Home » Budget Industry » Navy, Marine Leadership Looking at LPD Flight II Missiles, Additional Virginia-class Buys


Navy, Marine Leadership Looking at LPD Flight II Missiles, Additional Virginia-class Buys

The amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) departs Naval Station Mayport on Feb. 7, 2018, for a scheduled six-month deployment. US Navy photo.

CAPITOL HILL – Navy and Marine Corps leaders are mulling if and how to up-gun the San Antonio-class LPD Flight II ships; whether to buy more attack submarines and how to extend the lives of a handful of Los Angeles-class; and other ideas to increase the size and the lethality of the fleet in the near- to mid-term.

Top Navy leadership testified at two hearings with the Senate Armed Services Committee this week and addressed several ship classes that are important to fleet operations today and going forward.

LPD Flight II Amphibs

The Navy just last week announced that its LX(R) effort to replace the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships (LSD-41/49) would be formally named LPD Flight II, a nod to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-17) design upon which these ships will be based.

With that detail determined, two questions quickly arose: how fast can the Navy buy them, and how much can the Navy and Marine Corps up-gun them?

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller frequently talks about Marines having to “fight to get to the fight” in the future, with Marines supporting sea control however they can while sailing to the ground fight, rather than passively transiting on amphibious ships and not having to do any real work until they arrive at their destination. To support this notion, Neller and others have suggested the Marines would do whatever they could – up to and including firing their Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) from the amphibious ships, if they had to – to participate in a naval battle.

During a Thursday hearing, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) asked Neller about the role of amphibs.

“I think every surface combatant is exactly that, it’s a warship. And there’s capabilities that we can leverage on the LPD hull form, for example,” Neller began to say.

“What if we put the vertical launch system (VLS) on the Flight II LPDs?” Wicker asked.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Neller replied.

“You agree, Secretary Spencer?” Wicker asked, turning towards Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, who was also testifying at the hearing.

“Most definitely,” Spencer agreed.

After the hearing, Spencer told USNI News that the VLS idea was only one being floated. Something akin to the over-the-horizon missile that the Littoral Combat Ship program is in the process of acquiring – which can be bolted on to the deck of the ship rather than installed underneath the deck – would be a less intrusive option to consider.

USS Coronado (LCS-4), an Independence-variant littoral combat ship, launches the first over-the-horizon missile engagement using a Harpoon Block 1C missile. US Navy Photo

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, who also testified at the hearing, told USNI News that “the key to delivering things on-time and on-schedule is stable design before we start building. So as we move forward … this system the secretary described is attractive because it’s a canister, you load it on, it’s almost a standalone system. You don’t have to change the ship’s design a lot.”

With the LPD Flight II program, Richardson said a focus is “how do we get the best ship at the best value and the best schedule for that” – which could point to a bolt-on option rather than a redesign to incorporate VLS.

The LCS’s over-the-horizon missile competition is still ongoing, with a contract award expected in the third quarter of this fiscal year, and whichever missile system is selected may be one option for the LPD Flight II program for the sake of commonality. Another option being discussed is a BAE Systems angled “VLS-like” launcher that is fully compatible with missile canisters developed for the Mk-41 VLS system. Much like Boeing’s Harpoon missile that USS Coronado (LCS-4) has used to hit over-the-horizon surface targets, the BAE Systems “Adaptable Deck Launcher” would be bolted on to the deck and controlled through the ship’s combat system. Charlie McCullough, director of maritime business development at BAE Systems’ Platforms & Services, told USNI News earlier this month that the Adaptable Deck Launcher could fire the Standard Missile, Tomahawk, Evolved SeaSparrow Missile and others that can be fired from a VLS cell.

A model of the BAE Systems Adaptable Deck Launcher, which is meant to be similar to the Mk41 Vertical Launch System but would be bolted to the top of the ship deck instead of installed underneath it. This model shows a four-cell launcher, with one cell holding four missile canisters. USNI News photo.

During a Tuesday hearing of the SASC seapower subcommittee, Wicker asked Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts about the LPD Flight II acquisition plan.

“It’s a derivative design, so that will be a high-confidence acquisition,” Geurts said.

Lawmakers included funding in the recently-passed Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill for an LPD-30 hull, which Geurts decided earlier this month would be the first of the Flight II ships. The Navy had already put in a request for FY 2019 by the time the 2018 spending bill was passed, and the 2019 request did not include any funds for the LPD program.

“Our current strategy is award that ’18 ship as quickly as we can to ensure we support … the Marine Corps, and then I think we’ll look closely – it would appear to me that the serial production opportunities for the continuous production of that LPD-17 would be right for either a multiyear or a block buy,” Geurts told the seapower subcommittee.
“Currently our next buy is in ’20. … If you were to add some economic order quantity or long-lead funding in ‘19, that could accelerate delivery of those. If that’s not available, we could do a block buy or a multiyear in FY ‘20. Putting some money in FY ‘19 would help schedule a little bit, but we could execute in either manner.”

The first 13 LPDs were bought one at a time – no multi-ship deals were ever used – partly due to quality issues in the early ships and partly due to instability within the program in terms of requirements and total program quantity. With the design proven and stable – except for the discussion around the VLS cells – the Navy and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., would be in a strong position to negotiate a multi-ship buy.

DDG and SSN Life Extensions

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), and the Royal Thai Navy frigate HTMS Naresuan (FFG 421) and the corvette HTMS Long Lom (FS 533) conduct a transit exercise as part of Exercise Guardian Sea 2017. US Navy photo.

After announcing last week that the Navy would extend the service life of every single Arleigh Burke-class destroyer out to 45 years as a means of boosting the size of the fleet and reaching the Navy’s 355-ship goal faster, Spencer said on Thursday that “we also have some other plans we’re working on, so stand by.”

The Navy is considering a number of options to reach 355 ships even faster – so long as the plan reaches the right balance of ship types – submarines, destroyers, small surface combatants, amphibious ships, and so on – balances new ship procurement with the ability to man and maintain existing ships, and considers industrial base needs, he said.

During the Tuesday seapower subcommittee hearing, Vice Adm. Bill Merz, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems, said extending the entire Arleigh Burke class to a 45-year life – including the ships under construction today and that have not even been built yet – has been done with previous ship classes and would be considered again down the road as an efficient way to retain more ships in the fleet.

“This is not without precedence: we did it with the Ohio class (SSBNs and SSGNs). Probably aren’t any other classes right now, they’re all too new –Virginia (SSNs) may be a candidate, depending on her fuel usage over her life; and then of course the small surface combatants are all relatively new, that may be another candidate later on in the shipbuilding plan as we get more data back on how the ship is performing,” Merz said.

Though the Los Angeles-class attack submarines cannot be extended as a whole class, as many as five boats will be given new reactor cores and extended, with the Navy planning to re-core and extend the life of the first sub in FY 2019.

With the size of the attack submarine force declining for many more years until it eventually begins to grow again – even as combatant commander demand for the SSNs far exceeds the Navy’s capacity – Geurts said, “we think we can extend the life of five of those. That will not solve the problem, it will mitigate a little bit the worst part of the dip, so that’s something we’re studying closely.”

Attack submarines are projected to hit a low of just 42 boats in FY 2028, and destroyers would hit a low of 88 in FY 2035, as older hulls retire, according to the Navy’s most recent long-range ship plan. Overall the Navy is bracing for a dip in fleet size from about 2025 to 2032 – but moves like extending all the DDGs’ lives and extending up to five SSNs change the timing and the depth of that dip in fleet size.

Merz said the Navy is closely looking at years where it could buy a third Virginia-class attack submarine – something industry has made clear it wants – in between buying the Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine, which is the Navy’s top acquisition priority and, with a hefty cost, will put a strain on the rest of the shipbuilding budget during the 2020s.

“Where we sit today is, we can’t build ships and deliver them in time to fill in that dip,” Merz said, partly due to the lengthy nature of shipbuilding and partly due to the looming Columbia-class bill.
“However, extending the class of DDG-51 is the only lever we’ve pulled so far; we are still looking at candidate years for a third SSN, and then all the other ship lines that we identified excess capacity that, working with Congress, we may be able to continue to bolster those lines more rapidly. It will help recover from the dip, but there will still be a dip outside the [five-year Future Years Defense Program] to a degree.”

LCS Operations

USS Coronado (LCS-4) transits the waters of Pearl Harbor during RIMPAC 2016. US Navy Photo

After USNI News reported last week that no Littoral Combat Ships would deploy this year as a result of most of the LCS fleet being in maintenance now and a need to “reset” while transitioning to a new training and crewing model, Merz, Richardson and Spencer were asked about the LCS program by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ar.).

Richardson acknowledged that the LCS is “a program that has been through some troubled times, and I would say that in the past we probably pushed that ship out forward-deployed a little bit ahead of its time, before the program had stabilized and we had done the appropriate testing and gained the confidence. As soon as I got in as the chief of naval operations I directed the commander of naval surface forces to take a look at that program, rationalize it, and make it look a lot more like a normal shipbuilding program and a ship operating program. So this is what led to changes in the maintenance approach, changes in the blue-gold crewing, the way that we are going to homeport these squadrons and forward-deploy them.

“2018 is really a reflection of that shift, and so starting in 2019 we’re going to start forward-deploying those: they’ll be sustainable, they’ll be more lethal by virtue of the enhancements we’re putting on those Littoral Combat Ships,” Richardson continued.
“We have 24 deployments planned between ‘19 and ‘24, and so really ‘18 is a reset year to get maintenance and manning in place so that we can deploy these in a sustainable fashion.”

  • PolicyWonk

    “Richardson acknowledged that the LCS is “a program that has been through some troubled times…”
    ===========================================
    Perhaps the understatement of the day. In the case of the Freedom it all started on September 23, 2006 (the day she was launched).

    However, there is hope for the Flight II version of the LPD-17 class, as they are built to be warships (unlike either class of LCS), and have tremendous room/capacity for growth (also unlike LCS). All the USN (and USMC) has to do is figure out how they want to arm them, and allocate the funding. There are a lot of strong, low-risk options, and they already have the space allocated for VLS in the design if they so choose.

    • D. Jones

      Any member of the DoD or congress who makes excuses for the LCS should be covered in honey and dumped on a Texas fire ant hill.

  • RunningBear

    There would be no discussion of more LPDs if not for L(X)-R/ LSDs. Whidbey Island LSD – 8 x 4 (32) LCACs, or 8 ships with 32 LCACs. LPDs were considered for L(X)-R with revisions for the 4 LCACs per ship. Replacing the LSD with LPDs reduces the fleet LCAC capacity by half, the main function of the LSD. Thus 16 additional LPDs would be required to meet the required LCAC capacity. Also fewer LPD Marines would be transported to make room for more Tanks, Artillery, etc.; “the gear in the rear” on the expanded LPDs from two LCACs to the LSD with four LCACs. The San Antonio LPD hull design appears to be adequate for both the LPD and LSD provided the well deck is revised and fewer accommodations for the fewer LPD Marines and more equipment. Adding VLS to both the LPD and the LSD in the bow doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge to naval architects, in that both ships would have identical bow sections. The retrofitting of the newly current LPDs would be designed and built for the new LSDs and perhaps as a modular swapping of revised bow sections among the similar ships, thus minimizing costs and materials. NIFC-CA networking of the amphibs with VLS would be a great enhancement to the amphib fleet as fleet protection/ air defense and surface attack with SM-6, thus adding weapons support to the escort CG/ DDGs.
    IMHO.
    🙂

    • DaSaint

      I agree. I couldn’t figure out how we were going to compensate for the 50% reduction in LCAC capacity. Someone needs to articulate this a bit more.

      • Secundius

        I suspect something more like the US Army’s L-CAT-33’s (i.e. 32.6-meter L-Cat RoRo’s). Replacing the LCM-1700’s, but with a 30kts speed capability…

  • Chesapeakeguy

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to add weapons beyond those for point defense on an LPD. I think the Navy would be better off building variants of planned or existing warship designs for these missions. Building a destroyer type that retains it’s anti-sub capabilities and other attributes but has enhanced firepower via additional missile cells makes perfect sense. The amphibs have enough to do, and to fire offensive weapons will often require ships to maneuver and reposition. If these ships are carrying Marines and/or their equipment, such maneuverings might not be wise if protecting them becomes problematic. The LCS was built to relieve more capable warships from arduous tasks they re not best suited for, like running down the drug boats and the pirates. Amphibs are not built for firing cruise missiles or Standard Missiles. Let ALL ships retain their fields of expertise.

    • Jon Tessler

      amphibs have always carried “longer than point defense” weapons. I served on the USS Guadalcanal(LPH-7) and we had Sea Sparrow launchers forward and aft. the new LPD’s have “tons” of unused deck space, so why not add extra weapons and increase the ships survivability. if we had to bring marines to the shore Vs China, we will most certainly have to fight our way to the beaches.

      • Ed L

        On the Inchon we also had a pair of 3” 50’ twin mount. Using V/T frag round we shred the area just behind the target sled being towed mark 35 drone boats You failed if you hit the sled. During Flight quarters One Captain we had would get a helicopter drop a flare in the water about 2 miles. Then announce Quick Draw We man the mount and shoot like mad. They took those away eventually

        • Jon Tessler

          Yep, I was the forward 3″50′ mt captain on the Guadalcanal. quick draws were fun, but so was simply going down to vieques and spending a day taking shots at targets on the beach.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Sea Sparrow is nothing but a point defense weapon than it is anything else. It was developed as such. ESSM has a longer range, but it still is basically a glorified point defense system. Neither are ‘offensive’ weapons as we know it, though I do not know
        if they have any utility in a shot range anti-ship application. Lord help us all if a surface threat ever emerges within range of an ESSM, especially if their target is an amphib!

        Per your question about increasing the ships survivablity, I’m all for it. But longer range weapons will require additional equipment that are not simply a matter of ‘bolting it on’. And what is the nature of ‘unused space’ on an amphib? If they engage in an actual landing operation, their ‘space’ is going to be crawling with ship’s crew and Marines doing their jobs.

        I agree that going up against a peer or near peer adversary will require ‘fighting our way to the beaches’. The fighting should be done by those assets designed to do that kind of fighting. The amphibs will have enough to take care of. If in the future the rail guns are deployed so that truly long ranges can be achieved from naval gunfire, then putting some of THEM onboard amphibs to contribute to fire support ashore makes sense.

        • Scott Ferguson

          “Sea Sparrow is nothing but a point defense weapon than it is anything else. It was developed as such. ESSM has a longer range, but it still is basically a glorified point defense system.”?

          50 kilometres is “point defence”?

          Since when?

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Since they added some range to a point defense weapon. The Navy classifies it as ‘medium ranged’, but also classified it s a ‘ship self defense weapon’. not an area defense system. Now, planned later ‘blocks’ of this missile might indeed be able to do more than basic point defense, in that they will be able to be directed by entities other than the firing ship’s own radars. Until then, it remains a longer ranged point defense weapon.

          • Remember that there are two versions of ESSM. The Aegis version has an S-Band uplink and can fly a predictive ballistic trajectory, the version on the carriers and amphibs has the same home all the way guidance as Sea Sparrow and a much shorter effective range.

          • Scott Ferguson

            Cite your sources.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I can. Type in ‘RIM-162 ESSM’ into your search engine. Lots comes up with that. This is from Wikipedia’s entry on it. I’d provide the link itself but this site continues ti disallow posting links…

            “In addition, ESSM takes advantage of the latest missile guidance technology, with different versions for Aegis/AN/SPY-1, Sewaco/Active Phased Array Radar
            (APAR), and traditional target illumination all-the-way. ESSM Block II
            will leverage existing technology and features a dual-mode X band seeker, increased maneuverability, and other enhancements. Unlike Block 1, Block 2’s active radar homing seeker will support terminal engagement without the launch ship’s target illumination radars. The improved ESSM Block II will be fielded
            by the US Navy from 2020.”

          • The existence of an Aegis version with an uplink and a non-Aegis version without is common knowledge that can be found anywhere. From that the performance difference follows logically as it is simply impossible for the two methods of guidance to have the same effective range.

          • Scott Ferguson

            So, cite one.
            Anyone….

    • Ed L

      i remember while serving on LPH’s and LPD’s The Navy would require more protection against small boat attack. So to agument our six fifty cal single mounts. The Marines were bring up to the flight deck four HumVee’s with a mix of 50 cal and TOW launchers. Plus some light machine guns man by Marines. Now on the Inchon when we were mine sweeping in the Suez the Marines had 106mm recoil rifles mounted on mules in addition to TOW and machine guns.

      • Frank Langham

        Helos with the Naval variant of Hellfire.
        Mop up those small-fast missile boats in a snap.

  • airider

    Mounting VLS canisters horizontally is the epitome of stupid. Talk about wasting extremely limited horizontal deck space. I can’t believe BAE actually proposed this. There’s a reason we don’t use the Mk143 (Tomahawks), Mk13, and Mk26 anymore. We can maximize the magazine size and diversity of rounds with a VERTICAL launching system.

    Also, stop focusing on trying to figure out how to fix LCS by trying to bolt something on them. The whole point of the class is to use mission modules. If we can’t come up with weapons that can be implemented via that mechanism, then the whole class really is a waste.

    If mission module weapons aren’t going to be pursued (and shooting Hellfires with range no greater than the ships 57mm, is close to being useless as well), I’d terminate both contracts now. Finish building any hull already in production, pay the vendors the termination costs, and move the remaining funding to other areas.

    The Navy’s done this many times in the past once building a ship type no longer supported its needs, so this isn’t any crazy concept.

    • ElmCityAle

      I’m surprised at the lack of an LCS “module” with MK 56 ESSM VLS cells and guidance radar that would fit into the “slots” usually occupied by 30mm gun systems. Perhaps the 4-cell BAE system shown would be lighter weight and easier to utilize for such a module.

    • Centaurus

      Why can’t we just launch them from towed hydrodynamic platforms ?

  • Ed L

    I through the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships of the class were scheduled to undergo a midlife upgrade in 2009 over the next five years to ensure that they remain in service through to 2038. Did that get cancel. I mean they only cost 250 Million to build

  • Chesapeakeguy

    There are PLENTY of good reasons not to, as presented BY ME. Amphibs are slow, plodding ships. They are there to deliver LAND FORCES and their equipment. There are over 6500 VLS cells on the Arleigh Burkes alone, and more of them are being built and/or planned. There are a further 2800 on the Ticos. We know there will be at least a handful of them on each FFG when they are built, Subs can deliver weapons mounted in surface ships VLS cells. And Duane, have you ever heard of airplanes? There are quite a few of them available to deliver needed fire support, and other fires.

    Then there are all those LCS ships…..Oh, wait a minute, my bad. They won’t ever have any. But I’m sure they’ll be able to do marvelous things with those vertically launched Hellfires!

    The LCS was indeed conceived as a means to relieve more valuable and capable ships of the arduous tasks they were not suited for. LCS came about from the ‘Streetfighter’ concepts. That was when the concept was embracing ‘small and dispensable’, which was ultimately rejected by the Navy. But besides the WARFARE areas the LCS was to address, a major ‘selling point’ was relieving the Aegis equipped ships of tasks like the aforementioned drug running and piracy ops. LOOK IT UP!

  • ShermansWar

    Is it me or does Naval leadership discussions about how to arm LPD 17 Flight II sound like it’s being conducted by a group of retards? They discuss VLS vs box launched SSMs as if they are interchangeable and signal they’d go with SSMs because they’re cheaper? as if AA missiles and SSMs are interchangeable, like theirs no doctrine attached lets just slap whatever launcher is cheapest on board. This kind of idiocy is why procurement is the mess it is.

    • D. Jones

      It’s patching on stuff to try to make the LCS viable in a theatre in which it would be crushed.

      It’s simply not a viable warship for near-peer conflicts.

      So retask it in an area where it is not facing a Russia or PRC or even Iran.

      Put em in the Caribbean & Pacific coast from Seattle down to Ecuador, where they can interdict drug traffic pouring into the US.

      They’ll (likely) far outmatch their adversaries in speed and stealth and offer an excellent training ground for any major potential conflicts. They’ll be working with real targets, not simulations. Their limited armament would be sufficient for 99.9% of encounters.

      Assign a few long in the tooth L.A. class subs with limited dive depths to support. Use it as a training ground for tracking small targets in crowded waters. Same for any ships on life extension that may not be suited for distant voyages in heavy seas.

      We need to recognize that MX is disintegrating into a full narco-state (look at murders in touristy areas like Cancun). Much more worrisome than factions fighting over deserts half a world away.

      Plus the prospect of a tour in a nice climate is not a bad recruitment tool (shore leave in the safe islands? Oh yeah, how many young folks wouldn’t like that?)

    • Duane

      You obviously don’t get distributed lethality and networked systems, the defense of the 21st century. Go back and educate yourself before declaring again that you are smart and the US military is stupid.

      We are networking airborne, surface-based, and space based sensors and battle management systems, using CANES and NIFCCA and AEGIS Air and Missile Defense and arsenal ships and aircraft for years. The sensor platform may or may not be the shooter platform. One sensor equipped with sensor fusion and battle management systems can command fires from multiple other platforms from all around the compass and on, under, and above the sea and from land.

      The Army and Navy are jointly developing long range land based fires that will be commanded from Navy ships and aircraft to destroy enemy ships at sea. Arming an LPD with long range fires commanded by AEGIS destroyers and F-35s in the air is just the same.

      Get your head outta the 20th century … it’s been over for nearly two decades.

      • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

        Here you are fleet admiral, the rest of the forum said you were AWOL, but here you are playing in the LPD forum, i.e. the real Navy forum, how strange of you, as the spokes-mouth of LCS to be here talking real Navy stuff-are you out of your pay-grade or did you forget that you are THE LCS mouth piece and nothing more? So go back to the LCS forum and start telling us again how “we” are all wrong.

        • Scott Ferguson

          Like a case of herpes… 😉

          Just when you think it’s gone… Bam!
          It returns.

    • USNVO

      It really depends on what you plan to put in the launchers.

      Do you plan to put in something like Harpoon Block II or the Naval Strike Missile to conduct land attack as was discussed? Then the MK41 is overkill, way easier and cheaper to canisterize the missiles. Do you plan on adding ESSM capability to same, still overkill. Both of those systems can be easily added via deck mounted launchers. Shoot, they could (and probably should) even be easily retrofitted to LPD-17s. But, if you plan to add something like Tomahawk or SM-6 then you are talking Mk41. So, yes, it really is as simple as adding what is cheapest that can do the job you want it to do. It is not like they are adding an AAW capability, they are adding a strike capability and unless said strike capability is tomahawk or its follow on long range cruise missile, MK41 isn’t required.

  • D. Jones

    Since they can’t do what they were designed to do, use them for something they can do. Drug interdiction up and down both sides of North, Central and the northern end of South America. Bright white & red “here we are!” USCG cutters are at a disadvantage against an increasingly stealthy enemy (cartels with cash to build bigger and stealthier mini-subs, for Pete’s sake). It’s as much a war as any other conflict if one looks at the drug casualty rate going through the roof.

    64,000 drug deaths last year. Mostly in young military age men & women. Mostly from foreign-sourced drugs. That’s a war.

    Look at the hockey-stick graphs for increases in drug deaths broken out by category: heroin, coke, meth, synthetic opioids. All taking off in the past decade. Nothing to do with pot, which is a separate issue. Just hard drugs.

    Look at the graph on this page (you’ll have to fix link as. I don’t think hot url’s are permitted:

    drugabuse gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

    It’s coming in over both borders and via sea. Keep the USCG guarding close territorial waters and us the LCS and other .mil assets further out. Take the fight to them.

    This is arguably a bigger threat to the US than real or staged Syrian chemical attacks. We’ve got more young US citizens dying annually from this than car wrecks orany other cause.

    I’d argue that other ships on life extension could and should aid in the effort. We don’t need near-peer or deep diving capability for massive drug interdiction, but we could certainly use their proven tech. The entire operation of finding and tracking (and hopefully destroying) real targets in a crowded marine space offers excellent training for potential operations in say the SCS.

    Once targets are identified, use the speed of the LCS to check em out. If they run, sink em.

    Does the LCS have enough reduced radar cross section to keep regular commercial radars from realizing they are being closed by a naval ship? Either way, it’s a proper application of a ship with otherwise limited capabilities.

    As stated before, keep the Freedom class and Independence class grouped together for maintenance and spares logistics. One group on the Pacific based out of San Diego, the other in the Caribbean from several places. Both under the safe umbrella of watchful air and sea resources in our backyard. We need to pay closer attention anyway as the PRC ramps up doings with their assets in certain Central & South American countries.

    That is where they can have some useful impact.

  • Frank Langham

    As far as LPD VLS options are concerned: Imagine a fore-deck, centerline (or cross-beam) weld-up ISO VLS Erector … Fully contained ISO shipping containers (housing MK-41 canisters) could be rapidly swapped out, underway. … So … A standard ISO shipping container, containing active launch canisters, can be carried (centerline or cross-beam) on the forward weather-deck (fully reclined), within a retainer-erector cradle. … A rapid, hydraulic (or electric) erector cradle can lift the ISO container, into vertical launch position, on demand. …. Under casualty-combat-reload conditions, the spent (empty) ISO container could be ditched (scuttled) “over the side”, while a fresh container could be loaded onto the erector cradle, ready to fire a subsequent salvo. … All of this, underway (or at an expedient SeaBase). reloads could even be flown in and air-dropped (into the drink, using buoyancy aids) and fished out. …
    Under lower intensity (normal) theater operations, the spent ISO/VLS containers could be salvaged-reloaded-reused.
    *** Note that VLS ordnance *AND* canisters *AND* ISO containers are all available in various lengths. … The “Tactical Length VLS” are shorter than full length tubes/canisters. So, all options (and ordnance) should be considered.
    *** The Retainer/Erector cradle support footings can be raised to clear existing anchor chain management system fixtures.

    • Secundius

      Hot, Cold or Electric Launchers! Hot Launcher (i.e. Mk.41’s) would probably damage the Ship. Cold Launcher (i.e. Mk.57’s), requires a Continuous supply of Compressed Air. Electric or EMML (ElectroMagnetic Missile Launcher) being developed by Sandia National Laboratories and Lockheed-Martin, Rail-Launch Missiles out of TEU’s of FEU’s…

      • Frank Langham

        I have been advocating the development of a cool, horizontal launch modality, for SMx variants, but this is really not a subject for any public forum. IMO.

        • Secundius

          ISO Container, in as StanFlex Shipping Containers or as TEU’s and/or FEU’s Shipping Containers. And what make “This” forum any different from any other forum…

          • Frank Langham

            Not going to argue the point … Just my opinion. … And you are correct … This is just as public a forum as any other. … Certain modalities do provide an edge and, so … perhaps … there may be slightly more secure means to submit our most significant observations and recommendations. … This requires an adequate modicum of discernment (again, IMO).

          • D. Jones

            The NEM (Negative Elevation Module) of the LCS will launch missiles at the sea surface, where they will proceed to skip over the waves like a stone, confounding enemy defences.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Well, given how the LCS has turned out, it appears the Navy listened to Internet trolls like yourself for guidance. 12 years since the first one was commissioned and the best they can do is NOT deploy any of them. Quite the track record there Duane…

  • Frank Langham

    Ehhh … What ^HE^ said. …. BTW, I am really liking the top brass, these days. … Really nice to have this level of confidence, with such a dynamic threat environment. … By the time we arrive at 2025, Swarm A.I. will be front and center. Our best defense is to have the very best offense.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Look up the development of Sea Sparrow and ESSM sometime you clown before you DARE to lecture me. A 27 mile range (which it has in OPTIMUM conditions) is how many seconds over and above the 10 mile range of the original SS when a cruise missile is coming in? And do you ever read your own tripe? I guess if you add the word “just” everything becomes easy. We’ll JUST add some bolt on missile launchers. Of course, they’ll need specialized equipment, like COBATSS-21, so we’ll JUST throw that in as well. The LPD 17s are designed with stealth characteristics in mind. JUST throwing on weapons and sensors and other systems is not the easy exercise it appears to the likes of you spewing your opinion on an online venue!

    And in your continuing, terminal ignorance you ignore the fact that any ship tasked with proving area air defense will have to be positioned within the group so its capabilities can be maximized. Putting a ship loaded with Marines in a position where it cannot be optimally protected is the very height of stupidity. This isn’t your bathtub Duane where you can move your little plastic ships around and make all the gunfire and propulsion noises on your own. Using a slow, plodding amphib for missions it is not designed for doesn’t make sense. Period..

    • ElmCityAle

      Rhetoric aside, and focusing only on that missile, ESSM has a longer range than the systems generally considered “point defense”, including the older Sea Sparrow variants, RAM, and the 20mm CIWS and is deployed as such by multiple countries.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        It came FROM a ‘point defense weapon’. Unless ships in a task group are packed pretty close to each other, a 27 mile MAXIMUM range, which means 27 miles in OPTIMUM conditions, is not that great as far as coverage. Among the attractions of ESSM (and Sea Sparrow) is the speed with which they can fly out and engage. ESSM is primarily for defending the ship that fires it. There are other weapons for taking down targets at long ranges..

        • Scott Ferguson

          Nope.

          Sea Sparrow was derived from the AIM-7 Sparrow, medium range AAM.

          • Chesapeakeguy

            “Nope” what? ESSM was derived from the original Sea Sparrow. Nobody is arguing that Sea Sparrow cane from the original Sparrow AA missile. So what! That original Sea Sparrow had a listed range of 10 miles.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Battleships knocked down many an enemy plane that was targeting carriers, among other things. Your ignorance is now legendary…

    • Curtis Conway

      He shows his lack of understanding of what multi-warfare naval combat truly is, and the Aegis Combat System was designed to handle the Whole Package. Aegis is a concept, not an equipment set. Anyone who has ever served on an Aegis vessel (Cruiser or Destroyer to date) knows this, and can sleep nights knowing his/her shipmates have the bubble. THIS is what the FFG(X) will bring to the naval warfare equation, be Arctic Capable, steam further and engage more targets than an LCS ever dreamed about. When we see the FFG(X) perform in the littorals, the truth will leap out like a bright light, how a waste of a program the LCS truly has been. If that money had been invested in Aegis Frigates . . . we wouldn’t be where we are today, and many of us will tell you “I told you so” back in the 80’s & 90’s when they dreamed all this up. many should be horsewhipped for the fortunes they have accumulated following this path.

      • Jon

        Except, I’d bet money, the FFG(X) is almost certainly going to end up being an LCS-Odd variant…only a bigger, more expensive, and even more useless money pit.

        • Curtis Conway

          We can hope not. Something going to the Arctic needs to have screws not waterjets, and if some insist on this path, then it should be demonstrated in an ice environment before they do it.

          • Frank Langham

            Impellers will freeze-up, for sure.

      • Frank Langham

        BUT … Since we do have them … There are effective ways to exploit the unique capabilities of the LCS … All up and down the First Island Chain are reefs, atolls and straights, with commensurate sand-bars … The LCS can plug holes and provide stealthy replenishment for manned and unmanned ASW surface craft and aircraft. … There are few small craft that could evade LCS and it will be difficult for aircraft to find them, when anchored amidst the naturally cluttered terrain … Ambushes … ASW … Interdiction …
        … Yes … The program cost has been exorbitant but we have them and, if employed shrewdly and creatively, they will provide an edge, in the dodgy shallows. JMO.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Umm, Duane (last name? Otherwise your just one of those ANONYMOUS participants you always accuse others of being!), YOU labeled all in the Navy ‘auditors’ and ‘Russians’ and ‘Russian trolls’ when they rejected your beloved Mk 110 for being ‘over rated’ and ‘under performing’ when it came to being able to do what they expected it to in defending the Zumwalts. Remember all those discussions we had where I schooled you on all that? Hmmm? Distributed lethality is fine, I’m all for it. But I want it done right, and having the right PLATFORMS involved is everything. The implication with the LPDs is that there is nothing but empty, wasted space on them that can be utilized. I’ll take bets with anyone that if and when they actually look into what is involved, they are going to discover (to their chagrin) that it will not be as easy or cheap or without impact as they believe, or at least hope..

  • DaSaint

    I have no issue with each LPD or any other major amphib having at least an 8-cell Mk41 VLS, providing 32 ESSM. If it were up to me, they would also have 2 RAM or SeaRAM launchers, and 2 Phalanx CIWS to boot, with 2 to 4 30mm stabilized mounts. At least that would give them a thorough defensive suite, as well as an ability to defend nearby surface ships, whether naval or merchant.

    I’m sure they did studies, so I guess that they only identified 5 SSN that are worth the expense of modernizations. Too bad.

    As far as LCS is concerned, can someone tell me about the ASM ‘competition’, when both Lockheed and Boeing dropped out? Didn’t that just leave Kongsberg/Raytheon? Please just pick something, slap 8 of them on each, and let’s deploy them as quickly as possible.

    • Duane

      The OTH missile buy final selection is scheduled for 3rd quarter FY2018 … sometime between now and the end of June.

      • DaSaint

        Was the ‘when’ the basis of my question, or the ‘who’?

  • D. Jones

    There’s an article and MASSIVE discussion on the LCS from the congressional report a few days ago.

    Did you miss it?

    Here’s a link!

    usni org/2018/04/19/report-congress-littoral-combat-ship-program-2

    Maybe you can clear up any misconceptions 🙂

  • D. Jones

    There’s an article that deals specifically with the LCS, and didn’t see any of your input.

    Did you miss it?

    usni org/2018/04/19/report-congress-littoral-combat-ship-program-2

  • airider

    Oh what the heck Duane. You think the US Navy is full of perfect people making perfect decisions all the time. Take a look at the news. Its full of scewed up people making bad decisions all the time. They actually used to have their own in house designers. Then they outsourced it all to industry. Then we got the LCS, DDG-1000, and the go nowhere CG(X). Then leadership finally changed which allowed the Navy to start to try unscrew the mess. Read some history…it helps.

    If you don’t think the Navy can get stuck on a way of doing things that are destructive or detrimental to improving its warfigthting capabilities, just look at 7th Fleet this past year

    • Todd

      No worries airrider, the Navy is in good hands with Lockmart and the fleet admiral as their spokes-mouth. All of this talk about weapons, capabilities, toughness, durability, range, is soooo 1990’s thinking, today it’s all about 40 knot admiral’s yachts and making Lockmart rich. Come on man, get with the program. ;-P

  • Crom!

    it’s painful that the USN still does not have a viable Anti-ship missile platform. Harpoon is old and the software modified SM6 for anti ship attack is a pitiful placeholder. At the some point the USN will be hard pressed to go after PLAN surface combatants in the South China sea and relaying on air power in a heavily defended area of SAMs is not going to cut it. Would be really nice if the USN would focus on offensive weapons instead of defensive.

    • RunningBear

      On 4 April 2017, Lockheed announced the first successful release of the LRASM from an F/A-18 Super Hornet.
      On 26 July 2017, Lockheed was awarded the first production award for the air-launched LRASM; low-rate initial production Lot 1 includes 23 missiles.
      On 27 July 2017, Lockheed announced they had successfully conducted the first launch of an LRASM from an angled topside canister using a Mk-114 booster, demonstrating the missile’s ability to be utilized on platforms lacking vertical launch cells.
      On 17 August 2017, the LRASM conducted its first flight test in a production representative, tactical configuration. The missile was dropped from a B-1 Lancer, navigated through all planned waypoints, transitioned to mid-course guidance and flew toward a moving maritime target using inputs from its onboard sensor, then descended to low altitude for final approach, positively identifying and impacting the target.
      13 December 2017, The weapon was successfully fired against multiple targets on by a B-1B flying over the Point Mugu Sea Range.

      warhead – 1,000lb.
      range of – 300 nmi
      🙂

    • Frank Langham

      Our competitors seem to think that AEGIS is a viable, strategic, offensive threat. … But I do agree that it’s offensive capabilities are limited, for the time being.

    • Secundius

      Really? Israeli “Keres”…

  • D. Jones

    “Your ignorance is collossal”

    Oh the irony…

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Du-whine has never met a true ‘fact’ that he can embrace. He literally spits on people on venues like this, then retreats to victimhood when they don’t allow that.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Don’t look now there hypocrite, but YOU have had no problem wading in about the LCS on this thread. And here you are confusing facts with fantasy again. The launchers for Harpoon missiles are DEDICATED to the Harpoon. The launchers being discussed here for the LPD are basically Mk 41 cells turned on their side at an angle, and firing the entire specter of VLS launched weapons, IF they can work that way. Do try to keep up.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Don’t look now Du-whine, but you just made my point. That has to hurt, eh? LOL. And how QUICKLY a missile can fire and engage is just as important as how fast it can fly. A sea skimmer doing 500 MPH or more is going to result in engagement windows measured in seconds and fractions of seconds. ‘Speed is life’ applies to more than just fighter planes..

    • @USS_Fallujah

      A sea skimming ASCM travelling at 500mph covers about 8.3m per minutes, so your engagement window at a 50m radar horizon (assuming no networked vessels or AEW) is 6 minutes.

      • Chesapeakeguy

        Maybe. In the best of circumstances, i.e., those optimal conditions mentioned. But any increase in attacking missile speed reduces those numbers for the task group/ship to react and engage. The same goes for any stealth characteristics the missile might posses, and any help it might receive, as in the way of any jamming being done by the attacking side. What about if the attacking missile can maneuver?

        But let’s leave all those things aside for now. First off, the firing ship’s radar has to detect the target. That ain’t happening at 50 miles because of the curve of the Earth. If they are alerted by an airborne asset, or if another ship is out there that is able to get a track on it while not being a target itself, then those numbers you presented might work out. And even then the target still has to get within the range of the fire control system of the ESSM. As of now the firing ship’s radar still has to acquire and track the target, so those range numbers for engagement go down.

        One thing I WILL acknowledge, the ESSMs that can be fired from an Aegis equipped ship have a better CHANCE at being applied to some modicum of an area defense posture because Aegis provides for that. The range problems and acquisition circumstances described above still apply, but Aegis equipped ships have the radars and data links and communication suites to maximize what ESSM and other weapons can bring to bear. But at a listed maximum range of 27 miles, in this day and age, that’s not a lot of area coverage. Those Aegis equipped ships already have dedicated missiles for such. And this discussion is about an LPD, and that isn’t going to receive equipment that allows it to provide ‘area defense’ for others..

        • @USS_Fallujah

          ~50miles is the radar horizon for a warship (depends, obviously on the height of the radar to the surface and the altitude of the inbound missile. Return quality can also vary greatly depending on sea conditions, a high velocity ASCM would have to fly much higher than a subsonic sea skimmer so that is another variable, you’d pick up that target sooner, but the closure rate would be 3-5 times faster (or so) too.
          Either way the warship, assuming it’s illuminating at the time of attack, will have more than a few seconds to respond and having a weapon capable of engaging within that entire engagement window is always better than waiting for a “true” point defense system (SEARAM, CIWS, etc) with ranges only out to at most 10miles.

          • Secundius

            “IF” your referring to the EADS 3D TRS-16 Radar, maximum Instrumental Range is ~107.96nmi., while maximum Air Search Range is ~11.3nmi…

          • @USS_Fallujah

            Should I be referring to this? I’d assume that would not be the radar installed on the Flight II LPDs if they are (and I assume they are not) equipped with VLS for ESSM, SM-2/6.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I had assumed that the Flight IIs would get the Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar.

          • Secundius

            Air Detection Range is ~216nmi, unknown on Instrumental Range…

          • @USS_Fallujah

            But what we’ve been discussing is detection range relevant to the radar horizon.

          • Secundius

            If you want Unparalleled Detection Range, Mount the “Russian Woodpecker” (i.e. Duga Radar) on the Vessel. That “Sucker” had the ability to Detect to Moon Rising on the Horizon of the Earth…

          • RunningBear

            LHD8 and LHAs have SPQ-9B radar and CEC/ Cooperative Engagement Capability

          • Chesapeakeguy

            I can find nothing that establishes a ship borne radar as being able to ‘see’ that far out (50 miles). Virtually every site I research has a radar at 75 feet attitude having a range of 10 to 12 mikes at best. In fact, for any object to be located 50 miles from a surface radar, that object would have to be a minimum of 1500 feet in the air. Obviously, the higher the mast on a ship with a radar emplaced on it, the farther it can see. But what is the highest ship mounted radar in the Navy? A radar located 1 MILE above the surface (5280 feet) can see about 89 miles before the curve of the Earth interferes. Typing in a search online of ‘Radar horizon’ provides some great info. Wikipedia’s especially is informative.

          • Secundius

            Maybe not! A friend on mine owns a Nordhavn 62 Trawler with a Furuno Radar that can scan out to 72nmi. And yet is perched ~30-feet above the Trawlers Deck. AM frequencies will Skip Off the Atmosphere while Higher FM frequencies will Pass Through. The US Navy had problems in the 60’s and 70’s with their remotely piloted Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH’s. Once they flew past the Visual Horizon ALL Communications was lost and the DASH’s usually Crashed…

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Indeed. The Navy (and other services, and the government) have radars that can ‘see’ hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles. And they are quite good at that, so long as any object ‘out there’ cooperates by flying high enough to be seen by them.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I’m surprised how hard it is to determine the height of a LPD or DDG radar relative to the waterline. A CVN is a bit over 200ft though. I used a radar horizon calculator to determine that range based on a 200ft and a target altitude of 50ft for 30 statutory miles (26nm, 48km – I mixed the two up in my earlier post. Always a pain to keep KM, NM & MI straight – my apologies).

          • Chesapeakeguy

            No worries. That Wikipedia site I mentioned was making my head spin. Various elements that have to be considered all changed the formulas and calculations for determining range.

        • RunningBear

          Amphibious Ready Group/ARG and MEU:

          LHA/LHD – 1, LPD – 1, LSD – 1; (3) ships;
          LHA/ LHD – 1,687, LPD – 363, LSD – 330; (2,380) Marines;
          LHD – 3, LPD – 2, LSD – 4; (9) LCACs;
          LHA/D – F-35B (6), MV-22B (12), CH-53K (4), MH-60S (2); LPD – MV-22B, MH-60S (2); LSD – MV-22B, CH-53K, MH-60S on-deck helicopters

          and …..DDG escorts???, while ARGs have traveled without USN escorts.
          ARG ships have operated independently.

          LHA – A to G Band radars, CEC/ Cooperative Engagement Capability
          LHD – A to G Band radars, LHD8 – SPQ-9B radar and CEC/ Cooperative Engagement Capability.
          LPD – C,D,I Band radars, and IRST/ infrared search-and-track system. SSDS/ Ship Self-Defence System Mk2
          LSD – C,D,G,I,J Band radars, SSDS/ Ship Self-Defence System Mk2

          comment*
          With the F-35B flying off the LHA/D the Aircraft airborne sensors can be fed to all of the ARG ships by the LPD/LPI MADL networks including radar and IRST. With MADL added to each aircraft the helicopters can feed additional sensor data to the ships via the MADL networks. CEC on the LHA/D can be expanded to include the existing radar systems of the ARG but each ships should be upgraded to the CEC network.

          By adding VLS cells to both the LPD/ LSD, AEGIS/ CEC/ NIFC-CA can provide for both fleet defense and ship and land attack by SM-6 (300mi. range). USMC Guided MLRS/ HIMARS has a range of 200mi. and can be fired off the decks of the LHD/LPD/LSD.

          ESG is the “up-gunned” ARG with CG/DDG Aegis/ CEC/ NIFC-CA escorts.

          🙂

          • Chesapeakeguy

            But by adding VLS or bolt on launchers, something has to give. Maximizing weapon capabilities has everything to do with how well those ships are POSITIONED. I maintain that the Navy is advocating for trouble by placing ships full of MARINES in less that optimum defensible locations in a potential battle-space. Networking to fully utilize the amphibs defensive weapons is all well and good. As you and others have pointed out, using the MARINES offensive firepower from the ships is doable. Fleet-wide there are, or soon will be, something like 9000 plus VLS cells. When you add in planes, and hopefully some naval gunfire with real ranges to them (rail guns), putting weapons on amphibs just doesn’t make sense. And why stop at amphibs? Why not put these ‘cells’ and launchers on the tankers and unrep ships as well? I think there are better, MUCH better, options for applying offensive firepower when and where it is needed.

          • RunningBear

            “But by adding VLS or bolt on launchers, something has to give.Maximizing
            weapon capabilities has everything to do with how well those ships are
            POSITIONED.”

            The LPD-17 is designed to have added the 16 cell MK41 VLS on the forward deck in a “clear” deck space with storage area designed immediately below deck. This would be the least invasive system design with minimal mechanical interference.

            ….and “if it floats, it fights”!
            🙂

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Really? Then why weren’t they put in to begin with? And why does the article start with this: “Navy and Marine Corps leaders are mulling if and how to up-gun the San Antonio-class LPD Flight II ships;…”? It doesn’t sound like that ‘designated, designed space’ has been much of a consideration, especially if they are considering BOLT-ON launchers that are ABOVE the deck..

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Your stupidity is now overwhelming. Your dismissal of everything pertaining to what battleships did and accomplished proves that you really should not engage in discussions with adults. BBs were the ultimate ‘point defense weapon’ for carrier task forces, though that was not a task they were originally envisioned for. They were ADAPTED to such missions after the carriers were forced on the Navy because no air cover was available to defend the ones at Pearl Harbor. NOTHING that sails then and now can survive sustained aerial assault without help. But you’re incapable of knowing any of that, ain’tchanow?

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Trump? Now you have to drag Trump into this? Man, you are desperate, ain’tcha? Here you are always spewing about how all others who disagree with you are ‘ideologues’, yet here YOU are spitting out your leftist-based ideology yet again. You really cannot help yourself, can you Du-whine? Hmmm? LOL..

  • johnbull

    You do have a valid point. New weapons systems that are on time and budget, without growing pains are rare indeed. Not everything that is late and overbudget is awful and should be trashed. The F-35 is being deployed and is on track, but late. The Ford had its issues, but will be good. The Zumwalts were the textbook example of the procurement death spiral. The LCS, in my opinion we’ve got a ways to go to make them useful warships.

  • Dean687

    Oh look there’s a Russian over there, go get him fleet admiral!

  • Retired

    “They are warships” Now that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all year. A warship that can’t deploy (they are all up for maintenance this year), can’t fight (no organic weapons), can’t seek nor engage (no organic capabilities, everything has to be ‘towed’ or ‘added’), is very fragile, doesn’t scare anyone, is NOT a warship, it’s nothing but a fast yacht.

  • Todd

    When you’re dead you don’t know you’re dead, it works the same way for being stupid.

  • @USS_Fallujah

    I’m shocked the USN would consider refueling 5 688 Class SSNs, the assumption had long been that they would try to squeeze 1-2 deployments at most out of those boats with remaining core life and hull integrity to support that. The cost analysis of this would be very interesting to see.

    On the OTH missile for LPD Flight II, the talk in the article seems to be on a ASM, not a land attack missile, which is surprising, making the amphibs part of distributed lethality makes a little sense, but IMO (especially with the demise of the Zumwalt’s gun system) the need for amphibs to be able to provide fire support (and defensive suppression?) ashore is a bigger need. Developing something akin to a SDB on a booster at an affordable cost, deploy in considerable numbers aboard ship and provide precision strike in the “gap” distance between existing naval gunfire and tomahawk range (or a land attack version of the LRASM, basically making a ship launched version of the JASSM/JASSM-ER.
    And oh LCS, the only saving grace for NavSea is that this relatively small budget item has acted as a lighting rod on naval shipbuilding allowing programs like Zumwalt & Ford to skate by with minimal criticism compared to their mammoth cost.

    • Secundius

      AGM-78!

      • Centaurus

        MIM-68 ! Kill for Christ , Muhammad and Abraham. And throw in a few Russian SS-18’s

        • Secundius

          MIM-68? Isn’t that a Pocket Card Half Vest…

          • Centaurus

            O h i meant a mim-131.

          • Secundius

            If your referring to the Nike Ajax, it was the MIM-3…

          • Centaurus

            Ohh, I meant a Nuke AIM-54, thrown by hand by muscular transgenders on Olanzapine

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    What I want to know is , when are we going to be buying some more Littoral Combat Ships…??! I have a fever, and the only prescription is more LCSs. 57mm son, it’s nearly twice as big as 30mm, and that ain’t bad.

    • Secundius

      Last of the Flight “0’s” for the Independence class (LCS-30, Canberra) keel was laid in November 2017. Nothing is known on the Freedom class Flight I’s other than “possibly” 2019…

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        Thank you, I was being facetious.

  • Ed L

    doesn’t the navy use a line of sight laser communication device to talk to ships in formation now?

    • Secundius

      I suspect your talking about FSO (Free Space Optics) Laser Communications, made even more secure in 1 May 2009. By receiving a Laser Communications Signal using “STEAM” (Serial Time-Encoded Amplified iMaging) which recorded a Light Signal at ~1/440 Trillionth of a Second. Though that “STEAM” has yet to be employed by the Fleet…

  • Richardson has to be bottom blown. His stewardship has seen many disasters and near disasters with the surface and air Navy. He is a holdover from benObama and must be coated with Teflon. Nothing sticks to him and he is a real tap dance always shifting the blame and not accepting any of it. To name a few, LCR’s, aircraft accidents, this stupidity of distributed “what ever”, and on and on. As for the LPD’s I thought there was space allowed for a VLS system forward of the bridge, maybe I am wrong. Oh and let’s not forget the Zummies, where are the projectiles, the 57mm guns, and even a plan to use them. Ten billion down the drain for all three. Not LCS’s or Zumwaults and just think how many DDG’s could have been already bought and built. I think the Navy has spent about 500 million on cammies, blue, brown, and so on. That would buy 2/3 of a Burke flight 111. Under his leadership where is the 320 ship Navy? I do not understand why it would take to 2035 to build up to 355 ships. Admiral Mahan is turning in his grave. For those who do not know who he was and what is wrote about – get off your collective butts. Part of what he wrote about is about a fleet in being and control of the ocean choke points. I guess the PLAN admirals have read the good Admiral. Oh yea, Gifford, Murther, and a couple of other names come to mind, tradition be damm’d and full speed astern for the good Adm Richardson. Of I am only a retired SCPO so how should I know anything. MMCS(SW)(SS) USN Ret.

    • Retired

      Yep, we haven’t had a decent CNO for over 30 years, they just seem to be getting worse and worse

      • Secundius

        Are you factoring the 2011 Sequestration in your assessment of CNO’s performance? What could have Richardson done if the was no 2011 Sequestration…

        • Retired

          Well for one, he could’ve saved a boatload of money by scrapping the LCS. That move alone would show he had some balls and leadership traits. But instead we get another status-quo technocrat. The Navy is getting to be as bad as the chair force.

          • Secundius

            And How’s that? The Flight “0’s” LCS classes passed the US.Hse.of Rep. by a 313 to 116 Vote (i.e. Supermajority Vote) in 2004. Anything Above 280 Votes is a Supermajority and is VETO Proof by a President, even a Presidential Executive Order “WON’T” Override a Supermajorty Vote. To Donald Trump’s “Dismay” over and on the “ACA”. Only the US Hse.of Rep. can “Override” a Supermajority Vote. Currently the US.Hse.of Rep. has ONLY 237 Republican Members and CAN’T even Muster a “Simple Majority Vote of 261…

  • Rob C.

    I’m bit surprised that the Adapter Launchers hadn’t been thought of sooner. I guess there a lot wrangling going on in the background us civilians don’t see that keeps common sense solutions coming to production.

    Making the LPDs into more support vessel makes more sense when it comes to firepower, though i think they should lengthen it more give it a deep strike Mk 41 launcher vs a slap on missiles. Aegis Cruisers are fading away, they need pumping out Burkes is fine but with lose of SSGNs in near future, more tubes in field the better. They can dedicate DDG to help out more with defense, while the

    LPD Flight II Amphibs deal out the damage, as much it goes against the grind of salty sailor who wants to their combatant warship doing the damage dealing.

    Sadly whatever reason (or excuse) their not making cruisers, let along big Fire-Support like Battleships anymore. Industry doesn’t even know how or doesn’t have the means to make them now.

    • Secundius

      Ahhh, they have! Everyone “Looks At It” and yet “Never See It”! The Mk.141 Lightweight Launcher is a Perfect Example of an “Adaptive Launcher”! “Hiding In Plan Sight”…

  • Scott Ferguson

    “You’re”, not “your”….

    Wrong-i-pedia is NOT a credible source.

    Considering they call an M118 3000 lb bomb a “Mk-118″…

    Go literally.

    I’ve cited the USN and Raytheon, but it seems facts aren’t allowed.

    Go ahead, tell me what that “other version” is designated.
    Seems the USN references the RIM-162D, ONLY, so go ahead.

    Correct them.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Wow.
    Talk about failed deflection attempt.
    Tsk, tsk…

    USN Fact FIle for the RIM-162D ESSM:

    “ESSMs effective tracking performance and agile kinematics result from S- and X-band midcourse uplinks, high average velocity and tail control, increased firepower with the MK 25 quad pack canister used for MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS)-equipped ships and greater lethality with an improved warhead designed for defeating hardened ASCMs.”

    All you mention are OUTMODED older versions.

    Better luck, next time.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Typical amateur…

    Oh, well, like most amateurs, the facts overwhelm you.

    Stick to your fan-boy sites and don’t bother reading credible sources like Raytheon or the USN sites.

    Cleary, it’s WAY over your head.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Oh yes, the facts…

    Which you have failed to reference.