Skip to comments.Leaked Navy memo says $440 million LCS lack firepower, need review
Posted on 03/28/2013 9:48:22 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Leaked Navy memo says $440 million LCS lack firepower, need review
The Littoral Combat Ship, a vessel intended to replace aging vessels in the U.S. Navy and be small and speedy for use in shallow waters, lacks the firepower it needs, a top U.S. Navy commander said in a classified memo, according to Bloomberg.
Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, the commander of naval surface forces, said the Navy should consider a ship with more offensive capability after the first 24 vessels are built, according to a Navy official who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential document, Bloomberg reported.
Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, requested the 10-page memo from Copeman last year. Entitled Vision for the 2025 Surface Fleet, the document includes three paragraphs of comments on the LCS, indicating the Navy may be starting to re-examine the $37 billion program, according to Bloomberg.
Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.
Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette's yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million, double what it was in 2005, and building both versions of the ship adds about $400 million in operating and maintenance costs over the lifetime of the vessels, Bloomberg reported.
The Navy projects that the $37 billion program will buy 52 ships. Of those, four have been built and the Navy has agreed to buy 20 more through 2015.
The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief, and it meant to replace aging frigates and other vessels.
Critics inside the Navy have referred to the LCS as the "Little Crappy Ship," saying the LCS may be vulnerable to attack as it's too lightly armed. They have also cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and "aggressive" corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal's USS Independence.
On a trip to the Austal USA shipyard in February, Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he's looking forward to the Navy's use of the ship.
He also said that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he's very optimistic that the ship will do well.
"The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship," he said. "Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say 'it's not made for this, it won't do well in this.' I would acknowledge that."
The leaked memo calls for a vessel that can operate independently rather than traveling under the protection of better-armed ships, according to Bloomberg.
If the Navy decides to review the LCS program, it could lead to an eventual redesign of the ship or the development of an entirely new vessel.
Earlier this month, the Navy awarded Austal $681.7 million to construct two additional LCS. The contract options fund construction of the LCS 14 and LCS 16, the fifth and sixth ships in the 10-ship block buy award given to Austal in December 2010.
The two additional LCS puts Austal under contract for a total of eight 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships - including USS Independence, delivered to the Navy in 2009 - six of which are a part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.
Read the full Bloomberg report here.
Loose lips sink ships.
Well, of course. The military isn’t supposed to kill people. The LCS’s probably have a substantial supply of Lollipops, for winning hearts and minds. Who loves ya, Baby?
This is not a shipbuilder issue.
Navy is responsible for the “plug and play” warfighting modules that are behind schedule, over budget and not performing to specifications. It is those modules which give LCS its teeth.
“Independence” and “Freedom” class ships. Seems the Navy needs to rethink how they name classes of ships. Here are some more up-to-date name ideas:
The Fairness class automatically capsize themselves when confronted by less capable enemy craft.
Aquatic justice, don’t you know...
Ah. The law-of-the-sea...
America has always done stupid things like this—Tomas Jefferson wanted to replace the frigates with small gunboats—then he had to fight the North African Pirates. They are replacing good warships with fast gunboats. Heaven help us if we must fight a nation with a real navy. Such actions always happen before a new big war. I fear one is coming soon.
Main armament is the Mk1 Mod 0 T-shirt launcher. Secondary is the FU-69 confetti cannon.
Is this the type that’s going to have one named after Gabby Giffords? Appropriate then that it’s deficient.
Part of the problem is that the \sxhip’s magazine has beem limited to 7 rounds....
Isn't aluminum kind of a bad idea corrosion-wise in a saltwater environment?
The LCS has one 57mm front-mounted gun and a helecopter pad. I assume there are side mounts where 50 cal M-2s can be mounted. When I first saw it, my initial thought was the same. Very under-armed for its mission.
US Navy = A Global Force For Goooooood......
Seems like it would be better to build a few more LSD's (Landing Ship Dock)
and outfit them with a selection of heavily armed fast patrol boats and unmanned mission boats which can perform missions close to shore while the ship stays over the horizon. For missions where there is danger of missile attack, use unmanned boats.
Oops! You forgot to mention the most important class, because they’re building LCS in Steel and Aluminum it’s Called;
the DIVERSITY Class
We empathized with the Marines as we were an Army ACAV troop aboard USS Ogden LPD 5, landed on Vietnam’s Quang Ngai peninsula, early FEB 1969.
It made me a Gator Navy fan.
Srangely enough, that's how the business started. Then they decided to eliminate the base ship and make the LCS self deploying. Doing that and keeping the 50 knots speed caused all the problems.