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Industry view: Why the Navy needs a ‘Patrol Frigate’
DoD Buzz ^ | March 28th, 2012 | Philip Ewing

Posted on 03/29/2012 8:24:32 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Industry view: Why the Navy needs a ‘Patrol Frigate’

In this commentary, Huntington-Ingalls Industries’ corporate director of customer relations, Patrick H. Stadt, makes the case for a U.S. Navy version of the company’s National Security Cutter.

The fourth of eight planned National Security Cutters is currently in production at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. The first three cutters have been delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard and are already proving themselves as highly capable, multi-mission ships.

The NSC’s capabilities not only support the traditional U.S. Coast Guard missions of search and rescue, fisheries enforcement and counter narcotic patrols, but also add national/homeland defense and support of Navy missions to the mission set. Principally designed to carry out all of those Coast Guard missions, the NSC is also highly capable today of fulfilling several missions in support of naval requirements, particularly where greater endurance and mission flexibility are key factors.

With minor configuration variations, the NSC can become a Patrol Frigate that can perform additional missions against a broad array of threats including air, submarine, and surface. As navies worldwide grapple with balancing affordability, capability, and performance, integration of Patrol Frigates into a fleet mix will efficiently and effectively capitalize on the ships’ strengths to carry out a broad range of frigate missions.

The NSC was originally designed as the replacement for the aging Hamilton class of 378-foot cutters built in the late 1960s. NSCs were first envisioned to have modern propulsion and communications systems but relatively few major differences when compared to the cutters they were replacing.

During the design spirals that refined the requirements, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred, and along with the disposition of the nation, the requirements changed for the NSC. The new cutters had become much more than just replacements for the old Hamiltons.

These post-9/11 requirements for the NSC resulted in a better armed, more survivable cutter with enhanced communication and aviation capabilities. With the exception of ice operations and aids to navigation, the NSC is fully capable of carrying out all of the varied missions of the service.

Not only do they possess this multi-mission capability on every deployment, they do so independent of any other floating unit. Their 12,000 nautical mile range allows for extensive on-station operations; the optimally sized crew of 110 is trained and capable of carrying out the numerous missions while embarking only an additional six-person aviation detachment for normal ops and an additional 11 persons for wartime ops.

With a top sustained speed of 28 knots and endurance based on food stores of 60 days, the NSC is a ship capable of projecting a relevant, persistent, independent presence. Its armament is similar to the combat system suite found on the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships, which also includes soft kill and other electronic warfare systems. Fully interoperable with the U.S. Navy, it is also capable of underway refueling and replenishment. With this degree of flexibility and capability inherent in the NSC, it stands out as a ship that could greatly benefit navies around the globe in mission areas envisioned for small surface combatants and quickly fill the gaps caused by the decreasing numbers of frigates.

To quantify how NSC as a Patrol Frigate could be complementary to other small surface combatants, HII used a modeling and simulation program that was derived from a personnel and fuel cost evaluation tool. Prior to running any simulations, HII retained MicroSystems Integration, an established modeling and simulation company, to validate the model and its input assumptions. After minor adjustments, the model was found to be sound and useable for the purpose of analyzing various operational scenarios employing patrol frigates and small surface combatants.

For the purpose of the modeling, the 2010 Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment’s paper on “Littoral Combat Ships, An Examination of its Possible Concepts of Operation” was employed to baseline the mission areas and operational scenarios. The CSBA paper was also the prime reference in “The Littoral Combat Ship and Irregular Warfare,” an article written by Capt. Robinson Harris and posted on the Second Line of Defense website on Sept. 14. The CSBA paper suggested 19 varied missions, including special forces insertion and extraction; maritime interdiction; influence/humanitarian assistance, disaster response operations, and resource protection, the last being the focus of Capt. Harris’ discussions.

MicroSystems Integration used historic U.S. Navy data from the 2010 Navy Program Guide to calculate the expected frequency for each of the 19 missions for the LCS-type ship during an average year and then assigned the preferred ship to each. The history was taken from legacy ships that now perform “LCS type” missions. Preferred ships for a given mission were determined through numerical analysis of rated parameters consisting of speed, endurance/presence, defense, small boat launch and recovery, aircraft launch and recovery, command and control, draft, and stealth. For the purpose of this analysis, the Patrol Frigate was “as built, operating independently” (equivalent to the current NSC configuration) and the LCS was “missionized, operating independently” (a blended version of the two LCSs currently in production).

The analysis determined that out of the 19 missions traditionally performed by small surface combatants, seven indicated the Patrol Frigate was the preferred ship. When compared against a non-missionized LCS, (just the seaframe, no mission systems), the Patrol Frigate was the preferred ship in 15 missions.

To compare operational costs (fuel and personnel), six modeled scenarios were run based on proposed scenarios in the CSBA paper, ranging from securing loose nuclear weapons to maritime interdiction. For those two scenarios, the Patrol Frigate reflected an operational savings of approximately 29 percent and 33 percent, respectively, when compared to an LCS-type ship. In all six scenarios (the two above and convoy protection, maritime stability operations, counter piracy/counter crime, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response), the Patrol Frigate reflected an operational savings of approximately 26 percent.

The modeling and simulation performed supports the premise that the Patrol Frigate would make an affordable and strong contribution to the low-end of a traditional threat spectrum. By constructing a mixed fleet of high-conflict and low-conflict capable ships, navies around the globe can glean significant budgetary savings while better aligning ship capability with anticipated mission scenarios.

The Patrol Frigate is an optimum balance of affordability, capability, and proven performance for low-conflict, high-endurance missions and would be a cost effective addition to combatant fleets around the world.

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TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: frigate; huntingtoningalls; patrolfrigate; usn
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To: MasterGunner01

I see your point and agree. To me it’s not unlike the Air Force and their devotion to supersonic air superiority fighters and using them for air-mud. The A-10 is probably the most devastating ground attack aircraft ever devised and is totally unloved by the Air Force. There is no sense of proportion or seemingly any recognition that different platforms are needed in different environments.

I’m not going to sweep the skies with A-10s and I’m not going to force open the sea lanes with frigates, but when the Marines hit a beach they need fire support from a ship that give it and take it close in. And blue water ships are vulnerable to small boat threats when they are in skinny water. That’s why you see mighty ships like the USS George H.W. Bush being escorted down Thimble Shoal channel by a little 87 foot WPB. Trouble is, a WPB doesn’t have the range and endurance to run with the big boys across oceans. A frigate does.

21 posted on 03/30/2012 7:20:52 AM PDT by SargeK
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To: SargeK
In reality, the Navy needs replacements for the FFG-7 class frigates that are going away. There are plenty of good replacements being built by foreign navies (and some of our shipyards are building some for FMS), but the USN mindset can be summed up as “not invented here.” As parochial as that thinking is, it pretty well sums up things.

For Green Waters, the USN could use the equivalent of a Corvette. Again, there are numerous good foreign designs, but the NIH mindset applies.

The LCS was sold as a glorified, do everything — ASW, mine countermeasures, anti-surface warfare — that was convertible through the use of modules. The LCS was designed for speed at the cost of everything else. [Note to USN: Even at 45 knots, an LCS cannot run from a Mach 0.8 anti-ship missile, nor can it mount an adequate defense against multiples of them.]

Short form: The USN and DoD are screwing the pooch and they cannot see it at all.

22 posted on 03/30/2012 10:24:14 AM PDT by MasterGunner01 (11)
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To: MasterGunner01

One factor likely is that weapon load is compromised for fuel load.

Those things have got to have gawdawful fuel consumption rates.

23 posted on 03/30/2012 10:40:41 AM PDT by SargeK
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To: MasterGunner01
"Forget a “Patrol Frigate” based on the NSC".

I can't. I think it's the RIGHT ANSWER.

These ships are about the same size as the old Adams Class Destroyers and can carry out sea control operations independently against just about anyone. The crew is but 150men. Has the 76mm rapid-fire gun along with Phalanx...and VLS for a mix of AAM and Harpoon.

They're cheap compared to EVERYTHING ELSE we are building and still better than just about any other ship built by anybody else.

The only way I would augment them is with a second gun of the 5"/62 caliber gun. I would also add a second version without helo pad but with another 24 tubes of VLS.

They'll sell a bunch of these.

24 posted on 03/30/2012 3:38:10 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: MasterGunner01
The LCS (at least in LCS-1 class) is overweight and all classes are UNDERARMED. This is not peculiar to USN ships because the majority are underarmed. ... Quite bluntly, the SWO community hasn't figured out that Green Water (and Brown Water) operations are magnitudes more dangerous places than their experiences have taught them. If the USN gets into a shooting war in Green waters, we are going to get a lot of expensive gray ships sunk

I've noticed that too. Big ship, lots of men, relatively little firepower compared to comparable WW2 vessels. We don't really have anything to cope with a huge wave of hundreds of speedboats coming all at once.

I would like to see several more CIWS-type guns on that ship that could be manually targeted against small dodging targets.

Take a look at the armament of a late-WW2 PT boat:

"two to four Mk-VIII torpedoes, two dual 50cal machine guns in the turrets, a 40mm Bofors cannon mounted aft, a 37mm cannon far forward, flanked by two 20mm cannons and an assortment of other weapons such as deck mounted mortars, additional 30 and 50 caliber machine guns including two multiple 5" rocket launchers." With a crew of up to 17, everybody appeared to have a heavy weapon except the guy steering the boat.

25 posted on 03/30/2012 4:04:52 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: Strategerist
Just FYI the cutter in that picture is 43 years old.

Yep. But it was the concept behind it I thought was important.

What happens when a CG Cutter and a Navy "Patrol Frigate" are in the same water? And if they're not, why are we patrolling foreign waters that have their own coastal navies?

26 posted on 03/30/2012 4:09:40 PM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: Mariner

I fully agree with you — the USN needs to replace its FFG-7 class of frigates and it needs something like a corvette sized combatant to free-up the frigates.

However, the people that count in the USN are not going to do this because they’ve committed to that piece of junk called the LCS and they absolutely will NOT change course. Instead of replacing the FFG-7s, the USN has opted for the awful LCS and more of the Flight III DDG-51 class. That’s totally foolish because the DDG-51 is not needed to do frigate or corvette jobs. The LCS cannot do the frigate or corvette job at all.

This is the reality that exists. Will the USN change its course? In a word, NO. I don’t like it, you can see the problems, but the people who make these decision will not hear alternatives now that they’ve committed themselves (and their careers). It is what it is, unfortunately.

27 posted on 03/30/2012 8:29:04 PM PDT by MasterGunner01 (11)
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To: PapaBear3625
Ton for ton, the heaviest armed ships and boats of World War 2 were: (1) the LSSL (landing ship support, large) and (2) the PT (patrol torpedo) boat. Both started out as designs for other purposes but morphed, as the results of combat experiences, into gunboats.

The LSSL began life as the smallest ocean-going landing craft, the LCI (landing craft, infantry). Originally called the Landing Craft Support (Large) Mark 3, the LSSL used the same hull of the LCI, but was configured for gunfire support of the landing beaches. The U.S. built 130 of these “mighty midgets” during the war.

LSSL [aka LCS(L) Mk 3] specifications (1945):
Displacement - 250 tons (light), 387 tons (full load)
Length - 158’ 6” overall
Beam - 23’ 3”
Draft loaded - 4’ 9” forward, 6’ 6” aft
Speed - 16.5kts max at 650 shaft rpm, 14.5kts at 585 shaft rpm
Armor - 10-lb STS splinter shield to gun mounts, pilot house and conning tower
Complement - 6 Officers, 65 Enlisted
Propulsion - 8 GM diesels, 4 per shaft, BHP 1,600, twin variable pitch propellers
Endurance - 5,500 miles at 12kts at 45” pitch (350 tons displacement)
Fuel/Stores - 76 tons fuel oil, 10 tons fresh water, 6 tons lubrication oil, 8 tons provisions and stores at full load
Fresh Water Capacity - distill up to 1,000 gals. per day
Armament - bow gun, one single 3”/50 DP (dual purpose) gun mount
two twin 40mm AA gun mounts
four single 20mm AA gun mounts
four .50 cal machine guns
ten MK7 rocket launchers

The PT boat started the war as a torpedo boat to attack large vessels, but turned into a gunboat as the war progressed. The PT boat was not ocean-going with a range like the LSSL and it burned aviation grade gasoline. It was very heavily armed for its size and weight.

PT-596 specifications (1945):
Displacement - 56 tons
Length - 80’
Beam - 20’ 8”
Draft - 5’
Speed - 41 kts.
Complement - 17
Armament - One 37mm mount, one 40mm mount, one 20mm mount, two Mk 50 rocket launchers, four Mk 13 aircraft (22.4-inch) torpedoes and two twin .50 cal. machine guns
Propulsion - Three 1,500 shp Packard W-14 M2500 gasoline engines, three shafts.
Endurance - 6.3 hours at 40 knots on 3 engines, 474 gallons per hour; 10.3 hours at 2,000 rpm (35 knots), 292 gph, 518 miles max.

28 posted on 03/30/2012 9:12:57 PM PDT by MasterGunner01 (11)
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To: Oztrich Boy
Tougher, cheaper than the LCS

That's a pretty low bar, isn't it?

29 posted on 03/30/2012 10:36:37 PM PDT by GATOR NAVY
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To: MasterGunner01

The impression I get is that the surface navy is focused on the aircraft carrier, and supporting the carriers. The job of the destroyers, frigates, and cruisers is to operate as an anti-submarine/anti-air/anti-missile shield for the carrier.

30 posted on 03/31/2012 1:00:48 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: PapaBear3625
Exactly on target. All of these ships are there to protect the carrier and do Blue Water operations. However, when you get closer to shorelines (say 25 miles vice 250 miles), things get REALLY threatening and reaction times get shortened exponentially. A carrier (or amphib strike group) is designed for long range power projection. Up close and personal confrontations in restricted coastal waters are to be avoided. Unfortunately, operations like this cannot be avoided and the USN isn't really prepared for operations in this kind of high threat environment.
31 posted on 03/31/2012 2:49:04 PM PDT by MasterGunner01 (11)
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