Home » Budget Industry » Up Gunned LCS Hulls Picked for Navy’s Next Small Surface Combatant


Up Gunned LCS Hulls Picked for Navy’s Next Small Surface Combatant

A modified Littoral Combat Ship design based on the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class. US Navy Image

A modified Littoral Combat Ship design based on the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class. US Navy Image

PENTAGON — The Navy will beef up the weapons, armor and sensors on its two existing classes of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) in an answer to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s call for a tougher Small Surface Combatant (SSC), the Navy announced in a late Thursday briefing with reporters.

The two variants of the ship will replace the last 20 ships in the initial plan for 52 Flight 0 Lockheed Martin Freedom-class and Austal USA Independence-class LCS hulls as part of the SSC directive the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) outlined to the Navy in a January memo.

“By avoiding a new class of ships and new system design costs, it also represents the most responsible use of our industrial base investment while expanding commonality in the fleet,” Hagel said in a statement following the decision.

The Navy reviewed 18 existing ship designs in addition to a plethora of permutations of the existing LCS hulls before deciding on the two designs, Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA) told reporters.

The two hulls will feature an unspecified 3D radar upgrade, an over-the-horizon surface to surface anti-ship missile, include a multifunction towed array sonar and displace less than the Flight 0 variants, according to information from the service.

The Freedom and Independence variants were designed to be modular hulls and conform to different task by swapping out different mission packages — mine counter measures (MCM), surface warfare (SuW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

The new SSCs will keep an element of modularity focused on the ASW and the SuW mission packages, with the ASW SSC package adding the variable depth sonar of from the existing ASW package.

Absent from the new concept is a significant air defense capability in the form of vertical launch system capable of carrying the Navy’s family of Standard Missiles but Stackley said the SSC would be able to operate independently.

“We have given this multi-mission ship the degree of self defense that it needs so it does not have to be operating beneath the umbrella of a major ship,” Stackley said.
“Each ship has its own threat set it has to be designed against and what this does is this expand the threat set of Small Surface Combatants for operations.”

The concept also increases the level of survivability of the SSC by adding armor to critical spaces onboard and hardening some systems. Survivability of both LCS variants in combat has been a constant criticism of the original LCS design.

“To call it Navy standard, it matches what we would have for a frigate,” Stackley said.

The ships will also improve on the electronic warfare (EW) capability with a so-called “lite” version of the Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), said Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert to reporters.

A modified Littoral Combat Ship design based on the Austal USA Independence-class. US Navy Image

A modified Littoral Combat Ship design based on the Austal USA Independence-class. US Navy Image

The new ships will cost about $60 to 75 million more than the current versions of LCS, Stackley said.

Over the life of each class, both have come in at less than $500 million a hull, not including the mission packages.

Moving forward the Navy is to provide an acquisition strategy to OSD by May in order for the service to begin buying the ships in Fiscal Year 2019 as well as an analysis if the SSC additions can be installed in older LCS hulls.

In February, Hagel announced the decision to cap the Flight 0 LCS variants at 32 hulls and directed the Navy to “submit alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, consistent with the capabilities of a frigate,” he said at the time.
“I am concerned that the Navy is relying too heavily on the LCS to achieve its long-term goals for ship numbers. Therefore, no new contract negotiations beyond 32 ships will go forward. With this decision, the LCS line will continue beyond our five-year budget plan with no interruptions.”

  • So looks like the Taxpayers are getting screwed with the LCS crap. I hope the new GOP congress can kill the LCS program. I hope the New Congress can kill the LCS nightmare.

    • 2IDSGT

      The idea of you looking forward to a GOP congress is absolutely hilarious.

      • Ctrot

        The implied idea that you believe a democrat congress is better is mind numbingly stupid.

        • 2IDSGT

          You might wanna go check his blog…

      • Dude, the LCS is one huge disaster in the making and possibly the ghost of the USS Belknap is gona make a comeback in the LCS.

    • Paul

      Wasn’t the LCS a GOP / Bush era project?

      • Curtis Conway

        The LCS was the LOW END part of a new combat platforms for our new underway battle groups. The very existence and exercise of the LCS was to be under the capable coverage of the new CG(X) cruiser, and DDG-1000 destroyers. The CG(X) was cancelled and the DDG-1000 class will not exceed three units in the near term. So . . . we are building a boat load of the least capable and most vulnerable platforms. A recipe for disaster in the current battle space. The biggest hole on LCS (either flavor) is in the lack of any AAW defense in depth, in our current very dangerous Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM) and Theater Ballistic Missile (TBM) environment. The few shooters who will be there will be busy and run out of weapons fast. They will receive no help from their little brother, except calls for HELP!

        • Sad to say, the only REAL frigate left in the US inventory comes from the US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter.

          • Curtis Conway

            And that’s with a single engine room. No watertight integrity between independent propulsion systems on separate shafts.

          • Those can be upgraded with new design changes to the NSC

          • Graham Strouse

            The NSC has had it’s problems, too & it’s VERY expensive.

          • Outside of buying Europe, the NCS is our only viable nuclear option if we can’t buy a Frigate from Europe. Though I think the Type 26 the British are building maybe an option, of the British are willing to bankroll part of the F-35B in trade we buy some of their Type 26 Frigates.

          • Graham Strouse

            My preference WOULD be to license build a European, or possibly a South Korean/Asian design in the US.

          • Then again we would run into trouble with Congress who would think by buying from Asia or Europe, were taking JOBS away from their district. The only option is to buy the rights and possibly have it build in US shipyards.

          • Graham Strouse

            Well, that’s the point of buying a proven design & build it under license in the US. We buy the blueprints & build it here, basically. Giving Lockheed-Martin’s lobbyists a little competition isn’t going to cost any ship-building jobs but it should save us a lot of money in the long run. Taiwan, for instance, just launched the first of a new class of 600 ton corvettes. They’ve got stealth characteristics, have a top speed in excess of 40 knots, carry a 76 mm Otobreda (not sure if it’s the rapid fire version or not), 8 subsonic & 8 high supersonic missiles & have Phalanx. Reported cost for unit is a little over $70 million US. That’s a lot of bang for the buck. If we want something with longer legs we could, say, buy a variant of the Israeli Sa’ar 5 corvette, which we definitely know how to build–the Israelis designed the ship but contracted to build it in the US. Sweden and South Korea also have some very good small ship designs as does Germany. Lot of options here. And maybe with a little overseas competition companies like Lockmart might be forced to step up their game. I see it as a win-win all-around.

          • Secundius

            @ Graham Strouse.

            There also the 500-ton VT Halter – Marine, Ambassador Mk. III/IV class PBM. That have the same armament as the 600-ton Taiwanese Corvettes.

          • Graham Strouse

            including the missiles?

          • Secundius

            @ Graham Strouse.

            550-standard tons with (1) Oto Melera 3-inch (76.2mm/62-caliber) Mk. 75, 120rpm Auto-Cannon; (1) 21-cell RAM, Surface-to-Air Missile System; (2) Medium/Heavy Machine Guns; and (8) Harpoon Long-Range Anti-Shipping Missiles. 41-knots, ~2,000-nm. at 17-knots, 8-days endurance, and a crew complement of ~36.

          • Graham Strouse

            Problem with the harpoon is that it’s both really expensive and dated. Under the right circumstances it could still be useful as an SLCM but it’s too bloody slow to be an effective surface-launched ASM.

          • Secundius

            @ Graham Strouse.

            Their is a Harpoon replacement being tested as we speak, called ArcLight. A Extreme Long-Range Anti-Shipping Missile. Reportedly capable to traveling 2,000-nm in 30-minutes. I don’t know how far into the testing they gone to date. But hopefully it not far from becoming operational.

          • Secundius

            @ Graham Strouse.

            The Israeli SA’AR-5 class Corvette, “skirts” the prescription of what a corvette actually is. Technically a Corvette, in actual fact a “mini” Frigate. Some Israeli “Razzle-Dazzle” going on. To keep their Arab neighbor’s at bay, Israel designed as ship in Corvette size. But that actually functions as a Frigate.

            Something akin to the Sailing Frigate, Uss Constitution. Neither a Frigate or a Battleship, a Super-Frigate or Heavy Frigate. A battleship on a frigate’s budget…

        • Interested

          Both LCS variants have short sea legs. Have they thought about adding hybrid electric drive for increased range and better acoustic signature when needed ? The current design will need a fueling more often.

          • Secundius

            @ Interested.

            The Freedom class, has a range of 3,500-nm. @ 18-kts. While the Independence class, has a range of 4,300-nm. @ 18-kts. The Oliver Hazard Perry class Frigate, has a range of 4,500-nm. @ 20-kts. Of the LCS class, seems like Independence is a closer match to the OHP class…

        • Graham Strouse

          Problem is none of the ships designed in the last decade and change were well-conceived. They’ve either been too fragile, too expensive or were designed with far too much unproven tech. Or all of the above. The LCS, DDG & Ford class are all floating turkeys.

          • Secundius

            @ Graham Strouse.

            After WW2, New ship’s came of the “slip’s” at the rate of one new class per year, until 1960. After that one class after 2-1/2-years, to 1970. From 1970 to 1990, one new class every 5-years. From 1990 to present, build them as we need them, attitude…

      • Chesapeakeguy

        The ‘concept’ for LCS came about as much from articles in “Proceedings
        Magazine” as from any Navy requirement. Those ‘discussions’ actually
        started in the Reagan years, but once the Navy officially took it on
        those concepts changed several times, and across multiple
        administrations.

        • Paul

          Thanks for that, I wasn’t aware the concept was that old.

          • Secundius

            @ Paul.

            Actually, President Ronald Reagan’s proposed to build a “600” ship Navy by 1989. He started in 1981, with a standing Fleet Strength of ~301 ship’s and by 1988 the number grew to ~566 ships, 34 ship’s short of his goal. The ultimate reason why his 600-ship Naval program failed. He ran out of money and the Air Force and Army wanted their fair share too. Back the the “on-paper” ship’s weren’t called LCS’s they were “Small Combatants” of an unknown nature. But the Bush II adminstration gave birth to the LCS program in 2003.

      • Secundius

        @ Paul.

        First “keel” was laid out for the LCS-1, USS. Freeddom, in 2 June 2005. But actual funding, no defined date found, but earliest date on project was 2003 in a memo by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the Bush White House asking for “pilot project” funding…

        • Paul

          Again thankyou, so its an economical rationalist concept of a warship?
          Just a thought, I wonder how hard it would be to modify the design to have an open weapons bay similar to that on the Danish Absalons that could take FLEX type Mk-56 VLS (for ESSM) and Harpoon modules as required. Alternatively how hard would it be to design modules incorporating ExLS which would give the LCS a variety of load outs including the CAMM system?

          • Secundius

            @ Paul.

            The original LCS concept was suppose to be a “mini” Destroyer class for the Israeli Navy, but they lost interest and the funds for the project. Then the project got a boost to try to bring the US Navy up to or at the very least Reagan’s goal for a “600-Ship” Navy. The rest is history…

  • Dan

    Absolutely garbage, the Navy should be humiliated with this one. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

    • Fred Grindle

      How about giving /selling the current LTS’s to the Coast Guard and start over? I would really appreciate some feed back on that idea.

      • Secundius

        @ Fred Grindle.

        Unless you have a Secondary Stand-by in the lurks somewhere? Your looking a an additional 10-years of R&R, and I don’t think the ChiCom’s are going to wait for us to play “catch-up”…

        • Fred Grindle

          Thank you for your input and please forgive my ignorance. Basically, I was thinking of the same configuration of ship just on a scaled down version made of the proper metal, guns and improved electronics that others have suggested. Something akin to what China has now, but improved. Guess I’ll never be a nautical engineer. 🙂 Thanks again.

          • Secundius

            @ Fred Grindle.

            I’m not knocking you train of thought. It’s a matter of what we DO HAVE as opposed to what we DON’T HAVE. There is a plan in the works of building nine-Arleigh Burke class Destroyers for 6.1-Billion USD. Sound great on the surface, The problem is, a new Arleigh Burke class Destroyer with all the modern “Bells and Whistles” cost 1.843-Billion USD per ship. That means your building 9 AB class Destroyers at 678-Million USD per ship and using 20-plus year old technology to go with it. Buy from Spain, South Korea, Japan or Israel. Most of there ship’s are US. Designed ship’s anyway, and we get a better deal because of the currency exchange rate to boot. The day of getting a good deal is over, today it’s all about PROFIT…

          • Fred Grindle

            Again, thank you. You obviously know your stuff. I’m still on a steep learning curve. I was Army and my exposure to ships was practically non-existent. Thank you and all the others for your insight. You would think the decision makers in the DOD/Navy would look to all of you guys who give such valuable input.
            Take care my friend.

          • Secundius

            @ Fred Grindle.

            Same here, I was in the Army from 1975 through 1982. I was 67Y and work officially on Attack Helicopters (AH-1S). But actually I did just everything on any helicopter. My interest in the Navy go back to 17th century to the present.

            There some people who want a WW2 Navy of 71,009 ship’s, some who want a Navy that doesn’t even exist yet. And some who don’t know what they want. Just keep the idea’s flowing. Being on sites like this, you learn a lot of things. You’ll do fine. Ohhh, don’t worry about spelling, most people in this forum can’t spell for @#$%…

          • Tim Turner

            Have the platforms built abroad and then arrange alts & outfit with modern combat systems etc., here at home. Navy could get a real good deal going that way – possibly even doing the whole deal at home.

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Turner.

            Can’t, “Jones Act of 1920” get’s in the way…

    • Secundius

      @ Dan.

      Why the Navy, they didn’t request the ship design. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did back in 2003…

  • sferrin

    Would it really have been THAT difficult to put in a measly 8-cell Self-Defense Length Mk41 for 32 ESSMs? Really?

    • Rob C.

      Yes, the hulls are THAT small. They’d need make a enlarged version of the ships be able fitted with them.

    • Secundius

      @ sferrin.

      The “skinny” is their going to mount the Mk. 57 VLS…

  • AKO

    The financialization of the American economy

    American De-Industrialization
    Continues Unabated

    The U.S. is becoming dependent on countries such as UK, Russia, France and Germany for critical weapons technology.

  • OLDNAVYVET

    You still can not make a “Silk Purse” out of one!

  • Secundius

    I don’t see how the phrase “Up-Gunned” applies here. Putting additional M4A1 in the “Sargeant in Arms” Weapons Lockers, doesn’t exactly Up-Gun the ship’s.

    • KenofSoCal

      “Up-Gunned” would only count if a Abrams was strapped to the flight deck.

  • Andy

    I have never seen the 30mm guns designated as MK 50s. Yet since it isn’t listed as a change, maybe a typo?

    • johnbull

      I’m skeptical. Will the “new and improved” LCS have better range and sea-keeping ability? Lacking a real air defense ability seems like a pretty big deal to me. We’re cranking out the NSC’s for the USCG. Comparable size and speed to the Perry FFGs, very long range and sturdy ships. What do I know though?

      • MrInvestor

        Agree…let’s swap with the USCG AND “up-gun” those….

        • Curtis Conway

          AMEN! NSC is Blue Water, and Arctic capable. LCS is not. The admirals who supported this decision should be made to ride them in the Pacific in bad weather.

  • ed2291

    There should be court martials instead of promotions and lucrative civilian careers for this. This is absolutely disgraceful and a prime example of fraud, waste, and abuse. Perhaps it is time to retire all admirals and get Air Force or Marine Generals to lead our once proud service. At least they would be competent. The failure to down select one before production and insist on quality in mission packages is costing us dearly. The future surface, air and sub Navy will pay dearly for this mess.

  • Rob C.

    Looks like there making due what they got. I was all for them building new design. However. everyone is gun shy on costs for fresh new design. There no way to improve these existing ships with the items their offering. I would think they were going to go the route of Export versions of Freedom, while I don’ think the Independence has a export version.

    They need enlarge Freedom Class ships, so it can be fitted with regular Frigate style weaponry. Not enlarge it too much that it can’t get close to the coast, but they have to do something. In the end I’m not looking forward to the out come of the SSC effort, its properly tweeks to existing designs and that all it is.

    Perhaps the Republicans will order stop and everything will get delayed for decade due to the red-tape involved. Properly. There will be a blame game, talk up on new design, behind scenes reality shock of what real situation is. Then spin of the SSC being only solution. Shame. Cost cutting is easy, reality of a situation is harsh, in the end America suffers and so does its Navy.

    • loupgarous

      Put a laser on either side of that weapons deck instead of the 30mm guns, and you’d have better kill capacity against anything the 30mm guns could hit, plus some anti-aircraft capability.

      • David Teer

        From what I read the current lasers have a range of about one mile and can then be limited more by fog and mist. 30mm have almost twice the range.

        • Rob C.

          There was issue with accuracy from what the Navy’s test results were. Somehow the 25mm were most accurate of the weapons tested. Which is bit crazy, when you consider that 76mm gun that the retired Perry’s have were among the weapons considered. They want hit more often than waste more ammo. The lasers are just getting started, the LCS may not generate enough electrical power to support them anyways.

    • David Teer

      The main problem is time. All of our Perrys’s will be retired next year leaving a gap is sub hunting capability. Our Avengers will start being retired in the next 3-5 years or so. Their is no time to designed and new ship. All the navy can do is fix the LCS to make it perform its primary role of sub hunting and mine sweeping.

      What I find amusing is most people forget that our Perry’s were minimally armed (and had its main weapon system removed in the early 2000’s), and our Avengers have no organic weapons at all. Yet both ships served us well without incident.

      That being said, adding the additional firepower is a good start but they need to remove the Hellfires and add vertical launchers for ESSM and SM2 for more air defense.

  • CaptainParker

    The defense contractors and project officers preparing for post-retirement careers are the big winners here. $65/$75 million more per each “improved” vessel? What a crock. They could have license-built a whole fleet of the French designed Gowind-design corvette which would give an all-around better vessel with armament punch and survivability the LCS’s just don’t have. Hubris here – the U.S. can never admit it makes a mistake with its hardware.

  • old guy

    Freedom from what. necessity, capability, speed, good design?

  • MrInvestor

    Combat survivability testing first, then decision. This is the problem with armchair experts. What happened to the statement from the PACFLT CO that the ships do not meet their mission requirements? “Up-gunning” is all well and good, but these ships cannot carry multi-mission firepower, enough crew or fuel to do the job. This is making a long string of bad decisions related to LSC worse. By definition, a “littoral” combat ship was not designed to be a true blue water combat ship. Putting lipstick on the pig does not get the combat job done.

    • Curtis Conway

      Amen. All the weapons in the world do not make the platform more survivable, or Blue Water capable.

  • Gordan E. Van Hook

    Range?

  • dennis moore

    To the very brave sailors going in harm’s way in an LCS current model, or an “ugraded” version- be sure your next of kin know where you have left your will. You will be dying to keep two shipyards busy, not for your country.

    • Curtis Conway

      Pray for them. That is all we can do at this point.

  • Daniel Shenise

    I wonder if the mk38 mounts are the crew served or remote variety. I would think remote, but you never know.

    • Paul

      The remote Typhoon, which the MK38 is based on is a very nice bit of kit, very accurate and easy to use, you could actually put a single round through a target vessels engine using the EOD to lock on to it. Definitely hope they go for the remote version.

  • Captain Graham Pfister

    Aluminum is not the best choice of materials in this new technological age. Carbon fibre would have been a far better choice as it is 10 times stronger than aluminum and less than a third of its weight and it doesn’t corrode. With a lighter weight vessel they could have used smaller engines that would use less fuel so they could carry less fuel further reducing weight. The smaller engines could be sized to give the same or even better maximum speed and longer range. Better still would be quad engines using four for maximum speed and two for cruising speed.
    Reducing the weight is crucial and its not just the hull and superstructure but right throughout the vessel should be looked at for ways to reduce weight. Decks, bulkheads, overheads, furniture, everything as pushing useless weight around an ocean using thirsty engines is not the way future vessels should be built. Carbon fibre passenger aircraft should be the first clue.
    My company Trawlercat Marine Designs has been designing our new catamaran patrol boats and offshore wind farm service boats using carbon fibre since 2009 but we haven’t tackled anything as big as LCS 2.
    44 knots; even 18 knots, LCS 2’s cruising speed, in bumpy seas with a boat of this displacement can crack aluminum hulls. They could become a maintenance nightmare and may spend more time under repair than on patrol. Good luck!

    • Paul

      Agreed having worked on aluminium hulled PBs cracking and corrosion is a major issue. While civilian vessels can make for safe harbor to ride out storms naval vessels often have no choice but to continue with the mission, especially for SAR.

      • old guy

        PBs were poor design and bad alloy choice. 5456 would have not had these problems.

    • NavyGuy

      Whoever told you carbon fiber doesn’t corrode is absolutely wrong. It corrodes- badly – once the fibers are exposed. Also, carbon fiber would be probably 10x more expensive than aluminum.

      • Captain Graham Pfister

        Carbon fibre in epoxy resin will keep out water and prevent corrosion. The carbon fibre would also have other material such as Kevlar as an outer layer to prevent abrasion damage.

        As for price carbon fibre comes in different qualities the top being used for the Space Shuttle and wings and fuselage of Boeing and Air Bus’s jumbo jets. Lesser quality can be used for marine applications with a slight loss in strength and this material cost less than aircraft quality.

        The quantities ordered would ensure a best price and with new carbon fibre manufacturers starting up almost weekly there is plenty of competition out there.
        Carbon fibre is mandatory in all Formula One cars as it’s the strongest, safest material. A city in Quebec, Canada has built several motor vehicle bridges using carbon fibre. It is being used to replace steel reinforcement in high rise buildings reducing the amount of cement required, saving on foundations and saving an enormous amount of weight that all offsets the cost of carbon fibre.

        • old guy

          Excellent exposition. I might add that its cost has plummeted with expanded use. There are QC problems (e.g. voids, inclusions, stress risers, abrasion) but fabrication methods have improved, vastly, to obviate these.

          • Captain Graham Pfister

            Once again new technology has taken care of what was a previous problem first with fiberglass and then with early carbon fibre uses. The solution to having no voids in the layup is to vacuum infuse the epoxy resin as this totally saturates the material and draws off all the excess resin. The result is a totally saturated material and no excessive resin wasted so minimum weight is achieved.
            I mentioned earlier that Kevlar as an outer layer will help prevent abrasion. And before anyone says you can’t repair carbon fibre; yes you can. The same way you repair fiberglass boats but using carbon fibre material and epoxy resin.
            Carbon fibre is 10 times stronger than aluminium so imagine if a carbon fibre PB hit an object and was damaged the same collision in an aluminium PB would be totally devastating and could possibly sink the vessel. Our carbon fibre foam sandwich composite patrol boats are vacuum infused sealing the foam making it watertight. Along with built in void area this makes our catamarans UNSINKABLE and boats don’t get any safer than this.

          • old guy

            I agree, generally and we could have a long meaningful discussion on this matter. I have fabricated many composite components (hatches, scuppers, etc using VARTM (vacuum assisted resin transfer method), but size exacerbates the problem tremendously. It is the same as when we tried to fabricate titanium hulls using traveling vacuum electron beam welding, like the Russians did building the ALPHA-class subs.

          • Captain Graham Pfister

            I disagree on size being an issue and
            it is nothing like making long welding runs. You were right on the money when
            you mentioned using the VARTM system. Our hull platform is built in a single mould
            and the epoxy resin is pulled through the composites by a vacuum pump infusing
            and totally saturating the composites and drawing off all excess resin. When
            the hull platform is removed from the mould it comes out as one piece there are
            no joins to be made so there are no joining issues.

            The deck and partial superstructure
            will come out of another mould and then bonded and taped to the hull platform.
            Producing large parts in moulds in a single piece saves many months of hand welding
            by groups of welders followed by grinding and sanding for those vessels being
            built of aluminum.

            Vacuum infused carbon fibre parts, large
            or small is not new technology, but building 20m to 35m carbon fibre composite power
            catamarans with 10m to 14m beams is a big step up with its own handling peculiarities.

          • A user

            What about bullets? How do you attach and hang piping, cabling, etc to a hull, deck and bulkhead structure which you cannot weld? I don’t see these holding up with respect to shock loadings of m excess of 60g’s, aren’t composites and carbon materials more brittle? What about the temperature variations? I don’t know a lot about them and clearly you do so have you sent your designs in for shock reviews?

      • Graham Strouse

        And carbon fiber and aluminum are both difficult to repair if you’re ever in say, an actual combat system. The third DDG is being designed with a steel deckhouse precisely for that reason.

      • Secundius

        @ NavyGuy.

        They could use Magnesium as a hull metal, 3 time stronger than Aluminium with 1/3 the weight. And no Magnesium does not catch fire easily, in powder or flake form Yes, as a solid metal form NO…

    • Secundius

      @ Captain Graham Pfister.

      If you going to go to that extreme of using Carbon Fiber, go one step farther and use Graphene. Which has a Tensile Strength of 150,000,000psi. Which is Four times harder than Diamond.

  • Paul

    All I have to say to everyone ranting about aluminium is the steel HMS Sheffield burnt and was lost from an Exocet that didn’t explode, while the aluminum USS Stark survived hits from two that did.

    On the armament side of things just compare the performance of RAM to that of the original Sea Sparrow or even SM-1 (let alone Tartar) and don’t forget RAM Block II is on the way. Depending on the radar selected, these ships will be as good as, or better, than most other frigates out there with the only nations operating better actually using large frigates instead of destroyers.

    At the end of the day the USN has dozens of high end AEGIS destroyers and cruisers, not to forget super carriers, SSNs and LHDs (that actually have more hitting power than most light carriers). The more you spend on up gunning and trying to turn what is basically intended as a replacement for mine hunters, patrol vessels and sub chasers, into high end combatants, the less money available for real high end warships, i.e. replacement cruisers.

    They are not perfect, or perhaps even ideal, for instance I do not see the need for the very high speed requirement, but they are better than nothing and they are cheap enough to permit continued funding of destroyers, SSNs etc.

    • loupgarous

      The up-gunned LCS are “beans,” and we’re buying them because we can’t afford “steak” (in other words, a real surface combatant).

      I’m wondering when the laser now in use on the USS Ponce de Leon will be considered as armament for these ships. It makes more sense from the standpoint of not requiring a magazine for missiles or shells, and can do a lot of the kills that a littoral combat ship might want to do.

      • Secundius

        @ ioupgarous.

        The problem with Laser’s are, there “Line-of-Sight” weapons. Not artillery pieces. That’s where the “Gauss Cannon/Mass Driver” come into play, it cane perform both jobs. In 50-years or so “Particle-Beam” Cannons. And 100-years or so “Plasma Cannons”. We’ve come a long way from using “Gunpowder” Cannons, or Catapult’s and Balistia’s.

      • Secundius

        loupgarous.

        It’s actually Juan Ponce de Leon, if you want to be politically correct. But it wasn’t named directly after the discoverer and first governor of Puerto Rico, but after the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico…

    • Curtis Conway

      ” . . . what is basically intended as a replacement for mine hunters, patrol vessels and sub chasers,” . . . is the HYPE and the LIE!!! We are replacing 52 (count them fifty two) REAL multi-warfare FFG-7s with these up-gunned LCS’s ? . . a recipe for disaster in any scenario in the future Pacific. How many times was an FFG-7 sent to ‘Show the Flag’ due to cost of deployment, and when they arrived were woefully outgunned by what was already there? My faith in the US Navy Department has diminished greatly. They no longer live in the real world that is getting more dangerous by the day. Look at projected Chinese fleet numbers over the next decade.

      • David Teer

        Just fyi all of our ffg’s had their main weapon system removed over 10 years ago. Their only organic weapon system are 76 mm gun, torpedoes and phalanx cwis. I do agree the LCS/ SSC need a beefed up air defense system. Get rid of the hellfires and add vertical launchers for SM2 and ESSM.

        • Graham Strouse

          Don’t think there’s any room for the VLS as configured. And to be honest a ship operating in the shallows is likely as much or more at risk from land-based gun & missile-fire.

        • Secundius

          @ David Teer.

          I don’t know? The OHP class FFG still look like a formidable threat to me.
          (8) Harpoon, anti-shipping missiles.
          (1) Mk. 41 VLS, w/(40) SM-1MR Standard, Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missiles.
          (2) Mk. 32 Triple Mk. 48 Torpedo Launchers.
          (2) Sikorsky SH-60R, Helicopters.
          (1) Oto Melara 76.2/62-caliber, 120-rpm auto cannon.
          (1) BAE Mk. 38 Mod 2 25x137mm/M242 Bushmaster II, 500-rpm auto cannon.
          (1) Mk. 15 20x102mm Phalanx CIWS.
          (4) M2 .50-caliber (12.7x99mm) BMG.

          Looks like a “Show Stopper” to me…

          • David Teer

            The OHP never had a vertical launch system. They were built with a mk 13 single arm launcher equipped with SM1 and harpoon missiles. The mk13 was removed in the early 2000’s meaning the OHP lost both the SM1 and harpoon. Our remaining OHP have a 76mm gun, Phalanx CWIS and torpedoes. Some of them have also been equipped with a mk38 25mm gun of the old mk13 launcher.

            Outside of the 76mm and 25 mm the ships have no offensive capability.

          • Secundius

            @ David Teer.

            I stand corrected! All Mk. 31 launchers were replaced with BAE Mk. 38 Mod. 2 single 25x137mm “Swivel Wolves”, auto cannons. All exported OHP class Frigates, are having and/or will have VLS installed as soon a possible. When their Naval Budget Appropriations kick-in. My apologies to you sir…

          • Paul

            As I understand it only four of the Australian OHPs have been fitted with a single eight cell Mk41, in the forecastle forward of the Mk13, specifically for 32quad packed ESSM while the Mk13 has been retained for SM2 and Harpoon, while Turkeys OHPs are in the process of receiving a similar upgrade but I don’t know about Spain’s or Taiwan’s. I remember seeing something a while back on the losing contender for the Australian upgrade, it apparently aimed to replace the Mk13 with a Mk41 but I do not know how many cells, it looked on paper to be the better option with the better contractor but politics decided the outcome.

            IMO these are old ships now and have had busy lives, they are structurally worn out and should be replaced rather than upgraded. In Australia’s case the logical replacement would have been an enhanced version of the German F123 or even F124 frigates to follow on from the German designed ANZACclass frigate.

          • Secundius

            @ Paul.
            Oliver Hazard Perry class Guided-Missile Frigates in foreign:

            1. Australia’s, Adelaide class Mk.41 VLS w/ SM-2MR missiles.
            2. Bahrain’s, Sabma class Mk. 13 w/SM-1MR missiles.
            3. Egypt’s, Alexandria class Mk. 13 w/SM-1MR missiles.
            4. Pakistan’s, Alamgir class Mk. 13 w/SM-1MR missiles.
            5. Ploand’s, General Tadeusz Kosciuszko class Mk. 13 w/SM-1MR missiles.
            6. Rebublic of China, Cheng Kung class Mk. 41 w/Tien Kung I (Sky Bow I) missiles.
            7. Spain’s, Santa Maria class Mk. 13 w/SM-1MR missiles.
            8. Turkey’s, “G” class Mk. 41 w/Sea Sparrow missiles.
            9. Thailand’s, Unknown frigates have be sold. Wearabouts unknown, most likely source the ROC.
            10. (?) Possible acquisition to Mexico, possilbe delivery date if any unknown…

          • Paul

            I just noticed what you had actually written on the Adelaide class. The SM-2 is fired from the existing Mk-13 launcher not the Mk-41. The VLS is a separate 8 cell point defence length unit installed forward of the Mk-13 with 32 quad packed ESSMs. SM-2 can not be used to its full capability as the Adelaides lack a compatible 3D radar.

          • Secundius

            @ Paul.

            Misinterpretation of facts. When I saw the two-systems together, I thought one was current layout and the other as future layout. My Bad…

      • Paul

        Those real frigates you are talking about have an armament of one 76mm gun, one Phalanx, one 25mm gun and two triple torpedo tubes, no air defence missiles and no anti surface missiles. The baseline LCS designs are actually better armed than the USNs remaining frigates. Also the FFG7 is an old design, manpower intensive, increasing difficult and expensive to maintain, suffering from age and fatigue related structural issues, as well as being of limited combat effectiveness.

        Personally I would prefer to see the USN operating an equivalent to the German F123 or British Type 23, as replacements for the Spruance class and be developing an equivalent to the British Type 26 to replace the Perrys, but the decision was made to concentrate on DDGs. DDGs are very capable and flexible but cannot be built in the numbers required to replace frigates and are not really capable enough to replace cruisers leaving the USN in a bit of a bind.

        I do not know what the long term solution is but building nothing while it is worked out is not really an option. New warship designs take years to develop and build so an up gunned LCS is probably the best option while something better is developed. At the same time I believe additional DDG 1000s should be built and the design evolved to fill other roles and take the pressure off the rest of the fleet.

        • Secundius

          @ Paul.

          The OHP class Frigate, serving in the US. Navy had a crew complement of 240. While the same class operating in the Royal Australian Navy, only had a crew complement of 180…

          • Paul

            Usually 220 on deployment, 240 would have been quite a squeeze, I assume that was using one of the hangers for accommodation?

          • Secundius

            @ Paul.

            No, that’s what Jane’s Ship’s of the World 2012-2013 edition has listed.

    • Secundius

      @ Paul.

      The reason why the Exocet missile was so successful during the Falklands War wasn’t the missile, it was their Fire Control System on the Sheffield. The British and French developed the Exocet missile system together. Someone in the RN Admiralty Board, failed to recognize the Exocet missiles sold to Argentina were the same type the French and British Navies had. So when the Argentines launched their Exocet missiles, the missiles homing radar was registered on the British Threat Receivers and Fire Control System, as “NO THREAT, FRIENDLY. And the British Fire Control Systems ignored the incoming anti-shipping missiles, until it was to late to do anything about it…

  • Peter Devereau

    Here we go again. In addition to LCS’s stated missions they try and justify it as a viable amphibious platform and when that obvious failure smacks people in the face now they’re trying to rebrand it as a surface combatant. They’re a beast that should have never been put in the water and Sailors have fought this for years. Let’s cut our losses and be done with it.

  • loupgarous

    Just as long as the Navy realizes they’ll take major flak every time one of the “add-on” mission modules for the up-gunned Freedom and Independence-class ships fails in sea trials. Unless the new Congress is educated on what, realistically, to expect in sea trials of the first upgunned ships, the press will have a field day portraying them as boondoggles.

  • loupgarous

    Looking at the positive side, the new, up-gunned hulls will displace less water than the first series. That could add survival value, say, around Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, currently disputed territory between China and our (for the present) ally, the Philippines. Actually, almost every ally the United States has in that area has disputed claims with the Chinese somewhere around the South China Sea, and shoal water is common in that area. A heavily armed, shallow-displacement ship makes excellent sense for any “freedom of the seas” mission in that area..

    • China Lee

      Doesn’t it strike you as strange that the United States only wants to pick a side that is anti-China?

      Why didn’t the US help the Georgians fight the Russians?
      Why doesn’t the US help Ukraine fight the Russians?
      Why doesn’t the US help Palestinians fight the Israeli land grab in the West Bank?
      Why doesn’t the US pick a side in the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir?
      Why didn’t the US pick a side in the Ethiopia-Eritrea war?

      The list is endless.

      Don’t you find it odd that the US always picks the anti-China side? Also, why does the US care about 2,000-year-old Chinese islands in the South China Sea that were first discovered by the Han Dynasty and named Xisha, Nansha, and Dongsha (e.g. also known two thousand years later as Paracels, Spratlys, and Pratas Islands)?

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Because it has nothing to do with anything that’s thousands of years old. It has everything to do with the communist government repressing China. I hope that helps..

  • China Lee

    The new American Small Surface Combatant (SSC) sounds like China’s Type 056 Jiangdao-class Corvette with towed array sonar. [See WantChinaTimes January news article on Type 056 Corvette with anti-sub capabilities].

    • Curtis Conway

      I would rather have China’sType 056 Jiangdao-class Corvette with towed array sonar.

      • China_Lee

        It’s curious that navies seem to converge on the need for the same warships.

    • Even China’s Type 056 Corvette would be a nightmare for the LCS.

  • NavySubNuke

    Not exactly unexpected given the cowards and idiots serving as our senior “leadership” these days.
    The worst part is that these aren’t even big enough to be counted on to be decent missile sponges. This is the kind of monstrosity that comes about when the politician serving as SECNAV cares only about the number of ships in the navy and not the actual capabilities or war fighting ability of those ships.
    What a sad day for the Navy and for all of America.

  • DWinslow

    I thought the Secretary wanted a ship with the capabilities of a frigate. This upgrade falls far short of the Perry class in their original configuration. In 2014 our sailors deserve something a lot better.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I’ve always believed that anything that is expected to ply ‘the littorals’ should have multiple guns as part of its basic package. Threats, especially surfaced-based ones, are going to be detected by eye as much as by other sensors, and quick reacting guns are as good of a way to deal with them as anything else. I’ve read that there are some elements within the Navy that have been unhappy in many ways with the 57mm gun emplaced on these ships, and that there has been some consideration for using the 76mm guns that were on the “Perry” class, among others. Regardless, putting more guns on them can only help.

  • old guy

    The DD-1000 is the quintessential example of the old joke about “looks good in the shower” but as the psychic message I received from my old boss, ADM Z, went, “Please take my name off that ship, and maybe rename it, “Old Flopover”.

  • Paladin

    Look at PAC3/MSE; no target illuminators, longer range than ESSM, same size class as ESSM, very insensitive warhead (none) hit to kill; MSE has dual pulse motor, effective against supersonic sea skimmers and air breathers. Only one problem: NOT made by Raytheon, which will be the biggest issue.

    • Secundius

      @ Paladin.

      Actually both the ESSM and the SeaRam are made by Raytheon…

      • Paladin

        Precisely my point; RTN has a Naval missile monopoly.

        • Secundius

          @ Paladin.

          From my experience in the Military is, for every Contractor their are at least five Sub-Contractors. And you could get replacements through one of them, too…

          • Paladin

            Not sure what you mean. My point is that the “customer” losses objectivity when they get too cozy with the contractor. Thanks for your service.

          • Secundius

            @ Paladin.

            It’s like explaining to a senior citizen at the Pharmacy between Brand name and Generic. There BOTH the SAME and yet DIFFERENT. “The Color is not the same, the size is not the same, the shape is not the same. It’s like explaining the difference and the likeness, between 7.62x51mm/Nato and .308Winchester, or even a .30-30Winchester. It you get my drift…

          • Secundius

            @ Paladin.

            Raytheon may have the Patent Rights to the SeaSparrow missile. But any “Allied” Country that uses that missile, also produce that same missile. Even the the ChiCom’s probably counterfeiting that same missile…

  • Abdullah The Sheik of Tikrit

    Instead of LCS they should be called BUTs…big ugly targets.

  • John Nemitz

    What was not addressed in this article: As the Navy adds more capability to the LCS classes it will also necessarily add more Sailors to operate those weapons systems. Therefore the ships will perhaps need more habitability modifications, such as berthing and adequate messing to accommodate the increased number of Sailors.

    It would be good to see the manning issues addressed as part of the equation in these types of news articles. If manning is somehow not affected by increased capability, it would be great to know why not.

    • Secundius

      @ John Nemitz.

      The Scullery System is already in place, the TEU’s and FEU’s can me modified for Hot Racking as needed…

  • Ed L

    I see no reason why we can’t buy a design from the Spainish for their F100. or the South Koreans Incheon class Frigates. Then build them in American shipyards.
    both ships in are good designs. The F100 design has a fairly impressive Armament, SPY radar by lockheed, SAM, ASM, RAM CIWS ASW torps and is LAMPS capable. LCS is an over price experiment that needs to be stopped. Built 50 of these and another 2 dozen PCS

  • Risky Whiskey

    let the RUSSIANS BUILD THE NEXT ONE….