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LCS Alternative Wednesday

October 21, 2009


Amphibious Assault LCS

This idea, proposed by Raymond Pritchett , and like the Navy’s new littoral combat ship, was almost a good idea. Here it is:

People think I am nuts that I advocate putting a Marine Battalion on Littoral Combat Ships, Joint High Speed Vessels, and Corvettes but I still believe that is where part of the future is for the Marines. I believe the Navy needs to design most of its irregular warfare and low end threat capabilities to tailor, or match, the Marines and integrate bottom-up.

 The $700 million LCS is the wrong platform for this, however. Recall that the previous class of helicopter carriers were running $800 million each, also too big and pricey for the shallow seas, but vastly more capable than a 3000 ton glorified frigate. Put this idea in file 13, please! Keep the corvettes and JHSV in the mix, though.

David Axe at War is Boring has an interesting take on this subject, with A Busy, Tough Little Ship.


The All Aegis Navy

The Navy’s newest pet project is ballistic missile defense, and though we can where this might be necessary on occasion, the role appears yet another distraction from its most crucial function of defending the sealanes. First it wants to fight land battles, now they are looking to combat threats from space. Meanwhile, the demise of the escort flotilla, desperately needed to contend with pirates, smugglers, and contain small boat navies like Iran, is in sight with the rapid aging of the Perry class frigates, and its supposed replacement the littoral combat ship too costly and overly-complicated for this role. If this wasn’t enough bad news for our rapidly shrinking and stretched thin fleet, already other grandiose visions are being devised to add to the price of ships, such as using the few LCS we have for Aegis role. I kid you not, from the Information Dissemination Blog:

For a sea-based concept, maintaining continuous coverage in three locations would require a total of nine ships (for each ship deployed, another would be undergoing maintenance and a third would be in use for training). CBO viewed the fiscal year 2010 request for $200 million to convert six warships as a first installment in pursuing an approach of upgrading existing warships (or proposed warships that would have been built to perform other missions) to provide missile defense. That approach would reduce costs relative to procuring new ships but would forgo the possibility of deploying those ships to other locations in the world where they could perform other missions. Alternatively, if new ships are needed, an option would be to adapt littoral combat ships for the missile defense mission with a specially developed Aegis module consisting of a version of the AN/SPY-1 radar and vertical launch system cells; CBO has estimated those ships would cost $650 million each.

$650 million each with Aegis added? Thats what they cost now without phased array radar and an adequate air defense of any kind. Don’t you just love the way they can low-ball the price of a future pork product, that usually ends up costing 2-3 times or more than the original estimate? And I bet they can do it with a straight face.

Meanwhile, the ancient Perry’s soldier on as the last surviving cruisers, along with our aging Coast Guard and the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates from the Cold War. The new pirates need only bide their time as our first line of defense dies from old age.


Fractured LCS Acronyms

Here we are once again with your LCS acronym alternatives:

  • Low Capability Ship
  • Laughably inCapable Ship
  • Lack of Common Sense
  • Lockmart Capsizes at Sea
  • Low Cost Ship

Love them all! Thanks to William, Matt, and Heretic for their help and please keep them coming, all in good fun but with a serious undertone. If I left anyone out, please repost and I’ll get back to you.


Coast Guard LCS Helps the Navy

The medium endurance cutter Legare, about the size of the corvettes we often advocate, is doing everything you would expect of a coastal patrol ship, without the bells and whistles. From the US Africa Command:

Coast Guard Commander Scott Bauby, commanding officer of the Legare, discussed the cutter’s role working with African coastal nations in real-time law enforcement missions during a “DoDLive” bloggers roundtable October 13, 2009. During the mission, the Legare visited four countries — Morocco, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde — to assist with maritime law-enforcement operations and to support regional maritime safety and security. The African mission focuses on building relationships and sharing tactics and procedures.

“Our area of operations ranged from the northwest coast of Morocco, right at the entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar, all the way down to the entrance to the Gulf of Guinea down by Sierra Leone,” Bauby said…

The Legare crew also assisted in building maritime domain awareness by discerning traffic patterns, identifying specific areas where vessels were fishing, and showing areas where foreign-flagged vessels were operating to help the partners know where to focus their patrols.

Illegal fishing is an issue, Bauby said. “Based on my limited experience, which is three months operating over there,” he said, “I would say it’s a problem throughout the coast of Africa, just based on the scarce resources they have to patrol their own waters.”

These are the New Cruisers, ongoing with their thankless but still essential tasks of maintaining law and order and freedom of the seas. Thank God for them!


Current Status of USS McInerney

Byron and I went back and forth on this last week. Here is the current status of USS McInerney and the deployment of the revolutionary rotary wing Fire Scout UAV. In our last edition we published a recent story via Strategypage and then we were thinking it might be outdated. Next we get this in the same week from South Maryland News, sourced from Naval Air Systems Command:

The MQ-8B Fire Scout made naval aviation history when the fleet deployed this revolutionary rotary wing unmanned aircraft system aboard the USS McInerney (FFG-8) Monday…

Continued flight tests and OPEVAL on the McInerney will prepare the aircraft for future missions on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The aircraft will be integrated on both variants of LCS. The concept for employment on the LCS is to embark a manned H-60 helicopter with the MQ-8B in support of surface warfare, mine counter measures and anti-submarine warfare missions.

Also from News 4 out of Jacksonville we learn:

Later on Monday morning, the USS McInerney will leave on its final deployment. It will be the first gas turbine-propelled ship to complete 30 years of service during deployment.
After the ship returns to Mayport, it will be officially turned over to Foreign Military Sales.

So apparently, the frigate is on its final deployment, still to be sold to Pakistan. Hope this clears up any confusion.


16 Comments leave one →
  1. Graham Strouse permalink
    October 24, 2009 12:11 am

    Less Capable Service?

    Or just change the acronym & call it the LSD…As in, you gotta be trippin’ in you think this thing is a good idea. Heck, to save weight they can build the entire superstructure from blotter acid. You know, for authenticity…

  2. October 23, 2009 3:17 pm

    Thanks to all for the acronyms!

  3. leesea permalink
    October 23, 2009 2:17 pm

    Eric nailed it!

  4. October 22, 2009 1:20 pm

    Well, trials of LCS-2 just occurred and Independence reached a top speed of 45 knots. Of more interest is the reported fact that she maintained 44 knots over four hours in conditions of 25 knot winds and waves six to eight feet in height.

    Lickity Cwick Ship

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    October 22, 2009 12:06 pm

    Here is my own
    LCS-Luxury Cruise Ship.
    I always thought it looked like a yacht!

  6. Mike Burleson permalink*
    October 22, 2009 5:40 am

    I agree Ciel!

  7. Ciel permalink
    October 22, 2009 2:41 am

    The crew and commanding officer of the Legare did an excellent job off the waters of Europe and Africa! Hats off to them all!!!

  8. - Alex (the new'un). permalink
    October 21, 2009 8:24 pm

    Low on Combat Systems?

    I know Mike advocates a conventional 2000T corvette type solution, Personally I’d rather see conventional 4,000T Frigates such as an Americanised DCNS FM400 (speed is an issue but IFEP of dual MT30s and Diesels should be enough to give her ~36kts), much more power and far more flexible than an LCS and if produced en masse could be as little as half the cost of LCS with twice the operational range.

  9. October 21, 2009 7:44 pm


    Littoral Combat Gyp

  10. October 21, 2009 7:44 pm

    Littoral Combat Gip

  11. Byron permalink
    October 21, 2009 4:14 pm

    That’s part of what makes it “crappy” :)

  12. B.Smitty permalink
    October 21, 2009 2:14 pm

    A “Little Crappy Ship” wouldn’t even be so bad if it didn’t cost so much.

  13. Byron permalink
    October 21, 2009 11:43 am

    Little Crappy Ship, the original.

  14. Heretic permalink
    October 21, 2009 11:35 am

    Listing Capital Sink

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    October 21, 2009 10:52 am

    Ok William! Thanks.

  16. William permalink
    October 21, 2009 9:24 am

    Mike, another LCS acronym for you:

    Leveraged Cost Ship.

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