Home » News & Analysis » LCS Anti-Sub Warfare Package Too Heavy; 3 Contracts Issued For Weight Reduction Study


LCS Anti-Sub Warfare Package Too Heavy; 3 Contracts Issued For Weight Reduction Study

The littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), back, and USS Coronado (LCS 4) are underway in the Pacific Ocean in April 2014. US Navy photo.

The littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), back, and USS Coronado (LCS 4) are underway in the Pacific Ocean in April 2014. US Navy photo.

The Littoral Combat Ship’s anti-submarine warfare mission package needs to shed some weight before it can deploy on a ship, and the Navy awarded three contracts to help find weight-reduction ideas.

The mission package includes two mature and fielded sonar systems, plus the hardware needed to integrate the systems with the ship. LCS Mission Module Program Manager Capt. Casey Moton said Thursday at a Mine Warfare Association lunch that each of his three mission modules is given 105 metric tons of weight on the LCS, but the ASW as it stands today surpasses that limit.

The mission package includes a Variable-Depth Sonar – the Navy chose the Thales UK Sonar 2087, the same VDS used on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate – as well as the Multi-Function Towed Array used on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG-51) and eventually the Zumwalt-class destroyers (DDG-1000). The Navy cannot overhaul either mature system, so it has hired Advanced Acoustic Concepts, L-3 Communications and Raytheon to find more creative ways to reduce weight.

In the early stages of the weight-reduction effort, “we got proposals that ranged from modifying the sensors to reduce weight to things as simple as using composites in the handling system,” Moton said.
“So our initial contract is to three companies, and they will do a transition study for us over the next couple months that will give us a lot more insight.”

Each team will submit a package that brings the mission module to under 105 metric tons, and the Navy will then pick and choose which ideas it likes and use them to build engineering development models. Moton said his office had not decided how many EDMs to build but would make that decision over the next few months.

He said he could not recall how many tons over weight the current ASW package is, but “all three companies proposed schemes that would get us to the weight” and he was confident he could meet the requirement to get onboard a ship.

Also during his speech, Moton said his office was making some minor adjustments to the Lockheed Martin AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire radar-guided missile, which the Navy is adapting for use on the ship. The missile currently launches horizontally from a helicopter, and the Navy is making modifications so it can launch vertically and lock on its target after tipping into a horizontal position post-launch. The new version of the missile will be called the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module and should be fully integrated and ready for deployment by late 2017, according to a Navy statement.

The program office began tests on a research vessel at the end of February against “high-speed maneuvering targets out off the Virginia Capes.” That testing wrapped up in June, and based on the results, the office has to do “some tweaking – it’s really that level, tweaking – to the missile seeker and such.”

Another round of testing on the research vessel will take place in Fiscal Year 2016.

Moton also said his office is currently conducting a technical evaluation of the surface warfare mission package on USS Coronado (LCS-4). The package has already deployed twice, but both times on Freedom-variant LCSs. Coronado is an Independence-variant ship, with the same interfaces for the mission package but a different physical layout. Moton said the evaluation is “going very well.”

  • sferrin

    It doesn’t even contain weapons. What do they plan on shooting at the target if they do detect something?

    • Curtis Conway

      I think they are going to use the Helo . . . maybe?! In the current environment of submarines they have a whole new category of weapons with which to deal with surface and air threats, particularly when they are near by.

      THAT is why it makes sense to build multi-warfare platforms that are relatively quick, light, and can handle any engagement all the way up to Tactical Ballistic Missile for a Surface Combatant. When the 9-module AMDR comes out this will be a snap. Just need the Passive surveillance hemispherical detect/track suite.

      • Koverpd

        It doesn’t even have ASROC. I mean, even if you don’t want VLS silos, at least add ASROC launchers.
        The PLAN has solid Type 056s. We don’t have anything to fill the corvette-frigate gap.

        • mustard_gun

          LCS doesn’t even have over-the-side torpedoes. The only way you’re localizing and engaging a sub is via MH-60R. Assuming it’s not broken, the aircrew is rested, weather is okay, etc.

          What is more – LCS doesn’t have a RAST system which likely limits helo flight ops to fairly benign sea-states. Hope the subs don’t decide to come out in bad weather.

          • johnbull

            Good grief! The Royal Navy Type 26 frigates will cost much less, and be infinitely more capable than these turkeys. Can’t we just by some from the Brits, if we aren’t capable of building a small combatant that is worth being called a combatant.

          • mustard_gun

            You are preaching to the choir. We need a frigate. Heck, even SECDEF Hagel said as much before he quit.

            But I suspect will keep pounding the square peg that is LCS until it fits into the round hole. Too many jobs and reputations on the line to walk away at this point.

        • Secundius

          @ Koverpd.

          Both the LCS’s are Block 0 design’s, WIP’s, a “Lego-Ship’s”. To see “What Will and What Won’t Work” on a Ship that Size…

          • mustard_gun

            That approach actually would’ve made sense. Had the Navy done so.

            The problem is Navy committed to this ship (two different designs) BEFORE understanding their capes and lims.

            Navy is learning the slow/dumb/expensive way what does and does not work with LCS.

  • Curtis Conway

    The US Navy should be looking at guided rockets for surface to surface engagements against swarming targets. They are cost effective and have a variety of
    warheads that work very well against lightly armored targets. A ZUNI rocket is 5” in diameter, which is the diameter of the Rolling Airframe Missile. The guidance packages on the current batch of 2.75” (70mm) rockets can be adapted for use on these platforms. The population of 2.75” (70mm) rockets would have double the population in either the Mk 144 Guided Missile Launcher (GML) of the Mk 49 Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS). Maintaining commonality of weapon with the other services, or having all rockets upgraded to the marinized standard at a point in time makes a lot of sense. The 5” and 2.75” rockets are very cost effective in bulk, then you add the expense with the guidance system. When the US Navy joins the APKWS team the order size will bring down cost/round. We need a discriminating IR version for on the water.

    New technologies have enabled all kinds of multi-use products that really work well with guided things like . . . 5” artillery shells and the like.

    • Militaryguy

      Please post the phone number of your company so we know who to call to implement your awesome idea.

      • Curtis Conway

        LOL . . . I haven’t darkened the door of a defense firm in so long I forgot what it felt like. Uuups, I do remember what it was like. That’s why I left.

        We have far too many defense contractors building all kinds of things that will get the job done to be sure, but for any where from several hundred to thousands of times more than the cost to accomplish the task efficiently and still be effective. THIS is what is wrong with the DoD acquisition process. its not about spending money efficiently and getting the job done. Its a jobs program, and in the case of LCS, it has speed and can’t kill the targets that are its greatest nemesis, and most likely going to kill it . . . and our sailors. This is what I’m talking about when I say that the current Navy Department has broken the faith with the sailors.

        When you kill a target, you kill a target, regardless of how much the weapon cost. We no longer have the money to spend, and the world is getting more dangerous. Therefore, EVERYONE is going to have to engage brain and ethics before they start bellying up to the public trough, even after the next election.

        That Spike Missile is an excellent case in point. It could find a target ON ITS OWN that’s cruising along making heat, out to 25,000m? Need to test this sucker on the ocean, but it sure looks good. About the same size as Griffin and lighter by about 15lbs. WOW – what a weapon.

        • Secundius

          @ Curtis Conway.

          Correct me if I’m Wrong, But wasn’t that Phone Number: +01-396-8423-2479?…

          • Curtis Conway

            Secundius you are a riot, and no, I’m not even going to try it.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Don’t you remember Birmingham, England? Come on know, every one remember that place. It was a Hot Spot for the Local’s…

          • Curtis Conway

            Only went to England three times (twice in Portsmouth). First time I went to see the in-laws and saw the country from the Wash, Kent, and Cambridge. Second time I met a future wife #2 in Portsmouth.

            Have the highest respect for all things Royal that have to do with defense, including their ownership of the Falklands.

            So . . . no I have never been to this place that you have mentioned twice over the last year and impressed you so much.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            What did the Locals call the Shipyard that built the Invincible class Through-Deck Cruisers (Carriers). We talked about it, back in May 2015. The “E____c F___y”…

    • ElmCityAle

      There are several deployed and proven missile systems the navy could have chosen, including the various guided 70mm rockets and the Israeli Spike series, the longest range version is over 10 miles. Politics clearly is playing a role in where the money is being spent.

      • Curtis Conway

        Never studied the Spike in detail before. WOW . . . what a weapon. Really like the CCD/IR seeker. The range is 2,500 -25,000m. Dual HEAT warhead . . . this thing is going through tank armor. The perfect weapon for swarm boat attacks. WOW!!!!! A modularized version for gunboats would be possible. Even has a NLOS capability.

        • Pat Patterson

          Piddly 10 mile range.

          • Curtis Conway

            The range on Hellfire or Griffin is half that, and they are the candidates the USN is looking at now. the US Navy should buy just enough LCS/FF to meet their Mine Countermeasures and SOF support and call it a day. This is a huge waste of precious capital that could be building, if not a combat capable right out of the box), but something with room for growth into that multi-warfare platform (National Security Cutter.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            There are three other contenders. Brimstone I with ~8nmi. range, Brimstone II with ~ 25nmi. range and can hit target’s on the move (test vehicles were moving in excess of 70mph), and Brimstone III (aka Spearhead). Not a lot is known about it, with the possible exception of it being a “Kitchen Sink” missile. It can deal with anything you can throw at it…

          • Curtis Conway

            If it has NLOS capability and and IR seeker, you have my vote.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway.

            Unfortunately the NLOS Program was Cancelled…

          • Curtis Conway

            NLOS was not just a program. A Non-Line Of Sight capability has been developed on several weapon systems. Spike is one of those systems.

          • Curtis Conway

            Just watched the vertically-launched AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile system test video on Defense News. Pretty good stuff if it has the range. An IR seeker is another capability on the water that we should always think about.

      • Secundius

        @ ElmCityAle.

        The RAM and/or SEA RAM, is also an Offensive Missile. It’s Primary Role is Defensive, but can be Programmed to be used as an Offensive Weapon against Land-Based Targets. The Block II, is expected to double its range. You can use it offensively as a Indirect Fire Support Missile, too. Even Tripling its range using simple Ballistics against a Fixed Target Area. A RAM/SEA RAM, has far more uses then most people realize…

  • http://about.me/NickyC Nicky

    This is why we need a REAL Frigate

    • Gregory Dittman

      I can’t find a 105 metric ton AWS package. The biggest system I can think of is 30 metric tons and that includes the helicopter, dipping sonar and enough anti sub missiles to sink Iran’s sub navy.

    • old guy

      This is why we need a real CNO, President and Congress.

    • Secundius

      @ Nicky.

      Hey Nicky, the next Scheduled Frigate Competition is set for 2019. At least two of the Design are Known Of. One is based on the NSC design, the other an enlarged Independence class design ~1/3 heavier and 10% larger in overall dimensions than current design. There is talk about a Super (Heavy) Frigate design of ~7,000-tons. Other’s are not known at this time, but at least six design’s are in the competition at this time. Considering BAe, is in the competition, probably at least one British design. I’ll keep you posted, as I learn anything more. Sec…

  • http://stana2z.wordpress.com stana2z

    Let me see if I got this… The Navy ordered the mission package and paid for it/them. NOW they find it’s overweight AFTER they paid for it. So rather than make the OEM fix it, they’re contracting out for someone else to do it, spending more money? Anyone else see something wrong with this?

    • Curtis Conway

      ………and there is no organic weapon with which to engage the target under emergent conditions . . . save launch a helo. How’s them apples? Its the New Navy!

      • vincedc

        I noticed that too. It is more like a submarine monitoring module. The only weapon is on the helo, so the sub just has to wait for bad weather to attack. This one size fits all just isn’t going to work. I think there are requirements for the LCS, but ASW isn’t one of them.

        • plusnine

          LCS will soon embark a helo that boasts a 12hr endurance, but I’m not
          aware of any ASW weapons associated with the MQ-8C, so again, just a monitor. And the weather
          issue remains.

          • old guy

            That’s as soon as they develop an AIRCRAFT SUPPORT module

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            There is NO actual Aircraft Support Module. The Helicopter Support System, was actually incorporated into the Ship’s Design. ALL other Aircraft Support Systems (like Missiles and Torpedoes) ARE Modular…

      • Marjus Plaku

        It can pass the information to any USN DDG/CG, P-3/P-8 or torpedo equipped shooter in the area for weapons release.

        • Curtis Conway

          If you are not going to give it weapons, then don’t call it a combatant.

  • Chipp Reid

    Let me see if I understand this correctly … We paid billions to Austal and GD to design these ships which don’t or can’t accomplish the missions they’re supposed to perform, then WE pay the builders to fix their mistakes, still don’t have a ship that really works, that multiple studies say isn’t combat survivable, a ship that is supposed to replace our frigates for ASW, even though we’re only getting a dozen ASW packages to replace more than 50 frigates … and the ASW package now is too heavy so WE have to pay AGAIN for someone to fix the mistakes? Does this seem completely stupid to anyone else?

    • Gregory Dittman

      It can accomplish the mission with off the shelf technology even if they have to steal the stuff out of a museum. I have no idea what weighs 105 metric tons needed for ASW. The AN/AQS-22 ALFS weighs about 150kg, the helicopter that normally carries that weighs 17,000 kg fully loaded. Each ASW missile weighs 630g and I have ran out of things to add. I’d run out of space to put everything before I ran out of the weight requirement. I could imagine a massive Santa bag full of sonar buoys but the size of the bag would probably be the size of 10 Black Hawk helicopters before it got to that max weight limit.

      • Secundius

        @ Gregory Dittman.

        It’s actually three Modules that make up two Different Systems. The Entire System is called the AN/TB-37U, which is Sub-Divided into two Sub-Units called.
        1. AN/SQR-20, MFTA or Multi-Functional Towed Array
        2. AN/SQQ-89A(V)15, Sensor Suite.
        The problem is, the units were design for MUCH larger Vessels, like Destroyers and Cruisers. You were simply, asking the Wrong Questions…

        • Gregory Dittman

          Much lighter anti sub systems exist now, yet the navy wants to pay more to make other existing systems lighter. It’s a case of the U.S. navy not knowing what it has already.

          • Secundius

            @ Gregory Dittman.

            The problem isn’t with the US Navy, it’s with the US Congress that does the Buying. Thales, makes a Very Good System. Unfortunately their located in France. If your Vendor is Limited to Buy American ONLY, then your spending options are ALSO Limited. Keeping the Congressional Finger’s Out of the Cookie Jar is the Biggest Hurdle. Congress isn’t Helping the US Navy, their Stifling it to Death. It’s No Longer what the Navy NEEDS, it’s about what Congress WANT’S…

          • magic3400

            That’s true, but we can’t have critical/highly classified systems being built by foreign companies. There is already too much of that going on. There is no excuse (IMO) for there to be a weight issue at this point, that’s a (to quote Rumsfeld) a known-known. There is no way the Navy should have not known there was a weight problem. I know what you are saying, but this is one time when I don’t blame a lame Congress, this one is all on the Navy.

          • Secundius

            @ magic3400.

            Yes, but the Thales system is Designed and Built ENTIRELY in France. All we’ll be doing is a “Plug and Play”, and the “Jones” Act of 1920 and the Lend-Lease Act of March 1941. Does allow the United States to Buy and Maintain Equipment From Abroad…

          • magic3400

            I don’t disagree with you, there are laws that allow for those purchases, but I think systems like sonars, AEW, EW, ELINT, etc. should always be done in house. Those are backbone systems that determine whether a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier becomes a man made reef. I don’t really like the thought of France (or any country) owning the designs of such critical components.

            …just a thought.

          • Secundius

            @ Magic3400.

            The problem with that thought is. Is like buy a Car, you can Accessorize it anywhere, you not Limited to the Seller’s Source…

          • magic3400

            Actually, they can’t accessorize “anywhere”, they have to use approved DoD suppliers, yes some of those are foreign…but shouldn’t be for critical/highly classified systems.

            You are FAR too knowledgeable about our military for that comparison. I’ve read a lot of your posts, you know your stuff. Comparing the systems purchase for a man-of-war to accessorizing a car is rather curious…

    • old guy

      You are a threat to SWIPE (Shipyard Welfare Investment Program Enterprise.)

  • NavySubNuke

    LCS – the boondoggle that keeps on giving. It will be interesting to see if the Navy is able to even get a single module integrated and deployed before 2020.
    I want to know who screwed up so that they got this far into the process and found out it was too heavy. if you are using mature sensors from real ships it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out if they will be to heavy to fit on your little crappy ship. It isn’t like you are inventing the sensors from scratch!

    • old guy

      PICKY, PICKY, PICKY. Dontcha know we great thinkers have a reel
      kata-moron now? Shows we are real smartees.

    • Lazarus

      As a sub nuke, I’m sure you know a great deal about surface warships.

      • NavySubNuke

        I realize you have no ability to think or speak objectively about the LCS but even someone who is passing out as much Kool-Aid as you are should realize what a ridiculous comment that is.
        Also, if you were actually objective and not just a LCS evangelizer, you would recognize that space and weight limitations are something people experienced in submarine programs have a lot more experience dealing with than people on surface ships.
        Lastly, again if you were actually capability of objectivity, you would realize this issue has nothing to do with knowing anything about surface ships. This is basic program management —- something the LCS program has repeatedly shown itself to be completely incapable of accomplishing.
        Feel free to wave your hands, blow smoke, and insult people to try to distract from how much money the navy has wasted to provide the fleet with almost nothing in terms of capabilities though. The good Lord knows there isn’t anything else for you and the others involved in defrauding the Navy and the Nation with this ridiculous program to do.

        • Lazarus

          i enjoy spinning you up as well. :-)

          • NavySubNuke

            Good to hear, it would be more accurate if I was actually spun up of course but I realize we have to grade people like you on curve to give you a chance of passing.
            Seriously though, I’m glad to hear you are able to come to the internet and find some satisfaction since your poor performance in your day job is going to result in the deaths of US Navy sailors forced to go into battle with substandard and unreliable ships with little to no offensive or defensive capabilities.

          • Lazarus

            You commented on CDR Sal about how you missed “trolling” me; just returning the favor

          • NavySubNuke

            Aww thanks! I’m always happy to debate with you on other issues but it is clear you aren’t capable of actually debating anything about the LCS program given your Jim Jones level of devotion to the program.
            For the sake of your nation I hope your blind faith hasn’t been misplaced – but it doesn’t look very promising at this point.

  • RobM1981

    The Fletcher’s were great destroyers, but they always suffered from being top heavy.
    The Cleveland’s were great CL’s, but they always suffered from being too top heavy.
    The SoDak’s were great BB’s, but they were always too top heavy.
    Etc.
    Etc.

    I mean, it’s not as if this is a new phenomenon. And with the zillions of computer aid’s available, how can there be an excuse for this anymore?

    So how did this happen, and why do taxpayers have to pay for it?

    Frankly, I don’t lay this at the feet of the LCS being a dog of a design. Dog or not, the components that are built for it should fit within their specifications, and work as designed. If “weight” and weight distribution aren’t part of those specifications, heads should roll… and I don’t say that lightly.

    This is simply unacceptable.

    • Pat Patterson

      Top heavy in the sense of weight from added antiaircraft guns. The Fletchers didn’t add that much in the way of AA weapons

      • RobM1981

        Agreed, and I knew it when I posted it, but my point is: weight and weight distribution is very well understood by marine architects. This kind of error is really unforgivable, unless there have been scope changes or other such mismanagements that aren’t shared here.

      • Secundius

        @ Pat Patterson.

        The “Fletcher’s”, didn’t have much in the way of Armor Either Half-Inch Steel Plate All Around…

        • Lazarus

          And several were sunk by single harpoon hits during tests in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

    • old guy

      Very astute , but you left out DD1000. tumblehome hull that will rollover,
      topside heavy, or not.

  • Arbuthnaught

    LCS = one long slow train wreck. I agree with the comment below that we need a frigate and now. 650 million for one 57mm. Only in the US…….

  • Lazarus

    LCS mission packages are still in development and such issues occur. I know LCS critics are outraged that all these things are not worked out perfectly in advance, but what DoD program of record has ever been so perfect? It has not been an easy task to make multiple different missions resident on the same hull, but the alternatives are too expensive. The navy has tried twice since WW2 to make the Mine Warfare force resident in classes of specific ships (MSO’s and then MCM’s and MHC’s.) The results were the same in that budget support was not there to support these ships; they created small and isolated warfare communities that were not supported and the ships themselves were small, not survivable, and poorly suited to rapid deployments. The 21st century US navy cannot afford more small, mission specific warships and the overall larger number of crew such an endeavor would require,

    The byzantine US acquisition and test and evaluation structure is the real villain of LCS history.

    • old guy

      It’s worse than that. The best sweepers we got were from Petersen Ship in the great lakes. the big ones were forced to use Isotta-Fraschini engines which did not have interchangeable parts. This was to satisfy some goofy exchange agreement. We would have been better off if we got pizza instead

      • Lazarus

        I was once CHENG and XO on MCM’s and appreciate IF engine woes. I was lucky to have a great ENC as my MPA, who made IF operations and maintenance seem easy. Also had great port engineer support in Sasebo.

        • old guy

          I got the job from COMNAVSEA to straighten out the mess. I recommended that the I/Fs be used only for power generators and replaced by Cummins units. Of course this was not done. We have great people.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            Well Cummins, MTU, Detroit Diesel, MAN, Mercedes-Benz! All made by the same company NOW. Personally, I’d go with Finnish Wartsila Diesel’s, Best and Most Efficient Diesel’s on the Planet…

          • old guy

            I may be out-pf-date on this, but back in ’96 when I got the job, the consensus on the Cummins was,”Set it and forget it.’ That is exactly what you want in an MSO.

    • mustard_gun

      P-8A is apparently pretty good. It also entered the byzantine US acquisition program at just about the same time as LCS.

      • Lazarus

        The P-8A is the lineal replacement for the P-3. It is not the same as developing a new capability such as a modular warship with three rotating mission packages. The acquisition and test/evaluation system only works when it needs to generate the next iteration of object x. It is terrible at supporting innovative new concepts.

        • mustard_gun

          A bit disingenuous to blame the acquisition/test system, since LCS broke nearly every rule in JCIDS.

          As for P-8A: before becoming a program, N88 conducted a Capability Based Assessment to identify gaps and potential solutions to replace P-3C including: non-materiel solutions, UAVs, satellites, S-3, etc. A long-ranged, land-based MPA was found to be the most effective materiel solution.

          Once the CBA was completed, validated, and decision was made to pursue a materiel solution, a year-long analysis of alternatives (AoA) was conducted to determine the most cost-effective, lowest risk alternative. This resulted in selection of Boeing 737-derivative which would become P-8A.

          LCS did neither a CBA nor an AOA. The admirals decided a fast surface ship dependent upon extremely immature technologies was the solution and just starting building it. Two designs actually.

          The point is JCIDS works if one follows the correct analytical steps before starting to bend metal/aluminum/etc. P-8A did – and we got an effective aircraft on time and within cost tolerances. LCS did not, and is still a dog’s breakfast of a program. Poor analysis begets poor outcomes.

          • Lazarus

            I have agreed that many LCS technologies were immature. Analysis beforehand might have suggested other options, but it is unlikely they would have been produced a radically different result. Donald Rumsfeld, a strong supporter of analytical effort, endorsed the process that produced LCS. The program was flawed and ineffective for a number of years. PEO management of LCS (which should have been undertaken from the beginning), have ensured the sea frame program is back on track. The modules still have a way to go, but that is the fault of the delay. The concept of a modular warship remains a good one worth pursuing. It is not a “dog’s breakfast”.

          • mustard_gun

            Laz, you simply don’t know anything about the role analysis plays in an acquisition program. My advice to program would be to look at everything that LCS did wrt analysis pre MS-A. A proper acquisition program would do the exact opposite.

            A littoral CBA might have determined that a new warship wasn’t the best or only solution to the littoral problem. And even if a new warship was found to be the best solution, the follow-on AoA would have looked at the importance and cost of ship characteristics (i.e. speed, endurance, organic firepower) and the impact if selected modular technologies failed to mature.

            Your assertion that analysis was unlikely to have produced a radically different result is completely baseless. A lot of folks had and still have problems with key characteristics of the baseline LCS. Why do you think that is? Is it because we just don’t understand how awesome it is? Or is it because an immature, risky concept was rushed into design without proper analysis?

            Citing Donald Rumsfeld as an LCS champion does not help your case. LCS fit nicely into his concepts of “transformation” and “network centric warfare.” But both concepts are based on questionable assumptions regarding the future threat environment. In laymen’s terms : the whole doctrinal foundation for LCS is largely bullsh-t.

          • Lazarus

            Actually I did threat support to acquisition 15 years ago at DIA, so I am familiar with the process and the level of rigor demanded by the Acquisition Professional Community (within the Navy anyway). Most of the analysis that did produce the LCS was done outside the acquisition process by think tanks, the Naval War College and the operational fleet. A number of very smart guys that Mr. Work thanks in his LCS program history provided very effective analysis. The delays in the program have understandably made that analysis look dated in comparison with present threats.

            I have spoken with a number of alternate schools of thought on the future surface fleet; CAPT Hughes and his flotilla colleagues, N-81, N-96, and others. There are certainly disagreements with LCS. The flotilla folks want an even smaller ship and are unhappy that the navy cannot see past the obvious logistics limitations of such a ship. Others do not want anything smaller than a DDG. There are ample complaints about the speed requirement, but as you know, the propulsion plant and hull size are expensive to change. The current budget won’t support anything bigger than LCS no matter what the analysis might suggest.

            I have served with and trust many of the flags that have been associated with LCS in the past and present. Their mistake was in assuming that industry could support multiple untried technologies and concepts in a new class of ship. They also have institutional responsibility for the folks who will serve on these ships. I have great faith in their ability, and that of the folks serving on current and future LCS to work out the bugs. Belittling the officers who created LCS is no way to convince me that you are correct in your criticism.

          • mustard_gun

            “Most of the analysis that did produce the LCS was done outside the acquisition process by think tanks, the Naval War College and the operational fleet.”

            The analysis circumvented the normal, deliberative acquisition process. Ron O’Rorke consistently calls out that the ‘powers that be’ essentially skipped a CBA and AOA. And are apparently doing it again with LCS/FF…

            ******

            “The current budget won’t support anything bigger than LCS no matter what the analysis might suggest.”

            Yes, but only because we wasted the last decade plus and several billon dollars floundering on LCS. We have essentially painted ourselves into a corner.

            ******

            “Their mistake was assuming industry could support multiple untried technologies and concepts in a new class of ship.”

            Yes, but it was Navy which gave industry poorly defined, unrealistic, and conflicting requirements. Again – proper analysis would’ve tested those assumptions before we’d committed to a design(s).

            ******

            “I have great faith in their ability, and that of the folks serving on current and future LCS to work out the bugs. Belittling the officers who created LCS is no way to convince me that you are correct in your criticism.”

            The problem is a lot more than bugs. This program is fundamentally flawed at its analytical foundations. One major problem (of many) is that LCS was built on a premise of quick-change modularity which simply will not work.

            Essentially we have bought a ship to meet three very different needs, when there is a very strong probability that they will be dedicated single purpose ships.

            I believe with the current planed force structure of 52 vessels we will probably end up with:

            a. Twenty or so $700M+ MIW vessels of which about 10 or so will be kept in Fifth Fleet. Far fewer than what we could have had if we’d bought actual MCMs.

            b. Sixteen or so short-legged ASW corvettes completely unsuited for Seventh Fleet (primary ASW theater).

            c. Sixteen or so patrol boats configured for SUW. Far too undercapable to survive a swarm attack or match a comparably sized enemy combatant.

          • old guy

            If you were that close to the LCS procurement, you must know that a team of advanced ship design experts offered their services as evaluators in a no-profit proposal. Although they came in first technically, they were rejected because, “they did not have a shipyard.” Figure that one out. The whole deal was dishonest, dumb and devious,

          • Curtis Conway

            The effectiveness in Mr. Works analysis will be proven in combat, and at present the LCS can barely defend itself from a persistent attack by a determined adversary. As for “the delays in the program . . . made the analysis look dated”, an Aegis troop would tell you that you planned to fail from day one. The ship is un-survivable in watertight integrity and compartmentalization, should it survive a Hit-Alpha. The argument is made that the defensive weapon systems will make it survivable along with its speed. One cannot outrun a supersonic ASCM. The vessel does not have a 3D non-rotating real time sensor with auto-detect, track, and designation so supersonic ASCM weapons will have the advantage in detection range due to closure rate. Any engagement will be close aboard and a singular attack with no time for re-attack.

            Any new surface combatant must be survivable and that will come primarily via the capability of the combat system. The weapons simply must be capable against the primary antagonistic systems. It is possible that Directed Energy and Railgun will provide that capability, but again that primary active sensor in the form of a 3D non-rotating AESA radar is not present, and no comprehensive passive sensor system is present, and the priority of developing this system capability should be at the top of the list.

            A tremendous amount of time and money has been spent on meeting objectives established by an academic effort that forgot the fundamentals. Presence is required by treaty and common sense, then survivability (via whatever method) and combat capability are required to provide effectiveness, which must be the ultimate capability of all combat platforms. If a platform in the US Navy Combat Fleet is to be effective it must have these qualities: survivable presence, and multi-warfare capability in every combat arena in every warfare area at some level appropriate for the ranking of the platform.

          • Lazarus

            Hit alpha will today result in a mission kill of any of our surface combatants (not just LCS). Any combatant can face a bolt from the blue attack and be “killed” as Stark proved in 1987. The US Navy does not plan to make war with single ships engaging single ships. All units, including LCS, operate in larger battle networks of platforms and payloads. Finally, we cannot afford for every warship in the USN to be an AEGIS DDG. We need ships to perform lower end missions such as military cooperation, MiW, medium ASW and other missions where a DDG would not be the right choice. LCS fulfills those missions.

          • Curtis Conway

            Lazarus, with all due respect: Your preaching to the choir on Hit-A, but I still make the argument, just in case they have an opportunity to at least float and MAYBE stay alive. As far as accomplishing a mission (any mission) in the modern battle space, one must SURVIVE, and the LCS argument has been its combat system prowess and speed is its primary facilitating abilities to do that. Well, one cannot outrun a supersonic ASCM, and a 25lb blast frag warhead does not impress (and may not make that big of an impression on a) supersonic sea-skimming ASCM unless its a direct hit. How many engagements do they get against a ingressing single target, and how many can they engage at once? Aegis is NOT A COSTLY COMBAT SYSTEM SUITE OF EQUIPMENT!!! It is a combat system architecture that can be accomplished with any number of elements integrated around the very capable primary 3D non-rotating AESA senor (period)! Without a vision the people perish, or in this case folks confusing the specific issue at hand. No survival . . . no mission accomplishment . . . no capability to survive . . . no chance to even try.

          • Secundius

            @ mustard_gun.

            I believe SecDef. William Cohan had the “Israeli Small Destroyer” ball first, then it got tossed to SecDef. Donald Rumsfeld and became the “LCS” We All Know and All Love Today…

    • Taxpayer71

      Such issues occur because basic acquisition principles are ignored. Surely the mission packages had weight as a Key Performance Parameter (KPP). If not, people should be fired. If there was such a specification, and it was ignored or waived people should be fired for incompetence. Why didn’t PEO LCS catch this disconnect?

      • Lazarus

        Sometimes you do not know how a system should be installed and operated until it goes to sea for actual testing. What seems reasonable in the lab may not be so good in actual operation. All of this should happened years ago, but that is not the fault of present
        Program managers or testers. The navy is not
        Hiding any of this, so no reason to fire anyone.

        • Taxpayer71

          “Sometimes you don’t know how a system should be installed…” You must be joking. Were there no mission module to seaframe interface specifications? Where was PEO LCS in overseeing this acquisition nightmare?

          • Lazarus

            I guess you have not been at sea much. I’m sure there are specifications, but testing at sea sometimes yields alternative results.

          • Taxpayer71

            Surely one doesn’t discover weight issues or major interface issues during at sea testing. Where are the specifications and why were they not followed?

        • Taxpayer71

          With respect to the assertion that this problem is “..not the fault of present program managers…” whose fault is it? Upon turnover and assumption of responsibility a new program manager is expected to review the program in detail and identify outstanding issues, such as the disconnect between the seaframe and mission module weight and interface specifications. In addition, program managers are supported by a technical director, a substantial staff of civilian engineers that are on the job through the tenure of multiple military program managers. Why didn’t they raise and resolve these issues. Someone needs to be relieved/fired.

  • Mr. Speaker

    The Swede Visby class corvettes are great little ships. They are inherently multi-mission capable, cost half as much as LCS and work right out of the box. No calling “time-out” in the middle of battle to swap out mission modules.
    Scrap LCS and buy some of those!!

    • Lazarus

      The Visby’s have never lived up to their expectations. The first of the class was 9 years in construction and outfitting, and the weapons load turned out much less than expected. Visby’s do not have to reply globally as does the LCS, so it can be smaller and more coastal in concept.

      • mustard_gun

        LCS has not exactly lived up to its expectations either. And has been in some form of design development since 2004 (11 years).

        Estimated ranges based on empirical data;
        Visby: 2,500 nm at 15 knots.
        LCS-3: 1,952 nm at 14 knots.

        The Visby actually appears to have somewhat longer range – and thus would probably be a better fit for a globally deployed Navy. The issue is it doesn’t have a helo hangar.

        • Lazarus

          Test Visby yourself, or just going off the nominal data?

        • Secundius

          @ mustard_gun.

          The Visby is 20.942% the weight of the Independence class and 18.57% the weight of the Freedom class.

          The range of the Independence class is 4,300nmi. @ 18-knots and the Freedom class is 3,500nmi. @18-knots, but at 40-knots, range is 1,000nmi…

  • http://about.me/NickyC Nicky

    It’s why I am all for the US Navy buying the Patrol Frigate design from the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter design or talk to France on the FREMM Frigate or Germany on the F-125 Frigate.

  • BillyRay999

    I see the never ending saga of the Little Crappy Ship continues on unabated.

  • Vitonio

    Good grief. Maybe the Navy needs new management.

  • OLDNAVYVET

    More good news!

  • Taxpayer71

    Inasmuch as the ASW Module is too heavy for the LCS Seaframe
    one can only conclude that ASN RDA and PEO LCS did not adequately oversee the
    activities of PMS 501 (seaframes) and PMS 420 (mission modules). If there was no ASW Module weight
    specification someone was incompetent? If
    there was such a specification, how did PMS 501, PMS 420, PEO LCS and ASN RDA ignore
    it? ASN RDA and PEO LCS should be called
    to account for this acquisition screw-up.