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Document: Report to Congress on Littoral Combat Ship Program

The following is the Oct. 4, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

via Federation of American Scientists (fas.org)

  • BlueSky47

    1. From the report concerning the mighty one shot one kill 57mm gun “- Surface Self-Defense. The Navy conducted seven test events (four integrated test events and three dedicated operational test events), each consisting of a single attacking small boat. LCS was required to defeat the boat before it reached a prescribed keep-out range. LCS failed to defeat the small boats in two of the events.” So the mighty rubber boat killer can’t kill rubber boats before itself get’s killed-how special.
    2. But wait there’s more, concerning it’s ESM ” In the Navy-conducted testing of the Independence variant’s ES-3601 ESM system, the Navy used Learjet aircraft equipped with ASCM seeker simulators to represent the ASCM threats. The ES-3601 detected the presence of the ASCM seekers in most instances but did not reliably identify certain threats.” So the LCS is fat, dumb, and happy in it’s ignorance of the enemy.
    3. But wait there’s more, cocerning it’s ability to even ‘see’ the bad guys “In the developmental test events evaluating the ship’s capability to detect, track, and
    engage so-called low slow flyers (LSFs) (unmanned aerial vehicles, slow-flying fixedwing aircraft, and helicopters), the only sensor used to provide tracking information for engaging LSFs with the 57 mm gun was the SAFIRE electro-optical/infrared system. The test events demonstrated that SAFIRE was unable to provide reliable tracking information against some targets. Furthermore, the safety standoff requirements on Navy test ranges were so severe that they precluded meaningful live-fire gun engagements against these targets. Because of these problems and constraints, the program decided to
    cancel all subsequent live-fire events” In other words, the LCS performed so poorly they had to cancel all other testing to keep from more embarassment.
    4. and finally, concerning the oh-so important super speed of the LCS “LCS 4 failed its sprint speed requirement of 40 knots,demonstrating a maximum sustained speed of only 37.9 knots in calm waters” Bottom line, the LCS can barely go faster than a destroyer in CALM water, what does that mean for anything more than sea state 1, what about sea state 3, will it go crying home to mommy?
    5. But go to the report, and you can see for yourself, page after page after page of failures (>20 pages of documented systemic failures that can’t be fixed), but yet it’s still the “greatest warship ever-bar none.” Hint, don’t let Duene-y in on this, he might have an ‘accident,’
    6. Bottom line, the LCS is nothing but a shiny coffin for our sailors going into harm’s way.

    • Duane

      Before quoting a DOT&E report, you have to understand what it actually says, not what you want it to say.

      The test described by DOT&E that occurred in 2015 did NOT involve the new precision guided Mk 295 munition (ORKA, re “Ordinance for Rapid Kill of Attack craft”) which was only released that year (2015) but had not yet been tested on the LCS, as it was the following year in 2016, as reported here on USNI), but the older unguided munition. Furthermore the DOT&E report stated that the test used only the contact fusing option, rather than the proximity fusing, and then complained there were “too many misses”, even though the older round can be set by the fire control system for proximity fusing..

      Well duh. That was like using a Remington model 700 bolt action rifle to shoot pheasants on the fly, instead of a 12 gage shotgun! No wonder it took a lot of rounds to kill the four speeding, radically maneuvering small craft from long range! But that’s typical of DOT&E auditors, who don’t have the common sense of any gunners mate to know that’s a poor test setup that does not begin to represent the true capability of the gun.

      The contact fused, unguided rounds are useful only for larger, less maneuverable targets like coastal patrols or cutters.

      For maneuverable high speed targets relatively small in size (like a small boat or a UAV) you obviously need to use the proximity fusing and preferably also the precision guided ORKA round. The proximity fuse will destroy a small boat (under 30 feet) with 3 meter offset – in other words it’s not “hit to kill”, but if it arrives within 3 meters of the target, poof!. It uses the same kind of fusing we use on air to air missiles. The ORKA precision guided round is accurate to within 1 meter. It can use either a laser designator on board the ship or any of its debarked aircraft (MH-60 manned chopper or the MQ-8 unmanned chopper) OR a IR sensor built into the round.

      The effect is deadly – literally “one shot/one kill”. The videos of the LCS test show that clearly. The guided round only has 300 g of high explosive – but it does its deadly work with 1.4 kg of supersonic steel fragments. Human bodies liquify, boat topworks fly apart, outboard engines disintegrate, and UAVs fly apart.

      For larger slower vessels like coastal patrols, use the unguided contact fused round, or the 24-cell vertical Hellfire missile launcher. For larger warship targets, use the OTH (currently a Harpoon, by next year the Naval Strike Missile).

  • Ed L

    I think I see the problem, the LCS were developed and designed by GD and Lockheed, They should have been using a design that was developed and designed by Our Naval war fighters. Not money hungry greedy lobbist and politicans. Both versions are completely different, with exception of the main 2 pound gun. Mulitiple crews? another mistake or an experiment? I always believed in 1 ship 1 crew. My Father In Law a retired Boomer sailor use to tell me how he would have to rearrange his sick bay when crew changes were made. He never cared for that. I think it is time for the experiment to end. base the remaining LCS’s in the Caribbean. A divided the Freedom LCS’s in Roosevelet Roads and Mayport would be welcome. The Independence LCS’s can be divided between Key West and Ports in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Stephen

      Sorry, need to throw a red card on this one. The Blue/Gold Crew works very well. Your FIL probably has a lot more positives than negatives in his experience. I was intrigued with the idea of 3 crews for 2 ships, forward thinking. Also, Airline Pilots have to adjust a few things when they enter the cockpit; haven’t heard a whole lot of complaints in that arena…

      • Donald Carey

        And your FIL is an airline pilot….

        • Stephen

          No, my Father in Law was a helicopter mechanic & Army Vet. A very wise man.