Home » Budget Industry » SECDEF Carter Directs Navy to Cut Littoral Combat Ship Program to 40 Hulls, Single Shipbuilder


SECDEF Carter Directs Navy to Cut Littoral Combat Ship Program to 40 Hulls, Single Shipbuilder

USS Freedom (LCS-1), left, and USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2012. US Navy Photo

USS Freedom (LCS-1), left, and USS Independence (LCS-2) in 2012. US Navy Photo

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has ordered the Navy to trim its total buy of Littoral Combat Ships to 40 and down select to a single shipbuilder and design for the class as part of its fiscal year 2017 budget, according to a memo obtained by USNI News.

The directive to trim the service’s planned total of 52 planned LCS and Frigate hulls and direct the savings into other programs was contained in the Monday letter from Carter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

The new plan would call for a building only six LCS between fiscal years 2017-2020 – eight less than the Navy’s submitted in its 2017 plan – and directs the Navy to down select to a single shipyard and a single hull type in 2019.

“This plan reduces, somewhat, the number of LCS available for presence operations, but that need will be met by higher-end ships, and it will ensure that the warfighting forces in our submarine, surface, and aviation fleets have the necessary capabilities and posture to defeat even our most advanced potential adversaries,” read the memo.
“Forty LCS/FF will exceed recent historical presence levels and will provide a far more modern and capable ship than the patrol coastals, minesweepers, and frigates that they will replace.”

A representative from the Navy Research, Development and Acquisition arm had no comment on the memo when contacted by USNI News.

News of the memo was first reported by Defense News.

Carter directed the Navy to instead devote the resources to procuring 31 F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), additional F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, SM-6 missiles, accelerating Flight III Arleigh Burke DDG-51 acquisition and expanding development of the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) for the Block V Virginia-class submarine program.

While budget disagreements inside the Pentagon are common the tone and language of Carter’s memo directed at Mabus – who has led the Department of the Navy since 2009 – was unusually stringent.

“For the last several years, the Department of the Navy has overemphasized resources used to incrementally increase total ship numbers at the expense of critically-needed investments in areas where our adversaries are not standing still, such as strike, ship survivability, electronic warfare, and other capabilities,” read the memo.
“This has resulted in unacceptable reductions to the weapons, aircraft, and other advanced capabilities that are necessary to defeat and deter advanced adversaries. Earlier this year the Department of Defense gave guidance to correct and reverse this trend of prioritizing quantity over lethality; however, counter to that guidance, the Department of the Navy’s latest program submission fails to do so. It is accordingly unbalanced, creates too much warfighting and technical risk, and would exceed the numerical requirement of 308 ships… This requirement should be met, but not irresponsibly exceeded.”

Three of each class of ship – Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class (LCS-1) and Austal USA’s Independence-class – have been commissioned into the service with up to 20 ships at least under contract.

Last year, then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed the Navy to develop a class of ship in line with the capabilities of a frigate. The service elected to up gun its existing LCS designs.

  • NavySubNuke

    The Navy’s decision to keep both shipbuilders in the game – and thereby double the O&S tail associated with these ships – is among the worst offenses the Navy made in this program. Hopefully they are at least able to use the same mission module on both hull forms – but I highly doubt that.

    • Fred Gould

      Allegedly the modules can be used in both hulls. However talk is cheap. I am very leery of both classes and the concept.

      • USNVO

        One of the few things that the Navy did right is that the Mission Package Computing Environment, think of it as the Combat System of the Mission Package, is common to both “sea frames” whatever that is. This was done so that the Mission Packages could be updated more rapidly without messing with the ships combat systems which naturally takes much longer and has vastly more wickets to jump through. So any mission packages module can be used with any of the ship types. The real problem is that the ships themselves are different so the mission module crew members and the aviation crew members may not be as effective moving back and forth on the ships.

        • Fred Gould

          At least one of the packages is severely over weight. Another issue is that if not stored in a forward area on a support ship it must be flown in with corresponding delays. Spending a total of seven years forward deployed I know about the delays first hand.

    • old guy

      Ive said it many times/ The program is Shipyard Welfare Program, Expensive (SWIPE) under the guise of keeping our :Industrial Base”. The yards rejected ANY competitive builds, like the burgeoning cruise ship market. It was too easy to stay attached to MAMA NAVY’s nipples.

  • Jim Barden

    The LCS concept is cuckoo. If you want a small combatant in fairly large numbers, build the Blohm & Voss MEKO 200 ANZAC variant with US weapons and sensors under license. A 5″ gun would be handy for “presence ops,” especially if Marines are involved.

    • Secundius

      @ Jim Barden.

      Demark’s, Iver Huitfeldt class Frigate is a 7,325-ton LCS…

    • Secundius

      @ Jim Barden.

      Blohm+Voss, MEKO-CSL, Combat Ship Littorals (Combat Ship Kustenzonen). WORLD’S GOING MAD, Everyone WANT’S to build Littorial’s…

      • old guy

        The only “Littoral Combat Ship” Is a 6-LCAC carrier with a “Jump Deck”

        • Secundius

          @ old guy.

          Didn’t the British have a concept for a Hovership Aircraft Carrier in the Mid-1970’s? 100-120kts. capable…

          • old guy

            The U.S. SES Program had a carrier design with hard sidewalls and fore and aft seals. It could do 125 KTS
            and a 3K ton frigate that could do 110KTS. When Zumwalt left, Holloway killed the program.

          • Secundius

            @ old guy.

            That’s ironic, the SCS-75 Light Aircraft Carrier design that the Spanish Navy used, was proposed by Zumwalt too…

  • Jim Barden

    Has anyone figured out how the LO systems in the port and starboard propulsion plants on the Milwaukee got cross contaminated with the metal shavings? I bet they made up LO from the same contaminated LOST without bothering to take a thief sample and centrifuge it.

    • tpharwell

      Who says it was cross contamination ? Here is a wild-ass guess. Have you ever slammed your pick-up in to four wheel drive with different sized tires, and then tried to make the sharpest turn you could ?

  • Michael Rich

    The LCS has potential to be a fine ship, given we added a VLS system to it and an AESA radar.

    Put around 16 VLS tubes in it, 8 dedicated to the ESSM (giving it a capacity of 32) and the other eight could be for other things such as ASROC, Tomahawk, and LRASM.

    Another option instead of taking up the VLS with something like the LRASM is add Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile in tube launchers like we currently do with the Harpoon.

    As for a CIWS just keep the RAM, maybe even upgrade to the SeaRAM. Only problem with the SeaRAM is that it only has a 11 missiles rather than 21.

    Sure, it’s still not the frigate everyone wants, but adding VLS with capability to carry many different missiles would make this ship much more formidable to any foe thinking about attacking it.

    • Michael Nunez

      I still believe the LCS is Too Thin and in today’s World Too Slow . This Boat has not Proved Anything , except to Break-down . Carter is Completely Correct , Were Wasting Tax-Payer’s Hard earned Money . If Were not going to Produce an Highly Advanced Cruiser , then Our Destroyer’s have to be ” Up-Gunned ” . I believe everyone was hoping that the LCS was going to be An Asset not a Joke …. .

      • Michael Rich

        Oh I totally agree with you, i’m just saying if we’re stuck with these things we might as well upgrade them to something that can actually fight.

      • Secundius

        @ Michael Nunez.

        Both Ship’s are Built to Level I Naval Construction Standards and Both have 63.5mm of Kevlar Sandwiched in the Superstructure and Hulls. Same Thickness found on the Ford class Aircraft Carrier. Personally, I think they (both Ship’s) should be constructed of Ti5Al5V5Mo3Cr Steel Alloy, which is THREE times stronger than Mil-Std. Titanium and THREE times CHEAPER than Mil-Std. Titanium…

        • PolicyWonk

          Unfortunately, they are not built to the navy’s level-1 standard. This was recently published in Defense Industry Daily (and this is despite the program office’s explanation of why the costs for LCS skyrocketed, was due to an upgrade to the level-1 standard).

          And according to the most recent report from DOT&E, none of the LCS variants – even the SSC/FF versions – will ever meet that standard.

          And, Adm. Greenert, in an interview on Breaking Defense, declared that the “Littoral Combat Ship” was never designed to “venture into the littorals to engage in combat…”. Seriously – you can’t make this stuff up!

          And – they are horrifyingly expensive. The SSC/FF variants will be far more expensive than our allies high-end frigates, without the benefits.

          If you want to see what we should’ve bought – check out the version of the LCS that the Saudi’s are buying.

          • Secundius

            @ PolicyWonk.

            That’s NOT what he said in the 16th Paragraph of the 17 January 2014 issue of Breaking Defense.

            But with ALL the modern 21st century weapons posed against the Class, NO Current Navy Ship meets the Acceptable Risk Damage STANDARD. (NOT HIS QUOIT, MINE)…

    • Secundius

      @ Michael Rich.

      After the Sequester in Mid 2017, Twenty (ten each) Flight I Freedom’s and Independence class are to be built. Main Gun System, is expected to be a Oto Melara 3-inch (76.2x636mmR/62-caliber) Compact Super-Rapid. 85rpm Sustained with 120rpm Burst. Missile Systems has yet to be decided, either ESSM’s or SM-2’s or Combination…

      • Michael Rich

        Mind if I get a source on this? I’d like to read up on it a bit.

        • Secundius

          @ Michael Rich.

          Just Google Flight I Freedom class or DID (Defense Industry Daily)…

      • PB

        As I recall the 57mm gun was not acceptable for the Zumwalt class destroyers but initially was accepted for the LCS .

        • Secundius

          @ PB.

          The first operational use of the 57mm Bofors was in 1964. The Bushmaster III turret in a Manned Turret, a Second Degree of Redundancy. There are NO Manual Turret Controls in the Mk. 110 57mm Bofors Turret. So what your point…

          • PB

            The Information Dissemination blog had a thread entitled specter of the gun.The 57 mm gun was not added to the USS Zumwalt due to lack of performance. Yet the LCS has it.

    • PolicyWonk

      The Saudi’s have done a vastly better job figuring our what an LCS should be in ALL respects.

  • @USS_Fallujah

    More significant that the cut of the LCS hulls is the tone of the memo from Carter to Maybus, this seem programatic & technical, but is in pentagon parlance this is a major dressing down (and in public).

    • tpharwell

      Even I understand it.

  • drjon4u2

    One builder? I hope it isn’t the one that built the first ship that had to be towed home after the engine ceased to function on its first time out.

    • Why ppl speak on things they know nothing about. I’m in marinette and involved in building the freedom variant. The tow home has nothing to do with “the builder” and everything to do with a failed part that “the builder” (MMC/LMCO) you malign didn’t “build”. Do you always throw babies out with your bath water?

      • drjon4u2

        And whose responsibility is it to determine that a part fitted into a new ship of the fleet isn’t filled with metal filings. Is there no quality control at the installation end?

        This is no different from Toyota accepting poor quality airbags and installing them into a million cars. Toyota gets and deserves the blame for poor quality control, as should the builder.

        Fine state of affairs when a builder doesn’t test the parts going into their ships for fitness.

        • I assure you all parts were exhaustively QA’d before installation. To expect that parts don’t fail under under warranty implies you are as stupid as you are irrational. Besides, LCS 5 could have returned to port under her own power just fine but as a precaution they made the right call to request a tow just in case to the delight of those that simply hate on any defense spending. LCS 7 also delayed its propulsion trials until a determination could be made on the cause of the failure. Trails resumed today in fact as it was determined to be a one-off issue. It still has not been determined that it wasn’t an issue of metal debris entering into a lube oil inspection port accidentally isolating the problem to one person. Are you irrational enough to expect an entire program and shipyard to be dissolved because of one careless act or employee? It sounds like you have an axe to grind with the builder or just like to spout off on things you know nothing about…as if you were in charge anything would have been different. Have you ever built a warship? Maybe walk a mile in those shoes before you pass judgement.

  • Tim Dolan

    Although I like the look of the Independence (LCS 2) better, I hope they can use them for another year and then pick the one that actually works the best, which ever it is. Although I suspect it is the one with the most states (read congressional districts) participating in providing parts that will likely win the competition.

    • Secundius

      @ Tim Dolan.

      There were 18 Competitor’s in the Frigate Competition. At last count, the number was Reduced to Just 9.
      1. BAE
      2. Huntington-Ingalls
      3. Lockheed-Martin
      4. Austral USA
      5. Boeing
      6. Danyard A/S of Denmark
      7. Blohm & Voss of Germany
      8. Northrop-Grumman
      9. Kockum/Saab (ThyssenKrupp) of Sweden…

      • Tim Dolan

        I thought the article was about the LCS of which they eventually picked two to build and have just been told to pick one. While the LCS may eventually be the basis for a future Frigate, it isn’t yet.

        For Frigates from the list above, I am jokingly hoping for H-I as we have enough shops closed around my area of Newport News (yes I know if H-I got it, likely they would built at the other facility, which is why I said jokingly)

        • Tim Dolan

          BTW, I am in the I like modules on the LCS club. Don’t want them on real combatants but for the LCS, I think they are a good thing.

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            The Freedom and Independence classes, might eventually have to go with the “Smaller” STANFLEX IOS/Modules instead of Standard TEU’s (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) or FEU’s (Forty-foot Equivalent Units). Too many Problem associated with the Latter Two Systems, in Loading and Unloading. Turn-Around Time is too SLOW, 72-hours is the GOAL. But as it stand’s, their lucky just to meet 128-hours Turn-Around Times…

          • Tim Dolan

            I agree that they need to work towards under 72 hours, although I would not expect without practice and working out all the bugs. If the modules that were supposed to work are not working at all then someone didn’t do what they were supposed to do in design of ship or the modules (or both).

          • Secundius

            @ Tm Dolan.

            I think the Basic Flaw Is, that the TEU’s/FEU’s are loaded through the Rear Entry Hatch/Bay. And there Probably using a Standard Crane Operation System found in Commercial Shipping Yards. They wanted the LCS’s to be Commercial Flexible in case of Emergencies. Apparently It’s NOT WORKING…

          • Tim Dolan

            Then someone messed up the design of the ship then. Is that on both or just one of the two classes?

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            Agreed. Or found out the Hard Way that Virtual Reality, DOESN’T Automatically Translate to REAL. You can Program “Virtual”, you can’t Program “REAL”…

          • Tim Dolan

            No but should be able to allow for it in a design and definitely before you build more than a couple.

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            Like with the Ford class Aircraft Carriers and the F-35 JSF. Freedom and Independence were Designed and Laid Out in “Virtual Reality”. Unfortunately, REAL has it’s OWN set of Rules. Real World Physics, NOT Virtual Physics that you can Manipulate “Anyway You Want”…

          • Tim Dolan

            Understand virtual is not real. Although it is a far less complex operation I work with some folks who make parts using a compression molding system. I did a paper sketch, they did a 3D cad sketch (in other words virtual). We took into account reality and initially made something smaller, because if we had to modify later, in this case smaller was better for modification if the final reality did not match the plan. Smaller in this case was 1/32nd of an inch smaller. After testing the prototype we actually added in 1/16th of an inch to account for reality.

            If designing something in virtual, the first think I would think of for fitting parts together is what if they won’t fit in reality and then we see if the design can be adjusted for the just in case they don’t fit part. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t.

            But I assure you after I got the prototypes (which if we were talking LCSs would be LCS 1 and 2) I would check to make sure they work as intended. if not I would make modifications as appropriate before proceeding further. I would not be building LCS 3+ if they didn’t do what they were supposed to on something as major as the modules, which are a key feature of the LCS. Minor things maybe, but not the module swap out feature.

            And because I know how things work, that would be one of the operational criteria for each boat, swap out each module at least once before full acceptance. both for the module and the boat.

            But that is just me.

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            The FIRST BATCH of Freedom’s and “Indy’s”, were Flight “0’s” (Prototypes). Hopefully, the Flight I scheduled to be built after the Sequester ends in Mid 2017 Resolved those problems…

          • Tim Dolan

            One would hope they resolve the problems with the next flight.
            Although, I was under the impression they did extensive testing to pick one of the two (after down selecting from a longer list) and ended up picking both designs (LCS-1 and LCS-2). Mixed on picking both designs. Good points and bad. Apparently more bad or I presume the SecDef would not be dropping to one design by 2019 as the article mentioned.

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            Marine Insight Publication, dated 18 Sept. 2015. Confirmed that at Least TEN more “Indy” class LCS/FF’s are to be Built and Commissioned by the US. Navy…

          • Tim Dolan

            Appreciate the information, you seem to be following it more than I am. Although retired, I have been mostly following the LCS as I happen to like the concept.

            I have always believed in a 25%low / 50%med / 25%high budget theory for acquiring military equipment and the LCS seems to be an excellent value for the US equivalent of low given its theoretical multi-mission capability. If that multi-mission capability is not as multi-mission then it is not as excellent. To note: I kind of have to distort my ratio to account for CVNs, but that is where reality messes with theory.

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            I first heard about the LCS’s in 2004, but had to read it in Print. I didn’t get my First Computer, until 2011. After that Information was Easier to get, Not a lot of Detail at First. Just a few Remarks, but nothing with substance. I’m also a “Confirmation Reader”, most of my Information I receive is in Book form and some Fictional Writer’s gave better and more accurate Descriptions then Technical Writers from AW&ST and other Technical Journals…

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            As a Side Note, Germany is Building an LCS class of their Own Design. Called the MEKO-CSL, Combat Ship Littorals “Combat Ship Kustenzonen”.
            * 3,031-tons
            * 354-feet, long
            * 21-foot, beam
            * 3,500nmi @ 15-kts
            * 40-kts, maximim
            * ~21-days endurance by Blohm+Voss.
            * (1) 2.244-inch (57x438mmR/70-caliber) Bofors Autocannan
            * (1) 1.574-inch (40x311mmR/70-caliber) Bofors Autocannon.
            * 21-STANFLEX Mission Modules available, SAME loading system as current American LCS/FF (Stern Entry/Egress Hatch).

            Export version classification as Light Frigate. One “Possible” buyer in works for Four Ships, is Israel…

          • Tim Dolan

            I tried to find recent information on it and failed. Everything I found said Israel no longer wanted it, but may still be interested and the weapon suite is kind of vague other than the guns.

            Doesn’t our LCS have two module spaces, while the German one only has one?

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            German Ship is Smaller, and is basically a Mission Specific Design with an additional “Add-On” for Special Missions. Both Freedom and Indy can handle up-to Five Modules, but ONLY one is being used for Testing Purposes. Indy, has a Internal Elevator to “Shuffle” Mission Modules where/when needed. Current Mission Module is a TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)*. Both Ship’s can Utilize Empty Mission Module Spaces as a Vehicle Deck for Assault Equipment, like “Stryker” Combat Vehicles for Special Duties. Flight I construction is scheduled for Mid-2017 and Flight II for Mid-2019.

            (*) Note: TEU’s come in TWO sizes FULL Units and HALF Units.
            FULL Unit Measures: 20’L x 8’H x 8’06″W (1,360-cubic feet)
            HALF Unit Measures: 20’L x 8’H x 4’03″W (680-cubic feet)…

          • Secundius

            @ Tim Dolan.

            Israel Sa’ar-6 or Variant of German K-130 Braunschweig (Brunswick) class Patrol Corvette. Approximately 2,000-tons…..90-meters long…..4,500nmi @ 14kts…65 crew…plus 23 supernumeraries…14-days endurance…requirements for up to 20,000lbs helicopter.

            Freedom class was suppose to be a Light Destroyer for the Israeli Navy. And wanted Four & $300-Million USD/ship. Problem was it cost us (the USA) ~$450-Million USD/ship to produce a Mission Specific class Light Destroyer. At US price, Israel asked for Six. SecDef Donald Rumsfeld, told them what they could do with it, or something to the same Effect (but with more “Colorful Metaphors” thrown in) [sic…Lost In Translation Syntax’s]…

          • Tim Dolan

            I am not a fan of Donald “FedEx” Rumsfeld, but if I understand you they wanted them at a 1/3rd off discount price. If that is the case good decision.

            Any way thanks for the additional information. It has been some time since I could follow any ships in that detailed of a manner.

        • PolicyWonk

          H-I’s Legend-class National Security Cutter design would’ve been a huge improvement over either inadequate LCS sea-frame. Much longer legs; room for growth; proven seaworthy; and already tested/proven in the arctic.

          And – the USN would then have parity with the USCG, the costs of each unit would drop, and they are designed and ready NOW.

          • Secundius

            @ PolicyWonk.

            Long-Legs RIGHT! 15,000nmi @ 8-kts. NOT to many Operational Vintage WW1 or WW2 Submarines in ANY World Navy That I Aware of…

      • old guy

        Not one cruise ship builder.

    • Secundius

      @ Tim Dolan.

      Sorry, I misunderstood your COMMENT? I thought you were referring to the Up and Coming Frigate Design Competition in 2019! As for Freedom and “Indy”, Flight I Production is to Complete the classes of 20 Ship’s (10 of each), after Sequester is Terminated in 2017…

  • Michael Nunez

    Total Cancellation of the LCS is the Mission now….. .

  • tpharwell

    Ouch. This should not have been necessary. One might think the Navy Department would not have needed a directive from the Secretary of Defense to take this action.

    Now watch for the other shoe to drop. Once the cut has been made, there will be no broad constituency for the program, and it is furthermore unlikely that Navy will be able to come up with a settled design for the follow-on by 2017.

    Janine Davidson is heading in to some troubled waters. I sure hope she knows how to swim.

  • GJohnson

    Major public dressing down. I would expect the SecNav to resign shortly.
    It appears to me that the Independence variant is more reliable and flexible, not surprising given the Austal pedigree. And if memory serves me correctly, 1 vessel was already cut from a fiscal year allocation, and it was a Freedom variant. That may have been a signal. Let’s see if the LockMart legion of lobbyists can pull the rabbit out of the proverbial hat though.
    An upgunned LCS/FF with SSMs, VL ESSMs, RAM/SeaRAM, 2-25/30mm guns, and a better 3D radar would be sufficient. Don’t know how/if they ever get good use out of a VDS or towed array with waterjet propulsion. Not exactly the quietest with the cavitation expected…

  • Dr__P

    did the Secretary send the order on his private email account?

  • Rick Lewis

    I think the notion of having two designs is fine due to the many missions required, but enabling those missions with modules was flawed. They should have had two designs, but no modules, building features into each design to make each very good at two of the four main roles.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    It was last december that the brass & the suits finally owned up to the reality that the LCS was a $400m+ speed boat incapable of combat with anything more than a Malaysian pirate skiff…

    So, last December they announced that they would build 20 (still inadequate) “small surface combatants”.

    Exactly 1 year later, the overall number is dropped to 40….

    The wait is on for December 2016 when the whole debacle is sh*t-canned altogether.

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  • Secundius

    According to Marine Insight, dated 18 September 2015. At LEAST Ten more Independence class LSC/FF’s are to be BUILT and Commissioned by the US. Navy…

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    I wish the Navy would get smart and dump the independence class. Take the Freedom and add a 10 meter section to it without all the modules, and call it a corvette. Or to make it cheaper, build two versions of the Freedom class, One ASW and One AAW. Then they can work together as pairs. also put the 76mm in place of the 6 pound gun.

  • PolicyWonk

    The entire program should be cancelled, and those responsible should be prosecuted for this total defrauding of the US taxpayers.

    According to Defense Industry Daily – NONE of the LCS variants will ever meet the USN’s lowest survivability standard (level-1) and are therefore built to commercial standards. And this is despite the explanation from the LCS program office, that one of the reasons for the massive cost increases was due to upgrading the sea-frames to the level-1 standard (a flagrant lie) while they were on the slipways.

    According to Adm Jonathan Greenert (interview on Breaking Defense), none of the so-called “Littoral Combat Ship” variants were ever intended (or designed) to “venture into the littorals to engage in combat”. Hence – the very classification of these vessels represents another flagrant lie.

    Neither variant is able to take on any kind of significant reinforcing/up-arming/up-armoring without seriously impacting their performance. Hence, according to DOT&E, neither of the LCS variants will ever meet the navy’s level-1 survivability standard. The horrifyingly expensive SSC/FF variants – the cost of which will exceed that of our allies high-end frigates – would still be constructed without the room for growth, or versatility they would need to compare.

    The best solution, is for the USN to purchase the same versions of the LCS than the Saudi’s recently negotiated, that represents a HUGE improvement over these hyper-expensive yachts the USN has been so happy to purchase using the taxpayers money, for such a pitiful ROI.

  • Warrior07

    Every ship is a mine sweeper one tome.

    • old guy

      Obviously a badly prejudiced (but correct) submariner. But you should add “POTENTIALLY”

      • Warrior07

        Actually I am a retired SWO who served as a COS for a MCM Division.

        • old guy

          Well,
          at least you are a realist

  • Icepilot

    The good news is the Virginia Payload Module (although it may be bad news for the new design SSBN). Under budget and ahead of schedule is an excellent place to be for a major weapons system.

  • old guy

    Any cut in that hunk-a-junk procurement is good. DD1000 next?

    • Secundius

      @ old guy.

      Don’t Count On It! After mid 2017 Sequester, 10 more “Indy’s” are tho be Built and Commissioned. And don’t laugh, but the UK is thinking “Tumblehome Hulls” And Germany is Building Littoral’s too, with their MEKO-CSL design. With a possible Export Customer “Israel”, wanting to buy Four of them…

      • old guy

        THE “TUMBLEHOME” is stupid. It’s objective is radar reduction. Since modern gun tracking is by GPS, wake track, Biolumenescence track and Laser ranging it is about as useful as mammary glands on the proverbial male bovine.
        On the other hand, it results in reduced roll stability moment,
        leading to the capsizing of the DD1000 model during tests.
        Looks good, though.

      • RobM1981

        If you have followed your history, you know that the “tumblehome” design is hardly new. Early French battleships all had it, with Stability being the reason given.

        But they didn’t keep it, and the reasons are known to anyone who has taken even a sunfish out on a breezy day… it’s a very, very wet design.

        I don’t want to second-guess the architects. I know that computers and models were extensively used. Who knows, maybe these ships can blow ballast and find another 10 feet of freeboard without becoming unstable… again, I don’t know.

        But the gain in stealth had better be worth what appears to be a HUGE compromise in seakeeping. Has the USN forgotten what the ocean can do to a ship?

        • Secundius

          @ RobM1981.

          I NEVER SAID THEY WERE NEW! Republican Roman built Three-Oared Trireme as early as 400 BCE that were “Tumblehome” design’s…

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  • RobM1981

    The Navy has always, until now, tried to build to meet the most likely threat. Every article in Proceedings that discusses this topic points to a few “usual suspects…” China and Russia.

    Perhaps the brass need a reminder that neither of these are littoral threats? These are blue-water threats. Our ships, including the Zumwalt’s, need a heavier punch in Air, Surface, and Sub-surface. It cannot be more defined.

    I’m afraid that Salamander’s accusations appear to have merit. Are hulls being built simply to provide career-paths, and not necessarily capability?

    Thank God for the Virginia’s. The LCS’s certainly are’t “giving the other guy pause…”

    • homey1234

      Yeah who is this brown water Navy adversary?? About time somebody raise the BS flag on this…

      • PolicyWonk

        There’s a lot of brown water surrounding (and in) the Persian Gulf, the S. China sea,
        and the western Pacific (lots of island chains, etc.), among other places.

        Where I see the need for a platform that can do brown water fighting, what passes for today’s LCS simply doesn’t cut it. Its too lightly armed, too unprotected, too little room for growth, and way too big (in size and cost, especially given the poor ROI).

        If we’re looking to offload some of the burdens of the Burkes, then we need something that can really do the job, and defend itself like a real frigate can. The Saudi’s, however, are paying to develop a variant of the Freedom class that has some real teeth – and this is what the US *should* be building.

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    This is Sad, as many problems the LCS program had to content with. If this had happen during WW2, the people behind it would have been sent to Iran to count trucks going north to Russia

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  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    Give the LCS’s to the 4th fleet. They will put them to good use, working out of mayport, key west, Gulfport, Puerto Rico, Gitmo, etc

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