Home » Aviation » Weaponized Fire Scout Needs More Space on Littoral Combat Ships


Weaponized Fire Scout Needs More Space on Littoral Combat Ships

An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aircraft system from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 performs ground turns aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) in May 2015. US Navy photo.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Weaponized MQ-8B Fire Scouts are ready for deployment, they just need the Littoral Combat Ship program to reconfigure its weapon storage to squeeze in the ammunition, program officials said.

The logistics problem follows a successful demonstration of Fire Scout to operate with weapons aboard a Littoral Combat Ship, said Capt. Jeff Dodge, the Navy’s Fire Scout program manager, during a presentation at Navy League’s Sea Air Space 2018 exposition.

The Fire Scout is set to field BAE System’s advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), modified 70mm Hydra rockets fitted with a guidance system.

“The weapons testing went great from the airframe standpoint,” Dodge said. “One of the issues with the advanced weapons systems is because it’s based on an unguided rocket, it’s designed to be built up in an armory and the LCS armory doesn’t have the space that you can build up.”

The LCS has one magazine, used to store all the ships weapons, including any that would be used for aircraft and other weapons systems. One of the possible solutions is whether the Fire Scout could be loaded aboard with the rockets already assembled.

An MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter sits on the deck of Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS-8). US Navy Photo

“But there’s been a lot of studies going on with what is the right weapons mix to put in that LCS magazine, between aircraft weapons and the ships own weapons, so that hasn’t been resolved to give us a clear way forward,” Dodge said.

Also, the Fire Scout program is working to upgrade the weapons payload for the larger MQ-8C airframe. Currently, Dodge said the MQ-8B airframe is limited to three tube launchers because it’s limited payload. For the MQ-8C, Dodge said, “We think we can go with seven tube launchers which is more standard across DoD.”

As for the targeting capability, Dodge said the Fire Scout is already performing as anticipated. The Navy plans to have Fire Scouts onboard the LCS fleet by the early 2020s, providing over-the-horizon targeting information for surface missiles.

For now, Fire Scouts are expected to deploy only on the LCS. Dodge said as requirements are finalized, the Fire Scout could also deploy onboard the future frigate or on guided-missile destroyers with some upgrades.

  • DaSaint

    Having a dedicated magazine for aviation and/or ASW weapons would be helpful. With all that ‘flexible mission space’ one would think a converted 20′ ISO container or two could be used. No?

    • Desplanes

      No.

      No fire suppression equipment. No ventilation for heat if there is a fire inside of it. Walls aren’t thick enough to contain a misfiring weapon. Container isn’t isolated from other sources of fire.

      Just more proof of this program’s incredible inadequacies.

      • DaSaint

        A fire-suppression system can be added to the container, as part of an integral system, that part is easy. But nothing is going to contain a misfired weapon, not a steel container, nor the aluminum bulkheads of the Independence, or the steel bulkheads of the Freedom. Plus the superstructure of the Freedom class is all aluminum too.

        The heat and ventilation is the real issue – you’re spot on. Can’t believe that with all the volume in these hulls that they didn’t think more about a larger, separate magazine for the aviation elements that would be embarked. But, that’s what they’re saying…

        SMH

        • sid

          A fire-suppression system can be added to the container, as part of an integral system, that part is easy.

          Nice fantasy that can’t happen. Besides, the LCS hulls are weight critical…Hence the limited magazine space.

          • DaSaint

            Sid, I can design a container with an integrated fire-suppression system. That’s not the hard part. The other issue that you mention, may be the more limiting factor.

            The weight factor thing to me is misleading. No one is talking about Mk82 bombs here, as 70mm rockets or Hellfires don’t weigh that much. If you can accommodate an SH-60 and up to 3 UAVs (do that math – and remember, they’re upgrading from the B to the C model FireScout), you should have been able to accommodate the ordnance fro them. So why they didn’t allocate space and weight for anything beyond a few Mk46 or Mk50 torpedoes, is beyond me.

          • sid

            “Sid, I can design a container with an integrated fire-suppression system.”

            At the end you would have an armored box far different from a container hooked up to a significantly modified firemain and ventilation system. It will add some serious weight.

            Not to mention you’ve cubed out space for wonderful Mission Modules intended for those interior spaces…Which are decades late because they have their own intractable weight issues.

          • DaSaint

            Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

            You’re absolutely right. It can be done, but the capability to do so isn’t the problem. There are issues with the solution, as there often are with ‘solutions’. At some point – soon, maybe? – they will drop the multi-mission changeout capability, and either do single-mission, or do standard multi-role, and give up some of that ‘flexible’ space.

          • sid

            Rowden decreed that last year. These ships will each be permanently dedicated to a specific mission.

          • DaSaint

            I believe MCM for the Independence and ASV for the Freedoms, right?
            I’d like to see the Independence class utilize that huge flight deck for ASW as well…

          • Curtis Conway

            The LCS is what you get when you get rid of all your hull, propulsion, naval engineers, and combat system team members who worked in unison in designing ships from the ground up . . . you know . . . what we got rid of before we replaced them with something that can’t find their …………. This is what you get when you loose an EMALS cat, and the carriers is down all the sudden because you can’t work on just ONE at a time. Who destroyed my Navy!?

          • DaSaint

            Industry.

            When you outsource expertise to industry to define requirements and capabilities, instead of defining reasonable requirements and reasonable capabilities and mandating that industry find as close a solution as affordably possible.

          • Curtis Conway

            Hey, they declared the planet safe . . . and gave it (our professional surface combat ship building professionals) all up. Now we need it in this Peer-to-Peer A2AD environment, and we will have the learn the lessons AGAIN . . . IN BLOOD.

          • Curtis Conway

            Lack of Leadership. Can even make a realistic assessment based upon fact, knowledge, experience, and a budget.

          • D. Jones

            Simply add the extra-space (TARDIS) modules.

        • Read the article – they have magazines for aviation weapons. What they don’t have are the spaces to assemble weapons because no current weapon required assembly.

          • sid

            The article states that there is limited magazine capacity for both ship’s and aircraft munitions, and that studies are underway to figure out the mix.

            Until that is resolved, then the MQ-8 weapons load in on hold.

          • It’s a 3000 ton surface combatant, of course magazine space is limited. That doesn’t change the fact that it exists and if APKWS is needed (something I’m not necessarily convinced of) the Navy will find a way for LCS to carry it.

      • Lazarus

        Cost. Again you forget that LCS is about a low-cost solution for low-end threats. It is not a DDG.

        • Curtis Conway

          It has not even a Frigate capability, though advertised to replace 52 OHPs.

          • ElmCityAle

            Advertised by whom? I thought it reflected a high/low strategy that did not include a “mid” level like the FFG filled.

          • Curtis Conway

            After the Berlin Wall fell and Peace was declared around the planet, force levels began to drop. It accelerated right after the turn of the century. The OHP was the ‘go to’ platform for much presence tasking because it cost least to deploy, was multi-mission, and we had quite a few of them (50+). Monies for improvements were truncated because they were going to be replace by a new Small Surface Combatant (the LCS) and it took an additional DECADE to develop and field. The LCS was a hull looking for a mission as that assigned mission changed with time, and things around the planet began to heat up with our lack of presence, and the withdrawal of the OHPs. Now we have what we have, it AIN’T enough, and that situation is not likely to change any time soon (e.g., the article above, and others).

            The LCS Apologetics make excuse after excuse for their lack of vision and planning to handle any ‘worse case scenario’ as we march forward with a fleet number figure that is too small and replacement LCS that can’t do the job or meet the tasking required.

            We have been at war for over a decade without a budget to handle that task (Sequestration). Now we are a ‘day late and many dollars short’ even with the current budget and plan. Aircraft needing maintenance, ships needing overhaul, troops needing training . . . the list goes on.

            More ships are needed for the Unified Combatant Commanders to meet their responsibilities. NO ONE has EVER given a look at what is ACTUALLY required to cover the tasking planet wide, and still meet current war mission goals. In there lies the problem. Fifty two OHP were parked, sold, used for targets, and the LCS . . . is the LCS . . . not capable to fill the capability gap. That’s the story.

        • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

          It’s not a DDG silly, But it’s faster than a speeding cruiser, able to leap submarines in a single bound, more powerful than an Arleigh Burke, it’s Battle Frigate!

    • Curtis Conway

      Amen! Don’t forget fire supression, and proximity to other flamables/exlosives when you spot the box.

  • Duane

    Pre-assembling the rockets off board, as long as they are safely handled, seems to make a lot of sense, rather than reconfiguring the ship’s space. This seems to be an issue for just the one munition. It’s not an issue with lack of magazine space for storage.

    • sid

      It’s not an issue with lack of magazine space for storage.

      Wrong Duane. A more complete recount of the statement by Capt. Dodge in Defensenews (emphasis mine):

      The Navy has a longstanding requirement to integrate the MQ-8C — an unmanned Bell 407 designed to operate from the Freedom and Independence class LCS and collect surveillance — with the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), a BAE Systems product that transforms unguided 2.75-inch rockets into a precision-guided round.

      However, the service will not be able to move forward with that effort until at least 2023, said Capt. Jeff Dodge, head of PMA-266.

      “That development is in hiatus right now as we deal ****with ship integration issues and the limited magazine space**** that we have in trying to find out what the weapons mix should be” onboard a littoral combat ship, he told reporters at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference.

      • Curtis Conway

        This all sounds like SO MUCH claptrap. A 2.75″ (70mm) Rocket has a SCREW-ON warhead, and the mission determines which one to use of numerous that are in the magazine. The APKWS is an 18″ guidance package that screws on FIRST (goes between), then the warhead. Only a self serving ^#^$*&^)(^ could turn this into a magazine issue. If there is not a magazine . . . add one. It can’t be that hard. Power, sprinkler/fire supression and not having a proximity to other things (if a worse case scenerio happens) are the issues. Get too it!

        • DaSaint

          Preach! I thought it was just me.

          • Curtis Conway

            Man I’m just getting started! We have NO LEADERSHIP!!!!! RISK IS OUR BUSINESS, and private business men understand that. These people in the program offices don’t have a clue. They should be MADE to go to Ukraine and spend time on the fornt lines, then time on the pier at the Ukrainian Naval Base, get a perspective of what it is like to be in COMBAT, then . . . After the Calibration Event, come back and GET TO WORK!

          • DaSaint

            Reset needed.
            Fingers crossed on the FFG(X). I’m hoping – no praying – that design sensibilities win out over everything else. As much as I want to keep my fellow American shipbuilding workers employed, wherever they may be, we need a survivable ship. Point. End. Period.

            If it’s Navantia’s baseline design – so be it.
            If it’s the FREMM (ugh!) – so be it.
            If it’s an NSC variant – so be it.

            I just can’t see a LCS variant winning, that’s all. But time – and politics – will tell.

          • DaSaint

            And if an LCS doesn’t win, we still need to upgrade them as much as is feasible.

          • Kypros

            Let’s hope we’ve seen the last variant of these ships built for the US Navy. But agree, we’ve got 36 of them, lets try to make them useful.

          • Curtis Conway

            NORTHCOM (NOT the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, or North Atlantic) & SOUTHCOM, anti-pirating operations of the Coasts of Africa (maybe), MCM Operations and support SOF and Marine Raiders.

          • BMC retired

            Fleet target practice is the only useful thing I can think of, but of course the exercise would be very very short, the LCS would sink just from fright

          • Curtis Conway

            Yes . . . still . . . and guess what ? . . it will cost more! You get what you pay for! So far we have paid for half of a combatant the cannot survive, but sure can steam FAST.

          • publius_maximus_III

            “Give me a fast ship, for I intend to light a shuck from Harm’s Way.”

          • Curtis Conway

            The standard for all of our surface combatants at present (until FFG(X) spec came out) was 30+ knots. At present the Truman CSG consisting of 4 destroyers, and one cruiser are booking across the Atlantic at that speed. The fuel bunkers will be consumed rather quickly traveling at that speed, and they will be needing a tanker upon ariving in the Med. The FFG(X) will need to be able to do this as well.

          • publius_maximus_III

            The carrier can also refuel them I believe?

          • Curtis Conway

            Man . . . what ever happened to “Run to the sound of the cannon?” Are you a Patriot, or what?

          • Curtis Conway

            We will kill more sailors in the future is the LCS variant wins. They will ONLY be able to go to the Arctic when there is no lose ice. NOT a good idea. We currently have NO COMBAT Vessel that can function in that environment, and the Arctic is heating up in every way.

            What really scares me is the FAIL SAFE mindset I was raised in and we tested to no longer exist in the minds of our engineers, or program managers . . . and we are recapitalizing the Nuclear Arms! This does not bode well for our future.

          • Duane

            We’ve already killed a lot of sailors on your supposedly “safe ships”.

            Ships don’t kill sailors. Poorly performing sailors kill sailors. It’s always been that way, going all the way back to the age of sail.

            I suppose you also didn’t bother to read last year’s accident reports, because you and a tiny cadre of interne commenters are way too busy posting you ship hate on USNI.

          • Curtis Conway

            An OOD that can’t sound “Collision” before contact is not the ships fault! When it happens TWICE, it’s the systems fault. If any LCS had taken such a hit, it would most likely be on the bottom. A qualified SWO is the responsibility of the CO and the CURRENT Chain of Command. Human beings kill Human beings. Ships are supposed to help SAFEGUARD your life. THAT is why US Navy Surface Combatants are SUPPOSED to be built to a SPECIFIC survivability standard. THE BLOOD WAS ALREADY SPILT purchasing that knowledge, and thanks to those who care so little about that sacrifice, that standard was just THROWN OUR THE DOOR . . . thank you very much! The LCS is a COMBAT SHIP in name ONLY!

          • Mike47

            it’s a good thing the LCS is designed to collapse easily with any damage, that way our sailors will be forever enshrined in shiny aluminum, a fitting tribute to their bravery in taking the hopeless LCS into battle

          • Dean687

            LCS hasn’t “killed” (to borrow your phrase) anyone because they’re pier queens and the couple of LCS that have managed to get underway are never a part of anything important, they simple go out for a few hours, break, and then get towed back it, it’s all very safe ya know

          • ShermansWar

            Hvae you seen how many people the Navy and Marines have butchered in the last couple of years in accidents and crashes, both at sea and in the air? I guarantee we’ve lost more men than i we have in combat. over the last 24 months. This is the kind of thing you saw happen with the Soviet navy right before their downfall.

          • Curtis Conway

            Yes, and in my mind it is because the ‘Powers That Be’ discarded all those rules and regulations . . . written in BLOOD, ‘learned the hard way’ once and for all time . . . were just discarded by those who wanted to SAVE MONEY at the expense of the safety of our most precious asset . . . our Sailors & Marines, and THAT is EXACTLY what the Department of the Navy did when they decided that the LCS represented a Combat Ship in ANY NAVY anywhere on the planet. If any LCS experienced the collision that our two DDG-51s did, they would most likely be on the bottom of the body of water they were attempting to navigate.

            Now, these very individuals who have been carrying the water for LCS are trying to justify why this SO CALLED ‘Combat Ship’ does not have magazine capability to support rockets near that larger flight deck, so it can support loading weapons on aircraft that are to operate off of this [so called] US Navy Surface Combatant. Further, this same group is in a huff about one of the simplest weapons systems we have (2.75″ (70mm) Rockets) designed to be used ‘ . . . in the FIELD’ . . . on this US Navy Surface Combatant that can’t support ‘combat operations’ with its AIR ARM, the most capable and mobile ‘COMBAT ASSET’ it has on board. THIS is what My Navy turned into . . . planning to fail and sounding like a bunch of lawyers. This mindset will LOSE a war.

          • ShermansWar

            Sorry to say I concur.

          • Lazarus

            Those three units (Navantia, FREMM and NSC) all cost too much! Navantia and FREMM will be $1.2b a ship; minimum once built in a US yard under the US acquisition system and monopsony defense shipbuilding system. NSC is already at $735m a copy and its price has increased over its build; unlike that of LCS which has decreased. NSC need a complete stern re-design, additional shock mounting, and redesign for additional weapons to even come close to FFGX standards.

          • sid

            The FFG(X) LCS variants will be significant reworks of the current designs, to the point they will be every bit as expensive -if not more so- than the other offerings.

            Furthermore, neither hull is particularly suited for the blue water operations envisioned for the FFG.

          • Duane

            No … not even close. Both NAVSEA and LM have said they fully expect to deliver FFG(X) for $800M or less on a 20 ship block buy. The Europeans have no hope whatsoever of meeting that price point.

            LM delivered all 11 of their block buy Freedom class for the contract average price of $350M. They have a hot production line and many years of experience delivering those ships with the GFE specified by the Navy for FFG(X). There is not a snowballs chance in hades of any of the Euro designs coming within hundreds of millions per hull of what LM can, and virtually certainly will deliver.

            Your terminal LCS hate will go unquenched for yet another decade and more.

          • sid

            “Both NAVSEA and LM have said they fully expect to deliver FFG(X) for $800M or less on a 20 ship block buy”

            Same folks who were adamant the current LCS hulls would be $250M..

            In order to meet the FFG(X) requirements the waterjet propelled semiplaning hull (current LCS’s are too heavy to get on a plane now-so the benefits of such a hull are in fact liabilities) will require a complete redesign of the powerplant. fuel, HM&E, and hull.

            The LM offering will be effectively a clean sheet design, more taxing on an already sorely taxed powerplant, and horrid fuel guzzlers.

          • BMC retired

            what? what? what? the fleet admiral doesn’t get his $700 million water ski anymore, oh the humanity, what will he do now, please someone, hand the admiral a latte before the facts sink in…(hey duenee, I hear the local school is looking to hire a janitor, perhaps you can teach them the merits of littoral cleaning with a 40 knot mop).

          • Dean687

            Your terminal Lovefest for everything Lockheed will be quenched soon enough

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Hard to claim that LCS costs have ‘decreased’ when the original program goal was $250 million/copy!

          • ShermansWar

            They should fire everyone above Captain and see who they have left. Maybe some competent men will emege. Their are none in charge now. Not a single one. I can’t name a single naval officer I have a shred of respect for, as not a single one has a shred of integrity. The lack of moral courage even amongst the non corrupt is staggering.

          • Curtis Conway

            The admiral who invented and enforced the ‘DESRON Rosetta Stone’ (as close to modern day REFTRA as we are going to get) might qualify.

        • sid

          “If there is not a magazine . . . add one”

          On the LCS designs…already well past the 10 lbs in a 5 lb sack stage…In fact it is too hard.

          • Curtis Conway

            YEAH . . . because those unprofessional %#^&%(*&^(s) built a $1/2 Billion something other than a COMBAT SHIP!!!! We just KEEP shoving in Good Money after BAD, and getting LESS!!!

          • ShermansWar

            Apparently we as a people want that. Disgusting. We deserve what we get. It isn’t going to be pretty. or fast.

          • Curtis Conway

            Have you been to Atlanta lately . . . or considering . . . Marching to the Coast?

          • ShermansWar

            Why yes, yes I have.

            Atlanta in the morning smells like…..Victory.

            If the LCS could take care of business the way Sherman did no one would be complaining.

        • Duane

          And assembly of that warhead apparently requires a special space not in the magazine, as described in this post that you obviously didn’t read in your haste to post all your usual LCS-hating diatribe talking points here in this thread. A space that meets all applicable USN requirements for such evolutions, including isolation from other munitions in the ship’s magazine. You know, so that some idiot gunners mate doesn’t light one off and detonate the entire magazine.

          The post here also offered the obvious solution … pre-assemble the rockets before bringing then on the ship.

          DUH!

          • Curtis Conway

            Oh Duane, this is RICH! A 2.75″ rocket can be assembled in the field (by design) and loaded on a LAU-68 F/A 7-round 2.75-inch (70 mm) extended length rocket launcher. You do not have to turn this into Rocket Science, but you do have to pay attention to regulations concerning magazines. Exceptions CAN be made. After all we are talking about the ‘L’ ‘C’ ‘S’, one of the largest EXCEPTIONS made in US Surface Combatant construction HiStory.

          • sid

            “The post here also offered the obvious solution … pre-assemble the rockets before bringing then on the ship.”

            Where will these preassembled rockets be stored once aboard Duane?

            Moot question as Capt. Dodge explicitly stated int he article that everything is on hold, and Firescout won’t be carrying weapons on an LCS until 2023.

          • Curtis Conway

            Mission change could influence warhead particularly if you run out of that type early. Reconfiguration should be possible. It’s a simple disassembly-reassembly job.

        • Lazarus

          Think about magazine compatibility issues and rules regarding the movement/assembly of ordnance. The surface navy does not usually assemble any ordnance and its magazine rules will be tailored as such. This whole issue is probably much simpler and less traumatic than the article suggests.

          • Marauder 2048

            So is this simply an AUR vs. non-AUR issue?

            How are did/do they embark on APKWS on MH-60R?

          • Curtis Conway

            “…issues and rules regarding the movement/assembly of ordnance.” Should have thought about THAT when you Designed & Built this COMBAT SHIP with a huge FLIGHT DECK that launches COMBAT AIRCRAFT.

          • Lazarus

            What surface combatant in the past (with a helo flight deck) has assembled ordnance under HERP conditions? This is something done on carriers and large amphibs that are configured for such operations.

      • Duane

        You are wrong, mixing apples and oranges and conflating two entirely different aircraft … the MQ-8B, the subject of this post and which is fitted with the rocket launcher, and its far larger cousin, the MQ-8C, which has a payload six times larger than the B model … in excess of 3000 pounds. So the C model is capable of carrying both more and far larger weapons, subject to integration. For instance, the C model could be outfitted with Mk54 lightweight torpedoes at 600+ pounds each. Or with Hellfires, or even with Naval Strike Missiles at 900 pounds each. or Harpoons at 1,300 pounds each. Figuring out how to carry and store such munitions on both the aircraft and the vessel that sustains it (in this case, an LCS) is much the same challenge as it would be for integrating it in an Arleigh Burke Flight II, IIA, or III. Especially given that the entire US Navy is presently incapable of at sea reloading of any of its OTH launch tubes or VLS cells.

        Here’sa clue for all the know-it-all critics here in this thread: Any time the Navy wants to introduce a new weapon, or a new platform …. let alone BOTH a new weapon AND a new platform to our ships and aircraft, it takes years of effort to integrate same into the fleet.

        “Everything looks easy when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

        • sid

          You sure thinks its easy don’t you Duane.

          Ever read what munition aboard the Franklin tore her to shreds and nearly sank her when she was attacked the second time off Japan Duane. I’m sure you’ve seen the footage.

          Familiar with the role hangar fires had in the loss of the cruisers at Savo Duane?

          Same principles apply to this discussion. But you’ll pretend they don’t.

          more context:

          “One of the issues with the advanced weapons systems is because it’s based on an unguided rocket, it’s designed to be built up in an armory and the LCS armory doesn’t have the space that you can build up.”

          One potential solution is to ship each round already assembled, which would allow the weapon to fit in the LCS armory, Dodge said.

          But another limiting factor is the future configuration of the LCS itself. As the Navy studies how to balance LCS survivability with the ship’s other capabilities and mission sets, service leaders are rethinking which weapons the ship should store for both itself and its onboard aircraft.

          “That hasn’t resolved to give us a clear way forward that would make it a worthwhile investment at this point to continue the testing,” Dodge said.

          • Curtis Conway

            Curt’s Law #4: Context is everything. Thank you ‘sid’.

          • Lazarus

            Those ancient (WW2) examples only show that ships are vulnerable to heavy damage if hit; whether by large bombs or from cumulative gun damage compounded by torpedo hits. it costs too much to make a small ship less vulnerable to damage and always has.

          • sid

            You are missing the point entirely Laz, and fighting an argument I am not making.

            You’re also wrong about the one you are trying to make, but this isn’t the place to argue it.

            Point is, the most vulnerable space on a ship under enemy fire has, historically been a hangar space. This is due to the fuel and other flammables, and in those two cases cited ammunition outside of a protected magazine.

            In this case of the Franklin, it was the detonating Tiny Tim rockets in the hangar on the aircraft and stacked for later loading which was a significant contributor to the damage she took. In the film footage you can see the rockets firing and blowing holes in the ship.

            You’re a history guy…Read the War Damage Report.

            Duane has posited these rockets come aboard assembled. We already know that they wont fit in the magazines, so that leaves them sitting out in the open.

            As you state, its “too expensive” to make the LCS hardened against even shrapnel. Storing those rockets in the open spaces below, is an invitation for quick cheap kill.

        • Dean687

          FOURTEEN years Dueenee? Fourteen years and it’s still ten years away from being a contributing member of the fleet. What a joke the LCS and you are.

      • ShermansWar

        it’s just insane, isn’t it? It’s as if some guys who ran a pizzeria were given control of the navy. They couldn’t do any worse than the crew running this once proud ,now decrepit , insititution.

    • ElmCityAle

      Given there is questionable need for the use of any non-guided 70mm munitions, it seems reasonable to pre-assemble that version of the rockets for storage in the LCS magazine. That approach won’t stop the hate flowing in the comments of every article about LCS, but in the real world, it might work fine.

      • Duane

        Yup … the real world, however, never intrudes on the True Believers.

        • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

          The True Believers in Lockmart, that is. Do you say 50 “hail Lockmarts” daily?

        • Techdude

          It’s so funny how you talk about yourself all the time

    • ShermansWar

      Just STOP. Stop already. At long last, have you no decency, sir?

  • PolicyWonk

    Good thing our “littoral combat pier-queens” (LCPQ) aren’t really needed while the USN figures out how to resolve weapons storage for the Fire Scouts.

    Everything being done on these ships seems to be a problem, or create new ones, even for something seemingly as straightforward as stowing of ordnance/ammo for a chopper (manned or otherwise) that we all knew would be used for hunting/killing subs, small craft, etc. long before the first LCPQ had its keel laid.

    One might’ve thought this normally straightforward issue would’ve been addressed.

    One would be wrong.

    • DaSaint

      AMEN!

      • Duane

        Appropriate comment amongst the tiny cadre of True Believer LCS Haters. Very religious … meaning based on faith only, facts not welcome.

        • ShermansWar

          How do you look yourself in the mirror.

        • Dan O’Brian

          everyone, including Jesus himself, is an LCS hater-according to the duenEEE

          • Rocco

            Inappropriate content!!

          • Dan O’Brian

            my apologies, I’ll rephrase. “Everyone, including Jesus Montoya, is an LCS hater-according to the Fleet Admiral.” Is that better?

          • Rocco

            Whatever

      • Curtis Conway

        To Duane, a matter of Faith is ignoring the OBVIOUS!

    • ElmCityAle

      “Everything being done on these ships seems to be a problem, or create new ones…” – Everything? This is not one of your more precise, reasoned arguments on this topic, but certainly a crowd-pleaser in terms of up-votes.

      • Duane

        Or, maybe it’s just media who report partially completed integration efforts – which by the way ALWAYS involve more than a single step, of any weapon to any platform, and spun it to sound as if it is a failure, with piling on by uninformed peanut gallery commenters here at USNI.

        The one track mind kinda guys just slay me.

        “Henry Ford came under increasing press criticism today when it was revealed that his much hyped so called ‘assembly line’ required more than one step to integrate into his automobile factories. Obviously, his critics cried, his so called ‘assembly line’ is plagued by yet one more failure, and will obviously never work'”.

        SMH

        • Techdude

          How long has it been fleet aDmiral Duaneeee, 14 years, and the LCS still can’t do anything? Think about every class that was built in modern times (Spruance, Arleigh Burke, OHP, Knox, Kidd, Adams, Coontz, etc) and tell us what they were doing at 14 years of age. Come on man, get up off your knees, it’s embarrassing for us to watch you s… off Lockmark so much.

        • Rocco

          I don’t get the relevance on your last paragraph!!??? I drive a Ford made in America & have no problems with it!!

          • BMC retired

            Fyi, Fords are not made by Lockheed (just in case you didn’t realize)

          • Rocco

            Ford as in my F-150 Chief!! FYI!!

          • Retired weps

            F-150’s are not made by Lockheed either, but if there were they’d cost $475,000 and need yearly software upgrades to make them usable.

          • Rocco

            You mean They!!! …..Not There!!! Learn how to spell !!!

      • PolicyWonk

        A crowd-pleaser, eh? I don’t care about the crowd pleaser aspect of posting to this or any other forum.

        The only really successful aspect of LCS is that when the propulsion system is running correctly, they can break 40 knots. They are also admittedly successful as a corporate welfare program.

        But as a ship commissioned into the United States Navy, there is precious little to be happy about (and the crews are acutely aware of it). The number of design mistakes made are staggering for a ship that costs as much as these do. For example, to call something a “littoral combat ship” and completely ignore every one of the hard-won lessons of littoral combat is pretty lame, to be generous. But then again, it was former CNO Adm. Jonathan Greenert that declared that the “littoral combat ship” was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”.

        The only positive news about LCS comes from either the vendors who love the cash cow that gives them maximum cash for lowest possible ROI, or the USN, who themselves called LCS “the program that broke naval acquisition”.

        In the lexicon of LCS – that’s high praise.

        For our potential enemies.

        • ElmCityAle

          “…and completely ignore every one of the hard-won lessons of littoral combat is pretty lame…” – can you summarize those lessons and how LCS doesn’t meet them?

        • Rocco

          Agreed !! Winging it & flying from the hip to see what happens like kids experimenting in chemistry class seems to be the norm!

    • Curtis Conway

      Imagine . . . puting weapons on aircraft coming off a large flight deck on a Combat Ship?! What were they thinking . . . Run Away – Run Away – FAST!

      • PolicyWonk

        IMO, the LCS PEO has demonstrated incompetence above and beyond the call of duty. I’m at a point to where I think they’re all working for potential adversaries.

        With friends like these – we don’t need enemies.

    • tiger

      You mean the same Navy that builds a billion dollar plus DDG 1000 that cannot shoot it’s main guns? Because the ammo costs too much? Yet, finds time to invent camo uniforms for sailors? Yeah, you would be wrong.

      • PolicyWonk

        Acquisition on the US Armed Forces is now to the point to where we’re working incredibly hard to defeat ourselves. Hyper-expensive blunder after blunder.

        The blue camo uniforms were an appallingly dumb idea. Nothing like making it much harder to find someone who fell overboard…

        There is some minor hope of the DDG-1000’s, potentially along the lines of the Seawolf SSN class. Though a successful design, they were extremely expensive and were killed after 3 hulls. They were however used as the basis for the very successful Virginia-class SSN’s that are now coming off the slipways.

        It is possible the same could happen with the DDG-1000’s.

  • Desplanes

    Maybe we need an ‘LCS Tender’ class to follow along with adequate ordnance .

    • DaSaint

      Pair each LCS squadron with a modified EPF ‘mother-ship’…
      Gives Austal more work (8 additional should do) when they lose the FFG(X) contract.

      For the record, I like aspects of the Independence class, but I also acknowledge that we need to go in a different direction.

      • Desplanes

        Nothing is entirely bad, but these ships are certainly inadequate for their intended missions. Yes, the Freedom class ships will certainly be an upgrade in the Persian Gulf for countering the Republican Guard, and the LCS would certainly make a good drug boat interceptor, but those roles don’t justify the price.

        My main concern is that loading them up with ASMs will make them high priority targets and hundreds of sailors will die because I’m (reasonably) sure these things cannot take a hit.

        • DaSaint

          You know, I’m torn about that. When we talk about ‘price’, I think we have to acknowledge that everything in the defense world (in the US, and to be fair to some extent, elsewhere) is expensive.

          Case in point – the FRC. They’re $60M each. Now tell me what a platform with a stabilized Bushmaster and some HMGs is doing costing $60M – and we consider that cheap. Also consider that the international variants of that, similarly armed – but not similarly equipped with electronics to be fair – cost less than $20M each. So why a $40M+ discrepancy? Because everything here costs double. Labor, real estate, etc. It is what it is and we have to accept that.

          And what of our Cyclones. Any of them can be blown completely out of the water at any time, with severe loss of life. What can they go up against in the Persian Gulf without considerable air support? Nothing. They can’t operate too far alone.

          Or how about the OPC. That’s over $400M each. Now how does that compare with an LCS? Certainly the OPC has got legs, a helo platform and hangar, and what else? A 57mm? A LM-derived command system. But it’s still considered ‘relatively inexpensive’.

          The FFG(X) is sorely needed, and will certainly cost $1B per ship when all is said and done. And I hope we get a true multi-mission, survivable combatant that packs a reasonable punch. But let’s not delude ourselves that we’re going to get anything for near the cost of an LCS with better weapons, survivability and systems.

          You get what you pay for, and we should be prepared to spend upwards of $20B for these first 20 FFG(X). In fact, we should ‘take a page out of the LCS experience’, and mandate that 2 yards build the exact design, and compete for price.

          • Curtis Conway

            Amen and Amen! Truth! Excellent perspective, but those who peddle the products wont like the message. They are NOT in the business of saving lives, but making $$$.

          • DaSaint

            I know. But at some point the MADNESS has to stop. And I could be completely wrong – nothing new there – but I think it may. When Eastern Shipbuilding won the OPC contract, that was a major wake-up call – or should be. That BIW on one end, and Bollinger, on the other end, lost out, said a lot.

            In PRINCIPLE, having Austal USA and Marinette producing combatants is a good idea. What they were ALLOWED to produce is the issue. They didn’t do this on their own. There was oversight and acceptance. And here we are.

            Costs have to come down, yet financial viability and profit must be ensured. I get that. I run a business. But VALUE for money has to increase, and if Eastern is the writing on the wall, then there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

            Let’s just hope it’s just not another train.

          • Curtis Conway

            Amen, Family owned too. I remember when RCA (Nipper) built AEGIS in the early days. What ever the Navy wanted we got in the beginning, and they were infusing quality as a business practice, and standard of conduct, not because of specification requirements. Once RCA was bought and the new owners came on board, that all changed. If it wasn’t in the Spec. it didn’t happen, AND they had to fully understand what you were trying to change, otherwise they would give you a half solution, and met the words on the page description, full well knowing that they did not solve the problem. There were also times when you gave them the write-up, the data, drew pictures and personally gave them the test criteria for success, and they would still do a ‘base hit’, and not a ‘home run’, and this is in a “we are talking about our national defense here” environment.

          • DaSaint

            Go figure. SMH.

            There are a world of technologies out there. Unfortunately, many of them rely on this unreliable and vulnerable thing called the internet. So when it comes to hardware, and systems, and vessels, the field narrows to but a few. And then fewer. And then just a couple in each discipline. And therefore no cost controls.

          • Curtis Conway

            Spirit vs. Letter . . . Martin Luther was right!

          • Curtis Conway

            The MADNESS will stop when our LORD Jesus Christ RETURNS and declares JUBILEE!

        • ShermansWar

          You are mistaken sir. They are ENTIRELY bad. they have no redeeming value whatsoever. Zero.

        • You say they are certainly inadequate for their intended missions, and then proceed to list their intended missions as places where they could be of value.

          LCS was never intended to be on the frontlines of a full scale war with a peer competitor and that’s perfectly okay. The Navy needs cheaper ships for secondary theaters and rear area work and LCS does both of those perfectly well..

          • sid

            The Navy needs cheaper ships for secondary theaters and rear area work and LCS does both of those perfectly well.

            Can an LCS find a mine -more than once- today? Will any be able to in an operational setting in 5 years?

            They can grace a pier and provide a good income to myriad contractors. I will give you that.

          • Portions of the mine sweeping module are currently available. However, that is a distraction from the fact that LCS can easily perform the sort of general patrol duties that make up the majority of the Navy’s missions without any modules at all and at a fraction of the cost of any other ship in the fleet.

          • sid

            “Portions”

            What you are not saying is the MIW Module is years late and still beset by problems which are largely due to the weight constraints of the LCS designs.

            And these ships wont be on a a mine clearing operation for more than a half decade…IF then.

            “Majority”

            If you call taking up space at a pier the majority, then you’re right I guess.

          • Again, why the obsession with mine sweeping? If the ability to find and clear mines is how you judge the usefulness of surface combatants than you should be ecstatic about LCS joining the fleet given that no destroyer or frigate has had any MIW capabilities since the WWII destroyer-minesweeper conversions.

          • sid

            It is for the LCS, as it has been touted as the MIW platform of the USN since its inception.

          • A voice of reason

            I’m still hoping for that ice clearing module they promised over 10 years ago…we certainly don’t want to be trapped in Canada over .0001 inch of ice again do we, if we don’t that again we might start speaking French and waving the white flag all the time.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Editor’s note: any ship can find a mine once a day.

          • sid

            You mean “once”.

            Which makes for a bad day indeed.

            Been a while since its happened to the USN. Google “USS Tripoli mine”

      • Curtis Conway

        LOLder!!!

      • Centaurus

        We may as well load them up with A-bombs (“little ones”) and then we have a real force-multiplier type system on these under-weaponized ships. And how are we supposed to accomplish a reload of the point-defense system (RAM) in the middle of a firefight ? the problems go on for this Ensign-Pulver wet dream .

        Plus, Aluminum burns in a high-temperature fire ( see HMS Sheffield in Falklands Conflict.)

    • Curtis Conway

      LOL!!!

  • Desplanes

    Hopefully this is the final blow to any LCS-based FFG(X). Enough.

    • PolicyWonk

      One would hope. But lets face facts: despite the “littoral combat ship” program being deemed the program “that broke naval acquisition” (that’s the USN’s statement – not mine), and failing to meet the programs goals/promises in any meaningful way, the USN rewarded the LCS PEO with oversight of the FF(X) program, and all other SSC/small boat acquisitions.

      Very little, if anything, has gone right with this program. Unless of course you were one of the recipients of this blatant corporate welfare program.

      If the USN was serious about getting it right: they’ve would’ve court-martialed the denizens of the LCS PEO, stripped them of their rank, and drummed them out of the service. Instead, they rewarded them, which is akin to giving the US taxpayers and both HoR’s an upturned middle finger.

      • Curtis Conway

        The LCS couldn’t even get out of port in a frozen water way. I wonder how they would operate in every Arctic environment they might encounter? No LCS in USCGS Kodiak. But WHEC Hamilton Class are replaced by a larger and more capable WHEC Legend Class that both have props, and can steam in thin/lose ice.

        • PolicyWonk

          I’m at a loss when it comes to describing the successes of the LCS program. It seems like once a week some other project is taking place in an effort to find a way around yet another dumbfounding design error.

          The latest one, is the mind-numbing lack of magazine space to assemble/configure ordnance to arm the FireScouts/choppers (God help us – the designers were made aware that they intended to put choppers on these things – that in theory would be ARMED – right?).

          We might as well just send ’em all to the scrapyard for all the good they do.

          • Curtis Conway

            It was NEVER Designed to be a COMBAT SHIP!

          • PolicyWonk

            Heh –

            I’m well aware of this – and we’ve discussed this over the years extensively.

            But the absurdity of the whole “littoral combat ship” project, that the USN still clings to in many respects as something other than a disaster, has so many failings that I find myself wondering who’s side the clowns running the LCS PEO are (or were) on.

            Insufficient space/displacement for ammunition and ordnance; insufficient room for growth for weapons, protection, or even mission packages; built to commercial standards; heavy maintenance requirements; crew size now almost double planned size; unreliable propulsion systems; monstrously expensive; drinks fuel like we own Saudi Arabia; history/lessons of littoral combat ignored in design; mission package changes now 3 months instead of 3 days, and whatever advantage the over-sized flight deck might’ve had is now negated by the lack of space to store and configure ordnance.

            And the folks that oversaw the design of both of these pathetic, simply PATHETIC sea-frames that can only be described as failures (in polite company – otherwise they couldn’t be described without use of the term “cluster”), are now overseeing the FF(X)?

            What could possibly go wrong?

          • Curtis Conway

            AND some on that team thing continuing with the design is a winner of a concept when the antithetical proof is, it was tied to a pier for months waiting for the ice to thaw, and an Icebreaker (not our own) to lead it out to sea. Combat Ship for the Arctic, one of our next challenges ? . . Not on your life. AND I bet you they will award it to them anyway just for the jobs and political influence it will provide, regardless if it can do the job or not. The LCS Program is an Albatross around the US Navy’s neck in training, logistical support, and maintenance dollars required to support the program. That is why the US Coast Guard turned down the design for the NSC.

          • Lazarus

            No, the LCS remains the small surface combatant the Navy can afford. A replacement FFG 7 approaches 2/3 the cost of the DDG 51. The USN can’t have everything. It has a massive DDG fleet which are in effect cruisers for most other navies. Given that, it cannot have an equally large fleet of destroyer-sized frigates.

          • Curtis Conway

            “…the LCS remains the small surface combatant the Navy can afford…to LOSE!” You sure are going to have a hard time surviving in it in a fight, though you can RUN AWAY pretty good. FFG(X) will be a COMBAT SHIP that can go to the ARCTIC and steam in HARM’S WAY!

          • PolicyWonk

            The LCS PEO is overseeing the acquisition of the FFG(X), and we know how well they did with LCS.

            I for one, hope you’re correct.

          • Lazarus

            FFGX will get overrun and destroyed if built in the tiny numbers envisioned.

          • PolicyWonk

            Laz,

            Did you even READ this comment before you posted it? Show some dignity…

          • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

            An LCS is larger and much heavier than a WWII destroyer-or have you forgotten? And yet those tiny WWII boats packed (5) five inch guns, lots of 40 and 20 mm guns, torpedoes, depth charges, it’s had top of the line radar, radar directors, and sonar (for the day), they had redundancy, large crews, and they could take a lot of damage and still fight. The LCS can’t do anything, it’s very fragile, has no organic weapons that’ll hurt anyone, has no organic capabilities (everything has to be towed or added on-WTF?), it’s extremely noisy, very unreliable, very expensive, and they were affordable, shall I go on?

          • Curtis Conway

            AND they accuse me of living in the past. It’s NOT WWII folks, and technology has marched on. Do it RIGHT for a change. We need a Arctic capable Blue Water Combatant, that can go anywhere, and do anything. You already have your FAST expensive useless toy. NOW make something useful.

          • Mike47

            Indeed, “technology” may have marched on, but the Navy has regressed (hello, is there a real leader in the house?), and defense contractors don’t care about building real warships any more-they are solely driven by greed

          • Lazarus

            Comparisons with 75 year old designs is really meaningless. How many US warships since the early 1950’s have been built with more than 2 5 inch guns? A WW2 DD had no over the horizon engagement capability. Sure, the baseline LCS has just one gun, one point defense missile and flight facilities, but that was a cost decision with the modular capacity and weight to add additional weapons such as an ASCM and Hellfire. It’s all about choices; you can’t have a fleet of cruisers (the DDG 51) and have an equal fleet of DDG-sized frigates.

          • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

            It’s not meaningless at all. The Fletcher’s were ‘state of the art’ at the time, they surpassed all other designs and were very effective. Today, the LCS lags far far behind other designs, and Navies, it has no abilities and it’s uber expensive. In 75 years, we should’ve learned a thing or two about building real warships, but corporate greed and Navy stupidity drives everything today thus we end up with the useless LCS which is nothing more than a shiny target for the chinese and Russian Navies. Just imagine if we were in WWII and lockmart was building our Fletchers-they say it’ll take 14 years and $2.4 billion a piece, then they’d just give us an empty hull, calling it a “sea-frame.”

          • ShermansWar

            If lockheed martin were building our warships in WWII we’d be speaking japanese.

          • ShermansWar

            Well if that’s what the American people demand, corporate welfare instead of a viable Navy then they deserve to have their sons wind up at the bottom of the ocean, and they assuredly will. I don’t think it will be more than 10 years before we see US capital ships being sunk, frankly, I’d bet less than 3. The Chinese and Russians are fools if they don’t take us on. We are a military disaster waiting to happen.
            Book it.

          • Curtis Conway

            They will wait for the sub count to go down a bit, then stand up FBM patrols, and then strike.

          • publius_maximus_III

            Looking for something good to come of that recent St. Lawrence Seaway ice entrapment: a sudden boost in Montreal’s birth rate.

          • Rocco

            Don Bacon could be the next president!!

          • ShermansWar

            why are we spending half a billion a pop on 3 dozen non combat ships? the answer id obvious, to me, and certainly our adversaries. We have no intention of ever actually fighting a war again. They don’t teach basic seamanship or tactics anymore. Do they teach how to surrender? Oh that’s right, I forgot we already started doing that when confronted by iranian rowboats. I can’t even pretend to have any prode in the navy anymore. It is a dead institution. Something else with the same name has taken it’s place, but it’s not a real Navy. This can’t possibly be the same organization that brought us Halsey and Spruance, Nimitz, John Paul Jones,
            Preble and Zumwalt. These men are impostors, bureaucrats in uniforms. salesmen with stars on their collars, nothing more.

          • Curtis Conway

            “Do they teach how to surrender?” No . . . they give them a platform than can Run Away at 45+ knots, but it can’t operate on the High Seas for any extended period, or operate in the Arctic if things get rough . . . or outrun an ASCM, particularly if its supersonic.

          • tiger

            At this point they would be better bringing back the PHM. At least it was fast and could kill something for a lot less.

          • BMC retired

            Now that tiny little ship packed a punch, radar directed 3 inch gun, 8 Harpoons. Heck a single PHM had more firepower than our whole fleet of useless LCS and to add insult in injury, it was faster than a LCS and more reliable.

          • Todd

            SECNAV has just announced the LCS will be renamed the Sir Robin Class.

          • tiger

            Would you believe if we sell it as a very well armed fishing boat? We have chairs, a bait shop/ snack counter. Use the chopper to spot the fish…….

          • BMC retired

            Maybe Lockmart could design a Firescout Underway Basic Ammunition Replenishment module (FUBAR for short) that could be towed behind the LCS, ’cause lord knows, the LCS is already overweight and a bunch of ammo will make it even more un-stabe in sea state 1.

          • tiger

            Hmmmm, big grey fishing charter? We could try & pay for the ship one blue fish trip at a time…..

          • Desplanes

            LRASM test targets

        • Duane

          How many other US Navy warships are icebreakers?

          I mean, other than zero.

          • Curtis Conway

            Every major US Navy Surface Combatant has an SQS-53 Sonar Dome on the front with a Rubber Window that PRECLUDES operations in an ICE ENVIRONMENT. Been there and done that! FFG(X) is REQUIRED NOT to have a hull mounted sonar so it at least has the potential, and will have more so if the bow is Ice-hardened.

          • Mike47

            OMG, that ice was so thin a rubber dingy could’ve broken through. The entire episode was just one great cover story to hide a major engineering fault, and it was very conveniently parked up in Canada to cover up all the vendor support and parts shipments from the media here in the U.S. Bravo zulu to the LCS mafia for coming up with this scam.

          • Scott Ferguson

            How many other US Navy warships have been STUCK in port?

            I mean, other than zero.

      • ShermansWar

        Amen. I don’t understand how these chinese officers infiltrated the US navy and rose to command ranks. They certainly aren’t defenders of the republic, or the navy, I can say that with relative certainty.

      • Todd

        Ahh, you forget Policy, something did go right, it made Lockmart very very rich.

        • PolicyWonk

          Indeed – if you follow my postings I do give credit where credit is due. When it comes to LCS, its most effectively run part of the program is the corporate welfare aspect of it.

          Maximum cost for minimum value.
          Victory: LockMart, Austal, and potential adversaries
          Losers: USN, US National Security, US Taxpayers

          • Kypros

            The fact the we have 36 LCS’s and maybe a few more coming is completely a corporate welfare program. The reluctance to cut this program off at knees is strictly to “make work” and keep open two ship building facilities. I mean, it’s repeated in the literature enough times. It’s too bad all that money couldn’t have gotten the taxpayer more bang for the buck.

          • PolicyWonk

            If all we’d done was buy and modify COTS merchant ships, and loaded them with weapons and advanced sensors we’d be better off, at a far lower price.

            Granted they aren’t as sexy as these overpriced water-skiing barges, but they are as well built and are far more automated.

            The ROI of LCS is so poor, that the Saudis and Israelis walked away from them (which bring to mind the question: what makes the USN the only smart ones?). The Saudi variant now in design at LockMart is so heavily modified that its all but an entirely different ship.

            And as we can all know – these “littoral combat ships” aren’t even doing basic presence missions. By the time the mission packages are actually ready, they’ll be most of the way through their service life and scheduled for their turns at the breakers.

          • Kypros

            I was thinking the same thing. The early builds are already nearing their half life and have literally done nothing but be used as trial/training ships. By the time the MM are ready, (IF), a good portion will be at the end of their life cycle, with the remainder well into it. The only mission I can think of which they’ve been tasked with all of these years, is being forward deployed to Singapore and that’s only rotating one ship. And what the Navy has learned from that is, that the LCS can’t do it with an advertized crew of 40, they need TWO alternating crews of 70 each.If the MCM and ASW modules were ready I could see 12-20 forward deployed LCSs having a mission in the SCS. But it would be a massive effort to keep these unreliable ships maintained at a forward base. Plus, as we said, the mission modules aren’t even done a decade and a half later. What a clusterfark!!! The $20 or so billion spent on them could have gotten the US Navy a lot of capability.

          • PolicyWonk

            Theoretically, the basic LCS should be capable of performing the proverbial “presence” mission, even with the laughable SuW mission module they’re saddled with.

            And if there was a time when we need to be conducting presence missions, this is it.

            Yet… nothing.

          • Kypros

            Well sure, the sturdy and reliable OHPs performed that mission faithfully even after losing their missile launcher. For the cost of ONE LCS, the Navy could bring 10 of them out of mothballs and operate them for 10 years. Now that’s value!

          • PolicyWonk

            The OHP’s were built to the USN’s Level-2 survivability standard – while the “littoral combat pier queen” variants are built to commercial standards.

            Note that even the common fleet oiler (a non-combatant) is built to the Level-2 standard.

            The USN would’ve been vastly better off to build a fleet of unarmed Level-2 sea-frames, with standard mountings, etc., so they could be quickly upgraded/armed in times of need. They at least we’d have a fleet of usable sea-frames and a solid foundation to build on.

            Instead – we have a fleet of “littoral combat pier queens” that deliver zero value, and aren’t apparently even capable of doing presence missions.

    • Kypros

      We can only hope! Maybe we’ll end up gifting these LCS’s to the Philippines Navy in a few years.

      • Curtis Conway

        They couldn’t afford to operate them any more than the US Coast Guard could, and that is why the USCG turned down the design (operational and maintenance cost).

    • Curtis Conway

      The LCS is a Combat Ship in NAME Only! Doesn’t even have provisions for a capable magazine near your primary hauler of off-board weapons employment where it operates. Go figure?!?!?!?! Just another Nail In The Coffin of LCS is a Combat Ship in name only.

    • Duane

      You guys are being shark-jumping ridiculius.

      • ShermansWar

        You are shameless. My cat has more credibility than you.

      • Scott Ferguson

        Sure, Adm. Fonzie…

        • Todd

          I think a better title would be Fleet Admiral Sir Robin (he’s all talk until danger rears it’s ugly head, then it’s run away at 40 knots)

          • Scott Ferguson

            Good point!

            I’ll bet money Duaney has no clue what we’re talking about. 😉

    • Lazarus

      The alternatives (FREMM, frigate-NSC, Fincantieri, etc) are just too expensive to produce in any numbers. FFG 7 magazine spaces were not set up to assemble weapons any more than LCS mag spaces. Firescout (larger version) can support Hellfire missile which will be supported by the LCS magazine. This discussion of non-guided weapons being fitted with a guidance system seems a diversion from where the discussion originally was which was having Firescout support Hellfire.

      • ElmCityAle

        A fair, fact-based comment – off with your head!

      • Ed L

        Hey The Perry’s could reload there missile magazine at sea. And the 76mm magazine too

        • Lazarus

          A reload of an all-up round is one thing; the assembly of a weapon system is something else. It may appear easy, but there may be electromagnetic issues involved that prohibit such activity.

      • DogsAreGreat

        Any chance we could see a small (~10-15 ship) build of high end frigates and a substantial build of original streetfighter-esque combatants that are much lower cost than LCS? That’s probably the ideal way forward. Small combatants less than 1000 tons should be easier to acquire rapidly

        • Lazarus

          Sadly, too many people seems to think the answer should be fewer numbers of larger ships.

        • Why would you want either of those? High end frigates are just a distraction from building more destroyers and streetfighter was a ridiculous idea that stemmed from a mathematical model that reduced all the complexities of naval warfare down to a single salvo of antiship missiles.

          While people don’t like it, the only way we are going to be able to afford enough high end ships for a full scale war and have enough hulls for peacetime duties, is though building something like LCS (though I would probably have gone even more austere).

          • DogsAreGreat

            More austere sounds good to me. Less speed, cheaper, with an effective medium gun and ASCM. Traditional displacement hull with common, simple, engineering systems would be a big plus

      • Scott Ferguson

        To build RX’s, all that’s needed is a vice and a torque wrench.
        A motor is roughly 3-4 ft long. Warheads are around 12-24″ long.

        The motors and warheads respectively, get unpacked, and you screw them together.

        Done.

        If the Little Crappy Ship doesn’t have room for that, it says a lot bout how flawed it is.

        19-shot pods are loaded in the armoury, but aren’t used by MQ-9’s.
        Their little RX pods are loaded while on the a/c.

        • Lazarus

          There are a number of rules involved in weapons assembly aboard a ship. Few, outside carriers and big deck amphibs are so configured.

          • Scott Ferguson

            Like CG’s, DDG’s, FFG’s?

    • ShermansWar

      We can only pray. If it’s not there remains little doubt these guys work for the chinese, not us. Why are chinese admirals running the US navy? who bought them and paid them?

  • Curtis Conway

    The story here is if weaponized MQ-8B Fire Scouts need more space, that will be true, and consequently a design spec on any vessel so equipped, like FFG(X).

  • Kypros

    I can’t imagine either LCS doing much more than 4th Fleet missions, ie., drug interdictions, etc.. What a colossal waste! Someone’s head should roll.

    • Duane

      They’ve already been serving effectively in the Seventh Fleet for years, forward deployed in the world’s most contested waters, the South China Sea.

      • sid

        How’s that MIW and ASW going Duane?

      • Kypros

        .I assume you are referring to Singapore. As far as I know, that’s been a single ship forward deployment and not without it’s teething problems. How about a dozen or so forward deployed to Singapore? If the mission modules actually reach fruition, they might have an applicable mission there. But as of right now however, that is vaporware.

      • Retired

        “Serving effectively” Translated means: they didn’t sink, and only had to be towed on occassion

      • Scott Ferguson

        Yeah, ICE-BOUND in a Montreal port was REALLY “effective”, Duaney…

  • Marauder 2048

    This is a new one.

    The typical argument for non-all-up-rounds is that they are more space efficient because you can arrange the fuze, guidance, warhead and rocket sections independently.

    • Centaurus

      We may as well load them up with A-bombs (“little ones”) and then we have a real force-multiplier type system on these under-weaponized ships. And how are we supposed to accomplish a reload of the point-defense system (RAM) in the middle of a firefight ? the problems go on for this Ensign-Pulver wet dream .

  • Ed L

    So in hindsight when they design the LCS without munitions locker for Helicopters. When Austin class LPD’s were built there were two munition lockers under pri fly locate right on the Flight Deck for munitions for Helicopters. We kept rockets, 20 mm ammo, fifty cal ammo, stingers for ship defense. Another thing if the LCS is so great how come it’s not patrolling the LEVANT and showing the Russians how it’s done?

  • Curtis Conway

    Built to commercial standards NOT US Navy Regulation Surface Combatant Standard, can’t steam in icy water and we need Arctic capable ships, what were you thinking?

  • ShermansWar

    Absolutely flabbergasting. I’m poleaxed. This useless ship had ONE, ONE attribute, supposedly, at least. Space. It doesn’t even have that. I’m of the opinion all officers and admirals involved with the development of this program should be tried for treason. Corruption isn’t a word that even begins to describe the criminal betrayal of anyone vaguely associated with this program. The ship has no redeeming value whatsoever. I think if every admiral in the navy disappeared tomorrow the service would be better off for it. Just disgusting. How do these people have the audacity to even feign competence. I am ashamed of the incompetent officer corps of the Navy.
    I am embarrassed to be an American right now. Shameful. These clowns aren’t beating anyone in a real war with a near peer adversary.

    • Elihu

      What’s sad is this can be said about almost every branch of service right now and for almost all the same reasons.

  • RunningBear

    Gee, I see the LCS is a crowd favorite. So….a ship was designed for a weapon that didn’t exist and….the helicopter was designed for a weapon that didn’t exist…..hmmm. Oh! and the ship was designed for a helicopter that didn’t exist, as well. Progress brings challenges and opportunities. Check the ordinance capabilities of the MH-60R, those will be in the armory. Also, there will be “No” SM-7 in the armory, either. Opps!, that plan to add VLS to LCS is in the future, as well. Get a grip! One 4″ vise and one strap wrench can configure a 2.75″/ 70mm hydra rocket with any warhead and the APKWS guidance package. 2.75″ rockets are/ can be stored in a 20′ shipping container with said vise, if there is no room in the inn.
    🙂

    • Curtis Conway

      I like the way you think. It’s an SM-6.

      • RunningBear

        Thanks, maybe someday when the LCS gets the VLS, maybe a SM-7 will exist, then!
        🙂

  • Al L.

    Having followed this program for years I have a few thoughts on this:

    -1- Not having APKWS on MQ-8 B/C at this point is really no big deal. The “need” for such a capability would seem to be residual from the earlier days of LCS planning and peripheral to the current direction of the strategic picture. Having the Firescouts able to loiter long periods with a radar is much more important. To the extent applying APKWS or any other weapon to the VTUAV could hinder that it is best to put it off.

    -2- what is more concerning is that if APKWS/ unguided Hydra rockets cant be accomodated for the few needed to load the 3 shot launcher on the MQ-8b then it certainly ca’nt be accomodated to load a 19 round LAU-61 G/A digital rocket launcher for the MH-60 R/S. A capability that was developed to provide Navy helos with a higher salvo/more precise alternative to the Hellfire. This could severly hinder LCS keep away capabilities against small craft beyond the 5 NM MRSSM range which was a primary mission the LCS was built for.

    -3- I’d like to know why it is that the Navy is pushing out the LAU-61 G/A, APKWS and Hydra rockets across the fleet, but doesn’t see any urgency to get it on LCS when LCS is intended to do the mission this weapon system is intended for.

    -4- that early 2020s date sure sounds like the FFG(x) is driving the demand for this weapon more than LCS.

    • RunningBear

      Amen, the aerial radar feed back to the LCS in spades is the best feature of the Fire Scout. MQ-8C – 12hr. endurance, 16kft. max alt., 600nm range The Telephonics for the RDR-1700B+ radar, designated AN/ZPY-4(V)1. The radar gives a beyond the horizon broad area search and track
      capability to track up to 200 targets and operates in surface search,
      terrain mapping, emergency beacon detection, and weather avoidance
      modes, supplementing the FLIR Systems Brite Star II
      electro-optical/infrared payload.

  • Mike47

    Come everyone, climb Mt Olympus and seek the council and wisdom of the oracle-THE Duene. If you give him 7 gold pieces he will tell you of the greatest power in the universe, greater then Thor, greater then Posidean, greater than Zeus, this god is called Lockmart-the creater of all good things (just give them 6 Billion dollars a year and you’ll see).

  • proudrino

    All the Navy needs to do is design a Littoral Combat Barge (LCB) that can be towed behind the LCS as a “capability locker” that provides the mission flexibility that was so thoroughly botched by the original design.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    A ship billed for its massive amounts of storage space, hasn’t enough space for some 3-inch rockets.

    Why would we expect anything better from these laughable ships.

  • NavySubNuke

    “The LCS has one magazine, used to store all the ships weapons, including any that would be used for aircraft and other weapons systems”
    Another brilliant design feature brought to you by the same PEO that thought it would be a great idea to have dissimilar metals in electrical contact in sea water and then was surprised when the metals started to rapidly corrode…..

    • publius_maximus_III

      Ah-so, the electromotive series. Does that mean some of the notorious LCS fleet (the aluminum hulled ones) are giant Ni-Cad batteries? Does a deckhand have to jump ashore with a braided grounding strap whenever they dock?

    • Scott Ferguson

      And Rear Adm. Duaney is AWOL…. Funny that.

      • NavySubNuke

        He’s probably at an LCS fan-boy meeting with Putin and Xi discussing how to best spin this bad news for their favorite platform.

  • Hugh

    I seem to recollect the LAMPS unmanned helicopters on board upgraded Gearing Class around 1970……..

    • Rocco

      Upgrade Fletcher had a helo pad??

      • Hugh

        Sorry, I meant Gearing Class – corrected.

        • Rocco

          I thought so lol! Besides lamps wasn’t a unmanned helo

      • sid

        Only 3 Fletchers received a deck under the massive FRAM -Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization program- instituted to upgrade the large number of WWII ships in the 50s and 60s.

        The Gearing class, along with new build DEs (reclassified as FF’s in 1975) and DLGs (reclassed as CG’s) had DASH decks. DASH was cancelled in the mid 60s. On the bigger DE/FFs and CGs the decks and hangars were refitted for LAMPS.

        • Rocco

          Interesting thanks! Some of those ol DE’s were with my battle group! Was cool to see twin 5″ mounts⚓️

          • sid

            Those were likely FRAM Gearings DD’s

          • Rocco

            I’ll have to check my cruise book . She came along side us for fuel & was told it was a reserve DE….Had 700 + hull number!

    • sid

      It wasnt called LAMPS. DASH – Drone Aboard SHip. Idea ahead of its time.
      Its intent was to deliver ASW torpedoes.

  • publius_maximus_III

    Maybe if they (1) chucked all the spare transmission parts, and (2) emptied out the paint locker of all post-lock-transit touchup paint, they’d have enough room to increase their magazine size for drone ammo storage.

  • Ed L

    Even through I did all my time on Gators and AOE’s. I got The 10 dollar tour on a FFG-7 I really like it. Can’t remember the name but a few weeks later our AOE did an UNREP with that FFG7 and she got to reload white ones into her Missile magazine

  • Scott Ferguson

    Please, get a grip on reality, Duaney.

    Your Little Crappy Ships does NOT HAVE THE SPACE for munitions.

    For gosh sake, read before snarking. If you’re going to snark, do it intelligently.

    For once.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Yet another in an endless line of Duaney untruths … really, you ought to be embarrassed. Have you no shame?

    Prove him wrong.

    List off ALL those Little Crappy Ship weapons it currently carries.

    • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

      The mighty Anti-anti LCS warfare “Duenee” Module, now that’s a powerful weapon.

      • Scott Ferguson

        Putin would soil himself if he knew of the Duaney module.

  • sid

    Yep. You’re right.

    They did get used a little in Vietnam for spotting, and even armed.

  • Ed L

    Never seen or been on a warship with only one magazine. Even that one submarine I was on had 2 magazines for small arms ( that I know of )