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US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship

Good2Golf

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NavyShooter said:
...but in the LCS, they seem to have made the LSVW of the Navy world.

Quote of the week!!!  :salute:
 

winnipegoo7

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NavyShooter said:
Something like 90% of the world's population lives within a handful of miles of every shoreline in the world.

Controlling the inshore area is important, and most warships are designed for deep ocean operations (Blue-water navy) not close-inshore (Brown-water) operations...

Blue water is open ocean                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-water_navy
Green water is littoral                                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green-water_navy
Brown water is riverine                                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown-water_navy


Congress has approved the sale of bigger 'up-gunned' LCS for Saudi Arabia. The Saudis haven't bought anything yet though:

http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/kingdom-saudi-arabia-multi-mission-surface-combatant-mmsc-ships
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/saudi-arabia-is-buying-the-littoral-combat-ship-the-u-s-1737749488
 

a_majoor

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The LCS has an issue no other ship of that role has: it is designed to deploy from the US and cross the Blue water before reaching the littoral water where it must operate. Most navies which have ships for this role are deploying then on their own coasts.

Since the LCS is trying to do two rather incompatible roles, the compromises needed become very visible (kind of like taking your Mustang to Home Depot to pick up some sheets of drywall. You might be able to do it, but it won't be pretty....)

In a somewhat saner world, I might suggest some sort of tender vessel that carries the "real" LCS to the theatre, or at least provides support to deployed LCS' to reduce some of the burden on the ship and crew. In the near future, it might even be possible for a large frigate to carry a few unmanned vessels which can do some of the role of the LCS.

A more out of the box suggestion might be to revive the idea of large flying boats (the US Navy had a jet powered flying boat with the size and carrying capacity of a B-52, and Russia and Japan still use them) to quickly arrive in theatre. This can patrol,  or set down on the sea and wait. A sea plane can carry anti ship missiles, torpedoes and mines, as well as sensors, or even land small numbers of troops.
 

tomahawk6

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The Fletcher class DD of WW2 had a displacement of 2100 t and did not require assistance in getting to its AO.The LCS is 3400t.
 

Colin Parkinson

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and we seem to be using the Kingston class like mini-destroyers sending them overseas as well.
 

tomahawk6

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The LCS will soon be armed with the Norwegian NSM.

http://www.businessinsider.com/navy-new-norwegian-antiship-missile-2016-4

As part of the Navy's push towards "distributed lethatlity," littoral combat ships will soon be equipped with the Norwegian built Naval Strike Missile (NSM), an "over-the-horizon" antiship cruise missile with a range of about 115 miles.
 

tomahawk6

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The LCS program is in trtouble and the USN has only itself to blame IMO.

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2016/05/lessons-littoral-combat-ship/128314/

First, the Navy was too focused on the number of ships rather than their capabilities. Ever since the drawdown of defense spending after Vietnam, the Navy and many of its political supporters became fixated on this metric. Between 1968 and 1977, when the total number of ships dropped from 976 to 464, the Navy adopted a goal of 600 ships, a number that was embraced in the 1980 Republican platform. Although the size of the Navy rose dramatically under President Ronald Reagan, budget constraints forced him to abandon the 600-ship goal (a policy that then-Navy Secretary Jim Webb publicly criticized and as a result was forced to resign), topping off at 566. After the end of the Cold War, the fleet dropped to 279, and the new goal became a 300-ship Navy.

But even under the generous defense budgets that followed 9/11, the Navy could not reach that number by purchasing the normal mix of ships, so it settled on the LCS. For example, the Navy originally planned to purchase 32 Zumwalt-class Destroyers. But because of cost growth, it could afford only three, at a cost of $23 billion. On the other hand, the initial projections for the LCS envisioned buying 52 for less.

Any serious analyst will note that it is not the number of ships that is an appropriate proxy for capability—rather, it is the type. But politically, the number plays well. For example, in an effort to try to get Congress to repeal the Budget Control Act in 2011, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta publicly proclaimed that if the law was not changed, the Navy would be smaller than at any time since before World War I. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made the same point in the 2012 presidential debate.

The second major mistake was assuming that a ship could not only be a minesweeper, but also have anti-submarine warfare, surface combat, and amphibious capabilities. How? The Navy would develop modules that could be placed on the ships rapidly. But rather than being able to rotate the plug-and-fight mission packages in days, it often took weeks or months. By 2012, the Navy admitted that modular changes would be a rare occurrence.

Third, the Navy rushed the ships into production, building the lead ships before their designs were fully developed. The first LCS entered service in November 2008, about seven years after the program was started instead of the normal 10 years. However, the first LCS to be equipped with a mission package did not become operational until late 2014. Had they followed the normal timeline, LCS-1 would have entered the fleet ready to go in 2011, at a lower cost.

Fourth, because of rushing it into production and unrealistic assumptions, the cost of the LCS exploded. For example, the cost of LCS-1 and LCS-2 more than doubled, the largest cost growth by percentage of any Navy program in this decade. By comparison, the cost growth of all its other programs was about 40 percent.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The problem for the USN is not only do they need a certain number of hulls because at any one time you may have multiple fleets in different areas of the worlds ocean and vessels going in, coming out and going through major refits. Then you also need multiple types so pretty soon 300 does not sound like a lot. Likely a 3rd of the fleet is ineffective because of the above most of the time, so you have 200 ships which have to cover off both coasts, subs for the arctic, Indian, Pacific, Atlantic Oceans, the Med, North Sea, Red sea, etc , etc.
I think it’s a fallacy that capabilities can replace hulls in a significant way. The hulls are still if not more vulnerable then their WWII counterparts. Plus the loss of a large combatant is far more damaging when you have no replacements. Not to mention crew, economic costs and long lead times to build. 
 

Underway

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Colin P said:
The problem for the USN is not only do they need a certain number of hulls because at any one time you may have multiple fleets in different areas of the worlds ocean and vessels going in, coming out and going through major refits. Then you also need multiple types so pretty soon 300 does not sound like a lot. Likely a 3rd of the fleet is ineffective because of the above most of the time, so you have 200 ships which have to cover off both coasts, subs for the arctic, Indian, Pacific, Atlantic Oceans, the Med, North Sea, Red sea, etc , etc.
I think it’s a fallacy that capabilities can replace hulls in a significant way. The hulls are still if not more vulnerable then their WWII counterparts. Plus the loss of a large combatant is far more damaging when you have no replacements. Not to mention crew, economic costs and long lead times to build.

Quantity has a quality all on its own.  But capabilities can replace hulls in certain ways.  Aegis ships can engage many air targets at the same time.  OHP's could engage one or two.  Larger ships can carry two or more helo's vice one, and helo's are the true sub hunters.  But there are advantages to having more ships that can be in more places.  A DDH can't be in two places at the same time, and sometime that is what you need.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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To be fair, Underway, you can't compare the Aegis ships, meant to be anti-air escorts of aircraft carriers, to the Oliver Hazard Perry's, which were meant to be convoy close ASW escort ships.

But even comparing Aegis cruisers to their predecessors in the role (The Virginia's, California"s and Belknap) you would have required many more such older cruisers to provide the same Anti-Air protection than the Ticondroga's.

Yes: quantity does have a quality of its own - just as capability can provide relief from the need for quantity.

The real trick is a proper balance of both quantities and capabilities. But to achieve that balance, you must move away from rigidly sticking to an artificial number as if it was a magic solution (the 600 or 300 ship Navy) and work out the more difficult calculated solution based on a specific aim you wish to accomplish. An example of this would be the US Army objective of being able to fight its "Two-blocks War". I think the US Navy has to come up with a similar approach, i.e. like England leading to WWI - who stated it wanted the Royal Navy to exceed in strength the next two most powerful Navies at all time, and once such clear goal is set, to "calculate" what it needs and how many of each types, regardless of the ultimate "total" number it gives.
 

tomahawk6

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SEARAM has been mounted on an LCS ship giving a measure of self defense against inbound missile threats.

http://www.businessinsider.com/searam-missile-defense-us-navy-2016-6?yptr=yahoo?r=UK&I
 

CougarKing

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A milestone reached?

Defense News

LCS Survives First Shock Test, Preps For More
Christopher P. Cavas, Defense News 10:52 a.m. EDT June 17, 2016
Damaged Fort Worth Could Leave Singapore in August

WASHINGTON – The new littoral combat ship (LCS) Jackson was showered by spray and shaken by a large explosion June 10 as she endured the first of a series of controlled tests intended to prove the design’s ability to withstand and survive combat and damage.

A 10,000-pound explosive charge was set off about a hundred yards from the Jackson – the Navy wouldn’t say exactly how close, saying the actual distance is classified – in waters off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

(...SNIPPED)
 

tomahawk6

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The Navy has decided that the LCS requires more armor and is getting weapons with a longer reach.Radm Fanta,Director of surface warfare,doesnt know this will slow down the ship which right now can do 50 knots.Its a good trade off IMO.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/navy-warship-trade-speed-firepower-heavier-armor-39969708?yptr=yahoo
 

Underway

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
To be fair, Underway, you can't compare the Aegis ships, meant to be anti-air escorts of aircraft carriers, to the Oliver Hazard Perry's, which were meant to be convoy close ASW escort ships.

But even comparing Aegis cruisers to their predecessors in the role (The Virginia's, California"s and Belknap) you would have required many more such older cruisers to provide the same Anti-Air protection than the Ticondroga's.

Yes: quantity does have a quality of its own - just as capability can provide relief from the need for quantity.

The real trick is a proper balance of both quantities and capabilities. But to achieve that balance, you must move away from rigidly sticking to an artificial number as if it was a magic solution (the 600 or 300 ship Navy) and work out the more difficult calculated solution based on a specific aim you wish to accomplish. An example of this would be the US Army objective of being able to fight its "Two-blocks War". I think the US Navy has to come up with a similar approach, i.e. like England leading to WWI - who stated it wanted the Royal Navy to exceed in strength the next two most powerful Navies at all time, and once such clear goal is set, to "calculate" what it needs and how many of each types, regardless of the ultimate "total" number it gives.

That's basically what I was trying to say, just not as eloquently OGBD  :nod:.  Quantity is important because you can't be in two places at once and even a ship not ideal for a job is often better than no ship for the job.
 

tomahawk6

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Unfortunately we no longer can afford quantity,although thats what is happening with LCS at $500m each.The goal is for 40 LCS plus an unknown number of the new frigates.Destroyers/frigates have always been in short supply.I would love to see an 800 ship Navy but it is too expensive.Something like 550 ships would be my goal were I making the decisions and cutting the checks.
 

CBH99

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Given budget realities, and acknowledging that quantity is a quality all of its own - I would argue that the 300 number is feasible for the current goals.

I'm not an expert, and always stand to be corrected.  But it would seem to be that the cheaper LCS hulls could be used for relatively low threat areas, while the higher end assets could be focused more in the higher threat theatres.  For example, expensive ships can focus on the South China Sea while the LCS type ships could focus on the Caribbean, Persian Gulf, etc.

I would think we (aka NATO) has access to enough airbases in southern Europe, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, etc - that the presence of a US Carrier Strike group in the Persian Gulf isn't actually needed at all times.  Perhaps a US Amphib would suffice, and that would free up an entire carrier strike group for operations elsewhere. 
 

CougarKing

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Cue: "Anchors Aweigh" .

Defense News

LCS Coronado departs on maiden deployment
Sam Fellman, Navy Times 1:52 p.m. EDT June 23, 2016

The fleet’s water jet-propelled trimaran is about to turn heads across the western Pacific.

Littoral combat ship Coronado set out from San Diego Wednesday on the ship’s maiden deployment, which will be the first deployment to 7th Fleet for the Independence-class LCS.

The ship will take part in the upcoming Rim of the Pacific exercise off Hawaii and then will conduct operations with Asia-Pacific allies and partners.

(...SNIPPED)
 

CougarKing

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More class members on the way:

Naval Technology

US Navy receives future USS Montgomery littoral combat ship

The US Navy has received its seventh littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Montgomery (LCS-8), from Austal-led team in a ceremony held at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. USS Montgomery is the fourth Independence-variant LCS delivered to the navy.

LCS programme manager captain Tom Anderson said: "Today marks a significant milestone in the life of the future USS Montgomery, an exceptional ship which will conduct anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasures operations around the globe with ever increasing mission package capability."I look forward to seeing Montgomery join her sister ships in San Diego this fall and deploy next year."

lcs.jpg


USS Montgomery is expected to be commissioned in September this year. The delivery also marks the second vessel that Austal has delivered as the prime contractor. Austal, which had earlier collaborated with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems on the LCS programme, is under a 11-ship contract, worth more than $3.5bn.

Currently, six additional LCSs are under construction in Mobile. USS Gabrielle Giffords, USS Omaha and USS Manchester are being prepared for trials, while USS Tulsa and USS Charleston are being assembled. Construction of modules for USS Cincinnati is also underway at Austal's module manufacturing facility.

The LCS class ships are being built in two variants, Freedom and Independence, by two industry teams led by Lockheed Martin and Austal respectively.
 

CougarKing

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Higher number of modifications and higher costs:

Defense News

Austal takes $115 million LCS write-off
Christopher P. Cavas, Defense News 1:19 a.m. EDT July 5, 2016
Shipbuilder underestimated design change costs

WASHINGTON The Australian parent company of Mobile, Alabama-based shipbuilder Austal USA announced a $115 million write-off Monday due to higher-than-expected costs on its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.

The company resumed trading on the ASX Australian Stock Exchange after halting trading June 30 to review its US shipbuilding operations. After closing at AUS $1.21 June 30, shares reopened July 4 at .95 cents but closed at 1.12.

The write-off was due, the company said in a note to investors, to “a significantly higher level of modifications to the ship design and cost than previously estimated.”

The changes, Austal said, are driven by a “contractual requirement to meet the military shock standard and US Naval Vessel Rules,” a set of building standards imposed by the US Naval Sea Systems Command.

(...SNIPPED)
 
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