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Opinion: LCS Survivability Questions Linger

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), bottom, the guided missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102) in the Java Sea on Jan. 14, 2015. US Navy Photo

USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), bottom, the guided missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102) in the Java Sea on Jan. 14, 2015. US Navy Photo

Less than a month after U.S. Navy leaders announced modified versions of both variants of the Littoral Combat Ship would be the Navy’s pick for its for a more lethal and survivable small surface combatant, one of the chief LCS critics said the upgrades would do little to improve the survivability of the class.

Chief Pentagon weapon tester Michael Gilmore still remains fundamentally dissatisfied with the survivability of the Navy’s littoral combatant ship (LCS) and its upgraded follow-on, the small surface combatant (SSC).

“Notwithstanding reductions to its susceptibility” compared with the design of the first 32 ships, he told Bloomberg on Jan. 8.
“The minor modifications to the LCS will not yield a ship that is significantly more survivable.”

It remains to be seen, however, how the Navy can improve the other legs of the “survivability triangle” of a hull displacing 3,000 tons and is less than 425 feet in length.

Small ships have been historically unsurvivable. Modern small warships are not in any way the equivalent of the World War II predecessors. Every warship is a compromise in armament, endurance, speed and survivability. This is especially true of the LCS, as its modular operational profile demands absolute adherence to weight limitations.

Small warships are historically unsurvivable in combat. They have a shorter floodable length, reduced reserve buoyancy and more likely to be affected by fire and smoke damage than larger combatants. In both World Wars, losses in ships below 3000 tons in displacement far exceeded those of larger vessels.

In World War II, for example, the U.S. lost a total of 71 destroyers and 11 destroyer escorts — all under 3400 tons displacement and less than 400 feet in length.

By comparison, only 23 larger ships were lost. Part of that figure is undoubtedly due to their operational employment, but in simple terms of engineering and physics, larger ships are inherently more survivable than their smaller counterparts.

Fletcher class destroyer USS Ammen (DD-527) in 1944. US Navy Photo

Fletcher class destroyer USS Ammen (DD-527) in 1944. US Navy Photo

There are stories of small combatants, such as the famous Fletcher class destroyer, surviving severe damage and yet remaining capable of inflicting damage on opponents.

This history perhaps influences the opinions of those who believe small warships can somehow be made more survivable than the LCS or the SSC.

Today’s weapon systems such as the 57mm gun on the LCS and SSC are much more fragile than the 5’38 caliber guns found on most U.S. Navy small combatants in World War II.

Gun mounts became lighter and unarmored in the Cold War as the expansion of radars and mast-mounted communications equipment, among many improvements, forced warship designers to adopt lighter equipment to maintain ship stability.

Current gun mounts are no longer manned to allow for a backup capability in the event of damage to centralized fire control capabilities. Many commercial off the shelf (COTS) components currently in use aboard Navy warships are much more fragile and more difficult to repair under battle conditions.
The crew size of a modern small combatant is also significantly smaller than its WWII cousins.

A Flight 0 LCS has a base crew of 90, with the capability to accommodate more personnel for mission modules. SSC would presumably have a similar complement. The Fletcher class destroyer had a crew of 273 and later wartime destroyers had over 300 men assigned. Crew sizes in present warships are likely to decrease in the wake of greater automation and a desire to reduce personnel costs.

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

These additional crewmen allowed for manual weapons operation and damage control vital to the survivability of the ship. In short, comparisons with past small combatants are not an effective means to measure the survivability of the LCS or SSC.
The present Navy concept of warship survivability is described in OPNAV Instruction 9070.1A as a combination of susceptibility, vulnerability and recoverability.

Gilmore noted that the SSC represents an improvement of LCS in susceptibility to attack. By Navy definition, this means “A measure of the capability of the ship, mission critical systems, and crew to avoid and or defeat an attack and is a function of operational tactics, signature reduction, countermeasures, and self-defense system effectiveness.”

The SSC has an increased fit of installed weapon systems that allow the ship to defeat attack. Improvements to the other legs of the survivability triangle are more difficult.

The Navy defines vulnerability as “A measure of the capability of the ship, mission critical systems, and crew to withstand the initial damage effects”, while still carrying out its mission. As previously described, that’s a tall order for a ship already disadvantaged by its physically small size.
Improving recoverability is equally difficult. The Navy defines it as “A measure of the capability of the ship and crew, after initial damage effects, whatever the cause, to take emergency action to contain and control damage, prevent loss of a damaged ship, minimize personnel casualties, and restore and sustain primary mission capabilities.” SSC is supposed to have additional armor protection, but given the weight restrictions of the LCS class, it is doubtful this will be anything beyond splinter protection.

The small crew size will also limit the sort of manual-intensive damage control the U.S. Navy practiced in WW II and the Cold War. Installed, automated damage control systems offer some relief, but if damaged or destroyed in the first attack, they will likely be ineffective. Given all of these factors and their effect on a small ship with a small crew and little spare weight for improvement; it seems impossible that the Navy will ever reach Gilmore’s survivability demands for either the LCS or the SSC.
Every warship is a compromise of capabilities and limitations on a hull of a given size. The Navy has determined that the LCS and eventually the SSC will fulfill very specific missions on the hull size it selected during initial LCS design.

Gilmore’s survivability demands on the present LCS hull are respectfully unrealistic. A larger vessel such as the Spanish Navy’s Alvaro de Bazan class F100 frigate or its Norwegian or Australian cousins may be able to support increased survivability, but such a vessel would be inherently more expensive.

A traditional frigate is also not what the Navy desired when it sought a replacement for the aging mine countermeasures and patrol ships, as well as the retiring Oliver Hazard Perry class whose dated missile capabilities were removed starting in 2003.

LCS and SSC are simply not as survivable, as the Navy currently defines this term, as larger combatants due to physical constraints, smaller crew size, and fewer installed active and passive defense systems. It is unreasonable to demand that they meet a higher standard on the current hull.

A version of this post originally appeared on CIMSEC’s NextWar blog.

  • bryanmcgrath

    “Notwithstanding reductions to its susceptibility” compared with the design of the first 32 ships.“The minor modifications to the LCS will not yield a ship that is significantly more survivable.”

    Well Mrs. Lincoln, other than that, how was the play?

    The substantial upgrades to ASuW and ASW that the FF will receive, along with enhanced self-defense capabilities against air and missile attack are not “minor modifications”. The Navy’s definition of “survivabilty” specifically cites the extent to which the ability to find and kill the other guy adds to one’s own survivability. That the Navy has chosen THIS path to enhance FF survivabilty makes eminent sense.

    • David Teer

      The problem is, the ships are receiving a new air search radar and sonar system, but no torpedo or ESSM are being added. The only major mods are the SEA Ram replacing the RAM and a new anti ship missile. Both are good but neither one can destroy subs or shoot down enemy planes.

      • silencedogoodreturns

        or handle swarms of low tech speed boats

        • David Teer

          the new Frigate will still have two 30mm chain guns, and 25mm chain gun and hellfire missiles, in addition to its 57mm gun. There are 4 dedicate defense systems for small boats, pick any two, get rid of them and add ESSM

      • I’m less concerned about torpedo tubes as I am a lack of ESSM or ASROC capablilty. Shooting torpedoes over the side is a bad way to fight subs, but not having anyway to deliver one if you can’t get your Firescout airbourne is worse.
        If the USN is going to get serious about moving the engagement zone for incoming ASCM to 30m (about the range of current ESSM) then we can expect big upgrade to ESSM or a new sytem of similair size. Going ahead an giving the LCS/FF a VLS capability now is necessary to keep pace with coming AAW advances, better to include it now than have to go to hull for 2.0 after you have more ships in the water.

        • David Teer

          The problem is VLS cannot be added to this version of the LCS. Lockheed already has a larger version of the LCS ready to build that incorporates the VLS. But the navy wants to stick with the current version.
          They still have the option of adding some mk56 vls which can fire ESSM but not ASROC.

          • Sorry, to clarify – when I said add VLS for ESSM/ASROC I meant to the coming upgraded FF, not the existing LCS on the assembly line.

          • David Teer

            The new FF is the same ship as the LCS. All they are doing is adding OTH anti ship missiles, hellfire missiles, two 30mm chain guns and a 25mm chain gun. The size of the ship is not changing. There is no physical space to add a VLS unless it is the mk 56 launcher but mk 56 can only fire essm.

  • Ed Middendorf

    Two words… Stark and Roberts. Small ships need highly trained crews. Damage Control on a small boy is all about a high level of training. Those two ships survived because of their crews.

    • Gordan Evans Van Hook

      Appreciate the sentiment, but SBR was a 4950 ton flight four frigate built to Level II survivability. She had an excellent crew, but matched to a far more survivable platform.

      • Lazarus

        Again sir, I’m not sure how “survivable” the FFG 7’s were after the early 1990’s. Their length and larger size certainly improve their recoverability over LCS, but, as former FFG 7 CSO, the MK 92 was no match for the sort of missile salvo combat that has been predicted for the last 20+ years.

    • El_Sid

      Without wanting to take anything away from what those crews achieved – you have to consider the circumstances as well. It’s a lot easier to bring a ship home if you’re in the calm waters of the Gulf and a few hours from Bahrain. Compare HMS Sheffield who survived for 6 days after her Exocet attack, but was in high seas in the South Atlantic, thousands of miles from home.

  • Brion Boyles

    Seems to me that the chances this vessel —or our Navy–will engage a heavier combatant requiring all that OTH capability and surface-to-air whiz-bang are rather slim. Rather, the probability of having to fight off a swarm of USS Cole-style speedboats armed with explosives or shoulder-fired weapons seems more likely…or even primitive mines. Given their light armor and construction plus small crew size for damage control, I seriously doubt one of these would survive such an event… or at least have to prematurely withdraw to lick her wounds. Tactically, I think a heavy reliance on technology has turned them into a “Death Star”…just find the vent, Luke.

    • muzzleloader

      I fail to see the logic of your belief that it is unlikely our Navy will engage heavy combatants in the future. . The Chinese Navy is growing rapidly, and their fleet is not, and will not be speedboats with RPG,s. Neither is Russia. The swarm scenario is s potent threat in the Persian Gulf, but the Pacific or Atlantic TEO, not likely.

      • David C. Meyers

        Russia, China, and India are all pursuing a blue water Navy. Why are we rushing to pursue a littoral one?

        • Richard Pera

          In short, because the “Navy” Leadership at the highest levels has a great affinity for BUZZWORDS…….Proactively “From the Sea”; leveraging the littoral best practices for a paradigm breaking six-sigma best business case to synergize a consistent design in the global commons, rightsizing the core values supporting our mission statement via the 5-vector model through cultural diversity. (Courtesy Cmdr. Salamander blog page). Moreover, perhaps it’s time to revisit the CORE VALUES of HONOR, COURAGE, and COMMITMENT…..that is, since they seemingly fall upon deaf ears given all the FACTS that point to the LCS’s shortcomings…..

        • Secundius

          @ David C. Meyers.

          Piracy, Drug Interdiction, Smuggling, etc. We need something with a Shallow Draft, High Speed Capably, and can Take the Fight to the Enemy’s Front Door Step’s. Large Ship’s can fight, but not in Shallow, Restricted Waterway. Like near Shorelines, Rivers, and Canals. The US. Navy, all way’s had Littorial’s. But they were limited only by their size and fighting capabilities. In WW2 the Erie class Gunboat was ~328-feet long and weighed ~2,800-tons while mounting (4) 6-inch guns. But there were only two of them…

      • silencedogoodreturns

        we’re not going to engage heavy combatants with a LCS.

        • Charles

          How, pray tell, do you know?

          If you go to war, you go to war with what you have where you have it.

          Besides – a Skjold-class boat (for example) isn’t a heavy combatant: but it would mop the floor with an LCS/FF. Even one of the USN’s old Pegasus-class hydrofoils could destroy an LCS without a second thought – at a fraction of the cost.

          What do you do about other navies “ultra-light” (and far less expensive, when compared to any LCS/FF variant) combatants, of which there are quite a few, any of which would quickly end the life of an LCS/FF?

          And virtually all of these smaller combatants have OTH capabilities.

          • silencedogoodreturns

            because we don’t believe in suicide

          • Secundius

            @ Charles.

            And a WW2 PT-Boat could sink a Japanese Cruiser, without a second thought too…

          • In don’t think a PT ever sank a Japanese cruiser except in the movies.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            In December 1942, off Savo Island a night action with no radar, eight Elco 77-foot PT-boats took on a number of Imperial Japanese Cruisers and ten Imperial Japanese Destroyers. At the end of the Battle two-Imperial Japanese Cruisers and four-Imperial Japanese Destroyers came out…

          • Can you be more precise because I have never seen any record of this happening. Date? which Japanese ships were sunk? People might have thought it happened at the time.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            How difficult can it be to look up an After Action Report from WW2. As far as I know there only two Naval Battles that took place in the Solomons Islands during the early part of WW2. One in December of 1942, and the other in the July of 1943. Where JFK’s PT-109 was sunk…

          • the sinking of numerous cruisers and destroyers by 8 PT boats did not happen. There were other battles Savo in August, Cape Esperance in Oct. ’42, first Battle of Guadalcanal Nov. 13, Second Battle of Guadalcanal Nov. 15.

          • They were followed by Tassafaronga, 30 Nov., 1942. All of those were around Guadalcanal. After the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal in Feb. 1943, the battles moved up the Solomons. Where they fought the Battle of Kolombangara, 12/13 July ’43, Vella Gulf 6/7 Aug. ’43, and Empress Augusta Bay, 2 Nov. ’43.

          • I think the incident you refer to was the sinking of the large destroyer Terutsuki, 12 Dec. 1942, but she was the only Japanese ship sunk in the engagement.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill. A USN. Blackcat or PBY-Catalina made the report, several Japanese Cruisers and ten-Japanese Destroyers with eight USN. PT-Boats went into the Battle. Only two-Japanese Cruisers, four-Japanese Destroyers and NO USN. PT-Boats came out. that battle took place around the 1st of December, 1942 off Savo Island in the Solomons Island chain…

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            The Japanese Destroyer Terutsuki was hardly a Battle. Considering it was a “one-on-one” engagement…

          • Terutsuki was one of ten destroyers of a Tokyo Express commanded by Tenaka, which was attacked by three PTs after unsuccessful air attacks.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            The Tokyo Express, took place between August of 1942 and October 1943. The Battle I mentioned took place in December of 1942 in the Solomons. The Battle your talking about tool place in August of 1942…

          • The battle is described in Morrison’s US Naval Operations of WWII, Vol. 5, The Struggle for Guadalcanal, Aug. 1942-Feb. 1943. page 319-320. You are talking through your hat. Read a little.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            The Solomon Campaign: Torpedo Boats and Littorials, by Mark Tempest September 22, 2009. Possible page reference 1204, The Solomon Islands…

          • It never happened.

          • I have looked at the fate of every Japanese cruiser and none were sunk by PTs.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            I just read the after action reports of PT-Boats operating in the Solomons in December 1942. While actual Japanese Cruiser was Sunk, one was badly damaged when torpedoes “broke her back” or broke her “keel”, One Japanese Destroyer sunk, with one “probable” sinking and one Japanese Destroyer scuttled after receiving crippling torpedo hits. I concede NO actual confirmed sinking of Japanese Cruisers…

          • Since it talks about a probable sounds like a contemporary report. Lots of confusion in night actions lead to erroneous reporting. Can’t really rely on reports of actions written during the war, except to give a flavor of contemporary views.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            No the reason “probable” comes up, because Debris was found, along with some bodies. That washed up on a near by island, one PT-Boat reported taking “pot-shoot” at floating debris in the area. But further investigation was ever made…

          • Point is post war we have access to Japanese records and know what was actually sunk when. We can talk about what actually happened.

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            Not all records, there’s several records that are still sealed to this day. One of which is about John McCain’s father…

          • Secundius

            @ Chuck Hill.

            Debris may have the Japanese Destroyer, IJS. Hatasukaze. Australian “coast watchers” reported seeing an explosion from a large ship operating in the area. Ship sank not long after explosion. It was reported that the Hatasukaze, did take a torpedo hit…

          • Secundius

            @ Charles.

            A Pegasus, could also take out an Arleigh Burke and not give it any thought…

      • Secundius

        @ muzzleloader.

        A RPG-7 has a maximum range of 1,000-meters on Dry-Land on a Non-Moving Surface. Compound that by being on a moving boat traveling at high speed and compound even further by moving on a XYZ axis all at the same time. Your chances of hitting a ship-size target is less that 4% at that range. You’d have to get within pistol range to hit a ship, and while you doing that. their going to be shooting back at you with much heavier/larger caliber weapons…

      • Brion Boyles

        The days of sophisticated nations going at it with ships in formation are long over… neither China nor even a vodka-soaked Russia would engage the U.S. in such primitive warfare. Their blue-water navies are directed at keeping the small dogs at bay…Philippines, Baltic states. We just don’t DO that sort of thing. Mutually assured destruction, economic/diplomatic processes and technology all combine to make open warfare between nations with large combatants nearly obsolete and futile. Our role with the projection of seapower is keeping the sea lanes open and free from the little buggers….pirates, terrorists, third world and rogues. In other words, the guys who are loony enough to attack with primitive arms that “fly under the radar”, so to speak. Our sophistication is very good at tracking and taking out incoming missiles, super-sonic aircraft and hunting submarines. But the COLE wasn’t hit with that, was it? the COLE was taken out by a GARBAGE SCOW.
        The Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane in a battle-cloudy panic because she was in a steep heel, turning to escape Iranian boghammer speedboats and couldn’t bring her technology or weapons to bear…pirates in the Singapore Straits are still best fended off with the Mark 1, Mod 0 eyeball and .50 caliber guns, fer chrissake….

        • Secundius

          @ Brion Boyles.

          What “Gabage Scow” would that be, sir. USS. Cole was taking on fuel, when a small boat ladened with several hundred of pounds of explosives detonated next to the Cole making a large whole. A garbage scow probably would have caused major damage to the Cole or just sunk it…

        • muzzleloader

          Your supposition that blue water navies will no longer ” go at it” is not supportable. During the cold war the U.S and Soviet fleets trained for exactly that scenario. During the Falklands war the British and Argentine fleets were actively looking for each other, and were the Argie carrier not having problems with its catapults, there might have very well been a carrier vs. carrier battle. The Chinese D-2 missile is designed to sink American capital ships, namely American CVN’s.
          Granted, such an action would be the trip wire to all out war, possibly the use of nukes, and hopefully cooler heads would prevail. But to dismiss a potential action a potential enemy would make, especially if they have the capability to do so, is not sensible.

        • Secundius

          @ Brion Boyles.

          Putin’s Russian Federation Navy current strength is less than 100-ship’s. He can’t even pay the sailor’s that man the ship’s. They also have high desertion rate. China on the other hand, needs breathing space of it’s people and resources to keep them pacified. It’s only matter of time before the ChiCom’s try to do what the Imperial Japan couldn’t. And who ever win, Russian will be there to “grab the scraps”…

    • James B.

      The LCS is hopeless against real warships, even those smaller than it, but its capabilities are pretty limited against small boats as well. Despite looking and acting like a combatant, the LCS is just a fast minesweeper.

  • David C. Meyers

    Survivability questions linger? Why concern ourselves with “survivability” at this point? The craft hasn’t even managed to move into the realm of “deployability” without massive amounts of time/treasure/toil that are rarely mentioned honestly. Add up all the people – costs – effort to get the LCS out of port and into a deployed AOR, and the poor performance once arrived – and the concern about “survivability” seems ludicrous. Before you survive the fight, you have to get to the fight, and this craft has not proven that she can even approach the ring…

    • Lazarus

      Survivability and deployability are two different categories. Fort Worth’s current, uneventful deployment may indicate LCS is getting past its physical teething pains.

      • David C. Meyers

        Lazarus – in order to survive combat, you must deploy…unless you’re figuring the LCS will defend from pier side CONUS? To deploy, means the ability to conduct independent operations. Do you have the breakdown of FT WORTH time in port vs. time underway on this deployment? A lot of ships have “uneventful” times when pier side.

        • Lazarus

          FT Worth’s operational data would be interesting. All I know is that if she is having the same sort of problems Freedom had on her last Singapore deployment, the press are not covering them.

          The introduction of too many number technologies in the LCS classes has been one of the key problems in getting the ship operational as designed.

  • Daniel Shenise

    This is exactly why the USN wanted out of the small surface combatant/frigate business in 1999. They aren’t survivable, and if you try to make them survivable, you make them unaffordable. So they conceived the LCS to to all the junk work that was running the screws off the DDG fleet.

    • Steve Skubinna

      When I first heard that the Navy was going to build Littoral Combat Ships, my first reaction was “You already have those. They’re called PCs, and you were getting rid of them before green and brown water ops became sexy again.”

      In times of peace the USN has always discarded brown and green water capabilities in favor of high end platforms (one exception was the Yangtze Patrol, but that was due to commercial and diplomatic realities). Thus we end up reinventing the wheel each and every time.

    • Charles

      There are other, more compelling reasons why the USN wanted out of the small surface combatant business:
      1. The USN doesn’t *want* to fight in the littorals – they want to fight in blue water. Littoral fights are dirty, gutter-style, eye-ball to eye-ball battles – and it is highly problematic that our adversaries have forced the USN to pay attention to a battle-space they don’t like.
      2. Its a lot harder to make Admiral with a bunch of small combatants than it is with large ones.
      3. Littoral surface combatants take funds away from blue water combatants.
      4. Surface combatants optimized for littoral operations are ill-suited for blue-water operations.

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  • PolicyWonk

    After the cancellation of the LCS program, the navy was ordered to come up with a better armed/protected surface combatant.

    One of the most pointless features of LCS is the 40-knot speed requirement, for which no one has been able to articulate a reason. Another pointless aspect of the LCS program, is evidently the navy’s unwillingness or lack of ability to determine which sea-frame made better sense. Furthermore, many critics were unimpressed with the lack of armament, and LCS’s inability to protect itself, or for that matter give a naval adversary any pause before attacking a defenseless LCS.

    The above could have been addressed by:
    1. Chose ONE sea-frame – save the taxpayers some money, have both shipyards split the work, with the better performing one awarded more hulls.
    2. Removing the 40-knot speed requirement: thereby simplifying the propulsion system and reducing costs.
    3. Build the standard sea-frame to the Level-2 survivability standard.
    4. Basic armament should include some kind of VLS component (and targeting), available to the entire network so the more sophisticated ships can target the missiles if necessary.
    5. Continue to allow for mission modules to optimize the ship for mine clearing or sub-hunting.
    6. Give the ship enough armament to at least give a naval adversary a bit of pause.

    This assumes you’re building something new. There are other alternatives if one wants to purchase something already available.

    The appalling lack of imagination to address the fundamental problems with LCS – a ship that Adm. Greenert admitted was never designed to venture into contested waters – not even built to the level-1 standard – represents why people remain unimpressed with the so-called SSC/FF option.

    The lame lip-service regarding the “FF”, and the recent article on Breaking Defense where they try to figure out how to arm a ship that was never intended to be armed – is simply sad. Yes – there are tradeoffs when it comes to balancing the size of a ship w/r/t survivability and armaments when it comes to design – but we can do so much better than LCS/FF/SSC. If our allies figured it out and came up with a better solution – we can too.

    • Splitting hairs here, but the LCS Frigate will not be MCM capable, that role will be entirely filled by the original seaframe LCS. The upgunned Frigate version will be optimized for SuWa (addition of the KSM) and ASW (proper tail, etc).
      I concur that the failure to include a VLS to at least make them capable to carry the ESSM for AAW (and hopefully an eventual a new ASROC system) is a huge mistake. Not dropping the 40 kt requirement make no sense to me as it makes their cruise speed lower than fleet speed without crushing the endurance/range.

      • The_Usual_Suspect61

        The LCS Frigate will be MCM capable, but only once. This platform has been a financial folly since inception. Do we really need a real world example of lives lost to show how poorly designed it is? When will somebody with the guts to cancel it finally put two in the keel?

        • The real issue here is that the USN has no business building anything that’s believed to be expendable. We just aren’t that country anymore. If a US Flag slipps under the waves the public isn’t going to care if it’s a destroyer, frigate or a bathtub toy, it’s a national catastrophe. So get out of the flag showing business and focus on what you really need to do, blue water power projection, and that means more DDGs (or CGs) to make Carrier Battle Groups survivable and UCASS to extend that CBG’s reach (and as many SSNs as EB/NNS can churn out).

    • Lazarus

      Many of the LCS’ requirements were conceived of in the late 1990’s and high tactical speeds were advocated by folks such as the late VADM Cebrowski and CAPT Wayne Hughes as an asset in fighting small craft. As a former PC sailor, I can tell you that the speed requirement is more about opening the distance between you and an adversary rather than closing to attack.

      If you add on all of the capabilities you suggest, the cost of the ship will balloon beyond what is right for a ship of the LCS’ size and capability. If we want to “do better” as you suggest, we will have to spend a lot more money and demand fixed-price contracting at the outset.

      The question of “light armament” has been advanced for a number of US ship classes including the DD 963 and the FFG 7. Most of these complaints come from folks with World War 2 concepts of what armament should be. Modern warships to not bristle with weapons. LCS’s large flight deck/hangar are a significant offensive capability in their own right. While I agree the ship needs a surface to surface missile capability (as does the Navy as a whole), the LCS’s SeaRAM, 57mm and 30mm guns are reasonable for a ship of 3000 tons and less than 425 feet in length. It was designed to replace the PC (2 25mm guns), the MCM’s (2 .50 cals) and the FF(now no G) 7 (1 76mm and 1 20mm CIWS). We have very capable DDG’s now that we did not have when the FFG 7 was produced. In the late 1970’s, the DDG fleet was already aging and had less than reliable/effect SAM systems. The DD 963’s only had point defense air defense systems. RAM/SeaRAM is much better than CIWS in that in offers several additional engagement opportunities before requiring reload.

      In short, LCS is well armed and capable in comparison with past US small ships.

      • PolicyWonk

        Interesting, and thanks for your comments.

        I thought the navy should start with the PC’s/Cyclone, or alternatively the Pegasus class, and work its way up from there. LCS, to be effective in shallow water, shouldn’t be above 1500-2000 tons (IMHO). Instead, we’ve got something that isn’t very good in either shallow or deep water.

        The PC’s are around 600 tons from what I recall, and have since been upgraded with a 30mm remotely operated cannon for service in the Persian Gulf (in addition to a few other goodies). For their size – they are better armed (and tougher) than LCS – and truly suited for shallow water. Note that with LCS, the 30mm cannons are only available with the SUW (Surface Warfare) package. While the LCS’s chopper is useful, it also makes for an excellent target, and if shot down puts a substantial gap into the LCS’s offensive capability.

        The bottom line, is that designing LCS in absence of either a littoral strategy, or any evidence of our hard-won experience with littoral warfare, failed to garner the taxpayers a good result. At $400M per sea-frame, there is little value, especially given Adm. Greenert’s admission that LCS wasn’t designed to venture into contested littorals, or fight when it got there (so much for “littoral combat”), and worse, doesn’t even meet the Level-1 survivability standard.

        That last piece (not meeting the minimum standard to be even called a US navy ship) is especially disturbing, given the navy’s heavily published explanation for the staggering cost of each sea-frame, a good chunk of which was due to strengthening the designs to the Level-1 standard during construction. This explanation was apparently little more than BRAVO SIERRA, and those responsible should be prosecuted for defrauding the US government and taxpayers (IMO).

        Small wonder our allies navy’s took a look at LCS, and turned it down, saying it was far too expensive for far too little ROI.

        Sad…

        • Lazarus

          Sounds like you are looking for a street fighter-like combatant. The reason LCS is larger than 2000 tons is that it needs to be globally deployable. The US Navy operates on a global basis and short-ranged, smaller ships do not meet the requirement of being able to pick up and move to the next adjacent AOR at short notice. Smaller ships cannot do that.

          I served on a PC. They weigh in at about 330 tons. They are no match for similar-sized craft armed with missiles and larger guns. PC’s were created for naval special warfare, were deemed too big for their intended missions, and would have been retired had not 9/11 given them a reprieve for general patrol work. A flight deck offers the LCS significant advantages in the ability to embark search and attack rotary-wing assets.

          LCS was designed as a deployable (vice locally-based) littoral asset. Vietnam-style littoral craft need secure bases, and in the last 45 years the US has not always had that luxury. LCS was designed as part of the now-defunct SC21 family of ships in a period when significant surface opposition was not foreseen. It was more a “mopping up”/low threat/specialized ship rather than a combatant designed to charge into the thick of melee battle. The “survivability” rating of LCS is Navy designed, and shows that it was not intended to face a mass salvo of cruise missiles. No ship of LCS’ size is survivable as my article explains.

          The LCS design was changed and updated to reflect some of the concerns listed above of the course of the mid-late 2000’s. The threat obviously grew and the original street fighter craft was not seen as sufficient in endurance or armament. Had LCS been built to a fixed-price contract, its cost would not have ballooned as much. Congress needs to demand reform in defense contracting. Finally, our allies are not interested in LCS as it does not fulfill a need in their naval orders of battle. Most have a high-end frigate and low end-end offshore patrol ship as the basic units of their surface forces. The only ships they deploy outside home waters tend to be the frigates. LCS fits between these designations as the US needs to deploy all assets into remote areas and US Coast Guard provides the 21st century version of “coastal defense”.

          • Secundius

            @ Lazarus.

            Are you sure about SC-21?. As far as I know SC-21, a 22,500-ton Strike Cruiser based on the Arleigh Burke designed hull never went beyond the Artist rendering of what the ship was suppose to look like. Your probably think about DDG-21. Or, the Zumwalt class Advance Destroyer…

          • Lazarus

            SC-21 was a whole family of ships including the cruiser you list, an earlier version of the current Zumwalt class DDG, and the LCS, which was a later add-on, courtesy of the late VADM Cebrowski’s “sea fighter” concept.

          • Secundius

            @ Lazarus.

            I see where the mix-up is. Your’s was a Defense Acquisition Board COEA (Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis) Report. Mine was a RAND report on a proposed Arsenal Ship based on the AB class Destroyer Hull Design…

          • Secundius

            @ Lazarus.

            Considering they use Gator-Freighters to transport Cyclones class PC, (three-abreast) in the “well deck”. Do the same with PBM’s in tandem if all possible and then use the same Gator-Freighter as the Support Vessel. Similar to the HAL used during the Vietnam War…

        • Secundius

          @ Policy Wonk.

          The Military get to make Recommendation’s, the Congress set’s Policies and does the Funding. If Congress doesn’t fund it. The Military doesn’t get it.

        • Secundius

          @ PolicyWonk.

          The 600-ton reference applies to the ROC’s Stealth Corvette. Freedom per unit cost is ~437-Million USD. And Independence per unit cost is ~432-Million USD. and the 30mm remote operated cannons, reference goes to the Zumwalt class Advance Destroyer…

          • PolicyWonk

            I think I fat fingered something (sorry), the PC class were between 300-400 tons. And they were upgraded to have a 300mm remote cannon, prior to their deployment to the Persian Gulf (where amongst other duties, they are guarding Iraqi oil wells).

            The Zumwalts, are also supposed to acquire 30mm cannons, from what I recall.

            Cheers.

          • Secundius

            @ PolicyWonk.

            The Ambassador IV class PBM’s mount 3-inch Oto Melara Mk. 75 (76.2mm/63.3-caliber) Auto Cannons w/cyclic rate of fire between 85rpm and 120rpm.

            Also the LCS have been funded to 37-ships. And a NavSea Study, proposes replacing the Bofors 57mm with the Oto Melara 76.2mm guns on the LCS/FF classes…

      • Secundius

        @ Lazarus.

        Donald Rumsfeld drafted a memo the President Bush in 2001 to fund a Pilot Program on the LCS lines. And the LCS, received it’s funding in 2003. LCS-1, USS. Freedom keel was laid in 2005, launched in 2006 and commissioned 2008…

        • NavySubNuke

          Yes – that he why he talked about the requirements being developed in the 1990s. DoD acquisitions tend to take 15 – 20 years after all.

    • Secundius

      @ PolicyWonk.

      When did they cancel the LCS program? I do remember them reclassifying it, but they didn’t cancel it…

      • PolicyWonk

        They stopped production to (at the time) 20-something hulls under contract/in-the-pipeline, to determine (in the face of highly unfavorable reviews from every auditing agency that investigated LCS, including the navy’s own inspector general, let alone the public)) what the best way ahead was.

        Unfortunately for the taxpayers – let alone those who’s lives may be compromised – the navy decided that not enough good money had yet been thrown after bad. Hence, they are now planning on building a slightly up-gunned/up-armored LCS, which magically transformed via the genius of marketing in a “Fast Frigate”.

        Cheers

    • NavySubNuke

      Agreed – among the most atrocious parts was the decision to keep both lines — effectively doubling the spare parts cost/complexity required to keep this class functional. Never mind the additional manpower costs associated with retraining of folks who move from one type to another.

  • Curtis Conway

    Coast Guard Cutter Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, NSC Program:

    Of the Coast Guard’s white-hull patrol cutter fleet, the NSC is the largest and most
    technologically sophisticated in the Coast Guard. Each NSC is capable of operating in the most demanding open ocean environments, including the hazardous fisheries of the North Pacific and the vast approaches of the Southern Pacific where much of the American narcotics traffic occurs. With robust Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment, stern boat launch and aviation facilities, as well as long-endurance station keeping, the NSCs are afloat operational-level headquarters for complex law enforcement and national security missions involving multiple Coast Guard and partner agency participation.

    file:///C:/Users/Curt/Downloads/253451416-R42567-2.pdf

    The NSC has far more growth potential than the LCS or any variation there of, and it can operate for extended periods in the Arctic if necessary. The LCS (any version) will never do this.

    • silencedogoodreturns

      the Navy could never adopt a Coast Guard platform. Too embarrassing to the Navy, in many ways

    • El_Sid

      The NSC is a $700m ship – and your “growth potential” would presumably fill it with $300m+ of weaponry.

      Strategically, who would the US be facing in the Arctic? Iraq? Panama? No, it would be Russia, which suggests you’d want to send your first-rate ships. Besides, the best vessel for the Arctic is a submarine.

      • Secundius

        @ El_Sid.

        Actually a projected Patrol Frigate base line cost, would be between $795-Million to $825-Million USD. per ship…

        • El_Sid

          What does that cover – something like the original PF4501 or the more heavily armed PF4921? Which FY?

          I’m just sceptical I guess – so often we hear prices quoted to get the business, and then they spiral upwards once the contract is signed.

          • Secundius

            @ El_Sid.

            The PF4501 is a Patrol Frigate classification @ ~$765-Million USD. per ship. And the PF4921 is a Light Frigate classification @ ~$825-Million USD. per ship. Both ship’s will be based on the Legend class NSC “hull design” lines…

          • Secundius

            @ El_Sid.

            I’m having to do this by memory, because I didn’t have anything to write it down with.

            Both class retain Performance parameters, with the exception of range. The PF4501, ~10,000-nm @ 11-knots and the PF4521, ~8,000-nm @ 9-knots.

            Both ship’s retain one LM2500 Gas-Turbine Engine and two MTU V20 1163 Long-Range Diesel Engines.

            Both ship’s one 3-inch (76.2mm/63.3caliber Oto Melara Auto-Cannon, w/a cyclic rate of fire of between 85rpm to 120rpm, two 25x137mm Bushmaster Auto-Cannons, four 12.7x99mm HBMG’s, 2 quad Harpoon/ArcLight ASM’s, ASROC ASuWM’s, one MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter, two MQ-8 Firescout drone helicopters, two triple torpedo tubes and two 11-meter Rib Boats.

            The PF4501 design, 48-cell Mk. 41 ESSM’s and a crew of 141 plus 19 aircrew.

            The PF4521 design, 48-cell SM-3ER? and a crew of ~200 plus 19 aircrew.

            If there was anything else, I can’t remember it. Sorry…

          • Secundius

            @ El_Sid.

            As far as I can safely tell you. A proposal for funding of either and/or both the PF4501 or PF4921 has been submitted. But actual FY, Nothing yet…

      • Curtis Conway

        I like the way you think, and you are focused in the right direction. However, we are building disposable ships with real sailors on them. In the modern surface combat battle space they are, for all practical purposes, defenseless. I’d rather have an NSC with a non-rotating 3D sensor, SSDS, sonar and Mk41 VLS (appropriately populated) than anything else. At least I have a shot at survival. One cannot outrun a supersonic ASCM, and the probability of stopping one with 25lbs of blast fragmentation at 1,000 to 6,000 yards is slim to none. Live in the Real World, or die in it, when reality comes to visit.

      • Curtis Conway

        More than once an FFG-7 was in the mix in the Black Sea. At one point it was teamed up with a command ship. The dual DDG-51 or DDG-51 + CG-47 mix was obviously desired and appropriate for that mission.

  • Gordan Evans Van Hook

    Yes – a small LCS is not survivable and never will be so let’s not expect it in its SSC/ FF version. Interesting that the author only focuses on the most expensive alternatives: F100, Norwegian and Australian. The Australian case is one of the world’s most egregious. Are those the only alternatives? Why are the Danish Iver Huitfeldt frigates not mentioned? Probably because a lethal (MK 41 VLS) and survivable (STANAG shock tested) 6600 Ton frigate for $ 330M is an embarrassment to the rest of NATO – US included. Somehow that existing design missed the cut.

    • Steve Skubinna

      Actually for the LCS role I’d suggest that we build a lot of something like the Swedish Visby class. And in smaller numbers, the Danish Absalon class as squadron or division flagships. The larger ships can support the smaller ones with stores, maintenance, helicopters and UAVs, and larger gunfire and missile support.

      Plus they give the Captain’s and Commander’s Union command billets.

    • Lazarus

      Sir, you could include Iver Huitfeldt in the group of alternatives, but, in my opinion, those ships serve the same role as the DDG 51 does in US service. They are the high end surface combatants for their fleets. The US was not looking to fill or support a similar role, and hence, went with a smaller design. As it stands, LCS does replace the aging PC and MCM craft, as well as the now retiring FF (sans G) 7 class.

      As to the cost factor, Denmark’s shipbuilding industry, including naval contracts, almost always employ fixed price contracting, which tends to limit the sort of expanding costs we see in the US. Perhaps the US could have gotten LCS at $220 million a copy had US industry been under similar constraints.

      • Plus the Danes build hull sections in Eastern Europe where labor is cheap and the cost does not include weapons which were recycled from ships being replaced.

    • Secundius

      @ Gordan Evans Van Hook.

      STANAG or (STandard AGreement) is NOT a Test…

  • Steve Skubinna

    “Survivability” is largely a chimera these days, especially regarding a small combatant. To me the real fault of the LCS is that it is typically goldplated and thus overpriced, plus the decision to make them O-5 commands puts them in the hands of officers conditioned at that point of their careers to be risk averse.

    Logically they ought to be cheaper and more numerous, and with officers in command (O-4s) not so high up the ladder that they’ve adopted a philosophy more suited to a large high value bluewater combatant.

    As such they’re platforms in search of a mission, and with the decision to make then “frigates” by diktat, square pegs in round holes. They really can’t fulfill most frigate roles whatever you call them. We want frigates, build frigates. We want coastal and littoral combatants, build those.

    • vincedc

      Sorry, but in today’s Navy everyone is risk averse. The difference is more than the just braid on the cover. This is not a PT boat. Basing ship requirements on World War II doctrine is not particularly smart.

  • OLDNAVYVET

    When I reported aboard a Sumner class an old BMC told me “Uncle Sam says if she last 30 minutes in combat, it will have paid for itself!”

  • WasatchHaole

    Sometimes you need a tank, sometimes you need a jeep. Just make sure the jeep doesn’t cost as much as the tank.
    Really, the next step in defense isn’t more armor, it’s adding a laser. The laser would be able to better defend against small aircraft, rockets, mortars, and small boats that you would see in littoral waters. The optics for the laser would also drastically improve situational awareness in crowded coastal waters. You could mount it right over the helicopter deck.

    • Power to operate a robust LaWS will probably be an issue, but if you adjusted the powerplant requirements to increase power & reduce the speed requirement you’d likely be able to accomodate at 200kw+ level LaWS and increase the range/endurance of your new Frigate.

      • Secundius

        @ notrizzo.

        At present there is NO 200-kw laser system. The current LawS is only 30-kw, sustained with 32-kw, peak laser system…

        • The intention of the LaWS trial on the Ponce is a proof on concept and integration test. The only plan I’ve seen for a rull scale fleet integration is for a ~200kW system which has been lab tested, but not yet taken to the prototype level.

          • Secundius

            @ uss_fallujah.

            At present, the Navy is reluctant to go down the ~200kW route. There probably looking at the “morale” question of a “Death Ray”. Which I think is Foolish and/or Stupid, it’s only a matter of time when they have to “cross that morale bridge”. Better sooner than later, because if we don’t, somebody else will…

          • I see no evidence of a reluctance to increase the power of a shipboard laser system, only a desire to integrate the concept before they get too far down the procurement train (something that would have been very smart to do with LCS/JSF/DDG-1K!)
            Ultimatly they want a ship board laser than can defend against ASCM, no way you can do that with anything below ~200kW (and to be truly effective beyond an enhanced CIWS you need a mW system…which means a Free Electron Laser, which is much farther down the road than the combined industrial lasers currently being developed).

          • Secundius

            @ usa_fallujah.

            A 100-kW prototype FEL isn’t scheduled for testing until 2018…

          • I hadn’t heard anyting about FEL testing, still just a powerpoint weapon from what i’ve heard.

          • Secundius

            @uss_fallujah.

            Congressional Research Service, Navy Shipboard Laser for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues For Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke, System Naval Analysis, dated December 23,2014…

          • Secundius

            @uss_fallujah.

            I’m suspecting the FO-Police won’t post my comment to you. I’ve tried to answer your comment twice now, and they’ve REDDIT’d both comments…

          • Secundius

            @uss_fallujah.

            Considering I can’t communicate with you directly, because my comment keep getting Reddit’d. You just going have to let your fingers do the walking across the keyboard and find the information yourself…

          • Secundius

            @uss_fallujah.

            Considering I can’t communicate with you directly, because my comment keep getting Reddit’d. You just going have to let your fingers do the walking across the keyboard and find the information yourself…

      • PB

        It will be interesting to read about the future rail gun trials. A fair amount of electrical output will be needed.

        • Secundius

          @ PB.

          I believe the current Mach 7 Rail-Gun System ~54.9-MJ…

  • Jim Barden

    If you want a small surface combatant, what is wrong with the Blohm and Voss MEKO 200 such as the ANZAC variant. Fit it with US weapons and sensors and, if politically or logistically necessary, an American sourced main propulsion plant and build it under license in the US. It has a 5″ gun, giving it the capability to escort ARG’s and provide native ASW, AAW, and naval artillery. They also have enough crew to keep them maintained and clean. I think they are about $65 million a copy.

    • Secundius

      @ Jim Barden.

      The ANZAC and the MEKO 200 are the Exact same class. And ANZAC class Frigate, is a MEKO class Frigate locally produced in Australia, A cost for MEKO new is ~$700-Million USD. not $65-Million USD…

  • So if the original LCS seaframes are going to take on all of the MCM mission modules and apparently secondary ASW/SuWa systems as available….will congress get on the USN to further upgrade the Frigates to include a VLS so they can at least carry the ESSM to sea and provide basic area defense (for escorting non-combatants)?

  • Harold Mendelson

    The navy is in the process of renaming LCS ships as frigates, going so far as to changing their ship classification. I don’t think the navy has decided what to do with this new ship. Without a clear understanding of its mission, any upgrades are at best a shot in the dark. The navy should decide quickly what it wants and build a ship that meets its needs. Currently, the navy is wasting time and money with its current method of building a ship with no clear purposem

  • James B.

    If the intent was never to buy a frigate to replace the Perrys, then the LCS is only good for being an overpriced minesweeper, and we need to start looking at economical frigate designs.

  • Matt

    I could be wrong, but their could be a purpose for the Navy being very vague on LCS armaments and the capability of those mission modules. It sure makes it hard to counter a threat you don’t know about isn’t it?

  • Secundius

    How could the Fletcher class Destroyer have a pre-war complement, if the first ship wasn’t commissioned until June of 1942. A “retro-active” complement…

    • Lazarus

      By “wartime” destroyers, I meant the Sumner and Gearing classes. The point is that those DD’s had much larger complements than LCS.

      • Secundius

        @ Lazarus.

        But a WW2 destroyer wasn’t as “automated” as it is by 2015 standards. Computer controlled gyro-stabilized gun system you be “stand-off” ranges, and WW2-era destroyer won’t have a chance. Even a Hellfire missile could take-out a WW2 destroyer with ease. Even easier in a Night Action…

        • Lazarus

          I agree. I only refer to the additional complement of the WW2 DD’s in that their large complement provided additional personnel to perform damage control and manually operate weapons.

          • Secundius

            @ Lazarus.

            But even a “wartime” LCS class is going to have a wartime complement. The “peacetime” complement of a LCS is ~80, whitle the “wartime” complement is ~120. Plus you have additional weapon systems that the WW2-era destroyers didn’t have. Two helicopters and their respective weaponry complement…

          • Lazarus

            All true. Still, at 120, or even 140, it’s just under half of the basic Fletcher crew. I think the LCS would do quite well; my other point is that the automatic weapons mounted by LCS (57mm, RAM, 30mm) are the kind that can easily be restored, as were World War 2 5 inch 38’s, etc.

          • Secundius

            @ Lazarus.

            The Mk.30 twin and the Mk.38 single 5-inch/38-caliber, Naval Guns of WW2 were manned turrets, their rate of fire was 22rpm PEAK and 12 to 15rpm SUSTAINED. And only had a range of 10.2-sm. maximum. The Mk.38 single weighed 29,260-pounds gun/turret combined and the Mk.30 twin a Whooping 170,653-pounds guns/turret combined.

            The Oto Melara 3-inch (76.2mm/63.3-caliber), Naval Gun System rate of fire varies between 85rpm and 120rpm. And has a range of 12.4sm to 24.8sm, extended and weighed 17,000-pounds gun/turret combined.

            The BAE 5-inch (127mm/62-caliber), Naval Gun System rate of fire is 20rpm. And has a range of 23sm to 97.8sm, extended and weighing 73,766.5-pounds gun/turret combined.

            The Rheinmetall GmbH 6.1-inch (155mm/52-caliber) Naval Gun System, rate of fire is 10rpm. And has a range 95.5sm and weighing 208,000-pounds gun/turret combined…

  • Warren Peters

    The fallacy of this article is that the LCS is compared with the survivability of a WWII Destroyer Class vessel which will never be matched even by a modern warships the LCS should be compared with the Patrol Craft Classes of that war for survivability as that is really what the LCS is. The US asked for and bought a inshore Patrol Vessel something that the USN has a huge anathema against. Wake up folks the LCS was never designed to go up a DD Class ship it is designed to fight the Iranian Small Combatants hat we will see in most combat for the next few years. I agree that we as a fleet need FFGs but we do need the LCS too. Just not as a do all be all vessel.

    • Secundius

      @ Warren Peters.

      The Fletcher class Destroyers of WW2, only have 1/2-inch of Steel Plating as ARMOR, A .30-06 round could penetrate that armor…

  • MrInvestor

    Given everything noted in this article, why would we spend hundreds of millions per vessel for what amount to targets? If a conflict breaks out we will be able to rapidly increase production of smaller ships if needed, not so easy with Burkes. The global maritime challenges we face are increasing. We need the budgets and the gumption to have a fully capable fleet. The costs for more Burkes may be higher but the bang for the buck, survivability and versatility are proportionally a much better deal. If you want to build littoral combatants, build a large number of much smaller ships along the lines of the VT Halter Ambassador IV Fast Missle Craft, which, with a little stretch and add of Phalanx and advanced Tomahawks would be a scary porcupine of a ship. Forward base them, let LCDRs command them. If we need to mass produce FFG class vessels in a dust up, there are a lot of SE/Gulf Coast yards that can crank out variation on offshore vessels modified for military use. Or…let’s build real FFs based on the new USCG cutter design. Let’s call the LCS what it is, an experiment that taught us a lot that we will now use to make better decisions.
    Like · Reply · 23

    • Lazarus

      Those small ships:
      a) Need bases that must be defended by significant ground formations, or we must pay foreign govts. big bucks to support them.
      b) Those small ships have poor operational endurance, perhaps 10 days at sea, and that’s only at best economical speed, not battle conditions.
      c) What assets will provide the targeting those small ships will need to engage anything beyond the range of their own minimal sensors? Networks are vulnerable to attack, so if their supporting network is done, these ships are useless.

      As for the USCG cutter, it could indeed be a Cold War frigate, but the US Navy does not need a Cold War-type frigate. A Perry successor with a modern area AAW system will be almost as expensive as a Burke.

      • MrInvestor

        Agree your points, which is why I advocate for more Burkes. Everything you note is equally applicable to the LCS. The difference in having smaller vessels (effectively super PT boats) vs. LCS is that if we want to fight in the littoral areas we can have more units for the same cost and disperse the vessels in smaller
        ports. I am not a fan of the littoral combat concept but if it is something we view as necessary, the LCS is not suited for that role either. The LCS is stuck in the middle of two roles and is too big (and expensive) for one and too small (and expensive) for the other.

  • Hugh

    It seems to me that these ships are not replacements for frigates, but are to serve lower specific duties in the navy’s spectrum. Improvements are always desirable.

    Modern warheads are much more lethal than those in WW2. Modern weapons are much more accurate than those in WW2. Therefore the need is to stop anything incoming, and to have superior smarts on weapons so as to get them through to the enemy. Ships need to operate in groups with links.

    As for aluminium hulls and superstructures, they are much less survivable than steel.

    Regarding the FFG 7s, the Royal Australian Navy successfully upgraded four, and all are in service – 76mm gun; CIWS; Standard 2, Harpoon and ESSM missiles; MU90 torpedoes; Mini-Typhoon 50 cals; Nulka and Chaff decoys; and are now receiving MH90 helicopters with dunking sonars.

    • Secundius

      @ Hugh

      Kind of makes you wonder why the ChiCom PLAN is oppose to a 40-year old ship design going to the ROC.

      As for the MH-90’s, their aren’t any on the Australian Adelaide/OHP class Frigates. Their complement of rotor-craft, are either S-70B Seahawk’s or AS350 Squirrel’s. They might be able to rearm or refuel the MH-90’s, but not hanger them…

    • Lazarus

      The Australian FFG’s have not been as “rode hard and put away we” as their US cousins have been over the last 30 years. Upgrades are nice, but their MK 92 FCS is ancient and no longer effective against ASCM attack.

    • El_Sid

      Trouble is that the compartmentalisation of Perrys makes them a nightmare to upgrade, the Aussies had real problems. I’m not sure what the final bill was, it was ~US$300m per ship last I heard. Also worth noting that both they and the Turks could only fit an 8-cell VLS launcher – it’s more likely to be loaded with quad-packed ESSM than SM-2.

      • Secundius

        @ El_Sid.

        The Australian Navy and the Turkish Navy plan on using the ESSM’s. The Royal Bahrain Navy, Egyptian Navy, Pakistan Navy, Polish Navy and Spanish Navy plan on using the SM-1MR’s. And the ROC Navy haven’t decided yet on either the ESSM or the SM-2MR missile system. The ROC Navy also plans to mount the AEGIS system on their OHP class Frigates, increasing their displacement to ~5,000-tons. And the Philippine Navy, has decided to acquire the Dutch Frigate class De Zeven Provincein instead of the OHP class…

    • Secundius

      @ Hugh.

      The Royal Australian Navy only has six NH90’s and none of them are billeted aboard ship’s. And at present time, only serve as Medium Logistics Transports. The other forty operating are with the Royal Australian Army, in the same role…

  • Lincoln J Wills

    Survivability will always be a relevant issue. Especially to the men and women who count on these ships to take them to sea and bring them home. But in great contrast to the lethalness of modern weapon systems, one can not compare vessels of the US World War II Navy to todays Navy. The Fletcher class destroyers would do nothing after receiving a tomahawk strike other than sink to the bottom and become a modern vacation dive destination.

    I also disagree with the author view of ship cannon systems. Cannons are not the offensive weapon they once where. But in defense, and in particularly close defense, cannon systems shine.

    For a modern ship, I believe there are two very important factors in it’s survivability. First, stealth. Second, time/distance. Both of these qualities are now engineered into every new Navy ship built — in the inclusion of early warning abilities or from low radar signature hull shapes. Because true survivability is in not being struck in the first place. If a ship is hit with modern ordinance — all bets are off. Had the USS Cole been attacked by waves of attackers and not the single assault it received, it’s unlikely she would still be a member of the fleet.

    Smaller vessels will statistically lose comparably to larger ships. There will be more of them deployed. Additionally, they will get in closer to the action, reducing both stealth and time/distance.

    “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harms way.”
    —John Paul Jones

    • Lazarus

      Agree guns are not the primary weapon system they were in World War 2. My point is that the 57mm gun is a largely automated weapon without a manually-operated mode. It would be much more difficult to restore to full operation if damaged.

      • Lincoln J Wills

        LOL, Ok . . . well you may be onto something. The Cole was immobilized after receiving a single direct hit broadside — which is my point. I do not see the manual systems coming back . . . perhaps more autonomous as in the SeaRAM. However, manual systems already exist. Perhaps not in the form of a deck mounted cannon, but with mobile 50 cal. deck mounts and shoulder fired rockets.

        • Secundius

          @ Lincon J Wills.

          The only other Gun System on the Cole that could be depressed to fire on the approaching “small craft/bomb” other then the M2HBMG were the Phalanx Gun System. The problem in the Phalanx System, the ship’s “superstructure and hull” were in the way…

          • Lincoln J Wills

            The M2HBMG was bought on deck of the USS Cole and sailors ordered post watch. Whether or not Stingers where available, I could not answer. It is my understanding that the Phalanx at the time lack surface defense abilities, but may now be resolved. However, power and control of the phalanx may also not been present.

            A good thing none of this was needed, knowing how saturated the waters around the DDG was with fuel!

          • Secundius

            Stingers are Shoulder-Launched Heat-Seeking Surface-to-Air Missiles, not an RPG-type weapon. A Stinger Missile could be used against an Sea or Land Target, as long as said target is emitting a strong-enough heat source. I don’t think the engines on a small boat qualify as Strong-Heat Source, you probably wouldn’t even get a “target lock” signal from the missile.

          • Froggy Frog

            BMG for follow-on surface threats. Stinger for air defense. But in the Cole situation, those needs did not materialize. An important aspect of damage control must also include measures for continue control of the engagement. The October 2000 USS Cole event is an excellent case study.

          • Secundius

            @ Froggy Frog.

            A Stinger Missile can be use against a “surface threat”, as long as said surface threat is transmitting a heat source high-enough to be locked-onto by the missile. Cigarette’s and Matches don’t qualify as High-Heat Sources…

          • Froggy Frog

            @ Secundius

            Please read before writing. As I wrote previously: “STINGERS FOR AIR DEFENSE.”

          • Secundius

            @ Froggy Frog.

            I know what a STINGER is, It still has a warhead, IT can still be Fired at a Land Target. You put a Proximity Fuse into a Recoilless Rifle and get the projectile within range of a Aerial Target. You can knock said Aerial Target out of the Sky…

          • Secundius

            @ Froggy Frog.

            You show me a piece of Documentation that Clearly States that any Weapon System, Can Not be used as other Purpose, other then what I was Specifically Design to do…

          • Secundius

            @ Froggy Frog.

            Question, what is the M829A1 “Silver Bullet” and what is its application used for…

          • Secundius

            @ Froggy Frog.

            You take the Seeker Head and Guidence System off an Stinger Missile, and you know you have. An RPG…

    • Secundius

      @ Lincoln J Wills.

      A Hellfire or even a TOW missile could take out a Fletcher class Destroyer…

      • BSmitty

        Hardly.

        Small HEAT warheads don’t do much to ships.

        • Secundius

          @ BSmitty.

          Fletcher class Destroyers only have 1/2-inch of steel armor all around. Even a well placed HEAT round could penetrate into the magazine. Or cripple the “steam boilers” of the engine room. Hit an exposed Torpedo Launcher or Depth-Charge Rack…

          • BSmitty

            Would have to be a lucky, “golden BB” shot.

            1/2 inch steel armor, maybe, but magazines weren’t right behind outer armor. Prolly have to penetrate down through several decks, walls, machinery, piping, and random stuff. And the effects at the end would be a pinhole-sized penetration.

            Remember, USS Johnston was hit by no less than three 14″ rounds, and numerous other rounds before succumbing to damage.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            Were not even talking about “slopped” armor, it was standard sheet armor or hull plating. The thickest part of the ship’s armor was the keel. Also the US. Navy used CO2 gas to smother out the fires in sealed compartments, The Japanese and Germans, flooded the compartments with “seawater”. I think towards the end of the war, the DD-724 USS. Laffey while on “picket duty” took four bomb hits and six “Val” Kamikaze hits and stayed afloat. Today’s warhead charges make WW2 munitions look like Civil War gunpowder. And I think the USS Johnston took more than three hits. I’d have to read the exploits of Taffy 1, 2, and 3 over again…

          • BSmitty

            Modern anti-ship warheads, maybe. Not HEAT.

            My point is that HEAT warheads designed to kill tanks won’t be that effective against ships unless they get a “golden BB” hit. Most of the small blast is channeled into a very narrow diameter jet. Relative to the interior of a tank, a DD interior is vast.

            Honestly, I doubt even a Tomahawk hit is enough to reliably sink a Fletcher. Might knock it out of action, but sinking is a different story.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            The Tomahawk w/conventional warhead in packed w/~1,000-pounds of Hight Explosives and the BGM-71E/H TOW are “Abbreviation Busters or BB” or Surface Bearing Demolition Missiles…

          • Froggy Frog

            LOL — so are you guys saying it’s better to avoid being hit by 1) stopping and attack before it is a threat, and 2) avoiding detection.

          • Secundius

            @ Froggy Frog.

            Where in any of my Comment Postings, have I made take suggestion…

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            The BGM-71E & H variants of the standard TOW missile, replaced the M135 165mm L9A1 Demolition Gun used by the US. Army…

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            While not actually serving in the Navy myself. Any fire aboard a Naval ship at sea is NOT a good thing. All a HEAT round has to do is start a Fire. Murphy, will take care of the rest…

          • BSmitty

            Fires are bad, but Navy ships and crews can handle fires, especially small ones caused by small HEAT warheads.

            Capt Hughes “Fleet Tactics” cited a study of actual hits on warships, which said it took on average, around three “thousand pound bomb” equivalents to sink a Fletcher-sized warship. That’s three Tomahawks, roughly.

            Small HEAT warheads won’t do much, unless they get very luck.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            Sir, do you actually have a clue about what your talking about. A WW2, Fletcher class Destroyer has 1/2-inch (12.7mm) Standard Plate Armor. A TOW missile with HEAT round penetrator is designed to go through between 14.96-inches (380mm) to 21.26-inches (540mm) RHA Steel Armor. I’ve seen what a TOW missile with a HEAT will do to a TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) Standard Shipping Container. It construction less Plywood Interior, closely matches the thickness of the hull of a Fletcher class Destroyer. It will EVISCERATE everything inside that container or a Compartmented Section of a Destroyer. The HEAT round consist’s of two sections, the Penetrator which first penetrate the armor followed by the warhead. All the penetrator does is allow the explosive warheand to detonate within the enclosed area. The penetrator is not an Explosive. It a Copper rod that turns into Molten Metal upon impact of the metal surface, clearing a path for the Warhead Section of the missile.

          • BSmitty

            A TOW HEAT warhead will only damage, with certainty, anything in the jet path. Spalling will cause additional damage but that is inconsistent. There will be some overpressure as well, but in larger compartments this won’t be a big issue. TOW 2A uses tandem HEAT warheads that BOTH detonate on initiation, the second with a slight delay to clear off reactive armor. It doesn’t have a follow through warhead. Now clearly, if the jet hits something flammable, it will ignite it.

            The TOW BB warhead will cause more significant damage in the compartment adjacent to the penetration, but that’s about it. It may start fires in that compartment, but nothing a capable damage control team couldn’t handle.

            There are MANY compartments on a warship. Damaging one or even a handful isn’t usually catastrophic. That’s the point of having them.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            They didn’t have Reactive Armor in WW2, and at least not on Naval Vessels. They don’t even us Reactive Armor on Naval Ships in th 21st century. The Explosive Warhead explodes after entering the Containment Space. it usally take 1/6000th of a second from the time of impact to the explosion to happen. And they did use Spalling Liners in WW2 Tank’s or Ship’s. And they certainly didn’t use Kinetic Energy Penetrator’s in WW2.

          • BSmitty

            TOW 2 was designed to kill tanks, not ships.

            The TOW HEAT warhead (TOW 2A) doesn’t detonate inside its target. There is a precursor charge on a probe which is designed to detonate reactive armor and clear it for the main HEAT charge. The precursor charge is not powerful enough to penetrate tank armor on its own. That’s the job of the main HEAT charge.

            When striking a ship, the TOW 2A warhead will behave the same way. The precursor will cut a small hole in the ship’s hull, and the main charge will detonate OUTSIDE, firing a jet through the hole.

            TOW BB does penetrate first, and then detonate inside. It is not a HEAT warhead. IIRC, it is a semi-armored piercing, HE warhead. It isn’t designed to penetrate as well as the HEAT warhead.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty

            If you bothered to read my comment response to Lincoln J Wills. I said Hellfire missile, or even a TOW missile. Please be free to read the comment, and point out to me where I specified of TOW missile models and/or variants…

          • BSmitty

            I read your response. Same holds true of Hellfire. Both TOW and Hellfire were designed to kill tanks, and later, bunkers and small boats. They are not designed to kill warships.

            That was my point all along.

            Hellfire (even with the MAC warhead) might have the effect of a 5″ or 6″ naval round, but that’s it.

            With proper damage procedures and good crew training, a ship like a Fletcher should survive a handful of 1,000lb bomb hits, unless they strike a critical area. Each of those is an order of magnitude more destructive than a Hellfire or TOW hit.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmilly.

            My M1E6 .30-06Sprfld. (7.8×63.3mm) Sniper/Garand wasn’t designed to put HOLES into the side of a Naval Ship, but I’m pretty sure IT CAN.

          • BSmitty

            Umm. So? Do you have a point?

            Putting a hole in a ship won’t necessarily sink it, or even mission kill it.

            Your assertion was, “A Hellfire or even a TOW missile could take out a Fletcher class Destroyer…”

            This is not true, unless the Hellfire or TOW hits a lucky spot.

            Your .30-06 won’t sink a ship either.

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            A .30-06 won’t sink a Naval Ship, but it will “Rattle Their Cage” and even possibly Kill Someone. Or even render an AEGIS SPY 3D Radar Array pretty much useless. With a Mach 7 Rail Gun, you don’t even need an Explosive Charge. Just the ~2,382.03-m/sec. VMo and Physics will do the rest…

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            A 5-inch or 6-inch round, or even a 3-inch round could take out a destroyer. Warhead size really doesn’t matter any more. It the Explosive Charge used in the Warhead that actually, The Warhead is the Delivery System for the Explosive Charge. Composition B was “state-of-the-art” explosive in WW2. But 21st century Composition H6 or CH6, makes Comp. B look “anemic” by today’s standards…

          • BSmitty

            By “take out” do you mean sink? Or mission kill?

            Comp B is more powerful than PBXN-109 (IM explosive used in TOW2 BB).

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            Sink, Kill/Destroy, render Harmless, Take-Out Of Play, Dry Dock-It/Wet Dock-It or any other noun and/or adjective you can think of…

          • Secundius

            @ BSmitty.

            Hammock’s used for sleeping on some WW2 Naval vessels, are the 18th and 19th century equivalent to Spalling Liners. They were used to catch falling and other debris that could cause additional damage or casualties onboard ships. Mattresses were also used for this purpose of some ship’s…

  • TylerTotten

    While I’m not a fan of the Navy not building a real frigate (the LCS’s new FF designation not withstanding), one of the major advantages touted by small combatant advocates is the ability of a large force of small combatants to sustain loss. Even a larger warship, like a Burke, is unlikely to remain in the fight after taking a hit from a torpedo or a good sized ASCM. As a result, both ships, even though the Burke isn’t lost, are marked as “kills” from a tactical perspective since they are removed from the fight. A Burke has a lot of firepower concentrated on it that is lost with a single hit (and more crew) whereas the small combatant has relatively little firepower compared with the entire group’s capability. Thus the net loss of firepower has been reduced. Of course, LCS is barely armed to begin with and hardly counts as being all that small (the tactic relies on much smaller craft than LCS), and there is a number of other problems with the concept. I’d like to see the Navy build more Burkes and follow-ons, but also develop a few squadrons of small corvette type craft that can drive at the enemy and sustain losses in the littorals. Who knows, maybe they could even help protect LCS…

    Also agree with the author’s main point, that it is unreasonable to expect the LCS to be “as survivable” as a large combatant. The survivability of small combatants is in their numbers, not the individual ship’s survivability.

    • Secundius

      @ TylerTotten.

      What comes too is COST! An AB class Destroyer is ~1.834-Billion USD. per ship. Compared to ~$432-Million for the Independence class @ 4.245 to 1 ship’s and ~$450-Million USD. for the Freedom class @ 4.076 to 1 ship’s.

      • TylerTotten

        LCS is too expensive for what it is, for sure. A smaller corvette would have a more favorable cost trade. Even if LCS had 4-9 ASCM each, a DDG would laugh it off and sink all 4 (assuming the LCS didn’t get the drop on the Burke, but if we assume equal competence on both sides for simplicity’s sake.) Something like the Swedish Visby-class (even if we assumed that the cost would double in the US to around $350 million/hull) gives a 5:1 trade (and ideally the idea would be more like 7:1.) Then the Burke might have some issues (especially since the Visby’s have some amount of actual stealth characteristics.) I still have some issues with the Visby example (like a virtual lack of missile defense) but it’s illustrative more than anything else. Of course the entire very small combatant runs into a short legs, resupply in contested area, ect issues that are difficult to get around in a protracted conflict. But agreed, cost is a huge factor here.

        • Secundius

          @ TylerTotten.

          We could also by the Ambassador IV class PBM’s @ ~270-Million USD. per vessel. Designed and Built by VT Halter-Marine in Mississippi…

          • TylerTotten

            Got to agree with you there. They may not be long-legged but they are all teeth. I love that craft. Shame all we do is sell them to Egypt…

          • Secundius

            @ TylerTotten.

            It’s about time the Navy, Wises Up and stop see the wold through “rose colored glasses”. And buy what the Nation need’s to protect itself and its “allies”, instead of buying “Big Expensive Toys” Instead of a 275-ship Large Navy, we could have a 1,000-ship Small Navy…

          • TylerTotten

            It is still about a balanced force structure. I’d trade a couple CSGs for dozens of small missile boats and their associated support ships, but I wouldn’t convert the entire Navy. All big ships or all small ships have their own sets of issues and disadvantages. While any force structure has disadvantages, if we had a mix of the large, powerful ships and fleets of small agile combatants any potential enemy would have a real headache building a fleet architecture or overall military force that was well suited to counter such a force. They would have to be just as diverse as our own forces, resulting in more opportunities for the local application of superior forces to obtain short duration sea control for our operational objectives to be accomplished, whatever they be.

          • Secundius

            @ TylerTotten.

            I’m not suggest going the an all Small Sized Ship Navy, just mix some smaller units into the Navy. Like Buying Light Aircraft Carriers, like Spain has (i.e. which is actually a US. Design, the SCS-75 class) to supplement the Larger Carriers. You could buy 7 or 8 of them at the same price of 1 Large Aircraft Carrier. With an Air Wing of ~30-aircraft per ship…

    • Chesapeakeguy

      But that Burke will still have a much better chance of defending itself against the weapons you mention. However, I don’t ever see the American public signing on to a concept of an ‘expendable’ naval vessel. It’s just not in our nature.

      • Secundius

        @ Chesapeakeguy.

        Everybody talks about “smaller boats” swarming a larger vessel. Well just Macro that, Small LCS swarming a Large Combatant…

      • TylerTotten

        First off, ANY ship is expendable under the correct circumstances, that’s calculated risk. Second, of course you don’t call it ‘expendable’. You call it ‘network-centric’ or ‘dispersed warfighting’ or something like that. Additionally, while you’re more likely to lose a smaller ship from a single hit, there are also less lives lost when you do lose it. For its punch, a small combatant generally has a lower ratio of sailors. Its the short legs, the longer the endurance, the more people you need.

        • Secundius

          @ TylerTotten.

          Pt-Boats in the Solomon Island Campaign of July 1942 through August 1943 and Taffy 1, 2 and 3 in the Philippine Sea of October 1944 are perfect examples of that…

          • TylerTotten

            Exactly. Those ships (I’m thinking in particular of Taffy 3) knew they were expendable compared to the landing force for the Philippines. They fought and engaged a superior force, knowing it was superior. Capt. Evans only real chance of survival would have been to withdraw under cover of smoke, but that would have ceded the landing zones to the Yamato and her accompanying ships.

  • Froggy Frog

    In my view, the Navy is getting the entire LCS/Frigate program wrong. War is a battle for real estate. And you cannot be an absentee landlord. A lot of focus is given to air capabilities. But air capability cannot assert ownership outside of denial. The next generation Frigate does not need to be a vessel that races across the sea in response to a rising event, but instead a vessel that can stay on station close to shore in a given area — there by “owning” it. Much in the way a Tank will “own” a track of land, or an infantry unit will “own” a region. Or, at this moment, how ISIL controls much of Syria and northern Iraq. To think of these vessels as anything more is misplaced in my opinion. The US already has a very good LCS in the new NSC. Not a DDG by any means, but it can stay on station and close to shore.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Among the problems is there doesn’t appear to be any room for growth on either LCS design. They are so ;’sensitive’ as far as weight distribution that adding some common sense assets does not appear to be an option. When the “Spruance” class destroyers were first received into the fleet, they were criticized for being so sparsely armed. They had two 5 inch guns and an ASWOC box launcher. Period (well, they had torpedo launchers too). True, they did have a flight deck and a hangar for helicopters, and some did deploy with LAMPS Mk I Seasprites. But they had enough growth potential to facilitate the weapons and systems being developed at that time, as well as some that came along later. Harpoon missiles and associate launchers, CIWS point defense weapons, Sea Sparrow missiles and launchers, Tomahawk cruise missiles and their launchers, and eventually Mk 41 vertical launch systems that meant those other launchers mentioned would no longer be needed. The “Spruances” even spawned another class ship in the AEGIS cruisers of the “Ticonderoga” class.

    There is nothing like that proposed for the present LCS ships. making them ‘more lethal’ appears to revolve around adding another small caliber, rapid firing weapon, and some small, short range anti-air missiles that will be useless in an engagement involving a task group of any kind. The LCS, though no doubt fine ships with talented crews, appear )to me anyway) to be too overly specialized to be able to be realistically ‘improved’ to a level that reflects today’s threat levels and mission realities. If they are only going to run down drug smugglers, or Somali ‘pirates’, they are probably fine as they are. But is that all they will be doing? Doesn’t sound like it. There’s a saying that goes “quantity is a quality all its own”. If that ‘quantity’ isn’t sufficiently capable, even that becomes an empty cliche!

    The Navy should go back to the hi-lo mix concept they once employed. Better to have ships that are ‘over qualified’ to do certain tasks than to have any that might become casualties because they can’t compete and contribute in the threat environment.

    • Lazarus

      The “growth” potential of LCS is represented by its modular capacity. The SSC/FF version likely has only a few upgrades to keep the costs reasonable. As a reasonable replacement for the retiring FF (no g) 7 class, LCS is the “low” component in the present US high/low mix.

      • Secundius

        @ Lazarus.

        I think it’s time to see what the LCS/FF can do NOW, instead of finding what can’t do LATER. There is no LATER in battle or in war…

        • Lazarus

          LCS baseline 0 is entering service and Fort Worth’s deployment seems to be successful. Given that the retiring FF(no g) 7 class has only been used for presence operations in recent years, the baseline 0 LCS is a good replacement.I agree the LCS program has been problematic in many ways. It should have deployed a fully modular ship years before the present. The Navy probably introduced too many new technologies in the LCS class. All that said, the ship, even in its current configuration, is more than capable of replacing the PC and the Perry’s.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        But those ‘modules’ as they are presently configured do not offer much in the way of ‘making them more lethal’. Those modules also are part of the original mission concepts, and are designed to them. And, those modules are to be changed out if the mission requires it, so by that reasoning they can lose their ‘growth’ as well. Those modules themselves will have to be ‘up-gunned’ to achieve what the Navy hopes for here. As for the LCS being the ‘low end’ of the ‘hi-lo mix’ I mentioned, they are still too specialized to fall within that criteria. The ‘low’ ships of the mix in the 80s and beyond contributed significantly to the protection and missions of the CV battle groups they could sail with and were routinely assigned to. I don’t think any ‘version’ (i.e., which modules are in place) of the LCS can make that claim.

      • old guy

        May you rise again as the ‘splainer for this hunk-a-junk.

  • Secundius

    THREE REDDITMENT’S in less that a Hour is got too be a Record even for you guy’s…

  • Secundius

    @ Froggy Frog.

    Do you what you call a Stinger Missile, without A Seeker-Head and Guidance System, An RPG with Reach…