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LCS Alternative Weekly

December 2, 2009
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The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) rests at her berth at Naval Station Mayport following independent ship training and certification.

Outstanding Quote

A sailor onboard the USS Freedom LCS-1 gives us an apt description of the soon-to-be deployed warship:

“We’re a sports car out here amongst a bunch of family sedans, to be honest,” notes OS2 Joshua Merrill.

In other words, a Ferrari instead of a Ford, being sent to combat the world’s most impoverished, but still surprisingly effective navies, the Somali pirates.


Iran Hearts Small Warships

I understand one of the lessons from Operation Preying Mantis in the 1980s, the USN versus Iran, that small boats are pretty much “prey” to large destroyers and frigates. America has accepted this as a rule, but Tehran still refuses to play the game, according to DoD Buzz:

The Islamic Republic uses its naval forces, including a growing fleet of lethal small boats, in pursuit of its naval doctrine of “access denial.” Based on lessons learned from past encounters with the U.S. Navy in the Gulf during the 1980s (when Iran lost two corvettes) and U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran’s naval strategy has embraced the familiar asymmetric warrior’s approach: don’t take the massive U.S. military on in stand up fight. Instead, exploit U.S. military vulnerabilities on the lower end of the conflict spectrum. 

Iranian naval doctrine suggests they will employ “asymmetric and highly irregular tactics that exploit the constricted geographic character of the Gulf,” said strategist Frank Hoffman, now with the Office of the Navy Secretary, in a September conference at the Naval War College. “This doctrine applies a hybrid combination of conventional and irregular tactics and weapons to posit a significant anti-access threat to both military and commercial shipping,” using “swarming” tactics employing a combination of heavily armed fast attack craft and low signature boats along with shore launched anti-ship missiles.

Hope we have enough littoral ships to go around in the next conflict. But we seem to forget, Iran didn’t invent this type of warfare:

Guards Corps small boat tactics should be familiar to anybody who has read accounts of U.S. PT boats or German E-Boat tactics during World War II…


 LCS Hits Bottom

CDR Salamander listed 5 critiques on what happened to the once promising  littoral combat program, in a post titled LCS’s “Bottom 5”. Here is rock bottom:

5. The attitudes of the people in charge of the program.
How many times have blind optimism and this idea that ‘all change is good’ created an unsafe standard in this program? The LCS program keeps pressing the different organizations to change their standards in regard to LCS due to the small crew and ‘new-design’ of the ship. Sometimes these standards feel like they are being changed just for change sake. [REDACTED], and to be honest I hope the ship never comes in harms way – because the only real systems that it has to defend itself are the CSW mounts. At least I know the GMs on board are good shots.

You get the impression that the Navy was trying to reinvent the wheel when it came to littoral combat, as if we haven’t “been there, done that” before. Building a Navy isn’t rocket science. Just give us good enough hulls, and plenty of them.


Sea Fighter on the Sidelines

Speaking of small ships, we have been hearing more from the ONR’s Sea Fighter, the so-called Fast Sea Frame. While it appears the Navy only wants to keep the unique catamaran as a technology demonstrator (big surprise right?), Galrahn at Information Dissemination has some points he’d like to make:

  • Does being a catamaran mean a ship is not designed a fully operational, all-weather platform?
  • Are small ships incapable of being operationally deployable vessels?
  • Are smaller ships nothing more than technology demonstrators?
  • Is $3 million really a valid cost issue to refuse to install weapons?
  • Is the civilian crew a critical component of Sea Fighter that cannot be filled by naval personnel?
  • Are Congressional mandates selective, in other words, we can use the money for “this but not that?”
  • I have it on good authority that the FSF-1 has suffered major hull damage from high winds while at her moorings, which is why she isn’t headed toward Panama City yet. If the damage is substantial enough, the Navy probably will balk at further repairs on a vessel seen by some as a rival to its multi-billion dollar LCS program. 


    Desperately Seeking the Sea Slice

    Speaking of X-craft, anyone recall the Lockheed Martin Sea Slice? Solomon at the SNAFU blog does, and is wondering:

    Remember the Lockheed Martin Sea Slice? You remember those days…back when the Navy was actually doing experiments to determine which type ship would best serve in the littoral zone? Back in the early 2000’s when the thought of actually using mission modules to carry weapons like the now canceled net fires were popular and the “in thing”. Well I do and since the Sea Fighter got a Congressional lease on life, it got me wondering…where is this most promising of Navy experimental ships????

    Wikipedia also remembers:

    HSV Sea Slice is an experimental United States Navy vessel, built by Lockheed Martin. Based on a variant of the SWATH hull design known as “SLICE”, the Sea Slice is characterized by four teardrop-shaped submerged hulls, double the number seen on most previous designs. According to the US Navy, the design reduces waves and drag, which allows a SWATH vessel to “…operate at higher speeds while retaining their characteristic low motions in a seaway”. Designed for operation in the same area as, and mount similar armament to, a LCS-type corvette, current weapon options include the Millennium Gun and the NetFires System, intended to launch Lockheed’s (now canceled) Loitering Attack Munition.

    Video here.


    LCS versus Corvettes

    New Wars often insists that the corvettes of today should not be confused with the FACs the Navy tackled so easily in the Gulf Wars against Iran and Iraq. The USS Freedom and her sisterships are a mediocre response to the small boat problem, concerning armament, not as well armed as European and Asian corvettes which are now getting into the hands of Third World powers. What will happen when the LCS meets a near-peer or better vessel at sea rather than the small boat swarm she expects, we wonder, as does poster xtvpry at the Warships1 Forum:

    It seems that the design is mostly predicated on the perceived need to counter Iranian ‘speedboat’ swarms, but what happens when the Iranians acquire some Russian or Chinese or European or indigenously developed corvette, even a stealthy corvette? Why do the USN think that they will always face 3rd or 4th rate opponents? What happens if the LCS on the spot does not have the right modules fitted?

    I suppose what she can’t fight she can run away from. Yet when the same strategy was tried in decades past, it didn’t work out so well. Concerning the earlier mentioned PT boats, their light and sensible design allowed for large numbers to be built, meaning you had numbers to swarm larger adversaries. The 3000 ton, $700 million each LCS won’t be so lucky.

    36 Comments leave one →
    1. CBD permalink
      December 4, 2009 11:30 am

      Agreed on all accounts.

    2. Chuck Hill permalink
      December 4, 2009 10:58 am

      CBD, thanks, interesting stuff on the Targeteer.

      Manning requirements may have driven the choice.

      Still looks like a bad choice to me.

      As designed I have to believe LCS-1 is weight moment critical or otherwise no reason to make the 30mms removable.

    3. CBD permalink
      December 3, 2009 10:56 pm

      I think the issue of a 5″ gun on the LCS might have more to do with crewing requirements.

      The 57mm supposedly requires up to 3 men at the mount to prep the system (loading/unloading all of the ammo) vs. 7 for the 76mm (according to info at The higher stowage and apparently better secondary performance of the 57mm P3 munition as a CIWS also seem to have boosted the 57mm above the 76mm, but how many men does it take to properly operate the 5″ gun?

      Given the stretched-thin crew (and limited number of berths), could either LCS handle the manning requirements?

      I know the 5″/54 Mk45 Mod 2 must have 3 men on hand for sustained operations (to keep firing beyond the 20 round on-mount), but how many men are required to get the gun set up for battle?

      The Mk45 LWGS reportedly required 3 men for Condition III and could get by with none for Condition IV, but required 10 men for proper Condition I operations (but could get by with 7 men for sustained firing operations at Condition III).

      Since the 57mm seems to need maybe one man below decks to keep the gun firing continuously, maybe the very low crew means that a need for 2-3 men to run the 76mm was just too much?

      The LSM(R)-188 had 81 crew and only had to operate the vessel, run the gun systems (1 × 5″/38, 2 × 40 mm, and 3 × 20 mm guns), and reload the rockets (75 × four-rail Mark 36 automatic rocket launchers and 30 × 6-rail Mark 30 launchers). No air search radar, no air crew. Later LSM(R) series craft (-401 and -501 series) had more crew.

      IFS-1/LFR-1 had 162 men for their vessel’s limited systems (1x 5″/38 caliber gun, 2×2 40 mm gun and 8×2 Mark 105 rocket launchers).

      LFR-1 had almost the same system layout as the LSM(R)-188 class from a decade before. Interestingly, the LSM(R)-508 USS Gunnison River was repurposed in the 1960s as the YV-3 USS Targeteer (link below). The Targeteer must be one of the first real UAS/USV motherships, since she launched and operated radio-controlled planes and boats (for simulated ship defense drills), for which service she was known as “the world’s smallest aircraft carrier.”

    4. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 3, 2009 8:07 pm


      You missed IFS-1 USS Carronade, another custom-designed & built littoral combat ship – I believe. She carried a crewed 5″ / 38 in what appears to have been a Mk 30 mount. Her light displacement was only 1,040 tons, while her full load displacement was 1,500 tons.

      USS Carronade (IFS-1)

    5. Chuck Hill permalink
      December 3, 2009 7:01 pm

      My point was that 5″s are not so heavy as to require a big ship, after all they put them on these little guys–true littoral combat ships:

    6. Hudson permalink
      December 3, 2009 5:32 pm

      You say potato, I say big potato.

      I would agree with Chuck if LCS were designed from scratch as a frigate to do the blue water tasks of a frigate. But given that LCS is basically a sophisticated patrol boat speeding about in the littorals, I agree with B. Smitty, which was my position at the beginning of the thread.

      The problem is the Navy intends to replace the Perry class frigate with LCS, which as B. Smitty notes, is not structurally designed for the big potato 5″ gun, even if you could cram the machinery into the bow. Something would be out of kilter. My sense is also that in a crowded battle space with sophisticated high and low velocity missiles flying about, rate of fire will trump weight of shell.

      The Navy could settle this by scrapping LCS and building Absolon type ships, with a 5″ and 57mm or 35mm CIWS. That, I’m afraid, is unlikely to happen.

    7. B.Smitty permalink
      December 3, 2009 5:06 pm

      Chuck, a Mk 45 mount is 22-25 tonnes. A Mk 110 is 7.5 tonnes. You’d need a bigger ship to hold a 5″ and still perform the missions laid out by the USN.

      I can see where a 5″ would be valuable, but I also understand why they made the decision to go with the 57mm, given the LCS CONOPS. Certainly the shallow draft and maneuverability of LCS-1 would make it a prime platform for a replay of “Five-inch Friday”.

    8. Chuck Hill permalink
      December 3, 2009 4:15 pm

      That said I would have also preferred a 5″ Mk 45 on the new CG cutters as well.

    9. Chuck Hill permalink
      December 3, 2009 4:15 pm

      I would also like to have seen these ships armed with a 5″ gun and we don’t have to go to Italy to get it. The original 5″/54 Mk 45 was designed as a direct drop-in replacement for the old 5″/38. Many Destroyer escorts had two of those. The newer, longer barrel version may be a little heavier and require a stronger foundation, but I doubt the difference is great. The extended range round developed for the OtoBreda gun would also work with the latest US gun.

      As far as the 57 mm being superior for an imagined swarm attack, better ammunition may have been available for the 57 mm, but any ammunition technology that can be fired from a 57 mm can be adopted to fire from a 5″. The lower rate of fire is made up for by the weight of the projectile that can carry more and possibly smarter sub-munitions. Plus the longer range gun will have a flatter trajectory and a shorter time of flight making it more accurate.

      More importantly a 5″ can be very useful in the littoral. Saying there is no requirement for NGFS does not mean we won’t find it useful, particularly against area targets, rather than discrete targets, where you would want to use a guided projectile.

    10. B.Smitty permalink
      December 3, 2009 10:17 am

      D.E. Reddick said, “Replace those two 30 mm chain-guns with two CIWS like the Oerlikon 35mm Millenium revolver cannon. Lighten up some of the possibly installed mission modules to make possible the installation of that Otobreda 127 / 64 gun in place of the Mk 110 57 mm cannon. Keep either a RAM or SeaRAM SAM launcher.

      The 57mm is a lot better for the classes of targets envisioned for the LCS than a 5″ gun (small boats). The Otobreda 127mm will never fit on LCS-2 – the hull is too slender. It might fit on LCS-1, but then the whole point of the LCS is to carry mission modules, so packing them full of guns at the expense of already limited module weight margins seems like a bad idea.

      Remember, the primary missions for the LCS program are littoral ASW, MIW and small boat ASuW. There is no NGFS requirement for the LCS. Shooting at larger ships will be done with air delivered missiles and bombs, not 5″ gunfire.

    11. Hudson permalink
      December 3, 2009 8:35 am

      Al L.

      “Perry” class is generally understood on this board to refer to the Oliver Hazard Perry class of frigate, of which the USN now has 30 out of an original class of 50. The Navy intends to replace these remaining 30 ships and its existing fleet of mine sweepers with the LCS. Hence, the often quoted number of 55 LCS (30 + 25).

      That was the nature of my conversation with D.E. Reddick. We weren’t saying that if you magically transport the Knox ship into the present, without upgrades, that it could stand in for LCS-1 or 2, but that an upgraded or reinvented version as described by Mr. Reddick would be a better ship overall than LCS. That was his point of view. I agree with that idea; I think the Navy was making smarter decisions when it designed the Knox ships than when it designed today’s very expensive and problematic LCS. You might have a different point of view.

    12. Mike Burleson permalink*
      December 3, 2009 8:21 am

      Al L. No need to let your anger get the best of you here. We aren’t making policy, just offering alternatives to those who do.

      Concerning the Influence Squadrons, I take all kinds of ideas, as we are far from blind followers of anyone in particular. Everyone plays a role, and if we part company if we disagree on minor points, then we get no where. this is called obstinance which I won’t take part in.

      So we borrow a little here, a little there, hopefully coming to the same conclusion, preparing the military for a new era of warfare, totally different from what we’ve seen before, where Third World terrorists are standing up to the world’s mightiest powers, and not having their clocks totally cleaned as we did to the Germans and Japanese. this concerns, me so we keep writing.

    13. Al L. permalink
      December 3, 2009 3:20 am

      “First, there is only one of me.”

      Yes, but your vision is backward looking, and reflects the vision of many in Naval blog commentary. I think B. Mitchell would object.

      “Second, I am not blinded by the past such that I cannot see the present. If you followed NWs, you would see that older ships, battles, concepts, are part of what Mike brings to the table here.”

      The relevance of the past to the present is always debatable.
      It’s always easy to project past events into the future. Far harder is to try to envision the future.
      We must learn from the past, but the lessons of the past are not the events of the future. An example: place yourself at the end of WW1. Now try to envision anything relevant to the Battle of Midway.

      “Granted, I posted off subject today…”

      That’s between you and the blogger.

      “Third, if you think the LCS is a superior ship as a replacement to the Perry frigate, as the Navy plans, and is superior to the Knox class redux as outlined by D.E. Reddick (without getting into extensive nits about radar, electronics, etc.), then put your cards on the table. We’ll take a look-see.”

      Why is it not? Or alternatively, why should it be?

      Your assumptions are:
      1. The Knox class is still a good warship despite 2 decades of strategic and tactical changes AND despite the fact that they were retired because they were reaching obsolescence.
      2. That I think the LCS is a Perry replacement. (Corollary: Which Perry? The 1970’s cold war escort Perry or the 2000’s patrol boat Perry?)
      3.The Perry needs to be replaced

      You start with the assumption that the Perry Class “Frigate” (which hasn’t existed in more than a decade) must be replaced. I start with the assumption that the Perry Class patrol boat has offered profound lessons for 21st century U.S. Navy planning. Put your cards on the table.

    14. Hudson permalink
      December 3, 2009 2:02 am

      Al L. said: “Proof positive that the Naval community is chock full of nostalgia buffs. Billy Mitchell was strung from a yard arm by Hudsons.”

      First, there is only one of me. Second, I am not blinded by the past such that I cannot see the present. If you followed NWs, you would see that older ships, battles, concepts, are part of what Mike brings to the table here. Granted, I posted off subject today with my personal story. Sorry if that offended you. Third, if you think the LCS is a superior ship as a replacement to the Perry frigate, as the Navy plans, and is superior to the Knox class redux as outlined by D.E. Reddick (without getting into extensive nits about radar, electronics, etc.), then put your cards on the table. We’ll take a look-see.

    15. CBD permalink
      December 3, 2009 1:09 am

      “Replace those two 30 mm chain-guns with two CIWS like the Oerlikon 35mm Millenium revolver cannon.”

      If you’re willing to settle for the lower ROF, they make the AHEAD round in 30mm (it is called the ABM (AirBurst Munition) in that capacity. The USN/USMC even did some Foreign Competitive Testing on it back in ’06 (specifically for AD on the EFV and the LPD-17s) and I’ve seen some ppt slides somewhere about it. I believe it was approved for use.
      pg 4

      The nice thing is that the ABM and standard rounds could be dual-fed, allowing the mount (theoretically) to be tasked to missile/air defense (or sub-scope defense) with little warning.

      Mk46mod1 vs. Millennium
      ROF: 200-250 — 1,000 rpm
      Train Rate: 60 deg/s — 120 deg/s
      Elev Rate: ? — 70 deg/s
      Elevation : +60/-8 — +85/-15
      Rounds on mount: 550 — 250

      I wouldn’t mind a hybrid of the two systems (optionally manned, greater on-board capacity, greater range of elevation and faster movements)…but that’s dreaming.

    16. Al L. permalink
      December 3, 2009 12:36 am

      Mike B said:

      “In other words, a Ferrari instead of a Ford, being sent to combat the world’s most impoverished, but still surprisingly effective navies, the Somali pirates.”

      Let’s look at the context of this quote.

      The author of the original Ferrari v. Ford quote said:

      “If the Navy rethinks the role of Carrier Strike Groups (Ferrari) and deploys new, scaled-down Influence Squadrons (Ford), the result will be 320 hulls in the water for three-quarters the price.”

      Hardly what Mike implies.

      Mike is comparing LCS to impoverished Navies. The original author of the Ferraris v. Fords quote was compring CSG’s to influence squadrons.

      But what are the author’s influence squadrons? Hardly anything Mike B. would buy into:

      “The next step on the Navy’s path to a new future should be the creation of “Influence Squadrons” composed of an amphibious mother ship (an LPD-17 or a cheaper commercial ship with similar capabilities), a destroyer to provide air, surface, and subsurface defensive capabilties, a Littoral Combat Ship to extend a squadron’s reach into the green-water environment and provide some mine warfare capabilities, a Joint High Speed Vessel to increase lift, a Coastal Patrol ship to operate close in, and an M80 Stiletto to provide speed and versatility.”

      In other words Mike’s “Ferrari” (LCS) is not a component of the authors “ferrari” but is a component of the authors “influence squadron”.

      To put this simply Mike B. is twisting this author’s concept 180 degrees to support his view.

      I’m starting to think this blog has jumped the shark. Mike B. will quote anyone out of context to support his myopic view, so long as it draws comments from the peanut gallery. AND hits to his blog.

      And that folks is what I call Bullshit.

    17. Al L. permalink
      December 3, 2009 12:02 am

      Great elevation on the MK110 in that caption photo

    18. Al L. permalink
      December 2, 2009 11:41 pm

      Hudson said:
      “Well, if you could wave a magic wand, LCS would disappear and presto a Knox class frigate would appear–a great ship by the accounts I have read.”
      Proof positive that the Naval community is chock full of nostalgia buffs. Billy Mitchell was strung from a yard arm by Hudsons.

    19. Hudson permalink
      December 2, 2009 10:50 pm


      Well, if you could wave a magic wand, LCS would disappear and presto a Knox class frigate would appear–a great ship by the accounts I have read. A ship built when the Navy was still in its right mind. The re-constructed Knox, as you describe it, would be a potent fighting ship, a good replacement for the Perry frigates which LCS is not a good replacement for. Care to lend your magic wand to Navy brass?

      Re my personal tale: If my Old Man said 88’s reached to 35,000ft, then an 88mm shell reached to 35,000ft. Trust me, these men knew their business. They knew their enemy.

      The ugly piece of metal he brought back could have come from a 128mm or a rocket or some other piece of junk the Germans threw up there. In particularly desperate battles, the Germans brought their tank-killer air units from the Eastern Front to hit the bombers from long range. One of my unanswered questions about that experience is how many people on the ground were killed or injured by all that metal when it fell to earth? You could start with the millions of rounds of .50 caliber fired. My Old Man said they regularly carried as much weight in .50 caliber as they did in bombs.

    20. Al L. permalink
      December 2, 2009 10:47 pm

      This part of the last quote struck me:
      “but what happens when the Iranians acquire some Russian or Chinese or European or indigenously developed corvette, even a stealthy corvette?’

      Lets hope Iran tries as hard as it can to acquire such corvettes. Let’s hope they blow all their funds on them and short their purchases of 4th gen fighter/bombers, submarines, advanced mines, stealthy FACs, long range ASMs, naval helicopters, UAV’s, etc.
      If the actions of the U.S. and it’s allies cause Iran to spend large sums of money on corvettes then the grand strategy is nothing short of brilliant.

    21. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 6:46 pm


      Concerning your O-T story from your father’s experiences flying above NAZI-occupied Europe, here’s something that might explain part of his experience. It may have not been an 88 mm flak cannon that reached his B-17 at 35,000 feet. Instead, it might have been the 88’s big brother – the 128 mm gun A.K.A. the 12.8 cm FlaK 40. There were 450 of these AA cannon available by the second half of 1944. Worse, they had a maximum engagement ceiling of 14,800 m (48,556 ft) – nearly 15 kilometers or about -nine- miles. Further, the shell flight time of the 128 was one-third that of the 88. That latter feature was due to the use of a powder charge four times as large as that of the smaller 88. Read these two related Wikipedia entries for information about their characteristics and in part about how they were employed.

      12.8 cm FlaK 40

      Flak tower

    22. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 5:50 pm


      Replace those two 30 mm chain-guns with two CIWS like the Oerlikon 35mm Millenium revolver cannon. Lighten up some of the possibly installed mission modules to make possible the installation of that Otobreda 127 / 64 gun in place of the Mk 110 57 mm cannon. Keep either a RAM or SeaRAM SAM launcher. Then add an NLOS module or else some smaller AShM missiles like the IAI Gabriel for action against shore-based or seaborne opponents. And downsize the propulsion system’s component engines to reduce the speed from 45 knots to around 35 knots so that more displacement can be allotted to weaponry.

      Recall the Knox-class frigates. They had only a slightly greater displacement at 3,011 tons (than the average of the two LCS types). They carried a Mk 42 automatic 127 / 54 gun; an ASROC eight-cell launcher (with Harpoon AShM carried in some cells), four ASW torpedo tubes; either an eight-cell BPMS Sea Sparrow missile launcher or a Vulcan Phalanx 20 mm CIWS system; and a single LAMPS helicopter. Why can’t a LCS hull type of a similar displacement manage to carry a similar frigate-type weapons installation and loadout?

    23. Mike Burleson permalink*
      December 2, 2009 5:48 pm

      ShockwaveLover-Yeah, we did enjoy the article. Well done!

      DE-thanks again for the link!

    24. Hudson permalink
      December 2, 2009 5:23 pm


      What you are describing is the armament for the Absolon, a 6000 t vessel. I don’t think you can mount all that on LCS-1, already top heavy; and I doubt also on LCS-2. Remember, LCS-1 already has two stern upper deck mounted 30mm.

    25. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 5:06 pm


      Your mention of “impoverished shipbuilders (impoverished yet awash in funds, Ironic)” caused me think that I should repost this item (for those who may have missed it).

      Denmark has found a creative way to keep their shipyards busy. They are going to be building anti-piracy patrol craft for African navies & coast guards.

      Denmark plans anti-pirate fleet

      DENMARK is reportedly planning to build a fleet of patrol ships for African coastguards to fight Somali pirates.

    26. Sarcastic ShockwaveLover permalink
      December 2, 2009 4:36 pm

      Heh. I actually copy-edited the Sea Slice Wikipedia article a few months back, adding in bits, referencing it and generally making it more readable. Nice to know someone appreciates it!

    27. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 4:07 pm


      I’ve noticed a tendency for the BLOG to -fail- in finishing the loading of a page. The animated icon of Firefox indicating that a webpage continues to load keeps on rotating with New Wars (but nowhere else). That might be an indicator of whatever is happening.

    28. Mike Burleson permalink*
      December 2, 2009 4:00 pm

      D.E., I was just having trouble myself getting into the posts. Could be a WordPress glitch. Hope we haven’t been hacked. Keep checking back.

    29. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 3:52 pm


      What’s wrong with the blog? Hitting the Home button or trying to reload it afresh leads to an Archive page. The Home page appears to be unreachable.

    30. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 3:44 pm


      Since a CIWS is needed, then mount two of those Oerlikon 35mm Millenium revolver cannon atop the superstructure and have a truly capable main gun fitted in place of that Mk 110 57 mm gun. Once the NLOS missiles are shot off then having a 127 / 64 gun might suddenly become quite attractive.

    31. Hudson permalink
      December 2, 2009 3:44 pm

      A personal story here, somewhat off subject, if I may.

      My Old Man flew the unfriendly skies over occupied Europe ’43-’44. One weekend, years ago, we went to Aberdeen Proving Ground for the Memorial Day fire demonstration and strolled through the museum, which had an 88 anti-air version on display. The card said the shell got to 30,000 ft. No, said my Old Man, it climbed up there to 35,000 ft. where his B-17 flew.

      He sat on his flak vest, figuring his gunners could do nothing about the flak. Right after he returned from Europe, according to relatives, his eyes blinked involuntarily for a year from the flak. He brought home an ugle chunk of metal, heavy, about five or six inches long. It was peeled back from the airburst. It had come up between his legs, he said, and lodged in the roof of the cockpit.

    32. Mike Burleson permalink*
      December 2, 2009 3:36 pm

      Des, you work with what you can afford. I don’t say the Iranians are ready to take on the 5th fleet. Just that we shouldn’t be complacent, and expect every conflict to be like the last. I am also intrigued by the idea of what small boats in the hands of the superb Western sailors can do. Some embarrassing incidents of late, generally occurring to the Royal Navy, should be a wake-up call that we desperately need to revive small warship skills, lost in the clutter perhaps that we won the Cold War without firing a shot, with our enemies since the likes of Saddam and the Ayatollah.

      We can rebuild our fleet numbers, build reasonably price ships, give more work to the impoverished shipbuilders (impovershed yet awash in funds. Ironic), and restore the skills which made our Navy the greatest in the world.

    33. Hudson permalink
      December 2, 2009 3:09 pm


      I think the idea behind the 57mm Bofors is that it offers substantial anti-air capabilities including CIWS, firing in patterns at 220 rounds per min, each shell containing thousands of tungsten pellets. Same idea as the 35mm Millenium Gun. Ship-to-ship, you could knock out the bridge with it. Ship-to-shore, you can fire for penetration or lay down a string of air bursts.

      In LCS, ship-to-shore fire was supposed to come from Netfires, which is slow to materialize. The 127mm obviously carries a much bigger shell at longer range. I agree it makes for a mean looking weapon aboard a frigate. Although for sheer meaness, I would award the prize to the German 88, mixing old wars with new wars.

    34. D. E. Reddick permalink
      December 2, 2009 2:23 pm

      Every time that I see an image of either LCS-1 or LCS-2, I just wonder why each type is so woefully under-gunned with that Mk 100 57 mm BAE / Bofors gun.

      Instead, I’d like to see these frigate-sized vessels up-gunned from a PC-sized ‘main’ gun to a more capable gun system able to engage littoral targets. My suggestion is the following offering from Oto Melara – the Otobreda 127/64 Lightweight (LW) naval gun mount. Oto Melara has developed this weapon for installation on frigate and corvette-sized warships. The mount features four 14-round ready drums (56 rounds, total) for whichever mix of ammo might be needed. Besides which, the two provided pix show that this is a truly wicked looking gun.

      Otobreda 127/64

    35. Chuck Hill permalink
      December 2, 2009 1:52 pm

      “…when the thought of actually using mission modules to carry weapons like the now canceled net fires were popular and the “in thing”.”

      I don’t think Netfires has been canceled although the Loitering Attack Munition (LAM) has been.

    36. DesScorp permalink
      December 2, 2009 12:42 pm


      I was a young sailor on the Enterprise during the Praying Mantis era… it was my first duty assignment, and I arrived just a couple of weeks after the strike (one of my first duties … literally within days of arriving onboard… was to help build up Skippers from kits in case the Iranians wanted another go at us). Their vaunted “small boats” were wasted by strafing A-7’s, and basically they brought what remained of their small boat fleet back to port before we could destroy any more of them. If they’re relying on small boats, then they’ve learned nothing.

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