Home » Budget Industry » Navy Won’t Discuss LCS Follow-on Taskforce Results Until Next Budget


Navy Won’t Discuss LCS Follow-on Taskforce Results Until Next Budget

By:
The first of class littoral combat ships USS Freedom (LCS 1), rear, and USS Independence (LCS 2) maneuver together during an exercise off the coast of Southern California on May, 2 2012. US Navy Photo.

The first of class littoral combat ships USS Freedom (LCS 1), rear, and USS Independence (LCS 2) maneuver together during an exercise off the coast of Southern California on May, 2 2012.
US Navy Photo.

The results of the Navy taskforce for a follow-up hull to the Littoral Combat Ship are in, but the service will remain mum on the findings until they’re integrated into next year’s budget, the service said on Thursday.

Instead of speaking to what the Small Surface Combatant Task Force found in their four month study, the service will use the findings to inform the multitude of Department of Navy offices in selecting a ship that will supersede the two variants LCS as the service’s next small service combatant.

“Because the task force alternatives will be considered as part of Fiscal Year 2016 budget deliberations, the Navy will not comment publically on the report’s findings until budget decisions within DoD are finalized,” read a statement from, Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA), the Navy’s chief shipbuilder.

A Navy official told USNI News that the service could address some of the process the task force used to reach its conclusion but not the results.

The Navy was mandated in February by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to, “submit alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.”

Under the mandate, the Small Surface Combatant Task Force evaluated:

  • A modified design of an existing LCS.
  • Existing ship designs.
  • A new ship design.

The task force also examined ships systems and were provided a cost target for the new effort.

The product of the study wasn’t designed to select a final hull design, but rather survey a range of options evaluating capability and cost for the future small surface combatant, USNI News understands.

The current Flight 0 LCS program — built evenly between Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class and Austal USA’s Independence class- will be capped at 32 hulls but the Navy will eventually buy a total of 52 ships at roughly the same size.

Given the current strain on the Navy’s shipbuilding budget, an entirely new ship design for the LCS follow-on maybe outside the range of affordability and a variant of one of the two existing LCS hulls maybe the Navy’s most cost effective option.

  • james

    Best way to get funding in congress is to keep buying both LCS, albeit modifying them.

    • GEVH

      Why is the discussion always about a new design vs an LCS upgrade? Why is there no discussion of existing proven designs?

      • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

        Probably because the USN would disagree with your definition of “proven”.
        In fairness the SecDef mandate did tell them to look at foreign designs, it just that the licensing and creation of a new parallel SSC maintenance support chain (as well as USN Pride) makes that alternative highly unrealistic.

        • Secundius

          @ notrizzo.

          The PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS class Light Aircraft Carrier in the Spanish Navy, is one of our designs (e.i. SCS-75). Most of South Korean Navy Ships and Japanese Navy Ships are heavily influenced by our Naval designs. And the SAAR-5, is only one of our Designs, but its also American Built.

          • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

            So?

          • GJohnson

            All the designs you referenced are ’80s designs at best. The world has moved on since then, and there are some excellent designs out there. In my opinion, it’s not so much the design as the missions and balanced capabilities that’s missing. A warship, vs an Offshore Patrol Vessel, needs to have a balanced capability. At a minimum, that should include 4 Harpoon SSMS (until replaced), 16-24 VL ESSM, 1 RAM launcher (either type), 2 25mm stabilized mounts, 1-20mm Phalanx and up to 4. 50 cal mounts. Round that off with 1 or 2 helicopters or space for UAVs, and 4 torpedo tubes, and you’ve got a frigate. Lose the VL capability, RAM and torps, switch the Phalanx with a 57mm mount,and you’ve got an OPV.

            As far as sensors go, a 3D radar, surface search radars, and a fixed hull mounted sonar should suffice, complimented by an ESM suite. Again, take out the 3D radar and sonar, and you’ve got an OPV.

            Thing is, you can probably do this with either design, but both need modification.

          • Secundius

            @ GJohnson.

            The LCS classes of ships, are of modular design. Unlike the Arleigh Burke class Destroyers, which are Mission Specific designs. There like a Crossover, they do a little bit of everything, but they don’t do any one thing well. Whereas the LCS class is Multi-Mission Design class, all their systems are modular in nature. Modules can be swapped-out when needed to do a multitude of tasks as required. By a spacific mission requirement.In other words, they do the jobs that they are outfitted for.

          • GJohnson

            Understood. But the CONOPS is flawed. A warship will not have the time to find port order modules, switch them out and return to combat operations. That’s just silly. A warship going into harms way must be ready, and not having SSMS and/or adequate AAW self-defense capabilities is just that – silly, but more importantly dangerous. Now, provide 2 well-armed helos with ASMs at all times and maybe that helps, but otherwise this concept is flawed.

          • Secundius

            @ GJohnson.

            Hey, you’re not getting any arguments out of me. The problem is you have DO NOTHING, DIS-FUNCTIONAL CONGRESS, that can’t/or won’t AGREE TO ANYTHING or FUND ANYTHING. And if you have Congress like that, then you have to work around them. And that mean building a JACK-OF-ALL-TRADE’S class of ship’s, like LCS program. This is why our Navy is going from 430-ship’s to 306-ship’s. Because there no FUNDING. A lot of wasteful PORK, yes. But not in the right places or hands.

  • Peter

    The Small Surface Combatant could be a “game changer” for the US Navy because it could spread out the “flag” to parts unknown. Whereas DDGs and CGs are often assigned to CVNs, the SSC, if survivable and potent enough, could sail alone or in small groups without the hindrance of escorting larger ships. The USN really needs to get the SSC correct in having the proper balance of ASW, AAW, and ASuW weapons and sensor combinations. The LSC lacks any proper balance whatsoever because essentially the LSC is a minehunter/sweeper replacement.

  • Secundius

    Another “Congressional Budget Axe Cop” coming our way AGAIN!!! Looks like Rep. Paul Ryan, is Hell-Bent Determined in destroying everything in sight. Whether REAL or IMAGINARY.

  • http://www.usmc.mil @notrizzo

    All this is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, unless and until they USN comes up with a firm role and capabilities requirements for SSCs. The threat and requirements that the LCS were designed for have changed dramatically, yet the USN refuses to do a full re-examination of what the LCS/SSC role will be with the death of the CG(X) and DDG-1000 programs.

    • Interested

      Perhaps there is a need for an escort patrol vessel but the USN is not clear about the role. One would think that we would need a good sub hunter with sea legs. A Swedish AHIP sub was leased to the navy back around 2003 for fleet ASW trails. The sub gave the navy fits ! Hopefully the navy’s ASW has improved since then. It would be great if we could put newer technology into any new ship.
      I agree with you.

      • Secundius

        @ Interested.

        If your referring to the Gotland class Submarine. It was use as test feasibility study, only. The Gotland class Submarine, has a Sterling Self-Contained Steam Engine powered by Hydrogen Fuel, The Hydrogen-Fuel Mechanics System, allows the submarine to stay submerged at great depths for weeks at a time. While using the Hydrogen as a fuel source for the Sterling Sellt Contained Steam Engine, while also producing Breathable Air and Potable Drinking Water. Personally, I think, it is a great idea. But, allas, I don’t think there was enough Graft for the Congress too make it work.

        • Interested

          Secundius,
          Yes is was the Gotland and from what I’ve read this sub gave quite a performance for our ASW platforms. That is it’s stealth features made it very hard to detect. Other countries il have more of these subs soon.

          • Secundius

            @ Interested.

            For what its worth, I think the US. Navy should consider, buying and/or licensing production rights. Of submarines like the Swedish Gotland class Submarines or the German Type 212A class Submarines. With the Diesel-Sterling-Electric Propulsion System. As a purely Defensive Patrol Submarine Force, to offset and/or complement existing Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine Force. This will enhance of Submarine Forces capabilities and defer the high-cost of Nuclear-Powered Submarine procurement.