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McCain Pledges Hearings on Navy Frigate Program, Wants to Consider More Designs

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) speaking at the 2016 Arizona Manufacturing Summit at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona on Oct. 16, 2016. Gage Skidmore photo

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to hold hearings on the Navy’s frigate program amidst calls to open the competition to more domestic and foreign designs.

McCain – a constant critic of the Littoral Combat Ship, which serves as the basis for the Navy’s frigate plans – told reporters on Tuesday that hearings before the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee would seek to reexamine the entire frigate program.

“The frigate acquisition strategy should be revised to increase requirements to include convoy air defense, greater missile capability and longer endurance,” he said at an event outlining the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments’ recent U.S. Navy fleet architecture study, reported Inside the Navy.
“When you look at some of the renewed capabilities, naval capabilities, that both the Russians and the Chinese have, it requires more capable weapon systems.”

A committee staffer confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday the LCS program and the Navy’s plan for a frigate would be major topics of the seapower subcommittee’s hearings in the spring.

Current Plans

Fort Worth (LCS-3) conducts builders trials in 2011. Lockheed Martin Photo

At the moment the Navy is set to downselect to an up-gunned version of either the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class or the Austal USA Independence-class and is set to keep a brisk schedule to keep work progressing the yard set to build the frigate.

The LCS program office said earlier this year, and others confirmed recently, that the Navy should release a draft request for proposals for the frigate in March or April, with the full RFP coming out at the end of this year or early next year. That would put the service on track to decide on a single builder – or to change course and award contracts to both, if the new administration decides to support the frigate program and increase its funding as part of the fleet buildup – in late Fiscal Year 2018 or early 2019. When then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter curtailed the frigate program in a December 2015 memo, he mandated that a downselect take place by FY 2019.

However, in a pair of December hearings at the House and Senate armed services committees, Government Accountability Office employees warned lawmakers to slow down the frigate acquisition timeline.

In the Dec. 1 Senate hearing, GAO Managing Director of Acquisition And Sourcing Management Paul Francis told lawmakers that, if they allowed the Navy to move from LCS into a 12-frigate block-buy contract, they would abdicate any oversight opportunities they might want to have.
“[The frigate program] is not going to have milestone decisions. It’s not going to be a separate program. There won’t be a Milestone B. You’re not going to have Nunn-McCurdy protections for the frigate itself. You won’t have a selected acquisition report for the frigate itself. And some of the key performance parameters, as they relate to the mission modules, have been downgraded to key system attributes, which means the Navy and not the [Joint Requirements Oversight Council] will make decisions on what is acceptable,” he warned the lawmakers.

“So let me wrap up by saying, the ball’s not in your court. In a few months you’ll be asked to approve the FY18 budget submit, which will, if current plans hold, include approval for a block buy of 12 frigates. In my mind, you’re going to be rushed again, you’re going to be asked for upfront approval for something where the design isn’t done, we don’t have independent cost estimates, the risks are not well understood.”

Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6). Austal USA Photo

After Francis’ comments, McCain retorted “this idea of a block buy before it’s a mature system is absolutely insane.”
A week later, GAO Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management Michele Mackin told lawmakers that frigate cost was unknown and risk too high, and that the Navy did not need to rush into the program because both LCS builders had a backlog of work – a statement the Navy strongly pushed back against.

“Our work has shown that both LCS shipyards are running quite a bit behind in delivering ships already under contract. Backlogs are many months long and up to a year or more in some cases. So the bottom line here is that both shipyards will be building LCSs for years to come, at least into 2021 at this point. So there’s no schedule imperative to add frigates to the pipeline right now,” she said.

“There’s an opportunity here to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Continued concerns about the capability of LCS, testing that’s years away from being complete, unknowns about the frigate and production backlogs at the shipyards are all factors that need to be taken into account. This potentially $9-billion investment can wait until more is known about what the taxpayers are being asked to fund.”

After that hearing, Sean Stackley – who served as the Navy’s acquisition chief and is now acting secretary – told USNI News that the Navy had a tight timeline to stay on if it wanted either LCS builder, Lockheed Martin or Austal USA, to remain a viable option to build the frigate.
“If the shipyard doesn’t have a backlog, it’s out of business,” Stackley told USNI News right after the hearing, adding that the GAO report’s language about shipyard backlogs shows “a misunderstanding of serial production.”

“Her comment in terms of the timeframe is that when you award the last ships in 2017 … you still have work to take you to the 2020, 2021 timeframe. Well that’s true, because you’re going to order material and then you’re going to build the ship,” he said.
“What that means is, the day you award that last ship, you’re going to start laying people off, and you’re going to lay them off until they’re gone. You’re going to lay them off in the sequence in which you build the ship. So [later on] when you are going to build another ship, if you are going to stop production and [later] build another ship, you’ve lost your skilled labor and you’ve got to rebuild it. Where that has occurred [in previous shipbuilding programs] we have experienced extreme cost delays and quality issues. So that is something that we as a Navy, we as a nation do not choose to do. We do not want to lay off skilled labor and then try to rehire them a couple years later to restart production.”
He then confirmed that the frigate contract needs to be awarded heel-to-toe with the last LCS contract to maintain serial production, “unless you want to put the shipyard out of business.”

Other Options

Spanish Navy Ship Álvaro de Bazán (F-101) in 2005.

Calls to create a more lethal multi-mission frigate with a more robust air defense capability have been around since the genesis of the LCS program.

The CSBA study called for starting a new frigate program to spread more air defense assets throughout the fleet.

“We costed out the version we had was going to be about a billion a frigate, so it’s still expensive, but you can buy two frigates for the cost of one [guided-missile destroyer] and distribute your fires,” CSBA study lead author Bryan Clark told USNI News earlier this month.

Existing designs that could meet that criteria are already in service with the Norwegian Navy and the Spanish Armada and are set to enter into service with the Royal Australian Navy soon.

An artist’s conception of Huntington Ingalls Industries Patrol Frigate design. HII Photo

The Spanish and Australians field ships based around the Spanish F-100 design – a 4,555 ton ship that operates the U.S. Aegis combat system, pairing an AN/SPY-1D air search radar with 48 Mk 41 Vertical Launching System cells armed with Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA/B air defense missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM).

Huntington Ingalls Industries has also pitched a naval version of its Legend-class National Security Cutter for the role of a “Patrol Frigate.” The company has said it could include Mk-41 VLS and an air search radar in its design.

On the larger end, the joint French and Italian 6,500-ton FREMM frigate could also fit into the CSBA construct for a multi-mission frigate, Clark told USNI News.

  • Paul 2

    Remember that part of the Brady Bunch movie where all of Michael Brady’s designs looked like his house??

    Analogy: most new frigates look like that Norwegian design. AUS, China, USCG … any others?

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    Obviously a new design is needed, that was the whole point of the truncation of the program. If all that results in is a rehashed LCS its a wasted effort. Moreover, not only would there be a need for 15-20 frigates, but us perennial laggards north of the border have been trying for some years to get essentially the same type of ship in service, so there is some efficiency and effectiveness to be had by joint work on a force of 10-15 more of these frigates for a total of at least two dozen ships.

  • totalitat

    So that 1 billion for a new frigate that Clark mentions? Read 1.5-2 billion, given the current procurement system.

    • tpharwell

      You go ahead and think that. While Navy offers a firm price order for 24 of a navalized version of the Ingalls patrol cutters at 800M, take it or leave it. Given a President who does not believe in business as usual when it comes to defense procurement.

      • Duane

        Yeah, we have a President whose business practices consist of shafting his investors, bondholders, banks, workers, and contractors while preserving his net worth, by going bankrupt six times over. Not what the USA needs today.

      • totalitat

        Yeah, this president — as evidenced by his business history — is *all* about careful and rational spending. No bankruptcy history there, no sir.

    • Duane

      A biilion for a new frigate would be on the high side. Effectively you pay for ships by the ton. Frigate sized ships vary anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 tons, about a quarter to half the displacement of a typical heavy destroyer, for which the going price today is about $2B. So a typical frigate today will cost somewhere between $400M to $1B tops.

      • totalitat

        Er…no. The current destroyers are the Burke class (about 9500 t at $2 billion a pop) and the Zumwalt (about 15,000t at $4.4 billion a pop). If a US frigate was built at 5000 tons, it’d cost from a little over a billion (half the Burke price tag) to about $1.5 billion (1/3rd the Zumwalt price) by your logic. But the Burke isn’t a new build and its cost has been driven down by years of production. A new frigate would probably run close to the Zumwalt cost, and even more because of procurement issues. So I’m comfortable with my estimate.

        • Duane

          Frigates vary tremendously in size, as in tons of displacement .. from as little as 3,000 tons to over 7,000 tons. There is no single value for a frigate sized vessel.

          The LCS is a frigate sized vessel, and displaces 3,900 tons. The German Bremen class is only 3,600 tons, while the newer F-125 class is all the way up to 7,200 tons. The F-125s were delivered at a cost of $675M in 2011, with a 3% annual cost escalation per the shipyard’s contract .. so if it were delivered in, say, 2020, the F-125 would cost about $880M. Of course there’d be variances in what it is equipped with. If you wanted to add an AEGIS capability the cost would go up.

          The LCS Freedom class is delivering hulls today at $348M contracted price, plus the mission package which varies in cost from about $30M (for the SW module) to $100M – so a total package price of $378M to $448M. On a cost per ton basis, the LCS is still cheaper than the German F-125 cost, which is a little over $122K/ton for the F-125, and $97K to $115K per ton for the LCS Freedom class, depending upon variant.

          With the additional offensive and defensive capabilities of the Frigate, it will likely be at least a little heavier than the Freedom class LCS … say, 4,500 tons, and at the SW module pricing, it suggests a total package price of somewhere around $440-$450M. If we make it very large like the F-125, then of course the cost will be commensurately higher. But still less than a billion bucks delivered … probably in the $700-800M range.

          • totalitat

            Frigates vary tremendously in size, as in tons of displacement .. from as little as 3,000 tons to over 7,000 tons. There is no single value for a frigate sized vessel.

            Yes, I know; I chose a hypothetical size of 5000 tons.

            The F-125 is a good example of the flaw in your logic. It’s nearly the size of the Arleigh Burke Flight II/A, and yet the Burke costs more than twice as much. Tonnage is not everything, and the American procurement system has a tendency to inflate the costs (note that the LCS was supposed to cost $200 million). Starting with the article’s price estimate of $1 billion, I’m guessing the final price would be well over that.

          • Duane

            It’s not a flaw … it’s a substantial difference in capability. The Arleigh-Burke is an AEGIS equipped destroyer, not a frigate, with much better sensing, targeting, and offensive and defensive capability. The Arleigh Burke class vessels have grown in displacement from about 9,000 tons initially to nearly 11,000 tons in the latest Flight III models … so they are now about 50% larger than the F-125. Considering the additional size and capabilities of the latest Arleigh Burkes, the current pricing at about $2B a copy (or $185K/ton) vs. $880M for the F-125 (or about $122K per ton) seems about right.

          • totalitat

            It’s not a flaw … it’s a substantial difference in capability

            Dude, you’re the one that said that “Effectively you pay for ships by the ton” and now you’re saying that no, you also pay by the capability of the ton.

            Well, yes. Thus, part of my point: the US is going to build a frigate that is high-end, gold-plated, and brimming with new technologies and it’s going to cost a lot more than what anyone else does, just like the Zumwalt does, just like the Ford-class does.

            If you want to change your argument (from pay by the ton to pay by the capability) that’s fine, but don’t act like that isn’t a new argument.

          • Duane

            Yes, there is a rough equivalence based on tonnage, but as I wrote elswhere in this thread, there is also a differential based upon capability. Both work together. Add AEGIS and another 32 cells to the VLS to a F-125 frigate, and the cost will likely end up somewhere between $1.2 and $1.5B instead of under $900M.

            For instance, if the Navy were to require all the frigates to be AEGIS equipped, that would substantially increase the delivered cost. There is an argument to be made that we don’t need a bunch of frigates with AEGIS, however, so that capability is yet to be specified.

            A Ford class carrier is still about the same size in tons (a little over 100,000 tons) as the Nimitz class that it superseded … but the Ford costs about 25-30% more to build, and it’s designed to increase the air wing sortie rate by 25% over the older design, and it is less costly to operate than a Nimitz class because its reactor will never need refueling, unlike the Nimitz class carriers.

            The current Flight III Arleigh Burkes are about 50% larger than the F-125 frigate, which explains part of the cost differential … but the Flight IIIs are also many times more lethal than the German frigate. In addition to being AEGIS equipped which the German frigate is not, the Flight IIIs carry a 96-cell Mk 41 VLS, whereas the F-125 carries only an 8-cell ASM launcher.

            So you measure cost by tonnage, and further adjust by capability.

          • totalitat

            So you measure cost by tonnage, and further adjust by capability.

            Okay, so you’re changing your initial argument (and I haven’t read your other comments in the thread, so I’m only responding to what you said first in this thread). I’ll go back to my initial point: if the US intends to build a frigate that is initially estimated at $1 billion dollars (which was what the article said, and what I was reacting to), it is likely, given the procurement system’s current tendencies, that it will end up costing $1.5 – 2 billion. That was what I stated first, and nothing you’ve said has changed that thinking.

            If you’d like to insert your own cost for the initial estimate, that’s fine, but I think my logic still applies.

          • Duane

            No …. only you are being densely stubborn about this. I wrote several comments elsewhere inthis thread that tonnage is NOT the sole determinant of ship cost (for instance that if you add AEGIS to a frigate it will significantly increase the cost), but no matter what, tonnage is always a very big part of the equation.

            Capabilities being equal, cost is generally proportional to tonnage. Tonnage being equal, then cost is generally proportional to capability. Of course in the real world, there are other factors that also affect cost .. i.e., developmental costs per unit are much lower with more units produced. If schedule is driving the acquisition, if you speed up production that generally drives cost up, at least within reasonable limits.

            Are you one of those people who always insists on over-simplification and declaring that everything is really simple, and only you “get it”? … mainly because you don’t know what you’re talking about?

            Must be.

          • totalitat

            No …. only you are being densely stubborn about this

            I’m really not — you made a over-simplified blanket assertion at the beginning of our discussion (“Effectively you pay for ships by the ton” — which is even sillier when you contemplate more than warships — how much did the last ULCC cost compared to a Zumwalt?) If you said differently in other comments, then you were certainly capable of saying it in your initial response to me.

            You then evolved that assertion substantially while denying that you were doing any such thing and getting huffy when I called you on it.

            Capabilities being equal, cost is generally proportional to tonnage

            Well, now, again, that’s a different comment than you started with, and if you want to make that to be your argument, you might at least have been mature enough to say “What I actually meant was…” and gone from there.

            Are you one of those people who always insists on over-simplification and declaring that everything is really simple, and only you “get it”? … mainly because you don’t know what you’re talking about?

            I’m one of those people who react badly to folks making inane replies to my initial comments, and by badly I mean “point out the inanity of the reply.”

            Basically, you tried a drive-by snotty response to demonstrate your superior knowledge and have been trying to recover that superiority ever since. It’s not going well. What’s the phrase? Couldn’t argue their way out of a paper bag? The paper bag you’re in is entirely intact at the moment.

    • Lazarus

      Yes, since Bryan Clark’s frigate would mount a significant air defense system. A one for one replacement for the FFG 7 was budgeted at $700m plus in 2007. I suspect that it is no stretch to suggest $1b to $1.5b for one now, especially as it is unlikely that a large number of billion dollar frigates can be built (as opposed to the FFG 7 that was built in large numbers.)

  • Desplanes

    About time….

  • delta9991

    I wonder how much trouble it would be to create a “war fighter” mission module. In the place of the 30mm and Hellfire module place an 8 cell tactical VLS for 4 ASROC and 16 ESSM for a higher end fight. Combined with the the addition of an OTH missile and any other upgrades that role down from the FF upgrade program and it’d be able to pick up for the Perry’s both pre and post 2003.

    • DHodge

      We do not want to explore more mission modules. We cannot get the current versions fielded.

      • tpharwell

        Plus, I can field a missile on my pickup.

      • Duane

        The mission modules are going to be IOC this calendar year.

        • DHodge

          I understand, but they were to be as soon as LCS 1&2 were ready to sail away. The MIW mission module is of particular concern–no one seems concerned, but each of our potential adversaries will deploy mines. Our ability to detect and destroy those mines will significantly impact all war planning. I remember seeing the dreams of the DoD contractors in Proceedings, but that was years ago when I had command of a MCM. Progress since then has been rediculously slow. Additionally, LCS will be a poor performer in ASW. They do not have the endurance.
          I am sure our smart procurement people will tell me how mis-informed I am and that I do not “understand.” What if their fitreps and/or annual reviews were based on performance like mine were? Just sayin’

          • Duane

            The operational testing on the mine warfare module took place last year, and the Admiral in charge (I don’t recall his name at the moment) in a media interview said that everything was on track to go IOC on the mine warfare module in 2017.

            You don’t need long endurance for ASW or any other mission in the littorals … we have plenty of bases and logistical support forward based in theater, both in the West Pac/ECS/SCS as well as in the European/Middle Eastern theater, with extremely strong internal lines of communication. This ship is not going to be sent out on ASW patrols in the mid-Pacific … we have other ships, subs, and aircraft to do that mission. But there is also a big need for ASW in the littorals, which is the most likely location of a regional big power conflict, not out in the middle of the Pacific.

      • delta9991

        ASuW increment 1and 2 are currently fielded in the fleet. Increment 3 with the missile module will test this year. Congress barred the most recent ASW module from deploying for an unknown reason. The MCM module is the only one which has issues of working, but most of those problems surrounded the RMMV which predates the LCS program. I agree, they should have been done a while ago and the fact they aren’t is disgraceful poor planning on the Navy’s part but fundamentally rejecting the modular concept the LCS was designed around and not even attempting to salvage any usage is shortsighted.

    • Duane

      It’s easy to design and build a standard Mk41 VLS in a frigate sized vessel (3,000 to 7,000 tons), it’s been done dozens of times already by the Turks, Germans, and Aussies. The Navy will simply include that in their procurement spec.

      • delta9991

        I’m not saying it’s difficult or can’t be done. I’m looking at a way to add a high end punch to the LCS already delivered or under construction. Agree the Navy will write what they want in the procurement spec, but that’s why I think McCain will be sorely disappointed with what he sees. The Navy had a chance to write an FFG spec, and even when both vendors put out VLS equipped vessels, the Navy went with the current FF spec.

        • Duane

          For existing LCS hulls the Navy has already tested and proved the effectiveness of 4-cell deck mounted launchers. That alone would be a big step up in lethality for the existing LCS.

          For new LCS that begin construction, the Navy can, if it chooses, to require that an 8-cell VLS be designed into the new hulls (would likely require some structural design changes in the support framing in in the bay with the VLS). Ditto with the Frigate … and perhaps even put more than a 8-cell VLS on the new frigate design.

          The Navy hasn’t issued a spec yet, so we can’t complain about what it is when it doesn’t yet exist. McCain is complaining about the procurement process, not the specs on an undefined ship design.

          • delta9991

            I’m right there with you on the lethality and think it solves a good amount of the LCS concerns. I’d love to see an 8 cell tactical length go on each LCS/FF but I don’t think it’ll happen on LCS as most are already on order. The preliminary drawings put out by the Navy don’t list any VLS for FF either. Not saying it can’t happen but doesn’t look likely… guess we’ll find out soon enough.

          • Duane

            The Navy hasn’t finished the spec yet for the frigate, let alone put it out for public discussion.

            I can’t imagine that any frigate would not have, as a minimum, an 8-cell Mk 41 VLS, or larger …. you can’t up-gun a modern ship without that, and that is the entire premise of the frigate.

            As for the LCS, there’s still quite a few to come in a total planned buy, as of last year, of 40 hulls. If you design a VLS in it’s easy to deal with … hard to retrofit later, however, on an existing hull that is relatively small.

    • tpharwell

      Just follow this simple recipe for planked Stripped Bass: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place fish on a bed of cedar shingles, and roast for two hours. Remove and let cool. Throw away the fish, and eat the shingles.

  • Curtis Conway

    Great concept. Didn’t see any mention of Arctic capabilities. The US Navy and Coast Guard will have to go up there at some point, and most USN Surface Combatants cannot operate well in ice-infested waters. There is a distinct need for a Surface Combatant that can take on ice up to 1-meter thick, can steam for many days independently, and has a multi-warfare capability. I look forward to the hearings. Hope participants will review the US Navy Uber Frigate Facebook page.

    • SierraSierraQuebec

      There is too much incompatibility between an ocean frigate and an icebreaking ship. The hullforms and dimensions are radically dissimilar, sonars and other equipments are vulnerable, and overall the ship could not fight its systems properly. It might work with a capital sized ship, but not a frigate. The only ship actually being built are large patrol vessels designed as very light icebreakers. Beyond them its the realm of large service icebreakers and submarines. The speed of any icebreaking ship is very low and they make a lot of noise cracking through the ice, but hardening much like the helicopter carriers France built for Russia before the transfer was cancelled would allow them to follow an icebreaker and shrug off accidental impacts from mini icebergs or large shards of ice.
      The real advantage would be a class of ships with greater inherent capabilities, such as 155mm conversions of the Mk45 turret firing Excalibur and composite glide shells out to 50-100km, phased array radars and a NIFC missile battery, direct drive diesel and electric pod propulsion allowing for economy and power for future laser and energy weapon mid-life upgrades, an oversized hull for flexibility and reserve margins for unforeseen needs, continuation of automation trends to reduce manning levels, etc, etc. Many of these things would not make sense for a class of a dozen ships, when two or more dozen are in the offing they become practical, especially with one country with no continuous pattern of naval ship building and they other needs to maintain a technological advantage over top end threats.

      • tpharwell

        Don’t think he is talking about icebreakers. He is talking about a frigate that is a little more rugged than a kite. Ingalls can build a hardened version of is patrol cutter. It has said so, at least.

      • Curtis Conway

        Except for the diesels, I’m with you. Diesels have too many moving parts, a lot of spare parts, large logistical train, and must warm up to provide full power. A gas turbine can provide full power on startup. A Hybrid Electric Drive brings fuel saving options to the C.O., and Battle Force Commander, when the vessel is on station, but gas turbines can get you moving fast if required. With the advent of modern gas turbine technology, we can make a more efficient turbine engine than ever before, and make many of the replacement parts on board with a 3D printer.

        Sonar on a combat vessel in ice-infested waters should be limited to towed array or VDS. When traveling through thin ice, the ice going beneath the vessel will impact what ever protrudes (e.g., SQS-53 is out for Arctic use). The 5″ gun should be a given, particularly since the new Hyper Velocity Projectiles will be coming out all large artillery barrels in the future.

        Ice breaking activity should never be coupled with combat unless it is thrust upon you at the time. There are assets ‘below’ too. The submarines handle that threat. In fact the breaking of ice provides the sonic event to assist in underwater detection of targets. We just can’t forget the Arctic because it is difficult. That ‘Dog must hunt’, and necessarily so. The US Navy had small Icebreakers in the past. If a large capital ship is to take on these previously mentioned duties, then our six (6) new Heavy/Medium Icebreakers had better be multi-mission ships, and necessarily so.

        The Bazan Class is ideal in my opinion, with its FREMM F100 hull which is a good hull. The NSC offers commonality with the Coast Guard for many HM&E systems. However, I would like to see an electric motor where the current Prime Mover is and two gas turbines where the diesels are in the Main Machinery Space. A 4160v power distribution system (common with fleet equipment) should be installed for providing power to the Directed Energy Weapons that are sure to come (with improvements over time), and perfect for self/close-in defense. They provide an outstanding optical device for close scrutiny and a ready solution if one observes disturbing things.

        If we are to maintain superiority as a goal, then the 9-Radar Module Assembly AN/SPY-6 AMDR should be used. Otherwise the SPY-D(V) is ok, but it simply must be a non-rotating 3D ASEA radar in my opinion . . . to maintain superiority for decades to come, and provide commonality with the fleet, and therefore take advantage of all future upgrades as more of the fleet gets the latest and greatest radar.

        The most disturbing thing about the whole LCS debacle is the fact that our nation’s bureaucracy changed a standard written in blood and improved over decades of combat experience (US Navy survivability standards) to something different to provide jobs, make disposable ships, and place our sailors on them to perish, for they have few assets that can save them aboard any LCS or even its upgraded frigate. A 25 lb blast fragmentation warhead (SeaRAM) going off at five miles against a supersonic ASCM does not a defense make, and to actually have the Navy call that self-defense function Anti-Air Warfare is an insult, particularly to an old Aegis Troop.

        The US Navy Uber Frigate Facebook page goes into many of these details.

  • I would say the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate would be one option the US NAVY can get as their Next frigate or the FREMM in the French Navy version.

    • Hugh

      Possibly with a stronger hull – I heard the existing hulls do not satisfy the strength criteria in the naval rules of classification societies.

    • Duane

      No thank you, we’ll build our own warships, as we always have.

    • DeWitte

      Or the Fremm in the Italian Navy version, that is better

      • Lazarus

        Also built by a state-owned shipbuilder that passes labor costs on to the public. Not feasible in the US.

      • The Italian version of the FREMM Frigate borders on being a light version of a Burke DDG.

    • Lazarus

      Such a ship would cost upwards of $1.5b a copy if built under license in the US, something the Australians have discovered as they have tried to build the F100 in Australia as the Hobart class DDG.

      • In comparison to what we spent already on the unproven LCS & F-35 and have NOTHING to show for the taxpayers in this country. I think it’s time we keel-haul the US Navy to have a nice long talk on buying the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate or the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate, Incheon class Frigate or even the French Version of the FREMM Frigate.

        As I have stated many times, It’s time to kill the POS LCS because it’s becoming a corporate welfare ship and it has very limited war fighting capabilities. In fact the LCS makes a corvette look like a REAL warship. The LCS as it is NOW is nothing more than a glorified US Coast Guard Medium Endurance cutter or OPV.

        If we wanted a REAL Frigate, we should have done what the USCG did with the Sentinel class Cutters buy buying the RIGHTS from Europe such as the RIGHTS for the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate or the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate, Incheon class Frigate or even the French Version of the FREMM Frigate. Have it built in the US based Shipyard according to specs. That would mean a US based shipyard would have to bid the work and have it built to spec with a USN officer supervising the construction.

        • Lazarus

          Those classes are too expensive to be built in the numbers needed for distributive lethality.

          • But yet Steven, You haven’t shown me as a Taxpayer the value of LCS. Seems like Taxpayers are getting FED up with the LCS POS and we want a PROVEN FRIGATE that WORKS on DAY one and NO day 99.

          • Lazarus

            How does one define “value to the taxpayers?” LCS 1-7 are operational and serving today. How is that not “value?”

          • When the Taxpayers get it’s Money’s worth out of something we paid for.

          • Lazarus

            Who defines that and what is it?

          • The taxpayers through their House of rep and Senators

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            LCS cannot yet do any of the 3 primary mission areas as originally defined: SUW, ASW and MCM.

            Acquisition cost is more than twice what was originally estimated. Operating costs are likely higher than the ship’s the replaced.

            How is that “value to the taxpayer” in any sense of the word?

          • Lazarus

            Every US warship since 1969 has been nearly double its original price. The FFG went from $50m to $124m in 6 years. LCS now works as a low end surface ship with limited warfare capabilities.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            FFGs could do their ROC/POE mission areas right out of the gate. They fit very well into the existing fleet architecture

            We are a decade plus into the LCS program and it cannot really do any of its ROC/POE. And the CONOPs remains dubious at best.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Virginia class SSN are coming in pretty much on cost.

            Reasons? Realistic requirements, discipline and sound systems engineering.

          • Duane

            Nothing is ever proven until its IOC and deployed, as minimum. At this moment there is no such animal as a “proven frigate” built to whatever requirements that the Navy is still working to develop. Any existing frigate design is vaporware, because it cannot possibly meet whatever the Navy comes up with without having to make major changes.

            That’s why the best bet for the Navy is to define the requirements, put it out to bid, and expect that the successful bid is almost certainly going to be a clean sheet design, as long at the Navy does not put too short a delivery timeframe in the RFP.

          • David Oldham

            and you assume any American built design will be cheaper…..get real.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Distributed Lethality. Good lord – at least get the terms right!

        • Lazarus

          The Australians also bought the rights to the F100 and cannot make it work for under $1B US a copy. You can like something all you want, but if you can’t get it for the right price it really does not matter.

          • The fact that alludes you is that Australia never built ships as big as a Patrol boat.

          • Paul

            Really, what about the FFG-7s built in the late 80s, early 90s, followed by the MEKO 200 based ANZAC class frigates built through the 90s into the 2000s, plus previous generations of destroyers, frigates, sloops and corvettes, even cruisers, going back to WWI?

            The issue was the failure of government to order new ships while the ANZAC build was underway resulting in Australia’s premier shipbuilder at Williamstown Victoria, having its work force made redundant and dispersing. They went from being a globally competitive naval ship builder to being, the worst performing contractor on the new destroyer program in the space of five years (counting some export work they won in the early 2000s) because the government cancelled the follow on project in 1996 and didn’t order any new ships until 2007. This is basically the outcome predicted in the above article if new ships are not ordered for the USN in a timely manner.

          • Part of the reason the Australian prices are so high is because they had to rebuild their ship building industry. Consequently their ship building cost were higher than ours

        • Duane

          You could not possibly be more wrong.

      • David Oldham

        the F-100 is 600 million a copy (yes add some inflation into the price), the F-105 Hobart replacement at 1.1 billion a copy has all the bells and whistles. The F-100 is all a frigate needs to be.

        • Lazarus

          The F100 is a $600m frigate if built in a state owned yard that also has decent civilian orders. No US ship builder annex of a large defense contractor can do that.

  • tpharwell

    “If the shipyard doesn’t have a backlog, it’s out of business,”

    Thus says the acting Secretary. What a novel concept. If production has not fallen behind schedule, your business is a failure.

    It is not the responsibility of the US Navy’s procurement departments to support the welfare of the corporations they do business with, nor that of its employees. Nor does it service the needs of the American people for Navy to continue to rely on private shipyards on life support by reason of such indulgence. On the contrary, this presents a breach of fiduciary duty to Congress and the American people.

    Yes, a shipyard without orders is entering a harvest phase of business. But a shipbuilder than wants to build ships, and can not find new business —- should close. Now, there’s a novel concept. And as Newton noted, the force of gravity is 9.82 ft/sec squared.

    With respect to these facts of life, the Austal company stands in a somewhat better position than the Lockheed Martin Marinette operation. At least, it is at this time a shipbuilder by profession. It has other business, and it can build a commercial version of its LCS hull. The same can not be said for Lockheed Martin. It is in the aircraft business, and the LCS odd series represents a new venture for it.

    For sure, the orders for that will run out. And when they do, LM will sell that yard to a party that has a better use for it. And provided the USN is still in business, and placing increasing orders for ships, someone will find it advantageous to use that facility, if it is any good, to service the Navy’s business. If all it can ever turn out will be the LCS hull and power plant, then that is all it WILL ever turn out. QED. And it is not so good as shipyards go.

    Hopefully, these matters will get sorted out when there is a new Secretary.

    • Duane

      It’s called “business” and “capital planning”. It’s not corporate welfare. We don’t have dozens of shipyards in the US capable of building warships, we have only a half a handful. When skilled workers and designers must be let go, they will probably change careers, thus losing the skill and intellectual basis of current shipbuilding.

      Note that the new President, the Navy, and at least a sizeable chunk of Congress say we will significantly increase the size of our Navy in the next 30 years. That’s not achievable if we cannot even maintain the existing shipbuilding momentum and skills base.

      • Lazarus

        Preservation of the industrial base is not “corporate welfare.”

    • Lazarus

      It is the business of the United States government to ensure that it can provide for the common defense through ensuring there are enough shipyards to construct the fleet it needs. Both Lockheed Martin and Austal are shipbuilding divisions of defense contractors. They are not shipbuilders anymore in the traditional sense. Secretary Stackley’s points are well-spoken. These divisions cannot just stand up a shipbuilding line for one ship and wait for months/years while the Senate makes up its mind and the inordinately and expensive test and evaluation process meanders on to conclusion. Tank and aircraft makers can build prototypes but that does not work for the Maritime business of warships.

  • Duane

    Senator McCain is effective in some areas, but he is not in others. Micromanaging naval ship construction is not something he or anyone in Congress should be doing … for the very real reasons cited by the Navy in this case. If you understand the business model for shipbuilding, you cannot turn funding or acquisition on or off like a light switch. But Congress – which does that repeatedly with its stupid and cowardly Continuing Resolutions virtually every year for many years now, and ongoing today as we write – is the last institution in America to be telling the military how to do their business in a businesslike manner.

    In the real world of business, unlike Congress, capital spending programs have to look many years into the future with consistent funding, and not stop-start-stop-start every year.

    Now, if Congress in its oversight capacity wants to impose reporting milestones on the Navy, so that each year the Navy has to demonstrate that it is spending the appropriations effectively, that is what Congress is supposed to do.

    • Desplanes

      I agree with your point about CRs, but the Navy had its chance to build a decent frigate and blew it when it chose more of the same with a redesignated LCS. The ships were poorly conceived and specced on the Navy’s part and no amount of renaming will change that. Unfortunately, sometimes Congress, with all of its faults, needs to hold the DOD’s hand and guide it in the right direction. This is one of those times.

      I’d rather see an interruption in getting hulls in the water than have my kid, or somebody else’s, go into battle in something that’s slightly above ‘commercial grade’.

      • Duane

        The LCS is not a frigate, it is an LCS. Different ship types, if similarly sized. As far as the frigate design, there is no “frigate design” yet … just aspirational statements about a frigate being more heavily armed than an LCS. The Navy will determine the requirements, in terms of size, speed, power, weaps systems, sensors, etc … and those will be published in the RFP which as yet does not yet exist. It has been said by many that the new frigate will be a variant on the LCS design, but again, that is not an RFP requirement, and it is just talk.

        Whatever the Navy specs out for the RFP, it will be very different than the LCS. I expect the most practical way to proceed is to start out with a clean sheet design, rather than try to “convert” an LCS into a frigate. The LCS itself is also being upgunned, but it still won’t have the offensive firepower of the frigate.

        • Desplanes

          Yes. That was my point. The LCS is not a frigate and never will be.

  • Jon

    Not ordering the frigate doesn’t put the yard out of business…their inability to build marketable ships puts them out of business.

    • Duane

      You don’t get it, guy.

      American warship yards exist only to build American warships. They’re not a commercial ship building operation, because American yards cannot compete against other nations’ yards which are heavily subsidized by their governments (what we would call “corporate welfare”). And for that same reason, American shipyards cannot sell American warships to other nations either.

      Any third world nation can build a merchant ship. Any third world nation cannot build our warships.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Third world nations are operating ships that are arguably better than LCS.

        • Arkitek Reyes

          How can you even compare third world countries ships with the US LCS ships?

          • Ctrot

            Easily.

          • Lazarus

            Ever been on a ‘third world’ naval vessel.? Cockroaches, unconnected equipment, equipment that has never been used, etc. No US ship remotely compares.

          • E1 Kabong

            Tell us all what the definition of “third world” is.

            Clearly, you’ve misunderstood it…

          • E1 Kabong

            Try it, you’ll be surprised.

          • Donald Carey

            The LCS offers so little bang for the buck it IS hard.

          • Duane

            As much bang for the buck as any warship afloat. At around $400M a hull with mission module, which is the average delivered contract price now, they are far cheaper than most foreign frigates that cost upwards of two to two and a half times as much. They can fire any of our currently deployed anti-ship missiles (Harpoon and NSM) that are capable of taking out literally any sized ship in any navy’s fleet. They can sink subs with exactly the same ASW munitions that any other ASW ship uses (primarily the Mark 46 and Mark 54 lightweight torpedo), and can launch and retrieve the same ASW choppers that any of our ASW vessels use (the MH-60) which itself can deploy sono-buoys and drop Mk 54 torpedoes. They also have a CIWS for anti-air and anti-boat fire, along with the rapid firing large capacity 57 mm gun, along with Hellfire and RIM-116 SAMs and a MQ-8B Firescout drone. Plus its 30mm and 20mm and .50 cal gun mounts.

            The only difference in firepower between an LCS and the foreign frigates is that it is currently limited to a 4-cell deck mount missile launcher rather than a flush mount 8-cell Mk 41 VLS … and future hulls in the LCS can also easily be adapted to carry an 8-cell Mk 41.

            The anti-LCS trolls seem intent on resting on their “alternative facts” of a lightly armed LCS. Not true.

          • Curtis Conway

            The LCS has NO organic ASW weapons (Mk32 Tripple torpedo tubes, or ASROC). Save an MH-60R being on board, no ASW engagements will occur. The ASW Modules have a lot of capability, and there is a torpedo countermeasures system on board.

          • Duane

            It is silly to argue on the basis of “organic ASW capabilities”. The LCS is and always was intended to be outfitted with warfighting modules, one of which as you noted is an ASW module. The ASW module has been in development for several years including full ops testing last year by the Navy, and is scheduled to go IOC a bit later this year. This module converts an LCS hull into a highly capable ASW platform with all the sonar sensors including variable depth towed array, sonar signal processing, periscope detection, and ASW weaps used on any of our existing large surface combatants today. Even without the full ASW mission module package, every single LCS carries a MH-60 helicopter which itself is equipped with sono-buoys for sonar detection and lightweight torpedoes (Mk 46 and/or Mk 54) which are the world’s most advanced ASW munnition and starndard issue for all our large warships.

          • Curtis Conway

            All of which I am well aware. I am of the school of thought that any ship with the title of Surface Combatant should have significant capabilities in every combat area to some extent, or give up the title. These qualities do not include calling a SeaRAM AAW, or something that might not be on board (or is broke) the ship’s ASW weapons platform. THIS is planning to fail with one NO-GO path that will stop you every time, and cause the loss of the ship. No defense in depth, which in combat (disorganized chaos in many cases) is a sure fire way to not survive. I used to operate SQQ-89 in a van too, so I have an inkling of how this thing works. All this “Speed is life” aviation crap that is relegated to operating in a 2D environment is a bunch of horse bunk too. speed on the surface of the ocean makes it easier to track and target the platform every time. There are a FEW operational scenarios where speed can help you, but there are few, far between, narrow in scope, and happen only during special circumstance. Once excess speed is added to the equation, you are no longer hiding in the clutter and traffic, you are making a lot of noise under water, and making a huge wake on the surface. Anyone ever heard of Doppler? Most seeking weapons are looking for, and love this little manifestation.

          • Duane

            So in other words you are a fossil who hates anything that is different from what you used to do or use. Just like the guys who came before you who insisted that only battleships could go toe to toe in fleet actions, and that carriers were silly little things that couldn’t survive even a single fleet engagement. Of course, those old guys couldn’t have been more wrong.

            As for dismissing speed, you obviously don’t know beans about littoral ops. Since the age of sail, speed (and maneuverability) has always been the most important performance measure of any combatant. The big, slow, poorly maneuvering blue water ships, both the ships of the line and even the smaller frigates of the Napoleonic era were effective in blue water … and completely useless in the shallow littoral. But what the navies of that era prized in littoral ops were the fast and maneuverable fore and aft rigged sloops. In going after Barbary pirates, or smugglers and blockade runners, the sloop was irreplaceable.

            LCS are as their name says, littoral combat ships. They aren’t frigates, they aren’t destroyers. They cannot serve as either. But then, neither can the frigates and destroyers and cruisers go in the shallows, maneuver in tight channels or around islands and estuaries, and they aren’t fast enough to go where the bad guys are.

            You anti-LCS critics are really arguing that there is no need for the US Navy to operate in the littorals at all. You could not be more wrong. We aren’t a blue water navy… we are an all-water navy, as we must be.

          • Curtis Conway

            No! ‘I am an old fossil’ who wants our new frigate to be Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) so the CO can stretch his fuel when not screaming around at the speed of heat. Also be the introductory platform for Directed Energy Weapon (DEWs), yet still possess a decent caliber gun with sufficient diameter format to support propulsion, guidance, and explosive potential to be of consequence when the HPVs come out. However, the modern battleship is a gunboat with mostly a single purpose . . . NGFS and should be thought of in that context. A Gas Turbine propelled BB-61 with ASW helos and maybe a pair of F-35Bs, and a VSTOL/STOVL AEW&C aircraft in precisely the right location during some times in HiStory (or perhaps the future) would be of consequence. THIS is what should be planned for the Arctic Region of the future.
            “…what the navies of that era prized in littoral ops were the fast and maneuverable fore and aft rigged sloops. In going after Barbary pirates, or smugglers and blockade runners, the sloop was irreplaceable.” So why did Benedict Arnold burn his ships?
            As for the rest of your comment about littoral combat and its importance, point taken. So, why are these vessels not assigned to the US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command? What you described is a Green Water Mission.

          • old guy

            Favorably. The Hunk-A-Junk classless is a shame and the product of the SWIPE program. Just like Old Flopover, DD1000. NAVSEA needs a good overhaul. Get a sharp 3-star in to scrape the barnacles and tighten the rigging.(which means expose Congressional pressure)

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Fairly easily. Take a look at Malaysian Navy. They have several Corvettes that are more capable than the LCS.

          • Duane

            Corvettes are useless warships in the 21st century. They were designed and intended to do only one thing: serve as very small, slow, and very cheap ASW merchant ship convoy escorts in the ancient wars of the first half the the 20th century. They cannot do what an LCS does, and they cannot do what a frigate does. They can perform no mission well that needs to be performed.

            This is now the 21st century and there are no merchant ship convoys.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            “This is now the 21st century and there are no merchant ship convoys”

            We don’t convoy in peacetime? Fascinating. I’d imagine USN planners were saying the same thing in 1914 and 1940. And then things happened…

            As for LCS: what it was designed to do, what it is may be called on to do, and what it can actually do are three very different things!.

          • Duane

            Newsflash! Submarine warfare is different today than in 1940!

            Submarines today are not designed for anti-merchant shipping, they are all anti-warship (both surface and submarine) and a variety of other purposes (such as launching missiles of varying kinds, special operations, etc.).

            Submarine warfare, as it was practiced by both the Germans and the Americans in World War Two, was a form of active blockade, and only works over a long, multiyear timescale in a world war scenario to slowly starve and strangle an enemy. Such a scenario would never exist today – weapons technology being what it is, our ASW forces will wipe out most of our enemy’s subs within a matter of days of the start of a conflict.

            Indeed, submarine warfare in the Atlantic was obsolete more than one and a half years before the German capitulation, due mainly to the closing of the Atlantic “air gap” with long range ASW bombers by mid-1943, and widespread use of radar and sonar by convoy escorts. The German u-boat menace was fully defeated by the end of 1943. And it only took a couple of months to do that simply with the arrival of long range ASW aircraft.

            In the Pacific our anti-merchant shipping war continued another year and a half longer until we finally ran out of targets .. but that was because we owned both air and fleet superiority over the Japanese.

            Today, the end result would be much faster.

            But go ahead… you seem insistent on living in the 20th century in your many comments here. Might as well go ahead and think submarine warfare in 2017 is just like it was in 1942.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duane, if you truly believe:
            a. Submarines pose a potential threat to our cross-ocean SLOCs
            b. US ASW forces will wipe the floor of any threats in a matter of days.

            Then I will add awfully slow warfare (ASW) to the list of things you have demonstrated that you know nothing about.

          • Duane

            Your lack of understanding of naval warfare is telling. You really don’t understand submarines of the past or the present, quite obviously. Go learn something before you embarrass yourself further.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I did ASW for about a decade. Not an expert. I don’t think there are too many of those left since the Cold War.

            But I did learn enough to recognize when I’m talking to someone whose level of knowledge is about Wikipedia deep. That’s you by the way.

          • Duane

            I was in ASW during the Cold War on a fast attack Sturgeon class SSN. Our entire mission was to constantly track Soviet boats and be prepared to take them out at the start of hostilities. Most of what we did and where exactly we went I cannot talk about even today.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Interesting. And what did you do on the boat?

            I would think that your experiences would’ve taught you that ASW is a lot harder than you professed.

            I doubt anyone who has done ASW against a modern diesel sub would claim that we’d wipe them all out in a few days.

            Recall that one WW2 era diesel sub gave the Royal Navy fits during the Falklands. And those folks were supposedly pretty good at ASW.

          • Duane

            ASW isn’t easy – but as we practice it in the US Navy, especially in the SSN force, it is very very effective. Our SSNs are also highly effective against surface warships, including those with ASW.

            We’ve had over sixty years of practice and technological development operating against both nuclear and conventionally-powered Russian and Chinese submarines. We learned how to reliably find them and how to stalk them, getting very very close. I cannot say how close, but let’s just say it was close. The nuke SSNs were and remain our first line of defense against SSBNs. In the outbreak of the postulated WW III, the shooting war between submarines would have been over very quickly, because all the weapons were “use it or lose it”.

            The Russians did eventually get better, thanks to John Walker and his spy ring, which revealed both technology, tactics, and comms to the Soviets. But that didn’t stop us from being able to track the bad guys, and if necessary, kill them.

            Not only do we have highly capable ASW submarines in which we’ve continuously refined our sonar and target classification systems, as well as weapons systems (the “smart” Mk 48 ADCAP has gone through multiple upgrades over the decades) all of which are highly secret, of course, but the surface and aviation-based components have evolved similarly. And we’ve had ocean-based listening and sensor systems in place for many decades.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            History contradicts your assertions. ASW is always a problem. German submarines historically kicked our butts at the beginning of the last two world wars. Japanese submarines sunk several US carriers during WW2.

            More recently: the Brit Task Force in the Falklands had a hard time with a single relatively outdated diesel submarine. And they were supposedly experts. Let’s also not forget that SONG surfacing near the KITTY HAWK in ’06.

            History has also taught us what is required in an ASW escort. Long endurance, reliable, easy to maintain, and relatively inexpensive. Pretty much the antithesis of what we are getting in the Littoral Combat Ship.

          • Duane

            There you go again, stuck in the ancient past.

            History says you only win naval wars with big battleships duking it out in line of battle … that was true, until 75 years ago, it wasn’t. The sinking of the Bismarck and Pearl Harbor immediately obsoleted all battleships as meaningful fleet engagement platforms.

            Submarines worked great for the Germans in the opening days of US participation in World War Two … but only for six months, and that was only because at the opening of WWTwo the US had no effective ASW strategy or platforms. Within 6 months we recovered and ended the carnage of Operation Drumbeat, and we completely defeated the U-boat fleet a little more than year after that when we finally closed the Atlantic Air Gap. We (and the Brits) so effectively decimated the U-boats that Doenitz ordered his entire fleet of boats back to the sub pens, and the Battle of the Atlantic was won.

            The Japanese subs had only an inconsequential impact on the Pacific War in terms of tonnage sunk, largely because they never had control of the air. The biggest threat to all diesel subs in that era was the aircraft, and we quickly established air superiority when we defeated the Japanese carriers at Midway and later on in the Marianas Turkey Shoot in the SW Pacific.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            The Falklands War (1982) is hardly the ancient past. In fact: it’s about the only template we have for modern naval warfare.

            As for WW2: yes we got our butts kicked our butts by U-Boats at the beginning part. That is what I said. Digging through all your weird tangential statements – it seems like you might agree?

            Industrial mobilization, operational intelligence, and superior numbers eventually turned the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic. If you’re counting on those advantages in the next fight, I think you are the one living in the ancient past.

          • Duane

            Our current level of military preparedness is incomparably higher and better than in 1941. We operate the world’s largest (in tonnage) and most capable navy in the world, equal to the next ten largest navies combined. And we have over 60 years of concentrated ASW experience today, while in 1941 we had none.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Your comments strike me as eerily similar to those made by higher-ups in the Royal Navy in 1914. We are vastly superior to everyone.

            The truth is our Navy hasn’t fought a contested naval campaign in close to 75 years. Over the last decade or so, most of the Navy has been involved in supporting land operations ashore. Air strikes, lobbing TLAMs, and the like.

            The Navy is so out of touch of what fighting a peer adversary at sea will look like that we pursued weird little vanity projects like the Littoral Combat Ship. And they seem intent on pounding it (with great difficulty and little success) into a frigate sized hole in our fleet architecture.

          • Duane

            Uhhh … you couldn’t be more wrong. The US most certainly DID fight the Cold War which involved the Navy as its most secure and most important element, particularly our nuke subs, both SSBNs as our most secure leg of the nuclear triad, and our SSNs dedicated to killing the Russian SSBNs before they could destroy our homeland. I and all my shipmates and many tens of thousands more, operating 24/7/365 for decades were all part of the Cold War … and yes, the Cold War very nearly got hot many times, both on a macro level and on the individual ship level. The fact that we fought the Cold War is what prevented the end-of-the-world World War Three. My sub was literally, in every way imaginable, on the front lines of that war, and we routinely encountered our enemy in ways that will never be told publicly.

            If you are a navy ASW vet like you claim during the Cold War, then you would obviously know all that. To say what you wrote unmasks you as a Pretender and a fake.

          • Duane

            Nothing weird or tangential about my explanation for the short-lived success of Operation Drumbeat .. the short answer being, we did nothing to defend ourselves until the slaughter became to great too bear, after which we decided to adopt British ASW tactics … but apparently that was too complex for you to understand.

            It wasn’t industrialization, operational intelligence, and superior numbers that won the Battle of the Atlantic – it was two weapons systems .. the long range bombers that finally closed the Atlantic Air Gap, where previously the U-boats could sit and wait in the mid-Atlantic for the convoys to come to them without fear of air attack, the deadliest defense against surfaced U-boats … and the deployment of radar which could see the surfaced U-boats after dark. Submerged U-boats aren’t effective because they had to come up for air at least daily, and because submerged speeds are so slow that convoys easily maneuver around them with sonar-equipped escorts.

          • Curtis Conway

            Please pardon me for butting in . . . and first thank you both for your service. I provide the following observations:
            “The sinking of the Bismarck and Pearl Harbor immediately obsoleted all battleships as meaningful fleet engagement platforms.”
            The principle is “Context is everything”. The sum total of ALL environments, including the current environment must be considered, not just ‘all-out war’ with a peer adversary. Like ‘Proactive Presence’, a submarine located in a region can make all the difference in the world, when dealing with an adversary who has learned about what that submarine can do . . . the hard way. The Argentine Navy after the Royal Navy submarine went into action against the ARA General Belgrano is a case in point. Who misses the US Navy Battleships the most today ? . . the United States Marine Corps.
            “The Japanese subs had only an inconsequential impact on the Pacific War in terms of tonnage sunk, largely because they never had control of the air.”
            It only takes one sub, in the right place, at the right time, to sink the right thing, to change HiStory. That mission could very easily be initiated by a conventional submarine (as well as a SSN) today. The overall long term solution to the problem would probably be driven by USN (and Allied) SSN activity. If the USS Indianapolis had been sunk before it delivered its cargo, the war would not have ended when it did, and perhaps a landing would have taken place. THAT would definitely have impacted HiStory.

          • Duane

            Thanks, Curtis, at least your points are plausible, but still not reflective of the realities of 21st century submarine warfare.

            Nobody alive, including the USMC misses the battleships, which is why no nation on earth including the US has built a new battleship or its equivalent since WW Two. The capabilities of modern ground attack aircraft are so vastly better than anything the BBs could mount is the reason why. Nobody cares if a broadside from 9 15 or 16 inch guns, with a range of maybe 20 miles give or take, can make the rubble bounce wherever the rounds land. What is important to ground forces is to kill the bad guys who are shooting at you .. and precision targeted munitions are far more reliable and efficient than any dumb canon round could ever hope to be.

            And no, one sub in the right place is not going to be consequential in winning or losing wars. Even if the Japanese sub had sunk the Indy before it delivered its cargo, it would not have affected the war. It carried only one bomb – the “Little Boy” uranium bomb – the “Fat Man” was delivered otherwise and would have been used on Hiroshima. A third bomb would have been available within days for the second attack on Nagasaki – we were producing 3 complete bombs a month in August, a bomb ever 10 days. General Groves predicted an inventory of 4 bombs available in September after using the first two.

            Submarine warfare today is like submarine warfare in 1945, just as aerial combat and air-to-surface attack today are like it was in 1945.

            Even submarine warfare in 1945 was vastly different, and vastly reduced in effectiveness, as compared to just two years earlier. The U-boat was thoroughly defeated as soon as we closed the Atlantic Air Gap in mid-1943. Admiral Doenitz literally withdrew his entire U-boat force to their armored sub pens at that time. From then on, the U-boats were only used sporadically for special missions like transporting spies or supplies, and even then most were sunk when sortied. The only reason our Pacific subs were still effective in the West Pac from mid-1943 until they literally ran out of targets to sink in the spring of 1945 was because the US Navy and Army Air Force held total air superiority in the region.

          • Curtis Conway

            “Nobody alive, including the USMC misses the battleships…” Why does the DD-1000 have two 155 mm guns ? . . . and have little or no organic AAW capability? Naval Gun Fire Support (NGFS) for the Marines. This should be one of the design criteria for the new frigate, particularly with the new Hyper Velocity Projectiles (HVP) coming out, which can do more than just find a lat/long and altitude and go off.
            “The capabilities of modern ground attack aircraft are so vastly better than anything the BBs could mount is the reason why.” The Battleships and replacing DD-1000s are not susceptible to ground fire. The NGFS capability assures close and accurate fire support with sufficient explosive effect to ensure a successful landing. At NGFS range, only the spotter is near the target, and a 57 mm cannot throw enough explosive charge far enough to warrant getting the ship that close to the beach, particularly with TBMs and ASCMs that can come into play.
            “Nobody cares if a broadside from 9 15 or 16 inch guns, with a range of maybe 20 miles…” You very obviously have not talked to a Marine who was in a position of wanting a mountain top, or ridgeline to ‘go away’. I was off Beirut, and there was more than one occasion where miles of suburb was ELIMINATED by direction of the powers that be. Can you imagine how much more range can be put into a 16” format over anything 6” in diameter or smaller. Guidance and a rocket motor are easier in this equation, and you made my case . . . “…and precision targeted munitions are far more reliable and efficient than any dumb canon round…”.
            I’ll give you the ‘more nukes’ theory, for employment of other nuclear weapons would have helped . . . I’m sure they would have, but Russian success against the Japanese in Asia was also a consideration. The A-bombs were the coup de grâce.

          • Duane

            Back at you:

            I never understood the rationale of the 155mm on the DDG1000, but in any case, it is not remotely equivalent to or alike in any way to the big guns on the BBs. The gun on the DDG 1000 is a guided precision fire gun. The weight of shell on a 155 mm round is on the order 225 pounds including propellant and case, and the HEX warhead is only 24 pounds … as compared to the 2,700 pound projectile of the Iowa class BB.

            In truth, nearly all of the firepower of the DDG1000 is in its precision guided missiles, not its guns. It has a Mk 57 VLS with 80 cells, capable of firing any ASM or surface to surface or surface to air missile we have in our inventory.

            Yes, I had two uncles who were Marines on Guadalcanal who depended on naval bombardment … the Marines who stormed ashore on Saipan, Pelelieu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa after sustained bombardment from our BBs and heavy cruisers found, to their dismay, that the big shells that that tore the heck out of the landscape did virtually nothing to take out the dug-in Japanese defenders in their networks of caves and bunkers. And they paid dearly for that with their lives, which was the bloodiest fighting for the USA in all of World War Two.

            Those Marines would have vastly preferred precision munitions capable of flying right into the mouths of caves and peep-holes in bunkers. The big round bombardment was found to be nearly completely ineffective against dug in defenders.

          • Curtis Conway

            Once again, you are making my argument. That 16″ projectile is a HUGE form factor with which to work a powered guided projectile with more explosive capacity. The HPVs are going to be smaller (and slower) versions of Electro Magnetic Rail Gun rounds. Those HPVs will be in Mk45 mounts too (after conversion), as well as 155 mm formats. These things are going to fly down the throat of the inbound target. Tell it where to go and what to look for, and off it goes. We should probably make EM and RF rounds too that can use a rocket motor to extend range or velocity on terminal guidance.

          • Duane

            No, I’m not making your argument for you. A 1,600 pound projectile is ridiculous, there is no ship afloat against which you need that explosive power. It was made to penetrate 2-foot thick steel belt armor on enemy battleships, and nobody has that kind of armor today. And to send that weapon on its way requires a ridiculously expensive and heavy BB which is no more defensible against air attack than is a frigate or LCS. The Bismarck and Pearl Harbor and sinking of the Yamato proved that many times over.

            With pinpoint precision guided weapons, a very small explosive charge is all that’s needed to take a warship out of action, or to eliminate a SAM launcher, a tank squad, or a company of infantry.

            The watchwords today are One Weapon/One Kill. In the old days it was all “spray and pray” knowing that most of the munitions would miss the target altogether, or hit some non-vital space or bit of real estate.

            A little LCS can and does launch a Harpoon or a NSM that can take a cruiser out of action, by zeroing in on the fatal spot on/in the hull. Our munitions are so sophisticated today that they can be calibrated to penetrate a set number of hull plates and bulkheads before the warhead detonates, to ensure that the warhead destroys the kill spot and whatever it contains (the bridge, CIC, engineering plant, or magazines). The NSM actually has the ability to evade incoming enemy defensive fire, bobbing and weaving its way to the target. Its 276 pounds of HEX can disable a large ship. Ditto with land based bunkers, or tank formations, or SAM launchers.

          • Curtis Conway

            I suppose the attention span is glued to surface warfare . . . I (I thought we) were talking about Naval Gun Fire Support (NGFS) and what can be programmed into a 16″ form factor. Since the battleships are gone, that argument is a moot point. However, getting back to the original issue (LCS) a large caliber gun (5″ or bigger) brings with it potential for the future. With a 57 mm . . . not so much!

          • Secundius

            Depends on “What” the Mk.110 57mm Gun is Used For? Indirect Fire Support at 14,000-meters. In 1943 a British Matilda Tank armed with a QF.6 6-pdr (57x441mmR) took out a German Tiger I Panzer at 1,500-yards. Don’t sell the “57” short and/or cheap…

          • Curtis Conway

            If I’m trying to defend the ship against supersonic ASCMs I want as big a bang as I can get, to go off as close to the target as possible, if in fact not hit it, and for a supersonic cruise missile that will be a mean challenge. That is also why I insist on a non-rotating 3D AESA radar for fire control track accuracy on everything near or far from the ship. That awesome SeaRAM (tongue in cheek) with its 25 lb blast fragmentation warhead is not big enough in my opinion. I would much prefer the warhead in the ESSM.

          • Secundius

            They also make Smart Munitions for the 57 Bofors too. Also the Ability to Create a “Metallic Wall” between the You (the Ship) and the Missile (Threat), that the Threat has to Fly Through To Get to You (the Ship)…

          • Curtis Conway

            Did it during WWII. Ought to be able to do it better today. The window of vulnerability is much smaller and closer to the ship. Reaction time is very limited. However, we should be able to make that happen, but I have seen No Program of Record for said capability, so the vulnerability to the LCS/Frigate is still unacceptable.

          • Secundius

            Really? When was the Last Time an Arleigh Burke class Destroyer fought a One-On-One Gun and/or Missile Duel with another ship and Won…

          • Curtis Conway

            DDG-51 has only done it in simulation, until the recent shoot down of the subsonic missiles in the Middle East. Of course there are the test with a MQM 8G/ER Vandal.

          • Secundius

            You’re forgetting about DDG-67, USS Cole that nearly got SUNK by a Slow Moving “Go-Fast” while Moor’d in a Yemenese Harbor while Taking On Fuel…

          • Curtis Conway

            Not at all. That was a special case in a port, not on patrol on the high seas. That was also in a foreign port where the host country is responsible for harbor security, and engaging folks with “Ma Deuce” and M60s are frowned upon. Today I suspect that whole sequence would go a little differently, particularly with the commander-in-chief in charge.

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately a “Simulation” is “Just That”, a “Simulation”. Programmed Threats with Programmed Outcomes (aka “Garbage In, Garbage Out”). Virtual is not Real…

          • Curtis Conway

            Secundius . . . in this situation this is a Vandal missile (old Talos) at 50′ altitude crossing your bow close aboard, and you either kill it or you don’t. If you don’t, and you just winged it, you could potentially wear this thing that is over 30″ in diameter and as long as a telephone pole, and traveling at supersonic speed. Not my idea of a simulation.

          • Secundius

            @ Curtis Conway

            At ~850.7-m/sec. not very likely! If you can wear “That”, you must be “Skinny as a Rail”…

          • Curtis Conway

            Should a DDG-51, or any other platform, ever wear it, a significant amount of the crew would not survive. I suspect the 25 lb blast fragmentation warhead in a SeaRAM is a non-starter.

          • Secundius

            Depends on whether were taking about 25# of C4 (TNT) or 25# of AMATOL. Which is more like ~34# of C4…

          • E1 Kabong

            USS Stark…. HMS Sheffield…

          • Secundius

            I was referring to a Ship Duel with a Areleigh Burke class Destroyer and another Warship? What on EARTH does the HMS Sheffield have to do with a Duel with an Areleigh Burke. HMS Sheffield was Hit by An Exocet launched for a Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard, Strike/Fighter NOT another Warship…

          • E1 Kabong

            Clearly, you’re delusional.

            Exocets can be launched from aircraft, land or SHIPS…

          • Secundius

            HMS Sheffield was Hit by AIR! Not by LAND or SEA…

          • E1 Kabong

            LMAO!!!

            Seek help for your reading comprehension issues.

            Re-read what I wrote.

            Speaking of AShM attacks….

            What was HMS Glamorgan hit by?
            Where was it launched from?

          • Secundius

            I’ll answer Your’s if you Answer Mine! What was the Name of the Worlds First Aircraft Carrier?

          • E1 Kabong

            Lame, FAILED deflection attempt.

          • E1 Kabong

            What happened in the Falklands?

            The Persian Gulf?

          • Secundius

            When was there an “Active” Arleigh Burke class Destroyer in the Falklands Campaign in 1982? Another bit of “Alternative History”…

          • E1 Kabong

            Are you drunk or stoned?

            When was an A-B destroyer EVER in a naval engagement?

          • Secundius

            The Arleigh Burke’s have been in Exactly the Same Number of Ship-to-Ship Engagements as Either the Freedom class and the Independence class. Absolutely “NONE”…

          • E1 Kabong

            LOL!

            Busted!

          • E1 Kabong

            When will you find out the depth of your reading comprehension disability?

            When was an A-B destroyer EVER in a WAR?

          • E1 Kabong

            Sources?

            In 1943 a British Matilda Tank didn’t have to face supersonic anti-ship missiles or small boat swarm attacks….

          • Secundius

            No! But BOTH the Germans and Japanese DID with all those THOUSANDS of “LCU’s” loaded with Invading Troops and Supplies, Storming the Beaches…

          • E1 Kabong

            Stoned? Drunk?

            When was the last time a large scale beach assault was done?

            Were anti-ship missiles available?

            Really, seek help.

          • Secundius

            You “Mentioned” SWARMING. Not the Manner of the Boat Swarming Attack…

          • Duane

            The 16 inch projectiles were made primarily for penetrating two plus foot thick belt armor. That’s why I addressed that … in my prior comment I also addressed the complete ineffectiveness of those same shells to take out dug in defenders in actual World War Two island invasion battles, to the great and bloody disadvantage of our Marines of the time. We had the same experience with the D-day invasion of Normandy … our heavy ships bombarded the coastline prior to the landing to no practical effect, after which our amphibious landing met ferocious fire coming from the heavy concrete bunkers that withstood the naval bombardment with ease. Our soldiers died in the thousands.

            Naval gun fire support for land ops is really an anachronism, unless it involves precision guided projectiles, which as currently fielded are both way too expensive and way too small to be of any significant use. The 155 mm projectiles of the DDG1000 gun, as I pointed out above, only delivers a 24 pound HEX warhead. And they cost in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars per round!! Yes, partly that was due to the small number of DDG1000s to be built (3), but it was also because they’re just damned expensive … virtually no bang for the buck.

            The typical range of warhead weight of ship launched missiles – both ASMs and those directed at ground targets – is from 276 pounds (NSM) to 1,000 pounds or more (Tomahawk, LRASM). Heck, even the tiny little Hellfire missile fired from many of our ships and aircraft packs a 20 pound warhead, almost the size of the LRLAP warhead, and quite good for short range fires.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            “Submarine warfare today is like submarine warfare in 1945, just as aerial combat and air-to-surface attack today are like it was in 1945.”

            I’d call such a comment idiotic coming from anyone else. From you: it’s about par for the course.

          • E1 Kabong

            The facts clearly prove you wrong.

            Who sunk the Belgrano and sent the Argie navy running to port?

          • E1 Kabong

            LMAO!!!!

            “Recall that one WW2 era diesel sub gave the Royal Navy fits during the Falklands.”?

            Which one?
            The old tub they DISABLED?

            Where was the Argie navy after the RN SANK the Belgrano?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Actually you’re making my point for me.

            Read up on operations of ARA San Luis. She made several attacks on the British task force vessels. They probably would’ve been successful had her torpedoes worked.

            The Brits dedicated multiple ships, helos, and MPA to ASW. They expended countless flight hours, sonobuoys, and weapons on false contacts. And never managed to kill her.

            One relatively outdated diesel sub caused all that trouble. Now imagine if Argentina had more of her sub force active and had decent torpedoes…

          • E1 Kabong

            Actually, you’re still sadly lacking in facts and knowledge.

            What did that clapped out ex-WW2 sub ACCOMPLISH?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            ARA San Luis was commissioned in 1974. About 30 years after WW2 ended.

            As I stated: one diesel sub caused a lot of trouble for a world class ASW force. There are reports she took several shots at British ships.

            Had the Argies torpedoes worked, things could’ve gone very differently for the British task force.

          • E1 Kabong

            “Then I will add awfully slow warfare (ASW) to the list of things you have demonstrated that you know nothing about.”?

            You know nothing about ASW, clearly.

            Care to chat about P-3 Orions, Atlantic 2’s, Auroras, P-8’s, MH-60’s, Merlins, etc.?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Wow. You know the names of airplanes.

            I’m super impressed.

          • E1 Kabong

            You have no clue about ASW.

            I’m still laughing at you.

          • E1 Kabong

            “b. US ASW forces will wipe the floor of any threats in a matter of days.”?

            What “forces” would those be?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Not my claim. If history is any guidebook – any future ASW campaign will last weeks if not months.

          • E1 Kabong

            Answer the question.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Let’s see DDG/CGs, IUSS, SSNs, MPRA, MH-60R. Maybe LCS – although I would argue it is poorly suited for most ASW tasks.

            Not at all sure where you are going with this…

          • E1 Kabong

            LMAO!!!!!

            Nice try at squirming out of the question, by spewing acronyms.

            Let’s see…

            What ASW capability do destroyer and cruisers have?

            “IUSS”?

            “MPRA”?

            “MH-60R”?
            Sure, those watered down Seahawks have WHAT, exactly for ASW capability?

            Have those P-8’s been proven?
            Where are the torpedo’s for them?

            Where are the UAV’s that are supposed to be a part of that system?

            Where did the carrier based fixed wing ASW assets go?

            Clearly, you aren’t sure…

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            You seem to be having some sort of weird internal argument with yourself.

            If you don’t know what MPRA or IUSS are — then you know a lot less about ASW than I thought.

          • E1 Kabong

            Answer the questions….

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Actually I did. I named well understood ASW forces.

            IUSS, MPRA, DDGs. These aren’t mysterious acronyms to people who are in the know.

            Clearly you are not…

          • Scott Ferguson

            Actually, you’re squirming.

            Spewing a couple of acronyms you heard in passing, isn’t a sign of high intelligence.

            Seek help for your reading comprehension disabilities.

            How, EXACTLY, does a listening system “wipe out” a sub fleet?

            LOL!!!!

            You spew blather, fan-boy.

            Shoo.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Actually – my original point was that real-world ASW is very hard. A lot harder than Duane and all his LCS adoration seems to think.

            E1 Kabongs “question” is what is known as a non-sequitor. An odd distractor that apparently makes sense to him.

            I think if EK stopped and read the post, he might find we are in accordance. But he’s too focused on making some weird point.

          • Scott Ferguson

            What you’re doing is known as squirming.

            He asked you a question, and you’ve been desperately trying to deflect from it.

            It’s called having a boot on your throat.

            “I think…”?

            Not yet, you haven’t.

            You’re too focused on trying to evade the question.

          • Lazarus

            Matt you are really getting out of line.

          • E1 Kabong

            Nope….

            “This is now the 21st century and there are no merchant ship convoys.”?

            I see you haven’t been paying attention to the events happening around the HOA.

          • Timothy Glidden

            Um ya you might want to tell the Russian that, as they proved that one wrong in Syria.

          • Lazarus

            Not all small combatants perform the same roles. Why don’t you stick to assessing maritime patrol aircraft.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Laz. I find it hilarious that you resort to credentialism when practically everything you’ve supported wrt LCS has been subsequently disavowed or discredited.

            Here’s a list of all the things you’ve previously supported on LCS that haven’t come to pass – or which Navy has deemphasized:

            – Minimal manning;
            – Low acquisition costs;
            – Swapping mission modules;
            – 3-2-1 CONOPS;
            – Importance of high speed.

            You’re free to lecture me on my credibility – once you prove you actually have some.

          • Duane

            Because the artist is yet another of the cadre of LCS-hating trolls, many of whom are paid by Putin to post anti-military comments about virtually every new or emerging military platform or weaps system the US has or is developing. Our own intelligence services have confirmed that Putin pays an army of Russian trolls to do precisely that as part of their disinformation campaign, which has always been a hallmark of Russian, and before them, Soviet influence ops in America and the west.

            And then those who aren’t paid directly by Putin but are instead the age-old Russian “useful idiots” who do their work for them for free. Many are old long-retired Navy codgers who incessantly whine about the modern Navy that doesn’t do things the way they used to do … essentially, they are the equivalent of the angry old man in the neighborhood yelling at the neighbor kids, “Now get off my lawn!”.

        • Michael D. Woods

          Maybe not the third world, but certainly second world. Why not license a Norwegian or French or some other design? Why do we have to start over from the keel each time?

          • Duane

            Design is the easy part .. and by “licensing” another design we would deprive the Navy of the ability to determine the design requirements and make a design WE want, not what some foreign navy wants.

            I don’t get all these LCS hating trolls who keep swearing foreign designs are better than our designs. For one thing, the LCS design has ZERO to do with a frigate design – they’re different ships that are alike only in the fact that they are both considered “small surface combatants”. For another thing, the LCS haters could not be more wrong … it’s a great ship for its assigned missions, the engineering failures were the fault of the crews who effed up, which was the fault of senior Navy officials in how they trained and crewed the vessels, which the senior Navy staff admitted to publicly late last year as they announced revisions to the training and crewing methods.

            It is NUTS to rehash and rewarm some other foreign navy’s idea of what they want. Design and built exactly what OUR Navy wants and needs.

          • Michael D. Woods

            You make a good point about training the crews. Every new design has a learning curve with early failures. I remember some airplane designs that had similar criticisms. (Marine, Naval Aviator)

            You also write well, unlike some of the people who post on these sites. Thanks.

          • AndyWhyte

            So what exactly can the LCS do that a frigate of the same cost or less can’t do? Fact is the LCS doesn’t live up to its name as it is no good for combat especially in the littoral zone. A well rounded frigate design could do the assigned missions of the LCS and much more at the same or lower cost.

          • Duane

            The LCS can do many things a frigate can’t do, and it costs much less than any modern frigate. It has a large open mission support deck for support of amphibious special operations, frigates don’t. The LCS can go much faster – 44-45 knots vs. about 30 knots … and in shallow water coastal operations spent literally chasing bad guys in small vessels, speed is a necessity. The Freedom class has draft (12.8 ft) shallower than most frigates (the German F-125 has a draft four feet deeper. Again, in shallow water littoral ops, especially in and around estuaries, barrier islands, etc., shallow draft is critical. The LCS also can feature a mine warfare capability which frigates cannot, which is particularly important in littoral ops, because that’s where all the mines are laid, not out in the middle of the wide Pacific. And the LCS, unlike our existing minesweepers, can also defend itself and launch both defensive and offensive munitions.

            That’s why the LCS class was developed …. not to be a frigate-lite but to do things frigates cannot do. There is a very long history in the US Navy of fielding littoral combat ships … in the days of sail they were called “sloops of war” and they were the backbone of most of our Navy’s operations in its first 140 years of being.

            In general, it seems that those LCS critics who aren’t Russian trolls come from a background where they only know and understand bluewater ops, and don’t know anything about littoral ops. Our navy is not just a blue-water navy … it is an all-water navy.

          • Angie Nathan

            Eventually they will run out of crew to blame.

        • Angie Nathan

          If a ship can make it from point A to point B under its own steam it already has one advantage over an LCS.

      • Angie Nathan

        Some of our warships are built in shipyards with third world ethics and under worse conditions. This whole block buy propaganda is so that the same people who profited from the LCS disaster can keep their hand in the till while the roosters come home to roost over their past deeds.

  • Jon

    Why don’t they decide what they need first before they start shoveling money at it? Novel concept…

    • Duane

      The Navy is developing the specs now, and wants to move on with the actual procurement when the specs are ready. That’s the normal method of ship procurement. They’re not going to award any funds until the procurement is fully executed … and that will entail determining the basic hull configuration, among other things, which could be based upon either LCS variant, or perhaps something different.

  • Bubblehead

    Building 2 Aegis F100 like frigates for the price of 1 AB destroyer is a deal the Navy should jump on. AB are great ships, especially with the FIII being built, but there is safety in numbers and the Navy is too thin. Putting all your eggs in 1 basket is not a good strategy in war. Ships will take hits. Having more ships means there is less capability loss if 1 takes a hit and has to leave the battlefield.

    The LCS is nothing but a floating coffin for its crew. It serves a limited purpose to counter mines and limited ASW, but that’s about it. There is no excuse for any war fighting ship not to carry VLS. Forget the stupid modules. VLS is your modules. It can carry ASROC for ASW, LRASM for anti-ship, Standard & ESSM for anti-air. CIWS & RAM provide close in defense against ASM & small boats. Relying on RAM, decoys & ECM for ASM defense is ludicrous. I would love for a few Senators/Congressmen to have their kin stationed on an LCS. It wouldn’t happen. On top of all those deficiencies listed, LCS has a god awful range which in war would cause logistics issues. Not that it would ever last long enough to require refueling.

    • Lazarus

      A US-built F100 frigate would cost at least $1.5b a copy, making it a poor value as opposed to the 3-4 LCS that can be purchased for the same amount. Govt-owned corporations like Navantia can perhaps build ships cheaply as other costs such as worker health care are passed along to the citizens. Australia is trying to build a Navantia-like frigate as its Hobart class DDG and is finding the cost approaches $1.5b. It is a complete myth that large and capable foreign designs from govt-owned shipbuilders like Navantia and FNC can be built for such low costs in a free market environment like the US, the UK, or Australia.

  • Ed L

    I am currently in favor of the NSC Naval Version. Reminds me of the old Taney and Cutters of that Class. Tough Old Cutter the Taney was served 50 years. Since there are no frigates ordering 20 of the NSC type as a short frigate class. Our Navy could have them all built by Huntington Ingalls Industries, Austral and Lockheed. The hulls could be built at Huntington yards and the fitting out at Austral and Lockheed yards. But I doubt the talking heads in the Senate could get their heads out of their buttocks
    Its too Unorthodox to do something like this.

  • Jason

    Realistically, the Navy shouldn’t buy any frigate or large warship that doesn’t have mk 41 vertical launch tubes. There is a huge advantage to having a degree of commonality across all platforms… and the flexibility a common weapon system affords is well worth the added cost. All future naval missiles will be designed with the MK.41 in mind. Anti air radars can be upgraded, software can be added… but you can’t fit a round peg into a square hole…. or a really long missile into a really short tube.

    Personally, I don’t have anything against the LCS program… and as I understand it, the Freedom class can incorporate Mk.41’s… the Independence class can not. It is clear to me the Independence should not (even though it is, in many ways, a more capable ship) be considered for the role of frigate, the lack of MK 41 capability is a deal breaker. As for the Freedom class… I’m agnostic. However, just as there are benefits to having commonality among missile systems there is a huge benefit to having commonality among ship classes. So, any competition should rightly give Freedom class ships a reasonable advantage.

    • ElmCityAle

      From where do you get the info about the potential of VLS installation on the different LCS models? Also, small VLS systems like the MK 56 shouldn’t be overlooked; while only supporting ESSM, they have advantages including lower weight and flexibility of placement.

      • Jason

        The information on the two LCS models has been quite widely reported. That being said, there is a lot to be said for MK 56… if we were keeping the original concept of the LCS as a single mission specialist (albeit one whose modules could quickly and easily be swapped and upgraded), than the mk 56 vertical launch systems would be completely adequate and may even be overkill. After all, how much anti-air capability does a minesweeper or a sub-hunter really need beyond its own immediate surroundings? Both classes of LCS are already equipped with RIM 116’s for point air defense. However, a frigate, as a multi mission capable vessel, is a different animal… or at least it should be. After all, if we are going to take the time and spend the money to up armor them and make them more blue water capable, than why wouldn’t you want to go the last extra mile and at least give yourself the future option of making them generally useful warships capable of escorting other vessels by defending against air threats? Appropriately armed an LCS frigate could even help defend carrier strike groups by acting as an important launch node closer to shore than you would risk a capital ship. In both scenarios you would want to arm them with SM 2’s or 6’s, or their future standard missile derivitives, which are too large to fit in the Mk 56. The Sm 6 in particular also has considerable OTH anti-ship capabities.. as well as limited anti-ballistic missile capability and anti-cruise missile capability… and can even be guided by other Navy assets ( like the F-35 and P8’s) lessening the need for expensive and heavy onboard radars.

        So, as far as I’m concerned, all else being equal, the Navy went to a good deal of trouble to create a “standard missile” that can be launched from a standard VLS. As a hedge against future weapons advancement, and to use the Navy’s most capable and versitle missiles available today, why would we consider a non standard frigate? Especially since one of the two models of LCS currently in production can quite readily adopt it, while the other can’t.

    • Ziv Bnd

      I have read a couple sources that said that the Independence class can carry tactical length VLS but not the strike length VLS. Is that possible? How much capability would the tactical length cost vs. the strike length VLS? You sound like you know this subject better than I ever will, so your thoughts on this would be welcome.

      • Jason

        Yes. The Independence can be armed with MK 56 VLS, but not MK 41 VLS. The biggest difference between the two is that the MK 41 can launch the Navy’s “standard missiles”: the Sm 2, SM 3, and Sm 6 while the MK 56 can not. The standard missiles are the fleet’s primary air defense mechanism and can be used to shoot down anything from a cruise missile to, to a fighter, to a ballistic missile (sm-3, which would never be installed on a frigate) depending on which model is launced. They have a range in excess of 250 miles. Both the Sm-2 and to much greater extent the Sm-6 can be used to attack ships over the horrizon at incredible range and the Sm-6 is highly networkable. The Mk 56 can still launch evolved sea sparrow missiles which have a range of about 25 miles for air defense, and while that is generally considered perfectly adequate for self-defense against cruise missiles it is inadequate for area defense or even escort duties against fighters.

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    Lockheed Martin Freedom-class and the Austal USA Independence-class; putting the “down” in downselect.

  • Lazarus

    John McCain’s frigate proposal represents 1970’s era thinking and is not appropriate for the 2nd decade of the 21st century. There is no need for an expensive, air defense frigate that will likely cost $1.5 billion or more, and be of much less value than the slightly more expensive but much more capable DDG 51. This proposal, and McCain’s parochial aviator demand for 10 light carriers (when the navy cannot deploy a current flatttop with even 2/3 of its rated air wing,) suggest he is out of touch and I’ll informed on the needs of the 21st century navy.

    • Duane

      I think that with today’s highly networked battle data communications and management systems, it is not necessary that every warship have a complex AEGIS-type air defense system on board. Between the large number of AEGIS-equipped hulls that we have now, plus the emerging capability of the forward deployed stealthy airborne F-35C datalink and battle data management computing and targeting system, which is designed to link up with not only other aircraft (other attack fighters, drones, and standoff arsenal aircraft) but also link up with surface ships, we need to leverage that capability to the rest of the fleet … which, of course, is exactly what the Navy is already doing.

      That’s why, for instance, that F-35Cs based on big deck carriers and F-35Bs on the amphibs can turn even the amphibs into offensive weaps platforms by installing Mk 41 VLS but sans the AEGIS radar and targeting system. Heck, you could even arm up the auxiliaries (cargo hulls and oilers) with VLS, much as we used to do in WW Two days when the Liberty ships were all armed with 4-in deck guns and AA guns. The air defenses provided by a sensing shield composed of F-35s and E-2s, plus targeting data comms from the F-35s to the rest of the fleet, tremendously leverages both the defensive and offensive capabilities of our entire Navy.

      You’re right, McCain is applying 20th century thinking to 21st century warfare. He’s 80 years old and past his “sell by” date as a military thinker, way behind today’s generation of admirals and generals.

      • Lazarus

        I too like the idea of flexibility in employing the F-35C from existing, big deck amphibs and putting VLS on the LPD-17 class. That is smart use of existing force structure. The F-35C ESM system is especially good and has been suggested for installation on LCS as it both lightweight and very capable.

        • Duane

          Yup … plus we’re already installing land based AEGIS systems in Europe and likely throughout Japan, South Korea, and potentially the Philippines … linking those air defense sensing and targeting systems with small surface combatants and even auxiliaries within the local area, along with auxiliaries and ground-based launchers is a natch. We’ve certainly got access to the real estate needed to field such weapons.

          Doing so effectively eviscerates the entire notion of China’s so-called A2/AD strategy in the West Pac region. The Chinese cannot deny the ECS or SCS to the US or our local allies when they are surrounded by land based enemies, and both defensive and offensive assets are literally spread out at potentially hundreds of locations in 3-D space on land, on and under the sea, and in the air.

          • ElmCityAle

            You are both only considering scenarios with a force of multiple ships/units/resources. What about a sole ship, or a sole armed ship escorting unarmed ships? LCS isn’t close to being to handle those roles sufficiently without, at a minimum, VLS with ESSM and the associated fire control systems.

          • Lazarus

            There are an infinite number of possible comat scenarios. One LCS would be a sufficient escort in some parts of the world but not others. A DDG might be needed instead. It would be nice to have specific ships for specific missions but that is not always possible. It depends on the assumed threat.

          • Steve Knickerbocker

            The only places I can think of that an LCS would be an adequate sole escort are secure areas where no escort would be required. Having served I know the places the Navy likes to send “disposable” ships to, the LCS would be inadequate in most of them.

          • Lazarus

            I served 20 years, with 2/3 of my sea duty on small, “disposable” ships (FF, FFG, PC, MCM.) There are plenty of areas in the world where LCS is more than adequate. I could have used a flotilla of LCS when I was a NATO counter-piracy planner for Somali waters.

          • Duane

            Our ships don’t operate solo in a vacuum. They operate as part of a networked, integrated force with other ships (both US and allies), aircraft, submarines, and land forces … all networked together digitally with secure datalink systems. Both for purposes of acquiring and processing sensor data, and distributing targeting data to a wide variety of platforms.

            You’re thinking like this is still the 20th century. It’s been the 21st century for over 16 years now.

          • ElmCityAle

            As much as you like to throw out that phrase, mission requirements don’t necessarily change with the century. There are lessons to be learned from the past, even if it never exactly repeats itself. Networked data is great – as long as it flows freely. I work in “high tech”, which informs my thoughts about relying upon technology also makes that a potential vulnerability. That’s why we’re seeing weapons that have GPS plus alternative guidance, for example.

          • Duane

            Redundancy and resiliency are key capabilities for any system. You don’t design an airplane, for instance, that operates only via the autopilot. You don’t intentially or knowingly design in single point failures (I’ve been a degreed and licensed engineer as well as pilot for several decades).

            But, the more the forces are integrated and linked, the more capable the entire network becomes.

            Indeed, the two biggest historical challenges for military forces going back to ancient classical times, all the way through to today, have always been access to intelligence about the enemy (where he is, how he is deployed, how strong, his tactics, his supply and lines of communication), and communication amongst your own forces.

            Failing to take advantage of 21st century technology to do all of the above is nothing other than a failure of imagination. I don’t believe our own Navy has fallen for that. Our current naval leaders clearly understand both the challenge and the opportunity of new ways of fighting wars.

      • muzzleloader

        And just because he is a former Naval officer he thinks he knows what is needed. How about McCain asking the flag and senior line officers what they think thier Navy needs?

      • E1 Kabong

        It seems folks are missing the obvious.

        Frigates are meant to be ASW assets.

        • Duane

          Frigates are the true multi-mission small combatant, that’s been its legacy since the 18th century. The frigate is the equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife of surface combatants.

          ASW is an important mission for the frigate, but by no means it’s main mission, which is to essentially provide a small, inexpensive warship which can go anywhere and do just about anything you’d want a surface warship to do except launch and land fixed wing aircraft .. up to and including battling with the big ships.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Frigates (at least in their modern incarnation within the US Navy) were all about patrol and long-haul ASW.

            Not taking on big ships. That’s why we have naval aviation.

          • Duane

            A frigate can take on the largest warships on the planet … a Harpoon or ASM or LRASM launched from a Frigate’s 8-cell VLS is exactly as destructive as the same missile launched from a destroyer or cruiser or aircraft. Indeed historically frigates also routinely engaged ships of the line during the Napoleonic era, particularly if several frigates were able to engage a single two or three decker by outmaneuvering it.

            Not unlike our medium weight Sherman tanks taking on the far heavier, far larger gunned, and far more armored German Tiger tanks in WW Two. They did that using the same tactics as sailing frigates … by employing greater numbers and greater maneuverability they were able defeat a bigger, slower, more ponderous enemy.

            An anti-ship missile is today’s “great equalizer” of naval warships. Even the supposedly incapable LCS can launch the same anti-ship missiles fired from cruisers, via deck mounted 4-cell launchers.

          • Lazarus

            The FFG 7 were destroyer-sized ships optimized for medium range AAW against a supposed Soviet SSGN threat. It’s 4200nm endurance is by no means exceptional.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            FFGs are simply not the same size as US DDGs. And they were optimized for convoy escort including LAMPS.

            SSGN threat was real. And it is returning, at least according to sources which are much more authoritative than you.

            The FFG-7s unrefueled endurance was quite a bit more than LCS. As were it’s food stuff storage and accommodations.

          • Lazarus

            Of course the FFG was not the size of a Spruance, but were more capable in terms of AAW. The Perry’s were superior to most other nation’s DD’s. Never said the Soviet ssgn threat was not real: it was why the FFG was built.

          • E1 Kabong

            What are frigates mostly armed with?

            Do they usually have Aegis type radar?

          • Duane

            Being the Swiss Army Knife of any navy that has them, they typically will include a variety of weaps including anti-ship missile launchers (like our ubiquitous Mk 41 VLS in various numbers of cells starting at 8 and going up); some sort of light deck gun mount, like the 57 mm on the LCS all the way up to something like the German 127 mm on their F-125, which at 7.200 tons is on the high end of hull displacement; and various lighter weapons for anti-aircraft and anti-small boat such as 30 mm and 20 mm mounts and down to 50 cal mounts, as well as a self-contained CIWS like our Phalanx mount, or a missile-based RIM-7 Sea Sparrow or the newest RIM-162 ESSM.

            Additionally, for the ASW mission, frigates will of course be equipped with sonars, towed arrays, and ASW weaps like our Mark 54 lightweight torpedo, launched either from the ship or from an ASW chopper like our MH-60.

            As for AEGIS, I am not aware of any frigate class warships armed with AEGIS – to date the system has been assigned only to destroyer and cruiser sized vessels who operate as big deck carrier escorts, providing an umbrella of air cover (both aircraft and missile) for the task group. It’s an expensive system so it makes greater sense to put it on the larger ships that really need it.

            However, in today’s networked, datalinked world, an AEGIS ship can supply its sensing and targeting data to virtually any other platform on the sea, in the air, and on the ground … ditto with the advanced sensors, sensor fusion, and battle management data on our new F-35s, which likewise can share the data throughout our entire force structure.

          • E1 Kabong

            The VLS used on frigates is usually NOT the larger version….

            You missed the point.

            AEGIS is needed for long range air defence.

            Frigates are ASW assets.

            Look at the RN Type 23’s.

          • Secundius

            The Type 23 uses the French made Deagel Sylver VLS’s, which are Near Copies of the Mk.41 VLS’s…

          • E1 Kabong

            *sigh*

            Why are you refusing to learn some facts?

            There are THREE DIFFERENT Mk.41 systems.

            Strike, Tactical and Self-defence.

            http://www.lockheedmartin DOT
            ca/content/dam/lockheed/data/ms2/documents/launchers/MK41_VLS_factsheet.pdf

          • Secundius

            And there are Three different Sylver’s too

          • E1 Kabong

            Deflection attempt FAIL.

          • Duane

            No – frigates are multi-mission warships, not sub chasers. They always have been multi mission warships, and if they perform only ASW then they are not by definition frigates but sub chasers. Just as destroyers, which also perform ASW, routinely performs other missions also, including surface warfare, anti-air, and ground bombardment. A frigate is effectively just a smaller version of a destroyer with a very similar mission set.

          • E1 Kabong

            LOL!!!

            Clearly, you aren’t familiar with naval warfare….

            I said ASSETS.

            I did NOT say DEDICATED anti-sub ships….

            Do frigates have AEGIS radar?

            Can a destroyer maneuver around after a sub-surface contact like a frigate?

          • Duane

            You would have been correct if you had written that frigates are multi-mission small surface combatants. They are not mere “ASW assets”.

            As for frigates with AEGIS, the only ones in the world today are the Spanish Alvaro de Bazan class of large frigates (just under 7,000 tons). The Spanish Navy does not currently have any ships larger than a frigate – no destroyers or cruisers – which seems to explain why they are the only Navy in the world that mounts AEGIS on frigate class warships. All other AEGIS-equipped warships are destroyer or cruiser class warships.

            In terms of maneuvering around a subsurface contact, that’s much less important today than in the World War Two era when the only ASW munitions were either depth charges or hedgehogs, which required the ship to pass just above or very close aboard the submerged submarine in order to attack.

            The maneuvering performance today, as needed, comes from either an ASW helicopter, like our MH-60, or the ASW munition like our Mk 54 lightweight homing torpedo which can be launched by either the ship or the chopper or an airborne P-8 Poseidon ASW aircraft, or the ship-launched Mk 46 homing torpedo. Other nations field similar torpedoes. Either the chopper or the torpedo can maneuver far more agilely than any surface warship can hope to do, and will use a defined search pattern while homing in on submarine contacts, from long ranges (up to 12,000 yards) that do not require the ASW ship to approach anywhere close to the sub to attack.

  • RTColorado

    Great article, really well written and informative. As the axiom goes “Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn every so often”, every so often John McCain is right. I believe the US can build its own Frigates. Nobody on that side of the pond wants to buy our ships, well it stands we shouldn’t buy theirs…no matter how cool they look.

    • Walter

      Let me see:
      -maybe not every country has as big a budget as the US has?
      -Maybe there are countries with their own shipbuilding/design companies and want to keep them?
      -maybe it’s possible to build very capable ships for a lot less?
      -etc,etc.

      • RTColorado

        Walter, what’s your point ? The discussion (2 months ago) was about designing and or purchasing frigates, whether or not the US buys them from a non-US sources. Of course other countries build frigates, but would they meet our needs ?

  • @USS_Fallujah

    Barely and talk of the actual role the SSC is going to be tasked with, convoy air/sub defense, adding/distributing VLS space to fleet, all well and good, but where do the FFE/FFGs fit into how the Navy intends to use them, both in peacetime, limited scope conflict or major combat with a near peer adversary?

    If you don’t know what your going to do with it you can’t write realistic requirements which means you can’t build a useful warship. My own hope would be to build a cut-down DDG-51 to a FFG requirement similar to the current plan to base the LX(R) program . You leverage a hot production line, keep logistics, training & maintenance efficiencies, it would cost you somewhere around $1B/ship, but at least what you get is a fully capable warship fit for escort or patrol duty and as a full member of a SAG/CSG when needed.

  • KenofSoCal

    A 12 FFG Block-Buy for an undelivered design just proves the Navy’s shipbuilding process is out of control. The SSC/FFG proposal based on LCS designs is just garbage. This is a issue I can agree with the Senator from Arizona on. A new FFG should be a NEW design and not be shackled with the short-comings of the LCS.

    • Lazarus

      No it is not, if you understand how shipbuilding works in the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Austal and LHM are mere divisions of their parent defense corporate parents. They do little in the way of civilian shipbuilding since US labor costs are so high. They are dependent on govt orders and cannot afford to set up a whole shipbuilding line to produce a prototype, and then wait for months/years for the govt to make a decision/downselect. Senator Mccain would be better off undertaking a major reform of defense acquisition as he began with his very successful Goldwater Nichols reforms.

      • KenofSoCal

        LAZ you are consistent in you defense of the Little Coffin Ship program and its self-licking ice cream cone nature.

        • Lazarus

          LCS and its frigate variant remain the right choice for the small surface combatant category.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Apparently the senator from Arizona does not share your views…

          • Lazarus

            One must speak truth to power.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Yup – that’s exactly what he is doing.

          • Lazarus

            No, this is an angry, embittered man who failed twice to reach the presidency taking out his anger and frustration on the US Navy.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Laz, careful with those stretches, you’ll pull a hamstring!

            I don’t think Sen McCain has any animosity for the US Navy. Nor do I think support for the LCS is anywhere near as strong within the Navy as you seem to think.

            Besides – if LCS and it’s frigate derivative are so obviously the “right choice” as you so adamantly believe, then they should stand on their own merits. Why are you scared of a fair competition?

            Perhaps this is just an experienced senator trying to his job. Namely:

            1. Ensure the US Navy gets combat effective warships.
            2. Ensure the US taxpayers money is being wisely spent.

          • Lazarus

            Maybe you should stick to evaluating patrol aircraft or whatever you do for NAVAIR.

          • Rick

            “Maybe you should stick to evaluating… spoon-fed students….or whatever you do for…. a living.”

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Laz. You really do like to “bin” people don’t you? Is that what they teach in PhD programs?

            I’m a few years out of school but I don’t remember any of my professors being so close-minded. Or willing to put blinders on when facts didn’t agree with their beliefs.

            Maybe you should stick to being an unpaid shill for the LCS program… rather than pursuing an academic career.

          • Lazarus

            Not close minded, but realistic. Again, you are an Airedale not a surface guy. Stick with what you know.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            A good analyst doesn’t confine themselves to one discipline.

            As for realism: frankly I haven’t see it in your arguments. Nor much in the way of objectivity. LCS seems to have become a “crusade” for you.

            I’d also advise you to stop denigrating organizations simply because they present facts that you do not like. It’s tiresome and doesn’t help your case.

          • Lazarus

            You don’t know enough about the surface navy to offer an analytical opinion. I would not argue with you on MPA issues.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            So we should just leave analysis of the surface navy to the so-called experts? Let’s see how that’s been going:

            CG-X. Cancelled.
            DDG-1000. Grossly curtailed to the point of irrelevance.
            LCS. Disastrous.
            LCS-FF. Decision to pursue LCS derived FF will likely be reviewed.

            You haven’t proven to me you know anything about objective analysis. You see what you want to see… and ignore what doesn’t fit.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            You’ve yet to provide to me you know anything about surface forces. And just about everything you’ve prognosticated about LCS has been disproven.

            Respectfully: why should I value your evaluation?

          • Rick

            “No, this is an angry, embittered man who failed twice to reach (the)… CDR… taking out his anger and frustration on the US Navy.

          • Secundius

            BOTH versions off the LCS variants are ~1/3 Larger is Size, 10kts Slower and mount a 3-inch Deck Gun. More than that is like “Pulling Teeth” and Sketchy at best. There are to be Missiles, but of What Type and Launchers are Unclear at this time…

          • Lazarus

            There are LHM LCS-variant frigates that are larger than the baseline LCS, but I’m not sure if a specific LHM frigate design has been offered.

          • Secundius

            Lockheed-Martin’s “Freedom” class (possible) Frigate Contender has been Removed from Consideration. But Austral’s “Independence” class Frigate is STILL in the Contenders Race. Particulars are as follows:
            Length: ~475-feet
            Beam: ~110-feet
            Draft: ~18-feet
            Displacement: 4,000-tons Standard (4,800-tons Gross)
            Propulsion: 2xLM2500 Gas Turbines, 2x MTU Diesels (type unknown) w/Electric Hybrid capabilities.
            Crew Complement: ~117 less Air Crews
            Armament: 1xMk.75 Mod 0, 76.2x636mmR w/Vulcano capabilities, 80xMk.57 VLS, (missile configuration unknown at this time) 2xSeaRAM’s or 4xMk.15 CIWS’s.
            Aviation: 2xMH-60R and 2xMQ-8 Fire Scouts…

          • Duane

            Since the Navy has not yet established any published requirements for the frigate class, and there is no published RFP for the design and development of the frigate, how can you claim to know whether the LM Freedom class is no longer a candidate?

            Please provide a link.

          • Secundius

            No one source? We’ll just to wait and see!

          • Duane

            If you are going to assert that the Freedom class is definitely out as a candidate base hull for the frigate, then it better be based on published sources.

            Frankly, I cannot see how the tri hull Independence class with its aluminum hull could ever be the selected hull for a new frigate … it just doesn’t fit, its entire design basis is for very shallow water ops, very light displacement, and very high speeds. A frigate needs none of the above.

            The Freedom class represents a much more conventional hull type (mono hull, steel) as a basis for a frigate design. Even so, I personally believe that the Navy would be much better off with a clean sheet design. There is no rush to field the frigates, and if we take a couple of years to produce a new design, it won’t delay production.

          • Secundius

            Sources where from Multiple Sources, NOT Just One. And it took 3-Days to get it. Not going to Sit-Up ALL Night Backtracking and Listing THOSE Sources. So I really Don’t Care what you think…

          • Duane

            No – yours sources either do not exist or are wrong.

            The Navy has only begun to define the requirements for the new frigate, have published nothing. Any so called insiders are bull-shi**ing or trying to practice corporate info warfare. The requirements do not exist, therefore no particular design can be either in or out.

          • Duane

            The missiles are NOT unclear … the Navy has already successfully demo fired both the NSM and the Harpoon from 4-cell deck launchers on existing LCS, and is releasing an RFP to purchase a slew of missles for that purpose later this month. That’s in addition to the long-deployed Harpoon, Griffin, and Sea Sparrow.

            A 57mm deck gun is plenty enough firepower for within the horizon engagements, due its rapid fire. A Harpoon or NSM can take out any ship up to a big deck carrier at up to 60 to 100 mile range.

            Later versions of either the LCS or, if the Navy shifts entirely to the frigate, will be larger flush mounted Mk 41 VLS in a minimum 8-cell or larger configuration.

          • Secundius

            Future projections include a 32MJ Rail Gun. Mk.141 Lightweight Launcher are ALSO “VLS’s” that can be Retrofitted in a Hurry…

          • Duane

            Fitting a VLS to an existing LCS would probably be a challenge, as it would be necessary to displace something else from the space it would occupy, and likely entail some structural modifications, power supply modifications, etc. Much easier to add the 4-cell deck mount on existing hulls, or those hulls already under construction. Going forward, it’s just a design change on the hull module, no big deal at all … you don’t have to redesign the entire hull.

            With a frigate, I would expect the Navy will not simply modify the existing LCS but will go to a clean sheet design, because there are so many differences in requirements for the two ship types, it’s just a lot easier to go with a new keel-up design. The design is the easy part.

          • Secundius

            “LCS” are “Modular in Design”, “Plug-N-Play” (Lego’s). Either use TEU’s (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) Cargo Containers or StanFLEX Modules. There are Mk.41 VLS’s Systems being installed into TEU’s Containers. And Current Gun Systems mounted on StanFLEX Modules or even SeaRAM’s. Simple as Swapping Out Modules, instead of Lengthy Port Facility Modifications. The “New and Improved” Navy(ies) aka “WIP’s”…

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I’ve seen a harpoon hit an ex-DD. It certainly did not take it out. That took a submarine with a MK-48.

            Warships are a lot tougher than you think. I do not count LCS in that category.

          • Secundius

            LCS’s also have ~2-1/2-inches (64mm) of Kevlar Armor, SAVE as that’s used on Nimitz class Aircraft Carriers…

          • Duane

            A single Harpoon or NSM in a vital space, not just any old spot on the hull or superstructure, can easily take out a warship. It may not sink the ship (ASMs rarely do), but you don’t need to sink a ship to take it out of the war for the duration. Today’s highly-precise seekers can target a precise location on the ship that will maximize the damage, down to within a couple of feet. Whether that is the bridge, the CIC, the magazines, or the engine room. No big deal with today’s precision munitions.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Harpoon is radar guided. It’s not a precision guided munition. Do some research.

          • Duane

            Radar in mm wave can be retrofitted to any munition we have,. and we are doing precisely that, even on far smaller weaps than the Harpoon, such as the SDB II. The trend today on all of our munitions is for multi-targeting systems, using a combination two, three, or more of mm wave radar, hardened GPS, inertial nav, and IR. That’s what the NSM already has, and with its superior “bob and weave” ability to avoid incoming defensive fire, it is more likely to be the missile used on the LCS and frigates. It’s also longer range than the Harpoon.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Can be. Likely. The dogma of an LCS fanboy.

            I question how an LCS is even going to survive within 100 nm of an enemy warship. It’s not stealthy and has limited self-defense capability.

          • Duane

            I’m not an “LCS fanboy” … I’m a sensible realist who’s done his homework on a variety of emerging weapons systems and platforms, and I am not an LCS-hating troll like you are.

            The LCS is not a sole player on the battle field, nor is any other ship or aircraft in the fleet. The entire fleet is networked together, sharing sensor data, targeting data, and common weapons systems. Nobody fights alone. This is not your mindset of “High Noon” with but one warrior facing another and one gets the drop on the other.

            Between the sensors on all of our platforms, whether they be on the surface, such as AEGIS radars (which, by the way, are also being installed on land these days), or in the air via E-2s or, better yet, our penetrating stealth fighter/attack aircraft the F-35 (any of A, B, or C model – they all have identical sensors and battle data management and comm systems) which are designed to collect sensor data from a variety of sources, or stealthy drone ISR aircraft (at least one of which is already carried on an LCS) … all that sensor data gets collected, analyzed, prioritized, and repackaged to sent out to a wide array of attack platforms.

            So an LCS gets a targeting data package from an E2 or an F-35 or an AEGIS system somewhere in the region, and then launches its long range NSMs at the threatening vessel. Boom, end of threat. Or alternatively the F-35 takes it out with its LRASM, or the AEGIS cruiser takes it out with its LRASM. Or alternatively, the Army, which is already pre-positioned on land in the littoral region near the LCS, also gets its targeting data and takes out the threat with one of its long range ASMs.

            But all of that is far beyond your limited 20th century mindset, dude, which is obvious from all of your comments.

          • E1 Kabong

            LOL!!!

            “It’s not a precision guided munition.”?

            Right…..the fact it can target a moving target means it’s what?

            Dumb?

            Like you.

          • E1 Kabong

            What sunk the Sheffield?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I’d encourage you to read “An Analysis of the Historical Effectiveness of Anti-ship cruise Missiles in Littoral Warfare” by JC Shute. Available online.

            Far more ships have been shot at by ASCMs and missed, defeated the threat with hard or soft-kill, or taken the hit and survived vice actually sunk. A ship that is able to defend itself is actually fairly survivable.

            LCS is very poorly suited to the modern ASCM threat environment. It has limited sensors and self-defense capability. It’s relatively big and non-stealthy. And it is poorly constructed to survive if it takes a hit.

            None of which would matter if the LCS were relatively cheap (i.e. Streetfighter). But at $500+ million apiece it is simply too expensive to send into an ASCM threat environment without an air-defense escort.

            Which begs the question: if your LCS is too vulnerable and expensive to send into the littoral environment alone why exactly do you need it?

          • E1 Kabong

            I’d encourage you to answer the question.

            See if you can learn about that engagement and tell us if the Exocet’s warhead detonated.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Initial MOD assessment (1982) was the warhead didn’t detonate. A revised study with more sophisticated tools (2015) indicated the warhead did detonate.

            A question back to you: why was SHEFFIELD even hit? See if you can glean something from that.

          • E1 Kabong

            Cite your sources…

            What about Coventry?

            The USS Stark?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Source on Sheffield is David Manley “The Loss of HMS Sheffield: A Technical Reassessment”. RINA Warship Conference, Bath UK, June 2015.

            I already provided you an NPS reference on ASCM attacks which I am guessing you did not read. I would encourage you to do so.

          • E1 Kabong

            Answer the questions….

          • E1 Kabong

            I’d encourage you to answer the question…

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            RE: LCS is the right choice.

            If you own stock in LM or Austal…then yes. It just didn’t happen to be right choice for the US Navy.

  • Josh Moore

    Not an expert. Just wondering where the National Security class cutter would be in this discussion.

    • Rob C.

      Problem is that the NSC has issues as well. The design was constructed for the Coast Guard as designed with civilian standards. Thus cheaper. I am not so knowledgeable of the variants their offering that if their more build along military lines or not. 800 million per copy is expensive, but would be better than LCS version of a Frigate. The Navy trying to salvage money invested is one thing that’s part of the problem.

  • Ziv Bnd

    The last F-100 frigate (F-105) to be built was going to cost over $1,000,000,000. More than a billion dollars. It was capable but it is way overpriced.
    An Arleigh Burke DESTROYER, for example, costs around $1.8Bn. The F-100’s are over priced for a frigate and under gunned for a destroyer.
    Plus the F-100’s have a crew of 250, the LCS has a crew of just 78 including the specialist mission crew. The Austal LCS is undergunned as well, but the last ones have cost around $400Mn plus about $140Mn for the weapons pods.

    So the LCS is under $600mn, crew of less than 80, better aviation hanger, sadly undergunned and in need of a tactical length VLS…
    It seems like all the choices suck. But an Austal LCS with better weapons capability would be a decent choice if the price didn’t rise or the crew requirements increase. Even with their slightly lower combat survivability.

    • What about the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate, which is based on the Spanish F-100 Frigate

      • Ziv Bnd

        I have to admit that I don’t know enough about these ships to understand how the F-105 got so expensive while the Fridtjof class appears to be selling for right around 1/4 the price of F-105. On paper the Fridtjof looks formidable for a $520Mn ship. The F-100’s are 12 meters longer than the Fridtjof’s and displace 600 tons more, but the price differential is striking. Does the fact that the Fridtjof’s have a crew of 120-130 vs. 250 for the F-100’s make up part of the difference? Admittedly, the F-100 is armed nearly as well as a Burke.

        • Duane

          The differential is likely due to differences in capability as you allude to.

        • Awfully hard to compare apples to apples using open source info about vessel procurements. Is it just the shipyard cost? What about Government furnished equipment? The Danes kept the cost down by recycling old weapon systems. The Coast Guard costs include support of the precommissioning detail prior to commissioning and even infrastructure improvements in their homeports.

          • Lazarus

            The Danes also used cheaper Baltic shipyards for some of the work and the Maersk yard that built the 5 Danish frigates closed and was sold immediately after their completion. Does that suggest that Maersk took a loss to so something for the home team? Maybe. The Den-Maersk combo is significant. Also, Maersk is a dedicated civilian shipbuilder that can take losses in warship construction and still make a healthy profit with their extensive civilian business. Defense contractor owned US shipbuilding divisions (that have little to no civilian business) cannot do that,

        • Paul

          The Fridjofs were built straight after the first four F-100s using the existing supply chain and Navantia workforce. The have the simpler, cheaper and less capable SPY-1F and only an eight cell Mk-41 with ESSM, vs. SPY-1D and a 48 cell strategic length VLS on the F-100. Combat systems are a very big chunk of the cost but as seen with the final Spanish ship F105 which built after the existing supply chain had dried up and much of the workforce had been laid off those things are critical too as F105 suffered delays, cost over runs and quality issues that did not occur on the first four ships.

          Also on the Australian ships there was this issue of using a brand new greenfield site, a new work force, a major subcontractor who had to rebuild their workforce and upgrade their facilities, as well as using a designer with no experience in exporting a design, let alone supporting a build overseas. Ironically the new shipyard performed better than expected because they had contracted GD BIW as a capability partner to guide them through the build, including embedding senior engineers, managers and subject matter experts into the project to guide and mentor the yard through the project. Where it fell over was the “experienced” designer and contractors and the “existing” supply chain that turned out to be vapour ware, i.e. they no longer existed as advertised and did not perform as required.

          Again these are the lessons learned (well actually not learned because they are currently being repeated) overseas and the very circumstances the USN are trying to avoid by continuing to order LCS based frigates.

          • Secundius

            There’s only One Slight Problem Though about buy Foreign Designed Ships? The “Jones” Act of 1920, that Prohibits the USN, USCG and the USMM from Purchasing Foreign Made Ships! Unless there of a “Bareboat” design (Basically the Hull only, “Stripped”)…

      • Paul

        Too noisy for ASW, their CODAG propulsion would have to be completely redesigned. Australia is facing similar issues with their frigate replacement program, an evolved F100 would be great for a number of reasons but it is too noisy for the required ASW role and may be too expensive and difficult to redesign for the mission.

    • Tachomanx

      Not an expert so don’t bite my head off.

      Japan has the Akizuki class destroyers, 6,500 tons, which are very well armed, crew 200 and each of those vessels costed less than a 1bn per ship. Plus have somewhat low upkeep costs.
      And the new iteration, the Asahi class, sports fuel efficiency.

      Wouldn’t these be good gap fillers for the U.S.?

      • Ziv Bnd

        They probably would be better than the current LCS classes, but it is going to be hard for the US to pick a foreign design. I am no expert either, just interested in learning more.

        • Tachomanx

          I read that those ships already carry systems comparable to those on the Zumwalt and for less than a billion a piece. Almost a no brainer but then again the U.S. insists on keeping it’s shipyards busy.

          If only they were producing designs that actually work. Those LCS are breaking down all the time.

          • Secundius

            That’s because the LCS classes are “WIP” Designs (Prototypes) for ALL Future Class Designs…

          • Tachomanx

            Expensive ones…

          • Secundius

            Even the “Flight III” Arleigh Burke’s are “Lego-Ships” NOW. “Plug-N-Play” Ordnance and Sensor Systems. Much of the Gerald R. Ford class Aircraft Carrier is going to be “LEGO’s”. Its the Way of the New and Improved US Navy…

          • Tachomanx

            And is it any good after all?

          • Secundius

            “Hindsight is 20/20”? We won’t know until AFTER it Happens. But NOT Trying is “Kadavergehorsam 20/1000”, Blind Sighted…

      • Duane

        Forget about the US ever buying a foreign-made warship. Never gonna happen. We’re not China, or some third world country.

        • David Oldham

          There’s a new sheriff in town and I predict something is going to give in naval ship building. Foreign designs should be on the table.

          • Duane

            Spare us the silly “new sheriff in town” meme … Trump does not make appropriations decisions, only Congress makes those, and the appropriations decisions include approval of shipyards. No Congress is EVER going to approve a foreign shipyard for American warships, not in this universe.

          • Secundius

            Not entirely true? The Swedish Shipbuilder “ThyssenKrupp/Saab” got a Special Dispensation. From the President George W. Bush, Jr. Administration in 2008 for National Security Interests. To Submit a Frigate Design Plan for the 2019 US Navy Frigate Competition…

          • Duane

            As I wrote, Congress will never go for it. And now that Trump is in the White House, expect that invitation to be withdrawn. No US taxpayers are going to be asked to pay for foreign warships, ever.

          • Secundius

            Problem is that they might have too? Or at the Very Least “Consider” Their Design Plan. Also Consider that BAe Owns Several Foreign Shipbuilders, “Including” Several American Shipbuilders. Like Huntington-Ingalls and Austal Shipbuilders…

          • Duane

            Letting our half a handful of American shipyards die on the vine while supporting foreign shipyards with foreign workers?

            Are you serious? Again, not in a trillion years.

          • Secundius

            Except the US Navy DIDN’T “Atrophied” the American Shipyards. The GOP controlled US Congress and the 2013 Sequester DID THAT…

        • Tachomanx

          So…in a time of economic constraints you rather pay a lot more for a lot less…

          No sure how that’s using the money smartly but whatever. If only those LCS stopped breaking down!

          • Duane

            That’s a really dumb argument. We’re talking national security here, as well as political reality. No Congressman who ever wanted to be reelected, or to get a cushy directors job or consulting gig after leaving office would EVER vote to shut down American shipyards, in order to save a few bucks, while supporting foreign shipyards, foreign workers, and increasing foreign tax receipts while shafting all of the above in America.

            Not in a trillion years.

          • Tachomanx

            Well, then hope someone manages to bring those costs down or else it is a problem that will get worse. More money for inceasingly less hardware, and at that inceasingly faulty hardware.

  • Bruce Palmer

    Why not buy the British Type 26 design? The specs look great, and much cheaper than a destroyer.

    • Lazarus

      But still likely a $1b plus warship. It is so expensive that the RN decreased its proposed Type 26 buy in favor of the even cheaper type 31.

      • Bruce Palmer

        I’ve seen various prices for it. Maybe American yards are cheaper?

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        You are comparing apples and puppy dogs. The US defense budget dwarfs the UK. Nor are their warfighting requirements the same.

  • “Spanish F-100 design – a 4,555 ton ship” That has got to be empty, because full load displacement is 5,802 ton, only very slightly less than the FRMM (about 6,000 tons) and the Australian ships are 7,000 tons full load. LCS are about half their displacement.

    • David Oldham

      F-100 is 600 million per copy, F-105 (Australian Air Defense Destroyer) is 1.1 billion, Arleigh Burke 1.8 billion.

      • Lazarus

        Note: the class is cheaper when produced by govt-owned Navantia corp, whose close relationship with the ESP govt allows it to avoid excessive costs that plague ships built in the adversarial free market system. Those figures come from 2011 as well, which suggests higher pricetags in the present.

  • Spencer Whitson

    I’d like to question where Senator McCain intends to find the funding for a significantly larger frigate, and what capabilities the US actually needs. That includes presence, by having multiple ships because they might be cheaper.

    • Secundius

      You’re forgetting? US Congress is the “Exchequer”! President Trump ISN’T…

      • Spencer Whitson

        I’m afraid I’m not following you. Where did I mention anything about Trump? If McCain wants to go forwards with procurement of larger frigates, he needs to find the money to do so. Like it or not, the Navy doesn’t have an unlimited shipbuilding budget. The money has to come from somewhere. Providing the budget doesn’t fluctuate specifically for the funding of this one program, which I highly doubt, this means that there will be less frigates produced if they are larger and, as would likely follow, more expensive.

        • Secundius

          TRUMP can Promise ~$54-Billion USD to the US Military ALL He Wants, but without the US Congress behind him it means Absolutely Nothing. But McCain IS Congress…

          • Lazarus

            McCain is one member.

          • Secundius

            The $54-Billion promised by Trump, is probably going to be “DOA” by the Time it Reaches the US Congress. Because “Nobody” in the US Congress Likes It…

          • Lazarus

            They cannot agree on ending sequestration; that failure will kill any new spending regardless of who likes or does not like it.

          • Secundius

            Sequester “Doesn’t” Officially end until June of 2017…

          • Spencer Whitson

            I’ll reiterate: where did I say the slightest thing about Trump? Notice I questioned the SASC chair’s actions, not Trump’s. So then, what exactly are accusing me of? And why are you capitalizing seemingly at random?

          • Secundius

            “Bold Face” function doesn’t work anymore, so I “Capitalize” instead! As for “TRUMP”? It sounded by your Comments that you were “Leaning in the Direction of” or “Steering the Conservation towards President Trump” at Some Point in the Conservation…

          • Spencer Whitson

            Why would you use bold face? Do you think it emphasizes your points? To be perfectly honest, and I do not intend this as an insult, but rather as my honest impression of how it comes across, it makes anything you write much more difficult to read and take seriously, seeming somewhat alarmist and infantile. Again, I mean no insult to you personally, just my honest critique of your writing style. Remember, the only way we have to communicate with each other is through text. Points can be lost and incorrect assumptions and mistaken opinions can be made through a simple miscommunication.

            And again, I’d like to question where you got the idea I was going to mention Trump. Nothing I say even so much as references him. The only comments I made before you started using his name were directed towards Senator McCain. I have actively avoided involving Trump in the conversation, because he isn’t even related to any comments I have on the subject. Where did you get your impression I was steering the conversation towards him?

          • Secundius

            Everybody has a “Writing Style” when Posting Comments? This Is Mine! What’s Your’s…

          • Spencer Whitson

            Proper English. Probably slightly confrontational at times and occasionally sarcastic. Moving on from that, you seem to keep dodging the question I’m asking. Perhaps you don’t have an answer?

          • Secundius

            As I said before Senator John McCain works in the US Congress? The “Exchequer”. As for the “Other”? An “Observation” on my part…

          • Spencer Whitson

            My original comment mentioned that Senator McCain would be the one searching for the money. It seems like it entirely focuses on the SASC’s Chairman. You’ve provided a nonanswer. How do you go from that to Trump? As for your “Observation”, which is a nonanswer,it’s quite telling that you cannot expound upon said observation. Notably, because there’s a lack of anything you could have possibly observed that in any way leads to Trump. So again, what led you to make the comments you made? It might be difficult for you to justify your actions, but I am asking you to do so.

          • Secundius

            Well the Money is coming from Somewhere? Cindy-Lou Hensley-McCain has made Senator John McCain a RICH man in the US Congress. Cindy-Lou’s, Hensley & Company holdings include Anheuser-Busch, King Aviation, Cessna Aviation, etc. Which have holdings in Abu Dhabi, Burma, the PRC and Saudi Arabia. SHE’s got the Money, HE’s got the US Senate Diplomatic Clout…

          • Spencer Whitson

            Non-sequitur much? You’re not very good at making any arguments, are you?

  • Justanotherokie

    Doesn’t McCain have enough on his plate with fighting Ivan, fighting Syria and undercutting the POTUS DJT with his buddy Lindsay. I’ve lost faith in him.

    • Secundius

      Didn’t you know that Senator John McCain’s current wife, Cindy Lou Hensley McCain is in the War Fighting Business (Merchant of Death). That how SHE made Senator John McCain RICH…

      • Justanotherokie

        Doesn’t surprise me an iota.

  • Rob C.

    I’m curious how well foreign sales of Frigates for the US Navy will go over with the current Administration?

    They’ve been pushing hard for US Built and arguably US Designed ships.

    I do believe there value on ships that have been built over seas, but I think the South Koreans and Japanese have better quality designs than the ones made from State owned shipyards in Spain and Italy.

    In the running of a domestic design, would properly Huntington-Ingalls proposal of the National Security Cutter variants. I’m leery of that due to the original ship was built to civilians standards and would not handle combat any better than LCS no matter how many more weapons are employed by it.
    Ultimately, any kind of delay of new Frigate design will impact the existing Navy for years for some design to get developed and supplies of components lined up to build a ship.
    From what I’ve seen, the US Navy has always tries to stick with existing ships in production as basis of new designs, because there less run up time to get it going. Thus why US has been producing DDG-51 for such a long time despite DDG1000 brief production run. Serial production will always beat out new design unless it’s has serious backing.
    LCS is no different in it’s in production, cheaper to make new ship/upgrade one out it than say reproduce modern FFG-7 or Brooke Class Frigate from the past.

  • old guy

    The “Independence” class is perfectly named. It is independent of thought, usefulness, survivability, adaptability, interoperability, maintainability and lots more.

  • Angie Nathan

    Anyone think an Australian or Italian contractor cares about the end quality of these ships or fostering skilled labor in the United States? Anyone know the percent of U.S. made parts of these ships? The only accountability of these ships is to the corporate shareholders, period. When push comes to shove I do not even know how serious McCain is. Is he just be posturing for political reasons or is he the only representative in Washington that is looking out for our best interests concerning this program. The only way to know is by the prosecution tally.

  • Duane

    No you certainly do NOT get it. At all … trolls never get it, they just troll.

  • Duane

    The Cold War WAS contested.

    You don’t get it, or are trolling to obscure reality.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      Yeah – you really don’t get what contested campaign actually is.

      Thanks. We’re done here.

  • E1 Kabong

    LMAO!!!

    The word is “ditto”, not “dito”, Suckundus….

  • uncaherb

    Given that LCS has no capability, including reliable motive plants, Starting from scratch is the only sane choice.

  • AndyWhyte

    Another interesting option would be a modified version of the Royal Navy’s Type 26 or even Type 31 design. Anyway could someone please advise me of what a LCS can do that a frigate can’t do?

    • Secundius

      Cruise in only 15-feet of Water Depth? With Stern Ramp/Gate the Freedom class can “Theroretically” be used as a Mini-Assault Ship. Get in Close, Drop Off up to 5 Assault Vehicles and provide Fire Support from its Main Gun…

      • E1 Kabong

        LOL!!!

        “Theroretically”…..

        LOTS of “theories” are on the bottom of the ocean.

    • E1 Kabong

      Have either of those been built yet?

      How are those Type 45’s doing?

      Have any of them had their power plants fixed so they can sail into hot weather regions yet?

  • E1 Kabong

    Learn English.

  • E1 Kabong

    Even lamer FAIL…..

  • E1 Kabong

    Not surprising, you’re merely trolling…..

    Shoo.

  • E1 Kabong

    Zzzz…..

    Shoo troll.

  • E1 Kabong

    Shoo troll.