The MoD gets a vastly better deal than the US does, by any reasonable measure.

The LCS is only cheaper in the sense that it isn’t built to any meaningful war-fighting standard, and still hasn’t got the armament.

Every independent review of LCS (including the US Navy’s own inspectors) by every watchdog and/or auditing agency gives LCS failing grades with highest honors. ALL of them — and as the other article on this site stipulates (which apparently shattered the navy’s case for wasting the taxpayers money): “If its isn’t survivable, we don’t care…”.

Even if there were more than three Zumwalts you don’t leave ASW to a cruiser sized land attack destroyer.
I think they can force the LCS’s into something useful over the coming years but the experiment was a failure.

I know. It was sarcasm. And I completely disagree, the LCS was a fantastic success for modularity. Every other ship in the design phase is following suite as a result to some degree or another.

because the aircrew is not sleeping in the helo with the blades spinning silly

there is such a thing as crew down time and helo maintenance time, a single helo can only fly so so long before it needs maintenance down time and crew rest

“fantastic success???” dear dear Tomcat, you’ve been studying the power points presentations too much

so the DDG1000 is a modular design
so the Arleigh Burke Flight III is a modular design
so the Virginia class sub is a a modular design
so the Ford class carrier is a modular design
so the.……

Type 45 destroyer and DDG Flight IIA are both built and comparable in size. Same price. Your argument holds no water.

Did you bother to read the article?
“125 officers, commanders and warfighters from various locations across the U.S and globe“
We’re not talking armchair admirals, GAO auditors, engineers, “LCS Mafia”, congressmen, etc. We’re talking about officers of the line that know what it’s like to be in battle and will most likely be commanding these ships. That is the most objective and meaningful analysis you’ll get until the Navy goes to war.

LCS as an ASW plaform???

heck, the bad guy subs won’t even have to leave port, they’ll be able to hear the LCS coming from a 1000 miles away

a very large, noisy boat that makes a wake the size of Texas, with no on board sonar, no sonar suite, no ASW weapons, and not even any torpedo defenses, and not even a tail and it’s all of a sudden a sub killer-some one (Tomcat perhaps) is smoking crack

The only way the LCS will ever know a sub is in the area is when it gets turned into a million little aluminum fragments

Article sounds like the last gasp is pretending the LCS is an over-sized, over-expensive, and under-maneuverable torpedo boat.

Persistent presence is the term. And the LCS is capable of it. A helo fueled and ready on the flight deck takes only a few mins to get up in the air and minimal manning to sustain in a ready mode. And the aviation detachment on an LCS isn’t just one crew for this very reason.

I can remember when the DD-963 class was touted as this “modular” destroyer that you could swap various packages in and out as required. Yeah, that worked well.

The LCS is a fantastic success as a corporate welfare program, and useful as a technology test bed. But we didn’t have to design and build a pile of boats that have been panned/roasted in every report from every watchdog/auditing agency — including by the US navy itself to do that.

We could use commercial-grade ferries to accomplish the same purpose, without undergoing the horrifying expense incurred by building a boat too big for the littorals, too small for blue water, and insufficiently armed to take on anything but a handful of small non-naval opponents.

You’re most certainly correct on all accounts Big-Dean. On DDG 1000 they’re known as EMEs, Arleigh Burke Flight I was actually modular (believe it or not that 5 inch gun up front was the first instance of modularity in the US Navy), Virginia Class is VERY modular (that’s how they dropped the cost so much. Also look up the Virginia Payload MODULE), and a Carrier is inherently the most modular type of ship in existence (New mission? Sure, just get new planes.).

And just to make sure no one’s left out, I’ve got a few more for you too.
LPD Flight II will have ISO modules and Ohio Replacement is looking at employing modularity the same way the Virginia Class does.

Why are they all going modular? Because the numbers don’t lie. It saves money! Regardless of what you think of the LCS, it proved that modularity is the only way to the US Navy is going to stay affordable. It may not be the best design for the missions it was given, but the modularity of it is the only thing that’ll keep it adaptable.

No one of any Naval experience or really any military experience is taking any of this seriously its ridiculous. It’s one of those we gamed the whole thing and as long as it works perfectly and we know EVERYTHING then we will be fine!

It just seems to this old sailor that we got the horse before the cart on these LCS; we build a futuristic kind ship, and then go looking for something it can do? I suppose they’ve sunk too much $$ into this project to just junk it … I get the feeling it can’t do close inshore anything, whether anti sub, minesweeping, or shore operations. It’s certainly too small, lightly armed and armored, to do any blue water fleet operations, so what the hell shipmates?

The Virginia and the Ford are /constructed/ in modules, meaning pre-fabrication in large components that are then brought together and integrated, rather than being built keel up. Modular construction theoretically would allow for dispersed construction, which is good for contractors who want pork, and good for wartime parallel production.

LCS’ /mission modules/ are something different entirely. Modules can be swapped out as needed. There hasn’t been much talk about how easily the ship (sorry, seaframe) can be upgraded, and that is a type of modularity that hasn’t been addressed yet.

“.…information dominance missions…”

Information dominance????
Congratulations, Navy,
you’ve just invented yourselves the next job-guaranteeing catch-phrase for the next over-priced platform of platforms mounting even more systems of system for the next generation.

Is this the new terminology for a ship sitting pierside in a foreign port while its crew surfs the internet utilizing the ship’s computers?

yep, we’re getting to be a lame as the air farce…

Yea they are towed acoustic arrays. Neither of which are self defense system either.

hilarious

Cut the fleet to 8 to 12 craft, and use the savings $$ to pay for the refueling of Two Aircraft Carriers that about to be shelved due to lack of funding. An AC is much more valuable than a felt of LCS, that is basically Defenseless and has no Offensive capability.

Looks like the LCS shills are even more clueless that the F-35 ones

Who was that F-35 guy who insisted that even Lockheed numbers were all wrong and the F-35 cost only $65m and falling. He was a riot what he didn’t read in an out of date Lockheed brochure he just made up.

Looks like tomcat is the LCS equivalent.

Alright Icarus lets see if we can’t educate you a bit. Why would a torpedo decoy system require 2 towed arrays when NIXIE only needed 1? Don’t know? Well maybe one is for detection while the other is for localization. Now why would you need to localize it if you weren’t trying to neutralize it? Look up the anti-torpedo torpedo so we can have an educated conversation next time.

The Virginia Payload Module is modular in the same exact way that it’s employed on LCS. Additionally, Virginia uses modular construction AND modular systems. It’s done to lower the cost of midlife upgrades and in line production upgrades.

It’s self-defense in the sense of CIWS protecting a ship from missiles (hah!), but that’s like calling any CIWS “anti-ship” because it can shoot down the weapons fired from ships. Can something be anti-ship because it can detect and shoot down missiles? Is a ship anti-sub because it is designed to detect and counter their attacks? The mission package may create the illusion of robust capability, but detection is the only thing they really have down pat right now.

Maybe the Navy will design some kind of ultralight anti-submarine torpedo that can be dropped from a Fire Scout (or whatever UAV of choice is attached to the LCS). The drones will have to take the fight to the submarine at some point in the near future.

NPS has nothing to do with LCS. No dog in the fight for them. Unlike GAO, LCS Council, HASC, NIG, or any of the other soapbox orators these 125 officers are low enough to not have their opinions influenced and experienced enough to know about commanding a battle group. Its the most objective review you can get.

http://​www​.public​.navy​.mil/​s​u​b​f​o​r​/​u​n​d​e​r​s​e​a​w​a​r​f​arehttp://​www​.gdeb​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​a​d​v​e​r​t​i​s​i​n​g​/​i​m​a​g​e​s​/​V​P​M_a

Not sure what final shape VPM will take, but if modules are easy to remove it would theoretically allow any sub in the fleet to perform special missions, instead of making it a Jimmy-Carter only mission.
http://​www​.nti​.org/​g​s​n​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​u​s​-​s​e​n​a​t​e​-​p​a​n​e​l​-li

However, it seems the plan is to replace the cellular style launchers at the bow with tubes that could house a cell of TLAM or some kind of missile in the future, and then go from there to VPM. http://​news​.usni​.org/​2​0​1​3​/​1​1​/​0​4​/​n​a​v​y​-​s​e​l​e​c​t​s​-​v​irg

WWII was a long time ago and submarine technology has changed a lot. You really aren’t going to do ASW from trawlers any more.

Firescout with current the lightweight torpedoes will do the job or use Firescout to cue the LAMPS which also carries the torp

WWII was a long time ago and subs were slower and much noisier. Trawlers won’t do the job now.

You should take a look at the detection ranges of towed array sonars vs the range capability of surface launched torpedoes. If you understand this, you’ll probably know why my reponse to the 1st part of the 2nd sentance is “Yeah… OK”

I am also an “old sailor” and am wondering how much armor you think is on DDGs and CGs these days.

NPS is not where this took place, look to the opposite coast. Event took place in the Center for Advanced Wargaming (McCarty-Little Hall)

If they are that close, A DDG 5″ should have hit then long before.

The Swiss Navy knife ship?

I want a S-3 replacement, Please.…..

Not worth the risk of letting it get that close to a DDG.

Maybe one day autonomous drones can keep the small boats away…

As a aside, just what subs are we chasing? The Russians rarely leave port anymore. A kid on a jet ski could find a Iranian sub in the Persian Gulf. China? They stay close to home. So?????

One left here in the mothball section here in Philly by the way still on museum hold. My dream is to win the power ball & buy it. My ultimate fishing yacht.

And 8 to 12 hours in maint time. Not going to happen.

Where is the escort & air wing money coming from? Savings? None.……

It’s also the manpower savings that comes with retiring a carrier. Eliminating a carrier group also frees up a number of ships for use elsewhere, such as performing BMD missions, or to be attached to amphibs.

Actually they would be better off with a single 76mm gun up the front, with a VLS system fitted aboard mostly carrying ESSM-Rs and CEAFAR Phased array radar. Said radar is very new but has shown great promise (In real world test first sparrow hot the incoming missile, The second sparrow hit the debris), The same radar has also been adapted to land based weapons systems and is so good they believe it to be capable of action against modern attack aircraft and small craft.

With todays modern weapons armor doesnt do much of anything these days. If a dummy missile can blow a half meter hole in the side of a ship then one fitted with a war head would remove any ship from combat if hit. Hell the mk 48 torpedo hips most ships in half so people need to get over the old armor argument, It is irrelevant.

What they need to debate is the defence, Which is solved by a VLS system with load out of Sea Sparrows and a CEAFAR phased array radar, Perfect in size for small ships and the best system out there.

As it sits US carriers are over sized and over manned. The US needs to think about smaller carriers that are less crew intensive. For the 10 big ass carriers they could have 15+ Queen Elizabeth sized carriers and that doesn’t even take into account savings in mass production.

I hate to do this to the USCG but, could these “High speed, Low drag“do everything and yet do nothing well, be the next gen cutter? I mean I have heard for years that the CG are using ships that are at the end of the trail.

“I don’t think it has an obvious mission.” Seriously, procurement should follow strategy not vice versa. It makes more sense to build more destroyers with ASW and missiles and use them where needed. LCS sounds more and more like a think tank experiment looking for a home. Most of the “special” capabilities don’t work since they’re basically research projects being refined in an operational format. New technologies are great but they shouldn’t be deployed without proven (and refined) capabilities. If the LCS goes operational, Navy strategy will be stressed by this single point failure.

A perfect job for the LCS is to replace those Reserve Perry class FFGs on anti-drug patrols off Central and South America. I think that an LCS could, maybe, protect itself from a Cartel submarine.

Here’s more bad news about the poor performance of LCS-1 “USS Freedom”, regarding its remarkably ugly Asian adventure:
http://​breakingdefense​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​4​/​s​l​e​e​p​l​e​s​s​-​i​n-s

The good folks at Lockheed, failed to do the math regarding how many folks it takes to man and maintain LCS under normal conditions. God help them if they get into a shooting incident.

Could probably start putting away more and more Perrys to save money. Or start retiring rapidly and en masse and assume that our allies will provide the small frigates until LCS production catches up with Perry replacement.

Virginia payload module was not inspired by LCS.

Nice try.

The SSGN TLAM “module” was designed before LCS, and VA class is adapting that design.

Just because a weapon system includes the term “modular” doesn’t mean it was influenced by the LCS team.

It ultimately won’t matter. Read the article regarding the LCS Singapore adventure: the Lockheed variant it seems is so woefully undermanned (even after upping the crew count from 40 to 50, even when you include the Surface Warfare crew helping (they add 19 to the crew count).

The crew only gets 6 hours sleep, the engineers get far less — and if the other “mission packages” are aboard, that translates into FAR fewer sailors able to help perform basic maintenance. The designers at Lockheed failed to do the math regarding maintenance and crewing requirements, and are off probably by at least a factor of 2 — which would require a redesign of the USS Freedom class LCS.

So expecting the Freedom variant to be alert an part of protecting an aircraft carrier group when they can’t even sustain basic maintenance (let alone take part in a battle) seems a trifle far fetched.

War games are one thing. Reality is another.

First, the article notes: ““When we brought the Littoral Combat Ships in with the anti-submarine warfare, or ASW, package in support of the execution of support of carrier operations in a notional operating area, that freed up guided missile destroyers to go and do other things for the strike group commander because that ASW capability provided a significant boost. We could free up one guided missile destroyer to increase the lethality of the carrier strike group,” Rowden said.”.

Then it states: “Rowden also said that the LCS, configured with the ASW, integrates successfully with the towed array and hull-mounted sonar built on a guided missile destroyer. … “We are seeing remarkable capability demonstrated in our guided missile destroyers today when we take this system and pair it with our variable depth sonar that we will have on the Littoral Combat Ship. We see a significant increase in our ability to hunt submarines,” he added.”

Okay, Sounds great.

However, either to maximize the LCS ASW capability requires it work with that of a Guided Missile Destroyer, or or frees one up, but logically it can’t do both simultaneously.

Or, are they noting that they replaced one Guided Missile Destroyer with an LCS and had it work with another DDG. Given that statement, implying / denoting that for maximum ASW effectiveness the two ship types (given their different Sonar configurations, must work in tandem for maximum (therefore required) effectiveness? And, thus, it appears by removing a Guided Missile Destroyer’s capabilities from the screen — you reduce overall ASW effectiveness of the screen — unless they are proposing that a teamed LCS and DDG can provide the ASW screening capability of two DDG’s???

That begs the question, how much of the screen’s operating area with some circumference can that single teamed LCS / DDG effectively handle? OR do they simply need to attach an LCS to every DDG in the screen to increase its ASW search capabilities?

Of course, if the latter is the case, why have LSC’s? Why not design a new ASW Destroyer type (we of ancient times referred as DE’s) that have “all” the necessary ASW capabilities including on board complete search cap[abilities, defensive and ASW weapons systems, and carry Hunter Killer helicopter / drone capabilities. Then bring back the Carrier based S-3’s to perform the role of the P-3’s close in to the Carrier Group in conjunction with the Helo’s and drones. And, design a ship that has BOTH the platform size for the above search and weapons capabilities and can proceed at 40+ knots. At least in my day as an ASW DE Officer, we would loved to have the capability to proceed to identified target and maneuver and zig zag at up to 40 knots.

I understand the cost effectiveness conceptually potential value of the modular concept, but it seems the LCS Hull type and / or tonnage is too small to effectively accommodate all the roles they wish it to be able to handle. And, it would hardly seem cost effective to increase the number of ships in a screen to provide added ASW capabilities. Further, if that is what they plan on doing, then those particular LCS’s (assigned the to carry the ASW module) will never be available for another type mission module, absent a major technological breakthrough in ASW relieving the screen of their need for the added ASW capabilities carried by the LCS.

Maybe they see something of value in the LCS hull design and size that answers the above questions.

Barry I appreciate the sentiment but the CG couldn’t afford to fuel the LCS and our larger cutters deploy for 60 to 90 days and don’t have a fleet oiler to refuel us ever other day! Our ships have 8000 mile ranges vs 3000 for LCS!

Isn’t all they have to do is fundamentally listen? If all we’re looking for is a sensor platform, we really don’t have to spend a lot of dough…

Horses for courses, etc. DDG-51 and CG-47 were optimized for blue water operation. DDG-1000 was optimized for land attack, faces different threats and is a much heavier ship than either DDG-51 or CG-47.

Design to a real world mission and give these toys to the USCG.

Perfect, it sounds like we’re back to the Perry-class (FFG) frigate

The independence variant was preferred for ASW warfare while the Freedom variant was preferred for shoreline duties.

It would really help if you would distinguish between the variants of the ship. The independence variant does indeed have torpedo defense.

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