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Navy Exercises Options For Additional Future Frigate Design Work

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The Navy has exercised options adding several million dollars to the future guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)) conceptual design work being performed by five shipbuilders in contention for the final hull design. 

The Navy expects bids from the following shipbuilders – Austal USA, Huntington Ingalls Industries, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine. A final request for proposal is expected in 2019, with the Navy planning to award a single source design and construction contract in 2020, according to the Navy. Ultimately, the Navy plans to build a fleet of 20 frigates

Each company was awarded initial contracts of $15 million in February to start design work. The latest contract modification, announced Monday, sends between $6.4 million and $8 million in additional funding to each company to be used fleshing out their designs.

“Each company is maturing their proposed ship design to meet the FFG(X) System Specification. The Conceptual Design effort will inform the final specifications that will be used for the Detail Design and Construction Request for Proposal that will deliver the required capability for FFG(X),” Alan Baribeau, a Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman, said in an email to USNI News.

Each design for the future frigate competition is based on existing designs the shipbuilders are already producing. The Navy expects to spend between $800 million and $950 million on each hull, which will follow the Littoral Combat Ship.

In terms of combat and communications systems, the Navy plans to use what is already deployed on LCS platforms. USNI News understands the new frigates will use the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, which uses software from the same common source library as the Aegis Combat System on large surface combatants. Missile systems for the frigate include the canister-launched over-the-horizon missile; the surface-to-surface Longbow Hellfire missile; the Mk53 Nulka decoy launching system and the Surface Electron Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 program with SLQ-32(V)6. The ships would also require an unspecified number of vertical launch cells. The frigate design also is expected to include the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defense system and several undersea warfare tools.

The complete list of companies awarded contract options on their respective contracts include:

Austal USA LLC (Austal), Mobile, Alabama – $6,399,053; initial contract award – $14,999,969

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine – $7,950,000; initial contract award – $14,950,000

Huntington Ingalls Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi – $7,997,406; initial contract award – $14,999,924

Lockheed Martin Inc., Baltimore, Maryland – $6,972,741; initial contract award – $14,999,889

Marinette Marine Corp., doing business as Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Marinette, Wisconsin – $7,982,991 initial contract award – $14,994,626

  • RunningBear

    The FFG(X) should be an ASW platform with support from both the MH-60R and the MQ-8C Fire Scout. The pending LCS ASW module is ready for installation and testing and would be a great step ahead for the FFG(X) design. The (1/2) MH-60R with the dipping sonar and the weapons/ payload capacity for the (3) MQ-8C of nearly 3,000lbs. provides ASW defense capabilities. Pilots landing on the LCS Independence/ Austral LCS praise the flightdeck area and elevation above sealevel, capacity for the H-53.
    IMHO
    🙂

    • Bubblehead

      Im just thinking outl load here… but with the tug boat and oiler that has to follow the LCS around, maybe they can carry another helo or 2 for the 3 ship armanda?

      • Rocco

        Louder!!!! 🤐

      • Kypros

        That would certainly stimulate ship building.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      The best ASW platform didn’t make the shortlist.

      • Rocco

        Copy that

      • RunningBear

        OK!, I’ll bite!……the best ASW platform????
        🙂

        • He’s almost certainly referring to the British Type 26 – a ship that is very easy to praise given that it doesn’t actually exist (hence why the USN didn’t look at it).

          • DaSaint

            Interesting that you infer that the Type 26 is the best ASW platform. I guess 2 countries think so, and one of them has arguably designed and built the best ASW platforms for decades.

            In short order that could be 3 countries…or maybe 4….

          • Actually, I think the Type 26 has several glaring weaknesses as an ASW platform even assuming everything it’s supporters proclaim turns out to be true (no LF sonar, no ASROC, and no SVTT). But it’s the only ship that I consistently see referred to as the world’s best ASW platform and it’s basically the only modern frigate that didn’t make it into the FFG(X) program, so I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.

          • Lazarus

            It is also ridiculously expensive.

          • Graeme Rymill

            The Type 26 will carry 1 or 2 Merlin EH 101 helicopters. The Merlin in the ASW role carries a Thales FLASH active dipping sonar which operates in the low frequency band.

          • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

            – The Thales sonar that will be fitted is low frequency
            – It will have the Mk41 VLS to accomodate ASROC, all a customer has to do is buy the things
            – SVTT is bolt-on!

            But you know…. If its a choice between something that was designed from the start to be as acoustically inert as possible vs the LCS jet boats…. well, I’d rather put sailors lives in the hands of the BAE design.

          • RunningBear

            The FFG(X)/LCS should not be a “lone wolf” sub-hunter. Defending a CSG or an ARG/ESG with the CG/DDG (ASW) components would allow the FFG(X) to rapidly reposition their ASW module and MH-60R dipping active sonar into an enhanced track confirmation and/or attack position without weakening the defenses of the Strike Group. The addition of the towed array systems specifications, allows them to travel at distance (picket) from the Strike Group to further the incipient detection for ASW. Networking ASW data from the various sensors of multiple fixed and towed arrays of surface and submarines will facilitate a more comprehensive ASW picture for the Situational Awareness for the Strike Group. The H-60/MQ-8C can carry multiple MK-54 (600lb.) torpedoes.
            IMHO
            🙂

    • Rocco

      Agreed

  • omegatalon

    One would think that Lockheed Martin might have an advantage over other competitors given that they have been awarded the contract to build the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant for Saudi Arabia which is very similar to the US Navy’s future guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)) requirements.

    • Rocco

      Now why would that be?? The ships already have a history of breaking down more than any class of ship in memory!! What they have for the Saudis is nothing more than a PT boat with extras!!

      • Lazarus

        No, you just read about LCS breakdowns thanks to the media fulfilling the needs of people who hate LCS. Only two LCS have ever “broken down” at sea or pierside. Plenty of other USN ships have had problems including breakdowns but just are not reported because the LCS hater audience is not interested.

        • Curtis Conway

          OK, then give us a list of the successes of the LCS with other platforms of similar mission and size over the same period of time, keeping in mind that the ship has to get underway to accomplish operational achievement.

          • Rocco

            Because he can’t!!

          • PolicyWonk

            Indeed, the first requirement of anything that is called a “ship” is the basic ability to reliably propel itself from one destination to another.

            This was one problem I thought the USN had solved many years ago…

          • Lazarus

            LCS has operated with the fleet in deployed and non-deployed status. Its a good record considering there have been less than 4 LCS in service until 2014 and 2 of those have been consumed by the ridiculous test and evaluation process demanded by members of Congress in a passive/aggressive attempt to kill the program.

        • PolicyWonk

          Reliability isn’t the only problem LCS has, by any stretch of the imagination. People who hate LCS hate bad design and blatant corporate welfare programs. People who hate LCS don’t like the idea of sending our sailors into harms way in ships that aren’t designed to fight, prevail, and stand reasonable a chance of surviving an engagement with a peer opponent.

          This is why most of us find it difficult to understand how you can be so callous w/r/t the lives of our sailors in championing blatantly inferior design and construction of these sea-frames.

          Even the USN’s own IG scorns the lack of LCS survivability, not counting the scorching reports issued by DOT&E, OMB, etc. The only positive information about LCS comes from the PEO, who’ve repeatedly misrepresented the facts, and ran the program the USN itself says “”broke naval acquisition”.

          • Rocco

            Agreed kudo’s!!

        • Rocco

          OK since you opened the door the Ford class leaves alot to be desired!! & I’m a carrier guy!!

        • Floridian04072

          My main issue with LCS is they are a manpower sump. You have a rotational crew, but the crew on shore doesn’t help the ship in any way. The ship is in 3 section duty, and one recently had to put two Dept Heads (LT and LCDR) on gate guard duty (I went through their gate so first-hand knowledge). They don’t perform maintenance, that is left to contractors and the Regional Maintenance Centers. Consequently the Sailors on-hull aren’t learning anything about their ratings, they just know how to stand watch. The contractor-related costs down the road will be unsustainable. Not to mention these ship’s have no on-station time due to fuel constraints.

          • Lazarus

            The crew on shore is training to take over the ship in a forward deployed environment. Many costs are saved by training the new crew at home and flying it out to join the ship rather than beating the ship up on tow trans-oceanic transits to/from CONUS. Agree it appears awkward now, but once enough LCS are deployed and crews are trained the savings will be more evident. Congress has not been helpful in this at all in that while it funds the sea frames it has cut funding for additional crew training and for testing of LCS modular equipment.

          • Duane

            The Blue-Gold model has completely proved its value on American SSBNs for more than 58 years running. You cannot argue with that success. Human crews do not have near the endurance of modern warships. That is why over the next several decades unmanned ships are going to replace many of our existing ships, and machines are already replacing human crewmen on manned ships. That process is already underway.

            A Blue-Gold crew on LCS is still fewer in number than an OHP crew, but the crews will be far better trained and far less stressed.

        • Graeme Rymill

          May 2013 – USS Freedom first venture from Singapore harbor was cut short by lube oil problems.
          July 2013 – USS Freedom lost propulsion due to a problem with two of the ship’s four Isotta Fraschini V1708 diesel electrical generators that overheated and
          shutdown that required the ship to return to port.
          December 2015 – USS Milwaukee, on its way to San Diego from Halifax Nova Scotia, experienced a complete loss of propulsion and was towed 40 miles to a base at Virginia Beach, Virginia.
          January 2016 – USS Forth Worth sidelined in port at Singapore because of damage to gears.
          July 2016 – USS Freedom sidelined in San Diego after sustaining damage in one of its two main propulsion diesel engines.
          August 2016 – USS Coronado suffered an engineering casualty in route to Singapore and returned to Hawaii to assess the damage.
          September 2016 – USS Montgomery suffered two unrelated engine casualties 3 days after commissioning.

          • Lazarus

            Yes; two breakdowns that immobilized a ship. Again, people know about every LCS engineering casualty of any stripe due to the intense media focus on all things LCS. DDG’s, amphibs, the now-departed FFG 7 class and others have all had similar mechanical issues during their service.

          • Graeme Rymill

            “immobilized”: prevent (something or someone) from moving or operating as normal.

            It is only twice if you only count the times the captain was relieved of duty as a result of the “immobilization”.

          • Rocco

            FFG 7 Perry class never had these issues!!

          • Rocco

            Kudos

    • PolicyWonk

      This is probably correct, as the LockMart variant also represents a more palatable/conventional design when compared to the considerably more innovative Independence class.

    • Bubblehead

      It only has 8 cell VLS and Spy1F. Probably very little in the ASM area. The FFGX will be an entirely different beast.

      • Duane

        Same exact ASW capability. Same exact SuW capability. Similar in air defense capability. Pretty much the same as LM will use for its FFGX design except the latter will meet the numerical requirement for VLS cells (16-32) set forth in the RFP for FFGX. Adding VLS cells is easy peasy … just stretch the hull by adding a few more frames, just as the Saudi MMCS frigate already did.

        • airider

          “Similar in air defense capability.” There will be a large difference between FFG and LCS in the AAW space. Adding VLS is only “easy” if you planned for it up front. LCS planned for NLOS which is tiny compared to any variant of Mk41.

          What the Saudi’s are going forward with has several differences than the current LCS. These differences will affect the design of the structure of the hull to accommodate them….which may be a good thing for FFGX…

          If LM is smart, they’re using Saudi RDT&E efforts for MMCS to support their FFGX entry.

          The challenge with this is with more changes incorporated, the harder it is to claim that you can leverage your “hot” production line. These aren’t just “options” like on a car assembly line….they are design and fabrication differences that have to be managed.

          The designs that can move forward with minimal design changes are the ones that have the least risk to their cost and schedule.

          • Duane

            I did not compare FFGX to LCS, but compared MMCS to the requirements for FFGX.

          • Bubblehead

            Exactly right, there are major changes to the hull required for FFGX compared to Freedom. Duane knows this he just chooses to ignore reality. Look no further for an example than the upgrades required for ABII to ABIII. The USN told everybody for years it would only take minor changes. But in the end they were major changes needed. I think 80% of the hull spaces required redesigning. MMCS has a small rotating radar. To change that to Enterprise, yeah, there are going to be major changes. And they have to add 16 MK41 VLS. Again not as easy as just cutting a hole in the hull and dropping in Mk41’s.

            And as a matter of fact, last I heard the Lockhead Martin FFGX was using an entirely different superstructure than LCS & MMCS. Their original design for FFGX had a lengthened hull of Freedom but with a superstructure based on the Zums. Completely different than the MMCS. And as a matter of fact, this is borderline not even meeting the most important requirement in the RFP. In this scenario, this is basically a brand new designed ship. It has almost nothing in common with Freedom. Which don’t get me wrong, being the lemon that Freedom is, that is a good thing; but it doesn’t meet USN requirements of low risk with examples already plowing the seas.

  • airider

    Getting a bit concerned we’re spending too much time on conceptual design work. Development was supposed to be minimized. Just plug the current CAD into a 3D printer to placate the flags who want to play with models….the Navy needs a real FFG like yesterday.

    • You just can’t please people. If the Navy just rushed you to put something in the water we would be seeing nonstop complaints about concurrency and wasting billions of dollars on unproven concepts.

      • airider

        That’s a fair argument, but when new money is added to a contract effort, it usually means new/changed/updated requirements … that’s what concerns me …

        • Duane

          These are options built into the original design contracts, meaning NAVSEA anticipated the need for the work and requested that each of the competing designers provide a proposed scope of work, schedule, and pricing back in the beginning.

          NAVSEA did not disclose to Ben the nature if optional contract scopes of work.

          • airider

            Yes Duane, the reason they’re called options is because they are “optional”. The fact that they did execute them means they spent more money than they had planned to based on the original contract tasking, which means things that were “optional” no longer are anymore. If these things were needed in the contract tasking to support efforts through RFP, they wouldn’t have been options.

            This tells me, having written, executed, and managed defense department acquisition contracts, that changes occurred beyond the original contract tasking that required the government to execute these options.

          • Duane

            No … if the Navy stipulated and priced and negotiated options, then by definition they planned the work and the costs thereof.

            These are not cost overruns. They are planned work that the Navy made optional for some purpose for which they planned and programmed into the contracts. Perhaps one or more of the designers might have dropped out
            .. or perhaps Congress might not have authorized the planned options in the FY2019 NDAA which was passed by Congress just yesterday.

            BTW … opional work is very typical for Federal contracts. If such were not included, then the buyers would be forced to go out and conduct a new competitive procurement that would waste a lot of schedule time and money.

          • airider

            No…it is not planned work, it is optional work that may or may not need to be accomplished. I’ve had several contracts where I executed no options, and several where I executed some because we had identified some risks that weren’t fully understood, so we put “margin” in tasking that would cover what we thought might happen to some degree. I’ve also had contracts where none of the option language satisfied the tasking and I had to make a change order to the contract. This is cost growth in the program because we didn’t anticipate it. The growth didn’t become an “overrun” though since I could still handle it within my APB.

            I’m not concerned with the execution of options. I’m concerned that Navy needed to execute them because they had risks that became realized. What are those realized risks these options are now buying down?

    • Lazarus

      For what purpose is the FFGX other to be more “lethal” than LCS? It looks more and more like a nice to have DDG-lite rather than meeting a defined mission.

      • PolicyWonk

        Perhaps more “survivable” and “reliable” could be added to the list of “more(s)”?

      • airider

        Primary: ASW and escort … same as the last FFG the US had. Undersea efforts have picked up quite a bit recently … Honestly if the LCS program had avoided the 40kt speed requirement and down selected to one hull after a sail-off, we more than likely wouldn’t be having these discussions….

        • Duane

          ASW is already part of the LCS role, and the equipment on both ship types is identical. The Navy literally ordered that it be so. The only difference is that the specified range of FFGX is longer, presumably to assist in long range transoceanic escort of convoys.

          • airider

            ….yep, you just pinpointed it …. Longer range to support escort of convoys … like I said above, a few key changes in requirements to LCS and we likely wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          • Duane

            But transoceanic escort was never part of the requirements for LCS. That makes the ship bigger and more expensive. That is not a “flaw” in LCS – it is the result of a reasoned design decision.

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    The best under a billion choice is one not even in the running, a 27 knot 8000nm ranged DDG-51 with 4 x 10MW diesels each coupled to 4MW AG9160 generator sections yielding around 10MW surplus for future energy weapons, a less powerful set of arrays based on AN/APG-81(F) or similar modules but still tied to the Aegis computing architechture (which as far as I know the navy owns, so it’s free), no AN/SPS62,67,73 radars, 1 additional rotating AN/APG-81(F) array in two sections (to overcome foremast blanking) on trainable yardarms at the mainmast position as a redundancy back up capable of assuming a damaged deckhouse array’s sector. ECM possibly could be assumed by the AN/APG-81, although adequate information is not publicly available here, as is the case with any simplification or change of the bow sonar and towed arrays; these systems and others may remain unaltered given that changes would save little while heavily degrading capability needed for independent second line operations. Weapons would be sharply reduced as befits a ship used as a rear area ocean escort as well as being deployed in company with heavy missile destroyers while part of a battle group. VLS systems need not be more than one Mk57 4 cell unit forward and two Mk57’s peripheral to the hanger deckhouse, with the capacity to mount additional Mk57’s if war or mission demand necessitates it; normal load out would be 24 ESSM and 6 SM-6 (with later sub-versions with much heavier warheads and/or rocket ramjet propulsion to enable a true dual capable over the horizon tasking). Defense layers 3 & 4 would comprise fore and aft modified Mk.45 turret mountings for the 30mm (40mm CTAS) GAU-8 (Goalkeeper) cannon and the Phalanx detection and tracking systems with two 11 cell SeaRAM launchers outboard with the RIM-116 missile and a Hellfire seeker version (prospectively called Seafire). ESSM and SM-6 don’t have to use the 62’s, and soft synthesis between the 81’s and Phalanx would compensate for the 67/73’s. Helicopters may include only drones, which might include a low cost, lightweight torpedo and sonobuoy, lithium battery powered, quadracopter delivery system in the absence of LAMPS or ASROC.

    • SierraSierraQuebec

      The 20 upgradeable ships would cost $20B and provide a low risk approach to begin integrating large laser weapons in to naval operations beyond the near future as laser picket ships (ie. destroying all optical sensors, lightly built craft, small missiles and projectiles, lateral decapitation strikes on heavy ASM’s to induce aerodynamic self destruction in defense of a major ship like an aircraft carrier), with around 12 frigates being converted. The ships are already in production and fully interoperable with the DDG’s and a (not discussed here) CCG replacement. FREMM, offered to Canada at $2B CDN each for 15 ships excluding some program costs, and the F100 as well, are $35-40B programs with no growth potential, PYL-1 Freedom and PYL-2 Independence ships with extra fuel outriggers and more missiles are the cheapest but exactly what was being replaced as unable to perform as a general purpose escort, and the NSC is a hull without any designed or ready combat systems. None of the offerings are available immediately for construction in America, the foreign designs may have subsystems of interest and indirectly aid in developing cross trade of systems, but as whole ships they are non starters.

      • SierraSierraQuebec

        Despite all the hype, energy weapons are not the panacea they promise to be and the discussion frequently digresses in to claims well beyond what such systems can accomplish. Lasers are the most novel and can offer otherwise unattainable capabilities, but whether the power levels projected will achieve less or much less than promised does not diminish the value of deploying a first generation system in a modest sub-class of warships in order to perform exercises, tests, and operations to determine what would be needed in the second generation. Current electromagnetic gun technology, however, offers little that improved conventional gunnery can achieve at far less cost, space, weight, and proven reliablity, and should stay at an elevated level of research for the near future.
        Ballistically stable 30/40mm CIWS rounds with simple control electronics and remotely fired thruster charges would significantly tighten the groupings of shells and counter any non-predictive evasion from attacking missiles in order to greatly increase hit probabilities and the effective range of the gun system and in turn the rate of engagements since it would not be essential to wait for destruction with a reliable hit ratio of known terminal effects. A 155mm-L62 could fire an anti-missile HVP at the practical limit for a conventional gun at 1800m/s, but this weapon goes beyond the scope of the frigate here and touches on the greater issue of long range tactical and strategic gunnery.

        • Curtis Conway

          Amen on both comments, particularly the Directed Energy part. It is quite the Electro-Optical instrument.

    • Duane

      A 8,800 ton DDG51 is not an under $1B ship … it is a $2B ship at today’s prices, and requires a far larger crew than a 4,500 ton frigate of modern design. Total lifetime cost will be well more than double that of the Navy’s budget for FFGX.

      • SierraSierraQuebec

        A DDG-51 is a $300M hull packed with $1.5B+ in equipment. When the equipment list is sharply restricted and less expensive options are chosen, it becomes a $1B vessel with a much smaller crew to operate suitable as a destroyer escort, or as they are called today, frigates. Ship displacement has limited impact on cost, generally about 15-20%, its approaching a century when they were exercises in ironwork and cost as much as they displaced. FREMM and F100 are 6000-7000t ships packed with equipment suited to make them front line units of their respective navies, and they do in fact cost almost as much as a DDG-51 because of the dramatically smaller number of them built.
        There is a wealth of information on the internet alone concerning what it costs to design and build warships, perhaps educating yourself would be a start.

        • Duane

          We are never going to build a barge and call it a frigate or a destroyer.

          • SierraSierraQuebec

            Dummying it down for you to understand, the $1.6B San Antonio has a similar outfit to what I described. 42 RAM missiles, 16 VLS cells, 2 x 30mm guns, long range rotating radar, full comms & countermeasures, 40kshp diesels and separate ship service generators. The Arleigh Burke frigate has 44 RAM & Seafire missiles, 12 strike length VLS cells with room for more, 2 x 30mm rotary cannons, a mid-range EASA radar based on the mass produced F-35 modules run through COTS grade multiple CPU buses and fast M2 SSD’s running simplified and faster Aegis software and synthetically integrated with the independent RAM/Phalanx gun-launcher system, similar communications and countermeasures, and sonars that can be reduced without capability loss with new active capable towed arrays and a smaller bow sonar, a cluster of active sonobuoys moved around with a short range quadracopter and/or all weather small surface drones. The frigate would similarly be powered by a unified system of four slightly larger large diesels combined with ship service generators capable of driving this Arleigh Burke hull at 27 knots for 8000nm+ with 10MW surplus electrical capacity for energy weapons in the near future or even ~15 knot extra quiet ASW operation propulsion with clutched in motors.
            The difference is a hull only 40% as large that does not have to accommodate a battalion group of marines and all their equipment and supplies, a well deck, or a flight deck for a half dozen helicopters or tiltrotors, so that $600M in extra cost is not relevant. An escort frigate at under a billion with growth potential.
            The FREMM was offered as an unsolicited bid at $1.5B USD to Canada in a desperate attempt to low ball themselves in to the North American market, and that bid did not include follow on costs. The FREMM is lightly built, so it is an Arleigh Burke sized vessel with much less power in disguise, and it costs only a couple hundreds of millions less. The F100 is a Burke cheapened up in order for the Spanish to build a small number of them domestically at a less economical scale. The NSC is just a hull with no developed systems and no growth potential. The yachts simply have neither the range nor seakeeping nor armaments for the role despite being lightly built.
            What the reference to a barge is escapes me; maybe I should ask a current destroyer crew what it means.

  • ew_3

    Suspect most of the LCS haters never served on a DE or FF.
    Suspect you also never saw the red stars on a Bear Delta or saw a Krivak/Kresta cruiser up close and personal.
    Suspect you were never on a surface ship above the arctic circle quite close to Murmansk.
    Suspect you were never called to the bridge at 04:00 to identify the Soviet submarine that surfaced right in front of us.

    Ships like the LCS-2 are expendable just like my old ship the DE-1038.
    There was a button on my ULQ-6 labeled “Blip Enhance”. It made us look like the carrier.
    It was my job to push that button. Better we die then them.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      I think many of us realize that the Navy needs a true frigate. The problem is that (both) LCS designs are not particulary good fits for that role.

      The reason traces to the LCS emphasis on extremely high speed (irrelevant for frigate missions) and overreliance on mission-modules (that never panned out). We essentially ended up with a frigate-sized-and-priced ship with corvette-like capabilities.

      The Navy seems to be on the right track in defining it’s future frigate. Reasonable requirements. Good price point. And the more competition the better.

      • Rocco

        Agreed

      • PolicyWonk

        This does seem to be the case. However, one needs to keep in mind that the same PEO that ran the sub-optimal (to be generous) LCS program had its designation changed via the magic of marketing (PEO LCS is now PEO USC), and now has the responsibility for choosing the new FFG.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          I am not sure that PEO(USC) will be
          the one’s to choose the new FFG, or at least they shouldn’t. A decision like that should occur at OPNAV or at SECNAV level.

          There would be a definite (or at least perceived) conflict of interest — considering that PEO(USC) already runs the LCS production.

          • Lazarus

            PEO USC does not make that choice. They have an input, but so do many others. There is a misunderstanding that PEO USC is somehow filled with duplicitous people intent on advancing LCS at the expense of anything else. PEO’s, just like other govt orgs are staffed with career civilians and military officers who serve in a variety of offices and programs. They are no evill cabal intent on defrauding the taxpayers but rather hard-working patriots who work long hours and will never get rich on their govt salaries.

          • PolicyWonk

            PEO USC, when called PEO LCS, was indeed filled with the lowest forms of dishonesty and deceit. They sold LCS to the HoR’s and taxpayers as something it would never be, because what they called the “Littoral Combat Ship” (according to former CNO Greetnert, who later declared) was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”. Instead of a littoral combat platform, which is what we paid for: all the taxpayers got was a monstrously expensive, lightly armed utility boat.

            If PEO LCS had told the HoRs they were getting a massively expensive/overly complex utility boat incapable of facing a peer adversary and having a fair chance of brining their crew home, the programs funding would’ve been shut off in an instant. So they simply, and blatantly, misrepresented the facts.

            The lies they told when justifying the staggeringly high cost about the LCS sea-fames being upgraded on the slipways to the Level-1 standard, were also later found to be false, as no LCS past, present, or future, was later admitted will ever meet the USN’s own construction standards.

            These are the same people that ran “the program that broke naval acquisition”, that instead of being drummed out of the service, were rewarded with being given more responsibility, after being renames PEO USC. The USN was very clear that they handle all SSC’s, including FFG(X), and smaller.

            We can only hope that there is some adult supervision in the room this time, because that bunch repeatedly doubled-down on the mistakes they made, while they continue to attempt to make this blatant corporate welfare program look something less than the criminal incompetence it truly is.

            For those of us that have been following this program since its inception, its astonishing you continue to post rubbish as if no one else can read, or as if no on can recall what they had for lunch – let alone the nefarious history of this shameless scam.

          • Lazarus

            Blaming the NAVSEA civilians that work in PEO USC just ends any credibility that you might have with me. You are obviously ignorant of how Naval Sea Systems Command’s Program Executive Office’s work.

      • Lazarus

        No, bad price point at over $1b per unit and climbing. There has yet to be any assessed need for a “frigate” such as those that defined Cold War frigate building programs. The whole effort seems focused on getting something “more lethal than LCS” as a justification on its own.
        Ron O’Rouke is right in that the FFGX program lacks a modern analysis of alternatives to determine what type of ship is really needed.
        LCS was designed with corvette-level weapons so that costs could be kept low and additional weapons later added. The addition of an ASCM and Hellfire prove that was a good choice.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          CRS, CBO, Congress and many others (including yours truly) have pointed out on numerous occasions in writing that the analytic underpinnings for LCS were extremely lacking.

          If you’ll recall from about a decade back: the Navy failed to conduct a proper Capability Based Assessment (CBA) to define the needs and refine the requirements. They neglected failed to conduct a proper Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) to help refine the solution. They essentially just started building ships. Fast ships because…. well… because.

          Funny thing: when you and I have debated this before you didn’t have a problem that LCS skipped many of these vital analytic tasks. Yet somehow the exact same lack of analytical underpinnings is a problem for FFG(X).

          Things that make you go hmm.

          • Lazarus

            LCS did get a thorough Navy analysis. FFGX has not gotten even that

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            LCS did not get thorough analysis. At least not prior to design when such analysis can have an impact. OPNAV N9 admitted as much in testimony to Congress.

            “Measure twice and cut once”. The LCS approach seems to have been measure not at all and cut for the better part of a decade.

            I will note that LCS has been subjected to tons of analysis in the decade since it’s been built. Right now there are undoubtedly rooms full of analysts trying to make the best of the LCS turd sandwich.

            It is interesting that CRS is making essentially the same complaints about the lack of FFG(X) analytic underpinnings that it has made about LCS. Yet you only object when it’s about LCS. Your bias is showing even more than usual.

          • Lazarus

            When did N96 say that LCS did not get “analysis?” FFGX is just the answer to the “I want something with more guns and stuff on it than LCS” question. At least LCS had some detailed mission analysis in terms of what it was supposed to do. FFGX is likely to become a light DDG given and just be employed as such rather than fulfill any SSC missions. How for that matter is a 7000 ton FREMM a “small” combatant?
            I half wonder if a conventional frigate had been built in 2003 vice LCS that you and other LCS opponents would now be screaming that the Navy ignored the promise of an affordable, modular warship.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            We’ve been over this before. LCS has repeatedly been labeled an “analytical virgin birth.”. It’s also purportedly used as an example in OPNAV of how not to develop requirements.

            There was never a capabilities based assessment (CBA) to establish a requirement. Exactly what problem were we trying to solve? Why was a ship the best solution? Why did the ship need to be fast (45 knots), modular and shallow draft? These issues are still being argued about today!

            There no analysis of alternatives to determine which option best fit the Navy’s (ill-defined needs). Instead we bought two vessels for the same mission.

            Lastly, there was no accompanying technology readiness assessment (TRA) to determine whether the LCS requirements and associated CONOPS were even feasible. News flash: it clearly was not.

    • Rocco

      Well I did serve on 3 Carriers . & Yes I’m a Blue Nose & close to being a shellback but got turned around because of typical BS in the Middle East!! I’ve see all you disscribed including old DE’s even a couple of twin 5″ gun mounts destroyer’s! You can’t compare old DE’s to today’s LCS other than being expensive tin cans!! That break & have no firepower!

      • Curtis Conway

        That old DE or FF was built to Navy Survivability standards, and North of the Arctic Circle still took some damage. The elements and the high seas will most likely take out an LCS (either flavor). Lazarus, have the US Navy prove me wrong. Send one North in heavy weather.

        • Lazarus

          Those old DE’s and FRAM’s got pretty beaten up in high latitude service due to size issues more than anything else. Few if any USN ships other than SSN’s have been in the high north in recent years and none are pseudo icebreakers. Not sure where this idea that LCS can’t go to the high north originates.

          • Curtis Conway

            Well let’s see, its operational achievement list BELOW the Arctic Circle is limited . . . so sending it to its sure death is probably not a good idea . . . given and understanding this sentence is Hyperbole, but not THAT far out there.

            If one is to operate above the Arctic Circle for any period of time, the platform simply must have good sea keeping capability, and this requires a ROCK SOLID engineering (propulsion & steering). A little displacement helps too.

          • Lazarus

            No one operates up there except a few coast guard units. The LCS trimaran design is one that supports good seakeeping and littoral Arctic spaces are still littorals where a semi-planning monohull can operate.
            You guys are making up criticisms about LCS to meet your own arguments rather than taking the ship at face value. Only two LCS have ever “broken down;” one due to a software problem and one due to crew misalignment of a combining gear system; likely due to the less than satisfactory training they got prior to taking the ship (a SURFPAC, not an LCS issue.)

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I’m no naval engineer — but it strikes me that a shallow draft, short-legged, lightly constructed vessel optimized for high spees might have trouble in the North Atlantic.

            We haven’t yet had an LCS deployment to the North Atlantic. I cannot recall leadership ever talking about an LCS ‘crossing the pond’.

            PS – I’m not sure where your habit of assuming a system can do something without proof originates. I’m guessing you were never a tester!

          • Lazarus

            Testing proves that testing works.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Yes, why test anything? It’s so much easier to just assume it works – because it has to work! 🙂

        • honcho13

          Sir, I think you’re short changing the ol’ DE’s and FF’s. While in-transit from the Caribbean to our homeport in Newport, USS Joseph K. Taussig (DE-1030) was caught in the aftermath of a tropical storm off the Carolina coast (near Hatteras). Ground swells in excess of 30 feet were encountered. We took a few 30 – 40 deg rolls, which believe me were pretty scary. We counldn’t eat regular chow for 2 days – had to eat out of paper cups. Sleeping was almost impossible. The BT’s had the unenviable job of keeping fires lit (and boiler water levels) in the midst of these big rolls. The bridge did a magnificent job of keeping us heading INTO those big “rollers” – if we had got hit beam-on we probably would have capsized! We lost a lot of topside gear, but the JKT survived to fight another day! And, with no serious injuries! Yes, at only 314 ft in length, Taussig was small, but she was mighty! MMCS(SW), USN (retired)

        • Rocco

          Agreed indeed. I’d love it if Duane would be aboard one above the artic circle in the winter!!

    • Lazarus

      Unfortunately the frigate design many want is a light DDG too fragile to survive ASCM raids but too expensive to be built in the numbers needed for low end missions. The Navy needs low end ships like LCS to carry out those missions you suggest. My frigate (FF 1072) had missions such as you describe.

      • PolicyWonk

        LCS, despite it’s first sea-frame being commissioned 10 years ago, has yet to conduct even ONE low-end mission.

        And if low-end missions were what LCS was supposed to be designed for, it shouldn’t have resulted in program that delivered a pair of sea-frames at such a staggeringly high cost to the taxpayers.

        These might be less expensive than a Burke, but thats setting the bar very low, especially given the obviously poor ROI.

        • Lazarus

          Three LCS deployments say you are wrong; as all three included multiple, low end missions.

          • PolicyWonk

            Most of which were involved so many break downs and other malfunctions, and were so successful, the USN continued sending LCS on such missions ever since.

            Not.

            My favorite, was the glorious, and pathetic humanitarian trip to the Phillipeans, where they dropped off a whopping 2 pallets of relief goods, so they could claim the Freedom did something useful.

            The OMB report on the unholy voyage of the USS Freedom’s asian adventure was a real eye-opener.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        SECDEF Mattis seems to be pushing the Navy towards more of a surge-based force vice a continual presence based force. Which means capability matters.

        I think of build a Fleet as a lot like managing a basketball team. I’d rather have 5x six foot tall players than 10x three foot tall players. They may be the same on paper, but they are not the same on the court.

        The LCS is already pushing in on close to $800 million apiece – and is likely to have a hefty operations and support (O&S) costs. It may be low-end but it’s hardly low price.

        • Lazarus

          There will still be a need for oversea presence forces that can free the DDG’s to perform surge missions. As to basketball analogy, those players all have different salaries in terms of acquisition and support over time. Having numbers is sometimes preferable to quality, especially in terms of networked-based, distributive operations.
          The LCS buy for this year registered at $568m per unit. The modules cost no more than $100 each with the surface warfare module down around $62m. Given the rising costs of so-called frigates such as the Type 26 which is over $1.5b, the French FREMM’s that just crested the $1b mark and continue to increase in price, and the failed Type 31, whose proposed cost was almost as silly as the $220 figure for LCS, the littoral combat ship with open architecture and 100 tons of weight for additional equipment, is a good value.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Funny how the story has changed on LCS. I recall the Mr. Work screaming that LCS would scare the crap out enemy such that they’d never leave port. I also recall Mr. Mabus stating that LCS would send entire enemy fleets to the bottom. It now sounds like the best we can hope for out of LCS is a low-end gunboat.

            The data in latest CRS report indicates that a “fully-equipped” LCS is probably in the neighborhood of $750 million. See post below to Duane.

            We also have zero idea what it will cost to operate and support (O&S) – which is the bulk of any acquisition program’s lifecycle cost. Call me skeptical: but I am not expecting a complex, fuel-hungry, contractor maintained vessel to be particularly cheap to operate or support!

          • Duane

            Then a so-called “fully equipped” FFGX will cost about $1.3B, and a “fully equipped” DDG51 Flight III will cost about $2.8B, and a “fully equipped” Nimitz costs more than a Ford class that isn’t “fully equipped”, which is a vague and elastic term that can mean anything and therefore means nothing.

            Apples to apples, always … not intentionally, misleading apples to oranges comparisons … the standard tool of the propagandist.

            You ship haters are just weird dudes. It is very hard for a normal person to comprehend hating on an inanimate object like a ship, or an aircraft. But the internet sure brings you guys out in tiny little foot-stamping droves.

          • Rocco

            The Ford class wouldn’t be equipped any other way as designed!! As well as the Nimitz!! If the Bush was built today It’d cost just the same if not more!! You’re analysis is ridiculous!!

          • Lazarus

            Mr. Work’s 2013 LCS acquisition history says no such thing. Mr. Mabus didn’t know much about naval capabilities. LCS with NSM and Hellfire is a decent low end combatant. In distributed flotilla strength (3-4) it is even better.
            Define complex? I think the real argument is that LCS cannot easily lift out engines as did previous, larger surface combatants. Only one LCS has been operationally range tested and the PEO was not satisfied that the test was accurate. The ship in question got better fuel economy on deployment than the test indicated; suggesting that the test may have been flawed.
            Deployed contractors can do a good job; especially if there are not enough sailors and shore-based maintenance facilities to do the job. LCS was never intended to be any more than a forward deployed vessel with limited operational capability (21 days.) Don’t try to make it more than it was intended.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Bob Work’s 2013 paper is worth reading if only to see how little LCS has delivered compares to what was promised

            Actually I was referring to when Mr. Work stated that enemy craft would be too scared to leave port when LCs was around. I’ll find the quote.

            Hellfire on a 4,500 ton vessel is far from decent capability. LCS is out-missiled by PRC FACs that are only 220 tons and probably a fraction of the cost.

            I am not trying to make LCS more than it was supposed to be. On the contrary: I’ve read the CONOPs documents from the early 2000s.

            The problem is the LCS we are actually getting is a far cry from what was supposedly required… which never made sense to begin with.

          • Lazarus

            Sigh; amateurish ship to ship comparisons don’t mean anything. LCS is not a 4500 ton ship and Hellfire is a good short range missile system anywhere.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Sorry. 3,500 tons. HELLFIRE is certainly a good short-range missile. Emphais on short-range. It will be absolutely useless in a high-end fight.

          • Duane

            Duh. the high end fight is with ASCMs, and the LCS is at least as capable as any other US surface warship today, with NSM being far superior to any Harpoon or SM-6. LRASM is not yet operational on any DDG or CG, but when it is it will also be deployable on LCS too via deck mounted cannister launcher already developed and undergoing testing

          • Lazarus

            Not all fights are high end and not all high end flights stay that way for long. Would rather have Hellfire in a close range engagement (along with hellfire on helicopters) than close into shorter gun ranges with opponents.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Uh huh. And exactly how much recent experience does the Navy have with high end fights?

            WW2 in the Pacific was probably the last example. That was pretty “high-end” right up to even to the last day.

          • Lazarus

            You do eventually run out of big ASCM’s and then need to fight with something else. Theaters become devoid of high end opponent assets. Rabaul remained in Japanese hands throughout WW2 but wasn’t very threatening by 1945. Likewise the Japanese threat in the Philippines was gradually reduced from the 1944 landings into 1945. Sure, there is always high end warfare, but lots of low end stuff in its wake that continues.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Japan had plenty of ASCMs right up until the end. They were called kamikazes.

            I would once again encourage you to read some of the literature. China is putting ASCMs on just about everything. They’ve also shown themselves to have a very deep industrial capacity.

            It appears the only “virtues” of LCS are that it can run away from ships that outclass it and perhaps play sweep-up when the serious fighting is over. Hardly awe-inspiring.

          • PolicyWonk

            While what you say is true: LCS (either class) isn’t a 4500 ton ship; and Hellfire is a good weapon.

            However, LCS sailors are acutely aware that any peer navy ship of similar (or even half the) tonnage is vastly better armed/protected than LCS will ever be. Those assigned to LCS, if ordered into combat against a peer opponent, are merely cannon fodder. You might recall the old PT boats were also all but unprotected, but they were very heavily armed, could do serious damage to a much larger adversary, and stood an excellent chance on being destroyed. But they were all manned by volunteers – and LCS shares none of the virtues while costing vastly more (hint: the excellent chance of being destroyed is not, IMO, a virtue, and therefore isn’t counted).

            The Box o’ Hellfires is a nifty innovation for sure: small, powerful, and accurate. But it doesn’t take LCS to carry it, and now larger ships can be easily equipped with the same armament, leaving LCS with one less job to do.

          • Lazarus

            I know a lot of LCS sailors. PT boats never lived up to their reputation; one largely from movies and not supported in real life. They never sank anything larger than a destroyer escort in battle.

          • Duane

            Yep … PT boats were extremely crude and cheap weapons platforms … the one thing Hollywood got right is they were truly expendable, the “Hooligan Navy”. Their rep was made by MacArthur’s rescue and a presidential campaign.

          • Find another 3000 ton warship (let alone a 1500 ton one) with 2-3x armed aircraft, 24x short range AShM (or 8x long range AShM), 11/21x short range SAM (with antisurface capability), a 57mm gun (with guided shells in development), two 30mm cannon, and multiple UUV/USV’s, while still being blue water capable with a range of 3500/4500 miles and a top speed of 45 knots. Oh, and given a few days it can be converted to a highly capable ASW or MCM platform. LCS is not a DDG, but there isn’t another ship in the world that equals it at it’s intended task.

          • Duane

            Thank you, some factual common sense injected into a silly harangue of a thread.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            The Navy has pretty much given up on the concept of “converting” from one mission module to another. it was found to be completely unworkable.

            These are going to be single-mission ships. On the plus side: guess the navy should be congratulated for building the world’s most expensive MCM vessel.

          • Lazarus

            Nope; just they were scared off from exercising it by uninformed members of Congress. Module changeout in three days can be done.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Nope. The Navy’s own analysis says it will take weeks to swap unless the ships/modules/crews (magically) happen to be in the exact right place.

            The Navy has also gone to a single crew concept – vice separating ship and module crews. They also substantially reduced the total mission-module buy There are no spare modules to swap.

            These facts effectively kill the fast-module swapping CONOPS. These are going to be single-mission ships. The sad part is that modularity was a good idea in principle. It was just horribly implemented by LCS.

          • Duane

            No, the Navy has certainly not given up on switching modules, as easily proven by what the Navy actually declared in late 2016, and by their budgeted purchase of more MMs than the 32 – now 34 – LCS now authorized for construction.

            The Navy declared that they will not switch MMs from patrol to patrol, as originally conceived and as easily performed in about 24-48 hours pierside, because that was found to be too disruptive of crew continuity, since MM staff also serve on the ship’s general watchbill.

            Instead, the module change-outs will occur during regular crew shifts (Blue to Gold, and vice versa).

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Your claim on module swapping is not supported by any Navy public statements I could find. It reads as if each LCS division and associate ships will focus on a particular mission area (ASW, SUW and MCM).

          • Duane

            Plus 8 long range ASCMs, a fully capable AEGIS derivative combat data management system. And our most advanced short range missile defense system.

            Oh and the aircraft complement is actually 3 to 4 aircraft, in a mix of MH-60, MQ-8B, and MQ-8C. And the largest flight decks and hangar facilities of any US surface warship that that does not deploy fixed wing aircraft.

          • PolicyWonk

            The two 30mm cannon only exist if the (weak) SUW package is installed.

            If you’re referring to a whopping 24 Hellfires, this is only a big deal to the defenders of the indefensible: the Box o’ Hellfires can be installed on any ship, and ultimately reduces the usefulness of LCS. Long range ASM’s were only added to LCS as a bolt-on, and could as easily be added to a commercial trawler (or a barge for that matter).

            The top speed of the LCS has turned more into a burden than an asset, given the poor reliability of the propulsion systems, the heavy (and proprietary) maintenance requirements, and the extraordinary high cost it adds per sea frame given the incremental value. The EPFs, in comparison: are virtually as fast (at 1/4 the cost); have 6X more room for growth; have been proven very reliable; are trivial to modify for new purposes; and, their crews love ’em. They have soundly (and embarrassingly) beaten LCS at its own game.

            The USN itself determined that the mission packages, once assigned to a given ship, are unlikely to be changed out. The original number of 3 days was then published by the USN to be 3 months, yet now we have Lazurus claiming its still 3 days, or could be three days, maybe somehow someday. Given his (and Duane’s) willingness to flagrantly misrepresent the facts, I don’t put any stock in his claims.

            The fact that both LCS classes were at least designed with large flight decks is their only truly notable virtue, and might someday prove to be their saving grace, providing the multitude of other problems can be worked out (no doubt, at considerably taxpayer expense). Regardless, the program is a miserable failure by any reasonable measure.

            Cheers.

          • Duane

            The Mk 46 30 mil guns are installed on every LCS, and will continue to be installed on every remaining LCS. Ditto with the OTH missiles and launchers and supporting nerworked AEGIS-derivative COMBATTS-21 combat info system required to support an offensive OTH missile capability, which the Navy finally announced in June will go on All LCS, not just a few SuW.

            In other words, ALL LCS will effectively be equipped for SuW, while some will also be equipped for ASW and others will also be equipped for MCM. And all of this is perfectly aligned with the “Distributed Lethality” doctrine and the NIFCCA strategy for disaggregated platforms able to pool sensors and weapons.

          • Lazarus

            A weak anti-surface package? Many combatants have only one gun and LCS with ASUW package sports three. 24 Hellfires (plus additional weapons fired from embarked helicopters at longer ranges) is an impressive capability. Guess you know really little about naval warfare or capability. EPF’s are cargo/people carriers and not warships. They do not support modular plug and play systems as does LCS. You do not seem very knowledgeable at all on any of this.

          • PolicyWonk

            You keep blathering the same hokum, as if somehow its going to help your case.

            The Box o’ Hellfires is a great innovation, and packs a reasonable punch in relatively close quarters – but its one that can be deployed on practically anything that floats. Choppers are relatively easy targets, lack stealth, and in a contested environment will likely be quickly wiped out.

            With the vaunted SUW, it does add significant firepower to the LCS percentage wise (both of those guns are 30mm), given all it otherwise has are small arms and a single 57mm. However, when compared to a peer opponent such as a Russian Gepard-class frigate (at a mere ~1900t), LCS is simply gonna become an artificial reef.

            Guess you don’t know much about survivability, or care about the lives of those ordered to man them!

            While an EPF might be designed as a cargo carrier: its a simple/versatile platform; its easy to modify; has 600t of room for growth (not counting any superstructure you cut away); and could be modified pretty quickly into something far more lethal at a reasonable cost.

          • Duane

            The LCS sailors are not aware of what is not true.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Duplicate

          • PolicyWonk

            Right. The overseas presence missions that were supposed to be handled by LCS were instead assigned to Cyclone-class PCs, probably because LCS has proven so successful and terrifying to our adversaries, the USN decided they were better off keeping them tied to the pier.

            Too bad that 100 tons of weight for additional equipment wasn’t sufficient for the ASW mission package. The EPF’s have a 600 ton capacity for additional equipment at a fraction (1/4) of the cost, and their crews are crowing about how much them love them, saying the sky’s the limit w/r/t what they can do.

          • Lazarus

            PC’s have been confined to the Persian Gulf because its enclosed waters are really the one non-Western Hemisphere location where the PC’s work. I served on a PC from 1993 to 1997. PC’s will be of little value in high end combat and work best for low end maritime interdiction.
            Expeditionary Fast transports were designed to haul cargo, but are not equipped to support modular weapon systems as is LCS. A big difference.

          • PolicyWonk

            PCs aren’t intended for high-end combat, and neither is LCS, if the former CNO and the USN’s own IG are to be believed.

            The EPF’s might not be currently equipped for supporting modular weapons systems, but clearly it would be fairly straightforward to do so, given they are so easy to modify and have 6X the room for growth an LCS does. Recently, one of them tested the MCM mission package components very successfully, as was reported on this site.

            And it did so at a fraction of the price of an LCS.

      • Bryan

        I hear what you’re saying, but I believe it’s important to remember that the strategy that drives acquisition can work with many different ships.

        The problem with lcs was it grew into something that didn’t fit the strategy and now we don’t have enough money to make it work. So the low end didn’t work out to be low enough and it cutting into the high end.

        I’m all for a expanding our use of the small craft in peace time as long as we have a way to use them in war time. Otherwise any penny we use on them is wasted.

        So can a frigate/light ddg work? Sure it can. But it would have to take away from number of ddg’s. That would mean splitting the ddg mission. The Navy could go back to a small craft/offshore patrol/ambassador, frigate, ddg escort.

        • Lazarus

          I agree that the follow-on to LCS should probably be smaller and eventually automated. LCS can free up the DDG force for high end wartime operations, serve as an effective combat force on its own (if grouped in distributive flotillas) and support the USMC EABO concept operations.

          • Rocco

            Not in agreement

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I suspect the Marine Corps wants very little to do with LCS. 57mm pop gun. No area air-defense. Questionable near-shore survivability.

          • Lazarus

            No they don’t: other weapons work for LCS such as the Finnish Amos 120mm.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Sigh. Feasibility is not the same as funded, tested, integrated or fielded.

            The problem is you expect (assume) the acquisition system works much faster than it actually does.

          • Lazarus

            Nope: I know too well how slow and non innovative the acquisition system is.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            No argument. I just don’t get why you assume it will suddenly change.

          • Lazarus

            I don’t think it will change without major reform.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            But the whole premise of rapid upgrades to LCS seems to depend on that major reform!

            That’s what we in the analytic community call a bad assumption.

          • Lazarus

            No, just an acquisition and testing system hostile to innovation and stuck in a 1960’s era business model.

          • PolicyWonk

            Its not hostile to innovation: its hostile to fraud and failure.

            W/r/t the 1960’s business model – this is in many respects true.

          • Lazarus

            It is hostile to innovation. Bob McNamara designed it that way for a Cold War model that no longer fits. Goldwater Nichols wrecked the Navy acquisition system just as much as it seriously damaged the business of Navy Strategy.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Funny how the acquisition system is some evil cabal, but the folks in PEO(LCS) are heroic civil servants.

          • Lazarus

            No, that’s what I call an acquisition community stuck in a 1950’s mindset. If the US acquisition system was tasked with building an IPhone in 2005, it would still be working on an improved Sony Walkman. LOL!

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            If the folks developing LCS had been in charge of developing the iPhone we would end up with two tin cans attached by a string.

          • Lazarus

            Yes, but thanks to the dated acquisition system that decided that the legacy tin can system was more affordable and the OT&E folks thought the string was more survivable than a digital system.

    • honcho13

      As one who DID serve on those “old” (DE-1030 & FF-1064) greyhounds, I agree with most of what you say! Also, remember, that a “carrier group” was a much larger entity back then. And, that the Navy (in its wisdom) had taken ALL the defensive weapons off the carrier. And, carriers had NO ASW capability either. Times and design have changed – and hopefully improved. Also, each of today’s ‘carrier battle groups’ deploys with a couple a fast attack subs, which is a serious deterrent/upgrade. Back in “my day” DE’s & DD’s carried Weapon Alpha & the DASH helo, upgraded later-on to ASROC and the LAMPS. This included the Nuclear Depth Charge, which truly made these old picket ships expendable! Hopefully, one of these NEW designs will plug the hole in the defensive capabilities of the Carrier Battler Group. MY big concern is that the government (and the Navy) still seem to have this LITTORAL fixation, when they should be be more attentive to the needs of our BLUE WATER fleet! Fair winds and following seas! MMCS(SW), US Navy (retired) (DE-1030, FF-1064, DD-850, DD-718, CV-41, CV-43 & CV-61)

      • Far from removing all defensive weapons from the carriers, the Navy has in fact added ESSM and RAM, making them much better armed today than they ever were during the Cold War.

        • honcho13

          It’s too bad you didn’t read what I wrote! I wasn’t talking about TODAY’s Navy! IF you will go back to the 60s & 70s, carriers had NO defensive weapons! None! Nadda! The “gun” sponsons were vacant – they were a place to have a smoke or get some fresh air. I was stationed aboard the Coral Sea when it was the first carrier (circa 1979/80) to deploy with The Phalanx gun system (CIWS). BEFORE that event carriers were dependent on their screening vessels and deployed aircraft. The DEs/FFs & DDs had the Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS), ASROC and the LAMPS helo. The carriers could deploy the S-2 Tracker and helos with a “dipper”, (Oh, and don’t want to forget the P-2 and P-3 guys who were flying the fringes of the battle group!) BUT it was up to the screening vessels to conduct ASW and keep the battle group safe! I had the privilege to serve aboard the USS Joseph K. Taussig (DE-1030) when she was THE first Destroyer Escort to win the ASW Trophy for the Atlantic Fleet! And, even though, as you point out, carriers have an excellent defensive capability today, I’ll bet my retirement on the fact the ANY CO of a carrier worth-his-salt, would feel a lot better with a few more screening ships, like the good ol’ FFs and DE’s! Just saying… MMCS(SW), USN (ret)

          • Rocco

            Agreed well put. My Forrestal kept it’s aft guns til 69!

      • Rocco

        Kudos sir!! CV-59-68-60

    • Floridian04072

      It’s a different world now. Back in the days you mention the anti-ship missiles were few and far between. Granted, there were subs/torpedoes. These days you can have a swarm of small craft with cheap C-801s. How many LCS would a group need to defend against that type of attack? And do you have any idea of the range limitations due to fuel the LCS faces? Also, at nearly $500mil each they can hardly be seen as cheap/expendable.

      • Duane

        Fuel limitation is not what you think. Standard fuel on the Indy variant is 4,300 nn, just 200 nm less than the OHP … and it has aux fuel tankage that can push its range up to 5,400 nm – 900 nm MORE than the OHP. The Indy’s are designated for West Pac, the only theater where long range even matters. The Freedom variant are designated for EastLant/Med/Persian Gulf, where range is not an issue.

    • Bryan

      Nice strawman argument. Not everyone that would be happen to end the lcs program before it started are haters. Many called out the program for it’s faults. Those faults came to pass. There are some good ideas in the early lcs program. There were also some really stupid ones.

      Long before mission creep set in Navy culture tried to protect the program from cancellation. That fact along with several strategic choices doomed the program. That was going to be true even if all the silly experimentation hadn’t hampered the program.

      And yes I’ve spent some time on the flight deck staring at Bears overhead. And we’re not going to accept blip enhancing manned platforms anymore. That’s why God invented Sea Hunter’s. LOL.

      The future: The good things from the LCS program will pop up. Others will take credit for them. Others will suggest much of the lcs program ideas were just before their time.

    • Ed L

      Let’s put the LCS at sea. Sailors belong on ships and ships belong at sea.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Thanks for putting your bigger-than-life Blip out there as cannon fodder, ew_3, and thank you for your past service to our country.

      • ew_3

        Have a really hard time responding to folks who thank me for my service, but after what I went through when I got back from Vietnam (riverine duty) and when I got out in early 74 I’ve developed a defensive shell.
        It’s very difficult at this point in my life to be able to respond to you.

        • publius_maximus_III

          Fully understand, Sir. Many returning Warriors were spat upon (not by me, but not that that matters, it happened.) Where I used to work before retiring, one of the guys in the shop had a label on back of his hard hat: Vietnam Vets Ain’t Fonda Jane. Old wounds, deep wounds. I always recognize that yellow-green-red VN ribbon on bumper stickers. I graduated from college the year after your return. You may already know this, but ADM Zumwalt’s son was a Riverine officer. He died of cancer later in life, a direct result of exposure to the Agent Orange his father approved for use along river banks to reduce cover for snipers.

          • ew_3

            Zumwalt’s son served just north of me in the U Minh “forest”. Think Everglades.
            A lot of people have died early since they came home. Don’t always assume agent orange.
            We die early because of we were rejected when we came back. You were suddenly a bad guy, and you spend the rest of your life with that. I’m 65, and if I make it 67 I’ll be lucky. The Korean war guys had the same bad deal. I actually feel worse for them.
            I’m truly glad the younger vets are being treated better now.
            BTW – I’m no sir. I worked for living in the USN. 😉

    • cousinbruce

      ULQ-6? That’s an ancient device. I served on an FFG with SLQ-32 v5 with Sidekick. I also feel LCS is waste of money need a true FFG with some room for growth for future technology and weapons systems unlike FFG-7 class

    • Ed L

      Hotdog pack guns on the back Krivak

  • Ed L

    2020 contract awarded? Really? First one hits the water maybe 2023? The Navy needs Frigates now. I say since the lines for the NSC and Fremm are hot the navy needs to pick one and use the same weapons that are on the Burke DDG’s for standardized. To the brass hats and politicians KIS. Plus the Burke’s with there BMD mission need someone to watch there 6 and take a hit to protect the Capital ships. During WW2 there are many cases of escort vessels taking a torpedo to protect the Carrier.

    • Lazarus

      Why does the Navy need a frigate? The Russians have a tiny number of submarines these days and the PRC is focused on air and land-based missiles rather than sub launched weapons. There is no mass-ASW need for a frigate. I think people just want something “more lethal” than LCS rather than for an identified, operational need.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        Laz. Do. Your. Research. I’d start with the 2017 CRS report on Chinese Naval Modernization (RL 33153, July 19, 2018). See Table 4 specifically.

        China is expected to field around 70 submarines by 2020.- compared with only 30 destroyers. It appears that many of these will likely be modern air-independent propulsion (AIP) designs which are perfectly suited for sea-denial / ASuW.

        Read the section on anti-ship cruise missiles. The YJ-18 ASCM is credited with a maximum 290 nm range. It appears that China intends to put the YJ-18 on the indigenously-built SONG, YUAN and SHANG units.

        RE: Russia. Yes, they has fewer submarines in the Cold War. However, many of these boats are extremely capable. Putin also appears to be using them quite aggressively. It’s also worth noting that the USN has other threats to deal with – and our European allies ASW capability and capacity are a shadow of what they once were.

        Bottom line: ASW is a growing concern. We need a surface escorts that can protect both our strike groups and combat logistics forces (CLF). Even the former head of EUCOM (an Air Force four-star) said as much.

        • Lazarus

          A number of those PLAN subs are old, and not all mount ASCM’s. Adding ASCM’s to older subs may or may not happen. In any case, surface escorts are ill-equipped to take the lead in ASW other than to supply helicopters to the effort. The best ASW platform remains another submarine with maritime patrol aircraft also very effective. Surface ships lack the weapons needed to engage any submarine at necessary range as well and even the helicopters do not have the appropriate range of action. The DDG is better equipped to defeat long range ASCM attack than any of the frigate designs being considered.
          One Russian sub at sea is a substantial improvement over zero and given that the Russian sub fleet is spread amongst 4 disparate geographic locations, it is unlikely that more than a half dozen capable Russian subs will be available anywhere for sea denial operations. ASW is a growing concern (from a near zero concern,) but the bulk of the China/Russia effort seems devoted to missiles launched from air and ground-based locations rather than submarines.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Again. Do you research on planned PLAN submarine modernization. Plenty of stuff out there if you would just read it.

          • Lazarus

            It is a guess and not fact. The US tends to make all opponents 10 feet tall. Do your own reading on how capable opponents of the past were in comparison to faulty US estimates.

          • Ed L

            An old diesel sub laying in wait at a choke point can do a lot of damage.

          • Lazarus

            Old often means loud. That sub also has to get to the choke point first. Chinese and Russian subs have long sails to major Western choke points.

          • Ed L

            Be silent and waiting in ambush is just like deer hunting with a shotgun. Not much range with a shotgun but you only need one shot. Except in an ambush one needs to get it right the first

          • Lazarus

            Yes but you have to actually get to the duck blind before you can shoot. Plenty of obstacles to that are you are a datum after release of one weapon.

          • Duane

            Diesel boats are not very stealthy … they have to either surface or raise a snorkel every 24 hours, which makes them easily detectable. They are very slow when submerged, less than 10 kts except for a very brief burst – measured in minutes, not hours – which rapidly depletes their batteries.

            All of the above is why the USN has had an all SSN fleet since the 1970s, and a mostly SSN fleet since the early 60s.

          • NavySubNuke

            “Diesel boats are not very stealthy … they have to either surface or raise a snorkel every 24 hours”
            Demonstrably false —- especially if the SSK is bottomed at a choke point and isn’t expending any juice on station keeping.
            And yes, SSKs bottom all the time.

          • Duane

            Demonstrsbly true. All diesel electrics are constrained by limited battery capacity.
            There is no magic storage battery that will allow multi day patrols, or bursts of speed measured in hours not minutes. You know that but you are so consumed with trolling me that you will literally write any stupid obviously false thing just to continue your trolling.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL — Of course all SSKs are constrained by limited battery capacity but your ignorant and foolish notion that SSKs in 2018 are forced to snorkel every 24 hours is completely false.
            There are a number of solutions that will allow an SSK to remain submerged without snorkeling for greater than 24 hours even if you refuse to acknowledge they exist.

          • Duane

            Not operationally. A WW2 sub could go greater than 24 hours, but only in an emergency such as being forced down by ASW attac.

            Only an idiot CO – like ummm, you, would intentionally nit surface or snorkel at least daily to provide sufficient battery reserve to, well, operate normally.

            Even the WW2 boats could go up to 48 hours without running the diesels, but only in an emergency such as being forced down by ASW attack by surface ships, or to repair battle damage, not as a normal wartime operational mode. To run on battery that long required dead slow propulsion, shutting down ventilation and most lighting and any non-essential gear.

            And you can now stop flogging your old ctsppy barely operational Russian systems, comrade NSN. They will surely reward you with an extra vodka ration today for trolling beyond the call of duty.

          • NavySubNuke

            I understand that is what you believe because you have no relevant operational experience or even any real knowledge of the subject but the reality is far different.
            That is actually the whole purpose of AIP submarines but considering you don’t even believe in the existence of French nuclear powered aircraft carriers or over the horizon radar and you think Ron O from CRS is a CBS news reporter I can understand why you don’t get this.
            It is rather telling that your go-to example is WWII diesel boats. I realize at your age it is tough to keep up with advances and changes in technology. But I assure you that submerged SSK operations – particularly for high end SSK operations such as Russia’s Black Sea kilos – have evolved just a little bit since 1945 even if you are too ignorant to realize it.
            I really don’t know what is funnier though — have a piece of gutter trash like you accuse me of being a paid Russian troll or having you be upset about someone flagging your posts when you are the king of flagging posts. It is really tough to decide.
            Regardless both are pretty entertaining.

          • Duane

            You are such a pompous idiot who claims to be a former syb sailor but who obviously never was. The same guy who claimed in one comment he was the Engineering Officer on a 688 class but admitted in another thread that he (you) were not nuclear trained … an impossibility.

            You are also the same guy who ridiculously claims t, hat the French nuclear carrier is a CVN, when the French have never had a “CVN”, which is what I correctly stated, because a CVN is big deck, 95+ thousand ton super carrier, while the DeGaulle displaces less than 40,000 tons, making it even smaller than one of our Wasp class mid sized aviation amphibs. A nuclear power plant does not make a super carrier.

            And you obviously know nothing of either submarine technology or tactics, or you would not post such riduculous claims that diesel boats routinely sit on the bottom and wait for ships to steam by, or that diesel boats don’t surface or snorkel daily to mauntain battery charge. You read something handed to you by your Russian handlers and then pretend to be an American sub vet, but any real sub vet can detect a phony like you with ease.

          • NavySubNuke

            It really is funny to see the nonsense you come up with. I didn’t say diesels “routinely sit on the bottom and wait for ships to steam by” — I said diesels routinely bottom and that in a war that is a tactic they would use.
            I did however say that “diesel boats don’t surface or snorkel daily to mauntain battery charge” because it is true based on how modern diesel subs actually operate. I realize you don’t accept or believe this because you still think the diesel boats of WWII are the pinnacle of technological achievement for SSKs but you have to realize that is just because you are an ignorant fool not because it is true.
            I’m not sure what corner of your dull and uncomprehending mind these false memories of me claiming to have been on a 688 but not nuclear trained come from but it never happened. Nice try though stolen valor.
            Keep up the good work gutter trash — you really are entertaining!

          • Duane

            And how many square miles of ocean can a submarine stranded on the bottom, stationary, in other words, search for enemy traffic, as compared to a nuke SSN leisurely cruising along at say 20 knots?

            The answer, which exposes you as the phony nuke sub sailor that you claim to be, is obviously damn near nine. You don’t know anything of sub tactics l, that is for damn sure.

            You are the same guy in one thread claimed to be an ex-Engineering Officer on a 688 class boat, while in another thread you obviously forgot your handler’s script and stated (revealed) that you were not a nuclear trained officer.

            OOPS!!! Stupid Alert!

          • NavySubNuke

            Hey stolen valor — read my actual post “especially if the SSK is bottomed at a choke point and isn’t expending any juice on station keeping”
            Also, you can make up whatever lies you want I never claimed to be anything but a served 1120 who did a tour on an SSBN. Remember — that was the thread you got confused and thought an 1120 was a shipyard worker because you had no idea what the designater of a submarine officer is?
            Hint: I was the guy who spent the first part of my tour sitting behind you in maneuvering watching you shim in and out and change pump speeds like a good little trained monkey.
            I realize your experience is more than 40 years out of date and includes no actual time in control during operations though so I don’t take your complete and utter ignorance personally.

          • Duane

            We realuze you are a typical abussive Russian troll who can spout talking points handed out by you Troll Farm handlers, but who gets hopelessly confused with actual sybmarine technology and tactics You are the one who specifically called yourself “Engineer” on a 688 and then later admitted you are not nuclear trained, which is an impossibility in the US Navy. It is possible for phony imposter like you to pretend to be a real sub vet as long as you keep your comments very vague, and stick to typical abusive Russian troll farm tactics … but you cannot survive any detailed technical discussion because your lies always fail.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. Old man you really are so confused it is hilarious. I realize you are trying to cover up for your embarrassment and ignorance by making up lies about things I supposedly said and accusing me of being a Russian troll so I don’t really mind.
            We all “realuze” as you call it that that at the end of the day your over-developed pride, under developed intellect, and complete and utter lack of personal integrity will make you say just about anything to avoid admitting you are wrong even though you always are.
            Have a great day gutter trash!

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Your statement that “…the PRC is focused on air and land-based missiles rather than sub launched weapons” is clearly not supported by the open-source CRS report or ONI report from which it is sourced.

            You may choose to discount these sources – but that calls into question the basis of your seemingly counter-factual assessments. Assessments which very conveniently support your argument against the need for FFG(X).

          • Lazarus

            I disagree and for good reasons.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Care to explain them? I am guessing no…

          • Lazarus

            Can’t discuss in this forum

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Called it.

          • Lazarus

            If you were the professional you claim then you would know why.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I have no idea on your sources, but your views of the future threat environment are massively out of step with what I’ve read.

            Frankly, it just seems like you’re making stufff up to support your chosen views.

          • Lazarus

            Can’t help it if its beyond your classification level

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I thought academics believed in sources and references. Yet you always seem to come up short in that department.

            The argument “I know more than you” simply doesn’t hold water with me. At least not when the opinion is massively incongruent with the existing literature.

          • Lazarus

            If you have to ask, then you just don’t know. In any case, USNI does not permit links.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Sigh. You always seem to have that answer when pressed for specific sources and references. It is strange for a so-called academic.

            The logical conclusion in this case would seem to be you are either:

            a. alluding to unverifiable classified information or;
            b. simply making stuff up.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I imagine that is exactly what someone with no actual sources would say.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I don’t imagine many of us have access to the “stuff Laz made up” specialized compartment.

      • Ed L

        20 frigates would be a good start. frigates are needed to do the following and much more: AAW, ASUW, ASW, barrier operations, convoy duty, escort duty for CBG ARG, wander off on there own for days and weeks at a time, Plane guard for Carrier Ops, littoral surveillance, etc.

        • Wondering

          Modern version of the old “tin cans”. Fast expendable deadly

          • Rocco

            I don’t agree with deadly!!

          • Ed L

            Yes, my Uncle was on a Tin Can in the pacific and he said one of the few times he wasn’t scare was when his ship stood into the path of a torpedo to protect a cargo ship. He was scared the most of the time. But not then cause they knew they were doing there job

      • NavySubNuke

        There actually is an identified operational need — that is why SECDEF directed the Navy to terminate the LCS program and start procuring an actual warship instead.
        That is also why when the Navy tried to rush a stretched out LCS into service as a Frigate they were directed to go back and try harder.
        Just because an argument and reasoning aren’t provided in a full, open, and unclassified forum doesn’t mean such things don’t exist.

      • Adrian Ah

        I think you answered your own question. People do want something more lethal. At the same time, they want something that isn’t some concurrency failure- they want somthing that will work NOW, not 20 years in the future.

        As for no need for ASW, wasn’t that one of the LCS’s vaunted functions? Why is it ok for a LCS to have this function, but not for a frigate/destroyer?

        As for no Chinese subs , it would seem that the Australian Govt disagrees with you as to the sub threat in the Pacific in NEA and SEA. There are several articles online about this. It’s also reflected in the modernisation of their military- increase from 6 to 12 subs, 9 specialised anti sub frigates, double the tonnage of the previous frigates, new P-8’s and Tritons.

        A country like Australia can’t afford to buy as much as the US, so it chooses what’s important to them. And they believe that in the 21st century- missiles will create a no approach area of several hundred km from shore, surface ships are vulnerable , and it’s the subs which will dominate.

        So it does make sense to have some ASW assets. The LCS failed. Why not take a frigate which has better sea keeping, longer range, the ability to carry anti sub weapons- ASROC?

        • Lazarus

          The Australian Navy was in need of modernization in any case; with frigates and submarines that date from the 1980’s. Maximizing supposed threats is also a time immemorial method of getting a legislative body to cough up funds for modernization.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          Forget it dude. All you need to know is:

          1. Laz is diehard supporter of LCS.
          2. LCS is not expected to perform well in the open-ocean ASW role.
          3. Laz will therefore deny the existence of a submarine threat – even if all evidence points to it.

          • Lazarus

            1. The US Navy is a supporter of LCS
            2. LCS can support ASW as a helicopter landing pad and eventually as a sensor platform. No USN surface combatant has the weapons to engage submarines outside torpedo/missile range.
            3. There is a submarine threat, but not the wild claims that some have advanced.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Hard to say what “the US Navy” supports. It is a pretty big organization.

            It does however seem that with FFG(X), OPNAV is trying to move beyond LCS as quickly as possible. Note also that the attempts two years ago to simply upgrade LCS to a frigate were soundly rejected.

            I’ve already sent you a quote from one serving SWO (and Proceedings author) “… that LCS is generally considered a problematic lemon and major financial weight on the surface fleet – some would even call it an embarrassment.”

            Not exactly a rosy endorsement.

          • NavySubNuke

            “The US Navy is a supporter of LCS”
            LOL – if you could have seen this years defense planning guidance you would know how wrong you are on this.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      The idea is for the Pentagon desk jockeys to have meetings and drink coffee in lieu of work.
      If they play their cards right a jockey can spend their entire career on one project.

      After all, USS Freedom was ordered 14 years ago….. and has nothing to show for its career.

      • Lazarus

        Two deployments is not nothing. I note that you used ordered, vice commissioned; the usual measure of a ship’s active life. Trying to adjust the numbers in your favor?

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          LCS-1 was commissioned in November 2008. Two deployments in a decade. Wow.

          • Lazarus

            Sigh; program experimental until 2011and afterward not designed as a single crew conventional deployed.

          • NavySubNuke

            Contrast that with the now combat proven FREMMs that have been regularly going on deployments for several years.
            Languedoc commissioned in March 2016 and was on deployment by that summer.

          • Duane

            FREMMs are NOT “combat proven”. Combat is not firing a couple of long range land attack missiles at a target that cannot shoot back. That is what most folks would call “target practice”.

            “Combat”, like the tango, requires two participants.

            Your silly spinning continues to undercut all of your propagandustic commentary.

          • NavySubNuke

            We can debate what IS or IS not combat.
            What isn’t up for debate is the way the FREMMs have been deployed supporting the security of the NATO alliance throughout EUCOM waters for years —- including the same year in which they are commissioned.
            What also isn’t up for debate is the fact that the LCS will not make a single deployment in 2018 and that the entire program has only produced 3 deployments to date.

          • Duane

            There is no debate about the meaning of the term “combat”.

            And at least LCS patrolled in harms way in the world’s most infamously contested waters, in close proximity to PLAN frigates, in the South Chuns Sea … while FREMMs are operating in those o so dangerous waters of the French Riviera, where angry sunbathers might somehow take offense that those brave Italian and French sailors have fancier shower fixtures on their luxury cruise liner frigates than they have in their hotel suites in Nice.

          • NavySubNuke

            LOL. Oh dear – there you go demonstrating how ignorant you are again. No worries though — if you actually appreciated the situation in EUCOM you wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining.

          • Lazarus

            LCS has done all of those things that Duane lists. USS Coronado evaded two PLAN frigates on a FON OPS event; simply by sailing into water too shallow for the Chinese to pursue her.

          • NavySubNuke

            I was talking about his notion that there is nothing for the FREMMs to be doing in the Med and that the SCS is so much more dangerous.
            But I am glad to hear how couragous our sailors were in running for shore when challenged by (to quote Duane) “PLAN frigates, in the South Chuns Sea”

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            So the best thing we can say about LCS is that it is really good at running away?

          • Bubblehead

            There were two participants. The Syrians (getting clobbered) & the FREMM’s.

            The FREMM is certainly more combat proven than the LCS.

            And just to be clear, those land attack missiles you put shade on, they are more than anything the LCS can shoot. You do know the longest range weapon on the LCS is the 10M RAM missile. You can make up excuses all day long, but that is pathetic.

          • Lazarus

            LCS has three deployments and multiple missions completed as well. Firing cruise missiles at those who cannot shoot back is not really proving anything beyond the baseline capability of one’s systems.

          • Don’t forget that the FREMM that was supposed to launch the missiles had some unspecified malfunction, forcing the back up ship to take over – that always seems to be left out when people tout how “combat proven” it is.

          • Lazarus

            And the French FREMM’s have just crested the $1b cost point and the reduced class build is not yet complete.

          • NavySubNuke

            It’s actually another great talking point considering there was actually ANOTHER FREMM THERE TO TAKE OVER.
            Consider that in the history of the LCS program we have only had 3 deployments and none of those deployments overlapped.
            Maybe 2019 will be the year we can deploy 2 LCS in a single year —- maybe even (gasp) at the same time!!

        • Adrian Ah

          When an AB is built, how many deployments will it have over the first 10 years of it’s life?

          Ignore the AB- what about simple logistics ships?

          How much at seas time will it have spent in the 10 year period?

          • Lazarus

            Again, LCS was an experimental program through 2011 and was entirely paused for the proceeding two years. LCS 1 has deployed twice and conducted many ops in/around CONUS to include the Caribbean. Some of the MCM fleet have remained in US waters for their whole careers.

      • Ed L

        Sailors belongs on ships and Ships belong at Sea

  • publius_maximus_III

    Uncle Publius calculates $112,246,599 paid out to six contestants so far for “conceptual” FFG(X) work, an average of $19 million each. That’s a whole lot of thin’in out there, Baba Looey. Quick Draw McGraw believes it’s time to crap or get off the pot.

  • Duane

    Ben … any insight on what the optional design work entails?

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    No, Duane. See CRS Report “Navy LCS Program” April 5, 2018. Table 3: Congressional Action on FY18 Procurement Funding Request.

    SCN appropriation account
    Two LCS seaframe = $1,136.1 million ($568 million apiece)
    Cost-to-complete funding for prior year LCSs = $26.9 million

    OPN appropriation account
    Common mission modules equipment for each LCS = $34.7 million
    One LCS SUW module = $53.0 million (MCM is similar)
    LCS in-service modernization = $74.4 million per ship

    This works out to around $750 million per “fully equipped” LCS, depending on how you apportion the cost-to-complete funding.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Modern AIP subs possess substantially more range than WW2 U-Boats – and they certainly didn’t remain confined to their littorals.

    Sending LCS – a ship with minimal air-defense capability – into littorals to hunt ultra-quiet submarines equipped with long-range ASCMs is a pretty dumb idea.

    • Lazarus

      No Navy has ever operated an AIP sub in wartime and those boats still have relatively small provision and torpedo loads. It is also unlikely that they will be re-supplied at sea as were German U-boats in both world wars.
      No surface ships possess the weapons needed to “hunt” any submarine with long range weapons. At best they can support the effort by supplying helicopters and towed arrays.
      That experience of submarine commanders in dirty white sweaters stalking hapless merchants seems to color people’s thoughts even 75 years after they were beaten.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        It doesn’t take a lot of heavyweight torpedoes to mess up a surface ship. See ROKN Cheonan for an example.

        You are for once correct on the proper role of surface vessels in the ASW problem; to act as lilly-pads for ASW helicopters. You’ve also hit on the fact as to why the LCS-ASW mission makes no sense.

        Helicopters are fairly short ranged. Which means that in order for LCS to find and engage enemy submarines lurking in the littorals, it will have to go into the teeth of all of those coastal threats. Fighter bombers, coastal defense cruise missiles, mines, fast attack craft, etc.

        Given LCS’s weak defensive capabilites and single-mission focus, it’s going to need top-cover from a DDG or CG. Which calls into question why you needed the LCS to go do ASW in the first place!

        • Lazarus

          Navy ASW is a team sport and a lot more than LCS. Again, no USN surface combatant should be in PRC waters on day one of a war.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            I agree. ASW is a team sport. I just don’t see what value LCS-ASW provides to the team.

          • Lazarus

            Surface ships in general do not provide much beyond some detection and basing for helos.

          • NavySubNuke

            That was true in the past but the new VDS on the FREMMs is a real game changer. They have shown their value repeatedly in exercise and other operations I have participated in.
            The experiences I have had operating with FREMMs in the real world is what has convinced me what a complete and utter failure and missed opportunity the LCS is. And it is a failure that will continue to hamper the Navy for decades to come. If only we had joined the FREMM program sooner the Navy would be in a much better place today than it is with all of the LCS at home unable to deploy.

          • Lazarus

            Let’s see; even the socialist FNC Corp can now no longer build a FREMM for under $1b per unit and its cost keeps rising, not going down, which suggests that the usual European tricks to reduce ship costs such as foreign sales to offset home country building have run out. FREMM was and is too expensive to be bought in the numbers needed by the USN. Not convinced the Russian Navy sub threat is that great. Having one sub operational in the Atlantic vice zero is an accomplishment, but must be viewed in the context of actual numbers verses the geography.

          • NavySubNuke

            Integrity fail yet again.
            FREMM costs have risen because they are building a different anti-air variant.
            I realize you don’t recognize Russian subs as a threat but that is because you are still stuck in a 1995 mindset and don’t have any appreciation for how the threat has changed since you left active duty and no longer have access to what is actually happening in the real world.
            The least you could do is pay attention to what is being put out publicly — the rising threat of Russian Kilos in the Med — open source reporting talks about the 6 improved Kilos they have delivered to the”Black Sea Fleet” since Sept 2015 for example.
            That is just one theater – there are others.

          • And with EASR and SM-2, FFG(X) is going to be more AAW oriented than the new FREMM’s. So what are the odds it’s going to meet the cost targets?

          • NavySubNuke

            That remains to be seen – a lot depends on what kind of bulk buy discount they can get for the EASR since it is being implemented on the FORDs and Amphibs as well and since it is such a close derivative of SPY-6.
            It is really hard to imagine any of the frigates under consideration coming in at $800M.
            But I would still say that $1B on a FREMM is a much better and wiser investment than the $900+M we are currently spending on each LCS (based on average mission module costs) and I would really hate for us to buy a less capable, less reliable frigate just to try and save 5% or 10% of the costs.
            Having 18 frigates that we can count on is better than having 20 that we can’t.

          • Lazarus

            Low. Expect a $1.5b FFGX by the time we are done and a focus on DDG missions rather than escort, presence, or any other low-end missions.

          • Lazarus

            It’s not 1995, but it is also not 1985. The Russians have less than 60 non-SSBN subs spread over 4 fleets. Not all of those are new or ready for sea at short notice. In any case, submarines and MPA aircraft are the real sub hunters with surface vessels in support at best. The bulk of the Black Sea Fleet is always stuck behind the Dardanelles and the Russian Med presence a pale shadow of the 5th Eskadra of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Most of the hype re Russian subs is just propaganda for increasing European and US fleet size. That’s good, but lets not get wrapped up in the hype as truth; its not.

          • NavySubNuke

            No worries — I didn’t expect you to understand or to grasp the implications of how things have changed since the reality of the situation contradicts what you “know” to be true.

          • Lazarus

            Which means that you give up. Thanks!

          • NavySubNuke

            True – but that is because there is no possible debate with you.
            You have proven repeatedly that you have zero integrity where LCS is concerned.
            You also have proven yourself to be completely close minded and unwilling to even consider that what you “know” to be true is wrong.
            There is no way to debate with someone who is both untruthful and closed minded. So I won’t even try.

          • Duane

            LCS also has a VDS … it has exactly the same ASW capabilities as the FFGX will have.

          • NavySubNuke

            First off – thank you for admitting finally that FREMM does have VDS. It is nice to see you speak truthfully about this issue after lying repeatedly about it in the past.
            Second – it is a lie to say that LCS HAS VDS. LCS might one day have a VDS if the ASW mission module is successful and actually deployed to the fleet. That has yet to actually happen.

          • Duane

            LCS has already taken its VDS to sea for testing and integration. The only ship in the world with the same ASW suite of equipnent -which goes far beyond just a VDS – iS the LCS. It includes a new towed array, a new torpedo defense system, and the MH-60S and MQ-8 B and C equipped with periscooe detection system and a LIDAR based remote sensor good for detecting both shallow submarines and sea mines in the littorals, integrated with LCS on both MQ-8 and MH-60 … none of which equipment has never been installed or integrated on a FREMM, and likely never will be installed on a FREMM since FREMM will not win the FFGX design competition.

          • NavySubNuke

            As I said – I am just happy to you aren’t lying about the FREMM anymore. I realize what a big step that is for you even if your pride won’t let you admit how wrong you were you repeatedly (and incorrectly) claimed it didn’t have VDS.
            Maybe someday the LCS will have VDS and actually deploy with it too. We will see.
            I’m still hopeful we will eventually get something out of the more than $900M we have wasted on each LCS hull but I’m not holding my breath.

          • Graeme Rymill

            “LCS has already taken its VDS to sea”… on 17 July this year USNI News reported that earlier this month “the ASW mission package successfully completed a 10-day pier side test of the Dual-mode ARray Transmitter (DART) Mission System”. The same article goes on to say “The second milestone, which occurred after the DART Mission System test,
            involved a full-power, in water test of the Raytheon-developed active
            array at the Navy’s Seneca Lake Sonar Test Facility in Dresden, NY.” Does a pier side test and a lake test equal taking a VDS to sea? I think not.

          • Duane

            It also was tested at sea last year. The Navy published photos of the VDS being deployed from a ship at sea last year. The scope of a pierside test is different, focusing on other elements of the system than the physical underwater deployment at sea. Perhaps the prior at sea test revealed an issue in end to end testing of the whole sonar (presumably upstream of the VDS sensor) that, when resolved, could be tested pierside. If the pierside test shows the issue was resolved, then the next step could be another round of sea based end to end testing.

            That would be a very standard approach as a system is tested, tweaked, and tested again until everything works as advertized. I spent a few years as a nuclear test engineer, and that was standard testing protocol at our plant.

          • Graeme Rymill

            Unfortunately you have misremembered. The “test on Seneca Lake was the first opportunity for the new technology to be demonstrated in an open-water test environment” That quote comes from a NAVSEA news item dated 16 July 2018. At sea on a LCS in 2017? It didn’t happen.

          • LCS provides a large flight deck, two helicopters, a towed array, and a VDS – all at 1/3 the cost of a Burke. That’s a pretty big contribution to the team.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            You get what you pay for. Burke’s cost more in part because they are multi-mission warships. They can actually do more than one mission.

            LCS provides exactly zero ASW capability unless it happens to be equipped with the ASW module. Without it: they are just targets. Hopefully the enemy submarines don’t end up in places you don’t expect them to be!

            As for a big contribution to the ASW team, let’s crunch the numbers:

            – The Navy plans to buy a total of ten ASW modules. Two are reserved for spares and testing. The remaining eight are allocated to the LCS divisions.

            – There are two LCS-ASW divisions of four ships each. One division is in Mayport. The other in San Diego. Each has a dedicated training vessel.

            – The net result: the billions of dollars and decade plus of research wasted on LCS is going to yield a total of 6-8 deployable ASW combatants!

            PS – I am not sure that LCS deck can support two MH-60Rs, but it appears that LCS-ASW plans to deploy with 1 MH-60.

          • Lazarus

            LCS can provide/support helicopters for ASW ops without even having all of the ASW sensors and equipment to process the action. It may just be an additional helo lilypad in support of operations.

          • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

            Good googly moogly. If all we wanted was a helo lillypayd – we could’ve gotten in a lot cheaper and faster than LCS!

          • NavySubNuke

            Sorry but if you are going to give it credit for a towed array and a VDS you need to include the costs of the mission module since they aren’t organic to the platform — that pushes the cost of the LCS to more than 50% of the cost of the DDG.
            I’m curious if an LCS with an ASW mission module and it’s associated crew embarked has enough room to also carry the flight crews and maintenance folks to fully support and deploy 2 helos in regular ops. That is quite a few extra bodies between the helo det and the mission module when you include all the extra unplanned crew the navy has added to the LCS already.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    Yup – in-service modernization is a cost. The taxpayers pay for it.

    I would submit that lying propaganda is quoting a cost of “$400-$500 million with MM” when the Navy’s own financial reports say the ships alone cost closer to $600 million.

    • Lazarus

      No Artist, In service modernization is an after the fact cost that should not be added into the overall ship cost. Some LCS may operate without an actual mission module ever being installed as well. Some additions like the NSM and Hellfire may be all that an individual LCS carries in addition to seaframe weapons.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        In-service modernization is part of the Navy’s budget request for the LCS program. Whether it gets counted in SCN or OPN is just budget gamesmanship – which CRS has pointed out on numerous occasions.

        Mission modules are also part of the total program cost. Whether they get carried or not is somewhat immaterial. They are being bought on something like a one-to-one ratio for each ship.

        I was re-reading the LCS CONOPS from circa 2004 which stated that the mission modules were the “key” to LCS. And yet now that they have (mostly) failed the modules are evidentially no longer that important

        It is funny how the story pushed by the “LCS booster club” changes to whatever LCS is currently capable of that day.

        • Lazarus

          Lines of accounting matter; it is not “gamesmanship.” You can include them in total ownership cost over the life of the program. LCS modules have not failed. The surface warfare module is quite successful. Other modules remain under development due to poor funding by Congress and the failure of some key systems like NLOS and RMS.

    • Lazarus

      The taxpayers pay for lots of things in the budget. You don’t get to group them as you see fit.

      • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

        I didn’t group them. CRS did

        • Lazarus

          LCS program and individual ships are just as much individual line items as are individual DDG 51’s and their mid life overhauls.

  • Lazarus

    Yep, all three LCS deployments to date have included a plethora of low end missions to include weapon shoots, multinational exercises, the search for the downed/lost Malaysian Air liner, FON ops in the SCS, etc.

    • Rocco

      Agreed

    • Duane

      Yup. And the ASW MM will go on deployment soon after IOC is declared next fiscal year. And MCM the year after that.

  • Rocco

    What deployment’s!!! Searching for MH-60!!!

  • Rocco

    Oh stop with your BS!! For someone who says he served on SSN -637 have at least the decency to acknowledge the man’s service on 7 old school ships. All you try to do shakedown people into believing you!!

  • Rocco

    Who cares

  • Kypros

    Amazing how quickly a billion dollars comes on these “low cost” ships.

    • NavySubNuke

      Low capability sure —– low cost, not so much….

  • Lazarus

    The baseline LCS buy is $568m per unit. $169m MIGHT be the total cost for post-delivery mods to all three, but not per ship and even then, post delivery mods a re a separate budget item. If you start adding those to LCS then you have to add them to everything and all costs increase.
    We have already addressed the “games with module purchase numbers” gambit. Why again surface it? All block buys are dependent on numbers.

  • Lazarus

    I did not say that! I said those failed systems impacted THEIR modules. AT least quote me correctly. There is also significant poor funding by Congress for module procurement and testing which has delayed the modules and the Navy’s updates to them.

    • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

      Seems like LCS is the eternal victim of a diabolical cabal.

      • PolicyWonk

        Indeed, a conspiracy it must be! The Former CNO, the USN’s own IG, DOT&E, OMB, and defense-related publications everywhere, are all colluding to ensure the LCS program is a complete failure.

        Sadly, the USN seems to agree, because they themselves deemed it “the program that broke naval acquisition”.

        I think we’re all in agreement that it would be good if *something* positive could be salvaged from the acquisition disaster that is the LCS program. The problem is finding whatever that “something positive” might be, which hopefully would not unnecessarily endanger the lives of those ordered to serve aboard them.

        Bottom line – we’re stuck with ’em – no doubt to the delight of our potential adversaries.

  • Lazarus

    Sadly yes.

  • Rocco

    Agreed

  • Lazarus

    No USN surface ship would be operating on purpose in PRC littoral waters at the start of a war.

    • NavySubNuke

      Exactly — especially not one with virtually no armament or self defense capabilities!

  • Lazarus

    A FREMM built in the US will cost more than $1b. The FY19 NDAA cost for LCS in a thee ship block buy is $568m. Period. Other LCS program line items are just that: others.

  • Lazarus

    Yes

  • Lazarus

    Budget games

    • NavySubNuke

      Budget truths – even if Duane keeps trying to delete my posts that use the actual real numbers from DoD’s own SCN budgets and SAR reports.
      I am curious though — what is it about being an LCS supporter that makes it impossible to be a person of integrity?

  • NavySubNuke

    DDG-1000, F-22, and LCS were all terminated early.
    The fact that those programs produced weapons that are or will be in service one day verses other programs such as Comanche doesn’t change the fact they were terminated early due to cost or performance issues (or both).

    • Duane

      DDG 1000 is not terminated, just limited to 3 hulls. It is an active program, just as is the F-22. You need to go back to grammar school and learn common English. A program is never terminated until it is removed from the fleet. It is even far sillier to proclaim LCS is terminated when just yesterday, Congress just aurhorized three more LCS.

      • NavySubNuke

        LOL. You really pick the funniest things to fight about.
        I suppose it is a compensation measure for all the times you have been caught lying or proven to be completely and utterly ignorant though.
        No worries old man — we all realize that no matter what word you use — terminated, truncated, ended — LCS, DDG-1000, F-22 were all it due to cost over runs and (in the case of LCS) inadequate performance.

  • NavySubNuke

    Thank you for admitting it was a lie to claim the LCS would be in Chinese littorals conducting ASW operations.

  • And there is millions of dollars of equipment for those DDG’s hidden in other line items – all their gas turbines for instance.

    • NavySubNuke

      Reposting this since Duane deleted it for using the actual budget numbers rather than his made up lies:
      That same line item in the “other procurement” budget also buys the LM2500s for the LCS-2’s by the way.
      Regardless – even if there is $100M stashed away in other line items for each of those DDG’s they are still 1/2 the cost of a fully equipped LCS (using average mission module costs).
      From the SCN budget: Ship Cost: $646M.
      Also from the SCN budget: An additional $169M for outfitting and post deliver modifications.
      From the Mission Module’s Nunn-McCurdy breach the actual average cost of the mission modules is $134M per module. (Based on 48 mission modules)
      646+169+134 = $949M

  • Bubblehead

    That is completely false. Alamo is currently being used in larger caliber’s than 57mm. 76mm & 5in could easily handle alamo. 76mm is being used now. I have never heard 57mm Alamo being operational at this point. Its probably still in design phases.

    • Lazarus

      L3 is finishing up final testing and Alamo is planned for fielding in late 2020.

  • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

    No. Ronald O’Rourke from CRS states $568 million per seaframe. Which is taken straight from the Navy’s budget request.

    (Duane – even Lazarus won’t back your numbers. And that is saying a lot).

    • Lazarus

      Duane’s costs are just those before GFE.

      • Duane

        The 10-ship block buy costs include all the baseline GFE. What the baseline costs do not cover are mission module costs, which are also GFE. For instance, the seaframe costs include the Mk 110 57 mm gun system which is a baseline seaframe cost. But the seaframe contract cost does not include the new OTH missiles or their launchers which have been added to the SuW MM.

        The only cost escalation in the LCS program has been entirely due to adding capabilitied to the SuW mission modules, none of which have anything to do with delivery of the seaframes at guaranteed contract prices.

        New capabilities on LCS MMs are not just for LCS, but are also being integrated into other ship types, such as the development of the ASW MM for LCS feeds directly into FFGX. The OTH missiles are also going on FFGX, as is the 24-cell Hellfire launcher, COMBATTS-21, the 57 mm gun, the new torpedo defense system, etc. etc. The MCM MM development was borne entirely by LCS, but is being adapted to other ship types like expeditionary sea base and even the DDG51s.

        • the_artist_formerly_known_as_m

          Dude, watch out. According to Laz – LCS proponents need to stick together.

  • Lazarus

    The cost of the ASW module tends to drive up the average.

  • Lazarus

    No, just a clarification.

  • PolicyWonk

    This is true. The most expensive ship in the inventory is one that isn’t designed or built to fight – these are what we call “liabilities”. The USN needs ASSETS.

  • Bubblehead

    You really begin to wonder how these people believe their own kaka?

    You need no further evidence than the fact the USN was begging Congress not to fund anymore LCS boats. At the exact time the USN is begging Congress for more hulls. It really is that simple. It’s not rocket science. The USN doesnt even want the worthless death traps.

  • Ed L

    the US Navy should buy the license to build Frigate hulls of the FREMM design. The new FFGX should be built by the following ship building companies. GD, Austal USA, Lockheed, Marinette Marine, Ingalls, Bath. with a 127mm and two 57mm (port and stbd) and 32 cell VLS, Searam, torpedo tubes, chain guns, machine guns, depth Bombs etc etc. 6 different yards each building a Frigate a year for 5 years that’s 30 Frigates. If those frigates prove to be a good enough Frigate then extend the build to 15 years for 90 Frigates. Also a Competition between builders. Each year a frigate is commission with the fewest problems and below budget the builder of that particular frigate gets a cash bonus. Of Which 80 percent goes to the yard workers