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Report to Congress on Littoral Combat Ship Program

The following is the Nov. 30, 2017 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the Report:

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program is a program to procure a total of about 32 relatively inexpensive surface combatants equipped with modular mission packages. The first LCS was procured in FY2005, and a total of 29 have been procured through FY2017.

For FY2018, the Navy is requesting the procurement of the 30th and 31st LCSs. The Navy’s FY2018 five-year shipbuilding plan includes a 32nd LCS in FY2019. Starting in FY2020, the Navy wants to shift from procuring LCSs to procuring a new guided-missile frigate called the FFG(X). The design of the FFG(X) is to be based on either the LCS design or a different hull design. The FFG(X) program is covered in another CRS report.

The Navy’s proposed FY2018 budget, which was submitted on May 23, 2017, originally showed a request for one LCS at an estimated cost of $636.1 million. On May 24, 2017, the Navy announced that it was amending its proposed FY2018 budget to request the procurement of two LCSs rather than one, for a combined estimated cost of $1,136.1 million, or an average of about $568.1 million each.

Two very different LCS designs are currently being built. One was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed; the other was developed by an industry team that was led by General Dynamics. The design developed by the Lockheed-led team is built at the Marinette Marine shipyard at Marinette, WI, with Lockheed as the prime contractor; the design developed by the team that was led by General Dynamics is built at the Austal USA shipyard at Mobile, AL, with Austal USA as the prime contractor.

The LCS program has been controversial over the years due to past cost growth, design and construction issues with the first LCSs, concerns over the survivability of LCSs (i.e., their ability to withstand battle damage), concerns over whether LCSs are sufficiently armed and would be able to perform their stated missions effectively, and concerns over the development and testing of the modular mission packages for LCSs. The Navy’s execution of the program has been a matter of congressional oversight attention for several years.


via Federation of American Scientists (fas.org)

  • Curtis Conway

    The LCS has been an experiment in the possible, when the goal was less than what it should have been from the beginning. Learn from HiStory or you will repeat it, and our US Navy Regulation was written in Blood in WWI and WWII after many experiences of ‘how not to do it’, followed by examples of ‘why we do it this way’. The kinder gentler world never transpired because of the nature of man. Evil has prospered in our absence and we have not responded, were not able to respond, not responded sufficiently, or responded at great cost because we were a day late and a dollar short in personnel and equipment, when a Proactive Presence could have prevented the activity.

    The Unified Combatant Commanders concept is NOT going away, and we have international responsibilities bond in agreements and treaties that we must meet. That is why every US Navy platform that claims the title ‘Surface Combatant’ must be multi-warfare capable in this ever increasingly dangerous world. Understand the difference between the things over which you have control, and those things over which you do not. Let us never send our sailor sons and daughters into harm’s way without the tools to be victorious.

    I would not build a unit more than 32. Find something useful for them to do, and steaming on the high seas for any period of time, particularly in heavy weather, ain’t it, and if you think so . . . go ride the ship in heavy weather, and make sure you review the Tactical Action Officers (TAOs) Handbook while you’re at it, and you will not make that mistake again.

    • kye154

      Right on!!! After reading the report, it is essentially a rehash of earlier reports to congress about the LCS, primarily designed to milk congress for more funding. The big turn-off about the LCSs is stated on page 5, in Program Overview, saying: (The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship……….. relatively inexpensive surface combatants…..). Not only is this statement designed to make congress think its getting a good deal (relatively inexpensive to what), but in the translation, the report is saying they are something expendable, and consequently, so are the crew onboard too. But, this is the Navy’s current rational today. I petty any sailor serviing in today’s navy, much more, any assigned to these vessels.

      • leesea

        That is what CRS does~

    • Stephen

      Give the USCG right of first refusal. Repaint their choices white. Leftovers should be painted light gray & assume close in defense/patrol. We have never pursued a Corvette Class; I think we have built two of them… Oh, stop building the LCS.

      • Curtis Conway

        The Coast Guard has already weighed in, and they don’t want them. Too expensive to operate.

        • Stephen

          That sounds like first refusal. Let’s paint a few light gray & sell the rest…

          • Curtis Conway

            OK, let’s ask them again. They LIKE their NSC. IT WORKS, and on pennies compared to the LCS.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            They also know how to maintain a ship properly without tons of money. They lack a heavy bureaucratic maintenance system and have better trained sailors who can deal directly with the problem instead of just being able to annotate it twenty different ways. Same with MSC and the JHSV.

            Additionally, most of these systems are standard ABS certified in operation on Austal and Incat ferries 365 days a year. The problem is systemic in the Navy and or not possible with smaller crews that the rest of the maritime world would have no problems with.

        • Lazarus

          The NSC was designed specifically to meet USCG needs as a long range patrol vessel, so they (the USCG) never had an occasion to consider LCS as a cutter. They have operated and rejected the PC-1 class (enlarged Island class cutter) as too fast/not necessary for their needs.

          • Curtis Conway

            OK, set up one (reliable) LCS to support the 4th Flt AOR for six months, assign a US Coast Guard XO, or Supply Department Head, and let’s see what the numbers look like. Don’t think the USCG is going to like it. They have already said as much.

          • leesea

            give up ain’t going to happen

          • leesea

            The Cyclone PCs are NOT enlargements of any USCG design. They are in fact the combination of a next-gen PB for the Navy and the NSW rqmt for an ocean going SEAL transport. I knew the officer who worked the design specs.

          • Lazarus

            I precommed a PC and the official description at that time was that the PC was an enlarged USCG 110 ft cutter. Some suggest it was a modified Ramadan class PB as well. Yes, it started as the next stage of gunboat development, but the PC rapidly became a different concept. (or so I was told in 1994 when I reported to my precomm unit.)

  • Ed L

    30 LCS will be built I always felt that the LCS should be grouped together by class in a group with squadrons of 3 ships each. Then With a 1/3 fitted out as Anti Surface and a 1/3 ASW and 1/3 AAW. That way they can go out in groups of three. But to remain mobile in a deployment they need tenders which will have built and deployed with each 3 deploying. Oh and take that 57mm and put one on each side each side of the ship and a 76mm on the bow.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      This isn’t far off the 3+1 squadron rotation they currently plan to use, except I believe the intention is for all 3 deployed LCS to be of the same class and same module configuration. So 3 ASW/MCW/SuWA ships would deploy, possibly independently or with an escort or part of a CBG/SAG/ARG depending on the role needed and the threat level expected. Clearly 3 LCS aren’t going to sail alone along the coast of Hainan Island or Sevastopol, but they do bring presence and capability to a larger fleet formation that can provide the protection needed to survive.

  • Angie Nathan

    There is no doubt in my mind that Fat Leonard would have delivered a better product for a fraction of the cost if he were the prime contractor. That LCS black hole circus continues to inhale treasure and squeeze out heaps of rotting scrap. I say no handcuffs no change.

  • DaSaint

    The origins of the LCS can be traced to the ‘600-ship’ Navy. Follow the trail…and builders.

    • Curtis Conway

      You put the nail in the coffin of ‘why’ the LCS is much less relevant than it once was . . . if ever. That 600 ship navy had a lot more replenishment ships to ‘get fuel from’ (the LCS requires a lot of fuel when moving FAST), and 53 guided Missile Frigates to protect them, that didn’t cost so much to operate forward, are gone. That was also back when few would ever threaten a US Navy surface ship of any kind because US Navy commanded respect at sea in all waters.

      In the current battle-space of ASCMs (some supersonic) and Tactical Ballistic Missiles (some having terminal guidance), not having a robust AAW capability in time of conflict, particularly in the Littorals, would be a ‘kiss of death’. What makes one wonder is why this concept has been pushed so hard, for so long, by so many, in this environment? Tells you a lot about the fidelity of those pushing that agenda!

      • DaSaint

        SecNav Lehman was a proponent of the LCS concept. Later, Austal opened the first foreign-owned shipyard in the US (Austal USA). They geared up, passing the time doing novel commercial work (10-14 vessels), including 2 vessels for the Hawaii Superferry venture (which look a lot like the JHSVs) funded via Title XI and later repossessed by MARAD. Then came the multi billion dollar LCS & JHSV programs and VOILA!

        • Curtis Conway

          I have the highest respect for one of the longest serving SECNAVs of all time. He actually flew aboard Tico in a H-1 when we were working up in W-72 wearing a flight jacket and needing a haircut. Actually served with him in the East Med when controlling aircraft in STAR Control on ‘Bagel Station’ off Beirut. He was very supportive of the Aegis Program and rightly so. Most of his service and experience in the administration was in that 600 Ship Navy time frame, and the US Navy was respected around the planet. It’s hard to lose that perspective, particularly after the wall fell, and the Peace Dividend was declared.

          SECNAV Lehman also cancelled the A-12 and rightly so. It was way over budget, and the F-35 Program has demonstrated just how far ahead of technology that program was. The USAF continued with their experiment . . . the F-22.

          I’m a fan of the JHSV. The cover of an Aegis Test document once had a Swath Hull with an Aegis superstructure. The JHSVs just can’t go slug it out with anyone with all that aluminum. In the Western Pacific around the Littorals and Islands it makes sense. Sure wouldn’t take her to the arctic, or ever take her into High Seas for any extended period of time.

          • DaSaint

            He’s my fav SecNav also. As good as a SecNav he was, he is an even better businessman with his Private Equity business. Excellent positioning and insights.

          • Curtis Conway

            He sure knew how to pass gas to my F-14 Tomcats on Station #1 off of Beirut.

          • Refguy

            Lehman left the job in ’87; A-12 was cancelled in ’91. Lehman and Paisely were responsible for buying it and left their successors holding the bag.

          • Curtis Conway

            I stand corrected. I can remember very specifically that John Lehman was not happy with the cost curve on that platform, and complained about it bitterly.

          • Refguy

            I don’t doubt that Lehman was irate over the cost growth, but it was common knowledge that the GD-MacAir team underbid and didn’t understand the signature issues. Paisley was ASNRDA and the acquisition authority. Cheney cancelled it.

          • leesea

            However the SWATH T-AGOS do go up north into SS8 conditions~

          • Curtis Conway

            Yes Sir, and they are made for it too.

      • DaSaint

        In analyzing the prospective winner of the FFG(X), I think it instructive to look at the yards available and play a game of musical chairs to see what the options are. Bear with me on this. Note, they are in no particular order of preference or likelihood of selection.
        1. Freedom LCS-variant – Lockheed Martin/Marinette/Fincantieri
        2. Independence LCS-variant – Austal USA/General Dynamics
        3. F-100/105-variant – Bath Iron Works/Navantia
        4. FREMM – Marinette/Fincantieri
        5. NSC-variant – Ingalls/Northrop Grumman
        6. De Zeven Provincen – Alion/Bollinger??/Damen
        7. Type 26 – BAE Systems/Lockheed Martin/Austal USA???

        The first five are pretty easy to figure out, but then it gets tricky. Alion Canada has teamed with Damen to offer the De Zeven Provincen design to Canada, and could conceivably do the same for the US FFG(X) competition. But where to build it? Damen already has a strong relationship with Bollinger, builder of several Damen designs for the USCG, and a losing finalist for the USCG’s OPC program. So they could be the likely partner.

        The Type 26 is the head-scratcher. Lockheed Martin Canada, partnered with BAE Systems has submitted their Type-26 Global Combat Ship for the Canadian program, so again, why not replicate that partnership in the US. But where to build it?

        Certainly BAE Systems won’t want a Fincantieri yard building their ship. Not good for IP protection. BIW is tied up with Navantia, otherwise they could have been a good fit. Ingalls has the NSC-variant, and we’ve already talked about Bollinger.

        So I think it is actually possible that the Austal USA yard is the option. It puts them in a solid ‘Plan B’ mode with their facilities and workforce. BAE Ship Repair owns nearby yards and facilities which Austal USA already uses and has an excellent relationship with. Austal is already positioned to participate in the winning bid in Australia for which the Type 26 is a contender. And finally, Austal USA’s facilities can physically accommodate the Type-26 in their covered construction bays, similar to BAE’s production facilities in the UK.

        It will be interesting to see who the Navy issues those first 5 design contracts to, and who misses out in the first round.

      • Lazarus

        The FFG 7’s combat system was obsolete two decades ago and they were kept in commission long after they should have been retired as forward presence units that were relatively cheap and had small crews. The US cannot afford a fleet of all high end assets and LCS represents a good low end vessel with a large flight deck and 180 tons of space to accept other equipment.

        • Curtis Conway

          Lazarus, a 1911A1 .45 Caliber Automatic Pistol is more obsolete than that . . . and still as effective today, as it was when it came out, if used intelligently. The FFG-7 argument is about using technology ‘we already own’ (Bird in the Hand) in 4th Fleet operating areas, and assisting the US Coast Guard. They will only be around about a decade, and they are available TODAY (plus reactivation time), instead of your new fangled gadget (inappropriate Bird in the Bush). Sending an LCS into any contest zone today is like sending a high performance Corvette into a mud race . . . or a tank battle. I’ve often wondered whose side you are on? It is obviously not the average Sailor in the United States Navy.

          • Lazarus

            The FFG MK92 FCS is a very dated system and not capable of handling present threats. Yes, it might shoot down a 1970’s era aircraft with 1970’s sensors and weapons, but not a modern, post 1990 system. Comparisons with hand-held weapons really are not applicable. No one has ever discussed sending any lone USN ship into a heavily defended littoral. No one ever suggested sailing an FFG into Soviet littorals in the Cold War unless serious attrition of Soviet air/missile coast defenses had taken place. Even in WW2 surface ships did not approach opponent shores until enemy aircraft threats had been neutralized. These comparisons with conflicts three quarters of a century in the past just do not work.

          • Curtis Conway

            Where to start . . .
            First, the comparison of the .45 auto was to demonstrate that an obsolete weapon, used appropriately, not pressed into service against an inappropriate threat, is still very effective, and that was the point.
            Second, the US Coast Guard has a totally different mission, and operational environment considerations, than a Surface Combatant. However, the US Coast Guard will have [now] only nine (9) Legend Class High Endurance Cutters to replace the twelve (12) Hamilton Class coming out of service. The Mayport (and other) FFG-7s were plugged into that equation often, and did more than just a ‘credible job’, and at a reasonable operational cost. The tasking for US Coast Guard is growing, and not likely to let up, and it looks like LEDETs are in our future because the Legend Class will be truncated at nine units.
            Third, if you are going to assign a vessel the title of ‘Surface Combatant’, then except it from the commensurate standards and regulations that make it a Surface Combatant (including survivability), then create a special circumstance in which it can operate, then include it in our overall Surface Combatant count . . . what are you doing? I’m not buying the lie and hype about the [LCS] platform that has been perpetrated on the American Public. Even representing the LCS as a vessel that can ‘operate on the High Seas’ is a stretch in my opinion. If you think it is capable, then go ride it a month off of Iceland in the Winter, then come back and make your report. Also, US Navy Surface Combatants don’t get to pick their tasking. They happen to be in port somewhere and here comes the incident that requires response . . . off they go! We do not always have the luxury of sending what we want, and ISE Operations is a real thing for EVERYONE. So, if you are going to give the ship the title, it damn well better be able to do the deal, otherwise you dishonor our sailors who server aboard ‘that vessel’ (the LCS).
            Fourth, ‘coastal defenses’ today almost make the LCS a question mark and oxymoron in and of itself. One can launch an ASCM (some supersonic) from the back of a truck on the beach in a LITTORAL. Tactical Ballistic Missiles are not just for High-end users any more. Some are capable of some interesting attack modes from multiple sectors. Therefore, every Surface Combatant (perhaps Amphibs) simply must be able to defend themselves in the future and perhaps more, be a FORCEnet-21 node, and complete their missions without molestation in this new Battlespace construct. The Saudi LCS construct may actually [begin] to meet this standard, but the hullform still has its operational limits. Enter National Security Cutter . . . reliable, cost effective (lower operational cost), and much longer lived in the water. The hull can be made to handle thin ice for Arctic/Antarctic Operations relatively easily. Future propulsion upgrades could enhance the speed of the vessel, and perhaps improve it to CSG SOA speeds if correctly configured. The LCS will never do that except for speed.
            But getting back to the question at hand, bringing back the FFG-7s would fill a gap for 4th Flt tasking, patrol US waters (some in the Arctic) easily enough, augment the US Coast Guard when necessary, and get the ship count up quickly for a decade, then we can park them/sell them to Allies.

          • Lazarus

            This doe not respond to what I said about the Perry’s being obsolete and is just another anti-LCS essay.

          • Curtis Conway

            The equation we are talking about is a decade or less of support for a USCG mission set that is more than met by the obsolete equipment you are so transfixed upon. Something more capable is not required, and the fact that you can’t (or won’t) see that, is the issue. Bird In The Hand!

          • Secundius

            Try using the 460 Rowland instead! It’s a .45APC “Wildcat” with Atitude…

        • Chesapeakeguy

          The Perrys became obsolete, and were KEPT that way, by the Navy. They chose not to keep them updated, the same way they chose not to update and keep the Spruances. The Navy defanged the Perrys long before they retired them, to free up money for other projects (like the LCS). The Perrys were indeed that ‘low end’ of the vaunted, and effective, ‘hi-lo mix’ that comprised the surface fleet in the 80s and 90s. A modern frigate that brought the capabilities of the Perry would certainly be an attractive asset today. 40 missiles, a 76mm gun, Phalanx, torpedoes, a long cruising range, a decent sonar suite, high enough speed when needed, and 2 helicopters is nothing to sneeze at. Fitting all that into a modern hull with current electronics and systems would make for a very effective ship. Could an LCS variant ever have all that? Based on what is being proposed for a FFG variant based on them, it doesn’t appear to be.

          • Lazarus

            Upgrading the Perry’s was expensive and after the Cold War ended their medium range AAW missile system was no longer needed. You have to remember that the FFG 7 was designed before the first AEGIS ship entered the fleet. The Navy had only a limited number of AAW shooters and the FFG 7 formed a significant portion of the surface air defense system before AEGIS got into the fleet in numbers. NTU never really got into the fleet in numbers and was gone (with the old steam-powered missile shooters that housed it) soon after the Cold War ended. The emerging CG and later DDG fleet ensured a large number of capable AAW platforms which made the AAW capabilities of the FFG’s less needed.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            But they were built to last at least 30 years. Upgrading them might have been expensive but that would have been a far less costly undertaking than what has since transpired. To take away the main missile system and then announce we need a new ship because this one has no real AAW capability is exactly what the Navy did. And what they replaced it with has NO real air defense except in the way of point defense. I’m not anti-LCS but I think any sane person could agree that the program was undertaken in a manner that is questionable to say the least.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I say again that this is a lot of ships devoted solely to testing and training.

    • Lazarus

      The first 4 LCS remain combatant warships capable of deployment as needed.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        The first 4 ships are dedicated training assets. That’s what the report says, and there is nothing in it that states that they will be deployed as viable warships. And as each new ‘division’ is stood up, they too will have a dedicated trainer for every three actual warships. That is A LOT of ships for that single purpose. Not to mention platforms used for testing. If that is subject for disagreement, that should be taken up with the authors of the report, or at least this article.

  • Lazarus

    Always surprised to see that some think $568m is not a decent price for a warship the size and capability of LCS.

    • kye154

      For this amount of money, one could refurbish the 1940’s designed USS Salem, (CA139), (which is now a museum piece), upgrade the electronics and propulsion system on it, install missiles on it, and have something more durable and with more firepower than any LCS afloat. Speed wise, the Salem could do over 33 kts, with its old steam plants, which is only 7 knots slower than the LCSs today. .

      • Ziv Bnd

        The Salem had a crew of 1800, the LCS have around 75-80.
        The Salem has a 26′ draft, the LCS have a draft of around 14′. Littoral waters tend to run shallow.
        The LCS were supposed to replace the FFG but never got the OTH strike capability they needed. The Frigate replacement would probably be well served by looking at the Italian and French FREMM ships. Just 150 men in the crew, 76mm main gun, VLS, 17′ draft, 6000 nm range (1700 nm more than the LCS) and 2 helos.
        I have to admit that the self-loading Mk 16 8″/55 cal guns were an awesome weapon that were a huge step forward for the time. 10 rounds a minute out to 17 miles… Wow.
        That is impressive even by todays standards.

        • Lazarus

          FFG really did not have a “strike” capability.The FFG 7, the FREMM and other European “frigates” are more destroyers then small surface combatants.

          • Ziv Bnd

            The FFG Perry class had a one arm mk 13 launcher that could fire Standard RIM-66 surface to air missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles and was right in the middle of what would be considered a frigate at 4100 tons. The Harpoon had a range of around 60-70 miles so it was definitely OTH range. The Burke flight 3 is 9800 tons loaded while the FREMMs are between 6000 and 6700 tons so they are bigger than older frigates. But the FREMMs cost less than half that of a flight 3 Burke, plus the FREMMs have a crew of 150-200 while the Burkes have a crew of over 300.
            It would be better to be smaller than a FREMM but larger than an LCS due to the difficulty of fitting the armament needed into a 3100 ton ship (if that 3100 ton ship is built to reach 40 knots like the LCS-2 Independence class). A longer Independence variant with tactical length VLS tubes, a 76mm gun, a more realistic max speed of around 30 knots and longer cruise endurance would be good but it would have to meet the shock test that the US Navy combatants are put through during FSST. Apparently LCS-6 was the first LCS to get a passing grade on the third level of the FSST. A FREMM would probably be a better choice. Or you could go way smaller with a German Victory class corvette, which has the reduce crew size, Harpoons, VLS and a 76mm gun with a displacement of just 650 tons.
            Another tough ship like the Perry with less draft, smaller complement, a larger hanger and flightdeck, more modern electronics, better self-defense weaponry and more OTH weapons is what the navy needs. But 650 tons may be a bit too small. LOL!

          • Lazarus

            Those are self defense (MK13/SM1) weapons with Harpoon being an anti ship vice a strike weapon like Tomahawk. Not really sure how “tough” the FFG 7 was as both Stark and Roberts were one hit mission kills. A FREMM is essentially a destroyer for those who cannot afford a DDG51 or a Type45 like capability.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            They were indeed mission kills, but they stayed afloat, and got their surviving crew members home.

        • kye154

          To fill you in: Actually, the crew of 1800 men was the initial configuration to the USS Salem, designed to man all the anti-aircraft guns on board. When I served on the sister ship of the Salem, (the USS Newport News CA-148), we never had more than 1200 men at any time, and that included a marine detachment of about 50 marines, plus a staff of flag personnel onboard.
          They did away with all the old 20mm guns, and the bow and tail 3″ guns, and only kept 4 dual mounts of 3″/50 cal. guns, 6 duel mounts 5″/38 cal guns, and 3 turrets of the 8″/55 cal guns. Set the projectile fuses on all of them for something around 1000-2000 yds, and the ship could literally put up a wall of steel, (sharpnel), that would take down anything. I watch this done off the Virginia capes, and again in Viet Nam when we engaged a fleet of Vietnamese junks carrying arms to the south. Aside from that, the ship had an 8″ armored belt, and some of the other compartments were armored, including the pilot house. It was made to take the abuse. And remember, the largest gun on today’s LCS is only 57 mm. The smallest gun on the old Salem was 76mm (the 3 inch guns), and they had 8 of them. Just those old 3″ anti-aircraft guns alone would be more than a match for an LCS 57mm gun. Max range on those 3″ guns were about 14,000 yards.
          The worries about shallow water and the draft wasn’t much of a problem either, if you had guns that could reach the target. However, we slid up and sat on the bottom of Danang harbor a few times, while shelling into the Elephant valleys to the north, and we did this at night too.(Talk about panic if you got your 20,000 ton cruiser stuck there).
          And, there is an aft hanger bay, which use to hold the boats and the Captains gig. They could be yanked out and the bay could certainly accommodate a helicopter, with all its munitions, and electronic gear, if need be..

          But, the Salem could be refitted with the current technology in armament and electronics, and propulsion, which would in turn reduce the need for a large crew, down to perhaps 300-400, and perhaps keep a larger contingency of marines and/or flag personnel on board. There was a time, back in the 1980’s when the navy was thinking about putting missiles and tomahawks aboard, but never did. The Navy chose the battleships instead. The ships of the Des Moines class were the best the Navy ever built, and their rapid-fire 8″ guns were awesome watch in action.

          • Lazarus

            Modern, supersonic cruise missiles were assessed as capable of penetrating up to 12 inches of conventional armor in 1991. Submarine torpedoes have been a persistent threat, with the ex-USS PHOENIX (Belgrano) in the Falklands War,

          • kye154

            Yes, I know what you say very well. That is where the ECM gear comes in handy, to help avert incoming missiles. You are definitely right about torpedoes too. Its hard to overcome the effects of their large warheads. And with the Russian VA-111 Shkval super-cavitating torpedoes in existence, no ship is safe. However, for everything else being thrown against you, its good to have some armor protecting you. And for $500+ million a copy for the LCSs, I would prefer a ship that has a lot more fighting capabilites. (or, get more bang for the buck). The LCSs just simply don’t cut it.

          • Ziv Bnd

            Kye, that is interesting about the crew size dropping to 1200. I watched a video from the 1950’s about the guys that served on the Saufley which was a Fletcher class I believe. It said that they jammed 36 or 37 guys into a 400 sq ft compartment. That the big wigs thought that 11 sq ft per crewman was sufficient. The video was pretty impressive, they had 36 guys in racks stacked 4 or 5 high in a compartment that was just 20 by 20 or so. Man, that would suck. But the thing that got my attention was if you were going to general quarters it must have been a mess.
            Was the Newport News a roomier ship? Did you have enlisted crew berthing in the dining room and every other spot imaginable? Did the E-4 through E-6 guys get better berths than the lower ranks? If they dropped 1/3 of the crew, even if they got more equipment there still must have been more room for berths and crew space.
            I can not imagine the firepower that the Salem/Des Moines/Newport News carried.

          • kye154

            With a total compliment of 1100 to 1200 men aboard, we had berthing room, stacked 3 or 4 high, without resorting to sticking people in the galley and passageways. I really think, if you took the marines and the flag staff off the ship, the ship actually could be operated by as little as 500 -600 men, and still have enough people for rotational duty. Yes, those old ships were labor intensive, but not as much as the battleships. Destroyers were always cramped, until they came out with the Leahy class (DLG) destroyers. The DLGs were sleek, well armed, and roomy. The manning the guns and the steam plants was what required the most intensive labor.

            As for lower ranks getting berthing privileges, No, they did not. E-2 to E-6 lived in the same compartments. The E-7 to E-9 had their own compartments. Of course, the officers had their own space too. Only the Admiral, the Captain, Executive officer, Ops officer, and Navigator had their own staterooms. Things were generally well organized, so it did not evolve into a confusing mess. That video you must have seen was from WWII days, but never was that way during the Vietnam days, except for perhaps some of the amphibious ships who were hauling the marines around.

      • Lazarus

        I do not think so. A 70+ year old ship would have to have all of its seawater and CHT piping refurbished at a minimum before even starting other work. No one makes the LP steam equipment anymore that supports the engineering plant. No one makes 8 inch shells either. Basically such a refit is just not possible.

        • kye154

          Yes, I know it would be a major overhaul to do all of that, but if the navy is going to spend $536 million on each of the LCSs, then why not spend it on something that is survivable? As for the 8 inch shells, the army still uses them in their Self-Propelled Howitzer M110..

          • Lazarus

            It is very hard to make any surface combatant “survivable” against even one cruise missile hit. The Army has retired its 8 inch self propelled howitzer in favor of 155mm-armed vehicles.

          • leesea

            All SLEPs cost a lot of time and money and get in the way of new building

        • David Oldham

          Not possible….sigh. Not practical but to say it would be impossible is just sad.

          • Lazarus

            As someone who served on older ships I can tell you that it is very hard to find older repair parts. Those for a 70+ year old ship are non existent.

          • leesea

            The PC should all have been replaced at the end of their 20 year life cycle – period

          • Secundius

            Unfortunately the ONLY replacement Vessel is the “Ambassador III” class Missile Patrol Boat. Which is a Export Only Vessels, which the USN ISN’T allowed to use (i.e. By Act of the US Congress)…

      • LowObservable

        I’m critical at aspects of the LCS but even this as an alternative is just hyperbole.

    • leesea

      You shouldn’t be it is too damn much for a low order corvette with limited capabilites.

  • John McHugh

    Short form. Can the modules be successfully implemented? If ever, then deploy the ASW modules to the Freedoms and the MCM modules to the Independences. Both platforms can still be used as PCs as well as to support SOCOM but STOP any more new builds of these under-gunned gun boats that make the San Pablo look formidable.

    There are other contracts that can be thrown to these yards as compensation. New platforms for ARS, ATF, AGS, etc. Give NASSCO some love for more replenishment platforms. GD-BIW and HII can fight it out for more DDG-51 Flt-III’s and maybe some Flt-IV’s as CG replacements on top of the FFG(x).

    • leesea

      The NSWC part of SOCOM wants no more to do with PCs. They have the MV Ocean Trader which is quite big enough. And much more capable.
      The is NOT program to build ARS, ATF, there is an T-ATS(X) under procurement now. There is one T-AGS for NAVO. I do believe that NASSCO already has the build contract for T-AO 205.

  • Secundius

    Keep in mind there’s also the Cheaper and Smaller “Ambassador III” class Patrol Missile Boat. Of ~800-tons and a 2-week Endurance, that could be Produced in Even Larger Numbers. “IF” and “WHEN” the US Senate discides to that it off the Export Only Sales List…

    • leesea

      You mean the FMC fast missile corvette designed specifically for a Meditterean POE

      • Secundius

        Considering NO “Lift-Ship” was used in Transporting the “Ambassador III’s” to their New Homes! One has to Assume that they ARE Ocean Capable Vessels…

  • Refguy

    I never was a fan of LCS, but if the original plan to down-select to one platform had been followed, some of the money saved by not supporting two contractors, and their lobbyists, could have been used to develop the mission modules and fix the most glaring faults in a still flawed design.

    • Curtis Conway

      Hear Hear!