LCS Alternative Weekly
The Shrinking Frigates
The old Perry’s aren’t just shrinking in quantity. This is the part we left out when posting the other day on David Axe’s “USA Should Have a Bigger Small-Ship Navy“:
The LCS fleet could eventually number up to 55 ships. “They want Burkes and they want LCS,” the anonymous officer said. But the Burkes and LCS will not help the Navy grow the fleet, or extend into coastal waters. They are too expensive at a time when annual shipbuilding budgets average below $15 billion. And they are not ideal for near-shore missions.
“People talk about LCS as a ‘small ship,’” Commander Don Gabrielson, Freedom’s first skipper, said at a meeting of the Surface Navy Association on Nov. 12. “Last December, we tied up in Norfolk across the pier from an FFG [Perry-class frigate]. My first reaction was, ‘Who shrank the frigates?’ From our bridge wing, we looked across the top of the superstructure of the FFG — and we had two more decks above our heads.”
Which is why we say: patrol boat armament, on a frigate hull, for the cost of a destroyer!
Counting the Cost
We all know the price of the LCS has ballooned from the original estimate of $220 million to $663 million-$700 million each. But what about total operating cost for a 3000 ton frigate size warship that can speed to nearly 40 knots? Sean Reilly at Al.com blog tries to find answers:
Such “operating and support” expenses can amount to some 70 percent of the long-term price tag for a major weapons system, according to the newly released report by the Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress.
With the Navy poised to choose between two competing models of the LCS — one built by Austal USA’s Mobile shipyard — “decision-makers could lack critical information to assess the full costs” of the two designs, the report says.
Among other recommendations, it urges the military to put together complete estimates of operations and support costs before deciding which version to buy. In a written reply to the GAO, the Pentagon agreed to do so but stopped short of saying that those estimates would factor into the final decision in the winner-take-all showdown.
As of late Wednesday, the Navy had not provided answers to written questions from the Press-Register submitted earlier this week.
Maybe the USN don’t know themselves? But I imagine a ship constantly racing along at 30+ knots would burn up a lot of fuel, and since the increase in crew size, that would definitely be another cost factor.
Littoral Combat Ship versus HMS Hood
A brief comparison of the two radical warship designs:
- Both very attractive ships.
- Touted as revolutions in warfare.
- Forced into several different roles not envisioned by their designers, for lack of anything better.
- Suffered from cost-overruns.
- Sisterships were canceled while under development.
- Overweight issues.
- Considered at risk in combat situations.
- Comparatively light protection for their size.
- No better armed than smaller ships of the era.
- Had the need for high speed!
And they both Look Cool offShore! Can you think of anymore comparisons of LCS with the failed battlecruisers of the last century?
You can read more on the battlecruiser HMS Hood, a magnificent but fatally flawed design here.
Fractured LCS Acronyms
You guys are getting very creative!
- Little Crappy Showboat
- Literally Crappy Ship
- LockMart’s Cash Sucker
- Literally Corpulent Speedboat
- Likely to Collapse Suddenly
- Life onboard Could be Short
- Likely Can’t Survive
- Likely to Capsize and Sink in 1 minute
- Literally Collapsible Speedboat
- Literally Collapsible Showboat
- Literally Collapsible Ship
- Lickity Cwick Speedboat
- Lickity Cwick Showboat
You can post on the special LCS Acronym Page above anytime!
LCS Alternative-Baynunah Class Multipurpose Missile Corvette
This excellent class of small warships was built by France for the United Arab Emirates. Recently she conducted her first sea trials, according to Palestine-Defence:
The Baynunah Corvette First of Class, which has been launched end of June 2009 in CMN shipyard, has carried out mid-January 2010 her first sea trials in Cherbourg roads, with sea states up to 4 which proved her good sea keeping qualities.
Further tests and trials will be performed later on and the Vessel is due to be delivered by mid-2011 to the UAE Navy.
Maximum Speed-Over 32kt
Armament-OtoBreda 76 mm / 62 calibre cannon8 x MM40 Block 3 Exocet4 x MK56 eight-cell VLS for ESSM1 x Mk 49 launcher for RAM missile