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LCS Alternative Weekly

February 17, 2010
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The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) departs Naval Station Mayport for its first operational deployment.

Bon Voyage, USS Freedom

As mentioned this morning the LCS-1 USS Freedom heads for its maiden voyage down South from Mayport. Of course we wish the crew well. Here is Phil Ewing with the story:

The littoral combat ship Freedom nosed away from the quay wall here Tuesday to begin a deployment that will take it on patrols for smugglers in the Caribbean and then, at last, to its homeport of San Diego…

Navy commanders were eager to point out that the Freedom’s ability to take missions earlier than the fleet had initially planned showed the maturity of the LCS concept and the professionalism of the ship’s Gold and Blue crews. The Navy’s first notion was for the Freedom to relocate to San Diego and not do a fleet-style deployment for months afterward, but Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead last summer asked the fleet to see about sending the ship out early to demonstrate what it could do.

I have no doubt at least a few smugglers will come within range of the Freedom’s helo’s or guns, since the Carib is teaming with them as the USCG is so stretched thin. The question comes to mind, is this the proper use of the supposedly transformative vessel’s much touted ability? Our friend ScottB provides us with his thoughts:

1) Pointing out that LCS-1 will deploy earlier than the fleet had initially planned is all fine and dandy, but what does that really mean when this deployment has exactly NOTHING to do with any of the missions originally envisioned for the concept (i.e. ASUW, ASW and MCM), what does that really mean when almost nothing of the much-touted *mission-modularity* will be tested, and what does that really mean in terms of impact it will have on the impact of the mission packages (often improperly referred to as mission modules) ?
 
2) I clearly remember both Mullen and Roughead claiming that LCS-1 would deploy early to close *an urgent warfighting gap*. Are patrols for drug smugglers in the Caribbean such an *urgent warfighting gap* ? I mean, seriously…

Thanks Scott, and good point! Freedom’s deployment is the debut of the world’s most expensive patrol boat! Better perhaps to divert the $28 billion for the entire LCS program to the USCG who I am sure could put it to better use, since this is the primary mission of the Coasties anyway!

*****

A Picture is Worth…

Concerning a USN photo New Wars posted recently showing USS Freedom  performing high-speed maneuvers, Scott noticed a few things which yours truly missed. First, take another look at the ship at sea in high resolution. Now from the comments:

Scott-I find the amount of green water being shipped in what looks like a slight to moderate sea state (SS3 most likely, SS4 being generous) to be very worrying. But perhaps it is just me…

And concerning LCS stealth:

Scott-See that fuzzy band right above the *ship* between the exhausts and the stern ? Whatever speed she’s making, the heat signature she produces on the pic isn’t exactly stealthy…Just sayin’ ;-)

I am also curious, looking at this newer photo in high res, how much if any water is shipping into those blackened  gunports exhausts embedded there in the lower hull?

*****

LCS Scylla and Charybdis

Down-select time is coming, for the Navy to choose between the 2 LCS prototypes. Sadly, “neither” isn’t on the Navy’s list of choices. Here’s Craig Hooper:

If the Air Force’s $35 Billion dollar tanker down-select is any guide, this LCS down-select is going to be ugly.
It is a pity. With more resources, the Navy would have been busy building and evaluating two separate LCS squadrons, and the down-select years away.

The Navy wants these ships in a hurry. They realize all the problems, and cancellation is always looming, so they know time is against them.

I fear that the rapid down-select puts a lot of pressure on the deploying LCS-1 sailors to treat their platform gently. The opposite should be the case–the first model “Flight 0″ platforms must be run hard, beaten up and, quite simply, broken.  Broken early and often.
Put bluntly, the Navy won’t learn much if problems are covered-up and the ship treated like a museum piece.

The Navy only builds ships for deterrence, so they aren’t worried whether these vessels are ready for service or not. Still clinging to the old Cold War stance, they imagine their impressive looking battleships won’t have to fight, or at least not in a fair fight. I think this is so much wishful thinking in a era where there are many threats, rather than the single Soviet enemy, and these new foes refuse to play by the old rules.

If  they keep on shrinking toward record low fleet numbers, they will have little choice but to match enemies ship-for-ship. There is where the real tests come.

*****

Fractured LCS Acronyms

The Bold Band of Readers have been operating overtime, wracking their brains to bring us more of these:

  • Literally inComparable to Skjold
  • Loses in Competition to Sea Fighter
  • Laughably Compromised Specifications
  • Lifesigns Confused, Spock
  • Lousy Capacity Speedboat
  • Let’s Copy Swift
  • Larry Curley Shemp

That last was my personal favorite for the week, being a Stooge fan and all. And did you catch the one for you Trekkies? Thanks to D.E., Heretic, and “Retired Now”. Well done and post your creations anytime at the special LCS Page on the top, or just here in the comments!

*****

Stay Away from the Deep End of the Pool!

Scoop Deck is calling them “water wings”, some strange attachments on the stern of the the LCS Freedom. Phil Ewing explains as best he can:

 In a yard period late last year, Freedom acquired two large oblong metal boxes on its transom, on either side of the stern gate its crew uses to launch and recover boats. The sailors call these “buoyancy tanks,” although they look almost like a baby’s water wings for the pool…

Ewing asks the pertinent question:

Do water wings added after the fact mean the Freedom — and Lockheed Martin’s design for the  LCS 1-class — suffered from too little reserve buoyancy?

But Gold Crew skipper Cmdr. Randy Garner ain’t saying! Do check out the water wings photo at the link.

*****

LCS Alternative-Skjold class patrol boat

Here is an amazing Norwegian stealth boat that the USN and Coast Guard tested a few years back. The Skjold is another excellent Scandinavian product which offers much on a compact hull, and at a decent price. I think the Scans have discovered the best way to deploy stealth to a surface combatant, by starting small. The larger the ship above water, naturally the less stealth you get as we talked about above.

Specifications:

  • Length-155.83 ft (47.50 m)
  • Draft-3.3 ft (1.0 m)
  • Displacement-274 tons
  • Speed-60 knots max
  • Range-800 miles at 40 knots
  • Crew-16
  • Armament-8 Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile SSMs
    76mm Oto Breda Super Rapid multi-role cannon
    Mistral missile 3 kg warhead SAM
    12.7mm gun

*****

Skjold showcases its new 76mm Rapid Fire gun. Author Matt via Wikimedia Commons.

55 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2010 10:20 am

    Hello,

    I should have added that it is probably more appropriate to compare the Type 45s to the Zumwalts than the Burkes,bot being all new deigns produced in small quantities.
    Whenever we see comparable vessels produced in the United States and the United Kingdom,the British ships seem to be half the cost,or less,than their American counterparts.
    Compase Albion to San Antonio,Astute to Virginia,Daring to Zumwalt or Queen Elizabeth to Gerald Ford.

    tangosix.

  2. February 19, 2010 10:08 am

    Hello Mike Burleson,

    there are some figures from a few years ago near the bottom of this page:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo060227/text/60227w10.htm

    Quote:

    “Mr. Ingram: The forecast unit production cost of the Type 45 destroyer programme as at the end of financial years 31 March 2002 to 2005 are as reported in the respective Major Projects Report 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005; and are as follows:

    Major Projects Report Unit production costs
    (£ million)
    2002 632.7
    2003 552.7
    2004 576.7
    2005 561.6”

    Some more recent information is about two thirds of the way down this page:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm100105/text/100105w0010.htm

    Quote:

    “Mr. Quentin Davies: The costs for designing and manufacturing the Principal Anti Air Missile System (PAAMS), renamed Sea Viper by the Royal Navy, and for installing it on each of the six Type 45 Destroyers are included as part of the overall Type 45 programme costs of £6.5 billion. These costs also include the design and manufacture of the six Type 45s and are broadly split 60 per cent (£4 billion) for the ships and 40 per cent. (2.5 billion) for the weapons system.”

    At a cost of about $100 Million per ship,the Type 45s could have had sonars 2087 and 2051,Stingray torpedos,Harpoon and anti ballistic missile capability added.
    That would probably make them the best all round surface combatant in the world,at half the price of a Burke.
    The savings inherent in building one class in greater numbers (instead of four classes in minute quantities) would more than offset the cost of the additional equipment over the production run and the Royal Navy would have a ship far better suited to the threats it is facing in the South Atlantic today.

    tangosix.

  3. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 19, 2010 5:14 am

    Tangosix-very good point on the Daring versus Burke prices and I will study these figures. I think where the DDG-51 seems cheaper comes from quantity which the RN could never match, nor does it need to. Would you have a link on those Type 45 costs?

    The NSC comes at a bad time for the Coast Guard when it desperately needs to replace its antiquated force structure. More than the USN the USCG needs to be many places at once and there is little room for quality over quantity. The NSC is too expensive and no matter how versatile, won’t take the place of scores of light cutters which are just wore out, let alone too old and unsafe.

  4. Scott B. permalink
    February 19, 2010 2:16 am

    Some quick & dirty maths for B. Smitty and all the skeptics out there :

    1) Fifth NSC, built by a not-so-competent combatant shipbuilder, is expected to cost $538 million.

    2) Built by a commercial shipbuilder, it shouldn’t cost more than $225 million (i.e. $538M / 2.4).

    3) Making it 20% bigger (in terms of LSD) and assuming the cost impact is linear (which it is not) brings the cost to $269 million.

    Which, by some extraordinary coincidence (;-p), is more or less what an ABSALON costs.

    Mmmhhhh……..

  5. Scott B. permalink
    February 19, 2010 1:39 am

    B. Smitty said : “So I still find it hard to believe that we could build a more heavily-armed warship that’s 50% larger than the NSC (by tonnage), for less.”

    A couple of quick comments are in order :

    1) ABSALON is NOT 50% larger than the NSC as you claim :

    Absalon has a light ship displacement of 4,150 metric tons (source : OSS datasheet)

    NSC has a light ship displacement of 3,389 tons, i.e. 3,440 metric tons (source here)

    IOW, in terms of LSD, ABSALON is 20% larger than the NSC.

    2) You should know by now that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive, shouldn’t you. Which is one of the reasons why what you should do is THINK BIG, not small !!!

  6. Scott B. permalink
    February 19, 2010 1:20 am

    B. Smitty said : “So I still find it hard to believe that we could build a more heavily-armed warship that’s 50% larger than the NSC (by tonnage), for less.”

    An OPV built by a combatant shipbuilder is pretty much the worst case, even more so when the customer (the USCG) is so grossly incompetent.

    A recent study made by CSC showed that a combatant shipbuilder was 2.4 times more expensive than a commercial shipbuilder and 1.8 times more expensive than a dual-use shipbuilder.

    IOW, using 100 as the baseline, costs are as follows :
    * commercial shipbuilder : 100
    * dual-use shipbuilder : 130
    * combatant shipbuilder : 240

    And then of course, in this Absalon vs NSC comparison you’re making, what you have on the one hand is one of the most incompetent shipbuilder as Tim Colton calls NGSB vs on the other hand one of the most competitive commercial shipyard in the world (i.e. Odense).

    Skepticism is fine, but in the current situation, it makes you an objective ally of those trying to cram the LCS boondoggle down the taxpayer throat.

    Open your mind, and you’ll see the light !

  7. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 18, 2010 9:58 pm

    The appropriation for the fifth NSC is $538M, not cheap, but at least less than the LCS. I do think that the American way of costing may include things not included in other quoted figures.

  8. B.Smitty permalink
    February 18, 2010 9:44 pm

    Scott B said:”What matters is that they are mature designs, with a mature production process and cost drivers that have been precisely identified.

    Injecting these parameters into the procurement equation is THE LEVERAGE to actually fix the procurement problem and get rid of systemic issues largely due to the closed-circuit configuration that produces so many prohibitively expensive lemons these days.

    USCGC Stratton (the third NSC) should be based on a mature design, with a mature production process and precisely identified cost drivers by now, right? Wasn’t it still somewhere around $300-350 million?

    So I still find it hard to believe that we could build a more heavily-armed warship that’s 50% larger than the NSC (by tonnage), for less.

    Call me a skeptic.

  9. February 18, 2010 8:54 pm

    Hello again,

    here is a link with some pricing information for the DDG1000s and DDG51s,on page 12:

    http://www.ndbi.utk.edu/images/Users/1/NDBI/NavyDestroyerAcquisitionPlanOptions6.26.pdf

    Congressional Budget Office figures for production of one ship a year suggest the Daring is less than half the cost of a Burke and less than one third the cost of a Zumwalt.

    tangosix.

  10. February 18, 2010 8:45 pm

    Hello,

    Mike Burleson:

    “Sadly, I no longer agree with this. Just look at the cost difference between vessels from Anglo shipyards and those from the Continent. The discrepancy is too big to ignore.”

    I had a look through that list and noticed these numbers:

    “DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-$1.3 billion

    Daring Type 45 (UK)-$1.6 billion”

    These prices are not comparable.

    The unit programme cost of the Type 45 destroyer is about $1,600 Million.
    However,that includes the cost of designing and developing an all new ship and it’s integrated electric propulsion,SAMPSON radar and ASTER missile systems from scratch.
    You won’t find the cost of developing Standard SM2 and Aegis included in the price of an Arleigh Burke class!
    The unit production cost of a Type 45 destroyer is about £650 Million/$1,000 Million.
    That is based on the very limited economies of scale from building only 6 ships.

    In rather stark contrast,the cost of buying just one Arleigh Burke class in Financial Year 2010 is $2,241 Million.
    That is just the cost of restarting a 50+ ship production line and building one more example of an existing design.

    Comparing like for like the Type 45 is a lot cheaper than the Arleigh Burke.

    tangosix.

  11. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 18, 2010 6:52 pm

    Well,

    It’s nice to see that WordPress has re-joined the rest of the internet and blogosphere, one again…

    Scott,

    Earlier today I ran a rough estimate that the hits rate was running about 2,500 per day. My guestimate is that 600K will be reached around March 15.

    Mike,

    Yeah – Scott not mentioning Absalon while discussing Skjold made me wonder about where his head might be. Of course, maybe it was up amongst those orbitin’ black helos distractin’ ‘im… ;-)

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 18, 2010 6:34 pm

    Smitty said “I just don’t think buying a foreign design will fix the procurement problem”

    Sadly, I no longer agree with this. Just look at the cost difference between vessels from Anglo shipyards and those from the Continent. The discrepancy is too big to ignore. I don’t think we have a naval mindset, and our choice of ships geared mostly for fighting land wars (power projection) also backs up my point. Shrinking numbers, disinterest in nautical threats (pirates, submarines, ect). But the Euros are building some pretty good ships at economical prices. We build mediocre platforms (LCS, LPD-17, DDG-1000, Ford CVNs) at gold plate prices.

  13. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 18, 2010 6:27 pm

    D.E. to Scott-“But, you left out the Absalon class Command & Support frigates.”

    I was scratching my head on that one too! LOL

  14. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 4:25 pm

    O/T : quick flashback

    11 February 2010, 3.20 p.m. : 500,031 hits

    18 February 2010, 4.20 p.m. : 518,394 hits

    One week after the historical 500,000 mark was hit, New Wars is still going strong with about 2,600 hits per day.

  15. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 4:12 pm

    B. Smitty said : “BTW, you know I have no interest in cramming the cost-prohibitive LCS lemon down anyone’s throat.”

    That’s PRECISELY the reason why you should stop taking this DOD Markup BS (that gets so often disseminated elsewhere) at face value.

  16. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 4:07 pm

    B. Smitty said : “And if these foreign options go through the same procurement system, why won’t they see the same massive cost increases?”

    The important thing about these foreign options, e.g. ABSALON is NOT that they are foreign designs, though that’s the only thing people of the protectionist ilk will see about them.

    What matters is that they are mature designs, with a mature production process and cost drivers that have been precisely identified.

    Injecting these parameters into the procurement equation is THE LEVERAGE to actually fix the procurement problem and get rid of systemic issues largely due to the closed-circuit configuration that produces so many prohibitively expensive lemons these days.

  17. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:56 pm

    B. Smitty said : “How else do you explain the significantly smaller and less well-equipped USCG Bertholf costing over twice that of Absalon?”

    USCG Bertholf is not based on a foreign design AFAIK, so its prohibitive cost doesn’t have anything to do with the mythical DOD mark-up you mention.

  18. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:53 pm

    leesea said : “How is one to keep the various ships (Endurance+Skjolds+YE) fueled and their crew fed etc etc?”

    One possible answer :

    1) Yacht Express simply does the transoceanic lift for the Skjolds.

    2) Once in theater, Endurance acts as a tender for the Skjolds.

  19. B.Smitty permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:51 pm

    Scott B said, “Because I don’t buy this argument which has no connection with any economic reality and is merely one of the very last excuses to try and cram the cost-prohibitive LCS lemon down the taxpayer throat.

    How else do you explain the significantly smaller and less well-equipped USCG Bertholf costing over twice that of Absalon? Heck, the even smaller USCG OPC may cost more than an Absalon as well. Why are USCG Sentinels going to cost ~$50 million when a comparable Aussie Armidales only cost around $25 million?

    IMHO, it has to be systemic issues in the procurement process itself.

    And if these foreign options go through the same procurement system, why won’t they see the same massive cost increases?

    (BTW, you know I have no interest in cramming the cost-prohibitive LCS lemon down anyone’s throat. I just don’t think buying a foreign design will fix the procurement problem.)

  20. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:31 pm

    Leesea,

    But if you’re operating off the southeast shore of Iran or in the South China Sea, then you might really want those inexpensive but highly capable Iver Huitfeldt frigates to backup a littoral force working much closer to nearby shores. Why send a $1.75 billion Burke DDG close to hostile shores when an under $500 million GP / AAW frigate can pull the duty and perform the necessary function?

  21. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:25 pm

    leesea said : “How old is the price for Endurance?”

    November 2008.

    Check this press release

  22. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:22 pm

    leesea said : “ScottB forget that price for Yacht Express, she was built in a Chinese shipyard.”

    Cuz I’d buy it straight from the Chinese shipyard !

  23. leesea permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:21 pm

    IRT LCS ASUW, the ship was going to embark helo after departure. There were Firescout consoles installed (just not many birds around to play with maybe McInneney can cross deck theirs?). The NETLOS-NL is not finished is it? I believe the last module you listed was the boats and crews – I saw two 11 mtr RHIBs onboard. And several mission ISOs. Not to mention the NECC dets and USCG AUF det. So I will give them a “B” for effort.

  24. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:17 pm

    B. Smitty said : “You forgot to apply the variable 50-300% DoD markup to all foreign”

    Because I don’t buy this argument which has no connection with any economic reality and is merely one of the very last excuses to try and cram the cost-prohibitive LCS lemon down the taxpayer throat.

  25. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:14 pm

    D.E. Reddick said : “But, you left out the Absalon class Command & Support frigates.”

    Well, my preferred option hasn’t changed and would still be to buy ABSALONS and (almost) nothing else for the low end of the mix.

    I’d get two ABSALONS for every LCS seaframe, and invest the change (i.e. about $100 million) in modular equipment.

  26. leesea permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:14 pm

    Ok now here are some more practical motership questions:
    How is one to keep the various ships (Endurance+Skjolds+YE) fueled and their crew fed etc etc?

    ScottB forget that price for Yacht Express, she was built in a Chinese shipyard. Double it for US built and properly fiited out as as sealift ship. How old is the price for Endurance? I will leave it to Bill to address Skjold prices?

    Sure an Absalon would be better at logistics support. Its icing on the mission to add Ivar Huifleldt DDGs in~~ LOL

  27. B.Smitty permalink
    February 18, 2010 2:49 pm

    Scott B, “For less than the price of one LCS seaframe, i.e. $636 million, what you could get is :

    You forgot to apply the variable 50-300% DoD markup to all foreign designs. ;)

  28. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 18, 2010 2:07 pm

    Now, consider a comparison involving three LCS platforms @ $636 million apiece equaling a total of $2,108 million (that’s over $2 billion for three PC-armed, frigate-sized vessels).

    Two Danish Iver Huitfeldt class GP / AAW frigates (area defense guardships): 2 x $332 million = $664

    Two Danish Absalon class C&S frigates (‘motherships’): 2 x $269 million = $538 million

    Six Norwegian Skjold class coastal corvettes: 6 x $133.5 million = $801 million

    Total = $2,003

    Three LCS hulls priced @ $2,108 minus the price of ten excellent Scandanavian warships @ $2,003 leaves you with $105 million to play with (add-ons). Ten well-armed warships can be a whole lot more places than three LCS hulks.

  29. Bill permalink
    February 18, 2010 1:45 pm

    I like the maffs.

    Just pondering, but I wonder what a coastal patrol or corvette version of the Skjold would cost with the following changes:

    1. Deleting the 8 NSM anti-ship missiles in the stern in favor of small boat handling capabilites. ‘Other’ armament on the stern deck instead..?

    2. Prime-mover reconfiguration to reduce top speed from 60+ knots to ‘only’ 45 but increase unrefeuled range to 2000 nm or better? (read: diesel prime mover with GT booster in CODAG arrangement..or even disels only?

  30. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 18, 2010 1:17 pm

    Scott,

    I like your thinking. But, you left out the Absalon class Command & Support frigates.

    So, if two LCS platforms cost $1,472 million (2 x $636 million), then why not go this route. I mean, isn’t the Absalon design the equivalent of sliced, whole-wheat, raisin-bread… ;-)

    Two Absalon class C&S frigates (‘motherships’): 2 x $269 million = $538 million

    Six Skjold class coastal corvettes: 6 x $133.5 million = $801 million

    Total = $1,339

    Two LCS hulks priced @ $1,472 minus the price of eight excellent Scandanavian warships @ $1,339 leaves you with $133 million to play with (additions, anyone). Eight warships can be a whole lot more places than two LCS hulls.

  31. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 12:39 pm

    For less than the price of one LCS seaframe, i.e. $636 million, what you could get is :

    1) 3 x Skjold @ $133.5 million each, i.e. $400.5 million in total.

    PLUS

    2) 1 x Endurance-class LPD @ $142.5 million

    PLUS

    3) 1 x Yacht Express @ $53.5 million

    $400.5 + $142.5 + $53.5 = $596.5 million

    That leaves another $39.5 million to be spent on whatever stuff you’d like to add in the mix.

    Mmmhhh…..

  32. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 12:05 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “I will keep my sources secret from now on. LOL!”

    Thank God, they just restarted a new Presidential Helo Competition, so the recycled VH-71 might be required somewhere else (i.e. where there’s $$$ to be made).

    Unless I became yet another *urgent warfighting gap* to be closed with another failed procurement program.

    LOL !

  33. CBD permalink
    February 18, 2010 11:48 am

    Scott brings up a good point (indirectly). In addition to the space crunches I previously noted on LCS-1, the crew (with Helo Det, CG HITRON team, VBSS) have already run out of space. Is this without any personnel to operate and maintain the Firescouts? Will the NLOS system require more Surface Warfare personnel?

    3-5 more people per task wouldn’t be surprising, but if you already have 24 people living in your mission equipment space where do you put your extra folk?

  34. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 11:32 am

    (please delete previous post : wrong formatting).

    CNO Vern Clark, June 2002 : “I want to get hulls in the water with the speed of heat. It needs 50 knots and be able to plug and play . . . LCS is about countering cheap kills. It is about executing new unmanned vehicle capabilities against near landsubmarines, mines, and boat swarms.”

    Even if the SUW Mission Package was complete (and it’s not), are they really expecting to encounter small boat swarms to train against in the Caribbean ?

    As CDR Salamander wisely noted yesterday :

    “LEADERSHIP IS NOT SPIN.”

  35. Scott B. permalink
    February 18, 2010 11:21 am

    leesea said : “ScottB you’re right minus NLOS plus more boats and more extra det personnel plus an H-60 or is that a core system??”

    Here is what the SUW Mission Package is supposed to be made of :

    * 2 x Mark-50 Gun Mission Modules (30mm chain guns)
    * 1 x NLOS-LS Mission Module
    * 1 x MH-60R helicopter
    * 2 x Firescout VTUAVs
    * 1 x Maritime Security Module

    + computer servers, MP application software, user consoles.

  36. CBD permalink
    February 17, 2010 9:18 pm

    Leesea,
    Unfortunately, buoyancy bustles are the least of the corrective actions that need taking…that mission space is filling up already just with crew junk. Scoopdeck has been doing a great job of picking up little (fundamental) issues with the LCS-1 design the past couple of days. In addition to the ‘water wings’ article above, a note on the accommodations is interesting in that it shows how much of the reconfigurable mission space is occupied by the tacked-on VBSS/MIO ‘package’ crew. If you want to run VBSS and load your full ASuW package (let alone the larger MCM/MIW package) it will be tight down there!

    It’s interesting that the LCS-1, while it has a boat launch system with lower manpower requirements (ramp vs crane), needs 24 extra crew already…the idea that a littoral ship crew and berthing scheme was not designed to perform even occasional VBSS (while a significant element of the overall design was the RIB-launching space) shows a failure to design the total ship. Kudos to the boat-launch design team, great job there! Demerits for the ‘systems engineering’ part of the LCS-1 design team…

  37. leesea permalink
    February 17, 2010 8:03 pm

    ScottB you’re right minus NLOS plus more boats and more extra det personnel plus an H-60 or is that a core system??

    Some other notes from my tour last Sat, Visuals – I can tell you that aluminum is dull and blended well into the diesels smoke/morning haze! Not only is the ship tall it is wide, while its passageways are NOT. Apparently there are ballistic plates on the superstructure? Also without going into details, a very noisy ship!

    Remember some of these things are fixable in PSA which the ship has NOT been through. And some have already been incoporated into LCS-3 like bouyancy bustles.

  38. James permalink
    February 17, 2010 6:56 pm

    The Mighty LCS, with the armament and speed to make a nice coast guard cutter someday soon!

    -and priced high enough to help break the bank-

  39. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 17, 2010 6:09 pm

    Scott wrote “Now I know why this black helicopter (recycled VH-71 ? ;-p) has been hovering over my office since the morning”

    I will keep my sources secret from now on. LOL!

  40. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 6:00 pm

    Meanwhile, the LockMart spin doctors keep spinning. Here is Bob Stevens (LM Chairman & CEO) on LCS-1 :

    “Her quality and proven performance enabled Freedom’s deployment two years ahead of schedule, a significant accomplishment in naval shipbuilding. As we compete to build additional ships for the U.S. Navy, the Lockheed Martin team remains focused on delivering an affordable surface combatant with the flexibility to provide security close to shore and on the open seas.”

    Quality ? Proven performance ? Ahead of schedule ? Affordable ?

    These folks should really grab a dictionary and take a look at what the above terms really mean.

    And by the same token search for what might be an obsolete word in the corporate language en vogue : DECENCY.

  41. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 5:48 pm

    B. Smitty said : “I was just saying “smaller” does not automatically mean “stealthier”.”

    I am not exactly the kind of guy who will argue against that, and I think I made it pretty clear in the past.

    I am also looking at the real world, in which a (war)ship like LCS-1 (LockMart design) continues to be described as *stealthy* when it is actually as stealthy as a pink elephant on high heels.

    And I didn’t even mention the magnetic signature in my previous post, which is yet another aspect where LCS-1 doesn’t even come close to Skjold, by an order of magnitude actually.

  42. B.Smitty permalink
    February 17, 2010 5:26 pm

    Scott B, “And details are what can get you called.

    I was not arguing that either LCS design is more stealthy than Skjold. Both certainly have many issues.

    I was just saying “smaller” does not automatically mean “stealthier”.

  43. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 4:44 pm

    First sentence of previous post should read :

    “And details are what can get you killed.”

  44. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 4:43 pm

    B. Smitty said : “Of course, as with everything to do with stealth, the devil is in the details.”

    And details are what can get you called.

    For instance, if you take a look at LCS-1 (i.e. LockMart design) :

    EM aspect :

    1) Canted sides are fine, but they get pretty much negated by the excrescences that have flourished atop the superstructure of LCS-1, i.e. faily high above water. See what Bill Sweetman said on the subject in his blog entry over at ARES entitled Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit…. The bottom line is that LCS-1 pops up reasonably well on commercially available navigation radars.

    2) Aluminium is not exactly the material of choice for EM shielding.

    Acoustic aspect :

    1) The severe cavitation problems experienced on all four waterjets ain’t gonna be that good for the acoustic signature of the LockMart design. Had the displacement been kept within well-known design parameters, this wouldn’t have been so much of a problem. A problem for which there is no short-term cure…

    2) That big wake LCS-1 produces during high-speed runs especially (but not only) is going to be a problem against wake-homers.

    Thermal aspect :

    This picture speaks for itself. A real benediction for heat seekers.

    Visual aspect :

    a) The shiny aluminium superstructure is a real magnet for the eye (or more sophisticated optical sensors).

    b) Sitting so high above water (much higher than an FFG) isn’t going to help either. There’s probably no need to remind the audience of what CDR Don Gabrielson (Freedom’s first skipper) conceded on November 12 last year, but I’ll do it anyway :

    “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.”

  45. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 3:55 pm

    leesea said : “To be completely accurate, the LCS-1 DOES have its ASUW package onboard for this deployment.”

    That certainly isn’t completely accurate, for the ASUW package so far fitted onto LCS-1 doesn’t include such key components as NLOS-LS / PAM or VTUAVs.

    And then there are all the things that look like they are in there, but may not really be…

  46. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 3:33 pm

    Scott B. said : “what does that really mean in terms of impact it will have on the impact of the mission packages (often improperly referred to as mission modules) ?”

    This should read :

    “what does that really mean in terms of impact it will have on the development, testing and evaluation of the mission packages (often improperly referred to as mission modules) ?”

  47. February 17, 2010 3:28 pm

    That ship is really biting into the water in what appears to be somewhat calm seas. Compare the ship in those two photos. The one leaving port where its riding high and the other out at sea. What happens if it hits heavy seas?

    Has this ship been tested at sea state 4 or even 5? I bet water would be up to its flight deck.

  48. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 17, 2010 3:24 pm

    D. E. Reddick, MILGEM looks good. I like it for the new Coast Guard Cutter too.

  49. Scott B. permalink
    February 17, 2010 3:18 pm

    Mike Burleson said : “Our friend ScottB provides us with his thoughts:”

    Now I know why this black helicopter (recycled VH-71 ? ;-p) has been hovering over my office since the morning…

    ;-))

  50. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 17, 2010 2:03 pm

    Several navies from around the world are examining the Turkish Milgem class multi-mission corvettes and the related F-100 class frigates under development and construction for the Turkish Navy. Here’s a new thread with nicely detailed information regarding the Milgem program over at Military Photos. Several informative photos are included in the descriptive article.

    Milgem Class Multi Mission Corvettes, Turkey

    Milgem Class corvettes are being built for the Turkish Navy under the Turkish national warship programme known as Milgem. Eight corvettes and four F-100 Class frigates will be constructed under the programme. The new Milgem Class multi mission corvettes feature stealth technologies and can perform search, rescue, patrol, observation and anti-submarine warfare operations. The keel was laid for the first vessel, TCG Heybeliada (F-511), at the Istanbul Naval Shipyard in July 2005. Launched in September 2008, the vessel was scheduled to commission in early 2011.

    http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?174502-Milgem-Class-Multi-Mission-Corvettes-Turkey

    Also:

    Milgem Class Multi Mission Corvettes, Turkey

    http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/Milgem_Class_Corvett/

  51. leesea permalink
    February 17, 2010 1:27 pm

    To be completely accurate, the LCS-1 DOES have its ASUW package onboard for this deployment. That encompasses the Mk44 30 mm guns x2 and multiple RHIBs for VBSS etc and will embark one H-60.

    I am calling the stern bouyancy modles “bustles” although technically they are sponsons. Evidently the LCS-3 will have permanent versions on her transom. And yes those are additional bouyancy tanks are needed to get the modified LCS-1 design of almost 3400 tons up to needed reserves. There are also internal bouyancy tanks.

  52. B.Smitty permalink
    February 17, 2010 1:13 pm

    Of course, as with everything to do with stealth, the devil is in the details.

  53. B.Smitty permalink
    February 17, 2010 1:12 pm

    Mike said, “I think the Scans have discovered the best way to deploy stealth to a surface combatant, by starting small. The larger the ship above water, naturally the less stealth you get as we talked about above.

    This is not entirely true.

    In terms of radar and acoustic stealth, larger can be better. Shaping is of primary importance for radar stealth. It is easier to develop a stealthy larger shape than a smaller one (to a point).

    For acoustic stealth, larger vessels can bury their noisy components further away from the water, and afford greater degrees of sound dampening.

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