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HASC Cancels LCS Replacement Briefing Over Lack of Information

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USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS-2) conduct maneuvers during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) on July 11, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS-2) conduct maneuvers during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) on July 11, 2014. US Navy Photo

The Navy continues to tightly control all of the details around the development of the follow-on to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to the point that the service isn’t telling Congress the results from its investigation to find a new Small Surface Combatant (SSC).

A planned classified Tuesday briefing before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) was cancelled after the Navy told the panel the service couldn’t discuss the findings of the SSC Task Force, Navy sources confirmed to USNI News.

Members and professional staffers with questions on the results of the study were told — at the current point in the acquisition process — all the Navy would provide was the an outline of the process the service used for the study and nothing more, several sources familiar with the meeting told USNI News on Wednesday.

The meeting had been scheduled two months prior to Tuesday.

“Process is all the Navy can [talk about] at this point,” Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, spokeswoman for assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA) Sean Stackley, told USNI News on Wednesday.

HASC leadership subsequently cancelled the meeting when details of the task force’s findings would not be forthcoming, several sources told USNI News.

The briefing cancellation was first reported by Defense News.

Part of the reason given for the lack of information on the SSC available to Congress is Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel — occupied by the operational problem of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) and a packed travel schedule — has not yet reviewed the task force findings.

However, the task force findings were briefed Tuesday to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

A message left with Mabus’ Navy spokesperson was not immediately returned.

One source close to the Navy told USNI News the findings of the task force have generated a recommended path forward for the Navy but the service would not confirm any details saying only, the findings present budget planners a range of options.

The service has been unusually quiet on the effort to replace the two Flight 0 LCS hulls with a ship, Hagel called in February, “consistent with the capabilities of a frigate.”

Stackley’s office issued a July 31 statement indicating the Navy wouldn’t share any information ahead of the service’s current budget deliberations.

“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 the statement.

Navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) will now decide is the best course of action for the ship and roll it into the final 2016 submission — due early next year.

The task force was born following a classified January memo from OSD to the Navy directing the service to evaluate a follow-on to the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class and Austal USA Independence-class variants of the LCS.

The existing shipbuilding program was capped at 32 hulls — split between the two shipbuilders.

Announced in February, 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 was provided a cost target for the new effort.

  • Geoff Harvard

    What’s wrong with the Blohm & Voss MEKO 200 if you want a small surface combatant? It has a crew large enough to keep the ship cleaned and repaired during sustained operations at sea. It has a 127mm rifle on the forecastle to keep the Marines happy. It is relatively cheap to acquire. In the all-diesel variant, it is cheap to operate.

    • Ctrot

      It isn’t “transformational”.

    • OLD GUY

      Right on. If you agree with the worthlessness of the Literally Chimeric Ship, (LCS) and the need for true agility, keep pumping. Also, see my comments obj other posts.

      • Curtis Conway

        Do you remember the ‘air-centric design criteria’ ideas? What are these people thinking with?

      • Curtis Conway

        OLD GUY, The things that drive me crazy are the obvious things that
        can be done . . . and are deliberately NOT done. The LM2500 is extremely reliable and more powerful than ever today, and they didn’t use it in LCS. There are numerous non-rotating 3D AESA
        radars out there (Including modular/scalable AMDR) that could be put on the ship . . and . . . not a peep. This is huge! Having a track either sent from another platform, or self-detected and can be made tactically significant (many hits per second) is important particularly for missile control or gun fire control. You can’t do this with a
        rotating sensor. Affordable weapons . . . there are over 100,000 2.75″ rockets in the DoD inventory, each that can be turned into a precision guided weapon . . . and for shipboard use . . . NOTHING!!!! DoD and the US Navy I am sorry to say . . . do STUPID THINGS!
        There is so much capability out there, and we go invent a new platinum plated super-wizbang, in this economic and budgetary environment?! Hybrid Electric Drive alone will pay for itself in time, and provide electricity for DE when used as a generator when the ship is driven by the Prime Mover.

        Most of the stuff the US Navy has come up with lately requires MORE expenditures in infrastructure, training, spares and logistical support. WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING WITH?!?!?!?

        I see the taxpayer getting fleeced, and the country getting less safe, so the industrial military complex can maintain employment programs. This is EXACTLY what Dwight David Eisenhower warned us about. And . . . we are doing it anyway. This is irresponsible behaviour on the part of the all concerned, particularly in this budgetary environment.

    • Matthew

      On the off hand great proposal however wouldnt hurt to delay and update it, Since it is almost a 30 year old design. That all said if going through with that talk to Australia and Turkey, We both have them and the Aussie ones are being refitted as we speak with a phased array radar (Search Robofrigate – relating to RAN 2014). Too small for Aegis but as this radar has shown (Home grown here in Australia too ^^) you dont need big massive radar to be the top dog.

  • Secundius

    “Lack of Information, or Just Lack of Investigation!!!)

    • Curtis Conway

      LCS is Industrial Military Complex running amok. Tail Wagging the Dog!

  • OLD GUY

    The “We don’t have a mission yet, but we will” approach when the current shipbuilder welfare program, LCS, was started guaranteed that the ship’s characteristics would be severely compromised for its ability to accept several UNKNOWN payloads. As a result we got a pointy bow, square stern design and a copy of a British trimaranIn.

    In other comments, I stated that NAVSEA had a modular ship design in 1975 called SEAMOD, drawing smarts from the MEKO , two British concepts and a lot of savvy from a designer named Roger Dilts . It was tagged as impractical even though the specific missions it would support and their effect on its design were analyzed and defined. But all this is history (as the LCS should be). Our new needs call for a high speed (50-60 kts), highly agile design similar to the PHM, PEGASUS class armed with rapid fire medium caliber (e.g. 40mm Bofors) and a good anti-ASM weapon..

    PEO ships should take a hard look at the requirement. Contractor/Congress-led requirements MUST be scrapped.

    • Matthew

      Just quick clarification, Its a ‘copy’ of an Aussie trimaran. When it comes to large hogh speed craft Australia is the leader for Trimaran’s and Catamarans while Europe is so for Monohulls.

      • OLD GUY

        I rode her when she was here, and they said clearly that she was “British”. but , I guess that includes Australia. As far as JHSV, the so-called “wave piercer” concept of the Austal ferry has been radically changed to become it. However, I agree that they are the unquestioned leader in the catamaran field. EXCEPTION, we and the Japanese lead in SWATH concept ships such as the Kaimolino and the Kaiyo, which are limited by draft requirements. Otherwise, they are far superior, in all other aspects, especially cost.

        • Matthew

          No doubt Japan is the leader in SWATH vessels. Cant agree or disagree as to which is superior to the other without hard fact’s as to the capabilities of the respective design/classes.

          On the other hand, Austal has actually gone and combined SWATH and trimaran hull types in there new and revolutionary ‘tri swath’ platform. So far the concept has only been applied to smaller vessels but will be interesting to see how far they can take it.

          • OLD GUY

            1. We gave the Japanese the SWATH technology in 1979.
            2. SWATHS are all catamarans or trimarans, or quad…..
            3. The great advantage of the SWATH is stability in high sea state. its main drawback is deep draft.
            4. Its speed-drag curve is about the same as a conventional displacement ship.

          • Matthew

            1. Unless your actually Canadian then you are incorrect. The SWATH design was a design by Frederick G Creed who presented the idea in 1938 and was awarded a British patent in 1946. It was not until 1968 that any SWATH vessels were built and the first was in the Netherlands. In the 1970’s several nations built SWATH vessels including both the US and Japan. No actual nation gave the design to another so you should not claim as much.

            2. Until recently all SWATH vessel’s have been catamaran’s, The Only SWATH trimaran’s have been built by Austal and none have been for the ‘quad’ hull to my knowledge though there is ongoing talk for a pentamaran vessel which is 5 hulled. Some have been built of this type (M80 Stiletto) but no large ships yet.

            3. Agreed that the SWATH design is more stable then monohull vessels however it is no better or worse then catamaran and trimaran vessels. In fact the trimaran is even more stable then SWATH as it has that extra hull that centre’s it all. One of the biggest thing’s holding SWATH back is the cost, Only marginal operational differences between modern SWATH’s and catamaran and trimaran vessels but they are still greatly more expensive. As to the deep draft that all depends on the vessel material. Looking at some of the SWATH ships for vessels of comparable size aluminum built SWATH’s have half the draft of steel built SWATH’s.

            4. That is true, since they are unable to operate in planing or semi-planing modes they gain no drag reduction.

  • Curtis Conway

    The NDAA budget requirements will start dealing with FY-16. Hopefully a government serious about our defense, meeting our treaty obligations around the planet, and employing an additional percentage or two of GNP, will help us build the force back to reasonable levels so we don’t beat our sailors and airman up so bad
    with deployments. In addition, this GWOT is the last battle which will not go away until the White Horse comes over the Eastern Horizon. That being the case .
    . . the United States Navy needs a Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) Aegis Guided Missile Frigate with passive detection/tracking/control systems and Directed Energy (DE) weapons.

    REVISED (A-Level Specification Material)
    Type: Frigate, Aegis Guided Missile & Directed Energy
    Displacement: 5500 tons standard
    6300 tons full load
    Length: 150 m (492 ft)
    Beam: 16 m (54 ft)
    Draft: 6.9 m (22.5 ft)
    Propulsion: Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) COGAG, two shafts, two LM2500+G4 (derated) turbines and DRS Permanent Moving Magnet Electric Motors (1 x LM2500+G4 & DRS PMM Electric Motor per shaft) with Controllable Reversible Propellers, Three [GE38 derived] Gas Turbine Generators, 10 Megawatts each
    – Speed: 30+ knt (56 km/h; 35 mph) Gas Turbine Powered
    – 15 knt Electric Drive
    Complement: 140 Officers and crew
    Sensors, processing & display systems:
    • SSDS (Ships Self Defense System) MK2 Mod 4+
    • Cooperative Engagement System (CEC)
    • Link-16
    • AN/UYQ-70 Common Display System
    • AN/SPY-3 Derivative Non-rotating 3D Main Sensor with four Array Faces
    • AN/SPQ-9B w/ Mk 160 Fire Control System
    • SQS-83 Derivative ASW System w/ SQS-53 Hull Mounted Sonar
    • SLQ-32 SEWIP Blk II EW System
    • 360⁰ Passive IR detection and tracking system horizon to zenith
    • 4 x Independent WESCAM MX-15 Electro Optical Tracking Systems (hanging with view of quarters)
    • 2 x Independent Electro Optical Tracking Systems (standing fore & aft) with unobstructed field of view -7⁰ azimuth to zenith & max unobstructed horizon

    Armament:
    • Directed Energy Laser, 4 x 100Kw minimum, two per side, maximum field of view on the four corners of the forward superstructure, mounted as high as practicable
    • Guns, 1 × 127 mm (5 in)/62 caliber gun Guided Projectile Compatible
    • 2 x Phalanx Weapon port & starboard amidships between Directed Energy weapons
    • Missiles foredeck 1 × Mk 41 VLS (16 strike length cells) minimum
    • 16 x RIM-162 ESSM SAM (4 standard Mk41 cells)
    • 8 x RUM-139 VL-ASROC (SM-3 could populate some cells)
    • Missiles port/starboard helo hanger 2 × Mk 41 VLS (16
    cells) minimum with SM-2 Blk IV / SM-6 ‘ ESSM mix
    Torpedoes
    • 2 x Mk32 Triple 324 mm (12.8 in) Torpedo Tubes
    Anti-torpedo System
    Aircraft carried: 1 × SH-60R helicopter
    Boats: 2 x Willard Long Range Interceptors

    The down scaled AMDR (SPY-3) non-rotating 3D radar seconded by the rotating SPQ-9B can fit in the space available for air and surface detection, tracking, fire control functions. With this radar system we should be able to program transmitter modes for Theater Ballistic Missile Defense, surface & air tracking, missile control and gun/laser fire control support (including counter-battery), periscope detection, and communications support, and coordinated EO/IR radar picture. The modified
    National Security Cutter based Aegis FFG, or Spanish Bazan Class Aegis Frigate
    will have enough room for meaningful sensors, display and control systems,
    weapons load-out, very efficient engineering system including Hybrid Electric
    Drive (HED) and gas turbine propulsion and power generation, all packaged in an
    Arctic qualified, survivable all-ocean steel hull, will fit the bill. This vessel will readily become the backbone of our fleet for showing the flag, escort missions, and providing a meaningful defensive capability in Marine Amphibious Ready Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Carrier Strike Groups, short of an Aegis DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Destroyer. This vessel will be a fast skirmisher, scout, submarine hunter and Plane Guard, and if necessary it can shell the beach. The synergistic effect of the Aegis-like elements (Ships Self Defense System MK2) combined with the SPY radar is the compelling item that puts its capability over the top in our new Net-Centric (FORCEnet of Sea Power-21) combat environment in which we will soon operate. The primary sensor will provide detection for space (TBMs coming over horizon to 500nm triggered by tippers), air targets (air vehicles and projectiles), surface targets (all moving targets in or extending up from the water), and land targets (including GMTI) when close enough to the beach. The antenna will provide many more functions in the future. Very sensitive wideband receivers with appropriate processors will perform electronic warfare detection due to the size and sensitivity of the receiver array. The multi-function processor that manages this radar, ESM, EO, CEC (Over The Horizon [OTH]) traffic will provide the formatted information to the display system for monitoring, command & control, employment of ships and coordination of force weapons, and communications. Real-time, point-to-point communications (encrypted voice and data) will be provided using portions of the antenna, so instant engagement coordination can take place against sea skimming cruise missiles that provide a very small window of opportunity for engagement, particularly for directed energy weapons. We will be able to buy two of these smaller combatants for the cost of one DDG-51. The cruisers and destroyers are moving to Ballistic Missile Defense tasking and will stretch the US Navy’s ability to provide escort and defense platforms for our challenges that will soon come in
    the Pacific. At a minimum the combat system will be able to provide limited Theater Ballistic Missile Defense capability. This platform will have HED COGAG engineering systems with upgraded GTGs. They will be in the 10 megawatt class needed for the ship’s power, particularly to DE weapons.

    This should be the smallest combat vessel to employ the SQS-53 Sonar. Designed around the sonar transducer system element and support spaces, this vessel will be the ideal and most successful ASW combatant afloat in the future. This will optimize ASW training and logistics currently in place. This sea frame will be sleek and quiet when under electric drive creating an optimal ASW platform. Sufficient crew must man the vessel to fight the ship, perform damage control, and conduct maintenance requirements in a reasonable amount of time.

    The Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) concept provides propulsion redundancy with direct propulsion from the quiet electric motors for ASW operations and station keeping, or driven by the Prime Movers (Derated LM2500+G4s) when speed is required. Three Gas Turbine Generators (GTGs) provide power to ships Systems, power for propulsion at slower cruise speeds, and power to the new energy hungry DE weapons as they come online. The GTGs should be located to provide an option of directly feeding DE weapons.

    This vessel will make a great “Plane Guard” for the Carrier Strike Groups, Amphibious Ready Groups, a new Light Carrier Battle Group (CVLBG), or Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), either equipped with F-35Bs. The Long Range Prosecutor (LRP) and/or Short Range Interceptor (SRI) boats provide fast boat platforms to use in coordinated operations. Mission requirements may require that two LRPs be carried.

    Energy management and distribution will be an Integrated Fight Through Power System (IFTPS) with control cabinets located as necessary to provide redundant electrical power transmission and control paths down both sides of the ship and feeding the DE weapons. Electrical power comes via the three Gas Turbine Generators (GTGs). Two of the GTGs are located so they can be configured to directly feed the cabinets driving the directed energy weapons, and the third in the engineering spaces to support ships power and main machinery requirements. However, any GTG could support entire ship power requirements via the IFTPS.

    An emphasis on passive detection and tracking systems is pursued is the design intent. Should hostilities arise and a nuclear weapon is detonated, the atmosphere can be saturated with ionizing energy. The IR/EO detection, tracking & targeting suite will become more important combat system elements with which to defend yourself. Robust passive detection/tracking/control operations in an Emissions Control (EMCON) environment is paramount.

    Our Asian Allies design criteria for their new surface combatants should be instructional. The new South Korean KDX-IIA proposed 64 cell Mk41 VLS magazine should be emulated on this platform, space permitting. If we truncate a helo hangar additional magazine capacity can be provided for Mk 57/Mk41 VLS cells along the aft lines of the vessel. Should the radar technology improve sufficiently, then the larger Mid-course Capable SM-3 Blk Is can be carried as the new SM-3 Blk IIAs move to the more capable cruisers and destroyers. Perhaps additional surface-to-surface or even land attack missiles could be added. However, the primary missiles carried in these cells will be donation weapons (SM-6) in the inboard rows (long cells) and ESSM in the outboard rows (short cells). Every cell location should be able to accommodate a Strike Length cell space permitting. Otherwise accommodation of ESSM must be provided.

    This vessel will have a gun that can take advantage of the new guided projectiles. Today’s platforms operate in a more interconnected combat space. Conducting engagements is a net-centric team activity. In the future ‘donating a weapon’ and having nothing to do with terminal guidance, will become more and more a key capability, as magazines near the action are depleted. The US Navy will be in the lead for this capability. A demonstration of this capability should occur in every exercise involving SM-6 capable assets.

    The aviation detachment will employ the MH-60R providing tremendous air support in all surface and subsurface warfare areas. Upgrading this helo with the Lockheed Martin Vigilance detection and tracking system with a point-to-point data-link could
    extend the horizon for aircraft and missile detection on the threat sector adding additional OTH detection, tracking, and targeting capability. The APG-81 derived AESA radar can get the SM-6 headed in the right direction. This capability should be integrated into the NIFC-CA system as a comms relay and an ASCM detection system. These helos will operate at greater altitudes from time to time and can defend themselves with missiles from the parent vessel.

    Redundancies, diverse combat capability, small and fast all ocean sea-frame, at a reasonable cost is accomplished with this vessel. These Aegis FFGs will cost about a $1 Billion ea. with efficiencies gained via construction competition.

    Construction costs can be held down by competing two yards as demonstrated in the DDG-51 program. Build 50 in two types:

    1) ASW version with a towed array sonar

    2) AAW/ASuW with boats aft.

    Both variants should have the same hull mounted sonar, VLS cells down the sides of the single helo hangar with SM-6s to donate to the force, in addition to a normal load-out of missiles in VLS cells forward all being the full length strike cells if possible. These vessels should be primarily a passive detection platform with Directed Energy weapons. This will represent a fundamental change in US Navy Surface Combat Capability.

    • OLD GUY

      Respectfully, just how in the world will this improve our Navy’s CAPABILITY?
      Please don’t argue for, “It does what the DD or DG does, but better, with less energy use and a smaller crew”.
      HOWEVER, by the beard of Old Captain Skolnik, I agree on the fitting of directed high energy weapons.

      • Curtis Conway

        The LCS-1 hull was a good idea that was not built with survival in mind, then we didn’t crew it to fight the ship and perform Damage Control. A new gas turbine engine with a whole new logistics train and schools was stood up to support. NUTS! Improved LM2500s similar to the versions installed on our current cruisers and destroyers were available, and provide a path for upgrades to current inventory for future yard periods on existing platforms. Greater operational efficiency (longer periods between required maintenance, and improved specific fuel consumption numbers) should be the focus. Additional efficiency providing greater options to our force commanders is Hybrid Electric Drive (HED). This provides the ability to accomplish the same task on less fuel, saving that fuel for when you really need it. Then when the time comes to burn that saved fuel, one has more electrical power available for the Directed Energy (DE) weapons (motors become generators [dual purpose capability). What the LCS program represents so far is a huge budget expended to provide the capability to rush into harm’s way, then not being able to defend oneself when you get there . . . and guess what . . . we don’t live in a perfect world where we control everything . . . and one must defend one’s self. Do I have to give the non-rotating 3D radar analysis again? Ok . . .

        I have been looking for a program similar to SSDS with a non-rotating 3D radar at its core (Mini-Aegis). The advantage of Aegis is the synergistic integration of real time hemispherical ‘search and track’ NOT slaved to rotation (tactical significant tracking), a capable display/command/decision system, and VLS amply populated with appropriate weapons. The SPQ-9 is a great backup, and Mk15 CIWS is stand alone with its own sensor once on target, but these are for things close in, or out to medium range in SPQ-9’s case. We live in an era where everyone has Tactical Ballistic Missiles and subsonic and supersonic ASCMs. How about giving our sailors at least a shot at survival? If we go up against the Chinese (Heaven Forbid) you are sending our LCS sailors to certain death.

        Short Burke? Great idea, but too expensive because it will cost more that 1/2 a Burke. If you built enough of them you might get to 2/3s the cost of a Burke DDG. Bazan Class better idea, but the National Patrol Frigate equipped with efficient engineering, non-rotating 3D radar, DE weapons, guided projectiles, and meaningful VLS missile loadout is a must, with Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (TBMD not ICBM!) capability as a floor in the Spec. If upgraded with HED it will be even a quieter ASW platform, while saving fuel, and looking for a DE weapon upgrade in the future.

        The United States Navy has Blue Water, Green Water, and Brown Water vessels. This LCS mission is Blue/Green in nature with a Brown Water mission in many cases. At present the LCS is trying to turn itself into an ASW/Mine Countermeasures platform. One does not hunt SUBMARINES in shallow water! The Littorals need a Vietnam approach . . . mothership with Brown Water vessels. They already exist, with a flight deck too, maybe F-35B capable. The LPD-17 modified a bit could do this very well, and the Brown Water Navy has several platforms that can provide what you need . . . and they are already bought and paid for. Perhaps a Navy version of the AH-64 on board with Harpoon Missiles. The Navy is still trying to figure out what it will do with the Murtha so turn it into the developmental platform.

        Smaller crew comes with greater efficiency . . . OF EXISTING SYSTEMS . . . not creating something new expending greater treasure standing up new facilities, schools, and logistics trains. IMPROVE what you HAVE, and the CG/DDG programs have great building blocks to work with. The 501K GTG improvement program is a case in point which rendered improvements in T56 engines in E-2/C-2/C-130/P-3 aircraft. THIS exemplifies synergism required for greater efficiencies across the board in ALL Services. Inter-Service Parochialism is the ENEMY. Using our budget intelligently and synergistically is the goal. Directed Energy weapons and generation of the power for them is another case in point for the future. I recall seeing a Mk15 CIWS on a trailer at a airbase (C-RAM)?

        If we go with the LCS-1 hull (LCS-2 is a non-starter) then the Israeli proposal looks reasonable, but just barely in my book. What is it those talking about our Defense say ? . . . we don’t ever want to send our folks into a FAIR FIGHT?! The LCS sends our people into a almost sure to fail if they get attacked situation. This borders criminal because it is done with knowledge of forethought. And . . . I have yet to see anything on LCS proposed for Arctic Operations. I spent a significant amount of time in the North Atlantic on a cruiser that generated three pages of writeups of damage experienced due to hull configuration. THAT is why DDG-51 exist! The NSC is built to this standard because the USCG must operate in the Arctic with their cutters. Guess what part of the planet is heating up (pun intended) and the Russians are already showing up in force?

        What I am seeing from our force planners, with respect to forward operations in the littorals on our small combatants, does not foster confidence. The LCS, in its current configuration, does not even provide for NIFC-CA capability, which it would have if it had a non-rotating 3D radar, and would at least give it a fighting chance.

        • Jon

          “mothership with Brown Water vessels” Or brown/blue/green…

          MLP-AFSB with deck loaded small craft instead of LCACs. Helo’s for MCM/ASW. Put an Aegis on-board the MLP-AFSB, with a towed VLS barge to provide local air/BM defense umbrella. Far cheaper than tying down a destroyer or cruiser.

          Use it as the core for a true mobile forward base. Add capability as required…fuel and accommodation barges to support forward basing for example. F-35Bs instead of helos. Tethered aerostat.

      • Curtis Conway

        Old Guy, With Respect, The CNO recently talked about (reflected upon) how many ships are required to just meet Treaty Obligations, which we are not currently meeting. The old model was 15 CSGs for a Peace Time schedule so we don’t kill our sailors with work and they can have a life. The CNO is looking for somewhere in the vicinity of 450 ships just to meet Peace Time requirements . . . THAT is how we improve our Navy’s capability. If you continue to reduce the size of the ships and provide LESS capability you are DELIBERATELY placing our sailors in harms way with fewer tools, at a greater danger level. The US Navy has lost a lot of Respect over the last five years. We will not be rendered deference just because the LCS is flying a US flag. In fact, with the direction we are trending right now, it will probably get you shot at, because there is little you can do in way of response because this administration runs with a Positive Control model instead of a Command by Negation model. What is it that gets our people killed most of the time ? . . political considerations . . .not the safety of our soldiers, sailors, airman, Marines, and Coast Guardsman. This administration treats our forces as a consumable this can be expended with ROE controlling the mayhem. We have a problem here! Law enforcement is performed in a civil environment. WARFARE is WAR and it has a wholly different set of rules that is not understood by our current administration because they were never taught it, they have no experience with it, and they disagree with it as a concept, in the first place!!! One must live in the Real World. The US government has been living on a river in Egypt for the last 6 years. There are some indications that this philosophy goes back further than that. Rangers (in one theater and SEALS in another at a different period of time) on a runway surrounded by an uncertain environment with only 10 rounds in their magazines!?!?!?! When our forces must be employed, I want them to NEVER engage in a fair fight! LCS does just the opposite.

      • Curtis Conway

        Old Guy, practically every nation on the face of the planet now has ballistic missiles. Ballistic missile defense must be on any surface combatant just for it to survive. I can’t make it any clearer than that. If Theater Ballistic Missile Defense capability is not on the platform it will not survive the first volley, and we spent all that money just to place our sailors in harm’s way.

      • Curtis Conway

        Well, there is no excuse now. Raytheon’s AMDR is truly scalable. With 9 modules it has the same sensitivity as the SPY-1A. With the same equipment supporting the frigate, destroyer, and new cruiser radar installations we will have a single school house and logistics train, yielding greater efficiency in the fleet. Nine modules will fit in the National Patrol Frigates forward octogonal mast giving it Theater Ballistic Missile Defense capability, which at least gives the ship an opportunity to survive in the new modern battle space given practically every nation has Theater Ballistic Missiles. This will provide Integrated Air & Missile Defense capability within the Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) environment. If the SQS-53 is fitted on the bow the weights and balances will be more in range, and will necessitate the 2nd LM2500 in the engine room to maintain performance. With the hull mounted sonar, a towed array sonar, and quiet Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) motors on the Main Reduction Gears, this will be the quietest surface ASW combatant afloat. This is multi-warfare capability at its best. Now give it a real gun and they can help out the Marines in a pinch. With the shallower draft it will make more sense to send the frigate to the beach for a Fire Mission. If you place capable Gas Turbine Generators (GTGs) on board, this vessel will be able to generate enough energy to support Directed Energy (DE) weapons when they come online in a few years. The HED electric motors make space available for the GTGs in Engineering in place of the diesels. Now just modify the aft deckhouse to provide more air for intake and exhaust.

    • Matthew

      So basically you are proposing a smaller improved version of the Arleigh Burke DDG?

      People need to take a step back and look at the original requirements for the LCS, The most obvious one being ‘Littoral’, A 5,500t ship would not be a littoral ship.

      As for cost, Try closer to $1.5 billion+ a piece. You are effectively building a new ship that does all the same stuff as the Arleigh Burke’s but cant provide any use what so ever in littoral waters, Would actually be more fiscally responsible to transfer those 50 ships you propose into the Flight III Burkes as it would create even more efficiency and cost savings through mass production.

      If you are proposing an LCS replacement to fulfill the same role then you should not be looking at anything larger then 3,000t MAX.

      • Curtis Conway

        First, yes we do need to look at the requirements for the LCS. Placing something fast and flashy (3D aircraft design qualities influencing a 2D naval vessel)? Its apples and oranges. in shallower water and unable to defend itself in areas where admittedly the heavier ships can’t do, and NOT providing
        a robust defense against the most prevalent weapons that will most likely come at it from the most capable adversary, is planning to fail!

        Second, cost savings from just folding the budget into DDG-51
        Flt III will not save that much. The target is to build up the fleet with two to three multi-warfare combat vessels that can perform a frigate mission (traditionally defined) and have sufficient capability to be a synergistic element in any task force to which it could be
        assigned. The LCS in this respect is a disaster and will be a net detriment as a platform in any task force with which it is assigned, and that’s provided we can get it to perform as least a well as it did in RIMPAC 2014. EVERY combat platform present MUST be able to hold its own. That is why I have been looking for a program similar to SSDS with a non-rotating 3D radar at its core (Mini-Aegis not a Mini-me). The advantage of Aegis is the synergistic
        integration of real time hemispherical search and track NOT slaved to rotation (tactical significant tracking), a capable display/command/decision system, and VLS amply populated. With the exception of the USS Ford, we are not there, mostly with the amphibs, who are ripe, tactically significant targets.

        As for a 3,000t max vessel, look at our Allies in the region who have things very similar to that. They want nothing to do with your 40+ knot speed boat, but do want something with real combat capability. Perhaps the US Navy does need a Corvette (National Patrol Frigate), just with VLS and a 5’ gun with guided projectiles, or better yet, Directed Energy. I have always thought it was very interesting that all our frigates used to be equipped with the same gun as the destroyers UNTIL we built the FFG-7 and followed the European lead to save money, adding additional logistics train and training to support. NUTTS! And not cost effective!

        The United States Navy has Blue Water, Green Water, and
        Brown Water vessels. This LCS mission is Blue/Green in nature with a Brown Water mission in many cases. At present the LCS is trying to turn itself into an ASW/Mine Countermeasures platform. One does not hunt SUBMARINES in shallow water! The Littorals need a Vietnam approach . . . mothership with Brown Water
        vessels. They already exist, with a flight deck too, maybe F-35B capable? The LPD-17 modified a bit could do this very well, and the Brown Water Navy has several platforms that can provide what you need . . . and they are already bought and paid for. Perhaps a Navy version of the AH-64 on board with Harpoon Missiles. The Navy is still trying to figure out what it will do with the Murtha so turn it into the developmental platform.

        Lastly, WHATEVER we build, it must be able to respond to whatever tasking may come its way, Arctic Patrol for a month, Show the Flag in the South China Sea, FONOPS off Hainan Island, as well as Coastal Patrol, Escort, and CSG plane guard or ASW station dragging a tail far from the formation. This is the small version of the proverbial Swiss Army Knife. And give the crew a chance at survival. At present the LCS will be a suicide mission in REAL combat scenarios. I recall all the cost savings in the FFG-7
        program under the guise “we will never send it to do ‘THAT’”, and then we sent them to do ‘THAT’! Do the real deal righteously,
        or don’t do it at all, but don’t put our sons and daughters out there to die to save a buck. For my tax dollars, that is not too much to ask.

    • OLD GUY

      With respect, what mission is it for? The presumed future threat of the Chinese or Russians? We would be well advised to get our heads out of tradition and into the needs of the REAL, present world. Incidentally, we could have had electric guns years ago if we had adopted the PROVEN Electro-Thermal-Chemical (ETC) principle, that we developed with DOE.

  • mepal1

    The US Navy has some excellent warship classes……but the LCS is not one of them.
    While the US government decides what to do with this lame duck………the Chinese by comparison, have from the beginning of 2013 put into service 15 type 056 Corvettes, already, and are building more……and are considerably better armed, than the US LCS class, despite being much smaller.
    The LCS is overwhelmingly under-armed, incredibly expensive, plagued with reliability issues………..and is not really capable at this point of being able to meet its mission duties!…….How on earth did the US Navy end up with this vessel, which is basically a very expensive coastguard ship?…….even in videos of it in action, it was only put up against nothing more than a few little machine gun armed patrol vessels……..any half decent warship, with its anti-ship missiles could take out an LCS, long before it could retaliate with its short range missiles!

    • Curtis Conway

      AMEN and AMEN, and I thought I was the only one who say it.

    • Secundius

      @ mepal1.

      I heard, and I’m still not convinced about if. That some future ship designs, and possible refits, may include Chobham Armor into the ship’s hull’s and superstructures. I don’t know weather that’s feasible because of the weight and cost. But if it is feasible, it would certainly make it harder to sink our ships.

      • mepal1

        Interesting that……….ive never heard of Chobham armour being possibly used on naval vessels. It could be useful to protect the ships more vulnerable, and important areas. I’am British btw…….and Chobham or as we have now Dorchester has proven to be very effective armour!……wonder if anyone in the UK has thought about using it, apart from on tanks…..:). Mind you as you stated the cost and weight of the armour would be an issue. I believe currently the US Navy uses Kevlar to protect its ships more vital areas.

        • Secundius

          @ mepal1.

          I was reading about a plastic material called Graphene, its impact resistant to ~20,000-gravities (0.003c or 899,377.374m/s ) or 1-TPa (150,000,000psi). As a armour material.

    • Rob C.

      How on Earth it ended up with this? This was result of a plan for family of Warships which did certain tasks. However, two of the three ship of that family were canceled. Guess which one was left? LCS was suppose to be modular armed auxiliary ship, doing close-shore non-combative, basic patrol missions. While the other two large ships were the combatants. Both current LCS hulls are basically two small to upgrade to meet what needs now. I’m not fan of the LCS ships we have, i think it was a concept that wasn’t executed correctly, kept on being mettled with until it was unworkable in anymore.

      • Rotty

        politics drive decisions….

  • Secundius

    We have the Technology to BUILD-IT??? We just Lack the Funding, to BUILD-IT!!!

  • Secundius

    @ Curtis Conway.

    Why not just find the the blueprints in the US. Library of Congress, for the 1988, design Metcalf class Arsenal Ship/Bombardment Ship. And just build it???

    • Curtis Conway

      With NIFC-CA on the horizon the Arsenal Ship is an awesome and timely idea especially full of land attack and SM-6.

      • Secundius

        @ Custis Conway.

        It’s the 21-century equivalent of a WW2, Battleship. That were ever going to see again.

        • Curtis Conway

          During a mass attack in the Western Pacific one will wish you had a half dozen of them. However, we can program in more cells on new platforms and backfit four (4) ESSMs in a single Mk41 VLS cell on currently equipped vessels. At least a stop gap measure. Every design for a new combatant in the Western Pacific has a WHOLE LOT of VLS cells. Wonder what they are planning for? particularly the Chinese.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            I would call that a “Sure Thing” bet.

          • Secundius

            The Mk.57 VLS cell, is suppose to be replacing the Mk.41 VLS cell. Probably within the next 5-years.

        • interested

          Perhaps a few cells for Trident missiles on the arsenal ship as well. SSBN’s provide stealth and we need some, but at high cost.

          • Secundius

            @ interested.

            Wishful thinking, I like that!!!

  • Rob C.

    I think the Navy did a rather clever thing to hide what they have planned to fill-in the LCS role. Given how many times the US Congress distorts plans, practically makes it near to impossible to execute a new design without interference, i would hide that design from in-side/out-side influences too. I think they should go for a new ship.

    To the point is: What do they want? If they do, will they stick to it? Can they afford it?

    I do think they split this LCS’s mission between two separate designs not duplicating the each’s mission profiles. A Frigate isn’t a coastal vessel, the navy appears to want one. They should look at FFX program South Korea is running. They seem to have their acts together for the most part.

    However, the Navy is trying to consolidate other types of ships missions into one platform, which included the MCM. This is a mistake, but it budget is too small, they may not have a choice. A small Off-Shore Patrol Vessel, like a enlarged Cyclone maybe in order if they want it to do MCM missions via a helipad. Independence maybe flaw design, but its bow stretched and deepened it could carry more sustantial weapons acting as the auxiliary combatant it is. That’s just me.