Home » News & Analysis » Navy Provides Details Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado Missile Test, Future LCS Deployments


Navy Provides Details Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado Missile Test, Future LCS Deployments

USS Coronado (LCS-4) moors in Cam Ranh Bay during Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam 2017. US Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR — The Tuesday firing of the Harpoon Block 1C missile off the coast of Guam by the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) formed a significant milestone as it demonstrated the LCS’s capabilities that are not possessed by other ships, in particular, its integrated air detachment and the ship’s inherent modular capabilities Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, the head of Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73, told USNI News on Friday.

Gabrielson added that the firing was also a demonstration of the modularity of the LCS, “What I really want to emphasize is the modularity of the Littoral Combat ship deployed here, this could have been any missile or UAV/helicopter combination that had the right fit for the LCS, it shows that we can get these systems on the ship in very short order, get them aboard the ship in short order and put them to work. It’s the only small combatant in the world that has that kind of flexibility in terms of modularity and we think it’s very important from that perspective as milestone for the program.”

He said the firing showed the teamwork between the LCS and the air combat team, “there were two aviation vehicles as well as the ship to conduct a long distance over the horizon missile shot”. The two aviation assets were an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial system and an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, both part of Coronado’s rotary-wing air detachment, provided targeting support for the harpoon missile.

Gabrielson declined to give details on the type of target engaged by Coronado save to say that the target was a representative surface target that was tactically relevant. Asked on the next steps for Coronado following the firing, he said “LCS continues along the process of demonstrating its value and we’ll continue the tactics, techniques and procedures for that ship in the vast regional littorals” adding as an example of the vastness of the region, that if one draws an arc from the Philippines to Sri Lanka, there are over 50,000 islands in that arc in which the LCS would have to operate in. He also pointed out if the current location of the LCS in Guam was taken into that arc, it would be a 6,200 mile radius in which the LCS is currently operating in very relevant ways from both a combat and theatre security cooperation aspect.

He stated that Coronado will have an active activity schedule prior to her departure from the region close to the end of the year including the Sri Lankan and Indonesian phases of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises and a number of other events currently being planned.

On the future deployments to two LCS slated for 2018 and as to whether both ships would arrive in Singapore simultaneously or separately, Gabrielson said the specific arrival dates were still being planned and worked on.

Summing up the Coronado’s activities, Gabrielson stated that Coronado has been operating through out its deployment arc and has contributed to exercises and engagements held with multiple different nations in the region, “it seems like they are everywhere”, he said. He also stated that Coronado has also carried out anti-piracy operations and national level tasking along with performing expeditionary maintenance operation to demonstrate the ability to support the ship in other locations beyond Singapore, “ because of the modularity in the systems and the people, the ship is proficient in many different techniques and tools, and they are flexible to used in many different kinds of operations”.

  • Lazarus

    LCS continues to mature in capability and operations. This is what former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work predicted in 2013.

    • DaSaint

      Agreed. Properly equipped, quantity has a quality all its own, particularly when they can then allow DDGs and CGs higher-profile AAW and BMD deployments.

      Would have liked to see video of the actual missile hit. Hopefully these ships will be up-gunned as soon as possible.

      • Desplanes

        I agree with your point about quality.

        3 dozen steel hull FFGs, with ESSMs, Harpoons and a helo would be of much greater value to the fleet than these frigate-priced corvettes.

        • DaSaint

          Sure will. And it will take 25+ years to achieve that, or something similar.

          And until then…an interim solution must be acknowledged until we get there, right?

          • Desplanes

            Absolutely. We have to use what we have.

            Unfortunately, for the LCS crews, the enemies they shoot at will shoot back and that’s where the difference between an LCS and something specced to higher standards will become apparent.

          • Duane

            LCS use our best close in anti-ASM system – the same one we put on the $13B Ford – the SeaRam.

          • DaSaint

            That’s actually a pretty good response Duane. The LCS just needs additional weaponry, sensors, and additional crew to make them as capable as they should have been envisioned.

          • Duane

            Thanks, DaSaint – yes, a lot has changed since the early 2000s when LCS was authorized. Both in terms of potential enemy capabilities, and in terms of learning how to operate this ship class that represents a very large departure from 20th century small surface combatant design and capabilities.

          • BlueSky47

            your right Duane-y, a lot has changed, the enemy is no longer a flotilla of rubber dingies in the Persian gulf (funny how that massive threat never materialized), now the enemy are Frigates, high speed missile boats, stealth aircraft, submarines, etc-the real deal.

          • Duane

            Buzz off troll.

          • BlueSky47

            I guess my logic is really getting to you eh Duane-y?

          • Duane

            You think you are getting me. I couldn’t possibly care less whether you live or die, let alone what you write. But you are demeaning this comment board with your endless asinine juvenile trolling. If the moderators here have any sense they will ban you.

          • ElmCityAle

            SeaRAM has advantage of local radar detection, but smaller capacity (11 cells vs. 21 cells in the Mk-144 launcher). If the navy won’t consider installation of a small ESSM system (mk 56 VLS and illuminator unit), perhaps installation of an additional RAM launcher covering the front of the ships would be at least a small improvement. Can’t bet on your enemy being nice enough to shoot from the sides and rear.

          • Duane

            ESSM has longer range because it is designed to protect not just own ship, but the the CVN that steams at the heart of a carrier strike group.

            11 cells is plenty enough to protect a single LCS. There is this weird hypothetical perception that foreign navies are going to launch dozens of very expensive long range ASMs (costing millions per copy) at a single LCS. That is not a realistic scenario. The Ford CVN carries exactly two SeaRam mounts. On a ship that is 20 times more valuable than a small frigate-sized warship, and much more than 20 times more dangerous to the enemy, and that is not even considering the value of the ABs and Ticos that protect the big deck carrier in a carrier strike group. No – the enemy is not going to devote large salvos of ASMs at the lowly frigate/LCS, they are going to devote them to higher value targets.

            And keep in mind, the LCS is also part of a much larger network, called NIFCCA, that involves other ships, aircraft (manned and unmanned, ISR and attack aircraft, and arsenal aircraft like the B1B) and even land based assets that sense targets, track enemy missiles and aircraft, and are capable of launching attacks from shared sensor data.

          • BlueSky47

            yep, a single layer of last ditch defence, so what you’re saying Duane-y is that when the LCS has multiple antiship missiles inbound, it’s best that the crew jumps overboard quickly-lest they blow to bits. What you seem to forget Duane-y is that the carriers have Sea sparrow, RAM, and Phalenx along with the top of the line radar and EW suite, along with a screen of Destroyer and Cruisers.

          • Duane

            No – you don’t understand air defenses at all, and the difference between point defense and area air defense.

            SeaRam is own ship’s, “point air defense”. ESSM and AEGIS-directed fires of SM-3 and SM-6 are “area air defense systems”, designed to protect either CVNs or adjacent airspace over lands to be protected. That’s why those weapons have longer range. Phalanx is inferior to SeaRam as point defense, SeaRam is a large upgrade over Phalanx designed to take down supersonic ASMs.

          • BlueSky47

            Duane-y, you’ll not always going to have a big daddly destroyer around to protect you little precious LCS. What happens when the LCS is facing off against a couple Chinese missile boats, are you going to call “time-out?”

          • Duane

            Your trolling is incessant.

          • BlueSky47

            and your ‘loving on’ the LCS is grotesque, you have created this make believe world where the LCS is a mightly warship, able to do anything, and no enemy would dare challenge it. Well, my little friend, the world and especially war are cruel places, and reality doesn’t care about power point warships like the LCS. Only the strong systems and ships will survive when the shooting starts, and unfortunately, a lot of sailors, who are on LCS, will lose their lives.

          • DaSaint

            You still haven’t articulated a solution. You’ve repeated a problem.

            Let’s try this again. What do you propose as a solution for the 30 vessels already in service, launched, under construction, or funded. I’m looking for your proposed solution. We get the fact that the FFG(X) is down the road. I’m talking about between now…and then.

            Keep in mind that our MCM vessels are basically unarmed, and are liable to be targets. Keep in mind that our PCs are lightly armed, and are always likely to be targets. Keep in mind that our support vessels are unarmed, and will also likely to be targets. And ALL those crews are in effect at risk as are the crews of the LCS which you’ve pointed out.

            So there has to be an interim solution…right?

        • Duane

          Wrong on every single thing you wrote. Corvettes are half the size of an LCS (less than 2,000 tons vs. 4,000 tons), frigates are MUCH more expensive than LCS (currently cost less than 500M with module, vs. a minimum of $800M for a bare-bones FFG to well over $1.5B if the Navy elects to put area air defense on the new FFG. LCS deploys TWO helos and has the largest flight deck and hangar of any non-aircraft carrier in the fleet.

          • Desplanes

            Thanks for straightening me out Duane.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I don’t think you’re numbers are accurate. Based on the FY18 Budget request the baseline LCS cost is $636m and total cost with module (Outfitting and Post Delivery) is $832m.
            Looking forward the total cost for the LCS per year is FY19 $758m ($956 outfitted), FY20 $1.2B(1.36b), FY21 1.15B(1.28B) and FY22(2 ships) 1.03B(1.09B)

          • Duane

            Current contracted cost, 10 ship block buy, by LM for the Freedom class is $360M (average across all 10 hulls). Modules range in cost from $17M (SuW) to $67M (ASW) to $100M (MCM), per DOD data. The $1.2B figure from current draft NDAA (national defense authorization act) is for TWO LCS (one each of Freedom and Independence class) with modules and spares/sustainment.

          • BlueSky47

            Duane-y, cost effective (value) implies ‘capability.’ So no matter how cheap??? (but it’s not cheap-it’s expensive) the LCS ultimately is, it will never be cost-effective simply because it’s NOT a warship, it has zero real capabilities that matter. The only thing it can do when the shooting starts is to run away (at least until it quickly runs out of fuel or breaks down

    • James B.

      The LCS did not break down, which I guess counts as maturation, given past history. Capabilities-wise, the LCS has now reached the level I’d expect from any ship with a flight deck and the space to bolt on Harpoons. Plenty of military aircraft also possess this level of antiship capability, so it’s far from the fastest or cheapest way to deliver Harpoons.

      There are two solutions to the LCS solution: the first is enthusiastic self-deception; the second is a humble admission that the design has topped out, and there is no practical way to make them anything more than the light helicopter carriers they are, so quit trying.

      • Duane

        There is no problem to be solved. The engineering issues – which were always minor anyway, nobody was killed, no ships were taken out of action, no multi-hundred million shipyard repair jobs were needed – were investigated and determined to be caused by training and crewing, both of which were revised and no further issues have arisen.

        Their bigger sister ships most certainly do have a very big problem to be resolved,

        • airider

          Doesn’t look like anything on the bigger ships (LCS is not a sister of a DDG in any way, shape, or form) has to do with engineering either. So what are you hinting at?

          All I know is I’d hate to be a crew member on an LCS when a merchant that size hits it. Keep your PFD close by shipmates …

          • Duane

            I’m not hinting at anything. The dedicated small cadre of LCS trolls incessantly troll that the LCS is a defective warship. No, it’s not. The engineering casualties were not the fault of the hardware, it was the fault of defective training and crew management policies – both of which were corrected last year, end of story, no more engineering casualties. Similarly, it is 100% assured that the issues with ABs and Ticos running aground and running into slow moving merchant ships in open water has little to nothing to do with hardware – it is some combination (to be determined) of human error, in the form of poor command (as was determined in the Antietem grounding), poor training, and poor crew management. Even if the steering gear on the McCain failed, the ship has multiple backup systems and emergency procedures to deal with a steering failure – so if a failure occurred, it still should not have resulted in a collision.

            It’s not magic or difficult to understand if you’ve ever served on an actual ship. Even when material problems arise, it is extremely unlikely that a materiel issue alone would be the cause of an incident. Properly crewed, commanded and trained personnel know how to deal with material issues.

          • LowObservable

            While I have no great love for it, I agree it always seems to be the same people.

        • BlueSky47

          Duane-y, we’re all beginning to think you have some type of fetish for the LCS. Nothing else explains your rantings

          • Duane

            What you call my “rantings” is the official position of the US Navy. You don’t like it, call up CNO and express your dissatisfaction.

    • BlueSky47

      Bob Work was a ‘real piece of work’ Very thankful he’s gone

    • El Kabong

      Yup, no rush….

      • PolicyWonk

        Definitely no rush – the Cyclone-class PC’s are already doing the job of the LCS fleet in the Persian Gulf.

        • El Kabong

          They’ll probably outlast them.

        • ElmCityAle

          Must be some seriously skilled piloting to land the MH-60 on those Cyclones – I’d like to see that video!

          • PolicyWonk

            Heh – you don’t have to spend over $500M to build a reliable and tough sea-frame, that an SH-60 can land on. Instead, we’re spending that kinda money (each) on notoriously unreliable, and weak sea-frames that lack room for growth.

    • airider

      Keep spewing that rhetoric Laz….Bob Work knew exactly what his words and actions would do. Where he’s landed post DEPSECDEF speaks volumes to that.

  • PolicyWonk

    Wow – while its nice that it worked, this gushing report simply isn’t impressive, because a Harpoon launcher could’ve been mounted on a barge, or tramp steamer, or any old sea frame large enough at a fraction of the cost (as could the drone they used). LCS is, and remains, an appalling waste of taxpayer funds.

    I still don’t know why the denizens of the LCS program office haven’t been prosecuted for defrauding the taxpayers after former CNO Adm Greenert declared that the “littoral combat ship” was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat” in an interview on Breaking Defense. A very fast/hyper-expensive utility ship of dubious value never would’ve been funded – so they LIED and called it “littoral combat ship” – yet this nation is still without a real littoral combat platform.

    I would speculate that the only reason why this charming feature is not on other ships (many of which have room for growth) is because naval combatants don’t need to hack a solution together that would prove mostly unusable against a real naval opponent if the shooting ever really started.

    The real problem with this miserable and obvious corporate welfare program, is that the navy is stuck with these slightly better than commercial-grade sea frames after wasting $36B. They have no choice but to use them, thereby intentionally risking the lives of their crews who are all too aware of the fact that other navies ships of similar (and smaller) tonnage are vastly better armed and protected, despite their near worthlessness.

    One would hope, that these so-called “littoral combat ships” are manned by volunteers, who are given hazardous duty pay.

    • Marauder 2048

      “I would speculate that the only reason why this charming feature is not on other ships (many of which have room for growth) is because naval combatants don’t need to hack a solution together that would prove mostly unusable against a real naval opponent if the shooting ever really started.”

      The pronounced lack of organic, ship-based OTH targeting capability is a major concern and why you see Navy investing in things like TERN. That this was done first on LCS isn’t surprising.

      Also, where can I find the full quotation from Greenert? He did resign in disgrace but I’m curious as to what he actually said.

      • PolicyWonk

        The interview may still be available on Breaking Defense Dot Com. When I read that interview and came across that statement, I (seriously) had to read it 3 or 4 times, because you just can’t make that kind of (insert expletive here) up.

      • Duane

        No ship based surface search radar has long range capability. The long range radars on the DDGs and CGs are air search, for purposes of area air defense via AEGIS.

        So if a DDG or a CG needs to fire a Harpoon – the only ASM they have to shoot today – at a target 50-60 nm away, they need to use an aviation asset to sense and track the target, just like the LCS.

        What sets the LCS apart from the DDGs and CGs is that it deploys two choppers, one of which is unmanned, the MQ-8 FireScout – the only UAV in the world capable of providing targeting data to long range anti-ship missile fires. Of course, the older DDGs don’t even carry a single chopper.

        And by next year, the LCS will be deploying NSMs with a range of 110 nm, double the range of the Harpoons on the CGs and DDGs .. and by around 2019 all of our surface warships, including LCS, will start to deploy LRASM which ranges out to 350 nm.

        • BlueSky47

          WOW, AMAZING! TWO choppers just like the Arleigh Burkes, the retired Perrys and the current cruisers.

          • Duane

            No – the earlier ABs like the John McCain don’t carry even one chopper. They have a small flight deck on which a chopper can land, just like most merchant ships can do, but no hangar or air wing support systems. And no other ship on the planet carries a rotary wing UAV that is both a sensor and target date comms platform as well as an attack platform as is the MQ-8.

          • BlueSky47

            Dang Duane-y you’re absolutely right. I bow to your wisdom. NO other ship on the planet can “carry” a UAV-not even a aircraft carrier. We should retire everything we have and just build a bunch of LCS, after they, they ARE the most powerful warships on the planet

          • Duane

            A UAV isn’t just the aircraft … it’s the entire command and control system which requires integration with the ship’s systems. It’s not something you buy in a box at Best Buy and use a handheld controller.

          • Marc Apter

            Just a new version of something the Navy did 50 years ago! Talk to the Vietnam sailors, especially those who used their Dash Drone (UAV for the kids) to find targets out of visual range for their guns.

          • Duane

            Yup – it was just like today. Nothing has changed in 50 years. Uh huh.

          • BlueSky47

            except the “littoral” boats back then (riverine boats, monitors, PGM, and even PT boats) were much less expensive and much more effective than our Admiral cruisers aka LCS

          • BlueSky47

            Whoa, whoa Duane-y, you just said “integrated.” Integrated? on a “we’re totally module LCS?” Well, that guess that blows all modularity arguments for the large crappy ship? I guess we can stop building sea-frames now because capabilities have to be ‘built-in’ just like real WARSHIPS. You really shot your “…” there eh? 😛

          • Mk-Ultra

            Why not explain in your words instead of trying to be snide? Reading your replies vs the other guy gives me the impression you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Sorry

        • Bubblehead

          LRASM with its AI will not require much targeting. It can pick its own military target out from a cluster of ships including merchant ships.

          Also P-8’s, Triton & satellites can provide targeting. Doesn’t have to be A short range UAV from the LCS. About the only military ship the Firescout could get close enough to target without getting shot down is another LCS. Any destroyer built post 1985 could easily blast it out of the sky.

          AI is the future of ASM and just about everything else. Put a LRASM on the LCS and then the Chinese will take notice and it would provide a deterrent to prevent a war. It would also guarantee LCS destruction at the outset of war being it just about defenseless against ASM.

          Agree 100% with the fine gentleman that said anybody stationed on the LCS should receive hazard pay. Better yet station some siblings of Congressmen on board & watch how quickly the Navy gets the funds to beef up its defenses.

          I don’t care if they have to build a box launcher for ESSM on the helicopter pad. They need to get ESSM onboard and a better radar. The Navy said they did not have confidence the current radar could pick up ASM’s.

          For the sole purpose of anti-mines (which the USN underestimates), anti-sub, protection of harbors, drug interdiction, and meeting the Navy’s 355 ships I could dis-spiritedly let the navy buy a few more, with upgrades.

          It is the only way to 355 ship Navy anytime in the next several decades.

          • Duane

            Yes, LRASM, NSM and the Harpoon Block 2s all have effective sensors on board, as well as ECM. But you can’t just fire a missile from hundreds of miles away without having initial targeting data supplied by another asset. What would you fire at? How would you know when a ship becomes a target, and where it is? That’s where NIFCCA comes in.

            As for radar, the SeaRAM has its own radar sensor built into the mount, fully capable of sensing and tracking incoming ASMs from the horizon and a little beyond. It is fully self contained and does not require anything from the ship to fire its 11 anti-ASMs.

            The Navy is still on track to purchase 40 LCS along with 12 frigates, per their 355 ship navy plan. Some of the LCS will feature VLS, most likely, as part of the “frigate variant” of the LCS. The other 12 small surface combatants will be of the FFG(X) design which the Navy has not yet spec’d out. Likely to feature a VLS, perhaps a very different hull design than the LCS.

  • Desplanes

    Where’s Duane ? I thought he’d be all over this.

    • El Kabong

      He had detention after school.

  • Uru

    ‘…..it demonstrated the LCS’s capabilities that are not possessed by other ships…’

    I see nothing special or spectacular about this firing. The ‘integrated air detachment’, the ability to mount OTH ASMs, data-link between missile and chopper/UAV, are all bare basic requirements of any modern warship. Other ships and platforms have already been able to do this.

    Recently came across news that Japan has firmed up their 30FF design and is building them in 2018.
    – 3900t
    – 5″/62 gun
    – SeaRAM
    – 2×8 MK41
    – 8x of their newest Mach.3 ASM
    – Integrated sensor mast, hull sonar, towed sonar.
    – Heli deck and hanger

    Basically all the LCS hopes to be, while cheaper (est.450M), and likely be fully operational way before the LCS ‘matures’.

    • Duane

      Nothing was said to be “spectacular”. The fact that the LCS is the only ship in the world today that deploys a UAV to provide ASM targeting data is part of what sets it apart.

      • airider

        Duane, you really are a company man aren’t you. So what you’re saying is what’s “unique” about LCS is that it can embark a UAV for targeting ….. please read your history books a bit. Actually you don’t have to go too far back. For example check and see how USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri adjusted fires during the first gulf war….and since then how a wide array of drones and UAVs have been doing this for decades from navies around the world.

        • Duane

          You insist on commenting without reading or comprehending the post that we’re commenting on. The only ship in the US Navy that is equipped to deploy the MQ-8 Firescout is the LCS. The only ship on the planet that can deploy any ISR and attack UAV remotely as capable as the Firescout is the LCS. The article plainly states this is a unique capability. Why are you so dense as to not get it?

          • Marc Apter

            How many other LCS’s are equipped like the Coronado? How many contractors were required to fly to Guam to make this “test” happen? How many contractors were directly involved on the ship for this “test”?

          • Duane

            All of the LCS equipped for SuW will have the cannister deck launchers. The Navy may decide to also include all of the ASW and MCM hulls too .. and likely will.

            The Navy has been firing OTH missiles from these launchers on LCS for at least three years now.

            As with other LCS haters commenting here, you didn’t read or comprehend – and let me attempt to say this slowly for the slow learners out there – not only the article itself, but you didn’t read or comprehend the HEADLINE or even look at the first PHOTO. It’s really. really bad when people can’t even comprehend pictures …. I’m pretty sure the average 2 year old toddler can even do that.

            The whole point of the post here was not the ability of the LCS to fire a Harpoon – it was the exclusive ability of the LCS drone Firescout to acquire a target and transmit targeting data to an OTH missile fired from an LCS. A drone system installed only on the LCS, but which is also slated to eventually be deployed to other US navy warships (the C model to go IOC next year and eventually 96 will be deployed)..

          • Masau80

            The Firescout currently has zero attack capabilities.

          • Duane

            uhhh … where do you think the name “Firescout” comes from? In its earliest version it was the Seascout. “Fire” means it is in fact equipped to launch munitions. The C-version, the largest and latest, and which now constitutes the majority of MQ-8s, can deploy up to 600 pounds of ordinance. Look it up. It can fire a Hellfire, drop a precision guided bomb, and it can also come armed with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon.

          • Masau80

            As of today, all LCS “deployments” are done with the MQ-8B, which is not weaponized. The MQ-8C is in production, but has only deployed on non-LCS platforms, in support of other missions. It may be weaponized (it can be), but that decision and exact configuration is still being determined by the TYCOMs.

          • airider

            You’re inferring too much from the language. I know exactly what they’re saying and trying to portray. I also know marketing speak when I see it.

            Deploying air assets to support ISR are not new capabilities. The embarked H-60 could have done it just as easily as firescout and have been for several decades. My first ship had this exact same capability several decades ago.

            Also, if LCS is the only ship that could do this, how did the test flights off of USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) happen? Magic?

            The MQ-8C carries no weapons (unlike the H-60) and give the LCS a 50 mile radius ISR capability….umm, okay.

            The fact they’re doing it now with a rotary wing UAV is only because the Navy is the only service that is willing to spend money on short legged helicopters to do these roles since they can’t afford to have CVNs everywhere and their X-47B is still just that…an X series prototype. If X-47B evolves into a production version with decent legs as is currently planned, MQ-8C usefulness will drop appreciably.

            The Blk 1C Harpoon brought nothing new to the fight. Blk 1C has no datalink for inflight target updates. So again, the most the MQ-8C brought was a better location on the target which got sent back to the ship (a capability we’ve had since the 70’s with H-60’s).

            Based on all of that, the uniqueness of this that you’re claiming and which the article is talking around but not directly saying, is not.

            I have no problem with people calling me names. That said, I’ll throw this one back at you “company man”!

          • Duane

            Wrong again – this has nothing to do with “marketing”, you are trying to minimize and denigrate a first ever achievement. This is not mere sensing, which drones have been doing for many years now .. it is acquiring targeting data and feeding those data to an anti-ship missile and enabling that missile to hit its target. That is a first.

            And yes, the MQ-8C definitely is a SuW weapons platform as well as sensor platform. Its payload (600+ pounds with the AESA radar installed) is specifically designed to be modular and accommodate different payloads including sensors, ECM, and munitions. It is specifically qualified to fire the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon system. As of last year the Navy signed a contract to equip the Cs with lightweight AESA radars, and they also include laser designators to supply targeting data for Hellfires and for the precision guided Mk 295 munitions for the Mk 110 57m guns on LCS.

          • airider

            Duane,

            It’s interesting having this discussion with you. You call me dense but you don’t show you have an understanding of the Harpoon Blk 1C or its fire control system the AN/SWG-1A. You can pre-program targeting information into the SWG-1 which sends it to the missile, but once you fire the Harpoon, nothing new happens regardless of new or updated targeting information from on-board or off-board sensors. This capability has remained unchanged since the 70’s. So what did LCS do that was “unique”? The answer = nothing.

            Every pound of gear you add to a helo (manned or UAV) reduces its range and on station time. It’ll be interesting to see how much impact this new gear has on MQ-8C performance.

            MQ-8C’s can be based on any U.S. combatant with a helo hanger. This is why DDG 109 was able to support the initial test flights.

            – The AESA radars aren’t installed or tested yet.
            – Any modern combat aircraft/helo has the similar “modularity” capabilities. Look at all the sensors, pods, and weapons we hang from all the hard-points on our aircraft.
            – You mean “APKWS” which are laser guided 70mm rockets already available to multiple services and customers both fixed and rotary winged aircraft.
            – It has a laser designator in the same optical ball as the TV and IR sensors…I would hope so since A-6E Intruders and just about all tactical aircraft since have had this capability including the H-60’s.
            – The Mk295 “3P” ammunition in the Mk 110 57mm gun is as precision guided as the rifling twists in the barrel and pitch and roll compensating gyro’s within the Mk 110 system allow. The biggest benefit of the “3P” rounds (which are available in multiple calibers) is that a single round can be used for a wide variety of target types since you can program the type of fusing in the round before it’s fired. 3P as been around a while and was developed initially by Bofors (now owned by BAE) out of Sweden.

          • Duane

            Your points here are either wrong or irrelevant.

            MQ-8C can be flown from any ship that is set up to carry it. That requires not only a flight deck and hangar, but also integration of the MQ-8C operations control and sensor comms system – it’s not “plug and play”.

            The AESA radars were purchased a year and a half ago, and their installation is part of making the MQ-8C operational, which as I’ve stated elsewhere, it is still in development with IOC set for next year.

            As for laser designator, I did not say that was unique. The MQ-8C itself, and its integration operations on the LCS, are as I’ve stated several times here but which you keep whiffing on, or you are simply incapable of comprehending, is unique to LCS today. It will eventually be adopted to other US navy ships, but the LCS is the lead ship class. All LCS have and will be equipped with the MQ-8, either the B model that is operational today, or the C model that will be operational next year.

            The Mk 295 is not dependent at all for “guidance”on rifling, which is just aim and shoot technology that has existed for hundreds of years in cannon and other firearms. Do you even have the slightest inclination of the definition of a “precision guided round”?

            Apparently not. The Mk 295 is precision guided via one of two seeker modes – a laser seeker, or a IR seeker. It has a sensor and guidance fins and the fins guide the round to within 2 meters of the target. The detonator can be set electronically by the Mk 110 fire control system individually to be either proximity, timed, or direct hit.

      • BlueSky47

        WOW! It can carry and deploy a little UAV for a mere 750 Million! That’s a deal we need to build 50 of LOLOLOLOLOLOL

        • Duane

          You’re just an insufferable bore and a dedicated troll. Shoosh, gnat.

    • DaSaint

      Any ship built in Asia is cheaper than any ship built in the US. That’s why they have robust shipbuilding economies and we don’t. Let’s start there.

    • Ed L

      that 30FF is Similar to the ROK Navy’s Incheon class frigate. 3200t The same 5″L62 gun, CIWS and SEARAM 16 missiles in VLS, helo, hanger for 1 helo. sensors Air search, hull mounted sonar and or tow array. Last news the Koreans were going to built 20 or these.

    • Marauder 2048

      That’s 30DX which is a destroyer replacing both a previous class of destroyer and a destroyer escort class.

  • Duane

    Another day at the office for LCS, the most versatile warship in the world.

    • Desplanes

      yeah…..

    • BlueSky47

      yep, it’s a good thing we have such a awesome battle cruiser like the LCS that can:
      1. find and destroy submarines
      2. destroy incoming supersonic antiship missiles
      3. destroy enemy warships from over the horizon
      4. lay waste to enemy land installations
      5. shoot down ballistic missiles
      6. land Marines on contested shores
      7. provide fire support for said Marines
      8. screen and protect aircraft carriers
      9. escort merchant shipping and protect them from subs
      10. put the fear of God into our enemies by it’s mere presense
      er wait, how about:
      12. float without sinking
      13. make a living for forum warriors like Duane-y 😛

  • Ed L

    So in theory the mounting of a 100 harpoon’s in the cargo hold of a merchant ship is possible. Then open the hatch and ripple fire a dozen Harpoon missiles at a time then disappear into the sea lanes.

  • ElmCityAle

    While LCS fans and haters slug it out in the comments, what is missing is focus upon the decades-old Harpoon Block 1C technology used for the test. Based upon public information, the US Navy apparently declined several proposed block upgrades over several decades of Harpoon deployment, which has resulted in a severe lack of effective anti-surface warfare capacity for the entire fleet. Some of our allies with more vision and commitment purchased Block II versions of the missile. Meanwhile, Boeing pulled back their Block II+ ER version from the LCS
    “competition”, indicating the navy’s changing specs made it not worth the effort – a telling condemnation.

    • Duane

      Most of the current US Navy inventory is the Block 1 version of Harpoon. Boeing developed the Block 2 and sold it to both the US and allied navies in relatively small numbers. And Boeing is now refining its Block 2 ER, which wasn’t ready for the OTH competition the Navy started this summer.