Skip to content

LCS Alternative: Swedish Visby Corvette

February 11, 2009

About the size of a fast attack craft is this $184 billion warship from Scandinavia. Strategypage reveals:

The 650 ton ships are armed with a 57mm gun, plus eight RBS-15 anti-ship missiles (max range of 70 kilometers), as well as anti-submarine torpedoes, mines or depth charges. The crew is small (43)., but the ship can move fast (about 70 kilometers an hour) in all kinds of weather. The Visby had radar, sonar and thermal imaging equipment. The ship is 240 feet long, 34 feet wide and had a draught of only eight feet.

The Visby ships can also carry a helicopter, and is equipped with hull mounted and towed array sonars for hunting Russian subs off the Swedish coast.

The very definition of littoral!

47 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2014 9:06 am

    I am actually pleased to glance at this webpage posts which
    includes plenty of helpful facts, thanks for providing such information.

  2. March 4, 2009 5:37 pm


    this is what I can not understand, the same ideas have perferated their amphibious strategy – charge in and land in the most heavily defended space.

    The Royal Navy’s strategy (which is why I say we need aircraft carriers + big amphibs to carry armour) is stay at range and dissipate the enemy fire and learn their capabilities, before rushing in and setting up a secure anchorage at a place where they are weak, then burst out of this with the Marines + attached armour from the army towards the key areas of control, supported by naval forces gradually increasing their presence in the littoral as the ground forces gain greater control (and thus require greater support) on land; text book example of this is the Falklands war; were, yes the argentines did manage a few success, but with their suprising capability of attack did not manage to stop the fleet, or launch more than one attack on the fleet at sea. Now I know that technology has improved since then, but it has improved on both sides, and whilst the Royal Navy currently would seem to lack the quantity required to carry out such a role solo again; it would seem to be a proven, prudent, perhaps a little conservative for American tastes – but it worked with minimum casulties, and very very good success.

    yours sincerly


  3. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 4, 2009 3:03 pm

    I am beginning to think that the US naval strategy borne during the Reagan/Lehman era when they planned to charge into the Soviet submarine haunts near to shore, is much like the French offensive strategy of the Great War. certainly bold and daring, but fails to take into account the power of modern weaponry.

  4. March 4, 2009 10:30 am

    by destroyer I mean a 6-8,000ton vessel, with basically a larger VLS to provide the comand ship role – sorry I love corvettes as much as you (see my recent post, but they will not be big enough for task group command.

    I hear what you are saying, and the US Marines are getting very obssessed with it; conversly the Royal Navy/Marines have come up with different Ideas, hiding their ships alongside cliffs in Fyiords, and actually getting closer in to the shore to protect themselves from missiles. The British use LCUs more than America does and this of course has an effect on the operations run, I do realise that the two are actually diverging quite considerably. American forces are still obsessed with the Cou d’main/Cou d’grace; landing straight into the heart of the enemy and overwhelming them with a combination of technology and numbers. The British, as was shown in the Falklands where land based SSM’s were present, tend to land away from the enemy, build up their strength ashore, and then use the fleet to support their advance overland. I do not really think one is definitively better than the other; as each system reflects their own strategic military/politcal out look.

  5. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 3, 2009 8:01 pm

    To me the corvettes would be the “destroyers”, providing cover for FAC and in defense of the mothership. That is going back to basics, rather than spiraling out of control with 10,000 ton-14,000 ton “destroyers” today. And the ‘vettes would provide the presence the Navy loves, only closer inshore, in full view of terrorists, dictators, and pirates, where they can do some good!

    As for the amphibious fleet, even the Marines are saying that their ships must stay far out to sea due to the increase in missile threats. I believe Bob Work mentioned this in his recent Future Fleet proposal which we touched on here. Can you imagine then the small landing craft taking up to 2 hours ferrying troops from a fleet up to 50 miles offshore? This is just insane.

  6. March 3, 2009 10:03 am


    I agree with you about the Corvettes, but this is why I want destroyers to back up the corvettes (fulfilling command functions, as well as big boy on patrol; you have to admit sometimes you do need that size of vessel)- you will need a small number of medium carriers as well (3 in the case of UK, but maybe just 6-9 for the US) to provide them with support.

    In my version the attack subs would provide the tip of the iceberg – but unfortunatley they do not provide the visible presence a destroyer does – that is where they loose ground, they also can not be used to command task groups.

    The only problem with your idea I would see is that, it needs the larger amphibs to carry the armour and command the operation; I know infantry and helicopters will be the initial phase of any amphibious assault these days, but armoured vehicles are going to be needed at some point, as are the command facilties which you can not fit in a small ship.

    whilst I like the idea of a plentiful fleet of corvettes down, you will still need destroyers and small number of carriers to support them and your ‘capital’ vessel of choice the submarine – something which is still very weak against aircraft, something which even with hybrid fuel can be spotted due to its affects on the earths magnetic field.

    The nuclear/electric idea could reduce their problem, and surely it would not be that difficult – you would just have to take the batteries out of a diesel elec boat and stick em in a nuke?

    yours sincerly


  7. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 3, 2009 8:51 am

    “whilst good at launching cruise missiles from range in support of littoral operations, are not so good at actually operating inshore”

    Exactly! This is why I push the corvette/FAC fleet to do the work which we now have giant, too costly, and increasingly vulnerable battleships doing. This is inshore operations or littoral warfare. Backed up by motherships which will give a fleet of small ship the staying power of a major combatant, this proposal would also give us versatility and survivability, plus a bigger fleet without busting the defense budget. Any large ships which threaten the small boats might be faced with a swarm of missile firing hornets, or could be kept at bay by the attack submarines. My thinking is we are currently building an all-battleship navy which consist of aircraft carriers, missile escorts, amphibious warships, and attack submariners. At least in the US Navy each costs over a $ billion each, and in many cases (such as missile firing and sea control) are duplicating each other missions. I would narrow us down to the single battleship, the one most potent and survivable, the attack submarine. Surface warfare, amphibious operations, close air support of the troops would be given over to a cheap, plentiful, even expendable fleet of littoral warships of corvette size on down. In the cruise missiles age, the continued use of exquisite warships in close shore operations is suicidal.

    Now you mentioned hybrid fuel for warships. I always wondered why the nuclear attack boats didn’t use some type of hybrid propulsion to offset their noisy reactors. For instance, why not use the nukes for high speed propulsion, then in combat mode, switch over to electric batteries for silent running. I understand that even with billions spent on reactor quieting throughout the Cold War and to this day, the conventional d/e boat is still quieter.

  8. March 3, 2009 6:13 am


    you might be interested in this


  9. March 3, 2009 3:44 am

    I agree with your point about the submarines (although personally – as the Royal Navy boat was turning away to starboard and the French carried straight on, this has been confirmed by a friend of mine in the French Submarine Service, one navy is not as organised as the other). Another factor in my view about is that modern submarines, especially modern nuclear submarines, whilst good at launching cruise missiles from range in support of littoral operations, are not so good at actually operating inshore – principally because they have now been built so big, in inshore waters they do not have the ability of manouver as well as the sea layers to hide in.

    I have to agree about the frigate, which as you know, was invented (in its modern ASW form) in world war II; becuase they couldn’t build destroyers fast enough, and someone felt that the very successful flower class corvette would be just that little bit better if it was stretched a bit and given better engines. I think, as I have said in my post, that future will be destroyers and corvettes; the latter to provide the neccessary quantity, and the former to provide the quality. I think if cruisers (i.e. nuclear powered ships little bigger than destroyers) are built then they will most likely be mobile anti-ballistic missile platforms, rather the tooled up ‘destroyers’ that describes the current generation. However, the modern frigate(s) are actually rising incrementally in size till they are for all intents and purposes destroyers by another name. Their weakness comes though in the fact they are not as naturally stealthy as corvettes, and not as heavily armed as most destroyers – Type 45 Destroyers being the exception.

    My major point with a nuclear powered carrier is that if you have the ship for 40 or so years, you going are to end more out of pocket for the less capable gas carrier than you would if it was nuclear. These are huge vessels you are building, which have a lot (not least the catapult aircraft launch mechanisms) of power hungry systems. Added to this a nuclear reactor takes up less space than gas turbines! Therefore it is obvious that if you want the most punch for your buck, gas is always to constrict your design – space lost in hangar, a second Island because the RAF do not want to be next to the mechanicals – all these things which could be better used as space for storing more aircraft or even better a decent VLS!

    Whilst the escorts won’t be nuclear, I wonder sometimes if navies are missing a trick – the Honda Clarity Hydrogen fuel system has been tested at powering boats and small helicopters; if it was worked on and the nuclear powered carrier was fitted with Water splitting facitilities you would build a fleet which, baring its jet powered aircraft, would be completely self sufficient for fuel – just think how that would affect naval warfare.

  10. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 2, 2009 8:37 pm

    That is a valid point about submarines and their difficulties, but really this is widespread through many navies, surface ships and submarines, possibly due to lax training standards during peacetime. I don’t think the quality of the crew should be a complete reflection of the surprising abilities of the submarine. Surprising to the extent that we almost lost 2 world wars, because we were “surprised”, and pre WW 2 we were told that Asdic/Sonar had solved the problem of submarine detection, but not so much. Surprising also that the war-era conventional boats which spent most of their time on the surface and were about as stealthy as possible, took the industrial might of 3 Anglo navies to finally defeat, while Japan never did get a handle on the problem.

    Now we have these super-stealthy, super-fast boats armed with long-range guided missiles and advanced torpedoes, some craft the size of heavy cruisers, which we think we can defeat with ASW weapons and tactics little changed since the 1960s? This is why I contend that the general purpose escort vessel, called a frigate in most navies, is obsolete in modern war. Too big for the littorals and too under-armed and slow for the new U-boats.

    You also have a good point concerning carrier propulsion, and I won’t argue. I think there are many virtues in these new gas turbine ships. I think though if you can afford nuke reactors for carriers and subs, you should go for it, bringing a very unique capability to any navy. It would be a waste to place the same on surface ships, unless you want a missile escort as costly as the ship it is escorting!

  11. March 2, 2009 12:28 pm


    This going to sound pedantic – but do they? I know our civil servants don’t and they are the ones who advise the politicans; for example I was talking with quite a senior procurment secretary, who was asserting at the top of his voice that gas powered carriers were just as versatile as nuclear ones – and just as capable of operating catapults with the ‘easy’ addition later in life of extra power/steam plants. So mike whilst I agree the ‘dumb’ does contrast better with the ‘smart’ – I don’t believe They would understand.

    On your other very salient points, I think reducing radar image (as I said before the simple thing of putting all the vertical surfaces 7degrees of the vertical) is useful because it allows you to wait longer and get a better picture before you fire. I do not have as much faith in submarines as you do – it could be because a RN SSBN was crashed into by a FN SSBN (the french one hit the back of ours, so it did crash into us!), it also because submarines themself are getting prohibitively expensive to the point that smaller powers like Britain and France with quite limited (considering their GDP) defence budgets are building less and less. Whilst the aircraft and the power of them is 100s of times at the very least, better than their counterparts from WWII, the defences deployed against them are better and better, and roles we expect them to fulfill are getting more and more varied and airframe absorbing – I would also like to point out that I do not know why the F-35 supposedly the cheap option is so expensive and so not that good. Finnally on the Armoured vehicles – the best ones are the APCs of the Warrior and Bradley level, and these are the ones we are not building more of; even though the troops keep asking for them.

  12. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 2, 2009 11:32 am

    Dumb, simple. Either one. the “dumb” just contrast with the “smart” better. Its all apples and oranges. THEY know what I mean.

    I consider it redundant, building a platform with so much extras for defending itself. stealth for example, when the smart weapons are designed for just that, standoff, outwitting defenses. Another example, why have a highly maneuverable fighter when air-to-air missiles are so much more agile and faster? Why have a massive and costly stealth battleship when a submarine is naturally stealthy? Why have a giant and budget crunching supercarrier to ferry 100 planes when the latter are hundreds of times more effective and accurate since their WW 2 ancestors, thanks to new precision weapons? We build giant tanks with vast armor making it even less mobile on the modern battlefield, just when anti-tank missiles are increasing in number, as well as striking power. But you could place a 105mm cannon on a fast, cheap wheeled vehicles, and build large numbers for the same cost, and use the same smart rounds as the tracked giants. We’ve proved in Iraq that wheeled vehicles are very survivable in wartime conditions. How many tanks did the US and the UK build in the last decade, compared to wheeled MRAPs? About 10,000 to 0 in the armored car’s favor!

  13. March 2, 2009 10:32 am


    The trouble with the C-17 is that its airframe was designed from the bottom up – rather than the wing out, but I see your point, I think the Nimrod has been the best example of where an aircraft has been converted to the bombing role. This is going to sound sad but how hard would it be to build some more B-52s? maybe upgrade their wings so that they don’t dip so much, perhaps you can give them a longer range by using a smaller number of more powerful engines; you could even fit air to air missiles so tha they could provide a measure of defence from air attack for the forces they are supporting on the ground…Its just an idea; but there is the saying ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

    As you know that whilst I agree america does not need the size of aircraft carriers or as many as it has; I think you proably realise I do think Britain needs three decent sized aircraft carriers; with nuclear propulsion, because when you do need such ships you really do need them, and whilst in my mind the rest of the fleet would be made up of self-sufficent and convincingly armed corvettes, it would also have destroyers, because it would be these along with the carriers which would be needed to provide the corvettes with the support, when they needed it – It goes back to what I wrote a long time ago western democracies do not like suicide missions, if they deploy corvettes to an area they will want to deploy something larger to act as command ship and big brother – just in case they get into trouble. If you are conducting an amphibious assault then you need at least two large aviation focused vessels available; as you yourself said helicopters are the way forward, and the marines will also need air support. Whilst a heavy bomber is nice, they are simply not within the scope of most powers, therefore an aircraft carrier with its fleet of tactical aircraft and world wide mobility is the option that is available – and is neccessary in this modern world unless you want those brave men and women who are serving to be sacrificed needlessly.

    Your formula is very good ‘keep militaries affordable and relevant in the new hybrid warfare: dumb platforms+smart weapons’, the only problem is that for it to be implemented you need smart people in charge – but might I make a small suggestion; that you substitue simple for dumb, i.e. ‘simple platforms+smart weapons’. This I suggest purely due to the lesson of world war II; the Germans built the King Tiger, one of the best tanks ever made, but it was complicated to maintain even by todays standards and very costly to build; on the other hand the Americans and the Brits fielded the Sherman and the Cromwell, two of the easiest to manufacture and maintank tank designs ever concieved and put into production. It was the Americans and Brits who won because they could keep those simple designs in the field for longer than the germans could their complicated ones. To my humble mind therefore there is nothing ‘dumb’ about this simplicity, it is fact the most intelligent and logical position. In fact I would go further to argue that the ‘dumb’ platforms of our modern age are the over-engineered, over-priced, and under-thought platforms such as the Zumwalts, the LCS, and the Type 45 destroyer – all of which are overly focused on one area of warfare and forget that others exist – as well as, due to their complexitiy, being prohibitively expensive.

    yours sincerly


  14. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 2, 2009 8:28 am

    I am a fan of the B-52 as well, though it saddens me that we have to depend on such ancient weaponry from another era. I don’t think we need to replace the Buff, but perhaps mimic it in some new long range bomber (a C-17 conversion?) It doesn’t have to be supersonic or super=stealthy, just able to carry a payload of bombs A LONG WAY. This is a flying aircraft carrier alternative.

    Today with guided missiles and uavs, every ship has the ability to be an aircraft carrier of sorts, which is why I rant against the USN and Britain placing so much emphasis on these budget busting supercarriers. In the future, every platform will also be a mothership. Bombers like the B-52 will carry smart bombs and missiles, submarines will launch unmanned vehicles against littoral targets, surface motherships will support uavs, as well as corvettes and FAC, enabling to operate for extended periods in the littorals and negating the need for large multi-mission battleships.

    It gets down then to a basic formula I have devised to keep militaries affordable and relevant in the new hybrid warfare: dumb platforms+smart weapons.

  15. March 2, 2009 4:49 am


    This is as usual, only my humble opinion, but I think the trouble for America is it always needs to build weapon systems which are dual capable – able to fight bush wars but also wars against a tooled up foe; one of the trouble being that very few people are like us and actually look into weapons; and thus realise that the super fast ultra high tech option is not always the best way. If America was going to take on Iran or North Korea it would need all these weapons becuase these countries are very tooled up, like it did during the Kosovo campaign (I think it was an F-117 NightStalker that was shot down by a 30mm AA Canon).

    The (sorry if you think its sad a Brit using this for the B-52, but I just think its such a cool and honest name for a great aircraft) BUFFs are what are doing the best because of the sheer payload they carry; but again the USAF would rather spend money on predator drones; which although having good endurance and a slightly smaller than average payload (these are compared to a fighter), can provide nothing like the firesupport a BUFF can provide. The predators are also beaten by the A-10 another very cheap aircraft(comparatively; if remember correctly to buy the whole orriginal fleet cost the same amount as one B-2). However it is to be retired, and I am not sure the logic behind it; like I do not understand the logic behind this, these are the cheaper, slower aircraft but they are the more successful at support forces; and yet still airforces are obssessed with the super fast ultra high tech models that – whilst you may need a few of, in case you end up fighting a decent airforce in some peacekeeping or intervention; you also need the cheap, slower aircraft to provide the precision air support (the reason the A-10 is better than the F-15 is because the pilot can talk more to the soldiers on their way in thus respond to the changing picture rather than just hit the spot they were told to at the beginning of their run – Mike I am sure you knew that, it was just for anyone else reading it) not only in the bushwars but also in the high tech war, under the cover of those aircraft we keep for those wars, to again provide the ground support to the troops.

    They are doing this ultra high tech thing with ships as well, when what you really need is a corvette with only basic stealth (i.e. all vertical surfaces 7degrees of the straight as the Royal Navy have in the Type 23 Duke class), not the thing which looks like the ship from the weird bond movie. This ship needs to have either the type 53 or 41 vls, it because of its size, will probably only need one CIWS although 2 would be nice (mounted fore and aft), a small deck gun could be usefull although this could be a double 50mm radern cannon mount. finnally it will need torpedoes, because it should to save money, space, and to boost its capability carry 2-3 sonar dipping (maybe torpedo dropping) UAVs – like the German K130 Braunschweig class does. This ship would not be that expensive, and as long as it had a launch as well, then it would be able to doo all the jobs that could ever be required of it (if you really wanted to spend some money you might even fit with Harpoon, although you don’t really need to afterall most SAMs have a dual capability and with the type 53 or 41 it could carry Subroc and Tomahawk – both certainly capable of damaging a ship).

    yours sincerly


  16. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 1, 2009 7:49 pm

    But it goes back to cost and relevance. Do we really need to build weapons then only use them in these brush-fire wars, in difficult terrain where a stray rifle bullet or an rpg round can take down a $100 million warplane? I shudder everytime we send a B-1 or B-2 over these countries to bomb caves. Glad we have them, but what a horrible waste of resources.

  17. March 1, 2009 3:56 pm


    I think it would have been really useful in Afghanistan, and whilst those Utility helicopters have helped, I wonder whether the troops would have prefered to have had the fire support, the protection, but most importantly the reasurance of knowing that they had an attack helicopter which could provide not only the firepower they so desperately need, especially if the A-10 is retired, but also the reconaissance and unseen eye in the sky (whilst the UAV provides brilliant coverage, battlefield accounts have shown the soldiers moral is bouyed up more by the presense of manned helicopters – as they feel a shared risk, therefore a shared brotherhood).


  18. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 1, 2009 3:43 pm

    Yeah, and it would have been used in Iraq, I think, unlike the F-22. Now, the good thing is, because the program was stopped early, the Army got hundreds of very useful utility helos in time for the war we are fighting now.

  19. March 1, 2009 12:16 pm

    I agree, I always wondered why they chose to stop the Comanche – I thought it was a far more useful system than the raptor


  20. Mike Burleson permalink
    March 1, 2009 7:54 am

    I’m a little obsessed with Helos myself, and think the services don’t have nearly enough. Sure they can’t do every mission perfectly, but they can do most well enough, while being so darned mobile, they can land on anything. This is hybrid warfare without the bells and whistles.

    Good article, Alex. Keep up the good work!

  21. March 1, 2009 6:34 am


    thankyou for your time and comments

    I have to agree with you on the carriers, 100,000tons are just wastes of money, I know it doesn’t sound that different but 70,000tons comes in at about half the price, with a decent airgroup; so why over build?

    The Royal Marines have been obssessed with Helicopters for actually slightly longer than their US coleagues, having the first LPH’s (Albion and Bulwark; conversly now the names of our LPDs!) and using them in Suez. The thing I see coming is a greater alamgamation of LPH/LHD and Aircraft carrier? why have have multiple types different aircraft carrying ships when you can one which can be easily reconfigured for a different role at a moments notice? the one trouble will be the armour requirment; although with Hovercraft assualt vessels, how big a problem that will be I can not accurately predict.

    I personally think that the LCS is not the forebear of things to come in the small ship world, true corvettes with multi-missile capable VLS are; these vessels will thanks to the vls, and the stealth which comes naturally from being smaller, be able to deal with so many of the minor roles/peacekeeping & peace enforcement roles that really do not require their larger cousins attention.

    thanks again Mike

    yours sincerly


  22. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 28, 2009 10:00 pm

    I am a recent convert to the corvette, a ship around 1000 or so tons, and I’ll tell you why. I think the reason that large surface warships are getting harder to build in adequate numbers, and when they do enter service are riddled with faults, is that the design of such craft have reached their limits. Obsolescence is very common with weapons throughout history, and I think the last century concepts of warship building have reached a climax. If the new smart weapons don’t do them in, the cost will.

    The corvettes will survive this block obsolescence by being affordable, as well as equally survivable as its bigger kindred. It can be built in large numbers and is quite handy for what appears to be the future of war at sea, asymmetrical engagements in the littorals.

    As for aircraft carriers, I continue to be unimpressed with the arguments that a 100,000 ton warship which owes its very existence because it is handy for those unexpected land battles that crop up now and again. A ship must first be built to fight other ships, and seeing that there are few such vessels in the navies of potential adversaries to America, I think the arguments are weighing thin. Neither does it surprise me that other countries around the world seeking great power status in the new century, naturally turn to the building of aircraft carrier as proof that they have “arrived” on the world scene. Like the large surface combatant, cost and the advent of precision weapons at sea will do in the flattops.

    I am not a big fan of specialized amphibious ships. I do appreciate sealift and prepositioning, which have proved very effective in our recent conflicts. No major beach landing since Inchon gives me an idea that this isn’t a very likely scenario for American arms in the future, though medium size navies like Britain have utilized them successfully. if we do need an amphibious arm, I think the helicopter carriers should be enough because they are quite versatile for a number of missions in war and peace. Plus helicopters are a better way to transport troops at decent ranges. Putting Big Ships close to the shore in the cruise missile age is a dangerous idea which even the Marines now recognize, I hear.

  23. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 28, 2009 9:04 pm

    Glad too! Give me a bit…

  24. February 28, 2009 8:46 pm


    can I have your comments on this?



  25. February 27, 2009 1:24 pm

    my pleasure, frankly I think the Omani Corvette with the tomahawk capable (or SM-3, something which with a moderate sensor upgrade would be very useful) would be a far better Littoral Combat Ship – than the thing which costs twice as much (I reckon the one with Type 53+ boosted sensors might be a little more expensive)

    oh something that might interest you is that German are doubling the order K130 Braunschweig class!

  26. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 26, 2009 9:23 pm

    Thank you!

  27. February 26, 2009 7:45 pm

    Sorry for time taken in reply, have been out all day interviewing

    for project Kareef, this is one of the newest – they are being built in portsmouth

    there is a strong rumour (they have been desinged) that Oman will order three more, but with the Type 53 VLS fitted – to allow for a cruise missile capability

  28. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 26, 2009 9:40 am

    You’re right, Alex, these German vettes are first class. Do you have a link for the Oman ships?

  29. February 25, 2009 11:33 am


    I recomend you take a look at the German K130 Braunschweig class; as well, if you think Visby’s are bargains wait till you see these

    or how about the Corvetts britian is building for oman – the three of them cost together 1.2x the cost of an LCS; if you want stupidity – Britain builds these and the RN still is not given any!


  30. leesea permalink
    February 25, 2009 2:06 am

    The point is the combination of Visby and Absalon in a task group. The Absalon is the mothership which gives legs to the Visby. Given the threat and intended mission, I think the Visby will do fine in the IO?

    As to air assets, you put a UAV like ScanEagle on the Visby to extend the patrol range by air survielance, and you fly attack helos off the Absalon to prosecute the targets beyond Visby’s range.

    Sven the political reality is that putting BOG in Somalia is a long long time from happening by the US and probably many other countries (you got to love the French though!) And yes a barrier operation can be setup to interdict pirates and smugglers and bandit fishboats leaving and entering Somalian waters. In fact it would not take many more ships than are out there, but definitely more helos and boarding teams from RHIBS for VBSS Level V. Barrier ops is much more the expedient solution.

    Read up on Operation Market Time off Vietnam which BYT was a greenwater operation not brown which was Operation Gamewarden that happened on the rivers and inland waters.

  31. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 13, 2009 9:23 am

    “naval UAVs lack the firepower to stop a speedboat with warning or aimed fire”
    Sure and its true that the USN is lagging behind in UAV deployment compared to the land forces, though this seems to be changing. I’ve little doubt we will soon see a naval drone equipped with Hellfire or perhaps even Penguin attack missiles in the near future?

    Keeping the LCS small would have kept cost low and the potential for more being built. As Mrs. Davis said you can buy 3 Visby’s for the price of 1 LCS. To me numbers have a quality all its own. As it is, under the current budget crunch, we will be lucky to get the 50 or even 30.

  32. February 12, 2009 10:25 pm

    There’s no hangar afaik, and naval UAVs lack the firepower to stop a speedboat with warning or aimed fire.

    Visby is a missile boat on steroids, with short-range air self-defence and some ASW capability.

    It’s meant (like the other coastal corvettes of the Swedish) to hide & fight along the Swedish coast, which has many very shallow waters and hundreds of tiny islands. It looks probably like a small fishing boat or marking buoy on old radars and could also hide directly behind merchantmen due to its small size (a FAC tactic).
    Furthermore, it could go so close to the coast that it could hide with some camouflage netting next to a cliff (I’ve seen a photo of a Swedish warship doing that – very impressive).

    Visby makes sense in that particular region in its profile, but it’s in my opinion only marginally better than and at times vastly inferior to 70’s frigates in many coastal naval missions.

    Visby is actually very close to the original concept that led to LCS. Small, not really worthy target to give away a SSK’s position with a torpedo attack, affordable in sufficient numbers, able to saturate a coastal region. It’s able to defend itself with short-range weapons and able to launch capable SSM (btw, that SSM is able to fly over islands to a target and can also engage land targets).

    LCS turned into a second LaFayette class, instead of the coastal corvette that was proposed in the 90’s.

  33. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 12, 2009 10:07 pm

    What about a uav like Fire Scout?

  34. February 12, 2009 8:27 pm

    Helicopters are the system of choice to chase speedboats. Their speed advantage is significant and they can cover a large area.
    The Visby can provide a landing pad and probably refuel a helicopter, but not operate it regularly.

  35. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 12, 2009 8:08 pm

    Sure you wouldn’t use the Visby “just” to fight pirates, but for hybrid wars. Blockading an enemy coastline to interdict WMDs or other supplies to terrorist states, you might expect to contend with cruise missiles, as the Israeli Hanit did off Lebanon in 2006.

    The Navy might still be using their missile battleships to chase down the pirates in speed boats. A $2 billion boat is too much to risk in littoral waters. that i grant you.

  36. February 12, 2009 1:43 pm

    Well, I don’t bother about chasing pirates at all.
    To use warships to combat piracy at sea is a primitive, faulty and regrettably all-too obvious tactic.

    You need to raid the pirates’ bases and make sure they don’t dare to provoke such a reaction again.
    That could be quite cruel and it would be a good idea to deploy an OPV to protect their fishing area afterward, but it’s at least not as pointless as convoys and chases.
    Such a raid requires almost nothing, you could charter a small merchantman and send a single company of competent regular infantry to do the job.

  37. February 12, 2009 10:55 am

    B. Smitty said: “Like Skjold, Visby is a ship I want to like, but it’s just too small, too expensive, and has too many compromises for the USN (IMHO).”

    I take an ‘upside down’ view of that assertion: Technically speaking, it is the USN that insists on all the compromises and multi-mision-everything capabilities that preclude the use of Skjold’s and Visby’s or…what Streetfighter started out to be..or Sea Viking (SWCM).or..or. With such high-performed ‘focused mission ships’ (hmm..that has a familiar ring to it??..shakesheadandmovesont) as Skjold, Visby, Hauk, etc you cannot be everything for every scenario/mission and carry it all with you. If that is what we always end up with in our design process, regardless of the ‘starting point’, then, no, those kinds of vessels will never see service with USN.

  38. B.Smitty permalink
    February 12, 2009 9:53 am


    I’m not arguing against a brown water navy. I just think spending $184 million per ship for something to chase pirates or insurgents is a bit much. We can buy USCG Sentinels for $44 mil each to do that. Or a helo-capable OPV for $60 million.

    We definitely don’t need stealth ships for this.

    If you admit that to accomplish the primary LCS mission set (MIW, ASW, small boat ASuW) you have to have a mothership, then you need to include its cost in the overall package. (You won’t get 3 Visby’s for the price of one LCS.)

    Additionally, having motherships does not eliminate range, seakeeping and endurance requirements. Ships still must accompany the task force they support on deployments.

    Nor does it answer the question of where do these ships go when the seas get really rough. Do they have to run back to a safe harbor somewhere?

    I’m fine with the size of the LCS. My problem is its obsession with speed. It demands compromises in every aspect of ship design. We would be better off with a traditional design that tipped the balance back towards payload and endurance.

  39. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 12, 2009 9:19 am

    Smitty and Sven. I think we are missing the point of a Brown Water littoral navy. If you use Big Ships to chase pirates into their shallow water haunts, you end up with problems like happened to the USS Port Royal. Anyway, range and payload isn’t a big deal if you have motherships or sea bases in the area, which is a must for such operations as we learned in Vietnam.

  40. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 12, 2009 9:15 am

    Smitty, your specs are OK if all you want is a Blue Water Navy, which I think the USN had in mind from the start. Range and payload isn’t a big deal if you had motherships in the area, and I think such sea bases are a must for Brown Water operations, as proved in Vietnam. Better to have a large fleet with many good ships than putting all our eggs in one basket and a steady shrinking navy.

  41. B.Smitty permalink
    February 11, 2009 11:16 pm

    I think I would rather have 1 LCS than three Visbys for the USN. Three Visbys can carry zero helicopters – a prime asset for ASW, MIW and small-boat ASuW. An LCS can carry two H-60s.

    Plus, Visbys really can’t carry much payload, don’t have as much endurance or range, and what they can carry would be split across three hulls.

    Maybe the Visby deserves a run for a future patrol boat, but in that role it’s mighty expensive for its size.

    Like Skjold, Visby is a ship I want to like, but it’s just too small, too expensive, and has too many compromises for the USN (IMHO).

    Given the LCS CONOPS, I think the USN needs a ship that can keep up with ESGs and CVBGs in rough seas, and can carry at least one helo (preferably an H-60).

  42. February 11, 2009 7:15 pm

    Visbys are interesting, but very short-legged.
    They’ve been made for the fresh water Baltic Sea in mind – with missions as short as a few days at most.

    I believe they have no climate control for hot areas – they might even require changes for long service in salt water conditions and might be unfit for oceanic storms.

    Their SAM requires the use of a radar, so their stealth is likely compromised against aerial and surface opposition.

    The helipad is just a pad, it has IIRC no hangar.

    27 Officers + 16 Conscripts = mad crew composition.

    Germany c(sh)ould have bought it as Type143(A) replacement instead of the K130, though. It’s apparently good bang for the buck if you want to defend your coastal area in a high-intensity environment and don’t expect enemy air superiority.

  43. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 11, 2009 3:19 pm

    Watch yes, Lee. But learn?

  44. Mike Burleson permalink
    February 11, 2009 3:16 pm

    Ha ha! Wonderful Mrs Davis! Can I do the head-smacking?

  45. leesea permalink
    February 11, 2009 1:28 pm

    AND the Visby is being deployed to the Indian Ocean for anti-pirate duty. Maybe the USN should watch and learn?!

  46. Mrs. Davis permalink
    February 11, 2009 11:38 am

    So they’ll get 3 Visbys for the price of 1 LCS.

    Smacks forehead “I coulda had a V-isby.”

    And I’ll bet they can reach into the Great Lakes without sustaining body damage.


  1. LCS Pirate-Buster? Not So Fast… « New Wars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: