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More LCS Questions

May 9, 2009

It’s not just yours truly wondering of the latest so-called ‘pirate buster” littoral combat ship USS Freedom. Here is Tim Colton of Maritime Business Strategies:

  1. So now two more LCSs are on order despite the fact that neither of the prototypes has yet demonstrated that it can, in fact, do what the Navy requires.
  2. LCS 1 is way overweight.
  3. Note that LCS 1 has one tenth the fuel capacity of a DDG 51, although it has twice the installed horse power.
  4. Yes, I know we need littoral combat ships (formerly known as offshore patrol vessels).  But are these designs really what we need?

That last is the same as New Wars has asked, pleading with the service, the politicians, and the public not to pin all our hopes on a single costly and untried design to combat the pirates. Below you will find my favorite quote from Colton:

Why are we building this ship?

Good question!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Distiller permalink
    May 12, 2009 7:18 am

    Who could ever honestly believe in that modularity concept? The moment it was not designed for hot swaps it became pointless. And looking into my crystal bowl I bet LCS will grow around 500ts, or to a full displacement of 3500ts because of range (trans-Atlantic cruise) and growth potential (e.g. for VLS cells) requirements, sacrifying top speed. At which point the South African MEKO A-200 (Valour class) for 300 million USD each will start looking *real* good.

    Still hoping for LCS-2, though!

  2. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 12, 2009 7:15 am

    Thanks for your insights. I am almost tempted to agree, but we get so tired of having to “settle” for second-rate ships at gold-plated prices. For $500-$600 million, I would expect more from a vessel than the ability to chase down pirates in speed boats.

  3. May 12, 2009 6:39 am

    I have some direct experience with the LCS and offer the following thoughts:

    – The DDGs and CGs were optimized for blue water operations. The Aegis fleet remains the most potent AAW platforms afloat and have “issues” when working close-in to shore.

    – The issue of modularity has some advantages. However, the Mission Package funding line has been cut dramatically. The original plan was to have between 2.5 and 3 mission packages available for each ship. Funding cuts have rendered that number to 1.05 – essentially making each ship single purpose (e.g. SUW, MIW, ASW) and thus rendering the entire concept of modularity moot.

    I am confident that the concept of LCS is solid. I do have issues with how the execution of that concept is proceeding.

  4. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 11, 2009 2:57 pm

    I hope you’re right West!

  5. west_rhino permalink
    May 11, 2009 12:09 pm

    Mike, I’ll give Sven a maybe on “There’s still the possibility that those who launched and back the program know (much) more than we do.”
    like whose political future benefits most…

    How did that mine warfare school work out for Phil Graham?

  6. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 10, 2009 4:28 am

    I am just oblivious to their thinking. I suspect they are as well.

  7. May 10, 2009 4:14 am

    It’s not about trust, but about to accept the own limits.

    The speed question and equipment profile of LCS are a mystery for me – doesn’t seem to make sense. Must make sense to others, or else that ship wouldn’t exist – therefore I probably lack information/insight.

  8. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 9, 2009 9:36 pm

    “There’s still the possibility that those who launched and back the program know (much) more than we do.”

    Sven, you trusting soul! I have some ocean front property for sale…

  9. May 9, 2009 6:52 pm

    There’s still the possibility that those who launched and back the program know (much) more than we do.

    There might be hidden reasons for the unusual high speed requirement, hidden capabilities, a hidden overall concept of naval warfare – it’s just not very likely that they have hidden more than smallish details from us.

    I see no reason for a surface warship of that size. I would either build a LPD-sized mothership with well dock and/or boats.

    Only small navies who cannot afford a networked fleet and instead need to have general purpose ships that can fight alone (pretty much light cruisers then) should look at normal frigate-sized ships.

  10. Mike Burleson permalink
    May 9, 2009 5:09 pm

    Ah yes!

  11. Mrs. Davis permalink
    May 9, 2009 4:04 pm

    Why are we building this ship?>/em>

    Political pork.

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