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Littoral Combat Ship Mission Package Annual Report

The following is the February 2018 Annual Report to Congress for the Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules Program

From the Report:

The LCS Flight 0+ Capability Development Document (CDD) specifies the requirements for the LCS MPs to provide focused capabilities in three areas: Surface Warfare (SUW), Mine Countermeasures (MCM), and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). The LCS Mission Modules (MM) Program Office is responsible for oversight, development, procurement, and post-delivery ship integration of these focused-mission payloads.

The Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment revalidated a warfighting requirement for a minimum of 52 Small Surface Combatants (SSCs) (LCS and Frigates). As maritime threats continue to grow, the Navy is placing greater emphasis on distributed operations, highlighting the need for a full complement of SSCs. In February 2016, the Chief of Naval Operations and the Assistant Secretary for the Navy, Research, Development, and Acquisition established an LCS Review Team. The LCS Review Team, led by Commander of Naval Surface Forces, evaluated how to maximize operational availability and increase stability, simplicity, and ownership. The LCS Review Team recommended a shift in LCS crew structure, training, maintenance, and operations. In conjunction with this review, the total quantity of mission packages required for LCS was reviewed to address ship quantity changes and changes in employment approach.

The Navy has revised mission package quantities for the LCS MM Program of Record (PoR). The revised quantities are based upon the total planned 32 LCS class ships and their contribution to the warfighting capability requirements derived from the Navy’s Force Structure Assessment. The revised quantities of deployable MPs for the LCS Mission Modules PoR are as follows: 10 SUW MPs, 10 ASW MPs, and 24 MCM MPs, for a total of 44 deployable MPs. The 44 deployable MPs include the following:

  • 24 MPs (8 SUW, 8 ASW, 8 MCM) to outfit the focused mission LCS ships that make up the LCS divisions of 3 deployable ships and l training ship
  • 3 MPs (1 SUW, l ASW, l MCM) in Mayport, FL to ensure high operational
    availability (Ao) of the training systems for the training ships in the LCS divisions
    and to provide spare systems for each focused mission area
  • 4 MPS (1 SUW, l ASW, 2 MCM) in San Diego, CA to outfit the test ships (LCS l-4)
    and provide additional spare capacity for training ships and deployers
  • 4 MPs (4 MCM) to outfit LCS 29-32 to mitigate warfighting capability needs across the MCM mission area
  • 9 MCM MPs for use on other Vessels of Opportunity (V OOs) to meet the warfighting capability requirements and account for MCM maintenance cycles

An overall total of 24 MCM MPs are required to comply with Section 1046 of the FY 2018 NDAA which prohibits the retirement of legacy MCM forces until the Navy has identified replacement capability and procured a quantity of such systems to meet combatant MCM operational requirements that are currently being met by legacy forces.
The program will procure production representative systems for the 44 deployable mission packages. One SUW MP was procured as a production representative Engineering Development Model (EDM) with Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Navy (RDT&E,N) funds and is included in the inventory objective of 10 SUW MPs. The program has procured four non-deployable EDM assets (one MCM MP, two SUW MPs, and one ASW MP) which are used for integration, test and training efforts.

An updated LCS MM Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) based on changes in quantities and the other LCS Review Team recommendations will be completed in 2018. The Navy routinely assesses evolving warfighting needs to optimize capacity across mission areas which may impact MP quantities. Any changes to MP quantities will be addressed in future budget submissions.

At the time of this report’s submission, an appropriation for FY 2018 has not been approved. This report assumes the LCS MM program is funded in accordance with the FY 2019 President’s Budget. Pending FY 2018 congressional reductions to both RDT&E and procurements will affect the information presented in this report.

  • Ed L

    Do not see anything on the duration of the at sea rotation. Is is 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months. What I like to know can the LCS platform operated with a Carrier Battle Group for One Month. It’s a good thing and aircraft carrier has its own refueling at Sea (RAS) rig starboard side. So The carrier can keep its escorts topped off

    • Todd

      LOL, perhaps if they brought along it’s dedicated oiler and a “FAD” or Fast Attack Drydock. But then again the Blue/Gold team needs to be rotated every week since the LCS sailors work so hard.

      • Duane

        Apparently nobody told you that carrier strike groups do feature dedicated oilers, because only the carrier doesn’t need to gas up at sea.

        • Jon Tessler

          Apparently despite all your “expert analysis”, you “forgot” that while a carrier may run on nuclear power, its dedicated air group does not. What good does a carrier do if its air component is grounded?

          • Rocco

            Your expert analysis forgot to mention carriers air wings don’t get grounded!!

          • Jon Tessler

            hey Rocco….you know why Oilers refuel carriers? its to give them JP-5 so their planes can fly. no fuel, they are useless.

          • Rocco

            Jon I worked in V-4 fuels division!! I think I know this!! 3 Carriers!!

          • Duane

            We’re responding to a comment on ship replenishment under way. In any event CVNs both carry huge stores of aviation fuel (one of the reasons the Navy doesn’t want small carriers), and just as I wrote above, oilers are a standard component of the CSG.

            Whether an LCS gets topped off by the CSG’s oiler, or by the CVN as Rocco noted, it matters not. It still gets fueled.

          • Bob D

            Why are we talking about the LCS being part of a Battle Group escort? The LCS defensive capability adds little to nothing for the Battle Group. The offensive capability is dwarfed by the resources of the Battle Group. In, fact the LCS takes away from the Battle Group’s effectiveness, since it will have to be protected by the Battle Group. It appears like LCS is still searching for a mission. The LCS was sold by having the ability to operate in the Littorals(really needs a definition), where larger Warships would be unlikely to operate. This assumes that significant enemy forces could also not be active in those areas. Keep to the so-called requirements. Can the LCS maintain itself in those environments, and still complete it missions there? Question requires answers beyond this level of discussion.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I imagine LCS crews are going to get an awful lot of practice refueling – since the LCS has to refuel an absurd amount of times when operating with strike group.

            “The Freedom variant needs to refuel almost daily traveling at speeds above 13 knots because of its high fuel burn rates and small fuel capacity (125,000 gallons).”

            Ref: “Keep The Newest Frigate on Course”, CDR Daniel Straub, USNI Proceedings, April 2018. (The author was CO of USS Montgomery (LCS-8))

        • Scott Ferguson

          Clearly, you FORGOT about the aircraft on those aircraft carriers…. LOL!

          • Duane

            No I forgot nothing. You guys flipped the subject from sustaining the ship’s powerplant (we were actually discussing fuel for the LCS, which needs hydrocarbon fuel just like every other CSG escort) to sustaining the airwing … and also you ignored my statement that CSGs routinely have fleet oilers, and they supply both ships and aircraft.

          • Scott Ferguson

            LOL!

            You can’t forget your ignorance, Duaney.

            “…which needs hydrocarbon fuel just like every other CSG escort…”?

            Since when do SSN’s need gas?

            See, Duaney, CSG’s have SSN’s as part of their escort packages.

            And you FAIL, as usual to know the facts.

            CVN’s can and DO support their escorts and do RAS’s with them.

            There are plenty of photos of them on line.

            I like the one of from Wikimedia.
            File:US Navy 070317-N-5961C-052 Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) guided missile destroyer JS Myoko (DDG 175) pulls alongside USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for a refueling at sea (RAS).jpg

            See Duaney, sometimes when WARships go into WAR zones, it’s not really a bright idea to send in UNDEFENDED replenishment ships.

        • Frank274

          but what about the Fast Attack Drydock, how can it possibly keep up with the 40+ knot LCS. I think there’s a need for a 40+ knot Fast Attack Drydock, clearly the 30 knot drydocks are not fast enough.

        • homey

          The carrier doesn’t need to gas up at sea…?….really?…those birds just fly on hot air i guess…

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          Umm. Ever heard of aircraft on aircraft carriers?

          • Duane

            Yes, Duh. We were talking about fueling an LCS when operating as part of a CSG. And CVN’s carry huge stores of aviation fuel.

      • Ed L

        Carriers come equipped with a RAS rig on the Starboard side. I remember doing 5 months in the back waters of the Suez Canal in 74. We got mail once or twice a month (if we were lucky) and fresh fruit was none. Can food sucks after a while. We stayed on stand until out bunkers were down to 30 percent. So instead of getting underway out to a tanker, we got a merchant ship to marry up to for DFM. Maybe these high tech LCS sailors can stay at sea for a month. “Set the replenishment detail!”

        • Rocco

          Agreed I went through the Suez on the FID

      • Ed L

        The first operational underway replenishment was achieved by the United States Navy oiler USS Maumee. Following the declaration of war, 6 April 1917, she was assigned duty refueling at sea the destroyers being sent to Britain. Stationed about 300 miles south of Greenland, Maumee was ready for the second group of U.S. ships to be sent as they closed on her 28 May 1917. With the fueling of those six destroyers, Maumee pioneered the Navy’s underway refueling operations under the direction of Maumee’s Chief Engineer Chester Nimitz

    • Rocco

      Carriers have been refueling their escorts since WW.2!!!

  • PolicyWonk

    The USN is still claiming these hyper-expensive commercial-grade utility boats are SSCs, which is problematic because neither of these so-called “littoral combat ship” classes is an SSC either by design or construction.

    However, given the slow delivery of the ASW and MCM mission packages, we might be better off to mothball both of these “littoral combat pier queen” fleets until there is a reasonable chance the mission packages will actually be delivered. At the rate they’re going, if we don’t mothball the entire fleet, by the time the mission packages do arrive, they’ll be well over half of their projected lifetime – thereby decreasing the already horrible ROI to a new low.

    Just think how ironic it’ll be otherwise, that the mission packages that should’ve been ready years ago will be delivered just when the members of the LCS fleets are being scheduled for their turns the scrap yard.

    • Duane

      You declare on your own “authority” that the LCS is not a small surface combatant.

      The US Navy declares based upon its authority, which is unchallenged, that you are wrong, and that indeed the LCS is the world’s most lethal and very best reconfigurable littoral warship.

      Hmmmm … whom do I believe … one of a tiny handful of dedicated ship hating internet commenters on USNI … or the US Navy? 😫

      Gosh, that ‘s such a hard choice to make …. mmmm, I go with the US Navy on this one.

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        Sgt York anyone?

        • Ed L

          I remember that. Good in theory. Sucked in field. Did a joint tour with an Army staff sgt that was there.

        • Scott Ferguson

          The Paladin replacement….the tuna boat replacement….the T-3A trainers…

        • old guy

          Good memory. We could start a whole new thread called, “Did someone really think that could be a good system?”

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            I have been in the industry for 33 years. I have seen some doozies.

      • Scott Ferguson

        You declare on your own “authority” that the LCS is super-duper.

        • Rocco

          Lol

        • PolicyWonk

          Remember, its the USN itself that identified the so-called “littoral combat ship” program the one that “broke USN acquisition”.

          It would seem unlikely the USN would anoint a successful program with such a distinctly, um, disparaging rating/insult, for what the self-proclaimed “Grand Admiral Of The Fleet” calls the greatest, most best-est, super-duperest BAR-NONE deadliest/most innovative-est, etc., sea-going platform of this, future and all past centuries!

          • Duane

            Not true. Admiral Greenert said no such thing and you know it.

            Please provide the entire quote from the Admiral to Congress in 2012.

            You won’t, of course, because it completely contradicts what you say.

        • Duane

          nope … I just believe the US Navy and the facts.

      • ShermansWar

        Did you read the budget Duane? Do you know what happened to the funding for the MCMs this year?

      • Bob D

        Do you understand the development of complex combat systems? I was heavily involved in the systems engineering of the requirements for the Aegis Destroyers. This was while I worked for the Navy in R&D, and a period in OPNAV, Surface Warfare. We had experts from all over the Country participating. Yes many viewpoints were accommodated, but the key driver was the ship had to be able to fight and WIN! There are now about 65 Arleigh Burke Destroyers out there now. Another key driver was to have the design to be easily upgraded, which is happening now as threats and missions change.
        Now, the LCS. I had retired from the game about the time LCS was being hyped up. From what I can see, the experience gained on Aegis Ship Combat System development was tossed overboard, with people stating that we have a new operational environment now to worry about. This was justified by tying new ship programs to the Littorals. The concept of fast shallow draft combatants with new hull forms was born and advertised. Well, as we can now see we still have threats in the air, on the water, and under the water. These threats have improved, and so have the delivery options available to potential enemies.
        The requirements for a Combat System For LCS appears to be an afterthought, and being pulled out of advertising brochures. For example the requirements for ASW seemed to be pulled out of a newspaper, talking about the Aegis Destroyer. These requirements were focused on previous environments, yet the LCS is expected to do the same job in the more difficult environment. Doubtful.
        The same reasoning extends to the other combat system areas. Interesting the design used Aluminum, which melts during extreme fires, to have fast ship. Now they are armoring sections, which will reduce the top speed.
        I could go on much further, with a minimal defense and offense, these ships will gain the reputation of saying THEY WERE EXPENDABLE.

        • Duane

          To answer your question, I am an engineer with an advanced degree, 30 some years of professional experience in design, construction, and systems maintenance including operations and testing of naval and civilian nuclear power plants, including R&D testing facilities and a Cold War SSN veteran. And I am a lifetime naval and military history student.

          So yes, I get this stuff.

          I oppose emotional, non-factual and entirely irrational ship hate using facts, logic, and reality. The ship haters use lies, illogic, emotion (hate is an emotion, of course, and hate always clouds judgment), middle-school name calling, and typical internet trolling tactics

          • Todd

            Well, if you hate emotional illogic and name calling so much, why do you engage in it all the time with those who disagree with you? You sir are the ‘hater’ that hates anyone who doesn’t agree that the LCS is the next coming of Je su s as you believe it is.

          • Duane

            I use no emotion whatsoever, and do not engage in ad hominem either.

          • old guy

            That’s why we love you. But, don’t let intelligence overwhelm knowledge. LCS and DD1000 have provided us with the knowledge that they are both, poor combat ships. My credentials rival yours, except with 60+ years experience, an additional Aero Engineering degree and a USN appointed Executive position. Incidentally, aren’t we above silly name calling?

          • Duane

            Really? Pray tell us what specific observed failing makes either ship unfit for combat.

        • MarlineSpikeMate

          Trying to understand why LCS would be compared to a ship with Aegis. LCS was in no way, shape or form intended to perform any mission the aegis system was designed primarily designed for..

      • Chesapeakeguy

        You take the Navy’s word on your usual selective basis Duane. Not too long ago, you were raking them over the coals because they rejected your beloved 57mm gun that’s on the LCS from the Zumwalts AFTER they had designed the 57 mm guns IN to those Zumwalts. Remember those discussions? How YOU labeled all the Navy personnel involved with that as ‘auditors’, and ‘Russian trolls’, etc.? The NAVY said the 57 mm was ‘over rated’, and not up to snuff. But SOME in the Navy who are tied to this LCS boondoggle continue to wet themselves over their claims about it. That comes with the territory. It doesn’t change the fact that it is still a boondoggle.

        • Duane

          I did not criticize the Navy’s design and development of the Zums, I just rejected your flimsy untrue spin on what the Navy did and why. I am a big supporter of the Zum program, and of the entire Navy fleet.

          You tried to claim that the Navy switched from the Mk 110 57mm gun to the Mk 46 30mm guns because, as you claimed, the 57mm gun “doesn’t work”. Which if true would have been a shocking revelation to the 23 navies of the world, plus the USCG, that have been using the Bofors 57mm gun for the last 60 years, and the same navies, including the US Navy, that have been using its predecessor the famous Bofors 40mm “pom pom” AA gun since the 1930s.

          And note that the USN has decreed its FFG(X), no matter which design they select next year, must also feature the Mk 110 57mm gun.

          Nope – I didn’t criticize the Navy for its Zum decision, because as everybody knows who was paying attention to the development of the Zum, it was significantly over budget and also overweight topside with its two heavy shrouded 155 mm guns and less stable against roll due to its much criticized tumblehome hull design (made necessary for stealthiness).

          Switching to the Mk46 neatly addressed both Zum development issues by significantly reducing topside weight and costing much less than the Mk 110. Inasmuch as the Zums were not designed or intended to routinely engage large small boat swarms and UAV swarms, as the LCS was specifically designed and tasked to do, that design change still made good sense.

          Yet at the same time, it’s also understandable if the Zum PEO was loathe to admit that his ship was overweight, unstable, and over budget. So an individual PEO trying to save his job could easily have made an excuse in the time honored tradition of “sour grapes”. I can assure you that if indeed one did so, that position is not the position of the US Navy, then or now.

          Facts are such inconvenient things for the ship-haters.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Again you LIE Duane. I never said any such thing about the 57 mm gun. THE NAVY DID. THEIR words, not mine. That you so cowardly ignore what THEY said while keeping your head in the sand or in whatever body orifice you maintain it in is on YOU, and nobody else. As has been SAID by the NAVY personnel in charge of the Zumwalt development, weight and space and cost savings had NOTHING to do with their decision to replace the Mk 110. That those results came about might be a pleasant surprise. but again, the OFFICIAL RECORD shows that NONE of those were considerations. And the fact that the Zumwalt folks rejected the 57 mm while that gun is accepted on other platform remains a potential scandal the Navy and CG and allies had better get out ahead of!

            And let’s look at the continuing garbage you spew on here. So now that Zumwalt PEO, who you routinely lambasted as a ‘Russian troll’, and desk riding ‘auditor’, and whom the Navy has since PROMOTED from Captain to Rear Admiral, is now just ‘saving his job’? Man, you really are a piece of work. Oh, and Duane, we just exposed your dishonesty again, because YOU said above that you ‘take the Navy’s word over any others’. Yet here you be giving lie to that. What a fraud you will always be…

          • Duane

            No you are not telling the truth, again, as usual. I wrote nothing but truth. The “US Navy”, offucially, had never ever declared, as you did, tjat the Mk 110 57 mm gun “doesn’t work”, or that the Mk 46 30mm gun “is better than the Mk 110 57mm gun”.

            If that was the position of the US Navy as you untruthfully claim, then they have a mighty strange way of showing it … by requiring it be deployed on all 52 of its small surface combatants, including it latest, the 20 ship FFG(X) … and ditto with the USCG putting the Mk 110 on all 10 National Security Cutters, including one ordered just last week.

            And not to mention the other 22 navies of the world that have been deploying the Bofors 57mm gun since the mid-1950s.

            All of this is fact, not opinion or silly spin, which is all you have.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            For ONCE you catch on. With so much exposed about the shortcomings of the 57mm via the Zumwalt testing, how has it been able to escape scrutiny in all its other applications? You keep challenging me as to the assertions about the Mk110 as being ‘my claims’, again you LIE. I have repeatedly given YOU the name and access information of the Zumwalt program manager, you continue to keep your buried in you favorite body cavity. One more time, look up the name and reports of then Captain, NOW Rear Admiral James Downey, who was in charge of the Zumwalt. He said the Mk110 came in LAST as far as effectiveness against ‘swarm attacks’. It was bested by BOTH the Mk46 and the Oto-Melara 76mm. “Over rated” is how he described the Mk110. The Navy and the CG had better pray that their Mk110s work as they need them to. And I pray that they do too.

          • Duane

            There are no “shortcomings” with the Mk 110 57mm gun. Period. It is the finest naval gun in the world for its intended role. No other gun comes close in rate of fire, accuracy and precision (including the only multi-mide precision guided munitions used on naval guns), reliability, and magazine capacity.

            Which is why the US Navy, the US Coast Guard, and 22 other navies of the world have selected and deployed the Mk 110. The salient fact of the argument that you foolishly refuse to acknowledge.

            Give it up dude, your dumb argument is destroyed by unassailable fact.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Yeah Duane, right. The Zumwalt folks said that out of spite. In other words, just to pi** you off. Uh-huh. You continue to cowardly ignore what they reported about the Mk110. And Duane, your ignorance permeates itself on so many levels. I NEVER denied the extent of the employment of the Mk110. I have ALWAYS questioned why one major program embraces it while another rejects it. Seeing how both those programs are concurrent, answers need to be provided. I realize that all passe right over the heads of shills like yourself, but relevamt they remain. Dry those eyes now, and run along…

    • Lazarus

      LCS was always intended to be fieldable as a small combatant with or without the modules.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Is that so? I’m looking at the LCS CONOPS SITREP slides from circa 2003-4. Here’s an interesting quote from VADM LaFleur (then COMNAVSURFOR).

        “The warfighting potential of LCS can only be achieved through the synergy between tailored mission packages and a platform optimized to exploit them employing innovative concepts of operations.”

        I throw up in my mouth a little in when reading it. So much meaningless techno-babble and early 2000s buzzwords.

        The brief is interesting in that it shows how little the LCS we are getting is able to meet the actual requirements. And it’s useful to correct folks (like you) attempting to rewrite the narrative!

    • jetcal1

      At least end of life spares won’t be a problem when they sunset the program.

  • Not really the full story – the first two hulls were always considered prototypes and were actually funded with R&D money. Full rate production did not began until a few years later.

    LCS-3: laid down July 2009, commissioned September 2012.
    LCS-4: laid down December 2009, commissioned April 2014.

    In many ways this time table was the worst of both worlds as it delayed development and construction (without the pause after LCS-1 & 2 we would have 16 now instead of 10) while not actually affording the program enough time to fully test the concept before committing to it.

    • Duane

      The technologies and specific systems employed in the MPs were a long way from maturity even in 2009, particularly unmanned systems that feature cutting edge AI.

      These silly “ship haters” just slay me. They bi*ch that the platform that literally made feasible the developmental warfighting technologies of the middle 21st century, here claiming it “took too long to develop”, as if it is the fault of the platform, and not the time it takes to develop the new tech to win the next wars.

      SMH

      • The technologies were definitely a long way from maturity – but did dragging out production for several more years actually achieve anything? The delay wasn’t enough to fully test the proposed technologies or to incorporate any major changes into the full rate production ships.

        I think the LCS program would have looked a lot better if we had launched full rate production immediately and used the additional hulls to test new technologies more quickly. If that had been done, we might have been were we are now back in 2014.

        Even if the extra ships didn’t allow us to accelerate module development, they are reasonably capable platforms with just the core systems and having more of them at sea would have taken strain off the fleet.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    We’re nearing a dozen years since the first LCS was commissioned – and we still don’t have fielded mission packages in all three mission areas.

    This is really quite silly. Particularly when one reads the LCS “analysis” from early 00s – which indicate the modules were the centerpiece of the whole concept!

    Of course: the Navy could’ve designed and fielded a simple, dedicated MCMs and PCs in that time. And for much less money than what we’ve thrown away on LCS.

    • Lazarus

      Speed on fielding is not necessarily an indicator of success. LCS are more versatile than either the PC’s or MCM’s they replace.

      • Ctrot

        And an order of magnitude more expensive to acquire, man and operate.

        • Duane

          And a small fraction of the acquisition and ops cost of any other of our surface warships.

          Cost is a function of displacement and capability. There is literally no sensible apples to apples comparison of either the displacement or capabilities of the PCs or old minesweepers to the LCS, any more than there is a sensible apples to apples comparison between an Arleigh Burke Flight III DDG to a Ford class CVN.

          • Ctrot

            LCS cost is not a “small fraction” of the acquisition cost of a Burke, 25-33% is not a “small fraction”. Three or four LCS cost the same as a single Burke and combined have nothing even close to the same combat capability as a Burke.

          • old guy

            For the cost of an LCS, the “Burkes” could be refurbished modernized and SLEPped.

          • Duane

            I am pretty sure that every sentient person on the planet agrees that 25% of anything is indeed a “small fraction”

          • Ctrot

            So if your state raises sales tax to 25% you’re okay with that, since it’s only a “small fraction”?

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Negative, Duane. There is zero data that suggets LCS operations are a small fraction of other surface warships.

            Here’s what GAO estimated for annual operating costs several years back. LCS is about 10x more than a PC, 3x more than an MCM and pretty darn close to a DDG.

            PC-1 $8M/yr
            Avenger MCM-1 $24M/yr
            Perry FFG-7 $54M/yr
            Freedom LCS-1 $79M/yr
            Burke DDG-51 (IIa) $88M/yr
            Ticonderoga CG-47 $126M/yr

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Cost, schedule and performance are how any engineering project is assessed.

        As for “versatility” (however that ia judged) – one would hope that LCS is more versatile than much smaller and older ships which cost an order of magnitude less!

        We also could have bought a lot of MCMs and PCs and forward deployed them – rather than buying a much smaller number of LCS.

    • Duane

      The technologies involved in two of the three initial MPs were not mature when MP development began. You apparently do not realize, or probably care that the LCS ASW and MCM MPs entail state of the art unmanned systems, several of which have not been deployed on any other ship on the planet.

      The LCS has already established itself as the US Navy’s go-to platform for development and deployment of UAS, including UAVs, USVs, and UUVs. No other ship has the reconfigurable infrastructure to support this stuff, which represents the Navy of the 21st century.

      Additionally, the LCS has served as the testing and development platform for nearly all the capabilities the Navy prescribed for FFG(X), including COMBATTS-21, the OTH missile system, SEARAM, the variable depth sonar, the guns (both Mk 110 57mm and Mk 46 30mm), the modular space concept, etc. etc. The specs and GFE for FFG(X) reads like a spec sheet for LCS GFE.

      Also realize there will be many more MPs besides the initial batch of three. NAVSEA is already planning the development of three more in the next batch, to include a fleet ECM MP, a Special Forces insertion and sustainment MP, and a fleet secure digital comms/networked battle management MP.

      Whatever new capability the Navy needs in the coming decades that is deployable on a SSC will get developed on a LCS first

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        I have no qualms with using LCS as test & development ships (although we don’t need 30). Or even as a low-end presence ship in non-contested environments.

        The real issue is using them as actual, front-line warships. They are a poor addition to the battle line that will likely get a lot of sailors killed.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      As of right now, no less than ten, count them, TEN, of these ships are designated as full time trainers and testers! That is based on the first 4 of them being designated as test ships, then there will be 3 divisions of 4 ships each on both coasts, with one ship in each division being nothing but trainers! Could you imagine any other class of ship requiring such an approach? That same ratio, if applied to say, the Arliegh Burkes, would mean that something like 20 of them would be trainers and test ships only! Everything about this program is bizarre.

      That info comes from a source titled The National Interest in their September 9, 2016 issue.

  • Lazarus

    Both were built with experimental funding $$$ so no real surprise on the timing.

  • Kypros

    Hopefully a cogent mission will be found for these ships, so they are not a complete waste of money. I sure hope that neither one is chosen for the FFGx program!

  • old guy

    The Litterally Catastrophic Scow. is continually proving its predicted lack of utility. A fixed minesweeping mission might make some sense, but little else.

    • Kypros

      At least if half of them can be effective minesweepers with the ability to patrol and defend themselves, then at least they will offer some value to the Navy and taxpayer.