Home » Budget Industry » Navy Says LCS Shock Trials Had Positive Results; Pentagon Still Has Concerns


Navy Says LCS Shock Trials Had Positive Results; Pentagon Still Has Concerns

USS Jackson (LCS 6) successfully completed the first of three scheduled full ship shock trials June 10. US Navy photo.

USS Jackson (LCS 6) successfully completed the first of three scheduled full ship shock trials June 10. US Navy photo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Full ship shock trials on both variants of the Littoral Combat Ship proved the ships are survivable and will only need “relatively minor modifications,” according to Navy written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, but the Pentagon’s top operational tester warned in his written testimony that the shocks were performed at reduced severity due to concerns about excessive damage to the ships.

The Navy performed its three-shot FSST on Independence-variant USS Jackson (LCS-6) in June and July and conducted two of three shots on USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) in August and September. But in their testimony to SASC for a hearing on the LCS program, Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley and the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation J. Michael Gilmore had very different messages about the success of the test event.

Stackley, along with commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, wrote that “the LCS Program Office accomplished all FSST test objectives within budget, for both ship variants, demonstrating that the ships and ships’ systems are able to survive the degrading effects of an underwater shock event.” Full test results will be available in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2017 after all the data is analyzed, they wrote, but design changes resulting from the data would be minor.

“In the Independence variant, modifications to some structural details in specific forward fuel tanks and bulkheads are being assessed and planned. The design work is complete and associated modifications will be accomplished in LCS-6 during her upcoming PSA (post-shakedown availability),” reads the written testimony.
“In the Freedom variant, there is need for modification to reduction gear lube oil bellows to allow for greater travel and improved bracing of lube oil piping in the vicinity of the bellows. The majority of the required changes were implemented in LCS 5 during the FSST period with the outstanding work to be completed in her PSA. For all follow ships of both variants, these relatively minor modifications will be accomplished at the most cost effective opportunity in the new construction window.”

The Navy’s written testimony also notes that the follow-on frigate design will include survivability upgrades, some of which will be back fitted onto LCSs, such as hardening of potable water systems, chill water systems and the ship’s Anti-Ship Cruise Missile system.

Gilmore’s written testimony tells a different story. He wrote that ahead of the trials he “approved the reduced severity trial geometries for LCS-6 because of serious concerns about the potential for damage to non-shock hardened mission critical equipment and ship structure.” He added that the Independence-variant aluminum hull could suffer more damage than a traditional steel hull, and that the combat system and main propulsion system on those ships were not hardened. “To further mitigate potential equipment damage and personnel injury, some mission systems were removed, other equipment was modified to improve shock resistance, and construction deficiencies were corrected,” he wrote.

Gilmore wrote that after the three shots of increasing severity, most of the ship systems that were supposed to remain operable or be restored rapidly did just that – but he noted that the third and most severe shock was still only at half the required shock strength. Due to the success of keeping the ship systems online during testing, Gilmore directed the Navy to use stronger shocks for the Milwaukee test, with the third one reaching two-thirds the shock severity the ship is built to sustain.

“The Navy conducted the first two shots from August 29 through September 23, 2016, starting the trial at the same shock severity as other modern surface combatants. However, the Navy stopped the LCS 5 trial after the second shot, thereby not executing the planned third shot due to concerns with the shock environment, personnel, and equipment,” Gilmore wrote.
“The Navy viewed the third LCS 5 trial as not worthwhile because the Navy was concerned shocking the ship at the increased level of that trial would significantly damage substantial amounts of non-hardened equipment, as well as damage, potentially significantly, the limited amount of hardened equipment, thereby necessitating costly and lengthy repairs.”

“Neither shock trial resulted in catastrophic damage, yet both shock trials exposed critical shock deficiencies, which I will detail in an upcoming classified report,” he concluded.
“These deficiencies, which were only identified in the shock trial, can now be specifically addressed and corrected by Navy engineers to make the ships more survivable.”

Gilmore has long disagreed with Navy officials on the LCS program, and specifically whether the ship has proven it can perform the missions it was built for while keeping the crew safe. He said during the hearing that, as an example, “the original vision for these ships is they would use unmanned systems that would go in and conduct combat operations and they could stand off away from threats. But those unmanned systems that could reach out and conduct combat operations, we don’t have, and it isn’t clear when we ever will. So this ship was built to not be nearly as survivable as, for example, the FFG-7s we used to have. … It’s not nearly as survivable as other ships, and frankly it wasn’t meant to be in that regard, and the original [concepts of operations], if it could ever be realized, that might have been fine. But as I understand the conops and the way it’s been written – and the Navy is continually revising it based on what it learns, the conops still says it would be out there preparing the way to the battlefield. And if that’s true, then it will be subject to attack by anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes and mines, and the Navy’s own requirements show the only thing the Navy expects if it’s hit by one of those threats is for it to be able to exit the battle area and/or provide for an orderly evacuation.”

Overall, Gilmore stressed the need for more and more threat-representative testing for the LCS class, with additional testing being prioritized over efforts to field the ship overseas. His written testimony noted previous problems with the sea frame’s 57mm guns and the surface warfare mission package in defeating small boat threats, which were only revealed through at-sea testing instead of shore-based or simulation-based testing. Gilmore said he believes the addition of an over-the-horizon missile and the surface-to-surface Longbow Hellfire missile will greatly enhance the surface warfare capability but added that other modifications may be needed based on the ship class’s test results against “relatively modest threat” environments.

  • Lazarus

    Again, testing proves that testing works. The testing community also does not have to pay for the tests they demand and shock trials have damaged ships in the past. The original FFG 7 (Oliver Hazard Perry) suffered structural damage in shock trials that was never repairable and the coastal minehunter USS Osprey (MHC 51) suffered severe damage to its outer composite hull as a result of shock trials in 1995.

    • Curtis Conway

      “The original FFG 7 (Oliver Hazard Perry) suffered structural damage in shock trials… …the coastal minehunter USS Osprey (MHC 51) suffered severe damage to its outer composite hull as a result of shock trials…” AND gave us valuable knowledge about these specific seaframes, instead of learning the hard way . . . in COMBAT!

      • Lazarus

        Perhaps then you will not mind contributing to the trials budget from your own retirement pay (if you are a Navy retiree?) Shock tests should not wreck warships.

        • Curtis Conway

          IT IS NOT a Warship . . . unless it can pass the test!

          • Sons of Liberty

            You are correct. It’s a patrol/support/trawler not a warship.

          • Al

            That is what these boffins have forgotten in their turf war fights, the LCS should be a light, mobile platform for all the second line jobs the Navy has neglected for decades, do we need a squadron of Burke class destroyers with their nearly 300 man crews standing by off of Africa on pirate patrol? do we need San Antonio class LPDs using their helos to sweep for mines in the Strait of Hormuz? The problem is that every dept out there wants to cram them into the frigate role, a role they cannot fulfill nor should they, we need a small jack of all trades hull with a small crew and large aviation capability to do the light but critical gruntwork the now all but extinct small boat fleet used to do.

          • Stephen

            I think you may have inadvertently exposed the true nature of these vessels. Remove the weapons suite; paint them white & turn over to NOAA as USNS…

          • PolicyWonk

            “It’s a patrol/support/trawler not a warship….”
            ==================================
            Yet it is deceitfully referred to as “USS” as opposed to USNS, and is classified as “littoral combat”, and is staggeringly expensive, despite it never being designed (or intended) to venture into the littorals to engage in combat (according to Adm. Greenert).

          • BrRobertNapolitanoSchwehr

            I believe you have the true big picture but what is the solution?Stopping production would hurt the Navy how can the Navy and the Pentagon arrive at a solution to the waste?

          • PolicyWonk

            I don’t advocate stopping production of sea-frames that are under construction, or have the larger majority of their parts well underway.

            But we do have an option when it comes to the building of frigates, because we have the HII Legend-class National Security Cutters building on the slipways – and a navalized variant has already been mostly designed.

            But what the LCS (and F-35, ECS, EFV, et al) programs all clearly identify, is that DoD acquisition needs to be extirpated and replaced with a system similar to that used by the British. Failing that, in return for restoration of funding, the entire system should be put under receivership.

            The US taxpayers (and DoD) get the lousiest deal for defense dollar spent int he western world – and we simply cannot afford to continue burning money.

          • BrRobertNapolitanoSchwehr

            Sounds good.I hope someone in the Pentagon who can act on this with Congress takes note.

    • Aubrey

      It “works” when you cheat and don’t actually put it through an honest, full-strength test.

      To reduce to the test because you are afraid of breaking your ship is something of a message to any but the worst of the Kool-Aid drinkers.

      • Lazarus

        How big an explosive charge is big enough, or too small? Shock tests are classified, but how much do they really measure? They are more determining system tolerances rather than simulating the effects of a close aboard detonation. SINKEX’s are how navies determine survivability.

        • Curtis Conway

          It is specified in the testing criteria, which was not followed. some original shock testing was considered exactly that . . . a potential SINKEX.

          • Lazarus

            The Navy and DOT&E must agree to the test plan together. It must also be affordable and conform to the overall Navy schedule for the ship. There is only so much time available in a ship’s sked for testing, otherwise she ends up being late on other milestones. Milwaukee, for example, had to reach her post shakedown availability. A third shock might have lengthened that process. Testing does not occur in a vacuum, but I think DOT&E believes it does.

          • Curtis Conway

            Short changing testing short changes Safety for the crew, and effectiveness of the system in combat. This boils down to mindset, fundamental belief systems, and what is actually important. Being on time, or providing a solid product is important, but not over safety and effectiveness. The Ford is a case in point, and flight safety is the trump card that drives that schedule. Gotta stop flushing sailors like so many robots and computers. They deserve the best, not just what you have estimated we can afford. This whole argument is a fundamental Leadership issue.

          • BrRobertNapolitanoSchwehr

            Do you really believe the LCS class with its problems is really the best answer for the Navy I see you are very knowledgeable on the subject and I will respect your opinion.I believe you accept the status quo as the most realistic solution but I think the LCS is a bad deal for the crew and for the Navy.

  • Paul

    Hmm, this reminds me of reading accounts of the Solomon Islands battles in WW2 where non shock-mounted radars and electrical systems on our ships were knocked out by our own gunfire salvos. Testing is important.

  • PolicyWonk

    “The Navy viewed the third LCS 5 trial as not worthwhile because the
    Navy was concerned shocking the ship at the increased level of that
    trial would significantly damage substantial amounts of non-hardened
    equipment, as well as damage, potentially significantly, the limited
    amount of hardened equipment, thereby necessitating costly and lengthy
    repairs.”
    ===============================================
    So… What is the point of doing a test that according to the navy doesn’t validate what they need validated?

    In short – they didn’t want to test the ships lest they get damaged, when the whole point of shock-testing to determine whether these already dubious assets can resist battle damage.

    You can’t make this stuff up…

    If the Russians were doing anything this dumb, we’d be having a field day!

    • Lazarus

      You do not seem to understand the point of shock testing. It is intended to set system parameters and not to simulate actual damage effects.

      • PolicyWonk

        You can shovel all you want – but when so many involved say the testing is inadequate – including DOT&E and pentagon – especially given the context of a platform with as much controversy surrounding it as LCS: one would think a full testing suite would be welcomed by those that claim these ship are well constructed and deserving of a place in the USN, and would enjoy being able to prove the USN’s inspector general report wrong.

        That is, despite not being built to meet any of the navy’s own (even the lowest) construction standards.

        OTOH – Laz might be right: given that LCS’s propulsion systems are so unreliable, mission packages not delivered, the obvious lack of armament or protection, cavalier attitude toward the lives of the crew, the crewing plan bolluxed up – they might be scrapped before being deployed anyway. This would render much further testing a waste of taxpayer money.

        ;-P

        • Lazarus

          Old complaints; already addressed.

          • PolicyWonk

            Apparently as far as you’re concerned.

            Apparently, not as far as the pentagon or senate are concerned.

          • eclemensen

            What none of you want to address is, the Military, (not just the Navy) are told that they need to buy this stuff. Congress, especially the right loves to buy war toys, doesn’t matter what they cost. Example a couple of months ago Senator McConnell decided we need more F-35’s at, I am told seven to two hundred million dollars a piece Yet both the Navy and the air force are rebuilding and buy new F16’s and F 18′ and as I said rebuilding al they can. while in the meantime According to the Magazine Air And Space put out by the Smithsonian, tells us we are selling the F35 to Norway, at an “extremely good price” as said by the Norwegians. On of the bitches about this, if you remember , wa the complaint , by most everyone, but especially the ground troops about getting rid of the A1 and replacing it with the F35 . the ground troops said that F35 could NOT do the job. Further more At the European Military Air Show two years ago the newwdt might out did the F35, so bad it was pitiful Several years ago the pentagon told the Republican congress that the Pentagon did NOT want the extra money that the right was foisting on them. Kantor told the Pentagon THEY didn’t know what THET were talking about, That was the time that the right wanted to re build old tanks with new equipment, when the military was already over run with tanks Back to the air why on earth are we even thinking about air planes when a drone can protect itself, and fly to the target, loiter observing the target, for up to forty eight hours, allowing the operator to get the best shot of the target, and then fly back to its temporary home, and be reloaded in less then six hours. Especially when it take two days for an F 35 to be re charged for the next sortie. and this is at about the tenth of the cost.????

          • old guy

            You have it right. We can only hope that President Trump will assign a ruthless, vicious, unstoppable, brilliant budget cutter and requirement determiner to sort out the procurement morass in ALL the services, put the Coast Guard in the Navy and stop silly, costly duplication.

          • eclemensen

            I’m sorry you missed the point entirely. the Coast Guard and the navy have two very separate jobs. The Navy actually has more aircraft then the Air Force, but again two very separate jobs. what I am referring to is the conservative congress, likes to buy war toys, from their closest finical supporters’ Now maybe y6ou have something on the idea that Trump should appoint a ruthless no nonsense budget cutter. One that knows something about military warfare, but With the appointees I’ve seen so far I don’t hold my breath, but to sight some examples , I have been told that the f35 costs anywhere from 7 mill a copy to 200 mill a copy. We aren’t using them both the Navy and the air force are rebuilding all the work horse they can of f 18 and f16s we are selling the f35’s to Norway at “very reasonable price’ as said by the Air and space Magazine, which is an off shoot of the Smithsonian. Another waste of money. Up until thirty years ago the military actually did all of their own logistics, Now we have Haliburton, during W’s war with Iraq Millions of dollars went missing, while in Halliburton’s control. Now what is also interesting is that Mr. Chaney got a $100,000 a year from Halliburton during that war, as a gift. reading your handle, I’m betting that you might have served during Vietnam, or Korea, but I digress. During bush’s term at the helm congress wanted to give more money to the pentagon. we were already spending as much as the next nations, (including china and Russia) already. the pentagon didn’t want it, believe it or not. but when they said the didn’t want Congressman Cantor told them they didn’t know what they were talking about, In so many words. what I’m trying to say here is that congress on the behalf of corporate American started Micro-managing the military effort. You’ve undouble heard about G.I. Jane who got to North Vietnam and tried to spread Pease. She got their on a shell Oil tanker. shell at that time was an American company, they are now Royal dutch shell so they don’t have to pay as much taxes, or any at all, but agin I digress. shell, as many American companies was doing business with North Vietnam, while NV was killing our soldiers. but are service people weren’t allowed to hit their fuel dumps, if they put up a church in front of it. As to again your statement what we do need is an overseer, that will stop these favored companies from selling us junk and from scheduling cost overruns that take money out of the tax payers pockets.

          • old guy

            First, I am a WW2 vet. (I consider myself a “gangplank” vet in that I went in 3/14/45 and VE day was 5/9/45. I trained at Ft. Knox to be an mos733 tank driver and was at Camp Stoneman, Ca, ready to invade Japan, in August, when they dropped the bomb. I spent the rest of my service, as a surveyor stick holder, in Ft. Richardson, Alaska. Cold, but no shooting.)
            Second, I worked for the USN for 30 years, Dir, R&D NAVSEA, PM, Advanced Ship R&D, winding up as Director Navy S&T Development. During those years I had several stints in redistribution of resources to meet new threats. In 2 of them a unified Navy/Coast Guard organization was found desirable and I advocated for it.
            . Now you know the rest of the story. Well some of it.

          • Curtis Conway

            “[T]he Coast Guard and the navy have two very separate jobs.”

            This is a conversation that has been going on for a while. At this point we ALL know that the US Coast Guards Legend Class High Endurance Cutter (Nation Security Cutter) is built to a higher survivability standard that the Littoral Combat Ship that was built to a new and watered down version of US Navy Regulations survivability standards with respect to watertight integrity and compartmentalization. THESE are facts, and every time we approach the facts in a argument with the US Navy and their supporters of the LCS, they all DEFLECT and want to redefine survivability as combat system capability. SO, we compare the LCS’s (either flavor) Combat System capability, and it is woefully inadequate to survive in a modern battle space.
            Additionally, the twelve (12) Hamilton Class High Endurance Cutters are being replace with only eight NSC(s) with funding for a ninth in the budget. The US Coast Guard missions set was often supported by FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigates in the past. They are all gone, and the LCS is a poor replacement in a Blue Water, or Arctic environment.
            So, would you like to modify that observation, considering the superior survivability of the NSC. We ALL already know the difference between the US Coast Guard Mission, and that of the US Navy Surface Combat Fleet. Please remember that the US Coast Guard augments the US Navy in times of conflict . . . and the nation is at war!

          • eclemensen

            The general idea of the Coast Guard vs the Navy is that the coast Guard, “guards the coast, the Navy takes on the rest of the world in international and their coast waters. that was until Congress decided to Micro mange the Military for the benefit of the Corporate/military/ complex. As far as the “Littoral Combat ship,” it is another boon daggle forced on the country, by the ? Honorable Senator McConnell ! It can’t seem to even get out of port. Yes many of these ships , along with many usable carriers have been scrapped, for the reason that somebody wants to spend even more money on new ones. Just like the powers that be wanted to scrape the A10 in behest of the f35 which cost us at seven million a copy, and since you seem to knw a big deal about the Navy, you also know the Navy is rebuilding at a extreme pace the f18. Which also should we ask why are we selling the f35, to Norway and not using it ourselves. Selling it a very reasonable sum, according to the interview in Air and space magazine. As far as the nation being at war, Who decided that the nation needed to go to war, AGAINST the recommendation of the pentagon. I digress, as you are also up to speed on the Military, you also know that Instead of building another humongous air craft carrier, we could have kept the Connie and the Beulah Woods, and used them as drone carriers , which is what both the Navy and the Air Force are actually turning to, instead of manned aircraft. and by the by let’s not forget, which is seldom mentioned, the Merchant marine, who also augments the Navy during War time

          • Curtis Conway

            “…why are we selling the f35, to Norway and not using it ourselves.” We can’t build them fast enough at this point for our use, and the more involved in the process the less expensive these things get. They will come out of the plant at one/day when the configuration is solidly tested and accepted, but we are not there yet, and the Legacy Fighter Force has put off upgrades far too long due to the tardiness of F-35 introduction. Our new Gen-4+ fighters will be able to hold the line with the F-35Bs the Marines will be flying out in the fleet. We just have ONE USS America (LHA-6) ‘Lightening Carrier’ at present w/ its expanded AIMD and hangar deck. We need more in the future.

            As far as the A-10 /F-35 comparison, you are right on target. This whole situation looks like video gamers trying to get ready for real combat. Reality is a different world, and THAT is where all the exceptions to the gaming rules arise. The United States has been doing this to our enemies since before we were a country. Evil exist, and these new planners act like it doesn’t. Plan for the worse, and hope for the best. This new bunch is having a very hard time ‘defining’ the worse!

          • eclemensen

            Thanks for your service, but think about what you said about the reason we are sending the f35 to Norway…If what you have praised the f35 was true, wouldn’t we keep it even at such a small quantity, instead of selling it, at a substantially lower price then what we are paying for it???? Furthermore according to the European military show two years ago, the f35 couldn’t compete with the Russian mig, which costs about a third to produce. Now since I am thinking that you might be part of the tail hook air wing, how long does it take to change out an engine on an f35 vs the f 18, and the final question is still why is the Navy/Marines still rebuilding f18’s as fast as they can????

          • Curtis Conway

            Your analysis is dated. One cannot sneak up on an F-35 (any flavor) TODAY so what will kill our pilots in the field will be ROE. We have a process to field our combat equipment. Concurrency has been a huge argument particulalry given the testing requirements, which turned out to be much more strenuous (all the things we are not doing to LCS) to make sure this platform is THE Transformation platform it is intended to be. This is an Aegis Aircraft if you please. Like the Star Ship Enterprise, this aircraft has sensors in several places in the EM spectrum and allows a situation awareness exercised by the combat system that Serves the Pilot and the system. This is exactly what the Aegis Combat System does for the US Navy Surface Fleet. Everyone contributes, and no one is supposed to a drain on the system. Our team is strong and will win, and we will win with our Allies right along side flying their F-35 Lightening IIs, and P-8A Poseidon aircraft feeding the greater FORCEnet.

            NO, the US will field as it matures and is able to come out in numbers, not needing to go back for concurrency modifications.

          • eclemensen

            Ain’t no conceit in this family. I echo almost everything you say. In the last hundred years I am somewhat ashamed to say I was the only male that didn’t serve in the Navy, Diabetic. I did make two trips to Nam with a USO band that I put together, but that is beside the point. Now I’ll ask you a question, did they somehow figure out how protect the electronic control systems. As far as Marine Pilots are concerned, I told somebody that all the guys checking for WMDs in Iraq, if they weren’t allowed to check something out , all they had to do was call a marine and an f 18. I still believe a Marine pilot could almost shave a beard off of one of the Iraqis with hurting them with an f 18. and I also believe that if you gave a marine, a WWII lighting he could still take down the f35 with any one else flying it. This last statement comes from, when my son the master chief took me to the Mir mar air show a couple of years ago we watched an Air force contribution of an B1 doing a “low pass” at at least a thousand feet up. I just happen t say out loud, that the Air Force should get a marine to teach them how to fly.. Got a Standing Ovation.

          • Curtis Conway

            First . . . ALWAYS Capitalize Marine. They have earned it.

            Second . . . thank you for supporting the troops, and I’m sure the FAA and California has something to do with the altitude of the pass over a populated area, and Southern California in very much that, having lived in San Diego. Back in my B-1 Bomber Simulator days we would go outside for the Thursday high-speed pass. No such restriction out here in Texas, and the crews did a low fast bomb runs on the runway after flying their RTB (return to base). Back when we had the National Guard flying them, and they just came out of F-16s, you would watch them go to the fence in full afterburner and pull a hard climbing turn within the confines of the field and pull a short approach. I don’t think I ever saw so much fuel consumed (4 F101s in full afterburner) in one place at one time. I think I lost more hearing during those days. The crews do not push the airframes that hard these days.

            The F-35B Lightening II in the hands of a Marine Aviator wearing Wings of Gold will be a force to be reckoned with. THAT is why we need more “Lightening Carriers” and a Vertical Short Takeoff & Landing or Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (VSTOL/STOVL), and Air Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) which can operate ANYWHERE with or without a runway. That will give the ‘Six Pack Deployment to anywhere’ the edge it needs for success. There are Marines flying F-16 Aggressors against our F/A-18 Strike/Fighters in Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT). They are our best, brightest, and most capable keeping our Aviators at a fine honed edge. This give us (US) the edge, and may G-d Bless them and the United States of America as they defend our Nation, and the defenseless around the planet.

          • BrRobertNapolitanoSchwehr

            You are right on on the procurement process in all the services.Far too many gravy trains the way I see it are at stake.

  • Curtis Conway

    If either LCS will pass a ‘Sammy-B’ test, I’ll buy it. The only reason the USS Samuel B Roberts (FFG-58) held together after hitting the M-08 naval mine, and continued to float was compartmentalization and watertight integrity.

    “To further mitigate potential equipment damage and personnel injury, some mission systems were removed…”

    In other words, they rigged the test. The test article was not tested as fielded. It was modified. The intent of shock trials is to identify those items, and take appropriate measures to improve/protect those systems. No integrity in the process! And folks involved in the process, who are saving money today, over lives tomorrow . . . should be . . . do we still Keel Haul?! Are these the people you want testing the combat system with your loved one’s serving on board? NO!!!

    Why do we perform “Shock Trials?” IT IS NOT to do this: “The Navy viewed the third LCS 5 trial as not worthwhile because the Navy was concerned shocking the ship at the increased level of that trial would significantly damage substantial amounts of non-hardened equipment, as well as damage, potentially significantly, the limited amount of hardened equipment, thereby necessitating costly and lengthy repairs.” . . . limited amount of hardened equipment? . . . limited amount of hardened equipment?!?! We are supposed to be building a COMBAT SHIP not a cruise liner! This specific assessment in my mind would disqualify the test items from consideration as a Surface Combatant.

    After reading this assessment of the shock trials of both LCS variants, I would be drawn to the conclusion that neither ship is worthy of a ‘Trial By Fire’ in actual combat. Best to just limit this vessel to a Mine Countermeasures Mission. If it is used as SOF and Marine Raider support, it is at the risk of the command, not the service. It also calls into question the qualification of those making the decisions if LCS is seaworthy and combat capable, for everything they did was to save money at the expense of greater risk to human life down the road. We do ‘Shock Trials’ so we don’t have to do that very thing.

    • Lazarus

      Samuel B Roberts and Stark would both have sunk like HMS Sheffield had then been in locations other than the relatively calm Persian Gulf, not been close to immediate and continuing aid, and were under the continued threat of attack. To suggest that either of these episodes was the “gold standard” of survivability is patently false!

      • Curtis Conway

        SO . . . the standards by which THIS testing was conducted in the ‘Gold Standard’? Laz . . . YOU, and everyone of your mindset, and rationalizing ways, are part of the problem. I could not serve with you! You Sir, would have the slaves make bricks without straw, and when you ran out of slaves, would just replace them with more slaves.

        Removing the very items from the test, that are part of the defining criteria of test survival (The Combat System) is cheating, and that Sir is EVERYTHING in the system, not just the parts you think might pass the test, for that is what testing an article (or system) is about!

        You and I live in two entirely different universes, and I would not take a Surface Combatant tested by you ‘as good’ into combat, for as odds have it, it probably wouldn’t survive because what would fail (and get me and my cohorts killed) was missed in the test.

        • Lazarus

          Shock trials are about setting equipment parameters and knowing what force will knock your lube oil or chill water system off line, or put a radar out of alignment. They are not about measuring battle damage or “combat” capability. Total Ship Training Assessments do that.

          • Curtis Conway

            I was PRECOM crew on USS Ticonderoga (CG-47), after walking off of PRECOM USS Belknap (CG-26). After our sister ship (CG-48) went through shock testing we had the opportunity to ride Tico above the Arctic Circle for two weeks in weather you have nightmares about. We came back with three pages of write-ups on damage to the HM&E, that heavily influenced the design criteria for DDG-51. I am here to tell you that LCS has NO RESEMBLANCE to the lessons we learned on that trip, and that cruise confirmed the wisdom of US Navy Regulations with respect to watertight integrity and compartmentalization, for which you have no respect for, and that is dangerous, particularly for our future surface combatants.

            NO SIR! your little so called, redefined ‘combat ship’ is not worthy of the title, and just because you and your redefinition, and those of your mindset going all the way back for about 20 years who participated in this farce, do not make it right. I tested Aegis Combat Systems on Tico, and ashore for the better part of a decade, and what is represented in this article can only be characterized as a success by someone with an Title, that says they can do so, and those words are worth about as much as the paper they are written on. Practical testing in the real environment is the only way to know how well things will hold up, and is supposed to be budgeted into the process. Otherwise you are just planning to fail. Plan your life and live your plan, or you are planning to fail.

          • Lazarus

            LCS is not a CG 47. It’s a lot smaller and not nearly as complex a vessel. It’s really hard to compare the two other than to say that AEGIS got a lot more $$$, leadership, and attention from Navy leadership than did LCS until about 2011 when it was put under PEO management.

            You were on the TICO precomm crew? Rig fenders and come alongside; I worked for your FCO on another CG.

          • Curtis Conway

            The Aegis Program ushered in a whole new era not just for the US Navy, but for South Korea, Japan, and several European countries. The capability and philosophy behind the design was fundamental, sound, and Rock Solid. That translated directly into the DDG-51 Program. So, when the LCS came out, and one saw just how little capability it had, with the level of technology that exist today, one can really understand where I am coming from. The LCS is not Bat Blind, but it does not have a non-rotating 3D radar, and that is the Foundation of any Aegis platform. The TRS-4D radar has a four-fixed array face version that would take up less space and weight than a 9-RMA AN/SPY-6 AMDR. However, the scaled back (smallest proposed) AMDR antenna would provide SPY-1 coverage. Then the platform needs a capable weapon (Mk29 with ESSM?). The Navy planned for one of the module sets to be ASW in nature, and the platform does not even have an organic ASW weapon (Mk 32 Triple Torpedo Tubes), or a launcher to put one in (upgraded longer range ASROC). The sailors on LCS deserve nothing less.

          • Paul

            I fully agree that the LCS should have ESSM to supplement the SeaRAM! Cruise missiles are the biggest threat, so these ships should have the best chance of knocking them down that is practical. They could easily and cheaply use Raytheon MK 48/56 deck/bulkhead mounted ESSM VLS launchers that are already in use with several navies around the world. The MK 48/56 launchers just bolt on and they have no moving parts and therefore require less maintenance. Apparently from the literature they come in 4, 12, 32 cells depending on the model. Nothing has to be developed or researched, these have been around for years and are mature and effective.

          • Curtis Conway

            I’d be satisfied with the Mk29 if nothing else.

          • Paul

            Yup, Anything that would lob ESSMs out there would be good.

          • Curtis Conway

            Gotta have a directing radar. THAT is another reason why I push so hard for a non-rotating 3D AESA radar.

          • Al L.

            That won’t work.

            We are in an age of sensor dominance. When it come to sensors a ship will never equal a continent. Put ESSM on a ship and you need a fire control radar (“directing” radar in your parlance). Which must then point at a target(s) which arrives from where the opponent decides. So he decides where your radar will point. Which means he decides your signature profile. Which means he decides how to overload your counters.

            Nope you are all wrong. Here are the choices today: costly multilevel defense (National level assets/Aegis/deep magazine /SM series/ Sparrow/ RAM or CWIS) or minimal cost(avoidance/terminal defense/sacrificial loss)

            You frequently point out possible capabilities, but never point out their financial or strategic cost. You have it all wrong. Nothing is free.

            The annual life cycle cost of a current Aegis destroyer is somewhere around only 25-30% above an LCS. An LCS is marginally below the life cycle cost of an FFG-7. But the build cost of an LCS is a 3rd or less of a current DDG, and the build cost of a modern FFG-7 replacement is 1.5x + the cost of an LCS and approaching the cost of a minimally capable Arleigh Burke (which would still punch above most of the worlds warships)

            Add all the crap you want on an LCS or FFG and for the life cycle costs involved the Navy might as well just build 2 series of DDGs: Flight 3s and Arleigh Burke light.

            Problem being that would eat SCN better spent on nuke subs, amphibs and flattops.

            So wake up. The Navy lives in a political/budgetary reality you refuse to acknowledge. Its not about toys, its about capacity balanced against capability costs yearly and over 20-50 years.

          • Sons of Liberty

            Problem with your proposal to put the money into subs, amphibs and carriers is they don’t do the same mission. The need for surface action groups for ASW, AAW, patrol/presense ops, and sea lane defense/patrol is best handled by DDg or FFG. DDG is to valuable to waste in the many missions the Perry filled and overkill. The LSC doesn’t handle any of the mission the Perrys did beyond patrol/presense and then with limited capablities. Frankly, even the patrol needs it has not undertaken I can’t remember one time we’re an action group of LSC took up patrol in the North Sea to handle ASW duties.

            Also there are many capable existing modern FFGs today more than an improvement over the Perry which do not cost 1.5x the cost of an LSC. We may not Ben able to purchase or license a Gorshov or Grigorovich from the Russians but we certainly can the Bazan/Nansen from Spain/Norway, IVer from The Danes ($325M), De Zeven from the Netherlands.

            Though I would argue a Flight II Perry would be a wise choice. We never fully developed the Perry and never truly attempted to grow the Perry through a long term upgrade program. Reuse of the Perry would save time and money over a clean sheet design and given the cost of the Frigitization of the LSC an updated Perry will be a comparatively bargain in terms of both actual cost and more importantly increased capablities.

          • Curtis Conway

            What I have proposed from the beginning is a frigate that is roughly FFG-7 size, but perhaps a bit heavier (National Security Cutter size), has a decent flight deck with at least one hangar, is an ALL-OCEAN hull including the Arctic, with up to light ice-sheet capability with Ice-hardened hull (SQS-53 Sonar under the bow is out), twin screw & rudder with Hybrid Electric Drive so we can stretch our fuel. Reliability is the key in any combat vessel so Gas Turbines are my preference, and make this a Passive-centric Combat System, and make it the introductory platform for Directed Energy Weapons as a self-defense mechanism (and predominantly passive-centric Combat System). Crew of no more than 140 excluding AIRDET and any Staff presence. Make two types of common HM&E, and the AAW-Centric version has a single helo hangar with ESSM/SM-6(w/o Mk72 boosters) in the saved space contained in Standard Mk41 VLS on both sides, w/boats aft (like the NSC), and make one ASW-centric with two helo hangars and towed-array & VDS aft for hunting submarines. Both Combat System Baselines will revolve around the non-rotaing 3D AESA sensor (when radiating), and the Passive-centric combat system elements that can track Many targets from 50′ from the hull 360° to zenith, holding at least the 10 threat track (closest to the ship) in close track/control/designation for potential engagement at all times. They will probably cost $1Billion ea. However, you get what you paid for, and they can fill in for a DDG even in the Arctic where the DDG-51/CG-47 dare not go during some times of the year for fear of ripping open the rubber window. The NSC is a 30+ year hull, and with ice-hardening we will be adding more strength to that construct, so these things will be around for awhile. We could build them at the two LCS yards for their draft will be similar to the FFG-7 when not combat loaded, so we can get them down the river and out of the Great Lakes. may have to dredge some rivers though. this will keep the jobs in Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisconsin, and Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama. These new units will be TRUE Surface Combatants that can hold their own ANYWHERE for a period of time.

            The LCS currently under contract can be configured for MCM work, and support SOF and the Marine Raider Battalions. An LCS should Never go to the Arctic.

          • Al L.

            While well thought out in tactical applicability of it systems, your ship is has little no attachment to extant fiscal reality.

            The last total life cycle cost estimate for the NSC I know of was in 2010 by the GAO in their report on Deepwater. Annualized it came to $70.2 million per year. The same year the CBO did an analysis of Navy ship costs Sen. Jeff Sessions. DDG-51 came to $87 million per year. There is no way your ship gets built: no one in congress or industry or the Navy is going to support building a frigate based on the NSC that by the time its modified to your ideas will cost more to own per year than a downgraded DDG-51 (which could always be upgraded later) and provide far less capability.

          • Curtis Conway

            Once again, $$$ vs safety of our crews, and capability of the platform. The US Coast Guard looked at the O&M costs and made a deliberate decision not to go with LCS as one of their new Blue Water platforms. Shows us where your concentration is. In recent years the recurring mantra, even spoken by administration officials during congressional testimony, was “we never want to send out forces into a fair fight”, when in fact, the facts are this LCS platform of yours is more sacrificial in nature vs combat capability, if used in Blue Water operations.

          • Curtis Conway

            The equipment modules for the LCS do not function as advertised after how much time and budget? We have an LCS that is admittedly a poor hull for Blue Water operations, and we are in need of escorts that can perform ASW and AAW protection of US Navy surface vessels that require DDG-51 like capability, but cost less to deploy, function in the Arctic where DDG-51s with SQS-53 sonars go at great risk to the sonar during certain times of the year, and can survive a determined supersonic ASCM attack. For the US Navy to build ASCM sponges is just beyond me. We used to say that about the FFG-7, then they upgraded them with Mk15 CIWS which could handle leakers for the SM-1 misses. No such capability on the LCS. With the exception of the SPQ-9, I have great umbrage with NOT putting a non-rotating 3D AESA radar on the platform. No doubt its ESM/ECM is good, and not sure how densely Passive sensors are employed on the platform, but they should be numerous for EMCON operations, that should be becoming of greater importance in the fleet. I’m told by some it is rapidly turning into a lost art. THAT better not be true!

          • Curtis Conway

            Oh yeah . . . you are saving all kinds of money and the sailors just die. What of CAPABILITY comparison. There is not comparison. Every Aegis platform is the most capable surface combatant on the ocean, including foreign units. The NON-ROTATING 3D AESA Radar is the KEY!!! Those tracking dwells can do a lot, and who said the radar had to be radiating all the time anyway?!?!?!?!? Go back and talk to the engineers, and get another intel brief.

          • Ken N

            ESSM block 2 will have its own seeker. So does the SM-6 which is already in service.

          • Al L.

            The seeker does not find the target, it only allows the missile to close with the target. To find the target and point the missile you need to use a radar. Unless the target is radiating itself, which in the case of modern missiles and tactical aircraft they dont have to do since they can use IR to close with the target.

          • Ken N

            That not what you were originally saying. You were implying that shipboard defenses were handicapped because fire control radars/illuminators can only guide an x number of interceptors because they can’t be pointed in all directions at once to defeat a saturation attack inbound from multiple bearings. This is true.

            But interceptors with active seekers do not rely on shipboard illuminators therefore that handicap is lifted. Of course the inbound threat still needs to be detected by search and tracking radars. The SPY-1 Aegis array can track hundreds of targets at once and can send and guide (via command uplink) many interceptors at once in all directions to engage the threat. The exact capabilities of Aegis are of course classified.

          • Al L.

            “You were implying that shipboard defenses were handicapped because fire control radars/illuminators can only guide an x number of interceptors because they can’t be pointed in all directions at once to defeat a saturation attack inbound from multiple bearings.”

            Thats not at all what I was implying. You like many assume the key is the defenders capability and dismiss the offenders capacity to manipulate it.

            My implication was that radiating with a powerful radar against multiple targets with out the ability to counter attack only enables the attacker to gain data with which to find a seam in which to deliver a killing blow. Putting an AEGIS series or similar radar on a ship in order to allow a minimally capable AAW defense such as with a MK 29 as Curtis Conway suggested is a path to spending money for no less risk.

            Sure you can put SM-6 on a ship, but how many ships can the Navy afford to put a useful number of SM-6 missiles on? They cost 2-3 million a piece. GAO estimates of the cost just to fit a ship with a minimal ESSM defensive system (Missile directing radars a single VLS module and 16 missiles) was $88 million in 2010, or about $100 million today. Using historical ratios that would be @ $200 million over a ships life. To add SM-6 is likely more than twice that or in budget terms, 3/4 the cost of an LCS . It would buy a traditional MIW ship easily. Nothing comes for free. All these toys that Curtis wants to pin on ships cost lots of money, which he fails to justify with any strategic arguments. He says our sailors are worth it. Well so are our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, etc. How much must we spend for a marginal improvement in capability? Should we spend so much on one ship with 100-150 sailors that it could buy a new weapon for issue to every infantryman in the US forces? An expense much more likely to save lives and have more effect?

          • Paul

            I’m next to completely ignorant on the subject of radar, but does the rotating 3D AESA Airbus TRS-4D radar developed for the Freedom variant preclude it’s use with ESSM just because the radar rotates? I’m not trying to be flip, I just don’t have the background.

          • Curtis Conway

            It’s a matter of data rate, and tracking dwells. New AESA rotating radars can track laterally across their array face as well if so programmed. I am not specifically familiar with the intricacies as the TRS-4D, but AIRBUS does have a fixed array face version that does not rotate, and many of the tracking algorithms from the SPY radar could be ported over.

          • Ken N

            I believe ESSM block 1 is SARH guidance which means it needs a fire control radar on the ship to illuminate the target. A rotating radar will not be able to do that. ESSM block 2 has an active seeker which will allow it to guide itself to the target. The Tico’s and Arleigh Burke class use AN/SPG-62’s for fire control radar.

          • Paul

            So do you know what directs/illuminates for the regular RAM launcher the Freedom variants currently have? The Independence variants appear to have the autonomous SeaRAM, but the Freedoms still have the regular RAM as of the USS Detroit, which I recently saw in person just before her commissioning in Detroit. I assume the normal RAM launchers have to be directed/illuminated by something else? I’m combing the internet, but I’m not seeing it.

          • Ken N

            Its uses infrared homing/passive RF to lock onto targets as opposed to radar guidance. So the ships sensors would detect an incoming threat..a supersonic anti-ship missile for example, and the RAM launcher would be directed to engage it. After launch the RAM missile will hopefully lock on to the large heat signature and/or any active RF emissions of the incoming missile.

          • Paul

            So if I understand things correctly, when the ESSM Block 2 is fielded (from 2020 on) nearly any ship in the Navy (LCS included) could theoretically have a pretty good anti-cruise missile/anti-air capability out to 27 miles or so.

          • Curtis Conway

            The so-called SPG-62s only have a X-mit side, so it’s not a SPG. It’s an ‘illuminator’.

          • Ken N

            Navy calls them SPG’s

          • Curtis Conway

            Fine, a radar has to not only transmit, but a receive side, and . . . the receive section is missing. We have been playing this little game with Mk99 Illuminators since the 1980s. Every Aegis Cruiser has four (4), and the DDGs have three (3).

          • Ken N

            LOL. Yes I see your point now. They technically aren’t fire control “radars”.

          • Refguy

            What’s the frequency of the AIRBUS radar?

          • Paul

            The Airbus overview document says “C” band, which is evidently the NATO “G” band. So 4000-6000 MHz from what I can tell.

          • Refguy

            Thanks. So higher than Aegis or AWACS but below illuminators and terminal seekers.

          • Sons of Liberty

            You are correct sir the Little Crappy ship is not a cruiser nor a DDGs and definantly not a FFG. It was built to replace mine sweepers, patrol craft, and intelligence trawlers. Yet we have leadership pushing the PR BS machine overtime to justify why a patrol ship became a half billion dollar disgrace and why we abandon and struck Frigates from the registry.

          • Curtis Conway

            What the LCS proponent community has forgotten, or never intended to pay attention to, is the fact that our sailors are our most precious asset. Safeguarding those who make the mission happen is MOST important, otherwise everything is treated like a one-way mission (i.e., they are expendable).
            The US Navy started the trend of “Sending only the very Best’ in the form of an Aegis Hallmark Card in the 1980’s (CG-47 Class Aegis Cruisers). Then we started cracking out the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Destroyers in the 90’s and have been making them ever since. The Aegis Frigate was the next logical step, and the US Navy decided a long time ago they could not afford that. Well, they didn’t ask the American people if they could turn their sons and daughters into Expendable Sailors!
            If an Aegis Cruiser (should be build one today) would cost $3 Billion, and an Aegis Destroyer cost just under $2 Billion, it stands to reason that an Aegis Frigate would cost in the vicinity of at least $1 Billion, and perhaps a little more. Most of our Allies are building Aegis Frigates for just under or near $1 Billion, so we should be able to as well. To build something that must perform the mission of a Surface Combatant, sail in All-oceans, and be able to handle multiple tasks (Multi-Mission) is required. Our new and rapidly growing in importance operations area is the Arctic, so it stands to reason that we should be building something that can handle thin ice at the least (Ice-hardened hull), is seaworthy in all oceans, is multi-mission, and at our current level of technological maturity be able to build a Hybrid Electric Drive ship that enables the ship to go farther on the same amount of fuel. Studies and experience on automating the Aegis Combat System on the Cruisers, and DDG-51 Flt III has shown us that we can man a US Navy Man-a-War with about 150 or less, and then we have spaces for the AIRDET (Air Detachment with helo), and perhaps an embarked staff or LEDET (US Coast Guard Legal Detachment). The Blue Water capable Legend Class National Security Cutter is steaming all oceans already, and is manned as previously described. Operators and technicians to maintain combat system growth will be required but we can make that happen for 25 to 30+ frigates competed between two yards, using Multi-Year Procurement for more efficient production, and compete the production between two yards. One yard will build the AAW-centric version, and the other yard will build the ASW-centric version, but if one yard shows an economic advantage after we start putting these things in the water, one yard may end up building two versions because of the increased quality and efficiency. This method of production has proven itself in Aegis Destroyer construction between HII and BIW for nigh-on decades now, and we should continue in that modis opperandi. The LCS yards can finish up their construction run of LCSs and then begin this new construct, and they will either rise to the challenge, or another yard will pick up the slack. We have ship building concerns on all coast who would jump at the chance to participate in this activity. Time to stop fooling around, and get down to rebuilding America’s Fleets.
            Alternate LHA-6 hulls from well-deck and non-well-deck hulls making more ‘Lightening Carriers’. They can fill in the gaps until the Ford CVN matures and starts coming out in numbers. This will also fill gaps so the current CVN force can catch up on maintenance.
            Get the Icebreakers on line more quickly, and give a good look at a new surface nuclear program. The CG-replacement could benefit from that eventuality, and those trained sailors will come in handy in the future. Ice breakers are electric drive anyway, and what better power plant than a nuke. We have municipalities in the Northern Latitudes that could be hurting by the time the Icebreaker and fuel ship get through and that nuke plant hooked up at the pier can accomplish a lot. That kind of ship would really have come in handy at Fukushima. If the Russians actually build 8 Kirov Class Battlecruisers, we will have to do in kind. This would be the HM&E (Hull, Machinery & Equipment) capable hull required for that vessel.
            The Department of Defense is going to have to get off the dime and build a VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft for the “Lightening Carriers”, and everywhere else where a traditional AEW or AEW&C asset can not go. It is as clear a requirement as anyone who has eyes to see this eventuality. Ask industry to rise to the challenge and I bet you will be surprised as to what transpires.

      • Sons of Liberty

        I tend to have given your comments serious consideration til this one. The facts are the facts both ships survived direct actual real world ship killer missile strikes. And given both the design and a fully manned well trained crew survived.

        One just needs to seee the most resent example of a Perry taking multiple hits from a broad array of misle and torpedoes during rimpac 2016.

  • Curtis Conway

    Lazarus would have you believe that shock testing has nothing to do with HM&E. Read the article. There is specific mention of items (specific forward fuel tanks and bulkheads) that require change in HM&E and then they skipped the Big Test. Sound like a Combat Vessel to you?

    • Lazarus

      Every ship has such issues. The CG 47’s had extensive F/O service tank cracking amidships once upon a time. Spent lots of time crawling around those as a GFE.

    • Al

      That’s the big point that all the boffins have forgotten in their turf wars, they shouldn’t be front line combat ships, the LCS should be a light, mobile platform for all the second line jobs the Navy has neglected for decades, do we need a squadron of Burke class destroyers with their nearly 300 man crews standing by off of Africa on pirate patrol? do we need San Antonio class LPDs using their helos to sweep for mines in the Strait of Hormuz? The problem is that every dept out there wants to cram them into the frigate role, a role they cannot fulfill nor should they, we need a small jack of all trades hull with a small crew and large aviation capability to do the light but critical gruntwork the now all but extinct small boat fleet used to do.

      • Curtis Conway

        What reality is all about is that when the Mk13 came off the FFG-7s, we were just sending someone into harm’s way without the tools to defend themselves . . . and we pulled it off . . . as the world changed and became a much more dangerous place. The FFG-7 replacement has got to do AT LEAST what the NSC could do, for the FFG-7s in a substantial part of their deployments were acting like US Coast Guard Cutters with LEDET on board. That USCG mission is growing, and that High Endurance Cutter force is shrinking from 12 – 8 (with budgeting for #9 in works). The advent of supersonic ASCMs (not just Chinese C-802s like Iran gave to Yemen), and shipping container launchers (Club-K and others), we simply must have better protection, or more defense for these small surface combatants.

        What I have proposed from the beginning is a frigate that is roughly FFG-7 size, but perhaps a bit heavier (National Security Cutter size), has a decent flight deck with at least one hangar, is an ALL-OCEAN hull including the Arctic, with up to light ice-sheet capability with Ice-hardened hull (SQS-53 Sonar under the bow is out), twin screw & rudder with Hybrid Electric Drive so we can stretch our fuel. Reliability is the key in any combat vessel so Gas Turbines and real MRGs are my preference, and make this a Passive-centric Combat System, and the introductory platform for Directed Energy Weapons as a self defense mechanism with predominantly passive-centric Combat System. Crew of no more than 140 excluding AIRDET and any Staff presence. Make two types of common HM&E, with the AAW-Centric version having a single helo hangar with ESSM/SM-6(w/o Mk72 boosters) in the saved space contained in Standard Mk41 VLS on both sides, w/boats aft (like the NSC), and make one ASW-centric with two helo hangars and towed-array & VDS aft for hunting submarines. Both Combat System Baselines will revolve around the non-rotating 3D AESA sensor (when radiating), and when in EMCON the Passive-centric combat system elements that can track Many targets from 50′ from the hull 360° to zenith, holding at least the 10 threat tracks (closest to the ship) in close track/ control/ designation for potential engagement at all times. They will probably cost $1Billion ea. However, you get what you paid for, and they can fill in for a DDG even in the Arctic where the DDG-51/CG-47 dare not go during some times of the year for fear of ripping open the rubber window. The NSC is a 30+ year hull, and with ice-hardening we will be adding more strength to that construct, so these things will be around for awhile. We could build them at the two LCS yards for their draft will be similar to the FFG-7 when not combat loaded, so we can get them down the river and out of the Great Lakes. May have to dredge some rivers though. this will keep the jobs in Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisconsin, and Austal USA shipyards in Mobile, Alabama. These new units will be TRUE Surface Combatants that can hold their own ANYWHERE for a period of time, unlike the LCS.

        The LCS currently under contract can be configured for MCM work, and support SOF and the Marine Raider Battalions, and whatever else is dreamed up in the Littorals. An LCS should Never go to the Arctic.

        • Paul

          Your last paragraph is an interesting sideline Curtis. Maybe some LSCs will be used to support modern Raider Battalions eventually, there is certainly a historical precedent in the APD/High Speed Transports of WW2. The old APDs could transport a company of Raiders and give naval gunfire support. Maybe a few LCS could be completed with 5 inch guns and extra room for berthing, it’s an interesting idea, who knows…

        • DaSaint

          Curtis,
          You probably can’t get the Austal USA yard to build in steel very easily. Completely different skillsets and equipment requirements. The Marinette yard can do so more easily, as that hull is already steel.
          I do agree in principle that the LCS is doing missions it wasn’t intended for. Yet, at the same time, did we expose the Cyclone class to blast testing? They are in harms way all the time, but no one clamors for a CIWS or SLQ-32 on them? Are their sailors more expendable when we have them in the Persian Gulf? I know, I know, different missions, but similar exposure.

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, let’s see . . . I don’t recall ‘blast testing’ PT-109 either. They received their blast testing via another method. There is obviously a point of diminishing returns (testing would cost more than the entire program), and I would draw that line on NECC craft, and anything below 1,000 tons and under 200′ long as a general rule, but there are some items that would benefit from that testing depending on its application. Craft size and mission set would obviously be a determining factor for advanced survivability testing. Blast testing is most applicable on platforms that carry the title of Surface Combatant, of which there are numerous US Navy Regulations that have been developed over time, and the lessons learned that generated and modified those instructions were hard won, most of which were learned through loss of crews and shedding of much blood. Those individuals who have changed our US Navy Regulations to usher is the era of building throw away platforms should be made to ride on them in COMBAT!

            As far as Austal USA Yard is concerned, if they wanted to keep their jobs in this new environment, I suspect they would re-tool and re-equip rapidly, and they would learn the new skill sets. One yard building the AAW-centric version, and the other yard building the ASW-centric version would be a good thing, particularly if both yards could coordinate an MYP buy for materials and equipment that are common HM&E items. Expertise of installing GFE particular to the mission set should only be at that one yard (e.g., ASW & AAW equipment sets)

  • Bailey Zhang

    There is no point keep building the god damn LCS, 26 shitty LCS is enough. Build more frigate will 16-24 VLS and 3-4 AESA face radar will be great.

  • Ed L

    Marvelous ??

  • @USS_Fallujah

    Navy: “Shock trials went great, everything still works!”
    OSD: “Great, so the ship that can’t do anything can still not do anything after a shock trial. Congrats, dumbass”

  • Stephen

    How do you test a platform with a weak-link propulsion system. You just can’t jostle something so fragile. Time to go with the USCG NSC, paint it gray & call it a frigate. Upgrade the Cyclones, add a mothership & call them LCS if desired…

  • old guy

    “relatively MINOR MODIFICATIONS” like a keel up redesign.

    • Curtis Conway

      LCS is designed to budget based upon tactical and strategic models that are no longer relevant, and sacrifices platform survivability and crew safety for numbers that are a dead weight to the battle force commander. What a state of affairs. The new administration will fix it.

      • old guy

        From your lips to Trump’s ears.

        • Curtis Conway

          One Can only hope! The United States Navy needs Real multi-ware, all-ocean Arctic capable frigates in the fleet. Not the LCS. Make the LCS Classes Mine Countermeasures Ships, and SOF support vessels. They already have the flight deck and speed for that mission set, IF they can be made reliable enough. As a Blue Water asset they are a nightmare.

          • old guy

            I don’t know if you ever read my early comments on HUNK-A-JUNK, so I will repeat some:
            1. In 1978. when I headed up NAVSEA R&D, one of my brilliant guys, Roger Dilts, developed a program “SEAMOD”. It designed a basic, frigate-sized ship capable of accepting and providing services for , various mission specific modules mounted in standard sea containers.
            2. When the requirement for LCS arose in the ’90s, we (now retired) presented the plan to COMNAVSEA.
            It was promptly rejected by SEA05.
            3. A group of us, all advanced ship developers (SES, PHM, SWATH, LCAC) offered to act as a Tiger team to assure proposals for a good program. It was promptly rejected.
            4. Wth such NAVSEA perspicacity and insight, what could you expect.

          • Curtis Conway

            I sincerely hope that the wisdom of the past will be remembered in the future. Wisdom comes from learning from HiStory. The fallacy is in trying to predict the future. THAT is exactly the impossible task the current design team for LCS has been trying to do. No basic bases were covered, not even protecting the crew, and if the LCS goes steaming into battle as currently, or projected to be improved, will not survive. So, we can build something ‘we can afford’ and get them all killed, or we can build something that is effective, in every ocean (including the Arctic), in most every kind of naval warfare (multi-mission). We should use the LCS for Mine Countermeasures, and SOF Support, including the Marine Raider Battalions.

  • old guy

    Nice waterspout. Only REAL shock is that we buy these Hunk-A-Junks. Why not just PERMANENTLY outfit these things as MSOs, and cut our losses?