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LCS=Lockheed Cannot be Serious!

January 21, 2010

Couldn’t resist the title but an exclusive report presented here by Reuters is extremely serious since the author Andrea Shalal-Esa lists the documents point of origin. Here is the story titled “Early tests show problems with Lockheed LCS-report“:

Early testing by the U.S. Navy showed that Lockheed Martin Corp’s first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) did not meet Navy stability requirements and revealed problems with its combat system, according to a new annual report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester.

Neither the Lockheed ship, a steel monohull design, nor a competing aluminum-hulled trimaran design built by General Dynamics Corp, was expected to “be survivable in a hostile combat environment,” said the report prepared by the Pentagon’s director of Operational Test and Evaluation…
The report could raise concerns among lawmakers who have already imposed a $480-million-per-ship cost cap on the program after repeated cost overruns in the program’s early years.
Specifically here are the main concerns found in the report:
  •  Cited concerns about the  stability of the first Lockheed ship, USS Freedom LCS-1.
  • LCS-1 could be easily swamped when fully loaded.
  •  Deficiencies with the TRS-3D radar, air tracking radar, which failed in tests.
  • The General Dynamics ship, USS Independence LCS-2 suffered leaks in its gas turbine shaft seals during builder’s trials.
  • Other deficiencies in the LCS-2’s diesel engines.
  • Both failed shock hardening tests–“the ability to keep operating following an underwater explosive attack”.

Sounds like we are faced with another Lemon series of warship, one the scale of the equally expensive LPD-17 class amphibious ships, itself one of the most troubled in recent history. To coin a phrase from Admiral Beatty at Jutland, “there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today“.

46 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
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  2. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 26, 2010 7:40 pm

    Thanks guys!

    Heretic–Good one!

  3. Scott B. permalink
    January 26, 2010 7:35 pm

    Plenty of stuff for Mike’s weekly LCS chronicle due tomorrow.

    Like I said before Mike decided to start his weekly LCS chronicle : there will be plenty of action.

    And it’s just the beginning…

  4. D. E. Reddick permalink
    January 26, 2010 7:15 pm

    And here’s another news report from Defense News:

    U.S. Navy Releases LCS Bidding Rules
    By Christopher P. Cavas
    Published: 26 Jan 2010 16:32

    The latest round of bidding for the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program officially is underway with the release Tuesday of a request for proposals (RfP) to build 10 ships over the next five years.

    The Navy did not immediately make the RfP public, but one source said bids from prime contenders Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics are due by March 29.

  5. D. E. Reddick permalink
    January 26, 2010 7:08 pm


    The US Navy is still serious about acquiring more LCS hulls. Bids for the construction of another ten Littoral Combat Ships (sic… ;-)) are due by March 29, according to a the final terms of a new multibillion-dollar competition.

    US Navy releases final terms for coastal warships
    Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:14pm EST

    * Bids due March 29

    * Companies studying rules

    * Analyst concerned about program affordability
    (Adds analyst report, cost issue, byline)

    By Andrea Shalal-Esa

    WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy released on
    Tuesday the final terms for a multibillion-dollar competition
    between General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp
    (LMT.N) to design a new class of fast shallow-water warships.

    Industry executives said they received the final request
    for proposals for the Littoral Combat Ship program and will
    study the document before finalizing bids for a contract valued
    at more than $5 billion through 2014.

  6. Scott B. permalink
    January 25, 2010 7:14 pm

    NAVSEA issues an RFP about a VDS for LCS :

    A towed array for LCS?

    (H/T : Phil Ewing @ Scoopdeck)

    Anything wrong with the ASW mission package ?

    The world wonders… ;-))

  7. Scott B. permalink
    January 25, 2010 1:53 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “A cry for naval reform.”

    Chanting slogans ain’t gonna help. Being it sounds good IDEOLOGICALLY doesn’t mean it makes sense LOGICALLY, merely that it’s gonna fail PATHOLOGICALLY.

    REALISM and PRAGMATISM is what’s needed. The mythical corvette ain’t even a starting point here.

  8. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 25, 2010 1:13 pm

    It is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? A cry for naval reform.

  9. Heretic permalink
    January 25, 2010 1:06 pm

    LCS = Lockmart Cancels Sanity

  10. Scott B. permalink
    January 25, 2010 12:15 pm

    More (sarcasm on/) GOOD (sarcasm off/) news for LCS :

    Fielding Reveals Problems with Honeywell MAV, NLOS-LS

    As for the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS), progress is being made. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are developing this system. The team is correcting problems with the program. Still, reports say the system cannot be fully assessed until after an upcoming missile flight test. Earlier problems postponed this missile test. Furthermore, user testing has identified large reliability shortfalls with the NLOS-LS.

    The Pentagon already approved limited production of the NLOS-LS; however, many in the Pentagon’s leadership remain wary of the NLOS-LS.

    (source : Forecast International; issued January 22, 2010)

  11. Scott B. permalink
    January 23, 2010 7:33 pm

    Bill said : “That must..must..pray to gawd…be nothing more than some rube reporter’s ‘license’ to print what suits them, lacking the most rudimentary, the most childish even, knowledge of the real world of naval ship design.”

    As leesea pointed out fairly recently :

    “David Axe is NOT a good source for naval information, he is patently a landlubber!”

  12. Bill permalink
    January 23, 2010 7:04 pm

    From the article Scott linked: “And recall that the Navy discovered during recent tests that the first LCS at high speed gobbles way more fuel than expected”

    I am physically ill, reading that. That must..must..pray to gawd…be nothing more than some rube reporter’s ‘license’ to print what suits them, lacking the most rudimentary, the most childish even, knowledge of the real world of naval ship design.

    I Have to believe (must believe..must believe..must believe..) that the navy I work for would be very concerned..mortified even..that any ship splashed would never be 1% off design speed, never more than 5% off design FLD..and never off any other operating parameter more than what follows directly from those two fundamental parameters in a good ship design.

    But..I know I’m wrong and my facetiousness is wasted. Has the state of US shipbuilding expertise really sunk this far?

  13. Scott B. permalink
    January 23, 2010 5:27 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Bill, any chance you have links to those failed LCS candidates from Textron and Raytheon?”

    Textron’s HCAC flyer here

    The geeks out there might also want to take a look at US Patent No. 7,013,826 B2 dated March 21, 2006.

  14. Bill permalink
    January 23, 2010 1:40 pm

    tangosix said: “They appear very Skjold like”

    LOL. But of course they do. One thing about an SES design..there is not much you can do to make one look much different from any other.

    The Raytheon LCS was designed by the same team of folks that designed and built the Skjold and Oksoy class naval SES. Textron..well Textron has a very long history of their own in SES designs, dating back 40 years or more…

    Neither of the two SES concepts was ‘lacking’ any credibility in terms of pedigree.

    That all said… I am actually now relieved that, in the end and knowing now what we do, the an SES was not picked. Why?…you think that the incredibly bad (non-existent) weight management on LCS-1 has caused reported problems? I can tell you with absolute certainty that an SES build that resulted in exceedance of the design FLD by 10% is a huge problem. Anything like the 40% weight growth demonstrated by the LCS-1 program would have killed an SES completely. It simply would not have functioned at all.

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 23, 2010 12:34 pm

    Tangosix, thank you. The Raytheon design is vaguely like the Austal multirole vessel:

  16. January 23, 2010 9:32 am

    Hello Mike Burleson,

    there are some pictures of the Textron and Ratheon Littoral Combat Ships here:

    They appear very Skjold like.

    solomon,those marks are probably exhaust outlets.


  17. Bill permalink
    January 23, 2010 9:17 am


    I’ll see what I have in the ‘archives’…suffice to say, both were SES designs.

    When the FMS requirements were issued, the emphasis on both very high speed and long range was so strong that many of us HPMV folks assumed that at least one of the final selections simply ‘had’ to be one of the two SES options. Literally, nothing else made sense. However, since that time, so many other LCS decisions have not made sense that its obvious now that ‘not making sense’ actually has come to characterize the program entirely. We just did not anticipate that outcome back then.

    (Note: No comments about whether those high speed requirements were valid; that argument is irrelevant to my point; we were all responding then to defined requirements. Where they came from and their validity is another matter altogether, but you do NOT respond to a major RFQ with :”OK here is our proposed design..but we decided to totally ignore your speed requirement”

  18. Mrs. Davis permalink
    January 23, 2010 8:48 am

    So that’s why ships are painted gray, hunh.

  19. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 22, 2010 7:14 pm

    Bill, any chance you have links to those failed LCS candidates from Textron and Raytheon?

    Mrs D–The South hasn’t forgiven the Navy for that little Civil War misundertanding I guess!

  20. D. E. Reddick permalink
    January 22, 2010 3:24 pm

    Mrs. Davis,

    Unfortunately, I read that item this morning. You have now provided us with another definition of blue-on-blue attrition.

  21. January 22, 2010 3:19 pm

    off topic but can anyone tell me what the deal is with those scorch marks on the hull?

  22. Mrs. Davis permalink
    January 22, 2010 3:09 pm

    Check this one. The USN is being destroyed by the largest navy in the world.

  23. Bill permalink
    January 22, 2010 2:42 pm


    I agree, and I was assuming that the stability problem being reported has to do simply with not meeting at least one of the limit margin criteria for one of the many cases that have to be run. That kind of stability definition does not care if the vessel is made out of birch bark.

    I can’t resist a ‘neener, neener’. Of all the LCS designs proposed from the original FMS concept design phase..two would have actually stood a darned good chance of being made reasonably shock resisitant..Textron’s and Raytheon’s…

    …..and both of those would have also have had inherently very high ultimate stability..intact or damaged.

    …and both of those would have made achieving 50 knots seem easy by comparison to LCS-1 and 2..with a vastly greater unrefueled range in doing so

    …and I just saw a pig fly by my office window

  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 22, 2010 1:12 pm

    So I was wondering if I had stolen someone’s LCS acronym, can’t recall. Haven’t done one in a while and I was suddenly inspired. Funny how all the crap the DoD puts out these days inspires some fascinating discussion!

    Lee there’s just so much wrong here, its like a smörgåsbord of faults. Take your pick:manning, overweight, underarmed, too expensive, too big engines, faulty engines, fuel hog, not a shallow water vessel, now stability issues, ect.

    You could start a thread on each topic and never run out.

    D.E. said “The extra mass of LCS-1 is undoubtedly due to the secret installation of the USN’s earthquake-causing tectonic weapon”

    I blame the USCG which was there first. Or maybe that is the mysterious mission of the newly-transformed Sea Fighter!

    Mrs Davis–I hope you’re right. Sometimes I worry about Republicans who love these high tech gadgets that keep defense industries tied up for decades, no matter how few weapons they actually produce. They fight all government waste, except in the Defense Budget.

  25. navark permalink
    January 22, 2010 1:07 pm

    Bill, the trimaran will certainly have more going for it in terms of absolute stability (both intact and damage) but there’s a lot more to survivability than just these metrics, as you would know better than most. I would not like to be on board these ships in a potentially hostile environment, as the thicknesses of aluminum we are talking about here does little to provide any type of protection against side arms, let alone anything fired off a shoulder or truck, small boat, etc.

    Couple that with designs that cannot survive basic shock events (bear in mind that shock survival *was not* a requirement at the design stage), poor zoning and ‘citadel’ arrangements, and a construction material which possesses well documented burn characteristics that I do not need to reiterate here… all indicate a disaster waiting to happen for this ‘war’ship.

  26. Bill permalink
    January 22, 2010 1:04 pm

    Thanks D. E. Your usual keen insight and unique acess to insider information have cleared up yet another mystery for me. And here I had been misled to believe we installed that new capability in a sub.


  27. Mrs. Davis permalink
    January 22, 2010 12:54 pm

    Scott B, that B isn’t for Brown is it?

    Because when his Congress gets elected this fall, lots of programs like this one are going to get lots of scrutiny but not lots of money.

  28. D. E. Reddick permalink
    January 22, 2010 12:03 pm


    The extra mass of LCS-1 is undoubtedly due to the secret installation of the USN’s earthquake-causing tectonic weapon. The weapon has been attributed to the US Navy, so it’s likely built into a recently constructed warship. Thus, it’s most probably hidden away deep within the bowels of LCS-1. It’s what’s causing the stability issues. The noted expert on US military affairs Hugo Chavez has stated that the US Navy has tested such a weapon against Haiti.


    Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez has reportedly said the Haiti earthquake was caused by a U.S. tectonic weapons test, also being dubbed The Earthquake Weapon.

    Hugo Chavez told Spanish newspaper ABC that a “tectonic weapon” launched by the U.S. Navy was capable of triggering a powerful earthquake off the coast of Haiti. Chavez told the newspaper that this time it was only a test and the ultimate target is Iran.

    Conspiracy theorists have long held that the U.S. and Russia both have “tectonic” capable weapons.

  29. Bill permalink
    January 22, 2010 10:33 am

    I’m simply curious where/when the LCS-1 crossed whatver stability threshhold that thye are now all worked up about. Since the hull lines remain unchanged from the intial contract, as far as I am aware:

    Was the stability of the 2250-ton FLD basline design all good?..with margins?

    If so..did this problem creep in when they went past 2500 tons..2750?..3000?

    And regardless…should putting 3100+ tons in a 2250-ton mono hull design envelope and finding out you have stability issues..surprise anybody???

    BTW..I’d bet money the LCS-2 design has vastly higher stability margins in an overweight condition. Just sayin..

  30. leesea permalink
    January 22, 2010 9:47 am

    Come on you guys! You are mixing up operational concept, system rqmts, design defects and manufacturing problems all in one garbled series of comments.

    Then again maybe we can’t see the forest for the all them damn trees?!

    P.S. remember I said some time ago they need to complete OT&E on both before buying more~~

    Will they buy more? For sure, BUT will they change ship specs and performance rqmts ? I dunno

  31. Scott B. permalink
    January 22, 2010 9:03 am

    So, LCS-1 is an ABJECT LEMON ? What a surprise…

    Besides, anyone feeling like flipping through the comment section at the other place will find mention of all the PROBLEMS listed in the DOT&E report, and many more that are not even mentioned in the DOT&E report (waterjet cavitation anyone ?).

    But, hey, some people wouldn’t listen and I don’t feel like saying the proverbial : I TOLD YOU SO !!!

  32. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 22, 2010 8:42 am

    I fear such large ships will be at risk from smaller asymmetrical threats like suicide boats and swarming attacks from missile craft. In such a case, I think the RN will regret replacing numbers with capability.

    Now capability is certainly required, but I see a vessel like the 6000 ton frigate more in the mothership role, empowering small craft like corvettes and OPVs within Influence Squadrons. Individually these light Craft aren’t much to brag about. Cooperating together in a much increased fleet, they will do wonders!

    The LCS is a mothership type and if you listen to the strategists, this is the role intended for her. The problem being, she doesn’t have enough armament to defend herself properly, and if she did you couldn’t afford her, really can’t now. What will we do, pull our 10,000 ton, $2 billion Aegis destroyers off the line to defend a ship 1/3 her size?

    So you take the capability of a high end frigate like the British want, instead build a mothership on a mercantile hull with many smaller patrol craft, less capable individually but making up for this in numbers. They can disperse to handle the small threats like pirates and smugglers, but if a peer threat comes along, they combine for mutual defense.

    It is so easy without losing capability to build numbers but the strategist and builders can’t seem to grasp it or don’t want to.

  33. January 22, 2010 5:42 am

    Hello Mike Burleson,

    yes,I had read that earlier and as D.E.Reddick said I:

    “wondered a bit about who was doing interesting drugs.”

    Future surface combatant is a 6,000 tonne frigate,compare this picture to that in the article:

    The only thing it shares in common with the Littoral Combat Ship is the rear ramp and unmanned air vehicles.
    Whether the Royal Navy either needs or can afford the latter is open to question.
    Large flight decks and signature reduction have been features of British warships for over 20 years and the Duke class has already done nearly 35 knots on trials.

    The rear ramp has it’s advantages but there are two things that concern me it.
    Firstly,being mounted beneath the flight deck it may limit the size of boats which may be carried.
    Small boats have very limited utility and are highly vulnerable as the incident with H.M.S.Cornwall illustrated.
    If she can only carry small rigid hulled inflatables I shall be most dissappointed.

    Secondly there has been some suggestion that these frigates may not be able to carry a towed sonar,that would be a major limitation.
    The picture seems to suggest the sonar fits either side of the boat ramp in which case it might not be an issue.

    Other concerns are the inflexible hangar and a half arrangement which ought to be a double hangar.
    The light weapons also have poor firing arcs and should be atop the hangar and bridge.
    One of the biggest problems the Royal Navy have had with the 4,000 tonne Type 23 frigates is their limited endurance which increases the need for expensive support from replenishment vessels.
    A ship larger than 6,000 tonnes would be most beneficial in that respect.

    Rather less importantly,the hull in this illustration perpetuates the American style flush decker lines of the Type 23,I had hoped to see a more British stepped deck look to the new ships.

    The current lines would not look at all out of place in the United States Navy.
    At about $600 Million per ship (less than the current Littoral Combat Ships cost) these would make good Oliver Hazard Perry class replacements if fitted with American weapons and sensors.
    Such a fit would include a 5″ gun,32 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles,Mk.50 torpedoes,Harpoon,Phalanx and a SeaHawk helicopter.


  34. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 22, 2010 4:47 am

    The problem being with a nuclear reactor, you add several hundreds million dollars to the pricetag of your ship, as high as half a billion. Not very practical for building a fleet.

  35. elgatoso permalink
    January 21, 2010 10:09 pm

    To be fast, a ship will necessarily have to sacrifice armor and reliability. That is pretty much a truism, unless you add nuclear power.
    So,nuclear power is the answer.

  36. ArkadyRenko permalink
    January 21, 2010 8:39 pm

    Really, what did the Navy or anyone expect?

    If you build a high speed vessel, its going to be unstable and weak.

    To be fast, a ship will necessarily have to sacrifice armor and reliability. That is pretty much a truism, unless you add nuclear power.

    The next question is, will the Navy do anything about it? Probably not, they have too much riding on the LCS program to change it. What they have riding on the LCS program is clear.

    This is the problem the Navy faces:

    1) Developing new ships takes too long.
    2) Buying designs from foreign yards is not politically acceptable, and it is possible that those designs aren’t up to scratch.
    3) Bureaucratic obstinacy..

  37. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 21, 2010 8:34 pm

    It was cruel wasn’t it? But luckily for the Brits, they have a whole decade ahead of them to learn from our failures with LCS. What started out promising about 10 years with a low cost Streetfighter concept, to build the fleet and react to shallow water threats, now into something the cost of a frigate but with a patrol boat armament. The worst of both worlds.

  38. Camp permalink
    January 21, 2010 8:00 pm

    LCS… It doesn’t really do much & may not survive a spitball…. But on the bright side. It is really expensive & really fast. :O)

  39. D. E. Reddick permalink
    January 21, 2010 7:48 pm


    That was most cruel of you what you just did to Tangosix.

    “The FSC will have a lot in common with the U.S. Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship. BAE’s concept art depicts a vessel with the “stealth lines and … other capabilities inherent in USS Freedom,” according to Iain Ballantyne, writing in Warships International Fleet Review.”

    I read that item over at War Is Boring and wondered a bit about who was doing interesting drugs.

    But then I read that item about el loco presidente Hugo Chavez (of Venezuela) accusing the US of causing the Haiti earthquake and then I forgot all about the above. |:-(

  40. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 21, 2010 7:00 pm

    Tangosix, after that nice complement I almost hate to break this to you, but you may want to read this.

    I keep warning our allies about trying to build a USA-lite Navy. Little future in it.


  41. January 21, 2010 6:37 pm

    Hello Mike Burleson,

    I am pleased to say that this is one of those all too rare occasions where I am in full agreement with you.
    Both of these ships are about as well thought out as the V22 Osprey,F35 Lightning II and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
    I am just glad that these are your “bloody ships” not ours!



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