LCS Alternative Weekly
Freedoms Pyhrric Victory
The US Navy’s first “Littoral Combat Ship” (LCS), the USS Freedom (LCS 1), has entered service in the Caribbean, joining the U.S. Navy drug interdiction patrol. Operating out of a base (Mayport) near Jacksonville, Florida, the Freedom headed south on February 15th, and on the 22nd intercepted its first drug smuggling boat off the Colombian coast, recovering a quarter ton of cocaine. The LCS was built for this kind of coastal operations.
The USS Freedom completed its sea trials and acceptance inspections during August, 2008. The ship did very well, with far fewer (about 90 percent fewer) problems (or “material deficiencies”) than is usual with the first warship in a class.
LCS will probably work as prescribed in its specs. It will likely be a halfway decent sailor. It is a welcome change to the fleet which has a habit of only purchasing warships costing $1 billion dollar or more, while its only peer rival from the Cold War is rusting in harbor. Its only potential rival for the future has little qualms in low cost warships, as China has. She had doubled her own fleet of submarines in just this past decade, while the USN fleet continues a gradual decline.
This then has left many frustrated with the LCS, and rightly so. The inability to build low cost warships, on time, within budgets. Spending more but getting less. Have we wrongly singled out LCS for a Navy culture that seems bent on self-destruction, and that is its own worse enemy?
What Freedom Could Learn from the Danes
One note here: we are talking about the Danes. They don’t have horns on their bridge wings, but as they prove every day in AFG and other areas in the war on terror, for a nation of a bit more than 5 million souls – Denmark pound for pound is one of our best allies. Few caveats – little problem going “kinetic.”…
….and yes – I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that they are using one of my dreamboats: HDMS ABSALON. We’ve talked about her many times here. Once again – I would trade 15 LCS for 10 ABSALONs any day. You talk about a ship perfect for “soft-power,” “presence,” and so on …. she is it – and she is a true multi-mission ship on top of it all.
A Grave Lapse
Defense Industry Daily details the USN’s neglect of mine warfare:
All of these systems are used by the US Navy’s MH-53E Sea Dragon mine hunting helicopters. With tensions rising around critical global shipping chokepoints, the USN’s new Osprey Class minehunters retired early and sold to other countries, its Littoral Combat Ship program late, and its associated MH-60S AMCM systems still a years away from full deployment, the MH-53Es and their gear are extremely important to the US Navy.
The major foe of the US Navy in the Gulf in recent years hasn’t been missiles so much as mines. Very interesting this ongoing lapse in our abilities.
You Want Regular or High Test?
I suppose that would be important, which LCS saves the most fuel. Congress asks the navy according to Blog Al.com:
Fuel efficiency is usually considered a selling point for car buyers, not the military. But at a Thursday hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions pressed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus over whether the service is looking closely enough at fuel costs as it seeks a long-term builder for the littoral combat ship.
In choosing between two competing models of the shallow-water warship, “you have to fully and fairly evaluate the lifetime energy costs, do you not?” Sessions, R-Mobile, asked Mabus, who later replied that all “ownership costs” are being considered.
Underlying the Senate Armed Services Committee sparring was Austal USA’s argument that — because of design and horsepower differences — its version of the LCS burns roughly one-third less fuel than the rival model built by a team headed by Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp.
I would say, fill up both tanks and run them until their run out of fuel. The last one to stop, is the winner!
Fractured LCS Acronyms
From the Fearless Band of Readers comes another selection of terribly accurate acronyms:
- Like, you Can’t be Serious!
- Leaky Creaky Squeeky
- Launch Can’t Succeed
- Lunch Completely Swallowed
- Left Competence onShore
- Lacking Complete Seaworthiness
Thanks to Heretic, Graham, D.E. and yours truly. Until next week, please add to the list!
LCS Alternative-Brazilian corvette Barroso
The Barroso is an improved version of the older Inhaúma class, which were considered top heavy. This fairly large corvette also maintains the heavy gun armament of the previous class. She possess CODOG propulsion and a hull mounted sonar. You might say she is a patrol boat, but armed like a destroyer!
Range-4000 miles @ 15 knots
Armament-1 × 4.5 in (113 mm) Vickers Mk.8 gun
1 × 40 mm Bofors Trinity Mk.3 gun
4 × MBDA Exocet MM40 Block 1/2
2 × ARES SLT Mod 400 triple-tube (324 mm) launchers for Mk.46 Mod 5
Helicopter-Hangar for AH-11A Super Lynx