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LCS Alternative Weekly

July 28, 2010
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Philippines Navy logistics support vessel BRP Dagupan City (LC 551) is a helicopter capable variant of the US Army Frank S. Besson class.

Lockheed in the Lead 

It’s coming down to the wire for the much-touted littoral combat ship competition, and before the summer is over we will likely see the winner. Will it be the yacht-like USS Freedom built by Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine, or the “Klingon Bird of Prey” appearing USS Independence, designed by the team of General Dynamics and Austal USA?  Dan Murtaugh, at the Alabama Press-Register gives us the following scoop: 

The Press-Register interviewed three Washington D.C.-based naval analysts about the contract. All three said that the Navy has been keeping its cards close to its chest during the decision-making process, but two said they believe Lockheed has the edge because the Navy will be more comfortable with a more conventional ship design.
“The Navy is looking for something affordable,” said Loren Thompson, of the Lexington Institute. “It’s going to be easier to convince the service that the Marinette ship is going to be cheaper in serial production.” 

Some aren’t so sure about the outcome: 

Jay Korman, a naval analyst with the Avascent Group, said that he believes the two shipyards are neck-and-neck right now.
“The folks I talk to had a sense earlier on that Austal’s chances were slimmer, that Lockheed was leading,” he said. “Now when I talk to people, I get a mix. I’m at a loss. I wouldn’t put my money on an outcome at this point.” 

I think this video pretty much settles it. And in calm waters yet! Also, according to this story, the Freedom is wowing everyone at RIMPAC.


How the French Define Overkill 

The French Navy deploys one of its most powerful surface vessels to contend with the rag-tag buccaneers of Somalia. Sigh

The French air defence destroyer JEAN BART has joined the EU NAVFOR Task Force for the period 20th to 31st July.  She is the second of the air defence destroyer class Cassard, with a displacement of 4500 tonnes, a length of 139 meters and a beam of 14 meters…
As well as her various weapon systems (100mm gun, SM1 and Mistral air defence missiles and Exocet anti-ship missiles) JEAN BART is fitted with one Panther (Eurocopter Dolphin class) helicopter and one Boarding Team. 

The question is–do you really need a 4500 ton missile destroyer to carry a small helicopter and a few Marines? And while the European frigates give the impression of great strength, they are actually very limited in what they can do, with very minor factors getting in the way, according to this separate EU NAVFOR post:

Although increasingly effective at preventing pirate attacks EUNAVFOR warships are limited in their ability to intervene after a vessel has been hijacked for fear of harming the hostages. When the ships are hijacked and anchored we also stop communicating with them in order not to interfere with the communication between the owner of the ship and the pirates.
Despite the fact that we passed the ships at an appropriate distance the pirates aboard the hijacked vessels reacted strongly to our presence. The hijackers did not want us getting closer. They warned us, by radio, and demanded that CARLSKRONA leave the area.

While New Wars doesn’t pretend to have all the answers to the piracy problem, it is obvious only using the high tech platforms of the Cold War isn’t working, and some other solutions are viable. A dramatic increase in presence, perhaps some patrol craft deployed off the shelf, plus lessons learned by the recent success of the Dutch Johan De Witt acting as a mothership for her own embedded “patrol ships” should hold lessons and a template for the defeat of the pirates. Worth a try at least instead of waiting for a bad problem to get worse, and wasting our most powerful battleships in a function they weren’t designed for.


Not LCS but LSV!

This is such a good mothership proposal from Proceedings, via Craig Hooper, that I wished I’d thought of. Using the Army’s 8 General Frank S. Besson Class logistics support vessels as patrol ships among other roles:

Think what you will about that strategic goal, but, as far as the platform goes, an LSV–with its slow speed, tiny draft, mid-sized crew (a core of about 30) and long legs (5,000 miles) would be a perfect “presence” tool for Africa and the Pacific Islands. Capable of carrying the equivalent of 28 Abrams M1A tanks, the LSV can bring a lot of stuff to a lot of places. But that’s not all.

For low-threat presence and long-standing, watch-oriented pirate/anti-smuggler missions, the LSV is a cost-effective way to get modest capabilities to the field. But…why aren’t these cheap assets being used?

Good question! Because they don’t cost a billion dollars or more, which seems to be the Navy’s only answer for every problem of seapower. Then the enemies we fight are ever so frugal and impoverished, though quite effective for their poverty. Just look at North Korea, Iran, and of course the Somali pirates.

Let’s get these humble platforms out into the field, and perhaps, after giving them a chance, the experience might start getting us to think a little harder about how a handful of cheap, specialized LSVs (read up on the helicopter, semi submersible and troop carrying variants) might contribute to U.S. security.

Helicopters and troops? Maybe France should buy some. Here are the specs:

  • Displacement-6000+ tons full
  • Length-83 meters
  • Width-18 meters
  • Draft-3.7 meters
  • Speed-12.5 knots or 11.5 knots loaded
  • Range-6500 nm loaded
  • Crew-29

The price for all this frugality? $32 million. This is a fraction of the cost of a $700 million LCS, which is really just a small mothership. It apppears there is not much an LCS can do that the LSV can’t, except to run away REALLY, REALLY FAST. But we need some ships to hang around for the fight. At his own site, Craig adds:

For low-threat regions, the $32 million dollar LSV is a great platform.  We should be using it for presence missions, and planning to see how it could support influence squadrons or work in support of a JHSV or LCS.   They are simple to make, so we should be handing out contracts to make variants of these things, get ‘em into the fleet and then hand ‘em out to our friends.   They’d be perfect for Africa and the South Pacific–but we’ll have more on that later.

The Naval-Technology website also details variants. There’s your modular warships!

  • LSV – HELICOPTER CAPABLE-In service with the Philippine Navy. “Attack helicopters are concealed below a modular flight deck while patrol boats and intercept craft are behind the stern ramp. The configuration presents the appearance of a logistic supply ship without the obvious display of force” Thats cool!
  • LSV – SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE VARIANT-Here’s your future mothership for small boats. “The hull semi-submerges, the bow ramp lowers and the LSV takes on large floating cargo, patrol boats, etc. for transport and launch, or at-sea dry-dock and repair.” Midget subs? UUVs or USVs?
  • LSV – TROOP CARRIER-Very practical. “The ship has capacity for 144 troops and six officers plus supplies and equipment.” OK Marines-this and the JHSV is your future. Get to it!


What can your littoral ship do?

45 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 9, 2010 5:50 am

    Nicky-looks like others are asking the same question!

  2. Nicky permalink
    August 8, 2010 9:19 pm

    Here’s my question how come the US Navy doesn’t ditch the LCS program and move the money into the US Coast Guard’s NSC program. I think the US Coast Guard’s National security cutter makes a perfect LSC alternative and a Littoral combat ship. The US Navy could buy a version of the National security cutter and call it the National security frigate. They would simply stretch the NSC to accommodate the frigate weapons systems and frigate like systems. Strengthen the hull to meet Navy standards as well.

  3. navark permalink
    August 2, 2010 3:24 pm

    The down-select is a disaster no matter what you choose – unless some clever person figures out how to choose ‘none of the above’.

    The LCS-1 is a fatally flawed design, but so is LCS-2. The real shame is the trimaran platform has real potential, just not as currently delivered. Hopefully this won’t be the last of the USN ‘experimentation’ with these types of vessels, especially once the aluminum starts falling apart…

  4. Juramentado permalink
    August 2, 2010 10:30 am

    I mean why would it shock you to see the Navy pick a ship (LCS 1) that’s pretty much a baby Aegis class destroyer or the military made high speed ferry?

    I’m not sure how you could come to parallel LCS-1 Freedom with any Aegis combatant. Yes, from an appearance perspective, Freedom is more compelling to traditionalists because of it’s single plane hull. But it’s not designed to replace or augment anything close to what a SPY-1 equipped combatant can do. Hopefully the downselect will be based on more than just appearance.

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 2, 2010 10:29 am

    “a baby Aegis class destroyer”

    Tim, the closest LCS-1 comes to an Aegis is they both float in the water. Oh, and they have helos also. Other than that the resemblance is skewed since LCS has no area defense weapon, no phased array radar, and even its main gun is a pea-shooter compared to a 5 inch (127 mm/62) Mk-45 mod 4 on the Burke’s.

    All the money you’d spend upgrading the LCS to Aegis standards, as it is 3 times over its original cost estimate, you’d just as well spend it on an vastly more capable destroyer.

    But regular readers of this blog would know my preferred choice would be NEITHER!

  6. Tim permalink
    August 2, 2010 10:13 am

    Dude could you be just a little more one sided? I think you’re only 99.8% favoring the high speed ferry based designed LCS 2, instead of 100%. I mean why would it shock you to see the Navy pick a ship (LCS 1) that’s pretty much a baby Aegis class destroyer or the military made high speed ferry?

  7. Heretic permalink
    July 30, 2010 2:15 pm

    Crazy idea … but look where else it leads to, even if the first idea doesn’t work all that well …

  8. B.Smitty permalink
    July 30, 2010 1:33 pm


    You are the man when it comes to this stuff.

    IMHO, it doesn’t make much sense to use a mothership to carry just one vessel. You might as well build a larger (or reconfigured) Skjold that has the range and endurance you want. Or use one of the larger motherships Lee mentioned.

  9. leesea permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:38 pm

    Heretic, in a word NO. The well deck of the LSV is not floodable. And a Skjold would take up most of that deck area leaving no room for much eles. BTW those are not the dimensions one uses to determine loading conditions.

    On the other hand, as I have stated before, a DOCKSHIP could be used a a mothership. Larger versions of that type ship could hold several Skjolds, plus small warboats, plus needed logistic and still have a bigger flight deck on it. BSmitty jump in here.

    See also positngs about the Dock Express 10 class, Blue Giant class and several others.

    Again I see motherships as force enablers that are logistics in nature NOT warships.

    BTW the Skjold is a preminient FAC not of the same type as LCS. Very good FAC!? but is that type what we are trying to support? I thought the thread was about many inexpensive motherships to support even more warboats and helos for MIO missions?

  10. Heretic permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:02 pm

    In the “that’s so flipping crazy, it just might work!” category …

    Would it be possible to flood the well deck of a Logistics Support Vessel and load a Skjold onto it for long range transport? Would a LSV be capable of acting as a sort of flo/flo floating base of operations for a Skjold, allowing for expeditionary deployments of a Skjold to foreign waters?

    LSV length: 273 ft (83 m)
    Skjold length: 155.83 ft (47.50 m)

    LSV beam: 60 ft (18 m)
    Skjold beam: 44.29 ft (13.50 m)

    Seems like the primary limiter would be the length of the LSV deck when wet, which sadly is not specified … although the specs do specifically mention being able to carry 15 M1 Abrams. In a ro/ro configuration, 15 M1 Abrams would be arranged in a 3×5 grid. M1 Abrams are 32 ft long (gun forward) and 12 ft wide, which means they’d have to be parked 5 long, 3 wide (otherwise the LSV would need to have a wider beam). That gives us a minimum deck cargo area of at least 160ft long by 36 ft wide … assuming jam packed, no walk space available at deck level. If leaving ~3 ft of walk space on deck between embarked tanks all around, I can infer a useable cargo deck area of around 180 ft long by 48 ft wide (probably 50 ft wide?).

    And oh look! A 155.83 ft long by 44.29 ft wide Skjold ought to have “no problem” fitting into a 180 ft long by 48-50 ft wide wet cargo well deck. Which then makes me wonder if you’d be able to use some of the “leftover” cargo space for consumables the Skjold would need … like fuel … and maybe, ammo.

    Like I said … crazy idea. ^_-

    Then again, I think we can all agree that a Skjold makes a better Littoral Combat Ship than a Freedom or an Independence class frigate does. The Skjold just has shorter legs. But if you can lengthen those legs by using a cheap “lead sled” like an LSV …

  11. Fencer permalink
    July 30, 2010 11:21 am

    Mike, I understand the need for affordable low end ships. I was asking why you think single-mission ships are so important after you wrote “I see the return of mixes of single purpose platforms as the Navy’s only hope.”

  12. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 30, 2010 4:23 am

    The reason I think we can build a fleet of low end, affordable ships is we have been here before, during wartime, and I don’t mean Brush fire wars which hold few lessons, other than Vietnam where we built a large fleet of patrol vessels, very quickly, and off the shelf.

    The LSV proves that vessels costing in the tens of millions are doable, and more relevant for current wars than guided missile ships, supercarriers and supersubs. You build for the threat, but we are building because we don’t want to change. Not good for shipbuilding, as we continue to see, and a risk to our security, because we don’t have enough hulls to guard the sealanes.

  13. Fencer permalink
    July 29, 2010 11:32 pm

    Mike, I don’t understand your preference for single-mission platforms. While I agree that every ship doesn’t need to be state of the art. The modern battlefield with its staggering array of threats just doesn’t strike me as a place where a single-role vessel would last very long, and if they have to be deployed in groups wouldn’t that negate the whole purpose behind building a greater number of ships in the first place?

    As a side note why not start a DDG-1000 Alternative as well? Even if you don’t do it weekly it would be interesting to see your thoughts on what the US Navy should be working towards with it’s high-end fleet.

  14. Juramentado permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:40 pm

    Mike -you can’t fall back to the dedicated platform model. The state of the economy and efficiencies in technology make that a very cost -prohibitive and labor-heavy exercise. Look at the state of strike aviation and you already see that consolidation. Look at the conversion of boomers to SSGNs. To build a low-end fleet of different ships will cost you more in the long run even if you manage to get the price point per hull to an attractive level. Think of the logistics behind it – different parts, training, shore support requirements. All of that adds up. You have to think about rolling at least two roles together.

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 29, 2010 5:25 pm

    Juramentado-the point being to return variety to the mix, which would help reduce costs. Here is a ship geared specifically for littoral transport, which it does very well. But we also find it adequate for other roles, and the price is extremely attractive.

    In contrast is the LCS geared to do many roles, none of them well, while pricing out of reach, contributing to the decline in ship numbers. Despite its touted capabilities, it is contributing to the demise of the fleet rather than being an asset. A gold-plated, poor performing platform, the F-35 JSF at sea.

    I see the return of mixes of single purpose platforms as the Navy’s only hope. The air forces, marines and army could take this as a lesson as well.

  16. Juramentado permalink
    July 29, 2010 4:02 pm

    As much as I’ve supported the views that LCS isn’t the best solution for low-end USN combatants, I fail to see why an LSV is an appropriate alternative on a 1:1 basis. Yes, motherships like Absalom and Johan De Witt have had tactical successes in Somalia. But speaking from personal experience, the reason ships like BRP Bacolod City and Dagupan City are useful to the RPN is because they serve multiple purposes. In OOW, they can carry and land bulk cargo to help build and rescue. They carry helos to conduct utility and lift missions. They can deploy boats and land in shallow draft to offload cargo where established piers and docks don’t exist. These are common situations to be found in the Philippines and elsewhere.

    But they are not the appropriate answer to LCS. While many roast LCS for trying to be a low-end combatant that is expected to conduct jack-of-all trades like ASuW/ASW and MCM, a mothership carrying helos and small boats can’t excel at all those roles either. Reliance on air assets is fine, but lacking significant organic fires, you are not the best platform for ASuW. With no tail, you’re simply a platform for air assets, and not contributing directly towards detection and localization of any ASW threat yourself. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be hunting mines with a vessel of that size and likely limited maneuverability.

  17. leesea permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:17 pm

    Fact checks:

    The LSV is NOT a semi-submersible! I can ballast down some like MANY other landing craft.

    The cost to modify LSV would be significant. I cost almost $23 mil to modify the the USNS Stockham to AFSB mothership (NAVAIR flight deck and boat support).

    The LSV’s main attribute is cost followed by expediency. Why not buy a “proper” mothership?

    I stand behind my previous post as someone who has acutally been onboard an LSV and driven similar landing craft.

    We are all jumping on this good yet humble ship like hippies into a VW Microbus.

  18. B.Smitty permalink
    July 29, 2010 1:22 pm


    How about ThinkDefense’s Platform Support Vessel conversion?

  19. Heretic permalink
    July 29, 2010 1:00 pm

    re: B.Smitty

    Why not choose a single platform that can carry both small boats and a helo or helos?

    Name one platform that can carry as many helos and small boats as a pair of LSV can … for under $70 million.

    Absalon frigates cost $269 million a copy.
    EIGHT LSVs combined would cost $256 million.

    Sure, the LSVs may be slow … but can one Absalon’s speed balance the presence that can be achieved by EIGHT ships (even if those eight are individually slow pokes)?

    Would four pairs of LSVs, operating as helicopter/semi-submersible tandems, be capable of operating better as a collective patrol in a designated area better than a single Absalon able to sprint faster from point to point within that area? Depends on how big of an area of responsibility (and what shape it is) we’re talking about, now doesn’t it?

    Quantity has a Quality all of its own when it comes to these things.

  20. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 29, 2010 11:32 am

    Heretic-It’s there! Under the Amphib category “General Frank S. Besson LSV”

  21. B.Smitty permalink
    July 29, 2010 11:17 am


    Why not choose a single platform that can carry both small boats and a helo or helos?

    Given the modest operating radii of both RHIBs and helos, it makes sense IMHO to have them co-located on the same mothership. If you go with larger patrol boats with greater range, then you might have to do something different.

    One significant problem with LSV is that they are slooooow. They could have trouble even keeping up with an average supertanker, let alone a modern RO/RO or container ship. They will have to rely on being in the right place at the right time to be in range for their boats and helos.

  22. Heretic permalink
    July 29, 2010 10:25 am

    Someone explain to me why pairing a LSV-Helicopter with a LSV-Semi-submersible carrying small boats would not make an excellent partnership navy influence squadron for not only anti-piracy but also counter-narcotics patrols.

    There’s got to be a reason why being able to launch helicopters and small boats for VBSS from a pair of ships that cost less than $70 million combined is a bad idea. Why can’t I see it?

  23. Heretic permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:52 am

    Mike, add an entry for the LSV to the Warship Costs page.
    I’m thinking I want to build another navy using these.

  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 29, 2010 8:00 am

    Jerry thanks so much for your thoughts and your continued support which means a lot. The LSV is not a perfect solution, but for the price you can forgive a multitude of its sins and place it in the Influence Squadron, with other ships making up for its deficiencies. That’s how you grow numbers and return diversity and innovation to the force, I think.

  25. Jerry Hendrix permalink
    July 29, 2010 7:42 am

    Mike and Everyone Else,
    this has been an incredibly production and thought provoking string on the LSV. I think it would be a “very good” mothership. I qualify this by saying that I would still like a hangar to put my helicopters in and the LSV doesn’t have a solution for that, yet. That being said, with its semi-submersable and beaching capabilities, I am so totally there with this concept. Good get.

  26. July 29, 2010 7:31 am

    I made a mistake it was Sir Tristam I had a look at. She had been moved across from Marchwood to ABP and was occupying the berth abaft Shieldhall ( I was onboard Shieldhall for their engineer room experience weekend.


  27. leesea permalink
    July 28, 2010 9:28 pm

    You all could learn some details of lower end mothership rqmts by getting a copy of the NPS paper on Maritime Security Vessel published in June.

    Here is my formula for good mothership (of two types):

    Small type – deck area and cargo gear to launch two 11 meter RHIBs or less, boat shops and storerooms for M&R, plus accom spaces for extra boat crews. One UAV pad meaning NOT NAVAIR gold plated flight deck. Sensors for area surveilance. Storage space/capacity for ammo, POL, and provisions. Minimum 45 on-station endurance. Chartered OSV considered acceptable. Civialian crew with military dets onboard.

    True supprot ship type – deck area and cargo gear for four 11 meter RHIB and other boats up to CB-90/RCB and/or SURC/RPB. boat shops and storerooms etc….. One NAVAIR flight deck large enough for single H60 spot plus two FireScouts including hangar and aviation M&R capability. Sensors for area survielance plus self-defense weapons. Appropriate storage and accomodations for above. Minimum 45 DOS. Naval auxiliary status ala MSC or RFA.

    Anything larger is more than just a mothership and we are into the Absalon, RSN Endurance, German Berlin Trype 702, or similar size ship of which plenty has already been written. We aren’t talking about AKVs or CVEs! Too big and expensive to be procured in numbers needed for many ways/places they will be used.

  28. July 28, 2010 5:56 pm

    ThinkDefence said “the Knights would also have been great but they were knackered when we got rid and were very maintenance and personnel heavy, again the PSV is designed with low cost in mind”

    Um. Yes. The original Knights were knackered. I had a chance to have only dockside look at very sad looking Sir Percivale when I was down Southampton way for a weekend.

    But Sir Galahad (2) though old still had enough life left in her for the role I envisaged as a floating base with lots of space, etc. etc. I do admit that perhaps I had gone on a flight of fancy as using her for WIGS (or whatever they call it now!)

  29. D. E. Reddick permalink
    July 28, 2010 5:42 pm

    A better candidate for a mothership might be an updated version of the original USN LSV type. That was the Catskill class of Landing Ship, Vehicle (LSV) introduced during WW-II. They carried vehicles and cargo, but also served as depot ships. And they were tough, as one half-sister of the class survived a successful Kamikaze attack during the Battle of Okinawa. USS Terror [CM-5], a class member converted for mine warfare survived a suicide attack on May 1, 1945 at Kerama Retto. Depending on the specific variation of the class, they were also well armed with either two or four 5″/38 cal. DP guns and numerous 40 & 20 mm guns.

    So, why am I bringing up this old class of LSV? Well, what if we build a LSD / LSV / LPD type of multifunction ship armed with a weapons suite typically found on a large corvette or small frigate. It would act as a mothership for small patrol craft and perhaps carry up to four to six helos (plus some smaller UAVs). It would be akin to Absalon, but larger and possessing a well deck for servicing a small squadron of inshore patrol craft. And it would have a larger hanger to accommodate a greater number of helos and UAVs. Larger than the Danish Absalon class of Control & Support ships, it might be in the 8,000, 10,000, to 12,000 ton size range – but, if built like Absalon (not like any N-G Avondale built monstrosity such as the USN has been suffering through acquiring & operating) then it should turn out to be economical (unlike a certain LPD class built at the N-G Avondale shipyard). Utilize a CODAG arrangement for propulsion and insure a speed of something like 24 to 28 knots so that it can ‘act’ like a frigate when responding to situations. It should have a main gun such as the Oto Melara (Otobreda) 76 mm / 62 cal. Super Rapide mount with the Strales & DART improvements or else one of the more capable 5″ (127 mm) / 62 or 64 cal. guns. Install a VLS with ESSM for area air defense and also carry one or two RAM launchers for close-in defense. Add a couple of Mk 38 Mod 2 25 mm RWS chain-guns for dealing with small craft approaching with ill intent.

    What’s the purpose of this vessel type? It’s to support low to medium intensity sea interdiction, counter-smuggling, and anti-piracy actions in places like the northern Caribbean coast of South Amrerica, the coastal waters of Nigeria, the waters of the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden / Somali coastline, and the Strait of Malacca. It would be a type capable of defending itself against most surface and aerial threats while supporting a small squadron of patrol craft and a helo det. I am not thinking of any ASW mission for this type, but having a couple of helos or UAVs with ASW capability in an area where there might be a submarine threat just might be useful. Basically, think of it as a very capable Influence Squadron writ small – one meant to control a near shore seascape and suppress unwanted activities without the need to deploy multiple major assets. Or, think of it being much akin to the recently retired French helicopter cruiser FS Jeanne d’ Arc – only, done with a well deck.

    Here are a series of Wikipedia references to those original LSV class vessels from WW-II. I especially like that two half-sisters were named USS Monitor and USS Terror. There’s some history there.

    USS Catskill (LSV-1)
    USS Ozark (LSV-2)
    USS Osage (LSV-3)
    USS Saugus (LSV-4)
    USS Monitor (LSV-5)
    USS Montauk (LSV-6)
    USS Terror (CM-5)

  30. Hudson permalink
    July 28, 2010 5:37 pm

    Chuck Hill,

    I might have misunderstood the ship as launch pad for the Hellfires. However, the helos, Fire Scout and other bots are part of the LCS kit and must be counted as part of its ability to damage or destroy enemy targets.

  31. DJF permalink
    July 28, 2010 5:35 pm

    “”””Chuck Hill
    My reading was that it was their embarked helo that had fired the Hellfire, so don’t see that it has been added to the ship.”””

    Since having full helicopter capability is a major part of the LCS then it is part of the LCS armament. That is why half the topside of these ships are used for manned and unmanned helo’s

    While on the other hand the BRP Dagupan City appears to only have a helo pad and I doubt it has helicopter refueling/rearming/repair/night time operation capability nor any of the specialized helo communications equipment that the LCS has.

  32. July 28, 2010 4:11 pm

    Hey, when will reporters remember that Loren Thompson is a freakin’ Lockheed consultant.

    Of course Loren’s gonna claim the Freedom is freaking awesome. Unless he’s getting paid by Northrop Grumman. Then he’ll wax eloquent about the NSC Cutter.

    The man has no credibility to speak on the LCS. None.

  33. July 28, 2010 4:00 pm

    Mike, I looked at the LSV when I was writing up the idea for an offshore supply vessel based C3 but I think I decided on the PSV route because of being able to leverage the design and build capacity in the market to drive costs down but would still make an excellent concept. Add in some containerised weapons and away you go

    X, the Knights would also have been great but they were knackered when we got rid and were very maintenance and personnel heavy, again the PSV is designed with low cost in mind

    I absolutely agree with Scott B, making things small makes them expensive, steel is cheap, air is free to coin a very well worn phrase. If you think big the tyranny of lack of space goes away

  34. leesea permalink
    July 28, 2010 3:55 pm

    I’m with Fencer on this one. LSVs are good landing ships for LOTS ops. Sure they can be reconfigured for other missions and yes they have supported NSW boats, BUT really there are so many other designs which can provide a good range of logistic support and other capabilites to advance the mothership concept.

    LSV small purchase cost does NOT trump modification costs and inherent limited capabilities. It is NOT just cost and crew size that goes into a proper support ship. Your numbers are wrong the LSV is NOT the size of the Absalon.

    BTW those first two bullets from Naval Technology are complete BS!

    We ALL know there is a lot of hype being put out about the Freedom. Because as your quoted commentators indicate, the USN may well pick the wrong LCS design for all the wrong reasons.

  35. Fencer permalink
    July 28, 2010 3:35 pm

    Mike, look at what I posted in the “Build Your Own Navy” section. With anywhere near a $15 billion dollar budget the US Navy can build a massive fleet of capable vessels without resorting to extremely cheap ships that have no purpose other than building numbers. The one place where quantity never beats quality is the most important one for America; keeping casualties low. Diversity and innovation should be a means to an end, not a goal. When practiced for their own sake they give us things like LCS when a totally un-innovative ship with the same weapons as the rest of the fleet would have been the better solution.

  36. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 28, 2010 3:13 pm

    Hudson said, “According to the RIMPAC article, LCS-1 is practicing with Hellfire, this in addition to the post-launch addition of twin 30mm mounts. So it’s gradually building firepower.”

    My reading was that it was their embarked helo that had fired the Hellfire, so don’t see that it has been added to the ship.

  37. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 28, 2010 2:40 pm

    But this also is another profound moment for New Wars, not just the 1 million numbers! Concerning the LSV here is a large warship type, admittedly an auxiliary but very capable, about the size of Absalon. Only it defies the rules for American warships (not USN but Army) that large ships must be gold-plate, overloaded with extras, and must exceed the original cost-estimate many times. The LSV is even cheaper than Absalon, at 10% the cost!

    Could it be that ScottB was right all along??? They’ll be no living with him now!

    But don’t despair because there are other reasons I prefer small warships for most missions. There are easier to build, and their slight size makes them naturally stealthy. Also they are more maneuverable and of shallow draft, which is a must for operations in shallow seas.

    You will see the corvettes and FACs escorting motherships like the General Besson in moderate to low threat environments, because even though the large warship is highly capable, it is also a high target in a missile rich environment.

  38. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 28, 2010 2:29 pm

    About the LCS competition-So with the USS Freedom able to strut her stuff before the world at RIMPAC, can it truly be said there has been fair competition, or will we get a like show for LCS-2 before the Fall?

    Fencer asked-“Mike, could you explain why you think the US Navy needs a single alternative to the LCS in the first place?”

    Don’t get me wrong. This is why I promote corvettes, FACs, OPVs, riverine craft, SSKs, and LSVs because I am against the notion of “do it all nothing well” warships, that usually end up gold-plate and under-performing.

    Concerning the any lack of capability in the LSV (though there doesn’t seem to be much it can’t do in a littoral envirnment), one thing trumps all this–the price. Quantity in my view trumps quality in a great many roles. We’ve got quality coming out our eyeballs now, lets get some low end mix in the fleet and build for the future. If LCS had come anywhere near its orginal asking price then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’m glad it didn’t really because now we have a chance to restore diversity and innovation to the fleet, not just numbers.

  39. Fencer permalink
    July 28, 2010 2:05 pm

    Mike, could you explain why you think the US Navy needs a single alternative to the LCS in the first place? I think it might be better to split it into two ships; a cheap flexible ship like the for low threat areas (pirate hunting, anti-smuggling), and a decently armed frigate for presence and medium-threat areas.

    I’m not sure the LSV deserves the amount of praise you’re giving it. The reason for it’s success is that it was designed to affordably accomplish a single, limited, task. While the LSV would probably preform decently at the missions you’re suggesting, why force a perfectly good ship into a role it was never intended to preform? Designing a purpose-built vessel would probably prove more effective, even if it is a bit more expensive. I think you’re looking at the price tag as a ship’s primary attribute, but sometimes actual capability is required.

  40. July 28, 2010 1:51 pm

    I thought the RN missed a trick by not commissioning Sir Galahad instead of selling her to Brazil (or just use as is still RFA) as the RN presence in Iraq. Big flight deck. Big hold for lots of containers (can now be purchased armoured!) Ramp at the back to use as a pontoon for proper little gun boats. (Perhaps even buy a couple of barges stacked high with containers to act as barrier against RPG and heavy machine gun fire. Instead of taking a frigate (which could go into refit) out just deploy her crew (with extra small arms training etc.) and some RM. Anchor her out in the middle of the Shatt al-Arab Waterway. Job done. Of course this was a specific mission and not general combat, but……………..

    Further Galahad would have a made a better WIGS for hurricane season. Surely a hold full of construction equipment is better than a magazine full of Sea Dart.

  41. Hudson permalink
    July 28, 2010 1:37 pm

    According to the RIMPAC article, LCS-1 is practicing with Hellfire, this in addition to the post-launch addition of twin 30mm mounts. So it’s gradually building firepower. Of course, you could put the same weapons on something like a much less expensive LSV.

  42. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 28, 2010 1:11 pm

    Wider beam results in greater linear acceleration at deck edge if degree of roll is the same.

    Probably actual angle of roll was less and would be more comfortable at the centerline.

    But at the deck edge of that expansive flight deck, lots of up and down.

  43. Moose permalink
    July 28, 2010 1:04 pm

    I’m sure Bill can point out that Indy’s roll can be stabilized. Freedom had to have external flotation welded on to meet specs, and is generally considered to have a not great ride off plane.

  44. Chuck Hill permalink
    July 28, 2010 12:35 pm

    We are sending 270 ft Coast Guard Cutters to Africa, so there is a cheaper alternative in use, but certainly not as cheap as the LSV.

    I would think the Riverine section of the Navy would want these or something similar as mother ships.


  1. Military And Intelligence News Briefs — July 29, 2010 « Read NEWS

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