Skip to comments.LCS "Ugly Duckling" Turning Into A Swan
Posted on 10/31/2011 5:00:50 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
LCS "Ugly Duckling" Turning Into A Swan
17:17 GMT, October 26, 2011 Until recently, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) has struggled to overcome the impression that it was the U.S. Navy's "ugly duckling." There were questions regarding the mission for the LCS -- operations in littoral waters, the possibility of building warships in commercial shipyards according to commercial standards, and the plausibility of equipping the LCS with plug-and-play mission modules. There were complaints about the designs of both variants. There was the crisis of rising prices as the cost for each ship rose when the builders were required to meet the design requirements set by the Naval Vessel Rules. There have been delays in fielding several of the initial mission modules.
Slowly but steadily the LCS program is morphing into a pair of swans. When the first two LCS went to sea, both demonstrated tremendous capabilities. Design changes have been implemented to address problems experienced with the first two ships. As a result, when both variants go into serial production they will be able to go faster, carry more fuel and be easier to maintain.
Progress is being made on the mission packages. The first generation mine countermeasures package is undergoing testing. Candidate unmanned underwater vehicles are currently being developed. A redesign of the antisubmarine warfare package will be rolled out soon. New mission modules for the Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces are being considered. There is even the possibility of a missile defense variant with a downsized radar for the foreign market.
One of the truly transformational changes in the LCS program was cost. The competition between the two LCS teams for what was supposed to be a single award to produce the new warship resulted in each team proposing a price so good that the Navy decided to buy both LCS variants and got an extra ship in the bargain. This effect was the result of innovations in ship construction by the two builders, Marinette Marine and Austal. But it was also the result of LCS program office's absolute determination to constrain the corporate Navy's attempts to add requirements and hence costs to the program. The program office is being ruthless when it comes to engineering design changes. There are no changes not necessitated by safety issues or to enhance affordability.
Mother Nature wrote the biological rules that govern how an ugly duckling turns into a beautiful swan. The LCS program office and the two LCS teams have shown that by rewriting the acquisition rules the same transformation can be achieved on a major weapons program.
---- Daniel Goure, Ph.D.
Early Warning Blog, Lexington Institute
Speed is a major ingredient of littoral combat ships such as the future USS Fort Worth, designed for flexibility and agility.
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/30/3486502/first-sea-trial-goes-according.html#ixzz1cMMDnQ5W
A Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a type of relatively small surface vessel intended for operations in the littoral zone (close to shore). It is "envisioned to be a networked, agile, stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in the littorals." Two ship classes are the first examples of the LCS in the U.S. Navy: the Freedom-class and the Independence-class. LCS designs are slightly smaller than the US Navy's guided missile frigates, and have been likened to corvettes of other navies. However, the LCS designs add the capabilities of a small assault transport with a flight deck and hangar large enough to base two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the capability to recover and launch small boats from a stern ramp, and enough cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with armoured fighting vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility. The standard armament for the LCS is Mk 110 57 mm guns. It will also be able to launch autonomous air, surface, and underwater vehicles. Although the LCS designs offer less air defense and surface-to-surface capabilities than comparable destroyers, the LCS concept emphasizes speed, flexible mission module space and a shallow draft. The first Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Freedom (LCS-1), was commissioned on November 8, 2008 in Veteran's Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The second ship and first of the trimaran design, the USS Independence (LCS-2), was commissioned on January 16, 2010, in Mobile, Alabama.
One of the smartest guys in my high school is on the engineering team for the Independence.
These crappy little things are designed for furthering our insane policy of foreign meddling.
My hat is off to him and his peers.
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) has struggled to overcome the impression that it was the U.S. Navy’s “ugly duckling.”
Gee, if a LCS is an “ugly duckling” what would have they have called a LSD (Landing Ship Dock)?
My husband was responsible for the diesel engines in Freedom and after commissioning the ship, followed it all the way from WI to Norfolk to make sure all was well with engines.
I just wish they’d used the traditional categorization for ships like these and called them Corvettes.
In the future, I’m looking for new ships such as “recoverable UAV carriers”, “expendable UAV carriers”, and exotic craft like “recoverable USV” craft.
In the first case, a ship that can launch and recover a large number of Reaper-type UAVs, along with maintenance-repair, refuel and rearm.
In the second case, a lower tech ship that can carry and launch what amounts to “buzz bombs”, with a similar mission to cruise missiles, but at far lower per-weapon cost.
The third ship would release and recover large numbers of torpedo-like, but low energy consumption unmanned submersibles, that can then patrol a wide sector of ocean, making it impassible to enemy ships and submarines.
The trditional categorization is APD (High Speed Transport), or LPR (Amphibious Transport, Small)
Not that I'm aware of. I remember hearing that a couple of foreign navies were interested but backed off due to the price.
No. In fact Northrup Grumman is pitching a greyfunnel version of its Coastie National Security Cutter (an actual blue water not littoral ship) to meet the Patrol Frigate requirement.
Click on pic for past Navair pings. Post or FReepmail me if you wish to be enlisted in or discharged from the Navair Pinglist. The only requirement for inclusion in the Navair Pinglist is an interest in Naval Aviation. This is a medium to low volume pinglist.
Unmanned vehicles is the way things are going. I know the next class of British frigates will have provision for 4-8 UAV’s.
“LCS program office’s absolute determination to constrain the corporate Navy’s attempts to add requirements and hence costs to the program.”
Wow it’s getting deep.
At $1B a ship when an aircraft carrier costs $6B I don’t think of the LCS as cheep.
Or cheap for that matter.
Haven't spent much time around Defense contracting or new system development, eh?
If each CVAN went through the same process as the LCS, you could multiply that cost you quoted by at least a few orders of magnitude.
Even if you manage to keep the Bright Ideas Brigade back inside The Beltway from sticking every bell and whistle known to mankind on the thing during the preliminary design.
What's a billion dollars more or less anyway, with the trillions that are being thrown around like party confetti? /sarc