Home » Budget Industry » Navy Considering More Hulls for Frigate Competition, Expanding Anti-Air Capability


Navy Considering More Hulls for Frigate Competition, Expanding Anti-Air Capability

Austal USA frigate design. Austal USA image

THE PENTAGON – The Navy is considering increasing its future frigate’s anti-air firepower and may open up the frigate design competition to hulls beyond the current two small surface combatants, the service told USNI News on Wednesday.

An ongoing study will balance the original frigate requirements – to up-gun the existing Littoral Combat Ship designs with additional anti-surface and anti-submarine capabilities – with the desire for anti-air firepower equivalent to a guided-missile frigate. The study, set to be completed this spring, will also evaluate other design beyond the Lockheed Martin Freedom-variant (LCS-1) and Austal USA Independence-variant (LCS-2) hulls.

“The Navy is pursuing an update to the analysis performed by the 2014 Small Surface Combatant Task Force (SSCTF) to reassess frigate requirements and capabilities,” reads a Navy statement provided to USNI News.
“The Navy Frigate Requirements Evaluation Team (FFG RET) will update the SSCTF analyses to investigate the feasibility of incorporating additional capabilities such as local air defense and enhanced survivability features into the current LCS designs, as well as explore other existing hull forms. … The result of this update will inform [Fiscal Year 2018 defense budget] deliberations and will be briefed to [Office of the Secretary of Defense] leadership and the Congressional committees once completed later this spring. ”

The update follows the release of the Navy’s December force structure assessment that called for 355 ships, the service said in its statement.

“We’re looking at several things in the context of the Force Structure Assessment,” Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley told Defense News earlier this month.
“We’re taking a hard look at certain capabilities and characteristics to determine whether we need to increase aspects of lethality, survivability and endurance for the frigate.”

Lockheed Martin frigate design. Lockheed Martin Image

News of the study also closely follows repeated calls for a revamp of the frigate strategy by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would open up the competition to more foreign and domestic designs.

“The frigate acquisition strategy should be revised to increase requirements to include convoy air defense, greater missile capability and longer endurance,” McCain told reporters in February.
“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.”

The new study is a marked departure from the Navy’s initial 2014 concept for the frigate, which would have just added over-the-horizon anti-ship missiles and expanded anti-submarine warfare capabilities to each existing LCS hull.

Reevaluating the frigate requirements also comes after two Congressionally mandated studies called for a more powerful small surface combatant with capabilities that would complement the Navy’s existing fleet of guided-missile destroyers.

“You’re really concentrating your fires in the fleet the Navy wants to have, and we’re arguing for a much more distributed surface fleet by taking advantage of some of the technologies you can get on some of these smaller combatants,” Bryan Clark, lead author of a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA), fleet architecture study told USNI News in February.

The CSBA study called for a guided-missile frigate that would include a MK-41 vertical launch system, anti-surface missiles and a significant air search radar. In its study, MITRE called for scrapping the LCS concept and starting with a clean sheet design for a next-generation frigate.

Earlier this week, Defense News reported the frigates’ local air defense role would be tasked to extend an anti-air warfare protection bubble over the Navy’s combat logistics ships. Early estimates indicate the frigate would need to field 16 Block 2 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles, or at least eight MK-41 vertical launch system cells fielding Standard Missile 2s.

Since the 2014 mandate from then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to create a small surface ship with capabilities beyond the Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ships, the Navy has been working with Lockheed Martin and Austal USA on refining the requirements for what the service wants in a frigate.

USS Montgomery (LCS-8) arrived at its new homeport of San Diego on Nov. 8, 2016. US Navy Photo

Tim McCue, Austal USA’s vice president for LCS, said so far the process identified four areas important to the service for the new design: inclusion of an anti-ship surface-to-surface missile, expanded range, higher-end electronic warfare capability, and adding endurance to the ship.

“Those are the things we know about, but until they tell us ‘this is what we want and this is how we value it,’ we have to weigh those against cost. I’m very worried about cost on this ship,” he said.
“In the previous budgets, [$1 billion] is a non-starter for a small surface combatant. If there is an appetite for a billion-dollar ship, absolutely I can put more stuff on there.”

During the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space exposition, Austal USA revealed its current idea for a frigate offering, which included 16 VLS cells, up to 16 OTH anti-ship missiles, accommodation for 130 crew, space for Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block II electronic warfare suite, and a variable depth sonar.

Likewise, Lockheed has added an additional anti-air capability in the form of VLS cells, a variable depth ASW array and space for OTH missiles on a 118-meter hull design.

Both hulls have a crew size of about 130 and have turned the LCS’s configurable mission space into additional berthing space.

While both companies claim about equivalent capabilities to meet the Navy’s current plan for the frigate, it remains to be seen how they will need to change to correspond to new requirements that may emerge from the ongoing study.

“We’re not trying to solve whatever CSBA or MITRE has come up with,” Terry O’Brien, vice president of Austal USA business development, told USNI News last week.

“This was written to what we thought the Navy frigate program would be now.”

The look at other hulls – potentially foreign designs – could bring in additional competition beyond the two yards. While the U.S. has not focused on traditional small naval ship designs, Western European shipbuilders have designed several guided-missile frigates that could partner with U.S. companies for a new frigate bid.

The new study and the expansion of the hulls under consideration call into question when the service will release the final Request for Proposal for the final frigate design, which was due sometime this year.

“While the design for the frigate matures, the Navy remains firmly committed to execution of the current LCS program of record, in order to maintain the viability of both shipyards, maximize competition for future ship contracts and deliver critically needed capability to the fleet as quickly as possible,” read the statement from the service.

The following was the complete statement from the Navy on the ongoing frigate study provided to USNI News.

As a result of the Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment, increased emphasis on Distributed Maritime Operations, and increasingly complex threats in the global maritime environment, the Navy continues to assess the capabilities required to ensure the Frigate outpaces future threats. Therefore, the Navy is pursuing an update to the analysis performed by the 2014 Small Surface Combatant Task Force (SSCTF) to reassess Frigate requirements and capabilities. The Navy Frigate Requirements Evaluation Team (FFG RET) will update the SSCTF analyses to investigate the feasibility of incorporating additional capabilities such as Local Air Defense and enhanced survivability features into the current LCS designs, as well as explore other existing hull forms. The result of this update will inform PB18 deliberations, and will be briefed to OSD leadership and the Congressional committees once completed later this spring. Our goal is to get the best capability possible in our future Frigate, at an affordable price, and with a mature design that will ensure a relevant platform for decades to come.

While the design for the Frigate matures, the Navy remains firmly committed to execution of the current LCS program of record, in order to maintain the viability of both shipyards, maximize competition for future ship contracts, and deliver critically needed capability to the Fleet as quickly as possible.

  • NavySubNuke

    Well at least the Navy recognizes the right answer when told. Taking the time to do things right now isn’t the easy answer – but it is the right answer.

  • Rob C.

    Question is how long will it take to get a new hull form made. Its not like it takes short time to design and build them. If they build new design right, it will take years unless there something already prepped and ready to go into production. Bandaiding the existing LSC isn’t answer as much it could hurt navy in the delay of new hulls.

    • HII, has the USCG’s National Security cutter hull available and it can be up gunned to a Frigate.

      • @USS_Fallujah

        Or the Burke can be Cut Down to a FFG design, similar to what they plan to do with the LPD hull for the LX(H).

      • tpharwell

        How long would you say it would take Ingalls, Nicky, to fit out an upgunned version of the WMSL currently in production, say to the delux version they offered five years ago, with 16 Cell VLS ? Two years, maybe three ? Nine months to finalize design changes, say, and another two years, six months, to turn out the class leader ? So a shake down cruise by 2020, maybe ? Huh ?

        Of course Stackley will have to take a year or so more to reverse engineer the administrative processes to arrive at that decision which it appears he has already made, with Senator McCain’s help.

        • DaSaint

          Talk about corporate welfare, watch HII win with an NSC variant, and all the big boys will monopolize all the major shipbuilding contracts. Say bye bye to Austal USA and MM.

          • tpharwell

            They will need to license their design to other builders to meet Navy’s requirements. Austal is a shipbuilder and has other business. Plus their variant would make a great offshore oil rig service vessel. As for MM, well… let’s get a bank loan and make on offer for it. LM will want out.

          • Secundius

            BAE own’s Huntington-Ingalls Shipbuilding and Kockums of Sweden has a Long Association with Northrop-Grumman

          • DaSaint

            Since when did BAE own HII? HII is a spinoff from Northrop-Grumman’s shipbuilding entity.

            It would take years to redesign, incorporate US Naval Shipbuilding Rules, and establish the necessary industrial base for components. Just look at the OPC example, and that is kust for the Coast Guard’s less stringent requirements. My guess is that an RFP wont be until 2018 the earliest, decision in 2019, and first award in 2022, with first vessel launched in 2026, and accepted in 2028. Thats over 10 years from now.

          • Secundius

            US Senate approved the Sale of “HII” in November 2016. But actual Purchase isn’t Known. And your last paragraph just about hits the mark…

      • PolicyWonk

        Right you are: the Legend-class NSC represents a vastly better basis for a frigate than either variant of the miserable failures deceitfully designated as “littoral combat ship”, and according to the CNO, were “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

        • I’d say the USCG’s NSC hull is primed as a Frigate in the making.

        • Duane

          Take your trolling back to Russia Today, wonkette. No – our Navy is the most capable and powerful in the world, with the most powerful and capable classes of ships for many mission sets, including our Littoral Combat Ship, which has no peer in the world. To the vast wailing and tears and fear of Russians (and their proven legions of internet trolls who post sh*t just like yours) and Iranians and others who cannot defeat us militarily so mostly put their efforts into psy ops and dis-information campaigns like yours.

      • Duane

        It’s a possibility, certainly. Other designs also should be considered.

        My preference, however, is to stop trying to retrofit old designs into new ships … design is very quick, easy, and cheap to do today with computer aided design, so why skimp on design, when it’s such a tiny part of the cost of developing a new ship class? Old designs limit us to old solutions to old problems, not new solutions to new problems.

        Start out with your requirements, and then conduct a design competition. Select the best two or three designs and then buy a prototype. Then select the best prototype for full scale production.

        We are in no rush – we can simply keep building Arleigh Burke DDGs in the meantime, which in fact we are doing anyway. If it takes us 5 years to select a prototype for production, so what? We are not in any dire need of frigates.

        • Refguy

          CAD does not make design fast, easy or cheap; it should minimize the need for redesign, but the the F-35 demonstrates that it “ain’t necessarily so.”

          • Duane

            You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I’m an engineer who’s personally seen and participated as a professional in the 35-year transition from hand design to 3D computer design – 3D CAD has drastically reduced the man-hours, total time, and cost of design, while allowing the evaluation of vastly more design options than in the old hand design days.

          • Refguy

            Me too, and that has not been my experience; at least in aviation.

        • IMO, the US Navy should talk to Spain on the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates or France on the French version of the FREMM Frigate.

          • Duane

            Why stick ourselves with someone else’s design? That’s silly. We’re the greatest naval power on earth, in the history of the planet, with the world’s largest economy and best ship designers … design our own, it isn’t difficult or time-consuming or expensive to design a ship. With computer 3D design and the modular design approach all ships have been built with for decades, it’s easy peasy.

          • The problem is that NAVSEA would take a decade to design a Frigate. We have off the shelf, proven designs that are working and out in the fleets with other navies right now such as the Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate, the French FREMM Frigate. South Korea’s Incheon class Frigate batch 1 & 2 and even our own US Coast Guard National security class cutters aka Legend class cutters. That’s why going for off the shelf would be the quickest way for the US Navy to build Trump’s 350 Naval Fleet.

          • Duane

            NAVSEA won’t design it … they will just determine the performance requirements. Shipyard design authorities do all the design work these days.

            There are many frigates out there, but it is quite likely that none will meet NAVSEA’s capability and performance requirements.

            I’ll give you a couple of very big and obvious examples why no other frigate design will meet the Navy’s requirements:

            1) The Navy is suggesting now (as of last week) that they want an area air defense capability. No other frigate on earth has such an animal. It is a very big deal, very expensive, to do that. You don’t start out with a clean sheet design on that – the only possible candidate is to install a full AEGIS system as used currently on our DDGs and CGs. I happen to believe that it is a waste of an AEGIS on a small surface combatant, better to keep those to the much more lethal DDGs and CGs than mere FFGs, but that is not my call.

            2) None of the existing non-Russian frigates out there have anywhere near the offensive firepower of the new Russian Grigorivich frigates (30 cell VLS vs 8 cell or less on all the other non-Russian frigates). I expect that NAVSEA is going to demand much more than an 8-cell VLS … probably more like 30 cells. That requires a very different design.

            Note that design requirement no. 1 will directly drive design requirement no. 2. You aren’t going to waste an AEGIS system on a tinny little frigate with only 8 cells in the VLS. Area air defense means carrying and being able to launch large numbers of big missiles – particularly our SM3 and SM-6. I would consider a 30-cell VLS to be the bare minimum to justify an AEGIS installation … note that all our other AEGIS-equipped warships have 80 or more cells.

            The bottom line is, design is the easy, quick, and cheap part of building new classes of warships. It is the actual building of the protoype and testing it out fully that takes by far the most time, money, and effort. The cost of design is negligible – therefore that is the worst place in the world to try and scrimp or short-circuit.

          • Dude, the LCS is still a POS and any Anti-ship Cruise missile out their right now would eat the LCS for Breakfast, lunch and Dinner.

          • Duane

            You’re an ignorant troll, Nicky. Not wasting any more keystrokes debating you.

          • You must be an LCS fanboy that CDR Sal has warned us about

          • Your a brainwashed LCS fanboy and I bet you were paid by Lockmart

          • Secundius

            The “Gerald R. Ford” class Aircraft Carrier is a “3D Design”, and see how many problems IT’S been having since it’s Launching in 12 November 2013…

          • Duane

            Your point is pointless. ALL designs for the last 25 years have been computer generated 3D designs. So unless you want assert that all ships that have ever been designed by anybody anywhere in the world in the last 25 years are complete wastes of money and dogs, then your point is pointless.

            The biggest challenge in developing new systems is not design – it’s the prototype manufacturing and testing and tweaking and redesign and retesting and retweaking that takes all the time and all the money. Design is quick and cheap.

            The very limited but heavily publicized issues with the Ford are simply due to its being first of class with revolutionary new technologies never ever ever before used in human history. Comprende? It’s harder to do something for the very first time. It has zilch to do with the methods of design used.

            By the way, it took many decades to develop the first steam cats. It took from 1903 to 1950 to develop the first reliable steam catapults – 47 years. It only took about 10 years to develop the first prototype EMALS, and another 10 years after that to be deployed on a nuclear CVN.

    • Michael D. Woods

      How about a Norwegian or Dutch or other foreign design for both our Navy and Coast Guard? They’re already designed and in service and sharing with the Coast Guard would average costs down.

      • tpharwell

        How about the naval version of the offshore patrol cutter currently in production, or the one that is scheduled to follow it ?

  • So now, we squandered 8yrs on the POS LCS and now the US Navy has finally come to the porch and realize what a POS the LCS is. Now under President Trump, were gona play catch up and build a viable Frigate with AAW capability. I think it’s HIGH time we DRAG the US Navy make a deal with France on the French Version of the FREMM frigate, South Korea on the Incheon class Frigate batch 2, the UK with the Type 26 GCS or suck it up and make a direct DEAL with the US Coast Guard on the National security Cutter Hull and up gun it to Frigate standards.

    • Duane

      The LCS was never intended to be a frigate, and it is a very fine ship design for its mission set, which a frigate cannot perform. Don’t confuse the two … that’s no more valid than confusing a submarine with an aircraft carrier. Totally different mission requirements.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        there are two designs, which one is a “very fine ship”?

        And what is its mission set?
        There are a dozen in the water now….. how many missions have these dozen ships completed?

        • Duane

          The first overseas LCS deployment (USS Coronado LCS 4) to Singapore took place last year, very successfully. Eventually four LCS will be forward deployed to Singapore to cover the SCS theater, which is growing hotter by the year.

          As for the other LCS, the USS Freedom (LCS 1) and the USS Independence (LCS-2) and USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) are in service in San Diego. These ships have been heavily involved in development testing for the SuW mission modules and additional “distributed lethality testing” of large anti-ship missiles, including the Harpoon and NSM, both of which were successful fired from angled four cell deck launchers last year. Also heavily used for training and development of tactics.

          The USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7) are in active service in Mayport, Florida. The USS Jackson (LCS 6) is service and based in Jackson, MI. The USS Montgomery is in active service now in San Diego, CA. The USS Little Rock is undergoing sea trials and is not yet in service. The USS Gabrielle Giffords was just accepted in December. The USS Sioux City is launched but not yet accepted into service.

          All other LCS are currently in construction or planned for construction.

          The first four LCS will be assigned to prototype training duty, just as the Navy did on its nuke program many decades ago (initially, land based prototypes, then shifted to retired submarines operating dockside). That’s how you train a small crew on a high tech platform. The SuW guys didn’t seem to understand that concept in the early going, but now they’ve learned what the nukes used very successfully going back 60 years ago.

          The mission set is a combination of multiple missions in the littoral, with some support also of blue water ops. These include Surface Warfare, particularly interdiction missions against small boat swarms, blockade runners, terrorist insertions, etc. Also Special Ops insertions with the large number of RIBs carried onboard. Also ASW, particularly in the shallow littorals where we are likely to see the greatest concentration of low tech diesel and AIP boats fielded by the NORKs, Iranians, and Chinese, but also able to support blue water ASW and escort duty with carrier task groups. Also mine countermeasures in the littoral, which is where most mines are planted – but unlike our existing MCM vessels the LCS are far better equipped to fend off attacking patrols and small boat swarms. Also the LCS is a key presence asset in the littorals, able to enter ports and waters that our bluewater fleet can’t access due to shallow depth.

          • JohnQTaxPayer66

            You had to bring up the Coronado? It’s already suffered a cracked hull, multiple engineering casualties while it’s deployed and what’s even more laughable, the Navy couldn’t even get its act together to be able to rotate the crew home, the crew was stuck on that ship for like 2x the length of the intended rotation demonstrating a cascade failure of the forward staging concept, another LCS crash and burn.

            I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here in saying you’re a PAO officer or in public relations for the LCS program as you’re not willing to even acknowledge the dance marathon of missteps this program has suffered. You’d probably be a great fit with the United Airlines Public Relationships department because once the PEO ships guys start reading your efforts to “manage” the readers, that’s probably going to be your next job.

          • ElmCityAle

            Have there been many new platforms in any service that didn’t have development and initial deployment issues? That includes the beloved OHP FFG.

          • PolicyWonk

            They have – but LCS is unique, in that they’ve been totally scorched by every independent auditing agency review, including a damning indictment from the USN’s own Inspector General.

            Staggering costs; no room for growth; requires a legal waiver to be commissioned into the USN; grotesquely limited in firepower or protection; lousy ROI – but AWESOME as a corporate welfare program.

          • Duane

            Yet, despite all your BS, the Navy loves the LCS. Hmmmm … the Navy leadership’s jobs are at stake, the officers and crews of the LCS have their lives at stake, they love the vessel, proud to sail in it and fight it when the time comes.

            Yet you, being just another ignorant internet troll with nothing at stake but your ability to sow discord and mistrust – exactly what Vlad Putin desires in his massive world-wide dis-information campaign that has been thoroughly proved and documented by our 17 intelligence agencies as well as the equivalent intelligence agencies of all of our allies in NATO and elsewhere – you have nothing to lose but … what exactly?

            Your “credibility”? Hawrrr … you have none troll.

          • PolicyWonk

            Keep on drooling, Duane, for all the good it does you.

            The crews that man them are acutely aware of how vulnerable they are when compared to ships in the same (and considerably smaller) classes of other navy’s ships. And here’s the newsflash from this article: the USN is starting to admit what everyone else (yourself excluded) already knows: LCS is a loser.

            You’ve been provided with direct references to the points I’ve made repeatedly, yet you ignore them all (whether from me or others). This indicates you’re either unwilling to face the facts or are otherwise incapable of learning.

            Your sanctimonious and cavalier attitude with the lives of those that are ordered to man these incomprehensively lousy ships is inexplicable, and the fact that you come with ZERO references to back up the BRAVO SIERRA you shovel demonstrates you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            Cheers.

          • Duane

            As always, you take quotes out of context to make them sound the exact opposite (your CNO quotes), and you quote auditor reports.

            Please provide direct quotes of current officers and crew of operating LCS who agree with you.

            Of course you can provide none, unless you make them up out of whole cloth.

            I simply quote the Navy, on its own website that describes the LCS, how great it is, and how much the Navy loves it. You of course, being the ignorant troll you are, insist on trying to make this an argument between you and me.

            You are arguing with the entire US Navy. Take it up with them, troll. Or better yet. take your trolling over to the friendly waters of Russia Today, where you’ll feel much more welcome and in your little safe space, amongst the other Russian snowflakes.

          • PolicyWonk

            You “simply quote the Navy, on its own website that describes the LCS, how great it is, and how much the Navy loves it…”.
            ============================================
            BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. (gasp)

            If you think the navy would openly admit that it embezzled the funds from the “street fighter” program to waste $36B on this worthless corporate welfare program, then you’ve done yourself more damage to your reputation that anyone else ever could.

            There is no point in discussing this further.

          • Duane

            You’re a liar dude. You accuse the entire US Navy of being liars – that is not credible. It IS entirely credible that you are the liar.

          • PolicyWonk

            Evidently you aren’t intelligent enough to understand how badly you’ve ruined your own credibility.

            Maybe it time to take a step back, and maybe tell the nurse you’d like to go outside to play in the sandbox.

            Have a nice day.

          • Duane

            Still waiting on your proof that the entire US Navy are liars, instead of you being the liar.

            There is none – I’ll be waiting forever.

          • JRW

            “I simply quote the Navy, on its own website that describes the LCS, how great it is, and how much the Navy loves it.”

            Pardon me for saying so, sir, but this sounds a bit… well… naive. It is like saying that the Chevy Suburban is the best SUV ever because Chevy says so on its website. The Navy is never going to admit on its public website that one of its very expensive, very controversial programs is a failure. This assessment isn’t exactly being made at arm’s length.

            I also don’t think it is fair to decry anyone who disagrees with you as a troll or a traitor. These people are making valid points based on evidence. Part of the American Way is to encourage discussion and debate, not to stifle it with uncritical patriotism. Your ceaseless assaults on everyone with a different opinion are much more like the actions of a troll than are anyone else’s comments.

            [Braces for the hurricane…]

          • Duane

            No – very bad analogy. Chevy is not a consumer of its own products, and neither is the Navy. It is a consumer of products purchased from our defense industry.

            The Navy is extremely confident in our LCS platform, weapons systems, officers and crews. There is no equal to the LCS anywhere in the world, not even close.

          • PolicyWonk

            There is no equal to the LCS anywhere in the world, not even close.
            ==============================================
            Right you are – no other navy on the planet has ever invested so much of the taxpayers money on a “littoral combat ship” that even its own Inspector General scorched as weak, and that the CNO said was never intended for engaging in combat in the littorals (sorry laddie – this isn’t out of context – but a major focal point of the interview).

            No other navy, when told to look for a frigate option, would’ve chosen the LCS as a starting point, especially given that it has failed to live up to any of the promises made. No other navy used the excuse of upgrading the sea-frames to the level-1 construction standard while on the slipways to explain the ultra-high cost increases, only to admit later that no version of the LCS, present or future, will ever meet even minimal naval construction standards.

            And you’re absolutely right, that there is no equal to LCS anywhere in the world, but only because no other navy would spend so much to build ships in this size class while leaving them all but defenseless when compared to ships in other navies (even of smaller size) – without the room for growth to upgrade them with significant armament or protection.

            LCS is a marvelous deal, providing you’re a member of the Austal or LockMart boardrooms, or potential adversaries.

          • Duane

            The Navy hasn’t chosen to look at the LCS as a frigate option. It hasn’t issued an RFP yet, but naval authorities are specifically NOT limiting themselves to the LCS. I think the LCS is a fantastic LCS, but it is not a good basis for a frigate design, which is an entirely different kind of ship (bigger, deeper draft, slower, no large multi-mission spaces for littoral ops, but does contain larger interior-mounted VLS systems, larger main gun, etc.

            Austal and LM, of course, would like very much to sell a variant of their LCS designs, and made their pitches last week to attendees at a big naval conference … but until the Navy develops the specific frigate requirements and releases a formal RFP no existing design or any proposed design can be considered a lock. There is still much internal debate on what the requirements should be, beyond what I list here. Should the frigate be AEGIS equipped? Some say yes, some say no. How big in displacement should the frigate be? Should it be just an 8-cell VLS like most other frigates, or should it have more, like the Russian Grigorivich (30 cell)? These questions have to be answered by the Navy, and then the shipyards can respond.

          • JRW

            The Navy is in fact ‘selling’ the product to the American taxpayer via our elected representatives. The goal is to justify the expense of the program, justify their jobs, encourage the purchase of more LCSs, and prove that the Navy is competent enough to justify future expenditures on big-ticket items. Again, not at arm’s length.

            If the Navy is so confident in the LCS, why are they handing off 2/3 of the ship’s original planned duties to another platform? You are correct, there is no equivalent to the LCS anywhere in the world; no other navy considers a stealth minesweeper worth the tremendous expenditure of time, money, and effort.

          • Duane

            When you don’t have facts or logic on your side you resort to personal attacks. I get it. You lose the argument and this is what you come up with?

            Geesh.

            No – none of the above. Just an old naval veteran who absolutely loves a strong and capable navy and who absolutely hates negative ninnies and Russian trolls, who seem to be on the same side all the time in these internet comment boards … which are you?

      • JohnQTaxPayer66

        You can’t separate the LCS from the mission module failure. They are just really expensive coastal patrol craft and minesweepers.

        • Duane

          There is no such animal as a “mission module failure”. You’re making up lies, dude.

          The final element of the SuW module – the vertical launch module for the Hellfires – was successfully tested months ago as reported here at USNI. The other elements were qualified years ago, including the 57mm gun, the two 30mm guns, the MH-60R helicopter with Hellfires, the four 50 cals, and the radar system. IOC later this year. ASW is on track for IOC next year. MCM on track for 2020 (it is not needed until then), with its unmanned surface vessel already qualified in testing as reported here on USNI.

          • JohnQTaxPayer66

            $750M lost on the Remote Mine-hunting System, the cornerstone of the LCS MCM mission module at conception. Please tell me how there was no such thing as a mission module failure. Google is your friend, I’d offer to give you about 20 links to that story but I respect USNI too much as a news site to offer 3rd party links.

          • Duane

            We “lost” nothing. The MCM module is in development, nothing “failed”. The remote mine hunting system is fully active in the form of the CUSV, which was tested successfully and is now in initial production. It’s written up here on USNI, posted in the last 24 hours. Read it before spouting. The MCM mission module, previously planned for IOC in four increments instead is being implemented in a single increment in 2020. Initially the LM RMMV was expected to do the minehunting with the Textron CUSV to do the minesweeping. The RMMV experienced reliability issues so the Navy is now considering using the CUSV for both missions. That is the nature of “development”. The only way a development program can fail is if it is abandoned, which it is not. Everything is on track for 2020 .. eventually, either the LM RMMV will meet the performance standards, or the CUSV will meet them, or (most likely) both will, allowing needed competition.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Duane, can you answer the question of why there is such a disparity involving the reliability of the 57 mm guns on the LCS with those that HAD BEEN proposed for the Zumwalts? You are a believer in what they offer, as I’ve seen on this and other threads. But the 57 mm was indeed rejected for the Zumwalts and replaced by 30 mm guns. The reasons stated involved reliability issues. Research of that blames a lack of communication between the project offices of the respective ships program offices, among other things. I do not know the veracity of any of that, but it is indisputable that the Zumwalts swapped out the 57 mm guns. I would include links (which I tried to do recently on another thread that concerned all this) but this site will not permit them. But the question remains: why are they acceptable for the LCS when they are not for the Zumwalts? Thanks..

          • Duane

            The 57mm Bofors gun is extremely reliable and well proven in large numbers of ship types around the world and in the US Coast Guard security cutters. It is far more reliable and vastly faster and vastly more capable at fending off small boat swarms. It makes extremely quick work of them. The 76mm guns on the FFGs are nearly useless for that work.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Again, your ignorance is writing checks that your intellect cannot cash. I didn’t put anything out that is ‘theory’, the UNDENIABLE, INDISPUTABLE truth is that the Navy, that SAME Navy you continue to claim has nothing but an unfettered love affair with all things LCS, despite all the evidence to the contrary, determined that a key weapon system on the Zumwalts did not cut it. And they did that AFTER having them designed in, and then they REMOVED them in favor of a system THEY say is ‘more reliable’. Their words, not mine.

            But as is always, anyone who disagrees with the world according to Duane is a “Russian troll”, or worse. You were GIVEN the sources, including that of this very same author who wrote this thread we are on now, and you just can’t bring yourself to go to them, because they will blow holes all over your narrative. Any search that has ‘Navy replaces 57 mm guns on Zumwalt class’ produces all of the sources. But doing that frightens you, because it exposes you. Duane, are you involved in any aspect of the production or procurement of the LCS or any systems used by them? Because nothing else can explain why anyone would expend so much gas defending it.

          • Duane

            The DDG-1000 gun (“Advanced Gun System”) is a totally different animal from the Bofors (now BAE) Mark 110 57mm gun. They are alike only in that they are designed and manufactured by the same company.

            The sole issue with the AGS is the shell became too expensive per unit once the volume of platforms was cut by 90%. It was not a “reliability issue” at all. It was just cost. The AGS was developed specifically for the Zumwalt, while the 57mm has been in service for over 50 years by many navies worldwide. The key role of support of ground fires was why the Zumwalt was designed from the keel up to be low observable – so it could sit offshore undetected and lob long range fires at land targets.

            Consequently, the Zumwalt didn’t “reject” the 57mm – it was never the gun anticipated or planned for the Zumwalt because its gun was intended to provide very long range fires for coastal bombardment in support of ground forces. You’d never pick the 57mm for that role – it’s silly to think that.

            The 57mm round has an effective range of 10km, while the AGS has an effective range of 133km , and potentially as much as 160 km… reallly, there’s comparison at all. Plus the weight of shell from a 155mm vs. a 57mm gun – 225 pounds vs. 13 pounds.

            The Mk 110 57mm gun has been in service world wide for more than 50 years now in a bunch of different navies, including the US Navy (on the LCS) and the Coast Guard (on the highly successful National Security Cutters). The gun has gone through numerous upgrades over the decades with tremendous proven reliability, firepower, and improving projectiles. They work great.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            What? Say WHAT? The question was not about nor involved the AGS at all. And the 57mm ABSOLUTELY was the weapon of choice for the Zumwalts for their secondary, i.e., ‘in-close’ gun armament. It was replaced on the Zumwalts. The reasons cited are lack of reliability and not living up to specs, as well as weight considerations. I would post links but this site won’t permit that. But this site’s own Sam LaGrone wrote an article on August 5, 2014 4:04 PM titled “Navy Swaps Out Anti-Swarm Boat Guns on DDG-1000s” that details the problems. There is also one from a Defense News article of Oct. 12, 2014 titled “Experts Question US Navy’s Decision To Swap Out DDG 1000’s Secondary Gun”. The original question stands, but I’ll rephrase it. Why does the 57mm work so well on the LCS when it clearly failed to deliver for the Zumwalt class?

          • Duane

            The 57mm is one of the most reliable guns in the world, the very best weapon against small boat swarms, in use in 20 navies worldwide since 1966, and an upgrade to a previous 57mm gun used by the Swedish Navy going back to the 1950s. I don’t know what you’re talking about on the so-called “reliability issue” … but it’s bad information. The gun has been in wide use for over 60 years on a very wide array of platforms, including our own CG National Security Cutters where it is its primary defense weapon system. There are no known reliability issues on that gun.

            The Zumwalt fields two 30mm CIGS for close-in action (similar to the 30mm mounts on the LCS), in addition to its advanced Sea Sparrow for ACM and SM-3 for ABM defense. Plus its two MH-60R choppers and MQ-8 Fire Scout drone chopper also provides defensive fire.
            Given that it has more extensive air defense munitions than the LCS, the need for the 57mm on the DDG-1000 is less than it is for the LCS, so the savings in cost and weight make good sense for the DDG-1000.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Really? It’s ‘bad information’? So YOU know more than the program managers of the Zumwalt? THEY are the ones who TESTED it, EVALUATED it and ultimately REJECTED it. It’s not a leap to arrive at the conclusion that THEY consider the 57mm to be a piece of junk. And given the efforts to find ‘commonality’ as far as equipment use among platforms, that rejection HAD to have been grounded in sound test procedures.

          • Duane

            You’re full of it, really dude. You’re talking out of your hind parts. You sound exactly like a typical internet armchair admiral who just flaps his fingers to made stupid comments.

            So you personally know more than the US Navy, the US Coast Guard, and 19 other navies of the world for the last 60 years of proven performance for this particular gun? A gun made by the world’s largest and oldest designer and manufacturer of rapid fire gun mounts for US Navy, with a company history going back 370 years (now owned by BAE), and which manufactured our stupendously successful 40mm anti-aircraft guns that were mounted on nearly all our destroyer-sized and larger warships in World War Two?

            The simple reason the 57mm isn’t mounted on the DDG-1000 is there is not a need for the 57mm gun on DDG-1000 ship. These ships already have two much larger guns – the AGS – and it also has a 30mm CIWS, which is much smaller and lighter weight than the 57mm mount – identical to the one on the LCS. Plus a huge number of VLS cells (80), plus the RIM-162 Sea Sparrow. Adding the 57mm to this ship is an unnecessary redundancy. The decision has exactly zilch to do with any silly crazed notions that one of the world’s most reliable gun systems is somehow “unreliable”.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            You present yourself on here as THE absolute ‘authority’ on all matters pertaining to the Navy, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the LCS. To YOU, it’s the most perfect entity ever constructed. Yet when confronted with contrary information, which YOU label as ‘bad’, you resort to childish name calling and even more juvenile deflection. Actually, I’m not surprised in the least by that.

            YOU routinely spew how “the Navy” is the one that is giving these LCS ships such high marks, yet YOU whine and obfuscate when that SAME Navy rejects one of the very systems you claim they are so in love with. You ignore the information that is presented to you because it’s obvious that, well, you just can’t take it. Tell us here Duane, is the author of this same article above a liar, given how HE is the source of one of those sites I attempted to refer you to? Hmmm? You can’t even resort to HONEST information. The Navy rejected the 57 mm for the Zumwalt’s AFTER evaluating them. They did NOT have the 30 mms “already there”, they REPLACED the 57 mm guns WITH the 30 mm ones. That is from their OWN press releases about this. Yet you can’t seem to be able to deal with that. Why? Why are you so threatened by all this? You were asked a simple question and you couldn’t even get that straight from the get-go. If comprehension is such a challenge to you then maybe you’re on the wrong kind of venue.

          • Duane

            I don’t present myself as anything … I just comment. The Navy and the Coast Guard are indeed experts on their ships and weapons systems, unlike you.

            I answered your question – the premise of which is bullshit, because there is no quote from any official US Navy or US Coast Guard source that declares the Bofors Mk 110 57mm gun as being “unreliable”. You keep talking about it but you are not able to produce any direct quote from any official source. You have failed in your attempt to discredit both the gun and the 20 navies of the world that have been using it continuously for over 60 years.

            You are arguing with the United States Navy and the US Coast Guard. The US Navy loves the 57mm gun and the LCS that it is mounted on. The US Coast Guard loves the 57mm gun and its National Security class cutters that it is mounted on.

            You are again lying, dude. The Navy never “rejected” the Bofors 57mm Mk 110 gun. Ever.

            Not using it on a particular class of ships that does not need the gun does NOT equal “rejection”.

            You’re furiously spinning and lying here dude. The Navy and Coast guard disagree with you. Take it up with them.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Now we can add flat out ‘delusional’ also to your repertoire, DUDE! You were asked the SIMPLEST of questions about a decision the NAVY made pertaining to a particular weapons system. YOU went off on a rant that was all about the entire armament of the Zumwalts. You COMPLTETLY missed it, then you deflect from the real question (again) by saying the Nave never did what they ANNOUNCED! The same author who wrote this present thread wrote about THAT decision. I GAVE you the info on where you could access that info and the “quotes” you are whining about now. You sit here and carry on like a petulant child stomping your feet with your eyes shut screaming “It’s all a lie! It’s all a lie!”. If folks like YOU put the LCS together, no wonder it’s a piece of junk. And that assessment is certainly one that some high ranking NAVY officers have arrived at. Again, bury your head wherever you have been keeping it, that truth will not change.

          • Duane

            Blow it out your hindquarters, dude. You spouted off with a completely unsupported theory and you continue to fail to provide any direct sourcing from the US Navy that supports your claims that the 57mm gun, among the most reliable gun mounts ever used in any navy anywhere, is somehow supposed to be “unreliable”.

            Until you can produce a direct source quote from the US Navy – which does not exist, which is why you can’t deliver it – you are just mouthing off and ranting. You are just mad that I called you out for the liar you are.

            Now go away.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Here’s your ‘direct source’ there Chief. I’m sure you’ll end up calling HIM a ‘troll’ or a ‘liar’. LOL. But if you ever want to confront the actual truth, you can go to the October 13, 2014 issue of Defense News. Here’s the DIRECT quotes from that DIRECT source. Enjoy…

            “The Mark 110 57mm gun, “was nowhere near meeting the requirements,” said Capt. Jim Downey, program manager for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class.

            In fact, Downey said, the 57mm gun — selected years ago for the DDG 1000 as a close-in weapon and in service as the primary gun for the littoral combat ship and Coast Guard national security cutters — is overrated.

            “They were significantly over-modeled on the lethality,” he said. “The results of the actual live test-fire data was that the round was not as effective as modeled.”

            What’s more, Downey said, when the program asked the Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Virginia, to re-evaluate the two guns, the Mark 46 30mm came much closer to meeting the program’s requirements.”

          • Niki Ptt

            The Navy did indeed reject the Mk110 for the Zumwalts, because they could not integrate the fire control radar needed for accurate aiming and rounds “air burst” programming into the stealthy design of the ship at a reasonable cost.

          • Duane

            That is a plausible explanation, at least. A bit iffy still, though. It is easy enough to integrate the 57mm gun with other systems, but the cost of the 57mm mount is much more than the cost of what the Navy ultimately selected for the CIWS – which is the 30mm auto cannon, the same unit used on the LCS and many other ships. The Zumwalt turned out to be very expensive, and I rather expect the real reason was just to find one place where the cost could be cut.

            According to the article posted on USNI by Sam LeGrone in August 2014, NAVSEA was said to have made the decision to save weight and cost, and that the 30mm was “more effective” (without any statement on what “effective” really means to them).

            But of course, the latter (“effectiveness”) is BS, because the 57mm gun actually has a higher rate of fire than the 30mm (220 rpm vs. 200 rpm), it has a range that is three times that of the 30mm (10 km vs. 3.5 km), and the explosive power of the projectiles are many times that of the 30mm (13 pounds vs. 1.5 pounds total weight, HE charges of 3 pounds vs. 0.1 pounds), and the 57mm fires multi-mode seeker-equipped guided rounds, which the 30mm does not. All in all the 57mm is vastly more effective than the 30mm …on the LCS it is handy to have the 30mm as a backup to the 57mm as part of a redundant layered system … but it is hardly an effectively replacement of the 57mm.

            BAE disputed any contention that fire control integration is an issue, and that actually it is much harder to integrate the low tech 30mm (the Navy equivalent of the US Army Mk 44 Bushmaster gun) into a ship fire control system than the 57mm gun which is specifically designed to be so integrated in ship FC systems.

          • Niki Ptt

            Of course, as usual, budget cuts are the primary motives for hardware swaps.

            But in the case of the 57mm, I really think someone messed up with the system integration. The 57mm gun is not at fault here, but the 57mm gun system used in the LCSs.

            As for what BAE is saying on this issue… In the shipyard I work for we never had any issue with this gun, but integrating a complex gun system on a ship when you’re on a budget can be catastrophic.

            Do you remember that documentary on the Freedom (or was it the Fort Worth?), where the lined up the guns optically by just shooting at a Killer Tomato? I mean, that’s sub-standards calibrating procedure!

          • Secundius

            Mk.15 20mm CIWS require a “Cooling Period” after EACH 3-second Sustained Burst, while the Mk.46 30mm barrel is surrounded with a Water Cooling Jacket…

          • Secundius

            That’s not why the US Navy cancelled the Mk.110 57mm for the Mk.46 30mm. It was for “Ready Rounds Storage”! The Mk. 110 Mod 0, 57x438mm/70-caliber autocannon only has a Magazine Capacity of 120-ready rounds, while the Mk. 46 Mod. 1 30x173mm/113.5-caliber autocannon has a Duel Feed 200-ready round magazines which can also be “Hot Swapped” during the “Heat of a Battle”…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I do not have a dog in this fight. But there appears to be several reasons for the Navy cancelling the Mk 110 for the Zumwalts. This site does not permit the provision of links. That said, if anyone is inclined to do so, they can access the October 13, 2014 issue of Defense News where they QUOTE the PROGRAM MANAGER of the Zumwalt project directly. His DIRECT quotes are below. Anyone reading this is free to believe it, or not. It is what it is…

            “The Mark 110 57mm gun, “was nowhere near meeting the requirements,” said Capt. Jim Downey, program manager for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt class.

            In fact, Downey said, the 57mm gun — selected years ago for the DDG 1000 as a close-in weapon and in service as the primary gun for the littoral combat ship and Coast Guard national security cutters — is overrated.

            “They were significantly over-modeled on the lethality,” he said. “The results of the actual live test-fire data was that the round was not as effective as modeled.”

            What’s more, Downey said, when the program asked the Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Virginia, to re-evaluate the two guns, the Mark 46 30mm came much closer to meeting the program’s requirements.”

          • Duane

            Note he did not question the “reliability” as you repeatedly stated.

            And the guy is flat out wrong – just look at the video posted here on USNI that shows quite clearly that a single shot from the 57mm completely obliterates a fast attack boat and a UAV. These are “one shot, one kill” munitions, with highly sophisticated targeting and fire control systems that the 30mm does not have. The destructive power of the munition is many times that of the 30mm, it only takes a single round to destroy the target, and the range is three times as long for th 57mm over the 30mm, and it actually has a faster firing rate (220 rpm vs. 200 rpm).

            In every conceivable and critical performance parameter – including targeting, precision,, fire control, lethality, reliability, weight of fire, and rate of fir – the 57 mm completely outclasses the 30mm.

            The USNI article also stated the real reason the Navy spec’d the 30mm – it was to save weight and cost. The 30mm is much lighter and it especially costs a lot less than the 57mm – big factors in a ship class that was way over budget. You don’t need a medium sized gun like the 57mm when you have two big guns like the AGS.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Oh, yeah, RIGHT. So you DO know more than the PROGRAM MANAGER. So he IS lying about it all! Hey Duane, he was RESPONSIBLE for TESTING IT. You can continue to deflect over why the decision was made to dump it, but the OFFICIAL RECORD shows that those who had to make the critical decisions decided that the 57 mm DOES NOT CUT IT. I had asked you in a civil, courteous manner about “why the discrepancy?”. You couldn’t even grasp that question, and I again point out your spiel about the AGS, which you bring up YET AGAIN as a dodge. You, who tries to come across as the ‘end all, be all’ here, can’t even get the REASONS right as to why a ship like the Zumwalt would need multiple gun systems. The AGS is NOT for defending against close-in ‘swarm attacks. It will NOT supplement close-in air defense. THAT’S why a smaller secondary armament was, and remains, required.

            “They were significantly over-modeled on the lethality”. What’s more, Downey said, when the program asked the Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Virginia, to re-evaluate the two guns, “the Mark 46 30mm came much closer to meeting the program’s requirements.” If that is NOT a reliability issue, I do not know what would constitute one. But wait, there’s more from Capt. Downey, or as you know him, the guy who can’t possibly know as much as YOU do. From the same Defense News article:“That is absurd, the fact that we changed the guns for weights,” he said in a September interview. “The weight had zero, absolutely, 100 percent nothing to do with the decision on the guns.” That about blows out of the water everything you have bloviated on, wouldn’t you say? Hmmm?

            But keep reaching. Keep on calling all of us “Russian trolls” and “liars” and whatever. It’s obvious that is the height of any contributions we will get from you.

          • Duane

            I’m not saying he lied – I’m saying he’s full of sh*t, just like you are. I’m saying the other reasons given by the Navy are persuasive because they are factual, and the thing he said about the effectiveness of the 30mm round compared to the effecctiveness of the 57mm round is simply unbelievable, preposterous, crazy on its face. It is.

            I gave the many totally factual and totally believable reasons why the 57mm munition is VASTLY more effective than the 30mm … It’s not even a contest, dude. Get over it – you’re just flat out flailing as was the Navy guy quoted. The other navy guys quoted on the matter of saving cost and weight are believable, he is not.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            “I’m not saying he lied – I’m saying he’s full of sh*t”…Well, here we have it all. The only thing Duane can refer to is a staged test video as ‘proof’ that all others who DARE to question what he is shoveling are just fool of it, or as he puts it, “liars” and “Russian trolls”. He’s here saying the actual PROGRAM MANAGER who had to oversee ALL of the criteria and ALL of the performance parameters as well as all THE PERSNNEL INVOLVED, is not as smart as he is, or as ‘well versed’ on all things pertaining to the actual performance of the ship class he is in charge of.

            Here’s a relevant question: seeing how the NAVY has determined that the 57 mm is SUCH A PIECE OF JUNK as far as the Zumwalts are concerned: are we, as citizens, and tax payers, being sold a bill of rotten goods as far as the platforms the 57 mm guns are on? And should that concern apply to the 76 mm as well, seeing how it is rated as being ‘unsat’ in so many apparent ways?

          • Duane

            If you want to pretend the video is somehow photoshopped, please by all means produce your proof.

            The video speaks totally for itself. It is flat out unimaginable that a singe round from a 30mm can do that kind of damage should it even hit the target, which is unlikely unless you make multiple attempts with multiple bursts of shot downrange. If the target is bobbing and weaving and maneuvering violently like a typical small boat swarm forget about hitting it at all.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Who said, or implied, that the test was ‘photoshopped’? You, who so freely label one and all who dare to not agree with you as “liars”, are now actively engaging in that very same endeavor. I do not question the video, I DO openly question how REALISTIC the test parameters are? Given all the info about what a piece of junk the 57 mm is, from the NAVY, I openly ask if there were any FAILURES that aren’t being reported before they were able to set the boat and the UAV on the straight courses that would allow the gun to “succeed”? I also HOPE the thing really works, I hate to think of our sailors and Coast Guardsmen and allies discovering that it doesn’t work as advertised when the fur hits the fan. If those who manage the country’s newest surface combatant class reject it out of hand, it raises LEGIT questions as to why it doesn’t work on that ship but is supposedly working on others. YOU Duane can continue to carry on as a petulant child all you want, I do not care. I will have fun calling you out on that. YOU can call everyone a “liar” or a “troll” or a “Russian troll”, it doesn’t change the FACTS that the NAVY has arrived at about your cherished little piece of junk..

          • Duane

            Just look at the video posted here at USNI showing what happens when one of the 57mm rounds is fired at a fast boat and at a UAV, as provided by the Navy. The video says all that needs to be said.

            If you want to try and pretend that a single round from a 30mm will even hit the freaking target (most will miss – they have to dead on hit of there is zero effects, as it lacks proximity fusing), let alone completely obliterate both targets as the 57mm rounds (one shot per kill) clearly did in the video, then you’re smoking crack or something worse.

          • Secundius

            And how were the Tests Performed? In a “Controlled Test” (Planned Course of Action) or “Uncontrolled Test” (Evasive Maneuvering involved)…

          • Duane

            It was not a test of the gun system … it was a test of the USS Detroit crew in firing the main gun on their new ship.

            The 57mm gun has literally been “tested” in over 60 years of deployment in 20 different navies around the world on dozens if not hundreds of ships. The Navy isn’t trying to prove here what is already well proven – it’s a test of the ship’s crew and the readiness of this particular vessel.

          • Secundius

            USS Laffey was attacked 22-times by Kamikaze. She made 11 Evasive Maneuvers before her Rudders were Jammed. Was hit 6 times by Kamikazes and hit 4 times by Bombs. Do you honestly think that ANY US Naval Vessel under Attack are going to be Running in a “Straight Line”. Making it EASY for the Attacker…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            So you have no problem with a video of a staged, controlled ‘test’ being presented as ‘proof’ that everything YOU maintain is Gospel, yet when this SAME SITE, and the SAME AUTHOR, presents a report (of which other sites elaborate on!) that the Navy has determined that your beloved 57 mm doesn’t cut it, everyone involved is ‘full of crap’, ‘liars’, ‘trolls’, etc.? The NAVY has TEST RESULTS that helped them determine that the 57 mm does not work, not in the way they NEED it to, for the Zumwalts. PERIOD. All the whining in the world doesn’t change that.

          • Duane

            I don’t need proof. 60 years of extremely successful operations and continual upgrades and vast deployment through 20 navies of the world, including our own US Navy and our own US Coast Guard are the proof – all the proof that anyone who is not a dedicated anti-LCS troll would ever need. I just point to the video because it is posted right here on USNI, so vary convenient and so leaves no excuses for the determined anti-LCS trolls to ignore. Though they – including you – stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the truth even when it slaps you in the eyeballs … apparently.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I reiterate how delusional you truly are. It is not MY determination that the 57mm is a piece of crap as far as the Zumwalt goes, it is that SAME NAVY you keep throwing back in everyone’s faces who decided that. You also denigrate the 76 mm, yet IT has the very same long track record on ships of our Navy and those of others. I guess they who believe in it are all ’trolls’ and ‘liars’ and ‘full of crap’ because Duane says so, right? LOL. But keep carrying on as a petulant, punk child. It’s actually become comical to watch.

          • Duane

            The Navy has tremendous love for the 57mm … it is the world’s best anti-surface swarm weapon in the world, bar none. The US Coast Guard also loves the 57mm, installing it on all of their big National Security Cutters (more or less equivalent to frigates but without ASM launchers).

            Please – tell us what the Navy has done to remove the 57mms from the 40+ ships it is installing it on.

            The facts are very stubborn things … they just are. The rest that you spout is just spouting, bloviating, and venting … but clearly not “facts”.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I apologize to all for the length of this reply, but it cannot be helped.

            That said there DUANE, for the umpteenth time, that VERY SAME NAVY REJECTED your beloved 57 mm on the Zumwalts. You carried on forever spewing that that never happened, then when you could not ignore the overwhelming evidence, you whined how the actual PROGRAM MANAGER was “full of crap”, that only YOU know everything under the sun when it comes to it and all other matters pertaining to the Navy, etc. I am confident that the good people who put the 57 mm through its paces for the Zumwalts did NOT have target drones running straight courses on already known paths on the surface or in the air. I’ll bet they instituted REALISTIC engagement parameters for those targets, and upon review, they found the 57 mm LACKING. Or to use the PROGRAM MANAGER’S actual words, “over rated”! Then again, maybe they did run them straight and true, and STILL found them not able to cut it. That would be even worse, ‘ya think?

            And about that supposed track record and history and legacy concerning how good the 57 mm is according to you, I challenge you to read the Director Operational Test & Evaluation annual report for FY2015. It is stated quite clearly in the report at various points that REALISTIC testing of the 57 mm has NOT taken place when it comes to the LCS. And this particular ‘test’ presented on this video you keep lecturing us all about appears to be one of the tests referenced in the report, in that NO OTHER targets were around, so the ship did not have to pick its target out of a cluttered environment. But don’t take MY word for it, read the actual report. If the 57 mm had this many question marks about it for the NEWEST ship classes in the Navy, then it’s fair to ask if these weapons were EVER subjected to realistic testing, and are our sailors and Coastguardsmen and allies sitting on a piece of junk that will not perform in the ways they need it to, WHEN they need it to? Something is not adding up in all this.

            But Duane, look out. It gets worse. Below is a quote from Director Operational Test & Evaluation annual report for FY2016. It appears that things are getting worse from year to year! This is on pages 269-270 of the report.

            “The 57 mm gun demonstrated inconsistent performance even in benign conditions, which raises doubts about the ship’s ability to defend itself without the SUW mission package installed. The inaccuracy of the targeting systems, the difficulty in establishing a track on the target, and the requirement to hit the target directly when using the point-detonation fuze combine to severely impair effective employment of the gun, and limit effective performance to dangerously short ranges. The Navy has not conducted any testing to determine how well the ship will perform when faced with an attack in a realistic cluttered maritime environment including both neutral and hostile craft; the Navy has also not conducted operational testing to determine how well the ship (without the SUW mission package) will perform against multiple attacking boats. Nevertheless, given the performance observed during operational testing, the combination of faster threats, multiple threats, threats with longer-range standoff weapons, cluttered sea traffic, or poor visibility is likely to make it difficult for LCS (without the SUW mission package) to defend itself.”

            C’mon Duane, get it out of you. Spew yet again how THIS guy is “full of crap”, that he’s a “Russian troll”, you know, the usual litany of characterizations that you always present when you don’t get your way here. Take your time, I’ll wait..

          • Duane

            You keep bringing this back. I pointed you to the article on USNI where the Navy spokesperson said specifically they cut the Mk 110 57mm gun from the over-priced, overweight DDG-1000 to (gee, guess what!) save cost and save weight, by large margins. They therefore made the DDG-1000 far less survivable in littoral combat against swarming attackers.

            Given that the whole point of the LCS was to do littoral combat and specifically take on swarming attacker on the surface and in the air, the NAVY REJECTED THE DDG-1000 DESIGN AND PURPOSEFULLY SELECTED THE WORLD’S FINEST RAPID FIRE PRECISION GUIDED ANTI-SWARMING AND MOST RELIABLE GUN FOR THE LCS.

            Let’s see, the Navy decided to vastly cut back the purchase of their over priced DDG-1000 by 90% from original plan, down to just 3 hulls … yet are going forward fully with contruction, operations, and deployment of the planned number of LCS (40 hulls of the standard LCS plus another 12 hulls of VLS-equipped LCS now called “frigates”).

            Your argument, inane as it has been, fully evaporates and disappears against the shear weight of …. (drum roll!) facts.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Oh my God! Duane, even for YOU, this is a new low. Perhaps it’s not that you are delusional, perhaps you’re flat out schizo! You referred ME to the sites about the Zumwalts rejecting the 57 mm? You just proved to the world here that you really do dwell in ‘La La Land’. I get it that armchair admirals like yourself (or is a better term ‘commode Commodores, given how you obviously perceive yourself on a throne of some sort!!) cannot deal with truth and facts destroying your skewed and perverted world view. Here you are reduced to flat out LYING about why the PROGRAM MANAGERS of the Zumwalts determined that the 57 mm Is a piece of crap. They SAID SO. They ALSO said that WEIGHT considerations had NOTHING to do with it. Anybody in an official position who is stating that weight is a factor just might be covering up for the shortcomings of the 57 mm, given the number of other platforms, including the LCS, it is fitted on.

            And it’s also obvious that you don’t HAVE THE GUTS to read the OFFICIAL REPORTS I cited for you that absolutely point out the shortcomings of BOTH the 57 mm AND the LCS itself. My point has NEVER been about the Zumwalts and keeping them or whatever, so your whine about the number of hulls being built becomes especially irrelevant. BOTH programs have been cut back. So what? My ENTIRE POINT has been about the NAVY rejecting the 57 mm for the Zumwalts. YOU denied that, then obfuscated, now here you re again trying to deflect from what the ACTUAK discussion is about. I say again, you’re a petulant, punk child. Your OWN words and antics prove that. You can’t even keep your LIES straight. LOL..

          • Duane

            You’re obviously deranged, dude. Go away.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Oh Duane. I’m not ‘deranged’, I am RIGHT! And I’m confident that deep down inside even you know that. The reports don’t lie. You’ve been exposed here Duane, and what’s funny is that you did it to yourself. Have you ever considered seeking professional help? Narcissism and pathological LYING do not make for a great combo. I’m just trying to help you here, to maybe save you from yourself. ANY credibility you may have amassed (or more to the point, what you THINK you have amassed) is forever gone. ‘Troll’ on that for awhile. LOL..

          • Duane

            The 57mm is “one shot, one kill”, which the 30mm is totally incapable of. 120 ready rounds (and 1,000 stored in the gun mount itself) is much more than is necessary to fully defend against any credible attack by swarming small boats or UAVs, which is what it is designed to do.

            The “one shot, one kill” Rapid Kill of Attack Craft rounds are precision guided rounds (the 30mm rounds are just bullets) with guaranteed 1 m precision, guided either by laser designators (as supplied by the MH-60R chopper or the MQ-8 unmanned chopper carried by the LCS) and/or its internal FLIR sensor. Each round contains 3 pounds of steel fragments with nearly half a pound of PBX high explosive, easily capable of obliterating any small craft of UAV. The projectiles use a radar proximity fuse, but it can also be set for contact or for timed fusing. The gun uses a sophisticated all weather electro-optical FLIR sighting system with a built-in radar ranger and built-in fire control system with computer selection of targets and setting the fusing for each round. It requires only a single operator for the whole system.

            The 30mm projectiles weigh less than 1 pound and only contain 0.1 pounds of HEX, and they’re unguided, the firing rate is actually less than the 57mm gun firing rate (220 rpm), and no sophisticated sighting or fire control systems are available. The range of the 30mm is only 3.4 km vs 10 km for the 57mm.

          • Donald Carey

            “MCM on track for 2020 (it is not needed until then)” – what alternate universe do you live in? The U.S. Navy has needed to enhance its MCM capability for DECADES.

          • Duane

            The Navy has a fleet of MCM vessels now. They are working fine, and none are slated for retirement until 2020, according to the US Navy itself. The LCS will be the world’s first and only unmanned minehunting/minesweeping system. Because it is using tip of the spear technology in unmanned, semi-autonomous control, it is not something that you buy off the shelf at your neighborhood shipyard. The development is on track, and will be available by the planned target date in 2020.

          • Donald Carey

            You call our current MCM assets a fleet? As for the LCS meeting our MCM needs, dream on!
            Again, what alternate universe do you live in?

        • USNVO

          Although the mission modules have had challenges, not unusual considering there were no programs of record when LCS started in either ASW or ASuW, much of that can’t be laid at the feet of LCS. In the MCM module, the ALMDS and AMNS are in production, MH-60S issues with the AQS-20 and OASIS were well known long before the LCS was even thought of, so blame that one on NAVAIR waiting 10+ years to decide it was unsafe. RAMICS was another wishful thinking idea by NAVAIR everyone was afraid to put a stake in. The same is true for the WLD-1, which was a failed experiment long before LCS (How is that working out of DDG-91-96 by the way?). The entire OMCM program is a classic case of wishful thinking and underfunding since it was started over a decade before anyone even dreamed of LCS. You can’t really blame the ASuW module because the ARMY cancelled the missile program, everything else is working OK (not a huge bar to get over admittedly). The ASW module is probably the worst case but the Program was handed a soup sandwich to begin with on that one.

          There are lots of problems with LCS but being mine warfare ships and patrol craft was what they were envisioned to be from the beginning. Had someone not had the idiotic idea to specify 40kt speed (Navy issue here admittedly), changing the acquisition plan from taking the best ideas for a final design (also on the Navy), and buying both classes (purely on the politicians there) the ships would actually be significantly cheaper (they are actually cheaper than a FFG-7 to operate but could have been way cheaper). The biggest problem is that the Navy leadership has consistently failed to articulate what LCS is (a patrol ship with the ability to do other mission in high end warfare), why it is important (so DDG/CGs are not doing MIO, chasing drug runners, or patrolling against pirates), and never muzzled the admirals who were too stupid to get it or just didn’t want to explain why maritime security was important.

          • JohnQTaxPayer66

            You hit the nail right on the head. But lets not forget Congress, who forced NAVY to build 2 different hull designs in the first place. Had it been packaged as strictly a PCS / MCM platform, no one would care but Navy leadership tried to say it could be an FFG when the realized – oh wait – we actually do need an FFG like 5 years before the last one retired.

          • USNVO

            Congress may have signed the check, but the Navy/DoD filled it out for them. I reviewed the draft ROC/POE (probably the single worst document I have ever seen), it was clearly never a FFG (hence my comments concerning muzzling flag officers who don’t know what they are talking about). I am not sure the USN needs a frigate. The war fighting mission of the FFG-7s were replaced long ago by the DDG-51flt2a. The Navy has almost 100 AEGIS ships in service or on order, how much more do they need? Open ocean escort? For what, convoys to China?

            What the Navy really needes is an OPV to do all those other missions, that was what the LCS would have been before some idiot thought 40kts and a 10ft draft made sense, and them some other idiot didn’t say, “My bad, do over, how about 25kts and 15ft” when they saw the projected cost when the bids came in.

          • Duane

            As usual you are confused – an LCS is not a FFG, and a FFG is not a LCS. They are not substitutes for each other, interchangeable in any way. Very different capabilities, very different missions.

            The Navy chose not to build FFGs this century because instead they opted to build more DDGs instead of their “little sisters”. All in all, a very good decision, as a DDG is much more lethal than a FFG. Apparently now the Navy would like to add both more DDGs and start building FFGs again, to fill out their 355 ship fleet, which is far more than likely a fantasy given existing statutory budget constraints which are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon (i.e., the “sequester”).

          • Secundius

            Actually ONLY One! The US Navy order the “Independence” class, President George W. Bush ordered the “Freedom” class in 2003…

          • USNVO

            Sorry, the Bush DoD/DoN ordered both of the LCS classes. They were supposed to down select after they were tested, the best systems from both classes would be combined, and a new LCS 2.0 would be ordered, that didn’t happen. The Obama DoD/DoN decided that they would continue to order both classes to try to win votes (Note, this is just conjecture on my part) forever locking in having two combat systems, two main engines, two control systems, etc, dramatically increasing costs both in procurement and sustainment. I know the Navy made an incredibly lame argument for both classes to remain in production that anyone with even the slightest knowledge of procurement could see through, but it is costing the Navy a fortune to have two ships classes being procured in the numbers projected instead of one.

          • Niki Ptt

            Obama’s DoD/DoN is not at fault here. The problem was for Congress, because of the costs involved. You cannot ask a shipyard to build a prototype and then wait for two years for the Navy to test thoroughly the ships and decide which shipyard will build the series boats. It’s simply far too costly for the shipyard to maintain its production lines available for a contract which might not happen in the end…

          • USNVO

            Sure you can, the Navy has done it numerous times. Shipyards do not have production lines unless they are building something in great number. Normally, they just build the ship, there is no guarantee the customer will build another, one of the reason the Navy is so determined to order a bunch of ships because it saves big bucks when you can have move down the learning curve.

            The way the program was structured from the beginning was to have two prototypes, a pause, and then one production model. The Navy immediately started off on the wrong foot by making a whole bunch of changes to make the ships less like prototypes and more like production ships instead of just finishing them and then testing them out with the expectations they would be turned into beer cans afterwards. They compounded that further, by buying both classes so you move less down the learning curve, have two different everything with two different sustainment organizations. So instead of tossing out the IF engines for something that actually works in the LCS-1 SSDGs, they are inflicted on half the class. Twice as much education materials, curriculums, technical manuals, program desks, stocks of spares, etc.

            So yes, the Obama DoD/DoN bear a huge part of the responsibility for not doing their jobs and making a decision. They are not the only ones nor the first, but you can’t lay all the blame on Congress for not doing what the President, SECDEF, and SECNAV asked for.

      • PolicyWonk

        The only mission sets the deceitfully designated LCS were designed for didn’t happen to include military conflict – and thats according to the for CNO, Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

        Even the USN’s own Inspector General said the neither class of LCS “was likely to survive the kinds of missions commanders would probably assign it…”

        LCS – in either variant – is a loser.

        Assuming of course, that you aren’t a recipient of these blatant corporate welfare programs.

        • Duane

          You are the quintessential Putin troll with your BS remarks about intentional “deceit” by our Navy. Only an enemy of the United States would use such language.

          Go away, very far away … take your trolling back to Russia. You are not credible.

      • It’s more akin to a Corvette, OPV

        • Duane

          Not really. A corvette, at least since the end of the days of sail, has been a small, slow, bluewater escort vessel for merchant ships with limited ASW capability and pretty much no other capabilities. The LCS is different and much more capable in every possible way and designed for primary use as a littoral surface combatant. Twice as large, twice as fast, far more capable ASW and SuW capability, plus (starting in 2020) MCM capability that will exceed that of every other MCM vessel in the world.

          • The LCS is a POS. It’s simply trying to be a Corvette, OPV and a Frigate but it isn’t either one of them. It ain’t even a cutter as well because a Cutter has better Arms and endurance than the POS LCS.

          • Duane

            No – you are absolutely completely couldn’t possibly be more wrong about the LCS. It is the world’s most capable, most advanced, most powerful littoral combat ship, bar none. With the best officers and crews.

          • BULLSHIT. The LCS is a POS because it would not survive a HIT from an anti ship Cruise missile. It’s a GAS HOG and so under gunned that it would not survive combat. Their Corvettes and Frigates that are better armed than the POS LCS. The LCS is a JOKE and I would never send that POS into Combat. The LCS is basically the Naval version of the F-35.

          • Duane

            Go away troll

          • Go away LCS Fanboy.

    • Horn

      The NSC would be a good choice due to it’s ability to operate in the Arctic & it’s design has already been proven a success.

      • JohnQTaxPayer66

        Getting a license for the Denmark design would also be worth a look.

        • Horn

          Unfortunately, that’s not a great option. The hull was built to civilian specs for a lot less money than it would cost here. The reason why the Iver Huitfeldt-class is often cited is because many people don’t understand the price tag and the hidden costs of building it here. We can’t look at foreign frigate costs and expect them to translate equally over here, especially if they require any redesign work done.

          • lushr

            While it’s probably an unrealistic expectation for it to be politically salable, how much do you think the costs would change if the USN simply contracted the foreign shipyard to build the class themselves, albeit to American specifications? I wonder if they could save enough money by building it in Denmark/Norway/Germany/Japan to afford enough pork elsewhere.

          • Secundius

            One “Slight” problem? The “Jones” Act of 1920, prohibits the US Navy, USCG and the US Merchant Marines from Purchasing Ships from a Foreign Source, unless their “Bareboats” (aka AS IS). Hull and Superstructures ONLY, Not Outfitted in Any Way…

          • We can get the rights and blueprints in the same way the USCG has done with the Sentinel class cutters. The USCG brought the rights and blueprints of the Damen Stan patrol vessel 4708 and the USCG paid Bollinger Shipyard to build the Damen Stan patrol vessel 4708 based on the blueprints the USCG brought and paid for. So the US Navy can do the same thing what the USCG did for the Sentinel class cutters. It was done under then USCG Commandant Thad Allen at the time and it worked out very well for the USCG.

          • Secundius

            The problem is the “Buy America” Act of 1933, which Favors ANYTHING American Designed “Before” Anything of Foreign Designed. So even if the American Design is 51% Functional compared to a 99% Functional Foreign Design. Guess Who Wins the Design Competition…

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            What would we do without our resident historians

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately “Raising up a Magic Wand and Wishing” for the Unattainable doesn’t work…

    • Beomoose

      8 years? LCS-1 was ordered in 2004, launched in 2006, and commissioned in 2008. And the program’s a lot older than that.

      • We squandered so many years chasing a pipe dream and now we have none to show the taxpayers who are also angry voters

        • Secundius

          The “Only One’s” that “Squandered” so many years “Chasing a Pipe Dream” was the US Congress! You’re forgetting that from 2009 to 2017 the ONLY Defense Appropriations Budget that President Obama’s Administration “Operated On”. Was the 2009 Defense Appropriations Budget that President George W. Bush submitted before Leaving Office in 20 January 2009. So for ~8-years President Obama “Piece-Meal’d” ~$612.5 Billion USD New Project Budget, ~$542.5-Billion USD Maintenance Budget and an ~$7.0-Billion USD Allowance Budget “Spread” over an 8-year period, because the US Congress REFUSED to Give President Obama an Annual Defense Appropriations Budget. So YES, from 2009 to 2017 the US Navy could have had a 400 plus Ship Navy. If the US Congress WASN’T “Jerking” President Obama’s Chain…

          • Donald Carey

            For the first two years of his “reign”, O’Bama had a majority in both the House and Senate – your remark is, therefore, without merit.
            (If what I said is too complex, here’s a translation: your comment about Congress jerking chains is BS.)

          • Secundius

            Really? After 2010 when the Republicans were in Control, When did the Republican’s “Cancel” the LCS Program. Who Introduced the 2013 “Sequester” that doesn’t “Officially” end until Mid-June 2017. And why wasn’t the Obama Administration ALLOWED to have a Defense Appropriations Budget from 2010 to 2017…

          • old guy

            i am astounded. Tou seem to be saying that there is a difference between the DEMO-CROOKS and the REPUBLI-THEIVES. Just look at the records during the Bush and obama terms. Need I say more?

          • Secundius

            Just before leaving Office in 2017, President Obama submitted a 2017 Fiscal Financial Bill that consited of ~254-pages to the US Congress. Which included ~200-pages Defense Appropriations Spending Bill. US. Hse.of Rep. removed the 200-page Defense Appropriations Bill and replaced it with a “Caretakers” Bill for General Upkeep of Existing Systems. They even remove the General Allowance Appropriations for those that Actually Serve and Fight. Trump is 86-days (as of 17 April 2017) into his Presidency and has yet to Submit a Defense Appropriations Bill. The US Air Force is looking at an ~2,000-pilot “Shortfall” by 2020 and the Republican are playing “Loosie Goosie” with ANY Expectations of Incentives to Entice them to Enlist other than “Patriotism”. Patriotism only gets you so far! God Help Us “IF” a Real (WWII type) War were to Break Out…

    • JRW

      Don’t forget the Spanish F100 Álvaro de Bazán-class Aegis frigates. They are 5,800 tons and cost ca. $600M, maybe a little more, especially if made in US yards (thanks to cost-plus contracting). They are in use by the Norwegians and Australians as well as the Spanish. They have a 48 cell VLS, carry Harpoons, and have a 5″ gun. Basically, they are what the Perry class would be if they were made today. They are in the same league as FREMM, but (in my opinion) more capable. They would also need less tailoring to USN equipment, but might need some work to improve ASW capabilities.

      • Secundius

        Couple of Problems? First, the “Jones” Act of 1920, which prohibits Foreign Purchases to the US. Navy, USCG and the US. Merchant Marines. Second, is the “Buy America” Act of 1933, which Favors American Vendors over Foreign Vendors. Unless it’s something that USA “ISN’T” Capable of Producing…

        • JRW

          Can they not be made in US yards as I suggested as part of a partnership? I’m not an expert on the relevant acts like you are, but I seem to recall that half of the LCSs are made by an Australian company in US yards.

          • Secundius

            The problem is that the US Military has a 7-year Rule! Which basically means that ANY Contractor has to have an Established Association with the US Military for at least 7-years before going “Solo”. Or must be Sponsored by an Established Prime Military Contractor, as a Sub-Contractor. Stupid Rule, I know. But that’s where it stands. US. Navy has had Long Standing Treaty with Spain going back to the Second World War in Repairing American Ships, so I don’t think that Navantia Shipbuilders (formally Emprese Nacional Bazan/IZAR) should have a problem. Austal Shipbuilding own’s General Dynamics NASSCO (National Steel and Shipbuilding Company)…

          • JRW

            If I am reading this right, you are saying that, in this one particular case, the Navy might be able to do it. What little business experience I have suggests that a US builder and Navantia could enter into a 50%+1 partnership. Navantia could perhaps supply the blueprints, training, experience, and possibly some of the hull sections (although that might be prohibitive considering the distance), and the US company would provide some sub-assemblies, final assembly, and fitting-out. If they really wanted to maintain infrastructure, they might consider subcontracting some of the hull sections or other work to a losing bidder, to sweeten the deal for Congress and make it an easier pill for the Pentagon to swallow. Would that work?

          • Secundius

            “Kockums” (Saab) got a Presidential Waiver during the Bush II Administration to be in the Competition. But “Navantia”, is playing “Second Fiddle” in any Competition because of the “Buy America” Act of 1933. ALL “US” Designs would have to “Fail” in their Designs, before “Navantia” would even be Considered…

      • The Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates are one option and the FREMM class Frigates in the French version is another option.

        • Secundius

          So far as of March 2017, the French aren’t showing ANY Interest in the 2019 Frigate Design Competition…

          • What about Spain or South Korea

          • Secundius

            “Navantia” (ex-Empresa Nacional Bazan) of Spain is in. But nothing yet from either Hanjin Heavy Industries or Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea…

          • Secundius

            Bad News for you “Nicky”, the ~$9-Billion Twelve Frigate Competition. Has been Pushed Back to “Possibly” 2020, according to “g-Captain” dated 18 April 2017. First ship was scheduled for Launch in 2020 with last ship Delivered in 2025. Now everything’s on Hold, Not a US Naval Delay but a US Congressional Delay. No reason is Given for Why…

  • Jason Wolfe

    That Austal design has a crazy pants amount of systems on board. It looks great, but how do they expect it to float with all the new weight? And the crew requirements are going to be enormous. Every one of those new systems needs 5 guys.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      I was thinking that too.

      They are designed to run with a skeleton crew & there is no room to cram in more crew members.

      • Duane

        There is more room for more crew on the LCS, but with the finite internal volume, something else has to be sacrificed. Austal is already saying their proposed frigate design will do just that, by sacrificing some of the multi-module general space that now supports things like the multiple RIBs carried in the SuW package, or the unmanned CUSVs in the MCM package, or deleting one of the rotary wing birds it carries (either manned or unmanned). But if the Navy doesn’t care about those capabilities in their frigate, then that trade-off might make sense.

      • The one armed man

        You should reread the article, they used the module space for crew and got space for 130+.

        • Jason Wolfe

          That is ~40 more crew than the current LCS. I doubt that will be enough. Previous crew estimates came pretty substantially under and the current LCS has less systems than originally planned.

          • Secundius

            The “Crew” is on a “Two Crew Rotation Shift”, similar to that used on Submarines “Gold/Blue”. Half ON/Half OFF…

          • E1 Kabong

            How’s that going to work in a wartime situation?

            Damage control?

          • Secundius

            How does ANY Damage Control Party “Work” in Wartime Conditions?/!

          • Oskar

            Answer the question…

            Here, I’ll use small words so you understand.

            How FEW people are on board these ships?

          • Secundius

            Crew Complement was extended to 98 each Plus an Aircrew of 23, on a Two Shift Rotation (Similar to a Submarines “Gold/Blue”). Not including ANY assigned “Supernumeraries”…

        • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

          That sucks…. “modular accomodation” means a decorated shipping container in the large mission bay.

    • The one armed man

      They traded module space for crew quarters and pushed the crew to 130+.

  • Blain Shinno

    I am not sure what purpose of the new Frigate program when almost 30 Littoral Combat Ships have already been produced. The LCS takes care of the low end. Unless they plan to scrap the class they need to put resources in the Burkes.

    • Duane

      The need for frigates is real, since they are not substitutes for LCS, nor the other way around. The mission set is basically the same as a destroyer, serving as a junior size version. If the Navy keeps the hull size down around 5,000 tons or less, and doesn’t heap too much gear on it, they can keep the cost down to around a billion per hull or a little less. But if the size creeps up to the 7,200 ton size of the German F-125, and the navy adds AEGIS, it’ll end up being well over a billion, possibly a billion and a half, which starts approaching the cost of an Arleigh Burke at near $2B a hull. The Navy needs to figure out how much it wants to spend and then determine which design meets the most of its “wish list” of capabilities for a price it can afford.

      • @USS_Fallujah

        Rumor has it the original AoA included a “cut down” version of the DDG-51 that cost about $1B per – a number that was deemed outrageous for a FFG, which I think informs the “no appetite for a $1b Ship” quote. If that has changed I think creating a FFG version of the DDG-51 hull makes enormous sense, you leverage a hot production line & maintenance /logistics train and significantly reduce risk by working from a mature design. As to how much you’d have to cut from a -51 to get to that $1B….well maybe we’ll see…

        • Duane

          It’s not easy to cut from an existing design, much better to go clean sheet.

          The two main drivers of ship cost are size in tons, and complexity (or capability). If the Navy insists on AEGIS for frigates, that virtually guarantees a floor price in excess of a billion. Ditto if they go with a relatively large frigate hull like the German F-125 at 7,200 tons. The contract delivery price for a F-125 at 2017 prices is close to $900M USD, more than twice the cost of an LCS with either SuW or ASW mission modules (under $400M). The MCM module will be more expensive because of the unmanned surface vehicles and other bells and whistles that go with the MCM module.

          The Russians chose to go with a moderately sized hull at around 4,600 tons for their Admiral Grigorivich frigate, and then loaded it to the gills with VLS cells (30), and of course the Russians don’t have an AEGIS equivalent. I don’t know what they’re spending, and given the lack of transparency in military contracting (allowing Putin and his cronies to steal his Russian populace blind), it’s difficult to find a reliable cost number … but it’s probably something less costly than the F-125 owing mainly to its smaller displacement.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            Given the USN’s track record on clean sheet ship designs the last 20 years I’d stay as far away from that as possible. Your “savings” might cost us billions upon billions.

          • Duane

            The Navy track record is just fine. We build only the world’s finest most capable warships … we are the envy of the rest of the world’s nations. And we get our dollars worth – far more than in the Russian kleptocracy where a very large proportion of their “defense spending” ends up in private numbered Swiss bank accounts of Putin and his cronies, who are stealing their nation blind.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            Yes the Ford, LCS & Zumwalt are us really getting our money’s worth.

          • Duane

            Yup – exactly.

      • jonno

        Agreed. I like LCS (I had a great second DIVO tour on it) but it was never meant to be a frigate, although upgunning it is a smart idea, and there is a lot of space especially on the Indy variant where you can do this (for example, install Mk56 VLS for ESSM once it gets is terminal seeker on the front part of the INDY variant) without much pain.

        That being said, we do need a “clean sheet” design to properly do this. However, I think it’s mission should be very ASW focused, with rudimentary AAW (nothing more than ESSM and COMBATSS 21/SSDS) and ASuW (NSM/Harpoon…maybe LRASM) capability to keep it around $700m (that rules out the HII NSC). If we’re going to spend 1bil+ for a DDG light, we might as well build more DDGs.

        Personally, I’d like to see LCS variants capped out at 44 (28 LCS+16 LCS FF or 32/12 for more ships that can carry the MCM package) and 24 FFGs built, one per ESG/CSG which would get us to 355 ships without the need for 16 extra DDGs assuming the new ship-building plans stays the same everywhere else. The hull probably should be a beefed up/more survivable coastguard OPC hull with 2 LM2500s instead of MP diesels, crew no more than 115 without air det. That or see what BAE is doing for the RN’s Type 31 General purpose light frigate.

        • Duane

          Yep, thanks for your comments (funny, the anti-LCS trolls claim that all the LCS sailors and officers detest the ship … of course that was always a BS claim, like everything else the trolls write).

          You and I are both right in believing that the frigates have to have limited size and capability, or else it’s just a DDG-lite and so we may as well just build more Arleigh Burkes … which is basically what the Navy has done for the last decade. The anti-LCS trolls are, at least when they really do support the US military (many are Russian trolls on the boards around the internet), are mostly mad because the Navy stopped building FFGs, and they blame the LCS for that. But it was never a competition of LCS vs. FFG – it’s been a competition between DDG and FFG, and DDG won.

          There is a role for FFGs as long as they’re not larded up with DDG size and capabilities … and the tendency for the military is to always ask for more of this and more of that once a new class of ship, or aircraft, gets added to the inventory, until what you’re left with is a far cry from what was originally spec’d out. Call it “capability creep”. It’s fine of course to add new capabilities as technology changes and as needs change, but not without limit.

  • Michael D. Woods

    As it appears, there are two problems with the littoral combat ship designs: a single screw driven by an overly complicated (and therefore susceptible to unreliability) drive system, and insufficient firepower to do much.

    • Duane

      The LCS is a reliable ship … the failures were operator errors, not material defects. The operator errors were due to defective training and crewing, which the Navy fixed last year, no more such errors or failures since.

      The LCS is extremely well armed for its littoral combat mission – the best armed such small combatant in the world, better than any frigate at fighting off small boat swarms which is what it was intended to do. With the extreme rapid fires of its 57mm gun, the two 30mm auto cannons, and its battery of Hellfires, it is far better equipped for action in theaters like the Persian Gulf than any of our current destroyers are today.

      And now as part of the Navy’s distributed lethality strategy, it is also equipped now with the best anti-ship missiles we have available, including the Harpoon and the NSM, and will shortly be fitted with the LRASM when it become operational in another couple of years. The Harpoon and NSM were both successfully test fired on LCS deck launchers last year, and the Navy issued an RFP last month for the missiles. Each LCS wiill carry two, four-cell angled deck mounts, making it the equivalent in anti-ship firepower of most other frigates in the world including the German F-125s (except for the Admiral Grigorovich class Russian frigates that carry up to 30 anti-ship missiles. However, only a small handful of the Grigorovich are being built by the Russians, mostly for foreign sales).

      Even so, a frigate design should not start with the LCS hulls. They were designed specifically for shallow draft, high speed, and high maneuverability and to fight off small boat swarms as described above. Frigates need not be shallow draft nor high speeds nor to be able to fight off small boat swarms. Frigates essentially are junior destroyers, at least as long as the Navy doesn’t allow the design to become so bloated that it really doesn’t save much over the cost of a full AEGIS destroyer. When they start adding AEGIS air defense systems, the cost is going to balloon to well over a billion dollars per hull, possibly much more than twice the cost of an LCS at under $400M delivered today with mission module.

      • JohnQTaxPayer66

        Lies… the engineering plant problems on Freedom are entirely mechanical failures. The independence class has structurual problems. The failure of thr mission modules is entirely due to NAVSEA incompetency. Everyone is a loser in the LCS program. They should just accept failure and license the denmark frigate from Damen and use the LCS as a study in how not to design. And procure ships.

        • Duane

          You’re the liar. The mechanical problems were operator errors according to the Navy. If you want to put your own credibility against the credibility of the US Navy, you’re welcome to do so but you will not be credible.

          The mission modules are not failed in any sense whatsoever. The SuW and ASW modules are on schedule for IOC this year and next, respectively. The MCM module is a complex module involving many new high tech components such as unmanned minehunters and minesweepers – formerly were scheduled for four increments of IOC with the last increment in 2020, but instead were reset last year for all four increments at once in 2020. The unmanned CUSV is meeting its test requirements as posted elsewhere on USNI and the first production models are due later this year, with IOC in 2020 as originally planned.

          • JohnQTaxPayer66

            Yes the same freedom class Main reduction gear failures were all user error. Sure. The hulls aren’t cracking on the trimaran? I’ve been out of the Navy a long time now and it’s not too hard to see from the sidelines as Joe taxpayer when the brass is so wrong they are willing to do anything to buy their way out of the problem rather than admit failure and scrap change course. 750m on the RMS and not a thing to show for it. But continue to schill your opinion here, I don’t think the average taxpayer is buying it. I can’t stand John McCain I think the guy is a total nut job, but he is not wrong about the LCS program. Cut the cord and use the finished ships as MCMs and PC’s. Buy the Damen FFG hull license or get the USCG cutter converted doesn’t matter but neither LCS designs are going to give the American taxpayer confidence they can be right sized to be a FFG.

          • Duane

            It is not my opinion – it is the official position of the US Navy. If you want to claim that the current US Navy leadership is inferior to your leadership, then by all means forward your resume to the Navy secretary, he will appoint you CNO, and then I am sure you will fix everything that is wrong with the most lethal and capable navy in the world, bar none, not even close.

            You’re not convincing.

          • E1 Kabong

            Cite some facts.

            You don’t fool anyone with your banal shilling.

        • USNVO

          So an operator using a DC plug to stop a seawater leak is normal engineering practice and too complex for sailors? Or turning Combining Gears without ensuring there is lube oil pressure is normal and just too complex? Not a design problem, a training problem. Having dealt with the LCS program regarding training a long time ago in another lifetime, it doesn’t surprise me no one was willing to spend the appropriate resources until they destroyed something with high visibility, but the training command warned that would happen but the Surface Navy was unwilling to pony up the funds to develop the training program required by the concept. A Navy leadership issue but not a design problem.

          • jonno

            Agreed. When I was on LCS for my second tour, we read the report on what happened on FORT WORTH along with the diesel seawater casualty. Failure to follow procedures, that simple (and trust me, they aren’t complicated). What irks me, is that BASIC engineering principles weren’t followed. This isn’t LCS unique and I’ve hear/read many a story on things like this happening on other platforms out in the fleet.

          • USNVO

            Generally it was my experience that any action that leads to an incident report generally starts with a total disregard of basic principles, be it engineering, navigation, safety, or seamanship. But LCS has unique requirements that other ships don’t have because of Train to Qualify, Rotational Crewing, and minimal manning. Unfortunately, the powers that be could never get their minds around the idea that you needed a very robust shore training establishment to make it all work effectively. They would parrot the words but would never follow through will resources and people. Throw in the whole Revolution in Training fiasco at the same time LCS was starting and it was amazing to me the we haven’t had more incidents.

          • Duane

            Yup … if some people (LCS critics and trolls) think that a conventionally powered small surface ship is “too complicated” to operate, then what the heck have we been doing with extremely successful operations for over 60 years of nuke submarines, which are an order of magnitude more complicated to understand and operate than any conventional power plant, and with consequences of an eff-up being many orders of magnitude more disastrous?

      • Refguy

        Design-induced operator error.

        • Duane

          No – the Navy says “lack of training operator error”.

          The design of an LCS is unusual for most skimmers with a smaller crew requiring greater skill per crewmember, but very basic compared to say, a nuke submarine.

          The skimmer leaders, not coming from the Admiral Rickover school of “you can never screen, train, and drill your operators too much”, didn’t realize that they needed a better caliber of engineering crewmember than what passed for acceptable in the non-nuke skimmer fleet. They learned differently.

          By the way this is how all of our ships are going to be manned in the future – higher tech powerplants requiring better-screened, better trained engineering crews but much smaller than times past. This is how the Ford class carriers are designed and will operate, with about 1/3 less crew (not including air wing) than the older Nimitz designs.

          • Refguy

            Too complicated for the average operator IS design-induced operator error.

          • jonno

            In this case, no. It’s understood basic engineering procedure on ANY platform that you DON’T run the gears, or mostly any system for that matter, without lube oil. The EOSS/EOPs, even in its most earliest iteration for LCS, damn sure included that (we had the earlier written EOSS/EOPs at SWOS when I was going through as an LCS MPA). Sure the freedom variant is over-engineered for something that small, but complex beyond normal operation? Nope.

          • Refguy

            Agreed that you don’t operate machinery without lubrication, but how many people have grown up with devices that require you to turn on the lube system before you start the engine? I check the oil in an airplane as part of the preflight inspection, but in the absence of warning lights, I only check it monthly in my car, and modern transmisions don’t even have dipsticks. Other than scheduled maintence, anyone entering the service today has never had to check levels on anything.

          • Duane

            It’s called “following procedures”.

            In the nuke world, we don’t just twist a key or hit a “start button” to start up a nuke power plant. As a one-time nuke reactor operator in the fast attack fleet, I’ll let you in on a secret – we ROs had to get up very early, on the mid-watch, to conduct our “pre-crit” checks on all the reactor systems for an early morning reactor startup, while the forward pukes were happily sleeping off their pre-cruise drunks. The mechanics and electricians also had their pre-op checks to do hours before reactor startup. We all were given extensive checklists that we had to go through, one step at a time, initialing each step, then signing off the entire form, then handing it off to the duty engineering officer for his review and signature before he passed it off to the Engineer for his review and signature.

            For the actual plant startup, the first thing the EEOW does is open up the Reactor Plant Manual, go to the startup procedure, read it out loud and issue the appropriate orders to the operators, who repeated the orders and carried them out, and reported as each step was completed, before moving on to the next step. Fail to do any of the above and your butt is immediately out of the nuke program, whether officer or enlisted.

            So don’t tell me that it’s too much to expect of power plant operators to switch on the lube oil system before hitting the start button.

            It’s all a matter of crew selection (no dummies allowed), years of training (two minimum before we got out to a fleet boat including qualifying as prototype plant operators … plus another 6 to 12 months of watch station qualification before we were allowed to operate anything, and then even after full qualification being subject to intense supervision and oversight), and FOLLOWING PROCEDURE.

            If none of that sounds familiar or seems like overkill, then you’re probably a non-nuke skimmer sailor.

          • Refguy

            As you say, the nuke world is different and the average recruit (or civilian) couldn’t hack it. As far as that goes, DE submariners were different; there’s not much in the surface world that compares with not being not being able to surface if you screw up. Nuke guys are even more different. Not a skimmer; you apparently missed the part about preflight checks.
            My point was that if you are operating with a small crew of average people, you should keep it simple.

          • Duane

            I’m a licenced pilot and aircraft owner myself, over 40 years experience. Preflight checks on all private and commercial aircraft are nothing compared to pre-startup checks on nuke plants. For obvious reasons – nuke plants are far more complex than any airplane, and the consequences of a reactor failure extend not just to the people on board, but to surrounding populations and the environment.

            You don’t put small untrained crews of average people on a cutting edge, high tech vessel serving at the tip of the spear. Sorry, you don’t. LCS crews need to be like sub crews (nuke or otherwise) – the equivalent of Special Forces … carefully selected, highly trained, capable of taking on more responsibility than their age and rank would otherwise suggest, and reliable. Indeed, the Navy promotes the assignment of their best to LCS because, among other things, it allows people to take on more responsibility and become “elite”.

          • Refguy

            We agree that there is a mismatch between the technology and the crews. You seem to be saying that the crew and the Navy share the blame for inadequate skills (training and aptitude) – no argument there. I am trying to say that the LCS could be simpler and more Murphy-proof. For example, if cars won’t let you shift out of Park unless your foot is on the brake (simple pressure switch), it should be easy to put interlocks on the LCS to keep the crew from engaging any of the clutches when there’s no pressure in the lube system. I admit to ignorance about the procedures in the nuke community, but I assume that even with all of the training and procedures, there are still some interlocks or safety devices to Murphy-proof the plant. The challenge and response use of a checklist, which is standard in two-pilot aircraft (what you have described as start-up procedure for a reactor goes a bit farther) requires two fully qualified operators on every watch; is the crew on the LCS large enough to do that?

          • Duane

            Nope – dumbing down the LCS is not the solution …. then you no longer have an LCS, you have a 20th century warship trying to survive in the 21st century of warfare.

            Applying your theory of operations, we would never have developed nuclear submarines and carriers, because you also can’t dumb down nukes. We would never fly anything more complex than a Sopwith Camel, and so we’d be stuck with World War One aviation too.

            Really, it’s not hard at all to be selective in recruiting, training, and supporting small crews of highly capable sailors and officers. In the long run it’s far cheaper than being unselective of low capability sailors and officers … all you do with that is harm the capability of the force, you get more sailors killed, and you end up paying way more money for military pay and retirement for a large, incapable force than you pay for a small, highly capable force. It’s simple economics – of both the dollar kind and the human life kind.

            That’s why in the present and obviously in the future, unmanned systems – which are extraordinarily smart – are taking over many of the jobs of human crews and officers. Whether flying drones, UUVs, or simply adding more automation to manned ships like the LCS or the Ford class carriers (which needs only 2/3 as many crew as the Nimitz carriers – but they also have to be better trained and more capable)

          • Refguy

            The theory of minimum manning was that automation would make things easier for the crew, and thus require fewer people. Just like electronic fuel injection means driver don’t have to deal with things like choke, mixture, and spark advance the way they did in model T’s and A’s, it should go a long way toward Murphy-proofing the Plant. Your drone example points out that operators have to know LESS and require less training than Mav and Goose. USAF is training enlisted drone operators and spending a lot less time and money on training than they do for pilots.

          • Duane

            No – operating drones requires a great deal more brainpower than operating a boiler or linehandling ona ship, or serving as a rifleman in the infantry. Advanced technology requires fewer humans of greater capability. It is certainly NOT for the purpose of making any human’s job easier.

          • Refguy

            We may have a terminology disconnect with UAV and drone. If you are referring to something similar to an RC model with an optical sensor, it’s not that hard to fly and doesn’t have much tech and is operated by enlisted personnel. If you mean big things – Predator, Reaper, Global Hawk, X-47, Firehawk (border line between big and small) they have more tech, but aren’t that hard to fly. I don’t know if a Firehawk is harder to fly than a Seahawks, but any beyond-line-of-sight system is “flown” by transmitting GPS way points or simple commands like orbit point A at a ten-mile radius, or fly a left-hand racetrack between points B and C. Time latency in satellite relays will lead to PIO if normal stick-and-rudder piloting is attempted. Current USAF is to have enlisted personnel fly the small stuff but use rated pilots for the big stuff (as I noted previously, they are starting to train NCOs to operate the bigger birds). No matter what term USAF may use for it, the guys in trailers in Nevada are NOT actually flying anything in the skies over the midEast. That probably contributes to their retention problem; flying a 737 isn’t as much fun as mock dogfights with your wing man, but the view out the window is a lot better than staring at a computer screen and there’s just enough of a possibility of bad weather, slick runways and errant traffic to keep you awake. One more try at my car analogy: NASCAR has antique technology and its cars are hard to drive; S550, A8, 750ix have lots of technology and are (almost too) easy to drive (unless you want to change the radio station).

          • Duane

            How many Reapers or Global Hawks have you flown?

            Then how do you know “they are easy to fly”? You don’t, of course.

            So you want to try, with a straight face, to say that the average E-2 linehandler or black gang member on a non-nuke skimmer is equal to those who pilot our military drones? Or those who operate our UUVs for the Navy?

            Yeah, right. Get serious

          • Refguy

            I didn’t say any line-handler could fly them, just that inputting GPS waypoints from a trailer in Nevada doesn’t use stick-and-rudder skills and isn’t flying. In fact, time latency inherent in communications from halfway around the globe makes traditional piloting skills irrelevant. A reasonably bright, well disciplined high school grad can be trained to operate them in less time and for a lot less money than it takes to train an aviator. They also don’t need twenty:twenty vision and don’t have to be fit enough to tolerate high g maneuvers. These factors create a much larger pool of candidates than the traditional military pilot candidates. I also didn’t say E-2, or specify any rank; just that the Air Force is training some NCOs, which would exclude E-2’s. I’m sure there will be rigorous screening while USAF works out best practices. Don’t forget that all the services had enlisted pilots until the ’50’s; mostly E-6 and E-7, but I think there were a few E-5’s. BTW, i should have said Fire Scout, not Firehawk. I don’t know how the Navy selects Fire Scout operators, but DASH was flown by petty officers (don’t know if weapon release had to authorized by an officer).
            I’m also not a fan of elitism; if you’re good, you don’t have to put down other communities to prove it. The SWO community has gotten a lot of bad press over the years but I know some very talented, highly professional officers and petty officers. And submariners have not been immune to serious incidents like running aground entering harbor at Guam. Can you spell Greeneville?

          • Duane

            The military operators of our drones, whether ISR or attack, are highly competent highly trained well educated professionals, most being commissions officers. They have very challenging jobs – they are on the front lines of many of our battles, if not in body then certainly in mind, and when the you-know-what hits the fan, such as when an attack takes out innocents or causes “collateral damage” they are held responsible. Or when our soldiers on the ground desperately need air support when bad guys are threatening, these guys may be the only asset around to save American lives.

            You poo poo these operators from your safe armchair. You know not what you are talking about.

          • Refguy

            I never questioned their talent, training, competence or dedication. I said that what they do does not require the skills that are taught in flight school. We would be better served by training people who have the interests and altitudes that are required to operate drones and letting the pilots whom we have trained at great expense do what they love to do and what they thought they were signing up for – fly airplanes. The pilots and UAV operators would have more job satisfaction and better morale, there would fewer retention problems, and the taxpayers might get a better return on the investment in flight training.

          • Duane

            Flight school is easy, and drone operators are indeed taught how to fly the drone (duhh!!) – teaching someone how to fly a manned aircraft typically only takes 8 to 10 hours of dual instruction to get to solo, less than 50 hours of flight time to achieve a private pilot licence. I know – I got my pilots license 41 years ago, soloed in 8 hours, license in 42 hours. Been flying ever since, so don’t try to argue with me how hard it is to fly an airplane.

            I guarantee that our drone operators get many hundreds of hours of drone and mission training before they are allowed to fly missions. Again, the flying part is easy – it’s the mission part that’s challenging, because you are dealing with other people’s lives on the line.

          • Refguy

            Our experiences in general aviation don’t compare to to the training command. They used to (maybe still do) solo with fewer hours than we did – selected for fitness and aptitude, and if you took too long to solo you washed out- but it takes close to a year for them to get to a RAG/FRS. They come out of training with the equivalent of a commercial with an instrument rating (yes I know you can’t get a commercial without an instrument rating today, but that wasn’t true when we started) plus aerobatics and physiological training for high-g/high-altitude flight. None of that is required to operate drones and is the reason I think using military pilots to operate drones is a waste of very expensive training. Drone operators may get nearly as much training as aviators, but it’s different training and should lead to different career paths.
            On a more personal note, I didn’t get a license and join a flying club so I could play with Microsoft flight simulator on a computer, I did it so I could “slip the surly bonds of earth….”

          • Duane

            Too complicated for the average skimmer sailor, quite possibly. Just as the average skimmer sailor would never make it on nuke subs … which is why the Navy nuke program always set much higher standards for selection of both officers and enlisted than the non-nuke skimmer side of the Navy.

            Just like the Papa John’s tag line – “Better ingredients make better pizza” – then “Better officers and crew make better warships”.

          • Secundius

            If having “Mono and Diglyceride, partially hydrogenated Soybean Oil and the preservatives Sodium Benzoate Calcium Disodium EDTA” is considered “Fresh”, than Papa John’s Pizza is “No Fresher” than Anybody Elses…

      • E1 Kabong

        “…the best armed such small combatant in the world…”?

        Have you seen the Israeli, Swedish, Italian, Singapore, etc. navies and the ships they use?

        I suspect not….

        • Duane

          No other nation on earth other than Saudi Arabia, which bought a customized LCS, has the equivalent of a Littoral Combat Ship,. They do not exist.

          You must be talking about non-littoral combat ships, like the frigates and corvettes that ignorant commenters like you who presume are equivalent to the LCS. They are not, not even a little bit close.

          • Aubrey

            I would suggest you buy a copy of USNI’s guide to combat fleets around the world. Corvette’s aren’t exactly a new thing…

          • Duane

            I didn’t say corvettes or frigates are “new things” – they are very old things, going back to the days of sail.

            But a lot of folks try to pretend that we don’t need LCS we only need frigates and corvettes – and that is dumb, extremely dumb. That is like saying we have aircraft carriers, so we don’t need submarines. Or that we have oilers, so we don’t need destroyers. Apples and oranges all the way. A frigate or corvette simply cannot perform the missions of the LCS – they cannot even get into the shallow waters that the LCS easily sails through. The Freedom class draws only 12.5 feet, vs. 22 feet for the FFG-7 class. The LCS is far faster at 44 knots – a huge factor in chasing down fast boats in the littoral – while the FFG-7 can do only 29 knots. The LCS has vastly better high speed fires for taking on small boat swarms (220 rpm from both the 57mm and the two 30mm guns – vs only 85 rpm on the Perry’s single 76 mm gun. And the LCS has large open spaces for housing its many RIBs for both interdiction work as well as Special Ops insertions, as well as the unmanned MCM vessels, which the FFG-7 class doesn’t have. The FFG-7 is a fine frigate class – but it makes a terrible LCS.

          • Refguy

            Why are we chasing down fast boats in the littoral? They can’t outrun guns and missiles and helos. And if they’re really fast, 44 knots isn’t enough.

          • Duane

            Thats what we do in the littorals. Chase down bad guys in fast maneuverable boats with a fast maneuverable warship. Being slow makes you a target, not the targeter.

          • Refguy

            If you want to chase down fast maneuverable boats, a 44-knot, 2700-ton ship is too big and too slow. It also draws too much water. Your choices are a cigarette or a helicopter. But why chase it down instead of sinking it?

          • Duane

            The LCS does many things … it’s also bigger than 2,700 tons (3,500 long tons). A cigarette boat doesn’t do anything but go fast. The LCS carries MH-60R as well as a MQ-8 Fire Scout rotary wing drone … it does interdiction, Special Ops insertions, surface warfare, ASW, presence operations … and when the MCM module is ready in 3 years, also mine countermeasures. Drawing only 12.5 ft (10 feet less than an FFG) it can get into many hundreds more ports than can blue water ships.

          • Refguy

            I used the average displacement of the two classes as presented in Polmar’s book. Maybe standard as opposed to full load? In any event, if 2700 is too big, 3500 doesn’t make it any better. Yes it does (or tries to do) more (too much more?), but if you have a helo you don’t have to chase down speed boats. Other than the helo, what ASW capability does it have? What surface warfare capability does it have? Can it go toe-to-toe with 3500-ton ships from other navies? Or use its 44-knot speed to outrun anti-ship missiles? And how realistic is it to expect MCM modules to be deployed in three years (and what is the reduction in other capabilities when the module is installed?)? My understanding is that the latest plan is to install Mission Modules permanently, so once you put an MCM module on a ship, it becomes a 44-knot mine sweeper for the rest of its service life.

          • Oskar

            Carriers are useful, also.

            So are corvettes, FAC’s and frigates.

            LCS? Not so much…

          • Secundius

            In 2010, off the Columbia’s Coast (LCS-1) USS. Freedom made history by make at least Four Drug Busts in a 47 Day period. Seizing a total 5-1/4-tons of Cocaine, at least one of them by Out-Running to Go-Fast it was Chasing. Go-Fast “Skipper” was required to Dump ~500-kilo’s to Lighten its Boats Weight to get away from USS Freedom. An “Unofficial” Speed Record of ~47.5-knots was made, but because it wasn’t part of “Freedom’s” Tests. The Speed Record wasn’t part of the Official Record in the Ship’s Log…

          • Refguy

            The Army gives MRAPs to local police departments; maybe the Navy can transfer LCSs to DEA.

          • Secundius

            They could also give them to the USCG too? But I don’t see ANYONE either in Congress or the US Navy making an Effort to do so…

          • Marjus Plaku

            LMAO bro

          • old guy

            Not to be contentious, but the PHM hydrofoils could easily do an unofficial 55knots, steady . On one easy run, in a SS4, Capt Frank Horn (Squadron Commodore) did 61 knots for an hour.
            If you really want speed, the SES-100b did 88 knots all over the gulf with CNO Zumwalt aboard, and fired a vertically-launched SM-2 at 60 knots and hit a static target. It made the cover of Aviation Week. I was aboard the chaseboat (dammit)

          • Refguy

            I remember some of those events; my former employer lost the PHM competition to Boeing.

          • Oskar

            LMAO!!!!

            Corvettes…..FAC’s…… Helicopters….Anti-ship missiles….

          • Oskar

            Why do you pretend to know about this subject?

            What EXACTLY is the role of your precious LCS?

            Ever hear of a corvette? FAC?

          • Duane

            Apparently I know a world’s worth more than you.

            Rather than me repeating this over and over again .. just go to the Navy’s own Littoral Combat Ship page on the internet – they explain it so that even the special slow ones like you can understand it.

          • Oskar

            Keep squirming…..

            Ignorant commenters like you who presume corvettes, patrol craft and FAC’s, are NOT the equivalent to the LCS.

            They are quite better than your white whale LCS’s…..

            What EXACTLY is the mission and role of those LCS’s?

            Now, ask an adult to show you what corvettes, patrol craft, FAC’s, etc, do.

          • Duane

            A corvette is a very small, very slow escort vessel with minimal ASW capability .. it does nothing else.

            A patrol craft patrols.

            A LCS performs surface warfare in the littoral – against small boat swarms, UAV swarms using its rapid fire 57mm gun with guided “one shot, one kill” munitions plus two 30mm guns and four 50 cals, plus a 24-cell Hellfire vertical launch system, plus a SEARAM anti-missile targeting tracking and destruction system, and the ability to kill large surface combatants (using our Harpoon and NSM anti-ship missiles now, and in about two years the 350-nm range LRASM ASM);

            The LCS also performs ASW at a very high level, far better than any corvette ever could have imagined, with its own multiple ASW assets including variable depth towed array sonar, anti-torpedo countermeasures system, periscope sighting system, lightweight torpedoes (MK 46 and 54), MH-60R ASW helicopter with sono-buoys and air-dropped lightweight torpedoes, and MQ-8 Sea Scout drone chopper with remote sensors and air dropped lightweight torpedoes;

            And of course (beginning in 2020) the LCW will deploy the worlds only remotely-operated semi-autonomous mine countermeasures system, including remotely operated minehunting with a new mine-sensing sonar system, remotely operated semi-autonomous minesweeping system, and airborne mine destruction via the 30mm gun on the MH-60R.

            And your point is?

      • Hugh

        Any consideration of installing a version of the CEA radar used on the RAN frigates?

        • Duane

          I don’t know the answer to that. Some in the Navy are now suggesting the new frigates should be full AEGIS equipped for anti-air work, to provide a shield for other vessels. I am not convinced that makes any practical sense at all. For one, we already have 67 Arleigh Burkes with AEGIS, plus our AEGIS missile cruisers. We are unlikely to see concentrated air attacks using ASBMs on small vessels outside of the carrier attack groups. The missiles are too expensive to waste on smaller ships when the real objective of the enemy is to break through the screens and disable our CVNs. Adding AEGIS greatly increases the expense and complexity of the FFG. Frankly, if we’re going to go AEGIS, just build more Arleigh Burkes, which can carry a much bigger punch than can any FFG, just due to the larger hull size.

    • USNVO

      Not exactly.
      Neither class has screws in the traditional sense. Both classes are propelled by 4 water jets. The drive system is not especially complicated but it is different than anything the Navy (or commercial industry for that matter at the power levels used) has ever done. So there are problems which are compounded by lack of training/experience. We saw similiar issues on gas turbine ships when they first entered service (And diesel systems, and steam turbines, and reciprocating steam, etc.).

      For there intended missions, the LCS is appropriately armed (better than anything they are replacing, yes even the FFxG-7 patrol ships) and very similiar to similiar ships in other Navies. It is only when you try to make them something they were never intended to be that they are insufficiently armed.

      • JohnQTaxPayer66

        The OHP FFG was also a single screw design and did well.

        • USNVO

          Yes, but both LCS are not, they have 4 water jets which means four shafts and 4 impellers. The problem is not combining the output into one shaft (well know, understood) it is splitting the power into multiple shafts (not well known). It also helps when people follow EOS and don’t violate basic engineering practices. And my personal bias, when the USN is not stupid enough to install POS IF Diesel engines, even if only as a SSDG, that is just idiotic.

          • Al L.

            Freedom class have a combining gear arrangement with 2 diesels and 2 turbines connected to 4 waterjets because only 2 of the jets are steerable. Indy ships have 4 engines each connected by a shaft to a single steerable jet. There are no screws or rudders on either ship.

          • Secundius

            No exactly true in the case of the Independence class! The Independence is also equipped with a Retractable Bow Mounted Azipod Thruster for Extremely Tight Maneuvering. Which More or Less acts as a Rudder and acts as an Emergency Propulsion system when needed, otherwise its used as “Bootleg Turn” (a complete 180 on the “Fly”)…

          • Al L.

            I was talking main propulsion but yes the Indys have 5 complete separate power trains including a screw on a bow drive. The Freedoms have 2 power trains.

  • Duane

    Glad to see the Navy taking this approach, rather than trying to force-fit the LCS design into a frigate mold. The requirements for the two ship types are similar only in that both are relatively small surface combatants, compared our AEGIS destroyers. Best to start with a clean sheet design rather than a make do design.

  • Jffourquet

    An interim frigate base on the national security cutter or Spruance class destroyer maye be a good starting point until a clean sheet frigate can be designed. These interim frigates can be built at arate of two a year until the clean sheet design is ready for production. In the mean time reclassify the LCS ships as off shore patrol vessels. Equip them w/ 57mm and 30mm guns, Searam, Hellfire missiles and the mine warfare module. This gives the navy ships for chasing pirates, presence missions and mine warfare.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      I assume you mean Burke not Spruance, as they stopped building them 30 years ago.

    • tpharwell

      “In the meantime” ? This is what the Navy has been trying to do with the LCS program since its inception, fifteen years ago. And the ships are fit for none of these things, since as you may not fully appreciate, chasing pirates requires in addition to speed, long loiter time on station, and the ability to return to port.

      • Jffourquet

        Then the LCD is completely useless.

        • Duane

          BS

          • Jffourquet

            You are right the LCS is BS

          • Duane

            No – your statement is BS.

      • Secundius

        The US Navy NEVER ordered the “Freedom” class! President George W. Bush did in 2003. It was the results of a FAILED Sale in 2000 to the Israeli Navy as a Light Destroyer. The Israeli were only willing to Pay 2/3rds the Projected Cost of ~$450-Million USD/Ship…

        • Duane

          BS.. Presidents don’t “order ships”. Presidents don’t get involved in procurement at all. That’s nuts.

          The Navy makes requests for funding, and then Congress authorizes funds for each specific purchase of a given vessel, aircraft or other weapons system. The Navy determines the contracting. The LCS was always viewed as a two-platform competition, with an eventual decision to go with a single platform envisioned based upon both cost and field performance.

          Current contract cost today for a Freedom class LCS is $348M, with the mission modules (from other sources) varying in cost between $17M (SuW) to about $100M (MCM) – the average module cost across all three modules being $67M. That’s in 2017 dollars, not 2003.

          • Secundius

            In 2000, Israeli Cancelled the “Fredom” (Freedom) class Light Destroyer contract with the United States over Cost Issues. SecDef Donald Rumsfeld sold the the Idea to President George W. Bush in 2001. Who Intern Sold the Idea to the US Congress in 2003, who Intern Funded the class in 2004…

          • Duane

            So a lot of people talked to each other. What else do you have to report?

            Ultimately it’s Congress that makes the funding decisions, all 535 of them. In all matters Federal. That’s how our government works. Herding cats is much easier than getting 535 independently elected Congressmen to do any thing. Just ask all our Presidents who’ve served. Bush didn’t even have GOP control of the Senate in those days – not til 2003.

          • Secundius

            H.R. 2658/Pub.L.108-87: the Defense Appropriations Act of 2003-2004, passed the US. Hse.of Rep. in 24 September 2003 with a 407 to 15 Vote (Supermajority, aka Presidential Veto Proof) and passed the US. Senate in 24 September 2003 with a 95 to 0 Vote (Supermajority, aka Presidential Veto Proof). That’s when BOTH the Democrats and Republicans were Working Together. Founding of the Tea Party WASN’T until 12 September 2009, when the Party of “CHAOS” came along and Destroyed the American Political System…

          • Duane

            So the entire United States Government officially made the decision to authorize development of the LCS class of ships using two competing hull designs.

            My point exactly. We are not a kingdom, so we don’t have kings.

  • RobM1981

    Maybe Bayliner can submit a bid…

    OK, kidding aside: it’s nice to see someone at the Navy finally waking up.

  • Secundius

    Get use to it?/! The “LCS” design ISN’T simply go away because you “Wish It” too or “Want It” too. Most likely outcome will be “More of Them” NOT “Less”. There “Cheaper and Faster” to build and “Easier” to crew…

    • JohnQTaxPayer66

      Man the PAO office at Navsea working through lunch, how many weeks in advance did it take to get that approved?

      • Secundius

        Sorry, I would like to Answer your Question! But I’ve been told by the USNI News “Fo-Police” that my Comment is about to be “Redacted” as Soon as I Hit the Enter Key…

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    Nostalgia for ships that look like ships

  • James B.

    To be a value-add to the fleet, any FF design needs to do something that an existing type cannot.

    The frigate will never be able to compete against CGs and DDGs in the anti-air, land-attack, or anti-surface roles, because of the massive VLS on the bigger ships. Trying would be a waste of time.

    The USN has such a dearth of MCM assets that the LCS/FF might be useful, but only in situations where the barely-armed ship didn’t also need to defend itself from non-mine threats. I much prefer building additional short-deck amphibs for the mine countermeasures support role; aside from high speed, they have everything the LCS has, but much more of it.

    A useful ASW frigate could probably be fashioned by adding cells for VL-ASROC and carrying helicopters.

    Done. Don’t build a lousy “multirole” frigate, just build a classic antisubmarine escort ship, which we do need against near-peer competitors.

    • airider

      Valid points. Here’s what we have now though. If we put in VL-ASROC, we have VL for other weapons options as well by default. The last ships that had VL without Aegis were the DD-963’s to include the Kidd-class. DD-963 didn’t really have a combat system (unless you count the TAO barking to the OS’s, GM’s, ST’s, and FC’s as a combat system). The Kidd’s actually had a decent design with the AN/SYS-2. But all of that is gone now.

      So if we pick a hull that can handle VL, has the crew and endurance to support ASW ops and has a variant of the Aegis Combat System installed (because the only other option on the US side is SSDS), we really have a multi-role frigate simply because any variant of Aegis and VL support multi-role already. The big pieces of the puzzle to decide on, and where the trade space in the cost of the ship will lay, is in the HM&E and the Sensors installed.

      That’s where the Navy will likely need to do most of the work to figure out what brings the capability needed at a price we can afford.

      • Secundius

        A “Bolt-On” Mk. 141 Lightweight Launcher, is classified as a Vertical Launcher…

        • airider

          LOL…okay. Then I guess we can call the Mk 143’s VL as well.

          • Secundius

            Yeah, but the Mk. 141 weighs ~13,000-pounds and the Mk. 143 ~57,320-pounds…

          • airider

            I think we’re kind of saying the same thing. The advantage of Mk-41 ultimately is the weapons flexibility and maximizing the number of weapons vs topside area utilization. Unless you are 100% vertical, the topside area is not optimized. A 4-can Mk 141 uses the same amount of topside area as 8 Mk 41 cells.

          • Secundius

            One “Exception” to the “Visual Illusion”!/? Mk. 141’s are Bolted to the Hull Deck (Moveable) and Mk. 41’s are Mounted “Inside” the Hull Deck (Permanent)…

      • James B.

        A VLS-equipped frigate with a combat system would still be short major hardware components needed to be a serious multirole vessel, just based on the size of the hull.

        I figure 8 VLS cells can be added in space freed up by removing the 57mm gun, which is a good trade, but still not many cells. They would probably not be Tomahawk-length cells, probably only good for VL-ASROC, ESSM, a future VL-ASCM, and possibly SM-2.

        Fitting an SPY-1 or similar phased array on the existing LCS hulls would require major redesign to free up space and weight in the superstructure, so that probably isn’t happening soon.

        With 4-6 VL-ASROC and 8-16 ESSM, a frigate could be a productive ASW escort and have modest self-defense, but I don’t see an area air-defense role, land-attack, or a anti-ship capability beyond that available in existing ships.

        • airider

          Totally agree. Wasn’t thinking of the LCS variants…was thinking of using a different hull design. LCS is a poor design for these types of upgrades…regardless of what the artist renderings and models shows. Even if the venders can figure out how to make this all fit, the result will be in essence a new ship based on all the mods required.

          Analogous to an F/A-18 A-D Hornet vs. a F/A-18 E-G Super Hornet.

          When folks say “FFG”, I assume we’re not going down the LCS hull path.

    • old guy

      I previoudly stated that a good use for HUNK-A-JUNK is minelayer/sweepe.r

  • vincedc

    Ten more years and several billion dollars to develop a clean sheet design. Instead of listening to politicians and think tanks, maybe we should ask the Navy what they need.

  • old guy

    The FFG-7s that are in the reserve fleet are in good shape and could be refurbished and upgraded easily (look at Spanish F81 class.) No need for new hulls. except for SWIPE program.

    • Secundius

      As of April 2013, their are “Only” 12. Eight at Philadelphia, three at Bremerton and one at Pearl Harbor. As of 2017, disposition of class is unknown! Trying to get Reliable Figures, is like “Pulling Teeth”. Nearly Impossible…

      • old guy

        If we only could find a SECNAV with the correct male artifacts, he (or she) could ask the deep, philosophical question,”WHY NOT?” when blather about hulls are cheap, its the equipment. Actually it the great SWIPE program that keeps ship costs high. Remember, MEKOS cost 60% of what a later FFG-7 cost (remember the Navy’s “forgetting curve.”

        • Secundius

          You could under Part II of the “Jones” Act buy a “Bareboat” design (Hull and Superstructure “Only”). Get a “Lift-Ship”, transport the “Bareboats” here to the USA and “Fit Them Out” Here in the USA. But I don’t know what the “Time Constraints” are for such a venture…

    • Marjus Plaku

      Don’t remind me of this sore point as every time I drive by the Philly Navy Yard on I-95 and see the majestic and still usable early Ticos laid up and wasting away pier side it’s upsetting. The battle Es still full of color and visible on the bridge wings. No doubt they should have been modified and upgraded and still actively serving today. Everyone knows we need more ships out on patrol/deployment.

  • Oskar

    LOL!

    “I reference the official US Navy position.”?

    No, you have NOT.

    You spew uneducated blather, in a vain attempt to look intelligent.

    It FAILED.

    You pretend you know more than the US Navy knows.

    Not hardly.

  • Ed L

    I still believe the Huntington NSC design with the 4 variations they offer. Is the best bet

    • Secundius

      Unfortunately by act of the US Congress (and for NO Particular Reason). The Frigate Replacement Competition of 2018 got “Pushed-Back” to 2020. Great News for the Promised 355-Ship US. Navy…

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Disregard..

    • Secundius

      Tell me about it? Four of Mine are STILL “Awaiting” Moderators Review before posting…

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    Ships should look like ships

    • Secundius

      And “WHAT” Look is that?/! We (the World) STILL have Wooden Sailing Ships in the 21st Century…

      • Gen. Buck Turgidson

        Stick to your video games or your prious,,latest Iphone etc,,”we are the world”,,dated socialism,,

        • Secundius

          I don’t play “Video Games”…

  • Secundius

    for anyone that wants to know:

    Military. com website dated 28 April 2017, that US Senate is asking SecDef Mattis to Order More “Littoral Combat Ships”…