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Sea Links

September 25, 2009
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The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and the Royal Netherlands navy frigate HNLMS Tromp (F803) transit in formation during a group sail.

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and the Royal Netherlands navy frigate HNLMS Tromp (F803) transit in formation during a group sail.

US Navy

 

Littoral Ships, Other Weapons Cut in New U.S. Navy 5-Year Plan.

Littoral Combat Ship Near Selection.

Head of House seapower panel endorses Navy LCS plan

Obama’s Europe missile defense plan – the good and the bad.

Fact Check – Technicals of AEGIS BMD.

Harpoon III Loss A Blow To US Market Position.

Navy belatedly sending UAVs to sea.

Riverines Stand Ready to Roll on Iraq’s Waterways.

The End of Sea Power.

 

Warships of the World

 

Russia to refurbish mothballed battleships.

S Korean Navy launches new guided-missile boats.

Canada acquires robot subs to chart the Arctic.

China commits to naval expansion.

Cash Strapped Greece Cancels Submarine Plans.

First Sea Lord: Not too late to pull plug on RN supercarriers.

Gordon Brown plans cut in British Trident Fleet.

RN flagship and fast jets for massive military exercise.

New paint job makes Ark Royal greener, faster.

Clues to the UK’s frigate of the future.

HMS Ocean Returns Home.

Israeli Navy bolsters its amphibious capability.

Singapore Submarine Development.

Algeria buys advanced Euro-frigates.

Official Keel laying for Australian Amphibious Ships.

 

Tackling Pirates

 

MV Arctic Sea: Mystery of the Summer.

Australian navy thwarts Somali pirates.

Pirate attacks in South China Sea hit five-year high.

Iran warships clash with pirates in Gulf of Aden.

NATO maritime forces gearing themselves to take on pirates.

 

From the Navy Vaults

 

U.S.S. Sullivans: A Lesson in History and a Family Legacy. (WGRZ, Buffalo NY)

Channel Dash 11–13 February 1942. Analysis (War and Game)

The Solomons Campaign: Torpedo Boats and Littoral Warfare. (US Naval Institute blog)

Navy Day, by Harry Harrison. (Project Gutenberg EBook)

Scipio Africanus and the Pirates. (Strategypage CIC)

Halsey in the Dock. (HistoryNet)

North versus South in Naval technology. (Cog and Galley)

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Mrs. Davis permalink
    September 27, 2009 1:04 pm

    I’d say the Senate didn’t have the votes to override Gates decision, my point being the initiative did not come from the legislature. Nor should it. They aren’t the technical experts, they are the political deciders.

    It would be interesting to know the last procurement program killed by Congress without initial action from the OSD. I’d not be surprised if it were a nuclear weapon.

  2. Hudson permalink
    September 27, 2009 1:46 am

    Mrs. Davis said: “By design Congress is incapable of solving the LCS problem directly.”

    Well, the Senate killed additional funding for the F-22 this year. It’s true that the White House and Pentagon wanted funding stopped. But many contractors across the country did not. The Senate has ordered the Navy to build ships it didn’t want on occasion. So don’t give up on your Congress. You could form something like The National Committee to Halt the LCS. It might be worth a shot.

  3. Chuck Hill permalink
    September 26, 2009 6:10 pm

    Landing craft had skegs to protect the props, and they still had to accept a degree of risk.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    September 26, 2009 6:01 pm

    Further to Scott B. re water jets.

    This had occurred to me but I forget to mention it!

    My main concern with shallow draft aluminium craft is that they are fragile. During the war and 1950’s LST were beached regularly. I know aluminium (especially aircraft grade) is tough but……..

  5. Anonymous permalink
    September 26, 2009 5:56 pm

    Thanks for replying re draft. Most shallow harbours I am familiar with are two small to fit a large vessel. There is a danger of accidental beaching too as a good number shallow harbours have shifting bottoms. I was concerned that once I posted somebody would mention amphibs. But surely this is a different proposition? As we all know landing beaches are surveyed carefully; landing are take place in optimum conditions (surprisingly low sea states.) Close inshore is boat not ship territory.

    {Of course there are places where the sea bottom falls rapidly away such as in the Norwegian fjords. But these are exceptions.)

  6. Chuck Hill permalink
    September 26, 2009 5:17 pm

    I also question the draft requirement. Don’t know many captains who would behave differently if their ship drew 12 feet rather than 18. The charts just are not that informative, outside of well documented ports.

  7. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 26, 2009 4:04 pm

    “you might challenge the notion that there is any such thing as one single Littoral Combat Ship”

    Hudson thats the way I look at it. I see littoral ships as a type, starting at those small special forces boats, all the way up to motherships like Scott’s Absalon. This is returning choice to shipbuilding. But the Navy consistently proves it doesn’t understand littoral warfare, or doesn’t care to understand it, so they give us this do-it-all-nothing-well hybrid which is supposed to do minesweeping, subhunting, and pirate chasing. It won’t work and even if it did we can’t afford it.

  8. Mrs. Davis permalink
    September 26, 2009 3:30 pm

    By design Congress is incapable of solving the LCS problem directly. Any time Congress gets involved in programs, they just metastasize to involve contractors in even more congressional districts until the point where they die of their excess.

    Congress can do a better job of vetting officers for promotion to flag rank and they can delegate more responsibility and budget to the Coast Guard to the navy until the Navy gets the message.

  9. Hudson permalink
    September 26, 2009 2:02 pm

    The only way you’re going to get the Navy to cancel or limit the LCS program is to go to Capital Hill and lobby your congress person and, more importantly, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which holds the purse strings. Or failing that, to write convincing letters to same. The talking points are many, as listed in this and previous conversations on the topic.

    For starters, you might challenge the notion that there is any such thing as one single Littoral Combat Ship, any more than this is a single Blue Water Combat Ship (BWCS). We have carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, etc. Any congressman can understand that.

    Even on its own terms, the Navy’s idea doesn’t make sense. It intends to replace the 30 aging Perry class frigates and all of its minesweepers with the LCS; that’s what the 55 number means. Minesweepers can be counted as littoral ships, but frigates are basically blue water ships. The Navy is not purchasing sufficient modules to equip 30 LCS craft with full surface, air and sub-surface capabilities. So either the Navy is counting on the standard onboard helos, UAVs, and bots to carry out these functions, thus making them the equivalent of a frigate, by their reasoning, or it is counting on being able to dial up a surface-equipped ship for surface duties, or an anti-sub equipped ship where it thinks subs might be in the area, under combat conditions.

    The Navy thinks it can do this under combat conditions thanks to its notion of “netcentric warfare.” But, in reality, this is a weak argument. This is like trying to assemble a football player by sending in an arm here, a leg there. In battle, you want to be able to call on as many fully equipped ships as possible, knowing some of them are not going to make it.

    At the very least, the Congress needs to grill the Navy on these and other LCS issues and make the Navy, on the record, state its positions. Maybe, at some point, the weakness in the Navy’s ill-considered plans will become apparent to Congress and to a larger national audience.

  10. Scott B. permalink
    September 26, 2009 1:15 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Perhaps he is trying to be a realist”

    A realist doesn’t live in denial.

    Mr. Raymond Pritchett’s solution to solving the LCS problem merely involves *changing the narrative*.

    And this is what the narrative should look like according to Mr. Raymond Pritchett :

    “The Littoral Combat Ship program is likely to be the most innovative and influential development for surface warfare in the first half of the 21st century, a unique opportunity for today’s surface warfare community to be the pioneers in how surface warfare will operate in the 21st century.”

  11. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 26, 2009 12:45 pm

    Perhaps he is trying to be a realist, since the Navy is so resistance to change and he sees the LCS as the only warship class coming in below $1 billion, what choice do we have? I felt this way a few years ago, until the ship surpassed 1/2 billion. I then saw this vessel would never be ordered in the numbers we need and was too big anyway for littoral work. They just have to accept real change or face irrelevance. Our seapower might be sinking fast, but they aren’t going to get away with this self-induced suicide pact not being warned!

  12. Scott B. permalink
    September 26, 2009 12:01 pm

    Mrs. Davis said : “Heh. Shoulda given you a free cruise, too.”

    1. Mr. Raymond Pritchett’s committment to the LCS folly in general and the LockMart design in particular predates the little ride he was offered back in November of 2008. See for instance one of Pritchett’s pro-LCS *masterpieces* dated June 2006 and entitled The Misunderstood LCS and Mission Modules

    2. OTOH, people like Chris Cavas or Phil Ewing of Navy Times also took the PR ride on USS Freedom, and didn’t bite the bait or start to drink the LCS kool aid afterwards.

    So there’s to be something else. Something almost obsessional I would say. Plus all the personal credibility Mr Raymond Pritchett has invested in support of LCS over the years, which probably acts as a powerful exit barrier.

  13. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 26, 2009 11:36 am

    I toured the ship myself Mrs D! Still not supporting it though. Glad I’m stuck in the boonies away from the Washington crowd.

  14. Mrs. Davis permalink
    September 26, 2009 11:21 am

    You’ll never see Mr. Raymond Pritchett ask for LCS to be cancelled : he’s invested far too much credibility in this boondoggle !!!

    Heh. Shoulda given you a free cruise, too.

  15. Scott B. permalink
    September 26, 2009 10:51 am

    (delete post above pls)

    Anonymous said : “One of aspects of the LCS project I am interested in is the requirement for shallow draught.”

    That *shallow draft* thingy is to be taken with a serious pinch of salt when it comes to LCS, and that’s true for both designs :

    The *official* navigational drafts for each design are as follows :

    * LCS-1 : 4.1 meters (13.5 feet) LM LCS Brochure

    * LCS-2 : 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) GD LCS Brochure

    BUT this is just part of the story, as Bill explained back in July 2009 : (bold emphasis added)

    “The simple fact of the matter is that waterjet propulsion still requires a considerable amount of draft below the keel (more corectly, the jet intakes) or big trouble ensues. This is particularly true if you need to maintain the ability to back down or conduct low-speed maneuvers; in that case the reverse bucket flow looks and acts exactly like one of Mel Fisher’s salavage boats..everything/anything on the bottom…as much as 3-4m BELOW the keel..gets nicely ‘recovered and filtered’ through the intake for future removal by a diving crew (with that propulsion line tagged out, of course).

    I can persaonlly tell ya how long it takes a team to extract a steel-belted radial tire from a 63SII KaMeWa (4.5 hours) ..oh..and a Persian carpet too (2.5 hours). The load of large (4″-8″ diameter) rocks we picked up in Pusan..we didn’t bother to remove since the impeller was trashed.

    Intake grates kill jet performance and are seldom employed on any jet vessels designed and built by the ‘competent guys’ (e.g. thems not here in US) but even with intake grates, the jet impeller erosion and damage is till great when using buckets in ’shallowuish’ water conditions.”

  16. Scott B. permalink
    September 26, 2009 10:47 am

    Anonymous said : “One of aspects of the LCS project I am interested in is the requirement for shallow draught.”

    That *shallow draft* thingy is to be taken with a serious pinch of salt when it comes to LCS, and that’s true for both designs :

    The *official* navigational drafts for each design are as follows :

    * LCS-1 : 4.1 meters (13.5 feet) [a href="http://www.lmlcsteam.com/brochures/LCS%20Trifold%20Brochure.pdf"][b]LM LCS Brochure[/b][/a]

    * LCS-2 : 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) [a href="http://www.gdlcs.com/sites/default/files/LCS2_front_mini.pdf"][b]GD LCS Brochure[/b][/a]

    [b]But[/b] this is just part of the story, as Bill explained back in July 2009 : (bold emphasis added)

    “The simple fact of the matter is that waterjet propulsion still requires a considerable amount of draft below the keel (more corectly, the jet intakes) or big trouble ensues. This is particularly true if you need to maintain the ability to back down or conduct low-speed maneuvers; in that case the reverse bucket flow looks and acts exactly like one of Mel Fisher’s salavage boats..everything/anything on the bottom…as much as 3-4m BELOW the keel..gets nicely ‘recovered and filtered’ through the intake for future removal by a diving crew (with that propulsion line tagged out, of course).

    I can persaonlly tell ya how long it takes a team to extract a steel-belted radial tire from a 63SII KaMeWa (4.5 hours) ..oh..and a Persian carpet too (2.5 hours). The load of large (4″-8″ diameter) rocks we picked up in Pusan..we didn’t bother to remove since the impeller was trashed.

    Intake grates kill jet performance and are seldom employed on any jet vessels designed and built by the ‘competent guys’ (e.g. thems not here in US) but even with intake grates, the jet impeller erosion and damage is till great when using buckets in ’shallowuish’ water conditions.”

  17. Joe permalink
    September 26, 2009 10:40 am

    I’m getting quite the education reading about the LCS program via the links and discussions here. What I read brings out the Homer Simpson in me (Doh!). I don’t agree with the overall notion that everything needs to be smaller, smaller, smaller, but it’s amazing that we can’t do smaller for virtually anything le$$ than we do bigger.

    As to the “LCS Tuesdays” theme, I think it’s a good notion. Magazines often do regular themes, like Consumer Reports with their annual auto issues and other constantly recurring themes they have, like home electronics and such. Every day cannot become just a singular topic, but 2 or 3 of those might be a good way to build even more consistent traffic to the blog.

  18. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 26, 2009 9:42 am

    Anonymous-Thats a good point and an idea we need to get away from that only large-hull warships are needed for every navy function.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    September 26, 2009 9:20 am

    One of aspects of the LCS project I am interested in is the requirement for shallow draught. Something doesn’t quite pan out with it but I am not so sure why. My main concern perhaps is why would you want to take such a large vessel so close to shore? Surely this is dangerous and there is little advantage?

  20. Chuck Hill permalink
    September 25, 2009 8:04 pm

    Mike, Once again, thanks for finding these for us.

  21. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 1:47 pm

    “Independence (LCS 2) is undergoing builder’s trials and is scheduled for handover to the Navy in the fall.”

    From the corporate website of General Dynamics, at the bottom of the image caption :

    LCS 2 is scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. Navy in the fall of 2009, and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.”

    Hurry up folks, Fall ain’t gonna last forever, ya’ know !!!

  22. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 25, 2009 10:07 am

    Thats a good idea Scott. Let me think about it as i have a lot of stuff on the table. the Navy has the public and the politicos hoodwinked that the answer to all their future needs is the LCS “pirate buster”. We probably shouldn’t let them have the final word. And it is a VERY popular subject as you say.

  23. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 9:15 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Which is why all of us have to keep at them offering alternatives”

    How about starting a weekly chronicle on this very sad LCS affair on your blog, Mike (e.g. LCS tuesdays) ?

    The quest for an affordable low-end platform is at the very heart of your concerns, so exposing the truth on this travesty of a (war)ship would probably serve your purpose quite well.

    Besides, I’m convinced that such a weekly chronicle would generate quite a lot of traffic on your blog.

    Just a suggestion though…

  24. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 9:08 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Galrahn (who thinks he’s in the fight alone. Whatever),”

    You’ll never see Mr. Raymond Pritchett ask for LCS to be cancelled : he’s invested far too much credibility in this boondoggle !!!

  25. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 9:03 am

    Mike Burleson said : “Some leadership, eh? The whole house of cards is falling down around them.”

    With this Taylor quote, that’s one hell of a nugget you’ve found there, Mike : again, well done, Sir !

    One thing that’s 100% certain now, is that if the Navy doesn’t kill LCS asap, then LCS will kill the Navy, with the blessing of surrenderers like Gene “Traitor” !

  26. Mike Burleson permalink*
    September 25, 2009 8:49 am

    “as close to $460 million as humanly possible.”

    Scott that statement caught my eye as well. Some leadership, eh? The whole house of cards is falling down around them.

    But you can’t say they weren’t warned. They have known about alternatives to their giant high tech battleships since the 1990s, probably before. Now its crunch time and they have no answers.

    Which is why all of us have to keep at them offering alternatives, me, all you commenters, Galrahn (who thinks he’s in the fight alone. Whatever), we have to keep pushing the low cost ships, and try to distract from their single minded obsession with fighting land powers. Important sure, but not all-important or even the most important function for a Navy.

  27. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 8:47 am

    Personnaly, I like this quote from the link entitled Head of House seapower panel endorses Navy LCS plan. :

    “Taylor said he was “inclined to support” the restructure plan and is hopeful it will help get the cost of each ship “as close to $460 million as humanly possible.”

    Now contrast the above with what the statement Taylor made during the subcommittee mark-up of the FY2010 NDAA : (emphasis added) :

    “I am very concerned with the progress of cost reduction in the Littoral Combat Ship program. I will not go into detail here and the list of mistakes made in this program because we would be here for most of the day if I did. But this year is a ’take it or leave it ‘year for the LCS. I asked the Assistant Secretary of the Navy if $460 million was a fair price for the vessel with the current efficiencies of the two shipyards. He believed it was a fair price for the procurement costs of the ship, but that he had government costs for oversight and life-cycle management that would be hard to fit under the current cost cap.

    Therefore, this mark proposes to re-structure the cost cap to allow for a total procurement cost of $460 million per vessel. The contractor can take it or leave it. As Chairman, I will not propose one penny more. If the contractors take it, fine; we build ships and get the mine-hunting capability the CNO needs for the fleet.

    If the contractors do not take it, the proposal would direct the Secretary to use the funds authorized to compile a technical data design package that could be bid to other contractors who might take it. No more games on this program, no more promises. Build ships for a fair price or not, that is the deal on the table.“

    Consequently, I feel obliged to withdraw any positive opinion I might have expressed concrning Gene Taylor in the past : this guy is just another SURRENDERER !

  28. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 8:32 am

    Now, we haven’t heard much about LCS-2 since July 24, when GD stated that :

    “We’ve determined that the best path forward is to resequence the remaining trial events while we continue other work necessary to ready the ship for Navy Acceptance Trials later this summer.

    Maybe I am nitpicking here, but didn’t summer end 3 days ago ?

    But wait, look what’s buried very deeply in this Austal Press Release dated September 4 :

    “Independence (LCS 2) is undergoing builder’s trials and is scheduled for handover to the Navy in the fall.”

    Ah, everything is clear now.

    Move along folks…

  29. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 8:21 am

    Allow me to add some links that might deserve some consideration with the new turn taken in the never-ending LCS saga :

    Mobile’s quest for LCS ship contract could be handicapped by Austal’s aluminum design

    TALBOT COLUMN: Will Austal get a fair shot at LCS contract?

    LCS competition: Both sides on equal footing, Navy says

  30. Scott B. permalink
    September 25, 2009 8:16 am

    Well done, Mike B. !!!

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