• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

The USN's Blue Water Navy - The LCS as A-10

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
Blue Water, Green Water, Brown Water
Fighting Ships, Support Ships
Big Ships, Little Ships
Surface, Subsurface
Manned, Unmanned
Full-time, Part-time, Civilian.


The discussion is not unique to the USN, or even the US Services. It is a Canadian problem as well. For all three Services. Institutional Inertia (or Momentum).

The article proposes, for the US, something akin to a Para-Military service within Transport Canada.

I've discussed the need for the Militia to have its own Champion separate from the Permanent Active Chain of Command. The article makes the same argument for the Green and Brown water navies in the US.

Champions, Czars, SPOCs (Single Points of Contact) - regardless of the institution nothing gets done without them and their RAB (Responsibility-Authority-Budget).
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
WRT the A-10 analogy

The A-10 represents a mission that the USAF doesn't want. They want to ditch it.
The LCS represents a mission that the USN doesn't want. They want to ditch it.

The USAF's solution is to declare the aircraft too old, although it is the same vintage as the F15s and F16s that they are still flying and selling.
Their back up plan is to donate them all to Ukraine.

The USN's solution is to use the LCS for missions they wanted to perform but for which the vessel wasn't designed.
The nags are rode hard and put away wet. They "self-divest".

Support for that assertion?

the Navy, after operating more than 100 small combatants at the height of the Cold War, is clearly no longer committed to the role of small surface combatants like LCS. At the same time the service is seeking to begin cashiering LCS, it is also retiring the minesweepers and patrol boats LCS was intended to replace and is stopping construction of amphibious transport docks that support peacetime crisis response and humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, the Constellation-class frigate that was originally envisioned as a small combatant counterpart to LCS has grown from the 4,000-ton Perry-class of the Cold War to be a nearly 8,000-ton warship only 20 percent smaller than the Navy’s Burke-class destroyers.

Historically, small surface combatants patrolled waterways for pirates and traffickers, trained smaller partner navies, or escorted commercial shipping. Today, missions like protecting merchant vessels from missile attack and searching for submarines are, in general, beyond the capability of small warships or are better done by unmanned systems. But maritime security, training, surveillance, and presence are increasingly important to build alliances and counter Beijing’s “gray-zone” aggression across the East and South China Seas.

I know some people don't like the Grey/Gray-Zone paradigm but once the Ukraine situation cools down and we are back to a static situation of barriers, blockades and sanctions the Grey/Gray-Zone will persist.

Just as the RN was switched from Trafalgar's Ships of the Line to the Anti-Slavery Frigates, and the RCMP went from 300 men on horseback to 30,000 people operating more than 10,000 vehicles (cruisers, vans, cars, SUVs, ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, helicopters, aircraft) out of 700 or so detachments, there is a need for distributed, dispersed forces.

Apparently those forces need their own Champions.

And by the way - the lack of a small boat navy may be a contributing factor to why big boat drivers seamanship might not be what it once was.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
What to do?






 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,880
Points
1,160
The LCS are a poor answer to a nagging problem. How to bring the fight to the littorals and brown water, anywhere in the world. The need to cross blue water to get to that fight, makes them less effective at the pointy end. They be better off with 2-3 smaller patrol boats operating from a semi-submersible lift ship.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
The LCS are a poor answer to a nagging problem. How to bring the fight to the littorals and brown water, anywhere in the world. The need to cross blue water to get to that fight, makes them less effective at the pointy end. They be better off with 2-3 smaller patrol boats operating from a semi-submersible lift ship.

But how often do they have to cross Blue Water? And do they have to patrol Blue Water?

If they were posted to the Littorals then they would be operating in the element for which they were designed.

And by the way the USN doesn't want the Semi-Submersible Lift Ship (aka Expeditionary Base) or the patrol boats either.

From the original article...

At the same time the service is seeking to begin cashiering LCS, it is also retiring the minesweepers and patrol boats LCS was intended to replace and is stopping construction of amphibious transport docks that support peacetime crisis response and humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, the Constellation-class frigate that was originally envisioned as a small combatant counterpart to LCS has grown from the 4,000-ton Perry-class of the Cold War to be a nearly 8,000-ton warship only 20 percent smaller than the Navy’s Burke-class destroyers.

The solution is to let the USN have its way and focus on Blue Water and Big Ships. But...

The Congress and DoD leadership should embrace the Navy’s focus on high-end warfare by shifting security and training missions to ships operated by other services, specifically the Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command. Congressional leaders have expressed interest in adding defense-related spending to the White House FY2023 budget proposal, which could build more of the existing ships the Coast Guard and MSC would use. And to operate them, the up to $2 billion in annual LCS sustainment, basing costs, and manpower funding could be moved to these new mission owners. If the Navy sheds the small boat mission, the costs should be taken out of the Navy’s budget.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
The USN has been down this road before, in the Bras d'Or era.


In the late 1960s, NATO developed a requirement for a small, fast warship to counter large numbers of Warsaw Pact missile boats, such as the Komar and Osa classes, deciding that a hydrofoil would be the best way to meet this requirement. In 1970 Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, the new Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), keen to increase the Navy's number of surface vessels in a cost-effective manner, committed the United States to the NATO program for a hydrofoil. The U.S. Navy proposed the PHM design as a NATO standard, with the program being led by the U.S. Navy, and an order placed for two prototypes in 1972.[1] The Italian Navy and the West German Bundesmarine signed letters of intent to participate in the programme, with other NATO navies, including the Royal Navy and Canadian Forces studying the project.[2] The U.S. Navy planned to buy up to 30 PHMs, with 10 to be purchased by West Germany and four by Italy.[2][3][4]

After Zumwalt's retirement, the Navy chose to funnel most of the money for the PHMs into larger vessels. This delayed the ongoing construction of Pegasus, and the other vessels were not started. Congress eventually forced the Navy to complete the vessels. The difficulties in project progression forced the other involved navies to abort their participation.


Canada followed suit

Bras d'Or primary contractor was also responsible for the Otter, the Twin Otter, the Caribou, the Buffalo, the DASH 7s and 8s. DeHavilland Canada.

Not a Fly by Night corporation.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,880
Points
1,160
Meanwhile Boatnet is laying plans to take over the oceans

 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
4,769
Points
1,040
This quote says most of it:

if you can’t explain why you want multibillion-dollar ships, then you probably won’t get them.

My take on this, as well as our own defence procurement strategy not just for the Navy but in general, is that we do not have consensus on a) what we need our force to be able to do during peacetime; and, similarly, b) how does it all fit together in a future large conflict.

What we're doing is focusing on individual capabilities without an overarching plan on how all the individual pieces of the puzzle fit together as a coherent whole. If politicians can't see the whole, they will have trouble understanding, and buying into, the individual pieces.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
Personally I think these are the more important vessels

GFO_Nomad_Ranger_2021-copy.jpg

Both as logistic support for the Marines and the Fleet as well as Arsenal platforms with Ready to Fire Missiles and UAVs in Sea Cans.

The have the advantage that, like the whaler that spawned the Flower class corvettes, they are a well proven industrial design. Even the autopilot is not particularly new.


 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
416
Points
880
Canada followed suit

No we didn't. We led the world with the idea. HMCS BRAS D'OR was decommissioned two years before they even started to build the Pegasus class in the US.

They were also not developped for the same purpose. The american PGM were meant to go after Soviet patrol vessels. The Bras D'or class was developped primarily as an ocean ASW escort to go after the fast nuclear boats. The idea was for the class, when operational, to carry a dipping/variable depth sonar and ASW torpedoes, then sprint 25 to 30 miles ahead of convoys and drift at slow speed to acquire subs and sink them far from the convoy. The program was cancelled not because it failed, but because another Canadian development of the era made them too expensive for the task. That new development: Bear trap letting small escorts carry heavy ASW birds.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
No we didn't. We led the world with the idea. HMCS BRAS D'OR was decommissioned two years before they even started to build the Pegasus class in the US.

They were also not developped for the same purpose. The american PGM were meant to go after Soviet patrol vessels. The Bras D'or class was developped primarily as an ocean ASW escort to go after the fast nuclear boats. The idea was for the class, when operational, to carry a dipping/variable depth sonar and ASW torpedoes, then sprint 25 to 30 miles ahead of convoys and drift at slow speed to acquire subs and sink them far from the convoy. The program was cancelled not because it failed, but because another Canadian development of the era made them too expensive for the task. That new development: Bear trap letting small escorts carry heavy ASW birds.

Thanks OGBD

My reference to "Canada following suit" wasn't to suggest that we were copying the Americans in design. A long time ago as a young Sea Cadet I, and the rest of my Corps, had visions of sailing one of those things. Just the same, no doubt as Pigeons lusted after the Arrow.

It was in reference to the tendency of both navies to stick to their knitting. That has some advantages. It has, in my opinion, many disadvantages.
The Americans chose to concentrate on Blue Water monohulls. The Canadians chose to concentrate on Blue Water monohulls. In both cases the Blue Water target was the submarine.

The big difference was the Bras d'Or, with its sprint-and-drift tactics, had a shot at doing the same job but doing it differently. I still think the design has a shot - better hydrodynamics predictions, better materials, small crew. :unsure: :D
 

SeaKingTacco

Army.ca Fixture
Donor
Reaction score
4,607
Points
1,010
No we didn't. We led the world with the idea. HMCS BRAS D'OR was decommissioned two years before they even started to build the Pegasus class in the US.

They were also not developped for the same purpose. The american PGM were meant to go after Soviet patrol vessels. The Bras D'or class was developped primarily as an ocean ASW escort to go after the fast nuclear boats. The idea was for the class, when operational, to carry a dipping/variable depth sonar and ASW torpedoes, then sprint 25 to 30 miles ahead of convoys and drift at slow speed to acquire subs and sink them far from the convoy. The program was cancelled not because it failed, but because another Canadian development of the era made them too expensive for the task. That new development: Bear trap letting small escorts carry heavy ASW birds.
Your time line is out a bit, I think. Bras D’or came after the development of the beartrap (that was around 1962-63, IIRC). What sunk the Bras D’or was the constant cracking in the hydrofoils. The concept outstripped the material science of the day.
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
8,388
Points
1,360
Your time line is out a bit, I think. Bras D’or came after the development of the beartrap (that was around 1962-63, IIRC). What sunk the Bras D’or was the constant cracking in the hydrofoils. The concept outstripped the material science of the day.
I was amazed about the bit of the hydrofoils being sheathed in neoprene…must have been something other than the neoprene of the wet suits we wore by the Breakwater to swim with Wolfy the Eel…
 

KevinB

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
8,260
Points
1,140
I was amazed about the bit of the hydrofoils being sheathed in neoprene…must have been something other than the neoprene of the wet suits we wore by the Breakwater to swim with Wolfy the Eel…
You can get much different density’s of that material.
D-60 for instance is what they call ‘Bowling Ball’ hard.

But still weird.
 

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
3,065
Points
1,040
Your time line is out a bit, I think. Bras D’or came after the development of the beartrap (that was around 1962-63, IIRC). What sunk the Bras D’or was the constant cracking in the hydrofoils. The concept outstripped the material science of the day.
Expensive to operate, not enough crew, no endurance. Lots of problems with the Bras D'Or testbed overall. But the myth like the Avro Arrow lives on.

The LCS represents a mission that the USN doesn't want. They want to ditch it.
LCS represents a "failed" concept. That being an all singing, all dancing ship. The LCS cost the USN their frigates and they are paying the price for that error.

LCS when it operates as it should, is a fast ship for littoral warfare with limited range and endurance its for the most part fine. Persian Gulf, SE Asia are all great places for it to operate. But the US did what they always do and overgunned/overequipped the thing, driving the crew to exhaustion and leaving them with no proper expertise in their own platform.

As far as a mission they don't want, I'm not entirely sure of that. The LCS was supposed to do a lot of missions, most of which can be performed by a proper frigate. And the rest should be performed by a specialist warship (like MCM).
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,568
Points
1,060
Expensive to operate, not enough crew, no endurance. Lots of problems with the Bras D'Or testbed overall. But the myth like the Avro Arrow lives on.


LCS represents a "failed" concept. That being an all singing, all dancing ship. The LCS cost the USN their frigates and they are paying the price for that error.

LCS when it operates as it should, is a fast ship for littoral warfare with limited range and endurance its for the most part fine. Persian Gulf, SE Asia are all great places for it to operate. But the US did what they always do and overgunned/overequipped the thing, driving the crew to exhaustion and leaving them with no proper expertise in their own platform.

As far as a mission they don't want, I'm not entirely sure of that. The LCS was supposed to do a lot of missions, most of which can be performed by a proper frigate. And the rest should be performed by a specialist warship (like MCM).

My sense is that the vessel, in particular the Austal trimaran, which evolved from the Austal JHSV "ferries" does, as you suggest meet the requirements for the littoral mission. I also think that a stable platform like that, in those waters, would have had no problem accommodating the Danish STANFLEX modules which would have resulted in a ship that could be tailored for campaigns if not for individual tasks.

I also agree with you that what the Navy at Large wanted was not specialist Littoral Ships, or very large Patrol Boats, they wanted more Blue Water Frigates.

Trying to have their cake and eat it they came up with the High Speed Monohull design which nobody had tried before in any environment. The running gear on that ship was particularly problematic. I suspect that vessel was also particularly susceptible to load characteristics and a tendency to become unstable due to a finely balanced hull to get up on plane to get to their 40 knot target.

Neither vessel, trimaran or monohull, were well suited to long patrols in Blue Water in high seas. In good weather they could endure a short high seas passage from theatre to theatre but both hulls have been subject to stress cracking.

I note that the Monohull was restricted then cancelled first, the trimaran has continued in production and the JHSV Spearhead class "ferries" used by the USNS are not only in service but in production.

I absolutely agree that what the Navy wanted was Blue Water Frigates.

What they were given was a vessel for a mission that I don't believe they wanted. At the time of design the US was fighting in the Gulf and looking towards the First Island Chain. Those are spaces where the JHSV ferries have long, successful careers.

The JHSV was originally a USMC concept from their successful lease to ferry troops, and the LAVs, between Okinawa, Japan and Korea. They sensed it would be a useful vehicle to move a Marine Battle Group around. The Aussies, with ASLAVs, used HMAS Jervis Bay on East Timor. Another JHSV type design for running between islands.

1653593282968.png

The US Army, with its own navy, wanted the same capability to relocate US Army Stryker Battlegroups from port to port within theaters, especially the Gulf and Indian Ocean. So it launched the High Speed Vessel project.

But then the Army fell afoul of both the Navy and the Air Force. For the same reasons.

The Army wanted control of its own transport to make efficient use of the troops available.

Accordingly it contracted to buy High Speed Vessels and the C27J Mini-Herc.

The Air Force said they could do the job and took over the C27Js then dropped them and announced they could do the job with proper Hercs.
The Navy said they could do the job and took over the JHSVs then dropped them and handed them over to the Military Sealift Command to be operated by Civilian Mariners.


So, in my view, the USN and the USAF both suffer from a similar problem. If they define themselves by platforms then everything that floats is Navy and everything that flies is Air Force. But they don't see the duties of those platforms the same way the Army and the Marines do.
The Army and the Marines want support in jobs that the Navy and the Air Force don't want to do because they see greater need for the dollars in other missions. Blue Water for the Navy. Blue Skies for the Air Force.

They would rather stay away from greens and browns. Now if only they would let the Army and the Marines keep the money to do the jobs they don't want.

That's why I compare the LCS and the JHSV to the A-10 and the C27J.

The Navy absolutely needs Blue Water Frigates. And I am sure the Air Force needs Blue Skies Fighters.

But equally, the Army and the Marines need support in the Green Littorals among the islands and the Brown Rivers.
 
Top