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Shipbuilders Worried About Navy Plan for 1 LCS in 2019 Ahead of Frigate Transition

Littoral Combat Ship Tulsa (LCS-16) is heading back to Austal USA after launching from the drydock at BAE Ship Systems. She’s passing Austal’s vessel completion yard where USNS Yuma (EPF 8), future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and future USS Omaha (LCS 12) are docked in 2016. Austal USA Photo

The Navy’s plan to buy just one Littoral Combat Ship in Fiscal Year 2019 has the two LCS shipbuilders uneasy, just a year before the program is set to transition to a guided-missile frigate and downselect to a single contractor.

Last year Navy leadership was vocal about the need to maintain a three-a-year minimum LCS acquisition rate until the next-generation frigate transition to ensure both builders remained viable competitors for the upcoming frigate work. But a year later, new leadership is confident in the single-ship purchase – which would leave one builder without a 2019 ship at all.

“There will be 21 LCSs under construction or planned for award across two shipbuilders,” Navy spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez told USNI News. That 21-ship figure includes two LCSs the Navy requested in FY 2018 and the one in 2019, though the FY 2018 purchase has not been finalized yet due to Congress not passing a defense appropriations bill.
“This provides a sufficient workload, allowing both shipbuilders to maintain stability and be competitive for the FFG(X) award in FY 2020. Additionally, the budget requests for ‘18 and ‘19 will meet the LCS component (32) of the Navy’s requirement for 52 Small Surface Combatants (SSC) as outlined in the 2016 Force Structure Assessment,” he added. The Navy previously planned to buy 52 LCSs but then broke up the Small Surface Combatant requirement into 32 LCSs and 20 follow-on frigates.

Ahead of the Navy buying its first frigates in FY 2020, five companies are working with the Navy on maturing their designs – and three of the five have ties to the current LCS production lines. Austal USA is pitching a derivative of its Independence-variant LCS, Lockheed Martin and subcontractor Fincantieri Marine are pitching a derivative of the Freedom-class LCS, and Fincantieri as the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin as the subcontractor are pitching the Italian FREMM design. Disrupting hot production lines, therefore, could put the LCS builders at a disadvantage or risk the Navy starting the frigate program with less-than-optimal efficiency.

Given that having a hot production line is part of Austal’s and Lockheed Martin’s pitch in the frigate contest, they worry that the Navy buying just one ship in 2019 puts that at risk for them just ahead of a frigate downselect.

The 15th littoral combat ship, the future USS Billings (LCS 15), is pictured next to the Menominee River ahead of its christening July 1, 2017. US Navy photo.

“Funding one LCS in the FY19 budget is not sufficient to support the Shipbuilding Industrial Base. Austal is efficiently delivering on average four ships per year to the Navy (two LCS and two EPF). Any reduction in volume would negatively impact the shipbuilding industrial base, including our suppliers (local and national), as well as the ability to efficiently transition to Frigate,” Austal USA told USNI News this week in a statement.
“Austal stands ready with capacity now to efficiently build the Navy our nation needs while being able to support an aggressive growth plan to a 355 ship fleet.”

“Over the past 10 years, the Freedom-variant industry team invested over $120 million to modernize the shipyard, hire more than 1,000 people and train a new workforce. This private investment optimized the shipyard for serial production at a rate of two Littoral Combat Ships per year. At this rate, our current production backlog is insufficient to maintain the employment and efficiency levels required for our team to remain competitive for Frigate,” Lockheed Martin told USNI News in a statement.
“If additional LCSs are not awarded in 2018 and 2019, the Freedom-variant LCS serial production line will experience a gap in construction, which would negatively impact the trained workforce and reduce the efficiencies that make both Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri’s FFG(X) offerings so compelling to U.S. Navy. Keeping LCS production stable is vital to preserving our shipyard workforce and efficient production at all stages of the construction process.”

Hernandez told USNI News that, though he couldn’t comment on private conversations between the shipbuilders and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts, “I can tell you Mr. Geurts speaks with industry members on a regular basis and he believes there is sufficient workload to sustain the industrial base. Navy leadership recognizes the critical nature of maintaining the shipbuilding industrial base while transitioning from LCS to the Frigate. The LCSs in our budget plan allows Navy to mature the Frigate design, better understand the cost drivers across the various design options and also preserves viability of the current small surface combatant industrial base in the near term, allowing them to be competitive for the Frigate design in FY-20.”

Navy officials in recent years have stressed the need for continuous, predictable work at shipyards to maintain hot production lines that meet or exceed cost and schedule goals. Whatever the size of the backlog of work, officials have warned, not putting new ships on contract can still disrupt the supply chain and production line and create cost and schedule consequences.

Program Executive Officer for LCS Rear Adm. John Neagley told USNI News last year that three LCSs a year – one and a half per year per shipyard – was the minimum buying rate needed to keep the production lines healthy ahead of the frigate transition.

The littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS-6) sits pierside in San Diego, Calif. US Navy Photo

“It’s like building a house. You have guys who do the foundation, and you have guys that’ll hang the drywall. So if you don’t have ships coming in for the guys who do the foundation, then those guys have to go find other work. So it’s not only the timing and the number of the ships but it’s the sequencing of work that provides the efficiency. The shipyards invested to do two ships a year on six-month centers, and so about one-and-a-half is an efficient build for me. Below that, we can certainly build ships, but I would expect to see impact to schedule and cost,” Neagley said.

Last year the Pentagon requested just one LCS in its 2018 request but the next day added in a second hull. Lawmakers pushed back – especially the Wisconsin and Alabama delegations – and the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act ultimately included three LCSs. It is unclear yet, though, if the Navy will be able to buy all three, since an FY 2018 appropriations bill is still pending.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) wrote to President Donald Trump last spring, warning that “including fewer than three LCS in your FY18 budget request would result in layoffs of highly-skilled manufacturing workers in the Midwest beginning next summer. … Only one LCS in FY18 could result in up to 800 layoffs at the shipyard, or 36 percent of the workforce, and a total of 1,850 jobs lost across the state.”

“Layoffs of this magnitude would have dire impacts on the ability of the Marinette shipyard and supply chain to compete for the Navy’s Frigate, which will soon follow the LCS,” Baldwin continued.
“That would result in reduced competition in the Frigate acquisition, driving up costs to the taxpayer, and harm to our national security by undercutting the strength of our domestic industrial base.”

  • Duane

    It’s not easy balancing the funding demands on the DOD budget, the ability and timeline to develop the follow on design for FFG(X) and other ship types, and the need to keep domestic shipyards humming at an efficient pace.

    It’s also clear that at least one of the two LCS yards is going to be the loser as the downselect to a single frigate design is made in two years or so. Possibly, but not likely, both LCS yards will lose on FFG(X).

    So what will the Navy recommend, and what will Congress actually authorize and fund? Good questions with no easy answers.

    • Jonesy

      I guess you’ll be shopping your resume soon eh Fleet Admiral? Perhaps you could join the F-35 BAR NONE team?

    • DaSaint

      Someone’s going to get their feelings hurt.

      Noble BIW suffered that when they lost out on the OPC contract to upstart Eastern Shipbuilding. They have a lot riding on this submission, though anything they submit will be the most expensive due to their labor costs and weather constraints.

      The Marinette yard may be well positioned for either the Heavy Icebreaker contract or the Inland Cutter contract, should they lose out on the FFG(X) with either of their offerings. But they have 2 shots at the apple.

      Should they lose, Austal USA may get additional EPFs as a consolation (though not currently in the shipbuilding contract), or may even get a sub-contract from Ingalls, should their NSC-variant win.

      I just don’t see the USN giving Ingalls another serial production contract, with all the Amphib work they have as well as the Flight III Burkes. Just too many eggs in one basket…unless they sub-out the work to Austal USA.

      • Duane

        Building small warships is a different production line than building large warships like the ABs, or very large warships like the Fords. The Navy right now seems decided to produce the remaining 20 small warships in a single yard. Perhaps as you suggest Austal will need to focus on EPFs, and perhaps a future replacement of the PCs, or perhaps unmanned vessels that are expected to be part of our future fleet … while LM is most likely to win the FFG(X) contract. Forget the foreign
        frigate designs … it would be really really stupid to shut down an existing humming production line only to replace it with another one not yet in existence (a yard is not a “production line”) that would have to be designed, built, staffed, trained, and slowly ramped up over years to full production at great cost.

        • DaSaint

          Duane, where ya been?

          So so I agree and disagree with some of what you’ve said, and actually so do you.

          16 hours ago, you said ‘Possibly, but not likely, both LCS yards will lose on FFG(X)’.

          Now you say ‘…while LM is most likely to win the FFG(X) contract’.

          IMHO, I think the Marinette yard is well positioned as they’re the yard for the Freedom variant and the FREMM variant, which Lockheed and Fincanteri trading lead roles respectively, in a Fincantieri-owned yard.

          Now consider that the Freedom classhas had more teething issues than the Independece class, I’d be surprised if the Freedom-variant is selected.

          And mull on this, both yards have hot production lines to approx. 2021/2022 or so, depending on who gets the 2019 LCS (which should be Lockheed, which I believe would even them out with Austal’s 16 LCS). But then the 4 Saudi frigates would start, at maybe 1 per year, as they’re not inserts into the current production line, meaning they don’t start until 2022 and most likely run through 2026 or so. Can they do the Saudi variant while doing the FFG(X)? Maybe. Maybe not.

          Of course I could be wrong, but that’s what I think MAY, despite their troubles, give BIW a fighting chance. Full disclaimer, I’ve always preferred the Type 26, and have advocated for it in the past, but I’d be satisfied with the Navantia design, as it is well proven and flexible.

          • Duane

            Thanks DaSaint. The quotes you cited are not contradictory. It is possible, but as I wrote unlikely, that both LCS yards will lose out. It is pretty obvious that one of them will win FFG(X), and of the two, LM’s Freedom variant based frigate (that they just sold to Saudi Arabia) is the likely winner.

            The FREMM design is a loser. Not a single FREMM has ever been built in the US, the proposed US production line is today non-existent, lives only on paper, while the Freedom has been building in Marinette for over 13 years, finely tuned with trained staff building that ship in that yard using an existing well established supply chain and well established managenent and quality control systems.

            That is a “production line”. A shipyard is not a “production line” .. a shipyard is just a piece of dirt with some buildings, cranes, and a launch facility. A humming, efficient, and quality production line takes many years to develop and fine tune. The Navy knows that very well.

            Only LM and Austal own and operate a mature (as the Navy called it) US production line that is today continuously building small surface warships to Navy specs. And very successfuly so.

          • DaSaint

            All excellent points. If only the Freedom variant didn’t merely meet the minimum requirements. Time will tell. If it were a matter or lobbying strength alone, LM will win, as it is often the case. After all John Lehman had Austal in mind when he conceived this idea, and LM still pushed their way into the procurement chain. That says a lot. Not even the Newport News/Ingalls mafia is that strong.

      • Can’t do the Heavy Icebreaker at Marinette, it will be too beamy to get out of the Great Lakes.

        • DaSaint

          Good point. Seawaymax is slightly wider than 23m.

          Th at leaves NASSCO, Ingalls, and Acker Philly as the most likely yards, with maybe VT Halter as candidate yards.

    • airider

      The answer is easy. Someone wins, everybody else loses.

      • Duane

        The US Navy doesn’t want any existing domestic shipyard to wind down or go out of the naval shipbuilding business. If that happens to either yard the Navy and the taxpayer will be the losers, as it will reduce production capacity at precisely the same time the Navy needs to boost capacity to increase the size of the fleet, which will both slow production and increase costs.

        Everone who thinks the answers are “easy” doesn’t know what they are talking about.

        • ShermansWar

          A turd factory isn’t really a national asset though, is it?

          I own one myself, now that I think about it. Maybe I should apply for a govt. contract, lol. I can stick little flags on them and call them frigates.

      • NavySubNuke

        As long as the Navy picks a real frigate and not just a slightly bigger little crappy ship the entire Navy and the Nation wins.

  • Al L.

    1. I think the Navy and DOD is wisely letting the shipbuilders and congressional delegations carry the water on this rather than being a sales force. The Navy/DOD has calculated that at least one more LCS will magically work its way into the budget no matter what is asked for and so they can use their political capital to push for something else that matters.

    That Mattis guy is a strategic thinker, I thinks he knows how maneuver.

    2. Another 1 minimum and perhaps 2 LCS should be built. LCS-1 is for all practical purposes a prototype and will (is) be constrained in life cycle, effectiveness or both. A replacement should be built. LCS-2 is similar but less so. Long term the 32 is needed to meet the need for responsive MIW/ patrol. Long term follow on ships will take on its other roles, but the historical antipathy toward building MIW ships indicates the Navy should get all the MIW ships it can get while the gettin’s good.

  • Real sailor

    Ok, get a clue LCS shipyards, your days of producing extremely expensive aluminum coffins are numbered-YOU’RE FIRED!!!

    • Duane

      dream on

      • Sir Duene alot

        The Fleet Admiral speaks…..and like always, he’s says nothing

      • El Kabong

        Wake up.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Cough cough, the Freedom class are steel hull and aluminum superstructure, same as the Ticonderoga class cruisers.. cough cough

      • NavySubNuke

        True but at least the Ticos have the ability to defend themselves outside of knife range and are actually built to take a shock and keep fighting.
        The little crappy ships on the other hand….

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          Why are you comparing a Cruiser’s weapon systems to LCS?

          • NavySubNuke

            Because you seemed confused about why an LCS was nothing but an expensive aluminum coffin while a Tico wasn’t even though both contain aluminum.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            I still don’t understand how comparing a CG’s weapons to LCS is relevant?

          • NavySubNuke

            It is as relevant to the conversation as you pointing out that CGs also have aluminium in their superstructure.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            An aluminum superstructure and steel hull is a common naval architecture design around the world. Having cruiser combat systems on a corvette type ship is not..

          • NavySubNuke

            True – but that doesn’t make Little Crappy Ships any less of an expensive aluminum coffin.
            Nor does it make a CG an expensive aluminum coffin.

          • El Kabong

            HMS Sheffield….

          • Lawrence Trevethan

            It is also a mistake. Possible only for those unfamiliar with, or unconcerned with, the ability of a ship to survive fire or weapons damage. I served on a ship with a steel hull but an aluminum superstructure. I also got a gold certificate from a USN damage control school (with perfect written and practical test scores). Only the lack of combat damage experience explains why aluminum is “a common naval architecture design around the world.” It won’t survive long if there is a future major naval war.

          • Rocco

            Real sailor said that!! Not Marlin spike!!

      • HC1

        it may have a steel hull but it’s built to low level commercial standards-not Navy warships standards, i.e. it can’t take damage nor survive any hits like a real navy warship would (are you trying to cough all all of the butt hurt out?)

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          Just stating a fact. You are partially correct. The LCS is built to ABS standards, but also to Navy 1+ survivability standards. Seems like commercial standard tankers fair much better than naval vessels in collisions though…

          I try to avoid ad-hominem attacks, stick with refutation, and call out misinformation when I see it.

          • El Kabong

            Seems you don’t know any facts.

            8300 T displacement destroyer…29,000T container ship….

            Physics clearly isn’t your strong point.
            They’ll explain it to you once you reach middle school.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            We should really consider putting VLS, a radar and a CIC on a merchant ship. Much more survivable based on tonnage alone and a fraction of the price.

          • El Kabong

            You should do some homework.

            Helpful hint. Don’t ask Adm. Duaney if you want to learn some actual facts.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            On what?

          • PolicyWonk

            According to Defense Industry Daily, the LCS PEO finally admitted that no version of the “littoral combat ship” (past, present, or future), was or will ever be built to even the lowest USN survivability standard (Level 1).

            This was after they claimed the reason for skyrocketing costs for the LCS program was due to them being upgraded to the Level-1 standard while building on the slipways.

            Cheers.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Interesting, thank you for the reply.

            That seems contradictory to the GAO-16-201 (DEC2015) report and associated opnavinst which states:
            “The Navy specified LCS survivability to be greater than that of auxiliary ships, but less than that of frigates and amphibious assault ships—as shown in table 2. According to Navy officials, the Navy designed LCS to what they refer to as a Level 1+ standard, meaning it had additional features beyond those of other Level 1 ships, including
            • tailored survivability requirements for underwater shock and limited fragmentation and bullet armor; and
            • improved ability to withstand flooding after a damage event.”

            The associated instruction does say that it was changed to a minimum survivability baseline that is based on the program’s initial capabilities document and concept of operations, where survivability is considered in terms of capabilities, while the older instruction required consideration of survivability in terms of characteristics.

            So this instruction was changed back in 2012. Not sure how how it effects our overall understanding of the survivability standards.

          • PolicyWonk

            It might seem contradictory, but the sad fact is that the LCS PEO deliberately defrauded the US Taxpayers and the HoRs.

            And when the fighting capabilities of what is called the “littoral combat ship” came up in an interview with then CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert during an interview on Breaking Defense, he declared that the “littoral combat ship” was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

            Seriously – you can’t make this stuff up!

            As such, there is no room for growth for added armament or protection. What we have in these so-called “littoral combat ships” are monstrously expensive utility boats, the designs of which ignored every hard-won lesson of littoral combat, and because they are not built to naval construction standards (i.e. Level 1, 2, or 3), must have legal waivers to be commissioned into the USN.

            But, it is/was a highly successful corporate welfare program.

          • ShermansWar

            wouldn’t be the first set of lies peddled by the Navy to justify this programs survival and probably not the last. Notice the LCS builders are already whining about their ability to submit a competitive bid on the FFG(X) because they need more contracts past the 32 already ordered to keep costs down.

      • El Kabong

        See a doctor for that TB.

  • Ed L

    The shipyards should build their designs FFGX on their own dime.

  • airider

    We shouldn’t really care if they’re worried. If neither wins the FFG contract (which they should expect based on the field of other vendors) then neither will get any more ships and we can close the books on this stupid acquisition. Sustainment costs alone on the LCS two headed monster are going to make the Navy seriously consider early retirement and continuing the Frigate production line to get this wart out of the fleet.

    • Duane

      Nope … it is virtually certain that one of the LCS yards will win FFG(X), with LM being the most likely as they have already designed and will soon be building the Saudi frigates. No foreign design has a snowball’s chance in you know what of winning if you understand the Navy’s requirements in the conceptual design RFP.

      • NavySubNuke

        LOL – words of wisdom from the same guy who said the Senate didn’t need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and avoid a government shutdown.
        But of course only a true believer in the failed LCS program can understand the frigate design requirements right bathtub admiral?

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          Are you guys still in middle school?

          • El Kabong

            You’re new here.

            Admiral Duaney is the local troll/Little Crappy Ship cheerleader.

            Go ahead.

            Post a criticism about it and see what happens.

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            I may be new, but one side seems very immature from the outside perspective especially if his statements should be so easily refuted.

            For example, he stated the LM might be the go to choice based on a simple fact. Is he a physic? No… did he state a valid argument? Yes. Did we not learn this in elementary school that you can refute his argument, but resorting to childish criticism because someone defends something is downright stupid.

            In fact, if I were a betting man, I might put my chips on LM, especially considering the established supply chain, ship yard and systems training (EPT, RCO, OOD, and CIC) that is established. Who do you think the USN is going to go with??

            Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement lists from Harvard University would consider it pretty foolish, and any educated person happening by this forum can easily see this. We get it, you hate LCS… its not the end of the world. Substantiate your points.

          • Jonesy

            You may be new here Marline, so you can thank your lucky stars you haven’t been subjected to the Fleet Admiral’s years long posturing, chest pounding, and out right propaganda spewing of falsehoods about the LCS. Some of his favorite sayings are “It’s bar none the best warship on the planet,” “It’s more capable than a Arleigh Burke destroyer,” “It’s got better systems than an aircraft carriers,” It’s really quite hilarious how far his stories will go and how far his is willing to ignore facts, tests, evaluations, and the very real and massive shortcoming of the “sea-frame.” If you disagree with his he calls you “old” (and many other choice adjectives), if you point out documented tests and evaluations, he calls the testers “idiots,” and if you point out his silliness he calls for the moderator to kick you off the forum. So get yourself a bag of popcorn and enjoy the Fleet Admiral show-we all have :-}

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Yeah I’ll take it as I see it. Thanks.

          • El Kabong

            Go read Adm. Duaney’s childish comments.

            That is, if they haven’t been deleted by the moderator yet…

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            I’ll take them as I see them..

          • airider

            If they go with a Saudi based derivative, it’s basically a brand new ship. Where’s the risk in that?…

          • MarlineSpikeMate

            Same hull, same propulsion. That’s a 3rd the same ship right there. “Aluminum coffin.”

          • NavySubNuke

            You’ll get used to Duane. He likes to post things that are obviously wrong and then pretend he wasn’t wrong. It really is entertaining to bring them up with him again.

      • Retired weps

        Fleet Admiral, we all thought you retired, but here you are again, pushing the big LCS lies again: “Bar None, better than a Arleigh Burke destroyer, it can do everything, best ASW hunter in the fleet, it’s can shoot down missiles, it can defeat any enemy, best weapons,” blah blah blah. Don’t you get tired of pushing all of this b.s., oh that’s right, you get paid by the word (can I get the same gig-I’ll say anything for the right price).

    • ShermansWar

      We hope..

  • D. Jones

    On.a crazy hunch, I went over to the opensecrets site to see who was giving “campaign contributions” to Sen Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Surprise! Lockmart ponied up $26,521.

    End the LCS and end the relentless corruption and graft in the MIC. If a shipyard can’t stay afloat without lining some politicians pocket$, they deserve to go out of business.

    None of these outfits appear to compete on MERIT.

    • Duane

      All members of Congress support their constituents who produce jobs and tax revenue successfully via government sales, or rely on laws to preserve or grow their businesses. It’s always been that way, always will be that way. Nothing illegal or improper about it.

      The alternative model is Putin’s thieving oligarchy where he personally gets a cut of every Russian business deal, government or “private”, along with his oligarch cronies who must pay not only to play, but to stay alive and out of prison. It’s made Putin the richest man on the planet.

      • El Kabong

        The alternative is to learn the lesson from the Little Crappy Ship debacle.

  • Lazarus

    Expect one of the enhanced LCS designs that eschews speed for range and weapons/sensors as the FFGX. The other competitors won’t likely make the $$$ cut. Both LHM and Austal offered good small surface combatant designs. The USN is looking for a small combatant and not a “light destroyer” in the FFGX. If the price is too high the Navy won’t get the chance to build more than 20.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Thinking the same thing. The Huntington Ingalls frigate sure looks like it would be an excellent choice as well considering price. The long legs of that ship is a huge bonus as well.

    • Duane

      Yup … the LM Saudi frigate design that will be the basis of their FFG(X) design concept is just that. Lengthened from 378 ft to 440 feet, added VLS, LM developed that design years ago in prep for the down select and upgunned LCS based frigate. It is the only frigate design that meets all the Navy’s requirements AND can meet the Navy’s desire of a delivered price of under $800M, and first ship delivered by 2025.

      • Dan O’Brian

        yep, Lockmart keeps giving up crap so let’s double down and give them more work-makes perfect sense (to no one except the Fleet Admiral)

      • El Kabong

        Nope. Little Crappy Ships are a failure.

        Can’t defeat ice, so what use are they in combat, Duaney?

      • ShermansWar

        Still can’t fit the EASR or power it and cool it, unless they get an exemption to supplant the 3 faced radar with a single rotating one, an exemption which is already in the works for all US entrants, I believe.

      • Bubblehead

        It does not meet USN requirements. It uses Spy1F and only has 8 Mk 41 VLS cells. And Im willing to bet it doesn’t come close to meeting USN survivability standards.

    • PolicyWonk

      The only thing LockMart has going for it, is that the Saudi’s beat the USN at its own game and are paying for the design work of a ship that is an all-but-unrecognizable LCS derivative, with real weapons and defensive capabilities, at a far better price point.

      Austral has a more innovative design overall – but that doesn’t mean they’ll win.

      Both classes failed to meet any of the promises made about these so-called “littoral combat ships”, and this nation would lose little by cancelling the program entirely, because floating liabilities that take up valuable pier space aren’t worth the time, money, or trouble.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Very curious what the LM design brings to the table for speed and range. I’m betting it has the same power plant CODAG with MT30s and Diesels with added capacity for fuel. Speed has will surely be much lower than the 45+ LCS but still higher than most of the competitors I would imagine. At what cost to range is the big question.

      • Duane

        FFG(X) doesnt need high speed, does need longer legs.

        Check out the LM Freedom based Saudi Frigate design. Lengthened the hull from 378 feet to 440 feet, added nearly a thousand tons, added a VLS. The Saudi frigate powerplant and propulsor have not been talked about, but could well be different than the Freedom. Almost certain the top speed is lower. Long legs for the Saudis is not that important, as their frigates will likely operate in home waters mostly.

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          Good points, though a recent video did disclose that they were going with the same water jet drive with two boost jets and two steerables. These 4 shafts have to be some combination of CODAG, though what engines they go with and how the gearing is set up could vary widely. The USN really struggles operating anything like a CODAG that most (all?) of these Frigates have, so I assume this won’t be a big concern if they all have this. Maybe they learned how to operate them after breaking LCS several times.

          • Duane

            Interesting about the Saudi plant. USNI won’t allow links, but do you have a suggestion on how to find that video source?

            As for breaking stuff, the Navy rediscovered that when all else fails, read and follow the operating manuals. Nearly all of the LCS engineering casualties resulted from crew failure to follow procedures. Engineering 101 stuff in the nuke navy, but apparently obeyed in the non nuke fleet less than 100% of the time.

          • El Kabong

            When Little Crappy Ships fail the USN learned to not use them for future ship classes, Duaney.

        • El Kabong

          Little Crappy Ships can’t defeat a Canadian winter, Duaney.

        • airider

          Basically a brand new design…..where’s the risk in that…..right???

      • Bubblehead

        There was a recent article I read somewhere that listed these specs for all the frigate entries. I was surprised to see LM raised there range. I wish I could remember the specifics. It might have been around 4500 miles, but I noticed the cruising speed was quite a bit lower than a few of the others also.

        I have to admit, compared to the Freedom class, the LM entrant for the frigate had some nice capabilities. I like the stealth, especially the hidden exhaust to lower IR signature. It is probably the stealthiest of the entrants. I firmly believe to survive after 2030, a ship will have to be stealthy. Missiles are just too deadly now. Not to mention drones, torpedoes, guided ballistic missiles, smarter mines, etc.

    • NavySubNuke

      I’m personally hoping for the FREMM – the LCS designers had their chance already and it didn’t work out for anyone but their own pockets —- lets give an actual warship a chance.
      I’ve did some TASW work out in 69 with two of the french ASW-FREMMs – they are impressive.

      • N

        I’m not sure about the FREMM in particular but most of the European frigate designs currently in service are built to commercial standards and would not even meet the survivability standard of the LCS sadly enough.
        The modest enhancements to the LCS base designs are the primary driver of those enormous cost jumps that everyone loves to hate. Blame the Navy for not deciding where they wanted to go from the start. Mil spec or commercial

        • NavySubNuke

          Just spent a few minutes digging around and couldn’t find anything that commented on the standards of the FREMM. It would be interesting to know what they are already designed to.
          Though as you point out if we just pick a standard and stick to it without changing course mid-stream that will smooth things out. Hopefully whatever PEO they create to oversea the frigate learns from the incompetence and mismanagement that characterized — and continues to characterize — PEO LCS.

        • Lazarus

          European standards are very different in some cases from those of the US. They appear to go to sea fully armed and at much lower cost than the US counterparts, but a detailed examination pokes holes in the myth of the low-priced, super-Euro frigate. Some go to sea without key systems yet being installed. HMS Daring went to sea without a sonar when first commissioned. The Danish Iver Huitfeldt class first went to sea with recycled weapons from older ships, had not yet completed any testing of any kind (they had to some to US waters fro that,) and in some cases mounted wooden weapons in place of real ones that were not yet ready. The US has plenty of its own problems and LCS is not exempt, but I think the US Navy is far more open about the “warts” on its ships and processes than are other navies. Perhaps there are language barriers that inhibit those stories from being fully told in the US defense press and blog world?

          • ShermansWar

            not really, I had heard of most of them, and the fact that half their weapons systems ( like VLS for isntance ,on some of the Nordic navies’ ships) they are outfitted for and never built, simply reserved as “trade space” because their govts won’t fund the actual weapons after having overpayed for the ships..

        • ShermansWar

          The F 100 based hulls would.

          • Bubblehead

            The F100 and the Frigate NCS are 100% built to USN survivability standards. As much as I like the FREMM, I doubt it comes close. But fitting the F100 into the USN budget would take some magic.

    • Bubblehead

      The USN is afraid a real frigate will show the AB up and Congress will want more frigates than Burkes. Indeed the Spanish F100 & FREMM with Volcano would be a Burke light.

      • airider

        More frigates would actually make sense. The current hi-lo mix of ships is rediculously expensive to purchase and maintain.

  • PolicyWonk

    Given that having a hot production line is part of Austal’s and Lockheed Martin’s pitch in the frigate contest…
    =========================================
    Its really hard to be enthusiastic about either class as the basis for any kind of frigate, since neither came even remotely close to keeping any of the promises made about these so-called “littoral combat ships”.

    That’s right, the same “littoral combat ships” that were “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

    LockMart and Austal should be happy they were the recipients of a blatant corporate welfare program that delivered the taxpayers two fleets of floating liabilities, while paying the highest price possible for the lowest possible ROI.

    Victory: LockMart, Austal, and potential adversaries of the United States.
    Losers: US Taxpayers, USN, and US national security.

  • NavySubNuke

    LOL – sure Duane no frigate have ever been built by any nation in history to help defend a carrier battlegroup —- all those OHPs and Knoxs we used to send around with our carriers during the cold war were just there for there good looks right?
    And I wasn’t disparaging the little crappy ships for not being cruisers – I was agree with the original poster who disparaged them for being expensive aluminum coffins and explaining to MSM why although both ships contain aluminum a little crappy ship is nothing but an expensive coffin and a CG isn’t.

  • NavySubNuke

    LOL there you go spreading your lies and distortions again.
    Your complete and utter lack of personal integrity really is entertaining.

  • NavySubNuke

    What argument?
    That the LCS are nothing more than overpriced death traps isn’t in question. That is why the Navy has stopped wasting money on them and is looking to buy a real frigate rather than continuing to invest in a ship that is only there to provide “presence” and boost the ship count and it is not meant to actually engage in combat.

  • NavySubNuke

    I’ve never posted a comment that wasn’t true and I actually admit when I am wrong – unlike others….

  • Rhino601

    Learn to say FREMM.

    • Ed L

      Italian style with a 5 inch forward but instead of a 76mm on top of the hanger bay put the 57mm there

      • ShermansWar

        Put a SEARAM there instead.

  • NavySubNuke

    It is interesting that that is how you perceive the conversation. I suppose in some ways it is “crazy” to point out that a ship that can actually defend itself is less of a coffin than one that can’t —- but I just call that common sense.

  • NavySubNuke

    In reality they should be worried about the crews forced to serve on these over priced and under armed ships but I can understand their concern about losing their gravy train.
    I’m still holding out hope that the Navy will get an actual warship as part of the Frigate competition – hopefully we have learned from the mistakes of the failed LCS program – but who knows with the politics involved.

  • MarlineSpikeMate

    I think an IOWA class battleship with AEGIS and VLS is what we really need LCS to be. Just imagine the survivability. Throw like four Sea-rams on it and 200 VLS tubes, leave two guns for fire support missions and a lazer cannon for good measure. Everything else are just crappy ships compared to this. Amphibs, CVNs, CGs, DDGs, LCSs, MCMs, PCs, are all trash.

    • NavySubNuke

      The issue isn’t that a little crappy ship isn’t a BB.
      The issue is that rather than costing $150M (original CDD objective) or $220M (original CDD “threshold”) they actually cost almost $600M. Had they delivered at $220M and if they actually had working mission modules things would be different.
      And that ~$600M doesn’t even include the costs of the missions modules – two of which haven’t even IOC’d yet.
      Never mind the fact that DoD doubled the cost of sustaining these ships by picking both to go into procurement rather than pissing off one states delegation.

      • William Sager

        Show me a comparable foreign 3500 ton ship in this class for less than 750 million. Heck India just signed a $ 4 Billion contract with Russia for four Frigates. If there is any fault in the LCS and especially the follow on Frigate is the need to have large turbines and Jacuzzi water jet drive that can drive the ships to 45 knots. I’ve never heard of a sub operating in shallow enough water that a Frigate needed water jets to stalk it.

        • NavySubNuke

          “Show me a comparable foreign 3500 ton ship in this class for less than 750 million”
          I can’t show you exactly that because no other Navy has been dumb enough to waste quite so much on a ship that provides so little.
          But here are several foreign designs that are far cheaper than LCS and that if copied would have provided our Navy with more actual capabilities:
          Khareef Class Corvettes built by BAE for Oman at <$300M — we could have bought 2 for every LCS.
          Absalon-class support ship operated by the Danish Navy, also <$300M
          The FREMM pushes $800M but for that extra money you get capabilities that far exceed anything the LCS is capable of
          The Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate in service with the Dutch is just over $300M but steal vastly more capable than an LCS.
          There are plenty of other examples I could bring up too. And lets not forget that every 2 LCS you see cost about the same as a Burke to procure and probably cost nearly the same to sustain since we have to have 2 separate school houses and 2 separate supply chains thanks to the Navy's cowardice and stupidity in picking both hull forms for procurement.
          Can you imagine the slaughter that would ensue if our 32 LCS went head to head with the 16 Burke's that could be in the fleet right now if we hadn't wasted that money?
          Or what about the slaughter if those 32 LCS had to take on the 25 FREMMs we could have procured?
          And we haven't even considered the hundreds of millions, if not billions, that has been wasted on the mission modules as well…..

  • NavySubNuke

    LOL – there you go projecting again. You should realize there is a difference between your failed talking points and people actually telling the truth.
    I realize you still regard the little crappy ship as a success – or at least you are paid to regard it as one – but luckily the Navy has realized their mistake and has cancelled the remainder of the program past FY19.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      What do you mean cancelled past FY19?

      • NavySubNuke

        52 was the original procurement – FY19 is the last order of an LCS per the shipbuilding plan.

      • Duane

        To be precise, 31 LCS are built, under construction and/or on order. As the author of this post wrote, the Navy’s FY2019 request for an LCS is the 32nd and last of the type. No LCS has ever been cancelled. The original 52 ship small surface combatant program of 52 LCS was reconfigured to 32 LCS and 20 frigates (now designated FFG(X) by the Obama administration.

        • ShermansWar

          reconfigured is a fancy word for cancelled

    • Rocco

      So you think!! I seriously doubt that the New FFG/X design will be much better than the LCS is now without it getting close to expensive as a Burke class. & It will probably be aluminum! Mix

  • NavySubNuke

    “No other nation on earth has ever owned a CVN”
    Demonstrably false – see Charles de Gaulle
    “And the OHPs never provided air defense to CVNs, just ASW and not particular to CVNs”
    Thank you for admitting, once again that you were completely utterly wrong when you said no frigate has ever been charged with defending a CVN.
    “Please drop your ridiculous rhetoric about coffins”
    Its not my rhetoric – it is real sailors. I just call them over priced death traps.
    “It reveals a great deal about a commenter when they keep repeating talking points that are silly, way over the top, enough so to embarrass professional shark jumpers”
    It does – that is why we all find your nonsense and shark jumping so entertaining.

    • PolicyWonk

      Indeed – the sailors that are ordered to man these so-called “littoral combat ships” are not idiots: they are acutely aware that other navies ships of the same tonnage (let alone half that, or even less) are vastly better armed/protected than LCS will ever be (barring some major development we’re not aware of).

      • William Sager

        Mostly those LCS crews are tired. They have half the comparable crew of foreign ships. What we really need is to install hybrid drives so as to power future lasers and autonomous electric drone sub hunters.

  • NavySubNuke

    LOL. Duane someone of your advanced age really should realize that just because you repeat a lie often enough doesn’t make it true.
    Just because you lie all the time doesn’t mean others do.

  • NavySubNuke

    Says the proven liar – nice projection.

  • NavySubNuke

    LOL. Tough words from the same guy who said only the US have ever produced a nuclear powered carrier. Did you verify the existence of Charles De Gaulle yet?
    To date 0 LCS crew have died.

  • NavySubNuke

    With Duane you have to repeatedly point out the obvious – he likes to distort the truth.
    As an example – he just told me on this thread that “No other nation on earth has ever owned a CVN”.

    • Marcd30319

      I am sure the french Navy found that t be surprising given the fact that the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has undertaken multiple deployments to the Persian Gulf.. It is also the subject of an article in this month Naval Institute Proceedings y the Chief of the French Navy.

  • NavySubNuke

    Ah there you go questioning my dolphins again.
    No worries old man – I realize that is just your oversized ego and complete lack of personal integrity trying to make up for your undersized intellect again.
    It really is funny how you lash out when you get caught lying again.
    Did you look up the charles de gaulle yet? Are you ready to admit that, once again, you were wrong when you ignorantly and incorrectly claimed that no other navy had a CVN?

    • El Kabong

      Just keep flagging the boy’s comments.
      The moderator’s will punt him again.

      Hopefully for good this time.

  • NavySubNuke

    Ah good old Mabus. He left the fleet a hollow shell of itself but hey at least he got the ship count up – right?

    • PolicyWonk

      We all knew Mabus was an LCS fan-boy before he was even sworn in. And while the ship count did go up – the usefulness of the added sea-frames miraculously added more liabilities than assets to the fleet.

      • NavySubNuke

        Agreed. It was rather sickening to see the way he was patting himself on the back so hard during his exit interviews about getting the ship count up even though it was merely a paper tiger expansion not an actual one.

        • PolicyWonk

          You are right – Maybus got the sea-frame count to increase, but left out the part that the USN was adding liabilities instead of assets.

  • ShermansWar

    That not entirely true, just ask Saul Alinsky.

  • ShermansWar

    Bottom line, LCS delivers less weight of shot, or warhead, in any form at less range than any other warship of even half it’s weight, and is not survivable in combat. It’s not a warship. You want to keep talking about it’s mission, then come out and say it isn’t a warship, it can’t fight. Period. They won’t even risk it against boghammers.

    A much cheaper vessel should have been built if it was only to show the flag, not have combat missions and be functionally unarmed.It’s a full on fail as a minesweeper. Send one out today and tell me how it does. Sad when a ships primary combat asset and sole offensive weapon is it’s Helo.

    • MarlineSpikeMate

      Yeah.. I just said it has a steel hull and the USN broke it several times..

  • ShermansWar

    That’s relevant to the underlying arguments how, exactly?

  • ShermansWar

    You pretend to miss the underlying point of the original comment, that the LCS isn’t survivable, by comparing to, of all thing, a cruiser. You can attempt to obfuscate the issue with semantics , distractions and deflections, but the basic point stands, and you’ve done nothing to refute it, however self satisfied you may be with your attempts at self aggrandizing sophistry.

  • ShermansWar

    How, exactly? I don’t see how whether he is sensational or not has any bearing on his argument.

  • ShermansWar

    Meh. If anything it seems to me you tried to discredit him by saying you found how he expressed himself upsetting.

    If I’m unclear, then understand the throwaway Alinsky comment was more directed at you than him, and no, hyperbole doesn’t really upset me when someone uses it to make a point. When the ad hominem attacks on character start, then to me it crosses the line.

  • ShermansWar

    I can’t help it, I can think of no better an example of a compounding fallacy than any of the arguments used to justify the LCS, be it it’s supposed cost effectiveness, ( we get a 57mm gun and a SEARAM for half a billion dollars? the cost of the Helo is separate, mind you), it will never be a “streetfighter” as they will never risk it being sunk in a close quarter engageement, they’d die of embarrassment;

    It can’t minesweep, it can’t fit ANY of it’s original modules, ALL of them have been reduced in capacity to the point of irrelevance, they can’t switch them out, it can’t minesweep, not only that, it can’t even deploy the helo it was supposed to to minesweep. At best, at BEST, down the road it may have the ability to deploy UUVs that can mark mines for further demolition by other assets. That’s a far, far cry from a minesweeper. it will never be able to go into an area ahead of a task group and clear mines for it’s passage in a timely manner. Ever.

    All it’s supposed modules and abilities are outsourced to other platforms it can hopefully one day deploy, should they ever be funded, like drones and unmanned vehicles. Have they even purchased any modules yet?

    Show the flag? and do what? Who is it that’s we think we are fooling with a half billion dollar unarmed vessel? they are supposed to look at the pretty lines of the ship and be awestruck by american military might and amazed by out technological superiority? Somali pirates maybe, but i doubt even them.

    • ElmCityAle

      It’s old-school thinking that every capability must be organic/attached to the hull (except for carriers). And that’s obviously how most navy ships have been built up to now. Evaluated by that framework, the LCS variants are expensive, lightly armed, medium range patrol ships that were supposed to have a bunch of modules that aren’t yet ready. For what it’s worth, they will soon carry some form of OTH anti-ship missile, likely NSM. And I’m curious as to why a small Mk 56 VLS system hasn’t been proposed as an LCS “module”, given that has already been done for another frigate design (Absalon class). However, even without most of the modules ready, LCS in some sense follows the analogy of the carrier: many of it’s missions are handled by embarked aircraft. It’s no small thing to be able to schlep around two full sized helos. One or a pair of MH-60R helos are credible submarine hunter/killers as well as extending multiple modes of surveillance from the host ship. A pair of MH-60S helos, or one and some MQ-8 B or C model helo drones also have multiple mission capabilities, especially once the radar is integrated into the larger C model units.

      • James B.

        You are entirely right that the LCS can be a capable helicopter carrier, but it’s design limits it from being much else.

        A VLS module would be a great idea, but the modular mission bay is located under the flight deck in both LCS variants. The giant flight decks are a big plus for carrying helicopters, but they severely limits the available space to bolt on additional equipment.

        The Navy has had lots of success with “modular-ish” warships like aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, but these designs all recognized the limits of modular or dual-use warships going back to the original battleship-carrier split: you can put lots of guns on deck, or you can put airplanes on deck, but you can’t do both very well.

        There were a few foreign attempts to build battle-carriers, with guns up front and a flight deck in back–the mullet of warships–but they didn’t fare well. The LCS won’t do any better pretending to be anything more than a small helicopter carrier with a pointy bow.

        • ElmCityAle

          I was thinking about small modules that would fit into the spaces currently used by the 30mm gun systems. MK 56 is very compact, although the system would also require some form of deployable illuminator for ESSM guidance.

          • James B.

            I think you are onto something solid–a vessel operating with the main fleet needs the VLS space and has little need for the 30mm guns or even the 57mm.

            If it were up to me, I’d probably have the Independence-class ships refitted with VLS, and use their larger flight decks to carry helos and VTOL UAVs for CSGs. We do really need the flight decks for ASW helos.

            The Freedom-class ships I’d have refitted as patrol frigates: removing their turbines and going to a simple, economical all-diesel plant with the fuel for long-range cruising. It’d free up DDGs from pirate-chasing and such.

        • PolicyWonk

          The Independence class might be useful as a tender for Mark VI patrol boats, and use the oversized flight deck for a pair of Vipers to use as air support in the event the Mark VI’s get into trouble. This way, they can stay out of the direct fight, but still perform some useful service.

      • ShermansWar

        You say “It’s old-school thinking that every capability must be organic/attached to the hull (except for carriers). ” as if calling something “Old Skool” somehow illustrates to the listener the thinking is somehow witout merit. What I find to be without merit is your thesis statement. The issue isn’t having “every”capability attached to the hull, but rather the hull is useless. If in your mind a half billion dollar lily pad is justified to deploy 2 Helos, I say Your thinking is a perfect example of whats wrong with this program. I think one, of necessity must be corrupt to spend that much money on a naval vessel and then not arm it properly. Even stupidity or Hubris doesn’t explain the failure in planning or logic.

  • Jonesy

    Put the LCS up against any foe and see how the bodies will quickly pile up. But it’s a good thing the LCS will never see combat eh, that way we won’t have to see how bad it really is, right?

    • ShermansWar

      “CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert during an interview declared that the “littoral combat ship” was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”

      What else do we really need to know about what kind of liars navy leadership is composed of and what lengths they will go to , to benefit their cronies and supply corrupt politicians with jobs programs at the expense of both the US taxpayer, the navy. and naval capability and preparedness.

      Naval leadership lacks integrity, expertise, leadership itself and any sort of strategic vision.

      • Retired

        We haven’t had a 1/4 decent CNO in the last 30 years. We are where we are today because of their incompetence and poor leadership, and sadly, the current CNO doesn’t seem concerned whatsoever.

    • LCS would absolutely destroy most of the “warships” on the planet. What is a FAC or basic corvette going to do against helicopters? How many suicide boats are going to survive against surface launched Hellfires as well as 57mm, and 30mm fire? Sure, LCS isn’t going to take on a modern destroyer – but very few of those exist and that is not what it was designed for.

  • NavySubNuke

    Like everything else you say this is also wrong – I don’t watch RT or Fox. Nice troll though troll.

  • Real sailor

    That’s very doubtful because all staff members are made public. But you definitely work for Lockmart-everyone knows that with 100% certainty-but of course you’ll continue to deny it.

  • NavySubNuke

    No Duane – your comments aren’t boring at all.
    Your complete and utter lack of personal integrity is highly entertaining.

  • NavySubNuke

    ** Pats Duane on the head ** Of course bathtub admiral – the best way of predicting a warships chance of success during combat is or course to look at how many sailors have died during peacetime operations.
    Particularly during a time period where the ships in question have been practically welded to the pier based on a combination of engineering failures due to poor design, engineering failures due to poor crew training, fear of how the poorly trained crews on the few remaining functional ships would perform, and ice.

  • Retired weps

    You sir are the only one here that gets paid by the word (from your dear friends at Lockheed). I can see how facts and reason will put your paychecks in jeopardy

  • El Kabong

    You are challenged, Duaney.

  • El Kabong

    C’mon Duaney…. When has your Little Crappy Ship been in combat?

    It can’t even defeat a Canadian ice floe…. LOL!

    • @USS_Fallujah

      In fairness you couldn’t get any other warship out of the St. Lawrence river, the fault is in the Navy brass delaying her departure for the commissioning ceremony hoping ice wouldn’t be a problem, on the Canadian border…in winter….#duh

      • El Kabong

        True.

    • Retired weps

      It couldn’t even hit a Canadian ice flow with it’s puny little optical guided noise making pee shooter (it’s not big enough to qualify as a naval “gun”)

      • El Kabong

        Agreed.

        Look out though, you may incur the wrath of our local LCS cheerleader, Adm Duaney! 😉

  • El Kabong

    So, ZERO combat….

  • El Kabong

    LMAO!!!

    What’s the Charles DeGaulle, Duaney?

    • PolicyWonk

      Hey – that’s “Grand Admiral Of The Fleet Duaney” to you! 😉

      • El Kabong

        Only in his mind. 😉

  • marc6850

    This is the first time I saw the whole ship, as the majority of photos are about or on the front of the ship. Looks like a floating hanger with one deck gun which, if put out of action, this ship loses considerable value. What am I missing on what appears a massive waste of money to me?

    • ShermansWar

      nothing. Your missing nothing. The ships is missing weapons, though.

    • What you’re missing is that a floating hanger is far more valuable in today’s world than the entire gun armament of an Iowa class battleship.

  • CaZ

    Um, I thought the DoD and its budgets existed to see to the defensive and security needs of the nation. I didn’t know they existed as jobs programs for various private industry. Yes, I know they do it all the time, but it just seems like somehow we’ve gotten into the habit of putting the cart in front of the horse…

    • ShermansWar

      Right?

  • proudrino

    Two Points:

    First, the LCS is a platform looking for a mission. It is a failed program that only still exists to provide business to smaller shipyards in places like Wisconsin. One ship in 2019 is one more than is actually needed.

    Secondly, how awful is it that American sailors are going be forced to serve on a ship named after
    Gabby Giffords. Like Jack Murtha, she is no friend of the Navy, society, or this nation and it is a disgrace that she is honored instead of a true patriot or other worthy recipient.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      I think the mission keeping the LCS program afloat is a desire from the “Aegis Mafia” to get more hulls, ANY hulls, in the water to reduce the burden on the CG/DDG fleet for missions those platforms are vastly overqualified for, chasing drug runners and pirates or showing the flag for tip pot despots in 3rd world backwaters. Just as the lack of a tanker is crushing our F-18 fleet the lack of a SSC is killing the training and maintenance of our LSCs. Too many taskings, not enough time or money (or shipyard space/workforce) to keep us with training & maintenance.
      LCS may not be a decent ROI for the cost, but if they do nothing more than save the CG/DDGs for the COCOMs avarice it’s at least done something worthwhile.

      • ShermansWar

        no it’s not. There’s no excuse for financial malfeasance, corruption, or using taxpayer dollars for a jobs program under the guise of Naval shipbuilding. I’d love to see criminal indictments for program runners as well as contractors.

        • @USS_Fallujah

          As far as military spending malfeasance goes, LCS is actually pretty tame.

  • Dean Hewitt

    So they bid on the ships, the price screams upwards, making huge profits, and screws the American Public. So we finally say enough to the design, which has had terrible performance no where near what was promised, and wind the program down. So the builders screams, “woe is us”, and threatens the US to keep building the ships so they have a chance for another bite of the apple with another design. You’re on your own boys.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      Don’t blame the shipbuilders, whatever the flaws of the LCS program it’s on NavSea, not Austal/LMCO. They are building ships to spec and can’t help that the requirements they designed to are outdated (and were probably never accurate), and the shipbuilders aren’t the ones making the mission modules either. The LCS program has been a cockup from the very beginning, even before that, the entire SC-21 fiasco was an arrogant and stupid attempt to maintain “relevance” in the GWOT with no rational thought to the future or the USN’s core mission. The “opportunity loss” on the CG(X), DDG-1000 & LCS is the core issue driving the ship shortage the navy is considering. Had SC-21 never happened and the Navy just stood pat with the Burke Class and OHP modernization the USN could easily have 20-30 more hulls in the water now.

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    If the LCS variants weren’t pieces of crap, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Where are the modules? Oh, wait…what modules. Maybe they are made of stealth materials and we just can’t see them. This ship has been in the water for 8 years and is only marginally operational. LCS is a jobs program. We ought to dig up Vern Clark, recall Gary Roughead, Missy Mullen, and anybody else with their fingerprints on the LCS program and court martial the lot of them for dereliction of duty, misappropriation of taxpayer funds, accepting bribes (cushy jobs on the BODs of the contractors), failure to disclose conflicts of interest, etc. The LCS is just an expensive piece of garbage that is not capable of fighting its way from the pier. The American Taxpayer and the US Navy got ripped off by the FOGOs who were entrusted with the keys to the Navy.

    • Lazarus

      You cannot create a transformation ship (modular, open architecture platform,) if the system that is responsible for its acquisition dates from the days of Robert S. McNamara. PPBS/PPBE is not known for revolutionary ideas. Combine a dated acquisition system designed in a period when US carmakers thought tailfins were a good idea with a 1980’s-era test and evaluation system designed for aircraft and not ships, and is it a surprise that nothing terribly revolutionary comes from DoD?

    • Jonesy

      Careful there, you’re going to incur the wrath of the Fleet Admiral, he’s going to call you “old” “liar” “nut job” “hater” and every other name in the book, and then call for the moderator to kick you off the forum for LCS blasphemy 😛

  • Lawrence Trevethan

    Building more unacceptable LCS seems like a bad idea. Perhaps we should consider building more of the standard coast guard cutters (Legend Class) – either for USCG (which is short of hulls) – or in a modified form for USN. Aluminum should be banned from warship construction by statute since DoD seems to lack a grasp of why it isn’t acceptable in damage control terms? Or perhaps the LCS that have been formally rejected for operations can be rebuilt to current standards as an interim measure to keep the yards busy. Or better still, rebuilt to an improved standard better than the current designs.

    • Bubblehead

      Nobody is a bigger critic than the POS LCS than I. But I would be in favor of building a few more until a real ship (ie frigate) can be built. We have massive problems with drugs coming into the US and that might be the only job the LCS would be quite capable at. And yes aluminum should definitely be banned from any warship. But anyone that thinks the LCS is a warship can be the 1st to crew it during a war. Its a coffin.

      There are a few other tasks it could perform in wartime. Mines are drastically under estimated and hopefully the USN can get its mine warfare package working someday. In an emergency, you should be able to strap some ESSM on them and provide some port security during wartime. ASW and cruise missile defense. It would definitely need an improved radar which I think is already in the works though.

      And please don’t mistake me for a LCS lover. I hate the ship. But the USN needs hulls in a bad way.

      One more thing, the USCG beyond a doubt needs more NCS cutters. Its a no brainer. That ship is worth every bit of $500 mill. USCG should always keep one ported in Philippines for the South China Sea.

      • Lawrence Trevethan

        One point in your position stands out: mine warfare is vastly underfunded. Lack of offensive mine warfare capability was a grand strategic error. Lack of mine countermeasures capability in quantity even more so. We suffered a defeat at the hands of Iraq’s Navy because of it (and its commander is the only Iraqi service commander
        not executed by Saddam Hussein for failure to achieve his wartime mission). Lack of
        senior officers with experience in the field is one reason. And the difficulty of designing effective MCM systems is another. MCM probably are best performed by specialists,
        and LCS might indeed offer a platform for such specialists IF we ever work out how to do that? But it is excessively expensive even for such an application. It is more than excessively expensive for its designed mission because it cannot perform it effectively. This is not a ‘street fighter’ and it will never have the numbers needed to function in the kind of inshore operations it was nominally supposed to excel at. I am amazed at the lack of firepower for a nominal “streetfighter” concept.

    • N

      The Osprey Class (900 tons, fiberglass hull, 1,500nmi range) and Avenger Class (1,300 tons, wood/fiberglass hull) must be absolute death traps by your standard. If you look at the LCS as a replacement for the types listed above it is a major step up in capability (range, self defense, survivability) but that has come at a serious and arguably detrimental cost $$$$.
      Shoehorning those same sea frames into a frigate roll was and still is a poor idea unless they are upgraded even further at an even greater cost.

      • Retired weps

        The Osprey class i.e. a patrol boat, it’s purpose is to NOT go up again major enemy combatants, but to do near shore security patrol, etc., whereas a Frigate will be required to face down enemy warships in blue water, take hits, and keep on fighting. Heck, in WWII, Frigates (called destroyer escorts back then) faced down much larger enemy destroyers, cruisers, and even battleships. Today, the only thing a LCS can face down possibly survive is a rubber dingy, but if that rubber dingy had a 50 cal the LCS would be toast.

  • MarlineSpikeMate

    USNI really likes to censor comments.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    To me, this is yet more proof that the only real purpose for building more LCS ships is for the jobs they provide, and nothing else.

    • Retired weps

      Imagine a whole fleet of LCS, they might actually be able to hit a big orange target ball with their ASuW modules.

  • Angie Nathan

    Advocates for pumping U.S. treasure into these foreign owned fiascos contradict themselves with every issue of the program that they want to defend. Their (somewhat) latest excuse for not delivering the ships on time is that they cannot find sufficient skilled labor. Which, in my opinion is a position that is not only insulting to any blue collar American worker, but to anyone who knows American industry, or has faith that our workforce can rise to the occasion of building a few ships.

    If the ships, which the final of the original 52 should have been finished by this year at a price of 240,000,000 a copy cannot be completed as promised, why award more? Remember, these are the people in all of their genius found a way for LCS 9 to spend the winter stranded in Montreal. Blame the weather, blame the workers blame, blame, excuse, excuse. One ship per year, is one more than they deserve. Industrial workers have had slow downs…like from 2007 until now. The real shortage in this country are good jobs not welders.

  • John B. Morgen

    The Navy should stick with building more destroyers, but [NOT} Admiral Zumwalt so-called destroyers: maybe some cruisers.