Home » Budget Industry » Maiden Deployment Ends As Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado Returns Home After 18 Months Overseas


Maiden Deployment Ends As Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado Returns Home After 18 Months Overseas

USS Coronado (LCS-4) Sailors man the rails as the ship transits the San Diego Harbor to return to homeport after an 18 month deployment on Dec. 5, 2017. US Navy Photo

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO, Calif. – With guidance from an orange tug, the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) inched its way toward its berth Tuesday afternoon and wrapped up its maiden deployment after 18 months in the Western Pacific.

Several dozen family members and shipmates waited excitedly for Coronado, an aluminum trimaran and second in the class of the Independence-variant ship, to settle into Pier 5 next to USS Independence (LCS-2) and release its crew. It had been some eight months since Coronado’s Blue Crew crew had left San Diego, traveling by air on March 28 to Singapore for the scheduled overseas deployment and crew rotation with Coronado’s Gold Crew.

Coronado spent about 14 months underway in independent deployments during that 18-month period operating in and around South Asia and the western Pacific.

The crew “took much pride in demonstrating that the Littoral Combat Ship is here to stay, and that it can deliver on the mission that it was designed to do,” Cmdr. Douglas K. Meagher, who commands Coronado’s Blue Crew (aka Crew 203), told USNI News shortly after reuniting with his wife and four children, who sported T-shirts emblazoned with their father’s photo.

“We validated all that we intended with this ship, despite the naysayers,” Meagher said. “
That’s what we are most proud of, and we’ll have the opportunity to do that again and again.”

Fire Controlman 1st Class Richard E. Byrd, assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4), conducts visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) drills while at sea during Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Malaysia 2017. US Navy Photo

The Navy’s LCS-class ships are equipped with either surface, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare modules that can be swapped out and integrated with the ship’s combat systems. For the deployment, Coronado is equipped with the surface warfare module that includes 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boats and two 30mm machine guns as well as two Fire Scout unmanned air vehicles – it looks like a small helicopter – equipped with the AN/ZPY-4 maritime surveillance radar and the MH-60S Knighthawk multi-mission helicopter.

With those detachments, the ship’s crew of about 75 grew to 100 or so with the additional personnel. Minimal manning means everyone washes their dishes, for example, and most all are cross-trained in other rates. Meagher hailed the camaraderie he’s seen develop among the crew, “where everybody’s hands get dirty, both literally and figuratively. You rely on one another in a way you don’t on another ship.” Much of the crew is seasoned and were well-versed in deployments even before they reported to the ship.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of Coronado and Blue Crew’s deployment came this past summer. The crew, in an over-the-horizon employment, fired the Harpoon Block 1C anti-ship missile in what officials say demonstrated the capability for manned and unmanned teaming with full LCS integration. The ship’s systems used targeting data collected by the MQ-8B Fire Scout and MH-60S Seahawk for the live-fire event on Aug. 22 near Guam.

The proof-of-concept Harpoon shoot marked a significant and successful event not just for Coronado’s crew but for the program overall.

“We didn’t rely on anyone else to do that over-the-horizon shot. That was a pretty significant milestone – and not just for the littoral combat ship but for the entire Navy,” Meagher said. “You don’t see any cruisers or DDGs with unmanned aerial vehicles providing unmanned targeting for the surface-launched missile.”

“It demonstrated LCS’s role in distributing lethality and in keeping with the Surface Forces’ strategy,” he added.

A harpoon missile launches from the missile deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) off the coast of Guam on Aug. 22, 2017. US Navy Photo

Coronado had completed the first LCS test-fire of the Harpoon a year earlier, during the 2016 Rim-of-the-Pacific exercise, not long after starting its deployment. “That’s the concept of the modularity,” Capt. Jordy M. Harrison, who commands San Diego-based Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1, told USNI News on Tuesday, noting the “ability to rapidly upgrade the capability into these ships, as long as you can connect the architecture in.”

“The targeting data information was correct,” Harrison said, as the missile aimed directly at the surface target. It didn’t physically strike the target, however. “It ran out of fuel,” he said. But “they did was they needed to do.” The intent, he noted, was to show “can the ship structurally fire the missile.” Budget and program discussions and decisions remain ahead that will determine “what we’re going to do in the future,” he said.

Harrison had joined the crowd on the pier to watch Coronado glide toward its berth. “The ship looks great when you consider 17 and a half months forward deployed,” he said. “The challenging aspect is: How do you sustain a ship for an 18-month deployment,” with a goal of 24-month deployments overseas, and also sustain crews’ readiness and proficiency in basic, intermediate and advanced skills. LCS training facilities in San Diego, with shore-based trainers and simulators, are key to providing that as the Navy stands up the LCS training division and ships that will be tasked as training ships for both LCS variants.

Meagher said he’s “already started the process of reporting some of those lessons learned” over the last two years. Among them: “Tailoring our training to better prepare us for what we’re going to physically do on a deployment.”

“To be fair, this is not the first LCS deployment. But this is the first LCS-2 variant deployment, and the ships are different,” he said. “We will do our best to make sure the next deployment in 2018 is better than this one.”

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

Coronado began the maiden deployment on June 22, 2016, leaving San Diego for the independent deployment to the Indo-Asia Pacific region with a detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, based at North Island Naval Air Station.

Early in its deployment, Coronado suffered an “engineering casualty” that forced the ship to return to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for repairs. It came amid a series of unrelated propulsion troubles encountered by two Freedom-variant LCS, USS Freedom (LCS-1) and USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), that led to subsequent program reviews and changes under a broad transformation plan.

Meagher took command of Coronado and the Blue Crew – aka Crew 203 – on April 15 at Changi Naval Base in Singapore when he replaced Cmdr. Scott Larson, who had led Coronado’s Gold Crew (Crew 204) through the deployment 10 months earlier.

Harrison said Coronado’s crews “have proven the versatility and the capability of these ships that, I think, are often – depending who you’ve been listening to – have been maligned because many times they’re talking about things that were programmatic a decade ago… This is not your father’s LCS.”

“The sailors have taken the ship to sea and shown, over the past 18 months, the LCS fleet is here. There’s an incredible amount of capability, flexibility and capacity these ships bring to the warfare commanders and operational commanders and fleet commanders,” he said. Just in the Asia-Pacific region, “there’s at least 50 ports where we can operate in with an LCS but not a cruiser or destroyer, and because of the speed of the ship, you can get there in half if not a third of the time, if need be.”

While forward deployed from Singapore, Coronado spent some 14 months underway across the region. The ship joined with the Philippine Navy for counter-piracy operations and maritime patrols in the Sulu Sea in July. The crew stayed busy participating in 18 exercises, including Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) with nine countries and exercise “Pacific Griffin” with Singapore forces, and training and engaging with forces in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. In fact, officials see LCS as a strong platform to support a wide range of theater security cooperation (TSC) missions, as well as other roles including include humanitarian relief support missions.

The littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4). US Navy Photo

Among its 15 port visits by Coronado were first-time visits by an LCS ship to Lumut, Malaysia, and Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, in June, to demonstrate the ability to do expeditionary maintenance, away from the Singapore logistics hub.

“We demonstrated the tangible value of this platform and its role with Theater Security Cooperation in all corners of the Asia-Pacific region,” Meagher said. “It’s clear and obvious that this ship is perfectly suited to that mission. It is a platform that aligns well with our partner navies,” especially when training with them at sea. “We’ve demonstrated with our Asia-Pacific partners what we’re committed to,” he added.

The pace of such LCS engagements in the region is expected to grow, officials say. The small footprint and draft of LCS means the ships can reach far more places, including smaller ports and shallower areas, than larger vessels such as destroyers.

LCS, as well as expeditionary fast transport ships, “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,” Gabrielson told USNI last month. In fact, Coronado’s deployment in the region, he said, helped validate LCS’s role and importance in the region and is helping pave way for a greater presence of those ships.

Coronado’s Blue Crew will rotate again with Gold Crew in San Diego in the coming weeks, officials said, with another exchange-of-command. Cmdr. Karl F. McCarthy, Jr., had taken command of the Gold Crew, replacing Larson, during an Oct. 6 ceremony in San Diego.

“We’re happy to be giving her back to (Crew) 204 and give them an opportunity to sharpen their sword, so to speak,” Meagher said. He and the Blue Crew, after some post-deployment break, will enter a basic training phase and then become the permanent, single crew on Coronado next year.

The ship is slated to shift to a single-crew concept and take on a new role as a dedicated training vessel to train and certify LCS Blue and Gold rotational crews.

A Firescout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) off the coast of Guam. US Navy Photo

The Navy will have the first four ships – FreedomIndependenceFort Worth and Coronado – serve as test beds for the fleet for continuing testing and evaluation of various mission modules, systems and concepts. Divisions focusing on each of the three mission areas will include a training ship. The first division slated to organize – Division 11 – will be have USS Jackson (LCS-6) as the training ship, along with USS Montgomery (LCS-8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) and USS Omaha (LCS-12).

As the Navy continues to develop the LCS fleet and program, Coronado’s deployment is shedding some light on limitations of the platform and operations. One concern, Harrison said, is crew endurance, “because you have a minimally-manned crew.”

The other is “when you go fast, you burn fuel. So there are still some constraints,” he said. It’s a concern particularly in the western Pacific, an area that “is huge” and vast. The Navy, he added, is analyzing such operational data as it looks at future frigate designs and weigh areas such as range capacity of the hull.

  • kye154

    What they don’t say is that the Coronado had 4 major breakdowns over that 18 month period, (not just one). Also, what is not being said is that four of the six littoral combat ships in service have suffered similar mechanical failures too in the past year. The LCS may look good on paper, however, it is anything but ready for sea, much less adequate for actual combat.

    • Duane

      None of the breakdowns have occurred within the last year plus. All were atrributed to insufficient crew training and manning, both of which have been resolved.

      • kye154

        Sorry, but you don’t know what you are talking about. Seawater got inside the oil lubrication system, resulting in rust in the diesel engine: or the casualty in the transmission where power from its four engines are combined and transmitted to the propulsion system, along with other things that did not work. The ship is heavily automated, so they have essentially a bare bones crew operating it, much less, enough of a crew able to fix anything. The issues are still not resolved.

        • Al L.

          You are wrong, the LCS-2 ships have no such combining. 4 engines, 4 steerable waterjets individually connected.

          Why dont you show evidence of these 4 major breakdowns to Coronado. Or the others in the past year.

          • DaSaint

            GE GTs for the center waterjets, MTU diesels for the outboard waterjets. No heavy reduction or combing gears.

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          Kye, you are spreading fake news. The reports are out there detailing exactly what happened, and Duane is spot on.

          Have YOU read these reports?? Do you know how the sea water got into the MPDE sump? Do you know that the crew PLUGGED a telltail and didn’t realize a basic engineering fundamental. Do you know what they did afterwords? I do.

          What about the “transmission” problem you talk about. Was that operator error on the Fort Worth? It sure was…

          Do you also realize that much of this equipment is run constantly on merchant ships throughout the year, such as Austal and Incat ferries. These are pushed much harder in my opinion and with the same sized engineering department with LITTLE PROBLEM! What say you?

          The LCS program has made changes to address these issues recently. One noticeable is increasing the engineering training track out to 6 months (from already well trained E-4s to E-6s prior to checking in.

          Training and level of knowledge IS the problem. Just as with these recent collisions and many other engineering casualties throughout the fleet.

          • NavySubNuke

            “One noticeable is increasing the engineering training track out to 6 months (from already well trained E-4s to E-6s prior to checking in.”

            Wow 6 months to promote from E-4 to E-6 all the while without even seeing a ship? You sure about that one? I know the surface fleet promotes guys at the drop of a hat but that seems excessive even for them.

          • muzzleloader

            E-4 to E-6 in 6 months? I have been out for a while, but I doubt that the time in rate requirements have changed that much, lol.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Let me rephrase, as maybe that wasn’t clear. Engineering rates of E-4s, E-5s and E-6s who have much experience from the fleet undergo a year long training pipeline before going to LCS. This was extended an ADDITIONAL 6 months in part due the the engineering casualties suffered.

            Also keep in mind that the crew consist of very few sailors under the rank of E-5.

            I point this out to exasperate the fact the Navy is having a systemic problem in level of knowledge, even with an experienced crew.

          • Rocco

            I ran into a young Navy chief at an air show. He looked so young I asked him if he was still in HS!! 24 yrs old & doing recruitment!!!

          • kye154

            I agree, Naval Training has gotten very poor lately. No question about that. But, you know absolutely nothing about the LCS’s. I have the Naval Programs report that was released of the LCS’s. They do mention upfront that there were other problems as well. For instance:

            LCS 1 completed a 3 to 4 week shipyard maintenance
            period to repair an underwater hull crack that had curtailed
            seakeeping and human factors trials.
            • LCS 2 experienced major disruptions and delays caused
            by problems with core systems and Mine Countermeasures
            (MCM) mission modules, principally the Twin Boom
            Extendible Crane, the lift platform, and the Remote
            Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV). LCS 2 also experienced
            underwater hull damage in the area of the waterjet propulsors
            caused by bimetallic corrosion.

            The report does not mention anything about this being tributable to crew error. So, provide us with something to back up your claim, or get off this board.

          • Duane

            Just read the US Navy’s own report issued a little over a year ago when they announced changes in training and crewing models. Of course you won’t.

            The early ships had developmental issues – which is why it was called a developmental program – just as all totally new tech/radically redesigned ship classes do. Examples include the first ship of the Thresher class SSNs, which sank killing all aboard. The Navy redesigned the boat to be safer, and renamed it the Permit class. The USS Enterprise suffered from many performance and maintenance shortcomings and limitations, such that it became the only ship of its class,with a totally redesigned power plant in the follow-on Nimitz class.

            The casualties incurred in the early LCS ships were extremely minor, no deaths, no injuries, no sinkings, no major (multi hundred million dollar) overhauls of the design … and now we have a total of 31 ships built, under construction, and/or on order as of today.

          • kye154

            Yes, isn’t it amazingly idiotic how the navy proceeds on course, and buys more of this junk, after the Pentagon’s independent Department of Operational Test & Evaluation said: ” “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.” But, I guess sailors are expendable in the Navy’s mind…..Right?

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            kye, you should read all the reports on DDG, CG and LPD casualties…. You would think the same thing.

          • El Kabong

            You should back up your claims.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            And I have posted where to look at the reports. They are available via the freedom of information act… Those new LPDs and Ford class carrier seem to be doing great too…

          • El Kabong

            Nope….

            Still waiting for proof.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Kye, I have posted three reports that are pending by USNI as of yesterday. Google pacflt-foia-2017-13 and click on the third link PDF. This is the actual USN report supplied by the freedom of information act that San Diego tribune did a report on.

            Additionally, the Freedom of Information Act Reading Room from the CPF (commander pacific fleet web page) has many other reports (including LCS).

            This evidence is clear you were wrong, even if you change the subject.

        • Bob467

          Don’t confuse Duane, he’s got his own little LCS fantasy game running on his computer where a single LCS takes out the entire chinese fleet, and he is make a Fleet admiral

        • Lazarus

          There was a flexible coupling casualty on the ship’s transit out to Singapore but no other major casualties. Think you are conflating USS FREEDOM’s diesel casualty with CORONADO.

  • Duane

    Per Admiral Davidson, Commander, Fleet Forces Command, in interview published last week (Nov 27) in Breaking Defense:

    ““I am a huge fan of the LCS,” the memo quotes Fleet Forces commander Adm. Philip Davidson as saying. “Its modularity and tactical speed will do us well in the years ahead.”

    • kye154

      Admiral Davidson needs to resign. He is just pumping out garbage that he has read from Lockheed about this class of ships. The Pentagon’s independent Department of Operational Test & Evaluation evaluated the LCS program and the Navy’s plans to acquire 55 for its fleet. Contrary to the vessel’s designation of being a “Combat Ship,” the department’s own assessment concluded the “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.” Again, the Pentagon said that in 2012! In 2013, a computer simulations were done of the LCS’s in the South China Sea. One such sim is Command: Modern Naval/Air Operations. Command is particularly suited for attempting a high-fidelity simulation of modern naval combat — it included an admiral and staff from the U.S. Naval War College in the game’s beta testing —they took a page from the Navy and put the LCS to the test. Conclusions: The result weren’t good.

      • Duane

        So every naval leader who likes the LCS needs to resign, and all the very smart, non-serving internet commenters should be put in charge, right?

        LOL!

        And that old stale quote of yours from Admiral Greenert did NOT say what you say he said. What the admiral said was that that ships like the LCS (at that time) that lacked air defenses against ASCMs – which was every other surface ship in the Navy but for the Ticos and ABs – should not go into anti-access/area denial areas without escort by a CG or DDG.

        Well, regardless of what Adm Greenert said or thought way back then, the LCS has now been equipped and qualified with SeaRam, our most advanced own ship (as opposed to area air defense) anti-ASCM system, the very same system now mounted on the Ford CVN and will be mounted on the Arleigh Burke Flight IIIs. Back in 2012 LCS did not have OTH missiles – it has had OTH missiles since 2014.

        Greenert is of course long gone, and many things have changed, all over the world.

        Since 2012, the Navy has begun implementation of “distributed lethality”. So now the ship that Greenert described, in very limited terms as needing an air defense screen from the DDGs, now has its own air defense system -our best – and also has offensive lethality with OTH missiles.

        • Big-D

          and most if not all of the proponents of the LCS are long since retired and sitting safe in their living rooms, so now it’s time to retire this sailor coffin before it’s too late. After all, we don’t want to say to hundreds of griving widows “well admiral Duane said the LCS was the best-bar none, this shouldn’t not have happend, it had the most awesome modules and machine guns, blah blah blah”

          • Duane

            No – the proponents of the LCS are the entire US Navy leadership. The opponents are mostly civilians, old vets, anybody who doesn’t like new ways of doing things.

          • kye154

            Yes, that is true. The current lot of Naval “leadership” are the same puppets who are well versed in Raytheon and Lockheed sales literature, who have no mind of their own except wanting a job with those military contractors after retirement from the navy.

          • Duane

            Yup.

            Note the common thread amongst the vociferous LCS critics – they routinely engage in character assassination directed against anyone who does not buy their dogma … that’s a sign not of knowledge or of experience talking, but of weak zealotry, common amongst people with radicalized beliefs or extreme cynicism.

          • kye154

            You haven’t offered anything factual, so why are you on this board? I dislike dealing with people afflicted with the Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

          • Duane

            I cited all manner of facts, not opinion, Read the darned post here, it refutes every single thing you claim. Read the official Naval report from last year, it also refutes every single thing you say. Read the Commander Fleet Ops, whom I quoted here in this threat, and whom you maligned.

            And we’re supposed to believe you, another anonymous internet commenter, instead of those who are proven to know from first hand knowledge?

            SMH

          • kye154

            You have not cited any facts at all, except the opinion of Admiral Davidson, who has never been aboard an LCS. Ask him persoanally!

          • Duane

            Then you did not even bother to read the post you’re commenting on.

            And yes, I’ve cited facts about weapons systems, performance, training, manning, etc. in my comments in this thread. You simply choose to disbelieve the facts because they don’t jibe with your fake news mantra.

          • kye154

            You have only cited us a lot of sales literature. Some of it is still not in effect onboard the LCSs yet. On the other hand, Naval training is certainly lacking, and the ships are only as good and proficient as the crews manning them, no matter how advanced the ships’ technology is..

          • Duane

            The CO of the Coronado is a salesman? The Commander Fleet Forces is a salesman? The US Navy’s command structure that issued the report last year on the LCS manning and training modifications are salesmen?

            SMH

          • kye154

            Oh really? And which C.O. are you referring to? Cmdr. Scott Larson or Cmdr. Karl McCarthy? And what commander of Fleet Forces? Admiral Philip S. Davidson who has never been aboard an LCS? By the way, he is not the operational command of COMAVSURFPAC, which were responsible for the deployment of the Coronado.

          • Big-D

            hey Duean, are you referring to those damming ‘official’ reports (the latest one dated Oct of this year) which you yourself said the ‘experts didn’t know what they were doing’ simply because you couldn’t handle the truth. Yep, I thought so. Now bow down and do a dozen Hail Lockmarts while doing the sign of the dollar.

          • Duane

            Again, character assassination is all you have. You don’t have the facts.

          • kye154

            Seems like you are becoming defensive. That is a very good sign that you have been outclassed in your arguments. But, that is the perfectly normal expectation from people with the Dunning-Kruger affliction.

          • Duane

            The guy who hurls adhominems and makes personal attacks is ALWAYS the loser in any debate.

          • kye154

            Well, I am glad you have finally admitted it.

          • Duane-aka Sir Lockmart

            but the one who uses reason and facts (and not propaganda from Lockmart “Bar-None, Best ever, It can take on any enemy, it’s the future, it’s better than a destroyer, everybody loves it, it’s got hellfire missiles, it you don’t like it your old, blah blah blah,”) will always win

          • Duane

            More stawman arguments that I never made.

          • Big-D

            “New ways” you mean worshipping Lockmart, and if you don’t worship Lockmart you are “old vets, blah blah blah…”
            In the real world, some of us can think outside the Lockmart box.

          • N_

            I am no LCS fan but all the folks bashing it seem to forget these ships are set to replace the Osprey and Avenger class MCM (fiberglass coated wood hull)…that only had a few .50 cals for self defense. The LCS isn’t designed to be a major surface combatant but it is a major step up in offensive and defensive capability when compared to the hulls it is designed to replace.

          • Don’t forget the vaunted Perrys that spent the last years of their lives armed with nothing more than a badly sited 76mm and a Phalanx.

        • kye154

          You don’t know anything about the OTH missiles. As of last March, the Navy was weighing the prospect of arming the LCS with the emering Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, a high-tech DARPA-Lockheed-Office of Naval Research developmental effort with semi-autonomous guidance technology. The Kongsberg-Raytheon Naval Strike Missile has been tested on the flat-bottomed “Freedom” variant LCS and a Harpoon Block IC missile has been tested on the Navy’s trimaran “Independence” variant of the ship. In other words, they are still in the developmental phase and have not been deployed on any LCS yet.

          In the computer simulation, mentioned before, by the NWC of the LCS’s in the South China Sea, the LCS fared rather poorly defending itself against the Chinese YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missiles. It’s going to need far better armament than what it has got.

          • Duane

            There is no “weighing” of OTH missiles. The LCS already has OTH missiles. Look at the photo on this page … you see those little tube thingy’s on the foredeck, you know, the ones that are ACTUALLY FIRING A HARPOON ANTI SHIP MISSILE? Yes, that was a deployed LCS. It has conducted several successful test firings of both Block 1 Harpoons and NSM, and conducted its entire recently completed 18 month deployment armed with deployed Harpoons.

            Yup, that thingy. And the Navy conducted a procurement earlier this year for a package buy of OTH missiles for, guess what, the LCS. The Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile appears the likely winner, as Boeing withdrew because their updated Block 2 ER Harpoon is not yet ready, just as LM withdrew because the LRASM had not yet completed its shipboard testing on the new modified Mk 141 tube launcher (scheduled this spring) on LCS.

          • kye154

            The harpoons we have did not survive the tests against the Chinese YJ-83. The harpoons we currently have were seriously outclassed.

          • Duane

            Harpoons are all we have, today. For the entire US Navy, including the Ticos and Arleigh Burkes.

            But that is about to change. The Navy will buy a slug of NSMs shortly (after FY2018 funding is eventually enacted by Congress), which are already certified on the LCS. The NSM is far superior to any other ASM in service, Chinese or Russian or otherwise. And the even more advanced, even longer ranged LRASM will follow shortly once it is declared IOC sometime in 2018. It’s already certified for the Mk 41 VLS, and a modified Mk 141 angled canister deck launcher has already been developed and ground tested with LRASM to be mounted on all of our LCS going forward … starting in 2018, And Boeing is working to complete development of their advanced Block 2 ER Harpoon, with range similar to the NSM and a much more advanced seeker.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Flat-bottomed huh? Have you seen a Freeom class vessel launched? It certainly isn’t flat bottomed by any naval architecture standard. A DDG looks flat-bottomed compared to an LCS. Where are you getting all this tripe you spew out?

          • kye154

            I have access to the Naval ship reports from the Cinc commands, and congressional reports. What do you have besides nothing?

          • Al L.

            If you have such reports you arent reading them. No ASM has been on the Freedom variant ever.

            Your info is so far off you have to be making it up as you go.

          • kye154

            So far, you haven’t provided any factual proof to the contrary. I have the reports, you don’t. You aren’t even qualified in the subject matter, much less to challenge me..

          • Al L.

            Fine then you with your made up non facts can debate Duane and his made up non facts and those of us who know better will sit back and laugh at both of you. Its quite entertaining.

    • A voice of reason

      Yep, it’s a good thing the LCS is so fast it can outrun a anti-ship missile (because it’ll never know a bad guy was in the neighborhood and has fired a missile at it).

      • Duane

        Why do you say that?

        Within the horizon, the LCS have a modern multi-function radar (EADS TRS 3-D), able to sense any ship or incoming ASM within the horizon, same as any other warship we have today.

        Beyond the horizon, no warship on the planet can sense surface ships or incoming ASCM, including AEGIS, which is a volume air search system, using own ship sensors. The limitation is called “physics”.

        So the LCS, just like any other warship, must rely upon off-ship sensors. It deploys three aircraft (combination of MH-60 and MQ-8 drones) each with sophisticated AESA radars, and these aircraft can range out to 100+ miles from the ship. and being airborne, can sense well beyond that. Also, LCS is equipped with the CANES AI-enabled sensor network that integrates off-ship sensor data from other platforms (aircrafts, surface ships, ground radars, etc.) to sense, track, and target both surface ships and incoming ASMs.

        • kye154

          Ha! Your Mentioning EADS TRS 3-D radar, and “no warships on the planet….. blah-blah-blah”, its obvious you are blowing smoke again. The German Navy has the EADS TRS 3-D radar installed on their F122 frigates, as well as their corvettes, the Danish Navy has it too. Even the French Airbus manufacturer has it on their commercial airbuses. Also, the CANES AI-enabled sensor network is being deployed on carriers and other ships, but as of 15 hours ago, in the Warrior forums, it still has not made it to the LCS’s yet. Again, you are citing Lockheed’s advertising propaganda about the LCS’s, which the Navy parrots.

          Also, the U.S. is not alone in this developing this technology. As a matter of fact, we are behind the power curve in many aspects. Its apparent you haven’t heard about what the Chinese or Russians have in the way of sensors capable of beyond the horizon to make such a statement. Have you never heard of the Vostok-3S, Protivnik-GE, and Ukrainian 80K6 radars? Or, how about the Chinese the HQ-9/FD-2000 and HQ-12/KS-1A SAM system batteries, or the HT-233 and H-200?

          • Duane

            There you go again with your straw man arguments that I never made. I didn’t say the LCS had a better radar than other surface warships – just that it is a competent radar, as good as other ships use for SuW. In my past statements, ,repeated many times, that the LCS is the worlds finest, most lethal littoral warship, I never said it was the finest surface warship. Those other ships you mentioned are not littoral warships – too deep draft, too slow, and not nearly as well equipped to take on small craft swarms or aircraft swarms that are the principal threat in the littorals.

            If you strain really really hard, you might come to realize that you’re just making no sense at all. But I don’t give you much hope, based on all that you’ve written here.

          • kye154

            You must have worked for Lockheed to be selling this junk nonsense about the LCS’s. The LCS’s are nothing more than big glorified, and expensive, speedboats. And, you know nothing about what either the Danish or the German are like, and you certainly haven’t been on one to know their capabilities are. I have! “the world’s finest and most lethal littoral warship”? For the price, they ought to be, but far from it. They were all sunk in the NWC computer simulation of the South China Sea.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Ha, he clearly doesn’t understand physics if he thinks the Vostok-3s can detect over the horizon.

          • kye154

            Ha! You know nothing about it to even make a comment.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Please enlighten me.

          • kye154

            You can do that by Googling the information I put out. Are you computer literate enough to know how to do that,…. right? Geez!!! Helpless people!

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Vostok-3S radar:
            Rotating Phase Array; 6 RPM
            Accuracy: 25 m; β: 0.15°; ε: 0.08° … 0.1°
            S-Band
            No IFF
            Not stabilized

            TRS-3D
            Rotating Phase Array; variable RPMs for range vice resolution
            Accuracy: < 20 m; β: < 0,24°; ε: < 1,3°
            G-Band (greater resolution)
            integrated IFF
            Stabilized

            TRS-3D greater resolution and accuracy with IFF. More geared for detecting surface small surface targets.
            Vostok-3s maybe a slight advantage in the S-band for longer range larger air contacts.. The TRS-3D seems more well suited. What am I missing? What kind of Magic can make this Vostok see over the horizon? Kye, rhetoric is not an argument, use substance!

      • PolicyWonk

        Indeed – a Skjold-class missile boat would clean LCS’s clock before it even knew it was in the same hemisphere.

  • Ed L

    Reading the new David Poyer Novel “Hunter Killer”. In chapter three is mention of an LCS operating out of Pearl Harbor looking for People’s Empire of China Nuclear Submarines

    • Duane-aka Sir Lockmart

      how quickly was it sunk? LOL

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I’m glad to see that some real utility is being gleaned from these ships. I do find it rather baffling that so many of them are being dedicated to being merely ‘training ships’ and testing platforms. That’s a LOT of money being tied up while reducing the numbers available to the fleet in deployable assets. While ‘technology demonstrators’ have been made out of previous ships, they were usually dedicated as such well after they had accrued quite a bit of service life. You never saw any Burkes or Ticos or Perry’s assigned for purely training purposes. There WAS a carrier used for such a purpose, but no more. I hope because of the dollars invested in them that more can be wrought from them than just training and testing!

    • Scott

      I thought the same thing, five ships for training?!

      • Duane

        It’s two ships for crew training, and two ships for cert testing and integration of the two mission modules still in development (ASW and MCM), That is a short term assignment, as ASW will be IOC within a year and MCM within a year and a half.

        • Chesapeakeguy

          I’m reading what the article actually SAYS, not ‘interpreting’ or ‘reading between any lines’. The article READS as 4 ships for testing, and a dedicated training ship for each ‘division’ created. Did you read the links below the picture of the Firescout near the end of the article?

          “LCS ships will now fall under one of two squadrons: LCSRON-1 in San Diego or LCSRON-2 in Mayport, Fla. LCSRON-1 will eventually have four divisions: a test division, consisting of the first four ships in the class that will focus solely on testing hardware, software and concepts of operations to support bringing new mission module equipment into the fleet; a surface warfare division; a mine countermeasures division; and an anti-submarine division.”

          “Each division will contain one training ship and three operating ships.”

          Pretty straight forward there. I say again that is a LOT of money and assets to be tied up for training and testing purposes, regardless of how long it lasts!.

        • El Kabong

          LOL!

          Excuses, excuses….

          How many years have they been in service?

      • Chesapeakeguy

        The way the article reads, they are going to have a dedicated training ship for EACH division that is created and stood up as more ships are introduced. If that is indeed the case.

  • Admiral D

    LCS, the only “highly automated for reduced crew size” ship that ‘needs’ two crews, blue and gold, to operate. So much for manpower saving eh? The LCS is a gift that never stop giving…

    • wilkinak

      You do realize those crews are not onboard at the same time, right? They borrowed the Blue/Gold crew concept from the boomer community.

      • Admiral D

        I’ll repeat myself but slower this time so you understand, one crew is at sea and one crew is on shore jacking off, that’s a real manpower saver. The LCS is severly undermaned while at sea but HALF of it’s crew is on shore doing nothing and don’t tell me they’re training all the time because all of the extra time training sure hasn’t paid off. I wish it as like that when I was in. Lot’s of shore time when you assigned to a ship-what a joke.

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          The hull gets significantly more underway time and use, deploying for two years at a time and then rotating out with another ship. This would take four to five CRUDES for two LCS with this model and offers a significant cost saving advantage per hull hour. Additionally, two crews are still less than one of a CRUDES.

        • Rocco

          😂😂😂

      • Rocco

        That’s stupid when both crews don’t know each other’s name!!!

    • Chesapeakeguy

      I believe the alternate crew concept is slated to go away in time. The ships that have modules that are changed out will have dedicated crews for those modules.

  • kye154

    What a mindless blathering comment. Is that your way of trying to save face, Admiral Duane? Seems like you were never had any experience in the navy.

  • PolicyWonk

    The crew “took much pride in demonstrating that the Littoral Combat Ship is here to stay, and that it can deliver on the mission that it was designed to do…”
    ===============================================
    The crew has a vested interest in doing the best possible job, because they don’t want to swim home (or be towed, etc). Moving a ship from one port to another without breaking down and claiming this is a major accomplishment is setting the bar mighty low, even for the USN.

    Ya gotta love the “highly automated” part, now that the crew size of 75 is amost double the size it was originally supposed to be (original compliment: 40), not counting the mission package crew. And gee-whiz, launching a Harpoon – using a drone to target it, as if its not possible to do that with a tramp steamer (or a Burke, Zumwalt, a river barge, etc.). Now these hyper-expensive barges cost even more to operate, and have to be replenished twice as often, thereby making them an even bigger waste of taxpayer funds.

    The breathless cheering of minor accomplishments as if they change the world might be suitable for the simpletons of the world, but the reality is a demonstration of how desperate the USN is to find some way to deceive the taxpayers (and themselves) into thinking they have worthwhile asset given the staggering cost ($563M, without any mission package) of these converted car ferries built to commercial standards. And LCS is only equipped with the toothless SuW package, that adds precious little to the grotesquely underarmed/unprotected 3000+ ton monstrosity thats too big to fight in the littorals (and was never designed to fight in the first place). None of the other mission packages are ready – also subject to huge cost overruns and delays – and will never live up to the 3-day change out (now 3 months).

    None of the promises made w/r/t the so-called “littoral combat ship” have been kept. And most of us are acutely aware of what being built of aluminum means – and that does not bode well for the crew if the shooting ever begins.

    • kye154

      Critics, even within DoD, contend the LCS should have a larger gun, longer-range self-defense missiles, and anti-ship missiles capable of taking on enemy vessels its own size. Even though that was demonstrated in combat simulations at the Naval War College, the Navy is still bent on continuing to make these ships under manned and under gunned. The logic behind them is to use them against Iranian speedboats, but no serious combat against foes, like the Chinese navy, or Iranian mini-subs. Heaven forbid anything the Russians field against it.

      • PolicyWonk

        Well, lets face it – an LCS costs $563M, adds another $40M for the cheapest (SUW) mission package – so we’re talking about $600M.

        Iranian speedboats don’t even cost $1M each, and given the light armament of either LCS class, this means spending a huge amount of money for the weakest level of protection money can buy. Both LCS classes have severe weight limitations governing mission packages, which has led to increase costs and delays, while both LCS classes lack the room for growth to either increase armament or protection, unless you want to severely compromise the ships performance.

        The Cyclone class represents a vastly better fit for combating speedboats, and for its size is vastly better armed than LCS will ever be, as a tiny fraction of the price. At this point, we’d be better off to purchase a pile of Mark VI patrol boats, and station them on a mother ship based on an LPD-17, if what we’re looking for is protection from Iranian speed boats.

        The ONR came up with the “street fighter” concept of heavily armed littoral combatants to counter the kind of threats we were encountering in places like the Persian Gulf. The LCS program office came up with a fantastically inappropriate solution that has earned its place in the annals of corporate welfare at its worst: maximum funds spent for worst possible return on investment.

        • kye154

          You are totally correct about this. The LCS was meant to be the biggest speed boat and most expensive boat to fight Iranian small craft with……..ever! It was really designed for little else. It’s 10 knot advantage over a destroyer shooting a 500+mph missile at you, or a 200 mph Russian VA-111 Shkval torpedo through the water is no advantage at all. Neither is all the electronic array, if it is poorly armed. The LCS is like the F-35, very expensive toys, and not well proven. And guess what! Both the LCS and F-35 were originally designed and sold to DoD by Lockheed-Martin. That should tell you something of who is controlling DoD in their decisions to buy this junk.

          • Rocco

            Hold on there dude!!! Don’t go bringing the F-35 into this!! Not proven!!! Not soon enough!!!

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Speed in battle space management has a clear advantage, even as little as two kts when it comes to surface engagements over another ship…

            John Paul Jones didn’t say “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” because he intended to outrun a cannon ball. This is a imbecilic argument. If anything, argue the trade off speed comes with, then we can embellish a sensible dispute and grow in understanding.

          • kye154

            What you are quoting was true for naval gunbattles, where you are shooting dumb projectiles. (You must be from the WWII era). In today’s navy, all missiles and torpedoes have homing devices, which makes it very difficult to defend against, unless you have ECM gear to send them astray, or if you have aconter-weapons system which can destroy this projectiles in flight before they hit your ship. 10 knots speed is not even close to adequate against missiles coming at you at 500+ mph, or supercavitating torpedoes doing 200 mph, much less 2 knots. You, yourself, need to get up to speed on the weapon systems of today’s navies.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Clearly you do not understand modern SUW battle space management in regards to operating in and out of ASM engagement zones nor can you even think deeper than a shallow argument.

            Even a slight speed advantage over an adversary ship in the modern era will leave YOU in control of the battle space (missile engagement zones for one) This is not even debated. Why do you think fighter jet speeds are important? To outrun a missile??

            What is debated is how much of an advantage this gives you and IF it is worth the sacrifices.

          • kye154

            Marlinspike, you are not competent in any of this, to be on this board. If you are going to blow smoke, do it beyond the 12 mile territorial limits.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Bring some substance my friend, not rhetoric. Did you get around to reading any of those engineering casualty reports? Can you admit you were mistaken?

          • Gen. Buck Turgidson

            LOL you must be the resident nanny

      • MarlineSpikeMate

        I’m curious to see this report, because I’m not sure it was fitted with an OTH missile as it is now. Can you post a link?

      • ElmCityAle

        Larger gun for what mission? Two different anti-ship missiles already tested: the aging Harpoon (Block I – no idea why the navy didn’t invest in Block II like some foreign states did) and NSM. As for better/longer range AA missiles, I’m surprised no one has pitched a “module” for LCS that would include some lightweight MK56 VLS cells with 2 x ESSM each and an illuminator. Also, how hard can it be to add some organic torpedo tubes?

        • kye154

          I think you have hit on some of the problems with the Navy’s rational about the LCSs. The problem with the 57mm gun is penetration and range. It’s a good weapon, if you are fighting light craft, within 19,000 yards. But, It is totally inadequate for use against any other vessel, like a corvette or a destroyer, much less cruisers. In that case, its used as a weapon of last resort. The LCS was originally designed to counter Iranian speed boats, but the module concept to give the LCS more firepower, was an after-thought, because the navy was having problems getting funding for new destroyers and cruisers. It is the reason today why we have only 22 cruisers and 65 destroyers, which are scattered all over the world. Hardly enough to cover all the theaters, so the navy, (in their infinite wisdom), is using the LCSs to fill the bill.

    • Duane

      You denigrate many things with your comment here. Let me respond:

      1) Apparently getting one’s ship from Point A to Point B in highly congested seas like the SCS is not as simple as you make it sound. It requires many hands who all know exactly how to do what they do. We know the results now of when officers and crews don’t know how to do that job well. Actual sailors know that successfully conning a ship, while performing its many missions in challenging conditions, is not for the “simpletons”. Armchair experts don’t.

      To make light of that simply shows ignorance or cynicism or both.

      2) Yes, the crew size is larger than originally planned. That’s why the Navy does “development”, to confirm assumptions made in design. All leaps in ship design involve making assumptions and taking risks, and development either confirms the assumptions, or results in changes.

      3) Your statement that using a drone to successfully feed targeting data to a ship launched Harpoon is so easy any tramp steamer can do it – you need to provide proof of what you say. The proof is actually the opposite – it was the first time in all recorded history that such feat was performed, by anyone, anywhere, on any ship that ever sailed.

      4) Virtually ALL of the promises of the LCS have been kept .. and it has evolved into a mature system that is much improved over the first developmental ships in class a decade ago.

      5) As I have relayed factually many times, the SuW package, along with the OTH missile system are the opposite of toothless. Yet you guys keep repeating the same old untruthful memes based on fake news.

      • Admiral D

        The SuW package you speak so highly of consists of the following:
        -(2) 30mm guns, that have a effective range of about 1 mile, and have proven to be highly unreliable and inaccurate per reports
        -Some hellfire missiles, again very short range, small warhead, not designed for naval warship, not proven, etc etc
        -and (2) RHIBs, as to how these small rubber boats will engage a chinese destroyer the world wonders, perhaps we’ll sneak up to the chinese warships and spray grafitti on them

        The Chinese navy is quaking in their boots at this mightly display of firepower

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          You overlooked the NSM or Harpoon… but I digress. The NSM combined with OHT-T of the Firescout / MH60R would easily out shoot a Block IIA DDG with its SM-2s.

          That combined with the longbow missiles, 57mm, 30mm and Surface to Surface RAM could handle swarm attacks better than a CG or DDG, as demonstrated (See USNI VIDEO: Navy Tests Anti-Swarm Boat Missile on Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit).

          Ship vs Ship OHT-T
          BLK2A:
          2 MH60R (maybe)
          SM-2s

          LCS:
          NSM or Harpoon
          2 MH60R or 1MH60R + 2 Firscouts

          Both have CEC, similar ES detection, similar surface radar detection, with the LCS having a lower RCS and greater speed for operating in and out of the detection range. Soft and hard kill options are similar, with the advantage to the RAM of LCS vice CIWS.

          Simple analysis would say LCS has the advantage, and no contest with the NSM…

          Now lets look at swarm attack
          BLK2A:
          2) 25mm guns
          CIWS in surface mode
          5in
          CSW

          LCS:
          Longbow missiles
          2) 30mm guns (> 25mm)
          RAM in surface to surface mode (> CIWS)
          57mm (> 5in in swarm attack)
          CSW

          Winner, LCS again.

          Now lets look at MIO operations.

          BLK 2A
          2) 7m RHIBS

          LCS
          2) 11M RHIBS + 1 7M RHIB capable of launching in higher sea states (stern gate)

          Winner for MIO? LCS.

          In a complex air threat environment, sure, DDG all the way. ASW and Mine warfare have yet to produce proven modules, so thats in the air. I’m going to go with LCS in Mine warfare against a DDG as well…

          • Admiral D

            you have left out the most important threat out here-submarines. The LCS wouldn’t last a minute with enemy subs out there since it’s extreemely noisy, has no organic ability to detect let alone attack subs, and it has no anti sub weapons or defenses. It’s basically a large noisy sitting duck, but that’s ok, because we’re going to ask the chinese not to deploy their subs when the LCS is in theater, because that simply wouldn’t be fair 😛

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Do you know mines have damaged more ships over the years than other ships, missiles, and subs combined? LCS for the win? See how fatuous this argument is? Yet, by this logic, Chinese mines are going to be the problem, and a DDG isn’t going to cut it. (citation: google: “The World’s Most Dangerous Naval Weapon | Popular Science”)

            Now, if the sub package materializes with the VDS, it will be more capable than current systems on the DDG. Google (as links don’t post here) “Raytheon to supply variable depth sonar for US Navy LCS vessels” from naval technology. This is already funded.

            Additionally, the primary sub hunting asset is the MH-60R. The LCS is more suited for these aircraft than a DDG.

            While were at it, this is a CORVETTE / FRIGATE and you’re trying to compare it to a destroyer!

            Just do a little comparison of the specs of the VDS vice the old organic sonar systems of a CRUDES… Tell me what you think.

          • Rocco

            More on the lines of a Corvette not a Frigate!!!

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Yes, tonnage included.

          • wilkinak

            “While were at it, this is a CORVETTE / FRIGATE and you’re trying to compare it to a destroyer!”

            If you are going to compare it to a DDG, look at the capability of a DDG after damage – it ain’t much. Cole wasn’t able to fight through the hit she took; Fitzgerald, McCain, are out for count after a non-weapon hit. I’m not really sold on the survivability of the vaunted Arleigh Burke class based on real world performance.

          • Rocco

            Lol⚓️

      • El Kabong

        Ah, keep squirming….

        Any credible sources to back up your claims. Duaney?

  • Ctrot

    “The Navy’s LCS-class ships are equipped with either surface, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare modules that can be swapped out and integrated with the ship’s combat systems.”

    Written as if those modules actually existed.

    • kye154

      Yeah, you are right on the money about that. And the modules they do have aren’t adequately prepositioned in sufficient numbers to switch-out for use either. This was a big complaint at COMNAVSURFPAC about deploying the LCS’s to Korea, or trying to antagonize China by sailing through the South China sea, (they have to return to Singapore, if they encounter something their modules are not equipped for)..

      I am sure too, the Captain of any LCS is going to ask the enemy’s permission to pause and wait until he can switch-out modules, and come back, so he can engage them in battle. What was the Navy thinking?

      • Bob467

        In the near future, a lone LCS battle frigate is patrolling the south china sea. Radar operator to Captain Duane, “Sir, a chinese naval warfight ship is approaching,” “What’s the distance?” Sir, I first picked it up at 20 miles heading right for us.” “Right! Prepare to engage the anti-ship module and set general quarters.” OOD to Capt “Capt, remember we didn’t load the anti-surface warfare module at our last flag waving port of call.” “Right!”. Well then load the anti-ship missile module” Weps to Capt, “But Capt, our SeaRam has a fault, it won’t spin up” “Right!” Well then spin up the might one-shot-one kill 57mm gun” Lookout “Capt, the chinese warfight ship is firing at us, we’re bracketed.” “Right!” Weapons, open fire” Weps, Capt, we’re still out of range, the chinese warfight ship has a 127mm….” a sudden bright flash of light and all is silent…

        • vetww2

          Teriffiic. Alittle humor goes a long way.

    • Big-D

      But those modules do exist in “Duane’s World” and soon to be released “Duane’s World 1.7” (because it spend a lot of time in the shop getting fixed)

    • vetww2

      Someday my prints (of the “interchangeable modules” will come. But “Who knows where or when?” Takeoffs on old songs for old geezers.

  • El Kabong

    Translate your babbling into a coherent comment.

  • El Kabong

    We all know you’re a keyboard commando.

  • Ed L

    I always felt that the LCS should be grouped together by class in a squadron of 12. With 4 each fitted out as Anti Surface and 4 ASW and 4 AAW. That way they can go out in groups of three. But to remain mobile in a deployment tenders will have built and deployed with each 3 deploying

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I’m kind of puzzled by this.

    “The targeting data information was correct,” Harrison said, as the missile aimed directly at the surface target. It didn’t physically strike the target, however. “It ran out of fuel,” he said. But “they did what they needed to do.” The intent, he noted, was to show “can the ship structurally fire the missile.”

    ‘Ran out of fuel’? BEFORE striking the actual target, which appears to have been the intent? Was something miscalculated as far as the range of the target or the ‘path’ taken to it? That does not imply a flaw with the LCS but it is a fair question to ask. But the hoops that have been jumped through to see IF this ship could even fire a Harpoon raises some concerns. The ability to strap on new equipment and systems will never be easy because of how specialized these ships are, and how weight and space sensitive they will always be. No doubt their stealth features will be impacted to some degree. Those concerns (with the exception of the one concerning stealth) do not seem to be a problem with other surface combatant within the Navy, and CG for that matter.

  • Ed L

    The Harpoon setup makes use of empty deck space Is that going to be standard ?

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    Lets hear more about “minimal manning and unrelated troubles “Gidget