Navy Adds Hellfire Missiles to LCS

Navy Adds Hellfire Missiles to LCS

National Harbor, Md — The Navy is integrating a vertically-launched longbow Hellfire missile onto the Littoral Combat Ship as a way to give the platform more fire-power, service officials said Wednesday.

Unlike other missiles that would require laser-designation to pinpoint targets, the longbow Hellfire can use what’s called millimeter wave seeker technology that can autonomously track and destroy multiple targets simultaneously.

“We’re very excited about the autonomy that the missile brings. Each of the missiles has an independent ability to be targeted against a different foe by use of its millimeter wave seeker so we can get a lot of firepower,” Rear Adm. John Ailes, Program Executive Officer, LCS, said at the Sea Air Space Exposition here.

Hellfire missiles, most frequently fired from helicopters and drones such as the Predator or Gray Eagle, are 64-inch guided missiles that weigh about 100-pounds. Hellfire missiles can strike targets at ranges out to eight kilometers.

Navy leaders said they will have access to an existing Army stockpile of 10,000 Hellfire missiles.

The Navy will test fire the Hellfire on the LCS later this year after Lockheed Martin conducted a successful demonstration of the technology at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., last year.

“Last fall we did three different testings against representative threats. We destroyed all three targets,” said Timothy Fouts, Lockheed’s LCS business development manager.

Navy leaders want to give the LCS — often criticized by lawmakers and analysts for not being survivable enough — an ability to better defend itself against a wider range of threats such as small boats and aircraft.

“As part of the surface warfare mission package, Hellfire brings that additional reach for small boat threats. This is a new weapon for the Navy. It is fire-and-forget which means it finds targets autonomously. You don’t have to have a laser designator,” Fouts said.

Ailes said the Navy has also been considering the Griffin missile, a 45-pound laser or GPS-guided missile that can fire a 13-pound blast-fragmentation warhead out to ranges further than 12 miles.

The Navy needs to acquire and integrate vertical launch tubes for the LCS that can fire the vertically-launched Hellfire, Ailes said. The Navy is also interested in developing a follow-on longer range variant of the weapon, Ailes said.

This past January,  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the Pentagon would truncate the planned LCS buy from 52 to 32 ships, suggesting that the existing LCS was not sufficiently survivable to meet its mission requirements.  He directed the Navy to develop alternative proposals for the last twenty ships.

As a result, this effort to strengthen the weaponry, lethality and combat performance of the LCS comes as the service is also exploring alternative designs for a modified LCS that is more effective in combat.

The Navy’s director of surface warfare, Rear Adm. Tom Rowden, told Military​.com that the LCS was designed to be flexible enough to accommodate technological changes and adjustments as they emerge.

“The flexibility these ships bring really gives us the opportunity to ensure that if we need to make modifications we can do that in a rapid fashion and in a cost-effective fashion,” he said.

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The Hellfire is a solid, proven choice and makes a lot of sense. I believe everybody but the Army dropped out of the JAGM program, but that has the potential to be a significant improvement upon the Hellfire’s capabilities.

It makes sense. Use something that is current, ready to bolt on technology. Now if they can drop the Module crap and simply arm the LCS as a Corvette and MCM ship.

band-aid on a bulletwound — This ship can’t hit anything at range

Hey Kris Osborn, your range data of 12 miles for the Griffin missile is from an aircraft launch at altitude. For surface launches, as from the deck of a ship, the range is only 3 1/2 miles

Washington Times recently reported that the administration wants to terminate Hellfire in 2015 and Tomahawk in 2016. Below are a couple of excepts from the news article at the following link.

“The Navy will also be forced to cancel regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal. The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a shock to lawmakers missiles would forces.”

“The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy. In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.”

*slaps forehead* This is not how you design a combat ship for the littorals. ANY ship or even a small boat could be armed with Hellfire missiles. Adding Hellfire missiles to the LCS does not make it special or all that much more effective. What we really need is a boat about the size of a school bus with armor and weapons normally mounted on tanks plus a missile like the Hellfire. JAGM would have been a perfect missile for this type of need, but that was sacrificed on the altar for the F-35.

With the amount of money poured into this program we could have designed this ship cheaply and built a small fleet of them to satisfy our needs.

Would not a ground launched version of the Maverick been better? It can pack a bigger punch and has longer range

It’s still a better starting point than the smaller, shorter ranged Griffin missile. The other option would be the ship-launched variant of the MBDA Brimstone missile.

Hellfire replacement programs have had a long history of being cancelled and resurrected since before the X-35 first flew. It makes an easy target because the Hellfire has worked so well and in most recent years both the USAF and USN have more interest in the SDB-II for the same role.

Looks like the initial “Increment 1″ is nothing more than an AGM-114R Hellfire with a new dual-mode seeker. If things go well the program’s goals could be expanded again to become what is essentially an all-new missile with tri-mode seeker and new rocket mortar. Also it looks like the USN is technically back in the JAGM program just for the Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Vipers.

There are no ground launched versions of the AGM-65. It has no millimeter wave radar seeker variant. And, the Maverick is a big damn missile. The Hellfire has roughly the same size and weight characteristics as the NLOS-Missile. While the Maverick is nearly 30 inches longer and weighs 4 to 6 times as much. They would have a hell of a time find somewhere to jam those onboard in any numbers.

Or, they could look at mating the LONGBOW Hellfire guidance package onto the original NLOS-PAM missiles.

Ok LCS fanboys, tell me how a missile with a small warhead and a 5 mile range is going to help the LCS

If the bad guys are within 5 miles then the LCS is already sinking, burning, or in a million little pieces already.

I guess it “takes a village” all 3000 tons of it to carry a small Hellfire

But you better not put to many on the LCS, it might overload the poor thing.

Heard of speedboats ?
One of them disabled and nearly sunk a DDG ?

This ship is still a joke. Even John McCain wants it cut to 24 ships now, which I think is a good idea:

Put some torpedo tubes on it and use the UGM-84 until something better comes along. Box launchers for TLAM or TLAM follow-on.

Honestly, it is relatively pointless to armor a small sea worthy boat beyond maybe 7.62x51mm protection. Anything another ship is going to be firing at it will go through the armor you are able to place on the boat. 5mm deck guns and any missile will tear up any small boat and you don’t want to be close enough to take (accurate) .50 cal fire anyway. It is better to be fast and nimble.

(riverene boat is another story as it’s more likely to see smaller weapons fired against it at short range)

For now it can only hit nearer target — but the concept of LCS is great. It is stealthy and will soon be survivable. The point is not to kill the Crap — but to improve it

Black Owl, LCS is a great concept. All the Navy would do is to address its deficiencies. Could it be more lethal? Yes it would. Will it be more survivable? Yes — it may. Armed it with a bigger mm main gun with longer range, hell fire, anti sub missile and — voila — a great ship — a great stealth ship!!

Then, you are no longer describing an LCS you now wanted a DDG or a cruiser —

Didn’t the idiot in chief just call for the end of production of tomahawk and hellfire missles? nothing like putting a soon to be obsolete weapon on an ove rglorified PT boat.…

The LCS is still a 3000 ton ship with the armament of a patrol boat. Not a good return on the investment. Lets put all efforts into making the mine warfare module work and be done w/ this thing once and for all.

But it did not sink the destroyer! If the rules of engagement included this possibility the boat would have been engaged with gun fire before it got along side the Cole.

Finally, a step in the right direction. More than a band aid, but still does not fix the severe deficiencies in firepower. Keep trying.…

Well be seeing alot more types of straight “Laser” shots,lets just hope it keeps the “East” from doing stupid things again like the ” Krime”.

No it’s not a “great concept”, it is one born form a lack of mission and vision for the Navy. Designing a ship by committee and making it be the “jack-of-all-trades/master of none” is just a cope out and a way to pad the budgets of defense contractors, especially the horrendous ship building ones.
You say it’s great but then go on to say add a bigger gun, hellfire, anti-sub missiles and then it will be great…well which is it? Great now or great after we completely redesign it and triple it’s firepower?
…And stealth, ugh. Best way to triple the cost of whatever you’re trying to sell to the dumbasses in Congress. “It’s got STEALTH!“
Fine, buy the Visby Class Corvette and call it a day. How many of those could you buy for just one of these magic pieces of crap?

What exactly would these things be targeting?

I think this just kills the production line. Similar to what the Navy did decades ago with the Mk 50 torpedoes. They built up such a large stockpile that there was no need to maintain the production line.

Also, could it be that they’re killing hellfire in light of brimstone?

“lack of mission”??? It’s designed to replace the Avenger Class and FFGs. No lack of understanding on what those do.

Couldn’t agree more. Modern warships aren’t designed to take hits from modern weapons. Improvements in warheads surpassed the capabilities of armor decades ago. It’s better to be able to defeat the weapon at range or out run your enemy till you can counter.

Using destroyers against boghammars during the tanker wars was a costly and ridiculous approach to securing a shipping lane. The LCS is better suited for this kind of work and Hellfire is the most economical missile to do it.

Torpedo tubes are useless and Harpoon is over million dollars a shot. For a gofast boat!

Stop production of yes. But there’s still a massive stockpile of them. It’s not uncommon to shutdown a production line after you’ve hit a certain number in reserve.

Boghammars, gofast boats, fast attack craft. It’s a good option I think. If they switch the helo’s hellfires for APKWS then you have a very formidable SUW capability.

economical at $68,000 a piece, sure.

what Tomkat fails to mention is that the Hellfire is a very short range missile only 5 miles, if the bad guys on fast boats, missile boats, etc are within 5 miles the LCS is already dead

The military learned a lot of lessons that have since been forgotten from Vietnam and one of those was what they needed for combat in the littorals.

Look up the Sikorsky Assault Support Patrol Boat (ASPB). It was what the military developed after all the lessons learned from nearly a decade of combat in the littorals. A boat of its design with modern tank armor and weapons is the answer for what we need now. The best part about it? It would be cheap to design and build. You could also make them unmanned. If you lose one, no worries. The Navy has really messed up with the LCS and it has forgotten all of the lessons learned about littoral combat in Vietnam.

Boghammars carry unguided rockets, rpgs, and .50 cals. They’re not doing anything outside of 2 miles. 68k is too expensive for you yet you want more range. Maybe they should throw harpoons on there for a million dollar a shot ranged missile?

this is what you call the “aluminum foil active defense mighty LCS warship module”

you build the boat out of thin aluminum foil so that everything: bombs, missiles, bullets, and even farts pass right through it without harming the ship or crew

the only problem with it is all of the birds nests the crew has to deal with…

You making a cheaper missile in your garage Big-Dean? RBS-15 is north of 350k, Harpoon is nearly 1.5 mil, NSM is looking to be comparable to RBS-15 (for now at least).

The Cyclones do what the ASPB was intended to do just fine. The littoral warfare of Vietnam is NOT the littoral threat of today. Today the threat comes from small FAC/FIAC that swarm and saturate a ships defenses. A bigger gun doesn’t answer this. You need as many guns (just big enough to neutralize the threat) as possible that can operate independently. The 30 mm guns are great for this. Put as much lead on the target.

Show me a modern 3000 ton warship that can take a bomb or missile. You can’t.

@xXTomcatXx. Torpedo tubes are used against the big boats China and Russia have. These things should be able to go one-on-one w/at least a frigate. Won’t happen w/out a longer range wpn. The fleet is smaller, and the LCS is not a small boat. Just a big target right now, but should be able to support the fleet. Needs all the standoff from the big boats it can get.

You must not be familiar with how US Navy torpedoes work. There’s a heavyweight Mk 48 (that’s what you launch at a ship), but they’re only launched from subs. Then there’s the lightweight Mk 54 (what you launch at subs) which is what comes out of surface ship torpedo tubes. The ONLY purpose of putting them on a surface ship is to launch on once you realize that a sub has fired a heavyweight at you. In which case you’re probably getting hit and the sub is long out of range.

These thins are NOT supposed to go after frigates at all. That’s not the mission. You can sink a frigate at range with any of the countless Harpoons and ESSMs in a battle group. That’s their job. LCS is designed to engage swarms of small FAC/FIAC, gofast boats, and boghammars that plagued the fleet in the tanker wars. These threats aren’t easily countered by DDGs, FFGs, and CGs. They overwhelm their defenses too quickly. Like this test:

For a Army Apache the Hellfire 2 is a great missile. But for a Navy ship its small and short range. I find it sad that the many wants hellfire missiles and nixes Tomahawk, or Harpoon missiles on the ship. I see why DOD think-tank’s see this ship as unsurvivable and under armed.

Torpedo tubes for the REALLY close in submarines? Very very short range on those things.

Tomahawk? Against small highly manueverable targets? You’re kidding… right?
Harpoon is also not suited for the small highly manueverable target set either. Also, how many Harpoons do you think you can salvo against a swarm?

The torpedo tubes are not for small boats. Nor are the harpoons. This class of boat is not small. It will be required to do multi-mission. If it goes up against anything Frigate size or better, it will be dead.

To survive the sequestration, the boat needs armament fast and it needs to be multi-mission. Every boat should be ready for ASUW. Giving it harpoon launched from torpedo tubes gives it standoff for the bigger platforms while not torquing the hull.
Tomahawk is to give it more distance on land attack. Again, these boats need to be multi-mission.

If you have never seen these boats up close, they are not small. They have a lot of sail area.

OUT here.

Are torpedo tubes useless? All of the OHP class frigates and Burke destroyers had them AFAIK. Something with the speed of the LCS might benefit more from them.

That said a box of NSMs might be good against larger targets. Like any of the old corvettes and large patrol craft the Soviets used to sell everywhere.

They are not useless but they are really not very useful. The torpedos are only anti-submarine, not anti-surface and the range when launched form a ship is very short.

The combat along the shores, deltas, and rivers of Vietnam isn’t the modern littoral combat we’re looking at today. That Vietnam experience heavily shaped the ASPB. Applying MBT level composite armor would add a lot of weight and I’m not certain how much that would impact the ship’s speed and sailing qualities.

For a modern conflict the original “Streetfighter” concept which envisioned a large force of patrol craft/corvettes (weight about 600 tons each) sounds like a better idea. Yet the USN knew that some of these ships would be lost in a conflict, although at far less cost than something like the current LCS or a destroyer. Supposedly some later Streetfighter concepts looked at larger 1,200 ton corvettes. Somehow this eventually led us to the 3,000 ton LCS, which seemed to retain the armament of those smaller ships unfortunately.

Yeah, I suppose the sub would have to be awfully close if it is in range of those. The Seahawks should be dropping torpedoes on them well before that.

That’s a fantastic idea. Just set them up aft of the 57 mm and you’re set. It needs to be introduced without sacrificing the existing weapon systems. You can’t rely on that expensive of a missile for you main mode of engagement.

If a missile boat sneaks up on an LCS , then fire off an NSM and run.

The problem with LCS is and remains the weak sea-frame, and therefore its overall lack of survivability.

Adding armament to LCS (especially when its short-range), while better than nothing, is akin to adding a new floor to a house with a cracked/poorly-built foundation. No architect in his/her right mind would recommend such a thing.

A box of harpoons (on a $340M ship) would at least provide a small modicum of OTH attack capability. LCS, as is, has zero OTH attack capability, outside of using a chopper (which can’t carry much, and isn’t terribly survivable in a contested environment.

No self-respecting naval opponent would hesitate to attack an LCS as is.

The seaframe is weak? What is the deck loading of a larger gun or missile versus the capability of the ship? When you read about the survivability specs on LCS, that is very different from the ship’s ability to install different weapons.

Yes, USN is back in on JAGM, funding the integration of the missile on the AH-1Z. Actually a great leap of capability over all existing HF variants.

USN is back in on JAGM, funding the integration of the missile on the AH-1Z. Actually a great leap in capability over all existing HF variants.

I guess I don’t understand the problem. The one thing I read continually is that whatever the type, the LCS is under gunned and needs more weaponry. Now somebody comes up with a plan to take a tried and true every day missile and put it on theses ships. No R&D to pay for. An already in existence supply chain and access to as many missiles the navy needs courtesy of the US Army. Another use for hardware already purchased by the US taxpayer. It probably isn’t perfect but show me anything that is! The LCS is here to stay; we may as well make the best of it. Even if they aren’t the longest range missiles, more weaponry is better than less weaponry. Our sailors may have a better chance of surviving a shootout. The thing I find disturbing is that we will using a $60,000 missile to kill a $2,000 speedboat. It makes no economic sense. But sense when has war ever made economic sense?

come on Tomkat, think outside the Iranian box you’ve built. The Navy brass didn’t build the LCS just to putter around in the Persian gulf did they?

They built the LCS to be a warship didn’t they? After all it has a ASW module so it can attack subs, it has a ASuW module so it can go after enemy warships, it has a AAW module so it can shoot down aircraft and incoming vampires. Heck, it can even hold a company of Marines, so it can also attack the shore.

All of this means that the LCS will be going anywhere and everywhere, and they’ll be facing more than just Iranian boghammers. they will be facing China’s hundreds of missile boats. Is all of this not true?

That’s right TomKat, the LCS will be facing real warship with real anti-ship missiles that have very high speed and very long range.

Not don’t come back and tell us that the LCS will ALWAYS be under the protective skirt of a Arleigh Burke destroyer. But the LCS is a warship and she will be treated like one, not like some 2 yr old kid and needs it’s Burke destroyer mother to protect it all of the time. Come now ToMcat, you understand numbers don’t you? If we really need to “escort” a warship with another warship-that’s quite embarrassing isn’t it? Plus, we simple don’t have the numbers to do that. After all, with some 52 little LCS running around all over the ocean, they will outnumber real warships soon won’t they?

But don’t worry TomcaAt, the LCS is a robust warship with layers of self-defense, great electronics, a very tough hull and lots of potent offensive weapons. I’m sure the Chinese with their hundreds of fast missiles boats that are armed to the teeth will be too scared to even sale in the same ocean as the LCS.

So go back to bed now, and keep reading your “The LCS saves the day” fairy tale written by Robert Work, I hear it’s a lovely story.…

I agree with you economic argument, but I think we can go cheaper for primary engagement. Put the Hellfires on the ship, but make them a last resort. Otherwise, engage at a distance with your helo armed with APKWS, 57mm, and 30 mm guns. It’s not over the horizon but it’s still pretty far out. Plus APKWS is far cheaper and just enough to kill a speedboat.

Harpoon’s range exceeds the combat systems capability for detection. Both the TRS-3D and SEAGIRAFFE are designed for high clutter littoral environments. It’s akin to carrying a sniper rifle and only having iron sights to work with. Additionally, at most you’d be able to carry eight (maybe, more likely 4) million dollar missiles. All of the threats are composed of a dozen or more targets. If you’re worried about missile boats over the horizon, then engage them with DDGs, CGs, and Aircraft. That is there role after all.

While a huge improvement over the ridiculous use of Griffin it is still woefully inadequate. But at least they are going to an rf seeker that will work without a laser spot and will hit multiple simultaneous targets while in fog.

Still, I would like to out-stick the NASR-1 and C-704 by a good margin since that is what what it likely coming at you. Neither Longbow Hellfire nor even JAGM will do that. What you need is a missile designed for the job not a helo’ missile adapted to a ship launch because it was cheap.

Ideally you would want to out-stick the C-702 also but let’s at least be able to handle small boats and their small anti-ship missiles. At $400M each, LCSs are not really disposable and neither is the crew. Our sailors deserve better than this!

Problem is that the hydra rocket on a helo that may or may not be there can at best go 8km and the SA-18 coming at you about 6km. This might work if you only had to shoot 1 boat. But there will likely be 8 to 12. APKWS will requiring lasing until impact. This means that one of the other boats is going to kill the helo. Oh, and it doesn’t work in a marine layer. Now a fire and forget JAGM with its much greater range and tri-mode seeker off a helo would work as long as you can always get 2 fully loaded helo’s airborne soon enough to do the job before the boats get in their 35km launch range.

To avoid the delays associated with acquiring something new to them (eg. dual mode Brimstone), Navy was looking to make use of something they already have. Watch the brief video at the link, an excerpt of CNO’s testimony at HASC.

Greetings, all!

Military Dot Com (one of DoD Buzz sister sites), just posted an article entitled:

“7th Fleet Admits LCS Not Suited for Pacific”

Well in a modern Navel battle ships wont be in the range of the Hellfire have. So your arguing for missiles that wont be a first shoot first kill that will wn future Naval battles then. You want the enemy to shoot first touch us first rather than the other way around.

BlackOwl18E… “What we really need is a boat about the size of a school bus…”

Navy has boats..

They already have the 82 foot Mark V Special Operations Craft: 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

And they are buying the new 85 foot Mark VI Patrol Boat: http://​www​.navsea​.navy​.mil/​t​e​a​m​s​h​i​p​s​/​P​E​O​S​_​B​o​a​t​san

8 of either of those boats will fit in the well deck of USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) which could be used to transport them into theater and forward to operating area, could also mother-ship the boats, crews, support, etc. in the forward operating area (not my idea, saw the concept on a set of NAVSEA PowerPoint slides). Augmented with some 11 meter RIBs, those Mark V/VI patrol boats could provide patrol, interdiction and perimeter force protection for a small surface group operating in the littorals that might include a DDG operating with a small squadron of LCS.

It was either Obama, his wife or one of their stooges.

Everybody seems to be missing the point: LCS IS under armed. The addition of the Hellfire may help the LCS defend against small boats but what does it use to defend against a frigate or destroyer? The LCS needs a weapon with a range greater than 5.5 miles. I know the LCS is not supposed to engage with these types but I don’t think that a potential adversary will fight the way we expect or want.
LCS should be equipped with a long range anti-ship missile just in case. The best one out there is the Harpoon and the launchers already exist. At least it would give the crew a fighting chance.

The USS Stark took TWO Exocet missiles and survived. The USS Princeton hit a mine and survived. The USS Cole toke a direct hit to the water line which opened up a 40 foot hole and it didn’t sink. Do not of these cases not count as a modern warship

If any of the above happened to the LCS there would be nothing left of it. The deal is TopCat, if you don’t understand, is that warships need to be build tough to withstand damage and fight another day. The LCS is build to the lowest possible standards, it cannot take any damage whatsoever, it will either sink, burn up, or get blown to bits. It not the tonnage, it HOW it’s built TomCakk

Do you need any more help remembering stuff Tomascat?

Now Topcat, be honest with us. In a shooting war, if you had a choice, would you rather be on a Arleigh Burke or a LCS. If you answer LCS then we all know you are full of ****

don’t let Tomcat know, he’s going to have a hissy fit ;-P

WHAT WHAT Weaponhead? You DARE bring up the truth about the LCS. You dare to bring facts to Tomcat? You SIR are brave and noteworthy.

Be prepared to suffer Tomcat’s illogical and emotionally driven drivel. Put on your raincoat! ;-P

in Tomcat’s pretty world, the helo never get’s shot down and it has and in-exhaustable supply of Hellfires-it can shoot all day

typically you flush crap, not try to improve upon it.…


We will have to give up on thinking of the LCS as a Combat Ship. Accordingly it will have to be renamed Modular Support Ship with lowered expectations re combat in the littorals. The Surface Warfare Mission Package is more of a speedboat hunter, but considering how few LCS variants we will have it would be in poor taste to not configure all available LCS for anti-sub and MCM duty, with the extra LCS configured for Surface and used to protect the other LCS’ while they work.

Self-deploy, long range and high speed impose a lower boundary on size, and short of configuring without the cavernous mission bay makes these ships quite large. No other vessel in any other navy is forced to have large cargo capacity while being small, long range and high speed with simultaneous expectations of replacing a frigate that used to have a single-arm missile launcher, a deck gun, torpedoes and CIWS (note, the Perry would have performed both the Surface Warfare Mission Package and the ASW Mission package in its heyday, but not as well as the specialized variants of the LCS) /or/ a minesweeper.

Those boats are too small, and are only suited for Boghammar crushing. Unfortunately the Navy has a fetish for fighting small speedboats, and LCS falls right into it.

He might already be in therapy.

OTOH, he may very well light up the board with inspired insults regarding the command staff of the 7th fleet, announcing they are simply too stupid to understand what the LCS is all about. That of course, is the same story he’s used against the GAO, the navy inspector general, and every other investigative/watchdog agency that has had the temerity to give LCS a rotten review.

Except, it can’t replace either!

One of the main tasks the LCS is suppose to do is minesweeping, the LCS is a very very expensive plateform to do minesweeping in. It would be far cheaper to use a small dedicated plateform to do minesweeping in than the LCS. Sure the LCS can do a lot more than the minesweeping fleet it is replacing, but at what costs ??? and at what overall program risk to the USA small ship fleet needs ???


The boats are too small to do the work of an LCS or DDG, but boats are very well suited to patrol in the littorals, and to provide perimeter force protection, to do what the Navy calls marine interdiction/Visit Board Search & Seizure (VBSS). A fishing boat may just be a fishing boat operated by fishermen, or may be packed with explosives and operated by enemy combatants or terrorists; and if that fishing boat enters a security perimeter it needs to be warned off, stopped, boarded, etc. You can use patrol boats to prevent others’ boats from getting close. But if your operational plan leaves out the boats and your tactic is to shoot first from the DDG and investigate later, then your welcome there will quickly wear thin as you shoot their unarmed fishermen (regardless that they may be testing your perimeter for later attack).

Navy painted itself into a corner. They wanted long range self-deploy and module flexibility. Rules out corvettes and FAC’s, which are Littoral Combatants but not much else.

Why don’t they make a stretched hellfire with like twice the range? The current hellfire doesn’t have enough range for the apache’s sensors and the AH-64 E has an increased payload so can carry heavier missiles.

A longer range hellfire could be used for a precision artillery system, like in this case on the LCS. Moreover it already has the lock on after launch capability.

Of course, TomCat fails to recognize that MANPADS are cheap and would take that chopper down, again leaving LCS all but defenseless.

LCS, according to its cheerleaders, isn’t supposed to engage with other navies combatants.

What this asinine argument ignores, is that other navies aren’t likely to adhere to that theory and would more than likely take advantage of the situation.

There it is!!!!

If they saddled A New Minesweeper with the requirement of high dash speed, transoceanic self-deploy and long endurance New Minesweeper would probably be large as well. The LCS is bigger due to the need to have a large mission bay, but if New Minesweeper is going to host drones, it would also need a large mission bay…

you said weak sea frames? come on. even the arleigh burke guided missile destroyer’s body which is made of high strength steel) would not survive a direct hit. it was design with aluminum so that it swiftly cut water. its speed is one of its core strength of making it “survivable” against the fast swarm attacks mostly encountered at the littorals. but, yes, i believe that up-gunning it with 76mm oto melara, fitting it with hell fire missiles or equivalent, would make it more lethal and survivable. since most of the bloggers seemed to notice its deficiencies (even if they just read it on the net) other views are valid and needs to be considered by the navy.….at any rate, we have what we call as “evolution” and “kaizen” or continuous innovation. navy should innovate and “not kill” LCS!!

THOSE ARE BIG SHIPS and none of them are as big as LCS. USS COLE was not hit with missile — it was hit by terrorist riding in a speed boat.…LCS and ARLEIGH BURKE are not apples to apples comparison Big Dean. It is not. you know that because you are one of the “expert” bloggers in DOD BUZZ!! so what is the logic of comparing an LCS and an ARLEIGH BURKE GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER?

LCS is not designed to go head to head with a destroyer — day one. You know that!

Actually the closest contemporary to a surface-launched Maverick would be the latest variants of the Israeli Gabriel.
US would just as well say, “we had Harpoon series for that role”, even if Harpoon variants were considerably larger than Maverick.

In the early 1990s (but post-Desert Storm), there was “in shop” development of the Maverick Longhorn, a turbine powered expirement that tripled the range of a typical Maverick, but again though, that fell into the spectrum that Harpoon was used for back then.
But no real medium range surface-to-surface weaponry exists that is what the LCS and even frigates and destroyers need in numbers to counter similar vessels (boghammers thru frigates).
It’s not like the technology isn’t there to do it.

Navy rejoined JAGM just this year. I believe I read somewhere that the Navy is going to be taking from existing Hellfire stocks rather than new production, so I’m guessing its an interim measure. It’s definitely better than using the ridiculously small Griffons, but hopefully they’ll get a real anti-ship missile capability in there eventually.

This may be heresy, but it baffles me why you couldn’t put … (wait for it) … MLRS on a ship. You’d have a nice lethal, area defense/offense, highly accurate weps system with great stand-off …

the problem is that the 54mm is an awesome weapon, but they should be mounted on each side (or one near the mast like an 76mmFFG mount), and a 5 inch should replace the forward mount. Add the SeaRam under the CIWS, and with the Hellfires, voila…the question will be, how much does this reduce the speed? We need small boat defense, and the Hellfire is good for that, but the .54 shreds small boats very quickly, more efficiency and with respect to cost. This also helps shore parties for NGFS.

If every program that ever had teething problems was scrapped then the US would still be using the P-51 and have zero helicopter capability.

Not sure of the Hellfire but for the Tomahawk 2016 is the decision year for a near cruise missile or going forward with the Tomahawk. With the vast stock pile its unlikely stocks would run out before a new system starts to come out effectively.

Operations in the Persian Gulf by the Royal Navy demonstrated that a Lynx armed with Sea Skuas (up to 4 per helo) were quite effective against small surface combatants.
Evolution of the Sea Skua into a slightly longer weapon allowing more range from surface launch would be a perfect missile for the LCS (accomodated in Mission Module footprint), but Sea Skua will be going away as the British have been considering its replacement along similar lines as the US replacing Hellfire.

Query (web search) the MU90 IMPACT torpedo and see just what is capable to achieve in a 12.75inch ASW torpedo.

They may be small in comparison to 2-ton 21inch heavyweight torpedoes, but they are by no means short-ranged, slow, weak in the warhead department, nor “only for anti submarine warfare” use.

We could just as well purchase Israeli Spike family of missiles rather than fund an entended-range Hellfire development

Then again, the political fall out on an American administration authorizing the use of “jewish weapons” in our war against muslim terrorists would be a no-no.
The War on Terror is supposed to NOT be a modern-day Crusades.

Precision, Over-the-horizon, Land Attack Rocket.
I’ve harped on it before.
A now-defunct MLRS-derivative that would’ve been quad-packable into Mk41 VLS cells just like the Sea Sparrow/ESSM family can.
But at a suggested range exceeding 180km, it created a direct competitor against the Zumwalts’ AGS 155mm gun system: why fund AGS and Zumwalt when ANY vessel equipped with Mk41 VLS could carry all the POLARs we’d ever need for precision surface fire support missions?
For volume, the vertical launch Tomahawk tubes some USN attack subs have (no, not the re-purposed Ohios being converted into SSGNs), could have been adaptable to hold 3 POLARs instead of 1 Tomahawk.

There are some 4000 Tomahawks in the stockpile plus the ones that will be added over the next two years. Since the article says the Navy shoots about 100 Tomahawks per year and only used 220 missiles during the Libya mess, they ought to last a while.

I’d REALLY like to hear their reasoning when they claim the stockpile will be exhausted by 2018. Maybe they need a refresher course in basic math?

According to this link:–893-en/Mark

the spike Extended Range has a range of 8km, which is the same as hellfire.

I was thinking like 16km.

Maybe the JAGM propulsion could be used on the hellfire. It was supposed to have twice the range of the hellfire.

Probably we need to review the material used on the LCS interior an exterior halls . Use composite materials. It last long. Sea water or salt water make steel wool rust faster.

its not even that heavily armed. Many existing patrol boats are less than 1600 tons, pack at least 4 60 nm+ SSMs (Harpoon, Exocet, Silkworm) and top out @ 40 kts. If an LCS launches a helo to go attack such craft, it will have to ditch in the ocean because its mothership will have long been sunk! Best to stop buying any more of these wasteful coffins, begin negotiations on where to send them as museum pieces, and put our sailors on something they can take to a fight, win, and return triumphantly declaring Bravo Zulu!

Would Hellfires for a VLS and for the MH-60 be interchangeable? Or is the booster not field removable?

It is a waste of money to design and built a 300 tons ship to fight small boats. Cancel the surface warfare module and but 20 fast missile craft for the littoral surface warfare mission. Hopefully the mine and and antisubmarine warfare modules will work as promised. If they don’t the LCS program will be a total failure.

LCS already has RAM — not sure how adding HF will help. Also — vertically launched? What do they think they will be shooting at? Most of the gas will be used up before the thing is pitched back down.

Hellfire for swarming tactics– don’t need long range– swarmers won’t approach from far off, they will come at you in congested areas, so range not a factor. Would add 4–8 NSM –lighter than Harpoons but still pack enough punch & range to threaten larger opponents. 4–8 NSM mounted up top as shown by Kongsberg along with 16+ VL Hellfires. If the NSM replaces penguin on helicopters this would ease integration. Would definitely modify the bow of LCS1 class to include 8–16 cell VLS for ESSM plus perhaps VL ASOROC. That would create a useful patrol ship.

The P-51 was a dog for the first years of it’s life. Then the Brits strapped a real engine on it.


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