Skip to comments.Navy begins weighing future of littoral combat ship; or whether to replace it
Posted on 08/01/2014 11:08:49 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
MOBILE, Alabama -- It's judgment day for the littoral combat ship.
The July 31 deadline has passed for a task force of U.S. Navy officials to collect information for a new or improved small surface combatant. In a released statement the Navy said it will begin reviewing the preliminary findings that will decide the future of the littoral combat ship, or whether to replace it.
"Because the task force alternatives will be considered as part of (the fiscal year 2016 budget) deliberations, the Navy will not comment publicly on the report's findings until budget decisions within the defense department are finalized," said Sean J. Stackley, assistant Navy secretary for research, development and acquisition.
The Navy requested information in April from defense contractors and shipbuilders, casting a much wider net outside the two incumbent prime contractors: Austal USA and Lockheed Martin.
Austal's shipyard in Mobile builds the Independence class littoral combat ship, an aluminum trimaran that's 419-foot-long. The Marinette, Wis.-based shipbuilder Marinette Marine constructs the Freedom class version, a 388-foot-long steel monohull.
In response to the Navy's request Austal submitted ideas to improve each of the ship's three mission packages:
Anti-Submarine Warfare: Towed array sonar, torpedoes, vertically launched anti-submarine rocket and a tremendous aviation capability to support the MH-60 helicopter.
Surface Warfare: Surface to surface missile system, 76mm gun and remotely-operated smaller caliber guns.
Air Warfare: A vertically launched surface to air missile, C2 (command and control) capability for a much greater radar detection range to detect and respond to threats at a greater range.
"Austal has submitted a strong response to the Navy's RFI on the Small Surface Combatant," the company said in a released statement. "Austal's Small Surface Combatant incorporates significant offensive and defensive capability to support higher end missions with the existing sea frame."
The program was designed to foster competition between the two companies, allowing the Navy to reap the benefit of increased efficiency. But the littoral combat ship has been chided for its high cost, lacking firepower and performance issues while deployed abroad.
Mounting concerns prompted defense secretary Chuck Hagel to stop buying any more of the ships until the issues were addressed. Not long after his announcement the small surface combatant task force was formed to reassess the future of the program.
The task force will tailor the new or modified vessel with the Navy's future needs to deal with emerging threats in East Asia. Hagel said in February that he wanted a "capable and lethal small surface combatant generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate."
In the meantime, two reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office were released, blasting the LCS program for the weight management issues, testing and uncertainties about cost.
Sorry but virtually no surface ships will be immune to attack from stealthy drones or stealthy anti ship missiles. If your location is pinpointed, you can be destroyed and never see your attacker.
Should just scrap them and replace with the aussie catamarans, they can operate in shallow water and they are cheaper.
Where did they get the idea that an LCS had to do everything? Does every coast guard craft need a hangar too?
Bring back the Fletcher class with updated engines and sensors. That is all they are allowed to touch for the first flight
Whoever did the design specifications at NavSea has remained a closely guarded secret, but the result was a “Swoose”. That is, a ship that's part swan and part goose that cannot do either job as well as the single purpose design. To fix this obvious shortcoming, NavSea specified the LCS accommodate various “plug and play” modules to configure it as a submarine hunter, mine hunter, or anti-air platform.
NavSea has said the LCS is a “sub-optimal” ship and its crew is expendable. NavSea has exempted the LCS design from its normal warship design certification procedures. The LCS does not have enough crew to do damage control or avoid work overload or preventative maintenance. Adding crew berthing modules does not alter the fact this highly automated ship was designed for a core crew of 45 and all crew support facilities were designed around that core number. Doubling crew size by adding berthing modules does not help that showers, heads, and messing facilities are designed for 45.
The LCS in either form — LCS-1 USS Freedom or LCS-2 USS Independence — are oversold in abilities and overpriced; they are underarmed, undermanned, and unsurvivable.
he LCS in either form LCS-1 USS Freedom or LCS-2 USS Independence are oversold in abilities and overpriced; they are underarmed, undermanned, and unsurvivable.
I suspect the thinking from the various commands is, We know Congress will not approve multiple specialized vehicles. So well propose one all-purpose platform that will do everything then well make sure that its optimized for our mission. Unfortunately, they all think the same. The Armys Future Combat Systems was supposed to be one modularized vehicle. The modules could then be configured any way needed like a toy transformer robot. The development command, either out of fear or cowardice refused to make key decisions until six weeks before the Preliminary Design Review. So the program had moved forward for years with the design not knowing such key factors as will the engine be in the front, the rear or the middle? Will it have treads or wheels? It is impossible to design a vehicle not knowing if it is to be a race car, a limo or a tank. But the award fees were predicated on the spend plan. So you can bet we spent the money. Each year toward October every contractor hired bodies and put them on charge numbers. I went over to the room full of programmers and saw them playing computer games, surfing the net and sitting around talking. When I asked they had no specifications to work to so what could they do? But the money got spent the VPs got their bonuses and the bodies were laid off again in January.
Then, on top of that, some ecology loon got to add in every idiot lefty-liberal-unicorn dust crazy idea they have. So the product had to be corrosion resistant but we not only couldnt use the array of proven products and chemical treatments (like chromate treated parts) but we also couldnt deal with a company that used those treatments anywhere in any process whether we used their treated products or not. Then the diversity people got into the act and we had to have a diversity program and we had to set aside a huge chunk for minority owned and small, disadvantaged companies who mostly subbed out the work to companies who really existed and just collected their generous cut.
Then there was the craziness that there were two integrators of integrators SAIC and Boeing. So 50 cents of every dollar went to their management. I figured that of every dollar spent only 20 cents went to design and actual product.
The procurement system isnt broken so much as out of control.
I asked one of my buddies from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren what the mission of the LCS was now and he said “to sink in shallow water”.
Allen M. Sumner Class would be a better candidate. Longer legs and more firepower. Modern sensors would be needed.
Not sure I should change the power plant much, other than ditch the solo shell evaps for flash types.
I am in favor of a the Littoral Combat Vessels. Just not these ones. They are infected with the Navy’s problem of a Vessel needs to do ‘Everything’.
Part of that in my opinion is that they are limited to the numbers of ships they are allowed to have in the operational inventory. Every time that number drops the more work and missions are put on the others.
Until that changes the Navy will have to do what it does; Make the vessels they have do everything possible to be done.
Once they are allowed and encouraged to expand the fleet then specialized vessels become highly desirable and then concepts like the LCS with a LIMITED mission will be designed and built.
Yup, the LCS is the surface fleet version of the F-35.
It isn’t supposed to be a coast guard ship. It is supposed to be a combat ship for shallow waters.
but they shouldn’t expect it to be part destroyer, part frigate, part carrier, part amphibious warfare vessel.
Amen to that. The F-35 program is the bastard child of McNamara’s “Flying Edsel” (aka F-111A [USAF]/F-111B [USN]). The F-111B was junked and the best ideas folded into the F-14 Tomcat; the F-111 soldiered on for a couple of decades.