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US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship

Colin Parkinson

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But there is no sexy in that and frankly I would hesitate to buy a USCG big ship, they have not had much luck either. Now their small boats are almost always a good design.
 

CougarKing

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An official admission of failure:

Defense Aerospace

US Navy Drops LCS Plans, Concept After Latest Failures
(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; published Sept 9, 2016)
By Giovanni de Briganti

PARIS --- After spending billions of dollars, the US Navy has finally abandoned the Littoral Combat Ship concept, saying it will turn the first four LCSs into training ships and that all future vessels will be equipped for a single combat mission.

Although deliberately worded to minimize its import, the US Navy statement below is a clear acknowledgement that the LCS concept has been an abysmal failure.

But, even as it looks to mitigate the disastrous effects of having ordered a dozen LCS at once, before checking whether they performed as claimed (they have not), the Navy makes no mention of having found the technical faults which have struck four LCS ships this year.

(...SNIPPED)
 

CBH99

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The concept itself is a great concept. 

A low cost, affordable ship with a small crew that can dart around lower threat environments to relieve the pressure off of the bigger capital ship fleet.  Great concept - poor execution.

On the one hand, you have to commend the US Navy for really leading the change into the next century in terms of naval warfare.  The railgun, weaponized laser systems, etc - the US Navy really does push the envelope, explore new technologies, new ideas, etc.  Not every idea works, but it is something to learn from & build on the next time.


I feel like the issues here were...

a)  Concurrency.  Horrible practice.  Ordering fleets of a product that is still currently in development isn't prudent, nor necessary.

b)  Self Inflicted Complications.  Buy a simple ship, that is tested beforehand, and gear it to the task at hand. 

^You can't design an entirely new class of ship, insist that it be technologically cutting edge & highly automated, have it be kitted out for yet-to-be-designed mission modules, and then purchase dozens of everything before the design is even finalized, and honestly think that everything is going to go smoothly.  :facepalm:


As I said before.  This is a great chance to build up a robust ASW capability that is going to be needed sooner vs. later.  Figure out why the propulsion systems fail, fix it.  Role to ASW roles & minor combatant roles such as anti-piracy, presence, etc. 
 

tomahawk6

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The USN will have 32 LCS and 20 frigates which are upgunned LCS starting in FY 2019.The current batch of LCS will be upgraded before 2019 at a cost of $75m a ship.Not quite doom and gloom touted by the OP.

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/01/whats-in-a-name-making-the-lcs-frigate-reality/

CRYSTAL CITY: What’s in a frigate? That which we call a Littoral Combat Ship by any other name would smell as sweet — or stink as bad, according to LCS’s many critics. While LCS is being redesigned and renamed, there’s a lot of hard work and hard choices required to make the improvements real.

Yesterday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the new upgunned, uparmored, and as yet unbuilt version of LCS would be formally redesignated as a “frigate.” (From heaviest to lightest, the traditional classification runs: battleship, cruiser, destroyer, frigate, corvette). One of the major criticisms of the original LCS design was its lack of firepower and protection compared to the Perry-class frigates it would replace. The improved design will be worthy of the frigate designation, Mabus insisted.

“If you list the attributes of a frigate and then list the attributes of [an improved LCS], we’re actually more capable than a normal frigate is,” Mabus told reporters after his remarks to the Surface Navy Association conference. “They don’t look like traditional Navy ships sometimes, and I think that’s one of the issues that traditionalists have, but if you look at missions, if you look at what a frigate is supposed to be able to do, that’s what this ship does.”
 

FSTO

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Will there be more bunks for more crew?
One of the biggest issues with LCS was the minimum crew numbers to handle watches, seamanship, engineering and especially damage control.

HMS NOTTINGHAM, USS COLE, HMCS PROTECTEUR

What did these ships have in common? Damage control and how quickly personnel were used up trying to save the ship.
 

SeaKingTacco

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FSTO said:
Will there be more bunks for more crew?
One of the biggest issues with LCS was the minimum crew numbers to handle watches, seamanship, engineering and especially damage control.

HMS NOTTINGHAM, USS COLE, HMCS PROTECTEUR

What did these ships have in common? Damage control and how quickly personnel were used up trying to save the ship.

More modern fitted systems would have helped save manpower in the PROTECTEUR case, but your point is valid. 100 to 150 utterly exhausted sailors dead asleep on the deck of the dispersal area in various states of action dress and bunker gear wear after 8 hours of solid firefighting is a sight that makes a MARS Officer's blood run cold.
 

Eland2

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A while back I read something that indicated that the LCS were being manned with really tiny crews (in an effort to save money) and these crews were being worked to the verge of exhaustion, being required to do too many different jobs on board. I wonder if that might have had anything to do with the decision to cancel the LCS project and try to give the existing ships a new role.

It almost looks to me like the US Navy were trying to acquire an all-singing, all-dancing warship that could handle multiple
taskings it was never capable of doing, and do it all on the cheap.
 

Kirkhill

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FSTO said:
Will there be more bunks for more crew?
One of the biggest issues with LCS was the minimum crew numbers to handle watches, seamanship, engineering and especially damage control.

HMS NOTTINGHAM, USS COLE, HMCS PROTECTEUR

What did these ships have in common? Damage control and how quickly personnel were used up trying to save the ship.

Simple solution:

Forget about trying to save the ship.

 

tomahawk6

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That goes probably for Canadian warships.According to the article small ships are too small to survive.One Exocet was enough to destroy British ships in the Falklands.

http://cimsec.org/lcs-ssc-survivability-dilemma/14310

Small warships are historically unsurvivable in combat. They have a shorter floodable length, reduced reserve buoyancy and more likely to be affected by fire and smoke damage than larger combatants. In both World Wars, losses in ships below 3000 tons in displacement far exceeded those of larger vessels. In World War 2, for example, the U.S. lost a total of 71 destroyers and 11 destroyer escorts; all under 3400 tons displacement and less than 400 feet in length. By comparison, only 23 larger ships were lost. Part of that figure is undoubtedly due to their operational employment, but in simple terms of engineering and physics, larger ships are inherently more survivable than their smaller counterparts.


Falklands

http://historylists.org/other/list-of-6-british-ships-sunk-during-the-falklands-war.html
 

Kirkhill

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Bump

Really good 28 minute guided tour of LCS-6 Jackson by a crew member

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtqoiDi3yrM

USS_Jackson_%28LCS-6%29_moors_at_Naval_Station_Guantanamo_Bay_on_4_September_2016.JPG


Jackson is an Austal designed and built Trimaran.
 

a_majoor

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Eland2 said:
A while back I read something that indicated that the LCS were being manned with really tiny crews (in an effort to save money) and these crews were being worked to the verge of exhaustion, being required to do too many different jobs on board. I wonder if that might have had anything to do with the decision to cancel the LCS project and try to give the existing ships a new role.

It almost looks to me like the US Navy were trying to acquire an all-singing, all-dancing warship that could handle multiple
taskings it was never capable of doing, and do it all on the cheap.

While that is a large prt of the story, another issue is the Navy is trying to defy the laws of physics in a way. The LCS is supposed to operate inshore and in restricted waters. Other navies which do that are operating in their own littoral and restricted waters, and you can essentially do that in things starting as small as a RIB, although in practical terms, a corvette or missile patrol boat is a more reasonable solution.

However, America isn't looking to create ships to protect the American littorals, they are looking for a ship which can sail cross the Atlantic or Pacific and fight in your littoral. Oceangoing hulls need to be much bigger and more robust in order to survive the passage and keep their crews and equipment in usable condition. You probably could sail a tiny corvette across the oceans, but the ship and people aboard will be in rough shape once they arrive (think of our corvette navy in WWII). So the LCS is trying to be both an oceangoing hull and a capable inshore fighting vessel, very difficult and opposing requirements.

One of the real issues with the LCS overall is the concept was crystallized before the concept of unmanned vehicles, swarming and distributed operations had matured. If anyone was to propose the concept today, there would probably be a frigate or destroyer sized mothership and a swarm of UUV's, USV's, UCAV's and so on to go into the littorals and do the dirty work, backed by long range firepower from other platforms farther offshore or in the air.
 
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