Home » Budget Industry » U.S. Plans to Expand Naval Engagements in Southeast Asia Using Littoral Combat Ships, EPFs.


U.S. Plans to Expand Naval Engagements in Southeast Asia Using Littoral Combat Ships, EPFs.

USS Coronado (LCS-4) is underway during a photo exercise as part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with the Republic of Singapore and Royal Thai navies. US Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR – The U.S. Navy is planning to enhance naval engagement with nations across South and Southeast Asia next year, Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, the commander Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73, told USNI on Tuesday.

The command intends to build upon on this year’s successful engagements, which were carried out by the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) and the Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPF) USNS Millinocket (EPF-3), USNS Fall River (EPF-4) and USNS Brunswick (EPF-6). The new engagements will be paired with a more flexible framework that allows the U.S. Navy to develop opportunities for training with regional navies on shorter notice.

The engagements are intended to complement the long-standing exercises already ongoing under a scheduled and formal planning cycle.

“We benefit greatly from year-long planning engagements with our partners in exercises like CARAT and SEACAT (Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training),” Gabrielson said.
“We’re using these strong relationships we’ve built with regional navies over the past 20-30 years to generate additional opportunities to train at sea together in ways that benefit all of our navies.”

As such the command is working on a framework that allows partner nations to conduct a short notice exercise or engagement based on a pre-agreed list of activities. “What happens often is our ships are underway or passing through the region and the dynamic nature of naval operations means that we don’t always have a year to plan when a ship is going to be in a particular place, so sometimes we miss opportunities to conduct training with our partners.”

Gabrielson said that the countries involved will be announced later and these regional engagements will largely involve the use of the LCSs and EPFs, whose size and shallow drafts enable them to operate in most of the littoral waters in the region and visit many shallow water port and naval facilities prevalent across South and Southeast Asia. In addition, with the routine presence of LCS and EPF in the region, these ships are fostering relevant cooperation and training opportunities with partner nations, particularly the smaller littoral navies. This is in contrast to destroyers or cruisers, which are challenged by limited accessibility and whose skill sets and capabilities can be sometimes too high-end for littoral navies focusing on maritime security and preventing terrorism and piracy at sea.

“We’re using the LCSs and EPFs, both individually and together, to conduct these engagements because they are the right-sized platforms and frankly they bring the right kind of skills for many navies to take on the challenges that they are dealing with,” said Gabrielson, adding that LCS and EPFs have access to over a thousand port locations in the littoral regions of South and Southeast Asia while larger ships like destroyers only have access to about a dozen locations.

Expeditionary Fast Transport 7 (EPF 7), USNS Carson City during Acceptance Trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Austal USA photo.

Gabrielson stated that the 2018 planned deployment of two LCSs is expected to begin at the earliest in mid-2018, but the LCS gap till then will be covered by the ongoing presence of the three EPFs in the region, whose reconfigurable operating spaces and shallow drafts allow it to operate in similar littoral areas suitable for the LCS. He added that the successful 14-month deployment of Coronado marked a milestone in validating the ability to operate the LCS in the region while paving the way to operate greater numbers of LCSs simultaneously.”

Among the key aspects of this has been the increased operational availability of Coronado in contrast to the previous deployments of USS Freedom (LCS-1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3). Gabrielson stated that this higher operational availability was due to efficiencies and lessons learned during LCS deployments to the region, which resulted in the reduction of the average maintenance correction time from 15 days to 4 days. At the same time, Coronado’s operational availability was also increased due to the ability to conduct maintenance and work on the ship wherever it was deployed.

“We were able to perform expeditionary maintenance availabilities in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Guam where we actually loaded equipment, in some cases on an EPF and in other cases we flew it there,” Gabrielson said.
“This gave us a lot of operational flexibility on the deployment.”

Gabrielson summed up that the primary conclusion from the rotational deployment of Coronado is that the Navy is ready to support more LCS and EPF to operate in the region and enhance partnerships and training opportunities with regional navies.

“We’re ready to have more LCSs deployed in the region,” said Gabrielson, “But we have to balance that with the requirements for readiness and crew training… The U.S. Navy is committed to the agreement with Singapore to operate multiple LCSs in the region and we’re on a solid path to achieve that goal.”

  • Duane

    Good review, Dzirhan.

    The institutional learning from the deployments will feed into future deployments.

    Couple of interesting points from the post:

    1 – “… said Gabrielson, adding that LCS and EPFs have access to over a thousand port locations in the littoral regions of South and Southeast Asia while larger ships like destroyers only have access to about a dozen locations”.

    That’s one of the key points that the LCS critics fail to acknowledge, routinely discounting the value of a shallow draft ship in littoral ops. That the LCS works well in tandem with the equally shallow draft EPFs will be critical to future littoral operations, not just combat, but also logistics, and protecting the transport of logistical support to and between littoral ports.

    2 – For those who continue to deny the OTH missile capability on LCS, denying that it even exists as something other than a pie in the sky theory – note in the photo above the tubular doohickey on the foredeck of the Coronado, which is a 4-cell Mk 141 angled canister deck launcher, which until now has deployed Harpoons on the Coronado. Very soon, those launchers will be superseded by modified Mk 141s equipped to deploy LRASM as well as the NSM and Harpoons that are deployed by the unmodified Mk141s.

    • El Kabong

      LMAO!

      “Very soon, those launchers will be superseded by modified Mk 141s…”?

      When?

      How long have the Little Crappy Ships been in service?

      Port visits are all they’re good for.

      • Duane

        Shipboard testing of the modified Mk 141 is set to take place this fiscal year, mostly likely this spring. It’s already undergone successful ground testing at White Sands, back in August.

        LCS have been in service since late 2008. The hulls were the easy part – the advanced mission modules required additional development, given both changing mission requirements (i.e., “distributed lethality” since 2014) and the advanced high tech nature of the ASW and MCM modules, relying heavily on unmanned aerial and surface vehicles..

        • El Kabong

          TESTING.

          STILL not deployed, Duaney….

          2008?

          Coming up on a DECADE LATER and still no credible weapons on the Little Crappy Ships…

          Only good for port visits.

          You might as well book a cruise ship.

          • Duane

            I never said LRASM is deployed. In fact LRASM is not even IOC yet (that’s expected to occur before the end of FY 2018). However, Harpoons certainly are already deployed on the Coronado. To be joined later this fiscal year by the NSM, assuming it is awarded the OTH contract it responded to after the Navy issued the RFP earlier this year.

          • El Kabong

            Shoulda, coulda, woulda, Duaney….

            ONE ship?

            LOL!

      • Rocco

        Agreed!!

    • Agreed. There have certainly been plenty of missteps with the LCS program and the ships are far from perfect, but has given the Navy a useful vessel for this type of low-key shallow water operations (which was exactly what it was always supposed to do). With the addition of the Harpoon launchers LCS can now hold its own against anything short of a DDG and its generous aviation facilities give it clear overmatch against 90% of the threats it could encounter in these operations.

      • Rocco

        Not in agreement!! Really!! Friend of Duane?

    • ElmCityAle

      “Very soon, those launchers will be superseded by modified Mk 141s equipped to deploy LRASM as well as the NSM and Harpoons…” – do you have a link to a story with those details? I’m finding it difficult to believe a single launcher could handle those three very different sized weapons.

      • Duane

        USNI probably prefers we not post links to competitive publications. Suggest you Google:

        “LM and Navy test modified launcher White Sands LRASM” and you’ll find scads of posts.

        The size of LRASM is not actually that large, in terms of length – it’s 13 feet long plus a booster for surface launches, while Harpoon is 15 feet and NSM is 13 ft,. The modification has more to do with the shape of the missile body, which is more or less triangular rather than round (for purposes of reduced RCS) and weight (LRASM weighs 2,100 pounds vs. 1,500 pounds for Harpoon and 900 pounds for NSM).

        • DaSaint

          Duane, all I’ve seen is references to LMs launcher which is described as ‘similar to’ the Mk141 launcher.

          • Duane

            Yes, it’s similar to the Mk 141, the same form factor (angled canister deck mounted launcher). But obviously modified in order to accommodate LRASM. Whether that means the tubes have a larger diameter to accommodate the geometry of LRASM and its booster, and/or has heavier structural support to accommodate the heavier LRASM, the Navy and LM have not said. The Navy has been very clear in stating that the purpose of the modifications to the Mk 141 is to be able to deploy LRASM specifically on LCS as well as other ships (such as our amphibs) as part of its “distributed lethality” strategy.

          • El Kabong

            I suggest you tell us when it’s going into service.

          • Secundius

            I suspect “Duane” is referring to the MS2 EMML’s (Electromagnetic Missile Launchers) being developed as a Joint Cooperation by Sandia National Labs and Lockheed-Martin…

    • Bubblehead

      We do not know what future OTH missiles LCS will carry yet. We know when it tried to fire a harpoon missile, the missile missed. NSM would be the best match for LCS. Its size and capability would match well in the region. But the USN has not purchased any NSM yet and I have heard no chatter about it at all lately. Harpoon, even the upgraded model proposed is obsolete. LRASM has been barely mentioned but they won’t put LRASM on LCS. It would make little sense. The missile is overkill for such a tiny ship and the mini UAV’s of LCS would not help much in that matter. Besides compare weights of NSM, Harpoon & LRASM. LRASM would probably topple over LCS. Especially when considering the limited numbers of LRASM the USN will have for the foreseeable future. LRASM will on on DDG’s 1st.

      I have always said the LCS is a POS and worst, a coffin for its crew. It is in no ways a frigate which is what the USN needs most. But it does have its place in the fleet, especially if the USN moves forward on purchasing some real frigates. One day LCS will make good mine warfare ships & ASW ships. And the USN had better start paying more attention to mine warfare. They free up DDG’s and one day a true frigate to pursue open blue water ops. Its entirely possible 10 years from now the USN may wish they had more of them. And I am still holding out hope the USN will put a better radar & ESSM on board one day.

      • Duane

        Try again. The LCS has successfully fired OTH missiles, both NSM and Harpoon, multiple times since 2014, and Harpoons have been deployed on the Coronado for years. Whether the missile itself is successful in “hitting” a target, depends upon the objectives of the test and the performance of the missile itself. Very few missile tests require a hit on a real ship.

        • Bubblehead

          The Harpoon missile MISSED. It was unsuccessful. It did not fulfill its objectives (whatever they were).

          I can pretty much guarantee you in the next 5 years there will not be LRASM (in widespread use) on LCS for multitude reasons. It can’t target to that range. Its too large & heavy. Its too expensive. And most importantly there will not be enough of them to go around. LRASM will be best served in open ocean blue water on DDG’s, B-1’s & F18’s where it can take full use of its range, stealth, and ability to target high profile ships. It would be a waste to use it to target small frigates in the littorals. Plus LCS will all be sunk with in the 1st few days of war with China making it even more of a waste. LCS sole protection against ASCM is an 11 cell RAM with few km range. LRASM will be carefully controlled and its targets carefully selected because their numbers will be too few for many years to come.

          • Duane

            You can make all the negative arguments you like, but OTH missiles are already a reality on LCS, and LRASM is already being adapted to the LCS.

            You do realize, don’t you, that no surface ship (or sub) can provide long range (OTH) missile targeting from shipboard sensors? You do realize that radar is line of sight, don’t you? Meaning, all long range ASM fires require off-board sensors, most likely from aircraft. And the LCS deploys aircraft that do just that (MH-60 and MQ-8, both B and C models) that are, well airborne, and have mission ranges in the hundreds of miles. So an LCS is every bit as capable of deploying long distance sensing and targeting as do the Flight IIA and Flight III Arleigh Burkes (and for which the Flight Is and IIs do NOT do because they do not deploy aircraft – only have a landing pad, but no hangar or onboard aircraft sustainment).

        • El Kabong

          Better luck, next time.

          Have the Little Crappy Ships DEPLOYED with them, yet?

          How long have they been in service?

          “Very few missile tests require a hit on a real ship.”?

          LMAO!!!!

          Hitting a target is EXACTLY what they should do, Duaney.

      • Rocco

        Agreed

      • DaSaint

        Many of your points are valid but some are just silly. The fact that an LCS launched a missile that missed its target has nothing necessarily to do with thr platform. Many test shots miss, irrespective of platform.

        And I don’t get the overkill comment regarding the LRASM. Harpoons were once mounted on the much smaller PHMs and are commonly on smaller Fast Attack Craft. The size or weight of the missule may be a consideration depending on rhe platform its on regarding mounting location and stability considerations, but LCS can handle all the options you mentioned.

        • Bubblehead

          Point taken on missed shot. But my theory still holds. Whether LCS fault or missile fault is irrevalent. Harpoon is obsolete. If this was a war all that matters is it missed and you have now given away your location. LCS will be on the receiving end now and we know it cant defends itself. Either way harpoon isnt the answer. It also isnt a deterrent like NSM. NSM is a missile enemies dont want to encounter. And yes so is LRASM. People underestimate the power of deterrents. It can prevent wars and make enemies think twice.

          Overkill meaning for 1 it cant target out anywhere close to the range of LRASM. Even with its UAVs. Im fairly certain LCS doesnt have CEC. DDG will be much more effective with LRASM. And LCS operating in the littorals doesn’t need such an advanced missile for that environment. NSM would be a perfect match at 1/3 cost. USN will not be using LRASM to target every ship it encounters. Too expensive & LRASM will be to limited in numbers for many years to come.

          • DaSaint

            I’m in agreement for NSM on LCS. It’s a damn good weapon system.

            I’d deploy LRASMs on each new Burke DDG as launched and on Flight IIAs.

            I’d put LRASMs on FFGs as they will be dispersed ahead, yet tied into the network.

            I’d keep Harpoons on the Ticos as they’ll be closer in pn the CAG protecting the Carrier.

            And any remaining Harpoons removed from other vessels, I would redistribute to Flight I Burkes and USCG NSCs.

          • Duane

            Harpoons are in the process of being upgraded by Boeing as the Block II+ER. Longer range, better sensors and target tracking, same form factor. It may be that the old Harpoons will eventually be withdrawn, or possibly upgraded (as Raytheon is presently upgrading and updating the Tomahawks). Whether the Navy chooses to buy new Harpoons or pay to ugrade the inventory, is to be determined.

            In the meantime the NSM is an excellent ASM, medium range (110+ nm), sophisticated tracking and countermeasures, excellent complement to the heavier, longer range stealthy LRASM. Within a couple years both NSM and LSASM will be deployed on the LCS as well as amphibs.

          • El Kabong

            “Within a couple years both NSM and LSASM will be deployed on the LCS…”?

            That’s how many YEARS away?

            What’s the Little Crappy Ship carrying currently?

        • El Kabong

          Can it handle being hit by a missile or striking a mine?

          • DaSaint

            Dunno. Can an Avenger MCMV? Can a Mk V or Mk VI PC or a Cyclone PC? But we have valuable lives conducting important missions on all of them, right? No lives are expendable, but we do make decisions regarding the platforms they are on. They are all in harm’s way.

          • El Kabong

            Deflection FAIL.

  • El Kabong

    Cue the USNI’s resident Little Crappy Ship cheerleader…

    All the LCS is good for is port visits.

    • Bryan

      El,

      I know you were just trying to troll Duane, but you hit on a very interesting fact that most of the public doesn’t get. The peace time navy requirements are vastly different than war.
      Pulling into port(more important than most know) with a cheaper boat is much better than pulling into port with an AB. And it’s starting to look like they won’t always break down….LOL.
      The navies around the south china sea run mostly what we would call coast guard missions. In and out of port. Running port security. Short interdiction missions of fisheries and smuggling. Learning to replenish at sea with the fast transport. This is how partnerships turn into allies.

      Only an idiot would suggest that the lcs was a good buy. But we own it now and will try to make the best out of the turd we got.
      BBBUUUUTTT….. only an idiot(or our enemies) would suggest we should send an AB to do interdiction/coast guard stuff.

      • El Kabong

        Agreed.

        Things like frigates/corvettes are handy for this type of work.

        For what the USN has sunk into the LCS program, imagine what they could have bought, such as frigates/patrol ships used by other countries, that are respectable performers.

        It’s worrying to see how huge and expensive destroyers and frigates have become, though.

        Remember back in the 50’s-80’s it was destroyers and frigates doing these port calls?

        • Duane

          Frigates, as the FFG(X), will cost at least double what an LCS with mission module costs today. Somewhere well north of $800-900M, possibly $1.2-1.5B depending upon whether the Navy decides to buy a full area air defense capability. Even without AEGIS-lite, still near double the cost of a fully-equipped LCS.

          • El Kabong

            I wasn’t talking to you.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            And they should hence be far more capable than an LCS when it comes to the warfare areas outlined in the report.

          • Duane

            Not in littoral warfare. Frigates have a different role in blue water escort duty.

  • Dzirhan Mahadzir

    Thanks Duane. I’m going to add that here’s the thing, the LCS does help with the disconnect the USN had in the past when engaging with FFGs and DDGs, as often their capabilities and types of skills are way beyond what most regional navies have from my experiences covering these things and many navies in region (save for Singapore) are more interested in engaging with U.S Navy in regard to maritime security missions rather than the ” future great naval battle with China” that all the LCS critics are alluding to, the combat capabilities are in the midst of progression but in the meantime, the LCSs are pretty much suited to the day to day requirements in the region and if anyone has forgotten, there’s not enough DDGs anyhow in the region now and its a waste anyhow having a DDG patrolling against pirates and smugglers and engaging with some S-E Asian navies whose ships barely have missiles let alone an Aegis. Anyhow in the end, we’r talking about 1 to eventually 4 LCSs doing MARSEC roles in the region not a fleet of them geared towards taking on China in a fleet battle, might as well ask why have Avenger minesweepers and Mk V and VI SOC in region since they can’t take on PLAN ship to ship anyhow

    • Rocco

      Not in agreement!!! Not knowing why you care!!! Maybe where you come from this may be the norm. For the US to build ships that can’t really defend itself from anything bigger than a patrol craft never mind an air threat & to be on their own & for what they cost us taxpayers is ridiculous!

      • SDW

        You are not having a good day for not making yourself look foolish. One reason he may “care” is that he wrote the article. (assuming the name is true)
        As to the rest… we’ve all heard both sides and, as one that doesn’t put himself on either side, further unresolvable arguments about LCS capabilities is pointless.

        • Rocco

          Foolish!!! Never!!! So I guess you mare because you have no opinion on LCS because you know nothing!!

        • El Kabong

          You are not having a good day for not making yourself look foolish.

  • Javafanatic

    Looks like the Navy has more funding for towing exercises in the 2018 budget.

    • Rocco

      Lol!! Didn’t you hear ??? That was cut!! So if they breakdown & will their on their own!!

      • DaSaint

        Let me see, 2 CGs and 3 DDGs have had groundings or collisions…

        Guess the budget was increased for their repair and transportation. No cuts there…

        • Rocco

          Had not choice but to hit the hedge fun!!! 😂 were Already behind the 355 ship inventory!!⚓️

  • DaSaint

    The LCS has its flaws, that’s for sure, but one of the key developments that most haven’t taken note of is that the Independence class has been well designated for the Pacific, while the Freedom class has been relegated to the Med and/or Persian Gulf. What’s interesting here to me, is that arguably no one knows how to tailor catamarans and trimarans for that area better than Australia-based Austal, who (along with Incat) are the experts at designing vessels for Pacific operations, which they’ve done for almost 40 years.

    The up to 12 Independence class to be forward deployed (with the remainder in training) will interface well with the smaller navies of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and possibly Vietnam and Thailand, while larger DDGs will interface with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

    • Duane

      Don’t use the phrase “relegated to the Med and/or Persian Gulf”. I’m pretty sure that our other major surface combatants including DDGs, CGs and CVNs that routinely deploy to that theater would object to it being considered unworthy or inferior. Indeed, the Med and the Horn of Africa and Red Sea are very dangerous theaters, with actual shooting going on, directed at our US Navy and allied ships. The Yemeni Houthis fired salvos of ASMs at a Saudi ship, damaging it, and at the USS Mason last year (the Mason successfully defended itself). The Iranians and their regional proxies, including the Houthis and Hezbollah, routinely challenge US and allied shipping. Someday it may well turn into a full scale war again.

      The Freedom class will, as you say, be deployed there eventually (probably as soon as the SuW is declared IOC, sometime this fiscal year) from their domestic home port of Mayport, FL.

      • DaSaint

        Absolutely no disrespect intended to our fine men and women who serve in those theaters, nor the vessels they serve on.

        My poorly worded point was in reference to the Independence class being better suited to the Pacific than the Freedom, which has therefore been assigned to the Med/Persian Gulf.

        • Duane

          OK, fine. To my knowledge, the Navy has never stated why the Freedoms are based in Mayport (implying Atlantic/Med/Middle East deployments) and the Independence class in San Diego (implying West Pac deployments), and not vice versa. I’d be interested to hear why. Maybe it was based upon the ship’s characteristics, or maybe it was just a flip of a coin.

          Both vessels have very similar characteristics, in terms of speed, draft, displacement, sensors, weapons, etc., but they certainly look very different. The Independence has a much larger flight deck than the Freedom class, due to its much wider beam aft with the trimiran design. Maybe the Navy felt that in the SCS and ECS regions, the LCS would be operating more independently (i.e., with less fleet support and more widely dispersed friendly ports) than in the Middle East and Med, so required a bigger flight deck to accommodate longer-legged aviation assets (maybe a CV-22?). But that’s just guessing on my part.

          It’s an interesting question.

          • DaSaint

            I do know that the Freedom class uses an planing-hull design for a fast vehicle ferry that operated in the Mediterranean. Planing hulls are great for relatively calm sea conditions, but severe slamming can take place when operating at speed when there are greater wave heights. Generally, the vessel will have to slow down considerably to compensate, becoming a traditional displacement type, but it’s not as stable.

            The Independence class as a trimaran is arguably more stable than a catamaran, with the added benefit of more usable volume from the center hull. It’s not as maneuverable as a monohull, but possibly more survivable than a monohull or a catamaran. The stability helps in conditions that would generally require it, which the open ocean Pacific arguably does vs. the Med Sea or the Persian Gulf. An added benefit is the vast overall beam due to the outriggers, which the Independence class uses nicely for that huge flight deck.

            So MY GUESS is that they thought it out and assigned accordingly.

          • Duane

            Yup, interesting question, but I’m not convinced your speculation is any better than mine. The high speeds by LCS are needed just in the coastal shallows, to deal with the high speed small craft swarms anticipated to constitute the major threat. If there are big waves, the small boats are not going to be able to go high speed either.

            For the ASW mission, the Navy says the LCS can be anticipated to escort carrier strike groups, which implies blue water ops where big waves can be anticipated. However, again, an LCS doing ASW will not be doing ASW at high (planing) speeds while towing the variable depth towed array. Ditto in coastal shallow ASW work. Though the deployed aircraft may do much of the ASW sensing, as well as attack (using lightweight ASW torpedoes), leaving the LCS to run around at high speeds if desired.

            For MCM missions, the LCS will be moving at even slower speeds, if not all stop or barely making way, because the mine hunting and mine neutralization work is done by deployed USVs and UAVs and MH-60s, not by the ship itself.

          • DaSaint

            Not really trying to convince you actually. But the Med and Persian Gulf have different average sea states from exposure to weather influences vs. the Pacific. That’s just a fact, as you often like to say.

            Different hull forms have different strengths and weaknesses regarding stability. That too is a fact. How they’re deployed, as you’ve stated, can significantly mitigate those weaknesses in most conditions. Completely agree.

            As someone who’s hired Naval Architects to review operating requirements, beginning with the need to analyze intended operating environments, it’s enlightening how they both inform vessel specifications, which then has lead to reviews of the pros and cons of monohull vs catamaran. And they certainly do have both their pros and cons!

          • Duane

            Yes, sea states vary with ocean depths, currents, and wind patterns, and of course different hull designs will perform differently as a result. But the variability between individual areas WITHIN a given theater (or ccean) are much greater than the differences between oceans or theaters. Operating in shallow inland seas is something that is common to both the the Med, Persian Gulf and parts of the SCS or ECS. And similarly, deeper waters in the Indian Ocean or Med are not going to be much different, at the same latitude, than the deep water areas of the SCS or ECS. Some littorals have very deep water all the way to the water’s edge, and some relatively shallow continental shelves extend many hundreds of miles from shore.

            It all comes down to individual areas.

            So I don’t believe that hull design is peculiar to the West Pacific or the Med/Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean theaters.

            .

          • DaSaint

            Hull design isn’t ‘peculiar to’. But hull design does matter based on the general areas of operation. That is why tank tests are done to determine best options based on expected conditions. And those conditions will vary based on general location. North Sea vs Caribbean. Pacific vs Persian Gulf
            Great Lakes vs Hudson River

    • Rocco

      Agreed!….. how many of those do you think will have a problem!!

      • DaSaint

        You know what? Their crews are so relatively small, and they are so maneuverable that they probably have to pay extra attention when underway…so as not to run into anything. Wouldn’t be good.

        • Rocco

          Ha you mean the autonomous bridge whatch!!!??? You mean there was a barge off the port side??🤐

    • Hugh

      Some history of Australian cats:- In 1968 Cockatoo Dockyard in Sydney built a self propelled catamaran for transporting aircraft between the aircraft carrier HMAS MELBOURNE and the shore at Jervis Bay where the naval air station was. This was followed by 3 catamaran crane stores lighters. In 1972 a Department of Defence naval architect sent a written proposal/design for catamaran ferries to be introduced on Sydney Harbour to the NSW Minister for Transport. This was used as the draft/guidance for the finalised design by commercial naval architect Alan Payne. This seemed a good idea and some cats were developed and introduced for tourism at The Great Barrier Reef. From this, that Defence naval architect suggested cats to both the RAN and Austal, and when one became available it was leased by the navy, and soon after was used for fast transits between Darwin and Timor when the latter were pressing for independence from Indonesia. With capability demonstrated, interest flowed on to the USN, and Incat and Austal did a good job of marketing.

      • DaSaint

        Nice job, but you skipped the entire history of Incat, Incat Crowther, and Ausal. And their founders. If you include that next time, it would make for more complete reading.

  • Uru

    Just a random thought. The LCS might be ahead of it’s time (by several decades).

    The technology is obviously not there yet, but imagine an Indy hiding in shallow coastal areas, with 4 stealthy STOVL X-47B-like UAV, each carrying multiple Sea-Venom type ASMs. That’ll be make a (relatively) affordable yet potent anti-surface / ISR combo.

    UAVs are the future for the LCS.

    • Duane

      Yes, actually, LCS already deploys two UAVs – the MQ-8B and its much larger cousin, the MQ-8C, both being rotary wing UAVs. Plus the LCS also already deploys USVs in the MCM module, and likely will also soon deploy UUVs.

      • El Kabong

        Wow! A cheap little Bell Jet Ranger…

        What weapons?

        • Duane

          At the moment, the Navy is not generally arming the MQ8s, using them primarily for a variety of missions involving sensors. They’re being equipped now with AESA and synthetic aperture radars for acquiring surface and airborne targets, and laser designators for lasing surface and airborne targets (for the precision guided munitions for the 57mm and Hellfires, and doing ASW (deploying sonobuoys), and for remote mine sensing in shallow waters. The B models have wing stubs from which Hellfires, Viper Strike precision glide bombs, and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon rocket pods have been mounted and tested.

          The C model carries a much heavier payload than the B model, up to about 3,000 pounds, so it has the payload capacity to deploy lightweight torpedoes like the Mk 54 at 608 pounds, but that capability has yet to be developed.

          • El Kabong

            So, NO weapons…. *snicker*

            What’s the range of a Hellfire? 10 km’s at BEST?

          • Duane

            No – you didn’t read my answer. Yes, weapons I listed have been mounted on the MQ-8Bs by the Navy, but their principal use is for ASW and SuW target sensing and tracking.

          • El Kabong

            LMAO!!!

            No, you need help with your reading comprehension skills, Duaney.

            Try a lot less squirming and a lot more reading.

            “At the moment, the Navy is not generally arming the MQ8s…”

            NOT operational.

    • Rocco

      What is an Indy??? I’m getting sick of this word being used for everything!!!

      • Spencer Whitson

        Independence Class LCS, I would assume.

        • Rocco

          Yes thanks lol!!

      • Secundius

        In this Particular Case, the “Independence”! But IF you’re Thinking British, the “Indefatigable”…

        • Rocco

          Oh duh!!!

          • Secundius

            I’m sorry! But with YOU, it’s hard to tell sometimes…

          • Rocco

            It was early morning with no coffee in my veins!! 😂

          • Secundius

            It’s the “Chinese” in you! It keeps getting in the way of a meaningful conversation…

          • Rocco

            Seriously!!!😴 You want to talk just ask!!!

          • Secundius

            The “Emoji” was Invented by a Chinese Mathematical Engineer in 1916, where he Condensed ~90,000 Chinese Characters into 4,000 Pictographs to make an Easier Universal Chinese Language. By 1952, the Average Chinese Person Forgot how to Read and Write in Traditional Chinese Language…

          • Rocco

            Interesting! I didn’t know that! Happy thanksgiving!🐥

          • Secundius

            You to “Hou-Kun Chow”! And all the Holiday’s to Follow…

  • Secundius

    I suspect “They’ll” be Billeted with T-ESB-3’s in the Foreseeable Future too…

  • Lazarus

    LCS 5 and forward are mature designs that have avoided the equipment and training problems of the first 4 units. The sea frames themselves are good open architecture platforms capable of receiving many different systems. The fact that LCS has so much open-ended systems is a mismatch with the very linear defense acquisition and test and evaluation system. That fact alone has contributed to many of the criticisms of the program.

    • FromTheMirror

      “open-ended systems” – it’s “open-ended” all right : there’s no end in sight when they can stop fixing all that gunkwork.

  • Rocco

    You seem to be the only one that thinks this!!!

    • Duane

      You mean, besides you and a small handful of internet commenters? Because it is a known fact that the US Navy agrees that the LCS is a valuable surface combatant, and so does Congress which has been funding their construction for the last decade plus.

      • El Kabong

        Only keyboard commandos like you are cheerleading it, Duaney.

      • Rocco

        Sure until one breaks down again at an inopertune time & gets sunk!!

    • Secundius

      Not the Only One! Until the “LCS” is Given a Role, it’s STILL going to be considered an “Outsider”, a “What If”, a “Widget”…

      • Rocco

        You forgot scapegoat!! Baite leur !!

        • Secundius

          I’ve been an LCS proponent since February 2010! Even wrote a Lengthy Piece on its Merits in 2010! But got Buried in the Analogs of USNI Histories…

  • El Kabong

    Speak of the devil!

    LMAO!

  • PolicyWonk

    Kinda sad that when training with other navies that operate in the littorals, our sailors have to have the fact that real littoral combat ships are heavily armed, and its staring them in the face (as if they need the reminder), while they hope their ride will be fast enough to run away if (god help them!) the shooting ever starts.

    The EPF’s are strengthened commercial ferries, but aren’t pretending to be combatants. It is ironic that they have more room for adding heavy weapons should they desire them than either LCS class does. These souped up ferries are excellent littoral material, but it sure took a long time for the USN to figure it out.

    LCS is the “never expected to venture into the littorals to engage in combat” ship, despite its designation. While these exercises are useful training for the crew, and will certainly sharpen the piloting skills of the officers, that they continue to describe these ultra-expensive utility ships as any kind of SSC represents a continued misrepresentation to the taxpayers (let alone the crews ordered to man them).

    • Secundius

      That’s NOT what the “EPF’s” were design for! The “EPF’s” were designed to be “Johnny On the Spot” LCU’s, to get to a Trouble Spot in a Hurry and Support up to 300-Marines for 96-Hours until a Main Body MEU arrived on the scene. Especially useful considering their Shallow Drafts allow them to Go Up River and take the Fight To the Enemy…

    • Duane

      The “real littoral warships” in actual navies as opposed to your imagination are far smaller and much less heavily armed than the LCS. They’re called “patrol craft”. Frigates are not littoral warships, never have been. Ditto with corvettes. Neither has the shallow draft or high speeds required for littoral combat, and neither have the full suite of high rate of fire, precision guided weapons that the LCS has.

  • RTColorado

    Okay, so we’re going to crash and wreck more “stuff” in the area…okay, good to know, I’ll watch out for the floating wreckage.

  • so the new FFG won’t perform this task?

  • El Kabong

    We’re discussing the USNI’s resident Little Crappy Ship troll.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Glad to be reading some good news about these ships. We have them, it’s long past time to start using them beyond just that of testing and shakedown. Interactions with allied navies might result in some LCS’s being bought by them, which will hopefully help in recouping some of their costs.