LCS Alternative-Diesel/Electric Corvettes
I defer to Mr. Carlton Meyer to explain this intriguing concept:
Surprisingly, no navy has constructed a DE ship that can switch to quiet electric propulsion when hunting submarines. This does not require the development of new technology, DE engines already exist on submarines. A small ship is best for submarine hunting as they are quieter, harder to see on the surface, more maneuverable, and a smaller target for submarines. While cruising slowly on electric power, a DE ship will produce no heat for detection at night or in poor daytime weather, which submarines may detect with infrared periscopes. A DE corvette is an ideal size for a sub hunter, with a displacement of less than 1000 tons and a submarine hunting helicopter on board…
DE corvettes will also prove very effective in port defense, prowling silently on electric power while searching for small boats or anything along the shoreline indicating naval commando activity. Silent DE corvettes are perfect for amphibious and special operations. At nightfall or in fog, they can switch to electric to go silent and cold and come slowly over the horizon to the shore to pick-up or drop off reconnaissance or commando teams, then depart back over the horizon to safety.
This would get a hard reception within traditional naval circles, since it would be such a stealthy and lethal surface killer, the admirals would likely see it a threat to their battleship programs! Leave it to China then? And as we always insist, the corvette needs a mothership to make up for its lack of endurance:
If a navy plans to conduct expeditionary or amphibious operations, it will need to deploy DE corvettes and sustain them in remote locations. Small ships are difficult to maintain forward-deployed since they lack much of the organic maintenance support and crew comforts of larger ships. Therefore, corvette squadrons need tenders, like the recently retired Yellowstone Class AD- 41 destroyer tender. (below) A deployed squadron needs two tenders to keep one on station while the other journeys to a distant port for replenishment. The squadron headquarters will remain embarked on the deployed tender, which will remain at sea with larger warships in high-threat environments, or in low-threat areas it may drop anchor in a small cove at an offshore island, although it may move every few days depending on the enemy threat.
Here then is the answer to the Navy’s “presence deficit”. Without a requirement for huge fuel and ammo stockpiles, small warships could be built which would cost far less than modern battleships like the Arleigh Burke class. Yet such craft will not have to sacrifice firepower for endurance as does the LCS. The mothership could also embark the squadron’s essential aviation assets like helicopters and UAVs, further easing the load on her brood of naval “fighters”.
Taking a jab at the LCS, here is Meyer’s reason why it is a flawed, failed design, with which we concur:
Look at all the other modern coastal ships around the world to discover the LCS is twice their size. Twice the size means twice the target and twice the cost, all this for high speed? The LCS is the size of modern frigates and bigger than destroyers of World War II, yet has the armament of a patrol boat in order to accommodate the mysterious ultra high-speed requirement.
Makes plenty sense. Anyone in Washington listening?